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    November 2017
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    • The Rise of the Guillotine
      There was a time when almost no one would have put forward anything like the below, today, guillotine references are routine. Today’s parents have forgotten that children’s play should teach them how to be responsible adults. pic.twitter.com/bGprm9rv09 — Will works for the working class (@ClassFirster) December 3, 2020 Back in the 2000s I spent a […]
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CHIP Funding Down to the Line in Pennsylvania

Teresa Miller is the CHIP coordinator in PA. She’s got a dilemma. Should she give parents a 30 day notice now that PA is going to run out of CHIP funding in January or wait to see if Congress will pass a funding bill by Christmas?

The answer is: send out the letters now because after the Tax Reform bill is signed by Trump, Republican lawmakers are going to whip around and scream, “THERE’S NO MONEY FOR CHIP! IT WILL INCREASE THE DEFICIT!!”

You know they will.

Tax Reform has consequences.

Speaking of which, check out Atrios’ post about the geniuses behind the spending cut triggers in the bill, contractionary policy, recessions and zero lower bounds. Unless you’re a Trump voter, in which case cause and effect are meaningless, the tax reform package will wreck the economy, the Republicans will scare the s#%^ out of you with videos of scary faux Muslims beating up kids and North Korea ad nauseum and you’ll vote for the monsters anyway.

Ezra Klein tweets:

Soooo, you know, there’s that….


The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Yulín Cruz, was on Late Night with Stephen Colbert and announced something truly shocking and heartless. The new Tax Reform bill will slap a 20% excise tax on any goods from Puerto Rico into the US. I’m trying to understand how that money will be transferred directly to the hedge funds that own Puerto Rico’s debt. A debt which can never be discharged in bankruptcy according to some weird legislative trickery from a decade ago.

Anyway, she is echoing how all rational compassionate and intelligent people feel about Trump and the Republicans right now, which means they will need to find new and better ways to suppress the vote next year.

Puerto Rico still needs our help. You can donate to Somebody Help Us here.


More on Matt Lauer. The accusations against him are very serious. One woman says he summoned her to his office, locked the door and then had sex with her to the point where she passed out. I’m still trying to figure out what that’s all about. Did he try some kind of asphyxiation on her? In any case, that’s not even the act that got him fired. It was a completely different sexual encounter. Something tells me that Lauer is going to turn out to be the worst kind of sadistic misogynist and these first few accusations are only the tip of the iceberg.

But I’m not sure that’s even the worst of it. What he did to drive Ann Curry out of NBC was supposed to be worse. Maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with sexual harassment but it might have to do with gaslighting her, ruining her reputation amongst the executives and generally being a fucking asshole to work with. And he probably got away with it because Lauer had “Star” power.

That sounds familiar. Wasn’t it Trump who said he could get away with grabbing women by the pussy because he was a star and they can do whatever they want?

Yes, I believe he did.

Tax Cuts and Fairies.

Seth Meyers breaks down what’s in the Tax Reform bill that Republicans are trying to ram through this week. Claire McCaskill, senator from Missouri makes a cameo appearance at the end that’s bound to become a classic:

Ok, so when the economy is wrecked by this tax cut, no one gets a raise and millions lose their healthcare, you can’t say you weren’t warned oh you intrepid Trump voters.

Sure, it *could* be fake news. It happens not to be but it could. But that’s not really the point.

The point is that if they wanted to, the Republicans could make this bill a LOT worse and Trump would still sign it. And you know why?? It’s because Republicans are in charge of all three branches of government. They can clear out your house, take your Christmas tree and presents and your last can of Who Hash if they wanted to. There is absolutely nothing to stop them. In fact, none of us can do anything for at least another year. Our hands are tied. We have to rely on the better angels of their natures to not rob us blind.


Omg, Republicans with consciences. Too funny.

Another one bites the dusssst

Matt Lauer is out. He was fired from NBC’s Today Show this morning after a detailed complaint against him for sexual harassment. The blurb says something to the effect that this might be an isolated incident but that The Powers That Be didn’t think so. Hmmmm… if they had suspicions, you’ve got to wonder why they didn’t do this sooner.

We’ll get to that eventually.

I’m beginning to see a method to this madness. Check out this tweet from Paul Krugman this morning:

And this one from Tom Watson:

The media steadfastly refuses to accept any responsibility for the Trump disaster. It refuses to admit that it pursued Hillary’s email issue to the extent that the average voter thought she had been carelessly slinging classified information around and was criminally involved in some kind of coverup. They did this partially for ratings. But they also did it because there is a stratum of political and opinion journalists, all men, who have this idea in their heads that no woman will ever be as good as the lowest man for the most powerful position in the world. So, nothing she did was ever going to be good enough for them. If she was smart and prepared, it only meant she was calculating. If she was tough, it meant she was a bitch. If she didn’t reveal every corner of her private life, she was being devious and lying.

