Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Encourage Dissent


A note from commentor Lizzy L:

For those worried about ACA coverage for themselves and their families…. After hearing about the midnight repeal of the pre-existing conditions clause, a friend of mine called Senator Warren’s office. The woman she spoke to said they are being flooded with calls, as are the offices of Speakers Ryan and McConnell.

Senator Warren’s staff member told her that what would help the most would be to call the five Republican senators who have broken away from the GOP to demand a slow down of the repeal. Tell them how much you appreciate their efforts to stop this train wreck! If this issue affects you or someone you love, share your story with the staffer who answers the phone. (Remember the time difference when you call.)

The senators are:
Senator Bob Corker – (202) 224-3344
Senator Lisa Murkowski – (202) 224-6665
Senator Rob Portman – (202) 224-3353
Senator Susan Collins – (202) 224-2523
Senator Bill Cassidy – (202) 224-5824

if you call the number and get VM, one approach would be to leave an appreciative and encouraging message. I know people who prefer to do that, since calling a Representative’s office often means waiting on hold for a loooong time.

Apart from encouragement — and resistance — what’s on the agenda for the day?

106 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    It’s gonna be YUUUUUUGGGGEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. 2
    Mary G says:

    He is back where he started. He hired “supporters” off Craigslist for the announcement of his candidacy, because he’s too cheap to pay professional actors. Now he’s back to square one. It’s one thing to go to a free rally when he comes to the deplorables’ neighborhoods, but I think that past the 27% his support is shallow and weak.

    Karma is a bitch.

  3. 3
    opiejeanne says:

    @Mary G: I clicked on the link above, for tickets to the inauguration, so there will be at least one empty seat.

    I’m very amused by this line: “You will receive a limited edition, commemorative ticket as a keepsake to frame and remember this historic event.”
    Since they only have my email address, my ticket will be sent by email for me to print out and frame. What a keepsake. I might just frame it as a joke.
    And I just got an email telling me my tickets would be emailed to me.

  4. 4

    I think we should all chip in and hire someone to hit Trump in the face with a custard pie.

  5. 5
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning Everyone 😐😐😐

  6. 6
    Elmo says:

    Good morning. Up at 0300 to get Mrs Elmo to Baltimore for back surgery. Once she’s under, I’ll drive 90 mins home to let the dogs out, then back to the hospital in time to see her in recovery. Visit for a bit, then back home to dogs. Rinse and repeat.

    I love having no neighbors, except at times like this.

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mustang Bobby: I’d rather slap CJ John Roberts for swearing him in.

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Morning, rikyrah. 😐😐😐
    Morning, everyone. Heading back to bed now. 😴💤

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Elmo: I feel ya.

  10. 10
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Good luck, Elmo. Sounds like a long day. Blessings to Mrs. Elmo for a good surgery and a quicky and painless recovery.

  11. 11
    Rosalita says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Green slime would be a more apt choice… but anything will do.

    only 200 buses… there are 80 buses of women from CT alone heading to the march

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning.

    @Elmo: Good luck to Mrs. Elmo.

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    If I ran cable channel, I would dub in the sound of crickets during the inauguration speech.

    Our actual media will probably slice in video from Obama’s inauguration.

  14. 14

    @Baud: I found just what they need. I may post this at BBWW Friday morning.

  15. 15
    Elmo says:

    @CarolDuhart2: @Baud: Thanks for the good wishes!

  16. 16
    Steeplejack says:


    Good luck with all that!

  17. 17
    Yoda Dog Democrat says:

    Any morning we still have a President is a good morning. I’m calling my congressman today to tell him to boycott the shitshow. Then Im calling all five of those senators above about the ACA. I’m fired up this morning!

    @Elmo: Best wishes for your wife from me as well.

  18. 18
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    RWNJ mom tried to tell me how happy she is over Trump last night; I changed the subject.

  19. 19

    @Elmo: Best wishes for a speedy and uneventful recovery.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    JPL says:

    @Elmo: I do hope that the surgery goes well. How long is the hospital stay?

  22. 22
    Elmo says:

    @JPL: Not sure. I’ve read up to three days, but also as little as one. Surgeon isn’t here yet.

    To everyone, thanks for the good wishes and support.

  23. 23
    MomSense says:


    Sending my best wishes for a speedy recovery for Mrs. Elmo.

  24. 24
    greennotGreen says:

    I’m confused about the linkless block quote in Anne Laurie’s piece.
    The Senate voted to repeal the most popular part of Obamacare? More info, please.

    BTW, I’ve wondered at times how to convince people why I am more convinced of progressive facts than right wing “facts” when I was checking a news story I saw at Crooks and Liars*. The only sources for the report that the Clinton Global Initiative was shutting down were right wing sights…including
    Breitbart. If it were real, I would expect some MSM coverage.

    *Crooks and Liars is pretty egregious about not having what I’m assuming are sponsored links clearly marked.

  25. 25
    debbie says:

    I hope this is eating Trump alive. According to NPR, Trump’s current approval is at 40%, compared to Obama’s 80% prior to his inauguration.

