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July 24, 2017

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"we know to be associated with"

"phone records available to us"

Is anyone in possession of the blue dress Kushner was wearing during these pizza deliveries to the Russian Ambassador?

Forget the flimflam, and follow the money.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/24/jared-kushner-new-york-russia-money-laundering

http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/07/24/was-the-mayflower-hotel-event-really-jared-kushners-idea/

Breitbart, FOX News, The White House, and the Republican National Committee, and the entire republican congressional colossus at taxpayer expense have ordered fake designer chairs from which to distribute their fake news:

https://qz.com/1028802/cheap-eames-aeron-and-barcelona-chairs-inside-the-trillion-dollar-black-market-for-fake-designer-furniture/

Count's Washington Monthly link mentions the fact that Richard Burt and Dmitri Simes first worked for the Rand Paul campaign. Interesting that Paul is one of the two senators who voted against the Russian sanctions bill.

Didn't get any response to my suggestion to watch "Occupy". Here's an http://www.politico.eu/article/occupied-norwegian-tv-series-thats-enraged-the-kremlin-norway-russia-occupation/>article about the series and the Kremlin pushback.

I'd (whenever) be interested in people's thoughts, especially Lurker's and Hartmut's.

Oops. http://www.politico.eu/article/occupied-norwegian-tv-series-thats-enraged-the-kremlin-norway-russia-occupation/

I thought his message was, "I went to lots of meetings, and it is possible taht Russians are bad, but I only did it because I am stupid, so I'm not responsible>"

The most interesting thing about 'Occupy' is the Russian reaction.

The premise is extraordinarily unlikely (it would be much more convincing were it to be set in a Baltic or central european state), but the 'why are you so mean to us after we forcibly occupied half of Europe for around fifty years' thing is interesting.

For those with the energy to delve into what motivates Bannon and Trump, this seems quite accurate:
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2017/07/what_most_people_don_t_get_about_steve_bannon.html

There is really no other possible conclusion than that this man is either certifiable or suffering from dementia:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/25/donald-trump-speech-boy-scouts-jamboree

The premise is extraordinarily unlikely (it would be much more convincing were it to be set in a Baltic or central european state),

The mechanics of the occupation were different, but it feels eerily familiar, now that we have Putin's puppet as President.

Here's a speech by Tim Kaine given last night on the Senate floor on health care. He was supposed to have been VEEP, and wouldn't the world look different.

He's talking about the Wise county RAM clinic:

“Remote Area Medical has held more than 860 expeditions worldwide since 1985,” said RAM Founder and President Stan Brock. “In that time, the RAM-Wise Clinic continues to be the largest patient turnout we see. The healthcare need in Southwest Virginia is extremely high, and the patients we see wait for this clinic days in advance every year in order to receive the care they need. Without it, they would have nowhere else to turn.”

The people who are responsible for giving power to the greedy, cynical nihilists who took over this country make me ill, and will not be forgiven.

There is really no other possible conclusion than that this man is either certifiable or suffering from dementia

it's not dementia, he's always talked like that. and I doubt he's clinically certifiable.

its really quite simple. he's a jerk. a rude, vulgar, bullying asshole.

The people who are responsible for giving power to the greedy, cynical nihilists who took over this country make me ill, and will not be forgiven.

I'm also feeling like the whole trump phenomenon - not just Trump himself, but the fan base - is kind of a bridge too far.

if they wanted to draw a line, they've achieved their mission.

it's not dementia, he's always talked like that. and I doubt he's clinically certifiable

I'm quite prepared to believe he's always been the same corrupt, egocentric, debased, greedy son-of-a-bitch he is now, but he hasn't always talked like that:

https://www.statnews.com/2017/05/23/donald-trump-speaking-style-interviews/

"cynical nihilists who took over this country make me ill"

When you get sick, republican murderers will put Remote Area medical out of business. Instead, the private sector, run mostly by cheating, lying, murderous we're running a business over here conservatives who wrap a wet volume of Atlas Shrugged around their dicks and celebrate their soulless malignancies with a circle jerk as they pickpocket you during the ER visit, will palpate your bank account for radical surgery.

Here's the private sector at work, purposefully stealing from you. republican filth and killers own it all:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/07/blame-hospitals-for-the-big-spike-in-out-of-network-er-charges/

You are a profit center. This is who sick fuck and unfortunately ambulatory McCain of Piety Central works for and is owned by. We are soylent green and they never cease eating all of us.

Ted Cruz will be Attorney General by next Friday. Then the person who said in these pages during the campaign that Cruz was the only candidate who understood the limits government should operate under will watch with tragic glee, or horror, it's so hard to fucking tell which, as Cruz expands the police powers of the Federal government exponentially at the whim of his walking shitbag boss.

The Justice Department will become another purely political paramilitary branch of the VERMIN Republican Party, to bookend with much of the U.S. military and the fascist serial killers running and financing the NRA.

The body count will be phenomenal.

Boy Scouts everywhere will twitch and howl with blood lust.

