Milk

We are the local milk people.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Gone Fishin'



Dear TGC Readers and #TheResistance members (and those dropping in),

After a lot of deliberation, Ari and I realized that, at least for the next couple of months, personal commitments on both of our parts are going to make it difficult to maintain the blog. So we're going to take a bit of a summer vacation. I wouldn't be surprised if we post here and there, but we won't be posting consistently, likely until after Labor Day.

We'll still be on Twitter, and if any writers want to have a forum to guest post over the summer or to join up with us when we get back, please drop us a line at greatconsolidation@gmail.com. Also, e-mail us if you have thoughts on anything in our archive.

It's been a lot of fun (though we were writing through a serious dark cloud for the first few months), and we hope we can return energized later in the year.

In the meantime, keep on resistin'.

Best,

Jason and Ari

Earworm of the Afternoon -- Over Now


The Daily Combover - June 20, 2017

First of all, an apology for missing Monday's post -- my family received a wonderful new addition yesterday and we cannot wait for her to come home in a few days.

And now, on to the Daily Combover:

Let's start with the bad news: 
The race was far closer than a rural GA district should be, but Dear Leader did score a victory here.

And now for the strange news:

Jared Kushner spoke!



His topic was technology-based But nobody seemed to even notice. And unfortunately, he's on the wrong side of history -- again.

Finally, just a quick reminder that war with North Korea is getting closer to happening:
Catch you on the flip side.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Late Night Track -- A Song for Sleeping

Earworm of the Afternoon -- The Rock Show


A Reminder That Steve Bannon Is Not Just a Nazi, He's Also a Dick

Yup.

Neither Spicer nor deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders responded to queries about the changes to the briefings. Asked why the briefings are now routinely held off-camera, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in a text message “Sean got fatter,” and did not respond to a follow-up.

That's this guy:

Tuesday Morning Twitshit




Yay platitudes. Karen Handel is a perfect Trump candidate. If you're voting, vote Jon Ossoff today.

Late Night Track -- Long Time Gone


Bye, Spicey!



Sean Spicer is stepping out of the spotlight:

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will step back from giving reporters the daily press briefing and is searching for his replacement at the podium.
"We have sought input from many people as we look to expand our communications operation. As he did in the beginning, Sean Spicer is managing both the communications and press office," White House officials said in a statement Monday.

I expected this to happen much sooner, but I'm thinking it didn't happen because they couldn't find an alternative.

This probably doesn't matter, given that the White House staff is going to be disappearing from TV.





Is there a term that means both scary and funny at the same time?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Earworm of the Afternoon -- Jimi Thing


What I'm Following This Week -- Week of 6/19/2017

  • The AHCA -- Senator Richard Blumenthal will be launching a hearing about the "mean" bill tonight.
  • #TrumpRussia -- Waiting for the next shoe to drop. You know it's coming! Will there be tapes? Is there an investigation, or isn't there, Jay Sekulow?
  • GA-06 -- The long wait is finally over tomorrow. #VoteYourOssoff
  • Trump's sanity -- Apparently he had to hole up at Camp David and avoid everyone else this weekend
  • And, of course, the unhinged tweets...

Monday Morning Twitshit



After a Father's Day in which he didn't acknowledge it other than a retweet of a White House greeting card, Trump only manages one quick tweet today:



Yes, yes we do. And today we're going to clog up your works.

Late Night Track -- My Old Man


Sunday, June 18, 2017

TGC Digest -- Week of 6/12/2017

Monday

A Clever Way to Get the Tax Returns? -- The Attorneys General of Maryland and Washington DC file a lawsuit that may make Trump have to release his returns (I'm not holding my breath).

The Daily Combover - June 12, 2017 -- An open letter from Ari to Trump about the economics of coal.

Tuesday

The Daily Combover - June 13, 2017 -- Ari wonders what Trump's next steps are for the AHCA.

Wednesday

Republican Treason Goes a Step Further -- Did Republicans deliberately ignore Russian hacking of the election?

The Daily Combover - June 14, 2017 -- Trump's Russia love vs. the Senate's sanctions.

Thursday

Liberals Shouldn't Have Guns, Either -- How I feel about guns.

Who Woulda What? -- Who exactly are the Bernie and Joe Biden die-hards talking to?

Fear the Walking Trumpcare -- What exactly is going on here?

The Daily Combover - June 15, 2017 -- Trump's tweeting is going to be his downfall.

Friday

Friday Morning Twitshit -- Trump goes off about the "Witch Hunt" (aka #TrumpRussia)

The Daily Combover - June 16, 2017 -- Trump tears down Obama's open Cuba policy.

