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December 14, 2018

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the fight is over $5 billion either way.

$5b is peanuts. The fight is a marker for an overall sane immigration policy. Caving on wall is telling a big part of your political coalition to go suck eggs. Craven as our Dem political leadership is, they are doing the right thing here.

The real fight is amongst the GOP factions (the nutcases vs the not so nutcases). A united GOP could ram this through....but they haven't.

There is a bigger picture here.

Snarki lives up to his name. And wins the prize for the weekend.

Merry Christmas, and every wish for a better and happier new year for all of us, even those for whom this year has actually been good.

Also, as someone we once knew used to say as a toast (and I mean this particularly about politicians etc):

Champagne for our real friends, and real pain for our sham friends.

Merry Christmas, and every wish for a better and happier new year for all of us, even those for whom this year has actually been good.

Also, as someone we once knew used to say as a toast (and I mean this particularly about politicians etc):

Champagne for our real friends, and real pain for our sham friends.

Great toast, GftNC! I'm using that one.

Merry Christmas or whatever it is you do this time of year, everyone.

Excellent toast, GftNC! I'm stealing it too!

Best wishes to all.

Merry Christmas and joy in whatever you celebrate, everyone! Best wishes!

Twice what GFNC said twice.

Happiness to all who post and lurk !

Even those who unaccountably disagree with me.

"There is nothing racist about the wall"

the fault, dear brutus, is not in the wall, but in ourselves.

well toasted, GFNTC.

jouez, hautbois, resonnez, musettes. may the day and the season return us to our best selves.

i've had my fill of cookes and cider, so it's on with my winter's cap and off to bed.

A Haddy Grimble and Sherry Neverbeen to me lads and lasses holding the OBWI fort. Bestesses to each peach of you.

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

Grabs yer socks and tells yer feet that Santa is only of marginal utility, but can ya spare yer cratchit a bob anyhoo.

https://twitter.com/thedailybeast/status/1077375011600678912?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1077380215037341696&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.balloon-juice.com%2F

Rants available in the archives should you need them and it seems you will.

Meanwhile, dance with the sugarplums and take one home on the slyballs.

To whom it may concern:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i69c6p0J5sU

Soylent Wall is people.

That's plenty of champagne for you, Count!

Delightful for the title alone.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/thank-you-for-calling-the-white-house-we-arent-functioning-at-the-moment/2018/12/25/73cde3d4-07af-11e9-a3f0-71c95106d96a_story.html

Although the column itself is amusing as well.

Republicans are traitors. True since Nixon.

Not All Republicans, sapient. Just the high-level ones.

The others are "traitor-enablers". Unfortunately Misprision of Treason hasn't been useful since Aaron Burr got acquitted.

Sometimes, a little sanity creeps in.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-was-arrested-for-having-nunchucks-in-new-york-im-glad-the-law-was-overturned/2018/12/26/e2559dbe-092c-11e9-a3f0-71c95106d96a_story.html

Seriously, folks. Ignore who the author is. Ignore the legal rationalization, and the way it has been abused elsewhere. Just see the glimmer of sense.

I should add my favorite nunchuck story. A friend had his "deadly nunchucks" confiscated by the California Highway Patrol after a routine traffic stop. Well, except for the detail that they were actually a folded up 3 legged stool.

This will be a very interesting case before the SC:
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/12/seattle-democracy-vouchers-elster-janus.html

A direct quote from somewhere above, from an unknown handle with a link that begs to be deleted as spam.

"THE GOP COULD PASS THIS IF THEY REALLY WANTED TO"

I like the idea of needing 60 votes for cloture, so no, as far as I'm concerned they cant pass it.

the GOP could, if it wanted to, abolish the legislative filibuster.

it is totally in their power.

i'm honestly surprised they haven't done it yet.

What that sounds like, Marty, is that you like blaming the other side for your side’s problem.

What I don’t like is the thought that the Democrats might cave to any petty legislative blackmail the current occupant of the White House might indulge in.

FWIW.

This barely got reported in the UK:
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.html

What about in the US ?
It is a quite astonishing story.

