June 16, 2017
Go Figure

A weird exchange from the transcript of CNN’s interview with our so-called “president” and Klaus Iohannis, the President of Romania…

Mr. President, was there any discussion about the visa waiver program for Romania? Is there a time frame for including our country in this program?


TRUMP: We didn’t discuss it. We didn’t discuss it, but there would be certainly — it would be something we will discuss.

Mr. President?

IOHANNIS: I mentioned this issue. And I also mentioned it during other meetings I had, because this is important for us, it’s important for Romanians, one, to come to the United States.



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Health and Aging | Idiots | Rich White Trash
June 14, 2017
Me and Breet Go Way Back…

You know Preet Bharara, right? Yeah, that Preet Bharara. The scourge of Wall Street and now of our so-called “president.” Turns out I know him too, or did in 1986 when he was a Harvard freshman. Back then Breet and I were on a first name basis, at least on my side. You might say I made him what he is today. Or not.

Anyway last week my son Ted asked me if I knew Bharara and I said no and he said yes you did too, directing me to Google and this 1986 article from The Harvard Crimson:

Doolittle teaches two sections of Social and Ethical Issues: “all political issues are ethical issues at heart,” he says. Students in his sections say that Doolittle’s anecdotes make class entertaining and interesting. “His sense of humor really helps,” says Preetinder Bharara ’90. “He doesn’t care about the excess stuff — just the writing,” Bharara says.
And all these years, those early lessons stuck with him. Take a look:
But Kaling’s commencement speech wasn’t the only entertaining one delivered at Harvard Law School — or even the best one, in some people’s estimation. Another speaker, Preet Bharara, managed to combine humor and wisdom, in magnificent fashion…

“A few months ago, my dad calls when he sees the announcement about the Harvard Class Day program and tells me that he and mom would come up for it. I say, ‘Dad, I am really touched. But you don’t have to drive all the way up from New Jersey. You just had knee surgery; it’s a long haul. Really, Dad, don’t worry about it.’

“And so my Dad gets all serious and says to me: ‘Preet, how could we NOT come? And miss a once-in-lifetime chance — once in LIFETIME chance — to see the Mindy Kaling?’

“Yes, the Mindy Kaling — the definite article is what makes the joke. That, and Bharara’s killer Indian accent (click here and go to around the 12:55 mark). Given his acting talent, maybe Bharara should make a guest appearance on The Mindy Project.”



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American Heroes | Education | Heroes and Friends
June 13, 2017
We've Come a Long Way, Baby

John F. Kennedy’s press secretary was Pierre Salinger, a concert pianist at the age of six, winner of the Navy and Marine Corps medal as captain of a submarine chaser off Okinawa, a reporter and editor for The San Francisco Chronicle and Collier’s, legal counsel for a Senate committee investigating organized crime, and a top JFK aide in the 1960 presidential campaign.

Donald F.Trump’s press secretary is Sean Spicer.



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Historical Perspectives | Idiots | Republicans
Brown Lips

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — One by one, they praised President Trump, taking turns complimenting his integrity, his message, his strength, his policies. Their leader sat smiling, nodding his approval.

“The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” Mike Pence said, starting things off…

So it went on Monday in the Cabinet Room of the White House, as Mr. Trump transformed a routine meeting of senior members of his government into a mood-boosting, ego-stroking display of support for himself and his agenda. While the president never explicitly asked to be praised, Mr. Pence set the worshipful tone, and Mr. Trump made it clear he liked what he heard.



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Good Eats | Idiots | Republicans | Reveling in the Weird
June 06, 2017
The Thanks of a Grateful Nation…

My long winter seems to be over, finally. There was a fourth hospitalization last month for abscesses that developed following the second operation. I’m still pretty weak, but functioning. Enough, anyway, to re-run the following piece, in case you missed it in the June 25, 2000 Washington Post:

My official Cold War Recognition Certificate arrived in the mail the other day, signed by the U.S. secretary of defense — or at least his autopen. About time somebody showed a little appreciation for my role in toppling the Evil Empire.

I learned that my day was coming more than a year ago with the news that Congress had finally set up a Cold War Recognition Certificate program for the estimated 22 million of us who toiled, “honorable and faithfully,” in America’s longest war. A formerly obscure Republican congressman named Rick Lazio proposed the measure. Now it’s the law of the land, unlike a certain national health care proposal I could mention.