They'll be awarded merit badges for not applying tourniquets to snakebites because they are the snakes, the little twats.

Yes I do think it reflects on the character of people who are responsive to Trump. I have thought that maybe they were just misinformed since many of them live inside the hate/fear world of rightwing media--but that reflects poorly on character, too. Afer al it is a choice. People can shoose to watch Faux, or they can recognize hatemongering bullshit when they see it and watch something else. Teh rightwing base LIKES bullies. They LIKE hatefulness. They are attracted to it. They are the same people who supported Hitler before he opened camps. NOt necessarily the ones who supported Hitler after he opened camps, but definitely the same as the ones who put him into power and helped him in the early stages of his war against their fellow citizens.

But it is too narrow to focus on Trump and his supporters. The Republican party has been using hate of groups of our fellow Americans for decades and their "Everything is the fault of those bad people over there message" resonates with at least forty percent of the population. So the problem isn't Trump and his supporters; its the Republican party and their voters.

He talks like this. This is how he mesmerizes Eagle Scouts and beauty queens and 50 million dupes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oq1z10QtOs

His brain, regardless of its condition, is merely an incidental, little-used organ topping off the pure EVIL of the rest of the sack of shit which operates via malign animal spirits secreted in his balls and bowels.

Kilgrave. That first syllable is key.

Let's say he is well into the throes of dementia.

That would lead us to suspect the change in his speech patterns toward incoherency and dyspeptic nonsense connected catastrophically with like-minded senility and dementia in the body politic, enthralling the inner American zombie stupid.

I've often wondered if the saying "If you aren't a liberal at twenty, you don't have a heart. But if you aren't a conservative at 40, you don't have a brain", is just another marker for diagnosing early-onset senility and dementia.

Maybe America at large will require diapering and a sippy cup to make sure it doesn't hurt itself.

The odd incidence of great numbers, tens of millions, of otherwise healthy American dumbasses inanely repeating the meaningless mantra that he'll "Make America Great Again", often in Russian, in answer to every query and in every circumstance reminds me of my late mother and my late father-in-law when they were deep into their separate dementias repeating ad nauseum some phrase or sentence and then looking at you searchingly to, I guess, ascertain if you were getting their drift.

My father-in-law would communicate part of his mantra in a series of mouth clicks and smacks, like a San Bushman, once words started to fail him.

My mother would ask over and over, day-in, day out, day-out: "Where's Betty?", her late sister.

Both of them became extremely agitated when their mantra or question was answered truthfully, ("what do you mean, she died?") or finally, met by silence because a caregiver becomes weary of playing that game ad nauseum.

I had exactly that experience the other week when visiting nice friends getting on in years who are rabid rumpers. The lady collects large antique dolls and they are arrayed throughout their home, except now many them wear red ball caps with the rump logo and bullshit on them.

She showed them to me with preternatural serenity.

It was like Madame Tussaud's House of Mixed Nuts. I felt like a debutante wandering around in Chuckie's house with the electricity off and the phone lines cut.

I was polite and silent. Had two extra drinks to acclimate myself to the surrounding political inebriation, so I didn't blurt out that I'm from the deep state.

Once, several years ago, her husband (they are from Chicago; he was a fireman and for a time before that a police officer) referred to Barack Obama as "that monkey". I put him in the hospital in traction with a catheter up his everything.

The hospital in my mind. CountmeCare.

Have you ever noticed in dementia wards, many of the patients, mostly the males, wear ball caps and T-shirts with stupid sayings on them.

Like "I say it's spinach and to Hell with it!" or "Hang the Cunt!"

The republican party plays its part in all of this as the malign criminal employed by your low-rent nursing facilities as supposed care-givers who steal from the addlepated male patients, their base, as they sleep and molest the female patients, their base, at night in their rooms, keeping them over medicated as well at great expense.

I'd say we're on to something about the epidemiology of the disease ravaging the American political system.

But I repeat myself ad nauseum.

Where IS Betty? I just saw her a minute ago.

Campfire stories. Whittle me a fascist:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/inappropriate-moments-trump-boy-scout-speech.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=s3&utm_campaign=sharebutton-b

Next week, he'll address a convention of Brownies and fingerdiddle them and their mothers in the receiving line and award himself with a wolf badge for their trouble.

Then he'll projectile toss his Girl Scout cookies all over them.

Touring Mar-a-Lago:

http://www.trend-chaser.com/history/this-guy-found-hitlers-secret-french-bunker/?utm_source=ya&utm_campaign=361300868-9585522524-ya&utm_medium=aAoih0TqBTvBCRg---ya&utm_content=43345d-33665563014-ya&utm_term=c-doors_hsf.jpg-n-ya

The premise is extraordinarily unlikely (it would be much more convincing were it to be set in a Baltic or central european state)

Except that Quisling will resonate more. Especially if you are a Scandanavian film maker. (Not that there weren't equally bad people elsewhere. But not nearly, except maybe Putin, a infamous.)

Aack! Petain, not Putin!
Sigh

Ted Cruz will be Attorney General by next Friday.

