The Party of Immiseration

The Republican Party is phenomenon that Tony Soprano would have recognized instantly:  a bust-out operation, by individuals (looking at you, Bob Corker), and collectively, as the tool by which the hyper-wealthy secure yet more at the expense of everyone else, including the merely rich.

I think this crowd of jackals understands, but it hasn’t yet fully penetrated even that part of the media that does, more or less, get what’s going on, that the tax heist is merely the most obvious of scams.  Everything the GOP does, every policy choice and hidden little adminstrative manouver is another swing of the pick in the most American of extractive industries — the one that treats most Americans as ore to be mined.

This, on the coming elder crisis, is what brought this notion to the fore for me:

Why did women’s rush into the work force stop? …

Caring for children is, to be sure, a formidable barrier to women’s work. In developed countries where parental leave is guaranteed by law and governments ensure free child care, women work at a much higher rate than in the United States.

Still, the consensus is incomplete. It misses perhaps the most significant impediment to women’s continued engagement in the labor market, one that is getting tougher with each passing year: aging. Focused laserlike on child care, we haven’t noticed that the United States is walking into an elder-care crisis.

What are the consequences of this combination of demography and a gendered burden of care?

About a quarter of women 45 to 64 years old and one in seven of those 35 to 44 are caring for an older relative, according to the American Time Use Survey.

A 2015 survey by the insurer Genworth Financial found that caregivers spend about 20 hours a week providing care — about half what a full-time worker would spend at work. Almost four in five said they had missed work, and about one in 10 lost a job. One in six reported losing around one-third of income because of caring responsibilities.

Sean Fahle of the State University of New York at Buffalo and Kathleen McGarry of the University of California, Los Angeles, tracked women in their early 50s to their early 60s for 20 years. Those who provided care, they found, were 8 percent less likely to work. Those at work cut their hours and had lower wage growth. Over time, Professor McGarry told me, caregivers risked lower incomes and a higher risk of poverty in old age.

And the kicker:

Older Americans may be healthier than ever. Still, as they age, they will inevitably develop disabilities and chronic conditions like dementia. “If you are superwealthy and can afford all sorts of things, this is not an issue,” noted Lawrence F. Katz, a professor of economics at Harvard. “But if you are middle class, this tends to end with your relatives’ losing all of their assets and relying on Medicaid or family care.”

Which is to say: the combination of improvements in what medicine can do, the lack of a basic and humane social insurance system and safety net in the United States, and persistent gender roles means that women face disproportionate costs and constraints on their lives; are more likely to be poor as they age; and face the loss of their parents’ assets and ultimately their own to the extractive industry known as elder care.

This is the nub of Republican governing philosophy.  Those of us who are not oligarchs both pay more in our lifetimes and must leave our children and grandchildren with less cash, and hence chance, to make their own lives better.

It’s a system based on the continued extraction of capital from the bottom and middle to the top. The Republican Party’s stock in trade is immiseration, and it will continue to be as long as it is a wholly owned subsidiary of a small handful of those on top for whom the rest of us resemble nothing so much as West Virginia mountain tops.

Mere election annihilation is too good for them.  I’d take it though, though.

Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life: Old Age, 1839-40.

174 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Obligatory:

  2. 2
    ruemara says:

    Sadly, a lot of those olds voted for their immolation. I guess we’ll see how this all turns out in the next few years.

  3. 3
    Roger Moore says:

    Everything the GOP does, every policy choice and hidden little adminstrative manouver is another swing of the pick in the most American of extractive industries — the one that treats most Americans as ore to be mined.

    If they don’t watch out, they’re going to discover that middle class wealth is not an infinitely renewable resource. It’s actually more like ranching than like mining. If you’re a good steward of the land, you can keep grazing your livestock on the same land for generation after generation., e.g. sheep in Great Britain. If you’re careless, you can overgraze and ruin the land for grazing in just a few seasons, e.g. Iceland.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    debbie says:

    Is this the first time they’ve made the cuts temporary for the middle class? I think it might be, and if so, it’s fucking diabolical.

  6. 6
    Yarrow says:

    Saw this over on Andy Slavitt’s Twitter feed today:

    Oklahoma poised to cut off 20,000 disabled and elderly people from life-sustaining home care https://t.co/h4DS4TnCoP— Roqayah Chamseddine (@roqchams) December 19, 2017

    I think it’s going to take old people losing Medicaid and being thrown out of nursing homes to wake up the adult children who benefit from this program. And maybe we’ll all learn which states have filial responsibility laws, those laws that require children to care for their parents.

  7. 7
    p.a. says:

    I see this with those I know my age (58.5), and something more, not only financial: emotional disruption between siblings about “who helps more, who lives closer, who has no kids or kids on their own (and therefore should do more…” Not good family dynamics, on top of the financial issues.

  8. 8
    Van Buren says:

    @Yarrow: Props to Oklahoma for saving its less fortunate citizens from the horrors of Obamacare!

  9. 9
    Raoul says:

    The risk of returning to a feudalism of sorts isn’t zero in America. It won’t be land-based, per se, but will tie workers to low-wage dead ends in oligarchical, vertically integrated multinational companies so that the plutocrats can have their 7 global homes, private jets, and elite lifestyles.
    I’m not sure it’ll end well. But is seems that William Gibson and others were writing the sorf of future fiction that will start to come true.
    I hope I die before people live in “The Sprawl” and “Chiba City” in such dank, tiny desperation.

  10. 10
    Roger Moore says:

    @debbie:
    I think the goal is to leave a time bomb that blows up when the Democrats are in charge.

  11. 11
    Raoul says:

    @p.a.: My parents went through that 20+ years ago. My aunt harbored resentments for many years that my dad lived 100s (and at times 1000s) of miles from my grandparents, so he ‘got out of’ the responsibilities for them.
    How he helped was different, and in measurements of time certainly less. But he didn’t go galavanting off and refuse to participate. He made family and career choices that were different than my uncle’s family.

  12. 12
    debbie says:

    To see Speaker Ryan so giddy about cutting taxes for the wealthy while hurting the poor & sick—calling this a historic day—is like watching a doctor being happy that he’s about to intentionally do the wrong operation on a patient he claims to love.— Rev. Dr. Barber (@RevDrBarber) December 19, 2017

  13. 13
    Sab says:

    Welcome to my world. I’ve spent the last ten years caring for very old parents while my siblings scamper about the world. I have had to pass up a great job offer and two promotions as a result,and my siblings pop into town periodically to sneer at my current job, and criticize my eldercare choices. Grrr.

  14. 14
    Jeffro says:

    Speaking of annihilation is too good for them, here’s where we’re at in the right wing’s defend-Trumpov-at-all-costs dead-ender game plan: did y’all know the FBI might have been willing to ‘off’ PEOTUS? (no word on why they didn’t/haven’t, because logic…)

    And this was on Fox, no less (of course!)

    Buckle up!

  15. 15
    Yarrow says:

    Susan Collins slams press coverage of her tax vote as "unbelievably sexist," lamenting "stories after stories about how I’ve been duped."https://t.co/7MoqfaZInN— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) December 19, 2017

    She knows she’s screwing over her constituents and the rest of the country and everyone thinks she’s a liar. Pathetic that she’s resorting to calling factual press coverage of her actions “sexist.”

  16. 16
    Ryan says:

    “Everything the GOP does, every policy choice and hidden little adminstrative manouver is another swing of the pick in the most American of extractive industries — the one that treats most Americans as ore to be mined.”

    Though to be fair, you’re not considering Both Sides.

  17. 17
    piratedan says:

    sitting here watching Corker getting angry because of the pointed questions (from Wolf fucking Blitzer of all people) and having the thought of gee Bob, maybe if you had actually rode your principles into the vote instead of being bought off, maybe you wouldn’t be fielding these “difficult” questions… ya think?

