John Cole, call your office

Josh Marshall was indispensable reading when George Bush tried to privatize Social Security in 2005, and I think he has it right this year as well. Republicans will not take a wrecking ball to Medicare and Obamacare without Democratic support. This has nothing to do with the filibuster or reconciliation. Mitch McConnell will ditch the filibuster five milliseconds after it gets in the way of something Republicans really want to do. But as much as Republicans really, really, REALLY want to garrot the New Deal and burn its corpse in a ditch they simply cannot message their way around the wreckage that would cause to their core voting constituencies. Even if you could find a majority in the House willing to sit in gasoline and light a match, plenty of Senators know the score. But Paul Ryan can’t do anything to taxes unless he accepts a huge deficit hike or cuts something meaningful, which means either defense (ha) or the safety net.

All of this makes wavering Democrats more valuable to the GOP than the last parachute on a burning plane. That is a lot more reassuring today than eleven years ago – districts represented by blue dogs have Republican leadership now. The liberal Senator with his finger on the zeitgeist is not Joe Lieberman but Bernie Sanders. It will be a hard sell for someone – especially Donald Trump – to lure today’s Democrats into betraying what you could fairly describe as the granite core foundation of the modern Democratic party.

Republicans are already feeling some heat over this. That means you have a chance to make a difference here. Pick up the phone and turn it up some more. They have all the majorities so they have no cover left for crazy political statements. Every vote will count. I guarantee that calls about this particular issue will get noted with an exclamation point.

You can count on most Democrats to defend the party’s core principles, but I would keep a special eye on any Democrat who shows the slightest sign of selling out. For me that list has to start with Joe Manchin. Look, WV went for Trump by thirty points. Manchin would be crazy not to give Republican ideas at least a very polite listen. Before the election he let it slip that he could well defect if the Senate came down to a 50-50 split. I would recommend that anyone living in West by god Virginia pick up the phone early and often until Senator Manchin releases a firm and unambiguous statement against molesting or privatizing our social safety net in any way whatsoever.

Find your Senators here.
Find your Representative here.

House/Senate switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Guide for first-timers here.






98 replies
  1. 1
    Hitless says:

    Manchin and Heitkamp almost assuredly would be onboard with taking apart Obamacare and Medicare under the cover that Obamacare destroyed Medicare and so because of the failed Obama presidency we can’t have nice things anymore. Well, poor people can’t have nice things.

    So, are Democratic senators enough cover? Are there any that I’ve missed?

  2. 2
    🌷 Martin says:

    Yep. As I noted on 11/9, the GOP is now the dog that caught the car. They promised shit they never dreamed they could ever deliver on and now they have the control they need to do it, but they probably don’t have the will. I’m not as confident as Josh that flush with power they won’t burn it down anyway. After all, Sam Brownback has been burning his state to the ground for two terms now without any apparent repercussions, presumably because abortion is more important than schools or roads. In a way, I kind of which the Dems would stand back and let them flirt with it. If the Dems block it too early, the GOP won’t ever get punished for this shit. OTOH, I don’t want to see that backfire and people actually get hurt. But I’m tired of having a gun to our head every 2 years. At some point you have to pull the trigger just to learn if it’s loaded or not.

  3. 3
    hovercraft says:

    Actually it was 40 points, but who’s counting.

    West Virginia Clinton 188,794 26.5% Trump 489,371 68.6%

    No wonder you live with a houseful of animals, they’re better than the vast majority of people in your state.

    How soon do you think before Manchin jumps ship?

  4. 4
    hovercraft says:

    @Hitless:
    Trump To Meet With Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp

    President-elect Donald Trump will meet Friday with Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), who hails from a state that voted decisively for Trump and who is up for re-election in 2018….

    ….. Heitkamp confirmed the plans for a meeting in a statement released shortly thereafter that suggested she was open to assisting Trump.

    I appreciate the president-elect inviting me for a meeting,” Heitkamp said. “Every single day, my work is motivated first and foremost by how I can be most helpful to the people of North Dakota.”

    She added that, “Whatever job I do, I hope to work with the president-elect and all of my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to best support my state.”

  5. 5
    Suzanne says:

    I would like to think that a whole bunch of old people would draw and quartet Paul Ryan if he attempted to do anything to Medicare or Social Security, but at this point I think they’re more likely to cheer him on. Well then, Silents and Baby Boomers, just go ahead and complete your epic destruction of the country for everyone else on your way out the door.

  6. 6
    PhoenixRising says:

    Anyone know anyone who votes in ND?

    I’m heading across the street to my neighbors who moved here (Albuquerque) from Fargo and are 2 of 12 living siblings, leaving a printout of Josh Marshall’s article and a note.

    We might be able to save my insurance and thereby the odds of me living past 50!!

  7. 7
    EBT says:

    @Suzanne: We can dig them up and use them for fuel.

