Twitler in the Bunker

Here’s how the brittle narcissist who will be President of the United States in nine days spent his morning so far:

So the man who owes his squeaker EC victory in part to fake news is shrieking that he’s the victim of fake news. We’re supposed to dismiss the intel reports on the say-so of the foreign autocrat who allegedly has Twitler by the short-n-curlies.

We’re supposed to take Trump’s word for it that he has no business dealings with Russia, even though he refuses to release his tax returns and other financial information that could verify the claim, and one of his own sociopathic whelps is on record bragging about Russian money flowing into TrumpCo.

And the situation is comparable to Nazi Germany — with Trump as the victim.

This is real life, folks, but damned if it still doesn’t seem like some queasy nightmare conjured by late-night pizza and cheap booze.



My Gob is Smacked Past All Smackeration. Thanks, Rudy

Just a quicky here, as I can’t resist this:

Speaking in Youngstown, Ohio ahead of Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, who was the mayor of New York City on 9/11, declared that Islamic extremists hadn’t carried out any terror attacks on American soil before Barack Obama’s presidency.

“Under those 8 years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the US,” Giuliani told the crowd. “They all started when Clinton and Obama came into office.”

Video here.

Just as a reminder.  That would be Rudy “Noun, Verb, 9/11” Giuliani.

The_Rage_of_Achilles_by_Giovanni_Battista_Tiepolo

This is beyond hateful.  This is, as Charles Pierce has often said, yet more evidence that the GOP has been consumed by prion disease.  It’s just…pitiable…

Wretched…

Terrifying…

Absurd…

…Aw, hell. I got nuthin’.  You?

Image: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, The Rage of Achilles1757.



The Caucusing of the Caucasians (Open Thread)

The Iowa results on the Democratic side perfectly reflected my own fence-sitting sentiments — basically a tie with a slight lean toward Hillary Clinton. Maybe the primaries will still be important by the time I get to vote on the Ides of March!

trump LOSER cartoon_edited-1Trump’s loser speech was as short as his stubby, vulgarian fingers since he had no polling leads to brag about. He didn’t call Iowans stupid, but you knew he wanted to; instead, he opted for phony graciousness. That stripped away the alpha primate façade. It was like watching the biblical Samson shave his head onstage.

Team Lil’ Marco needs to Apollo-13 a solution for the candidate’s terrible thirst — maybe an under-the-jawline port connected via translucent tubing to an under-the-jacket CamelBak hydration system. All during his third-place “victory” speech, he was rolling his lips like a llama working up an epic loogie. Never have I seen someone so very thirsty and yet so prohibited from taking a sip.

Looks like Team Lil’ Marco took my advice and shit-canned the advisor who told the candidate to lose the children’s storybook-reader voice and dial up the anger. The words that emerged from the Sahara of Rubio’s parched pie hole signified that the phony optimism is back, along with the ersatz children’s fairy tale style of beginning sentences with the word “for.”

Cruz sounded like the psycho he is. To paraphrase someone in a previous thread, the boring psycho beat the somewhat interesting one. I like that Hillary Clinton stepped on his victory speech. Nice touch, Team Clinton.

And finally, can we take a moment to dance on Jeb Bush’s political grave? Not just that — can we bury the Bush Dynasty and drive a stake through its fat black heart at last? Here’s hoping Jeb’s odious super PAC aims its squid cloud of money-propelled butt-hurt squarely at Rubio and takes him out so we can start with a clean slate unbesmirched by that wretched family’s malign influence.

Richard is absolutely right to caution against extrapolating from the Iowa results, but Bush couldn’t even buy 3%. That motherfucker is toast, and it’s a great day in America. Thanks for that, Iowa, if nothing else.

Open thread!

PS: Today’s Chicago meetup info right here.



Technically true bullshit

One of the leading lights of the conservative “health wonk” community is peddling bullshit that is technically true if you parse it correctly but designed to mislead anyone but a hyper technical reader.

Last year open enrollment started on November 15th. The 6th week of open enrollment would have been the first week of January.

This year, open enrollment started on November 1st. The 6th week of open enrollment just wrapped up.

Yes, at the six week mark of open enrollment, 2014 enrollment is running higher than 2015 enrollment.  However there is one massive fact that will show 2015 open enrollment 7th week selections running ahead of 2014 7th week selections.  Sometime at the end of this week, Healthcare.gov and most of the state based exchanges will conduct a massive automatic renewal of plans.  That will move between 3 and 4 million people to new plans by next Monday (plus whatever number of people choosing new plans on the “waiting in line” extension that ends tonight for Healthcare.gov).  So Week 7 2015 will wreck Week 7 2014 plan selection figures.

He knows that, I know that, 80% of the people on my Twitter follow list know that, but 98% of the American public does not know that.  It is pure bullshit of technically true nonsense.

 



Destructive but not purely crazy

Via Lawyers, Guns, and Money:

The House Freedom Caucus seems nice:

Yesterday, Politico published the House Freedom Caucus “questionnaire” which it described as pushing for “House rule changes.” The document does do that. But it also does a lot more. It seeks substantive commitments from the next speaker that would effectively send the entire country into a tailspin…..

