Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Self-Care and Self-Defending

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(Matt Davies via GoComics.com)
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In NYMag, Kat Kinsman has “A Post-Election Action Plan for Anxious People”:

The worst happened. More will happen. All the magical thinking and proactive worrying in the world didn’t prevent the outcome of this election, and letting it attack me from the inside is not a viable solution, not if I want to spend the next few years anywhere other than under my increasingly pilling comforter. So I’ve come up with a coping plan. Maybe it’ll help you, too.

Set a stretch alarm. When I’m in a panic spiral, I’ll find myself in sharp, shocking pain, then realize I’ve been gnarled up in startle position for several hours. Before the election, it got so bad that I set a reminder on my calendar to stand up and breathe deeply a few times a day. It’s painfully easy to forget to do, and the simple (and totally free!) act of drawing in breath can knock me out of a terrible thought loop and help me move forward with purpose.

See friends in person whether you feel up to it or not…
Also, don’t see people you don’t want to…
Step away from the internet…
Get some sleep…
Take meds if you need them…

Pick one cause. You cannot go on every single protest march, make every call, sign every petition, sway every politician. Commit to selecting one cause and making it your big mission, or finding one little thing to do every day. A letter or phone call to a legislator, an hour volunteering, a couple of bucks to a cause, or a check-in on a friend living in a place where they may not feel safe. It might feel small. It will keep you sane.

Read the whole thing, it’s not very long, and Kinsman’s reasoning seems very sound.
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Speaking of taking one step at a time: Longtime commentor Jenn suggested we initiate a Friday Progress Open Thread, which seems timely (and doable, for me). Got suggestions as to where each of us individually can make a difference? Want to brag a little on your own progress? Leave a comment here (or email me at annelaurie dot verizon dot net) and I’ll set up the first POT this Friday.

One suggestion, right now: It’s not too late to donate to Foster Campbell, the Democrat in Louisana’s December 10th runoff election.

Apart from all that, what’s on the agenda for the new day?



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Nancy (Once Again) Smash

May her shadow never grow less!:

Democrats are wandering around in the wilderness once again, shut out of power in Washington after losing a close, hard-fought presidential battle. The last time this happened, after the 2004 elections, the newly reelected president, George W. Bush, over-read his mandate and launched an ill-fated effort to partially privatize Social Security, providing a rallying point for Democrats to begin turning things around.

In an interview with me, House Dem leader Nancy Pelosi argued that history might repeat itself, if House Speaker Paul Ryan — with Donald Trump’s blessing — makes good on his hints to press forward with his plans to privatize Medicare. Pelosi vowed that Democrats would remain united in the battle to stop Ryan’s plan, a goal she described as crucial to defeating it, just as unity enabled Dems to block Bush’s Social Security plan…

In that 2005 fight, Pelosi recalled, Democrats actively avoided developing an alternative plan to Bush’s. Instead, Democrats said their plan was to defend Social Security, a very popular government program. At the time, some Democratic strategists warned against uncompromising opposition. But the gamble paid off. Observers noted that Bush’s plan sank in popularity as Dems remained unified behind a refusal to budge in defense of Social Security, a move that was widely credited with helping to put Dems on track to winning back Congress in the 2006 elections.

Pelosi argued that if Republicans did try to privatize Medicare, it would afford a chance to underscore “the difference between Democrats and Republicans” at a time when Democrats are trying to regain their footing after this year’s loss. “This is such a stark difference that people know we have to be unified,” Pelosi said….

… Pelosi adamantly stated that Democrats would not give any ground on the core ideological dispute here, which is over whether to maintain a government coverage guarantee. “We are not going to a casino — this is a guarantee,” Pelosi said. “This is a value system for us, and we will fight for it. Is it a guarantee, or not?”…

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Apart from vowing to fight on, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Screw the American People

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Donald Trump, the GOP, and his wealthy backers had a real problem. On December 1st, an Obama administration rule that would expand by multiple millions of people the number of those who were eligible to receive overtime pay up to those who earn $47,500 a year was set to start:

In 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to update the overtime regulations to reflect the original intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to simplify and modernize the rules so they’re easier for workers and businesses to understand and apply. The department has issued a final rule that will put more money in the pockets of middle class workers – or give them more free time.

The final rule will:

– Raise the salary threshold indicating eligibility from $455/week to $913 ($47,476 per year), ensuring protections to 4.2 million workers.

– Automatically update the salary threshold every three years, based on wage growth over time, increasing predictability.

– Strengthen overtime protections for salaried workers already entitled to overtime.

– Provide greater clarity for workers and employers.

The final rule will become effective on December 1, 2016, giving employers more than six months to prepare. The final rule does not make any changes to the duties test for executive, administrative and professional employees.

The Republicans did not want this to go into effect, because if it did, they would find it difficult to repeal on 20 January, because even the American people are not dumb enough to notice their overtime being cut just two months after they started to receive it.

Fortunately for the Republicans, this just happened:

A Texas judge blocked President Obama’s bid to expand overtime pay protections to millions of Americans on Tuesday, thwarting a key presidential priority just days before it was set to take effect.

The Labor Department rule would have doubled the salary level at which hourly workers must be paid extra for overtime pay, from $23,660 to $47,476. Siding with business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Texas District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III halted it.