    @Elmo: Good luck to both you and the missus.

  26. 26
    greennotGreen says:

    @Elmo: Best wishes for Mrs. Elmo.

    May I encourage all of us who have companion animals and do not have extended family and/or friends nearby to look into hiring a pet sitter. When I moved to the boonies I had to do that because it became logistically impossible for my previous sitter. It’s so important to have someone as a backup just for situations like the Elmos’.

  27. 27
    Baud says:

    @debbie: Still too high.

  28. 28
    manyakitty says:

    @Elmo: Hope all is well, with wishes for a fast and uncomplicated recovery.

    ETA: I left the first encouraging message in my history with Rob Portman. If anyone calls him, thank him, too, for his efforts to combat the opiate problem and remind him that the abrupt repeal of ACA will derail that work.

  29. 29
    bystander says:

    @Mustang Bobby: I volunteer to light the paper bag of dog poop at his feet while the pie guy distracts him. Now, that’s an inauguration I could enjoy watching.

    I hope there’s a Law and Order marathon that day. Like every other day.

  30. 30
    rikyrah says:

    Positive thoughts and prayers for the Mrs.

  31. 31
    debbie says:


    Considering he was back to bashing CNN last night, the rating will likely be lower by Friday.

  32. 32
    amk says:

    the lil fingered twit of a twitler couldn’t even get his own daughter’s handle right. the other ivanka’s tweet to this moron is awesome.

    what an incompetent moron.

  33. 33
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    Someone’s probably already said this, but if you order a Moscow Mule at a bar and garnish it with an orange slice instead of lime – does the drink become a “Donald Trump”?

    Wait…it would also have to be served in the yuuugest mug in the bar.

  34. 34
    Yoda Dog Democrat says:

    Going to the March in Raleigh on Saturday… Bad idea to bring my 2 year old daughter? It’s probably a bad idea, I suppose, but I really want to bring her…

  35. 35
    manyakitty says:

    @Thor Heyerdahl: I saw one that was based on a white Russian, garnished with a thin orange skin and a crumpled piece of fake gold leaf.

  36. 36
    satby says:

    @Elmo: Belated good morning Elmo and best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mrs. Elmo.

  37. 37
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Thor Heyerdahl: It becomes a Sunkist Stalin.

    @amk: What a fucking moron. The other Ivanka seems feisty! Good for her.

  38. 38
    MJS says:

    @Yoda Dog Democrat: Why would it be a bad idea? Are you expecting trouble? Or just the normal trouble associated with taking a two-year old anywhere?

  39. 39
    satby says:

    @greennotGreen: There are problems in hiring pet sitters when you live in the stick; often there aren’t any in your area. When I lived in rural MI the closest pet sitter I found lived 30 miles away. I hired a young neighbor couple occasionally, but they were barely adequate for the money I paid.

    And of course my last trip I hired one of the highest reviewed pet sitters in the area. I wasn’t even on the plane before she was calling me to let me know that she and her assistant, despite my explicit warnings about one dog becoming aggressive to the others, had failed to notice one dog pushing an isolation barrier until it fell and the other dog attacked it. The resulting bills for emergency vet and boarding the aggressive one doubled my pet sitting expenses, while I was half a world away. And that was the professional sitter.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    “Scalpers losing money on tickets to Trump inauguration ”

    Well, DUH. You just *know* that Trump is going to shoot the first person that stops clapping for him, amirite?

  42. 42
    Steeplejack says:

    @Yoda Dog Democrat:

    Probably a bad idea. I don’t have a daughter, but I have a 2½-year-old niece. She would be a hot mess at a rally. Bathroom issues, boredom issues, tantrum issues, overstimulation issues, carrying-her-when-she-gets-tired issues, etc. I understand the urge to be able to say, “You were at this historic event,” but I think it’s a bad idea.

  43. 43
    satby says:

    @Yoda Dog Democrat: I would want to bring a daughter too, but since she’s young I would stay on a periphery so that if she gets unsettled or it looks like trouble might be brewing you can get away from the crowd quickly.
    Edited: plus all that Steeplejack just said. Good to see you too Steep!

  44. 44
    rikyrah says:

    I was listening to the news on the radio this morning. Did Cheeto Benito really tweet that the dollar was TOO STRONG???
    Who the phuck does this,😬😬😬

  45. 45
    J R in WV says:


    Stuff always always goes slower than expected. Just be patient and stay calm is the best thing for Mrs Elmo. Hope everything goes well for her, home soon, in rehab and working hard to make a full recovery.

    You are in an area with great health care, so expect the best. Best wishes for good luck and quick recovery!

  46. 46
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Yoda Dog Democrat: It all depends on the 2 yr old.

  47. 47
    Steeplejack says:


    Thanks. Have had a hectic landing in Las Vegas for dog- and mom-sitting and haven’t gotten into a routine yet.

  48. 48
    satby says:

    @rikyrah: He is completely incoherent on “policy”. Because he can’t track a thought from one day to the next and his people are incompetent, our trade deals (that he wants to renegotiate) are going to end up with us over a barrel as the rest of the world takes advantage of him.
    Nope, no good mornings for a long time to come.

