The Trump administration dons a tinfoil hat
March 13, 2017 7:15 PM   Subscribe

A Washington Post Op-Ed today states: It’s hardly just coincidence that the Trump executive branch is rife with beliefs that are wholly disconnected from reality. The Congressional Budget Office today projected that 24 million Americans will lose health insurance in 10 years. And a late-breaking Politico scoop: the executive branch analysis forecast that 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade,.

Meanwhile, "[Customs & Border Patrol] has requested approval to ease its stringent hiring standards, which include background investigations and polygraph exams mandated by Congress in 2010 after the misconduct allegations came to light."

NYPost: Here’s President Trump’s report card after 50 days in office

Trump is headed back to Mar-a-Lago this weekend. He will host Chinese President Xi Jinping there the first weekend of April.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (2683 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've been gone and nearly without internet access for almost a week, why have you people fixed this yet? Damnit.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:25 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I can't wait to ask my lifelong Republican voting family members what they think of their plans to raise premiums for 64 year olds by 700%. Sadly they're probably in that camp who don't think it goes far enough to be called a blanket repeal and they're mad.
posted by msbutah at 7:27 PM on March 13 [16 favorites]


Just a reminder that while Trump might ignorantly affix his signature to this garbage fire, he probably can't even spell "health care reform," much less understand or care how it works. He's Grover Norquist's ideal warm body "with enough working digits to handle a pen," and maybe provide some welcome distractions.

The calculated cruelty of this legislation is 100% the brainchild of Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republican congressional leadership, and pass or fail they need to be held most responsible for it in 2018.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:28 PM on March 13 [61 favorites]


Well guys, we've made it through 50-something days of the greatest daily odds of nuclear annihilation since Reagan's first term and maybe since '62. Now we only need to keep it up for oh christ
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:31 PM on March 13 [85 favorites]


"and pass or fail they need to be held most responsible for it in 2018"

I've recently lost any conviction that we're going to make it to 2018.
posted by sutt at 7:31 PM on March 13 [21 favorites]


V.P. Pence showcases laments of "small businessman victim of Obamacare" who turns out to be another noted right-wing asshole.

Paging Joe the Plumber! Joe the Plumber to the white courtesy phone! Someone is stealing your bit!
posted by darkstar at 7:32 PM on March 13 [54 favorites]


"The American Wealthcare Act, in its majestic equality, allows the rich as well as the poor to save money on their capital gains taxes, to pay in cash for chemotherapy treatments, and to buy a private island far away from the diseased deplorables who voted for this shit thinking it wouldn't affect them or anyone care about." [fake]
posted by tonycpsu at 7:35 PM on March 13 [36 favorites]


So, looks like the Executive Branch re-org EO was a dud.
posted by rhizome at 7:35 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


People gave Grayson such shit for it, but their plan really is "If you get sick, die quickly."

Though not even he said "Oh, and give billionaires a massive tax cut while you're at it."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:36 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


My litmus test for taking things an easy day-at-a-time right now is:

[ x ] I did not die in a purging nuclear fire today.
posted by mrdaneri at 7:36 PM on March 13 [36 favorites]


This is all fucking fucked, and fucks the fuck out of all the fucks in fuckville, fucktown, fuckopolis, fuck city and fucked county.
posted by vrakatar at 7:36 PM on March 13 [124 favorites]


NYPost: Here’s President Trump’s report card after 50 days in office

Well that's some evidence-free Kellyanne grade bullshit:

On Subject No. 2, whether he is delivering results, Trump gets a B. From the moment of the election, he eyed low-hanging fruit he could pick through executive orders, which he issued right out of the gate. Those changes already show impressive gains.

[citation needed]
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:38 PM on March 13 [21 favorites]


It really is.
posted by rhizome at 7:38 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Guys I am unable to be witty or articulate regarding healthcare ragnarock, so I went on twitter and responded to Paul Ryan by calling him a shitbagel. It's not much but it's all I have to give today.
posted by supercrayon at 7:39 PM on March 13 [99 favorites]


A little context for the Jinping visit:
China, unusually due to the handing of names in PRC trademark law, provisionally grants Trump 38 trademarks on his surname.

"Ethics lawyers across the political spectrum say that if Trump receives any special treatment in securing trademark rights, it would violate the US constitution, which bans public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless approved by Congress. Concerns about potential conflicts of interest are particularly sharp in China, where the courts and bureaucracy are designed to reflect the will of the ruling Communist party.
Dan Plane, a director at Simone IP Services, a Hong Kong intellectual property consultancy, said he had never seen so many applications approved so expeditiously.
“For all these marks to sail through so quickly and cleanly, with no similar marks, no identical marks, no issues with specifications – boy, it’s weird,” he said."


Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner make $400 million as a Chinese company buy a large stake in 666 Fifth Avenue


"The planned $4-billion transaction includes terms that some real estate experts consider unusually favorable for the Kushners. It provides them with both a sizable cash payout from Anbang Insurance Group for a property that has struggled financially and an equity stake in a new partnership.

[...]

Also at issue: as-of-yet undisclosed lenders who are financing the project and the forgiveness of a portion of a $250 million loan which will allow the debt to be cleared for one-fifth of its value."
Obviously both articles feature unhappy ethics lawyers, because of course. Do I think anything will happen? No. Really, it's impressive to me how fast my trust in institutions can erode.
posted by jaduncan at 7:39 PM on March 13 [69 favorites]


Report cards are not a thing with value in this situation. Our President had to be shipped off to military school, it's not something with power.
posted by rhizome at 7:39 PM on March 13


Someone proposed that the best name for the health care thing is the Republican Insurance Program or R.I.P. for short. That may be a keeper.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:42 PM on March 13 [153 favorites]


This is all fucking fucked, and fucks the fuck out of all the fucks in fuckville, fucktown, fuckopolis, fuck city and fucked county.

Why don't you tell us how you really feel, vrakatar?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:43 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Breitbart front page attacking Paul Ryan for stripping health insurance from 24M people, using CBO numbers.

I really don't understand the rhetoric from the far right on this, some groups hate Trumpcare for not being full repeal, but they're also using tactics from the left citing the number of uninsured? What?
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:45 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


You have to look at it from a white nationalist perspective. Of those 24M people, most of them will be white. They wanted health care taken away from black and brown people only--white people should get better and cheaper health care.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:47 PM on March 13 [56 favorites]


I really don't understand the rhetoric from the far right on this, some groups hate Trumpcare for not being full repeal, but they're also using tactics from the left citing the number of uninsured? What?

The number is too low for them.
posted by jferg at 7:48 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I really don't understand the rhetoric from the far right on this, some groups hate Trumpcare for not being full repeal, but they're also using tactics from the left citing the number of uninsured? What?

Right wing populism is often economically socialist. After all, if it wasn't for all the brown people taking benefits, we could look after God's own real/white Americans.* That isn't the bit that surprises me, it's more the fact that either Bannon doesn't like the healthcare bill or Breitbart is willing to smack Bannon's administration around.

* not my argument or something I agree with, obviously.
posted by jaduncan at 7:49 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


[Friendly reminder, please don't use the edit function to add or change content. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:50 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


It's not about the bill. It's about attacking Ryan, who is not One Of Them and won't let the Louie Gohmerts of the world dictate legislation in full.
posted by delfin at 7:50 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Ok I reached deep and also called Steve King a racist fuck-knuckle. Now I really am tapped. That's all I got.
posted by supercrayon at 7:52 PM on March 13 [20 favorites]


At this point, I cannot see any way that TrumpCare/R.I.P. gets passed through both houses of Congress.

Of course, my utter shock on election night last November is a painful reminder that there are still more things in heaven and earthly politics than are dreamt of in my philosophy, so...
posted by darkstar at 7:53 PM on March 13 [13 favorites]


There was a question in the last thread about whether the executive order on reorganizing the executive branch happened. It did. But it's mostly an order that says there should be a plan in the future.

The best part is this section:
(b) The Director shall publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the executive branch and shall consider the suggestions when formulating the proposed plan described in subsection (c) of this section.
In other words, we all get to make suggestions for how the executive branch should be improved, and the OMB Director "shall" consider them. I can think of a few suggestions involving the guy at the top of said branch. Maybe we can all suggest cutting costs by not jetting off to Florida every other weekend and divesting himself of Trump Tower so we don't have to pay to secure it. Or docking Spicey's pay every time he lies. I'm sure there are all sorts of other great suggestions we can provide. Can't wait.
posted by zachlipton at 7:53 PM on March 13 [35 favorites]


It's painfully clear that most Republicans don't look at 24,000,000 uninsured people as a disaster and a failure of basic civilization. They'd say those people are uninsured because of their own bad decisions and it's a good thing the uninsured are not pushing up the costs of the insured.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:54 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


Ok I reached deep and also called Steve King a racist fuck-knuckle. Now I really am tapped. That's all I got.

Are you asking for suggestions because I have plenty.
posted by futz at 7:56 PM on March 13 [13 favorites]


Someone proposed that the best name for the health care thing is the Republican Insurance Program or R.I.P. for short.

I really like tonycpsu's version -- "the American Wealthcare Act"
posted by msalt at 7:57 PM on March 13 [14 favorites]


That EO reorg of the Executive Branch is the same non-answer as the ISIS plan: "I have a great idea but you go first and we'll see whether we got different answers."

It's like every shitty group project at work or "correct the quiz of the person across from you" where the fakers and lamers scam a chance to take someone else's work as their own.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:00 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


Trump might ignorantly affix his signature to this garbage fire

If the current bill gets to his desk, he won't sign it. Well, I suppose if it were a choice between that and getting impeached, it's just possible he would. But if this bill is implemented, he's a one- term president.
posted by Coventry at 8:01 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


I hate to be pedantic, but shouldn't we call the healthcare bill by its official name, The World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017?
posted by TedW at 8:02 PM on March 13 [15 favorites]


If the current bill gets to his desk he won't sign it.

Uh, why the hell not? He's out whipping for it. He doesn't care/understand about the consequences, they want a "win" for "replacing" Obamacare with "something great", and Trump is incapable of coming up with anything on his own. So this is all he's got. He'll absolutely sign this, and literally everything else put on his desk.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:03 PM on March 13 [42 favorites]


If the current bill gets to his desk, he won't sign it.

I'm a pretty grim person these days but that made me crack a genuine smile
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:04 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


*rubs America's back*

Shhh. Shhh.

No, seriously, I don't know what the fuck else to do with this.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:04 PM on March 13 [48 favorites]


Please let TedW be kidding... Please let TedW be kidding... nope!
posted by mrdaneri at 8:05 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


A little context for the Jinping visit:


Given that the likely quid-pro-quo is that Trump not blunder us into a war with China, at Russia's behest, I'm okay with this.
posted by ocschwar at 8:05 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


The only reorg of the Executive Branch I am willing to consider is if they all resign and put an adult in charge. Or a ham sandwich. I bet there are some vintage ham sandwiches out there who are better at Twitter and have some good ideas.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:06 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


How about that one old Twinkie under a bell jar?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:07 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Given that the likely quid-pro-quo is that Trump not blunder us into a war with China, at Russia's behest, I'm okay with this.

The classic mob protection racket? Sure, but I understand that the US once held itself to higher standards.
posted by jaduncan at 8:09 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Want to know how much Breitbart is at war with Paul Ryan? They just published audio of Ryan's conference call from October 10 after the pussy tape came out (it's an archive link). Here's a direct link to the audio on YouTube. It links this to the healthcare bill and is a direct attack on Ryan's leadership:
“I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future,” Ryan says in the audio, obtained by Breitbart News and published here for the first time ever.

Now, Ryan—still the Speaker—has pushed now President Donald Trump to believe his healthcare legislation the American Health Care Act would repeal and replace Obamacare when it does not repeal Obamacare. Ryan has also, according to Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), misled President Trump into believing that Ryan’s bill can pass Congress. Paul and others believe the bill is dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate since a number of GOP senators have come out against it and there are serious questions about whether it can pass the House. This is the first major initiative that Trump has worked on with Ryan—and the fact it is going so poorly begs the question as to whether Speaker Ryan, the GOP’s failed 2012 vice presidential nominee who barely supported Trump at all in 2016, really understands how Trump won and how to win in general
Ryan is on tape telling his members to decide what is best for them, insofar as supporting Trump goes, but makes it clear he's not doing that, saying simply that he'll just focus on keeping Congress so as not to give "Hillary Clinton a blank check in Congress":
“His comments are not anywhere in keeping with our party’s principles and values,” Ryan said. “There are basically two things that I want to make really clear, as for myself as your Speaker. I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future. As you probably heard, I disinvited him from my first congressional district GOP event this weekend—a thing I do every year. And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days.”
This is war.
posted by zachlipton at 8:10 PM on March 13 [68 favorites]


If the current bill gets to his desk, he won't sign it

Of course he'll sign it! I can't believe you'd think otherwise.
posted by Justinian at 8:11 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


The fact that Breitbart is slamming Paul Ryan and the R.I.P. is pretty great, actually. I get to rub my Republican family's noses in something they won't immediately dismiss as "fake news"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:12 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I'm really confused about where Breitbart stands with respect to the Trump administration. Does this mean that Bannon is at war with Ryan, or has Breitbart somehow gone rogue?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:12 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Spicer says you can trust what the president says "if he's not joking."

Well, I guess it's now obligatory to find out whether the president is joking. I look forward to seeing the press respond to literally every statement coming out of the administration with the question, "earlier today, President Trump made remarks about [horrible thing]. Is that supposed to be some kind of joke? Does the President think [horrible thing] is funny?"
posted by dirge at 8:13 PM on March 13 [38 favorites]


I hate to be pedantic, but shouldn't we call the healthcare bill by its official name, The World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017?

I really hate to be pedantic, but that's a different bill, not the one that's advancing or that the CBO just scored. (The World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017 is also awful, but going nowhere.)

Anyway, war. How long has Breitbart been sitting on this tape waiting for just the right moment to attack? Probably since October 10th.
posted by zachlipton at 8:13 PM on March 13 [32 favorites]


I'm really confused about where Breitbart stands with respect to the Trump administration. Does this mean that Bannon is at war with Ryan, or has Breitbart somehow gone rogue?

Bannon has always been at war with Ryan. He hates establishment Rs as much as liberals.
posted by Talez at 8:14 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


Maybe you guys would go through less of these threads if you thought of your posts in terms of how many Iphones they cost
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:14 PM on March 13 [60 favorites]


Paging Joe the Plumber!

I was thinking about Joe the Plumber today for the first time in years when wondering how it is these white conservatives can watch everyones livelihoods being stripped away and sold out to the wealthy and still support these kind of policies. I remember Obama thoughtfully and sincerely trying to explain wealth distribution to the guy.

Like, what has to happen for you to see that it's a pyramid scheme? How much do you have to lose?

Now that we have elected the ultimate pyramid schemer, maybe we will find out.
posted by angrybear at 8:15 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Of course he'll sign it. Of all the business he's been in, Trump's never been in the business of delivering on his promises. He'll sign any piece of shit the republicans put in front of him, then go lie about it, what's in it, and what it does. You're talking about a man who would start the negotiation with "The sky is green" and move on to call pissing on a bed you once slept on a win, because he won't even keep the same fucking metaphor.
posted by mrgoat at 8:16 PM on March 13 [20 favorites]


That is brutal. Two independent analyses, one non-partisan, one Republican-controlled but staffed by professionals, reach the same conclusion. (Here's Krugman on these issues. )

One point I constantly make I feel is confirmed: Professional civil servants will provide a break on Trump for at least a couple years. There will be much damage but if enough energy, intelligence and luck are available for the midterms we might avoid catastrophe.

