Thursday, March 15, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Ministry Of Propaganda

Sinclair Broadcasting wants you to know that everything is wonderful under the Trump regime and any news that doesn’t reinforce that line is fake, left-wing, and not nice.

Sinclair, one of the biggest owners of local TV stations in the U.S., with 193 outlets in 89 markets, sent scripts of the promos to news directors, instructing that they be produced “exactly as they are written,” according to CNN.

“I’m [we are] concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country,” the spot begins. “The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media. More alarming, national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’ … This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”

It concludes that reporting facts ― which are neither “left nor right” ― is their duty as journalists. All Sinclair stations had to run an almost identical segment last year as well, The New York Times reported.

“I felt like a POW recording a message,” one anchor at a Sinclair-owned station told CNN.

Sinclair has a history of advancing a conservative agenda. Another recent iteration of right-wing bias came in the form of a requirement that its stations air pro-Trump segments featuring Boris Epshteyn (a former Trump White House official) nine times per week.

The media giant is trying to expand its reach in major cities with a proposed deal to acquire 42 stations currently owned by Tribune Media.

Here’s a list of stations owned by Sinclair.  If one of them is in your area, you should know it.  As Charlie Pierce suggests, there’s always a Law & Order rerun on somewhere.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Primary Challenger

Steve M argues that Trump will not face a serious primary challenge in 2020.

Maybe Trump’s voters will be disillusioned with the direction of the country in a couple of years, especially if the economy cools off or collapses (though nothing Robert Mueller is investigating will bother them) — but it’s likely that even an economic downturn won’t faze them. George W. Bush retained considerable support within his party even in the waning days of his presidency, when nearly everyone else in America had abandoned him, because he wouldn’t give up on the war, a stance GOP voters cheered because it infuriated liberals. Trump will be in a similar position in two years: We’ll still hate him, so Republican voters will continue to embrace him.

That still won’t prevent some equally narcissistic Republican like Ted Cruz from at the least feinting a challenge to Trump; there’s plenty of hate to go around from the GOP and they roll around in it like a dog in deer scat.

But I also think a lot of people overestimate the power of the GOP base.  They get credit for putting Trump in the race and then winning it when there were a lot of other factors that came together, not the least of which was a really bad campaign by the Democrats built on the assumption that this country wasn’t that insane as to elect a hateful caricature as president.

By the time we get to the 2020 race, the whole “piss off the liberals” meme will be getting worn away by the realization of how much damage Trump has done to not just the liberals but to the GOP base itself.  The voters who opted for Trump in 2016 because they didn’t think he’d actually win and didn’t like Hillary Clinton, either, won’t necessarily try him again, assuming the Democrats nominate a strong candidate.  (That’s another subject altogether.)

The one side benefit of drawing a primary challenger against Trump is that he will have to turn his attention to the traitor in his party’s midst for a while and sow more divisiveness in the ranks.  That would be fun to watch.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Heil For The Teacher

A Florida teacher moonlights as a Nazi.

In her first year as a teacher, Dayanna Volitich taught under the watchful eye of more experienced educators.

The school sought to make sure the novice teacher met standards set by the state of Florida. But the school’s surveillance, she said, also made it hard for her to expose her students to an array of white-nationalist views.

“I’m pretty hyper aware that [administrators and colleagues] will be watching. They’ll be listening, and so I’m getting a little more underhanded,” she said on the Unapologetic Podcast, a white-nationalist show she produced in her free time.

During monitoring sessions, she’d engage in a “dog-and-pony show” for her bosses.

“I knew when they were coming,” she told one guest, Lana Lokteff, the host of an anti-Semitic media outlet that the Southern Poverty Law Center said spreads hate speech.

“I was able to anticipate when they would be there to evaluate, and so I did what I was supposed to do. I danced like a little puppet, and I waited until they were gone,” she said in the episode, which aired in late February.

For more than a year, Volitich has been leading a double life.