  49. 49
    Woodrowfan says:

    my congressman is boycotting the inauguration. My wife and I each called his local office and thanked him for doing that.

  50. 50
    Yoda Dog Democrat says:

    Yea, you folks are right of course; I just love her and want her to see that some people care. She’s too young though, and sadly, there will probably be many, many more marches and protests to show her in the near future.

  51. 51
    J R in WV says:

    @Yoda Dog Democrat:

    Probably won’t remember it at all at this age. Not as something favorable, anyway.

    Next election she’ll be old enough…

  52. 52
    zhena gogolia says:


    It’s hilarious, because Ivanka is a nickname for Ivana, which basically is “Jane.” (Not in Russian but in other Slavic languages.) So there are a million Ivankas.

  53. 53
    MomSense says:


    Someone who wants a crisis.

  54. 54
    TS says:


    Our actual media will probably slice in video from Obama’s inauguration.

    Fox news will no doubt publish pictures of the 2009 crowds and credit them to 2017. It’s what they do.

  55. 55
    Jeffro says:

    Two quick thoughts:
    1) Maybe there’s only 200 buses for a reason…maybe 90% of Trump’s support was Russian FB/Twitter trolls and paid rally attendees? Time (and further lower approval ratings) will tell

    2) This was pretty well put, in the middle of a meandering New Yorker article: The Music Donald Trump Can’t Hear

    American conservatism has as many clear, resolute devotees of constitutional democracy as any other stream of ideology—or it once seemed to. For, in truth, those of us Cassandras who predicted a slow collapse of “respectable” Republicans in the face of Trump’s ascension turned out to be, well, too conservative. The collapse has been almost total, and shockingly uncritical. A few resisters aside—in the press, the names Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, and David Frum come to mind—even those who know better, or did, have allowed the ancient habits of hatred to overwhelm their normal sense of right and wrong. Republican legislators who, a year ago, would have been aghast at any politician who praised the brutal dictator Vladimir Putin now have little trouble swallowing their tongues when Trump insists that Putin’s good opinion, however earned, is “an asset.” Those who made a fuss about pursuing any possible conflict of interest among Obama’s appointees now meekly allow the most conflict-ridden and least “vetted” of candidates for high office to walk through largely unmolested. And the insistence of the leader that he has no obligation to release any record of his financial entanglements, with the bold repeated lie that an “audit”—whose existence can’t be confirmed and wouldn’t matter anyway—prevents him from doing so, is simply and mutely accepted. The collapse—motivated for some by opportunism, for others by the intimidation of the mob—is complete.

    No, the collapse is total. And at that terrifying first press conference of Trump’s, on Wednesday, we saw the looming face of pure authoritarianism. Rewards are promised to the obedient: those good states that voted the right way, the “responsible” press. Punishments are threatened to the bad: “They’re going to suffer the consequences!” Intimidation is the greeting to any critic. And look! There’s a claque alongside to cheer the big boss and deride his doubters. This is what was once called Bonapartism: I won and I can now do anything I choose. Victory, however narrow, is license for all. Autocracy, after all, has always been compatible with plebiscitary endorsement. The point of constitutional government is to make even the victors subject to the rules.

    This…this kind of behavior we’ve see on display SINCE Election Day…this is why we’re right to resist in any and every way. Because in every way, on the Republican side, the collapse has been total. And because post-election Trump is actually worse than pre-election Trump.

  56. 56
    Hurling Dervish says:

    But how many corporate and private planes are coming in? That’s all that really matters.

  57. 57
    zhena gogolia says:

    These people lie like they breathe. I’m reading the profile of Ivanka in VF. She claimed on her book jacket to have graduated from UPenn summa cum laude. Somebody looked into it and found that she graduated cum laude, with a GPA of 3.4. There’s a big difference there! That’s not something you “forget” at the age of 27. You just lie about it until somebody catches you.

  58. 58
    rikyrah says:


    Fox news will no doubt publish pictures of the 2009 crowds and credit them to 2017. It’s what they do.

    Thank goodness for the twitter.

  59. 59
    rikyrah says:


    your link doesn’t go to the New Yorker

  60. 60
    rikyrah says:


    This…this kind of behavior we’ve see on display SINCE Election Day…this is why we’re right to resist in any and every way. Because in every way, on the Republican side, the collapse has been total. And because post-election Trump is actually worse than pre-election Trump.

    Absolutely. We must continue to resist, and not give one inch.

  61. 61
    Felonius Monk says:


    Thank goodness for the twitter.

    Really? When America’s first Commander-in-Tweet is about to be sworn in.

  62. 62
    rikyrah says:

    How Much Did A Coding Error Affect Student Loan Repayment Rates?
    by Robert Kelchen
    January 16, 2017 3:35 PM

    Mistakes happen. I should know—I make more than my fair share of them (including on this blog). But some mistakes are a little more noticeable than others, such as when your mistake has been viewed more than a million times. That is what happened to the U.S. Department of Education recently, when they found a coding error in the popular College Scorecard website and dataset.