  18. 18
    Yarrow says:

    Was this covered here? James Clapper calls Trump a Russian asset.

    Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: Vladimir Putin "knows how to handle an asset and that's what he's doing with the President" https://t.co/1bOnWU9hVI— CNN (@CNN) December 18, 2017

    The intelligence community knows what’s up with this traitorous administration, family and GOP. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

  19. 19
    Josie says:

    @Sab: I can relate to this. I was the one who made decisions and choices for my mother, who had dementia for years. I have two brothers who did help financially to a certain extent, but who stayed far away from care and decisions. One was blessedly supportive, but the other one second guessed me so much that I had to bite my tongue a few times. Unfortunately, as Tom relates, it is often the female sibling who gets stuck with the job.

  20. 20
    mai naem mobile says:

    @Sab: magically they’ll remember to come back when your parents pass away and there’s inheritance money to split. I worked with a woman who looked after her mother(Alzheimers) for several years. She sold her house and moved in with mom because it didn’t make sense to keep her home. Anyhow,when her mom died, her BIL (not even sister) told her during the ‘Wake’ that she had two weeks to move from her mom’s so that the house could be sold and the money split with the sister and BIL who didn’t help at all looking after the mom.

  21. 21
    Barbara says:

    I feel like I am too hardhearted to comment dispassionately. I take guidance from my ultra-liberal 82 year old mother, who told me to stop worrying about old people and vote for future generations. Death takes us all and it’s hard to know what to wish for when it comes to dying, but claims on the future have to be tempered, even if those claims are coming from our parents. My family wasn’t terribly close when I was growing up and my father was an emotional black hole. Maybe that made it easier for me to walk free. I am nearly old enough for Medicare — closer to 70 than 40. There is not going to be an easy answer here, and even when services are available, I can tell you that many elderly people will still make demands on their children that are unreasonable.

  22. 22
    TenguPhule says:

    @Yarrow:

    Pathetic that she’s resorting to calling factual press coverage of her actions “sexist.”

    To be fair, it is true the coverage is sexist.

    If she wasn’t a woman, they’d be calling her a fucking liar and a corporate whore.

  23. 23
    chris says:

    I read the UN rapporteur’s report on poverty in the USA this morning and can’t stop thinking about it. Apologies if it’s been posted but it seems germane.

    It’s short, 20 minutes or so, and there’s so many things to quote. This is paragraph 2:

    2. My visit coincides with a dramatic change of direction in US policies relating to inequality and extreme poverty. The proposed tax reform package stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal society in the world, and will greatly increase the already high levels of wealth and income inequality between the richest 1% and the poorest 50% of Americans. The dramatic cuts in welfare, foreshadowed by the President and Speaker Ryan, and already beginning to be implemented by the administration, will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes. It is against this background that my report is presented.

  24. 24
    TenguPhule says:

    @Jeffro:

    Speaking of annihilation is too good for them, here’s where we’re at in the right wing’s defend-Trumpov-at-all-costs dead-ender game plan: did y’all know the FBI might have been willing to ‘off’ PEOTUS? (no word on why they didn’t/haven’t, because logic…)

    And this was on Fox, no less (of course!)

    But it would be uncivil to speak of domestic armed conflict.

  25. 25
    lowtechcyclist says:

    Everything the GOP does, every policy choice and hidden little adminstrative manouver is another swing of the pick in the most American of extractive industries — the one that treats most Americans as ore to be mined.

    That’s the truth. Nothing I can add to it. That’s what they are.

  26. 26
    TenguPhule says:

    @debbie:

    Is this the first time they’ve made the cuts temporary for the middle class?

    No, the Bush tax cuts worked the same way. Only all of them were temporary instead of being selective.

  27. 27
    Barbara says:

    @Yarrow: This is so funny. I have always known that Collins gets reelected because of her appeal to women in Maine, women who really want to see other women succeed. She never says anything out loud to this effect, but everyone knows it. Calling on feminists to save her from her own betrayal of her constituents just shows me that no, really, I have never underestimated her. She is who I always thought she was, the weakest and most dishonest member of the Senate. Even assholes like Cruz are better because he doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t.

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    @Barbara:

    Even assholes like Cruz are better because he doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t.

    Cruz started wearing glasses to pretend he was smarter then he looked. Just a friendly reminder.

  29. 29
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    House and Senate Republicans late last week unveiled a final tax-reform package that includes a controversial provision allowing a section of ANWR — which has been one of the highest-profile battlegrounds in the energy vs. environment debate since the 1970s — to be opened to oil exploration.

    All the “environmentalists” who said they couldn’t vote for Hitlery because they wanted to heighten the contradictions – congratulations.

  30. 30
    Barbara says:

    @TenguPhule: Tangential to the point I was making at best. If you are looking for the male equivalent to Susan Collins, try Marco Rubio or Ben Sasse, but neither of them matches Collins for duplicity to their constituents.

  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:

    @Yarrow:

    And maybe we’ll all learn which states have filial responsibility laws, those laws that require children to care for their parents.

    And the obvious final solution dreamed up by Republican voting children.

  32. 32
    Roger Moore says:

    @Raoul:

    I hope I die before people live in “The Sprawl” and “Chiba City” in such dank, tiny desperation.

    Try reading The Peripheral; it seems really frightening, especially after Trump. Supposedly the next book in the sequence, Agency, will be set in an alternative timeline where Hillary won the election.

  33. 33
    Mart says:

    I am pushing 60 and a guy I work with in his early 60’s has just had it with the AARP – a bunch of leftist nuts. I said that they were fighting for what we want now – affordable health care and strong social security. He said that AARP is secretly working to destroy both, and I should look into a conservative old folks organization if I wanted to have those things. They are out there, “AARP’s Obamacare stance cost the group about 300,000 members, many of whom affiliated with other senior groups. “We made an offer to anyone who cut their AARP card in half that we’d give them a year’s free membership,” says Randy Lewin, spokesman for the American Seniors Association, which bills itself as the “conservative alternative” to AARP. “We had to stop [the promotion] early. I had too many 55-gallon trash bags full of AARP cards cut in half.”

    One of the bullets against AARP is they were against strengthening SS in 2005! That was Bushes plan to destroy SS, that old people went nuclear over. My favorite part was the olds went nuclear even with the provision that the new rules would not apply if you were currently 55 or older. Doubt the tea partiers would squawk about a similar plan to screw them over nowadays. Just as long as the blahs get hurt.

  34. 34
    mai naem mobile says:

    I just don’t think Americans will understand how normal developed countries live because they don’t travel. It’s mostly the wealthy who have the $$$ to travel abroad anymore. Maybe if you’re in the Armed Forces. I meet plenty of people in AZ who haven’t even been to California forget Europe. Too easy to brainwash the public about super high taxes in ‘socialist’ countries and how awful socialized medicine is and how awful free or cheap university education is. Very depressing.

  35. 35
    eemom says:

    @TenguPhule:

    If she wasn’t a woman, they’d be calling her a fucking liar and a corporate whore.

    Oh dear. I’ve called her a fucking liar and hypocrite and whore of the plutocracy….does that count?

  36. 36
    TenguPhule says:

    @Barbara: He pretends to be something he’s not all the time, the difference between him and Collins is that his efforts were laughable and hers weren’t.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Yarrow:

    Tick tock, motherfuckers.

    This cannot be said too often.

    Tick tock, motherfuckers.

    Putting it in a quote box again, with bold italics, just for the pleasure it gives.

  38. 38
    TenguPhule says:

    @eemom: But you’re allowed to do that as part of the same gender.

