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A certain justice 

Interesting chart here. It appears that the extent that Trumpcare will screw the states is roughly proportional to the extent they voted for Trump. So they’re getting what they asked for.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of folks. It speaks volumes about how confident the Republicans are that they can continue to manipulate their base while continuing to screw them.

A year ago today

In addition to writing on this blog, I’ve been keeping a journal on my iPad. It has a feature that shows you entries from previous years. My entry from last year on this date, among other things, reproduced a post I put on this blog giving my reasons for considering Hillary Clinton a flawed candidate. It stands up rather well, though I was wrong about Hillary being scandal proof.

I honestly don’t remember being quite so pessimistic about Hillary’s chances, but my other diary entries from this period are along the same lines. By the time the election rolled around I’d convinced myself she was going to win. Well, mostly convinced myself.

Only a year ago, but it seems more like a lifetime.

On Sabattical

I’ve gone silent lately, not for lack of anything to say, but due to an inability to say, or more accurately, type it. An old shoulder injury, I think, has come back to haunt me, and typing more than 30 seconds is almost impossible. I am ensnared in the health care system. I am keeping track of the impeachable offenses that are piling up and will have a full report once I’m able to pound a keyboard again.

Something to ponder: would it be a good or bad thing if Trump had the same problem I do? Do we went him tweeting, or do we not?

Bozo of the Day

Maybe this will be a new feature.

Anyway, the Bozo featured here is a member of the State legislature in Iowa. He has proposed a bill that would require that there be an equal number of Democrats and Republicans teaching at the state universities. Current employees would not be affected, but new hires would. So, his thinking is, everyone hired for the next few years would be a Republican, until the balance is redressed.

Anyway, I think it’s a good idea. It’s a way of making sure that everyone teaching in Iowa is a Democrat. At least it’s a way of making sure that every new hire is a Democrat. This Bozo may not be aware that you aren’t baptized into a party, and your party affiliation is not, as we were taught about baptism in Catholic School, an indelible mark on your soul. Also, he may not be aware that you don’t have to be registered as a Democrat to vote for Democrats.

Let us assume that 80% of the teachers in Iowa are currently registered Democrats, which is probably accurate given that Republicans aren’t into things like facts, science, or intelligence. If, lets say, even 60% of them change their registration to Republican, that would mean that Republican teachers would predominate. All new hires would have to be Democrats.

Of course, there are endless other ways to game this system, but that just proves he’s a true Bozo. (Am I being unfair to Bozos?) Regrettably, it also proves that the district that vomited him into the state legislature is populated predominately by Bozos.

True intentions

I just read this on Daily Kos:

For perhaps the first time, the national punditry and the White House’s team of white nationalists can both agree on something: they’re both bubblingly pleased with last night’s Donald Trump speech.

White House aide Sebastian Gorka, who at Trump’s inaugural ball wore a Hungarian military medal associated with Nazi collaborators and who has been pilloried for his ties to anti-Semitic groups, was particularly pleased with Donald Trump’s explicit enunciation of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

But it wasn’t Politico or the New York Times that asked Trump to “back down” on this one: It was his own national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who like nearly all military men, government officials, terrorism experts, and anyone else whose expertise on the subject extends past writing angry screeds on racist websites was quite explicit that the conflation of Islam and terrorism is both incorrect and counterproductive.

[Racist Anti-Semitic White House Aide Sebastian] Gorka isn’t gloating about the Bannon, Miller, Gorka-demanded approach winning out over the delicate sensibilities of the national press; he’s gloating that the extremist language won out over the administration’s own national security team. Team Chaos is insistent that they’re going to do the opposite of whatever all previous experts advised—seemingly just for spite.

Trump’s approach of banning “Muslim immigration,” inflating and propagandizing immigrant-linked crime, and otherwise treating non-white, non-Christian Americans with open contempt will not make us safer. To Trump’s team, that’s beside the point. The anti-Muslim rhetoric was never intended as a tool against terrorism, but against refugees, immigrants, and the ever-dangerous non-white other.

