Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust

Time was, you had one person write the music and another person write the lyrics and then another person sang the song. It worked well! Then the Beatles came along, and they did everything, and after that everyone had to do everything. That’s the thesis of an article I read in New York Times magazine 15 years ago, so it’s probably not true but I like the story.

Of course it’s more complicated than that because during the 80s and 90s sometimes you had one group of people sing the songs and then another group of better looking people dance on stage while pretending to sing the songs. That didn’t always work out quite so well, but now fortunately we have autotune so good-looking people can perform as musicians without fear of being unmasked as impostors.

In politics, if you look at successful bills like ACA, what happened was you had one group of policy people write the bill, then another group of people (Pelosi and Reid) round up the votes for the bill, and then a more charismatic, better-looking person (Obama) sell the bill to voters. Maybe it could have been written better and sold better but the goddamn thing passed for Christ’s sake.

That brings me to the topic of Paul Ryan. The media made Paul Ryan into the Beatles of politics. He writes the bills, runs the House that passes the bills, and is the pretty face (or what passes for a pretty face in a profession rightly described as “show business for ugly people”) that sells the bills to the public. He’s the mop-topped wonk that stole America’s heart.

But let’s think about what just happened. Paul Ryan wrote a bill that was panned by policy experts. He bizarrely chose to schedule the vote for the bill before he knew he had the votes. He did such a bang up job of selling the bill to the public that a whopping 18% of the public supported the bill. Even the pundits are on to him now.

At least Milli Vanilli could dance.






155 replies
  1. 1
    danielx says:

    He’s the mop-topped wonk that stole America’s heart.

    He didn’t steal my heart.

    He’s a vacant-eyed douche rocket who has spent his whole life living on tax dollars and asks nothing better than taking tax dollars away from programs that benefit Those People.

  2. 2
    different-church-lady says:

    One problem with your analogy: THE BEATLES WERE GOOD MUSICIANS WHO WROTE GREAT SONGS!

  3. 3
    dr. bloor says:

    Did Milli Vanilli even lift, bro?

  4. 4
    WereBear says:

    I am all in favor of making our Press Corpse asskissing even more difficult by giving them worse and worse raw material.

    Wait, you mean that’s not the plan? Republicans ARE devolving?!?!?!

  5. 5
    Gindy51 says:

    @dr. bloor: They had way the fuck better legs that’s for sure…

  6. 6
    Pogonip says:

    I think Paul Ryan is rather creepy-looking, though I don’t hold that against him; he can’t help the face he was born with.

  7. 7
    Doug! says:

    @different-church-lady:

    That’s why the Ryanmania was phony

  8. 8
    Pogonip says:

    Could someone please tell Cole his tweet links to a post from 22 March.

    Cole, put that lady down and concentrate on your tweeting. (The idea of “concentrating on your tweeting” amuses me no end.)

  9. 9
    Ian G. says:

    @Pogonip: At least he doesn’t dye it orange, or make a ridiculous pout face like 7-year-old me did when my mother demanded I eat my broccoli when trying to look “serious”. I also doubt 70 year old Ryan, should he be going bald, would decide on a ludicrous golden comb-over to “hide” his baldness.

  10. 10
    different-church-lady says:

    @Doug!: Then he wasn’t the Beatles of politics: he was the “Next Beatles” of politics.

  11. 11
    Pogonip says:

    @Ian G.: I hope that by the time he’s 70 no one but his neighbors will see his face! I’d hate to think of him continuing to be re-elected. Members of the Ayn Rand cult seem able to do damage out of all proportion to their numbers.

  12. 12
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Ryan’s bill was a soap impression of a bill that Trump ate and donated to the National Trust

  13. 13
    germy says:

    @different-church-lady: Bay City Rollers of politics.

  14. 14
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    He writes the bills, runs the House that passes the bills, and is the pretty face (or what passes for a pretty face in a profession rightly described as “show business for ugly people”)

    I don’t know to what extent you can separate from his good enough looks, but the affect of boyish earnestness– “Jeepers, Mrs Cleaver I mean Greenspan, I’m just worried about deficits and stuff!”– counted for at least as much. And the whole workout bro thing was his version of Bush’s nicknames, he spoke to some left over high school insecurity in people like David Gregory. I always say John Kasich was Paul Ryan back when Paul Ryan was finishing the first chapter of Atlas Shrugged for the first time, but even twenty years ago Kasich was kind of a prickly prick who came across like a young Keebler Elf on his ruhmspringe (sp?), also he was part of the Gingrich/Dole crowd that kind of got swamped by the Clenis.

    Even the pundits are on to him now.

    I don’t know this guy, but I’d be surprised if Ryan doesn’t get some “he’s so EARNEST!” love from and MSMer when this Sunday morning comes down

  15. 15

    @danielx:

    programs that benefit Those People.