    Our mostly male media still has to handle her with kiddy gloves.

  39. 39
    eemom says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I think that was Rick Perry.

  40. 40
    Josie says:

    @TenguPhule: Actually, I think that was Rick Perry.

    ETA: Oops, eemom beat me to it.

  41. 41
    Jeffro says:

    @Yarrow: Call an asset an asset, I say. Easy to sort through, media people and GOP congresspeople and heck, all the American people: pick anything Trumpov’s done, anything at all – is there even one instance of something he’s done to push back on Putin’s aggression, his hacking of our country’s election, his suborning of our representatives?

    No?

    Didn’t think so.

    #RussianAsset

  42. 42
    eemom says:

    @Barbara:

    Even assholes like Cruz are better because he doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t.

    Agreed. And it is not possible to hate Cruz more than I do.

    There’s just something EXPONENTIALLY evil about someone who is, and pretends not to be.

  43. 43
    Jeffro says:

    @Mart: The “…conservative alternative to the AARP”? Wow. That is some major-league audacity there. Do seniors have different interests in terms of taxes, health care, social security just because they’re of different parties? Does the ‘American Seniors Association’ think we should just tell the young to fuck off and die (or rather, fuck off and work harder to pay for rich folks’ vacation houses?)

    Wow.

    That sounds like an organization in need of some SERIOUS sunlight.

  44. 44
    MazeDancer says:

    My abusive monster mother, formerly a Southern Society Lady, has dementia. Through some trickery, got her moved from recovering from an ER visit, to a rehab facility, to a lovely, state-of-the-art Assisted Living facility, where her every need is met, she goes to interesting events and memory enrichment programs every day. She enjoys excellent food and and good times with others.

    It costs 8.5K a month. She is not rich, has some long term care insurance and Social Security, for which I am massively grateful. When she moves to Memory Care, it will be cheaper. Hoping she expires before her money does.

    Dealing with her bills, running all her affairs, talking to her caregivers is draining, exhausting, and relentless. Like millions of people who never had a real mother, don’t know what it is like to lose one. But can’t imagine how people deal with the emotional toll of losing their beloved parent to dementia on top of the physical and financial burdens.

    Women cannot keep dealing with this impossible task. “Family” cannot handle dementia.

    Also, US is not equipped to handle how many single Baby Boomers with dementia, who have no family to even attempt to handle the burden, there will be in 20 years.

  45. 45
    patrick II says:

    One law I would change for sure if I was the supreme commander of the U.S. is to change nursing care for older folks so there is not a means test for those at the end of their life to enter the program. For many middle income people it means spending your life savings and selling your home and leaving nothing as an inheritance after years of work and saving, meanwhile on the other side of the ledger, we have greatly lowered inheritance tax for the very rich.

    Life is a bitch as it is, we aren’t required to make it worse.

  46. 46
    TenguPhule says:

    @eemom: I am abashed and count myself corrected. So many assholes there and all of them start to look alike after awhile.

  47. 47
    TenguPhule says:

    @patrick II:

    we aren’t required to make it worse.

    I dunno, has anyone checked the official GOP manifesto lately? Pretty sure its there now.

  48. 48
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Yarrow: I mean, her being duped is the charitable interpretation.

    Either she went along with a horrible deal that isn’t going to get her what she wants because she’s a fool, or because she was using it as cover to lie to her constituents and pass a bill that will hurt them enormously. At this point, it’s pretty obviously door #2.

  49. 49
    TenguPhule says:

    @Barbara: I apologize for my error.

  50. 50
    Mart says:

    @Jeffro: You have not been paying attention. The commie AARP was started to get insurance for retired teachers. They started out helping TEACHERS – LEFTISTS ALL. From a comment where my google search took me, “AARP like many other so-called “Non-Profit” ‘orgs like PBS & NPR, are social fronts for the Democrat Party. In lieu of arresting & charging the execs & boards under RICO & IRS laws hey should all have their non-profit statuses revoked and their assets seized to pay back taxes to Uncle Sam.”

    Hope you see the light! (Also too, gotta love spelling out “Democrat” party.)

  51. 51
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mart:

    In lieu of arresting & charging the execs & boards under RICO & IRS laws hey should all have their non-profit statuses revoked and their assets seized to pay back taxes to Uncle Sam.

    Everything is fucking projection with them. EVERY FUCKING THING.

  52. 52
    Yarrow says:

    @Sab: @Josie: I have a friend in this situation. She’s got three siblings and all they do is yell at her about the choices she’s making for her elderly parent. They don’t contribute financially, offer to pitch in for holidays or anything. Just yell at her for her choices. It sucks.

    @Barbara: It really is pathetic, isn’t it? She’s being treated the same way the other hypocrites in the Senate are. Being called a liar. Being described as having been bought off. Pointing out she hasn’t read the bill and doesn’t know what’s in it. It’s not like she’s being treated any differently. Not sure how that makes the coverage sexist. Calling someone uninformed and a hypocrite isn’t a gendered observation.

  53. 53
    TenguPhule says:

    JFC, those stupid fucking Senate Democrats are planning to help pass another compromise spending bill.

    Democrats are backing away from a pledge to force a vote this month over the fate of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children, angering activists but likely averting the threat of a government shutdown at a critical moment in spending negotiations with Republicans and Trump.

    With a deadline of midnight Friday to pass spending legislation, dozens of Democrats had vowed to withhold support if Republicans refused allow a vote on a measure known as the Dream Act that would allow roughly 1.2 million immigrants to stay legally in the United States.

    But a group of vulnerable Democratic senators facing reelection in conservative states next year aren’t willing to go that far — meaning the party is unlikely to muster the votes to block the spending bill.

    “We’ve got to get it done, but I’m not drawing a line in the sand that it has to be this week versus two weeks from now,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who faces reelection next year in a state that Trump won by more than 18 points. Other Democrats facing similar head winds echoed that sentiment, including Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). Trump won those states by 42 and 19 percentage points, respectively.

    Tell me again why we don’t want to primary Manchin and his fellow merry idiots.

  54. 54
    Jeffro says:

    @Mart: I must have mis-worded something – I’m on your side, was just floored that something like the ASA even exists, much less claims to be helping and/or representing seniors’ interests.

  55. 55
    Sab says:

    Part of dementia is that you speak out loud stuff that should be just in your head. My dad used to discuss his issues about me with the cat.. I used to hear him bitching at the cat while the cat sat in his chair.

    Tonight he is talking with the cat in meows, not English. Very weird. They are just growling and meowing at each other

  56. 56
    frosty says:

    @MazeDancer:

    But can’t imagine how people deal with the emotional toll of losing their beloved parent to dementia on top of the physical and financial burdens.

    I lost my mother to dementia and my father to Parkinson’s and I feel very fortunate that they could see it coming and got into Assisted Living and could afford it. My attitude was that if they never left me a dime I was happy because they could take care of themselves.

    As far as coping, I grieved for my Dad over 10 years as I saw him lose a little more of his capabilities with every visit. And 5 for my mom as she lost track. When they finally passed away there wasn’t a lot of grieving left to do.

  57. 57
    Mart says:

    @Jeffro: I understood, “trying” to be sarcastic again.

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    Republicans are already previewing how they intend to address the debt. They say they are looking as soon as next year to begin an overhaul of the entitlement system — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — in hopes of limiting spending.

    They are also seeking to target the safety net, pledging to curb eligibility in an effort to encourage people to seek work instead of relying on government assistance.

    “We are going to focus next year on people. On getting people from welfare to work,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday on the House floor.

    Its beyond obscenity.

  59. 59
    karensky says:

    @Sab: Over the past months I have come to understand that violent fantasies are good for mental health. John Cole mentioned watching The Punisher on Netflix as helpful so I started watching a it. I am not a regular consumer of violent tv or movies but this particular activity is very satisfying.

