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May 12, 2017

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New York City has a similar problem. They went up.

I think the difference between how we see this, wj, is that I think the income difference between to given percentiles matters. If it's very large, those higher up can bid housing beyond the maximum that those lower can adjust to. It's a question of who can hang on and who can't.

It's also a question of who wants to, if they can make a serious killing selling their house as opposed to just selling it for some decent profit. It's not a wholesale tale of woe for those who choose to leave. If my house suddenly became worth 3 times what it is now, I wouldn't be complaining. (But my kids probably would if they had to move away from their friends or go to a new school.) But that would still depend on where else I could afford to live.

The question is whether the steepness of the income graph across percentiles causes good or bad things to happen in the longer run. I tend to think it increases the forces of income segregation, which in turn leads to various social and political problems.

I don't have a great solution to it. The only things that come to mind are more progressive taxation on high income and, maybe more directly for the problem under discussion, pricey real estate at the local level. Stronger unions (other than possibly the building trades where I live, which are pretty damned strong already) and higher minimum wages (set locally?).

It's a sticky wicket to be sure, but you have to recognize and understand a problem before solving it, right?

Another thought, from someone who already pays a lot in property taxes - a formula that takes income (and possibly wealth?) into account when assessing property taxes. One thing that would happen if my house did become worth 3 times what it is now is that, in a relatively short amount of time, my property taxes would go up to the point that I simply couldn't afford to pay them any longer, even though my income hadn't changed.

More on the Turks:

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-turkish-connection.html

Two Secret service agents were assaulted as well.

I guess trump's security detail wasn't on hand to provide backup for their, umm, coworkers.

It's a typical trump republican public/private partnership.

Meanwhile, trump has been treated worse that any other President in history.

Course, unfortunately unlike Lincoln, he's not a theater-goer.

New York City has a similar problem. They went up.

NYC is not a good example of a place that has resolved it's issues with affordable housing.

in any case, some folks think increases in income inequality are just not an issue, and some folks think it is.

I tend to think it is, and not even primarily because of the effect on housing prices. I'd say the effect on the political process and public policy is of greater consequence.

I'm sure zoning laws are a factor in the availability of affordable housing in my area. I'm also pretty sure the influx of stupid money bidding up prices is also a factor. but what the heck do I know, I just live here.

extraordinary differences in wealth and income tend to corrode the basic sense that all parties have an equal standing in public life. the reason people perceive that corrosion is because it exists.

I am on record, probably ad nauseum, in saying that my understanding of how best to address that is not through redistribution of wealth, but distribution. pay people more.

I haven't heard anything, from anyone, over the last 40 years that has made more sense to me than that.

pay people more.

But but but but but but...

The money would have to come from somewhere, and that would be punishing the wealthy. Bad bad russell.

Throw this into the real estate mix:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/realtors-say-middle-class-will-face-higher-taxes-lower-house-prices-under-trump-plan-2017-05-18?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

I tend to think it is, and not even primarily because of the effect on housing prices. I'd say the effect on the political process and public policy is of greater consequence.

Yep.

There are more of us now than before.
Available land in some places (San Francisco, Seattle, etc.) is physically restricted by geography.
We crowd into cities to take advantage of economies of scale.
When you zone single family and insist on street parking for each apartment you create problems, especially when these policies apply in locations in or near the metro core.

But when incomes are resolutely shifted upward to professionals (lawyers, accountants, doctors, computer whizzes, etc.) they are able to effectively bid prices up for a limited supply.

And thus the people who clean the offices, wash the dishes, and wipe the drool off grandpa in the nursing home either live in their car or way way way out in the vast suburbs and commute on crappy public transportation that they largely pay for with their tax money.

The public, via its government, could use its powers to construct lower cost housing in or near the metropolitan core....but that would mean (gasp! NO!!! Not that word!!!) "redistribution".

As you might guess, I'm fine with that. It's poor public policies that enabled these folks to get a lot of that boodle to begin with. So we're just taking back what was given in the first place....all because these lucky duckies are too f$cking greedy to share.

...punishing the rich.

That's rich :)

When we use public policy to shift income upward, we punish the poor.

Fixt.

Again, for Marty's benefit, why the President is not simply the Attorney General's boss... in the words of the AG himself:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/can-jeff-sessions-be-independent/527205/
As the attorney general, Sessions plays a unique role in the Cabinet, because his job is not simply to serve the president but ensure that the president himself follows the law. Sessions said as much during his confirmation hearing in January.

“The office of the attorney general of the United States is not a political position, and anyone who holds it must have total fidelity to the laws and the Constitution of the United States,” Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “He or she must be willing to tell the president no if he overreaches. He or she cannot be a mere rubber stamp to any idea the president has.”

