Groundhog Day

Here we go again. From the WaPo:

The FBI will investigate whether additional classified material is contained in emails sent using Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state, FBI director James Comey informed Congressional leaders Friday.

The announcement appears to restart the FBI’s probe of Clinton’s server, less than two weeks before the presidential election, an explosive development that could shape the campaign’s final days.

Sweet Weeping Jeebus running running backwards down the up escalator, will this shit never fucking end?

ETA: What he said…

Meanwhile, in North Dakota…

While the seven armed occupiers go scot free in Oregon, peaceful demonstrators seeking to preserve clean water and their tribal rights against encroachment by the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) are being arrested by the hundreds by militarized police in North Dakota.


Attack dogs, pepper spray, water cannons, tanks, LRADs—no defense is too excessive when it comes to oil companies’ inalienable right to despoil and plunder.

Who needs drinking water, anyway?

Energy Transfer Partners claims DAPL is safe as safe can be—which is why it’s so perplexing that Bismarck, ND nuked the original plan for it to pass within ten miles of their city.

Irony, thy name is Bismarck:

This route was rejected in the Corps’ environmental assessment due to its close proximity to source water protection areas, multiple conservation easements and residential areas — the North Dakota Public Service Commission has a 500-foot residential buffer requirement. [bolding mine – HR]

No problem! said ETP. We’ve got some indigenous peoples here we don’t mind further disenfranchising.

Please spread the word – this conflict, and the excesses of the corporate-owned (figuratively and literally) police forces haven’t gotten nearly enough play.

Friday Morning Open Thread: President NFLTG

Politico finds itself agog:

In what’s supposed to be an anti-establishment year, Barack Obama is feeling like the man.

The White House is mapping out the final two weeks until Election Day to take advantage of a president who all of a sudden everyone wants to see more of. Not only will he be out on the trail almost every day of the final week, but he’ll also be targeting millennials on late-night shows, online outlets and radio; taping more robo-calls and radio ads for the down-ballot candidates he’s prioritized; and hitting Donald Trump. He’ll also be making the positive case for Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democrats…

Obama is having a really, really, really good time, loving the love, loving all the people now knocking on the White House doors appealing for his help — and he wants everyone to know it.

“You’re still fired up,” Obama said, as he entered to cheers in the backyard of one of his early donors Monday morning in La Jolla, California, looking out at the Pacific Ocean in front of him.

The polls help: He’s supercompetitive, and there’s nothing he likes more than winning. Except, maybe, a crowd going wild cheering for him. Or making fun of Trump. Or sticking it to the Republicans who did everything they could to attack him the past eight years, only to produce this campaign. Or most of all: watching all the things people said would sink his presidency — from Obamacare to the Iran nuclear deal and everything in between — looking like they’re all about to be cemented with Clinton being elected president.

Aides are bubbling. Longtime supporters feel like they’re finally getting the president they thought they elected eight years ago, cutting down and through his opponents, proudly talking about liberal policy and neither apologizing for it nor getting into the pragmatic talk about compromising.

Now he’s looking to drive it home…

Asked whether Obama feels vindicated, Earnest — who’s been with Obama since he was campaigning in Iowa in 2007 — suppressed a smile.

“He feels good that the argument he is making to the country is resonating not just deeply in the Democratic base, but all across the country. That’s a very satisfying thing,” Earnest said. “The president is pleased about the current trajectory of the race.”…


With that cheery thought in mind, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?

Open Thread: Jason Chaffetz, Junior Detective Putz

This ugly tidbit seemed worth noting, even amid the flood of more immediate information. Jason Chaffetz, thwarted of the Speakership by Paul Ryan, jealous of fellow Utan Mike Lee’s higher profile, and nervous about a potential Evan McMullin challenge in 2018, has decided to give up his figleaf of Trump disapproval and seek refuge in the ever-popular pursuit of Hillary Rodham Clinton for… not being a Republican, essentially. Per Dave Weigal at the Washington Post:

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Jason Chaffetz, the Utah congressman wrapping up his first term atop the powerful House Oversight Committee, unendorsed Donald Trump weeks ago. That freed him up to prepare for something else: spending years, come January, probing the record of a President Hillary Clinton.

“It’s a target-rich environment,” the Republican said in an interview in Salt Lake City’s suburbs. “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”

In a tweet Wednesday night, Chaffetz reaffirmed his distaste for Clinton and his refusal to endorse Trump — but reversed his plans not to vote for the Republican nominee.