    I did a lot of care for my mom and dad but my brother did a lot too. I can’t even imagine your frustration, exhaustion and anger relative to your siblings buy in my fantasy world there would be baseball bats involved.

    You are the salt of the earth and you keep all of us moving forward. Apologies for typos.

  60. 60
    RSA says:

    @Josie:

    I was the one who made decisions and choices for my mother, who had dementia for years. I have two brothers who did help financially to a certain extent, but who stayed far away from care and decisions. One was blessedly supportive, but the other one second guessed me so much that I had to bite my tongue a few times. Unfortunately, as Tom relates, it is often the female sibling who gets stuck with the job.

    You have my sympathy. I’ve looked up the statistics on caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease, and they’re shocking. Some 16 million people provide such care, without pay, amounting to $230 billion in hidden costs per year. A quarter of caregivers care for children and a sick parent at the same time; 60 to 70% are women. Research suggests that caregivers experience suicidal ideation up to four times the rate in the general population. And it’s below the radar in American politics.

  61. 61
    Another Scott says:

    Excellent summary, Tom. Thanks.

    Democrats have a compelling story to tell about how our economy is the way it is as a result of the choices our elected officials make. Government policies can make things better for the vast majority of us, or it can reward – even more – those who already have so much.

    Here’s hoping voters keep an eye on the big picture, and don’t get distracted by things like arguments over who’s the true neo-liberal™ …

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Tom Levenson: Had to be done. Decisions were made. Actions were taken. No one was spared.

  63. 63
    mike in dc says:

    @TenguPhule: Uh, because he’s voted the right way on a bunch of other stuff, and because someone well to the left of Manchin is unlikely to win in WV? Primarying Lieberman made sense–blue state, way too conservative and Bush-friendly. Primarying Manchin, not so much.

  64. 64
    TenguPhule says:

    @Another Scott:

    Democrats have a compelling story to tell about how our economy is the way it is as a result of the choices our elected officials make.

    Unfortunately your average voter needs a shorter summary version that can fit on a bumper sticker.

  65. 65
    MomSense says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I called her craven today in an email. Can’t get through with calls or faxes anymore.

  66. 66
    mike in dc says:

    Off topic: when exactly is this meeting between Mueller and Trump’s attorneys taking place? My guess would be post-bill signing, so that Trump will be in a good mood when they tell him Mueller wants to interview him at length about everything.

  67. 67
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: I think it is important to remember this:

  68. 68
    japa21 says:

    @TenguPhule: Manchin has been a quite dependable Dem vote when it has been necessary. I think he is the one who pointed out the problems with the tax bill. And if you think a progressive could win a primary against Manchin, you don’t understand WV.

  69. 69
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: They’re not speaking of it. They’re trying to incite and foment it.

  70. 70
    Mike J says:

    @japa21: I typically vote for the most liberal person who can win, and in WV, that would probably be Manchin,

  71. 71
    Jeffro says:

    @MomSense:

    Can’t get through with calls or faxes anymore.

    Some smart Dem (or three, or thirty) is going to make quite a bit of the proverbial ‘hay’ by noting how Republicans have essentially stopped listening to anyone but their donors. I mean, phones off the hook, fax machines w/ no paper, no town halls or meetings with constituents anymore…just…nothing.

    Which is a shame because one would think that part of the appeal of the job is meeting with one’s neighbors and constituents and getting to meet them, hear them, and even if you don’t agree with them, letting them know what principles you DO stand for (i.e., that you actually have principles).

    I’d rather vote for a principled, constituent-friendly conservative (if it came to that) than someone who can’t be bothered to have his/her staff take phone calls, spring for a few rolls of fax paper, or stand up and take a meeting back in the district. Fuck that. They work for ME and if they don’t like the ‘voter input’ part of the job then maybe they ought to consider immigrating to some other country like…Russia?

  72. 72
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Agree completely. I’m not sure whether Paul Krugman or Charles Pierce wants Ryan’s head more for being such an obvious, soulless fake, but I’m right there with them.

  73. 73
    Central Planning says:

    @Jeffro: Wasn’t it the republicans who talked about watering the tree of liberty?

  74. 74
    eemom says:

    @TenguPhule:

    So many assholes there and all of them start to look alike after awhile.

    Especially the ones from Texas. No worries.

  75. 75
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: The saddest thing is that this provision is pointless beyond rhetoric. It won’t actually be exploited right now. It isn’t cost effective with the price of oil the way it is. Shell pulled out of its Chuchki Sea exploration for that very reason. They got the equipment on site and in place without any problem. They found what they were looking for, but when the price of oil dropped it was no longer cost effective to keep going. So they pulled the equipment out, capped the wells, floated everything back to dry dock, and gave up.

  76. 76
    Mary G says:

    They are planning to run the same Lucy-yanks-the-football play they have since Nixon. He made a mess. Carter cleared it up. Reagan’s supposed sunny personality got them 12 years to mess up worse than Nixon. Clinton cleared it up. Bush made a gigantic mess that was for its time the worst ever. Obama cleaned it up. Now they are shooting for destroying the country, but if they manage not to, a Democrat will clear it up, while they are screaming about him the whole time. Dog only knows how they will beat Twitler for terrible presidents, but they will try to find a way.

    Forty years enough of the American public has fallen for the same scheme. Twice not even a majority of voters, but Republicans play as dirty as they have to and Democrats do a lot of hand-wringing and infighting.

  77. 77
    Jeffro says:

    @Mart: Sorry, my bad! Will read more closely next time.

  78. 78
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Barbara: Nope Senator Graham.

  79. 79
    Mike in NC says:

    “We are going to focus next year on people. On getting people from welfare to work,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday on the House floor.

    How thoughtful of this Randian sociopath to offer to hire 75 year olds to paint his house and mow the lawn.

  80. 80
    Kathleen says:

    @ruemara: It’s sad for us, but those that chose their hate and fear, not so much.

  81. 81
    Jeffro says:

    @TenguPhule: @Adam L Silverman:

    Which is irritating as all hell…but the only cure I see is sunlight here. Call them on it. But instead of getting too far into it…getting too worked up and making it look even partially legit…I think the Dems need to figure out how to put the RWNJs’ crazy out there to the public and go, “Really? They think you’re THAT dumb? They have THAT little respect for our law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies?”

    The only problem is, I can’t figure out who would sponsor such a broad-based rebuttal (a member of Congress who’s particularly pro-FBI? Pro-rule-of-law?) and where they place that ‘argument’ and how they pay for it.

  82. 82
    Waratah says:

    @TenguPhule: that is why Politico has been posting those Manchin look how wonderful I am . He said Trump could have had his vote but he lost it. I guess he sold out for this vote.

  83. 83
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @TenguPhule: because he helped saved medicaid.

  84. 84
    Kathleen says:

    @debbie: I tweeted that Paul Ryan and Republicans were jubilant about the premiere of their new reality series, “Who Wants To Starve My Grandma”, starting in January on USA.
    I’m convinced suffering and cruelty are the only way they can get their Rgasm on. I’m 100% serious about that.

  85. 85
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Barbara: If you are looking for the male equivalent to Susan Collins, try Marco Rubio or Ben Sasse, but neither of them matches Collins for duplicity to their constituents.

    I’d add Corker and Flake, even if their ultimately useless performances were aimed less at their constituents than at The Village. And Mike Lee always seems to be dithering around the edges of these short-lived sound-bite uprisings

  86. 86
    Kathleen says:

    @Ryan: Also, too, according to The Hill, Hillary’s popularity is at an all time low. Priorities, People!