A second point, less happy, I expect to be confirmed: The press, including the "liberal" NYT and NPR, will respond by making the CBO and White House projections part of the "Democratic side" and go wherever they need to to get the "Republican side" and give it roughly equal weighting. The occasional comment in a news story referring to the CBO as non-partisan or something will be pointed to if you complain and reporters and editors will continue.

Put another way, the important point--which side is correct--will be communicated in code to those who know how to read between the lines while the misinformation will be given in plain-spoken, direct language.
posted by mark k at 8:16 PM on March 13 [46 favorites]


I was thinking about Joe the Plumber today for the first time in years when wondering how it is these white conservatives can watch everyones livelihoods being stripped away and sold out to the wealthy and still support these kind of policies. I remember Obama thoughtfully and sincerely trying to explain wealth distribution to the guy.

Like, what has to happen for you to see that it a pyramid scheme? How much do you have to lose?


Seriously? Have you been asleep for the past fifty years? So long as the black guy and the Mexican get fucked more they're 100% ok with it.
posted by Talez at 8:16 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


Serious Q: who doesn't Bannon hate? Does he have any positive goals?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:16 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


So it's looking like the playbook on this one is:
  • Bannon has Breitbart distance itself a little from him with a couple critical pieces
  • Breitbart puts the hit on AHCA
  • Breitbart pins the AHCA on Ryan
  • Breitbart paints it as Ryan undermining the Trump Administration deliberately with bad legislation
Makes me wonder if Bannon has someone more pliable in mind for Speaker and is trying to force a resignation, or just usual buck-passing/scapegoating.
posted by Freon at 8:16 PM on March 13 [19 favorites]


Serious Q: who doesn't Bannon hate? Does he have any positive goals?

His "positive" goal is the restoration of Father Knows Best America™. Male dominated, white dominated, capitalist dominated.
posted by Talez at 8:19 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Does this mean that Bannon is at war with Ryan, or has Breitbart somehow gone rogue?

I think that from the White House/Nixonian perspective, everybody is an enemy. Especially people who are nominally within your party but are not part of the inner circle. They're the ones who can hurt you the most. Ryan will take credit for anything Trump accomplishes legislatively and his criticisms are always going to be the most damaging.

But, the White House doesn't really seem to care about legislative accomplishments, so Ryan's position is weakened in that respect. And Ryan's going to be a convenient scapegoat whose failure explains the lack of Trumpian accomplishments. So the more Trump discredits Ryan, the less Ryan can hurt him, and the better Trump will end up looking. Also, they're basically just a lot of really nasty people; I honestly think they'd put the boot in for the hell of it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:23 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


wondering how it is these white conservatives can watch everyones livelihoods being stripped away and sold out to the wealthy and still support these kind of policies

Ronald Wright (often incorrectly attributed to Steinbeck):
"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."
posted by fedward at 8:24 PM on March 13 [75 favorites]


It's a clown car administration and Bozo in Chief is behind the wheel. Pray he doesn't drive us over a cliff...
posted by jim in austin at 8:24 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Whatever little expectations Priebus had for his unholy alliance with Bannon and Trump, I'm reasonably sure they didn't involve declaring war on Paul Ryan and demanding his ouster.
posted by zachlipton at 8:25 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


The American Wealthcare Act
...
Someone proposed that the best name for the health care thing is the Republican Insurance Program or R.I.P. for short
...
I cannot see any way that TrumpCare/R.I.P. gets passed
...
I really like tonycpsu's version -- "the American Wealthcare Act"


if only we find the right stupid name for it, liberals will finally win the politics forever
posted by indubitable at 8:27 PM on March 13 [57 favorites]


So just imagine for one brief shining moment that Paul Ryan attacks back by leaking the piss tape, which he's had all along.
posted by zachlipton at 8:31 PM on March 13 [16 favorites]


The Chinese stuff is telling because it suggests that Beijing's approach for the moment is to ride things out by buying the bastards off.

Again: the world is not short of corrupt family dictatorships. Other countries in the world have a playbook for corrupt family dictatorships. The US has a playbook for corrupt family dictatorships that need to be kept on side (see: Saudi Arabia). It's disgusting to watch from the inside, of course, but given current circumstances, other countries will act in their own best interests, especially ones where the institutions in charge plan on staying there for a while.
posted by holgate at 8:33 PM on March 13 [34 favorites]


if only we find the right stupid name for it, liberals will finally win the politics forever

Just like when we finally decide on the right cutesy nickname to avoid saying his name, Trump will resign and confess to being a Russian traitor.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:33 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


Father Knows Best? Fuck no. Bannon wants a postapocalyptic hellscape where he is king.
posted by emjaybee at 8:33 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."

This belief imho is the greatest and most poisonous lie ever foisted onto the American people, and its been dyed into the very fabric of our national story - which is no doubt deeply pleasing to the descendants of the gilded age and earlier plutocrats who invented it.
posted by azuresunday at 8:38 PM on March 13 [13 favorites]


Father Knows Best America™

Führer Knows Best America™, surely.
posted by jaduncan at 8:39 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


Serious Q: who doesn't Bannon hate? Does he have any positive goals?
posted by wenestvedt at 1:16 AM on March 14 [+] [!]


Nope. Imagine depression, anger, and a serious gin addiction mixed into a slurry. Filter it through a mesh composed of white nationalism, and a few shitty philosophy books, the kind most people give up after sophomore year.

Steve Bannon's rotten to the core. He's a monster, in the old sense of the word. Steve Bannon is a warning. Not just in the large sense of being careful who we elect to power, but in the small, day to day sense of being careful who we choose to be, and how we treat those around us. He practically radiates pain, both personal and in policy.

His stated goal is to destroy the "administrative state". Nothing in him is positive anymore. He's way too deep into breaking to ever build anything up again.
posted by mrgoat at 8:43 PM on March 13 [76 favorites]


White House.gov: Obamacare: Share Your Story

I love writing essays telling the WH how much I value compassionate legislation like the ACA. It's cathartic.
posted by OHenryPacey


I bet that was a twist they weren't expecting.
posted by chris24 at 8:44 PM on March 13 [21 favorites]


Man, that Jill Stein is doing a helluva job.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:48 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


Imagine depression, anger, and a serious gin addiction mixed into a slurry. Filter it through a mesh composed of white nationalism, and a few shitty philosophy books, the kind most people give up after sophomore year.

Steve Bannon's rotten to the core. He's a monster, in the old sense of the word. Steve Bannon is a warning. Not just in the large sense of being careful who we elect to power, but in the small, day to day sense of being careful who we choose to be, and how we treat those around us. He practically radiates pain, both personal and in policy.


Absolutely. I've flirted with some of the kinds of deeply negative, destructive tendencies Bannon is ruled by at a couple of points in my life, but came back from them. I imagine I'm not the only MeFite who's tangoed with depression and anger at times throughout my life (more so since Election Day, amirite?), and personally, I could do with a little less of the sauce.

Yet I, along with the many others among us who battle with these demons, don't just give up and let the hate take over completely. I don't want to say Bannon just chose to be weak and let it take over him; I don't think any of us will ever really know what caused the darkness to take him over completely. What saved me, I think, is a small underlying optimism that never completely died, coupled with a wonderful wife and two-year-old, and a couple of good, lifelong friends that remind me that yeah, there's still beauty, decency, and goodness in this world.

Were he not in such a position of dangerous power, I'd almost feel sorry for Bannon.
posted by CommonSense at 8:49 PM on March 13 [27 favorites]


"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."

I've long thought "socialism of idiots" a good phrase for people who aren't getting ahead and blame every external factor except the very rich: illegal immigrants, minorities or even EPA regulators aren't why more people than ever are billionaires and you aren't. But I don't use it because the actual "socialism of idiots" line referred to a more traditional anti-Semitism and I'm sensitive about anything that would co-opt the term for another purpose.

With Trump's rise it's looking like I may not need to worry. It's not co-opting; it works as originally intended and on many more levels.
posted by mark k at 8:51 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Does this mean that Bannon is at war with Ryan, or has Breitbart somehow gone rogue?

It indicates that Bannon wants full repeal, and that he thinks the best way to get Trump on-side is to communicate with him through Breitbart, rather than in-person.
posted by dirge at 8:53 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


I've been on a British reality show binge via YouTube lately and stumbled onto one called Country House Rescue. The show features a businesswoman who descends on decrepit aristocratic estates and attempts to save the hopelessly-up-their-own-ass lords and ladies from ruin. It's fascinating to watch as an American because I sense that these obliviously cruel Republicans aspire to that life - lazing around in a grand mansion supported by innumerable underpaid, underfed servants who get passed down with the estate to their heirs for eternity. And yet the owners in every episode are just laughably isolated, out of touch and seemingly quite under-educated despite their noble upbringing. It's a mystery to me why anyone would aspire to living in a castle that will inevitably be forgotten by the changing times and rot away while they become unstable hoarders.
posted by azuresunday at 8:54 PM on March 13 [30 favorites]


I was surprised today by how cheerful it made me to see employees in bright blue vests emblazoned with "Elections" collecting totes of ballots from the box at the library today. There's a municipal election in COS on April 4th, but through the glory of Colorado's all vote-by-mail elections, ballots were sent out on Friday. I'm enthusiastic about the democratic process and a little embarrassed by my optimism, because so much is so bleak right now, but I'll take my good omens where I can find them and it feels normal to have this election for city council.
posted by danielleh at 8:55 PM on March 13 [12 favorites]


This belief imho is the greatest and most poisonous lie ever foisted onto the American people

That interview with Angus Deaton has been bumping around my head for a few days: the idea that even redistributive giveaways to white America can be poison chalices. A while back I talked about people who live in remote areas in paid-off houses inherited from relatives, whose largest bill is property taxes, and that affects how they see government. They're stuck: nobody wants to buy their property; they can't afford to move; they can barely afford to live. There's a massive amount of tension in American culture -- more so, I think, than in most developed nations -- between continuity and radical transformation. It's perhaps the product of not really having cities without their being industrial cities. And into this you dump Steve Bannon, the oily preserved corpse of Italian Futurism, alongside Steve King, the ugly face of a belief in racial purity.

Elsewhere, Josh Marshall is teasing something out of the blue: "Remember, wld be terrible if we learned tens of millions in foreign cash had been brought into 2016 campaign ground operations." That would be a kind of Grand Unifying Timeline, if the arrival of Manafort and the Ukraine policy shift opened up a spigot to dirty cash laundered through pension payments. But, it's still just speculation.
posted by holgate at 8:56 PM on March 13 [34 favorites]


Stay tuned for the next episode of "Gin Blossom & Cheddar Glans go to the White House".
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 9:03 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Steve Bannon, the oily preserved corpse of Italian Futurism...
bravo.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:04 PM on March 13 [29 favorites]


I haven't posted a drawing in one of the threads recently, primarily because I was taking a mental health break from them.
But, I'm here along with a rendering of Trump on the golf course.
Please feel free to share, or download, or what have you.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 9:07 PM on March 13 [63 favorites]


So his tie is prehensile.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:11 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Trump on the Gold Course sent me straight to

What have they done to the Earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her,
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
Tied her with fences
And dragged her down. J. Morrison, I'm just saying how that hit me.
posted by Oyéah at 9:14 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


RE foreign money influence:

Given...

(a) how relatively easy it would be for a foreign national to launder money through a superPAC despite the illegality,

(b) the fact that one of Trump's superPACs was caught in a sting offering to do just that, and

(c) that Trump is a proven con artist with no moral compass...

...I think we can pretty much safely assume that Russia (and probably other foreign actors) backed a figurative dump truck full of money to the back door of Trump Tower at some point in the campaign. I've half expected the shoe to drop about this before now, honestly.
posted by darkstar at 9:26 PM on March 13 [20 favorites]


Want to know how much Breitbart is at war with Paul Ryan? They just published audio of Ryan's conference call from October 10 after the pussy tape came out (it's an archive link).

This makes me happy because it indicates that Bannon knows the AHCA is going to fail, and he's stepping on Paul Ryans head for leverage as he desperately tries to swim for shore.
posted by msalt at 9:31 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


[Bannon's] stated goal is to destroy the "administrative state"

The goal of any (wannabe) autocrat, whether on or behind the throne, is to first destroy every independent institution that can check their power. Republicans have been doing this for years (attacking the media, science, courts) imagining that they would all rule together unopposed as a unified party.

What they didn't realize was that the Republican Party itself is one of those independent institutions. And that once the checks and balances were gone, it was always going to be a no-holds barred fight to the death for power. Bloodless, coddled functionaries like Paul Ryan aren't gonna last 5 minutes against a vicious and instinctive nihilist such as Steve Bannon.
posted by msalt at 9:32 PM on March 13 [58 favorites]


darkstar: also

(d) given that the business of the Family Business is sluicing money from one shadowy entity to another to preserve liquidity with minimal accountability...
posted by holgate at 9:32 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


What's the opposite of burying the lede? Because this Vice piece here is doing that:
It struck me as normal, somehow, to watch my girlfriend enter an online sweepstakes that would help decide whether or not she would be able to afford to buy medicine. Only now, watching the Republican establishment dismantle the Affordable Care Act, has this struck me as cruel.

I don't remember the specifics of the promotion, but I remember that it was a monthly trivia contest run by an online cystic fibrosis pharmacy. Answer the questions right, and your name was entered to receive $500 toward your meds. I'd ask Katelin about it now, but she is dead.
posted by komara at 9:39 PM on March 13 [144 favorites]




So the provision that provided funds to people jobless or below poverty is being replaced with a tax cut, which doesn't help the poor at all. If you make min wage, you're good and screwed, correct? Not that states like Texas ever offered this provision anyway.
posted by Beholder at 9:46 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


- Uncle Sam, I'm afraid you are the sickest polity in the world. You have everything.
- You mean I have crony capitalism?
- Yes.
- Fascism?
- Yes.
- Pseudo-katechontic monarchy?
- Uh, a little bit, yes. You also have several societal dysfunctions that have just been discovered...in you.
- This sounds like bad news.
- Well, you'd think so, but all of your maladies are in perfect balance. Uh, if you have a moment, I can explain.
- Well...
- Here's the door to your body, see? And these are oversized novelty dystopias. That's totalitarian theocracy, that's an anarcho-capitalist wasteland, and this cute little cuddle-bug is nuclear armageddon. Here's what happens when they all try to get through the door at once: "Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo!" "Move it, chowderhead!" We call it "Three Stooges Syndrome."
- So what you're saying is, I'm indestructible
- Oh, no, no, in fact, even a slight breeze could-
- Indestructible....
posted by Iridic at 9:53 PM on March 13 [49 favorites]


Wow, that Vice piece.

In most of the developed world, chronic illness is treated as a manageable misfortune, because there's a standing social consensus that you have already been fucked over. (Whether that consensus would be supported if it required ongoing reauthorisation is another matter, but that's because we live in shitty times.)

In the US, chronic illness is the fucking Hunger Games. It exists around you, and you don't notice it until you're part of it. Your insurer changes its formulary (perhaps because of lucrative kickbacks involving PMOs and pharma companies) and the stuff that worked for you either requires special pleading or is no longer available. Pharmacy discount schemes stop working because the "usual and customary" value has been hiked by 500% because too many people used the discount scheme. You find local support groups and arrange swap meets to see if you can trade off the stuff your insurer will pay for with the stuff you actually rely on. You buy supplies on eBay from Florida and think about the retirees and intermediaries who create that particular grey economy.

Living with chronic illness is already a second job. America gives you a third job on top of it. People accept this as normal because they can't imagine an alternative, and why should they think otherwise? This is not normal.
posted by holgate at 9:56 PM on March 13 [162 favorites]


"Uh, why the hell not? He's out whipping for it. He doesn't care/understand about the consequences, they want a "win" for "replacing" Obamacare with "something great", and Trump is incapable of coming up with anything on his own. So this is all he's got. He'll absolutely sign this, and literally everything else put on his desk."