Saturday

Could They Be Any Goddamned More Obvious? -- The White House considers blocking the Senate's Russia sanctions.

Open Thread -- Welcoming #TheResistance Edition



Another fun follower party last night! Welcome to everyone visiting for the first time!
Tell us about yourselves in the comments!

Earworm of the Afternoon -- Great Provider


 
 
Where does the time go when it's not around here?


Jake Tapper Be Like...


Trump is not underinvestigation though he said he's under investigation he didn't mean he was under investigation it's not an investigation WTFWITCHHUNTBESTTWITTERPRESIDENTEVER...

Sunday Morning Twitshit

 
 

On Day 2 at Camp David, Trump's little fingers are rested enough to Tweet again:

So "Witch Hunt" is now the proper name for "Not investigating me... not investigating me... not investigating me... OK, fine, they're investigating me, but they're assholes who hate me because something something..."



Mm hm.


Whatever lets you get out of bed and gets you to the toiler in the morning. Don't forget to flush.

The Bob Cesca Show -- FREE! After Party



For all new followers from #TheResistance: A few times a week, we try to promote the shows of our favorite podcasters -- Bob's one of those. If you haven't heard him, this is your lucky week; he puts out free episodes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with some subscriber-only content, including a subscriber-only show on Friday with Kimberley Johnson, called the After Party. He decided to make this week's program available as a free preview:

The Batdildo: The late Adam West and his massive orgies with cast members; Bob and Kimberley Movie Commentaries for Patreon subscribers; Your calls at 707-317-6060; Stupid Watergate; Mike Pence is Eddie Haskell; White House staffers are lawyering up; Trump keeps accidentally confirming news stories; Rod Rosenstein's bizarre statement; Pee Pee Tape; Oliver Babish and Legal Fees; GOP using Alexandria to cancel town halls; News on Trump's wall; and much more!

Listen to the whole episode here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Late Night Track -- Paranoid Android


Is a Senate Blockade a Real Thing?



This sounds like a good idea, in theory:

Senate Democrats are weighing whether to bring the chamber's business to a halt next week in an effort to voice their objections to the GOP health care push, according to sources familiar with the effort.
The Democratic leadership and rank-and-file members are planning to prevent the chamber from conducting routine business, including allowing committees to meet for extended hearings when the Senate is in session. And they will demand an open process to consider health care when the Senate reconvenes Monday.
Democrats might use parliamentary maneuvers to prevent committees from meeting for longer than two hours.

If it were possible though, I would have expected the Republicans to have tried it at some point or another over the last 30 years. I'm seeing things that have been referred to as a "blockade," like with Merrick Garland last year, but that was subject to the filibuster at the time. In theory (though the Senate parliamentarian has not weighed in on this, as far as I know), the AHCA can use the reconciliation process to only need 50 votes to pass.

In any case, this is not a reason not to do it.

One Democratic source cautioned that the caucus may not go that far given the bipartisan atmosphere following the shooting at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday. 

The Republicans would gladly shoot your "bipartisanship" in the head, Democrats. Don't fall for it.

Another Investigation?



I know Trump's Trump, and the Republicans are the Republicans, but if you were to have told me a couple of years ago that there would be a Republican administration that would be under more investigation while Republicans held both Houses of Congress than a Hillary Clinton administration would, I'd have thought you were nuts. And yet, here we are:

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a watchdog agency in the federal government that monitors civil rights law enforcement, announced on Friday that it would launch a two-year assessment of the executive branch.

Granted, the USCCR is not part of Congress, but wow. Well, we know the White House is definitely not racist, so I'm sure all is OK.

Earworm of the Afternoon -- The Way You Used To Do


Could They Be Any Goddamned More Obvious?

Back to back in my Twitter feed a moment ago...





Kissin' Ger?



Really?


From an otherwise not-terribly-interesting "compare #TrumpRussia to Watergate" column by David Remnick centering around one of Nixon's assistants:

Butterfield carried out Nixon’s most peculiar orders, whether they involved barring a senior economic adviser from a White House faith service or making sure that Henry Kissinger was no longer seated at state dinners next to the most attractive woman at the occasion. (Nixon, who barely acknowledged, much less touched, his own wife in public, resented Kissinger’s public, and well-cultivated, image as a Washington sex symbol.)

I'd heard the '70s were a weird time sexually, but I had no idea they were *that* weird. Or maybe I'm just too young to remember a time where Henry Kissinger wasn't a fat old murder-toad.