  8. 8
    Haydnseek says:

    @Suzanne: If not a whole bunch, then at least four.

  9. 9
    Humboldtblue says:

    Yeah sure, you pretend that they won’t fucking do what they want. As long as they can fucking spite pussy libs, leftists and sundry fucking saps like us gathered here they will. You still believe the fucking GOP has some sort of sensible members?

    You’re out of your mind, Tim, this isn’t the GOP of 1995 or even 2005, if they could they’d fucking jail your ass for simply writing this post. They have gamed the system so deep and hard Democrats won’t recover for 20 years and despite what the fuck Josh Marshall thinks the moment they can fill their pockets and fuck over anyone else with medicare, social security, education, what-the-fuck-ever, they will. And you think someone like John fucking McCain is going to stop them.

  10. 10
    Humboldtblue says:

    @hovercraft: How soon will a vote be held?

  11. 11
    Mary G says:

    So, he’s going to give Heidi a position in the administration that he doesn’t care about, gives him another younger woman in a field of old white guys, credit for bipartisanship he doesn’t have, and another Republican senator appointed to fill her seat. Pretty smart for an idiot, of course she has an almost impossible reelection bid in 2018 and probably will snap it up.

  12. 12
    Neldob says:

    ;:Ima gonna print some of this and drop it under the winshields at the local redville how to Medicare free seminars. Grrrr

  13. 13
    rikyrah says:

    You are correct. That’s why you’re getting the bullshyt from the Media:

    ” Well, you Democrats complained about the GOP not working with President Obama. And, two wrongs don’t make a right, so you need to work with Ferret Head-elect.’

    Yes, they need Democratic cover.

    and PHUCK THAT.

    AND A BLOW TORCH TO ANY DEMOCRAT THAT REMOTELY GOES ALONG WITH IT.

  14. 14
    SenyorDave says:

    @🌷 Martin: In a way, I kind of which the Dems would stand back and let them flirt with it. If the Dems block it too early, the GOP won’t ever get punished for this shit. OTOH, I don’t want to see that backfire and people actually get hurt. But I’m tired of having a gun to our head every 2 years. At some point you have to pull the trigger just to learn if it’s loaded or not.

    Good point, the best thing would be for the GOP to try and get blamed just for trying to go after SS, Medicare, Medicaid (need to protect Medicaid).

  15. 15
    Hitless says:

    @Mary G: I don’t know – I read that Heitkamp’s projected Republican challenger is unlikely to run against her in 2018. Also, she’s in a tremendous position of leverage as a “persuadable” Democrat in an almost evenly divided Senate. I’m not sure a position in the Trump administration is more appealing than that. But it may be a ticket to the wingnut welfare gravy train. So maybe.

  16. 16
    lowercase steve says:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/.....ary-232068

    He may be looking to Manchin for energy secretary.

  17. 17
    Ben Cisco says:

    @hovercraft: In the distance, the sound of an ejection handle being pulled…

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    President-elect Donald Trump will meet Friday with Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), who hails from a state that voted decisively for Trump and who is up for re-election in 2018….

    Has this trick put out any kind of statement about Standing Rock?

  19. 19
    Another Scott says:

    @hovercraft: Wouldn’t Manchin be slitting his own throat if he changed parties? Why vote for a Johnny-come-lately Teabagger when you can have the genuine article?

    I think he knows he’s much, much more valuable as a Moderate™ Democrat than as yet another Teabagger.

    HST (the first one):

    I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

    But who knows…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  20. 20
    Hitless says:

    @Suzanne: The key to Ryan’s plan is that it will only screw people under 55. He’s not an idiot. He knows Medicare for current retirees is untouchable.

    His messaging is great – blame Obama but leave Medicare in place for citizens 55 and older. I think that mechanism and framing is remarkably likely to be successful. I’m sure the NY Times will tell us we need heed the will of middle America and give Ryan and Trump a chance to govern.

  21. 21
    SatanicPanic says:

    @rikyrah: Democrats need to have one concern- doing the right thing. No more trying to strategize, no worrying about 2020, just do the right thing and don’t work with these people.

  22. 22
    Eljai says:

    Thanks Tim! I’ve been making calls in California and I’m also cajoling my family in Missouri to call their senators and representatives.

    Also, I just wanted to follow-up on Nancy Pelosi maintaining her leadership position. I’m amazed at how many people don’t seem to realize what the various roles are in the Democratic party. It’s not Nancy Pelosi’s job to build the party. That’s for the DNC, DSCC and DCCC. It’s Nancy Pelosi’s job (and also Chuck Schumer’s) to maintain unity and know how to use whatever institutional levers are available. Anything we can do to encourage our Democratic congresspersons to toe the line will also help the party leadership maintain unity. If Tim Ryan and his followers are disappointed that he isn’t the new minority leader, they can still help the cause by using their TV appearances to shout to the rooftops that Democrats want people to have healthcare and Medicare and Republicans want to take it away.