She is a popular white-nationalist podcaster known as Tiana Dalichov who espouses anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and believes that Muslims should be eradicated from the earth, according to HuffPost. She’s defended and praised neo-Nazis and white nationalists such as Arthur Jones, Patrick Casey and former KKK grand wizard David Duke. She says she believes that science has proven that certain races are simply smarter than others and decried training about implicit bias in classrooms as “bulls—.”

And she is also a social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School about 80 miles north of Tampa — one who has said it’s her duty to expose her students to her version of the truth.

She said she hoped that other like-minded people would infiltrate public schools and do the same thing.

She was found out when she requested a carry permit for a Luger.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Officer Fudd

Via TPM:

Imagine if every school campus in the United States had its own volunteer security officer: a former police officer or military veteran equipped with an assault rifle.

That’s the dream of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.

In the wake of the February 14 massacre at a Parkland, Florida high school, Rhodes is calling on members of his far-right anti-government militia group to serve as unpaid and unaccountable armed school guards — whether teachers and students like the idea or not.

One Indiana Oath Keeper has already deployed to a local school, even though the school district says there’s no need for him to be there.

Rhodes wants the military and police veterans who make up Oath Keepers’ membership to volunteer for unpaid, rotating shifts at schools of all levels, and colleges, throughout the country. He and two other representatives of the fringe militia community will hold a webinar Monday night where they plan to encourage Oath Keepers to station themselves at schools “to protect the children against mass murder, and to help train the teachers and staff.”

“I think it’s essential,” Rhodes told TPM in a Monday phone call. “It’s part of our responsibility to do what we can.”

If they tried that at any Miami-Dade County public school, they would be under arrest.  But first the arresting officer would have to get over his fit of the giggles for Mirandizing some fool in an Elmer Fudd hat and a Rascal scooter.

Nice Little Airline You Have There…

…It’d be a shame if someone tried to blackmail you.

Days after Delta Air Lines announced it would strip discounted fares for National Rifle Association members, Georgia’s lieutenant governor has retaliated, vowing to kill legislation that would hand the airline a lucrative tax break.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Republican who leads the State Senate, demanded that Delta, one of Georgia’s largest employers, make a choice: Stop boycotting the NRA, or watch lawmakers strike down a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel, of which Delta would be the primary beneficiary.

“Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” said Cagle, who could weave the issue into his campaign in Georgia’s upcoming gubernatorial race.

I’m pretty sure Delta took this kind of reaction — backlash and threats of retaliation — into consideration when they ended the NRA discount, but they decided to do it anyway.  Some things are more important than just customers, and the NRA right now is like Ebola.

They also know they can play this game, too, and Georgia isn’t the only state where the airline has a large presence.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

If You Build It

Trump rolled out his oft-promised infrastructure plan yesterday, something he’s been harping on since the campaign, at one point promising to put $1 trillion into it to restore roads, bridges, rail systems and other elements that are in terrible shape.  Oh, and it will create tons of jobs!

But as always with him there’s a catch.

The president’s plan recasts the federal government as a minority stakeholder in the nation’s new infrastructure projects. Half of the $200 billion promised over 10 years will be used for incentives to spur even greater contributions from states, localities and the private sector. Mr. Trump also wants to speed up the approval process.

In other words, he wants the states and local governments to come up with most of the money to pay for the projects and the federal government will stamp the permits as long as they benefit private enterprise.  So if Palm Beach County wants to repave the road to Mar-a-lago, hey presto, here’s your contract.  But if they want to repair the plumbing at an inner city school, well, show us the money.

In the first place, the states and local governments don’t have the money.  Thanks to legislatures in many states being taken over by Republicans who are bent on cutting taxes to buy off their corporate pals, there isn’t any money left for critical infrastructure work even if the federal government kicked in the 80% that it has been common practice to do.  And even if they had it, the incentive to rebuild a crumbling bridge in the urban areas doesn’t have the appeal of building a nice big hotel and golf course with all the fixings.  So asking the state and local governments to come up with the cash is like asking the homeless guy to pay for your limo.