All I had to do was mail off my request with a document proving that I had served in the military or certain government agencies. No problem. I keep all that stuff in a box under my bed, along with my old catcher’s mitt and the carnation I wore to senior prom. So I immediately sent my application to an address in Fairfax and waited as nine short months sped by. And now the certificate is on my desk.

I notice that Defense Secretary William S. Cohen has gone a little light on the specifics of my contributions, no doubt due to lack of space and considerations of national security. But, at this late date, surely no harm can come of revealing what the secretary left out.

My Cold War career began modestly in early 1956 with my appointment as a private to Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion, PsyWar Center, Fort Bragg, N.C. My assignment was to rake up pine cones outside the battalion’s S2 building while other draftees, inside it, prepared secret intelligence studies on two small Southeast Asian countries code-named soaL and manteiV. Really…


…Read on

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American Heroes
Not Tricky, Just Dumb

To take one example from hundreds:

Likewise, the press seems to have forgotten the power of distraction. Coverage of the Trump-ordered missile attack in Syria made little reference to how conveniently it deflected attention from Russia-gate, Trump’s conflicts of interest, his draconian budget cuts, etc.

The article’s title, curiously enough, is What the Press Still Doesn’t Get About Trump. Because what it really still doesn’t get about Trump is that there is seldom any Machiavellian cleverness behind his blurts and stumbles. There is only childlike ignorance.



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Idiots | Republicans | Rich White Trash | Weakening America
April 29, 2017
A Masterful Stroke

Here is Peter Wehner, in an otherwise unexceptionable New York Times op-ed piece:

Of the many things people worried about before President Trump took office, it turned out that the main problem was his incompetence rather than his authoritarian tendencies — at least so far.

This isn’t to say that Mr. Trump has no successes to speak of. His appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court was a masterful stroke.

This seems to be the best and practically the only worthwhile Trump achievement that Republicans can come up with in these first hundred days. But what a pathetic stretch it is. Mitch McConnell stole Obama’s Supreme Court seat and kept it on ice for the new so-called “president.” Trump’s master stroke was his selection of a name from a list of 20 conservative jurists compiled for him by the Federalist Society. Any old name. Barring a conviction for dorking a llama, anyone on the list would have been automatically confirmed by the Republican majority in the Senate.



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Idiots | Republicans
April 27, 2017
The Nose Knows

From The Independent:

“In terms of the immune system, the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.”



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Good Eats
April 24, 2017

This nonsense is from an Associated Press interview Friday with the so-called “president.” More gibberish is below the fold, but you should really read the whole transcript here. It’s an astonishing document.

TRUMP: Number One, there’s great responsibility. When it came time to, as an example, send out the 59 missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I’m saying to myself, “You know, this is more than just like, 79 (sic) missiles. This is death that’s involved,” because people could have been killed. This is risk that’s involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area — you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away — and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet .... every decision is much harder than you’d normally make. (unintelligible) ... This is involving death and life and so many things. ... So it’s far more responsibility. (unintelligible) ....The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defense Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list…

So the Republican Party has various groups, all great people. They’re great people. But some are moderate, some are very conservative. The Democrats don’t seem to have that nearly as much. You know the Democrats have, they don’t have that. The Republicans do have that. And I think it’s fine. But you know there’s a pretty vast area in there. And I have a great relationship with all of them. Now, we have government not closing. I think we’ll be in great shape on that. It’s going very well. Obviously, that takes precedent…


…Read on

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America is Doomed | Idiots | Rich White Trash
April 20, 2017
Maybe the Butler Did It

From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

The New York City Health Department said it cannot complete an investigation into who infected four infants with herpes through a circumcision rite because the boys’ fervently Orthodox families will not identify the mohels…

According to DNAinfo, six families in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, have seen children contract herpes since 2015 from metzitzah b’peh, which involves the ritual circumciser, or mohel, cleaning the circumcision wound by oral suction. Among the six families, only two have provided the names of their mohels, Miller said. In March, the city ordered those two mohels to stop performing metzitzah b’peh. A herpes infection in a newborn baby can cause brain damage and death…

However, an unnamed source said the community is skeptical about the allegations against the two named mohels because it believes the city wants to make all metzitzah b’peh illegal.

“That’s why we’re not willing to give out the mohels. We know the city is going to ban them without giving them due process,” the source said. “There is not proof that they actually infected the baby.”


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Public Health and Welfare | Regulation for the Benefit of Public Health, Safety and Welfare | Religion and Society
April 19, 2017
Filling Vacuums

From the Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel’s parent company fired Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday following an investigation into harassment allegations, bringing a stunning end to cable television news’ most popular program and one that came to define the bravado of his network over 20 years.