  23. 23
  24. 24

    @SenyorDave:

    In a way, I kind of which the Dems would stand back and let them flirt with it.

    I know how you feel. On the one hand, I want it decisively shot down so we don’t have to worry about it. On the other hand, I want it to do as much political damage to the Republicans as possible, both for the direct damage and so they don’t try it again any time soon. That means lots of them publicly committing to it, getting it in the news, and spending as much of the legislative session working on it (instead of other mischief) as possible before it finally fails. ETA: So basically like PPACA was for the Democrats, except that it fails at the last minute.

  25. 25
    Stan says:

    I don’t know why anyone thinks the republicans won’t go ahead and raise spending and cut taxes at the same time, thus blowing up the deficit.

    There isn’t one voter in 100 who knows what a deficit is nor one in 1,000 who cares.

  26. 26
    hovercraft says:

    @Another Scott:
    Exactly, look how great that worked for Arlen Specter. Go down with dignity, Landreiu, Pryor and that one, Blanch Lincoln all tried to be republican lite, and all that got them was a pissed off base, and they still lost. Even Bayh lost.

  27. 27
    Chris says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    I’m not as confident as Josh that flush with power they won’t burn it down anyway.

    Yeah. In addition to everything else, the fact that Obama passed the ACA and did more for the safety net and progressive activism than anyone since the 1960s has them pissed, and they’re absolutely burning to burn it to the ground and salt the earth and/or get even by striking a decisive blow for the other side, like privatizing Social Security or Medicare.

    Democrats need to filibuster the shit out of this, raise hell about it, and hope that the popular backlash is loud enough to frighten them into backing down. Not certain to work, but pretty much our only play. Going along with this isn’t an option.

  28. 28
    Hitless says:

    @Stan:

    There isn’t one voter in 100 who knows what a deficit is nor one in 1,000 who cares.

    The deficit is the thing created by Democrats and their giveaways. Deficits do not exist during Republican administrations because they are not Democrats. All Americans know this. It is known.

  29. 29
    Yutsano says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That means lots of them publicly committing to it, getting it in the news, and spending as much of the legislative session working on it (instead of other mischief) as possible before it finally fails.

    This is why I would feel a shit ton better if Foster Campbell wins his Senate race. 49 is definitely better than 48 here even if one of those 49 is Manchin.

    I’m also curious: has Heitkamp defected at any time when it really mattered?

  30. 30
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @rikyrah:

    Has this trick put out any kind of statement about Standing Rock?

    Did you really just call a Democratic female Senator a prostitute? Not just as someone who may be considering selling out, but an actual, real, live prostitute?

  31. 31
    rikyrah says:

    @Hitless:

    The key to Ryan’s plan is that it will only screw people under 55. He’s not an idiot. He knows Medicare for current retirees is untouchable.

    If you’re 45, and you’ve been paying into Medicare since you’ve been working at 18 or 20…why would you continue to pay for something you won’t get?

    Nope.

  32. 32

    Think how long it took the ACA to ramp up once it was enacted. A two or three year delay is not going to save them.

  33. 33
    Josie says:

    @Hitless: Hopefully, someone will point out that, if younger people are taken out of the mix, the program will fold in time. That is, I’m sure, what Ryan is hoping will happen. Older people should not kid themselves that they are home free if grandfathered in. It just won’t work that way.

  34. 34
    jacy says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    According the the Urban Dictionary: tRicK'(n.) A broad term for describing women who are either teases, hoes, or one of the above pretending to be the other. Calling a woman a trick shows you are not impressed/convinced by their shit.

    Shoe, foot, etcetera.

  35. 35
    hovercraft says:

    Keep calling, the pressure is already causing them to squirm.

    Schumer Fires Back After Ryan Accuses Dems Of ‘Medi-Scare’ Tactics

    After House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters at a press conference Thursday that Democrats were using “Medi-scare tactics” to slow down Medicare privatization, incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) fired back.

    “We are taking Republicans at their own word: Speaker Ryan has pushed to privatize Medicare for years and the President-elect has nominated a champion of that effort to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services,” Schumer said in a released statement. “The people who are genuinely and rightly scared are millions of American seniors who don’t believe privatization of Medicare will be in their interest.”

    During his presser, Ryan said “what’s happening is you’re getting the latest wave of Democratic talking points to try to play Medi-scare politics, which is what they typically do every other Tuesday.”

    In the Senate, Republicans have been trying to downplay Ryan’s interest in pushing forward a plan he calls “premium support,” which privatizes Medicare and fundamentally changes the program. The plan is controversial and has been a bridge too far for some Republicans even as they say some changes need to be made to the program to improve its long-term financial stability. Some have even been arguing that Republicans simply aren’t talking about it.