If Republicans retain control of the House, something that GOP-friendly maps make possible even in the event of a Trump loss, Clinton will become the first president since George H.W. Bush to immediately face a House Oversight Committee controlled by the opposition party. (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama lost Congress later in their presidencies.)…

“The rigorous oversight conducted by House Republicans has already brought to light troubling developments in the [Hillary] Clinton email scandal,” the office of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement to The Washington Post. “The speaker supports [Oversight’s] investigative efforts following where the evidence leads, especially where it shows the need for changes in the law.”…

Fortunately, Hillary Clinton has no illusions about the persistence of minor pests like Rep. Chaffetz…

Read more

Thursday Night Open Thread: Marching (One Hopes) Into Oblivion


(Non Sequitur via

I voted for Hillary Clinton to be the first woman President this afternoon, and therefore refuse to let the antics of the dying Repub party and its worst adherents harsh my considerable mellow.

First blowback from the big Bloomberg article. Rick Hasen, at his highly respected LawBlog:

Breaking: DNC Asks for RNC to Be Held in Contempt, Voter Intimidation Consent Decree Extended 8 More Years
Back in August, I blogged about how Donald Trump could be violating a longstanding consent decree against the RNC engaging in “ballot security” measures which have been found to intimidate minority voters. I explained how the consent decree began in the 1980s, was extended by the courts over RNC’s objection (which went all the way to the Supreme Court in an unsuccessful effort to get them involved), and now expires in 2017 unless extended for up to another 8 years by order of the Court. I explained that there were two issues: first, was Trump engaging in voter intimidation activities (it looked like he had) and second, whether Trump could be seen as an “agent” of the RNC (because the decree applies only to the RNC, its employees, and agents)…

Well now it’s happened. The DNC filed papers saying that the RNC, through Trump’s actions has already violated the consent decree, and asks for another 8-year extension…

For full details and useful links — read the whole thing.
Apart from that, what’s on the agenda tonight?

Mark Kirk’s New Low

The entire Republican party has lost their god damned minds.

We’ll Just Go Ahead and File This Under “White Privilege”

You gotta be fucking kidding me:

Ammon and Ryan Bundy have been found not guilty of conspiracy. Their five co-defendants Jeff Banta, Shawna Cox, David Fry, Kenneth Medenbach and Neil Wampler have all been found not guilty as well.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on Ryan Bundy’s theft of government property charge.

The jury returned its verdict after some six weeks of testimony followed by less than six hours deliberations, and the last minute replacement of a juror after an allegation surfaced that he was biased.

The jury was instructed to disregard their previous work and to re-consider the evidence.

I got nothing.

Donald Trump: Fascist

I can’t think of another way to describe him after this* [Politico link]:

Donald Trump suggested canceling the election Thursday and granting himself the presidency.

“What a difference. You know, what a difference this is,” Trump said during a rally in Toledo, Ohio, after comparing his tax plan with Hillary Clinton’s.

“And just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right? What are we even having it for? What are we having it for?” he asked. “Her policies are so bad. Boy, do we have a big difference.”

Because that’s how he rolls, and how the party that nominated him would, if they could.

I got nuthin’ beyond that.


Except perhaps this:  the Republican party is a wholly owned Trump subsidiary now. It must be destroyed, its walls pulled down, its proud towers cast down, its fields sown with salt.

Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est

*Actually, I’ve been using that label for the Cheeto-faced Ferret-heedit Shitgibbon for some time.  But that’s neither here nor there.

Image: J. W. M. Turner, The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire1817.

There’s Never Just One…

This, via TPM:

A 41-year-old lawyer has accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of groping her in 1999 when she was a young foundation fellow in Washington, D.C., National Law Journal reported Thursday.

The lawyer, Moira Smith, said that Thomas repeatedly touched her rear multiple times as he pleaded for her to sit next to him at a dinner party hosted by the head of her scholarship program. The alleged incident occurred, Smith said, when just the two of them were alone near the table she was setting for the party.


It’s been clear since her testimony (at least to me) that Anita Hill was a truthful and courageous witness to Clarence Thomas’s craptastitude, and hence his unfitness to be a Supreme Court justice.  There were rumors at the time that there were more women, with more stories.  But they never testified.  So Thomas survived on the “he-said; she-said; who knows?” defense.

But if there’s anything the intervening decades have taught us, it’s that powerful men who use their positions to impose their sexual demands on women don’t stop at just one.  See, of course, Mr. Donald Trump.

And now this.  Thomas is blanket denying, of course:

“This claim is preposterous and it never happened,” Thomas said in a statement to National Law Journal.

That’ll keep him securely in place, until and unless the next woman comes forward, and the next, and the next…

My bet?

Well, there’s never just one.  But keeping Thomas in his seat is so important to so many of the worst people in the country that I would be utterly unsurprised if (a) Moira Smith gets hit by a world of hurt and (b) anyone else who might have knowledge of any misdeeds by Trump receiving that message loud and clear.

We’ll see.

