Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday Night

Tomorrow is...not Tuesday!

Happy Hour Thread

enjoy

Trump Is Broke

Rich people are cheap. I have had some limited time with rich people, and holy hell are they are cheap (#notallrichpeople). But the Trump grift can only be understood by acknowledging that Trump is broke. Not precisely, of course, but broke in the sense that he lives paycheck to paycheck and at the mercy of creditors like most of the rest of us if at a grander if short-fingered scale.

President Donald Trump is using money donated to his reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay for his lawyers in the probe of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Federal Election Commission allows the use of private campaign funds to pay legal bills arising from being a candidate or elected official.

While previous presidential campaigns have used these funds to pay for routine legal matters such as ballot access disputes and compliance requirements, Trump would be the first U.S. president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds to cover the costs of responding to a criminal probe, said election law experts.

A World Without Ideology

Every policy has a purpose and ever policy has winners and at least relative (but probably absolute) losers. The fantasy of centrist technocracy is that there are "good" and "bad" policies even though this determination rarely hinges on any metric whatsoever. Eschew the vagaries of the "welfare function" and you eschew the concept of welfare itself.

Afternoon Thread

Rock on.

At Least William F. Buckley Could Fake Being Smart

Axis of Evil

North Korean lives matter, too, but since nobody cares... South Korean lives matter.

Unicorns

Free public college doesn't cost very much.

There's always money in the banana stand. We're the richest country in the universe (not really, but close enough). It's always about our priorities.

Morning Thread

Never a dull moment with this mal-administration. At least, now, we know what precipitated the tweet storm this weekend.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Crazy Times

Get your expert view elsewhere, but the Catalan government is trying to hold another independence referendum, and the national government, in Madrid, is not amused.

BARCELONA (Reuters) - More than 700 mayors from across Catalonia gathered in Barcelona on Saturday to confirm their support for a planned independence referendum that Madrid has declared illegal.

...

On Wednesday, Spanish prosecutors summoned for questioning more than 700 mayors who had said they would allow municipal spaces to be used for voting. If the mayors do not respond to the order, police should arrest them, the order said.

They're going after printing shops, hunting for ballot boxes, shutting down access to websites (I don't have a news source on this, but I've been told), etc.. it's actually... bad. What could have been a mostly pointless nonbinding referendum (pointless in large part because it would have failed) has become a genuine conflict, with the Spanish state engaging in actions which we tend to condemn in other countries.

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

I admit I don't know where all of this goes...

MANAFORT

His name almost, but not quite, movie villain scary.

Washington (CNN)US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.

The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.

Life comes at us fast.

WASHINGTON — Paul J. Manafort was in bed early one morning in July when federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his Virginia home. They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, set up secret offshore bank accounts. They even photographed the expensive suits in his closet.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, then followed the house search with a warning: His prosecutors told Mr. Manafort they planned to indict him, said two people close to the investigation.

Also from the first article:
The conversations between Manafort and Trump continued after the President took office, long after the FBI investigation into Manafort was publicly known, the sources told CNN. They went on until lawyers for the President and Manafort insisted that they stop, according to the sources.

Dumbest crooks on the planet.

And Again

Surviving the latest health care bullshit relies on Rand Paul being completely full of shit (good bet!), McCain deciding he'll get more attention for opposing than supporting (possibly!), and Collins and Murkowski not voting in favor of a worse bill than the one they just opposed. 3 out of 4 of those, anyway.

Afternoon Thread

enjoy

Spicey

My maybe controversial opinion is that while Trump is a uniquely horrible human being who is eroding certain important norms by grifting during his presidency instead of after, as respectable people do now, the Trump administration, as of yet, has not yet proven itself to be worse than the Bush administration (yet!). The people he surrounds himself seem to be a lot less likely to know which fork to use with the appetizer, and are maybe a bit more stupid, but they are no more craven than the people who populated the Bush administration.

As for Spicey being "rehabilitated" on the Emmys, well, Spicey was a not very important low level toady who just happened to be on the television so people know who he is. His earlier incarnation, Ari Fleischer, was and is a worse human being in every way, except maybe for the fork etiquette, and he was never ejected from polite society. Henry Kissinger is everybody's buddy. The Washington Post editorial page is full the worst Bushies/apologists for the worst of the Bush era.

Many people slept through the Bush administration. I'm not quite sure why that is. 9/11 is probably a big reason, but not the only one. Trump is very bad and the Trump administration is very bad, but a lot of bad came before them which was all perfectly normal. A lot of the people who are now conservative anti-Trumpers should be about 5000 places behind Spicey in the "return to polite society" line.
On the flip side, it has to be a bit heartening that some conservatives who used to be sort of MSNBC “villains” are now on your network trashing a Republican president.
One of the most amazing outcomes of the Trump administration is the number of neo-conservatives that are now my friends and I am aligned with. I found myself agreeing on a panel with Bill Kristol. I agree more with Jennifer Rubin, David Frum, and Max Boot than I do with some people on the far left. I am shocked at the way that Donald Trump has brought people together. [Laughs.]

Without going into the full details of the responsibility of each, the full horrors that these people unleashed on the world are far greater than anything the Trump administration has managed yet, and they've never stopped being people in good standing. That all is forgiven because Bill Kristol doesn't like Trump...

Shouldn't We All Just Put Our Disagreements Aside?

One annoying thing about DC is that good people (supposedly) are friends with bad people (certainly). I don't mean in the sense that, well, yes, sometimes we have to be polite to people at cocktail parties. I mean actual friendships with people who advocate for wars everywhere, for destroying the poor, and for gutting public education. People who deny the existence of racism and say things like "All Lives Matter" as if it is profound. People who work for the very worst politicians or worst publications or worst "think tanks" and who have spent their careers doing evil any way they can.

I don't get it.

Morning Thread

Another week and another attempt to deny millions health insurance coverage. Ho hum.

Here's Digby on this week's attempt.

Edited to add link.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Night

Tomorrow is...

Occasional Reminder

People disagree about stuff.

I don't know why this is a controversial concept in politics, the method by which we hopefully resolve some of our fundamental disagreements in a peaceful manner.

Where's The Profit

One weird thing missing from all the news about self-driving cars is... who is going to make money? The way to make money is to be first, best, and also have lots of patents. It seems like everybody is competing and/or partnering with each other. I get that there's a "even if you can't beat them you gotta join them" aspect to this, but when there are so many companies - both auto manufacturers and the various technology firms they partner with - claiming to be ready in about 3 years..um?

Sunday, Sunday

Gotta sleep in on Sunday.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday Night

It's alright.