The government will run out of money on December 11. Unless additional funding is approved before that date, the government will shut down.

The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to not funding the government at all unless President Obama (and Senate Democrats) agree to defund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and a host of other priorities. This is essentially the Ted Cruz strategy whichprompted at 16-day shutdown in 2013. This would now be enshrined as the official policy of the Speaker Of The House.

The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to oppose any “omnibus” bill that would keep the government running. Rather, funding for each aspect of government could only be approved by separate bills. This would allow the Republicans to attempt to finance certain favored aspects of government (the military), while shuttering ones they view as largely unnecessary (education, health)

Just as a reminder, the House Freedumb Caucus is roughly 40 Congress critters who hold the balance of power as long as the rest of the House Republicans believe that maintaining in-group norm of only passing major legislation with only Republican votes is worthwhile. They are the power bottoms of the House GOP caucus.

But they are not intrinsically crazy if the goal of the Freedumb Caucus is to both protect their own ass and make it less likely for a Democrat to be elected to the White House in 2016. Extraordinarily destructive and cynical, yes, but they are not completely crazy.

The first goal of assuring their own re-election for most of the HFC is achieved if they can get out of the Republican primary.  Right now the Republican primary electorate is extremely pissed at the “Establishment” Republicans as those Republicans have overpromised and under-delivered (ie they could not repeal Obamacare nor impeach Obama for making them think that he would take away all of their guns due to the Democrats controlling some veto points against maximalist Republican goals).  Being a Republican who the Establishment (2nd DW dimension positive) hates is a good thing in the Republican primary in R+5 or redder districts.  The few HFC in D+0 or bluer districts can only win in waves or due to local idiosyncratic circumstances.  They’re irrelevant as long as the rest of the HFC controls the 218th vote.

This is fairly straightforward playing to the base.

Now the second contention that I’ll make that the HFC demands for a shutdown or default or far more likely large contractionary policies increases the odds of a Republican being elected is pure political science cynicism.

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About Those High-Pitched Squeals You Heard Yesterday…

If you haven’t already, check out President Obama’s speech on the Iran nuke deal. He makes a convincing argument for supporting the agreement and provides a plausible overview of what will happen if Congress doesn’t approve it.

Come for the well-reasoned summation, but stay to hear PBO strip the bark off the always-wrong neocons. Here’s an excerpt that explains the high-pitched squealing you heard yesterday, as if a million neocons suddenly cried out in rage and were suddenly silenced:

Between now and the congressional vote in September, you are going to hear a lot of arguments against this deal, backed by tens of millions of dollars in advertising. And if the rhetoric in these ads and the accompanying commentary sounds familiar, it should, for many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.

Now, when I ran for president eight years ago as a candidate who had opposed the decision to go to war in Iraq, I said that America didn’t just have to end that war. We had to end the mindset that got us there in the first place.

It was a mindset characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy, a mindset that put a premium on unilateral U.S. action over the painstaking work of building international consensus, a mindset that exaggerated threats beyond what the intelligence supported.

Leaders did not level with the American people about the costs of war, insisting that we could easily impose our will on a part of the world with a profoundly different culture and history.

And, of course, those calling for war labeled themselves strong and decisive while dismissing those who disagreed as weak, even appeasers of a malevolent adversary.

More than a decade later, we still live with the consequences of the decision to invade Iraq. Our troops achieved every mission they were given, but thousands of lives were lost, tens of thousands wounded. That doesn’t count the lives lost among Iraqis. Nearly a trillion dollars was spent.

Today, Iraq remains gripped by sectarian conflict, and the emergence of al-Qaida in Iraq has now evolved into ISIL. And ironically, the single greatest beneficiary in the region of that war was the Islamic Republic of Iran, which saw its strategic position strengthened by the removal of its long-standing enemy, Saddam Hussein.

[snip]

I recognize that resorting to force may be tempting in the face of the rhetoric and behavior that emanates from parts of Iran. It is offensive. It is incendiary. We do take it seriously.

But superpowers should not act impulsively in response to taunts or even provocations that can be addressed short of war. Just because Iranian hardliners chant “Death to America” does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. In fact, it’s those…

In fact, it’s those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hardliners chanting “Death to America” who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican Caucus.

The same people who have spent the last six years baselessly accusing the president of being a stealth-jihadist, anti-American, Israel-hating, limp-wristed appeaser / power-mad dictator haven’t been silenced, of course: They are meeping all over the Internet like schoolyard bullies who just took a shot in the stones.

But it’s a somewhat muted meeping. Like his predecessor Harry S. Truman, President Obama didn’t give them hell; he told the truth, and they thought it was hell.



Prepare the Ice Floes

The New York Times reports on the next great cost saving measure in the US:

Medicare, the federal program that insures 55 million older and disabled Americans, announced plans on Wednesday to reimburse doctors for conversations with patients about whether and how they would want to be kept alive if they became too sick to speak for themselves.

Time to prepare the ice floes for Grandma before global warming forces us to use more expensive methods…

Or this is a simple, minor technocratic fix that enables people to make more fully informed decisions about their lives, their families and their expectations while they are not under pressure of contradictory information and values? Read more