    “Nobody is talking about that beside Senator Schumer. So I don’t expect — I haven’t heard anyone propose that on our side. Its a pretty good boogeyman for them to point at and scare people,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters earlier this week.

    Ryan has been pretty vocal about his plans, however. On Thursday he once again argued the program needed to be overhauled.

    Lets keep the pressure up, make them feel the heat.

  36. 36
    Nicole says:

    I guess Ryan is counting on seniors being A) really, really selfish and B) really, really stupid with this “over 55” thing. That said, I do know at least one senior (a conservative I got into it with on a message board once) who indignantly said she’d paid for her Medicare. I explained that no, she hadn’t; she’d paid for other people’s Medicare and hers was now being paid for by me, and with the increase in medical costs since the time she was working, she was getting far, far more out of Medicare than she’d put in- a hip replacement alone would have cost more than what she’d paid over the course of her working career. And then I think her head exploded because she was not quite as intelligent as a bucket of hair, that one.

    Many hospitals are dependent on Medicare money to keep running, especially ones in small, rural areas. The Democrats should absolutely go to town telling small-town Americans that they will have no hospitals, no doctors, no care units within a hundred miles if Medicare goes away. Scare the shit out of them.

  37. 37
    Sab says:

    I just called my Republican senator and his office person hung up on me, and I was in no way rude. Fortunately my other Senator is Sherrod Brown.

  38. 38
    BC in Illinois says:

    Just talked with the office of Ann Wagner (R-St. Louis County / Corporate Interests of MO). The very nice young lady again told me that — just as two weeks ago — Congresswoman Wagner has not put out a statement on this issue yet. On her website, her signature issue is that financial advisors should not be required to place the interest of their clients first–“another regulation that ultimately takes away our freedoms.”

    My constituents are tired of Washington bureaucrats telling them what food their families should eat, where they should turn for health care and, now, how they should save for retirement.”

    Question: Is she responding to the pleas of her constituents – – “Please don’t require my financial advisor to put my interest first?” – – or to the pleas of the financial advisors? I’m a constituent, [“BC in Illinois” now lives in Missouri] and I don’t recall asking her to free the oppressed financial advisor . . .

    ETA – – And yes, I did point out that as someone who already has a Medicare Card, I would be safe from the damage of any changes, but my children and their children would not.

  39. 39
    Another Scott says:

    @Chris: I hope people are reviewing what happened in <a href="2005 when Bush tried to privatize Social Security":

    Having invested so much political capital in this issue, President Bush embarked on the first of what proved to be a long series of tours crammed with events at which he pitched his plan to the people. It soon became apparent that it would be a tough sell. Within weeks, observers noticed that the more the President talked about Social Security, the more support for his plan declined. According to the Gallup organization, public disapproval of President Bush’s handling of Social Security rose by 16 points from 48 to 64 percent–between his State of the Union address and June.

    By early summer the initiative was on life support, with congressional Democrats uniformly opposed and Republicans in disarray.After Hurricane Katrina inundated what remained of the President’s support, congressional leaders quietly pulled the plug. By October, even the President had to acknowledge that his effort had failed.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Here’s hoping it doesn’t take 1836 deaths and the destruction of a major city for them to be stopped this time, but we will have to fight them all the way. There are lessons we can learn from 2005.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  40. 40
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @jacy:

    According the the Urban Dictionary: tRicK'(n.) A broad term for describing women who are either teases, hoes, or one of the above pretending to be the other. Calling a woman a trick shows you are not impressed/convinced by their shit.

    And further, according to the Urban Dictionary, sample usage: “Trick! Get out of my room! or Trick! get on your knees!

    So yeah, that’s definitely language we should be using for our fellow women, assuming that’s what rikyrah meant.

    Shoe, foot, etcetera.

    WTF does that mean?

  41. 41

    @Another Scott: I always liked Pelosi’s answer when reporters asked her what the Ds’ plan was to counter W’s proposal. “Our plan is to defend SS.” Good one, Nancy.

  42. 42
    Millard Filmore says:

    privatize Medicare

    That is yet another way for Wall Street fund managers to carve $20 million annual bonuses out of my medical insurance, yes?

  43. 43
    Taylor says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Actually I think Pelosi was asked what alternative Democrats were offering to Bush’s proposals, and her response was, Our alternative is Social Security!

    She very smartly did not fall into the trap of proposing something new, which would have meant admitting that SS “needed fixing.”

    Wasn’t there some Democratic piece of slime in Florida who briefly flirted with Bush’s plans?

  44. 44
    The Moar You Know says:

    but we will have to fight them all the way. There are lessons we can learn from 2005.

    @Another Scott: They learned lessons too. They will blow this through, using reconciliation, the first week after inauguration. Bush drew out the process too long to make it work. Hopefully we are prepared. By the looks of things here on December 1st, it doesn’t look as though we are.

  45. 45
  46. 46

    @The Moar You Know: Let’s preemptively admit defeat and curl into a fetal ball of inaction. That sounds like a great plan. Thank you.

