Keep calling!

The so-called “skinny repeal” bill (I like valued commenter Oldgold’s “Trojan Hearse” nickname better) is being written on cocktail napkins in the Senate commissary today:

So much has happened already this morning: the West Wing has gone full-metal “Heathers,” Trump is threatening to veto the Russia sanctions bill, etc. But here’s one thing we can actually do: call about that bill.

The smart money is on the craven GOP worms passing some piece of shit legislation that harms millions of Americans, even if it doesn’t contain all the plutocratic goodies that have been dancing like sugar plums in their corrupt heads since November. But imagine the meltdown if they hit a wall again. That’s worth a call right there. We’ve already made a difference.

Open thread!

That time I was mean to someone on Twitter…

Politico has a story about how Trump came to ban trans service members by fiat. It’s a doozy:

Numerous House conservatives and defense hawks this week had threatened to derail their own legislation [spending bill containing numerous MAGAt goodies, such as The Wall] if it did not include a prohibition on Pentagon funding for gender reassignment surgeries, which they deem a waste of taxpayer money. But GOP leaders were caught in a pinch between those demands and moderate Republicans who felt the proposal was blatantly discriminatory.

“There are several members of the conference who feel this really needs to be addressed,” said senior House Appropriations Committee member Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) on Tuesday. “This isn’t about the transgender issue; it’s about the taxpayer dollars going to pay for the surgery out of the defense budget.”

That’s why House lawmakers took the matter to the Trump administration. And when Defense Secretary James Mattis refused to immediately upend the policy, they went straight to the White House. Trump — never one for political correctness — was all too happy to oblige.

“[P]lease be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The president’s directive, of course, took the House issue a step beyond paying for gender reassignment surgery and other medical treatment. House Republicans were never debating expelling all transgender troops from the military.

“This is like someone told the White House to light a candle on the table and the WH set the whole table on fire,” said one senior House Republican aide. The source said that while GOP leaders asked the White House for help, they weren’t expecting — and got no heads up on — Trump’s far-reaching directive.

Fucking hell.

Wednesday Afternoon Open Thread

Here’s the dog who stole my seat in the wee hours this morning:

She always does that, then gives me the stink-eye when I return and expect her to shove over. I could understand it if it was winter and she was looking for a warm spot. But it’s July in Florida, and she’s wearing a fur coat!

On the Twitters, some folks are saying the Republicans are getting close to 50 votes on the so-called “skinny repeal” scheme. We shall see. Open thread!

Burrowing into the Base

Twitler just now:

Twitler last year:

Yeah, not a dime’s worth of difference.

In Memoriam: Emmett Till Was Born on 25 July 1941

Had Emmitt Till not been brutally murdered for a crime he didn’t commit he would have been 76 today. I don’t mean to step on AL’s post, but I think it is appropriate to not let the anniversary of his birth, and the memory of a life cut tragically short by racism, hatred, and intolerance.

From the FBI:

In the summer of 1955, 14-year-old African-American Emmett Till had gone on vacation from Chicago to visit family in Money, Mississippi. He was shopping at a store owned by Roy and Carolyn Bryant—and someone said he whistled at Mrs. Bryant, a white woman.

At some point around August 28, he was kidnapped, beaten, shot in the head, had a large metal fan tied to his neck with barbed wire, and was thrown into the Tallahatchie River. His body was soon recovered, and an investigation was opened.

It took fewer than four weeks for the case to go to trial: Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam were accused of the murder, and an all white, all male jury acquitted both of them. No one else was ever indicted or prosecuted for involvement in the kidnapping or murder. Bryant and Milam, though, later confessed and told a magazine journalist all the grisly details of their crime. They are both, now, long deceased.

In May 2004, the FBI reopened the investigation to determine if other individuals were involved, working with the Mississippi District Attorney, U.S. Attorney, federal attorneys, and local law enforcement. Till’s body was exhumed for an autopsy in 2005. In March 2006, the FBI announced that information developed in its exhaustive investigation confirmed the Department of Justice’s earlier conclusion that the five-year statute of limitations on any potential federal criminal civil rights violation had expired, thereby precluding federal prosecution of this case. The FBI reported the results of its investigation to Joyce Chiles, the District Attorney for the Fourth Judicial District of Mississippi.

Although justice has not been served in the case, the tragic murder helped galvanize the growing civil rights movement in this country in the 1950s and beyond.

Here are the links to the FBI’s 2006 investigative report. Part 1. Part 2.

We now know, thanks to a recently published biography of Till/history of the Till case that his accuser lied.

The effect of Tyson’s wide-angled framing is especially pronounced in the bombshell revelation that Carolyn Bryant—the white woman who originally claimed Till grabbed and sexually harassed her in her husband’s store—lied about those claims. Media coverage has focused on that explosive admission and the conversation around redemption that it seems to spark, but Tyson’s book, in the end, is largely unconcerned with that line of inquiry. Bryant’s testimony on the stand and her later admission have little to do, in this narrative, with her own battle with guilt; rather, they serve to advance Tyson’s thesis that culpability for Till’s death rests on millions of shoulders. The unlikely thing, he argues, was not that Emmett Till was lynched, but that his lynching actually stirred a national response.

And goes on to level a searing indictment against America – both at the time of Till’s murder and today.