    I will give Ryan credit… for being even more evil than his peers. Trump’s rise may have proven just how overwhelmingly racism drives the Republican Party, but Paul Ryan is a special breed. He is a true Randian. He cares barely a fig for race, creed, color, or sex. He just plain wants the weak to suffer and die for the pleasure of the strong.

  16. 16
    germy says:

    “I write the bills that make the whole world cringe…”

  17. 17
    slag says:

    President Barack Obama, visiting a Republican retreat in 2010 to call for interparty cooperation, praised Ryan’s work on the budget as “serious” and “entirely legitimate.”

    OK. I can’t possibly be the only one who LOLed at this. “Serious” and “entirely legitimate”. High praise indeed!

    Seriously, people, just keep working to rewrite history so you don’t have to see your role in creating the present. Sad.

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @different-church-lady: @germy: Hey! Hey! He’s the Monkees? He was Davy, Cantor was Mickey, McCarthy was Peter?

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Mike in NC says:

    In a better world Paul Ryan wouldn’t be Speaker of the US House of Representatives. He’d be living on the street begging for nickels and having to fight somebody every night who was trying to steal his shoes.

  21. 21
    jl says:

    Well, powerpoint didn’t come through for him for his big sales pitch to the public.
    We need a mashup of his pie chart and his explanation of what is wrong with the PPACA, Obama decided healthy people would pay for the sick people’s care. That would be followed by cilps of pundits and comics and late night talk show hosts exclaiming “But… that’s how insurance works!”.

  22. 22
    germy says:

    @Hunter Gathers: He looks like a lizard on a windowpane.

  23. 23
    George Spiggott says:

    Shoot That Poison Arrow , Doug

  24. 24
    germy says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: If only he’d picked up a P.G. Wodehouse book instead of Atlas Shrooged.

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    FWIW, given the last line, I would have gone with “Gotta blame it on something”.

  26. 26
    dr. bloor says:

    @slag: Wasn’t that the same retreat where he basically spent the rest of the afternoon pantsing the entire Republican caucus and exposing them as being morally bankrupt?

  27. 27
    jl says:

    Ryan had a little low key tantrum when Trump said he would work with moderate Democrats if the Freedom Caucus remained intransigent.
    Pundits may have turned on Ryan because he said the forbidden and committed a Kinsley gaffe.

  28. 28
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mike in NC: Even in this one he oughta be working for his cousins at Ryan Int’l, where everybody knows he’s a pity hire, and he knows everybody knows

  29. 29
    Doug! says:

    @Baud:

    I thought about that but I’m just too big a Clash fan to pass London Calling up.

  30. 30
    jl says:

    BTW, I think Ryan would make a great sad hobo clown.
    So, if the politics thing don’t work for him anymore, he can always run away to the circus.

  31. 31
    George Spiggott says:

    Hell, Ryan’s not even the Pre-Fab Four

  32. 32
    Waldo says:

    If Ryan is the Beatles, Trump is bloated, late-career Elvis.

    So there’s hope.

  33. 33
    Roger Moore says:

    He’s the mop-topped wonk that stole America’s heart.

    And ate it with a side of fava beans and a nice Chianti.

  34. 34
    Turgidson says:

    @slag:

    Obama did have some part to play in Ryan’s profile being elevated early in his first term. Obama did praise ZEGS for having ideas. But I don’t think Obama was ever anywhere near as duped as the punditry was about what those ideas were. Paul Ryan was pretty much the only Republican in Washington who was even pretending to try to generate ideas to compete with Obama’s agenda. But Obama always saw Ryan’s ideas as the Ayn Randian selfishness and cruelty they were. It was the pundits, including plenty who really should have known better, who were conned into thinking Ryan was sincere about anything other than wanting to punish the poors or had any ideas that didn’t pass the laugh test or the “this guy needs a swift punch in the face for being a cruel asshole” test.

    The TrumpCare shitshow hopefully ripped the halo off Ryan for good, but I doubt it. He got a fair amount of well-deserved grief for his 2012 convention speech, which was a giant ball of easily refuted lies, and got some more when the supposedly dim-witted Joe Biden gave him an atomic wedgie in front of the whole nation at the VP debate. But after the election, he duped them all over again by pretending to care about poverty for a while and then issuing another disingenuous white paper about how government programs don’t work, which repeatedly misrepresented the work of people who actually did their homework on the issue. So I think they’ll get back in their comfort zone of worshiping the ZEGS as soon as this little embarrassment is in the rear view.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Roger Moore: Is there anybody who actually likes fava beans?

  37. 37
    jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    Good news that it is in the company paper. But I am not sure that Ehrenfreund is typical of pundits in Moscow-on-the-Potomac.