The single philosophy of Trumpism is "Got mine, fuck you." To assess his feelings on policy, does he still got his? If so, fuck you.
posted by klangklangston at 10:07 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


Whatever little expectations Priebus had for his unholy alliance with Bannon and Trump, I'm reasonably sure they didn't involve declaring war on Paul Ryan and demanding his ouster.

He knew they were snakes when he took them in.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 10:08 PM on March 13 [13 favorites]


Hamilton church volunteers denied entry to U.S. so they wouldn't 'steal American jobs'

On this occasion, however, the group was told that, as foreigners, they would be taking American jobs, and that there was no pressing need for relief work anyway this long after Hurricane Sandy hit the region in 2012.

"Hurricane Sandy happened five years ago ... but the unfortunate thing for people who live in poverty is that they don't get over these things as quickly as others," he explained.

"They obviously can't afford to remove the barriers that are in front of them on their own, so they rely on volunteers coming. And that's all we were trying to do, go help others."

Kaper-Dale agreed, saying it takes an average of seven years to get an impoverished family back on its feet.

"We still have people living in their yards and in trailers while their houses are not completed because of financial shortcomings and the distribution of funding after Hurricane Sandy. Honestly, it just takes a long time to rebuild."


SAD! Seriously sad. This what sad actually means you fucking piece of shit US president. 5 plus years after Hurricane Sandy our friends to the north are still coming to the US to help people. Think about that.

And now their volunteer work is somehow stealing American jobs. Ooookay. On the surface this appears petty and/or brainless.
posted by futz at 10:17 PM on March 13 [86 favorites]


On the surface this appears petty and/or brainless.

CBP = Customarily Brainless and Petty.
posted by holgate at 10:22 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]



I really don't understand the rhetoric from the far right on this, some groups hate Trumpcare for not being full repeal, but they're also using tactics from the left citing the number of uninsured? What?


Breitbart is apparently being gutted of ad dollars by Sleeping Giants and related initiatives - this may be part of the rumored attempt to grovel their way back via less transparently fascistic clickbait.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:22 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


- Good news everybody! No more of those terrible Government Death Panels!
- Oh, well that's a relief!
- Isn't it? We're privatizing the whole thing!
- Wut?
- Your shiny new, totally not government so it's totally Ok, Mom, America, and Capitalism Death Panel (tm), now consists of your boss who hates you, that guy in HR who's always going on about "personal responsibility," and a late-middle-age diabetic in an insurance company cubicle in South Dakota who will lose his job and insulin supply if he lets you buy so much as a multivitamin.
- Umm... You know, it wasn't so much the "government" part of the death panels that I had a problem with. Mostly the "death" part, actually. And I think I'm going to miss the "imaginary" aspect.
- Not sure I like your attitude. You need to accept personal responsibility for maintaining a healthy relationship with your Death Panel. I may mention this to your boss.
posted by dirge at 10:40 PM on March 13 [41 favorites]


this may be part of the rumored attempt to grovel their way back via less transparently fascistic clickbait.

Another take is that it was written specifically to be printed out and placed on the desk of the Oval Office. Ordinarily, the Breitbart-Ryan flareup could be filed under "and nothing of value was lost", but I'm more inclined to agree with msalt that Actual President Bannon wants to break and remake the Congressional GOP leadership in the image of the family dictatorship, banking on there being enough true believers in the caucus to prevent that being a trigger for impeachment.
posted by holgate at 10:41 PM on March 13 [17 favorites]


If you've never seen The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, go for it.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:47 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Yeah if Breitbart was looking to show a little bit more legitimacy, they wouldn't be doing it by demanding the head of Paul Ryan. It's worth at least skimming the actual article. It's a very serious attack that ties together Ryan's October comments, the healthcare plan, and White House dissatisfaction with Ryan's leadership. And it ends by outright telling the base basically "if this is how Ryan is handling healthcare, just think how badly he'll screw up the other good stuff you want."

That's not an attempt to get ad dollars back by acting a little more responsible. It's an attempt to complete the total takeover of the GOP. If Bannon's appearance at CPAC was the shot that signified this is the party of Trump now, this is the chaser to make good on that.
posted by zachlipton at 10:57 PM on March 13 [38 favorites]




(I'm so not going to visit Breitbart, but the screencap excerpts suggest that it was written and edited to be readable by the White House occupant in a prose style he understands and can consume. That's the frame we're working with now.)
posted by holgate at 11:03 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


!!!!!!:

Living with chronic illness is already a second job. America gives you a third job on top of it. People accept this as normal because they can't imagine an alternative, and why should they think otherwise?

Omfg yes. It is so not normal and I am not trying to be a smarty-pants at all but when you know that this is not normal it can be more soul crushing. I think most people do realize this. Maybe I am wrong about that and folks are conditioned to the ever increasing hoops that they have to trip over and stumble through? There is no jumping through a hoop when you are disabled (generalization).

Speaking to my insurance company and trying to get a straight answer after 5 different service reps have given you 5 different answers and asking each one to document our conversation only to find out they didn't and then having to start from the beginning every time you call is exhausting. When I was feisty and full of indignation/anger/determination (but oh so polite on the calls) I always ended up getting what I requested.

The ultimate end result for me was total burnout. I do have insurance in a red state. I should use it before I lose it.

I could write a novel about this. That will have to wait until I can get better pain management so that I can get to physical therapy, eye doctor, dentist, mammogram, various other health screenings and procedures.

Yo mods, if this is a derail please send the bees.
posted by futz at 11:11 PM on March 13 [50 favorites]


The insurance industry already has death panels and has had them for basically forever. They are called actuaries. Why has no one every talked about this before? FFS. So we have all decided that it is ok for some nameless faceless entity, employed by some for profit company to have these death panels, but not ok for the government that we set up together, voted for etc. to consider the same things. Yeah. Sounds about right.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 11:16 PM on March 13 [43 favorites]


Has anybody got an approximate House Republican whip count on Paul Ryan crazy vs. Rand Paul crazy vs. Steve King crazy vs. idiosyncratic other crazy? I assume "not obviously crazy" has some derisory residual constituency?

If Bannon, and/or whoever, managed to depose Ryan, is there anything left that can be plausibly described as a "Republican Caucus?" Is there any candidate with support from more than a third of the caucus to replace Ryan as Speaker? They don't seem to be able to agree on anything else.
posted by dirge at 11:19 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


This Breitbart as POTUS memo delivery thing is just um....yeah
posted by Burhanistan at 11:36 PM on March 13


(I believe it..just too weird to not be true.)
posted by Burhanistan at 11:36 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


If Bannon, and/or whoever, managed to depose Ryan, is there anything left that can be plausibly described as a "Republican Caucus?"

That's a fair question. There's the "Freedom Caucus", which is such a fucking sad treehouse gang that it doesn't disclose its leadership, though talking sphincter Mark Meadows (who represents an Appalachian bit of NC ravaged by meth and opioids) is treated as a leader. But as is sometimes mentioned by pundits, you don't have to be a member of the House to be elected as Speaker, and I'm sure the White House would like the House majority to have no autonomy whatsoever.
posted by holgate at 11:57 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


It would be a rather amusing bit of karma for Ryan's monster to kill him first. I feel like both sides ferociously briefing against each other would be rather better for killing productivity, though.
posted by jaduncan at 12:10 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


somewhere in america tonight, john boehner pours himself a tall glass of wine and drinks to the "health" of the republican party.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:16 AM on March 14 [27 favorites]


elsewhere in america tonight, newt gingrich emerges from his bunker, sees his shadow, and thinks to himself "maybe they'll make me speaker again."
posted by zachlipton at 12:24 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


The single philosophy of Trumpism is "Got mine, fuck you." To assess his feelings on policy, does he still got his? If so, fuck you.

That is what the concept of the 'American dream' has always translated to for me. One hand shaking, the other in their back pocket. It's implicit that someone is doing worse than you are.
posted by mannequito at 12:33 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Justice Department asks for more time after Trump fails to provide wiretap evidence
The Department of Justice said on Monday it had requested more time to respond to a request from lawmakers on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee for evidence about President Donald Trump’s allegation that then-President Barack Obama wiretapped him.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:51 AM on March 14 [17 favorites]


Have you seen the UN's sustainable development goals? The US is going to fail the big ones like zero hunger, health and well being for everyone, decent work for decent pay. I don't even.
posted by b33j at 2:06 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


That Breitbart piece is something else. Reads like something out of North Korea. Nice swipe at Spicer, also.

"House GOP leadership offices—particularly Ryan’s and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s team—have not responded to requests for comment on the possibility the bill may be pulled altogether. But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who is working internally as hard as he can to help Ryan on this front regardless of the impact on Trump along with a handful of other White House aides who came from the Republican National Committee and are not Trump loyalists, told Breitbart News that the idea the bill may be pulled is “false.”

But in conversations Breitbart News has had with no fewer than 15 other White House aides, including many on the press team, it is clear that the President and the senior Trump administration team are not happy with this bill’s lack of conservative support. The President and his team were assured by Ryan that conservatives would, in fact, be on board with it in the beginning, something that has turned out to not be accurate. Interestingly, much more so than Ryan and his House GOP leadership team, the White House is much more open to significant negotiation on the details in a healthcare bill—including the structure, vehicle, timeline and more. Several senior White House aides confirmed to Breitbart News that while the administration is publicly touting the bill as the party line, the President is much more willing to wheel and deal on this front than Ryan loyalists on his team would have anyone believe."
posted by AwkwardPause at 3:20 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


the President is much more willing to wheel and deal

Hey, remember when flip-flopping was bad?
posted by Etrigan at 3:53 AM on March 14 [19 favorites]


Wow, that CBO report is terrifying. I knew that the bill was terrible but I didn't even imagine that it could be that bad.
posted by octothorpe at 4:00 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


One silver lining from the last 50 days - my wife (MeFi's Own banjo_and_the_pork) was always woke, but rather than feel frustrated or filled with despair, she's going all in. In the past 50, she's marched in Washington and Boston, collected toys and clothes for Syrian refugees, attended and helped run a local Democrat caucus, speaking at city-wide meetings, and so on. Our current City Council has been dicking around trying to bury a Sanctuary City proposal and that was the final straw.

So on International Women's Day, she announced her candidacy for City Council here in the Witch City.

I don't think she's an outlier in this, the evil stupidity of the current administration has pushed a lot of competent, intelligent people into action. Hopefully the momentum will continue to build over the next two years.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:09 AM on March 14 [246 favorites]


I hereby suggest that ALL americans should lose their medical insurance, and have it replaced with, you know, actual health care.
posted by MikeWarot at 5:06 AM on March 14 [70 favorites]


People gave Grayson such shit for it, but their plan really is "If you get sick, die quickly."

Republicans howled about Grayson's "incivility" precisely because he had them dead to rights. And the media retreated to their fainting couches because Grayson's framing makes it hard to pretend Republicans are acting in good faith for the sake of "balance. Dismissing the statement out of hand spared them the hard work of analyzing Republican policy to see if Grayson's statement was actually true. If only the media had remembered Adlai Stevenson's quip that Democrats would agree to stop telling the truth about Republicans when they stopped lying about Democrats.
posted by Gelatin at 5:12 AM on March 14 [32 favorites]


Justice Department asks for more time after Trump fails to provide wiretap evidence

It's time for the Press and our Senators and Representatives to stop dancing around the clear truth here.

Donald Trump is lying to you, me, them. Everybody. All the time. Now, IMNSHO, it's a violation of US Law, 18 USC 1001, and others, but that's secondary.

It's time for the Press, and our Elected Officials to clearly call Donald Trump's lies what they are, "LIES", and Donald Trump a "LIAR".
posted by mikelieman at 5:24 AM on March 14 [13 favorites]


It's time for the Press, and our Elected Officials to clearly call Donald Trump's lies what they are, "LIES", and Donald Trump a "LIAR".

We've been over this. Using the word "liar" presumes intent. Using the word "liar" without definitive proof is partisan. No news organization in their right mind is going to use the word liar unless they have SCROTUS on tape boasting about misleading the American people.
posted by Talez at 5:32 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Using the word "liar" presumes intent.

So what's the problem there?
posted by thelonius at 5:35 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Using the word "liar" presumes intent.

So what's the problem there?
posted by thelonius at 5:35 AM on March 14 [+] [!]


Funnily enough, I think the implication is that he can't tell the difference between lies and his pretty little thoughts.

Our president. Such a dreamer.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:39 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


npr doing a puff piece on kelly anne conjob. if this was 1935 they'd be doing a soft profile on Goebbels
posted by localhuman at 5:39 AM on March 14 [42 favorites]


A second point, less happy, I expect to be confirmed: The press, including the "liberal" NYT and NPR, will respond by making the CBO and White House projections part of the "Democratic side" and go wherever they need to to get the "Republican side" and give it roughly equal weighting. The occasional comment in a news story referring to the CBO as non-partisan or something will be pointed to if you complain and reporters and editors will continue.

I haven't been pleased with NPR's political coverage at all, but to their credit, they had Claire McCaskill on this morning, who was coherent and effective in her criticism of Trumpcare. (Okay, the NPR interviewer did bring up the claim that the Ryan bill reduces the deficit, like anyone should care, but she countered that it does so by kicking people off of Medicaid, which may have been the intent, so I'll consider that a wash.)

NPR also threw a little shade by pointing out that their invitation to Republicans to have someone on to defend the bill remains open.
posted by Gelatin at 5:42 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


Serious Q: who doesn't Bannon hate? Does he have any positive goals?

His "positive" goal is the restoration of Father Knows Best America™. Male dominated, white dominated, capitalist dominated.


Only much, much less benevolent than the TV show. More like this one.
posted by Gelatin at 5:44 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Just rewatched "All the President's Men" for maybe the 20th time. The end, where it's all teletype news scrolling across the screen--with who was convicted for what, their sentences, Nixon's denial even when caught red-handed, and the new of his resignation three days later--made me so emotional in a way it never has before. Probably my soft liberal heart filling with hope of a live replay of that scene for modern times.

Will the 21st century Woodward and Bernstein please stand up??
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 5:44 AM on March 14 [21 favorites]


He's a bullshitter - liars are aware of the truth value of their statements, bullshitters don't care.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:49 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


Using the word "liar" without definitive proof is partisan.

Trump has had ample opportunity to disprove the hypothesis that he's lying about Obama wiretapping him during the campaign.

Trump has failed to provide the extraordinary proof required to substantiate his extraordinary claims.

So, there's no reason NOT TO call his claims lies, and him a liar.
posted by mikelieman at 5:49 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


We asked for Woodward & Bernstein, and all we got was this stupid wikileaks thing
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:49 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


More to the point. I strongly disagree that objective facts, "Donald Trump Lied About Obama Tapping His Phones" are partisan.
posted by mikelieman at 5:50 AM on March 14 [20 favorites]


Like many people, sometimes I continue a conversation in my head and then forget that the other person wasn't following along, and this happened to me after my husband and I had been discussing the healthcare bill ("health" "care") and how the Republicans don't want to cover prenatal care or birth control but also don't want anyone to have abortions and so what the hell are we all supposed to do? This conversation kept going in my head for a few hours which is why, seemingly out of the blue, I announced to my husband "I figured it out: gay sex".
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:50 AM on March 14 [69 favorites]


I *WILL* consider that he's mentally incompetent and therefore, without intent.