“The office of the attorney general of the United States is not a political position, and anyone who holds it must have total fidelity to the laws and the Constitution of the United States,” Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I expect before this nest of republican trump scandal is over, we'll see the wholesale jailing of journalists by these people:

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2017/05/trumps-bully-boys.html

RC Hammond, now Tillerson's hand-puppet at State, is a long-time Gingrich operative, the latter of whom, when the shit hits the fan, will be chased to the ends of the Earth and punished with savage violence for the harm he has done to this country and its institutions.


Yeah, Nigel, Sessions said that at his confirmation hearing. But then, we already know he lied at his confirmation hearing. So....

I'm a bit late with this observation on housing, but I've just spent time with my daughter, who is going to university to Tokyo, and it seems one of the ways a country can deal with housing costs is by having a decent public transportation network. I don't know if the US can go as far as Japan, but you would think that it could do something.

Yeah Nigel, I got it. You don't understand the concept of having a boss that can fire you If you screw up, but doesn't direct your day to day activities. There is no constitutional fourth branch of government.

You keep quoting people saying the same thing, that I haven't disagreed with. He was Comeys boss, there was no restriction on firing him and it has no constitutional consequence. It was more of an issue if he asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn, because then he was directing the day to day which can be construed, at least in the movies, as a criminal offense. I think it is criminal, I know it is inappropriate.

There is no constitutional fourth branch of government.

Dick Cheney may beg to differ... :)

I think it is criminal, I know it is inappropriate.

If Trump executed Hillary on the front lawn of the White House it would not be an "unconstitutional" act.* However, it could be found to be an impeachable offense by the House and subsequently a "high crime and/or misdemeanor" by the Senate.

Upon conviction by 2/3 of the Senate, he would then be removed from the Oval Office.

*Could Trump pardon himself? No. He would have to be sentenced in a court of law first. So he puts Hillary out of her misery, is tried and removed from office by the Senate, and then arrested for murder. Once tried and convicted, he could not pardon himself because he is no longer president.

If Trump executed Hillary on the front lawn of the White House it would not be an "unconstitutional" act.* However, it could be found to be an impeachable offense by the House and subsequently a "high crime and/or misdemeanor" by the Senate.

Extra tricky: if said execution was on 5th Ave in NYC, Trump would be prosecuted by NY State, and a presidential pardon has no affect on State convictions.

It's not even clear to me that Trump couldn't be prosecuted and convicted while in office. Unless someone can cite chapter and verse, I don't recall any 'presidential immunity'; there IS a congressional immunity but limited to "speech and debate" and "travel to and from Congress". The stuff in the text about impeachment is that impeachment doesn't preclude criminal prosecution.

And it's not like there's ever been an actual test of having a state criminal prosecution of a sitting president.

Clearly Trump is breaking new ground, in ever so many ways.

Forgot to add: the reason for the 'extra tricky' is that if said crime was on the White House grounds, it would be covered by DC criminal statutes.

Would a DC conviction be voided by a Presidential pardon? Has it ever happened?

Would a DC conviction be voided by a Presidential pardon? Has it ever happened?

You are correct Snarki. I guess the answer depends on the timing of the murder conviction. If prior to Senate conviction, perhaps. If after, I wouldn't think so.

And he can't pardon himself for being impeached and removed.

Thanks.

I just hope that Mueller gets something done post haste before some Trump goons dispatch him in some pardonable or nonpardonable way. These people are thugs, and every day they continue to have power is another swirl down in the vortex. It's a freaking national emergency.

The death of Ailes was a gift. Wish there were a slot machine with a whole lot of similar coins pouring out. After all, all of these evil dudes have lived quite a long time already.

We're setting sail to the place on the map from which no one ever returns:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_BoAXopS54

honestly, i'm having a hard time seeing anything coming of these investigations. i just don't think Trump is clever enough to have colluded; nor do i think he's smart enough to have kept it quiet if he did.

at best, i think some of his election cronies might have been up to things, but they'll basically get away with it. but Trump himself will always stay just on the lucky side of the benefit of the doubt.

unless... unless he does something stupid like perjure himself. but even then, the GOP congress would be happy to forgive it, because he's not a Democrat.

(1998 Marty! look it up! the GOP tore the fabric of our democracy apart! oh noes!)

i just don't think Trump is clever enough to have colluded;

I think he's stupid enough to have colluded without really understanding that it was a bad thing. He is, one way or another, on Putin's payroll, and is obviously absolutely unwilling to argue with Putin. I'm sure he understands that his businesses are benefitting from relationships with dictators. I think you may be right in that he just doesn't understand that corruption is maybe something that people aren't really supposed to do. Also, he doesn't get that thuggery and bullying is not really a Presidential plus, since he admires "tough".

It's all very pathological, and I hope something happens to him soon.

i just don't think Trump is clever enough to have colluded;

at the risk of distressing marty further, I'll say that I don't think trump would really understand what collusion means, or what it would consist of, or why it might be bad.

it would be just another deal.