  38. 38
    p.a. says:

    Rethug party: The Rutles of politics. All You Need is Cash

  39. 39
    Mike J says:

    @slag:

    President Barack Obama, visiting a Republican retreat in 2010 to call for interparty cooperation, praised Ryan’s work on the budget as “serious” and “entirely legitimate.”

    Sometimes presidents say things they don’t mean to try to be nice to the opposition party when they want something from them. “Serious” and “entirely legitimate” mean the same as “no, those pants don’t make you look fat.”

  40. 40
    slag says:

    @dr. bloor: I do believe it was. But there were so many instances of that, it’s hard to keep them all the straight.

    Here’s what I see. Obama went to extreme effort to identify and articulate the good in people (to an unreasonable extreme IMHO). In that context, describing “serious” and “entirely legitimate” as praise from Obama is an egregious rewrite of history. Why do that? Maybe we should ask “Even the Liberal Washington Post”.

    Jake Tapper’s in the process of doing this with his war on Obama’s war on Faux News. It’s appalling how far these jokers will go to “both sides” every goddamn thing.

  41. 41
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mike in NC:

    He’d be living on the street begging for nickels and having to fight somebody every night who was trying to steal his shoes.

    He’d be living under an overpass roasting sparrows on a curtain rod, and pissed off that the black/brown/whatever family next to him had more sparrows and a nicer curtain rod.

  42. 42
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mike J:

    Sometimes presidents say things they don’t mean to try to be nice to the opposition party when they want something from them.

    Well, thank god those days are over.

  43. 43
    different-church-lady says:

    @Roger Moore: …and some other Republican would be trying to take away his curtain rod.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The vermin of the Village make for really shitty analogy makers.

    Wipe them out. All of them.

  45. 45
    smintheus says:

    I’m so old I remember when Chuck Berry died and we all reminisced about his music, which he composed and wrote the lyrics for.

  46. 46
    sdhays says:

    This is how it works at the state level – ALEC writes the bills, the legislature passes them, the governor says what great bills they are, and everyone yawns and goes to sleep. A real team effort…

    I’ve read that one of the central problems with AHCA process was that industry, while petulantly whining about this and that, doesn’t really have a bill that they want already shrink-wrapped and ready to bake, so the Republican morons in Congress had to try to do the job themselves for once. And that didn’t work out so well…

  47. 47
    sdhays says:

    @different-church-lady: I LOLed. :-)

  48. 48
    debbie says:

    @George Spiggott:

    No, I’ll save mine for the Salt of the Earth.

  49. 49
    Pogonip says:

    @Roger Moore: *chortle*. You win!

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @different-church-lady: Hell, he wasn’t even the Monkees of politics. Because Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith started out as musicians.

  51. 51
    Chet Murthy says:

    deleted by author due to repetitiousness.

  52. 52

    Off the subject, but a bunch of Babyman voters gave Babyman a grade on his first two months. You’ll be shocked to learn that out of six of them, five gave him an A. The other tool gave him a B. One guy said, when it was pointed out that Babyman hasn’t done anything in his first two months, something along the lines of, “Well, yeah, but it’s only been two months. You can’t get anything done in your first two months. Who gets anything done in the first two months?”

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @slag: Forget it, Slag. It’s the Village.

  54. 54

    Another tool was whining about how millions of people voted illegally last year, and he saw busloads of them in New Hampshire. Paraphrasing: “Yeah, I saw busloads and busloads of out of state people voting in New Hampshire, by which I don’t mean that I personally saw busloads of people coming into New Hampshire, but I saw, well, I know somebody who saw busloads of people coming in to vote from Massachusetts, by which I mean that, yeah, I saw busloads of people come in from out of state, even though I didn’t see them personally, but I saw them.”

  55. 55
    Epicurus says:

    No parodies for me, I’m going right to the source:

    He’s a real nowhere man
    Sitting in his nowhere land
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

    It must have been so hard for him scraping through college on his Dad’s SS survivor benefits…I bet he cried every time he cashed the check.

  56. 56
    chopper says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    oh for fuck’s sake with these people.

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    Who gets anything done in the first two months?”

    Well, not even bothering to go back to FDR, who established the “First Hundred Days” meme, that blah guy did plenty in his first two months.

    OK, so did Orange guy if you count two attempts at a “Muslim ban” that was not a “Muslim ban” but the courts said “Um, yep, Muslim ban, and unconstitutional, dumbass”.

  58. 58
    Pogonip says:

    I just barely remember real Beatlemania.

  59. 59
    chopper says:

    phony beatlemania has bitten the dust

    clash rules everything around me.

  60. 60
    Corner Stone says:

    FLYNN! FLYNN! FLYNN!

  61. 61
    🌷 Martin says:

    But let’s think about what just happened. Paul Ryan wrote a bill that was panned by policy experts. He bizarrely chose to schedule the vote for the bill before he knew he had the votes. He did such a bang up job of selling the bill to the public that a whopping 18% of the public supported the bill. Even the pundits are on to him now.

