Damn I Love The Jag and the Jet and the Mansion

The Graham/Cassidy bill is bad policy. It will devastate many GOP states and hurt tens of millions of Americans. It will gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, something Trump claims he is against. It’s bad politics. It betrays every alleged GOP “principle” (we all know they have none, but they claim they do) in that it will add to the debt, has not been debated properly, no one has read the bill, etc. It’s wildly unpopular. The members of the Senate don’t even like the bill and don’t even really know what it does. But yet, they are desperate to pass it.

Here’s why:

As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else.

Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.

“Donors are furious,” one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying. “We haven’t kept our promise.”

The backlash from big donors as well as the grass roots panicked Senate Republicans and was part of the motivation behind the sudden zeal to take one last crack at repealing the health care law before the end of the month. That effort faltered Friday with new opposition from Senator John McCain of Arizona, the perennial maverick who had scuttled the Senate’s first repeal effort. Now Republicans must confront the possibility that they will once again let down their backers with no big win in sight.

It’s all about the Benjamins and catering to the donor base. Literally nothing else matters to these guys. Fucking the poors and pissing off teh left would just be a bonus.

Overnight Open Thread

This is a crappy photo because it was misty out that morning, and I did a lousy job of framing the shot, but any picture with two shorebirds in it can’t be all bad:

Is the blog acting up on y’all, or is it just me? I’ve had trouble getting to the site (fails to load), and the back-end is FUBAR; I have no confidence whatsoever the photo referenced above will publish. Maybe it’s just a wee hours maintenance thing.

Anyway. When this damnable insomnia struck a while ago, I made the mistake of checking the headlines and was thus exposed to Trump’s lunatic ravings in Alabama. To sum up, Trump:

– Called on NFL owners to fire (black) players who take a knee during the national anthem
– Suggested that the KKKeebler Elf should get busy locking up Hillary Clinton
– Urged people to vote for Luther Strange primarily so he (Trump) won’t get bad press
– Denied Russian interference in the election
– Rambled bizarrely about “the wall” being transparent

Fuck anybody who voted for that buffoon.

Regarding national anthem protests: anyone who gives a shit about the First Amendment should support the right of the players to protest. The orange fart cloud’s authoritarian overreach on the issue should trouble us all.

The slack-jawed yokels cheering the shitgibbon on in Alabama have no fucking clue what the First Amendment is for; the Constitution is just a bundle of papers they occasionally hump for effect, just as they claim to be Christians while shitting on the poor and enthusiastically supporting a racist, sexist, xenophobic degenerate.

Again, fuck those assholes. But what should non-assholes do, aside from affirming the players’ right to engage in peaceful protest? Should white folks of good will take a knee too?

And we haven’t had the late day news bombshell yet…

Prepare your popcorn:

To be clear, the latest Trumpcare zombie is only MOSTLY dead. But regardless, McCain’s “disloyalty” has gotta stick in Trump’s craw, particularly since this is the second time McCain has played obstacle to a Trump “win,” and Trump is no doubt incensed in a generic way by the fact that McCain is held in higher regard than himself.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is running around Alabama campaigning for loony-tunes Roy Moore at the same time Trump is holding a rally in the state to pump up Luther Strange. Wouldn’t be too surprising if these intolerable insults to Trump’s massive ego caused him to blast the shit out of the 2008 GOP ticket from the rally stage.

Open thread.

No product, YOU’RE the product!

If we discussed this yesterday, I missed it, but Facebook’s turnabout on the Russia election meddling scandal seems significant. From the NYT:

Facebook to Turn Over Russian-Linked Ads to Congress

WASHINGTON — Under growing pressure from Congress and the public to reveal more about the spread of covert Russian propaganda on Facebook, the company said on Thursday that it was turning over more than 3,000 Russia-linked ads to congressional committees investigating the Kremlin’s influence operation during the 2016 presidential campaign…

Facebook’s admission on Sept. 6 that Russian agents covertly bought ads on the site during last year’s campaign has brought intense scrutiny on the social network and on Twitter, entangling both companies in the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. Both companies have turned over detailed data to Mr. Mueller.

The disclosure of the ads also raised the possibility of future regulation of political advertising on social media platforms. This week, congressional Democrats asked the Federal Election Commission to advise on ways to prevent illicit foreign influence on American elections via social media, including possible new laws or regulations.

The news triggered Twitler, whose severe, untreated personality disorder makes any suggestion that he wasn’t elected by popular acclaim an intolerable insult:

Facebook’s Zuckerberg was also triggered, but in a more rational “greed-head deflecting threats to the bottom line” kinda way:

“We are in a new world,” he said. “It is a new challenge for internet communities to deal with nation-states attempting to subvert elections. But if that’s what we must do, we are committed to rising to the occasion.”

Despite Russia’s stealth attack, Mr. Zuckerberg argued that Facebook remained a force for good in democracy, promoting billions of online discussions, linking voters to candidates and helping two million Americans register to vote. He said that positive role was “100 or 1,000 times bigger” than the illicit activity.

I would counter that the elevation of an erratic demagogue like Trump, with the social media-fueled assistance of a murderous foreign autocrat, suggests that social media might not be a net positive for democracy. But safeguarding democracy isn’t Facebook’s purpose, and neither is giving my auntie a place to publish photos of awful decoupage projects.

Facebook and Twitter don’t charge us for using their platform because WE are the product they offer to their advertisers. This time, a significant number of those advertisers were hawking hate instead of hand sanitizer.

As the Times article points out, Facebook generates tens of billions in advertising revenue every year, and anyone with a credit card and a Facebook account can buy an ad. Self-serving platitudes aside, Zuckerberg and shareholders of other tech companies that are mainlining billions in self-service advertising revenue have no real incentive to change.

It’s going to take government regulation (unlikely in the current political environment) or mass action by consumers to solve this problem. And solve it we must; 2018 is right around the corner.

Friday Morning Open Thread: Doting on His Dotard


Seems like I picked a pretty good week to be mostly out of the news loop. But then, that’s been true ever since 9/9/16…

Apart from waiting on the Friday news dump, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Every pictures tells a story

This is a real ad that ran on Instagram (owned by Facebook), no joke.

Cruel to be kind, in the right measure

I know not everyone likes it when I talk about how much passing Shitcare 3.0 will hurt Republicans. But I think it’s important to keep talking about it, because (a) it’s true and (b) it’s the argument that should most convince Republicans not to pass the piece of crap.

Even the conservative Reihan Salam agrees:

If Graham-Cassidy is signed into law, it just might represent the death knell of today’s GOP.


Of course, all of this hinges on Graham-Cassidy actually passing. That might not happen, as some of its regulatory provisions might not pass muster under the Byrd Rule, and because Sens. Lisa Murkowski and John McCain might break ranks with their fellow Republicans while Sens. Rand Paul and Susan Collins show no signs of softening their opposition. If the Republican dissenters continue to hold out, they will almost certainly stand accused of party disloyalty. But in a roundabout way, they might be doing their fellow Republicans a huge favor.

So, McCain and Murkowski, do it for your constituents, do it for conscience, do it for your party. Just vote against the fucking piece of shit.