Friday, July 21, 2017

The Mark Of A True Toady

After all those rotten things Trump said about Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, one could imagine a swift resignation.  But then, you need to take into account the personality and venality of Mr. Sessions.

Nothing is more important to Trump than loyalty — to him.

In business and in politics, he has demanded it from the people closest to him. Some employees who abandoned him were never welcomed back. Politicians who did not defend him after the most politically damaging moments of the 2016 campaign are still suspect in his eyes. And after six months as president, Trump is still known to publicly jab at people who did not support his presidential bid.

But as Attorney General Jeff Sessions learned this week, the loyalty Trump expects isn’t always reciprocated.

He’s a sycophant and an opportunist who apparently doesn’t have a whole lot of self-regard and is willing to be publicly humiliated.  There’s a name for that — and probably a few websites, too, but you need a credit card and proof that you’re over 21.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Short Takes

John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer.

Don Jr. and Paul Manafort to testify before Congress.

Supreme Court concurs with Hawaii court; relaxes travel ban for grandparents.

Voter “fraud” commission head casts doubt on 2016 election tally.

California wildfire gets close to Yosemite.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Real Or Imagined

Via LGM:

PublicPolicyPolling‏Verified account
@ppppolls
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Nugget from our national poll coming out tomorrow- only 45% of Trump voters believe Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with Russians…
1:13 PM – 17 Jul 2017

And yet just as many believed Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor.  Or was it on Mars?  Anyway…

Dead Again, For Now

The current attempt by the GOP to repeal Obamacare appears to be heading to oblivion.  Via the Washington Post:

Two more Senate Republicans have declared their opposition to the latest plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, potentially ending a months-long effort to make good on a GOP promise that has defined the party for nearly a decade and been a top priority for President Trump.

Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) issued statements declaring that they would not vote for the revamped measure. The sudden breaks by Lee, a staunch conservative, and Moran, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), rocked the GOP leadership and effectively closed what already had been an increasingly narrow path to passage for the bill.

They joined Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Susan Collins (Maine), who also oppose it. With just 52 seats, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes to pass their proposed rewrite of the Affordable Care Act. All 46 Democrats and two independents are expected to vote against it.

Republicans, who have made rallying cries against President Barack Obama’s 2010 health-care law a pillar of the party’s identity, may be forced to grapple with the law’s shift from a perennial GOP target to an accepted, even popular, provider of services and funding in many states, which could make further repeal revivals difficult.

Meanwhile, Trump and other Republicans will confront a Republican base that, despite fervent support for the president, still seeks a smaller federal government and fewer regulations.

I wouldn’t break out the champagne just yet.  We’ve heard this death knell before.  Back in March Speaker Paul Ryan woefully predicted that Obamacare was here to stay “for the foreseeable future” only to have it rise zombie-like in May.  But at least now the majority of Americans who care about such things as insurance that covers pre-existing conditions and being able to live without bankrupting their future have seen what the Republicans want to do: give the rich people an enormous tax break and let the poor fend for themselves.

Three of the four senators who have announced their opposition to the bill said they were against it because it didn’t go far enough in repealing Obamacare; they’d like to get back to the old way of doing healthcare, which was somewhere between the Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Dickens view of the world.  At least Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) brought up the fact that it caused harm to poor people, so I guess she’s the lone voice out there for sanity, sparing the quavering and wavering from “moderates” in the party such as Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), who faces both real and imagined threats to his job and future, from having to take a stand this time.

So for now we can enjoy a little schadenfreude over Mitch McConnell’s much-vaunted ability to get things done and wait to see what they come up with next to try, for real this time, to knock millions of Americans off health insurance, close rural hospitals, deny coverage for pregnancy complications because having a baby is preventable (unless, of course, you get treated by Planned Parenthood), and let insurance companies deny claims because anything beyond leeches and chicken bones is experimental.

But keep those phone numbers handy.  It will be back.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Going Down With Him

Trump can take comfort knowing that his base is still with him.

Before the latest revelations surfaced Tuesday regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s emails about his meeting with a Russian lawyer, 50 percent of Americans said the Russia allegations swirling around the Trump administration represented a “serious issue” that should be investigated.