    Well, Ryan’s problem is that he wanted a referendum on how to pay for healthcare, not one on whether citizens were entitled to healthcare. Most of the media seemed to miss that dynamic as well and a lot of the Republicans he lost he lost because they had come to terms with the entitlement. Trump wasn’t even aware of who was on the field, he just wanted the guys in the red uniforms to win.

    What happens next will be fascinating. It’s now clear to all except probably Ryan and the Freedom Caucus that universal healthcare is here to stay, and in the various schemes to pay for it, the ACA is the most right-leaning position. If Price and Trump and Ryan death spiral the ACA, the public will demand something that looks more and more like single payer. Republicans will start to wake up to this reality (some already have) and the real divisions will start. That Ryan shows no awareness whatsoever toward this dynamic is sort of amazing. It’s not that his policy ideas were necessarily bad in their details (they were, but that was immaterial), it’s that he missed the point of the exercise entirely as far as the public was concerned.

  62. 62
    slag says:

    @Mike J: Luckily, thanks to those who never learn, we apparently get to relive the entire ACA debate in perpetuity. I remember that “praise”, which struck me as, literally, the very least Obama could say about his GOP colleagues at the time.

    Like, I wonder what Obama would have had to say to convince Max Ehrenfreund that he may have been just a teeny bit underwhelmed with Ryan’s efforts. And would it have required air quotes or maybe a hearty guffaw?

  63. 63
    debbie says:

    He bizarrely chose to schedule the vote for the bill before he knew he had the votes.

    Bizarre or overly self-confident? He was purely interested in sticking it to Obama by killing ACA on the exact anniversary of its enactment. Ryan totally lost sight of the goal and instead focused on the gotcha moment. It was so avoidable; it’s not like he didn’t have 7 years to rewrite the damn thing.

  64. 64
    Roger Moore says:

    @sdhays:

    I’ve read that one of the central problems with AHCA process was that industry, while petulantly whining about this and that, doesn’t really have a bill that they want already shrink-wrapped and ready to bake

    But that reflects the same basic problem the Republicans had writing their own: nobody can agree on what the replacement for Obamacare ought to look like. Everyone has their own complaint about it, but many of those complaints contradict each other. It’s not like, say, air pollution regulations, where the polluters have a dominant interest in getting stuff repealed while the benefits of low pollution are spread widely but thinly. Anyone change in Obamacare that produces a big winner produces another big loser, so it’s really hard to come up with something everyone can get along with.

  65. 65
    shmendrik says:

    The media made Paul Ryan into the Beatles of politics.

    Even the pundits are on to him now.

    This just confirms my long-standing belief that reading Paul Krugman puts you about 4-5 years ahead of media conventional wisdom.

  66. 66
    HeleninEire says:

    Wonkette non-commenters are reporting that the WSJ is reporting that Flynn has offered to testify for immunity. Rut Roh.

    https://twitter.com/WSJ/status/847576806307897348

  67. 67
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @HeleninEire: Michael Howard Saul‏
    @ MichaelHwrdSaul
    News on WSJ: Mike Flynn agrees to testify if he’s given immunity.

    IANAL, but I’m guessing that Flynn has talked to one, and I don’t think you ask for immunity if you don’t think you did something illegal. Just spitballing here.

  68. 68
    zhena gogolia says:

    @HeleninEire:

    Give that man immunity stat.

  69. 69
    Baud says:

    @zhena gogolia: I don’t know. I’m afraid of getting hoodwinked

  70. 70
    dmsilev says:

    @HeleninEire: If nothing else, Twitler’s reaction should be …interesting.

  71. 71
    Baud says:

    Remember when it was a big deal that Hillary’s low level tech guy took the Fifth.

  72. 72
    debbie says:

    @Baud:

    I’d be leery if this was before the House committee, but okay with it if it was the Senate committee.

  73. 73
    lollipopguild says:

    @🌷 Martin: Ryan’s intent since the start is to kill the ACA dead and free up tons of money for his owners. This is his “you had one job to do”.

  74. 74
    Baud says:

    @debbie: Right. I’m going to just have to see how the Dems react.

  75. 75
    Mike J says:

    First to flip gets the best deal.

  76. 76
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Baud:

    You think he’s going to lie? Wouldn’t he be afraid the intelligence would contradict his story?

  77. 77
    ThresherK says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: How about The Archies?

  78. 78
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Mike J: First to flip gets a Presidential pardon. Second to flip, gets a Presidential pardon. Pardons all around! Pardons all around!

  79. 79
    dmsilev says:

    @Baud: Well, that’s because Her Emails ™ were more important than the Pentagon Papers, the records of the Iran-Contra affair, and that treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence put together.