Only the best people.

it hasn't been big news here, either.

but Fox News made some noise about him in 2016, because Bill Clinton has some association with Epstein (as does Trump, but they never talked about that).

the GOP could, if it wanted to, abolish the legislative filibuster.... i'm honestly surprised they haven't done it yet.

Yeah, I had a small bet with a couple of people that they would do it. (Remains to be discussed in January whether removing the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees means I won, lost, or if we just declare it a tie.) There are apparently still enough Republican Senators who are afraid of what would happen if they dumped the legislative filibuster and the Democrats got unified control. (The 2020 Senate elections are a different subject -- I am among those that think the map is not nearly as bad for the Republicans as many do.)

As it turns out, much of the legislative agenda they could actually pass with a simple majority -- recall that they couldn't get 50 Republican votes to defund Obamacare -- can be accomplished by Cabinet officials and agency heads. Over the last 100 years, Congress has delegated an enormous amount of their legislative authority. Instead of adding one sentence to the Clean Air Act -- "For the purposes of this Act, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant" -- they are simply reversing the various rules that restricted the extraction and use of fossil fuels.

I am among those that think the map is not nearly as bad for the Republicans as many do

it's less about the map and more about what 2 more years of president clickbait looks like.

IIRC, there are filibuster-proof 'reconciliation' techniques that can be used for tax/budget bills. That's what happened for the "Yoogue Richy-Rich Tax Giveaway of 2017", for example.

The GOP Didn't. Even. Try. SAD

Nigel, thank you for that Miami Herald piece. I can't remember the last time something made me so angry - possibly when the extent of the cover-up of child abuse in the Catholic Church first started coming out, or maybe the evidence of how long the authorities had been ignoring the young girls' testimonies about child-sex grooming gangs in Rotherham etc.

I remember reading stuff about the Epstein case because of Prince Andrew's involvement, and the mention of Bill Clinton, but this article puts the whole thing into more proper perspective. Here's hoping the chickens really come home to fucking roost this time, and for the right people.

IANAL, but the plea deal that Epstein got seems like such a miscarriage of justice that there has to be some way to invalidate it. It's. Just. Wrong.

Snarki, there are a bunch of restrictions on whether there can be reconciliation bills, how many reconciliation bills there can be for a fiscal year (from one to three, depending), and on the content of the bills. The first step in the process is a joint budget resolution (ie, the House must agree) with explicit reconciliation instructions. It seems to me unlikely that the House will be approving any of those for the next couple of years.

Russell, absolutely about what the current President, the current Senate, and assorted appointees can do in the next two years. Over the last 100 or so years Congress has delegated a lot of law-writing authority to the Cabinet departments and independent agencies (plus selective enforcement from day one). I'm disagreeing with the pundits who think that because the Republicans have to defend so many Senate seats in 2020 the Dems will easily win Senate control then.

Only the best people.

I definitely read about Epstein and his Get Out of Jail Free card. I suspect that it, and Acosta's involvement, got less play simply because there is such an ongoing plethora of scandals. Of all descriptions.

Besides, how can you get excited about a sex scandal like this when you've got Trump center stage? (Not to mention folks like Kavanaugh.)

The first step in the process is a joint budget resolution (ie, the House must agree) with explicit reconciliation instructions. It seems to me unlikely that the House will be approving any of those for the next couple of years.

Actually, Michael, I could see the House being quite willing to allow reconciliation. Because that would mean they need fewer Republican votes to get thru the Senate. It's not like reconciliation is going to hamper them in the House.

Some of Russia's investments in Western politics pay off better than others. (Although even the less-than-successful oneshave proven useful in damaging Putin's opponents.) Consider this imperfect success.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/a-russian-bank-gave-marine-le-pens-party-a-loan-then-weird-things-began-happening/2018/12/27/960c7906-d320-11e8-a275-81c671a50422_story.html

I was particularly taken by this bit:

When French politician Marine Le Pen needed cash for her far-right party, an obscure Russian bank agreed to help.

