Lou Knew

Contemplating the pain Trump’s going to lay on the most vulnerable among us (and yeah, some of them voted for him, but hurt is hurt), I found this song, imagined as being addressed directly to the Shitgibbon, a perfect expression of my mood:

(Buried deep in the lyrics Reed talks of the Trumps being ordained.  But the real tell is when he sings “They say the President’s dead/But no one can find his head.” That last line is truer than he ever knew.  Man was a prophet.)

Open thread.








Late Night Open Thread: One Could Almost Feel Sorry for Romney

… Except, y’know, the silly bastid is willfully submitting himself to this shiteshow. Per AP:

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is heading the transition effort, teased “a number of very important announcements tomorrow” as he exited Trump Tower Monday night.

Pence is said to be among those backing Romney for State. Romney was fiercely critical of Trump throughout the campaign but is interested in the Cabinet position, and they discussed it during a lengthy meeting earlier this month.

Other top Trump allies, notably campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, have launched a highly unusual public campaign to warn the president-elect that nominating Romney would be seen as a betrayal by his supporters. Conway’s comments stirred speculation that she is seeking to either force Trump’s hand or give him cover for ultimately passing over Romney.

Three people close to the transition team said Trump had been aware that Conway planned to voice her opinion, both on Twitter and in television interviews. They disputed reports that Trump was furious at her and suggested his decision to consider additional candidates instead highlighted her influence…

Trump was also considering former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for Homeland Security secretary, according to those close to the transition process. Giuliani was initially the front-runner for State and is still in the mix. But questions about his overseas business dealings, as well as the mayor’s public campaigning for the job, have given Trump pause…

Yeah, among the many things I hold against Trump is that he’s made Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney look like the good, sane alternative for a powerful political office. Mitt’s certainly touched some nerves among the Trump Crime Cartel, though…

I kinda like Josh Barro’s theory…

Remember the calculus for the C-listers who signed up with Trump early.

They debased themselves by signing up with a candidate who was widely considered ridiculous and unacceptable by Republican insiders. In exchange, they would line up — in the unlikely event Trump won — for administration jobs for which they would otherwise be considered laughably unsuitable.

This calculus seems to have worked out for Michael Flynn and perhaps Ben Carson. But a Romney appointment would be a severe threat to the dynamic the Trump sycophants depend on.

If a consummate party establishmentarian who did not support Trump — indeed, one who said Trump was “playing the American public for suckers” — can be forgiven and given a top job, what role would be left for Rudy Giuliani or Mike Huckabee?…


Read more








If You Don’t Know Who The Patsy At The Table Is, Dear Trumpkins…

...it’s you:

Again and again, President-elect Donald Trump presented himself as the coal miners’ candidate. During the campaign, he promised to bring coal back into the economy, and jobs back into struggling Appalachian towns.

But now some in coal country are worried that instead of helping, Trump’s first actions will deprive miners — and their widows and children — of the compensation they can receive if they are disabled by respiratory problems linked to breathing coal mine dust.

That’s because buried in the Affordable Care Act are three sentences that made it much easier to access these benefits. If Trump repeals Obamacare — as he vowed to do before the election — and does not keep that section on the books, the miners will be back to where they were in 2009, when it was exceedingly difficult to be awarded compensation for “black lung” disease.

coal_mining_18th_c

This is by no means a done deal, given that at least some coal-country legislators (Joe Manchin, for one) have declared their support for retaining this in whatever comes out of the health care catastrophe the GOP is determined to commit.  But McConnell is, as usual, mum on the matter, and if I were a coal mining family depending on the pittance they do get (top payment for a miner with three dependents: $1,289/month), I’d be getting ready not for hard times — they’re already here — but worse.

[update: obligatory post soundtrack]

The key change the ACA implemented in black lung cases was to shift the burden of proof: instead of a miner having to prove that the work caused the disease, under the new rules,

If a miner has spent 15 years or more underground and can prove respiratory disability, then it is presumed to be black lung related to mine work, unless the company can prove otherwise.

This wasn’t a case of free money all around. As reporter Eric Boodman writes,  “In 2009, 19 percent of claims for black lung benefits were successful; in 2015, that percentage had jumped to 28.” That’s a big jump — but hardly evidence that the black lung compensation process is a wild government grab of beleaguered coal company assets.

Those companies hate the rule, with a spokesman telling Boodman that it’s created “a supplemental pension program” rather than the compensation for occupational disease, which is as fine a bit of high priced turd polishing as I’ve seen in a while.

TL:DR?  Think of this as Mencken’s rule in action:

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Trump voters in coal country — West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky — were promised their country back.

What will they receive?

The shaft, deeper and darker than any hole miners have dug in the hunt for what will continue to kill them where they stand.

Image: Léonard Defrance, Coal Mining, before 1805.



Monday Morning Open Thread: Cold Comforts

cranky-geezers-have-better-brains-sylvia

(Sylvia/Nicole Hollander via GoComics.com)
.

At last, a little uplift for the Balloon Juice commentariat! (And, yes, this front-pager, who just turned 61.)

Speaking of long-range tactics, I think Dana Houle has a good point here:

Jared Kushner is a NYC businessman, heir to a convicted felon real estate developer. Reince Priebus is a leading product of the GOP political machine. Steve Bannon is a sociopath who sees the neo-Nazi, white-supremacist “alt right” as a tool for random social destruction, which he finds entertaining / useful for his private goals. (Bannon is acting as the third corner of the traditional GOP Golden Triangle, Business/Bureaucracy/’Church’, which is its own kind of weird American success story.) The three of them have converged, temporarily, to push an aging “celebrity” to the top of the American political pyramid. Their common interests started diverging immediately after Clinton’s concession speech… and the cracks are widening by the day.

Our strategy, as Democrats and citizens, must include encouraging the dissension between ‘good for the Trump/Kushner business conglomerate’‘Good for the GOP party’‘Good for the dank lulz’. Yes, it would be nice if the pivot weren’t Donald Smallgloves Trump, but then again, he’s not going to make life easier for the triumvirate, either.

***********
Apart from soldiering on, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?








Open Thread: Walk and Chew Ankle

A responsible observer can do both!