Slightly fewer Americans, 46 percent, called the issue a “distraction” — and the split fell heavily along party lines.

[…]

Of the 9,056 total responses, 50 percent said it was a serious issue and 46 said it was more of a distraction. Partisanship polarized the results: 83 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said the allegations were more of a distraction, while 83 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners called it a serious issue.

Not unlike April 1912 in the North Atlantic: “Get in the lifeboat, please.”  “What, and leave this nice ship, all shiny and new, for some rickety open boat?  Surely you jest, sir.  That iceberg was just a distraction.  Now run along and bring me my absinthe.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sick Mind

You remember Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA); he’s the former sheriff who went on a Facebook rant about killing all the Muslims a while back.  Well, this time he’s exploiting the Holocaust for the purpose of remaining vigilant against evildoers.

How he’s able to connect the systematic murder of over 1.1 million people in Auschwitz by a government with beefing up Homeland Security while at the same time harboring a wish to “kill all the Muslims” is something only a sick mind can come up with.

Monday, July 3, 2017

This Time For Real, Right?

I admire Martin Longman and read his work with respect and consideration, but even he must get tired of writing an article that once again predicts the imminent downfall of the Trump administration.

It’s not just health care and tax reform that are in peril. If Trump attempts to raise the debt ceiling using nothing but Republican votes, he will fail, too. If he tries to pass appropriations bills without any Democratic support, the government will either shut down or be funded on continuing resolutions that keep Obama’s priorities in place. He will not get an infrastructure bill without significant Democratic input and support.

Not only can he not govern successfully using this strategy, he cannot govern at all. This is why I foresaw that his administration would crack up on the shoals sometime this summer, and certainly no later than September when the fiscal year ends and the debt ceiling becomes critical.

Most concerning was the prospect and likelihood that he had painted himself into a corner and would discover that he had no way of recovering from the mess he’d made. As McConnell’s plan for Obamacare repeal faltered, he began warning his caucus of exactly what I am explaining now. But it was too late and the plan was never going to work anyway. The only thing that McConnell had to use in support of a bill that the people hate was the direness of the consequences of failure. But either he doesn’t understand the severity of the problem or he was unable to communicate it effectively enough. Perhaps it’s just not salvageable on any level, since the only way to delay their fate is to pass a bill that would strip 22 million people of their access to health care.

The consequences will begin to pile up now. Trump will lash out in ever more confusing and bizarre ways. And then the indictments and plea deals will start to flow in from Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s shop. By Thanksgiving, if not before, the nation will be confronted with the urgent need to remove Trump from power and I suspect there will be more consensus about it by then than most people can imagine right now.

But if there’s one thing that Trump has managed to do in defiance of all of this as well as gravity itself, it is to stay afloat.  I would love nothing more than to see him gone.  But as long as there are men and women in the halls of Congress who will support him, at least in front of a TV camera, and as long as there are those in the GOP base who think it’s about damn time we had a president who didn’t stand on fussy old protocol and knows that WWE is real, he will be going nowhere.

As Steve M points out, trying to remove him by invoking Amendment XXV basically lays the groundwork for a coup d’etat anytime a president does something the other people don’t like.  Impeachment is the only way out, and history has taught us that a president can’t be impeached unless the opposition party holds the majority in the House and the Senate.  So until that happens — the earliest would be January 2019 — this disaster will, as we used to say, keep on truckin’.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Not In Kansas Anymore

Let’s learn a lesson from the Great Experiment with voodoo economics in Kansas.

Since 2013, the national job growth rate has been 7.6 percent but it has only been 3.5 percent in Kansas. There are 34 hospitals in the state that are now at risk of going out of business. Both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have downgraded its credit rating, increasing their cost of borrowing. Public schools are so short of money that two districts were compelled to end their year early. Brownback found himself so desperate for operating capital that he looted the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System and slashed funding for the state’s transportation system.

In short, things got so bad that the Republican-dominated legislature overrode Brownback’s veto and passed a budget that, among other things, rolled back his tax cuts and provided more funding for schools.