I welcome proof of this alternative hypothesis.
posted by mikelieman at 5:51 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


The Incredible Cruelty of Trumpcare
"If Republicans wanted to cut taxes on the rich, they could cut taxes on the rich (by zeroing out Obamacares taxes, or cutting other taxes or both) and distribute trillions of dollars in revenue up the income scale without creating a vast humanitarian crisis as collateral damage. The 14 million people who will lose their insurance immediately under AHCA, and the 24 million who will be uninsured 10 years from now as a consequence of it, are necessary not so that Republicans can cut taxes per se, but so that the tax cuts won’t expire automatically. These millions of uninsured serve only to make the giant GOP tax cut for the rich permanent, as opposed to merely 10 years long.

The irony is that for all the GOP’s vindictiveness, the collateral damage would be born disproportionately by Trump’s own supporters."
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:53 AM on March 14 [46 favorites]


Answer the questions right, and your name was entered to receive $500 toward your meds.

Yeah, ugh, these kinds of gimmicky promotions only underscore and make it obvious how unfair and dehumanizing our health care system and attitudes toward delivering it are; it's like throwing one of those tacky, huckstery fire sales for vital lifesaving medical services. It puts health care in that same sort of crass consumer marketing space as ginsu knife sets and snuggies, which undermines the idea that we really take everyone's health and well-being seriously as a public health issue. It seems to reflect an inherently undignified and cynically commercial way of thinking about human life and access to medical services. I'm sure the organizers' motives behind these sorts of campaigns are often genuinely good and rooted in a laudable impulse to expand healthcare access, but the way our culture markets everything kind of makes you picture juggling clowns and carnival barkers, like it's all just some lighthearted game or entertainment.

We've been over this. Using the word "liar" presumes intent.

I think with Trump there is often an intent to lie, he just doesn't let his conscious mind attend to that, he doesn't reflect on what he's doing enough that he ever owns his intentions, he just does whatever instinctually feels like the right tactical move in the situation to get bargaining leverage, without much regard for the context. I bet he's developed a cognitive habit of dissociation from his own lying and deception, as a survival tactic, to make it possible to lie more effectively without any guilt or moral compunction. I mean, if you pick up a habit of thought that astutely avoids reflecting on what you're doing when you lie, so you can do it more easily, in a way, it's never your specific intent in the moment to lie, but there is a sort of general contempt for truth imputed in each individual act of deception and so I think in that sense, it's still fair to call it lying. In his own moral reality, metaphorically, Trump just buys big storage warehouses full of lies in bulk ahead of time, instead of paying for them one at a time like more honest people do.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:53 AM on March 14 [17 favorites]


"I figured it out: gay sex".

"We're doing the only thing we can do. If our government is just gonna let anybody into our time who wants to come, then we have to take matters into our own hands. We're trying to turn everyone gay so that there are no future humans! Present-day America Number One!"
posted by J.K. Seazer at 5:55 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


"I figured it out: gay sex"

Is that you Chuck Tingle?
posted by peeedro at 5:56 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


SacBee: Texas men would face fine for masturbating, need rectal exam for Viagra under proposed law
Farrar's bill penalizes masturbatory emissions outside a vagina or a medical facility, describing them as "an act against an unborn child" that fails to preserve "the sanctity of life."
posted by Room 641-A at 6:09 AM on March 14 [64 favorites]


He's a bullshitter - liars are aware of the truth value of their statements, bullshitters don't care.

It's worse than that -- a bullshitter knows he's lying, and he knows that you know he's lying, but neither of you really cares, because the bullshit is a good story or you agree with the thesis underlying the bullshit or you just like the guy who's telling you this bullshit. Or, sometimes, because you desperately want to believe the bullshit.
posted by Etrigan at 6:14 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


My guess is Bannon knows healthcare reform is going down in flames and they need a scapegoat. Luckily they have pretty boy establishment Paul Ryan to feed to the wolves.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:16 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


SacBee: Texas men would face fine for masturbating, need rectal exam for Viagra under proposed law

A year or two ago, I would immediately have thought "gee, obviously that's a 'law' intended to satirize the constraints placed on women". Now my first thought is, "This is some loony-toon anti-gay deal, of course".

Happily, it's still satire....how long will that be the case?
posted by Frowner at 6:19 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


The thing about a postapocalyptic hellscape for Bannon is that at least nobody is going to want to eat him.
posted by Artw at 6:19 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


We could feed Paul Ryan to actual wolves.

The bees tried really hard; I appreciate the bees. But I think it's time to break out the large carnivores.
posted by Frowner at 6:20 AM on March 14 [28 favorites]


It's like when we all ran out of evens and had to move on to fuck-this-es.
posted by Frowner at 6:21 AM on March 14 [13 favorites]


The irony is that for all the GOP’s vindictiveness, the collateral damage would be born disproportionately by Trump’s own supporters

They are incredibly dumb, mean and self righteous. So while this will hit them hard they'll just dig in and blame liberals for it.
posted by Artw at 6:22 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Maybe this is Wendy Davis's time?
posted by Room 641-A at 6:23 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


The thing about a postapocalyptic hellscape for Bannon is that at least nobody is going to want to eat him.

All that fat and the liver already pickled? He'll be a delicacy.
posted by Talez at 6:26 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Jesus Christ, this "is it a lie?" shit again?

Is there any more succinct summary of the failures of the modern media than, "won't call out incredibly harmful lies because of a fine-grained linguistic distinction that 99.9% of readers/viewers are not aware of"?
posted by tocts at 6:28 AM on March 14 [67 favorites]


I've been pretty critical of media coverage (and I think everyone here has been), but I am starting to come around to Talez's position here that clamoring for NYT headlines starting with the phrase "Trump Lies On ______" are not productive for a couple reasons.

1) It's not going to change much. The media have had a year and a half to decide how they are going to cover Trump, and for the most part mainstream publications have decided that using phrasing that indicates wilful bad intent is not a road they are usually willing to go down. I don't agree objectively with that assessment (and I suspect most of the editors and writers also do believe that these are lies), but I understand where they are coming from institutionally. They believe that the risk to (idealistically) their ability to speak truth to power and/or the risk to (cynically) their brand is too great, given the viciousness with which the Administration will attack them over any slight, and they don't want to risk calling something a lie which may possibly turn out in the future to be spinnable as something else, and thus would give the Administration further grounds for calling them fake news / partisans.

2) It wouldn't matter anyway. Everyone who would be convinced is pretty much already there; everyone who needs to be convinced won't be convinced by a sharp USA Today headline. There are no magic words that CNN can put in a chyron which will save us.

Better to focus our energies on organizing against the actions of the government, and for the people who are being hurt or who are in danger, and for special elections and the midterms.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:30 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


If one were genuinely bothered that knowledge of intent is needed to say "lie", how about "falsehood"?

In a way, we kind of brought this on ourselves, by indulging people who want us to think of whatever grabbag of idiocy and delusion a person believes in as "their truth".
posted by thelonius at 6:33 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


One of the biggest differences between the proposed health care plan and the Affordable Care Act is that there would be no penalty for people who do not have health insurance. The CBO says lifting that requirement would be one of the biggest factors contributing to the increase in the number of uninsured.

Lets be honest. Most media outlets are stressing that x number of millions will lose their coverage.

They don't mention that millions of Americans who don't want insurance, who don't need insurance won't have to buy it so that others can pay less.

Trump's plan has many problems. Not commending it. Just pointing out that 24 millions being able to choose not to have insurance is not as evil sounding as 24 millions losing their insurance.
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:35 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


it's one thing to not use the word lie, but it's another thing to not pin these fucks against the wall with every interview instead of lobbing softballs at them (or, as i like the call them, inskeep specials)

people getting upset about "lie" is a kind of shorthand for their FROTHING RAGE at the UTTER. FUCKING. FAILURE of the media

(sips coffee)
posted by entropicamericana at 6:35 AM on March 14 [33 favorites]


Also, in a real sense the argument that these outlets are being 'partisan' if they call out lies is... true.

The very existence of accessible truth is a partisan issue, now. And that's not a problem that the media are going to be able to solve for us either -- even if God tomorrow sends lightning from heaven to strike down the entire senior Administration staff.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:37 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Agreed, and well said entropicamericana.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:38 AM on March 14


I am beyond tired of this man blaming Obama for everything.

I don't even have a good analogy or metaphor for this. It goes way beyond the boy cried wolf.

Why do people keep listening and believing him. I sincerely don't understand.

(I am having a minor existential crisis over here. Don't mind me. I think the whole thing with the racist fuckhead Steve King broke something inside me yesterday)
posted by INFJ at 6:38 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


They don't mention that millions of Americans who don't want insurance, who don't need insurance won't have to buy it so that others can pay less.

The only way any reform could possibly improve the economics of health insurance substantially using the insurance model is if everyone gets in the pool. That's how insurance works. If the policy goal isn't to encourage all the people who think they "don't need" insurance into the common pool, the policy is doing it wrong. The only other way to improve the system is to cut the middlemen out and go sole provider/nationalized health care. Even what they're trying to do here makes no sense as a way to improve anything about health care.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:40 AM on March 14 [37 favorites]


Trump's plan has many problems. Not commending it. Just pointing out that 24 millions being able to choose not to have insurance is not as evil sounding as 24 millions losing their insurance.

So what you're saying is everyone just needs to choose to have a million dollars and they'll be able to self-finance their care?

Well fuck, why didn't we think of that earlier?
posted by Talez at 6:41 AM on March 14 [44 favorites]


localhuman: "npr doing a puff piece on kelly anne conjob. if this was 1935 they'd be doing a soft profile on Goebbels"

That was on my local NPR station when I started the car this morning prompting me to lunge for the button for a music station so fast that I almost broke my index finger.
posted by octothorpe at 6:42 AM on March 14 [21 favorites]


Assuming Breitbart is still under WH control, I don't understand Bannon turning on Ryan. The Republicans put party before country only because they figured Trump to be useful with a pen. If that's no longer true, doesn't that free up the the silent cowards in House and Senate to turn on Trump? Doesn't it almost necessitate their turning on Trump?
posted by klarck at 6:43 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


So what you're saying is everyone just needs to choose to have a million dollars and they'll be able to self-finance their care?

No, what they're saying is that many healthy people (young people, for instance) think they won't need health care that they can't afford, and so they don't buy insurance.
posted by Slothrup at 6:46 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


If the policy goal isn't to encourage all the people who think they "don't need" insurance into the common pool, the policy is doing it wrong.

I'm sure there would be lots of people who would decide they "didn't need" car insurance, too -- in fact, I know there are lots of people who do, because the last person to run into my car didn't have any. But if there weren't a law saying we had to have insurance, accidents would have a much greater cost than they do. Young, healthy people might not feel they need insurance, but if they do get sick or injured, they'll either go bankrupt paying for care -- hello, free market! -- or die prematurely. It's a cost to the system either way; the ACA just has fewer dead people at the end of the day.

The only other way to improve the system is to cut the middlemen out and go sole provider/nationalized health care.

I wish the Democrats would start pointing out that the main problem people have with the ACA is that it relies on the "market based solutions" Republicans claim to love so much by making people buy private insurance. I was disappointed that Claire McCaskill, in the NPR interview I cited earlier, didn't at least mention a public option, but baby steps, I guess.
posted by Gelatin at 6:46 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


I'm not sure I understand Bannon's master plan here.

1. Let Ryan roll out a healthcare bill that everybody hates.
2. Watch the bill fail.
3. Destroy Ryan.
4. ?

What the hell is step 4?
posted by diogenes at 6:46 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Lets be honest. Most media outlets are stressing that x number of millions will lose their coverage.

Because it's true.

They don't mention that millions of Americans who don't want insurance, who don't need insurance won't have to buy it so that others can pay less.

[citation needed]

Trump's plan has many problems. Not commending it. Just pointing out that 24 millions being able to choose not to have insurance is not as evil sounding as 24 millions losing their insurance.

The CBO report stresses that millions will absolutely lose their insurance or be able to afford insurance at all if they need it. And then there's the people who will lose their guaranteed access to Medicaid or Medicare, both of which (like most single-payer insurance programs, and contrary to the assertions of conservatives and libertarians) regularly outstrip private insurance in terms of health outcomes, efficiency, and reducing overall and per capita costs of care.

So you can try and make it sound less evil all you want, but you'd basically be reciting Paul Ryan's zombie-eyed granny-starving talking points rather than stating anything based in reality.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:46 AM on March 14 [42 favorites]


Good news everyone: the RIP, in its majestic equality, allows both rich and poor alike to not have health care.
posted by tocts at 6:46 AM on March 14 [14 favorites]


Assuming Breitbart is still under WH control, I don't understand Bannon turning on Ryan. The Republicans put party before country only because they figured Trump to be useful with a pen. If that's no longer true, doesn't that free up the the silent cowards in House and Senate to turn on Trump? Doesn't it almost necessitate their turning on Trump?

The Senate couldn't give two fucks about house politics and half the Republicans in the house don't like Ryan either.
posted by Talez at 6:47 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


One would think so, klarck, but to be honest we've thought that Republicans would've had a 'surely this' moment for at least a year, and up until now Bannon has had a better intuition for just how cowardly and craven the GOP is than have any of us.

Hopefully he is overreaching now, or will at some point in the near future. But given what we've seen to date, I'm not relying on that either.

Turns out I am particularly despondent today.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:48 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


It's a power struggle for who will pull Trump's strings. Priebus and Ryan are too often getting in a yank here and there and Bannon doesn't like it.

Bannon honestly doesn't give a single solitary shit for getting anything "done" in the traditional sense of the word. He'd blow up the entire Republican Party tomorrow, if he could. He's confident that he could rule over the ashes, and he might not be wrong. Congressional GOPers are still terrified of their bases to openly wage war on the West Wing. They aren't answering to Trump so much as answering to the MAGAhat shitheads in their home districts. And half of them are MAGAhat shitheads themselves.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:49 AM on March 14 [15 favorites]


That was on my local NPR station when I started the car this morning prompting me to lunge for the button for a music station so fast that I almost broke my index finger.

That's okay. You really only need the next one these days.
posted by Etrigan at 6:50 AM on March 14 [46 favorites]


Lets be honest. Most media outlets are stressing that x number of millions will lose their coverage.
They don't mention that millions of Americans who don't want insurance, who don't need insurance won't have to buy it so that others can pay less.
Trump's plan has many problems. Not commending it. Just pointing out that 24 millions being able to choose not to have insurance is not as evil sounding as 24 millions losing their insurance.


You're not mentioning the reason why those people will lose coverage, because Republicans are cutting the subsidies that allow them to make that choice. Repulibcans could design a bill to allow the freedom to choose to not have insurance, just keep or increase the Obamacare subsidies and repeal the individual mandate. You want to get sick and refuse coverage, fine, but it's here for you if you change your mind, maybe with some penalties. That's not what they're doing. They're making the 'choice' for millions of people by providing wholly inadequate subsidies that will eventually cover literally nothing, because they start out inadequate, and are designed to trail cost increase to become even more inadequate. That's not making a choice to go without insurance, any more than today I chose not to buy a yacht.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:50 AM on March 14 [45 favorites]


Republicans don't care if people die. It's not a factor in any decisions they make.
posted by INFJ at 6:50 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Priebus and Ryan are too often getting in a yank here and there and Bannon doesn't like it.

wait, what
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:52 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


The insurance industry already has death panels and has had them for basically forever. They are called actuaries. Why has no one every talked about this before?