  80. 80
    Baud says:

    @zhena gogolia: I don’t know. I don’t have enough facts. I’m just generally concerned about giving out benefits like immunity. Who knows what Flynn did?

  81. 81
    dmsilev says:

    @Chet Murthy: Except that to get a pardon, you first have to be tried and convicted of a crime.

  82. 82
    Baud says:

    @Chet Murthy: Maybe. The thing about pardons is that it takes away any legal excuse not to be required to testify.

  83. 83
    MomSense says:

    Wow. This is unbelievable. I wish we weren’t living through this nightmare but damn if we all survive this we will have some good stories to tell.

  84. 84
    Roger Moore says:

    @debbie:

    Bizarre or overly self-confident?

    I think it was more a question of “now or never”, or possibly a hope that the complaints about the bill were just a bunch of kabuki and everyone would fall in line when it came time to vote on it. The fundamental problem, though, was that the bill was awful, and that became more and more obvious the longer people looked at it. If he had his way and managed to push it through with an overnight markup and a vote the next day, he might have succeeded in jamming it through on pure party allegiance. But once it got delayed for a CBO score and opposition had a chance to organize, he was in trouble. Delaying to try to whip more votes was a sure loser, since he was losing votes faster than he could whip them.

  85. 85
    Baud says:

    @dmsilev: Not true. Carter pardoned the draft dodgers.

  86. 86
    Turgidson says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    I’m not sure if this is given Ryan more or less credit than you are, but I think he did understand that dynamic, albeit extremely reluctantly. I think that explains why his first draft of the bill still had much of the ACA’s structure and most of its regulations intact, just built out of matchsticks on a pile of sand and with all of the government support taken away and returned to the rich, who are and always were the rightful owners of that money in Ryan’s pee brain. But he wanted the bill to have a fig leaf of at least looking like it was making health care available to everyone. Thus, “access” became the Luntz-tested buzzword they used to obfuscate the fact that 20+ million people would lose their insurance. Everyone would have “access” to health care just like I have “access” to buying a private jet.

    But it was totally transparent bullshit all along – even the right-leaning “wonk” frauds, who I imagine wanted desperately for Ryan’s bill to be something they could stand and applaud – were basically unanimous in calling it a piece of shit. Then the CBO dropped the 24 million uninsured bomb, and Ryan’s attempts to lie about it were pathetic even by his standards. And that was all BEFORE he started removing the last vestiges of good policy out of the bill to get the Freedumb Cockless dipshits on board.

    Ryan seemed to think he could draft a bill the same way he conned stupid pundits into thinking he is a sincere, well-meaning wonk-talking-guy. Lie or obfuscate about the cruelty his bill would unleash, sprinkle in some happy talk about “patient-centered” arglebargle and “choice” and “freedumb,” lie about Obamacare, and presto-change-o, his repeal bill would sail through.

    Fortunately for the country, he was spectacularly wrong about that.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Baud: Didn’t work that way w/Weinberger et al & GHWB. GHWB basically pardoned himself, by pardoning his most senior co-conspirators:

    http://www.nytimes.com/books/9.....ardon.html

    But in a single stroke, Mr. Bush swept away one conviction, three guilty pleas and two pending cases, virtually decapitating what was left of Mr. Walsh’s effort, which began in 1986

  89. 89
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    First to flip gets a Presidential pardon. Second to flip, gets a Presidential pardon. Pardons all around! Pardons all around!

    Pardons are not going to help matters for trump. Someone who has been pardoned no longer has to worry about self-incrimination, so they can’t plead the 5th, but they can be jailed for contempt for refusing to testify or prosecuted for perjury if they lie.

  90. 90
    debbie says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Then Ryan’s an even bigger idiot. He’s now tarred with a reputation as an amateur fool who thought he could cobble something together in 17 days. Like I said, he had 7 years to craft something.

    I’m wondering how much of the bill was written by ALEC. If any, then they need to be run out of town.

  91. 91
    Mike J says:

    If Flynn gets a pardon, you can compel testimony and he can’t take the fifth. A pardon is the last thing he’ll get.

    More likely Trump & Putin will have him killed.

  92. 92
    Baud says:

    @Mike J: Maybe they’ll hire Hillary to do it. She has experience.

  93. 93
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @germy:

    If only he’d picked up a P.G. Wodehouse book instead of Atlas Shrooged.

    “Who is Bertie Wooster?”

  94. 94
    Mike J says:

    Would love to read that proffer letter.

  95. 95
    SatanicPanic says:

    @HeleninEire: that sounds important.

  96. 96
    cmorenc says:

    Any attempted analogy between Paul Ryan and the Beatles immediately runs aground on the shoals of the much closer analogy between Paul Ryan and Eddie Haskell.