The Democrats should not ignore these results. They should study them and they should figure out a way to highlight them relentlessly so that as many people as possible internalize the lessons. No people should have to endure what the people of Kansas have endured if it can be avoided. Republican office seekers will continue to assure us that the best way to raise revenue is to ask for less of it and that exempting businesses and limited liability corporations from taxation will lead to job growth. They’ll continue to starve education budgets with talk about providing choice, and they won’t stop attacking Medicaid even as it results in devastation for the health care system. But we can point, in all these cases, to Sam Brownback and Kansas.

We can say that we tried all that and here is how it turned out.

We are seeing the same attempt at this magical thinking here in Florida with Gov. Rick Scott and a state legislature that thinks cutting taxes and privatizing public facilities like prisons and schools will be our way to prosperity.  The advantage Florida has over Kansas is that it’s a global tourist destination until the sea levels rise up and Orlando becomes a coastal city.  (But not to worry; if you don’t say the words “climate change,” it won’t happen.)

The conservatives who think like Gov. Brownback and Gov. Scott will tell you the reason the Kansas experiment failed is that it didn’t go far enough; when the true test came, the lily-livered moderates caved to reality and wouldn’t go on with draining the state dry of any kind of tax revenue and hindering real growth which can only happen when everybody keeps what they earn.  And the kids get two extra months of summer vacation.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Going After Their Own

Politico reports that Trumpists have formed a group to attack Republicans who don’t fall in line with the White House policies.

A new campaign by top White House allies targeting the GOP’s most vulnerable senator over health care sends a loud message to those resistant to the Trump agenda: We’re coming after you.

America First Policies, a White House-backed outside group led by the president’s top campaign advisers, has launched a $1 million attack against Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, who on Friday announced that he opposed the Senate’s recently unveiled Obamacare repeal plan.

That included a Twitter and digital ad campaign targeting the senator, including a video that accuses him of “standing with” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a reviled figure in conservative circles.

“Unacceptable,” the video says. “If you’re opposed to this bill, we’re opposed to you.”

America First Policies is set to expand its campaign early this week with TV ads that will go after the Nevada senator.

Oh, goodie.  In-fighting among factions in a political party always works well.  Just ask the Democrats.  Or Leon Trotsky.

The problem is that so far Sen. Heller is disinclined to punch back, which indicates that he’s either afraid of further alienating the White House or he somehow thinks there are more like him who will oppose stupid and evil bills because they’re stupid and evil instead of supporting them so his party can win.  That indicates evidence of conscience, and that’s not allowed in the GOP.

For what it’s worth, my guess is the former rather than the latter.

It’s Worse

It’s even worse than you thought it would be.

Senate Republicans’ bill to erase major parts of the Affordable Care Act would cause an estimated 22 million more Americans to be uninsured by the end of the coming decade — only about a million fewer than similar legislation recently passed by the House, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The forecast issued Monday by Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeepers also estimates that the Senate measure, drafted in secret mainly by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and aides, would reduce federal spending by $321 billion by 2026 — compared with $119 billion for the House’s version.

The CBO estimates that two-thirds of the drop in health coverage a decade from now would fall on low-income people who rely on Medicaid. And among the millions now buying private health plans through ACA marketplaces, the biggest losers would roughly parallel the ones under the House’s legislation: The sharpest spike in insurance premiums would fall on middle-aged and somewhat older Americans.

In short: You’re screwed unless you can pay for your health care without insurance thanks to the huge tax cut you’re going to get.  And if you think that’s a great idea, you’re an idiot.

Over to you, Charlie Pierce.

Here’s how to know how much of a sucker you are. If you believe anyone on TV who says this bill is an “improvement” over the House bill, sign over all your property to your nearest sane relative.

If you put credence into the notion that the Senate bill has an upside because of its effect on The Deficit, hire someone to cut your meat for you for the rest of your life. Try to keep in mind the Blog’s First Law of Economics: Fck the deficit. People got no jobs, people got no money.

The only lightheartedness that I’ve gotten out of this is watching Republicans try to explain this clusterfuck on TV.  It’s like they know they’ve strapped a cancer on their genitals and trying to explain that it’s just awesome.  I’m also looking forward to seeing how they get by when they’re voted out of office, lose their employer-paid insurance, and have to find it on their own.  Good luck, sucker.

