Oh Fer Fucks Sake Republicans

The Trump administration is now literally on the side of kicking puppies:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today removed public access to tens of thousands of reports that document the numbers of animals kept by research labs, companies, zoos, circuses, and animal transporters—and whether those animals are being treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act. Henceforth, those wanting access to the information will need to file a Freedom of Information Act request. The same goes for inspection reports under the Horse Protection Act, which prohibits injuring horses’ hooves or legs for show.

The agency said in a statement that it revoked public access to the reports “based on our commitment to being transparent … and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals.”

The reports apply to 7813 facilities that keep animals covered by the law. Roughly 1200 of these are research labs, which are often housed at major academic centers or run by government agencies themselves, including the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although the act covers animals like dogs and chimpanzees, it does not cover rodents like laboratory mice.

These motherfuckers.








So, Did I Miss Anything

I was basically offline all day doing things and out of town, so let’s recap the day:

1.) Mexico and the Fucking Wall

* Trump rolled out a 20% tariff proposal on Mexican goods to pay for the wall.

* The Mexican President told Trump to go fuck himself and cancelled a scheduled meeting.

* Trump White House is walking back the 20% tariff.

* As Anne Laurie noted, Texans are telling Trump to fuck off.

* Former Mexican President Vicente Fox continues to have all the fun in the world fucking with Cheeto Jeebus:

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2.) Cybersecurity

* As Adam noted, Trump is controlling his online presence through an easily guessed gmail account.

* Sean Spicer is still a moron, and has two days in a row tweeted his password:

* This speaks for itself:

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3.) General Governance:

* Basically the entire upper management of the State Department quit, choosing to retire or have other foreign service appointments rather that work the Tangelo Tyrant.

* Trump bullied the National Park Service director and called him personally to back up his claims about the size of his inauguration crowds.

* Trump and his minions have pulled all advertising about ACA signups, pulling even ads that have ALREADY been paid for and placed.

* The US has suspended all interviews with potential refugees, fucking people who may have been in the process for years.

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That’s the big stuff- THAT WE KNOW ABOUT. Oh, yeah. The Doomsday Clock advanced but that’s almost an afterthought at this point. What is this- Day Six? A couple more weeks and I will be begging for the sweet radioactive release of nuclear armageddon.



Government, Meet Bathtub

It’s easy to run a government that does (next to) nothing.

Here’s where Trumpism — or really Pence-ism, or really, exactly what the GOP has been promising (threatening) will have its most immediate, and quite possibly its most damaging impact:

Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned.

The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.

Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

The NEH and NEA cuts are at once symbolic — the GOP is killing stuff liberals like, which is reward enough in those quarters — and, I think, intended to distract from other hugely reckless choices:

The Heritage blueprint used as a basis for Trump’s proposed cuts calls for eliminating several programs that conservatives label corporate welfare programs: the Minority Business Development Agency, the Economic Development Administration, the International Trade Administration and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The total savings from cutting these four programs would amount to nearly $900 million in 2017.

At the Department of Justice, the blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.

At the Department of Energy, it would roll back funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Under the State Department’s jurisdiction, funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are candidates for elimination.

The single most important point I can make is that this is the Kansas-ification of America.  This isn’t a Trump policy choice.  This is Mike Pence shepherding plans the Republican Party has been trying to implement for years, decades even.  I doubt it will all get through, but much of it will, I’d guess, and when it does we will need to hang every shitty outcome and terrible choice around the neck of every Republican officeholder.

This is what they want. This is what they told us they wanted. They’re likely going to get it, to some approximation.  And they’re going to have to own it, so that once again, Democrats can come in and fix the serial catastrophes we’re going to witness very damn soon.

Also, too — who wants to bet all the pieties about the deficit and restoring balance to the budget will fall to the tax cuts to come?

Fuck it.  I’m heading back to the seventeenth century.

Image: Francesco de Rossi, Bathesheba at her Bath1552-1554.



Engulf & Devour, Inc.