    Here is a description of the coding error from the Department of Education’s announcement:

    “Repayment rates measure the percentage of undergraduate borrowers who have not defaulted and who have repaid at least one dollar of their principal balance over a certain period of time (1, 3, 5, or 7 years after entering repayment). An error in the original college scorecard coding to calculate repayment rates led to the undercounting of some borrowers who had not reduced their loan balances by at least one dollar, and therefore inflated repayment rates for most institutions. The relative difference—that is, whether an institution fell above, about, or below average—was modest. Over 90 percent of institutions on the College Scorecard tool did not change categories (i.e., above, about, or below average) from the previously published rates. However, in some cases, the nominal differences were significant.”

    As soon as I learned about the error, I immediately started digging in to see how much it affected loan repayment rates. After both my trusty computer and I made a lot of noise trying to process the large files in a short period of time, I was able to come up with some top-level results. It turns out that the changes in loan repayment rates are very large. Three-year repayment rates fell from 61% to 41%, five-year repayment rates fell from 61% to 47%, and seven-year repayment rates fell from 66% to 57%. These changes were quite similar across sectors.

  63. 63
    O. Felix Culpa says:


    Fox news will no doubt publish pictures of the 2009 crowds and credit them to 2017.

    I wonder. My guess is the 2009 crowds will have far too many of…those people…for Fox tastes.

  64. 64
    JordanRules says:

    Putin is pissing me off right now with his ridiculous public defense of his orange puppet.
    Like dude, fuck off, this is my country! Why are you even commenting…Oh wait. Shit.
    This is all so infuriating.

  65. 65
    rikyrah says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    These people lie like they breathe. I’m reading the profile of Ivanka in VF. She claimed on her book jacket to have graduated from UPenn summa cum laude. Somebody looked into it and found that she graduated cum laude, with a GPA of 3.4. There’s a big difference there! That’s not something you “forget” at the age of 27. You just lie about it until somebody catches you

    Uh huh
    Uh huh

  66. 66
    rikyrah says:

    This is correct.

    We Choose Whether Trump is Legitimate
    by Martin Longman
    January 16, 2017 2:30 PM

    Given what I wrote in my last piece about the country being in cardiac arrest, Byron York’s effort to parse the meaning of “legitimate president” seems like so much whistling past the graveyard. It’s a game of gotcha where the idea is that anyone who sincerely believes that President Trump wasn’t elected in a fair, square, and constitutional manner must be some kind of half-mad far left conspiracy theorist.

    It’s true that you can distinguish between folks who believe the election was outright stolen and people who think it was unfairly influenced. There are those who think that Trump won according to the rules but that the rules should be changed so that the loser of the popular vote doesn’t win the election. There are those who think that the FBI director’s interference made a decision difference, and since Comey’s actions were illegitimate, that makes the result illegitimate. There are those who think that the drip-drip-drip of Russian-pilfered leaks fatally undermined Clinton’s credibility, bringing her down to Trump’s level. They don’t think a foreign power should be able to change the course of our history through criminal interference in our political process.

    Only a small minority think that the actual count was off. People voted how they voted.

    Getting caught up on the word “legitimate” is a waste of time. The important thing is that we now have a president who wants to help Putin destroy the European Union, dismantle NATO, and crush the pluralistic, ecumenical, secular Western left in the name of white supremacy and a petro economy. The question shouldn’t be whether Trump was elected legitimately but who wants to go along with his program?

  67. 67
    Jeffro says:

    @rikyrah: I think I messed it up when I went back in to edit: here’s the article Thanks rikyrah!

  68. 68
    rikyrah says:


    I do not consider Cheeto Benito legitimate. Not only that, but it’s time we stripped PATRIOTISM from the Republican lexicon. We need to be relentless in that not only is HE not legitimate, but neither are they, when they chose to align themselves with a foreign power AGAINST American sovereignty. And, I mean, each and everytime a Republican tries to open their mouths to UTTER the word patriotism, this is what should be shoved back at them.

  69. 69
    gene108 says:


    I know very little about foreign exchange. What I do know is a weak dollar would make U.S. exports cheaper in foreign markets and foreign imports more expensive here.

    If it takes 60 INR (Indian rupees) to buy 1 USD (US dollar), a $100 item costa 6000 INR. If the dollar is weaker so 50 INR gets you a dollar, the same $100 item only costs 5000 INR, so more Indians can afford ton buy it.

    Conversely an item that costs 6000 INR (at a 60 INR : 1 USD) will sell $100, if imported to the US. At a 50 INR : I USD the 6000 INR would cost. $120, if sold in the U.S.

    There are advantages and disadvantages for different parts of the economy with regards to a strong dollar.

  70. 70
    rikyrah says:

    What More Does Trump Need To Say to Prove He’s Collaborating With Putin?
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    January 16, 2017 1:39 PM

    While couched in a whole series of other lies, even Donald Trump has admitted that Russia was behind the hacking of political campaigns/individuals during the 2016 election. Let that sink in for a moment. A president-elect has admitted that a foreign government interfered in a U.S. election in a way that benefited him. That fact alone is astonishing.