  87. 87
    Redshift says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Unfortunately your average voter needs a shorter summary version that can fit on a bumper sticker.

    Is “The GOP screws you and lies to you about it, vote them out” short enough?

  88. 88
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Because having a majority where some of the member vote 90 to 95% of the time on what you want is better than having a minority that is ideologically pure, but has no actual power. Even Senator Kaine has said he wouldn’t be willing to support a shutdown right now given this is another 4 week CR.

    And that’s where we’re at. This is going to be a one month CR to allow the GOP majorities to finish their appropriation processes, which they’ve been promising they will do, because they can do it (they think they can, they think they can…) since January. In a month we’re going to be right back here again facing another CR. Because there’s no way that they’re going to do in a month, which is actually about two working weeks given the holidays, what they haven’t been able to do in the past 11 months. What you and I don’t know is what the strategic information that Schumer and Pelosi and their leadership teams are looking at in terms of when the optimum time to do this is.

  89. 89
    AliceBlue says:

    @MazeDancer:
    My mother is also in a very nice assisted living facility (not as expensive as your mother’s, but expensive enough). Her money is running low. She’ll be 97 in a couple of months but I fully expect her to live several more years. We’ll have to start digging into our retirement/savings accounts soon but we have to save some for ourselves–we don’t have any children to take care of us in our old age. My brother lives in another state, sees her maybe once a year and seldom calls. I can expect no help from him financially.

    Her mind is fine, but she can be so demanding, clinging and peevish. I feel like all I am to her is a stepinfetchit/laundress. I live almost three hours away, but she doesn’t want anyone else–friends, relatives who live in her town–to do her errands for her. I was running late the other day when I went to see her and she immediately started in on me because someone else had to go pick up her prescription for her. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want to see her. We’re going up there Christmas day, and I dread it.

    I didn’t mean to go on a rant, but it’s nice to get it all out.

  90. 90
    tobie says:

    @TenguPhule: I’m sorry to see Claire McCaskill is too afraid of the political fallout of a govt shutdown to stand up for DACA. This is wrong. The party can’t afford to piss off Latino youth. They are our future.

  91. 91
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mike in dc: Thursday.

  92. 92
    Yarrow says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Drilling in ANWR has always been a talking point but hasn’t really been realistic. For a long time oil companies have looked at it, evaluated it and decided it wasn’t worth it, even when oil prices were high. If it had been determined it was cost effective and worthwhile we would have seen a much stronger push for it decades ago. It isn’t so we didn’t and it has remained a useful talking point. Global warming is going to make drilling in ANWR even more difficult as permafrost melts and pipelines shift. Murkowski essentially got nothing.

  93. 93
    mike in dc says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Oh, good. That will give him a day or two to come up with the bullshit reason for firing him when Mueller tells his counsel to pound sand and buckle up.

  94. 94
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: It’s being broadcast on Fox News and talk radio and on TrumpBart and things like that.

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kathleen: She’s never going to get reelected if they stay that low. And she’s likely to lose her majorities in the House and the Senate too!

  96. 96
    mad citizen says:

    @Mart: Dang! This makes me want to join the AARP. Maybe I will.

  97. 97
    AnonPhenom says:

    The Republican Party is phenomenon that Tony Soprano would have recognized instantly: a bust-out operation

    Yes. Thank you. I’ve been saying this since Trump was elected (to the very select group of, apparent, masochists who I subject to my email rants)

    Trump is just that guy who owned the restaurant in Goodfellows, he’s a stooge…unfortunately for us, (the country) we’re the restaurant

    NSFW

  98. 98
    Shalimar says:

    @Redshift: “Republicans fucked me and all I got was this bumper sticker”

  99. 99
    Kay says:

    Gov.-elect Phil Murphy took a shot at President Donald Trump at a Trenton news conference Monday when he unveiled his pick to be New Jersey’s next secretary of state.
    The incoming governor said former Passaic County freeholder Tahesha Way will, in part, be a rebuke of the Republican president’s agenda on voting rights and a champion of them here in New Jersey if she’s confirmed by the state Senate.
    Murphy, a Democrat who will succeed outgoing Republican Gov. Chris Christie next month, said the position requires a “leader who understands both business and law” and “who respects the vast cultures which make our state a melting pot.”
    Murphy also stressed that he’s tasked Way, also a Democrat, with fulfilling his campaign promises on expanding voting rights in New Jersey.
    He said people like Way are needed to fight back against people like the “lunatic from Kansas,” referring to that state’s secretary of state, Kris Kobach, who now heads Trump’s voter commission.

    I’m pleased Democrats are seizing on voting rights as a practical issue- they should do it because it’s right but it’s also good politically for them. It never belonged out in the margins. Put it right out there!

    There is no faction of the Democratic Party that is anti-voting rights, that group just doesn’t exist, so it’s really a no-brainer :)

    They can corner the market on voting rights, too. There’s no competition.

  100. 100
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @tobie: what makes you think shutting down the government would work?

    Every time republicans have shut down the government it has failed miserably.

    while DACA is popular, that doesn’t mean a shutdown would be popular.

    I mean, not even the independent Bernie Sanders supports shutting down the government.

  101. 101
    Miss Bianca says:

    @mad citizen: Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing!

    @Shalimar: Short, sweet (?), to the point. Sounds like a winner!

  102. 102
    Yarrow says:

    @AliceBlue:

    Her mind is fine, but she can be so demanding, clinging and peevish. I feel like all I am to her is a stepinfetchit/laundress. I live almost three hours away, but she doesn’t want anyone else–friends, relatives who live in her town–to do her errands for her. I was running late the other day when I went to see her and she immediately started in on me because someone else had to go pick up her prescription for her.

    Having dealt with the elderly relatives, make sure you have her checked for depression. It can present differently in the elderly and your observation that she’s demanding, clinging and peevish stuck out for me. Depression could be an issue. It’s much more common than people think.

    As for other friends or relatives helping out–LET THEM! If they’re willing, take advantage. Pick a day or days that those people help out and those are their days. Explain to your mom that this is how it’s going to be. You have to pace yourself because there will be a time when someone else can’t help and it’ll all be on you.

    Prescription delivery–check with the assisted living facility to see if a local pharmacy delivers. Many do. It can be maybe a couple of times a week, but it will save you a lot of energy and time since you live so far away.

    Hang in there. I hear your frustration and know how difficult it can be from personal experience.

  103. 103
    different-church-lady says:

    @TenguPhule:

    If she wasn’t a woman, they’d be calling her a fucking liar and a corporate whore.

    Yeah, I mean it’s not as if they’re a bunch of BernieBros talking about Hillary or something.

  104. 104
    Steeplejack says:

    Rachel Maddow en fuego tonight. Putting the tax bill in historical (and horrifying) perspective. The graphs alone are astonishing.

  105. 105
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:Throw in alternative energy, the electric car, and the growing millennial disdain for autos, and where is the increased demand for oil going to come from? it’s the same for the other extractive industries-which by the way are located in red states. Between recycling, reusing and otherwise stretching out supply, there’s little need for more holes. ANWR is like Moby Dick: capturing the white whale that is ultimately meaningless. But makes Jimmy Carter cry, or something.

  106. 106
    Kay says:

    In addition to expanding voting RIGHTS, Democrats should say they’ll make voting BETTER. Quicker, more convenient, more voter-friendly. Because all those long lines and chaos Republicans create in hopes of suppressing Democratic votes is also bad government and bad customer service. Don’t just say they’re suppressing votes. Say they suck at running elections.

  107. 107
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: I liked the 45 minute deep dive she did on the history of trains that she did last night.//

  108. 108
    SgrAstar says:

    @TenguPhule: no. That was the ineffable former governor, Rick Perry. And, it didn’t work.