Saturday Morning Twitshit



Nothing from Trump himself this morning, but one of the help must've made a quick pitstop while cleaning his bathroom:


Definitely not him, because he doesn't give a crap about that.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Daily Combover - June 16, 2017

Scene: Miami, Florida
Topic: Cuba



Today Trump attacked another one of President Obama's achievements -- the normalization of relations with Cuba. Remarks below:

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you very much.  Great honor.  And thank you to my truly great friend, Vice President Mike Pence -- he’s terrific.  (Applause.)  And thank you to Miami.  We love Miami.  
Let me start by saying that I’m glad Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and I, along with a very talented team, were able to get Otto Warmbier back with his parents.  (Applause.)  What’s happened to him is a truly terrible thing, but at least the ones who love him so much can now take care of him and be with him.
I'd love to hear Trump explain exactly what happened to Mr. Warmbier. Because while his parents are probably happy to have him back, he's a comatosed shell. Where's the tough guy response that he promised on the trail?
Also, my dear friend, Steve Scalise, took a bullet for all of us.  And because of him, and the tremendous pain and suffering he’s now enduring -- he’s having a hard time, far worse than anybody thought -- our country will perhaps become closer, more unified.  So important.  
So we all owe Steve a big, big thank you.  And let’s keep the Warmbier family, and the Scalise family, and all of the victims of the congressional shooting, in our hearts and prayers.  And it was quite a day and our police officers were incredible, weren’t they?  They did a great job.  (Applause.)    
He took a bullet for all of us? What's that supposed to mean? If you want us to become unified, push for background checks -- you know the gun safety thing that has over 90% support?
And let us all pray for a future of peace, unity and safety for all of our people.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  And for Cuba.
I am so thrilled to be back here with all of my friends in Little Havana.  (Applause.)  I love it.  I love this city.  
...
Clipping out the back-and-forth lovefest between Trump and a deplorable.
We are delighted to be joined by so many friends and leaders of our great community.  I want to express our deep gratitude to a man who has really become a friend of mine -- and I want to tell you, he is one tough competitor -- Senator Marco Rubio.  (Applause.)  Great guy.  (Applause.)  He is tough, man.  He is tough and he’s good, and he loves you.  He loves you.
Little Marco has grown up?
And I listened to another friend of mine, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart -- (applause) -- and I’ll tell you, I loved what he said, and I appreciate it.  Mario, I appreciated what you said so much.  In fact I was looking for Mario.  I wanted to find him -- they said he was onstage.  I almost dragged him off the stage to thank him, but now I’m thanking you anyway.  Thank you, Mario.  That was great.  Really appreciate it.  
For those of you new to Trump's speeches, he always names names and the people are never there. It would be comical if it wasn't sad thinking that he's supposed to be leading us and yet is in a constant battle with his dementia.
And I also want to thank my good friend, and just a man who was of tremendous support in the state of Florida, for being with us -- Governor Rick Scott.  (Applause.)  Great job.  He’s doing a great job.  I hope he runs for the Senate.  I know I’m not supposed to say that.  I hope he runs for the Senate.  Rick, are you running?  (Applause.)  I don’t know.  Marco, let’s go, come on.  We got to get him to -- I hope he runs for the Senate. 
Rick Scott hasn't cracked 50% in a poll since he first took office. Then again he is polling ten points higher than Trump...
...
More overly gratuitous hellos were clipped out. Let's get to the speech:
Last year, I promised to be a voice against repression in our region -- remember, tremendous oppression -- and a voice for the freedom of the Cuban people.  You heard that pledge.  You exercised the right you have to vote.  You went out and you voted.  And here I am like I promised -- like I promised.  (Applause.)
I promised you -- I keep my promises.  Sometimes in politics, they take a little bit longer, but we get there.  We get there.  Don't we get there?  You better believe it, Mike.  We get there.  (Laughter.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  No, we keep our promise.
And now that I am your President, America will expose the crimes of the Castro regime and stand with the Cuban people in their struggle for freedom.  Because we know it is best for America to have freedom in our hemisphere, whether in Cuba or Venezuela, and to have a future where the people of each country can live out their own dreams.  (Applause.)
This speech feels like something that should have been given in the late-1950's.
For nearly six decades, the Cuban people have suffered under communist domination.  To this day, Cuba is ruled by the same people who killed tens of thousands of their own citizens, who sought to spread their repressive and failed ideology throughout our hemisphere, and who once tried to host enemy nuclear weapons 90 miles from our shores.
Hey Google, do you have something to tell Trump?

