Friday, April 21, 2017

Short: Is a shutdown looming?

The US federal government runs out of borrowing authority on April 29. The GOP, now that they have the House, Senate, and presidency should be able to avoid a shutdown, and they probably will. However, it's a possibility that a shutdown will still happen because of doctrinaire GOPers who refuse to compromise, and the Dems and main GOP group not reaching a compromise either.

The GOP was almost always terrible at extracting concessions from the Dems in these shutdown showdowns. They didn't know what to ask for, bumbled, fumbled, and waited to the last minute, with predictable results (bad--from their viewpoint).

It seems that the Dems are doing better. They want something specific--the continued funding of an important part of ACA. We'll see how it works out. Here's a fairly short readable article about the issues.

Image: washingtonpost.com


Friday, April 7, 2017

Short: Drop dead date for ACA?

In all the reporting on the failed attempt to repeal and replace ACA, I didn't hear that an important vote will need to happen by the end of April.

ACA has always had a lot of moving pieces, so many ways that it could fail either quickly or slowly. If this article is right, there is a complicated interplay between a court case, subsidies to insurance companies, appropriations, and possible backlash. I would rehash all the details here--who knows if we even know all the details? The upshot is that there may be an important development concerning ACA within the next month, so be alert for news.

Bandage removal: fast or slow? Now or later?
Image: 123rf.com


Friday, March 17, 2017

Following the wild goose of fake news

Trump had done a relatively decent job of handling the blowback from his epically stupid accusation that Obama ordered wiretaps on him during the campaign. He hadn't repeated the accusation, his surrogates weren't repeating the accusations. A few, like Kellyanne Conway, were going out on a limb and trying to explain what he might have meant. But generally, Trump and his camp were saying 'Let Congress investigate this and report on it.' Yawn, another long, boring Congressional investigation signifying nothing and concluding nothing. That was a pretty good strategy for containing the issue--letting it dry up and die since it was only words.

That lasted over a week (a long term strategy by the standards of the Trump administration). Then on 3/16/17, Sean Spicer, the press secretary, repeated some fake news (verbatim) from Fox contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano who claimed that three intelligence sources told him that Obama got the British intelligence services to do the dirty work. I suppose that means that no paperwork exists in the US, and no Americans can be called in front of Congress who could admit to it or lie and commit perjury. So this story is now impossible to disprove!

Well, it was always impossible to disprove. Who would be naive enough to believe those liars from the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. who might swear that Obama didn't order such a thing? No red-blooded American would fall for those weasly denials, that's for sure!

The big question: when will the Trump administration learn not to repeat what they hear on Fox News, Breitbart, etc.?

Sean Spicer air quotes
Image: daytondailynews.com

Extras. The top national security adviser General McMaster supposedly apologized to the British privately. Supposedly Sean Spicer did too. And more fun--I found new sources that are hybrids of news and infotainment: news with snark, and news with misleading captions. No, Trump and the British prime minister didn't have a joint news conference this Friday 3/17/17, but on 1/27/17. The bonus here is a longer report from estimable judge and fake news innovator Napolitano.

Update 4/7/17. "Even if it turns out not to be true..." Will anyone be surprised?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Trump swallows fake news, barfs it back up.

Image: twitter.com

This is what happens when an undiscerning person watches conservative media. The newbie, twit, or whatever term you want to use hears/sees something, and stupidly thinks it's true. Maybe it's reporting that a pizza restaurant in DC is a front for a child sex ring. Maybe it's about a secret planet behind the sun. Maybe it's that Obama ordered wiretaps on Trump during the campaign.

So Trump hears this story from a fake news source that he doesn't realize is fake news. Why doesn't he realize? I don't know. Maybe he's actually incredibly stupid. Maybe he forgot how to question authority decades ago, and had enough money so that he didn't get his ass kicked. Maybe most people are that stupid, and it's just a matter of what propaganda captures them first. Whatever.

So Trump blasts out some tweets about how terrible it is that he was wiretapped. Trump doesn't wait for evidence, an investigation with various findings of facts. No, out it goes on Twitter. Trump has now accused the prior president of extreme malfeasance.

Is Trump going to walk this back? Is he going to explain, like he did with the 'attacks in Sweden,' that he misunderstood, but it still was important and real? Frankly, it's going to be fun seeing how this plays out. Supposedly James Comey, head of the FBI, has already said it's not true, but he has to wait for someone high enough in the Justice Department to approve and receive a statement to that effect.

So where did this fake news come from? Mark Levin. A name I already know because he's blatantly lied before. The guy is such scum.

Now Mark Levin will be partially responsible for millions of people believing until their dying day that Obama tapped Trump during the election. (Only partially responsible because the idiots deserve part of the blame too.) This is going to be birtherism all over again. MARK MY WORDS. Well, I hope not, but it certainly could turn out that way.


Extra. Maybe this is the real story behind the wild exaggerations and lies of Mark Levin. Strange activity by a server in Trump Tower--yes, I had heard of that.

