‘Censorship!!!’ Open Thread: Feel Free to Just STFU, Now

And while we’re discussing social-media ‘bias’, let’s not forget Ted Cruz whining that Twitter highlighted all the rude snark about his totally 100% sincere SPACE PIRATES!!! speech this week (while somehow erasing the hundreds of YAY TED! responses he was expecting).

I’m betting this will be another one of those MAGAt-rally-pleasing Trump “announcements” to which his loyal minions respond by yelling “Jawohl, Hair Fuhrer!” and doing… absolutely fekking nothing.

Dear Front Pagers

We are doing a lot of stuff with the current categories. Don’t create any new ones. Pretty please.

President Bone Spurs Doesn’t Fucking Get It About the Military and Never Fucking Will

This has my blood boiling:

President Donald Trump has requested paperwork allowing him to move forward quickly with pardons for accused US war criminals, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The pardons from a President who on the campaign trail expressed support for “tougher” tactics than waterboarding and going after the families of terrorists could come “on or around Memorial Day,” two US officials told the Times.

One military official told the Times that the White House made its request to the Justice Department on Friday, and that while pardon files typically take months to assemble, the Justice Department had stressed the files needed to be completed before the coming Memorial Day weekend.

The Times said those who could potentially receive clemency include a Navy SEAL who is facing trial for shooting unarmed civilians and murdering a wounded person, along with a range of others accused or convicted of shooting or killing unarmed civilians.

First things first, the fact that he is doing this on Memorial Day should be your first clue the giant orange talking anus has no idea what the fuck he is doing. Memorial Day is to honor our war dead. Those who died in service to our nation. It’s also the day where our jingoistic citizenry run around telling everyone inappropriately “Thank you for your service” and we try to not look disgusted and say “Thank you, but I’m not fucking dead, just on the inside.” Regardless, this would be inappropriate on Veteran’s Day, too, but less so than on Memorial Day.

Second, pardoning war criminals doesn’t honor our troops regardless what fucking day of the year it is done. It’s a spit in the face of every man and woman who served honorably in the military. It’s saying “hey- you’re all murderers anyway.” It’s fucking disgusting.

Third, those convicted of war crimes by the military are most assuredly guilty. It’s about as easy to convict soldiers of these things as it is to convict a cop of manslaughter. Those convicted are the most egregious cases imaginable. I mean jesus tapdancing christ, in the My Lai massacre, 500 unarmed civilians were murdered, gang raped, and had their corpses mutilated, and approximately ONE person, Lt. Calley, a platoon leader which is the lowest unit level in existence, was convicted. And then he was even pardoned had his sentence commuted.

This is a god damned disgrace. You want to do something to honor soldiers on Memorial Day, dollhands? Just shut the fuck up and go away for the weekend.

Justin Amash Backs Impeachment

In a long tweet thread, Republican congressman Justin Amash (Michigan) says that he feels that President Trump must be impeached.

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Elections Matter

And I found this useful: The Washington Post on the parameters for the Democratic debates — when, how, who’s in or not (at the moment).

Foreign Affairs Open Thread: Australian Election Results

An Aussie commentor brought the election to my attention yesterday, so here is the Guardian‘s liveblog of the incoming results.

Also — and I say this with genuine admiration, not to mention drool — if ‘this is how the sausages are made’ culinary treats were to become an American institution, there would be a lot more interest from our notoriously lackadaisical voters!

Late Night Open Thread: SPEAKING OF FOOLS…

These were the least competent political criminals since… well, thinking about it, neither the Watergate burglars nor Ollie North’s merry band of mercenaries were exactly masterminds, either. And as cynical political observers keep pointing out, no halfway successful lawbreaker would be dumb enough to work for the sundowning narcissist currently occupying the Oval Office — it’s all nitwits, has-beens and wanna-bes.

Michael Flynn Urged Matt Gaetz On While Supposedly Cooperating – And Open Thread

CNN got some Twitter direct messages between Michael Flynn and Congressman Matt Gaetz, praising Gaetz for attacking the Mueller investigation, with which Flynn was supposedly cooperating.

“You stay on top of what you’re doing. Your leadership is so vital for our country now. Keep the pressure on,” Flynn wrote in an April 2018 message to Gaetz, which was obtained by CNN.

The contempt these people have for the law is stunning. It’s just like Paul Manafort’s constant lying when he supposedly was cooperating. In meme language,

The common point could well be a promise from the godfather that they would be taken care of.

And Open Thread!

Friday Evening Open Thread: Cruise Ship of Certified Fools

Fortunately for the crew — and boy howdy do I feel sorry for those poor folk! — Beck’s target audience is almost certainly old enough to be outside the measles-susceptible anti-vaxxer demographic. Unlike the wretched Scientologists on the Seastead earlier this year…

You Ladies are Just Being Hysterical

This is a righteous piece by Rebecca Traister:

I have been thinking, like so many people this week, about rage. Who I’m mad at, what that anger’s good for, how what makes me maddest is the way the madness has long gone unrespected, even by those who have relied on it for their gains.