Count, you have to look on the bright side. (That's why God invented magnifying glasses.) If this happens, we will have gotten both Sessions and Cruz out of the Senate.

And how long do you think Cruz will last? Apparently gotta be totally obsequious to Trump to count (no offense!) on that.

Afer al it is a choice.

Yes.

Key Findings

• This analysis finds five unique clusters of Trump voters: American Preservationists (20%), Staunch Conservatives (31%), Anti-Elites (19%), Free Marketeers (25%), and the Disengaged (5%)

• There is no such thing as “one kind of Trump voter” who voted for him for one single reason. Many voted with enthusiasm for Trump while others held their noses and voted against Hillary Clinton.

• Trump voters hold very different views on a wide variety of issues including immigration, race, American identity, moral traditionalism, trade, and economics.

• Four issues distinguish Trump voters from non-Trump voters: attitudes toward Hillary Clinton, evaluations of the economy, views about illegal immigration, and views about Muslim immigration.

The Five Types of Trump Voters: Who They Are and What They Believe

Count, I realize that it's a struggle to keep up. But how did you miss this one

President Trump’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s criminal division, Brian A. Benczkowski, has disclosed to Congress that he previously represented Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest financial institutions, whose owners have ties to President Vladimir V. Putin
From the New York Times and Washington Post?

You just can't make this stuff up!

I frequently stop by the front page of foxnews.com to see what's going on in RightLand. At 12:30 there was NO mention of the Senate Health care vote coming up. Now there's a single link, halfway down the under "Fox Business": "Republican Senate leader to hold healthcare vote within hours".

Breitbart.com has nothing about the vote on the front page at all.

That's some cultivated ignorance about a bill that is intended to re-work 1/6 of the US economy and directly affect tens of millions of people.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sen-angus-kings-silent-synopsis-of-the-health-care-legislation-up-for-vote-today-2017-07-25?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Other people on Trump:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/07/25/senators-on-hot-mic-trump-is-crazy-im-worried/?utm_term=.4c3d90e3392c

It is difficult to say anything about a TV series I haven't watched. The state-owned Finnish Broadcasting Corporation, the public TV service, shows a lot of Norwegian material, probably because they have a barter agreement with their Norwegian counterpart, so I expect to see the program in Finnish TV in the future.

The point of the series seems to be rather far-fetched. Essentially, it posits that the Norwegian government decides to pursue ideological politics that alienate it from all imaginable allies. Furthermore, it assumes a weak government that rather allows Russia to occupy the country rather than choosing a war. Such a course would be a typical combination of stupidity and weakness that actually cause the downfall of a country.

The Politico article draws a parallel from the series to the phenomenon of Finladization. The phenomenon was a real one, but it's extent should be understood. Politico refers to Finland retaining its "formal" independence, compared to the Soviet-annexed Baltic states and Soviet satellites. What this "formality" meant is defined later: Politico reminds that while Finland retained a free-market system and democratic parliamentarian government, one of the parties, the conservative National Alliance was shut out of government years 1958-87 for foreign policy reasons, i.e. deference to the Soviet Union, although it remained a major actor in municipal politics and in the parliament. I would say that this is more than "formal" independence.

What Politico fails to mention is that the Finnish foreign policy stance was dual. The public liturgical speak affirmed the constant friendship with the Soviet Union. At the same time, the Finnish foreign policy was actively carving Finland free movement space that allowed the integration of economy to Western structures. The whole was backed by active development of the Defence Forces using both Western and Soviet materiel.

The defence planning was interesting. Since 1960's, it has been based on the concept of "territorial defence", which aims to contest the freedom of operation of the enemy in all parts of the country, while keeping vital areas in Finnish hands at all times. A very heavy emphasis is laid on the prevention of surprise occupation. For example, major Finnish airports were from 1970's until 1980's equipped with concealed old tanks that were permanently installed to have a free field of fire on the runway, with the airport personnel trained and instructed to use the weapons in case of a surprise landing.

Another important point in defence planning is the idea of fighting against overwhelming odds. You would not believe if I told you what kind of relative enemy strength I have been trained to consider as a "normal" situation. The idea is not necessarily to win. It is to make the enemy victory so expensive in blood and treasure that it is not rational to attack.

America is in grave, mortal danger.

Step up republicans with your fucking guns.

Do something besides masturbate over Clinton's foibles.

Federal bankruptcy and thermonuclear war will be your legacies if you don't take things in hand now.

C'mon, you tough shits. Do something.

Or else.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/07/finally-white-people-outraged-police-violence

They have nothing but harsh language, like the Alien movies:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/conservative-legal-experts-shocked-trump-bizarre-attacks-jeff-sessions

They defend a racist, malign Sessions from a hallucinating malign maniac.

They want process. There is no process. There are no facts. There is no procedure. There is basic human decency in these scum.

It's all coming down. Their blood coursing thru the gutters.

They own all of it, every pigfucking one of them.


That would be "no" basic human decency....

Hey look, even Madame Defarge garbled a few words caught up in her spittle storm.