I'm glad Mueller is on it, IMO he's a good choice. it'll land wherever it lands, and we'll see what happens from there.

it could be anything.

wheeeee!

Except the distressing Marty part I agree with russell's 10:18. Good man for the job and we will get answers that I hope most will trust are honest.

I pretty much think Trumps not entirely sure what he might have done wrong, or if he did it, didn't at the time. In fact, it seems he still sees his primary job as making a deal.

Im pretty sure Flynn and Manafort At least were not confused.

i just don't think Trump is clever enough to have colluded

I would agree that Trump isn't clever enough to deliberately collude. But he could do something that he would see as just normal business practice: a deal involving trading one thing for another. Because that's how business is done, and he aims to run the government like he runs (present tense deliberate) his businesses.

That would also be why he is so sure the investigation is about nothing. Because he did nothing wrong, by his lights, or even abnormal or exceptional.

One thing that I suspect he finds horribly upsetting is his lawyers telling him that Flynn et al also did something wrong -- and they knew it from the get go. Which means, the lawyers will have pointed out, they probably will turn state's evidence on him if the investigation keeps going.

"Except the distressing Marty part"

that was basically me recognizing that you regularly take a beating from most of the rest of us on the topic of trump, and generally do so gracefully.

these are tough times for folks trying to find a balanced middle path.

I agree that Marty takes a ration with maddening equanimity, performed deadpan. Tough hide.

As for trump, I think he knows what "contusion" is, not so much "collusion".

If he thinks he knows what the latter is, in his glands he believes it to be just another name for business being done oveh heah. A synonym for success. It's something in the neighborhood of canoodling, but with money.

He's confused.

Colluding for him is the opposite of someone breaking his balls. Performing an act of collusion is what golf courses are made for, away from the mics and the women.

If the women have to be involved in the collusion, he takes it directly to them in their dressing rooms.

Thanks russell, that was kind of tongue in cheek.

honestly, i'm having a hard time seeing anything coming of these investigations. i just don't think Trump is clever enough to have colluded; nor do i think he's smart enough to have kept it quiet if he did

I regret to say I rather agree with this, sadly particularly because of the first sentence.

Im pretty sure Flynn and Manafort At least were not confused

I also agree with Marty on this. If both are true, and the investigation plays out that way, it's going to be very interesting seeing Trump throwing people under the bus.

Someone just sent me a tweet quoting a Time article (cannot cut and paste) which says that congressional investigations probing Russia's help for the Trump campaign are looking at Cambridge Analytica and Breitbart. Excellent idea.

Also, this piece on Comey and Mueller from Politico bodes rather well. I knew the Ashcroft hospital-dash story from an article in Vanity Fair (don't laugh, they had a very interesting article on Comey in a recent edition), but this gives some different insights, and more importantly into Mueller:

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/18/james-comey-trump-special-prosecutor-robert-mueller-fbi-215154?lo=ap_c1

This afternoon in the Washington Post, a story suggesting that someone close to Trump, and still working in the White House (unlike Flynn and Manafort) is now a "person of interest" in the Russia probe.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russia-probe-reaches-current-white-house-official-people-familiar-with-the-case-say/2017/05/19/7685adba-3c99-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html

If true, it suggests that things are not going to die down any time soon.

I'll be shocked if Republicans continue to stick with Trump now. I'm guessing the "person of interest" is Kushner.

I get,literally, 10-12 stories in my email every day on "new" information. Almost all from nyt and WaPo. There is a guy at WaPo, Adam something who pushes 4 a day, when he runs out of shit he labels one analysis and quotes himself.
Each marked as a breaking story. If a 10th of them are true no spectators will be in court because all the seats will be taken by unnamed sources and it will be the shortest legal action on fed history.

But Adam thinks it's over because the last two days his analysis has been on how much trouble Pence is in.

Isn't Ryan up next?

Isn't Ryan up next?

Ryan's already compromised himself with his little tête-à-tête with Kevin McCarthy.

And, person of interest appears to be Kushner.

from the WaPo story from wj:

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

The revelation comes as the investigation also appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the people said.

The sources emphasized that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

From news to a rehash in three paragraphs. Although it could certainly be Kushner which would be good.

Irony would be if they got Pence and Trump was not implicated. No one is happy.

sapient, Do you think they can get enough of them to get down to a Democrat?

Do you think they can get enough of them to get down to a Democrat?

No way at all. They'd have to get enough House members to flip the majority to the Democrats, and enough Senators to get the President Pro Tem there to be one. Just not going to happen.

Do you think they can get enough of them to get down to a Democrat?

They'll probably stop at Hatch, although he'll definitely need to name another cabinet. Most of the existing ones will be perp walked, I think.