    The only remaining question is whether or not Trump colluded with Russia in his attempt to win the presidency. Frankly, it is hard to imagine anything else he could say or do to prove the ties. Both Matthew Yglesias and Anne Applebaum suggest that what we already know about this partnership is bad enough. And both of those articles were written before Trump’s interview with Germany’s Bild and the Times of London. Trump basically affirmed everything Putin (and Steve Bannon) would want from his presidency.

    Saying NATO is obsolete
    Cheering the breakup of the EU
    Denigrating Angela Merkel for letting “all these illegals” into the country


    In case you have trouble imagining how dangerous this is, I’d suggest that you spend time reading President Obama’s speech in Brussels about the danger of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Throughout human history, societies have grappled with fundamental questions of how to organize themselves, the proper relationship between the individual and the state, the best means to resolve inevitable conflicts between states. And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle — through war and Enlightenment, repression and revolution — that a particular set of ideals began to emerge: The belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose. The belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed, and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding. And those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men — and women — are created equal.

    But those ideals have also been tested — here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign…

    It is in response to this tragic history that, in the aftermath of World War II, America joined with Europe to reject the darker forces of the past and build a new architecture of peace. Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan. Sentinels stood vigilant in a NATO Alliance that would become the strongest the world has ever known. And across the Atlantic, we embraced a shared vision of Europe — a vision based on representative democracy, individual rights, and a belief that nations can meet the interests of their citizens through trade and open markets; a social safety net and respect for those of different faiths and backgrounds.

  71. 71
    JordanRules says:

    Putin and puppet don’t even try to hide their love affair. And what’s the deal with Pooty always mentioning pros?

  72. 72
    rikyrah says:

    The Case for Not Being Crybabies
    Published JANUARY 16, 2017, 11:08 AM EDT

    Last week I watched a conversation on MSNBC in which the anchor asked a guest whether it wasn’t a problem that Buzzfeed had published the Trump ‘dossier’ because this would now give Trump some credibility in dismissing any reporting he didn’t like as “fake news”. There are plenty of grounds to criticize Buzzfeed’s decision on standard journalistic grounds. But the idea seemed to be that because President-Elect Trump was already accusing prestigious journalism organizations of producing “fake news”, Buzzfeed’s decision might allow him to do it more.

    There was a further uproar when Trump shouted down CNN’s Jim Acosta when Acosta tried to insist that Trump answer a question from CNN if he was going to loudly attack the organization’s integrity. Later Trump’s incoming Press Secretary Sean Spicer threatened to kick Acosta out of future press conferences if he didn’t show Trump more respect. This weekend brought news that the new administration is considering kicking the White House press corps out of the White House. And finally on Sunday, in a meeting with the President of the White House Correspondents Association, Spicer “expressed concern that journalists adhere to a high level of decorum” at press conferences and briefings. This presumably came in a meeting pressing the new administration not to clamp down on access to the President and the White House.

    On top of this, in the last couple days there’s been a medium post circulating from a Russian journalist warning his American colleagues of what to expect under Trump. One key paragraph reads …

    You’re Always Losing. This man owns you. He understands perfectly well that he is the news. You can’t ignore him. You’re always playing by his rules — which he can change at any time without any notice. You can’t — in Putin’s case — campaign to vote him out of office. Your readership is dwindling because ad budgets are shrinking — while his ratings are soaring, and if you want to keep your publication afloat, you’ll have to report on everything that man says as soon as he says it, without any analysis or fact-checking, because 1) his fans will not care if he lies to their faces; 2) while you’re busy picking his lies apart, he’ll spit out another mountain of bullshit and you’ll be buried under it.

    Let me say first the piece is quite good. It’s worth reading. But as a prediction of what awaits the American press, I think it is way, way off the mark and the kind of pusillanimous, defeatist attitude we’ve seen in this cattle call of Trump outrages listed above. Presidents don’t validate what is and isn’t news. If you’re expecting them to, you’re doing it wrong. Almost nothing that is truly important about the work of a free press is damaged by moving the press office across the street.

  73. 73
    amk says:

    @JordanRules: When the enemy beats you in a war, he is stronger. But when he beats you politically (and economically), he is smarter.

  74. 74
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @greennotGreen: Also, if you are above “a certain age”, as I am, have a plan for your pets should you become disabled or dead. Too many faithful companions end up in shelters for this reason.

  75. 75
    rikyrah says:

    Tinker. Tailor. Mogul. Spy?
    A former diplomat dissects the Trump dossier.

    by James Bruno
    January 13, 2017

    Feliks Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet secret police – the Cheka – said, “The fact that you are free is not your achievement, but rather a failure on our side.” A clear-eyed killer responsible for the summary executions of tens of thousands during the Bolsheviks’ Red Terror, Dzerzhinsky knew of what he spoke and he didn’t mince words. Fortunately, a heart attack took him down at 49, but his ilk lives on. We Americans should never let our guard down in face of freedom-phobic adversaries like Vladimir Putin. But I fear we are now doing so.