Four years later, the bank has gone bust. The owner is facing a warrant for his arrest. Former Russian military officers are demanding money. And the party’s treasurer is sending off some $165,000 every few months to a woman in Moscow, unsure of where the payments ultimately will go.

Kind of gives a glimmer of what might be going on behind the scenes here with Trump. And in the UK with the Brexit campaigners.

Besides, how can you get excited about a sex scandal like this when you've got Trump center stage? (Not to mention folks like Kavanaugh.)

I hope you don't think I'm being closed-minded, or too sensitive, but to me a sex scandal is something like a married politician having an affair or two. Or perhaps being caught using prostitutes. It seems to me that statutory rape and/or paedophilia on an industrial scale, trafficking for the purpose of statutory rape, and bribery and corruption (by perpetrators or lawyers) in order to reduce or even evade charges and punishment is something different from what is commonly understood as a "sex scandal".

Clearly, I'm not trying to minimise Trumpian crimes and misdemeanors (at least the ones we know about), nor Kavanaugh's history, but this story seems to me to be something qualitatively and quantitatively in a different league.

While I would agree in principle that an affair may not be a big deal, the fact that American voters will make it a big deal means that it (normally) is a big deal for a politician. Not because Americans are naturally more virtuous than other people; but one of our exceptional qualities is the ability to do hypocrisy better than others. (It's a gift!)

As for Trump vs Kavanaugh, I would point to Trump's lifetime history. It would be amazing if he didn't have the same kind of statutory rape history. It just got buried in more recent scandals. And it wouldn't be surprising either if he spent some "quality time" with his buddy Epstein, too.

wj, when it comes to sex scandals, IOKIYAR.

Pee Tape.
Sen. Vitter.

Sure, it's possible for R's to get caught up in a sex scandal so huge that they don't survive it. But they have to be exceptional, probably involving goats.

Sure, it's possible for R's to get caught up in a sex scandal so huge that they don't survive it. But they have to be exceptional, probably involving goats.

Snarki, when (and it is when, not if, overall) things change, they do so in a pattern. Consider, just by way of example, gay marriage. No real question but that views have changed over the last quarter century, right? And what was the pattern?

First, so views changed (slightly!) on the left. Then the new views became not too exceptional on the left, while showing minimal (although there were a few of us) on the right. Then, it became normal pretty much everywhere -- a few pockets remaining, but fewer every year.

So we can expect to find similar moves of views on (heterosexual, outside marriage) sex. Mistreat women, and you are currently toast if you are supported by liberals; if your supporters are conservatives, they basically don't want to know -- hypocrisy is so much easier that way. In my youth, all politicians got away with that (think FDR or JFK). In another decade or two, the society-wide norms will have mostly finished shifting.

Sex is overrated, scandal-wise.

When (some, exceptionally deplorable) people are willing to kowtow to a draft dodging, tax cheating, race baiting dictator worshiper, what's a little pussy grabbing here and there?

If the Third Lady of the United States doesn't mind, is it reasonable to expect the sturdy yeomen of the "white working class" to hold his sexual peccadilloes against her trophy husband?

No.

Also, nihilism, narcissism, and nepotism are perfectly acceptable as long as they are bundled with cutting taxes for the rich, appointing reactionary judges, and trash-talking libruls. No lie is too flagrant to defend, no flattery is too embarrassing to engage in, no principle is too shameful to jettison, in favor of He, Trump's "(Republican) policies".

Sex qua sex, as in Mark Sanford's Appalachian Trail adventure, was acceptable to the Republicans of South Carolina; insufficiently applauding Dear Leader was not. "Sex" as in molesting children or harassing women is something only politically correct social justice warriors complain about, which is good enough reason for the MAGA crowd to pooh-pooh it.

--TP

Sex, bah. The one place that certainly both sides do it.

And it seems disinformation campaigns arent singularly the province of one party.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/disinformation-campaign-targeting-roy-moore’s-senate-bid-may-have-violated-law-alabama-attorney-general-says/ar-BBRuT78?li=BBnbcA1

I'm with GftNC. "Both sides" don't engage in organized statutory rape criminal enterprises. The Epstein case is not a "sex scandal". it's organized crime against children.