Not Adam Aaron Blake

https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/aaron-blake/?utm_term=.a2d90557ec2e 4 so far today

He, Trump converts to Islam while visiting the Saudis. Not remotely a crime. Nothing like shooting somebody on 5th Avenue. Surely not an impeachable offense.

Does he lose any support among Republicans or the "white working class"? Does pious Christian Mike Pence stick by him? Does V. Putin keep him on the payroll?

No & no; maybe; yes.

--TP

Does pious Christian Mike Pence stick by him?

Pious Christian liar Mike Pence? Only if he's saved (politically)!

They'll probably stop at Hatch, although he'll definitely need to name another cabinet.

Actually, maybe they'll slow walk it until they get to Nancy Pelosi. That's my favored scenario!

Of course, Marty, you will vote R because tax cuts over country. You don't give a s?it whether people die for lack of healthcare, Sessions arrests [black] marijuana "offenders", immigrants who are pillars of various communities get thrown out (after being placed in solitary).

For the purposes of being in the ObWi community, I'm supposed to pretend that you're nice. Okee Dokee.

Regular ObWi reader, delurking for a moment to point out to a specific commenter that your random & ongoing pot-shot snideness really does much diminish the quality of conversation here. Hell, in this very thread you take a whack at someone who isn't even currently commenting here any more; as an observer of human behavior, I can only hypothesize that this was an effort to goad this vanished commenter into reappearing so that yet more licks can be taken.

As a rhetorical technique it's really a pretty sad and tiresome. And in my humble opinion, the very antithesis of being nice.

Ironic, that.

that your random & ongoing pot-shot snideness really does much diminish the quality of conversation here. Hell, in this very thread you take a whack at someone who isn't even currently commenting here any more; as an observer of human behavior, I can only hypothesize that this was an effort to goad this vanished commenter into reappearing so that yet more licks can be taken.

Maybe you are the "someone who isn't even currently commenting here"?

I think you're a little vague.

west coast johnny,

West coast of what country?

Its Friday night, getting late and I am not in the best mood.

sapient,

I do not question your motives for the policies you support, nor your patriotism, nor whether you are a good person.

Tax cuts, even though they don't get me any money, might very well be the thing to get us to 3-5% gdp growth, returning the delta to the tax coffers and putting tremendous upwards pressure on wages at our current unemployment rates.

That jump alone could enable a large number of folks to get better insurance in any market as long as we maintain the minimum criteria out of the ACA, mostly coverage for preexisting conditions.

Whether you believe that or not, the fact that I believe it means that caring about my country and tax cuts aren't mutually exclusive.

Immigration is a big subject, taking one anecdotal story at a time on either side doesn't solve it. There are people of good will in both parties struggling to find a way to have rational immigration policy and deal with illegal immigrants. I don't find the stances of the Republicans, fix the problem and then take the people that are here and deal with them, the policy of most of the R's that aren't Trump or Cruz, much different in the medium term impact than the Dems.

Healthcare the Dem way failed. Again, on anecdotal story at a time doesn't solve the problem for the 30M still uninsured and or the 7-8 million not very well insured. Because I think we need a solution that makes health care cheaper is because I love my country and that would make health care more accessible to all 360M people.

I believe in the economic policies of the Republicans and I am confident they have been really successful over the last 40 years. While wee have had financial and economic upheaval the US economy has been the best house on every block, good times or bad for all that time. The assumption that some other set of economic policies would have created better results is unprovable, and an assumption by those who would declare them bad for the country. I am certain that without the low interest rates, inflation and stable economy outside the housing sector that the policies built that we would not have fared so well in 2009.

So here is the thing, you can disagree with every word I wrote and many more, but don't pretend that I am not just as concerned about our country as you. I would request that you depersonalize this significantly. I am really not the devils spawn.

"Healthcare the Dem way failed. Again, on anecdotal story at a time doesn't solve the problem for the 30M still uninsured and or the 7-8 million not very well insured. Because I think we need a solution that makes health care cheaper is because I love my country and that would make health care more accessible to all 360M people."

Marty - well-considered, and defensible. You've stayed the course and put up with a lot, and your voice is needed.

There's so much to address, but for the sake of some brevity - I can't help but wade in here on the question of health care/insurance. Just what exactly is it that you want? You clearly don't want single-payer, you don't want a more efficient ACA, and you can't see the point, or any efficiency, in "Trumpcare" - whatever that actually means right now. So what are we left with? An expansion of Medicare?

This would seem to be the most plausible route for us to take, given the vitriol over everything else. But as much as you still keep the faith with the GOP, there isn't a chance this is going to happen. You've invested your faith in a party that pretty much has signaled that it doesn't see your concerns as theirs, and that, as things stand, appear to be paralyzed over the growing crisis that is our, um, president.