Monday, June 26, 2017

People Will Die From It

The Republican attempt at a healthcare bill, which is basically a transfer of wealth and service from the poor and sick to the rich will kill people.  That’s not just me saying that.  That’s people who actually study that sort of thing.

The Republican healthcare bill announced on Thursday would cause thousands of Americans to die each year, according to physicians who study government data.

Using national health surveys, doctors and academics have tested whether a lack of health insurance increases the probability of death. Most have concluded that it does.

Of course the Republicans are outraged that they’re being called out on this and are pearl-clutching at the meanness of the people who are speaking the truth. But then you have to remember that these were the people who were silent when their supporters were calling Barack Obama all sorts of things that I won’t repeat because you can Google it.  It’s also nothing new that the Republican hypocrisy and lying is in full flower; it would be a huge event if it wasn’t.

Ironically, the people most likely to be harmed by this bill are the ones who voted for the Republicans, who chanted “Repeal!” at all those rallies, and who got their Rascal scooter for free because of Medicare.  I don’t wish anyone ill or harm, but like the old joke goes, if you mow the lawn in your bare feet and cut off your foot in the lawn mower, don’t come running to me.

Friday, June 23, 2017

To Those Of You Who Bought It

Charles P. Pierce on what Trump voters got in their deal.

Hello, suckers.

Yeah, you. All of you. All of you people who’ve been buying what the radicalized Republican party has been selling you since Reagan rode out of Trickledown Gulch back in 1980. All of you who easily gobbled up the fictions about welfare queens, and “crazy checks,” and big black bucks buying T-Bone steaks, and, most recently, of immigrants come to steal your jobs and cut your throats in the night. All of you who worried so profoundly about your neighbors who were black, or Hispanic, or Muslim that you handed the government to the people who have been picking your pocket and selling off your birthright for going on four decades.

And, especially, all of you morons who bought what the inevitable product of 30 years of fear-driven democratic malpractice was selling across the country in 2016: that he had a plan that would lower costs, cover everybody, and not touch Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare.

Today is not the day for you to ask for my understanding as to how you’re going to afford Grandma’s chemo now that she’s busted the lifetime cap on her insurance. Today is not the day for you to ask for my sympathy for Grandpa who’s going to get his ass hoisted out of his rest home and dropped onto the couch in your basement family room because his Medicaid ran out. Today is not the day for you to moan into TV cameras about how Cousin Clyde with the opioid problem has to go back to sticking up tourists for his fix because the little hospital up by the mountain closed.

Not today. Not this particular Thursday. Maybe by Monday.

The Senate unveiled its big secret tax-cut plan on Thursday morning. It also contains some elements dealing with healthcare that will make the lives of millions of sick and elderly Americans immeasurably worse, but, since it’s actually a tax-cut bill, and it actually does cut taxes for the wealthiest among us, then I guess you can say the strategy was a success. And they say the Republicans can’t govern. Hah.

Of course, it’s as bad as we all thought it would be. It virtually zeroes out Medicaid down the line – letting it “die on the vine,” just the way Newt Gingrich recommended 20 years ago. It forces low-income people to pay more for policies once called “street-surance” back in the day. (John Grisham should sue these guys.  They stole the entire plot from The Rainmaker.) There’s a lot of “handing back to the states,” which can be translated as “Give Sam Brownback more money to hand out to his donors.” The bill is such a transparent sham that one of its provisions, the repeal of the tax on investment income for wealthy individuals and families, was made retroactive to the end of last year. There is no reason on god’s earth to make this retroactive unless your main purpose is to shove more of the nation’s wealth upwards. Which is what this bill is primarily designed to do.

Let me put it in measurements that are particularly of interest to me. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be 16 million people in the United States with Alzheimer’s Disease. Right now, in 2017 dollars, the estimated costs of treating and caring for AD patients is $236 billion dollars. Of that, $154 billion is picked up by Medicare and Medicaid. Tell me now how that gap is made up by a plan that virtually eliminates Medicaid entirely by the time we get to 2025. Churches? Families? Winning the Lotto?

A cure?

Fat chance.

