Modern “Conservatism” In One Screen Shot

Ole Larry O’Connor at Hot Air is all het up and having a bad day:


He concludes: “Hillary posts pages of documented Trump lies” and holds a conference call with members of the media detailing the same theme and within 48 hours major publications print articles following along with Hillary’s prescribed narrative.

Yup, total coincidence.”

And there you have it. Rather than being concerned about the fact that Donald Trump’s past is so full of toxic lies it could be an EPA Superfund site, he’s upset that Trump is a victim of the media (a notion which is in and of itself utter nonsense).


Let’s Help Make Lea Hudson of Cheatham County, Tennessee Internet Famous!

This is what counts as thinking from the wingnut community:

“Any park ranger will tell you: don’t feed wildlife. The reason behind this is that they become dependent and will not forage for themselves any longer. A disturbing trend is affecting American wildlife. Animals that formerly were self-sufficient are now showing signs of belonging to the Democratic Party. They have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance.” (The Unpopular Truth, March 14, 2012)

Isn’t this what Hillary and the Democratic Party are doing — continuing to make more and more people dependent by continuing to “feed them?”

Food stamps, children’s lunch programs, child care programs, housing subsidies, farm subsidies, student loans — the list is endless.

In fact, there are over 1,800 social welfare programs funded by hard-working taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Let’s skip past the fact that she is talking about people, and not animals, and in many of those cases CHILDREN who can’t provide for themselves (wonder where she stands on abortion). All of that is deplorable, but let’s watch where this goes next:

Folks, this is the most important election of our time — we must stop the pathway the Democrats/Socialists are leading us down.

Our grandchildren don’t stand a chance! Will working for a living become obsolete? Will the rest of us who have worked hard for our whole lives find our ability to hang onto what we have impossible?

Will we lose our basic freedoms like the Second Amendment, freedom of religion and freedom of speech?

So please don’t feed the animals. America deserves better. We all deserve better!

We have to stop feeding hungry kids to defend our grandkids who might lose their right to own a gun. This is what government by your grandfather’s chain emails looks like.

It will not surprise you that darling Lea is all in for Trump, will it?

Rope a Bunch of Dopes


Here is today’s Clinton “scandal” news:

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, conceding that her airport meeting with former President Bill Clinton this week had cast a shadow over a federal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s personal email account, said Friday that she would accept whatever recommendations that career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director make about whether to bring charges in the case.

“I will accept their recommendations,” Ms. Lynch said in an appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival. She said that “the case will be resolved by the same team that has been working on it from the beginning.”

The attorney general said she had decided several months ago to defer to the recommendations of her staff and of the director of the F.B.I. because her status as a political appointee sitting in judgment on a politically charged case would raise questions of a conflict of interest.

The meeting with Mr. Clinton, she acknowledged, only deepened those questions, and she said she felt compelled to publicly explain her reasoning to try to put concerns to rest.

Here’s how I’m betting this will play out. The FBI is not going to recommend any charges for several reasons. First, I don’t think she did anything criminal. Second, the FBI is not going to charge a major political candidate in the middle of an election cycle, because to do so would forever taint the FBI as a partisan organization, and no Democrat would ever have any faith in them to be independent whatsoever. Also, their budget comes from elected office, and they aren’t going to stretch the rules or bend over backwards to find some bullshit reason to charge her. They just aren’t.

If the FBI does anything, it will issue some long report with a bunch of mealy mouthed bullshit, the investigative version of “mistakes were made,” and say that while she did not do anything illegal or criminal she did something improper. This will then give them defense against the right, who also fund their budget and do not want to be left with nothing. They will then recommend a bunch of changes to policy regarding this to all levels of government in regards to email protocols and security.

The Republicans, having just demanded that Loretta Lynch recuse herself for… reasons, will then have no way to demand that she do something additional to HRC, because, as we know, she has recused herself and has nothing to do with the process. And thus, E-Mail Benghazi: Electric Boogaloo, will come to an end with some short term yelling and fauxtrage on Fox, some hysterics among the Infowars sect, and some smug tweets coming from secure pockets of true progressive Bernistan. I’ll note for posterity that these are increasingly overlapped areas in a Venn diagram. Who knows, maybe Dan Burton will videotape himself shooting a server in his backyard.