With that out of the way, let's continue:
The Castro regime has shipped arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela.  While imprisoning innocents, it has harbored cop killers, hijackers, and terrorists.  It has supported human trafficking, forced labor, and exploitation all around the globe.  This is the simple truth of the Castro regime. (Applause.)
My administration will not hide from it, excuse it, or glamorize it.  And we will never, ever be blind to it.  We know what's going on and we remember what happened.  (Applause.)
Yes, Cuba had a dark past. But Castro is dead and it's time to help them move on from that past. We enslaved millions of Africans and slaughtered countless millions of Native Americans. Should we be cast away from the world as a pariah as well?
On my recent trip overseas, I said the United States is adopting a principled realism, rooted in our values, shared interests, and common sense.  I also said countries should take greater responsibility for creating stability in their own regions.  It's hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the prior administration’s terrible and misguided deal with the Castro regime.  (Applause.)  Well, you have to say, the Iran deal was pretty bad also.  Let's not forget that beauty.
So you're admitting that this is really about President Obama and not really about Cuba?
They made a deal with a government that spreads violence and instability in the region and nothing they got -- think of it -- nothing they got -- they fought for everything and we just didn’t fight hard enough.  But now those days are over.  Now we hold the cards.  We now hold the cards.  (Applause.) 
The previous administration’s easing of restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people -- they only enrich the Cuban regime.  (Applause.)  The profits from investment and tourism flow directly to the military.  The regime takes the money and owns the industry.  The outcome of the last administration’s executive action has been only more repression and a move to crush the peaceful, democratic movement.
Another big fat lie. Cuba has slashed its military spending by 300% over the past two decades.
Therefore, effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.  (Applause.) 
#WhenTrumpGoesToJail I will personally mail him a Cuban flag.
I am announcing today a new policy, just as I promised during the campaign, and I will be signing that contract right at that table in just a moment. 
Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and for the United States of America.  We do not want U.S. dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba.
Our new policy begins with strictly enforcing U.S. law.  (Applause.)  We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.  Elections.  (Applause.) 
We will very strongly restrict American dollars flowing to the military, security and intelligence services that are the core of Castro regime.  They will be restricted.  We will enforce the ban on tourism.  We will enforce the embargo.  We will take concrete steps to ensure that investments flow directly to the people, so they can open private businesses and begin to build their country’s great, great future -- a country of great potential.  (Applause.) 
So we're embargoing them and blocking major streams of revenue but they're supposed to open private businesses? Counter-intuitive doesn't even begin to tell the story.
My action today bypasses the military and the government, to help the Cuban people themselves form businesses and pursue much better lives.  We will keep in place the safeguards to prevent Cubans from risking their lives to unlawful travel to the United States.  They are in such danger the way they have to come to this country, and we are going to be safeguarding those people.  We have to.  We have no choice.  We have to.  (Applause.) 
The embargo caused so much awful for the Cuban people during the first 50+ years so let's go right back to it again!
And we will work for the day when a new generation of leaders brings this long reign of suffering to an end.  And I do believe that end is in the very near future.  (Applause.) 
We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement that is in the best interests of both their people and our people and also of Cuban Americans.
To the Cuban government, I say:  Put an end to the abuse of dissidents.  Release the political prisoners.  Stop jailing innocent people.  Open yourselves to political and economic freedoms.  Return the fugitives from American justice -- including the return of the cop-killer Joanne Chesimard.  (Applause.) 
And finally, hand over the Cuban military criminals who shot down and killed four brave members of Brothers to the Rescue who were in unarmed, small, slow civilian planes.  (Applause.)  
Those victims included Mario de la Pena, Jr., and Carlos Costa.  We are honored to be joined by Mario’s parents, Miriam and Mario, and Carlos’s sister, Mirta.  Where are you?  (Applause.)  Those are great, great parents who love their children so much.  What they've done is just an incredible, incredible thing -- what they represent -- they did not die in vain -- what they represent to everybody, and especially to the Cuban people.  So your children did not die in vain, believe me.  (Applause.) 
So to the Castro regime, I repeat:  The harboring of criminals and fugitives will end.  You have no choice.  It will end.  (Applause.) 
Trump really has no idea how diplomacy works. No wonder every major world leader openly mocks him.
Any changes to the relationship between the United States and Cuba will depend on real progress toward these and the other goals, many of which I’ve described.  When Cuba is ready to take concrete steps to these ends, we will be ready, willing, and able to come to the table to negotiate that much better deal for Cubans, for Americans.  Much better deal and a deal that's fair.  A deal that's fair and a deal that makes sense.  
Our embassy remains open in the hope that our countries can forge a much stronger and better path.  America believes that free, independent, and sovereign nations are the best vehicle for human happiness, for health, for education, for safety, for everything.  We all accept that all nations have the right to chart their own paths -- and I’m certainly a very big believer in that -- so we will respect Cuban sovereignty.  But we will never turn our backs on the Cuban people.  That will not happen.  (Applause.) 
So we're shutting it all down except for the embassy? I guess he's having his chocolate cake and eating it too. And eating Cuba's while he's at it.
Over the years, a special sympathy has grown between this land of the free, and the beautiful people of that island, so close to our shores and so deeply woven into the history of our region.  America has rejected the Cuban people’s oppressors.  They are rejected.  Officially today, they are rejected.  (Applause.)  And to those people, America has become a source of strength, and our flag a symbol of hope. 
I can't wait until we can reject him and his klan of oppressors.