Second, the idea that the federal government should chip in a large portion of the funding comes from the basic idea that this country is the united states, meaning that the taxes people pay in Omaha go to build a school in Miami and that the tolls paid by cars from Indiana and Pennsylvania on the Ohio Turnpike benefit everyone, not just the people from Ohio.

And lastly, we could probably replace every crumbling bridge, school, tunnel, and water system with the extra money he’s throwing at the Pentagon for planes and guns and ships that they themselves have said they don’t want, need, or have places to put them.  So far the hike in defensive spending has been to assure the world that Trump doesn’t have a small dick.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Reading

Josh Marshall on Republicans and deficits.

It’s remarkable the degree to which television commentators are embracing interpretations of Republican fiscal profligacy which are either oblivious, unschooled or simply dishonest. One line has it that Republicans are shedding their former obsession with spending and deficits. Another had it that Republicans are realizing that their ‘base’ doesn’t really care as much about deficits as they thought. They really agree with Trump, who doesn’t care about deficits. All of this is nonsense – not based on a theory or interpretation but simple history and experience. In a word, facts. Deficits go up, often dramatically, under Republican governance and usually go down under Democrats. This isn’t an interpretation. It’s a simple fact. Nor is it an artifact of history or coincidence. It is because Republicans don’t care about deficits.

Modern American deficit spending began under Reagan. It was brought under some control under the first President Bush. This was largely because of pressure from congressional Democrats. But in his defense, Bush made major and highly difficult decisions to make this possible. It was largely by doing so that he started a war in his own party that played at least a large contributing role in his reelection defeat. The deficit went down dramatically under Bill Clinton and then exploded under George W. Bush. The deficit went up dramatically in the first year of President Obama’s presidency but almost entirely because of the financial crisis. It went down consistently over the course of his presidency. From 2008 to 2009, the deficit close to tripled to $1.413 trillion. It fell in each subsequent year both in dollar terms and in the more important measure of the percentage of GDP. Now we have it going up again. (Historical numbers here. Again, deficit as a percentage of GDP is the best measure.)

There’s an interesting and not implausible argument that it is divided government that is the best for the deficit. Let’s take the Clinton example. The argument here would be that what was critical were three things: First there’s the 1990 Bush/Dems budget deal. Then there’s the 1993 Clinton tax hike. Then it gets more complicated. Some would argue that it was the combination of Clinton’s tax increase followed by Republicans coming into power in 1995 and putting a brake on more Democratic spending. There’s some plausibility to this. And it may have played some role in enforcing spending restraint in the late 90s. The problem is that deficits have gone up most under unified Republican control. The early Bush years are the key example (as is today). President Bush came into office and pushed through a big tax cut which promptly pushed the country back into deficits. Spending also went up dramatically, both on the military (which at least in theory was driven by 9/11) but also on domestic spending.

After Bush left office and Republicans had seen their congressional majorities wiped away, they began to talk about Bush as some sort of outlier or heretic from Republican orthodoxy, embracing something called ‘big government conservatism’. But this was entirely retrospective and basically bunk.

The argument also doesn’t hold up on the Democratic side of the ledger. There’s a large faction of Democrats who do think Democrats should spend substantially more and not feel so bound by budget balancing. But in practice, this is not how Democrats govern, even when they have total control of the government.

Obamacare is a case in point. Democrats went to great lengths to make sure that the Affordable Care Act was deficit neutral, even marginally reducing the deficit. The same pattern applied generally under Clinton. Why do they do this? Partly this is because they feel cowed by decades of ‘tax and spend’ criticism. More importantly, the kind of people who believe in fiscal restraint and budgetary probity on principle are now mainly Democrats. You can see this in policy terms. But more interesting historically is that you can see it in geographical terms. That wasn’t always the case. Many or even most of those people were once Republicans. But this isn’t something that changed four or five years ago. You have to go back forty and even fifty years to find that. This is a decades-old change – almost as old as the segregationist Dixiecrat exodus from the Democratic party to the GOP. Indeed, they are all part of the same transformation.