    The United States has just endured a carefully planned, well-orchestrated assault against its democratic form of government in the form of a grand cyber-theft of information and targeted release of that information. After a thorough scrub of available intelligence, seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies concluded unanimously that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”

    In my twenty-five years in the service of Uncle Sam as a diplomat, I was a daily consumer of intelligence reporting. Information produced by spies is just one stream in a flood of facts, speculation and analyses that cross the desks of policymakers, others being press reports, think tank pieces, university research papers and personal conversations. All sources have their flaws as well as their benefits. Key to a report’s value is corroboration from other sources and reliability of the sources of the information being given.

    While I have not had the privilege of reading the classified version of the report by the Director of National Intelligence on the Russians’ active measures, it is clear to me from the conclusions that corroboration and source reliability are at a very high level given CIA’s, NSA’s and the FBI’s stated “high confidence” or “moderate confidence” in their conclusions. This is “intellese” meaning reliable multi-source information has been corroborated at multiple levels, leading the vast majority of analysts to conclude with little doubt that Moscow launched an influence campaign against the U.S.

    But if Russia’s role in the 2016 election is basically undisputed, we’re still left with a separate, more troubling question for which there isn’t yet a clear answer: Could Donald Trump actually be a Russian intel asset?

  76. 76
    Jeffro says:


    Putin and puppet don’t even try to hide their love affair. And what’s the deal with Pooty always mentioning pros?

    It’s a not-so-subtle reminder to Trump to keep towing the line.

  77. 77
    Jeffro says:

    @rikyrah: Agree completely. Not only is there no reason to cooperate with anything these Rs say or do, but they should be actively opposed at every turn. I like the Indivisible weekly alerts/calls to action – it will be good for all of us to get focused on a few positive actions to take every week w/ our MoCs and stop the Arsonist’s agenda.

  78. 78
    JordanRules says:

    @Jeffro: Yeah. I’m so angry about it all right now. Kinda missed that staring me in the face. Some are speculating this pre-emtive public defense may mean Putin expects some new allegation to drop. Who knows, but I can’t stand what this “alliance” means for us and the world.

  79. 79
    rikyrah says:

    Happy Birthday, First Lady Michelle Obama:)

  80. 80
    cmorenc says:

    If you want to see just what a bunch of sociopathic dicks the hard-core “Repeal Obamacare” crowd are, read the article in the “National Review:Why Republicans Must Repeal Obamacare’s ‘Pre-existing Conditons’ Provisions” – the argument amounts to: we have to throw sick people overboard so healthy people can afford health insurance.

    (Sorry -for some reason, sometimes the html shortcut buttons aren’t available when I visit Balloon-Juice (??)) – and WordPress’s syntax is different than standard HTML).

  81. 81
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @cmorenc: I’m real sad that DoNotLink appears to be dead. These monsters don’t deserve the clicks.

  82. 82
    Jeffro says:


    the argument amounts to: we have to throw sick people overboard so healthy people can afford health insurance.

    That’s exactly right. The extended version being, “Despite the fact that we’re a very wealthy nation; and despite the fact that all the other Western countries are able to provide health insurance for every citizen, with better outcomes, for about half the cost that Americans pay; and despite the fact that Obamacare is largely working as intended – including bending the cost curve for all Americans’ health care – well, frankly, it’s cutting into some folks’ profit margins and offending our Randian sensibilities, so it has to go even though people will die.”

    That last line applies to every. single. thing. these clowns are about btw. “It’s cutting into my profits and/or it offends my Randian sensibilities.” Full stop. Only thing to add might be one more ‘and/or’: “…and/or it helps non-whites”.

  83. 83
    rikyrah says:

    Trump Shows His Racism in So Many Ways
    by BooMan
    Sun Jan 15th, 2017 at 10:49:18 AM EST

    In an article today in the New York Times, Helene Cooper discusses a group of questions the Trump transition team delivered to the State Department regarding U.S. policy towards Africa. The questions have aroused concern, but perhaps the tone of the questions have been worse than the questions themselves.

    For example:

    “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen? Why should we spend these funds on Africa when we are suffering here in the U.S.?”

    It’s not unreasonable to ask how corruption is impacting our foreign aid efforts. It’s also a core job responsibility to determine how much aid should be delivered. But the way these questions are posed calls into question whether we should provide any aid at all. They even seem inclined to destroy the program President George W. Bush implemented to combat HIV in Africa.

    Rex W. Tillerson, Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, complimented the program, calling Pepfar “one of the most extraordinarily successful programs in Africa” during his Senate nomination hearing.

    But, in contrast, the Trump transition questionnaire asks, “Is PEPFAR worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa? Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?”

    Considering how many lives are at stake, calling PEPFAR an entitlement program is morally offensive. And the excuse that the money would be spent better on security concerns is undermined by other parts of the questionnaire where they doubt the need or effectiveness of our counterterrorism efforts against al-Shabaab and our hunt for Joseph Kony.