  109. 109
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m still trying to think of the governmental/legal/cultural/whatever authority that would come in and tell these yahoos that they are playing with matches in a gasoline refinery. Which means it is probably not going to happen that way – that they just take it ‘under advisement’ and stop ramping up the hysteria and nonsense, much less re-start respecting the rule of law.

    On the one hand, I’m glad that even the Fox hosts were floored for a minute.

    On the other…society is just a conglomeration of norms and processes. Ai-yi-yi…

  110. 110
    J R in WV says:

    @Redshift:

    No, but how about:

    GOP Steals
    Your Pension ! !

  111. 111
    Jeffro says:

    @Kay: it’s a good argument!

    Dems: You should be able to vote on your phones!

    Reps: but what about hacking?

    Dems: say WHAT???

  112. 112
    Kay says:

    Well, Donald Trump and the entire Republican Party said rich people and huge corporations would plow all this money they’re handing them right back into Main Street.

    So it won’t all go to their insane salaries and giant bonuses and decadent lifestyles and unemployable coddled adult children and purchasing sleazy, corrupt Right wing politicians. I’ll be watching to see how that comes out! I’d bet my house it won’t happen, but we shall see!

    We’ll see excess like we’ve never seen before. Forget private jets. They’ll be seizing private air space.

  113. 113
    Kathleen says:

    @Adam L Silverman: She’s running a bad campaign. She refuses to go to Plant Zork Arrg. Lots of white angsty aliens up there.

  114. 114
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: There are several court cases wending through the system, including one against the President, for incitement. These will clarify just where the 1st Amendment protections actually end and what they do and don’t cover. What these knuckleheads are doing, for their own ideological purposes, is incitement. The question is whether it arises to the legal standard. But eventually someone is going to take a shot at an FBI agent or try to shoot up a field office (the academy at Quantico will be safe as the entire town is inside the gates to the base) and then we’ll see what the DOJ decides to do. You also have to remember that Director Comey made it clear in his testimony to the Senate the week before he was fired that the joint counterintelligence investigation was looking at a number of conservative/right wing media outlets across a variety of platforms as part of the investigation. They’re clearly trying to figure out if the almost identical messaging coming from them and from the Russian active measures campaign was a matter of the former simply picking up the messages from the latter and rebroadcasting them or whether there was something more coordinated going on.

  115. 115
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kathleen: Clearly a short sighted strategic communication strategy.

  116. 116
    GregB says:

    I am not sure I can go on with this cruel world. The sexist oppression faced by Susan Collins is too much to bear. Even after she went to the mat defending Hillary Clinton, it’s too much. Such a martyr.

  117. 117
    Barbara says:

    @TenguPhule: No problem!

  118. 118
    Jeffro says:

    Speaking of incitement: had no idea I “didn’t want to let American be America

    Hey Don Jr: what shall we do with these folks who don’t love American quite the way you do? Tell us! Let’s have a little more in-depth reportage here, American reportage-ers!!

  119. 119
    Kathleen says:

    @Yarrow: My doctor, who’s in his 60’s, said low thyroid is the most under diagnosed conditions for the elderly. He believes if more of them were tested and treated for thyroid they would be much better. I know there are complicating factors but I’m just “putting it out there” as Cokie Roberts would say.

  120. 120
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And the coordination piece only takes an email or recorded phone call or two to prove…

  121. 121
    Kathleen says:

    @Adam L Silverman: She’ll never get the Martian vote either.

  122. 122
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: @Jeffro: Just dawned on me…if Mueller & Co are putting together a presentation of sorts (for thickheaded Congressmen, thickheaded American voters, both) that lays out how this all came together and works…and they should…it is going to have so many elements and progress through so many stages that it’ll put Ken Burns to shame.

    Maybe they could get a tech-savvy Millenial or two to help them produce a 3-minute version for YouTube? Sort of an Executive Summary for the Twitter Age?

  123. 123
    efgoldman says:

    @p.a.:

    not only financial: emotional disruption between siblings about “who helps more, who lives closer, who has no kids or kids on their own (and therefore should do more…”

    I was lucky-my parents had multiple retirement programs, my dad’s military retirement and retired military healthcare. I never had to concern myself.
    Mrs efg, on the other hand, is the second of five kids; two are deceased, two live several hundred miles away (Western PA) and want nothing to do with their mother (my MIL) who is 87 and failing badly. She lives in a mobile home park about 50 miles from here.
    She can’t come to live with us; our house is too small and configured badly, and as you know I have medical problems of my own. Nursing homes in our part of the world are either hideously expensive or hellholes. So mrs efg makes the drive once or twice a week, to do basic housekeeping and light maintenance, all the while crushed under that terrible, lifetime catholic guilt which washer mother’s gift.

  124. 124
    Marcopolo says:

    What I wouldn’t give for some brave soul working deep in the bowels of the IRS to release/leak the Orangutan’s 2016 taxes right now. It’s fairly obvious to anyone with a couple brain cells he’ll benefit massively w/ this tax under haul but being able to directly relate it to his filed paperwork would be priceless. Anyone here have any “friends?” I’ll contribute to a gofundme for when they lose their job.

  125. 125
    Kay says:

    @Jeffro:

    Phone voting makes me nervous but voting could be a lot better. It’s a recording process. It isn’t supposed to be an obstacle course. There was a period in this country where we had nice things like the League of Women Voters and voting was encouraged and considered wholesome and civic-minded. Conservatives turned it into this horrible, paranoid conspiracy theory-ridden mess. We could go back to just treating it like a recording process. Like birth certificates were before conservatives went insane and decided they needed paper dating and holograms. People still say it to me- “I have THE ORIGINAL”. Anything with a raised seal is an original. There’s nothing fucking magic about the “original”. It doesn’t come from George Washington by way of God. It comes from a records clerk.

  126. 126
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: “Wealthiest family in Janesville, WI” is a bit like tallest “little person.”

  127. 127
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Universal vote by mail. No lines anywhere, no worries about weather, no voter intimidation. No games with machines, polling hours and polling places. And despite all of the fears, Oregon, Washington and California have no problems. And as for fraud, no one gets a ballot whose not on the rolls anyway.

  128. 128
    AliceBlue says:

    @Yarrow:
    Thanks for the tip about depression. I’ll definitely get that checked out.

    She has a number of friends and relatives close by who are willing to help out, and have told her so, but she just wants me to do everything because she “doesn’t want to be any trouble.” But I’ll sit down with her and see if we can work something out.

  129. 129
    Millard Filmore says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Unfortunately your average voter needs a shorter summary version that can fit on a bumper sticker.

    “Vote Republican. Its time to loot the middle class.”

  130. 130
    Central Planning says:

    @Kay:

    Well, Donald Trump and the entire Republican Party said rich people and huge corporations would plow all this money they’re handing them right back into Main Street.

    A co-worker asked today if all the people getting tax cuts are going to give raises to their kids for doing chores.

  131. 131
    chopper says:

    @mike in dc:

    besides, this next CR is not being passed under reconciliation. dems only need 40 votes to block a non-clean bill. vulnerable dems like manchin etc are free to shore up support at home and have the blessing of schemer to come out this way. this is politics 101.

  132. 132
    mike in dc says:

    @Jeffro: I do think someone should put together a presentation down the line that combines the work of the Special Counsel, the House and Senate Intel committees(well, the Democratic side, at any rate) and maybe Senate Judiciary, plus various topline investigative reporting and expert commentaries. A documentary or three on the whole thing, coming out before the 2020 elections, would be ideal.

  133. 133
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m sure.

  134. 134

    @Marcopolo: Wait, you don’t believe Trump when he says “This bill will cost me a fortune, believe me”? You monster!