The simple reality is that Republicans don’t like taxes. Full stop.

Deficits are a stalking horse Republicans use as a political cudgel when they are out of power. Again. Full stop. You simply cannot argue with the fact that deficits have risen dramatically under Reagan and Bush and now under Trump. Republicans do not care about deficits. They care about keeping taxes as low as possible. What has changed slightly over the last forty years is a marginal difference in attitudes toward spending. Since the late 70s, the guiding star of Republican politics is getting taxes as low as possible. Spending was basically an afterthought, except for the degree to which spending might create upward pressure on taxes.

But beginning in the Bush years, accelerating in the Obama years and now coming into its own in the Trump years spending has become more of a positive as long as it is being spent on Republican stakeholders, as long as it is being spent on the right people. Largely this means the military but also border walls and a bunch of other things. That is an interesting change and transformation which has tracked the GOP’s transformation from anti-government to ethno-nationalist orientations. But the one thing that has never changed in almost fifty years is that Republican do not care about deficits. Deficits will rise under Republican rule, especially under unified Republican rule, as surely as night follows day.

John Nichols on the need to get rid of John Kelly.

No one who was paying attention ever thought that John Kelly was going to make things better in the Trump administration when he abandoned his miserable tenure as Homeland Security secretary to take over as White House chief of staff. Kelly had already proven to be an enabler of Trump’s worst instincts on immigration, global relationships, and privacy rights, and there was no reason to assume that closer proximity to the president would make Kelly any less of a “yes man” for Trumpism at its worst.

But Kelly really has outdone himself.

With his scorchingly dishonest and demeaning attacks on one of the most honorable members of the House, Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, to his deliberately ignorant claim that a “lack of appreciation of history” inspired efforts to remove monuments honoring the Confederacy, to his ahistorical suggestion that “the lack of an ability to compromise” led to the Civil War, to his efforts (with alt-right favorite Stephen Miller) to derail negotiations on immigration reform, to his recent claim that many Dreamers were “too lazy” to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Kelly has accomplished something remarkable. He has established that, as wrongheaded as Donald Trump may be, the president is being advised by people who are more wrongheaded.

As Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, the Illinois Democrat who serves as head of the immigration task force for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, says, the retired general who many thought would “[steer] a steady course and bring some balance to the White House, Mr. Kelly, is not that person, and he is clearly part of the xenophobic right that is entrenched in this White House.”

Kelly is not merely xenophobic, however. He has proven to be an atrocious player on multiple fronts.

This week, as reports of White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s physical abuse of women became public, CNN notes that “Kelly, who encouraged Porter to remain in his post despite the allegations, did not alter his effusive statement.” The “effusive statement” from Kelly read: “Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”

Only after Porter resigned was it announced that the chief of staff was “shocked” by the “new allegations” about his top aide. When pressed about reports that Kelly knew as early as last fall that both of Porter’s ex-wives had accused him of abusing them, CNN said, “The White House declined to comment on Wednesday when asked about Kelly’s knowledge of the allegations against Porter.”

Democratic members of the House, led by California Congressman Ted Lieu have sent a letter to Kelly asking him to explain when he had knowledge of the allegations of domestic abuse by Porter and what actions he took given that knowledge.

The letter to Kelly, which was signed by Lieu and Representatives Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, noted that:

As White House Chief of Staff, you are intimately involved in the hiring and subsequent management of senior level presidential personnel. As such, we respectfully request responses to the following questions:
• When did you learn of the allegations that Mr. Porter had abused one or both of his ex-wives?
• After you learned of these allegations, did you take any steps to remove or suspend Mr. Porter from the White House staff?
• At any point after you learned of these allegations, did you encourage Mr. Porter to remain on staff?
• At any point after you learned of these allegations, did you offer Mr. Porter a promotion or expand his responsibilities?
• Were you aware that Mr. Porter was unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, or was not in possession of a permanent clearance during his time at the White House?
• Why was Mr. Porter allowed to handle and view our nation’s most sensitive materials without a permanent security clearance?