Perhaps most importantly, Tyson considers all the ways in which an American populace was complicit in its acceptance of violence against black people—and then considers all the ways in which it is still complicit in the deaths of people of color today. For instance, in his examination of the Citizens’ Councils’ literature, which fomented mass fears of black criminality and fantasies of rampant black sexual deviancy, Tyson also shows how poor white “peckerwoods” were loathed by wealthier white people, and manipulated into doing the bloody business of physical violence. In this, he provides a thinly veiled parable for today’s politics in how the rhetoric of white supremacy—even in its subtlest dog-whistle form—is used to radicalize people, and how the uneasy detente between classes of white people is often maintained by propaganda built around the threat of the other, even as the culpability is passed to the lowest rungs. “We blame them,” Tyson writes about those radicalized perpetrators of physical violence, “to avoid seeing that the lynching of Emmett Till was caused by the nature and history of America itself and by a social system that has changed over the decades, but not as much as we pretend.”


Media Outlet Interviews Clinton Voter

Haha, not really! They’re still holding panels with Trump-voting idiots as if — instead of being the mush-brained goobers who have plunged our country into an interminable series of political, international and moral crises that they are — they were founts of homespun political wisdom.

But fuck it; instead of cursing the darkness, I’ll light a candle by interviewing a Clinton voter in a state that went for Trump. She is someone I know rather well — me. Here are her fascinating insights:

Q: It has been a little over six months since Trump was sworn in as president. Do you think the country has changed, and if so, are things worse or better?

A: Christ on a pony, so much worse! Not only is an addled, unqualified narcissist occupying the Oval Office and embarrassing us as a nation on a daily basis, the Republican Party — elected officials and base of voters both — have failed to live up to even my rock-bottom expectations for them.

An entire network of media outlets, chief among them Fox News, is devoted to excusing collusion with a hostile foreign power.

So-called “values voters” devote 100% of their social media output to constructing apologies for an admitted degenerate.

Alleged “fiscal hawks” are going to bat for an epically corrupt tax cheat.

And pretend-moderates are signing on for racist immigration policies, voter suppression schemes and a radical and cruel gutting of the social safety net, leaving their constituents to the tender mercies of insurance corporations. It’s an ongoing disaster.

Q: Since you live in a heavily Republican district, you must find common ground with your friends and neighbors, right?

A: Fuck no! A so-called “friend” who voted for that pussy-grabbing piece of shit is no friend of mine! If a Trump-voting neighbor stops by to borrow a cup of sugar, I’ll happily oblige — after I hock a loogie into their cup.

Q: Gross! What do you say to people who are disillusioned with the political system — folks who believe there’s really no difference between the two parties?

A: I say, “You’re a goddamned idiot who shouldn’t leave the house until your mommy pins a note with your name and address on your shirt.”

Q: Are you at all comforted by he fact that moderates like Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner have the president’s ear?

A: Are you fucking kidding me? That pair of worthless dilettantes are just as corrupt and clueless as the old man. They open their stupid yaps, and torrents of meaningless corporate buzzwords stream forth while they subvert our democracy for their personal gain. I’d love to see the two of them building a global brand from a medium-security prison.

Q: Do you think America can recover from this period of heightened partisanship?

A: Depends on whether actual patriots outnumber the arrogant shitheads in MAGA hats. The MAGAts are the minority, but they’ll press their advantage at every turn. Will the people keep opposing them? Will they stay strong and not lose heart? I hope so. The resistance so far gives me hope.

Q: Thank you, Clinton voter, a species more rare than the reticulated naked Dalmatian mole-bat, despite having won the popular vote by some three million. Are you willing to be interviewed by other media outlets?

A: You bet your ass I am! Call me!

The end. Open thread!

Afternoon Update

The Senatortoise from Kentucky shamelessly played the McCain card, and The Washington Post says Republicans are close to moving forward on renewing the wealthcare debate:

Senate Republican leaders appeared close to securing the support they needed Tuesday to begin debate on their plan to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, according to lawmakers and aides, though the proposal they would consider could change dramatically once senators begin voting.

Republican leaders now see a scaled-down version of the bill as perhaps their best chance of winning final passage on some kind of measure to overhaul Obamacare. If senators passed this stripped-down version — which some Republicans refer to as “skinny repeal” — they would set up a House-Senate conference to resolve the differences between the two proposals, buying Republicans more time.

The new strategy will allow Republicans to sustain their years-long effort to unwind the 2010 health-care law, though they have yet settle on a replacement for it. But it is also is a tacit acknowledgment that more sweeping efforts to revise or even simply repeal the law cannot succeed, even as Republicans control both Congress and the White House.

They’ll probably pass the motion to begin debate — and hail it as a great victory. Celebrating truly basic shit is what they do now that President Poopy-Star is on the Golden Throne. But as the article above notes, agreeing to debate a face-saving compromise is a far cry from the grandiose promises the pack of lying grifters, including Donald “I’ll Repeal Obamacare on Day One” Trump made to the donor class.

Every day we thwart these greedy, mendacious pricks is a victory — never forget that. Infighting is on the rise, the Purge has begun, and cracks are appearing in the facade. I’m willing to talk to the bored shitheads at Rubio’s office every weekday for the rest of my life to keep that going.