  135. 135
    Ruckus says:

    @MazeDancer:
    Dad had Alzheimer’s. He suffered a long time. My sister absolutely did not want him in a home. She hired a live in helper and took him in. She lasted 6 weeks. I was amazed she lasted over 2. Besides being just a lot of work, far more than one might imagine, which took her away from her business, the emotional toll of watching a parent become more and more infantile, day by day, while their bodies are not infant sized, is overwhelming. That she wanted to do this because she was a loving daughter and thought it was her duty is admirable but it is just not realistic. And as we get older, especially with better health care we become more and more of a burden on the entire society. We as a society could fix this but the concept of American exceptionalism and so many of our citizens with their heads in the sand, or up their asses, really won’t allow it. We tried with the ACA but can’t have that, some rich fuck must have his 12th or 15th house, the gaudy furnishings to fill them up, a sports team, that we pay for, a few politicians – to better enable him to steal even more money. And then the fuck is ungrateful because he can’t have everyfuckingthing and leave everyone else with nothing.
    I don’t sound bitter do I? I’m 68 yrs old, I served in the military, I’ve worked since I was 13, 5 yrs before Medicare, paid into SS for 55 yrs so far. I’ve tried to be a good citizen, to provide for my self and employment for others, to create things that provide for the general heath and welfare (and some stuff for general merriment like toys) And I find myself getting towards the end of my life and I wonder, why the fuck did I bother? Fucking Charlie Manson lived to 83, 7 of my friends have died in the last 14 months, before they reached 68. And I’d put any one of them up as far better people than any republican, especially any republican politician.
    I just hope that Mueller is as pissed off as I am, that he continues to do what looks like a great job and that we have to build an entire prison just to hold all the republican assholes that participated in this fucking mess.

  136. 136

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: Well, yes and no. It didn’t get them what they wanted and it was massively unpopular, but they also didn’t pay any price for it at the polls. I don’t think it would work for us, though, because IOKIYAR.

    @CarolDuhart2: Vote by mail should be an option everywhere, but it shouldn’t be the only option. It’s bad for people in abusive homes.

  137. 137
    Kay says:

    @Central Planning:

    According to Donald Trump , deal maker and super duper business whiz, all wages should go up immediately. They’ll be throwing handfuls of money out their penthouse windows at us.

    So spend a lot! Donald Trump said the check’s in the mail! ANY day now.

  138. 138
    germy says:

    "Nobody talks more of free enterprise and competition and of the best man winning than the man who inherited his father's store or farm." — C. Wright Mills, 1951— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 19, 2017

  139. 139
    Gretchen says:

    I’m about to retire early to care for a grandchild who keeps getting kicked out of daycare. I notice that the divorced women are jealous, because they don’t have enough assets and Social Security to be able to retire, as more of my married friends do, by pooled assets with a spouse.

  140. 140
    Kay says:

    I heard one of the Republicans who “wrote” this thing on the radio today. House, I think. Anyway, he said they should call it a jobs bill because that’s what it is.

    We’ll have to hold them to that. This isn’t like Carrier where Trump can go lie to 500 people and we never hear about them again after his bullshit deal falls thru. This is the whole country. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Investment on Main Street. That was the promise.

  141. 141
    efgoldman says:

    @Mart:

    “We had to stop [the promotion] early. I had too many 55-gallon trash bags full of AARP cards cut in half.”

    I quit AARP years ago, because they were a huge pain in my ass, clogging up my email amd snail mail recycle bin. The discounts they provide are available lots of other places.

  142. 142
    Bill Arnold says:

    @patrick II:

    For many middle income people it means spending your life savings and selling your home and leaving nothing as an inheritance after years of work and saving, meanwhile on the other side of the ledger, we have greatly lowered inheritance tax for the very rich.

    Been through that recently too. Not complaining since the person involved had enough savings to pay for care, with only the bother of multiple hospital visits (and etc) during the home health care phase. The dementia is harder; for example had to reverse engineer their finances/bank account history (legal reasons) while they were “alive” but with non-functioning memory.
    Long term care is the middle class inheritance tax. It is random; sometimes a parent dies never requiring long term care. But when long-term care is required, unless there is very careful and forward looking planning, up to many hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets/savings get transferred to care facilities/home care agencies. (Then children and/or Medicaid.)

    Motörhead – Eat the Rich
    (lyrics)

  143. 143
    Kay says:

    “Tax Reform Means Your Paycheck Will Grow”

    That’s Paul Ryan in the WSJ. These are big promises they’re making. I don’t know how they plan on wresting wage increases out of their plutocrat donor base but if 4% unemployment didn’t do it I don’t know why a huge gift to the super-wealthy would.

  144. 144
    rikyrah says:

    @Yarrow:
    If she doesn’t go and sit the ENTIRE PHUCK DOWN 😠😠😠

  145. 145
    Gemina13 says:

    I took care of my mother in my 30s, as she had congestive heart failure and Alzheimer’s. One sib helped when he could, while the other was only interested in Kodak moments. I had to go most of it alone, with no idea what to do or where to go for help. Her doctors were worse than useless. Mom had no money for anything more than Medicare could provide, and I made too much money for any significant aid (while being unable to afford even part-time help with her). She died several weeks after breaking her hip, just after a facility agreed to try to take her in on a means-based admission.

    I have a living will and a DNR. If I ever get that infirm or develop dementia, I plan to kill myself. Perhaps I’m being pessimistic; maybe things could change for the better. But, as much as I loved my mother, I’ll be damned if I make a loved one go through what I did as her caregiver.

  146. 146
    rikyrah says:

    @Yarrow:
    I know that the IC has always known

  147. 147
    rikyrah says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    It gives me pleasure too.

  148. 148
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    We will be watching.

  149. 149
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): What does the states that have it do? Drop off boxes. Ballots sent to workplaces. A booth at the courthouse. Indeed, since voting can be done anywhere, as long as the person can get out of the house, they can find a place to fill out a ballot and drop in any mailbox.

  150. 150
    MazeDancer says:

    @AliceBlue:

    Good to rant. Such a difficult situation for you. Many sympathies.

    But hope you can find a way to set boundaries. You cannot drain yourself for years to come.

  151. 151
    Raoul says:

    @Yarrow:

    She knows she’s screwing over her constituents and the rest of the country

    We’ll see is she decides to run in 2020 to hold her seat, but it seems like a lot of Mainers have seen through her mirage this month. I hope they can remember the betrayal, and their rage.

  152. 152
    Raoul says:

    @Roger Moore: I almost bought The Peripheral at out local amazing used book store (Magers and Quinn, they sell nationally on the web, please support ’em if you can). But I read the jacket blurb and just couldn’t for a December book. These short dark days (I mean literally, the solstice time) I need something less dire.
    Next spring, maybe. But yeah.

  153. 153
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Yarrow: I haven’t read the whole thread, so maybe somebody else has said this. Clapper followed that remark with “I was speaking figuratively.” In the never-ending quest for clicks, that part gets left out.

    Still, it’s a striking thing for Clapper to say. As former Director of National Intelligence, he must speak responsibly. He is saying this because he is greatly concerned about Trump’s actions, as he has said before. The past few days of interactions between Trump and Putin have been, well, unsettling to someone who knows something about how intelligence services operate.

    Putin’s complimenting the stock market was a transparent ploy to Trump’s ego. Foreign intelligence services are watching Trump’s tweets, and it’s pretty obvious that his ego is closely attached to the stock market. He’s tweeted about it pretty much every day for the last week, even though the Dow’s progress through his first year doesn’t come close to what it did under Obama. It was also a bit of an implicit brag on Putin’s part that he could manipulate the fool in the Oval Office.