I'm clipping the tangential story that follows and heading to the conclusion:
...
So I want to thank Miami.  I want to thank Little Havana.  Havana, we love.  Do we love it?  Would you move anywhere else?  You wouldn't move to Palm Beach, would you?  No.  No way.  Little Havana.
And I want to thank all of our great friends here today.  You've been amazing, loyal, beautiful people.  And thank you.  Don't remind me.  Actually, I was telling Mike, so it was two days -- on my birthday -- until a big day, which turned out to be tomorrow -- the 16th.  That was the day I came down with Melania on the escalator at Trump Tower.  That's tomorrow.  (Applause.)  So it's exactly tomorrow -- two years since we announced.  And it worked out okay.  Worked out okay.  (Applause.)  It's a great honor.  Believe me, it's a great honor.  Right?
AUDIENCE:  (Sings Happy Birthday.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.
I just want to end by saying may God bless everyone searching for freedom.  May God bless Cuba.  May God bless the United States of America.  And God bless you all.  Thank you.  Now I'm going to sign.  Thank you.
I'm not sure there's going to be anything left to salvage when he's done dismantling a century of foreign policy developments. What Trump is doing to the State Department may take a generation to repair.

Have a great weekend.

Catch you on the flip side.

Late Night Track -- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots


Friday Links


  • First off, I think I'm just giving Rude Pundit a regular slot in this feature. One post a week as long as he's still kicking (we missed you when you took a break after the election, RP!). His take on the Caesar in the park kerfuffle. Except I don't think he'd ever use the word "kerfuffle." He has better ones.
  • Athenae's on one of my hobbyhorses, the need to fund journalism properly.
  • Charlie Pierce's post-mortem  on Wednesday's shootings
  • Rolling Stone magazine profiles cable superstar Rachel Maddow.
  • Digby's ticket for 2020... I'm good with it. Don't doubt the Dems' bench at the presidential level.
  • Even though I consume much less of it in my dotage, chocolate milk is probably better than crack (I don't have to have tried crack to know). I don't think I would've made it through many years of summer camp without having half-gallons of the nectar delivered to our lunch tables every day. So I liked Kevin Drum's headline here. Oh, and 7% of American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Yup. (h/t @Sativa888)

Open Thread -- This is *REALLY* Getting Good Edition

Paul Waldman posted a little while ago about how after today's Twitshit, it's on. Like, really on:

If you think things are dramatic and absurd right now, just wait — it’s going to get worse.

Also, Mafioso Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is lawyering up himself.

And this happened:








Shiiiiiit....

Any guesses as to the next shoe to drop?

Earworm of the Afternoon -- Wish You Were Here


The Bob Cesca Show, 6/15/2017 -- A Really Clever Fascist



Thursday's show:

A Really Clever Fascist: Cliff Schecter from The Majority Report podcast is here today; The Trump Crisis Day 147; We discuss the shooting in Alexandria and whether it'll change any GOP minds on gun control; The NRA and Mental Health; The NRA is here to sell as many guns as possible; Bombshell articles confirm Trump is under investigation for felony obstruction of justice; Trump keeps walking into his own propeller; Trump still doesn't believe the Russia story is real; Magoo does it again; and much more. 

Listen to the whole thing here.

What Do Brain Surgeons and Wedding Planners Have in Common?

Not a joke:



Ben Carson, and now a wedding planner?

You can't make this stuff up, and I feel like if I did, everyone would laugh at me.

I think it goes without saying that this is insane.