I won’t argue with the conclusion in the last paragraph. I just think it should be recognized that they have another objective here as well. In fact, it’s their primary objective. They are not trying to avoid a terrorist attack, they are trying to provoke one. They know only too well what President Cheney was able to do in the aftermath of 9/11, and they fully expect that they will be able to go full fascism if they are able to justify it because of a terrorist attack. I’ll say again, the Democrats should be openly accusing them of just that intention. It’s the only way to possibly inoculate the country against a fascist takeover when the inevitable happens. It may not work, but it’s probably our only hope.

Fakish news

This is really rather infuriating:

President Trump’s proposal to slash domestic spending in order to preserve the two biggest drains on the federal government — Social Security and Medicare — has set up a battle to determine who now controls the Republican Party’s ideology.

Mr. Trump’s budget blueprint — which is expected to be central to his address to Congress on Tuesday night — sets up a striking clash with the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, who has made a career out of pressing difficult truths on federal spending. For years, Mr. Ryan has maintained that to tame the budget deficit without tax increases and prevent draconian cuts to federal programs, Congress must be willing to change, and cut, the programs that spend the most money — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

via The New York Times

The Times needs to learn a “difficult truth” about federal spending. Social Security is a self funded program. It does not contribute to the deficit. Indeed, it has helped finance the deficit, as the trust fund has been invested in government bonds. If you repealed Social Security tomorrow, you would not reduce the deficit by a nickel. Nowhere in this article is this point made. The Republicans make a point of lumping Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid together when they talk about deficits, when they know full well that Social Security does not belong in that conversation. It is the function of a news organization to expose that deception, not endorse it.

The mystery deepens

There is a great deal of debate going on in this country at the moment. It centers around the guy who lost the popular vote in the last election. Is he mentally ill, or is he stupid, is he a conscious liar, or is he some malevolent combination of all of the above? I could see the partisans of any side of this argument using this as evidence:

Popular vote loser Donald Trump confirms once again that nothing existed in politics or policy before he noticed it. In his own head, anyway. Speaking Monday morning before meeting with a group of healthcare industry executives, he opined “It’s an unbelievably complex subject, nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” This could be because he’s got a White House full of competing ideas that can’t properly brief him because they don’t know what in the hell they’re doing.

via Daily Kos

On the one hand, this could merely be a symptom of his narcissism. Since he didn’t know healthcare was complicated, it stands to reason that no one else could possibly have known, because in his world, there is no one else other than Donald Trump. But the argument for stupidity is just as strong, because only someone who is really stupid could not know that health care is a complicated subject. At least from where I sit, I think the argument for conscious liar, at least on this point, is the weakest, but you can’t dismiss it out of hand, except to say if he’s consciously lying on this one, he’s also proving his stupidity because it’s a truly stupid thing to say, with no political upside.

So, where does this leave us? Well, we can argue about which alternative predominates, but we can all agree that this is a deeply disturbed and disturbing individual. Resist, resist, resist.

Courtney Town Hall

My wife and I went to Joe Courtney’s Town Hall last night. A few reaction:

First, I was a bit surprised that the crowd was, so far as I could see, universally supportive of Joe. If there were Trumpies there, they kept their mouths shut.

A lot of the questions were about Obamacare, and it must be said that Joe has incredible command of the details of the program, and he’s quite frank about acknowledging some of its shortcomings. As a bit of digression, it’s beginning to look like the Republicans may, due to public pressure and an inability to come up with a reasonable alternative, leave the program unscathed. If that does happen, there will be a delicious irony. There may come a day when they regret christening it “Obamacare”. The guy is already missed, and attaching his name to a program that only grows more popular the more it is threatened will only make people miss him more. He wasn’t perfect, but he looks like a giant next to the man with the small hands and his fascistic puppet master. Might it not be a good idea for the Democrats to embrace the “repair” part of the present Republican mantra and start talking about “Medicare for all”, something, I will say yet again, everyone can understand and no one can misrepresent.

I have one small criticism of Joe’s performance, and I think it highlights a problem with national Democrats generally. It was clear to me that most people in the crowd appreciated the danger we face. It’s not just a question of policy differences. We face an existential threat, and that’s what has gotten people riled up. One questioner asked Joe what national Democrats were going to do to oppose Trump, and Joe drifted off to talk about policy successes. That’s not what people are looking for; they are looking for full throated opposition, done in an effective way. That means coordinated responses and a unified strategy. Unless the Democrats appreciate the need to do that, whether out of patriotism or fear for their own political survival, there’s not much chance the republic can survive.