    And Donny took the bait. Putin also thanked the CIA for warning of a terror plot in St. Petersburg, and Donny took that as an important indicator of how wonderful things could be if only we were friendlier with Russia. Any number of former intelligence employees have pointed out that that sort of thing goes on all the time at the lower levels without notice from the higher-ups. But, like so much else, Donny doesn’t know that. He also doesn’t know that the information flow on that sort of thing is much more from America to Russia than the other way around. It’s good that it happens, just not usually remarked upon by presidents.

    So Putin manipulated and Trump responded. Just as a KGB operative would work an asset. I’ve had that thought before, and I would imagine so has Clapper. It doesn’t mean literally that Trump is working for the FSB in any direct way, just that Putin has those skills and Trump is dumb enough not to see he’s being manipulated.

    Putin loves to troll.

  154. 154
    James E. Powell says:

    @mike in dc:

    What are the chances that Manchin survives? Trump is still popular there and I doubt Manchin’s opponent will be a pedophile.

  155. 155
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @Millard Filmore: I like that but think it could be even shorter: “Screw the middle class – vote Republican”

  156. 156
    efgoldman says:

    @CarolDuhart2:

    as long as the person can get out of the house, they can find a place to fill out a ballot and drop in any mailbox.

    Hell, where I live the letter carrier will pick up your outgoing mail from your box when they bring the new. I suppose walking to the end of the driveway is “going out”

  157. 157
    Feathers says:

    @AliceBlue: in my last anxietyNdepression bout, I went through a DBT program at the local hospital. One of the things they kept telling us is that you can’t abandon an adult. Most of it was for learning to cope on your own and recognizing that your behaviors may cause others to rightfully set boundaries with you. But there were some folks realizing that also meant that setting reasonable boundaries was not “abandoning” an adult.

  158. 158
    WaterGirl says:

    @MazeDancer:

    My abusive monster mother,

    I am so very sorry.

  159. 159
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    I just listened to Smug Shithole Steve Stivers extolling the tax plan because it will give working families an extra $2,000.00. As if that was a really meaningful amount of money.

  160. 160
    Yarrow says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I don’t think Clapper was speaking figuratively. That he said so was a bit of a fig leaf to give himself cover. He knew what he was saying. It was a message. A lot of people heard it.

    An asset doesn’t even have to know they are being used by a foreign government; they can still provide useful information or be useful in other ways. They can be manipulated, as you pointed out Trump is being manipulated by Putin. Trump is also being blackmailed by Putin because they own him financially, which makes him their asset to use as they want. He’s Russia’s asset, even if he doesn’t know it.

  161. 161
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Gretchen: Keeps getting kicked out of day care?! This makes me concerned. What is going on? If it is some sort of behavioral issue, I hope you are working with a pediatrician. Lots of kids hit developmental snags that are very treatable.

  162. 162
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Yarrow: I think you’re reaching the limits of the meanings of those terms. I also think we don’t have the public evidence yet that Putin is blackmailing Trump. I am very cautious about making those judgments until I feel the evidence supports them. I will accept Clapper’s statement that it was figurative, but his saying it at all was definitely a warning to Trump and to us.

    You and I are not far apart, figuratively. Mueller has a lot more evidence than we know about. We may fully agree eventually.

  163. 163
    frosty says:

    @efgoldman:

    … our house is too small and configured badly … So mrs efg makes the drive once or twice a week, to do basic housekeeping and light maintenance, all the while crushed under that terrible, lifetime catholic guilt which was her mother’s gift.

    This was my what my wife undertook in the last few months for her father. We thought about putting him up with us but the house wasn’t suitable. She went up once or twice a week and cooked meals and left them in the fridge for him. In the last month her brother joined her and one of them was with him every day.

    Fortunately she didn’t have to deal with any of the guilt stuff. Methodist, IIRC, but more or less lapsed.

  164. 164
    frosty says:

    @Kay:

    Anything with a raised seal is an original. There’s nothing fucking magic about the “original”. It doesn’t come from George Washington by way of God. It comes from a records clerk.

    I got about a dozen of them when we were adopting. $6.00 each, no big deal. Unless you don’t know where to get them and you don’t have the cash. That’s something I’d could help people with.

  165. 165
    Citizen Alan says:

    My father died at the age of 82 after spending the last 6 weeks of his life in ICU. That was when I made the decision that I literally have no desire at all to live that long. First of all, I think America will be a dystopian nightmare in 30 years when I would reach that age, and I don’t want to live in fucking Thunderdome. My current income can’t possibly provide enough retirement to give any decent lifestyle at that age even assuming the Repukes don’t find a way to steal it all. But mostly, I’ve lived nearly 50 years in rural shithole Mississippi because my parents needed looking after. Also, I’m not married, have no kids, and can’t imagine who might look after me once I can’t look after myself. And frankly, I’d rather see this world before I leave it than have a few more decades trapped in a black hole. My plan right now is that when I turn 60 (or earlier if I have any sort of major health crisis), I’m going to liquidate everything and travel the world until the money runs out. And then, I’m going to some country in Europe with the most liberal euthanasia laws and just end it on my own terms.

  166. 166
    frosty says:

    @Gemina13:

    If I ever get that infirm or develop dementia, I plan to kill myself.

    I’m hoping global warming doesn’t disappear all the ice floes. I want my kids to shove me out onto the Susquehanna like the Eskimos do.

  167. 167
    Yarrow says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    We are not that far apart. I appreciate your more cautious approach. We will see where it all goes. I am confident that Mueller is running a very good investigation. That much we probably agree on.

  168. 168
    frosty says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    My plan right now is that when I turn 60 (or earlier if I have any sort of major health crisis), I’m going to liquidate everything and travel the world until the money runs out. And then, I’m going to some country in Europe with the most liberal euthanasia laws and just end it on my own terms.

    Hmmm. Good plan. I may have to reconsider the ice floes. I hope the kids understand.

  169. 169
    BC in Illinois says:

    @Gemina13:

    We asked Mom, after Dad died: “What are you going to do?”

    She had her answer: “I’ll stay in the house here [big enough for a family of six] for 3 or 4 years. Then I’ll move into an apartment of my own for 3 or 4 years. Then I’ll move in with your brother _______ and make his life a living hell.”

    It was a great line for a laugh, and the sequence of events was pretty much what she said, but she did what she could not to be a burden on my brother and sister-in-law. She had had HER mother-in-law move in, 30 years before, and it was in fact a living hell. No other family to call on. She remembered that, and didn’t want that to happen to her children. (Or, in reality, the one child who was closest.)

    When she did become too much for my brother and S-I-L to handle, she moved into assisted living for the last years. Credit my father for setting up the long-term-care financing. But take away the insurance, take away the pension, or (in other cases) take away the Medicaid, and many, many families will be consigned to a living hell.

  170. 170
    cwmoss says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Umm, are banks failing again? And that’s not really a Haiku.

  171. 171
    TenguPhule says:

    @Marcopolo:

    What I wouldn’t give for some brave soul working deep in the bowels of the IRS to release/leak the Orangutan’s 2016 taxes right now.

    Alas, that’s a felony. Not just a firing offense. And trust me, his fucking returns are high on the computer alarm list of every tax agency if someone tries to access them.

  172. 172
    TenguPhule says:

    @Kay:

    This isn’t like Carrier where Trump can go lie to 500 people and we never hear about them again after his bullshit deal falls thru. This is the whole country.

    This would be the same media that is also unable to find a single Hillary voter to interview.

  173. 173
    cwmoss says:

    @Yarrow: I’ll accept her invitation. She’s a goddamn whore.

  174. 174
    Yutsano says:

    @TenguPhule: Not that it isn’t tempting…

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