  97. 97
    hovercraft says:

    WSJ: Flynn Says He’s Willing To Testify In Exchange For Immunity Deal

    President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on Thursday told the FBI and members of Congress that he is willing to be interviewed in exchange for a grant of immunity, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    Flynn made the offer to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the FBI via his lawyer but has not succeeded in striking a bargain, according to the Wall Street Journal report, which cited unnamed officials with knowledge of the matter.

    Robert Kelner, who is Flynn’s attorney, declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal.

    The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are in the midst of separate ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Flynn resigned as national security advisor in February after reports revealed that he spoke about Obama-era sanctions in a call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before President Donald Trump’s inauguration. This contradicted members of Trump’s administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, who previously denied that Flynn and Kislyak discussed sanctions.

    According to a report by the Washington Post published later the same week, Flynn also denied in an interview with the FBI that he discussed sanctions with Kislyak.

    Trump said at the time that he did not direct Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak, but would have encouraged it.

    In March, the White House confirmed that, in addition to that call, Flynn met with Kislyak for about 20 minutes at Trump Tower in December.

    Less than a week later, Flynn registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for $530,000 worth of lobbying work he did before the 2016 election that “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.”

  98. 98
    Baud says:

    FWIW, I too will be happy to testify in exchange for immunity.

  99. 99
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MomSense: Our children and grandchildren will have their own equivalent to Watergate stories to tell their children and grandchildren!

  100. 100
    Pogonip says:

    @cmorenc: I don’t remember Eddie; I have never seen Leave It to Beaver or Donna Reed. My family must have been watching opposing channels.

  101. 101

    What is so great about the Beatles, anyway?

  102. 102
    JPL says:

    Wow.. The local Atlanta news is amazing. There was a fire that started under the major highway from Atlanta to burbs north and part of the highway collapsed.

  103. 103
    Barry says:

    @dmsilev: “Except that to get a pardon, you first have to be tried and convicted of a crime.”

    No. See Bush I’s Iran-Contra pardons.

  104. 104
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cmorenc: WIN!

  105. 105
    dmsilev says:

    @Barry: Mea culpa. Somehow I had blocked that bit of Republican glory from my memory.

  106. 106
    waysel says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Are you tryin’ to start something here?

  107. 107
    Shalimar says:

    I do not think it was bizarre for Ryan to schedule the vote (twice) before he had enough votes. The Freedom Caucus kept refusing to vote for the bill regardless of how much Ryan and Trump compromised. A deadline was the only leverage Ryan had left. As it turns out, there was nothing they would have voted for short of burning Obamacare recipients at the stake on the White House lawn, forcing Ryan to pull the bill before he was humiliated by the vote.

    Now he knows what kind of insanity he is dealing with. Yes, he should have known already from Boehner’s experiences.

  108. 108
    dmsilev says:

    @Baud: Immunity from what, though? Would you testify in exchange for a free flu vaccine shot?

  109. 109
    Baud says:

    @dmsilev: I know what I did.

  110. 110
    Mike in DC says:

    @hovercraft:

    Well I guess MSNBC just shitcanned their prepared segments tonight.

  111. 111
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao Ayn Rand
    You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

  112. 112

    @Baud: Ford pardoned Nixon.

  113. 113

    The Hindi film industry model is different than music business over here. People who sing, have great voices, they are playback singers, actors onscreen lip-sync, the music composer and the lyricist are usually all different people too. Why does one person have to do everything?

  114. 114
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Thank God that ended our long national nightmare.

  115. 115
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    The media made Paul Ryan into the Beatles of politics.

    The Beatles of politics? hardly… maybe the Rutles but then Eric idle was a truly talented and funny man and Paul Ryan possesses neither of those qualities…

    What was Frank Zappa’s parody of the Beatles… We’re Only On For the Money?

    That somehow seems the closest to home yet for Ryan…

    Btw… when I first read that line, I threw up in my mouth a little…

  116. 116
    Pogonip says:

    CNN says a portion of I-85 in Atlanta has “collapsed in flames.”😧

  117. 117
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev: Hence my ongoing obsession with Ms. Greenspan.

  118. 118
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    “Dead men don’t need immunity” ~ Vladimir Putin

  119. 119
    hovercraft says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    The original sin.

  120. 120
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @schrodingers_cat: We got acclimated to the “Singer-Songwriter” meme in the 60’s, and it’s kinda stuck in Rock n’ Roll zeitgeist. Elvis was less of an artist because he only sang and played, he didn’t write.

    Of course, so much of the Beatles’ early success was based on covering Chuck Berry, etc., which people tend to forget, bigly, because of the fabulous success of Lennon/McCartney in the years that followed.

    What this also gave us was writers who previously did not perform, like Carole King and Neil Diamond, for however that floats your boat.