Image: Artemisia Gentileschi, Corisca and the Satyr, betw. 1630 and 1635.

More on That Bloomberg Story — “Trump’s Plan B”

… which could have been subtitled “Dead Andrew Breitbart’s Chosen Heir Sets Up His Own Shop (with some help from Donald Trump)”. Their vaunted voter-suppression tactics are, quite justifiably, getting the most attention right now, but the real story is that Steve Bannon and his fellow “alt right” racists are using the Trump campaign as a shell to grab customers frustrated with the GOP brand:

Almost every public and private metric suggests Trump is headed for a loss, possibly an epic one. His frustrated demeanor on the campaign trail suggests he knows it. Yet even as he nears the end of his presidential run, his team is sowing the seeds of a new enterprise with a direct marketing effort that they insist could still shock the world on Election Day.

Beginning last November, then ramping up in earnest when Trump became the Republican nominee, Kushner quietly built a sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign that’s become the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid. Trump’s top advisers won’t concede the possibility of defeat, but they’re candid about the value of what they’ve built even after the returns come in—and about Trump’s desire for influence regardless of outcome. “Trump is a builder,” says Bannon, in a rare interview. “And what he’s built is the underlying apparatus for a political movement that’s going to propel us to victory on Nov. 8 and dominate Republican politics after that.”

If Trump wants to strengthen his hold on his base, then his apocalyptic rhetoric on the stump begins to make more sense. Lately he’s sounded less like a candidate seeking to persuade moderates and swing voters and more like the far-right populist leaders who’ve risen throughout Europe. Most Republican Party officials ardently hope he’ll go away quietly if he loses. But given all that his campaign—and Kushner’s group especially—has been doing behind the scenes, it looks likelier that Trump and his lieutenants will stick around. They may emerge as a new media enterprise, an outsider political movement, or perhaps some combination of the two: an American UK Independence Party (UKIP) that will wage war on the Republican Party—or, rather, intensify the war that Trump and Bannon have already begun.
Read more

Thursday Afternoon Open Thread

Here’s two old boxers basking in the sun like a pair of fugitive church ladies spending embezzled Sunday School bake sale funds on a cut-rate Panama City holiday:


But honest to dog, y’all — I’d rather erect a palm-frond lean-to next to their wallow as my only shelter than trade places with Melania Trump in her gilded cage overlooking Central Park:

Since her speech snafu over the summer, Melania Trump has kept a relatively low profile where her husband’s campaign is concerned. True, she’s defended him against the women accusing him of sexual assault with interviews and fashion statements alike, but she has yet to reappear on the campaign trail.

Unfortunately for Melania, on Thursday Donald surprised his wife with the news that she’ll soon hit the trail again. During a joint appearance on Good Morning America, Melania Trump told host George Stephanopoulos, “I’m there for him every time he needs me. And I might join him — we will see.”

Apparently she was speaking in hypotheticals, because when Donald followed up with, “She’s actually going to make two or three speeches,” Melania let out a surprised, “Oh!”

“Made some news right there,” Stephanopoulos observed, referring to Melania’s reaction. “Well, it is. It’s, it’s — she’s amazing when she speaks,” Donald Trump said. “She’s an amazing public speaker so she’s agreed to do two or three speeches, and I think it’s going to be big speeches, important speeches, and I think it’s gonna be great.”

Sounds like Trump has FLOTUS envy. Michelle Obama has been on the campaign trail eviscerating Trump without ever saying his name, and he probably figures what one broad can do, another can, so he’s going to trot poor Melania out to do…what? Criticize Hillary Clinton for standing by her man? No, that won’t work, for obvious reasons.

Anyhoo. I’m almost moved to pity. Almost. Open thread!

The View from the Führerbunker

Interesting piece by Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg over at Bloomberg about the Trump operation at 12 days out from the election. Here’s an excerpt that’s understandably getting the most attention:

“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans. Trump’s invocation at the debate of Clinton’s WikiLeaks e-mails and support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership was designed to turn off Sanders supporters. The parade of women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and harassed or threatened by Hillary is meant to undermine her appeal to young women. And her 1996 suggestion that some African American males are “super predators” is the basis of a below-the-radar effort to discourage infrequent black voters from showing up at the polls—particularly in Florida.

As the piece says, the Trump people know they’re losing. There’s not much room to expand their appeal beyond the traditional racist yokels, alt-right froggies, knee-jerk Republican jerks, etc., so the strategy is to demoralize the Democratic base and hope Putin’s psy-ops shop pushes something through WikiLeaks that actually sticks. It’s fascinating that they would straight-up admit that.