  84. 84
    J R in WV says:


    “Could Donald Trump actually be a Russian intel asset?”

    Of course he is – just look at his pronouncements in favor of the agenda of Russia – break up NATO, the alliance that keeps Russia at bay. Break up the EU, a combination of states too strong for Putin’s Russia to mess with at will.

    Who benefits?

    Not the USA, Russia.

    The man should be taken into custody soonest, after being indicted for treason, or other statutes with a less stringent (and constitutional) set of requirements. Along with Bannon, Pence, Qusay and Usay, Manafort, his replacements… Taken away in chains, and ask the Supremes to order new elections with voter parity for equipment, precinct populations, open voting for all, a total work holiday for election days, etc.

    All this pandering to Russia with whom we have been at war for decades is NOT NORMAL, and not acceptable nor legal. What good is knowing that Russia hacked our election if we aren’t going to do anything about it?

    Would most Republicans prefer Russian agents in charge of the government or loyal patriotic Democratic Americans? I would never have suspected the answer might be Russian agents until very recently~!!!

  85. 85
    rikyrah says:


    If you want to see just what a bunch of sociopathic dicks the hard-core “Repeal Obamacare” crowd are, read the article in the “National Review:Why Republicans Must Repeal Obamacare’s ‘Pre-existing Conditons’ Provisions” – the argument amounts to: we have to throw sick people overboard so healthy people can afford health insurance.

    Evil rotten sociopaths…the entire lot of them.

  86. 86
    Kay Eye says:

    Made my phone calls regarding ACA. Three full voice mail boxes, two messages left for the staff to listen to later. Also called my “representative,” Roger Williams. Spoke to an actual intern, who cheerily assured me that she would relay my message to the representative. I’m a Texan; I haven’t got much in the way of representation in the federal government.

  87. 87
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Happy Birthday, First Lady Michelle Obama:)

    Yes! Also, Betty White and James Earl Jones!

  88. 88
    cmorenc says:


    Could Donald Trump actually be a Russian intel asset?

    We don’t know the extent of Trump’s financial entanglements in Russia (especially leveraged debt) – in substantial part because Trump has stonewalled on release of his tax returns. And to the extent the Trump empire does have Russian entanglements, we don’t know the extent to which Trump is hoping to personally profit from maneuvering the US into Russian alliances, vs paying Putin protection against risk of financial blackmail. At the very best, Trump is simply indulging his swashbuckling entrepreneurial shoot-from-the-hip instincts to put together the biggest geopolitical business deal ever (big reason he chose Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for SoS) – plunging ahead in unstudied ignorance of the minefield he’s trying to navigate, or any historical understanding of Russia and Putin’s real big-picture game. Trump’s history of taking huge, reckless business gambles, such as financing three gilded Atlantic City casinos with junk bond debt (lying to regulators) – is not reassuring here, even aside from whether Russia already has the financial leverage on Trump personally to put the squeeze on him.

    I don’t think he can make it anywhere close to four years in office without one of the other western intel agencies busting him on his financial ties, with the secret cooperation of parts of the US intel agencies.

  89. 89
    sherparick says:

    @rikyrah: On Friday, Winter is no longer coming, Winter is here. The Wall falls and Orange Walkers will stalk the land. http://pressthink.org/2016/12/.....ess-trump/

    1. Trump is a bully and abuser. For that to work, the abused have to cooperate and suffer the abuse and make fruitless efforts to appease the bully to change his behavior. Unfortunately, the media titans Jeff Zucker (CNN), Steve Burke (NBC-Universal Comcast), Les Moonves (CBS), Ben Sherwood (ABC-Disney), and of course Rupert Murdoch (Fox) Trump is great for business, for their ratings, and for staying on his good side to enable deals, mergers, and favorable rent seeking FCC rulings so they will enable his abuse.

    2. For the press that frees itself from intimidation, the other open goals of Mr. Trump is to use the Presidency to enrich himself and his family. It was a grift through the whole campaign and continues to be a grift today.

    3. Unfortunately, 40% of the voters are fine with they bullying, are fine with the stealing, are fine with the destruction of a 70 year structure that kept a major war among the powers from happening, and are fine with strongman Government (its what they voted for and why Republican Congress critters have so little appetite for fighting Trump as his base is as atavastic as he is and will jump on them in a heartbeat.)

  90. 90
    hovercraft says:

    Best of luck to Mrs. Elmo, I wish her a speedy recovery.
    That doggy run sounds like a bitch, but it beats sitting in the waiting room just watching time crawl by.

  91. 91
    Oatler. says:

    @sherparick: White Trump America will put up with any amount of hardship as long as it gets the viking funeral it’s craved, funeral being the operative word.

  92. 92
    Peale says:

    @rikyrah: They really don’t get why people buy insurance and why privatizing old people insurance will be really expensive for old people and young people alike.

  93. 93
    LAO says:

    So, this just drove past me on Madison Avenue. LMAO. I did manage to yell “what the fuck” as the asshole drove by.

  94. 94
    hovercraft says:


    But, in contrast, the Trump transition questionnaire asks, “Is PEPFAR worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa? Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?”