But you didn't see a break in the 24-hour deserving decapitations, did you?

No, you didn't.

Welp, McCain voted for the atrocity.

Without reading a word of the thing.

How does he know there isn't a line item in there repealing all payments for brain cancer treatments for ruthless shitheads?

Because it's only repealing all payments for brain cancer treatments for the poor, someone I expect will helpfully point out.

But he got his Planned Parenthood defunding, which makes complete sense considering all of the bareback cooch he got here and overseas. He screwed everything that limped as a young man, his legend has it.

I wonder if he's having My Lai flashbacks as he reboards the Medivac with his gummint supplied healthcare coverage.

Welp, McCain voted for the atrocity.

Actually, he voted to talk about it. While saying that he would NOT vote for passing it as it stands.

Of course, that doesn't say what he would vote for. Your expectation may vary. But it's a bit less noxious as your statement here makes it out.

wj, this comedy routine we're developing here reminds of old Smothers Brothers shticks.

If only I had that kind of talent! If only....

mom always liked you best

That would be Tommy: the talented one -- gotta be the Count!

Lurker: anybody who remembers, or has read about, the Winter War knows what the Finns think about long odds.

I really appreciated Lurker's comments. I enjoyed the program for its own sake, but also (thinking back on it, because I saw it before Trump), it rang scary and true, and a decent parable of how people might react to a creepily soft occupation by a foreign government. Of course, no one wants war, so how do we resist?

Everything right now in the US points to Federal autocracy. Weirdly, I'm thankful for state government semi-autonomy so that Democratic governors can carry the torch to some extent. How long that can last I don't know. A federal judge has (yesterday, in other news) okayed the voter repression commission. We are screwed on so many levels, and I don't know to what extent that will affect state elections.

We have to fight, and I'm gong to try to fight despair in order to fight them. And, although it's annoying to you for me to say I told you so -- I've been trying to tell y'all for years.

Sorry, but those of us who can still remember how the Southern Democrats, especially in the Senate, held stuff hostage -- we didn't need telling so for a lot of years now. The labels have changed, but the mindset is depressingly lively.

As for the commission itself, I will be unsurprised if they come up with lots of people who didn't un-register for voting when they moved. (I know it never occurred to me to do so when *I* moved in the past.) So, lots of duplicates.

But beyond that, I suspect that they are forced, as Kovach has been in Kansas, to accept that there just isn't anything there -- and their own numbers prove it. (Not that they would ever ADMIT....) In short, hoisted on their own petard. Which the bulk of the country will know, even if they remain in denial.

Sorry, but those of us who can still remember how the Southern Democrats, especially in the Senate, held stuff hostage -- we didn't need telling so for a lot of years now.

You might want to be more specific. A lot of stuff got done before Nixon's Southern Strategy.

But beyond that, I suspect that they are forced, as Kovach has been in Kansas, to accept that there just isn't anything there -- and their own numbers prove it.

With "fake news", etc., it's going to take a very long while for the stupids to figure this out. Also too, the world marches on, and we're due for a national emergency. Don't worry though, wj. Be happy.

wj,

The Dixiecrats, like liberal Republicans, are ancient history.

I hate to say it, but The Count is right: first the current GOP has to be reduced to rubble and its fields sown with salt; then we can argue about state autonomy versus federal protection of individual rights compared and contrasted with federal trampling of those rights versus states' defense of them.

--TP

sapient, I was thinking late 50s/early 60s. (Yes, some of us really are old enough to remember that!) Long before Nixon did the Southern Strategy.

Tony, I would only ask that, this time, WE actually clean up the mess. Instead of just foisting it off on someone else (no matter how willing, even eager) to clean up. Or, worse, just co-inhabit with.

Sewing their (mental) fields with salt seems like a fine idea. A little bit unclear exactly on the methodology for achieving that, however.

Well, if we can figure it out, we've got a serious money spinner. Even if we're picky about clients, which I suspect we would be.

I confidently predict that the Seante will go on to vote in favour of trashing healthcare after someone comes up with the idea of retreading the 'win one for the Gipper speech....
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/07/25/mccain_s_sorkinesque_speech_after_advancing_a_bill_that_could_kill_thousands.html

Tony, good plan, but first you have to go after their supply lines.

Fox News napalma est, to use the classic terminology.


Getting the supply lines is of only limited use until you get the big funding sources: Mercer, Koch, Adelson, etc.

Yes, most of them claim to be libertarians, not conservatives -- more accurately known, these days, as reactionaries. (See the David Koch Fund for Science for how non-reactionary.) But it's not hard to see who ends up benefiting.

Snarki:

Good idea, but how? Even if there still was a Fairness Doctrine, how can it be applied to cable, which isn't using a limited public resource like broadcast?

Most cable franchises are a long-term monopoly granted by the local government. Talk to the people at the cable HQs and they'll tell you that spectrum down the coax is a limited resource. Satellite TV is very much a user of limited public resources (spectrum and geostationary orbital slots). Two-thirds of the eyeballs watching local "over the air" content receive it over cable or satellite. Somewhere in there is a basis for "fairness" if people wanted to push it.