So, yeah, suckers. This is what you voted for. In fact, this is what you’ve been voting for, over and over again, ever since the Death Valley Days of jellybeans and missiles to the mullahs. This bill is the pot of gold at the end of Paul Ryan’s personal rainbow. This bill is everything that every young conservative brought up in the luxurious terrariums of wingnut welfare is taught to revere from the first day of his political gestation, right down to its playing-to-the-cheap-seats whack at Planned Parenthood.

This bill is the pot of gold at the end of Paul Ryan’s personal rainbow.

So far, four GOP senators have said they cannot vote for the bill. They are Ron (Shreds of Freedom) Johnson of Wisconsin, Aqua Buddha from Kentucky, Mike Lee, the konztitooshunal skolar from Utah, and Tailgunner Ted Cruz. They can’t support it (at the moment) because it isn’t repeal-ish enough for them. (Translation: The bill still coddles the poor and infirm beyond the limits God intended when He wrote the Constitution.) Now, as the redoubtable Digby often points out, if they were to torpedo this plague ship, it wouldn’t be the first time the wingiest members of the tribe saved the day. But my money stays on the notion that they will find enough crazy ideas in the House during reconciliation to satisfy the likes of these four. As for the vaunted Republican “moderates,” I have no faith in them whatsoever. I think Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will get bought off by an increase in the bill’s stingy provisions regarding the opioid epidemic. Some version of this creature will stalk its way into law.

I’m sorry, but I can’t let the suckers off the hook on this particular Thursday, not when I know in my bones that, in a year or so, there are going to be more expeditions into The Real America in which we hear sad tales about the closing of rural hospitals, and medical bankruptcies, and children who died because the insurance company denied them a life-saving treatment. There will be all kinds of reasons postulated for this terrible state of affairs. “Culture” probably will be one of them, and it will be the stupidest one of all.

What will not be mentioned is that many of these people brought their tragedies on themselves, that voting has consequences, and that using a presidential election to hock a collective loogie at “The Establishment” and at Those People is a particularly dumbass way to participate in democracy.

Have a nice day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Is He Or Isn’t He?

Either Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice, or no he’s not.  That’s the view(s) of one of his minions/lawyers, Jay Sekulow.

During an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Sekulow defended Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

“He takes the action that [the Attorney General’s office] recommended and now he’s being investigated by the Department of Justice,” Sekulow complained. “He’s being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take by the agency who recommended the terminations!”

“You’ve now said he is being investigated after saying [he isn’t],” Wallace observed.

“No, he’s not being investigated!” Sekulow shot back.

“You just said he’s being investigated,” Wallace noted.

Sekulow tried again to say that the president is not under investigation, but Wallace interrupted.

“Sir, you just said two times that he’s being investigated,” the Fox News host said. “And he’s not just being investigated for firing Comey, there’s also what he said to Comey when Comey was still the FBI director.”

“I do not appreciate you putting words in my mouth,” Sekulow complained. “When I have been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been under investigation.”

“You do not know that he has not been under investigation, sir,” Wallace pointed out. “Actually, what I’m trying to get is a straight answer out of you.”

Sekulow argued that it would be impossible to indict the president for wrongdoing “because there is not an investigation.”

“Oh boy, this is weird,” Wallace interrupted. “You don’t know whether there is an investigation. You just told us that.”

Not to be outdone on the WTF trail, Newt Gingrich — remember him? — is telling everyone that the president can’t be indicted for obstructing justice because he’s the president.  But this is the same Newt Gingrich who led the campaign to impeach Bill Clinton for obstructing justice.

I think what they’re saying is that Trump is under investigation for not being under investigation and can’t be indicted for obstructing justice but can be impeached for it.  Got that?

More Sinned Against Than Sinning

There are some really stupid — and dangerous — people out there.  Via Raw Story:

According to the Boston Globe, theater companies across the country that perform Shakespeare are getting death threats over a New York Public Theater play in Central Park that depicts the death of Ceasar — but who looks like President Donald Trump.

The senders of these death threats are “outraged over the Public Theater’s controversial staging” of Shakespeare’s “Caesar” that features the infamous stabbing scene with a character inspired by Trump — but they appear to have gotten the locations a little off.

One such theater is Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, who have been “inundated with a flood of venomous e-mails, phone messages, and social media posts condemning them for the Central Park production.”