Marty, the Republican Alabama Attorney General thinks that Roy Moore is a victim? You Republicans are always lying (on behalf of one another, or just whining yourselves) about being victims. Not a surprise. Sad that you're in your declining years making common cause with the worst people. Hope you see your way to a better place, but it seems unlikely.

sapient, while I understand where you're coming from, it should be noted that Senator Jones has perviously (a couple of weeks ago) called for an investigation into the disinformation campaign. Just what is there remains to be seen. But it appears that, unlike other cases which I'm sure you can cite, this one wasn't made up out of whole cloth.

"Even a blind pig gets an acorn now and then."

it should be noted that Senator Jones has perviously (a couple of weeks ago) called for an investigation into the disinformation campaign.

Why is that noteworthy? Of course, Democrats support fair elections, and investigations into questionable behavior. That's the rule, not the exception.

What was the disinformation? Roy Jones dated teenagers when he was in his thirties. Maybe that's fine in Alabama. Maybe it's fine generally.

What is alleged to have been a lie?

I would suggest that we discuss whether it's okay for a thirty-year-old to have relationships with teenagers which involve sexual touching. Did it happen? In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, this kind of conduct was okay (as long as marriage ensued). Maybe it's okay now.

The article is extremely vague on the allegations of disinformation.

I'm with GftNC also. Bill Clinton was the original person associated with Epstein in the news, multiple trips with him,then Trump. If there is a truth it's that malignant people exist in all walks of life. And all parties.

I'm disagreeing with the pundits who think that because the Republicans have to defend so many Senate seats in 2020 the Dems will easily win Senate control then.

pundits are overrated.

easily, probably not. it just makes their odds better.

If there is a truth it's that malignant people exist in all walks of life. And all parties.

No doubt.

I try not to focus all that much on personalities. You can find creeps everywhere.

Personalities aside, some points of view are more constructive than others. By "constructive" I mean creating outcomes that are not harmful.

(R) policies suck. Because the ideology and motivations behind them suck.

To some degree, I leave Trump to the side, because he is sui generis. He is so uniquely toxic and hideously unqualified for the office he holds that I find it hard to account for him in my understanding of the American political scene. He's a one-man political freak show.

But even if you factor his uniquely bizarre personality out, the (R) agenda on the basic merits is just crap. Harmful toxic crap.

Both sides include individuals who are creepy weirdos. What can I say, power attracts distorted, damaged psyches. That said, both sides don't advocate for policies that result in the immiseration of millions of human beings.

Pick a side.

What was the disinformation? Roy Jones dated teenagers when he was in his thirties. Maybe that's fine in Alabama. Maybe it's fine generally.

What is alleged to have been a lie?

All excellent questions. Which, one hopes, an investigation will address.

If there is a truth it's that malignant people exist in all walks of life. And all parties.

This is clearly and demonstrably true. And just to clarify, not only was I NOT making a partisan point, I was trying (apparently rather inadequately) to differentiate "sex scandals", (which in my eyes is a term which often refers to unremarkable - usually non-criminal - human activities like affairs, threesomes, use of prostitutes etc) despite their ability to raise a political stink among the hypocritical American public, from activities like those of Epstein and his enablers which involved not only wholesale amounts of paedophilia and statutory rape, but also trafficking, bribery and corruption. If Sanford's Appalachian Trail adventures constituted a "sex scandal", we need a new word for this. sapient's "organised crime against children" is a start, and covers the Catholic Church and the Rotherham (and others') grooming gangs, but "sex scandals" they are not.

it's cute that the GOP is trying to gin-up a domestic clone of the Mueller case.

problem is, it's domestic. starting a FB page to lie about a political opponent is what the 1st A is all about.

now, if they can show that a foreign country was involved, and that the Dems knew and solicited that? while breaking dozens of laws in the process? that would be news.

but if it's going to be about spreading rumors on FB? LOL.