Talk to the people at the cable HQs and they'll tell you that spectrum down the coax is a limited resource.

limited, sure. but it's a privately-owned resource. nobody is going to force Time Warner to carry balanced news coverage.

I suspect it would be difficult for a "fairness" doctrine to overcome First Amendment constraints in the courts these days.

The only part of the "cable spectrum" that I'd want to use to counter Fox News is 0-0.01 Hz....

In which I would apply 50kV, DC, for about 2 minutes.

But no, those bastids have been converting everything to fiber. Do you people have any idea how much a HV power supply costs that can jump 10km of fiber?1??

SHEESH!

Just a little something that, except for length, could have been posted by several folks here:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/07/26/the-frightful-state-of-the-gop/?utm_term=.31a2baa8529f

Enjoy

It's clear that McKinney left us some time ago, but I don't think we've heard from Marty for several days either. Have things finally come to the point where we can no longer talk to each other? I could understand it, but I hope not. However, if so, I hope it doesn't last too long.

It's a tough time to be a conservative.

but it's a privately-owned resource. nobody is going to force Time Warner to carry balanced news coverage.

Privately-owned but installed under a local franchise agreement on a monopoly basis. Franchising authorities impose all sorts of odd requirements as part of the agreement. And the cable company will bend over backwards to keep the franchising authority happy during the last couple of years before the current agreement expires. One chunk of my career was doing technology demonstrations to franchising authorities to help convince them to let us keep the franchise when we had purchased the assets of whichever cable company had owned them previously.

"It's a tough time to be a conservative."

Spot on. They may have to move, change their names, dye their hair, and pretend that they NEVER had that kind of political affiliation.

The more rational conservatives are likely the first to jump ship.

The large number of Trumpers? It may too many to handle on an individual basis.

I suggest a Federal Witless Protection Program.

In the past year or so, cable subscriptions have been declining by about a million and a half per year.

It's a tough time to be a conservative.

No, actually it's not. Irritating? That I will grant you -- just because of all the loons who have tried (with depressing success) to appropriate the label.

It's definitely a rough time to be a reactionary. And a KnowNothing is feeling a lot of pain, because there is just so much, and so much new, that you are expected to know these days. But just being a conservative? Not so much of a problem, at least regarding the way the world is changing -- the world does that; it's a feature.

Note that, for example, a real conservative would never argue for repealing Obamacare at this point. Modify it, to make it more effective? Sure. Just rip out -- that's a lot of things, but "conservative" isn't a word that applies to that approach.

In the past year or so, cable subscriptions have been declining by about a million and a half per year.

The vast majority of which purchase high-speed data service delivered over exactly the same facilities, and subject to the same franchising agreement for the physical plant. Pissing contests where the franchising authority says "We won't renew your franchise" and the cable company says "The voters will crucify you at the next election" are always fun.

It's a tough time to be a conservative.

Cry me a river, conservatives. (Or, nod to wj, "conservatives").

I don't want a "witless protection program". I want blood and guts and veins in my teeth and ...

Sorry, got carried away there. The witless are god's creatures, too. They deserve our pity -- after they stand up in their wrongness and admit they were wrong. For the moment, Head Half-Wit still has their support, so they continue to pose a danger to pedestrians and traffic which cannot be ignored.

I'm beginning to think the only way to get through to them is to talk as plainly as their Dear Leader. Call them morons, publicly and loudly. Refer to them as dupes, without apology. Let them feel, for real, the contempt they have claimed to feel for the last 8 years. Make it clear to "independents" and "swing voters" that they can side with dupes and morons or they can side with people who can spot a dupe or moron at 10 paces or less.

To be sure, reality may be nothing but a fable agreed upon, to paraphrase Napoleon(?). If enough Americans agree on the fable of "He, Trump, Tribune of The People" not even a Coalition of The Sane can prevail.

But in that case The Sane have no more to lose than the condemned-to-stoning prisoner in The Life of Brian: "Jehovah! Jehovah!"

--TP

Just listening to Rachel (which I don't always do), I see that she's aggregating news about the gazillion ties between the Russian mob and Trump.

Yawn, say the Republican Congresspeople.

Yawn? Are you f'ing kidding me? Jesus F'ing Christ! Sorry that I feel violent.

GftNC, what are Marty and Tex going to say? Yawn? Who the f' cares what lies they parrot?

Thank you, Tony P.

So, to be "civil", we're supposed to be sad that McKinney and Marty, who were [unwittingly, perhaps] furthering the agenda of Trump and the Russian mob, even though they clained not to be for Trump (but by their actions helped him win), we are supposed to wish that they would come back and propagandize for that agenda?

I'm not sad. I'm only sad that we can't go back to last year and convince them to change their votes, and convince their friends to do so. I'm eternally sad that we failed.

They deserve our pity -- after they stand up in their wrongness and admit they were wrong.