This is from way upthread, but as an actuary (though not a health actuary), I would like to point out that health actuaries have been pretty united in their opposition to the Republican healthcare bill. Though I'm not a health actuary, I get updates from the American Academy of Actuaries which represents all kinds of actuaries and I've been impressed with the way they lay out the issues with the proposed bill and the effort they are making to get the issues with the bill in front of Congress. For example, here is a paragraph from an issue brief they released about the problems with selling insurance across state lines:

If states are given more flexibility regarding issue and rating rules, adverse selection will occur.
Similar to the adverse selection problems arising if states have flexibility regarding benefit requirements, adverse selection would occur if states have flexibility regarding issue and rating rules. The ACA harmonized issue and rating rules, which previously had varied by state. Medical underwriting, previously allowed in most but not all states, was prohibited by the ACA; insurers can no longer deny coverage or charge higher premiums to individuals with health conditions. The ACA also limited the extent to which premiums could vary by age; prior to the ACA, some states prohibited premium variations by age, whereas others allowed unlimited variations. If insurers are allowed to sell across state lines and states are again given flexibility regarding issue and rating rules, insurers licensed in states with less restrictive rules will attract younger and healthier enrollees, whereas states with more restrictive rules will attract older and less-healthy enrollees. Premiums for insurance licensed in states with the more restrictive rules would increase, and the viability of those insurers would be threatened. As a result, older individuals and those with health problems could find it more difficult to obtain coverage.


Translation: Even if you live in MA or CA, you can still be screwed by this bill.

It's not the people who can do math who are pushing for this change.
posted by peacheater at 6:52 AM on March 14 [67 favorites]


[i]citation needed[/i]

Some media sources are reporting that most of the reduction is from people choosing not to have insurance.

However from the report itself:

CBO and JCT estimate that,
in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the
legislation than under current law. Most of that increase would stem from repealing the
penalties associated with the individual mandate.

https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/costestimate/americanhealthcareact_0.pdf

The fact is that many people don't want and don't insurance, especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare. The fact is in order for ObamaCare to work - especially when pre-existing conditions are covered those who are healthy, those who won't use much health care need to pay into the system so others can pay less.
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:53 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


The responses of Montana's elected officials to the ACA fuckaroo are a pretty interesting as an example of what interparty state unity could theoretically look like.

Bullock (D Governor, narrowly won re-election in '16): a "troubling step backwards [...] Ripping health care away from thousands of Montanans, cutting off the lifeline to our hospitals, and keeping our taxpayer dollars back in Washington, D.C., is a sucker-punch to rural states like Montana."

Daines (R Senator, shitbag, but representing a state whose GOP seems to want to keep the medicaid expansion, probably because our poor are mostly white): "We need to do better. [...] I want to see costs and premiums go down to make health care more affordable for Montana families."

Tester (D Senator, up for re-election in '18, clearly scared shitless and trying so hard to not look like a filthy liberal): called the Republican bill "reckless" and said Congress "should work together to improve the Affordable Care Act instead of dismantling it."

We'll see how Daines actually votes but I suspect he might vote the right way if gets as far as the senate. And if we all survive that long, ha ha ha sob
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:53 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


wait, what

I am so, so sorry for this entirely unintentional mental image.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:54 AM on March 14 [18 favorites]


The fact is that many people don't want and don't insurance, especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare. The fact is in order for ObamaCare to work - especially when pre-existing conditions are covered those who are healthy, those who won't use much health care need to pay into the system so others can pay less.

Until the young healthy person gets lymphoma or leukemia or they drop an anvil on their foot. Then we let them choose to... whatever? Pay half a million in chemo to stay alive? Let them onto insurance that they've never paid for? Let them die?

Those are the options available and none of these options are better than mandating people buy insurance subsidized down to affordable for their income levels.
posted by Talez at 6:57 AM on March 14 [59 favorites]


All these people are driving me fucking crazy, btw.

IT'S CALLED SINGLE PAYER! THE TERM YOU ARE LOOKING FOR IS "SINGLE PAYER".

"Hmmm. We want a system where everyone can get health care regardless of ability to pay, and where people who are elderly, disabled, or poor can still get quality health care from the nearest and most convenient source. Where everyone pays in in an easy-to-understand and equitable fashion so that no one is caught without coverage when they step off a curb and get hit by a bus at the age of 25. If only there were such a thing. Shame there's not. Guess we just have to cobble something together with spare parts and hope it limps along a couple more years."
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:59 AM on March 14 [145 favorites]


Guess we just have to cobble something together with spare parts and hope it limps along a couple more years.

The phrase you are looking for is "Fuck Joe Lieberman".
posted by Talez at 7:00 AM on March 14 [57 favorites]


A healthcare system that is not shitty is not on the table right now. Shitty or on fire, radioactive AND shitty are you choices.
posted by Artw at 7:01 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


The fact is that many people don't want and don't insurance, especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare.

The kind "mandated by ObamaCare" is insurance that actually covers health care, as opposed to dirt-cheap, high-deductible, low-maximum-payout policies that are basically worthless.

That aside, people may perceive that they don't need insurance, but as with my auto insurance example cited above, people are generally terrible at perceiving risk.

The fact is in order for ObamaCare to work - especially when pre-existing conditions are covered those who are healthy, those who won't use much health care need to pay into the system so others can pay less.

Is that you, Speaker Ryan? Because as many people pointed out with Ryan's baffling comment over the weekend, yes, that's how insurance works. The system needs young, healthy people that don't get sick to participate in the risk pool. Not even the Republicans are willing to -- or willing to admit wanting to -- axe the requirement that insurers provide coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, so it won't work to let young, healthy people wait until they develop a health crisis to buy insurance.
posted by Gelatin at 7:01 AM on March 14 [47 favorites]


Every day of the week and twice on Sundays, Talez.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:01 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


One of the biggest differences between the proposed health care plan and the Affordable Care Act is that there would be no penalty for people who do not have health insurance. The CBO says lifting that requirement would be one of the biggest factors contributing to the increase in the number of uninsured.

Lets be honest. Most media outlets are stressing that x number of millions will lose their coverage.

They don't mention that millions of Americans who don't want insurance, who don't need insurance won't have to buy it so that others can pay less.


Actually the media has reported that Paul Ryan has made this claim-- that the 14 million who will lose their insurance immediately include those who no longer will be forced to buy insurance. The problem is that there is no break down in numbers differentiating between those who don't want to pay any money to be insured and those who do want insurance but will no longer be able to afford to buy it under RyanCare.

I do know that the town halls have been filled with hundreds and thousands of terrified people who fear losing their insurance and I am much more worried about them then that young guy who hates being told by his government that he has to buy insurance or otherwise pay a small penalty.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:05 AM on March 14 [20 favorites]


axe the requirement that insurers provide coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, so it won't work to let young, healthy people wait until they develop a health crisis to buy insurance

Acquiring life crippling debt is apparently an appropriate punishment for rolling the dice on what would normally be a perfectly acceptable risk to anyone sane. You should have bought insurance y'know. It's just like the kid who gets shot in the process of shoplifting a stick of gun. If they didn't do the crime they'd still be alive. Never mind that it's sociofuckingpathic in the big picture, actions have consequences yo.
posted by Talez at 7:06 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


The fact is that many people don't want and don't insurance, especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare.

There is no specific care mandated by the ACA, just insurance that meets very specific requirements.

The fact is in order for ObamaCare to work - especially when pre-existing conditions are covered those who are healthy, those who won't use much health care need to pay into the system so others can pay less.

Yes, as any health care expert will tell you, you've just described the concept of health insurance. You still haven't provided any citations for your assertions as "fact" that:

a) "millions" of Americans don't want or need insurance
b) those who don't want or need health insurance are doing it to reduce costs
c) doing so would reduce health care costs (or as you put it "others can pay less")

All of which is moot, because even voluntarily removing themselves would raise costs, not reduce them, as we've seen. The ACA has already made progress in reducing costs, but of course what has been proven to be even more effective to reduce costs at both an individual level and for countries as a whole is single-payer health care.

Much like anthropogenic climate change and LGBTQ rights, outside the right-wing crazysphere news bubble there's near-consensus on these very basic concepts. Maybe instead of parroting a sociopathic monster like Ryan, do a little research instead.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:07 AM on March 14 [48 favorites]


The fact is that many people don't want and don't insurance, especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare. The fact is in order for ObamaCare to work - especially when pre-existing conditions are covered those who are healthy, those who won't use much health care need to pay into the system so others can pay less.

You know how many children I have? Zero children! You know how many cars I drive? Zero cars! For all of me, society could run with no schools and no streets, just bike paths and sidewalks. And yet here I am, paying into the system so that others can pay less for the roads and schools that they use and I do not. For that matter, at present I have zero disabilities that prevent me from working, and I can also afford all of my own food. And yet here I am, paying taxes that support disability and SNAP. Sucks to be me, right?

Also, you know what? I'm not even old, and yet here I am paying taxes that support all these programs for old people. Why do I have to do that? I guess I could start paying when I'm actually old myself, maybe that would be fair.

Seriously, people, I think there's two kinds of people in the world, folks who think "huh, society is kind of shitty when other people are dying in the street and/or getting crap educations and/or being malnourished and/or being homeless, also when we have this kind of society economic growth is difficult to sustain" and folks who think "the most important thing in life is that I not pay for something that does not actually literally directly benefit me, like when I buy a coke, or some coke".
posted by Frowner at 7:07 AM on March 14 [287 favorites]


Yeah, let's be real clear here: there's no such thing as someone who "doesn't need health insurance" in the US. There's only people who are willing to gamble that going without it won't ruin them, often for very short-sighted reasons.
posted by tocts at 7:08 AM on March 14 [121 favorites]


I'm holding an "Ides of Trump" postcard writing event tonight, so I decided to print some address labels (man, these newbie activists really need hand-holding for even a low-level of action. SO many people needing me to bring postcards for them, etc etc :/) to make it as easy as possible.

My thought process: "So, I know that it is 1600 Pennsylvania, but not the ZIP...*Googles* Ah, I'll check out this page at whitehouse.gov. OK, 20500 is the ZIP. Wait. I'd better double-check that ZIP somewhere else. I mean, it is possible they have the ZIP wrong here at whitehouse.gov, whether by accident or malicious intent. OMG. How awful IS this? I don't trust this government to tell me the goddamn ZIP code." And now I feel exhausted and sad.
posted by thebrokedown at 7:09 AM on March 14 [30 favorites]


Yeah, let's be real clear here: there's no such thing as someone who "doesn't need health insurance" in the US. There's only people who are willing to gamble that going without it won't ruin them, often for very short-sighted reasons.

And many who are willing to say they don't need insurance just so they can guarantee that Those People don't get it either.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:09 AM on March 14 [26 favorites]


If you don't want health insurance then you must legally be required to never use any kind of automobile (as either driver or passenger), own a gun, eat refined sugar and red meat or go out in the sun without SPF 50 sunblock sprayed on you like clown paint.
posted by PenDevil at 7:14 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure I understand Bannon's master plan here.

1. Let Ryan roll out a healthcare bill that everybody hates.
2. Watch the bill fail.
3. Destroy Ryan.
4. ?

What the hell is step 4?


OH I know this one.

4. Consolidate control of all branches of government in the white supremacist / Confederazi wing of the GOP.

5. Start rolling out entitlements for only "natural citizens" or "provable citizens" or whatever hellish euphemism they'd use

And then 6-10 get really grim
posted by schadenfrau at 7:15 AM on March 14 [45 favorites]


Just because you're scotch-irish, it doesn't mean that you're literally a Highlander.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:16 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


think they won't need health care that they can't afford, and so they don't buy insurance.

you are literally retelling the fable of the fox and the grapes and treating it as a scathing indictment of the fox for lacking the sophisticated palate to appreciate a fine grape

but you see he couldn't reach the fucking grapes.

"CAN'T AFFORD" man, you wrote it yourself
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:16 AM on March 14 [58 favorites]


The NYT's Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Sharon LaFraniere have an in-depth report on the slow Trump transition and all the unfilled positions: Trump Lets Key Offices Gather Dust Amid ‘Slowest Transition in Decades’
At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is overseeing missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen without his own leadership team.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:21 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


folks who think "the most important thing in life is that I not pay for something that does not actually literally directly benefit me, like when I buy a coke, or some coke".

I had a roommate once who Post It-noted everything in the apartment she was afraid I might use with "Mine, Not Yours." She once had her boyfriend (who actually looked a little like Paul Ryan) give me a lecture about personal responsiblity when I, unthinkingly, used some of her milk.

We're not really friends anymore, but she went to work for a Republican Congressperson shortly after college. I like to imagine her, wherever she is, walking through offices, driving down the street, visiting the hospital, armed with an endless supply of Post-Its, labeling everything Mine Not Yours, Mine Not Yours, Mine Not Yours.
posted by thivaia at 7:21 AM on March 14 [127 favorites]


People who think they are never going to use the health care that insurance gets them access to are deluded and need to be saved from themselves.

I suspect that if you quizzed them for long enough on the what-ifs, you'd get them to admit that what they are actually relying on is the fact that a hospital can't actually turn them away should they show up with grievous injuries, and that they wouldn't have to pay for it--not really. Someone somewhere would take care of that for them, I mean you can't just stick someone with a $2 million doctor bill, right?

Yeah, wrong. I've seen the receipts.

People who want health insurance but can't afford it and are making the gamble to go without because it's either that or pay rent, I definitely feel for and I want them to be able to get more help (and I also want that help to get them real insurance, not catastrophic garbage that does nothing). The people who are all "La la la I don't need no health insurance, I'm totes healthy and why should I have to pay for ladies and their boobie exams anyway amirite?" can go find a nice plot of land in Antarctica and set up their little self-reliant fiefdome of one.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:22 AM on March 14 [55 favorites]


but as with my auto insurance example cited above, people are generally terrible at perceiving risk.

Bottom line, that aspect of it has nothing specifically to do with ObamaCare. The only way to get better coverage and outcomes and make insurance provided health care more economically efficient is to either take away the choice and force everyone into the pool, or give them incentives so they can pretend they're making a choice for their own reasons. That's a consequence of how insurance works, nothing to do with ObamaCare, specifically, except that its approach was to try to force everybody into the pool until the penalties got softened (I never liked the idea of a penalty mechanism personally anyway--in most cases, we'd be penalizing the working poor and lower earners, which stings emotionally on the receiving end--though I'm not sure there's a better alternative that both protects the health insurance industry as an institution and drives down costs).
posted by saulgoodman at 7:25 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


thivaia, i imagine you countering with post-its that read 'Yours, Not Mine' (like a countersigned document)
posted by kokaku at 7:28 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


back when I was, apparently, too young to be permitted to live, I had a serious health problem that required intense and frequent and expensive physical therapy. the glory of worker's compensation took care of that for a time until they got wise to the fact that I didn't know how the fuck anything worked so they could cut me off when they got bored with paying for it because what was I going to do about it, seriously?

but if I had been paying my own insurance premiums back then the way I am now, I would not have been able to afford any treatment whatsoever except for some covered back surgery which would have been more expensive to the insurance company but very much not a good idea. I assume the insurance execs are willing to pay for that but not for very much PT because surgery could leave me paralyzed or in permanent chronic pain, so the excitement of getting to do that to me balances out the dollar cost to them. makes sense I guess.

Why not just pay for the billion PT appts myself, in this alternate world where I was on "Obamacare" as a youth instead of now? Well, under these circumstances I have a spare few hundred dollars a month that are just enough for physical therapy appointments as long as I need them but by a happy coincidence that is exactly what my health insurance premiums cost. So, luckily for society, I am nice and responsible and do my duty and if I get hit by a car I will be covered, but if I cared to maximize my own health care this is not the way I would do it. Paying for health insurance -- "good" health insurance, the second most expensive kind provided for individual sale in my region! is EXACTLY the thing preventing me from accessing health care.

thanks, everybody who thinks "health insurance" is a worthy goal rather than actual health care. works great.

tl;dr "young people secretly all want to die because pain is the new twerking or planking or I don't know what youths do because I am old now, and also they are stupid because they are poor I guess"
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:29 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


localhuman: npr doing a puff piece on kelly anne conjob. if this was 1935 they'd be doing a soft profile on Goebbels

'The Atlantic' Examines Trump Adviser Kellyanne Conway is probably the piece you mentioned, and I'm not quite sure that stacks up to puff piece. It depicted Conway as a mid-level political consultant who jumped from working for a super PAC that supported Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and being critical of Trump to his #1 liar teller of alternative facts.