O’Reilly lost his job on the same day he was photographed in Rome shaking the hand of Pope Francis.

The downfall of Fox’s most popular — and most lucrative — personality began with an April 2 report in The New York Times that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O’Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing. Dozens of his show’s advertisers fled within days, even though O’Reilly’s viewership increased…

This on the heels of the private sector’s overruling of the North Carolina legislature’s recent attempt to make transgender students use the bathrooms for which Mother Nature, in His wisdom, intended them.

Who could have foreseen that corporate advertisers and professional sports franchises would be the ones to drag our so-called “lawmakers” kicking and screaming into the 21st century? We saw something similar from the health industry, too, when the so-called “president” tried to gut the Affordable Care Act. Apparently that’s what happens when you try to drown government in a bathtub. Big business remembers that voters are customers.




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Congress | Economics and Society | Glimmers of Sanity | The Real World
April 17, 2017
Slow Learners

From the New York Times of today, April 17, 2017:

KABUL, Afghanistan — Talks between the United States and Afghanistan wrapped up here on Sunday, as the Trump administration reviews its options in the 15-year American presence in Afghanistan in the face of a resurgent Taliban.

Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, met with Afghan leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani, in talks that came days after the United States dropped a huge bomb on a honeycomb of Islamic State caves in eastern Afghanistan.

From Counterpunch, dated January 15, 1998:
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention…

Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire?

From Rudyard Kipling, in 1895:

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

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Afghanistan | Historical Perspectives | Idiots | Our Longest National Nightmare Ever | The Fall of the Roman American Empire | War on "Terror" | Warmongers | Weakening America
April 16, 2017
The Democrats Are Coming To The Rescue

Fear not, brothers and sisters, for in these dark days of Trumpism, of unrestrained corporate power, of environmental ruin and possible nuclear war, there is a ray of hope. The Democratic party, led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, is riding to the rescue:

Democrats are beginning to craft an economic message for 2018 that goes beyond the tempting, single-minded strategy of demonizing Donald Trump.

Licking their wounds after an embarrassing showing in November, Democrats vowed to charge into next year’s midterms with a proactive sales pitch to voters. While many, including party leaders, have fallen right back into the same anti-Trump pattern they say cost them 2016 in the first place, top Democrats now say they’re working on “a strong, sharp-edged, bold economic message,” as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put it Tuesday.

I don’t know about you, but when Chuck Schumer promises a “strong, sharp-edged, bold economic message,” I get a tingle up my leg. It’s almost as inspiring as Nancy Pelosi saying, “We’re all capitalists.”

But let’s be fair. After leading us to a string of humiliating defeats since 2010, culminating in the slaughter of 2016 and the victory of Donald Trump, the Democratic party is acting decisively to craft a broad economic agenda that will “unite both caucuses” of the Party. It’s “expected to emerge by early summer.”

“We’re spending a lot of time on this,” says Chuck Schumer.

Just when you need the cavalry the most, six months after the battle’s been lost.

At issue is a deep philosophical divide: One branch of the Democratic party wants to do more of the same plus family leave, while the other branch wants to do absolutely nothing at all. One branch wants to throw some populist window dressing around, kinda, sorta, by the dark of the moon; the other wants to sit on their thumbs and wait for Trump to fail, because that strategy worked so well in 2016.

“We have no message right now,” says one House Democrat, “and we don’t need one.”

The trouble is, the Democrats don’t know how to pack “more of the same plus family leave” and “do absolutely nothing” into an inspiring, easily digestible soundbite. But don’t worry, they’ll try, and fail. Chuck Schumer promises that they’re going to “hammer” this agenda leading up to the midterms. I hope they’ve hired John Podesta, Robby Mook and Bob Shrum to help them iron out the details.

…Read on

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April 11, 2017
Listen Up, Chicago, Baltimore, etc., etc.

From The Hartford Courant:

…Officers waited for an officer trained in crisis intervention to go to the apartment with them, police said. When they did, they brought a protective shield and special guns that shoot bean bags. When they arrived, they heard noises coming from inside. Concerned the suspect might be injured, they opened the door but didn’t go inside, police said.

Van suddenly emerged from a hallway with a large butcher knife in his right hand and brass knuckles in his left, they said. Crisis intervention officers tried to calm him by talking to him, but Van ignored them, police said. He also ignored police commands to drop the weapons.

He then advanced toward the officers with the knife and knuckles, and an officer fired a bean bag round at him, police said. Van eventually dropped the weapons and was placed in handcuffs, they said. Deputy Chief Brian Foley attributed the officers’ calm, thought-out response to their training.