  47. 47
    Turgidson says:

    @Roger Moore:

    They wouldn’t let it go down this way. Either the Granny Starver and McTurtle get their soldiers lined up and a promise not to veto from Hair Furor and pass it almost as soon as the doors open for the next Congress, or they issue some weasel-worded statement about how other priorities will need to come first, and conveniently never bring it up again. Call it the Scott Walker strategy. He busted the unions quickly and suddenly, took some early heat for it, then correctly guessed a plurality of the electorate would lose interest in the issue (while his hard core base remembered it very fondly) in time for his reelection campaign.

    I’m not a betting man, but I’d go with #1. Paul Ryan has been waiting too long for this moment to let it slip by. My sincere hope is that he’s blowing his chance by bragging about it every couple days during the lame duck. It gives Democrats time to unify in opposition and for some Republicans to go wobbly before the big day arrives. The Granny Starver is trying to act like Trump won by 8 points running on a promise to enact Paul Ryan’s Better Way (to Destitution) budgets. If the media wasn’t so hopelessly in the tank for the guy I’d be confident he was going to fall flat on his face. But, here we are. We shall see.

  48. 48
    germy says:

    @Sab:

    I just called my Republican senator and his office person hung up on me

    WTF?? They don’t like when citizens call to express opinions or ask questions? Are they equally rude to lobbyists?

  49. 49
    jacy says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    As a writer, I am very careful with words. But just because a word has several connotations, does not mean you should apply every connotation to a given instance. I took it to mean someone who wants to appear to be two things, but it convincing as neither. (And then, “if the shoe fits, she should wear it…..) I’m not generally a name-caller, because calling people names lacks the precision that I try to employ. On the other hand, sometimes the vernacular is just a good way to get a point across, so I grant a lot of leeway when people use it.

  50. 50

    @The Moar You Know: That is… not how reconciliation works.

    ETA: @jacy: In gay slang, in my experience, a trick is a prostitute or a one-night stand, often a club-kid hookup, sometimes in exchange for drugs. It is always sexual and derogatory.

  51. 51

    @Nicole:

    That said, I do know at least one senior (a conservative I got into it with on a message board once) who indignantly said she’d paid for her Medicare.

    The other reply, which seems reasonable to me, is to point out that she’s asking me to keep paying for Medicare for the rest of my working life only to get something much, much less than what she’s getting when it’s my turn to start getting Medicare.

  52. 52
    germy says:

    @Turgidson:

    Ryan has been waiting too long for this moment to let it slip by

    My impression is that he’s big on image (remember when he showed up at the food charity place, put on an apron and washed some already-clean pots and pans for the cameras?) but when it comes to details…. asterisk, asterisk asterisk.

    I’m hoping he can be outsmarted, but he’ll have NBC, CBS, ABC and the cable networks doing his PR.

  53. 53
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Sab: I think that may be a sign that they’re terrified, i.e. it’s working.

  54. 54
    Poopyman says:

    Mattis is in, like Flynn.

    (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his secretary of defense, a source with knowledge of the transition says.

    Mattis, 66, joins a Trump national security team that already includes retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director.

    The official announcement is expected early next week.

  55. 55
    Amir Khalid says:

    Off topic, but this is worth highlighting:
    The BBC reports that a team of high-school kids in Sidney, Australia, have managed to recreate pyrimethamine, the active ingredient in the antiparasitic drug Daraprim, as a school project. Daraprim is used to treat malaria and HIV patients, and is the drug that Martin Shkreli infamously hiked the price on by 5,000%. The project demonstrates that the drug can be provided for far, far less than Shkreli was charging. And the thing is, it wasn’t even all that tough as school science projects go.

  56. 56
    jacy says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    At the extreme and probable risk of sounding like, “I have black friends…” I do hang with a lot of black writers, and it has a different connotation in casual conversation there — which is where I’ve been exposed to it. So I suppose it’s one of those things where your immediate experience with it is how you take it. But that’s true with a lot of slang. Which is why I say I give leeway. I’m careful with words, but I also try not to turn into one of the word police……

  57. 57
    Chris says:

    @Another Scott:

    Ha! “Republicans in disarray.” There’s something you don’t read every day!

    And yes, I agree. They need to present a united front. Social Security is fine. Medicare is fine. The ACA is fine. Say so and accept no substitutes.

  58. 58
    Bobby D says:

    “Trick” is the appropriate label if she’s going to whore herself out to Drumpf and crew, knowing that her appointed replacement will be a Republican and further tilt the balance of the Senate. If she takes the bait on this transparent scheme to get one more Dem out of the Senate, then not only is she a trick, she’s a backstabbing trick. I’ve got a few other words for her if she falls for this ruse, but those words are not for polite company.