The rule, finalized in May, represented the first such change in more than a decade and was hailed at the time as the most consequential action the Obama administration could take for middle-class workers without congressional involvement.

And with that, a significant payraise to millions of voters, economically anxious and otherwise, was strangled in the crib, and no fingerprints were left behind. Come January 20, Trump, Paul Ryan, and the coterie of wealthy industrialists and banksters who run this nation will quietly rescind the rule change, and no one will even know it ever existed.

America, fuck yeah!



Open Thread: Paul Ryan, Attempting to Spin Shit into Votes

You and your puppetmasters painstakingly built this monster, Ryan — too late to claim you had no idea…

At least the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver still has one defender among the Media Village Idiots. Chris “Mad Bitcher” Cillizza:



Open Thread: Could Not Happen to A More Deserving Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver

ETA:


Read more



All You Need To Know About Paul Ryan

This:

…the speaker is torn between his personal feelings about the tape showing Donald Trump discussing grabbing women by the genitals and his desire to preserve the historic GOP majority in the House of Representatives.

My reaction:

A) Profile in Courage.

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B) Put his picture in the dictionary next to “Party Before Country”

I have many dreams about this election. One that is very unlikely — but less so than a week ago — is that the GOP loses the House, and Ryan loses his seat.

A boy can dream, can’t he?

Image:Éduoard Manet, The Rabbit 1866.

ETA:  I’ll confess. This post was motivated in part by a desire to use that picture in association with today’s GOP.



Late Night Deserving Target Open Thread: The Sorrows of Young Ryan

Back in the halcyon days of last week, Politico worried about “Paul Ryan’s treacherous political future”:

[T]he speaker’s allies have become keenly aware of his precarious political future, the daunting challenge of governing under a President Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, and the rough task of rebuilding a GOP that many Hill Republicans believe has been overrun by anti-free trade populists who favor bombastic bomb-throwing over thoughtful policy discussions. All while weighing the possibility of his own bid for president, which Ryan did not rule out in a speech on Wednesday.

Whether he goes that route or not, Ryan is likely in for a tumultous next few years. If Trump wins and Ryan retains the speakership, the Wisconsin Republican will be forced to continue to wedge his positions into Trump’s alternate Republican universe.

If Clinton wins, Ryan will have to preside over a slimmed Republican majority, more heavily populated with burn-the-house-down conservatives. He’ll have to cut deals and do business with Hillary Clinton — a woman he’s met with privately just twice — while at the same time keeping conservatives content.

It’s a governing scenario that people close to him are beginning to envision, according to multiple sources in his political orbit — and not a particularly pleasant one…

Today, from Buzzfeed‘s underrated snarkster McKay Coppins:

In the four months since he formally endorsed his party’s nominee for president, Ryan — the esteemed Speaker of the House, the sterling guardian of conservatism, the intellectual leader of the Republican Party — has been reduced to a miserable Trump flunky sheepishly counting down the hours until the election is over. Each day he spends tethered to the Donald seems to bring some fresh humiliation; each role he inhabits in the entourage proves more undignified than the last. Adviser, apologist, hype man, scold — none brings redemption, or even reprieve. And so he trudges on toward November, a stench of sadness clinging to him as he goes.

Friends and allies, disappointed though many of them are, have tried to show Ryan support in this difficult time. They labor to give him the benefit of the doubt, to rationalize his endorsement — and when they’re defending his honor on the record, they might even find themselves slipping into Messianic metaphors…

“I think he endorsed Trump because he tries to see the best in people, and he hoped that his endorsement would be a down payment on a new and improved Trump,” said Katie Packer, a friend of Ryan’s who served as Mitt Romney’s deputy campaign manager in 2012.

“Unfortunately,” she added, Ryan’s policy agenda “has been hijacked by Donald Trump,” and “I think there will be some who find it hard to forgive his support” of the nominee.

Sources close to the Speaker said he endorsed Trump in June in hopes of gaining access to the candidate’s inner-circle and steering him away from his more destructive behavior. Ryan also believed he could convince Trump to infuse his platform with more orthodox conservative policy…

Translation from the weaselspeak: Ryan hoped he could bamboozle Trump’s handlers, and introduce them to the hallowed GOP tradition of “dogwhistling” racism/sexism/xenophobia. Bad guess, Paulie!

…Whatever the reason, Ryan has seemed to grow more visibly dyspeptic about his lot in life since returning to Washington. At a press conference last month, he became uncharacteristically testy with reporters when they asked him about Trump’s proclamation that Vladimir Putin was a stronger leader than President Obama.

“Do you think I’m going to stand up here and be an election pundit?” Ryan responded sharply. “I’ve got other things to do in this job. Yeah, he’s the nominee of our party, because he won our nomination fair and square. I’m not going to sit up here and do the tit for tat on what Donald said last night, or the night before, and Hillary versus Donald. That is not my job, and I’m not going to be the election year pundit commenting on all these little things. I’ll leave it at that.”…

You call yourself a Catholic, Mr. Ryan; you should’ve remembered the warning about avoiding the near occasion of sin. Trump’s philosophy is not much different than yours — he’s just more honest about his own selfishness and greed.

Go cry on your hero Ayn Rand’s grave, ya little blue-eyed weasel.