See? Now was that so hard?



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Police State
April 10, 2017
Assad's Permission Slip

One nice thing about living in Connecticut is that you don’t have to go to the trouble of bugging your senators with complaints. Blumenthal and Murphy already have their feces assembled. Take, for example, this from Chris Murphy:

The question Syria experts have been asking themselves this week is this: Why did Assad return to chemical weapons use, risking the ire of the global community, when he is, by all accounts, in a stronger position in Syria than at any time since 2013? The answer likely lies in the green light that the Trump administration gave Assad just a few days before the chemical weapons attack was launched. As my colleague Marco Rubio noted this week, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that U.S. policy was now to allow Assad’s future to “be decided by the Syrian people” (a regular Russian talking point on Syria policy) he seemed to telegraph that Assad was free to act without repercussions from the United States. Rubio’s point is hard to argue — once Assad realized U.S. policy was no longer tied to his removal, there was nothing to hold him back.

Second, the check on Syria’s use of chemical weapons since 2013 had largely been Russia. The threat of U.S. military action in Syria in 2013 prompted the Russians to step in and help remove chemical weapons stocks from Syria. Obviously, they didn’t finish the job. But why? The answer here could lie in the newfound impunity with which Russia now operates globally. Since Trump was inaugurated, Russia has violated a long-standing missile treaty, accelerated the pace of military activity in Ukraine, dramatically ramped up its influence in the Balkans, and effectively taken control of the political process in Syria. Russia has acted this way since January because it no longer fears any reprisals from the United States. Their inability to finish the disposal of chemical weapons, or their unwillingness to veto the chemical attack, can be explained by the perceived permission slip they have been granted by the Trump Administration…

…Read on

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Congress | Political Commentary
April 07, 2017
Inside The Trump White House

Trump is in the Oval Office talking to Bill O’Reilly on speakerphone. Ivanka is seated in front of his desk, totally engrossed in texting and not paying a bit of attention to their conversation. Bill is facing multiple sexual harassment suits and advertisers are leaving his show in droves. He sounds tipsy. Trump has just ordered airstrikes on Syria, but Bill’s problems are more interesting. 

Trump: I gotta be honest with you, Bill. I would have moved in on her like a bitch too. I gotta be honest. We’re grown men here, amirite? You didn’t do anything wrong, Bill. It’s political correctness. It’s nothing but political correctness run amok. It’s fake news.

O’Reilly: It’s like I always say, Donny, if you don’t like where you work, get another job. It ain’t rocket surgery. Go to human resources. Go to a different department. Get another job.

Trump: It’s outrageous, Bill, it really is.

O’Reilly: I got no problem with women in the work place. I’m an equal rights kinda guy. It’s just that this affirmative action has them all believing they’re entitled to any job they want, even if they can’t hack it.

Trump: I agree with you a hundred percent, Bill, a hundred percent. It’s political correctness run amok. It’s ruining our country, it really is. I mean that, Bill, I really do. It’s absolutely ruining our country.

O’Reilly is starting to slur his words. As his drunkenness increases, he affects an exaggerated working-class New York accent, as he often does when browbeating elitist liberals on his show. You’d almost think he was a longshoreman from Brooklyn and not what he actually is, a guy from a comfortable, lily-white suburb on Long Island who attended private school.

O’Reilly: All guys, awwwl guys get a little ribbing in their rookie year, am I right, Donny? That’s all it was. Just a little harmless ribbing. What’s a little slap and tickle among friends? It’s no different than guys snappin’ towels at each other in the locker room. They been doin’ it since Rowman times. It’s like a, uh, whaddya call it … a rite of passage. If women can’t handle that, maybe they don’t belong in the work place.

Trump: I know exactly what you’re saying, Bill, why do you think I keep Melania in New York?

O’Reilly, now thoroughly inebriated: And now you got the politically correct crowd scaring my advertisers away, effecting my ability to make a living. You don’t mess with a man’s livelihood. It ain’t right! [Yells] It ain’t right!

Trump: I gotta say it again, Bill, I agree a hundred percent. This is amazing, because I normally don’t agree a hundred percent with people because I think it’s good to disagree. I mean, you gotta disagree sometime because nobody’s right one hundred percent of the time, not even me. Well, almost me, but not always, but I gotta be honest, I agree with you a hundred percent.