  59. 59
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Hitless: 55 and older? From what I’ve heard it’s 57 and older. I’m 56, just like in 1983 when they raised payroll taxes to guarantee that Social Security would be solvent FOREVER, it’s bend over no lube.

  60. 60
    Van Buren says:

    I think we should be playing 11 dimensional chess, and just tell Ryan to please proceed.
    I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed. 10 or 20 million killed, tops. Depending on the breaks.

  61. 61

    @The Moar You Know:

    They will blow this through, using reconciliation, the first week after inauguration.

    They can’t. Before they can use reconciliation, they have to pass a budget that includes budgeting provisions that require the bill they’re trying to pass using reconciliation. Since the House has had trouble passing any budget for quite a while, that’s already far from guaranteed. It’s certainly not something they can do in a hurry or without making it obvious well in advance. If they want to do something quickly, they’ll need to do away with the filibuster first: again, something that there’s already resistance to among the Republicans in the Senate. I don’t doubt that they’ll try to use reconciliation- it’s the only way of doing anything at all controversial if they don’t eliminate the filibuster first- but it’s still not a way of cramming stuff through in a hurry.

  62. 62
    EBT says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Doesn’t have to be gay, anyone can turn a trick.

  63. 63
    gogol's wife says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I don’t understand the attitude of the commenter you’re responding to. If there’s any silver lining to this, it’s that our side seems amazingly energized, on all sorts of fronts. I think we were kind of sleepwalking lately, trusting Obama to handle things. Now people are shocked to realize that they have to get off their butts and do something. I have a teeny bit more hope than I did a week ago.

  64. 64

    @Bobby D: I say calling her a trick is an insult to prostitutes not vice versa.

  65. 65

    @EBT: I was saying how I’ve heard the word used, and supplying the context of the culture in which I’ve heard it.

  66. 66
    TS says:

    @Stan:

    There isn’t one voter in 100 who knows what a deficit is nor one in 1,000 who cares.

    Every GOP voter cared before Trump was elected. They will care again when a democrat is in the white house.

  67. 67

    @Amir Khalid:

    The project demonstrates that the drug can be provided for far, far less than Shkreli was charging.

    This is not exactly news, since the company making the stuff wasn’t losing money before the 5000% price hike. The ability to charge those prices has everything to do with regulatory failure, not anything to do with manufacturing.

  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    @hovercraft:
    Schumer finds a spine. Whod’a thunk? You go, Chuck. Lurve watching young blue-eyes squirm.

  69. 69

    @EBT: Fran Lebowitz, “Notes on ‘Trick'” — hilarious, if you can find it. It was anthologized in The Best of Modern Humor, ed. Mordecai Richler [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983]. The title of the book comes nowhere near being true, but there are a couple of good things in it, alongside much that is merely weird.

  70. 70
    trollhattan says:

    @Sab:
    Local news is generally useless but sounds like time to drop a dime on the non-responsive senator and see whether they take up the issue. What the absolute fvck is that about?

  71. 71
    Turgidson says:

    @trollhattan:

    The Granny Starver’s “Mediscare” fatuousness made me wonder: When did the GOP become so reliant on glib catchphrases in their messaging? It seemed sometimes like that was all GWB’s press secretary would say – accuse the Democrats of something or insult them using some turn of phrase they must have been told was very clever by Frank Luntz. Freedom Fries (aimed at the French for opposing Iraq), “culture of life” (WTF does that even mean besides “abortion is eeeeevil”) “Defeatocrats”, then later of course “Obamacare”… there were others. My first memory of them employing this was Hillarycare, but it seems like it became a bigger and bigger part of their rhetorical toolbox over time.

  72. 72
    germy says:

    @Turgidson: Didn’t Gingrich give them ideas back in the ’90s about using words as inky, cloudy weapons?

    Meanwhile:

    Guardian UK: Teen becomes seventh ‘faithless elector’ to protest Trump as president-elect – Electoral college member Levi Guerra from Washington state pledged to break ranks with party affiliation to join renegade group’s attempt to unseat Trump

  73. 73
    wormtown says:

    @SatanicPanic: yes!!!!!!!

  74. 74
    Taylor says:

    @germy: Since all the “renegades” are non-Republican, who are writing in non-Trump Republican names, I fail to see how it is an “attempt to unseat Trump.” Just fracturing the opposition some more. I guess snowflakes have to preen.

  75. 75
    John Revolta says:

    I gotta go with Bobby D here. If she sells us out for personal gain or advantage, she’s a trick and a whore, regardless of her gender.

  76. 76
    Chris says:

    @Poopyman:

    Am I wrong, or is Mattis actually a vastly better choice than what you’d expect from a Trump administration? Not even “as good as we’re going to get” like Romney for SecState, but actually kind of okay?

    @Roger Moore:

    I did not know that. This is wonderful news.