Where was the puff? I mean, it wasn't nails and acid, but it wasn't a Thomas Kinkade portrait, either.

Here's the Atlantic article in question, which comes out with more barbs than the NPR piece:
Even in triumph, Kellyanne Conway nursed a grudge. As she reflected on Donald Trump’s November victory, she made clear that she hadn’t forgotten how people treated her back when they thought she was a sure loser. Their attitude wasn’t one of outright rudeness or contempt; it was so much worse than that. It was syrupy condescension—the smarmy, indulgent niceness of people who think they’re better than you.
Best description of Kellyanne's rhetorical style: "verbal fog."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:30 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


The entire health insurance industry needs to be blown up because you can choose to not have a car but you can't choose to not have a body. Single payer, single payer, single payer.

Failing that (and we are very much failing that right now), however, the only thing that even makes it work is everyone participating. Which is why at my job if you pass on the sponsored health insurance, you have to show proof that you are somehow getting covered some other way.

(And yes, I have in fact met people who legit think that they will not ever need health care--they don't go to the doctor, they take care of themselves, it's only those stupid people who don't lift, bro, who need health insurance. They could pay, they just won't, because it's a sign of weakness or some shit.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:35 AM on March 14 [42 favorites]


Reading the Atlantic piece on Kellyanne Conway, I'm thinking that this is rather akin to finding out someone who enjoyed torturing animals as a child ended up a serial killer...

Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster and messaging guru, met Conway in the 1980s at Oxford University, when he was in graduate school and she was on an undergraduate year abroad from Trinity Washington University, in D.C. Lonely, homesick, and surrounded by stuffy Brits, Luntz was immediately drawn to Conway. “She already was political, and right of center,” he recalled. “The smile, the blond hair, the vivaciousness, a little bit flirtatious—she was just fun.”

One time, she and a couple of friends took Luntz shopping and made him try on a Speedo so they could laugh at him. “I’ve been fat for, like, 15 years, but I wasn’t always fat,” he told me. “Nevertheless, a guy like me should not put on a Speedo.” This sounded humiliating and cruel to me, but Luntz insisted it was hilarious.


And not to put too fine a point on it, but I read "Lonely, homesick, and surrounded by stuffy Brits, Luntz was immediately drawn to Conway" as more like "Being around people who were just so different from him bugged the shit out of Luntz. So he sought out company he could be comfortable with: another loudmouth American asshole."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:36 AM on March 14 [36 favorites]


It's almost as if, in order to pass significant legislation packages that benefit the common good -- let's call it a Fresh Opportunity or a Revised Distribution of Cards or something like that -- our nation first needs a long period of devastating economic catastrophe in which it is driven home irrevocably into the mind of the common man that No One Actually Gives A Fuck About Them, No One Will Catch Them When They Fall, The Lives That Are Being Destroyed May Be Their Own Regardless Of How Well Organized And Phrased Their Prayers To God Are, And The People With The Money Are Only Looking Out For Number One And Number One Ain't You, You Ain't Even Number Two.

So buckle up.
posted by delfin at 7:37 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


Yeah, let's be real clear here: there's no such thing as someone who "doesn't need health insurance" in the US.
Sure there is. Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg can all self-finance any medical care that they could possibly need. If you are literally a billionaire, you probably don't need insurance in the US. This is just an honest philosophical difference about whether our government should care more about the interests of the 150 people at the top of the American economic pyramid or the 300-odd million nearer to the bottom.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:38 AM on March 14 [33 favorites]


yeah plus never ever think people can't be dumb enough to think that medical shit is just as cheap for a self-payer as it is for them with their good good government-staffer insurance. (How much could an MRI cost, Michael? Fifty dollars?)
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:41 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]




How much could an MRI cost, Michael? Fifty dollars?

I'll be able to tell you that real soon, because my wife fell in the shower last week and injured her neck. She ended up with a couple of bulging discs in her neck, for which all she can do is rest and not do anything strenuous. The ER copay was $300, but we have not yet received the itemized stuff like X-Ray, MRI, CAT scan, the meds they gave her while she was in the ER, and so on.

I had outpatient surgery for a tonsillectomy several years ago. My copay was $1,000, but the itemized costs reached over $26,000.

This stuff adds up real fast.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:48 AM on March 14 [19 favorites]


Sure there is. Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg can all self-finance any medical care that they could possibly need. If you are literally a billionaire, you probably don't need insurance in the US.

I've known several billionaires and near-billionaires (professionally). They all had health insurance and/or citizenship to a country with universal healthcare. Because they know that self insuring your healthcare costs - and, more importantly, those of your kids - is a stupid thing to do financially, even if you have essentially unlimited money.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:49 AM on March 14 [62 favorites]


I had outpatient surgery for a tonsillectomy several years ago. My copay was $1,000, but the itemized costs reached over $26,000.

It's a crying shame that part of the reason for the incredibly screwed-up cost structure of modern health care is that prices are set artificially high so they can be negotiated down with various insurance companies, and of course because so much of modern health care is run by for-profit companies. I daresay that no one knows want an MRI really costs, though one could probably collect a dozen wildly disparate billing examples.
posted by Gelatin at 7:52 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


Yeah it's pretty much a circlejerk of for-profit companies trying to soak as much money as possible out of the system.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:54 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I recently had an illuminating experience.

In the process of opening a small cafe, I had to get all my licenses and tax forms and inspections squared away. Most of this involved dealing with the city, state, and county governments. Alabama is hardly renowned for efficient government, but for the most part the process was straightforward, the people helpful, and the costs modest.

But I made a mistake. Restaurants in Alabama require a local license from the county health department and a state license from the Department of Agriculrure and Industry. I mailed the form to the state office, but I failed to enclose the check for the $50 license fee. A few days later, I got a call at work from that office. A nice young woman named Latasha said they'd received my application, but no check. Could I get that out to them this week? No problem, I apologized for my error, and asked what I needed to do to make sure the check got paired up with the application. Another form? A cover letter explaining the error? Resubmit the whole application? Latasha laughed and said, "Just put 'Attention: Latasha' on the envelope, I'll take care of it." So I did. And she did. It was No Big Deal. Problem solved promptly and efficiently.

Meanwhile, I had a question about a charge I received from my health insurer. I've made eight phone calls, written two emails, gotten six different answers, and been hung up on twice.

Tell me again how BIG GOVERNMENT is the problem, GOP. I fucking dare you.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:56 AM on March 14 [223 favorites]


That's also partially because some percentage of people without insurance will go bankrupt after getting care (esp. for emergent care). As it is, the cost of their health care is priced into the cost of everyone else's. (Via premiums, or higher list prices, and so on). If 100% of people had coverage, this wouldn't be needed.
posted by nat at 7:57 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


It's a crying shame that part of the reason for the incredibly screwed-up cost structure of modern health care is that prices are set artificially high so they can be negotiated down with various insurance companies, and of course because so much of modern health care is run by for-profit companies. I daresay that no one knows want an MRI really costs, though one could probably collect a dozen wildly disparate billing examples.


Hahaha, let's talk about the time I tried to call up a couple of hospitals' billing departments and comparison shop for a pretty standard procedure.

Spoiler: I didn't get anywhere.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:57 AM on March 14 [24 favorites]


ha, fleebnork. I am not laughing at your wife's pain but at my own, as five years after my lumbar disc explosion I am pretty sure I have something up with a cervical or thoracic disc now, for variety. before I get to find out how much an MRI costs when beautiful, wonderful Compensation isn't paying for it, I got to go to a billion pain doctor appointments and convince them I actually do want some kind of imaging and maybe even treatment besides pain pills. not that I will say no to the pain pills. because, like, you got to prove you are serious about wanting an expensive scan by first paying for a bunch of expensive specialist co-pays. so I am on a voyage of discovery right alongside you.

p.s. fuck HMOs. I suppose this is a "derail" so I will complain no more about my private woes. but they are pretty woeful
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:58 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


There are places (e.g., Thailand) with medical tourism, and you can compare costs that way. Last time I checked they seemed to charge about a third of US prices, and they seem to be doing very well. I've used one for outpatient treatment a couple of times; they were way nicer than any hospital I've seen in the USA.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:59 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I'll be able to tell you that real soon, because my wife fell in the shower last week and injured her neck. She ended up with a couple of bulging discs in her neck, for which all she can do is rest and not do anything strenuous. The ER copay was $300, but we have not yet received the itemized stuff like X-Ray, MRI, CAT scan, the meds they gave her while she was in the ER, and so on.

I'm here from a single-payer system to say that you would literally see none of those bills if this happened here.

That's not to say a single-payer system like ours is some magical unicorn-infested landscape in which nobody ever endures bureaucratic snafus or has to wait for care they really need. All that stuff can and does happen.

But the thing that literally does not happen ever - EVER - is people wondering "Can I afford a trip to the ER right now?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:00 AM on March 14 [81 favorites]


Oh, I didn't get any imaging or pain pills for my back explosion! And I have really good insurance. But not so good that my PCP didn't know from go that they would not cover imaging unless I literally came into the office dragging myself by my fingernails due to disability.

They did pay for PT, but you get X number of sessions per calendar year and if you aren't cured by then, welp.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:01 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


s_l -- things have changed a LOT since I last conducted a sleazy bursting-into-tears in exchange for percocet transaction. time was, all I had to do was say my left leg didn't work so well because of all the electric shocks and falling down and they would pretend some sympathy but now they are not really into that anymore. not sure if this is a consequence of "opiate epidemic" crackdown regulation tightening or if I appeal less to doctorly sympathies now that I am five years more haggard and cranky. or if it is deeply implausible to them that a person can have two unrelated agonizing back issues in the same lifetime and the same spine. perhaps all three.

but yeah the limited PT sessions allowed by every insurance plan I ever had is the thing that most makes me want to break all the insurance company executives' backs personally.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:08 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Kaiser Permanente. I know some people have had negative experiences, but swear to Maude, I have been a member since the day I was born, I have had extensive illnesses and a few surgeries and I am still a huge fan. Husband was reluctant to go on Kaiser since he had only been on PPO, but the minute he started, he's been a fan. He has HIV and he sees an excellent infectious disease specialist. It's not for profit and I have only been turned down for one procedure I thought I should get in the entire 47 years I've been a member (they called it elective, I beg to differ). It's not-for-profit, the doctors, nurses and other staff are, for the most part, happy to be there and the medical care is excellent.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:10 AM on March 14 [26 favorites]


What a whiny manbaby. After all, if the shoe fits...

More like if the hood fits...
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:11 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


The fact is that many people don't want and don't insurance, especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare. The fact is in order for ObamaCare to work - especially when pre-existing conditions are covered those who are healthy, those who won't use much health care need to pay into the system so others can pay less.

This is a mental model of insurance that seems to assume that everybody's health status will remain static — that healthy people will never get unpredictably sick or injured. But the entire point of insurance is pooling together individual risks that are individually unpredictable into a group that is much more predictable. It protects the insured from catastrophic loss.

The alternative right now to having insurance is to drop in on an emergency room when your health is too poor to ignore any longer, go bankrupt from expenses, and force the hospital to eat the losses that they can't recover from your bankrupt ass, i.e., pass off the expenses to everyone else anyway. So the costs are going to be spread amongst us all one way or another (except the bankruptcy route costs everybody a whole lot more); can you really tell me with a straight face that you would prefer the latter when the inevitable happens to you?
posted by indubitable at 8:11 AM on March 14 [28 favorites]


The alternative right now to having insurance

addendum: another alternative is nationalizing the health insurance function and paying your premium through a progressive income tax, which collects money according to a person's ability to pay, but few people seem to want to discuss that option.
posted by indubitable at 8:16 AM on March 14 [39 favorites]


No, they just keep describing their wish for a system that worked exactly like that, and then throwing up their hands like TOO BAD THERE IS A PHYSICAL LAW OF NATURE PREVENTING SUCH A THING FROM EXISTING.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:18 AM on March 14 [58 favorites]


Which is why at my job if you pass on the sponsored health insurance, you have to show proof that you are somehow getting covered some other way.

I'm pretty sure that's an ACA requirement. Employers have to prove they offered you a policy and you turned it down.

The employer-provided coverage part of the ACA is a real mess, though. I discovered this year that an employer can offer all manner of non-compliant, shit policies as long as they provide at least one ACA-compliant policy to its employees. My son's employer did just that. The high-deductible, compliant policy was priced so stratospherically, that it would have eaten well over half of his monthly take-home pay. The "affordable", non-compliant policies were such shit. No catastrophic coverage. No copays. Everything out-of-pocket until you hit the high deductible. Thing is, if he elected to not take any of them, he wouldn't be eligible for assistance on the Marketplace. He ended up having to roll the dice and take the plan with no catastrophic coverage because that was the best option he could afford.

Fuck America and it's "healthcare" system.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:21 AM on March 14 [15 favorites]


many people don't want and don't insurance

Yeah, too bad. Many people want and [think] they don't need auto insurance, either, and of course they do. They need health insurance, too. THey need it to protect the rest of us in epidemic situations. They need it to prevent higher-cost and higher-intensivity care later that drives up pricing and consumes resources out of all reasonable proportion to need, further limiting resources to the rest of us. They need it because no one can predict which ones among us are going to develop a serious condition, be impacted by a natural or political disaster, or have a serious accident. They need it so they can get guidance on the long-term lifestyle-related health issues that aren't bothering them now, but are likely to in the future, and make plans accordingly. Everyone needs to be able to receive regular health care and to face the myriad health unknowns of life without financial anxieties.
posted by Miko at 8:21 AM on March 14 [64 favorites]


EVERYONE FUCKING NEEDS HEALTH INSURANCE. Health care is a public good. It is good for me when people who need care get it, and even better if they get preventive care.

Even if I could afford to pay my healthcare expenses out of pocket, my life is immeasurably better when others are getting the care they need.

Or what Miko said.
posted by allthinky at 8:24 AM on March 14 [27 favorites]


Last I looked, people who don't want and don't feel they need a military aren't able to send in their tax returns with their share of the military budget deducted from their tax liability. A mandate to buy something from private sector insurance companies is not the way I would have chosen to get people to all pay their fair share of the costs of living in a functioning society, but it was the only way to achieve that goal at the time the ACA was passed, so I see very little separating it from compulsory taxation.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:26 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


I feel like we understood at the beginning of the last century that not having large populations rife with disease/untreated injuries/high maternal and infant mortality was desirable for the larger public health. Also clean water and working sewer systems.

I don't know why we are stupider now.
posted by emjaybee at 8:29 AM on March 14 [46 favorites]


especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare

Are you arguing in good faith here? Your original point about media presentation seemed valid on a meta-level.

But I think it's pretty clear to most serious journalists and most people who've been paying attention to the US healthcare debacle over the years that the important part is not the resentment of a bunch of short-sighted little libertarian shits who are either:

A. Too greedy and selfish to care about the well-being of others
B. Too wet-behind-the-ears to have discovered their own mortality
C. Too goddamn uninformed to understand the basics of insurance and risk
D. All of those

The important part is that people are going to lose care and die.

The people who get all het up about the individual mandate are the same jerks who get mad about paying taxes for things they aren't using right this second. The ACA--the Republican-conceived plan--was specifically designed to keep what many countries approach as a government-held risk pool largely-privatized.