The trouble with asking too much is that it motivates the other guy to keep hacking away at you. Nice as it would be for them to admit their error publicly, nice as it would be if they would at least admit it to themselves, that isn't really the critical thing.

The critical thing, I submit, is that they stop inflicting their errors on the rest of the world. I can live with stupidity (actually, real lack of mental ability deserves sympathy), or with refusal to accept reality for themselves. If they would just stop trying to drag the rest of us down to their level....

If they would just stop trying to drag the rest of us down to their level....

If.

--TP

I find the constant personal attacks tiresome and boring. As I predicted, the health care debate in the Senate is preventing the most stupid things and pointing out the Dems are just interested in getting out from under the ACA.

Aside from Trumps weekly idiotic text, slowed from daily mostly, the conservative agenda is being implemented across the government and Congress is starting to work through a way to get past healthcare.

Hyperventilating about every conservative policy is not the same as criticizing Trump. Although they have become synonymous in liberal speak.

Russia is a significant economy, business people do business there. The idea that every interaction with the Russians is suspect is simply stupid and a useful myth.(Not defending the campaign but Rachel documenting every interaction with any Russian is silly)

It's a really bad time to be a Trump fan, except the Trump fans are as certain they are right as the left is, but ok for conservatives. Judges will get through Congress, tax reform will pass, infrastructure bills will pass, regulatory reform is well underway.

So no, I don't come here every day to read about how I, specifically, am any number of names. And no, we can't talk to each other anymore, because the left's fee fees are hurt so it's ok for them to act out like two year olds, read left as sapient.

I have avoided complaining, because I have greatsympathy for those on the left. We watched 8 years of policy implementation that we fundamentally disagreed with, it's hard to take.

Sucks to be on the other side.

Btw, i fund it interesting that the Congress passed the new sanctions and our good friends in the EU immediately took Russia's side, those traitors. They must be owned by Putin.

It's Trumps fault I'm sure, since they were passed almost unanimously.

[this is where i'm supposed to pretend Marty's not a Trump supporter]

... tax reform will pass ...

Tax "reform" means tax cuts, of course, unless Marty has a different reform in mind than Ryan, McConnell, and every other True Conservative ever espoused.

I'm not opposed to tax "reform", myself:

Let's make the personal income tax progressive-all-the-way-up: 45% kicking in above $5M/yr, 50% above $10M/yr, 60% above $100M/yr, up to 95% above $1B/yr so that you take home only a measly $50M of your second billion dollars of income.

Let's make the corporate rate 25% for corporations which do NOT spend corporate dollars on political "speech", and 45% for corporations who DO.

Let's impose a carbon tax, at source, with the proceeds rebated, on a per-capita basis, to all Americans in the form of a monthly check. (To save paper, let every American who wants in on the rebate sign up for a federally-issued debit card, and credit the monthly rebate to those accounts.)

There -- that's what "tax reform" means when I say "tax reform". But I'm not a conservative.

--TP

the Dems are just interested in getting out from under the ACA

I'm trying to figure out what might be evidence of that. I certainly see acknowledgement that there are things than need work. But "trying to get out from under"??? What shows that?

Let's make the corporate rate 25% for corporations which do NOT spend corporate dollars on political "speech", and 45% for corporations who DO.

Tony, do you really think it is possible (not just possible for a bunch of Congressmen, but possible at all) to write a definition of "political speech" which would be unambiguous enough to be usable by the IRS?

The 5000 times Schumer and gang have said, about any proposal or the idea of fixing it in general, that "Republicans will own healthcare".

However, I do like the idea of ramping up the top rates. Nobody making over $50 million (probably a damn sight less!) is doing it for the money any more -- he can't spend that much, even with annual family vacations to the International Space Station. So he doesn't need the money in pocket to keep doing whatever (presumable, for the sake of discussion, useful) thing he is doing to make that money.

Spreading the upper part of his income around would be good for the country, and for society IMHO. How we spread it out is another discussion. But I figure we can pay down the national debt while we are working it out. ;-)

The 5000 times Schumer and gang have said, about any proposal or the idea of fixing it in general, that "Republicans will own healthcare".

By which, as you are plenty bright enough to know) they meant "You break it; you own it." Nobody believes that, if the Republicans actually create something better, the Democrats would want them to own it. Right? ;-)

Nobody, certainly not more than a handful, even of Republican Congressmen, believes that what they are likely to come up with will be better. From the plans that have gotten floated so far, what they come up with will be, at the very best, as bad as what we had pre-Obamacare. Most likely, it will be substantially worse for the vast majority of those impacted.

Yeah, we can find people who are worse off under the ACA. And I can find people who are worse off under ANY law you would care to mention. Trade-offs are what legislation is all about, and there has never been a perfect law written. One which benefited everyone and had zero negative impacts.

Spreading the upper part of his income around would be good for the country, and for society IMHO.

But mostly good for the ones doing the spreading and their cronies. Spreading other people's money is such fun!

We watched 8 years of policy implementation that we fundamentally disagreed with

Been there myself, a time or two.

the Dems are just interested in getting out from under the ACA

I have no idea what this is about.