  77. 77
    ruemara says:

    I am fully checked out. I hate to say this, but I’m kinda, “yo, white people, fix your mess”. I simply despair you will be able to hold it together long enough to swing it out of fascism in full. Maybe I’ll have a brighter attitude tomorrow. As much as I want to get on with the activism, I can’t convince myself to do anymore.

  78. 78
    Chris says:

    @Turgidson:

    Was it “Morning In America,” from the amiable dunce?

  79. 79
    Brent says:

    @SenyorDave:

    But I’m tired of having a gun to our head every 2 years. At some point you have to pull the trigger just to learn if it’s loaded or not.

    LOL. I certainly get your point but that is certainly the single worst possible strategy for determining whether or not a gun is loaded.

  80. 80

    @germy:

    Teen becomes seventh ‘faithless elector’ to protest Trump as president-elect – Electoral college member Levi Guerra from Washington state pledged to break ranks with party affiliation to join renegade group’s attempt to unseat Trump

    Their plan makes about as little sense as any protest vote. These are Democratic electors who are going to vote for a Republican other than Trump rather than Hillary. In what universe is that even an effective protest, much less an effective attempt to prevent Trump from winning?

  81. 81
    Baud says:

    @Roger Moore: I’ve been on the internet for a while, and that may be the dumbest plan I’ve ever heard.

  82. 82

    @Chris:
    The details about reconciliation were something that kept coming up in 2010 when people were trying to come up with ways to avoid Republican filibusters. Reconciliation can do some useful things, but it isn’t an all-purpose antidote to the filibuster. And I think people are way too afraid of Paul Ryan. He talks a good game- or at least the fawning Villager Media thinks he does- but he hasn’t produced results to match. He sure as hell hasn’t done a very good job of keeping his caucus in line.

  83. 83
    Barbara says:

    I don’t know about North Dakota but West Virginia is in the top three oldest states in the country, and even more so, it has the highest percentage of people on Medicare via SSDI of any state in the nation, right along with the lowest labor force participation — by far. It doesn’t matter what party Manchin or Shelly Capito is in. They can’t meaningfully gut Medicare without blowing a hole right through the center of West Vriginia’s health care infrastructure. ACA and Medicaid expansion population are also particularly high in WV, with hospitals in rural locations going under if they are repealed. There is no economic turnaround in West Virginia outside of, possibly, its northern tier, where the Monongahela and Ohio rivers are located (similar to Louisville in Kentucky).

  84. 84
    daves09 says:

    @John Revolta: Maybe we can wait until she actually does something to start calling names? Great idea to antagonize potential allies for the sheer pleasure of feeling self righteous.
    But for any democrat who does go with Trump, Tourette syndrome all the fuck over them.

  85. 85
    daves09 says:

    Something I’m more concerned about; repubs have hated food stamps since the program began, have tried repeatedly to gut it. It may be the first to go-they love it because the suffering would be acute and immediate.

  86. 86
    EBT says:

    @Barbara: West Virginia is the state the government dropped WWI era chemical bombs on during the coal mine strikes of the late teens and early 20s. They voted for the party that hates unions, hates protests, and loves coal mine owners.

  87. 87
    SligoRover1973 says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: It means that if she’s willing to sell out the basic principles of the Democratic Party and liberalism in general to get a cabinet position in Trump’s administration, then she is a whore in the most truest sense of the word. Which, BTW, would apply even if she were a man.

  88. 88
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Turgidson:

    When did the GOP become so reliant on glib catchphrases in their messaging?

    When they realized that thought-determining cliches and ad hominem attacks are way, way easier than coming up with a whole slippery slope or straw man or post hoc ergo what the fuck argument.

  89. 89
    SRW1 says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Not to defend the a**hole Shkreli, but the problem with Daraprim never was the chemical synthesis of its active ingredient.

    The problem is that the effectiveness of active ingredients can depend a lot on the overall formulation in which it is applied (infamous example for this is that chemically crystal meth is the same as amorphous meth, but because of its crystalline structure crystal meth dissolves much faster and therefore leads to higher concentrations in the bloodstream).

    In order to obtain a marketing license, a competitor therefore has to demonstrate biocompatibility relative to Daraprim. To do this, that competitor needs original Daraprim to conduct a side by side study. Skreli is blocking possible competitors by refusing to supply them with the original Daraprim for such a study. Voila, no path to a license.

  90. 90
    TriassicSands says:

    I would be very surprised if Joe Manchin ever again runs for office as a Democrat. He doesn’t seem to have any principles that offset his ambition.

    I think we can count on him to desert the Dems on any number of key issues. My sense of Manchin is general, not specific. I don’t know if he has any real commitment to the social safety net. He should be a staunch supporter of Medicaid since WVa needs Medicaid a lot more than most blues states do, even if its voters are so stupid or ignorant that they don’t know that. And given how many West Virginians are on disability, Manchin should be a stalwart supporter of Social Security.