Anyway, it’s to be hoped that this energy won’t dissipate. Our local Town Committee had a meeting Wednesday night, and we had more non-members in attendance than members. We see it as a golden opportunity to bring in some fresh and much younger blood. I’ve been on the Town Committee for about 30 years. When I joined, I was one of the younger people on the committee. 30 years later, I’m still probably south of the median. If the party, locally and nationally, can coordinate with the various resistance groups springing up, we just might be able to preserve the republic. 

South Carolina on the Sound

The tweet from Chris Hayes linked to a story titled “Interracial couple fined for not removing racial slur spray painted on their garage.” I figured, for sure, it happened somewhere in the Confereracy, but:

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — An interracial Connecticut couple whose home was vandalized by a racial slur has been fined for failing to cover it up.

The Stamford Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/2lAiTvP ) the slur was spray-painted over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend on the garage door of Heather Lindsay, who’s white, and Lexene Charles, who’s black.

Lindsay says their home has been vandalized multiple times. She says Stamford authorities have failed to properly investigate and she won’t remove the slur until they do.

The city issued a blight citation, which carries a $100 daily fine.

via AP

I suppose the City is hyper technically in the right, if one wears blinkers.

Add these to the list

Yet more impeachable offenses. First up:

Virtually overnight, Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s members-only Palm Beach, Fla., club, has been transformed into the part-time capital of American government, a so-called winter White House where Mr. Trump has entertained a foreign head of state, health care industry executives and other presidential guests.

But Mr. Trump’s gatherings at Mar-a-Lago — he arrived there on Friday afternoon, his third weekend visit in a row — have also created an arena for potential political influence rarely seen in American history: a kind of Washington steakhouse on steroids, situated in a sunny playground of the rich and powerful, where members and their guests enjoy a level of access that could elude even the best-connected of lobbyists.

Mr. Trump’s son Eric, in an interview on Friday, rejected suggestions that his family was offering access to his father and profiting from it. First, he said, only 20 to 40 new members are admitted per year, and second, the wealthy business executives who frequent the club, among others, have many ways to communicate with the federal government if they want to.

“It assumes the worst of us and everyone, and that is unfair,” Eric Trump said.

Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, said the president had no conflicts of interest, a reference to the fact that federal law exempts him from provisions prohibiting federal employees from taking actions that could benefit themselves financially.

via The New York Times

As a side note, assuming the worst about Donald Trump is merely prudence.

Next up:

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, met with a senior Time Warner Inc. executive in recent weeks and expressed the administration’s deep concerns about CNN’s news coverage, according to a White House official and other people familiar with the matter.

While the administration is battling a large swath of the media, the fight with CNN has special intrigue because its parent company has a massive piece of business awaiting government approval: a proposed $85.4 billion sale to AT&T Inc. Messrs. Kushner and Ginsberg, who have been friends for a decade and whose discussion covered a variety of issues including Israel and the economy, didn’t discuss the merger in their recent meeting, said the people familiar with the matter.

In the final stretch of the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump said he would block the agreement and singled out the news network in his statement. “AT&T is buying Time Warner, and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration,” he said. The deal will be reviewed by government agencies including the Justice Department.

via Hullabaloo, quoting the behind a paywall Wall Street Journal.

CNN appears to be resisting the pressure, probably, at least in part, because its mildly anti-Trump coverage has been good for its ratings, despite Trump’s claims that they are going down. (Imagine, Trump lied about that. Who would have thought?)

Once again, imagine if Obama, or Clinton, had done something even approaching either of the above. We would never hear the end of it. With Trump, it’s covered for a day and then down the memory hole. It’s not only that IOKIYAR. It’s also a function of the fact that it’s all written off as Trump being Trump.

It reminds me of a phenomenon some of my fellow lawyers will recognize. There are certain lawyers who make a habit out of doing outrageous things. They do them so often the judges stop taking notice, and it just becomes a case of Attorney X being X. If one of the rest of us, who normally behave according to accepted norms, behaved similarly, we’d get slammed.

Anyway, two more impeachables for the record.