[On preview others have covered most of this and the car insurance analogy has already happened so I'll skip it. Y'all are smart.]
posted by aspersioncast at 8:30 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


It SHOULD be built into taxes, wherein people are taxed on their income, like every other developed nation does. This whole insurance company bullshit boggles. The whole model is fucked. Tear it down.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 8:31 AM on March 14 [38 favorites]


I don't know why we are stupider now.

Because most people alive today have never seen influenza, polio, mumps, or even advanced HIV infection hit a community and decimate it. We learn by experiencing, not, unfortunately, by reading history books.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:33 AM on March 14 [56 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, this is true...

The fact is in order for ObamaCare to work - especially when pre-existing conditions are covered those who are healthy, those who won't use much health care need to pay into the system so others can pay less.

And this is also true...

Many people want and [think] they don't need auto insurance, either, and of course they do. They need health insurance, too. THey need it to protect the rest of us in epidemic situations. They need it to prevent higher-cost and higher-intensivity care later that drives up pricing and consumes resources out of all reasonable proportion to need, further limiting resources to the rest of us.

But this is the MOST true...

Also, you know what? I'm not even old, and yet here I am paying taxes that support all these programs for old people. Why do I have to do that? I guess I could start paying when I'm actually old myself, maybe that would be fair.


It's not even like you "might" need healthcare, and that's why you should buy insurance. You will 100% definitely need healthcare. Because every frickin' one of us dies eventually of something, and typically we are in the hospital for at least a little while before we do it (or need to be!), and in many cases for a long while.

Not only that, every frickin' one of us HAS already needed healthcare, because we were fetuses and then babies once, and we got born (which involves a lot of blood and a lot of risk no matter what you do), and then we got sick a lot until our immune systems developed.

I really like the framing that some advocates for the disabled use when they refer to the rest of us as "temporarily able-bodied." Those young healthy people who don't need insurance should remember that they are at best TEMPORARILY young, healthy, and able-bodied.

WHEN, not if, they are old and/or sick and/or injured themselves, they will be unable to work and pay for their own care. So they better pay into the system now, while they still can, and hope others will do the same when their time comes.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:34 AM on March 14 [36 favorites]


19 months ago, people would have said Mr. Machine was the kind of guy who should be able to elect not to have health insurance. Male, early 30's, healthy, no longer overweight, no chronic or health conditions after a mystery and never-repeated asthma attack as a two year old, no surgery since his wisdom teeth came out. Lingering flu-like cold, but who doesn't catch one of those every once in a while? No biggie, and no need to see the doctor. We had gone hiking in Yosemite just months before.

18 months ago, Mr. Machine went to the emergency room for pains in his chest. Pretty quickly, they figured out he wasn't having a heart attack, but out of an abundance of caution, they did some x-rays, and turned up a weird shape. At 6 AM or so, they decided to admit him until they could get a specialist in to look at the weirdness. Around noon, they discharged him.

Enter, several weeks later: a bill for $25,000+ for six hours in the emergency room and six hours of being an admitted patient because the fancy fucking insurance company had denied coverage. Since he wasn't having a heart attack, they argued, he should have just been sent home.

Twist ending: WASN'T A HEART ATTACK

IT WAS A CANCER

THE WEIRD SHAPE WAS A FOUR INCH AGGRESSIVE LYMPHOMA BETWEEN HIS HEART AND LUNGS. THE WEIGHT HE HAD BEEN LOSING EARLIER IN THE SUMMER? CANCER. THE FLU LIKE SYMPTOMS? ALSO CANCER.

Further twist ending, available only on the DVD for the US: despite the fact that my fucking job involves bending complicated technical/bureaucratic regimes to the will of my clients, multiple rounds with the insurance company and hospital availed nothing, and we were going to be on the hook for the $25K in cold hard fucking cash.

Further, further twist ending, available only on the DVD for the US after inputting numbers from your tax return that place you firmly in the upper middle class or above: I went to my HR department, which negotiates our health insurance, and broke down in tears, crying about how my husband had aggressive cancer, and I was pregnant, and I didn't know what to do, because I didn't know how we could afford this and all the other expenses that would come from treating the big C.

So they made some calls, and without me having to lift another finger, we not only got a revised bill a couple weeks later for a quarter of the original amount, and also, ps, the biopsy and CAT scans and PET scans that confirmed the cancer diagnosis plus the four months of chemotherapy that followed, plus the $1,000+ a pop immune system boosting shots that came with it were free basically free due to the fact that we'd hit our deductible for the year.

Welcome to our completely fucked up health care system that we only survived because of privilege. Paul Ryan only wants to make things worse for people who don't have that.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:35 AM on March 14 [241 favorites]


I don't know why we are stupider now.

We learn by experiencing, not, unfortunately, by reading history books.

Exactly. It's the same reason the USA hasn't given up its bloodthirsty guns-and-death-penalty mentality like Europe (and even Russia!) has: it hasn't known war of the your-city-burned-down-twice-and-your-family-is-dead variety since the Civil War, whereas much of the rest of the world has known that violence repeatedly in the 20th century alone. Societies only learn through experience and ours has forgotten a lot over our long and now ending era of peace and prosperity.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:37 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Enter, several weeks later: a bill for $25,000+ for six hours in the emergency room and six hours of being an admitted patient because the fancy fucking insurance company had denied coverage.

My cousin purchased his first health insurance when he aged off his father's plan. Same thing, healthy kid, no reason to think he was going to be sick. Literally three weeks later, he drove off a bridge, and spent the next eight weeks in a hospital, several of those weeks in a coma. The bill to the insurance company, which had just started covering him, was in the very high six digits.

Everyone needs health insurance.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:38 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


They don't mention that millions of Americans who don't want insurance, who don't need insurance won't have to buy it so that others can pay less.

Many years ago I met a man on the city bus. He was extremely upset about laws mandating car insurance for motorists. "I tell you," he said, "a lot of stuff these days, it's what caused the founding fathers to declare independence."

"Car insurance?" I asked.

"I mean, not car insurance, but stuff like it. What you have to understand is that the founders were anarchists."

"Why would anarchists form a government?" I asked.

He thought a moment before replying. "They were anarchists of the mind."

The proposed Republican healthcare law represents a return to the founding principles of our nation as espoused by bus rando: Anarchy of the mind.
posted by compartment at 8:42 AM on March 14 [98 favorites]


When I was young, and could not afford the (shitty) health insurance my company offered due to the fact that I was making 6.50 an hour, I went without. But because I was not stupid, and had seen several relatives die by then, I was always aware that I was taking a gamble. As soon as I could get healthcare, I did.

And also, let's talk about one type of healthcare most young people do need: birth control. So there's at least one thing you should have coverage for.

And everyone should get their teeth cleaned. That's not age-dependent.

And get a flu shot every year.

Oh and then there are young people who need care for transitioning.

And of course young people born with a disability or chronic illness who will always need care.

Youth, besides being temporary, is a terrible reason not to have healthcare.
posted by emjaybee at 8:45 AM on March 14 [28 favorites]


They don't mention that millions of Americans who don't want insurance, who don't need insurance won't have to buy it so that others can pay less.

Car insurance is the rebuttal to your astroturf talking point.
posted by winna at 8:57 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


"The headline that millions are picking up from their driveways this morning, across red states, blue states & swing states:"

1 2 3 4 5 6


Each tweet link has 4 front pages from newspapers that have headlines saying 24 million will lose coverage. On a purely local level, Rs are losing the messaging battle bigly.
posted by chris24 at 8:59 AM on March 14 [46 favorites]


1. Let Ryan roll out a healthcare bill that everybody hates.
2. Watch the bill fail.
3. Destroy Ryan.
4. ?

What the hell is step 4?


Step 4.

We're not really friends anymore, but she went to work for a Republican Congressperson shortly after college. I like to imagine her, wherever she is, walking through offices, driving down the street, visiting the hospital, armed with an endless supply of Post-Its

One of my college RAs, who was forbidden to walk at his graduation over allegations that he'd spent a semester plundering the dorms under his supervision, went on to a quite lucrative career as a Chief of Staff to a Republican Representative. I've always imagined that his early experience with larceny must've looked good on his CV.

In other news, Wikileaks is throwing it's support to Wilders in the Dutch election.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:00 AM on March 14 [13 favorites]


In other news, Wikileaks is throwing it's support to Wilders in the Dutch election.

Did you mean, "Russian intelligence front group Wikileaks"?
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:02 AM on March 14 [33 favorites]


They don't mention that millions of Americans who don't want insurance, who don't need insurance won't have to buy it so that others can pay less.'

This just makes me so sad, the belief that people can't possibly want to help others and shouldn't have to*. I've been going to a lot of protests recently (I live in DC so I have proximity instead of representation which is a shitty trade-off) and, I think largely because I usually have a baby with me, I've been interviewed a fair number of times by various news outlets. One thing that comes up with some frequency is a question along the lines of "Do you have friends or family affected by the Muslim ban/increased ICE enforcement/ACA repeal?" and it makes me nuts that the implicit assumption is that I must have some personal connection to want to protest these horrific policies instead of believing it's the right thing to do. Is that really what most people assume, that no one actually cares about people they don't know, they only care about things that affect them in some way? It's awful but it also just makes me sad.

*I do understand that some people have to make terrible choices between say, insurance and paying rent, and I think we should help them too e.g. with single payer.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:06 AM on March 14 [51 favorites]


Can't wait for the one stein-voting bernie-or-buster in my FB feed to start heartily supporting Geert fucking Wilders. Of all things the last couple years have taught me, Horseshoe Theory having some merit is maybe the craziest.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:06 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted; the heat is understandable, but all-caps yelling at people here, as if they aren't already angry/resisting/etc, leads nowhere useful.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:10 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Further twist ending, available only on the DVD for the US: despite the fact that my fucking job involves bending complicated technical/bureaucratic regimes to the will of my clients, multiple rounds with the insurance company and hospital availed nothing, and we were going to be on the hook for the $25K in cold hard fucking cash.

There is a possible out for people in similar situations who don't have the benefit of an HR department willing to go to bat for them. What follows is my understanding of a couple laws and how they work together, not any kind of recommendation or advice.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), collection agencies are required to validate your debt upon request with a line-item breakdown of individual fees. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), healthcare providers may not share this information without your consent.

This creates a catch-22 where medical debt (allegedly) cannot be collected without either the collector or healthcare provider violating one of the laws that governs their conduct. I believe the next step after this is letter writing to credit reporting agencies get the unvalidated debt expunged from your credit record.

Again, don't interpret this as an endorsement, recommendation, or advice. I assume this is easier to do if you have had the privilege of an education that gave you the skills to write a professional-looking, polite but firm letter asserting your rights. I also assume this all to be a massive headache and not an easy thing to do even if the law is on your side. And I wouldn't assume a favorable outcome to be a likely conclusion in any situation involving medical billing disputes.

More information can be found here.
posted by compartment at 9:12 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


Wikileaks is throwing it's support to Wilders in the Dutch election

For the record, that's what Faine Greenwood infers from the Wikileaks tweet about documents pertaining to Rutte, but Wikileaks did just leak a bunch of documents pertaining to Wilders himself like, yesterday.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:14 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


The fact is that many people don't want and don't insurance, especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare.

There are other dimensions to requiring health insurance for all that the debate often ignores. To those screaming about how denying people the choice to forego health insurance is unfair, we tend to explain how participation by the young and healthy are necessary to generate sufficient premiums to pay for the care required by the old and/or unlucky: the mandate rationale.

But that approach ignores that health insurance falls into a category of goods for which you pay over your entire life. However, unlike, say, the cost of educating one's children in public schools or social security--for which you also pay over a lifetime via taxes as do others who won't use the service because we've agreed (putting aside Betsy Devos and GOP notions about private investment accounts) that it's important to society--we haven't, until the ACA, made any attempt to require it. It's all entangled in having private sector providers, from physicians all the way through the system to the insurance companies; somehow that makes the mandate unacceptable unlike taxes to pay for schools or social security contributions.

If we had a single payer system, after an initial kerfuffle I think it would receded into the landscape of taxes that are just background noise, like how few people have any idea what FICA deductions from their paychecks are all about. The public's growing appreciation for the ACA is evidence. That said, fuck Joe Lieberman forever.
posted by carmicha at 9:16 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


This just makes me so sad, the belief that people can't possibly want to help others and shouldn't have to.

It's why the right is obsessed with the made-up concept of "virtue signalling" - because clearly having virtues or caring about other human beings can never be true deeply held values, there must some personal enrichment goal otherwise why are you doing it? It is narcissistic sociopathy (also known as homo economicus) as a political philosophy. "We don't want to care because then we might feel bad and have to do something we don't feel like doing or deal with the mild discomfort of acknowledging our privilege, so therefore no one else must genuinely care (because caring = bad for you personally), meaning that everyone is faking that they care, and being a faker is the worst thing ever; all of you faking fakers are the worst meaning that we sociopaths are actually the most virtuous."
posted by melissasaurus at 9:18 AM on March 14 [50 favorites]


In other news, Wikileaks is throwing its support to Wilders in the Dutch election

Of course they are. Wilders and Assange go to the same hairdresser.
posted by rocket88 at 9:19 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I liked Julian Assange so much more before he found that magic crown that turned him blue and gave him ice powers. I swear, before he started wearing that crown he was a decent guy.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:21 AM on March 14 [14 favorites]


I meant to add that for things that are paid for over our entire lives through a required obligation, like public education taxes and mandated health insurance, it doesn't matter which if you move to another school district or switch insurance companies. It all evens out across the giant population (and, yes, using property taxes to pay for public education is terrible, insurance companies are more or less competitive, etc.) But still.
posted by carmicha at 9:22 AM on March 14


I feel compelled to share a pair of healthcare stories. One is mine, the other is not.

Ten years ago when I was twenty-six, my small intestine developed a fistula that burst forth out of my abdomen (thanks, Crohn's Disease!). I was hospitalized for thirteen days. When I was admitted, they checked my insurance information and told me I was covered. When I was discharged, they told me that "oh, by the way, our hospital and your insurance company failed to agree to a new contract while you were here, so you're actually not covered at all" and billed for me for over $400,000. The week after I was discharged, the hospital and the insurance company made a new deal. I was one of the unlucky people who dared to be deathly ill during the agreement lapse. Sucks to be me.

We eventually worked something out, but I lived with that open abdominal wound for three years after that. Long story. Lots more healthcare bills. Several more brushes with death. I've regenerated so much that I'm starting to think I'm a Time Lord. I have another story in which an x-ray technician calmly walked out of my testing room after assuring me nothing was wrong and then ran down the hall, comical loud footsteps of increasing speed ending with a door slam as he rushed to find doctors to see my test results immediately. Ask me about that one sometime.

Anyway, the other story happened to a former boss about seven years ago. He did not believe in doctors, medicine, or healthcare at all. One evening he was working on a little home remodeling project and accidentally dropped a concrete block with exposed rebar on his foot, punching a hole right through it. His solution was to run his bloody foot under the kitchen faucet for a while, put a sock on it, then go to bed. He limped around the office for three days with layers of bloody socks on his foot until we finally convinced him to go to the ER. The doctor told him that if he'd waited until the next morning to come in rather than that evening, they would've had to remove his gangrenous foot. They pumped him full of antibiotics and he later went on to become a marathon runner, so I guess his foot is fine now.

I don't know if I had a specific point in sharing these stories, but all of the discussion this morning inspired me to tell them. Everyone needs healthcare sooner or later. It just depends on when and why.
posted by Servo5678 at 9:22 AM on March 14 [33 favorites]


You know how many children I have? Zero children! You know how many cars I drive? Zero cars! For all of me, society could run with no schools and no streets, just bike paths and sidewalks. And yet here I am, paying into the system so that others can pay less for the roads and schools that they use and I do not. For that matter, at present I have zero disabilities that prevent me from working, and I can also afford all of my own food. And yet here I am, paying taxes that support disability and SNAP. Sucks to be me, right?