    In the end, I expect Joe will do what is good for Joe, not what is good for his constituents. And since they can easily be conned into voting against their own best interests, that would free Joe to screw them royally and still win re-election.

  91. 91
    Morzer says:

    All of this makes wavering Democrats more valuable to the GOP than the last parachute on a burning plane.

    This is one reason why I think Pelosi’s re-election was the right call for Democrats – she knows how to keep her caucus in line.

    FWIW, if Donnelly from Indiana realizes that Medicare should be non-negotiable, I don’t see why Heitkamp or Manchin should be allowed to skate. If they vote to gut Medicare, throw them out of the caucus and commit to running a primary challenger against them. They may not care – but it sends the message that real Democrats aren’t fine with wrecking the country for the sake of the GOP’s crackpot Randian ideology. Hell, why don’t we put up a distinguished son of West Virginia who has served his country valiantly in arms as the real Democratic candidate against the nefarious Manchin and his EpiPen swindler of a daughter? John G Cole, warrior and real estate entrepreneur – your state, your country and your comment section summon you to battle!

  92. 92
    Groucho48 says:

    @Bobby D:

    Have you ever used the term for a male politician who sells out? Ever? If not, then it’s not an appropriate term.

    And, I think “trick” generally applies to the john, not the prostitute. As in “turning tricks”.

  93. 93
    Morzer says:

    @Morzer:

    And speaking of the Manchin Mafia family, guess who just slithered into the limelight:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ar.....41c82a125b

    But if anyone was expecting Bresch to apologize for Mylan’s EpiPen actions ever since revelations of 400% EpiPen markups appeared over the summer, they were likely disappointed. “We absolutely raised the price and take full responsibility for that,” she said.

    Bresch insisted Mylan’s price increases were justified by improvements the company made on the product. She held up the EpiPen that Mylan originally acquired, explaining that it was confusing for patients to use and that it frequently caused accidental sticks. Then she held up the current version of EpiPen, explaining that it’s more ergonomic and less likely to cause injury. “The idea that there was no advancement in the product is inaccurate.”

    I think we can safely assume that Ms Shkreli Bresch voted for Fakey-Rapey Presidenty.

  94. 94
    J R in WV says:

    @lowercase steve:

    “He may be looking to Manchin for energy secretary.”

    That would be a catastrophe, the Energy Secretary is in charge of special (ie nuclear) weapons development, and Manchin can’t even pronounce that correctly on a routine basis.

    Now, if Drumpf really doesn’t ever intend to use his nukes, OK, good thing. But if he can’t even maintain the threat of MAD (mutually assured destruction) to keep the nuclear stalemate active, we’re so screwed.
    \
    MAD kept the Cold War cold for 50 years or so… crazy, but it worked, that time. Next time, who knows?

  95. 95
    Canadian Shield says:

    A trick is the mark, or customer. A Prostitute ‘turns tricks’ It’s not rocket science people!

  96. 96
    Anonymous patient says:

    I have actually met Joe Manchin once, in a large business meeting where he was shaking everyone’s hand as the Governor of the state. When he got to me, walking around the room, he looked at me, an older Democratic bearded guy with a ponytail, and hate for me showed in his face as he grimaced and reached out and shook my hand.

    The feeling was mutual.

    Joe Manchin has one point of faith – work everything – absolutely everything! – to the advantage of Joe Manchin. Fuck the people of WV, Fuck the USA, if Joe Manchin can make a fistful of bucks, OR gain additional power personally.

    He was a terrible governor.

    I was part of the interview committee to hire highly skilled technical employees for years. After he took office, we were required to ask potential employees one new question in every interview: “What is the minimum salary offer you need to accept this position?”

    Then, after we selected an applicant as a potential hire, the state office of personnel would provide us with the maximum salary offer we could make to the qualified applicant. It was always ALWAYS thousands of dollars less than the minimum the candidate gave us. And much less than we would have, could have, was in the budget to offer.

    We stopped hiring critical employees. Fortunately because we had the budget, we were able to recruit excellent contractors to help our work continue. Which cost the state something like three times as much per unit of work accomplished than an employee would have cost, and without the continuity of knowledge that career employees would have provided.

    Terrible management directives!

    So don’t depend upon Joe Manchin to help us out. He’s closer to Drumpf than he is to any other Democrat.

  97. 97
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    @Sab: Whenever I’ve had someone do that to me, I immediately call back. If the same person answers and appears to recognize my voice I innocently say, “I think we were accidentally cut off. As I was saying. . . .” Cheers. If they hang up again, I dial again, and again, and again as necessary.

  98. 98
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @Roger Moore: Best thing the D’s can do is filibuster everything, especially Scalia’s replacement, to force the R’s to nuke the filibuster.

    Because, everyone knows that R’s are the only ones that get any real advantage out of filibustering, and it’s better if D’s don’t give R’s ANY cover for their deeply-unpopular shit like SS privatization.

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