Open Thread: And Take that Cigar Out of Your Mouth, Donald

Things that are too grotesque to parody, for a bazillion…

Trump has long refused to release his tax returns, saying that he is currently under audit. But asked Thursday night by Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren if he would release older tax returns that are not under audit, Trump said the beating Romney took in 2012 over his own tax returns should serve as a warning.

I remember with Mitt Romney four years ago, everybody wanted his, and his is a peanut compared to mine. It’s like a peanut. It’s very small. Not nearly as big a document. I mean, mine, you saw the picture where it’s two or three feet high,” Trump said.

“Now, they finally got it in September. He decided to give it. And they found a couple of little minor things. Little things that didn’t mean anything,” Trump continued. “He did nothing wrong. By the way, Mitt Romney did nothing wrong. But when they gave them, they found a couple of little sentences. If you remember Harry Reid lied about it. He told a dirty lie. And Mitt gave that and after he gave it, they found a little sentence and they made such a big deal. He might have lost the election over that.”…

Maybe a Democratic prankster can start following Trump’s campaign around, carrying a sign saying HARRY REID WILL LAUGH WHEN HILLARY TAKES YOUR PEANUT. But only out of sympathy, for our oppressed billionaire class!

Filling the bucket in vertically integrated medical practices

Idaho Flaneuse raised a good point in yesterday’s post regarding models of medical care and the economics of referral.

I wonder how this will work with the consolidation of doctor’s practices. Here in Boise most of the primary care practices have been bought by the hospitals here. I don’t have personal experience, but I think that some of the specialist practices have also been purchased by the hospitals. Seems likely to me that the doctor will send you to the hospital that owns them rather than the one that is rated the best. Will this leave the patient fighting to go to the better rated hospital or bearing a larger burden of cost if they don’t?

This is one of the big problems with system and delivery reform. The business model requires a lot more regional coordination without ownership barriers.

Hospitals buy up provider practices for a few reasons. Before last year’s budget bill, one of the big reasons was to transform outpatient centers into off-campus hospital facilities that could charge a much higher Medicare rate. That revenue hack is gone for new acquisitions. The other two reasons are prestige of the hospital now being able to offer a high profile program and referral patterns.
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Friday Morning Open Thread: This Is My Fight Song…

Miss Bianca says:
Secretary Clinton! Madame President-Elect! WOMAN WARRIOR!!

My fellow Americans, I was for her before, but now… *now* I feel like lightning just struck twice. First Obama, now Clinton.

We are not worthy. Oh, wait – yes, we are!

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Late Night Open Thread: Early Reviews

Major Major Major Major says:


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If you missed the sermon by the Reverend William Barber, please watch this theologically conservative, liberal, evangelical, biblicist speak about right and wrong, and the heart of our democracy. You owe it to yourself.


ETA: I found the full speech by Mr Khizr Khan, in which he is accompanied by his lovely wife. Also this.

Special mention of the gentleman delegate with the fab red turban.

Post-Acceptance DNC Open Thread: Fired Up — Ready to Go!


“There is more than enough of the American dream to go around.” — HRClinton

Shonda Rhimes made the video, and she did a most excellent job, didn’t she?

And here’s a faith call-out I can get behind, even as a devout animist:

No one gets through life alone.

We have to look out for each other and lift each other up.

She made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith:

“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”

“when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone… Because when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit!”


I’m already weeping, and I’m not even a Katy Perry fan…

We must be the moral defibrillators of our time (or, “I have a Constitution to lend you”).

DEM 2016 Convention_Timm (3)

Chickens before they hatch and all that…. but the thing I think I am most looking forward to is the photos of Bill walking into the White House as First Gentleman.

I’m a cynical old trout, but Bill’s beaming mug on my ipad has made me giggle like a schoolgirl for the last three days. It seemed like every time someone cracked a joke, or ripped into the Toupéed Apricot Fucktrumpet (but I repeat myself), there was Bill, grinnin’ like a dog with three balls and a bone.

It’s been a barn burner so far, and the leading lady is yet to hit the stage, but my votes for best supporting act go to the Reverend William Barber for:

“We must be the moral defibrillator of our time. We must shock this Nation with the power of love.”

and the equally righteous Mr Khizr Khan for offering his copy of the Constitution to the Hairpiece.