  121. 121

    Paul Ryan is a stupid person’s idea of an intelligent person, to paraphrase Krugthulu. Why compare him to any musician, at best is a con artist.

  122. 122
    JPL says:

    @Pogonip: Yup watched it on local news. So much shit happening major highway collapses, Nunes and now Flynn

  123. 123
    Pogonip says:

    @JPL: Oops, just saw this.

    None of the other big news networks besides CNN are reporting this, so far. Maybe they really do think flyover country is irrelevant.

  124. 124
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @hovercraft: Led directly to Iran-Contra and other examples of no one being held responsible for massive fuckups, unless they were named Bill Clinton and the fuckup was a blow job.

  125. 125
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Pogonip: So is the Trump Administration apparently…

  126. 126
    hovercraft says:

    So was Twitler trying to get ahead of this with his tweets?

    Trump Goes After House Freedom Caucus Members By Name: ‘Get On Board’

    Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    Great op-ed from @RepKenBuck. Looks like some in the Freedom Caucus are helping me end #Obamacare. http://thehill.com/blogs/congr.....rting-ahca
    5:17 PM – 30 Mar 2017

    3,117 3,117 Retweets 13,342 13,342 likes

    Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform.
    5:20 PM – 30 Mar 2017
    3,486 3,486 Retweets 15,317 15,317 likes

    Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
    Where are @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador?#RepealANDReplace #Obamacare
    5:21 PM – 30 Mar 2017
    2,801 2,801 Retweets 12,440 12,440 likes

  127. 127
    Turgidson says:

    @Shalimar:

    Pretty sure the ZEGS believed his own hype. That he was uniquely able to bring the GOP along with whatever he told them to do. And I can’t entirely blame him for believing that, since that’s what Boehner told him to get him to take the job in the first place, and since the party had dutifully voted for all of his atrocities dressed up as budgets. But he thought all those votes for his “Path to Dystopia” budgets were true predictors of how the party would vote when they actually had the power to pass laws a president would sign. The same group of less-batshit Republicans (I won’t call any of them actual moderates, other than maybe Dent) who were terrified of voting for the AHCA when the time came would have run for the hills rather than vote for ZEGS’ “budgets” if they had any chance of becoming law and impoverishing half the people in their districts. But Paulie Boy thought all those unified fake votes meant he was behind them for votes that weren’t fake. How silly of him.

  128. 128
    smintheus says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Beatles songs remind me of nothing so much as the houses I saw by the thousands in Quebec province: perfectly ordinary, mostly cookie-cutter houses – except that every last one had attached to it, like a barnacle, some gratuitous and monstrously garish thing to make it distinctive. Those things were always not only aesthetically ugly, they were also pointless and rarely had anything do with the house as a house. Beatles songs are like that. There’s always some dumb, usually jarring, thing they did to draw attention to how clever they were; it never grew out of the song or had any aesthetic sense.

  129. 129
    jacy says:

    @germy:

    Gosh, if you only knew how many Tiger Beat posters I had of the Bay City Rollers when I was 11…….

  130. 130

    @Villago Delenda Est: Not true. While the Beatles did cover the standards on their early albums, their hits were pretty much all self written.

  131. 131

    @schrodingers_cat: Probably the first western pop group to incorporate Indian instruments into their music.

  132. 132
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @jacy: I’m not a huge Mike Meyers fan, but the scene in that movie where he’s the Scottish dad marching along, with bagpipe, to S. A. T. U. R. etc cracked me the fuck up

  133. 133
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    @Pogonip: don’t forget CNN is based out of Atlanta.

  134. 134
    moops says:

    @Mike J: Would there be a proffer letter?

  135. 135
    Nicole says:

    First of all, I’m still angry that Milli Vanilli beat The Indigo Girls for Best New Artist of 1989. They also beat Neneh Cherry and Fine Young Cannibals, as I recall. In other news, I hold grudges.

    Second, I remember that NY Times article. Here’s a link. It was about the decline of the great Song Standard, and kind of blamed the Beatles for a bit of it- songs got associated with the first person/band to record them and didn’t develop a life of their own. Great article. I remember reading it backstage when I was in my early 20s, doing a production of “Of Mice and Men,” in scenic Ellenville, NY.

    Third of all, there are still plenty of great songwriters not recording their own music. Although most of them are that guy in Sweden- the one who’s written everything from “The Sign” to “Blank Space,” including “Hit Me Baby (One More Time)”- which is a great pop song and I will cut anyone who says otherwise. It may be associated forever with Britney Spears, but Fountains of Wayne did a great version of it.

    Fourth, it’s satisfying to finally see Ryan getting the kind of attention he deserves. I remember my Republican sister-in-law praising him years ago and I wanted to weep. BECAUSE HE’S JUST NOT SMART.

  136. 136

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:I like the songs from their psychedelic-Indian phase the least.