You have every right to access to affordable health care. As the rest of the citizens of our country. So how do you propose that it happen?

The only other thing to say is that on your assertion that despite "financial and economic upheaval the US economy has been the best house on every block, good times or bad for all that time. The assumption that some other set of economic policies would have created better results is unprovable" is equally unprovable given that we didn't pursue an alternative. Just how is it that having the best house on the block was brought about through such upheaval?

As Mike Myers' Linda Richman might intone from her divan - "discuss."

And none of this is a personal attack.

sekajin,

I'm tired, its late so briefly.

I think that we could get block grants at a higher numbers to expand Medicaid everywhere and a voucher program. I don't pretend to think that will ultimately solve the problem, but the more players that have to watch their budget the more likely that cost will begin to be managed. Health care costs need to be flattened out so wages can overtake them.

Despite recessions and upheavals, the US economy has performed better over time than (most) anyone else's. The influences on the economy, policy and non policy, make the assertion that the basic policy has not been successful a good talking point but just that. There are issues we need to deal with, but killing the goose isn't the way to distribute the golden eggs more fairly.

Marty,

You don't have to respond to this right away, so please don't try, given that we live half-way round the world from each other.

Where you say "I think that we could get block grants at a higher numbers to expand Medicaid everywhere and a voucher program" -
this is going to be insufficient. Block grants might be easier to implement; they're also easier to reduce funding on, de-fund, or outright cut. That's why the GOP loves the idea of these things - they're ditch-able. Vouchers are also not going to work, if it's anything like what the GOP conceives of them as - for people with disposable income who can save money into such schema. Increasing numbers of Americans don't have the income levels that enable them to do this.

Where you say "health care costs need to be flattened out so wages can overtake them," I couldn't agree more. The problem again is that GOP policy-making simply isn't geared for this. It favors policies that flatten wages and and allow health care costs to go out of control.

I'm done here not to deny you the voice on this. It's that you're a true believer, and you're still clinging to a Reagan-era GOP that has been long killed off by his disciples and children.

The only way that the health care crisis is going to be solved is when you start conceiving of affordable access to it as a right, and demanding that your representatives move so. Until then, nothing's going to get done. You're still trusting them to do the right thing when their idea of such is diametrically opposed to yours.

If Marty is not, in fact, the devil's spawn, who do we have among ObWi regulars who can fill that necessary slot?

I suppose we could manage with just a Judas goat for a while, but that's hardly enough to keep the kettle bubbling.

I'd volunteer, but I'm too distracted to be creative, and thus can only carry out my usual role of the oddly-attired uncle who pops up from time to time to make some comment that, however valid (or not) in its own right, seems somewhat off-topic . . .

. . . but I digress.

Health care costs need to be flattened out so wages can overtake them.

there's the nub of it. solutions? more to the point, politically feasible solutions?

even if we had a plan, it would take a generation to level out.

in the meantime, people have to go to the doctor.

Health care costs need to be flattened out so wages can overtake them.

there's the nub of it. solutions? more to the point, politically feasible solutions?

even if we had a plan, it would take a generation to level out.

in the meantime, people have to go to the doctor.

"If Marty is not, in fact, the devil's spawn, who do we have among ObWi regulars who can fill that necessary slot?"

Whew, that bullet was entirely too close. WATCH IT!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2017/05/17/the-president-is-not-a-child-hes-something-worse/?tid=hybrid_collaborative_3_na&utm_term=.017f82258076

http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/05/15/the-danger-within-those-who-voted-for-trump-threatened-our-institutions/

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/dropping-shoe-watch-every-day-he-looks-more-and-more-complete-moron

I think that we could get block grants at a higher numbers to expand Medicaid everywhere and a voucher program.

If the goal is to expand health care coverage to all,* this strikes me as unnecessarily complex. Just expand Medicare to everybody. Cost control of health care costs is, for all practicable purposes, impossible at the level of the individual. Collectively, it can be done....as has been demonstrated in many other countries.

*Block grants and vouchers actually work against this goal. They are political strategies masquerading as policy.

who do we have among ObWi regulars who can fill that necessary slot?

Maybe the count could branch out? Or clone himself....

There are people of good will in both parties struggling to find a way to have rational immigration policy and deal with illegal immigrants.

One can hope. I am bemused by those on the right who rail against government regulations as attempts at "interference" in market outcomes and argue strenuously for "free trade", but when it comes to free movement of peoples put the brakes on.

They reveal themselves to be market regulators as much as any wild eyed socialist.

They are cost shifting strategies designed create multiple solutions based on needs, and ideas, at the state and local level.

My view is that Europe doesn't have a single strategy, even Canada defers implementation to the provinces, so it makes little sense beyond the most basic safety net to have a federally designed program.

Some form of Medicare for the high risk pool and Medicaid for the poor? I'm ok. Both of those might get by a Republican Congress, maybe not the Freedom Caucus party.