However, I do like the idea of ramping up the top rates

We spent a lot of money we didn't have, and borrowed to do it. Mostly under "conservative" (R) administrations, see also two stupid freaking wars that we are still fighting 15+ years later. Not to mention that it costs a lot to reproduce the command deck of the starship Enterprise so the spooks can get their cosplay on.

Now we have to pay it back.

Cutting Medicare, or Medicaid, or SS, is not going to do that. Raising revenue is going to do that.

I don't much care if we do that with tariffs, or raising top marginal rates, or bake sales. Whatever will be the most expeditious and least harmful way to do it.

The health care thing comes down to two basic facts:

1. We have no meaningful way to manage the cost side in this country, and in fact the way we approach things creates many incentives for costs to rise.

2. Nobody wants to pay for it. Everyone - the feds, the states, local communities, insurance companies, employers - are approaching the health care issue as an exercise in passing the hot potato to somebody else.

The only folks who can't pass it on are the consumers, which is to say the patients. The buck stops there.

To address the health care issue we need two things:

1. Get our heads around the idea that access to health care is a public good of the same type as access to clean water and basic public safety.

2. Take public action to manage the relatively uncontrolled increase in costs. Private actors won't get it done, they will just find a way to further their own particular interests.

If we can figure out a way to control costs, the question of "who pays" will be much more tractable. We'll figure it out.

I don't see this happening, so we're going to continue f***ing around until the whole thing falls over from its own bloat and inefficiency.

Americans are really freaking stupid. As in, can't get of their own way stupid. Won't come in out of the rain stupid. Cut their nose off to spite their own face stupid.

Really really stupid.

That is my take-away.

And yes, conservative policies are being enacted, and they suck. Across the board. See also my comment about "stupid".

Russia is a significant economy, business people do business there. The idea that every interaction with the Russians is suspect is simply stupid and a useful myth

Likewise the idea that every financial transaction carried out by people holding positions of public responsibility are harmless and benign.

Which is why we have established the tradition and, in some cases, the legal requirement that people holding offices of public responsibility maintain, at a minimum, an arms-length distance from financial entanglements.

I don't give a shit if CEO Trump does business with oligarchs. There's a bright line when it comes to money laundering, and I more than expect that Donald and the kiddos are up to their ears in that. But absent actual illegality, I don't give a flying f.

I care very much if POTUS Trump does the same, and I care very very very much if POTUS Trump uses his office to do favors for, or accepts favors from, folks he has financial dealings with. That shit is illegal, and Mueller should, and should be allowed to, run that to ground without interference.

And if Trump has been involved in that, he should go. End of story.

It'll immediately turn into the latest Dolchstosslegende for his fans, but so be it. There's a limit to how far I'm willing to go to avoid ruffling their tender feathers.

"Yeah, we can find people who are worse off under the ACA. And I can find people who are worse off under ANY law you would care to mention. Trade-offs are what legislation is all about, and there has never been a perfect law written. One which benefited everyone and had zero negative impacts."

Yes, this. There is literally no coverage of the people that are disadvantaged by the ACA. There is a huge discussion of 15M people opting out of the new law based on the removal of the mandatory purchase, I struggle with that as being a bad thing. People choosing not to buy insurance isn't denying them insurance. There are huge assumptions about peoples behavior buried in there.

It does have some impact on prices, but that's what risk pools are for, and where the money that is in the bill could be used. However, the current plan requires ongoing subsidies for the insurance companies, when did the democrats become huge supporters of corporate subsidies?

In addition, I keep hearing how all of the medical associations are against all of the options, which is not stunning since it would likely reduce their leverage on prices....

wj,

I think the IRS has vast experience making fine distinctions in order to implement sometimes-nebulous statutory language. ("Passive" income, "contractor" vs "employee", etc.)

Still, I'd be willing to compromise and define "political spending" to mean "PAC contributions (super- or otherwise) and campaign contributions". Corporate money spent to buy TV ads, say, would not count as "political spending" as long as the ad clearly identifies the corporation -- even if the ad explicitly endorses a candidate. An ad that shows peanut M&M's dancing around and chanting "Lock her up! Build the wall! Vote for Trump!" with a voice-over at the end saying "We are Mars Candies and we approve this message" would be just fine.

A single corporate dollar contributed to some organization called "Americans for Chocolate" which turns around and runs a TV ad that does anything other than promote chocolate consumption would be enough to kick you into the higher corporate tax bracket.

There may be good reasons why we should value anonymous "speech" by flesh-and-blood human beings. There may be good reasons why we should value "free" speech by dollars-and-cents corporations. There may even be good reasons to value anonymous corporate "speech" -- but I can't think of any, whether I imagine myself as a customer, or as a stockholder, or an employee.

Tax "reform" is about values, in the end.

--TP

do you really think it is possible (not just possible for a bunch of Congressmen, but possible at all) to write a definition of "political speech" which would be unambiguous enough to be usable by the IRS?