Senator Jon Tester, D-Montana, responded to reports on the Porter affair by saying, “If John Kelly is covering this up, he needs to be held accountable. He better have a really good reason. Otherwise, he’s gone, too.”

The Senate cannot remove Kelly, as the chief of staff is a direct presidential appointee who is not required to go through the confirmation process that is required for cabinet members and agency heads. So the issue of removal goes to Trump.

Or Kelly could resign.

National Organization for Women President Toni Van Pelt argues, well and wisely, that the time for Kelly to remove himself has arrived.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly must resign. His pathetic defense of staff secretary Rob Porter reveals his true nature—an enabler of sexual abusers, a betrayer of trust and an avoider of responsibility,” says Van Pelt, who asks: “Why did John Kelly continue to support Rob Porter after he was told about Porter’s history of abuse? Why did he allow a man who was denied a security clearance because of his history of violence against women to continue in a high ranking position of trust? Why did he talk Rob Porter out of resigning, telling him he could ‘weather the storm,’ according to press accounts?”

Van Pelt concludes that

General Kelly should know better. As a military commander, he took pride in protecting his troops. As chief of staff, it is his duty to protect the people who serve in the White House. Women who work for John Kelly are asking themselves today if they can trust General Kelly to protect them from sexual predators.

Clearly, they can’t. John Kelly has shown his true colors. He’s on Team ‘Grab Them By The Pussy,’ leaving women who are victimized by sexual violence to fend for themselves.

John Kelly must go. Today.

I Am The Very Model — Matthew Dessem in Slate.

I am the very model of a New York Times contrarian,
My intellect is polished but my soul’s authoritarian,
From Allen down to Exxon, bullies’ water I am carrying,
Except for Donald Trump’s, because I find him a vulgarian.
I’m very well acquainted, too, with arguments political,
I love to mount defenses for the vile and hypocritical,
I filigree each sentence till its meaning I am burying,
My job is to distract you from the rising smell of carrion.

My eagerness to stand up for the powerful is frightening,
I’m always showing up when a sepulcher needs some whitening,
In short, with polished intellect and soul authoritarian,
I am the very model of a New York Times contrarian!

There’s nothing I like more than the chance to play Devil’s advocate,
My beat is moral virtue comma complete, total lack of it,
I’ll only call you “victim” if it’s clear that you’re a predator,
I’m lucky to have landed with a sympathetic editor.
Hate-reading makes my columns all go viral like canarypox,
Present me with the truth and I will turn it to a paradox,
I’ll spew undoubted bullshit till you’ll swear that it’s veracity,
Sometimes vocabulary gets confused for perspicacity.

I’ll never have to worry about financial adversity,
My sinecure’s secured by “intellectual diversity,”
In short, with polished sentences and soul authoritarian,
I am the very model of a New York Times contrarian!

I introduce myself in verse based on a comic opera,
Even though tragedy might strike my critics as more proper-a,
But cheerful, frantic forms can help obscure a darkness visible,
And keep people from noticing my arguments are risible.
I’m confident that confidence is all I need to dominate,
I’ll gladly share my theories with your business or conglomerate,
For money I will tell you money’s good for the environment,
Or argue that a safety net is nothing but entitlement!

The best people all know me and my pedigree’s immaculate,
That’s good, because my takes are generally quite inaccurate,
But still, with polished intellect and soul authoritarian,
I am the very model of a New York Times contrarian!

Doonesbury — Dreams dying on the vine.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

“I Want A Parade”

There’s nothing like a big demonstration of military might and warmongering to remind the world that we love peace and brotherhood.

Trump’s vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality in the Pentagon and White House, where officials say they have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces.

Trump has long mused publicly and privately about wanting such a parade, but a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals in the Pentagon’s tank — a room reserved for top-secret discussions — marked a tipping point, according to two officials briefed on the planning.