Marty: Tax cuts, even though they don't get me any money, might very well be the thing to get us to 3-5% gdp growth ...

Somebody ask Marty what perpetual GDP growth (whether at 2,5,10 or any other %) MEANS, and why it is a good thing. I'm out for the weekend.

--TP

Zinger of the day (can't remember which site's comment section it was in; sorry):

Putin: "I went to Jared!"

Jared is in deep sh1t. I do wonder if Trump's covering up and more re Russia is to protect Jared (and thus Ivanka) and not himself. I suppose it could be both.

And if Trump is actually mad at Jared for the Comey firing sh1tstorm it could not only "this was your idea!" But also "I didn't want to do this but did it to protect you!"

But whatever. Admitting you fired the FBI director because he/the bureau was investigating you is just fine in Trump-GOP America.

https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/05/19/anderson-cooper-cnn-trump-shill-jeffrey-lord-if-trump-took-dump-his-desk-you-would-defend-it/216578

The desk had it coming

what good is growth if the benefit of it distributed so narrowly?

it's not a magic wand.

and for the record, at this point I would be fine with devolving health insurance policy to the states. give me back what we had before in MA, and other folks can do whatever the hell they want.

if it sucks for those folks, they can wake up, smell the coffee, and vote themselves some new state leadership.

I'm tired of arguing about this stuff. if folks want to comparison shop to get the best deal for their brain surgery, or factor five figure deductibles into their household budgets, or pay the doctor with firewood and chickens, that's OK with me.

live it up. just count me out of that noise, please.

Republicans elected the most highly placed traitor in the history of Nation States:

https://patribotics.blog/2017/05/17/comeys-fbi-computer-illegally-accessed-data-given-to-russian-diplomats/

All of them, and their 62 million voters, swept to victory in an American national election on the coattails of an illegitimate traitor, many of the re-elected republican reps and senators using the same compromised foreign sources of disinformation against clinton and their democratic campaign opponents as trump did, provided in many cases by the RNC, and THEY can be entrusted to prosecute their traitorous benefactor's impeachment?

https://patribotics.blog/2017/05/20/exclusive-judiciary-committee-considering-articles-of-impeachment/

Fuck that shit.

I want pence and every white house appointee, every trump Cabinet officer, and every federal agency appointee' resignation NOW. I want Gorsuch's resignation NOW. I want every trump executive order rescinded NOW. I want every piece of shit legislation with the fingerprint of trump's pinkie on it tabled for good NOW.

I want the entire RNC to resign now and the organization declared a threat to the security of the United States of America. I want its records seized and its bank accounts frozen.

I want the offices of every republican and conservative political action group in this country raided and their files impounded and their treasuries confiscated.

I want every conservative media outlet, including blogs, that peddled disinformation about democratic opponents over the past two years shut down and their assets, including the private assets of the filth who run them seized until all of it can be thoroughly investigated for any taint of illegitimate influence.

As a downpayment on that, I want Hannity and Drudged arrested and held for indictment under National Security law.

I want Barack Obama returned to the Presidency and Joe Biden returned to the Vice Presidency and their Cabinet officers returned to their posts to administer the important business of our Federal Government for an interim period until a Commission of uncompromised citizens, which leaves plenty of shitheads out, can be appointed to conduct a redo of the election, but this time, the campaigns will be limited to one week and Citizens United will be declared defunct for the duration.

I want all of the downmarket elections, state and local, right down to dogcatcher in Paduca, declared null and void and redone.

All of that must happen. Not some of it. All.

The entire republican edifice is the Devil.

And maybe "patribotics", the source of the two cites in this comment, are the Devil's spawn, prone to dissemble.

But maybe we need demons and a whiff of sulphur ourselves to fight the Devil.

At some point, using their methods turns you into the thing you hate. Don't let it happen to you.

Lincoln didn't turn into Jefferson Davis by using Confederate methods against the Confederacy.

However, John Wilkes Booth became the father of the Republican Party by using Confederate methods against Lincoln.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/05/20/open-thread-bring-on-the-very-very-tiny-violins/

No, they must not be permitted to melt back into the electorate to emerge as some ruder beasts at a future date.

From that last link:

"And a third said that others are sticking around purely for self-interest, hoping to juice their future earning potential. This Republican added that any savvy White House staffer should be keeping a diary. “The real question is, how long do you put up with it?” this person said. “Every one of those people could get a better-paying job and work less hours.”…

I thought government position-holders were overpaid dead weights, who took long lunch breaks, and twiddled their thumbs as they sucked the tax payer dry by shirking their labor, according to the "narrative"of lying pig filth conservatives.

But no, it's in the private sector that you get paid more for less work.

Can we get a betting pool going to name the first trumper who defects to Russia over the next few months?