O’Reilly [sobbing]: I never should have left Inside Edition. Not even Access Hollywood will return my calls now. Where’s my …  falafel thing. I need my … loofah thing…

…Read on

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Sad. Bigly Sad

David Brooks on the so-called “president”:

He mistakes his catastrophes for successes and so accelerates his pace toward oblivion. Those who ignore history are condemned to retweet it.



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Idiots | Rich White Trash
April 06, 2017
Just Don’t Throw Mud on His Ray-Bans

Donald Trump has a brilliant plan to defeat ISIS: Put Jared Kushner in charge and they will all die from laughing:


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Gropists, Grabbists, Whatever

…anyway, they've got each other's backs. From the New York Times:

Few have spoken out publicly in support of the Fox star. The president had no qualms.

“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Mr. Trump told Times reporters in a wide-ranging interview. “Because you should have taken it all the way; I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

“I think he’s a person I know well,” Mr. Trump said. “He is a good person.”


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Idiots | Rich White Trash
Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Did the so-called “President” have Barron vaccinated?

From the New York Times:

Mr. Trump has suggested possible links between childhood vaccines and the development of autism. Dr. Gottlieb described this as “one of the most exhaustively studied questions in scientific history,” and he said the studies show “there is no causal link between vaccination and autism.”

Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 1:24 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (3)
Idiots | Public Health and Welfare | Rich White Trash
Grabbing Pussy, for Instance?

From the New York Times:

For a children’s audience, the mandate is to provide unbiased facts with a dusting of the context required to maintain accuracy, said Joanne Mattern, a freelance writer of children’s nonfiction with 250 titles on her résumé…

In her new book, “Donald Trump: Outspoken Personality and President,” the author Jill Sherman packed in details about Mr. Trump’s family. But Ms. Sherman, who has written children’s books about the Komodo dragon and the Irish potato famine, said biographical details about Mr. Trump were being denied and debated by some of his supporters. “Everything has its unique challenges, but I would say the Donald Trump biography was overwhelming,” she said.



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Arts and Literature | Reveling in the Weird
March 29, 2017
Good News for Rich Eczema Sufferers!

From the New York Times:

A country whose electorate allows this kind of shit to happen is a country too stupid to live:

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a drug to treat people with a serious form of eczema, a potential breakthrough for people who have suffered for years without relief. But it will not come cheap.

The drug, to be called Dupixent, will carry a list price of $37,000 a year, a hefty price tag for patients who are increasingly being asked to pay a larger share of the drugs they take. Still, its price is a bit lower than many other commonly used biologic drugs, such as Humira and Enbrel, that treat other skin diseases…

The best-selling products Humira and Enbrel, which treat the skin disease psoriasis and other conditions, carry annual list prices of about $50,000.



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America is Doomed | Idiots | Regulation for the Benefit of Public Health, Safety and Welfare
March 26, 2017
They’ll Never Quit Him

All of the inside baseball, D.C. Beltway pundit types are once again proclaiming the end of Trump, just as they’ve been doing since August, 2015. I hope they’re right, I really do, even though the prospect of President Pence is almost as horrifying as Trump himself: It all boils down to which era you prefer to live in, the Gilded Age plus nukes (Trump) or the twelfth century plus credit default swaps (Pence). But I don’t think they’re right, and here’s why:

The day after the flaming out of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first major legislative initiative, his supporters across America were lashing out - at conservatives, at Democrats, at leaders of his Republican Party in Congress.

Only Trump himself was spared their wrath.

Many voters who elected him appeared largely willing to give him a pass on the collapse of his campaign promise to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, stressing his short time in office.

Inside the Beltway, Trump’s defeat signals the end of his agenda. Outside the Beltway, Trump’s lumpenproles shout: “I blame the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress! They are a bunch of bastards. I’m just fed up.” Some, demonstrating a patient wisdom they mysteriously lacked in the Obama years, tell us Trump “can’t just wave a magic wand.” Others are just fine with the outcome because they like Obamacare and Trump’s racism both. Where is written that you can’t get government healthcare and hate wetbacks?

Either way, it’s somebody else’s fault: Ryan, the Democrats, the RINOS, the media, whatever.

These are the diehards. These are the bitter-enders who will be down in the bunker with Bannon and The Donald, cursing the libtards and fake news while Jared and Ivanka pass out the cyanide. They will always blame others and make excuses for their fuhrer. Always.The big brains of the Beltway, using the most sophisticated polling techniques and marshaling all the hottest gossip from the Hill have been predicting Trump’s demise for a year and a half, and they’ve been wrong every time. They simply don’t appreciate the depth of his appeal or the depth of the Trumpite’s loathing towards all things establishment, including the Washington press corps.