Surrounded by the military’s highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Trump’s seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said.

“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”

Just like in France?  Like these guys?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Out Of The Woodwork

Way to go, Illinois Republicans.

Arthur Jones — an outspoken Holocaust denier, activist anti-Semite and white supremacist — is poised to become the Republican nominee for an Illinois congressional seat representing parts of Chicago and nearby suburbs.

“Well first of all, I’m running for Congress not the chancellor of Germany. All right. To me the Holocaust is what I said it is: It’s an international extortion racket,” Jones told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Indeed, Jones’ website for his latest congressional run includes a section titled “The ‘Holocaust Racket’” where he calls the genocide carried out by the German Nazi regime and collaborators in other nations “the biggest blackest lie in history.”

Jones, 70, a retired insurance agent who lives in suburban Lyons, has unsuccessfully run for elected offices in the Chicago area and Milwaukee since the 1970s.

He ran for Milwaukee mayor in 1976 and 13th Ward alderman on Chicago’s Southwest Side in 1987.

Since the 1990s to 2016, Jones has jumped in the GOP 3rd Congressional District primary seven times, never even close to becoming a viable contender.

The outcome will be different for Jones in the Illinois primary on March 20, 2018.

To Jones’ own amazement, he is the only one on the Republican ballot.

The nutsery isn’t afraid to run out in the open anymore now that we have Trump.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Milking A Dud

Via Axios:

Inside the Trump administration, sources who’ve been briefed on the Nunes memo expect it will be underwhelming and not the “slam dunk” document it’s been hyped up to be.

What we’re hearing: There is much more skepticism inside the administration than has been previously reported about the value of releasing the memo, according to sources familiar with the administration discussions.

Be smart: Trump still wants to release the memo. But there are a number of people in the White House who are fairly underwhelmed, and there’s internal anxiety about whether it’s worth angering the FBI director and intelligence community by releasing this information.

Even if the Memo That Shakes The World is a muddled mass of innuendo and whack-job conspiracy theories, the right-wing nutsery will still claim it’s the biggest news since Hillary personally attacked the embassy in Benghazi with the gun she used to kill Vince Foster.  They won’t care if it antagonizes the FBI and intelligence community because they all hate Trump anyway; they’re a bunch of left-wing hippies, amirite?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Show-Me State Misogyny

I’m sure there are other places where men are still locked in the 18th century attitude about women, but why do they keep showing up as Republican senate candidates in Missouri?

Six years ago it was Todd Akin and his assertion about legitimate rape; now we have this enlightened soul.  Via Raw Story:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate for Missouri Courtland Sykes blasted “women’s rights” this week.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Tuesday, Sykes said that he had been asked if he “supports women’s rights.”

“I want to come home to a home cooked dinner every night at six,” Sykes said, referring to demands he makes of his girlfriend. “One that she fixes and one that I expect one day to have daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives.”

According to Sykes, feminists push an agenda that they “made up to suit their own nasty snake-filled heads.”

The candidate said that he hoped his daughters do not grow up to be “career obsessed banshees who forgo home life and children and the happiness of family to become nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils who shriek from the top of a thousand tall buildings they are [SIC] think they could have leaped in a single bound — had men not been ‘suppressing them.’ It’s just nuts.”

Sykes ended his rant by insisting that he supports women’s rights “but not the kind that has suppressed natural womanhood for five long decades.”

“But good news,” he concluded. “They’re finished. Ask Hillary.”

Karma loves Claire McCaskill.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Annals Of Hypocrisy Part Infinity

Tony Perkins, the Jesus-shouting busy-body head of the severely irony-challenged Family Research Council, has no problem with Trump committing adultery as long as he does his bidding for God and separate toilets.