Maybe Russia could move its Washington D. C. Embassy into Mar-a-Lago and the lot of them can hold up there and declare diplomatic immunity from prosecution, with trump hanging off the tippy-top of the thing like King Kong swatting at fighter jets.

It will be unfortunate for the 62 million and the other trump enablers who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Clinton who can't afford the Mar-a-Lago the rent, upkeep, and the pedestrian food in the restaurant.

I'm glad people realize that Russia was/is/will be a problem, and that the Trump administration is a result of that problem. It took awhile.

Flynn, if he was going anywhere, would far more likely go to Turkey than Russia. Kushner probably won't believe he isn't untouchable and could actually be held legally accountable until the cell door slams shut. So Manafort seems to be the best bet.

Kushner probably won't believe he isn't untouchable and could actually be held legally accountable until the cell door slams shut.

Seems like since his dad was a felon, he might consider it possible.

"If Marty is not, in fact, the devil's spawn, who do we have among ObWi regulars who can fill that necessary slot?"

Okay, wading in again.

Lay off Marty like this. And don't look for targets to beat up here - please. That's not what this forum is about, and that's not what's made me keep the faith with it for about the last ten years or so, back when I had waded in the first time - and the communitariut (sic?) here was kind enough to accommodate me - and this time around, again, with a long interval in between where I have been alternately delighted, amused, infuriated, stimulated, and enthused, by the voices on this forum.

Just saying.


Some of us may disagree

"Some of us may disagree" - I meant to erase this and didn't in time. It was a straggling thought that couldn't keep up with the rest of what I was saying, and looked to die of servitude and overwork quickly.

Sorry about that.

Somebody ask Marty what perpetual GDP growth (whether at 2,5,10 or any other %) MEANS, and why it is a good thing.

lol, Tony, but I'm not going to do your dirty work. Before your return, you might take a look at this.

I encourage Marty likewise. Food for thought.

They are cost shifting strategies designed create multiple solutions based on needs, and ideas, at the state and local level.

No. They are policies that reduce coverage and they leave it to the states to figure, imaginatively or not, who to shaft and how. The rich get a nice tax cut in the bargain. One could argue if that is a feature or a bug.....but it is a cold hard fact.

I did not intend to "lay into" Marty with my previous comment, which was an attempt at levity bouncing off his own declaration that he was not the "devil's spawn," which amused/bemused me. I hope he didn't take it wrong, and I'm sorry that others (e.g., sekaijin) did.

My point - to the extent that attempted levity has a point - is that there seems to be a need in most fora for someone to serve as the "devil's spawn." I can remember when it was Charles B on OBWi, and the now defunct (?) sideblog that wound up as "Taking it Outside" began as "Hating on Charles B," IIRC. (A title preserved in amber as part of the URL: "hocb") And he was certainly not the first. So if not Marty, who?

I certainly disagree with Marty on almost every conceivable issue, and have said so in the past and doubtless will say so again, but I try to avoid cheap shots extraneous to the thread. I am sorry if I came across as failing in that regard.

dr ngo, i took it just the way you meant it. Something to smile at.

Point taken, Doc - and Marty. (Mart - not trying to say as well that you can't defend yourself. Of course you can, and you have. I think we all have thicker skins here!)

Thank you for your voices, and I mean that.

Just one more song before I go (for now).

Marty - where you say your view is that "Europe doesn't have a single strategy, even Canada defers implementation to the provinces, so it makes little sense beyond the most basic safety net to have a federally designed program," this is true - but one thing the strategies have in common is this: it is baked at least into their laws, and in some of the countries, their constitutions, that access to affordable health care is a fundamental right for all their citizens (and yes, even residents), with cost controls at the level of implementation.

So individual countries in the EU, or Canada with regard to the provincial governments, are indeed free to implement any version or variation of the system they want - so long as they strictly meet the mandates of individual affordable access, and cost control.

In the case of Canada, it helps tremendously that they only have ten provinces - the federal side of the mandate is probably more palatable and requires less force of inculcation, while provincial devolution gives room in the provincial legislatures to tinker with it (and even with that, make no mistake that the further west you go in that country, the more you will still hear grumbling about detached elites in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, etc.). Bear in mind as well that the modern Canadian health care system was hatched not in Ottawa, but in Saskatchewan courtesy of Tommy Douglas, Donald Sutherland's father-in-law.

All that aside - all this is where the U.S. differs from the rest of the developed world, and this is why we come off looking backward, contrarian, mean-spirited, crude, or at the least, just flat-out and inexcusably incompetent.

I think the call for comity is all good.

But we still need some comedy to go along with it.

that's an exterior shot of the Trump hotel in Riyadh.

if you made this stuff up, nobody would believe you.

Each country in Europe has its own approach to funding healthcare. But they all have something in common: healthcare is available to individuals without making the costs proportional to their expected needs.