A very cynical person might even think that Bill Clinton intentionally publicly met with AG Lynch in a private airplane. Someone has spent some time perfecting their Kung Fu under our swarthy Jedi overlord.

That Was Money Well Spent

Holy nothingburgers, batman:

Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

The 800-page report, however, included some new details about the night of the attacks, and the context in which it occurred, and it delivered a broad rebuke of government agencies like the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks in the Libyan city, and especially for maintaining outposts in Benghazi that they could not protect.

The committee, led by Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, also harshly criticized an internal State Department investigation that it said had allowed officials like Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, to effectively choose who would investigate their actions. In addition, it reiterated Republicans’ complaints that the Obama administration had sought to thwart the investigation by withholding witnesses and evidence.

The report, however, did not dispute that United States military forces stationed in Europe could not have reached Benghazi in time to rescue the personnel who died — a central finding of previous inquiries.

Seven million well spent, you wankers.

Sweet Goodbyes

Hot damned this CEO is furious with Sam Brownback, and pens a letter telling us exactly what is the matter with Kansas and why his growing company is getting the hell out of there:

Kansas has become a test center of “trickle down” economics, espoused by economist Arthur Laffer during the Reagan years. Nowhere has there been as thorough an implementation of Laffer’s policy recommendations… and nowhere has there been as dramatic a failure of government.

Under Brownback’s direction, Kansas implemented an unprecedented tax cut in 2012, eliminating taxes for LLCs and professional firms (for full disclosure, PHI is a C Corporation) and making the largest cuts in the highest tax brackets. He shifted taxes to create a heavier burden on property and sales taxes, which typically represent a larger burden on lower income brackets. Brownback declared that this tax cut would be a “shot of adrenaline” for the Kansas economy, but the reality is that the tax cuts have had the opposite effect. Kansas lags neighboring states in job growth. For 11 of the last 12 months, Kansas has dramatically missed revenue targets, falling deeper in debt and facing another round of degraded bond ratings.

The worst part is that the burdens for the shortfalls rest on the shoulders of those who can least afford it – children and the developmentally disabled.

One of Brownback’s first actions was to close the Lawrence office for Kansas Social & Rehabilitation Services (SRS). This agency provided services for low-income children and the developmentally disabled, and access to the Lawrence office was critical for people in that community to receive services. Their only option was to try to figure out how to get transportation to the Topeka SRS office, thirty miles away. Not an easy task. The closure of the Lawrence office was supposed to save the state $400,000 per year.

At the same time, Brownback decided to pursue a personal vendetta against the Kansas Bioscience Authority, an organization created to spur the economic development of bioscience companies in Kansas. Brownback was convinced that funds were being misused, so he decided we needed to spend over $400,000 (conveniently, the same amount that could have kept the Lawrence SRS office open) on lawyers and auditors to pour over the KBA books. In the end, they found a total of $5,000 in misused funds, which the former KBA president repaid with a personal check. It all came down to priorities – pursue a personal vendetta at the expense of the disabled.

The developmentally disabled continued to suffer when Brownback’s administration pushed a program to privatize the state’s Medicaid program KanCare while at the same time refusing millions of dollars in federal support to expand Medicaid services. Now, three insurance companies administer KanCare as a profit center, and the results are dramatic – significant delays in determining eligibility, inexplicable loss of coverage, caseloads increased, providers struggling to get paid.

At the beginning of 2016, over 17,000 Medicaid applications were waiting for approval, 8,000 of which were well beyond the federally mandated 45-day threshold for processing. Pregnant women, who would have received services by default under the previous Medicaid plan in Kansas, were now waiting 4+ months for services, often exceeding the term of their pregnancy by the time services were authorized.