APTC Hacking should be a short term hack

In a perfectly competetive market with numerous carriers offering plans on and off Exchange, my hobby horse of Silver Gap and Silver Spam analysis should be a short term event. It would have been a viable strategy in 2014 and 2015 as carriers had different assumptions about what the market looked liked and priced differently. But as more data came in and carriers could look both at their own claims information and how they are performing in regards to their competitors, we should have seen Silver segmentation convergence.

there is a strong incentive for insurers to offer at least a Silver plan that is either the cheapest two Silvers or very close to the subsidy cut-off…

This segment in a competitive market should see a cluster of plans that are at the subsidy line plus or minus a couple percentage points. These plans are the first segment. They tend to be very restrictive in all modifiable aspects. HMO’s with gatekeeper and strict authorization processes are likely to be here while open access PPO networks are unlikely to be in this segment. The networks will tend to be very narrow as the pricing model is Medicare plus a small kicker (Where Mayhew Insurance sells, the pricing on this segment is Medicare plus 3% to Medicare plus 8% depending on the insurance company) and insurance companies are avoiding the high cost providers if they can. These are the super narrow networks where the goal is to get a Silver plan that is either top 2 or really close to top 2 in pricing. They are aimed at people who are getting subsidies are extremely aware of every additional dollar they have to spend on monthly premiums. If we had a public option plus 5% scheme in place, it would fall into this segment.

The 2017 plan year is when, in a well functioning market, we should have seen dramatic convergence as the carriers had enough time and enough claims experience to figure out their markets.

And we are seeing that in some areas. For instance, Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis) has two separate companies offering the #1 and #2 Silvers. The least expensive Silver plan for a 40 year old single non-tobacco user is from Ambetter. They charge a full premium of $284.29. The second least expensive Silver which sets the subsidy benchmark is from Care Source. They charge the same individual $285.99. This would qualify as a “Silver Spam” county if the two plans were offered by the same carrier.

This is a demonstration of a converged market. Market forces have driven two Medicaid like managed care organizations to offer very similar products at very similar prices.

If we had deep insurance markets, this is what we should have expected to see in most of the country. And this is what I expect to see over the next couple of years.

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Whatever It Takes

Good news from the Washington Post:

One short month ago, millennial voters were severely complicating Hillary Clinton’s path to the presidency. This liberal-leaning but highly nonpartisan demographic didn’t like Clinton and was flirting heavily with going third-party. Her lead among them was negligible — only two points in one poll. It was a big liability.

That was a month ago.

Today, in fact, Clinton looks like she might even outperform President Obama among young voters. And it’s a big reason she’s grabbed a lead in the polls.

A new poll of 18-to-29-year olds from the Harvard Institute of Politics shows Clinton leading Donald Trump by 28 points among young likely voters in a four-way matchup that includes Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, 49 percent to 21 percent. That 28-point margin is notably bigger than Obama’s 23-point margin in 2012, when he beat Mitt Romney 60-37 among this group.

And there’s evidence that Clinton’s lead could grow from there…

It’s easy to say you’d choose tire rims & anthrax for dinner, until you’re at the table and the waiter is taking orders. Give the kids credit for learning from their elders’ experience; my first presidential protest vote was for John Anderson, whose candidacy probably didn’t have much effect on Carter’s loss to Reagan, but given a do-over I’d certainly go for the Democrat. Today’s young voters presumably have some memory of the Gore/Bush/Nader debacle, and they’ve grown up living with the various horrors of the Cheney Regency — they have or should have some knowledge of how much our nation can no longer afford to experiment with ‘none of the above’ options. Now it’s up to us Hillbots to convince them that actually showing up at the precinct can be an actual positive, something to be enthusiastic about…

Apart from GOTV, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Early Morning Oddity Open Thread: Another Faux News Star Loses It

Of course Sean Hannity jumped on the Trump Train early, because Donald Trump is the guy Hannity always aspired to be. But the Trump campaign is a corrosive bath, an acid that strips all it contacts down to whatever bones they possess. Per the NYDN [warning: autoplay]:

Conservative commentator Sean Hannity offered to fund President Obama’s post-election flight to Africa should Donald Trump snag the title of commander-in-chief…

“You want to go to Canada,” Hannity said. “I’ll pay for you to go to Canada. You want to go to Kenya? I’ll pay for you to go to Kenya. Jakarta, where you went to school back in the day, you can go back there.”

Hannity had only one caveat for Obama. “You can’t come back,” he added.

Hannity even worked out the logistics. He would charter Trump’s private jet for the one-way trip and stock it with caviar and champagne…

Hannity publicly offered to send Obama away following Monday’s remarks from White House press secretary Josh Earnest that evaded whether Obama would join droves of voters — even celebrities — planning to ditch the United States if Trump wins the November election.

“He’s working very hard to make sure that nobody has to leave the country as a result of an electoral outcome that the President doesn’t support,” Earnest said.

Read more