The USA is in a minority of one in insisting on something which can't possibly work.

Patribotics may or may not be the devil's spawn, Count, but Louise Mensch (co-author of at least one of those pieces) definitely is. She may be sound on the Trump issue, but in all other respects she is a poisonous bit of work. She used to be a Conservative MP here, and was one of their best surrogates/spokespeople on TV shows because confident, articulate and reasonably bright, but she was a great user of half-truths and twisted argument, and an enthusiastic defender of various awful Tory policies and actions. Her departure from these shores to be with her American rock-promoter husband was unexpected but welcome. All that being said, however, I hope her info on Trump is correct, and I do occasionally check her twitter feed since people told me of her anti-Trump crusade.

GFTNC:

Yes, LGM warned of Mensch's bona fides where I swiped the link. Thus "dissemble".

But today's republican party is the spawn of this guy, and at some point he needs to be stopped from swimming upstream by any means, because he is a destroyer, a truly evil piece of crap. Capitalize that "E".

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/05/newt-gingrich-swan-dives-fever-swamps

If Hillary has been piling up bodies like Tony Soprano, how did she overlook Gingrich all these years?

O.K., this is the creepiest photograph in the history of international diplomacy:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/05/became-president-seventh-time

If Hillary has been piling up bodies like Tony Soprano, how did she overlook Gingrich all these years?

Just keep in mind, folks, that Gingrich was the House leader during most of Bill Clinton's term. All you Clinton haters: just imagine, for a few minutes, that. He had to not imagine, live it, for six years.

But welfare reform!

Drain the swamp.

Trump DID "drain the swamp"!

Right into the Whitehouse.

It was either that, or swampify a golf course, so, you know priorities!

On "the USA is in a minority of one in insisting on something which can't possibly work":

Of course. But what else is there for the health care industry in America to do? It sure gives sociopathic hospital chain CEOs something to ravage vulnerable people over, and hell, a belly laugh or two at board meetings.

American health care policy in 2017: If it's good enough to fail masses of people miserably, over and over, it's good enough to keep going, again and again. It's all a mad race to the bottom to find that elusive lodestar - the prayed-over, hoped-for-against-all-hope exception to that rule where repeating the same thing over and over again is the definition of stupidity, with said masses borne triumphantly as prisoners in the midst, until their utility is exhausted from servitude and overwork (i.e, when they die of preventable and/or treatable conditions because the market was too preoccupied with its desperate search for turning utter failure into success).

Just remember - "There's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all" (B. Dylan)

Yeah, the crime families in New Jersey once had a major swamp reclamation project in the Meadowlands where they deposited their "fill", if you what I mean, ovah heah.

trump is just taking out the garbage. It hadda be done. Sanitation is a legitimate business. We pay our taxes, don't we fellas? Hanh?

You look out for your healt(h) and we'll look out for your healt(h). Be a shame if your mother came down wit sumpin. Don't get me wrong, she's a nice lady annat, but mebbe she's got dat lead poisoning flu ting dat gose around from time ta time.

Meanwhile, other countries seem to be more "exceptional" than we are, I mean, ya know, when it comes to a peaceful "environment" in which a goombah can to do some business wit out the a, watchchamacallit, friction of this heah foist amendment:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/a-model-society

Ross, who I use to watch on CNBC years ago while throwing up a little in my mouth, went on to say that he heard somewhere that China had ONE guy who held up a placard in public years ago, but anyone seen him lately? Now, in Russia, he's heard they have people who give the authorities a hard time on occasion but they have this thing called the umbrella treatment and they come down with the cold sweats and the shakes and have to go to bed permanently where they are free to speak their minds.

The feigned innocence of wonder in Ross's words about Saudi Arabia and the basket of sincere dates they gave him should go down well with the camel jockey and towelhead haters among trump's republican supporters.

But, we sold more "big, beautiful military equipment" to them, so there is that.

O.K., this is the creepiest photograph in the history of international diplomacy

i wonder what they're chanting while they touch the Orb Of Power...

Whatever they were chanting, it made them sleepy:

https://twitter.com/yashar/status/866316162644287488/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.balloon-juice.com%2F

Remember when we were told in these very pages that Clinton was probably terminally ill with several chronic diseases when the flu temporarily got her down during the campaign.

"Stamina" is a word no longer used by republicans when THEY go weak in the knees. It's like the word "uncertainty" they used to describe folks and corporations whose health insurance policies were undergoing some alteration. You don't hear that word anymore from the usual suspects as 20 or 30 million Americans wake up every day to some new threatened cessation of their lifelines.

It was either that, or swampify a golf course, so, you know priorities!

But, Snarki, he swampified the golf course at Mar-a-lago too. Thus proving his ability to multitask. (Although I suppose it could just be time slicing....)

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