Deviousness, calculating, bitchy, these are the characteristics that men who have no respect for women and see them as inferior intellects throw around all the time.

It’s curious that the worst offenders in the media last year were also the ones who turned out to be serial sexual harassers. Fancy that. It’s almost like it’s co-located on the same gene. And why should we be surprised that they behaved towards Clinton as they did? They see women as sexual objects with little understanding. When Clinton came along, it was necessary to bust down the idea that she was intelligent. What better way to do that than to play up her stupid email problem and make her look careless and incompetent. It turns out her server was very secure and her campaign team was fastidious about security and phishing. It took one man, John Podesta, to fuck that up. All of her female staff members rejected the phishing invitations.

Anyway, Hillary was unfuckable. That’s what all the “unlikeable” stuff was about. She didn’t excite them, this strata of guys in political media.

And now they’re dropping like flies. They had it coming.

In the meantime, take it away Freddie:

The false premise behind tax reform

Go on, take the money and run. While we all fret about who’s going to get what after the donor appreciation bill gets passed, let us take a moment and ask ourselves:

Is it a good idea to take $1.5 trillion dollars out of the federal treasury?

Because we’re talking about taking the money that might have been used for infrastructure, schools and Medicare and handing it over to corporations who are under no obligation to invest in jobs or increase salaries.

Yep, we’re just supposed to trust them that lowering the corporate tax rate is going to mean more and better jobs. There’s actually no proof that this has ever worked but what the heck? Let’s just keep trying it without changing any parameters. And we’re not closing any loopholes. So, what we are really doing is permanently crippling the federal government from doing its job maintaining infrastructure and schools and Medicare for absolutely no ROI.

I challenge any Republican to find a quid pro quo in this tax reform package that says in effect, “we will give you this tax cut after we have proof that you have hired x workers at $$ over y period of time.” If you find it, please let me know.

What will happen instead is the state and local governments will need to pick up the tab for all the stuff that will be permanently underfunded. And it’s going to hammer the blue states hardest. Residents of New Jersey, California, New York and Massachusetts are going to be doubly screwed because they’re going to lose part or all of their SALT deductions and the value of their real estate is bound to fall. What will make them want to cough up the extra money for roads and schools and teachers? Sooner or later, we’ll all be like Alabama.

There is no reason why these wealthy and well connected people need to care about what happens to the rest of us. In fact, if anything, this tax reform package practically guarantees that they will just take the money and run.

Now is the time that we should ask ourselves if we should let them do that without any strings attached.

Lunch Tweet du Jour

Brace yourself, Conflucians. This one is about Susan Sarandon.

Check out The Guardian’s interview with Sarandon if you can stomach it.

The interview adds more evidence to a hypothesis I’ve been mulling over: a woman who voted for Trump or allowed him to win by spurning Hillary Clinton is *not* a feminist.

This article makes it clear that Sarandon’s problem with Hillary was not her politics. It was her gender. Susan doesn’t like feminists. They’re unpleasant and unlikeable.

Ok, stop laughing. She’s serious.

No, no do not protest. You can not allow Trump to win and call yourself a feminist. It’s not possible.


Tweets of the Week

The mini break is over. Time to get to work. But before I do, here are some of the incredible tweets I gathered over the last week. By themselves, they’re nothing. Altogether in a short period of time? You decide:


A twofer:

Yes, THAT John Dean:

I have a recent interest in Singapore.

We told you so:

But noooooo, WE were called racists for calling out his ties to the finance industry back in 2008.


And the best tweet of the week:


{{OMG, we’re doomed}}


One more that I forgot about. This isn’t a tweet. It’s from Greg Sargent’s PlumLine at WaPo. Markup is my own:


Damn, Spotify knows me too well. It’s spooky:


New tweets from Andy Slavitt sums up the Trump-Republican era:

Is THAT what Trump voters sent Donald to Washington to do? Because I’m having a hard time understanding how this Makes America Great Again.

And he sent Mark Mulvaney to the CFPB this morning when he was not authorized to do so.

The CFPB is practically the only thing that stands between you and the underhanded practices of bad companies who scam consumers with fees and fine print.

So, there’s that.

Would a Trump supporter care to tell us in the comments EXACTLY he/she expected from Trump? Because they’re not going to just piss off the liberals.