    Considering how many lives are at stake, calling PEPFAR an entitlement program is morally offensive. And the excuse that the money would be spent better on security concerns is undermined by other parts of the questionnaire where they doubt the need or effectiveness of our counterterrorism efforts against al-Shabaab and our hunt for Joseph Kony.

    Everyday I wake up trying to comfort myself with the thought that things could be worse. And then I peruse the internets, and realize that they are, so much worse that I thought it was. It’s not enough to appoint woefully unqualified, corrupt, racist people, to watch the GOP congress trying their damndest to undo everything Obama did, but to watch them casually discuss actions that will literally kill defenseless women and children, is horrifying. The sad thing is that with this lot, much of the damage will be done deliberately, maliciously, but they will also do just as much damage out of ignorance, they have no idea what they are doing. To tie into the thread upstairs, I can just imagine the Shitgibbon deciding that since the Gates Foundation is such a big player, or even worse since the Clinton Foundation is involved in helping with AIDS/HIV in Africa, we should no longer be involved, let the private sector handle it.
    We are being taken over by a lazy, incurious, ignorant, evil buffoon.

  95. 95
    Mzinformation says:

    @TS: That was my first rhought too but wouldn’t his base and all the insane people who voted for him be upset about all the diversity in the crowd?

  96. 96
    laura says:

    @Elmo: all the best and safe travels.

  97. 97
    Larkspur says:

    @satby: I do hear some scary stories. I am dog-sitting right now, and I met a neighbor while taking my boy out for a pee break last night. He told me he just paid about a thousand dollars to clean up after the dog sitter he engaged recently. He’d provided explicit instructions about medication and routines, and she was calling him after two days to ask about the meds (meaning the dog hadn’t gotten them for two days), and he became so worried he asked his niece to drive down and check on things. She did, and sent the pet sitter home immediately: the place was trashed with dog poop and pee, the thermostat was set at 85 degrees, and she’d been using his car. Gah. The dog is a sweet old yella Lab; I hate that he was neglected. Not to mention, ick.

    I mean, I have made mistakes, but I own up to them immediately and try to fix them, and I’ve never ever been that incompetent. And no dog has ever suffered in my care, ever. Which reminds me: today I have to stop by to wish one of my favorite dogs well. She’s a golden retriever and she has cancer. It is finally beginning to overtake her, so her people are letting her go as gently as possible today around 5 pm. I’m going to miss that beautiful, loving girl.

  98. 98
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:


    This is what was once called Bonapartism: I won and I can now do anything I choose

    Except Napolion was a pretty capable himself and surrounded himself with capable men.

  99. 99
    Peale says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I think it might be the later Bonaparte, not the earlier one where this ism gets its name.

  100. 100
    Larkspur says:

    @Peale: I think I’m kind of happy knowing that I will have spent my time on earth without ever having created an “ism”.

  101. 101
    Lizzy L says:

    @greennotGreen: Here’s a link for you. During this session, the Senate Democrats brought up various pieces of the ACA, including the no pre-existing conditions clause and the keep-your-kids-on-your-insurance-until-they-turn-26 clause, and asked the Republicans to vote in favor of retaining those in the “replacement.” The Republicans turned every one of those down.


  102. 102
    Peale says:

    @Lizzy L: There will be no “replacement.” Sorry, but repeal is what we’ll get.

  103. 103
    SgrAstar says:

    @Yoda Dog Democrat:

    there will probably be many, many more marches and protests to show her in the near future.

    I was a field organizer during the 2008 Obama campaign. I arranged for my 9 year old nephew to come to the final rally of the campaign with his mom. He got to do a little campaigning – knocking on doors, dropping off literature- but the best, best, BEST thing of all was him getting to meet and be hugged by Barack and Michelle. He’s in college now and I think that experience was one of the most profound experiences of his young life. bringing the yoof to rallies is super important, but best if they’re old enough to get something out of it. :)

  104. 104
    Lizzy L says:

    @Yoda Dog Democrat: I strongly recommend you not bring a two-year old.

  105. 105
    Lizzy L says:

    @Peale: I know. It stinks, of course. I have a good friend who is being kept alive because he was able to get on expanded MediCal. Prior to that he had no care. He has multiple medical conditions which disqualify him for traditional insurance. Because he’s in CA, he may be able to keep his care. I don’t know. Nobody knows. And God only knows what people in less friendly states are going to do. A significant number of them, many of them T voters, don’t know that “Obamacare,” which they hate, IS the ACA. When the ACA is repealed and nothing is put in its place, there’s a chance — I think, a good chance — that the s*** hits the fan, as the many, many people who got actual medical care (some for the first time in their lives) by signing up for the ACA realize what has happened.

    F*** the Republicans for putting us all through this.

  106. 106
    J R in WV says:


    Larkspurism: A philosophy revolving around sweet dogs, flowers, celebrating spring all year, and loving the fellow creatures on the Earth. Named for a raging jackal posting to Balloon-Juice threads who also likes dogs, flowers, spring, and many fellow beings, very, very much.



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