The funding problems got so bad that Osawatomie State Hospital’s mental health ward had to significantly cut staffing. Over 40% of their staff positions were dormant, leaving the remaining staff overworked and unprepared. This understaffing resulted in an improperly released patient murdering a 61-year-old man, and a hospital worker was raped, having to rely on other patients to save her. In January 2016, the Osawatomie State Hospital lost its certification to provide mental health services, cutting off federal funding that counted for roughly half of the hospital’s revenue. It is unclear what will happen to the patients and staff at Osawatomie State Hospital, leaving the fates of the patients in limbo.

The state’s public education system, once considered one of the best in the nation, hasn’t been spared, either. You’ll hear claims from Kansas officials that funding to education is at an all time high, but it’s just an accounting trick – they chose to shuffle money for special education and retirement funds through the schools so it could appear as an increase on the books. Salary freezes, underfunding to the point of being ruled unconstitutional, laws allowing teachers to be imprisoned for introducing potentially “offensive” content, cuts and delays in $100 million in payments to the state-run retirement fund, and legislation specifically targeted to cripple the Kansas teacher’s union are all part of an ongoing effort to undermine the public education system in Kansas. Instead, the Brownback administration plans to offer vouchers to encourage families to send their children to private and religious schools.

To double down on these policies, Brownback is now ignoring the $250 million shortfall predicted for 2016, instead opting for headlines about closing Kansas to refugees and blaming the “liberal media” for the state’s economic woes.

Republicans are what is wrong with Kansas.

via the Great Orange Satan)

The Poorman Was Wrong


Apparently, these rats are going to fuck themselves:

As Dana Geraghty recalls it, March 16th was a “rather quiet Wednesday.” That afternoon, she was in her cubicle at the Open Society Foundations, on West Fifty-seventh Street, where she helps oversee the nonprofit group’s pro-democracy programs in Eurasia. The Foundations are the philanthropic creation of George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire, who is a prominent donor to liberal causes, including Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid. Soros, who has spent nineteen million dollars on the 2016 Presidential campaign, is regarded with suspicion by many conservatives. National Review has suggested that he may be fomenting protests against Donald Trump by secretly funding what it called a “rent-a-mob.” Geraghty, who is twenty-eight, had programmed her office phone to forward messages from unfamiliar callers to her e-mail inbox. She was about to review several messages when she noticed that one of them was extraordinarily long. “Who leaves a seven-minute voice mail?” Geraghty asked herself. She clicked on it.

“Hey, Dana,” a voice began. The caller sounded to her like an older American male. “My name is, uh, Victor Kesh. I’m a Hungarian-American who represents a, uh, foundation . . . that would like to get involved with you and aid what you do in fighting for, um, European values.” He asked Geraghty for the name of someone he could talk to “about supporting you guys and coördinating with you on some of your efforts.” Requesting a callback, he left a phone number with a 914 area code—Westchester County.

She heard a click, a pause, and then a second male voice. The person who had introduced himself as Kesh said, “Don’t say anything . . . before I hang up the phone.”

“That piqued my interest,” Geraghty recalls. Other aspects of the message puzzled her: “Who says they’re with a foundation without saying which one? He sounded scattered. And usually people call to get funding, not to offer it.” Victor Kesh, she suspected, was “someone passing as someone else.”

She continued to listen, and the man’s voice suddenly took on a more commanding tone. The caller had failed to hang up, and Kesh, unaware that he was still being recorded, seemed to be conducting a meeting about how to perpetrate an elaborate sting on Soros. “What needs to happen,” he said, is for “someone other than me to make a hundred phone calls like that”—to Soros, to his employees, and to the Democracy Alliance, a club of wealthy liberal political donors that Soros helped to found, which is expected to play a large role in financing this year’s campaigns. Kesh described sending into the Soros offices an “undercover” agent who could “talk the talk” with Open Society executives. Kesh’s goal wasn’t fully spelled out on the recording, but the gist was that an operative posing as a potential donor could penetrate Soros’s operation and make secret videos that exposed embarrassing activities. Soros, he assured the others, has “thousands of organizations” on the left in league with him. Kesh said that the name of his project was Discover the Networks

I’ve seriously laughed about this a dozen times. O’Keefe and company are just hysterical.

*** Update ***

God damnit I missed Betty’s post on this. Oh well, when am I going to get another chance to use that picture?