I’m just as giddy with schadenfruede as every other civilized human being at King Deal Maker’s delicious face plant, but I won’t believe he’s toast until he’s toast.


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The Dart of the Eel

From the New York Times:

On Friday evening, a somewhat shellshocked president retreated to the White House residence to grieve and assign blame. In a search for scapegoats, he asked his advisers repeatedly: Whose fault was this?

Increasingly, that blame has fallen on Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, who coordinated initial legislative strategy on the health care bill with Mr. Ryan, his close friend and a fellow Wisconsinite, according to three people briefed on the president’s recent discussions…

After it was all over, the president dutifully blamed the Democrats, a party out of power and largely leaderless, after turning his back on their offers to negotiate on a bipartisan package that would have addressed shortcomings in the Affordable Care Act while preserving its core protections for poor and working-class patients.



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Idiots | Our Long National Nightmare | Public Health and Welfare | Rich White Trash | Weakening America
Ryan Owns This Dumpster Fire

I haven’t read Politico regularly enough over the past few years to be entirely certain, but it seems to me those “gotta win the morning” folks have become since the last election a bit less the stenographers of power and somewhat more often the critical observers; does that fit your experience?

Witness Harold Pollack’s politely titled piece today, “Paul Ryan Failed Because His Bill Was a Dumpster Fire”. Pollack doesn’t fail to point out all the ways Paul Ryan and his allies might have tried to improve their bill’s chances, both process issues such as working with moderates to lure a few Democrats rather than expecting the Freedom Caucus to come round, and policy issues like the explicit transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars from the poor and sick to the top 1%. Consider that under the Ryan bill the richest 400 households in the US would have seen a tax cut greater than the total expenditures for premium tax credits under Obamacare for the twenty smallest states plus the District of Columbia.


A shrewd legislator would have found a way to make this less obvious. Ryan’s reputation for intelligence seems in this case to have overshot his actual capacities.

But it’s not simple legislative tactics or even longer-term strategy that’s at issue here, as Pollack notes.

So why did Republicans fail? In a word: insincerity. Republicans had seven years to do their own hard work, to coalesce around a credible conservative alternative to the ACA. They might have used this time to work with Republican governors, to explore which conservative policy ideas seem to stick, which aspects of ACA needed to be retained. They might have crafted a more moderate bill along the lines of the Cassidy-Collins bill, which would have given liberal states and Republican governors who adopted Medicaid expansion much greater leeway. Or they might have refined another conservative model, such as Avik Roy’s modifications to ACA exchanges, to turn ACA’s exchanges in a more conservative direction. They might have prepared the American public for whatever plan they chose.

They didn’t do any of this, perhaps because they believed they would never have to. Secure in the knowledge that they would face President Obama’s veto, Republicans rammed through a succession of extreme repeal-and-replace bills that resembled AHCA’s original draft. These bills excited the Republican base, but would have horrified most other Americans if they ever found sufficient reason to look. Then Congressional Republicans suffered what George W. Bush might call a “catastrophic success” with Donald Trump’s unexpected victory. They had nothing real to deliver.

Much has been made of Republicans’ hypocrisy in trying to ram the AHCA through Congress after complaining so vociferously about the legislative process that produced Obamacare. This hurt House Republicans less than the shoddy content of their actual bill, and the glaring mismatch between their political rhetoric and what their actual policy proposals were designed to do.


Posted by Chuck Dupree at 12:21 AM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Health and Aging | Political Commentary | Political Commentary
March 21, 2017
Young Americans Behaving Badly, Yet Again

Yet another example of young Americans doing us all proud, by way of No More Mr. Nice Blog:

What would be a dream night for Suly and Anaximandro Amable, a newly married couple who went to Cancun for their honeymoon, became a bitter experience on Monday March 13.

During a family show on the high seas, young American spring breakers began to sing the controversial “Build That Wall”chant, which shocked Mexican national tourists and workers.
This is just one of the many blameworthy behaviors that young spring breakers have shown recently in Cancun and that are described as acts of xenophobia and discrimination against Mexicans within their own country, which is (or should be) totally unacceptable.

Swedish kids don’t act that way, neither do Japanese kids, or Germans, Danes, Indians,  Canadians, Poles or Ecuadoreans.

Americans do.