More on the Reanimation of Trump Care

Eric Boehlert calls out the media for complicity in giving McConnell's cynical attempt to revive and pass Trumpcare a fighting chance:

But in terms of the day-to-day newsroom coverage of this secretive spectacle, reporters seem to be nonplussed by the GOP’s highly unusual -- and completely private -- approach to overhauling the health care system, which represents roughly 20 percent of the U.S. economy.
Too often, the Beltway press’s reaction to the Republicans’ extreme maneuver has been remarkably subdued and almost nonchalant.
Here’s how a recent Politico update on the health care bill briefly dealt with the issue of secrecy: “A public copy of the bill or the CBO score are not expected until just days before any vote, minimizing the ability of opposition to mobilize, aides said.”

Ezra Levin tells us how dire this is, what to do about it, and... puppies:








CALL YOUR ELECTEDS. LINKS IN THE RIGHT SIDEBAR.

The Time I Did Research on a Merger Before Getting Out of Bed

Not really...


Keeping in mind that I originally conceived this blog to chronicle corporate consolidation, I get to go back to our roots, and also get to continue on a theme from yesterday:













Oh, also:


Apparently most of you aren't as well equipped to do research as I am.

Friday Morning Twitshit





Uh, holy shit:

I love it when he taunts everyone putting cases together. That'll end well.




He's been blocking the hell out of people (which may be illegal for "presidents" to do) and keeping his numbers up by adding bots. Way to highlight that.


I'll turn to Ari on that.


Oh boy. What did he just do?:








UPDATE (6/16/2017, 11:19 AM EST): He sits back down on the throne for another go-round. Going to have to light a candle to eliminate the stench of desperation.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Daily Combover - June 15, 2017

I know, I know... The Combover definitely spends too much time on witch hunts for Dear Leader's tastes. But, then again, he doesn't have to keep bringing it up himself, does he?

Keep smiling Donnie.


Every single day we get more insanity from Trump on why he's either completely innocent or how this is a total witch hunt. And yet, every day we learn a little more about how his campaign was deeply involved with the Russians and we go another day without him ever criticizing the attacks.

Today, for example, Trump gave us these gems:




Crooked H? Nah. Let's go with Local H with a perfect message to Trump, "you just don't get it."



Because in the end, all of this Tweeting is just doing him even more harm.  Even if he is found to be innocent of all collusion charges, he most certainly will be guilty of obstruction of justice -- and his continuous stream of Tweets in which he attempts to intimidate his investigators will be part of the evidence against him.

As Lindsay Graham pointed out to Trump, "You may be the first president in history to go down because you can’t stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that, if you just were quiet, would clear you."

Back to Local H for a moment -- Trump, "you know it's so pathetic, and you don't." You just don't stop. And you don't accept that this really is a real investigation. And you really will be going down for your crimes this time. I emphasize this time, because this isn't your first foray into criminal activities, but it's the first time you're going to face a real punishment for them.

"And you learn to accept it" -- Local H. Yes, Local H has a point there. The GOP is accepting that Trump really is potentially guilty, but aside from a few minor steps in sanctioning Russia, they have yet to call Trump out. They'd rather use him to pass as much extreme legislation as possible. We learned as much from waste-of-a-meat-suit, Mark Halperin, this week:
“Senator, is Bob Mueller is man of integrity?” MSNBC’s Mark Halperin asked Thune during an appearance on “Morning Joe” Thursday, referring to the special counsel in charge of the investigation. “And has he done anything so far in the conduct of the investigation that leads you to believe he is conducting a witch hunt?”
“No, he is a man of integrity, Mark, and he needs to be able to do his work,” Thune replied. “And I think it’s better for all of us if that work continues. It’s — obviously he is going to get to the bottom and he is going to find the facts, and I think that’s his role. And I think we ought to let him continue to do that and I assume at some point there will be an end to all this. He’ll have done his investigation and there will be whatever findings there are.”
“But I think for now we ought to proceed on our agenda,” he continued. “We ought to try and reform health care, and reform the tax code, and do an infrastructure bill and focus on jobs and the economy for the American people knowing full well that that investigation is going to be ongoing.”
As Jason put it,  the GOP seems very willing to be an accomplice to treason if it means they have another day to pass their radical agenda.

Catch you on the flip side.

Late Night Track -- Tumble in the Rough


Open Thread -- Echo vs. Home Edition



I've had an Amazon Echo Tap since the day it was released. It's not bad, but I pretty much just use it as an alarm clock, a weather report, and a DJ.

Do you have one of these devices? How else do you utilize it?