One sender told the management of the Lenox theater that they wish “the worst possible life you could have and hope you all get sick and die.” Another told them their “play depicting the murder of our President is nothing but pure hatred.”

The Lenox Shakespeare company is far from the only Shakespeare-performing theater who’ve gotten these kinds of threats. Raphael Parry, the director of Shakespeare Dallas in Texas, told the Globe that his theater “has received about 80 messages, including threats of rape, death, and wishes that the theater’s staff is ‘sent to ISIS to be killed with real knives.’” Theaters in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in New York said they’ve received threats as well.

“We just got slammed,” Parry said. “It’s pretty amazing the vitriol, the wishing we would die and our family would die. A whole lot of them say that we should burn in hell.”

The directors of these two companies have differing theories about why their theaters have been targets. Dallas’s Parry blames “web analytics” that cause people searching for “Shakespeare in the Park” in Texas to see his company first, while Allyn Burrows of the Lenox, Massachusetts company has another explanation.

“What might be gurgling up for them is their ire around having to do Shakespeare in high school,” Burrows told the Globe. “They’re like, ‘you know what? I never realized I hated my English teacher as much as I did.’”

I don’t think these people are dangerous in terms that they’re a physical threat to the theatres or the directors.  They’re just dangerous to the point that they believe that even if they called the wrong number or attacked a theatre company that had absolutely nothing to do with the production in New York, they’re still justified in doing what they’re doing because they had to read “Othello” in high school.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Peak Bullshit

Charles P. Pierce on Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday and the fact that he bullshitted his way through it, ably assisted by toady Tom Cotton (bet he gives great head) and John Cornyn, who stands up for his fellow Dixian.

Democracy is helpless against this kind of contempt, especially if its primary institutions surrender to it without a fight, the way they did on Tuesday. To be plain, because of his continual assertion of an “appropriateness” privilege—which does not exist in the Constitution or the laws of this country—in order to avoid answering questions under oath, JeffBo should be residing in a holding cell right now until he changes his mind. (It’s very possible that Dan Coats and Mike Rogers should temporarily be his bunkmates, too. And the consistency of the testimony of all three men suggests a certain amount of, ah, coordination at other levels.)

You just don’t get to refuse to answer questions before a Senate committee because you don’t want to, or because you think you might get the president* in Dutch, or because you don’t like the people asking the questions. The Bartleby defense—”I would prefer not to…”—has no basis in constitutional or criminal law. There is no, as Senator Martin Heinrich put it to JeffBo, “appropriateness bucket” in which the attorney general can hide himself. Yet, there he was at the end of things, being flattered by the committee’s chairman, Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, for the immense sacrifice JeffBo had made in coming in and being transparently ridiculous on camera for a couple of hours.

The people who best treed JeffBo on his most preposterous bullshit—Heinrich, Kamala Harris of California, and The Mustache of Righteousness, Angus King of Maine—could only push him so far. Everybody on that committee knew that what JeffBo was selling was batter-fried nonsense. (Call me an elitist snob if you like, but whenever I hear a Southerner talking about “mah honah,” I reach for William Tecumseh Sherman’s phone number.)

Everybody on that committee knew that, when JeffBo declined to answer questions about whether James Comey was fired because of the Russia probe, he was hiding the plain truth behind a privilege that he’d made up on the spot. Everybody on that committee knew that JeffBo’s memory lapses were at best highly convenient. (He couldn’t remember meeting the Russian ambassador, but he could quote an op-ed by William Barr from almost a year ago? That dog don’t even want to hunt.) Everybody on that committee knew that you can’t refuse to answer a question because the president* might want to invoke executive privilege at some vague point in the future. But if the majority is content to look like an entire bag of tools and pretend otherwise, there’s not much the Senate can do about being obstructed in such a shameless fashion.

I would like to think that there are Republicans who have a grain of conscience and respect for sanity — or at least common sense — who listened to what Mr. Sessions said yesterday and said “Enough!”  But that ship sailed long ago, back when they had a chance to banish this band of draggle-tailed poseurs and con artists.  But no, they just had to win the election, so they sold their souls — and our country.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017