We ALL Knew

Regardless of the mainstreamed Nazis in Ohio just going about their regular hipster lives, it appears that Trump’s approval rating or Nielsen Rating is falling. Some of his supporters are having second thoughts. And that’s before they even knew what was in the Tax “Reform” Bill, otherwise known as the Donor Appreciation Bill. And net neutrality could be an even bigger deal next year. If Ajit Pai manages to pull this off for the telecoms, they’re going to owe the Republicans big time next year. Just think about that. Maybe Facebook bots will be on steroids and yours truly will be suddenly unattainable or will load soooooo slllllooooooowwwwly that you’ll have to go elsewhere for half assed snark.

I know, right? Scary isn’t it. Republicans have no sense of humor. Have you ever seen Trump or BillO or Rush laugh? They’re mutants. They can’t even appreciate their own self parody.

But it’s not like we didn’t see this coming. He told us what he was going to do and we heard from many professionals that he’s a man of very small understanding, a gigantic ego and zero self control.

No one was misled. It was just better than the alternative, that Democrat. Or Hillary, one of the most investigated politicians of all time. And what was it that brought her down? A private email server where she sent her private email. And why did she send her private email to a private server? It’s because the State department is antiquated in some ways and locked up in others, which made it difficult for her to access her private emails. Not State department official business. No, we are talking about her private emails where she swaps jokes with friends or talks about an episode of TV or consults with Sidney Blumenthal about something or occasionally sends some unclassified speech to work on at home.

We all knew what and who she was up against. We all knew he was an unprincipled, corrupt, ugly, unsympathetic orange, old man who didn’t have the slightest idea what his job entailed. He spent his entire campaign releasing the ids of his voters. They let their ignorant stereotyping, and macho aggression and irrational fear of black people, Muslim people and immigrants run around out of their mental dungeons to eat the better angels of their nature.

And really, it must have felt so liberating to just let all that fear and power madness and aggression out. Didn’t it. Exhilarating, right? Like having sex in the back seat of the car. You know you shouldn’t do it but at some point, you’re just going to go for it, to Hell what happens next.

But we all knew. We all knew he’d be bad for us. The signs were all there. The alt right was excited to see him willing and able to be their representative. We knew he liked to treat women like fleshy objects that made unnecessary movements with their mouths and uttered sounds. We knew he was mean, entitled and willing to incite violence against anyone who voiced a contrary opinion.

This crap about “letting him do what he came to Washington to do”, what is that all about?? What is it he was supposed to do? I mean, besides make everyone’s health care worse, separate families who were in the process of immigrating to the US, separating families who were already here, starting a playground fight with a crazy dictator, making us the laughing stock of the world by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, I could go on and on.

It was all staring us right in the face. And if you didn’t see anything that clued you in last year, then you need to pay more attention to everyone who is not Fox News or Facebook.

Here’s an example:

Yeah, that was the rest of us last year running around with our hair on fire looking at the train barreling down on us.

We all knew. Even the ones who voted for him.

The motivation behind dehumanization, misogyny and cruelty

Most ethical Americans were shocked by Donald Trump’s recent assertion that electing Roy Moore, an alleged pedophile and selective Constitutional law enforcer was better than electing a liberal Democrat.

I’m comfortable being a liberal Democrat. I’ve been a liberal Democrat since I was 18. Is it perfect? No. But being a liberal Democrat appeals to the rational scientist in me. During the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s said:

“Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else.”

That is a succinct summary of the scientific method. But the desire to do something for me is rooted in the motivation to live in a better world than the one I was born into, one where more people benefit from nature’s bounty over time.

That is probably what sets liberal Democrats apart from conservative Republicans- the motivation to live in a more bountiful world with happier people, not one that is free from stress or conflict. Perfection is not attainable. And there is more virtue in the act of overcoming evil than by eliminating it.

Ok, enough of my personal philosophy. I’m sure that many liberal Democrats approach their politics in many different ways.

But what Trump was implying the other day was that it’s preferable to vote for a child molester than a Democrat. That in someway, being a Democrat is worse than undressing a 14 year old and forcing her to touch you. We’re not talking about show and tell among pre-pubescent. We’re talking about a 30 year old man taking advantage of a 14 year old girl for his own sexual pleasure.

That’s better than being a Democrat?

What exactly is it they think Democrats are anyway? I know we’ve been the subject of smear campaigns and Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones. But what is it they think we’re going to do with all that power if we get it?

One of the Republicans (can’t remember which one) supporting Moore insists that we want to open the borders, confiscate guns and have abortion on demand. I’m a feminist and a liberal Democrat and pro-choice, the trifecta, and even I don’t believe in these things as they are laid out here, without restraint or regulation or not in accordance with the constitution.