If anyone can link me to a video or a transcript of both, I’d be most grateful.



DNC Pinnacle Night #4 Open Thread


Courtesy, blessings upon them forever, the Guardian, livestreaming here.

There’s also the official livestream, which unfortunately right at the moment is showing backstage clips instead of the podium speakers…

Abdul-Jabbar introduces a video in which Clinton tells the story of Humayun SM Khan, an army soldier who died in a car bombing.

Now out stop Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, and his wife, unintroduced.

Khan says they stand as parents of Khan “and as patriotic American Muslims.” They are fervently applauded.

This don’t look like Cleveland.

Best DNC Night Ever Open Thread

I’ve seen some offhand grousing about the backdrop on the DNC stage, but I can’t agree. Partially because it reminds me of the blue-and-cream grosgrain ribbon handfasting at our wedding (this was 1993! it wasn’t a cliche yet) and yes it is supposed to be a subtle visual reminder that, as with an interwoven fabric, we are stronger together. But more importantly, its very simplicity is a rebuke to the barf-up-a-July-Fourth-party-bag Repub stage set; we don’t need a boatload of ‘patriotic’ flair, because we’ve got enough diversity among the speakers that everyone can tell them apart without a program.

Thursday Evening Open Thread: Strong Competition for Worst Person of the Week Award

Some media-based arsehattery is too extreme to be overlooked. Everybody’s focused on the Democratic convention this week — including Bill O’Reilly, racist misogynist and hypercompetitive Bile Gland Walking. Michelle Obama’s deservedly lauded DNC speech spurred O’Reilly to stretch his ‘talent’ even to the point of challenging Donald Trump for the Worst Person of the Week award…

That last tweet is a spin on the MRAs ‘Mens Rights Advocates’ and their assaults on female game designers and other women last year: Actually it’s about ethics in gaming journalism… O’Reilley is just a louder, richer, more powerful version of the embittered otaku sending dick pics and SWAT teams to the women they feel have slighted their masculine superiority.

Apart from getting ready for another Big Historical DNC Evening, what’s on the agenda?

From Hell’s Heart I Stab at Thee

sba grave stickers

Despite yawns from some corners over a major party nominating the first woman for president in the history of the United States, ever, it’s kind of a big deal to many of us. But I suspect those wormy little Buster fuckwads who shouted down Elijah Cummings and Leon Panetta aren’t going to be able to resist trying to ruin the evening for Hillary Clinton and her supporters.

Anyone think there’s a chance they won’t? I don’t. They’re worse than the goddamned PUMAs, and they are an embarrassment to Senator Sanders. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

That said, aside from a few odd eruptions, some force seemed to keep the screeching Busters mostly silent during both Obamas’ speeches as well as during Biden’s and Kaine’s. Perhaps the many impressive middle-aged women in the convention hall turned steely gazes on the sniveling dipshits and hefted their handbags meaningfully.

I don’t expect that force field to hold tonight, though. These grandstanding pricks really hate Hillary Clinton. They don’t give a shit about the Democratic Party. And they’re certain it’s more important for the media coverage to include their whiny-ass, unintelligible chants than it is for the women and girls who’ve waited for this moment all their lives to enjoy the experience in peace.

May the shades of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony rise up and snatch them bald-headed.

Doesn’t have a point of view

Peak Fournier?

Because Some Asshattery Needs Its Own Snark

Like several valued commenters, I can’t help but love this story:

The [North Carolina] state GOP sent out a tweet Wednesday night saying it was “shameful” for Kaine to wear the flag of Honduras during his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Kaine was, of course, wearing a Blue Star Service pin, which people wear to signal they’ve a family member on active duty during a war or a conflict.

Here’s a typical version:


To the wingnut mind, which is to say the Twitter account of the North Caroline GOP, this subtle and simple acknowledgement of pride and moment in a son’s service was the Honduran flag, and Kaine’s brazen display of that unAmerican allegiance was, and I quote, “shameful.”

To which I reply: Morans!