I wonder if they know the Wall Street type who thought it would be cute to get drunk and dry hump a statue of a little girl? You know, this guy:

To hell with it. Slap these punks in the army and send them to Syria. If not, they’re gonna wind up running Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. They’re gonna be your next representative  or maybe even a supreme court justice, a CEO, an attorney or an advertising executive. They’re going to preside over Fourth of July parades, ribbon cutting ceremonies and shareholder’s meetings at which they breathlessly announce the next wave of layoffs and sleazy stock buy-back schemes. They’re going to be in the Kiwanis club and coach your kid’s soccer team. In short, they’re going to evolve into good solid bourgeois  Americans who will dutifully keep our best traditions alive, including xenophobia and racism.

After they’ve matured a bit, they’ll learn to keep it discreetly in the closet (as some of them have no doubt already learned to do with their more unseemly sexual urges). They’ll go to their graves insisting they aren’t racist, but every time a foreign brown person yells “boo!” they’ll be leading the charge for sanctions, drone strikes and boots on the ground. These brave, potbellied burgomasters will man up and tell us war is hell as they urge roundups and mass deportations. And not only will they not suffer from it. it will make their careers.


Posted by OHollern at 11:52 AM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (2)
March 20, 2017
Round and Round We Go

In a comment on my last post, Rocky D says he has been a reader since 1996. I didn’t think it had been that long, and the Bad Attitudes archives seems to have become mostly inaccessible. In the process of poking around, though, I found the following. It reinforces my vague memory that the CIA was getting a raw deal these days. The so-called president says the agency can’t be trusted because they were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction that tricked the Idiot Son into invading Iraq. But consider this entry, from October of 2002:

Paul D. Wolfowitz is one of George W. Bush’s bits of rough trade over at the Pentagon, another being Donald H. Rumsfeld. Lately both have been sulking over the CIA’s insubordinate refusal to believe that Saddam is about to drop an atom bomb on the Mall.

So now they want to set up a special Pentagon intelligence unit that will squeeze the CIA’s facts in such a way as to produce the truth for a change.

Yesterday Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz explained to the New York Times just how those poor souls over at the CIA had managed to go so wrong.

Firstly, the fierce chickenhawk said, “They are not making independent intelligence assessments.” Readers of Orwell will understand this sentence at once. Independence is disobedience.

And secondly, there exists “a phenomenon in intelligence work, that people who are pursuing a certain hypothesis will see certain facts that others won’t, and not see other facts that others will. The lens through which you’re looking for facts affects what you look for.”

Note Mr. Wolfowitz’s use of the second person plural. He would find the first person singular to be, in this context, literally unimaginable.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 6:03 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
America is Doomed | Historical Perspectives | Iraq
March 19, 2017
We Are All Trump

Trump is not an anomaly. He is not an aberration. He is not an unfortunate stumbling block on our road to perfect democracy.

Trump IS our destiny. He is the pitch perfect embodiment of the contemporary American soul. He is the zeitgeist. He is us. He is the ugly id brain of the ugly American, come to claim his birthright.

There is not one flaw in Donald Trump that doesn't apply to American culture generally.

Trump is a narcissist? So are we.

Trump is a bully? So are we.

Trump is an ignoramus who thinks the findings of science are a hoax? Welcome to America.

Trump is a crass con man who would walk over your mother's corpse to make a buck? So would the rest of us.

I’ve expected the coming of Donald Trump for years. I knew that a right wing despot was in our future since Reagan told us ketchup was a vegetable and Margaret Thatcher, echoing Ayn Rand, told us there was no such thing as society, only individuals. A right wing plutocracy was baked in the cake at that point. I always thought he would be a Bible thumper, but he was a reality TV star instead. How did I miss that? It's so obvious now.

Donald Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single vote. That’s the truest thing he ever said. If you want to know what this country is about, stop reading EJ Dionne and Paul Krugman. Watch FOX News and listen to Limbaugh instead. That is who this country is, and Trump is their boy. They will love him forever. They will drag their asses over hot coals for him.

And when he fails to deliver those 30 dollar an hour manufacturing jobs, he will start bombing Muslims, and his adoring fans will love him for it.

Fox America will hoist the flag and start calling out traitors. It’s going to happen. Wait for it.

A third of this country loves him, and they are stupid and mean. They never doubt the wisdom of their prejudices and they will beat you up.

This is what fascism looks like.

And the country will go along with it.

The country will go along with it because we have no alternative.

I dunno, we just couldn't think of one. We fancy ourselves as swell folks, but, you know, all we could muster is Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. It was the best we could do. We just can’t imagine anything more. Maybe Chelsea Clinton and Corey Booker will come along and make America safe for free trade again?