Let’s take abortion for example. I don’t believe abortion is acceptable after the point of viability unless there is a medical reason to have one. I’m sorry, I just don’t. It’s my “screaming infant at the side of the road test”. If a child can be born alive and breathing and able to cry, then aborting it would be equivalent to abandoning an infant at the side of the road. Decent people don’t do such things. So, no, if you wait too long, like 22-24 weeks, you shouldn’t be able to get an abortion. Let a committee of experts make that call like they do in Scandinavian countries, the most women friendly countries in the world, and save abortions after 22 weeks for fetuses that are severely deformed or a female that is in danger of serious health consequences and don’t make it an ordeal for them.

I digress again.

My point is that for many liberals, our positions have some logical consistency behind them. That applies to gun violence (domestic violence perpetrators shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. And if they’ve attempted to strangle their victims in the past, they REALLY shouldn’t get one). We shouldn’t let a lot of people into our country. Let’s start with curbing the number of H1B visas for IT and Research. They are depressing wages and killing the futures of American sciencists. If you absolutely need someone from China or India and they are that valuable to your bottom line, then give them a fucking green card. Don’t make their lives miserable.

I digress again. {{sigh}}

My point, and I was getting to it, is that there is something about liberal Democrats that has nothing to do with our politics that Republicans are very afraid of. It’s our humanity. The minute they see that what we stand for are all these people who want opportunities to share the bounty, they find us a threat to their own bottom line.

It explains a lot, especially sexual harassment in the workplace. If you’re a guy raised yo expect to achieve certain career goals and you have to compete, it’s a good idea to eliminate as many rivals as you can on the way to the corner office. Harassing your female colleagues has tremendous short term potential because victims, up to 80% of them, leave the workplace within 2 years. In workplaces where there are strictly enforceable anti harrassment rules, getting rid of female competitors takes the form of implicit bias. Everyone knows that women aren’t as smart as men, are less capable, not as ambitious. Or if ambitious, unpleasant to work with or not aggressive enough or <fill in the blank>. They get talked over during meetings, their projects are reassigned to men, they don’t get promotions. Over time, it takes its toll.

The purpose of cruelty, misogyny and dehumanization is discussed at length in this brilliant essay in The New Yorker. There is an audio link to it if you’re busy cooking turkey and need something to listen to. But basically what Donald Trump was saying to Alabama was this: those liberal Democrats are human beings representing other human beings and they’re going to take something away from you.

The problem with that scenario is that most Alabamans don’t have anything to take. They live in a very poor state where the remnants of white antebellum culture persist. That is the fruit of the English Cavalier and Indentured Servants culture. (Albion’s Seeds is a pretty good book. Yes, I actually read all my recommendations.) It’s outlived it’s usefulness in this century and this Democracy. But it lingers in Alabama where the remnants of the slaveowners force the poor and deprived to compete against each other for artificially scarce resources. And why is that? It’s because if a regular rank and file Alabaman starts identifying with the out groups, the plantation owner’s stuff is at risk.

This is the message that Donald is sending. Don’t vote for Doug Jones because then all the stuff my class is sitting on to the detriment of everyone else, poor school children, sick people, working class people living pay check to pay check, will have a huge spotlight directed at it and Donald Trump doesn’t want to have to share with those people in terms of higher wages etc.

So better a child molester than a decent anti-bully.

Got it.

Tweet du Jour

I’m still laughing.

(Hope the cat made it)

Happy Thanksgiving!🍁🦃🍽

What happens to CHIP if the Tax Reform package passes?

It’s been 2 months since CHIP expired, leaving 9 million children at risk of losing their health insurance.

Pennsylvania is struggling with their budget and Republican legislature that is reluctant to approve the state’s share of this program.

But what’s going to happen after the passage of the Tax Reform package when $1.5 trillion dollars gets yanked out of the federal treasury because corporations have to have their cuts so that they can indulge in rewarding their wealthiest investors and a frenzy of stock buybacks?

Oh, yeah, they’re not going to invest in jobs or raising salaries if there is no incentive in the package to MAKE them do that. Do you think they’re stupid? No. Do they think YOU’RE stupid? Yes. Absolutely.

So, about 172,000 Pennsylvania children are going to be losing their insurance soon. Very soon. It’s an emergency. Speaking of emergencies, how would you like to be a working class parent barely able to afford CHIP who now has to pay out of pocket for an emergency room visit? Well, for those of us who can imagine what that’s like, we are horrified by the prospect.

So, what’s going to happen if the Tax Reform package passes before CHIP is reauthorized? Will there be any chance that it will be reauthorized?

Or will Republicans point to the budget and scream “We can’t afford it!!!”

I’m betting the cynical handwringing will commence in earnest.

We should judge our moral authority as a country by the way we treat our children. By that measure, we are deadbeats and other nations should avoid us.