Also, do you talk to it a bit too much? A typical exchange between me and my Echo:

Me: "Alexa, what time is it?"

Echo: "The time is..."

Me: "Thanks, hon."

Am I just that weird?

Talk about that or anything else on your mind in the comments.

Fear the Walking Trumpcare



Mixed entertainment metaphor, but Fear the Walking Dead just came back for a third season as the Republicans appear to be making a third push with Trumpcare, and both deserve to be cancelled...

Anyway, hot take from Young Ezra Klein via Young Matt Yglesias, neither of whom are so young anymore, and neither am I:



History may record a certain irony if this is the argument McConnell uses to successfully destroy Obamacare. In recent conversations with Democrats and industry observers, I’ve become convinced that just the opposite is true: If Republicans unwind Obamacare and pass their bill, then Democrats are much likelier to establish a single-payer health care system — or at least the beginnings of one — when they regain power.
 
 Iiiiinteresting... This felt like clickbait from a Vox editor, but there may be something to it:

“I will tell you,” says Len Nichols, director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University, “Democratic politicians I never thought would utter the words have mentioned single-payer to me in a non-joking way of late.”
If Republicans wipe out the Affordable Care Act and de-insure tens of millions of people, they will prove a few things to Democrats. First, including private insurers and conservative ideas in a health reform plan doesn’t offer a scintilla of political protection, much less Republican support. Second, sweeping health reform can be passed quickly, with only 51 votes in the Senate, and with no support from major industry actors. Third, it’s easier to defend popular government programs that people already understand and appreciate, like Medicaid and Medicare, than to defend complex public-private partnerships, like Obamacare’s exchanges.

The first two are iffy; I mean, the approach did offer some political protection. It just took some time. Because of Republicans and conservative Democrats like Joe Lieberman, it really wouldn't have passed if it were any more government-oriented. Additionally, the way I remember it way back in the 'aughts is that the deep-pocketed health insurance companies, who did oppose Obamacare, pulled some punches. I don't think they would've if a public option, or particularly single-payer, were pushed at the time. Second, would a move to single-payer pass the muster of reconciliation rules? I'd need to hear more specifics. If the Dems killed the filibuster, definitely.

I think I agree with the third point, which was the genius of the ACA, even if I didn't understand that myself, not being a genius and all. It shifted the "Overton Window" on the healthcare conversation. Even most conservatives need to pretend they believe everyone deserves coverage, even if not a single one believes it.  

I think there may be a show in this worth watching... it just might not air until 2021, and who knows what things looks like if 25 million people have lost their insurance? Seems like a recipe for utter chaos to me.

Earworm of the Afternoon -- The Longest Time


Who Woulda What?

Just clearing out some stuff I didn't write about yesterday in trying to respect the families of those who were shot yesterday. Back to regular business.



From a piece that Scott Lemieux wrote about the futility of counterfactuals in discussing past elections:

Still, given Clinton’s high negatives I don’t think the first two points are the biggest problem with the counterfactual. The real problem, as I’ve mentioned before, is that when you posit a Sanders (or O’Malley or Biden or Webb) who can beat Clinton, you’re positing a different and non-existent candidate.  A Bernie Sanders had spent decades cultivating relationships with major Democratic constituencies and done well enough to hold his own in Southern primaries would be a very strong candidate — but Bernie didn’t actually do that. Speculating about how Martin O’Malley would have done had he won the Democratic primaries rather than getting roughly six votes strikes me as about as useful as speculating about how Wonder Woman or Abraham Lincoln, Vampire-Killer would have done in the general. Sure, an O’Malley who could win the nomination would probably be a pretty strong candidate, but he also doesn’t exist. A Joe Biden who was committed to running, disciplined, persuaded Obama that he was the better candidate, and didn’t have two zero-delegate primary runs under his belt…you get the idea. It’s OK to discuss alternatives as a parlor-game hypothetical, but it’s really not a very useful exercise either retrospectively or prospectively.

I just wanted to add one thought, and I will eventually shut up about why Hillary Clinton was a good candidate in 2016. Eventually.

When you state "Bernie would've won" or "Biden would've won," to whom are you speaking? Are you telling more than ten million primary voters they should've voted differently? Bernie supporters who believe that the DNC rigged the primaries for Clinton, are you saying that the DNC should've rigged them for Sanders? I ask because I don't remember hearing "Bradley would've won" or "Dean would've won" very much... It's just another reason to think that there are outside forces at play this time around that are amplifying what's essentially nonsense, but is extremely divisive.