Christ, it’s enough to make you long for Warren Harding.

All that is necessary for fascism to triumph is an inept liberal class.

Anyway, I refuse to spend too much time on Trump. He is a vampire and I won't waste another minute of my one and only life thinking about him. He is sickening and evil. He's not worth the paper I wipe my ass on.

And we can’t beat him.

He has the full throated support of of one of our major political parties. Forget about the day-to-day gossip about Bannon hating Ryan, and Ryan hating Trump, and Trump hating Ryan. And forget about the fact that Mitch McConnell has a visage so loathsome it cracks mirrors and causes spontaneous abortions in cows. When push comes to shove, they band together, and they always will. They are the party of money and you are poor. They will win, you will lose.

How is it that America, circa 2017, can do no better than these slimy reptiles? We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Don’t like Trump? Look in the mirror.

Don’t like Ryan? Look in the mirror. He always wins, doesn’t he?

Don’t like McConnell? Look in the mirror.

Why do these slimy reptiles keep making economic and education policy for us? Why?

Because we keep voting them into power.

They have constituencies. Their constituency is called America.

It's time to wake up and realize that this is a dumb, vicious country.

We elect dumb and vicious people because we are a dumb and vicious people. It really is that simple.

If we’re such great people, why do we have such shitty leaders?

Trump and the Republicans are our baby. We made them and we must own them.


Posted by OHollern at 9:35 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (5)
Sick Call

Day before yesterday the hospital cut me loose (having twice cut me up) following the last of three stays since mid-December. Bowel obstructions, which now seem to be removed. This, plus a certain natural laziness, accounts for the nearly nonexistent blogging of these last few months. My plan is to ease back into things slowly, starting tomorrow.

See you then.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 8:09 PM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (1)
Health and Aging
March 11, 2017
Resistance Sneakers

Once again Thomas Frank cuts to the chase. He starts by praising the Womens’ March, the town hall meetings, and the furious energy directed against our current President.

But opportunism never sleeps, and with the rage and the resistance of recent weeks some far less noble characters have seen a chance to develop a new con. They’re up on the resistance bandwagon right now, rending their garments, shaking their fists and praying that no one holds them responsible for the dead end into which they’ve steered us over the years. Inveighing loudly against Trump has become, for the people I am describing, a means of rescuing an ideology that has proven a disaster.

Applying the now familiar Tea Party comparison, Frank recalls that Partiers called for new leadership but essentially rebranded stale old GOP platitudes with a non-George W. label. Frank suspects something similar will happen with the Democrats this time around, as the section of the party which outside observers might say has been passed by struggles to maintain its hold on power despite the center of energy having clearly passed to the party’s left wing. This doesn’t have to be a fight to the finish, he seems to be saying, but we’re not going down that ole neoliberal road again.

As the often hilarous insights in One Market Under God demonstrated, given his interests and background he’s well positioned to catch the marketing angles political consultants will be looking to monetize.

After all, Donald Trump is a singularly ridiculous person. Every comedian in the world knows how easy it is to mock him. He is the most unpopular new president since polling began, and right now that fact must be flashing the thousand-watt word “opportunity” at anyone familiar with modern marketing techniques. Standing up in pseudo-defiance against this comb-over mountebank is a perfect way to position your brand as a radical sexy youth-rebel freespirit.

Harbingers of this approach are already visible. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has written a nonspecific but distinctly anti-Trump manifesto. Budweiser is running commercials perceived to be critical of Trumpism, as is Coca-Cola. Starbucks has made its antipathy clear. A bunch of tech companies have declared their undying hostility to Trump’s immigration policies. Before long, no doubt, Nike or Reebok will be encouraging you to make a stand against fascism with a specially branded line of resistance sneakers.


What will of course disappear in the thrilling waves of corporate resistance to come, I expect, is that many American companies have a lot to answer for themselves. One possible reason so many corporate types are against immigration reform, for example, is because of corporate America’s epidemic of H-1B visa abuse. It’s not freedom they care for, really, it’s profit squeezed out of desperate human beings.

The entire article is worth your time, I daresay, but in brief he recommends that the Democrats return from their white-collar professionals and Wall Street types to the original base of the party, working people of every gender, skin color, ethnic background, and sexual orientation; everybody, in other words, except those whose income arises from rents of various kinds imposed on workers. Totally doable, but it requires action, not just clicktivism, and that is hard.


Posted by Chuck Dupree at 12:28 AM | Permalink & Email Post | Comments (0)
Political Commentary