But cleek, that's the way the game is played. You play the cards you are dealt, good or bad.

If you aren't holding, sometimes all you can do is run a bluff and see if you can sucker the others. In this case, "the others" being mostly the voters.

And let's face it, having Roy Moore as their candidate definitely constituted "not holding".

Cue Kenny Rogers.

From President Trump this morning:

We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall
There are a bunch of really bright people here. So maybe somebody can explain to me why, if we are in a position to entirely shut down the border, we still need a wall. I didn't realize an air gap would work as insulation when it came to people....

wj, if you're still looking for anything resembling logic that you and I would recognize as such, you need to pay better attention. ;-)

The only logic here is Clickbait logic: Clickbait isn't getting his way, so someone has to be punished. All the better if he and his enablers (some right here close to home) can frame the punishment as the fault of his enemies. Of course, they can frame anything as the fault of his enemies, there's no recognizable logic to that, either.

The punishment, of course, is that thousands of ordinary, unremarkable people whose ordinary, unremarkable agendas involve crossing the border would be prevented from doing so, to great inconvenience, grief, and cost in $. None of it will hurt Clickbait, so all is well.

As to what I take to be your actual logic: I do agree that the very thing he professes to want to prevent (illegal crossings) would not be hindered in the slightest by the closing of the official border crossing points. But again -- all that's important is to hurt someone if he doesn't get his way. It doesn't have to be anyone connected with what he professes to want. All the better if it isn't; that adds a nice touch of extortion to the operation.

Janie, not to worry. I long since figured out that Trump and logic (or consistency) are not only not even passing acquaintances, they may well be best enemies. If only because they so often thwart him.

Still, it can be amusing (at least the closest we can get from these guys) to watch his enablers** contort themselves trying to "explain" how what he spews is actually coherent.

** That is, those who know he's batty, but persist in thinking (no matter all the evidence to the contrary) that they can use him by flattering him. As opposed to those who know they can use him because they've got the goods on him.

wj, I've always assumed that "close the border" means stopping legal as well as illegal crossings. There are what, something like 750,000 legal crossings per day? Economies in the four US border states would get hammered, not to mention the northern tier of Mexican states. At this time of year, fresh produce shortages.

Not clear under what conditions the President has legal standing to do so.

I have to think Trump is in first place, just 2 years into his presidency, for the number of headlines with the words "Threatens To" after his name.

Economies in the four US border states would get hammered, not to mention the northern tier of Mexican states.

Not to mention businesses across the industrial Midwest. There are an awful lot of supply chains which run thru Mexico.

As for "what conditions"? "National Emergency" can cover almost anything. With minimal if any restrictions on what can be so characterized. It's one of those places where our institutions implicitly assume that the guy in charge will be compos mentis and understands what he is doing. AND well intentioned. Doesn't work so well when none of those are true.

As for "what conditions"? "National Emergency" can cover almost anything.

thankfully, the self-proclaimed party of the Rule of Law and Law and Order and Objective Truth will never sit back and let Trump make a mockery of our national security.

The President himself constitutes something of an ongoing national emergency.

How do you "close the border"? If you're Horatius, and the border is a single bridge, you can personally stand there swinging your mashie niblick at the head of anyone who dares approach. Otherwise, you have to give orders to people who give orders to people who give orders to people who get paid (eventually) to stand athwart a river of traffic and yell "Stop". And of course you have to count on that chain of people to all obey your orders, from top to bottom.

Now, a corps of civil servants who can NOT be counted on, at all levels of the hierarchy, to obey every order issued in proper legal form would amount to a pretty shaky foundation for any political system. But a corps of civil servants who CAN be counted on to robotically execute every "lawful" order is a necessary ingredient of autocracy.

The US political system needs an obedient civil service in order to "work", but it has also shown itself capable of electing a would-be autocrat to run it. Can we Americans still claim to have a working political system?

--TP

he'll try to close the border by decree and it'll get immediately challenged in court and he'll lose and then he'll whine about how unfair the Democrats' laws are to him.

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