Smug versus condescending

Remember that fun couple of months when we were all saving the Affordable Care Act? Something jumped out at me then and I still think it is incredibly salient today. At the very beginning when we started phoning Representatives, their staffs reacted like it was a breath of air to a drowning person. This really puzzled me. This blog has a lot of readers, but not that many. At any given time I don’t think we had more than a couple hundred actively burning up the phone lines. At the beginning when I started hearing this stuff it could not have been more than a couple dozen people. These politicians represent the whole country. If you count just the Democrats at that time they represent a bit over half of it. That’s a bit under two hundred million people. Say around a hundred million old enough to pick up the phone. I know that not everyone does, but enough people still do that often enough that we never should have had the impact we did.

A piece fell into the puzzle when I listened to Keith and Rachel on MSNBC. I have to confess that I don’t enjoy loud partisan entertainment all that much, even when it’s on my side. I think I watched either of them for the first time a few months after the ACA. When Maddow went to credits, what I felt more than anything was kind of smug. I felt great about being on the right side of objective reality but I did not feel like doing much of anything.

Watch an hour of O’Reilly some time, and then check your feelings. Odds are pretty good you will be mad. If you are a liberal you will be mad at all the stupid and misleading things he said about you. If you are a conservative you will feel pretty steamed about the terrible liberals, laughing at you while they wreck everything. Either way you will want to do something. Maybe call FOX and complain about their accuracy, maybe bottle that rage up and save it for Sunday dinner when you can really stick it to that smug liberal nephew. You know what a metric shitload of conservatives do when FOX or some jackass on Clear Channel pisses them off? They call their Congressperson. I know this because Congressional phone volunteers receive what amounts to a nonstop stream of angry invective from FOX viewers and Glenn Beck fans and people who followed the very easy instructions on the all-caps mailer they just got from Tea Party Freedom Fighters Inc., a subsidiary of Koch Industries. It never ends. That is why I think the firebaggers accomplished nothing, despite outpunching this blog by a couple weight classes. A few more anti-ACA phone calls would barely register among a sea of frothy wingnuts, whereas your positive calls were literally the first supportive pro-ACA message some Reps received from the outside world. Their districts were full of liberals who really wanted to see Americans get health care, but none of them picked up the phone.

To me this disparity is one of the most crucial, underappreciated factors in Washington, DC sausagemaking. It helps explain the aggravating headwind that liberal policies always face, where progressive proposals that somehow make it to a bill inevitably get chipped down and lose support over time, whereas conservatives bills if anything pick up steam and constantly get peppered with amendments that make them worse. No matter what the polling says about how popular a policy is, elected Democrats often act like they are fighting a rear guard action against a hostile press and public because in their office it really feels that way. Every one of them gets a daily tally of where that day’s calls and (especially) letters fall on various issues.

So Kevin Drum just weighed in on the old question about whether liberals have a bigger problem with being smug being condescending. Personally, I say why not both. They’re two sides of the same thing anyway. Kevin more or less noodles at the end but that is the part that interests me.

[L]iberals and conservatives have different styles. No surprise there. The question is, do these styles work? Here, I think the answer is the same on both sides: they work on their own side, but not on the other. Outrage doesn’t persuade liberals and mockery doesn’t persuade conservatives. If you’re writing something for your own side, as I am here, most of the time, there’s no harm done. The problem is that mass media—and the internet in particular—makes it very hard to tailor our messages. Conservative outrage and liberal snark are heard by everyone, including the persuadable centrist types that we might actually want to persuade.

I certainly do not want to dismiss the persuadable moderate thing. A dumb person who is outraged at least radiates sincerity, whereas a smug smart person is practically begging for a wedgie, even when you suspect they are probably right. But at the same time the conservative outrage reflex has a much more basic kind of practical advantage. It gets you yelling at some volunteer phone intern, who dutifully makes yet another little check next to Agenda-21-golf-ban-against. Smug doesn’t really compel you to do anything. You are awesome already, even if the world does not appreciate it. I think we could all afford to meditate on that once in a while.