Perkins knows about Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who claimed, in a 2011 interview, that in 2006 she had sex with Trump four months after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron. He knows of the reports that Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford) was paid off to keep the affair quiet in the waning weeks of the 2016 election. He knows about the cursing, the lewdness and the litany of questionable behavior over the past year of Trump’s life or the 70 that came before it.

“We kind of gave him—‘All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here,’” Perkins told me in an interview for the latest episode of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast.

Weigh a paid-off porn star against being the first president to address the March for Life live via video feed, and a lot of evangelical leaders insist they can still walk away happy.

Evangelical Christians, says Perkins, “were tired of being kicked around by Barack Obama and his leftists. And I think they are finally glad that there’s somebody on the playground that is willing to punch the bully.”

Wait; I thought Obama was a weak-willed, lily-livered pushover.  But then again, Perkins should know all about bullies; he and his mob have done enough in the name of the Sky Faerie to earn a place in Hell.

What a fucking hypocrite.

Oh, and lest we forget, Charlie Pierce reminds us that 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Great Penis Hunt.  So in twenty years we’ve gone from hounding a president to the edge of impeachment for getting an illicit blow job to electing one who brags about it.  Yay.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

It All Comes Down To Trust

So we have a bill to end the shutdown.  It isn’t perfect; the hard-cores on both sides hate it and there are cries of “Sellout!” and “Sucker!” from the likes of the Tea Party to Code Pink.  That usually means it’s a deal made to end an immediate impasse with promises of goodies for both sides later, neither of whom trust the other to keep their word.

That’s the main question: Do you trust them to keep their word?

Charles P. Pierce just before final passage:

If this bill passes, CHIP will be financed for the next six years, and that’s a very good thing. The military will get its money, and a lot of people will be mollified by that, I guess. (Also, the campaign talking point that the Democrats are stealing money from Our Troops to give it to the various branches of MS-13 is somewhat blunted. Golf clap. They’re going to use it anyway.) And, depending on your relative innate optimism, Schumer and the Democrats didn’t give up much at all but, rather, decided to live to fight in February on funding the government, and to fight on DACA in March. But, for me, McConnell is a rare combination of being ruthless and being truthless, and the House has lost its mind, and the president* has disappeared. And, these days, my innate optimism is not exactly brimming.

What gives me pause is what I saw and heard over the weekend and on Monday. A political party that wants to eliminate entire Cabinet departments defended a president* whose administration* has refused to staff vital positions all over the government by weeping crocodile tears over the plight of furloughed federal employees. And Tailgunner Ted Cruz, cornered in the basement of some Senate office building, insisting that he always has opposed government shutdowns. (I thought Kasie Hunt of MSNBC was going to be orbiting Mars by the time that little episode ended.) The truth is not in these people because, given the nature of their political base, and given the essential political immorality of their donor class, it hasn’t had to be for a very long time.

So, I’m not going to scream, “Sellout!” nor sing “Kumbaya.” I am just going to sum up the state of play in three questions.

Do you trust a promise from Mitch McConnell?

Do you think Paul Ryan can be trusted to control his caucus sufficiently to pass a bill based on a promise from Mitch McConnell?

Do you think the president* can be trusted to sign a bill based on a promise from Mitch McConnell?

Your mileage may certainly vary.

If it gets to February 8 and somehow Mitch McConnell backs out of the deal because he didn’t like the way Elizabeth Warren looked at him in the hallway, or Paul Ryan can’t or doesn’t try to control his caucus, or Trump hears something on Fox and Friends that calls into question the spheroid shape of the planet and he tweets his madness, the government will shut down yet again and this time there’s no way they can plausibly blame it on the Democrats.  (They still will; I said “plausibly,” and that’s an adjective that gets no respect in Washington.)  Then we start this whole thing over again, but it will squarely be on the DACA situation with no extraneous distractions such as military pay or CHIP.

No, I don’t trust Mitch McConnell any further than I can fly to the moon on gossamer wings.  But if this blows up, the turds will be in his punch bowl and the fun part will be seeing how he explains how he can’t trust himself.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Wednesday, January 10, 2018