You don't even need to involve the IRS. Little 'ol DELAWARE could do it by a slight revision of corporate charter law, to protect the property rights of shareholders.

To wit: if a corporation spends corporation fund (i.e., 'shareholder property') on political advocacy, it must refund to shareholders that 'opt out' a proportionate amount of that spending.

If the CEO wants to pay for it himself, fine. If he wants 'the fun of spending other people's money', he's out of luck.

I apologize for my previous comment, being pure distilled COMMUNISM, which is clearly unacceptable.

There is literally no coverage of the people that are disadvantaged by the ACA

You're overreaching here.

I've heard a reasonable amount of coverage of folks who are (a) self-employed and (b) make too much money to qualify for the subsidies.

It's not an unknown issue.

Marty, "risk pools" are not going to do it. The average cost of healthcare, plus insurance company overheads and profits, for people like you is more than many of you can afford.

What you need is cost pooling with younger, healthier people. That's what every other G10 country does, and it works.

Mandatory insurance is one way of doing this. Yes, it means that young, healthy people are paying more than their expected healthcare costs. In return for that they'll pay less than their expected costs when theyre older and sicker. Unless of course a death panel of republican legislators decides that it would be better for them to die untreated.

"There's a limit to how far I'm willing to go to avoid ruffling their tender feathers."

I would be perfectly happy for there to be a legitimate reason to impeach him. I would be concerned but not mortified if he got impeached on a tenuous but reasonable excuse. I will be outraged if he gets impeached for any reason so far discussed.

My desire for him not to be President doesn't outweigh my desire for following the law.

his actual crimes aside, there would be nothing illegal about impeaching Trump for simply being an asshole. and there is no means to enforce 'legality' in the first place. if the House and Senate hold their respective votes and they agree that he's an asshole and that he should be removed for it, then he's impeached for being an asshole.

Marty,

Tell us please: do you think Trump is a better POTUS than Obama was?

It's a simple, straightforward question. Answer it or don't; this is not a deposition. You need not justify your answer either way, or explain your criteria unless you want to. But a definite yes or no would be most welcome.

--TP

No

There is a huge discussion of 15M people opting out of the new law based on the removal of the mandatory purchase, I struggle with that as being a bad thing.

Perhaps I have missed something, but my impression was NOT that those 15 million were people just taking advantage of the disappearance of the mandate. I thought it was primarily (maybe even exclusively) people who could not, as a result of losing Medicaid (just the expansion, or cuts from what was there previously, depending on which bill we're talking about) and/or subsidies, afford insurance. Period.

Simply put, if you take the healthiest people out of the insurance pools, especially if you keep the prohibition on blocking those with pre-existing conditions, insurance simply cannot work. You achieve a death spiral so fast it will make your head spin.

Think about it. If you can get insurance any time, no matter what, why buy it until after you get ill or injured? You can sign up on the way to the hospital, so why start paying earlier? Who would want to sell, who would be able to sell, health insurance under those conditions? Nobody.

Now, if you get rid of the pre-existing conditions part, that's another story. We have, as a society, decided that leaving people to die on the sidewalks is not something we are willing to tolerate. But it certainly would be possible (not politically possible, but technically possible) to go to that.

Tony, thanks for your at 10:44. I understand what you are getting at now.

Thanks, Marty. Glad to know you consider He, Trump worse than the POTUS you wrote this about:

Doc, the executive order discussion isn't a question of how many, it is a question of what. He has purposefully and with astounding hubris rewritten laws. Maybe you should put a few brain cells into the longer term implications of a President simply telling the executive branch to stop enforcing any law he doesn't like. He is trying to get a legacy he couldn't achieve. And now he killed a Supreme.

A man who would be king.

Posted by: Marty | February 14, 2016 at 11:46 AM

Bygones are bygones, but I can't help feeling that your outrage scale w.r.t. what's an "outrageous" basis for impeachment has evolved a bit.

--TP

Tony, I believe it has evolved a little in the middle. I probably am more amenable to the here is a good excuse impeachment, but I would like for it not to be something that is clearly just we don't want to abide by the election results.

BTW, I have not changed my view of Obama at all.

"If you can get insurance any time, no matter what, why buy it until after you get ill or injured?"

Well, in the exchange you cant do this, in Medicaid IDK, and in the individual market it gets expensive.

It is the really tricky part, but not in the way I think people think about it. It has always been controlled in the employer market by having defined enrollment periods, it is a 12 month risk window that most people don't want to have.

So make April insurance buying month, if you don't you have a 12 month risk window, most people will choose to buy. Those that don't still had aa choice and will have access to emergency and critical care. One of the plans had a waiting period for preexisting conditions if you went 60 days without insurance, I have a hard time with that being a problem. All those options provide a choice, they don't "deny" millions of people coverage they let you assume whatever risk level you want to assume.

About a third of my extended(through nieces and nephews) family doesn't have health insurance today, they don't qualify for Medicaid and anything they could get would be meaningless. They would be bankrupt before any coverage kicked in. People have limited choices today so some of these measures just aren't bad, compared to today.

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