One additional note:  the Military Times article linked above contains an error.  It states that “North Carolina Republicans have apologized to Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine…”

Maybe so, but the only acknowledgement of their feckless, incompetent asshattery I’ve been able to find is a thank you to the person who pointed out what Kaine was actually wearing.  No contrition aimed at the nominee, his son, or the Democratic Party.

Which is to say that the NC GOP is not merely incompetent, feckless and having trouble peering through its own colon; they’re a bunch of ill-mannered boors whose parents should have (and maybe tried to) raise them better.

ETA:  as pointed out by valued commenters Hoodie, Omnes Omnibus, and in a prior thread Raven, the executive director of the state GOP did issue a clear apology to Tim Kaine and his family this afternoon.  So my dudgeon was accurate at the time I first read this story, and was superceded by the time I wrote my snark.  I regret that error — and exactly none of my disdain for the impulse that produced the initial last-refuge-of-scoundrelism.

TL:DR?  “Bless their hearts.”

Image:  from this catalogue.

The Siberian Candidate

The Trump story of the morning appears to be a clumsy attempt to walk back yesterday’s folly/treason.  The ferret-headed Benedict Arnold now says he was just kidding.

In the reality-based universe this looks ridiculous, a twelve year old bully’s gambit to duck out of trouble when his mouth makes a promise the rest of him can’t back up.

In a political world described to the electorate but a media community that is either complicit (Fox, et al.) or cowed into ineffectuality (at best), it’s at least a solid move by Trump, and maybe more so.  He gets two main benefits out of what should be a candidacy-killing blunder.

The first is a refocusing of attention onto the Hillary email story, never mind that the actual hack — and the evil thereof –was not on Clinton’s server but was instead an attack against one of America’s two major political parties.  To all those — I spoke to one yesterday — who see Hillary as guilty, guilty, guilty, any means necessary to bring her down is just fine, and this story helps fuel that hunger while reminding everyone, yet again, that Hillary is the worst ever traitor/murderess/spy/arglebarglegabblegibberish….

The second, and even more potent benefit to Trump is the distraction his invocation of Russian spycraft offers the media.  This is classic misdirection. Focus on the more sensational, but ultimately off-the-point element of a story instead of the meat of the matter.

That would be, of course, how Trump has already, and will likely continue to pay off on Putin’s investment in his sorry ass.  Josh Marshall wrote an elegant bill of indictment a week ago, and our own Adam has gone into some detail on the extraordinary damage Trump is wreaking on more than a half a century of American geopolitics.

To do the TL:DR — Trump increasingly depends on Russian money as more and more of the major players in the western financial system have learned to their sorrow that he’s a litigious deadbeat.  That means that Trump doesn’t have to be a witting agent of the Kremlin; he’s already been bought and paid for (and, as Adam has noted, he’s long curried favor with/genuinely supported Russian authoritarians).


You can see how much vig he’s paid already:  threats to NATO and other allies, the signals he’s sending on Putin’s ambitions in the Baltic, Chamberlain-esque appeasement in his seeming willingness to accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea, explicit changes the GOP position on Ukraine in an unequivocal shift towards the Kremlin line.

Does Trump believe in any of that, independently of a Russian handler? Who knows and who cares.  The threat Trump’s Russian connections poses to US and world security exist whether or not he’s a dupe, a useful idiot, a debtor, or (easily the least likely, IMHO) an actual witting asset of the FSB.  The real story lies in two strands and two only.  First:  follow the money.  What does Trump owe to whom? Where does/can he lay his hands on cash these days?

Second:  look at what Trump has done and proposes to do.  Not the conditional BS — how great it would be if Putin hacked HIllary.  The real stuff, the weakening of the western alliance, down-the-line support for Kremlin actions and arguments.

This is a test of our political media, one I’m afraid is already being flubbed.  Trump is a good — no, a great — three card monte player.  The patter conceals the real action.

This is how a Siberian Candidate gets the job done.

For our part, it’s a matter of keeping the story alive as much as we can in every venue we can: calling representatives, hitting social media, writing letters to the editor, and above all, talking to voters who need help seeing what’s at stake in this election.

Image:  Giotto di Bondone, Judas Receiving Payment For His Betrayalbetween 1304 and 1306.