Update 3/6/17. Trey Gowdy, a House Republican, doesn't believe Obama ordered such wiretaps and asks Trump to have the Department of Justice to release evidence of it.
3/7/17. Devin Nunes doesn't believe it either. Allahpundit tries to explain it to HotAir readers, to no avail.
3/14/17. Two more reports on surveillance on and round Trump and his advisers. Nothing that is both big and new, and nothing that corroborates Trump's claims. He hasn't repeated his claims, and is uncharacteristically quiet as he waits for the investigation to drag out and people to stop caring about that particular blather of his.
3/31/17. Fox News seems to be repeating what Devin Nunes claims and labels it as news. So stilted. A never-Trump conservative tries to explain all the threads of the investigation. I find Devin Nunes comical. It's amazing the lengths he's going to in order to shore up Trump's tantrum tweet. This opinion writer agrees.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Various Trump links

Trump is dominating the news even more now than when he was campaigning. There was a spot of good news today. His pick for top national security adviser is praised in this article, with the caveat that honesty may mean he stays on the job only two months. Well, let's be optimistic and hope for much longer than that.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump's former campaign manager (with similar lack of tact with women), doesn't seem to agree with Trump's statement that his administration is a well-oiled machine. He says that Trump is trying to get a lot done, but his subordinates are a disappointment. Um, who hired them? Did he not choose well? I guess the blame has to land on Trump one way or another.

One hope I have for the new national security adviser is that he'll have a healthy distrust of the Russians. The Russian connection to many things Trump has me very worried. Pence might be visiting Europe and trying to reassure our NATO allies, but he's the VP, not Trump. Who really knows what deals Trump might be inclined to make? I take this article with a pinch of skepticism, but it does discuss the patterns that are so very worrisome.

And, as always, Trump attacks the mainstream media. The press isn't reporting on terrorist attacks. They are enemies of the American people. So far, his attacks are words only. If they turn to deeds, such as banning news outlets, launching trumped-up investigations, or inciting violence, then he will have gone into dictator-mode.

Oh, the irony! A huge purveyor of fake news...
Image: youtube.com


Extras. Bob Corker, who sounds like a reasonable person, on his hopes that Trump will 'evolve.' Will Trump provoke a constitutional crisis by refusing to abide by judicial decisions? So far, he has obeyed while complaining very loudly. A more detailed article about the new pick for top national security adviser. How and why the CIA should cozy up to Trump, and the dangers if it doesn't work. The Anne Frank Center blasts Trump for not standing up to anti-semitism. The twitter responses are quite the window to accusations and counter-accusations.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Last output of crazy: Daddy, they're being mean

How can I describe the thin-skinned egotistical asshole that we currently have as president? Maybe the best thing is just to let him out himself with the bizarre things he does.

Now, an adult knows that there are ups and downs in business. An intelligent, honest, non-corrupt president knows not to interfere to help the business dealings of friends, families, donors, and supporters. But Trump isn't intelligent, honest, or free from corruption. So he tweets this when his daughter's fashion line is dropped by a major retailer:

Image: enidnews.com

The idiocy and corruption doesn't stop with Trump, however. Kellyanne Conway told viewers to go out and buy Ivanka Trump merchandise. But it turns out (reasonably) that federal employees aren't supposed to plug commercial enterprises while on the job. That applies when the commercial enterprise is owned by the prez's dear daughter. Imagine that: you aren't even supposed to use all that power to enrich yourself and your family. Who designs these rules?

And what does the pro-Trump, fake news purveyor Breitbart do? A huge article about how the retailer is going to suffer, but how Ivanka Trump is a trooper and will just be stronger. It reads like a bad People magazine article. Barf!

So far Nordstrom's stock took a brief loss and then bounced back. A more important question is whether the asshole president will take a well-deserved hit for this. He truly doesn't seem to understand what his job is now. It sure as hell isn't promoting his businesses or his friends' businesses. A mountain of shame on him and his idiotic supporters.

Links about 'Repeal and Replace'

For seven years the GOP bragged that they could make a better health insurance program than Obamacare. For seven years, they waved their hands, gave us bullets points sprinkled with pixie dust, and didn't deliver.

After winning the presidency, and already having majorities in the House and Senate, the GOP was supposed to be poised to repeal Obamacare on the first day of President Trump's term. Somehow, that didn't happen. BECAUSE REALITY IS A BITCH!

The GOP can't wave their hands anymore and fling pixie dust. They have to seriously crunch numbers, and it hasn't been going well for them. They can drop coverage for millions of people, they can zap the mandate and see cost rise even higher, they can repeal the taxes and blow up the deficit. What they can't do is figure out how to make a program cover more people and cost less. I wonder why not. Maybe not enough pixie dust.

Image: worldwide.chat

Extras. Problems with repeal and replace (with less snark). True believers among Congress just don't understand the delay. Trump makes another promise about the replacement, sprinkled with prodigious amounts of manure-scented pixie dust.