As expected, Trump is absorbing the United States government into his family cartel and will install his eldest daughter and her husband in the White House as senior advisors — the latter, at least, on an official basis, according to NBC:

President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner will be named senior adviser to the president, a senior transition official confirms to NBC News.

Kushner was an influential behind the scenes confidant to his father-in-law throughout the 2016 campaign. But a number of legal questions complicate his potential role in the incoming administration.

Don’t worry about those legal complications — Trump will brazen it out. His surrogate Newt Gingrich already dismissed such worries by suggesting that Trump could just issue a blanket pardon to family members who flout any applicable anti-nepotism laws.

Like Trump, Kushner is a real estate developer who will be formulating policies that can enhance his vast wealth. I suspect he’ll enter into a flimsy “half-blind trust” arrangement like the one Trump himself has proposed and call it clean.

Whatever it takes, no matter what heat it generates, Trump is going to find a way to have the kiddies involved, and I don’t think it’s just because the grift opportunities will be so epic. I think he requires their presence because he’s not mentally stable enough to function without them.

Anyhoo, this concludes the latest episode of, “Why Are We in This Handbasket, and Where the Hell Are We Going?” Open thread!



One More Thing: I Do Dare Call It Treason

There’s no way to parse what happened in the few weeks before the election without recognizing that both FBI director Comey and Senate Majority Leader McConnell effectively colluded with Russia to throw this election.

hanged-men-pittura-infamante-andrea-del-sarto-6c

Comey can’t not have known about the Russia connection to the emails, and yet chose to violate policy, precedent and explicit advice from Justice in his email letter ten days before the vote.

McConnell was specifically briefed on Russia’s efforts to influence the election, and he pressured (successfully, alas) the Obama administration to withhold that information from the public.

Both of them made choices that directly enabled Putin’s efforts.  Both of them knew, to a virtual certainty, that this was the case.

Both of them are in my view traitors — both to our country as it is now, and to the idea of a representative democracy America is supposed to embody.

And one more one more thing: Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife, is Trump’s nominee for Transportation secretary. It is unconfirmed at this time that this is payment for services rendered.  It would, however, be irresponsible not to speculate.

Image: Andrea del Sarto, Study for a “Shame Painting” — In Italy, this form of execution was associated w. traitors. Before 1530.



And Now They’re Coming for Your Social Security Money

Can’t say you weren’t warned:

A Republican lawmaker introduced legislation Thursday to shore up Social Security’s finances and boost benefits for low-income workers without raising taxes, a conservative version of reform that could gain attention under unified GOP government next year.

The bill put forward by Texas’ Sam Johnson, the chairman of the subcommittee on Social Security, would reduce costs by changing the benefits formula to reduce payments progressively for high earners. It would also gradually raise the full retirement age from 67 to 69 for people who are today 49 or younger. Lastly, it would change the inflation metric used to calculate benefits to one that shows lower inflation, essentially slowing the growth in benefits, and eliminate cost of living adjustments for high earners.

On the flipside, it would increase benefits for lower-income workers, and raise the minimum benefit for low-earners who worked full careers.

They want ALL the fucking money. ALL OF IT.

And Carlin is right. They’ll get it. Unless Democrats fight.

(via)



But What About the Children

This is disgusting, but par for the course with the Republican party:

More than a year after lawmakers originally ordered it, Texas announced Monday it will enact significant cuts to the money that it pays therapists who treat vulnerable children with disabilities in two weeks.

Medicaid reimbursement rates are used to pay for pediatric therapy services provided to disabled babies and toddlers. Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, said that Texas will apply cuts on Medicaid rates on Dec. 15 in attempt to achieve savings directed by the Texas Legislature in 2015.

“The most important job we have is making sure kids have the services they need and that we are responsible with taxpayer dollars,” Williams said in an e-mail. “We will monitor the reduction of rates to ensure access to care is not impacted and that Texans around the state receive the much-needed therapies required to improve their lives.”

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“This is terrible news for Texas kids with disabilities and developmental delays and their families,” Rubin said. “Kids with autism, speech delays, Down syndrome, and other disabilities and delays rely on these therapies to learn to walk, communicate with their families, get ready for school, and meet other goals.”

Sociopaths.