Thursday Morning Twitshit



Who is "they?" Can't just blame the Democrats; Bob Mueller's no Democrat. Tell us more...



Ah. "Some very bad and conflicted people." Got it. Thanks.

Liberals Shouldn't Have Guns, Either



I don't think I'm going to say anything particularly insightful here, so if you're looking for something smart on this topic, go read what Josh Marshall had to say about gun violence in the American political realm. This is a straight rant from my head; no links to sources or anything.

As I'm sure most of you know, the maniac who shot Steve Scalise today was a Bernie Sanders volunteer. I don't blame Bernie at all for this -- I know he's gotten an A rating at some point or another from the NRA, but violence is not what he's about. I've been over him for a while, but I see him more as a brat than a bad guy.



I just rarely write or talk about guns. I don't think that I've ever written one word on this blog about gun violence in eight months doing this. But I do feel extremely strongly about this. Republicans ran around for eight years under Obama screaming about him taking guns away from Americans. Yet, he barely changed gun laws at all during his two terms. Obama was not a gun grabber. Hillary Clinton would not have been a gun grabber. I don't think there's a Democrat with any real national profile at this point (where have you gone, Carolyn McCarthy?) who would do that, or even whisper in that direction.

But I would be a gun grabber. Conservative America, I want to take your guns away. Every last one. Liberals with guns, you too. Follow the bible. Swords into plowshares (what's a plowshare?), guns into, well, I don't know... cock rings?

You don't need a gun for self defense. We all know the stats on that. You don't need to kill your own food; what you spend on guns and ammo could buy an awful lot of meat. In the context of Trumpcare, Jason Chaffetz ran his mouth about people giving up iPhones for healthcare. Well, a gun is a much more extravagant and impractical use of money than a smartphone. Trade in your gun for an iPhone. And no, even if the government were coming after you, your gun isn't a match for the American military. That's just silly.

Guns are for killing, or at least maiming. No other intended use.

So, back to Bernie Sanders for a minute. We know we, including me, give him a pass for the A rating from the NRA is that "Well, he's from Vermont." And that's right. That's probably why a liberal guy like Bernie would support gun "rights" is because he needs to do so to get reelected.

Think about that for a minute. An entire U.S. state (well, several) cares so much about owning a product whose only purpose is to kill that talking about how maybe if we were to try to reduce the amount of killing in this country by removing deathsticks from the equation is a career-ender for a politician. I don't write about it for this reason. It's just a nonstarter in most of America. There are many reasons why that's the case, but I don't think I need to go into them. This may, in fact, be the only time you ever see me write about guns.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is just to get on the record and say:

This is fucked up.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Daily Combover - June 14, 2017

The Daily Combover wishes Steve Scalise and the other shooting victims a speedy recovery. Scalise's political views are absolutely abhorrent but that does not excuse violence.

A few days ago I Tweeted the following:
And today, as Jason posted this, I noticed that the Senate GOP is finally starting to make some noise against the Russian attack:
The 97-2 vote on the Russia sanctions plan capped a week of talks that demonstrated cross-aisle collaboration that's become increasingly rare as Trump and the GOP push to repeal Obamacare without any Democratic votes. Senators merged the sanctions package with a bipartisan Iran sanctions bill that's on track for passage as soon as this week, complicating the politics of any future veto threat from the Trump administration.


It's been a while since we've seen something that unanimous come out of the Senate. In fact the only two "nay" votes came from empty meat suits Rand Paul and Mike Lee.
"It’s particularly significant that a bipartisan coalition is seeking to reestablish Congress, not the president, as the final arbiter of sanctions relief, considering that this administration has been too eager — far too eager, in my mind — to put sanctions relief on the table," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who pressed hard for the strongest possible anti-Russia bill, said in a floor speech. "These additional sanctions will also send a powerful, bipartisan statement that Russia and any other nation who might try to interfere with our elections will be punished."
Something tells me Russia really doesn't care about this "powerful, bipartisan statement," especially given the White House's response to it.
But the Senate's deal faces a murky future in the House and with the White House, which has yet to say where it stands on congressional review of sanctions that would tie Trump's hands on future relations with Vladimir Putin's government.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declined to endorse the deal for a second straight day on Wednesday while emphasizing the importance of "a constructive dialogue" with Russia. Although "Russia must be held accountable for its meddling in U.S. elections," Tillerson told House Foreign Affairs Committee members, "I would urge Congress to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation."
So there you have it. At best, the White House doesn't care that Russia attacked us. And at worst, they are guilty of collusion.

Catch you on the flip side.