  137. 137
    Roger Moore says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Why does one person have to do everything?

    Plenty of musicians don’t. In most pop music, the singer is just the front man/woman for a bunch of studio musicians playing music by a team of professional songwriters. But most of those pop singers will be casually discarded by their labels the moment the shine comes off their careers. Anyone who wants staying power has to have more control over the music, which means writing their own.

    IIRC, there’s also an economic issue related to royalties. Going back to the days when most performers were playing somebody else’s music, royalties are split between the performer(s) and the writer(s). Record companies will typically give the performers an advance against their royalties that is intended to pay for producing the record. If the actual royalties don’t match the advance, the performers actually wind up in debt to the record company. The companies have naturally figured out how to exploit this. In contrast, the writers’ royalties don’t get an advance and can’t get the writer in debt to the record company. Very importantly, they also get treated separately from performers’ royalties, so writer/performers continue to get their writer’s royalties even if they’re still in debt over their performer’s advances. IOW, writing your own music is the only way to beat the record companies’ system for keeping performers in perpetual debt.

  138. 138
    efgoldman says:

    @dmsilev:

    you first have to be tried and convicted of a crime.

    No you don’t. Ford pardoned Tricksie Dicksie Nixie pre-emptively.

  139. 139
    germy says:

    @Nicole:

    It was about the decline of the great Song Standard, and kind of blamed the Beatles for a bit of it- songs got associated with the first person/band to record them and didn’t develop a life of their own.

    But Beatle songs have been covered so many times, and by so many different artists. I mean, Ella Fitzgerald sang “Savoy Truffle” (a George Harrison song) and her version is gorgeous.

  140. 140
    ThresherK says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: From the book “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” I remember an anecdote about Goffin and King going to a concert (perhaps Beatles, certainly singer-songwriter British invasion), and coming away very scared, sensing that a tide was turning.

    Good book. Really worth the time now that one can hear almost anything in the rock era online.

  141. 141
    germy says:

    @ThresherK: Funny thing is, Lennon/McCartney loved Goffin/King songs, and were inspired by their partnership.

  142. 142
    waysel says:

    @germy: Yesterday and Something in the Way She Moves have been recorded extensively by other artists.

  143. 143
    Nicole says:

    @germy: Right, but the songs themselves are still, in the collective consciousness, Beatles songs. “Yesterday” is the single most covered song in history, I believe, but if someone asked you, “Who did ‘Yesterday,’?” you’d say, “The Beatles” (or maybe “Paul McCartney,” but that’s fine as he’s the one who wrote it).

    As opposed to, say, “The Lady Is a Tramp,” which is a Rodgers and Hart song from a musical called “Babes in Arms,” that, in fact, is supposed to be sung by a woman. DIdn’t stop Frank Sinatra from putting his own stamp on it. As the article says, many, many of the great standards prior to the 1960s came from musicals. A standard is a song that becomes independent of the creator of it, and the Beatles songs are still inextricably linked with the Beatles, as are a lot of pop songs now- they are linked with the first artist to record them.

  144. 144
    hilts says:

    The media made Paul Ryan into the Beatles of politics.

    In reality, Paul Ryan is more like The Knack of politics.

  145. 145
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @hilts: Doug Fieger libelz!

  146. 146
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @schrodingers_cat: They sparked a revolution in Western European/North American pop music. You may not care, but others do.

  147. 147
    Shana says:

    @germy: Ah how different the world might be if he’d read Wodehouse.

    BTW, in case you’re interested, The Wodehouse Society is holding its biannual (every two years) convention the weekend of October 20-22 in DC. Check the web site wodehouse.org for info.

  148. 148
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shana: Did you ever find the speaker you were looking for?

  149. 149
    Shana says:

    No I didn’t. And by the time the election was over and people might conceivably been able to respond to my requests, the speaker list was filled. Oh well. It’ll still be fun. Michael Dirda of the WaPo, and both a Wodehousian and a Sherlockian, will be speaking. Alas, no bread roll throwing at the banquet.

  150. 150
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shana: It is too close to my mom’s b-day to go. Otherwise, I would volunteer to throw bread rolls.

  151. 151
    Doug! says:

    @Nicole:

    thanks for tracking down that article

  152. 152
    George Spiggott says:

    @jacy:

    Gosh, if you only knew how many Tiger Beat posters I had of the Bay City Rollers when I was 11…….

    Rollers Show

  153. 153
    jamfan says:

    Bite your tongue. Nobody is better looking than Harry Reid.

  154. 154
    George Spiggott says:

    @jacy:

    Gosh, if you only knew how many Tiger Beat posters I had of the Bay City Rollers when I was 11…….

    I’ll try this again:

    Rollers Show

  155. 155
    The Gray Adder says:

    No matter how much you try to polish a turd, it still smells like shit. Very shiny shit.

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