For as long as I have been a cogent adult, and actually before that, I have watched people devote their lives, their furious energies, to fighting against the steady, merciless, punitive erosion of reproductive rights. And I have watched as politicians — not just on the right, but members of my own party — and the writers and pundits who cover them, treat reproductive rights and justice advocates as if they were fantasists enacting dystopian fiction.

This week, the most aggressive abortion bans since Roe v. Wade swept through states, explicitly designed to challenge and ultimately reverse Roe at the Supreme Court level. With them has come the dawning of a broad realization — a clear, bright, detailed vision of what’s at stake, and what’s ahead. (If not, yet, full comprehension of the harm that has already been done).

You can not compromise one inch with fanatics. The moment you buy into their framework of things (“ABORTION IS EVIL”) and start saying things like it should be “safe, legal, and rare,” you are losing the battle. The only acceptable answer is “I support it and fuck you for telling people what to do with their own fucking body.”

Mid Day Moment of Zen

Got the rest of the veggies in, some weeding done, feds the birds, and relaxed:

This morning I saw finches, sparrows, swallows, robins, mourning doves, a red-bellied woodpecker, grackles (some form of black bird), and I SAW MY FIRST HUMMINGBIRD OF THE SEASON!!!

Deductibles, wages and discrimination

I can see where she is coming from. I disagree with it in detail.

Increased deductibles have differential impacts conditional on prospective healthcare costs.

I am assuming that the counterfactual is constant deductible in year 2and a fixed compensation pie with elements (cash, insurance, 401(K) etc) shifted around for any number of reasons.

An individual who has healthcare costs in the future year that are below the current year deductible has no new exposure. They are no worse off. If anything they are slightly better off if we assume that there is an inverse relationship between deductibles and premiums and then assume that higher premiums means lower net cash compensation which assumes a constant compensation bundle whose components are merely shifted around.

An individual who has healthcare costs in the future year that is above the current year deductible is losing money. They will get a slight increase in cash compensation due to lower premiums but they will take a cut in income net of medical expenses because they are paying dollar for dollar the difference between the old deductible and their total medical spending. There is a narrow wedge of people in this category who will on net be better off but most people in this group will be on net worse off.

Increasing deductibles means, all else being held constant, lower net of healthcare take-home pay for people who have high medical costs in the policy year. Conversely, higher deductibles are great for people who barely if ever touch the medical system in the policy year. This policy decision has significant differential impacts as a function of prospective healthcare spending. Broadly, higher deductibles are good for employees who have the following attributes: young, healthy, childless, male. Again broadly speaking, higher deductibles are bad for employees who are some combination of: older, pre-existing conditions, have children, and female.

I am not sure if a lawyer would ever want to raise a case of sex discrimination on the basis of a company changing their insurance plan design, but there is a decent argument that could be made that the change in plan design has easily foreseeable disparate impact.

UPDATE 1 Talking to a couple of lawyers this morning and they are all saying that this would be a long shot argument at best.

On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

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Friday Morning Open Thread: Not So Fast, Squash Boy

(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)

And, of course, there’s this side note:

Late Night 2020 Election Open Thread: Steve Bullock, Bill de Blasio, Mike Gravel, Uncle Tom Cobleigh* et al.

(*Refers to the other folkloric Uncle Tom, and one overburdened… horse.)

Also Dave Weigel, in the Washington Post:

On Wednesday, when the news broke that New York mayor Bill de Blasio was going to seek the White House, Mike Gravel asked why he’d even bother…

Gravel, who celebrated his 89th birthday last weekend, is not typically included in the count of Democratic White House hopefuls. There’s a reason: He initially said he was not really running for president. He was running to get into the party’s televised debates, like he had in 2007, when he emerged from decades of obscurity to hector the Democratic field about the risks of nuclear war. And he was doing so this time at the behest of some perspicacious, teenage left-wing activists, whose stated goal was to not to win but to shift the party to the left.

That has been enough to get Gravel halfway to the 65,000 donors needed to qualify for a slot in the debates, a stronger position than at least a half-dozen candidates who say they’re actually running. The Gravel project epitomizes what the primary has become before it can be winnowed down: a contest with a clear leader in the polls (former vice president Joe Biden), a left-wing challenger (Sen. Bernie Sanders), a few candidates with the money and staff to seriously compete, and a whole lot of candidates who are not being taken seriously…

I, of course, blame the Republicans — after their 2016 KKKlown Karnival ended with the ‘winner’ embedded in the Oval Office like a tick, why wouldn’t any halfway ambitious politician try during the next cycle? Jonathan Bernstein, at Bloomberg Opinion:

There was always going to be a large field in this cycle, given that there was no obvious front-runner and most Democrats think President Donald Trump is beatable. Those are two standard reasons that candidates choose to run.
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