This isn't even a good line of altruism.

Without streets to get anywhere would involve trekking through the forest or scrub or grasslands no matter how you get there. For your groceries to get anywhere involves those streets. The computer you're typing on? It got to you somehow. You were, I assume, educated which was in a public school which you, personally, never paid for. Your company that you probably work for relies on public funded services and conveniences. They may even have low paid employees that depend on public services like SNAP which, if the company were mandated to pay instead, might come out of your pocket.

Nobody, nobody started life on their own. We all start our lives in debt to society and our lives are the means to pay it back by paying it forward. It sure as hell isn't an act of charity on anyone's part to contribute back to the civilization as a whole that gave them the life they now have. For anyone to pretend otherwise is delusional. People might ask when they have paid it back? The answer is that they can never pay it back because civilization gave them life itself.
posted by Talez at 9:25 AM on March 14 [25 favorites]


I am much more worried about them then that young guy who hates being told by his government that he has to buy insurance or otherwise pay a small penalty.

It's not just about that, though. It's that it's the first time in the history of America where you have to pay a tax just for being alive.

If you don't want to buy car insurance, no one is forcing you to buy a car. If you don't want to pay income tax, no one is forcing you to earn money. But the ACA individual mandate creates a tax that is levied on you at birth and remains with you until your death. It is, frankly, a frightening precedent.

The issue of how insurance can work without young healthy people in the system is a different one from the issue of "should the government be allowed to force people to buy things to exist."
posted by corb at 9:26 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


The issue of how insurance can work without young healthy people in the system is a different one from the issue of "should the government be allowed to force people to buy things to exist."

You don't have to buy it. You can pay the penalty which contributes to the working of the system. If you don't have the money it's given to you.
posted by Talez at 9:28 AM on March 14 [23 favorites]


It is, frankly, a frightening precedent.


Why?
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:28 AM on March 14 [13 favorites]


Death and taxes, man. What a choice.
posted by nickmark at 9:28 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


It's that it's the first time in the history of America where you have to pay a tax just for being alive.

Not true. "Selective Service".
posted by Slothrup at 9:28 AM on March 14 [41 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump

Great optimism in America – and the results will be even better!


[links to bloomberg on optimism among US CEOs]

America = CEOs. Come on, dude.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:28 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


This isn't even a good line of altruism.

I thought that was pretty blatant sarcasm, no?
posted by aspersioncast at 9:29 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


If you don't want to buy car insurance, no one is forcing you to buy a car. If you don't want to pay income tax, no one is forcing you to earn money. But the ACA individual mandate creates a tax that is levied on you at birth and remains with you until your death. It is, frankly, a frightening precedent.

Not a great analogy. Everyone participates at some point in the healthcare system. And even if you don't participate all that much, that doesn't exempt you any more than you can be exempt from paying taxes on roads and schools. It's part of participating in society.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:29 AM on March 14 [14 favorites]


With something like health care, where timing is everything, we don't need anything discouraging people from getting things checked out, even if it turns out to be a waste of time. The one time a doctor catches, say, a freak case of the bubonic plague early (not sure if that's a realistic example, but hopefully it gets the idea across), it could make the difference between an epidemic that costs everybody and no big deal. Health matters cross personal boundaries into the public interest. Too bad Republicans can't conceptualize collective responsibility anymore, or they'd get that.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:30 AM on March 14 [13 favorites]


I think it's more the laws of physics that force us to need to have healthcare and food if we want to continue existing. The question is whether we pay those costs efficiently, as a group, or disparately, which works out better for a few of us and waaaay worse for the rest.

If one doesn't reject the entire concept of society, this is not a frightening prospect in the slightest.
posted by Scattercat at 9:30 AM on March 14 [29 favorites]


Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), collection agencies are required to validate your debt upon request with a line-item breakdown of individual fees. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), healthcare providers may not share this information without your consent. This creates a catch-22 where medical debt (allegedly) cannot be collected without either the collector or healthcare provider violating one of the laws that governs their conduct. I believe the next step after this is letter writing to credit reporting agencies get the unvalidated debt expunged from your credit record.

As an aside, this is at best misleading. HHS specifically says: "The Privacy Rule permits covered entities to continue to use the services of debt collection agencies. ... The Department is not aware of any conflict between the Privacy Rule and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Where a use or disclosure of protected health information is necessary for the covered entity to fulfill a legal duty, the Privacy Rule would permit such use or disclosure as required by law."

Now, it's certainly possible for either the covered entity or the debt collection agency to fuck it up and fail to comply with the Privacy Rule, but there is nothing inherent in the law that makes it impossible for covered entities to use debt collectors. I would be very cautious about relying on any advice that suggests you can whipsaw a medical debt collector by request validation. In the worst case, you may implicitly be giving permission to the debt collector to receive more detailed medical information than it would normally get.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:31 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


The fact is that many people don't want and don't insurance, especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare.

There's no need for me to join the pile-on here, but I think Josh Barro has a valid point that of all the elements of the ACA contraption, the mandate is hated, but the ACA -- and insurance in general -- relies on a mandate. People are inherently stupid about things, especially when time and orders of magnitude are involved. People like the idea of buying special snowflake insurance that just covers them because they're special snowflakes, even though the costs associated with special snowflake insurance are much much higher than being part of a big risk pool.

Simple enough solution, then: hide it. Take it out of taxes. Single-payer primary, let the private insurance market play in a little sandbox for secondary coverage. Job done.

As I've said here a couple of times, the only way this shit works is through continuity. The same entity has to be responsible for those early screenings and interventions as the one that would bear the cost of not screening or intervening early. If it isn't, then the entity dealing with the present will let whoever's bearing future costs deal with those costs whenever.
posted by holgate at 9:31 AM on March 14 [24 favorites]


"We don't want to care because then we might feel bad and have to do something we don't feel like doing or deal with the mild discomfort of acknowledging our privilege, so therefore no one else must genuinely care (because caring = bad for you personally), meaning that everyone is faking that they care, and being a faker is the worst thing ever; all of you faking fakers are the worst meaning that we sociopaths are actually the most virtuous."

If anyone doubts the veracity of this, I have maaaaany stories of times I tried to Do Something Good In Public and these edgelords were first on the scene to tell me what a truly terrible, awful, lying faker poser person I am. (Being a practicing Buddhist also tends to bring this out in some people, for some reason.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:31 AM on March 14 [21 favorites]


Without streets to get anywhere would involve trekking through the forest or scrub or grasslands no matter how you get there. For your groceries to get anywhere involves those streets. The computer you're typing on? It got to you somehow.

But you see, everything could be delivered by bike carts! And maybe trains! If it's not bike carts or trains, I think I should not have to pay. Also, what if I just don't want to have all those things unless they can be delivered by bike? Maybe I'd be happier without a computer! Just because I have one now doesn't mean I wouldn't get rid of it after the no-road-taxes-for-Frowner revolution.

Also, I don't care about other people's kids; I got my education paid for by a bunch of suckers, but since I don't have kids, I'm not going to be a sucker.

(This is not what I actually believe.)
posted by Frowner at 9:33 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


It's that it's the first time in the history of America where you have to pay a tax just for being alive.

If you don't want to buy car insurance, no one is forcing you to buy a car. If you don't want to pay income tax, no one is forcing you to earn money. But the ACA individual mandate creates a tax that is levied on you at birth and remains with you until your death. It is, frankly, a frightening precedent.


This is just wrong. If you have no income, you pay no penalty for not having insurance. If you have no tax return filing obligation, you have no penalty. If your available coverage would cost more than 8% of your income, you don't owe a penalty. If you live in a state that didn't expand Medicaid, which would have covered you if they had, you don't owe a penalty.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:33 AM on March 14 [93 favorites]


If you don't want to buy car insurance, no one is forcing you to buy a car. If you don't want to pay income tax, no one is forcing you to earn money. But the ACA individual mandate creates a tax that is levied on you at birth and remains with you until your death. It is, frankly, a frightening precedent.

Jules: Well, you know how society functions through public investment?

Vincent: I don't want to pay taxes.

Jules: Yeah, but, you are aware that there's an invention called society, and in this invention people live their lives, right?
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:34 AM on March 14 [33 favorites]


Zooming back upthread to catch up after posting this comment, but I wanted to say that whoever said in the previous thread that this administration is a hostile takeover was spot on.

From now on, that's what I'm calling this regime: Hostile Takeover of the US Government. Because that's what it is.
posted by yoga at 9:36 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


It's not just about that, though. It's that it's the first time in the history of America where you have to pay a tax just for being alive.

If you don't want to buy car insurance, no one is forcing you to buy a car. If you don't want to pay income tax, no one is forcing you to earn money. But the ACA individual mandate creates a tax that is levied on you at birth and remains with you until your death. It is, frankly, a frightening precedent.

The issue of how insurance can work without young healthy people in the system is a different one from the issue of "should the government be allowed to force people to buy things to exist."


Corb: interestingly you are one jump away from the suggestion that it would be better funded from a small increase in normal income tax, and at that point single payer makes more sense, no?
posted by jaduncan at 9:36 AM on March 14 [32 favorites]


People who think they are never going to use the health care that insurance gets them access to are deluded and need to be saved from themselves.

Honestly I don't even put saving them from themselves at the top of the list of reasons why. Shaving some of the most unnecessary edges off things for folks who haven't figured out better is a worthy goal for society but we don't even have to get to that point before we see compelling reasons to have universal health care. The reality is that folks with no health insurance are expensive and risky for all the rest of us.

People who get sick for protracted periods cost the country tons of money in lost productivity and by spreading their ick around rather than getting preventative care and treatment. It's the same reason we should have some mandated sick time; you're not just making your own life harder when you drag your sorry flu-ridden ass into the office. You're further endangering "the herd" by exposing others, and our insistence on being this country of rugged individualists means the folks most likely to contact many people and be very effective Typhoid Marys are those in the service industry who are least likely to have the ability to take time off to get better.

This is "choice" like the choice to build homes that don't have decent fire resistance. It's okay, I'm always going to be careful and I don't like candles and it's my house anyway. Sure, till it's next to other people's houses and your stupid catches them on fire. Or maybe the forest, which now society will pay a few million bucks to put out because you didn't want to spend 5% more to use the correct drywall in that furnace room. "Choice" like unsafe vehicles, which don't just kill your stupid ass when you hit something but which kill families legally in the crosswalk when your uninspected and unmaintained brakes failed.

This idea that it's the first time you "had to pay a tax to be alive" is just comical. There has never been a time in the lives of anyone reading this where being in America didn't cost you money that went to your government. They might inefficiently gather it by tacking it onto the cost of gas or your chocolate bar or an amount based on the value of the property you resided on (which if you owned it you paid in property tax or if you rent you pay in increased rent to cover that property tax) or etc on and on forever. But you paid it.

The choice in America has always been that, to participate in society, you pay. You don't like it? You can overtly leave and go somewhere else (maybe Libertarian Paradise Somalia?) or you can wander off into whatever large chunk of forest you can find. Nobody's really gonna come track you down over your ACA payment if you're not participating in any of the rest of society and just eat acorns and lichen. But if you want to be in a society you pay some price for being in society. This idea that you can just opt out of something that is now 1/5th of our economy - even if you try to avoid paying a dollar in directly - is just stupid.
posted by phearlez at 9:36 AM on March 14 [27 favorites]


corb - If you don't want to pay income tax, no one is forcing you to earn money.

That's right! No one forces me to earn money! When I get hungry, I just pop on down to the free food store unlike all you suckers who pay for food. When thunderstorms come, I just go in my free house that I got at the free house place. Don't even get me started at how empty the free clothes places is every time I go there! Why do people die from exposure every winter when they could just have free energy from the free energy fairy? All you people earning money are such suckers! No one's making you do that.
posted by Slothrop at 9:36 AM on March 14 [73 favorites]


It's that it's the first time in the history of America where you have to pay a tax just for being alive.


This is just Republican bullshit framing -- much like the "death tax."

You pay taxes for everything in your life. You pay taxes on your wages, you pay taxes on the food you eat, you pay taxes on property you own, you pay taxes on your gasoline, you pay taxes on your car, you pay taxes on your bank accounts. There is not a person in the US that doesn't pay one or more of these taxes.

So this idea that a health insurance tax is unique as a tax on "being alive" is just cranky bullshit.
posted by JackFlash at 9:37 AM on March 14 [77 favorites]


I'm not sure I understand Bannon's master plan here.

1. Let Ryan roll out a healthcare bill that everybody hates.
2. Watch the bill fail.
3. Blame Democrats for the bill failing.
4. Continue to blame every problem with the healthcare system on Democrats for the next 8 years.

Bad things will happen in the healthcare system in the future (because they always do) and as long as Republicans don't successfully change it, they can't be blamed. The absolute worst thing they could do at this point would be to pass some small changes to Obamacare that don't really accomplish the goals and would expose them to flak forever.
posted by miyabo at 9:38 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


> If you don't want to buy car insurance, no one is forcing you to buy a car. If you don't want to pay income tax, no one is forcing you to earn money. But the ACA individual mandate creates a tax that is levied on you at birth and remains with you until your death.

This is a willfully tenditious definition of "force." Contemporary power operates less through direct acts of violence against the victims of power, and more through denying its victims access to needed resources. It's less about actively making the object of force dead, and more about letting the disfavored die.

I do not think it is possible for someone, at least someone in the lower 48, to live without in some way interacting with taxation; sales tax, property tax, capital gains tax, etc. If you are legitimately concerned with the mandate's effect on people who live off the grid, you should be more concerned with helping people get the resources they need to live off the grid — that would be a more effective way to spread the type of freedom you envision.

Or you should get with the program and militate for single payer health care instead of health care filtered through insurers.

The fine theological point about whether or not it's theoretically possible to evade every tax other than the ACA fine is moot, since in practical rather than theoretical terms, it is obvious that we must interact in some way with the tax system, or else die.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:38 AM on March 14 [17 favorites]


That's right! No one forces me to earn money! When I get hungry, I just pop on down to the free food store unlike all you suckers who pay for food. When thunderstorms come, I just go in my free house that I got at the free house place. Don't even get me started at how empty the free clothes places is every time I go there! Why do people die from exposure every winter when they could just have free energy from the free energy fairy? All you people earning money are such suckers! No one's making you do that.

You are kind of describing the concept of a welfare state (and I'm a supporter of that). It is probably a good thing that people have houses, food, clothes etc., even if they don't want to earn money.
posted by jaduncan at 9:40 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


YOU GUYS A MANDATE ROBS ME FROM MY GODGIVEN FREEDOM TO DIE OF AN EASILY TREATABLE ILLNESS IN ABJECT POVERTY
posted by entropicamericana at 9:41 AM on March 14 [76 favorites]


But the ACA individual mandate creates a tax that is levied on you at birth and remains with you until your death. It is, frankly, a frightening precedent.

I can sort of grok this if you start with a certain set of preconceptions. But if it's a tax, then the people to whom you're paying it are accountable to you. Not to shareholders. Not to boards of directors. If you're not getting your money's worth, you can vote to change it.

I'm sure you've seen the Twitter threads where an American asks "how much did the birth of your kids cost?" and Americans chip in with "oh, $20,000" or "$40,000 because it was difficult" or "$35,000 and insurance covered most of it but there was this $3000 bill out of nowhere which sucked" and non-Americans in developed nations are all "you were charged to have a baby? wtf?"

In America, there is a large charge incurred just by being born. The rest of the developed world thinks this is crazy bonkers. It's up to Americans to provide a compelling justification for this, not the rest of the developed world.
posted by holgate at 9:41 AM on March 14 [122 favorites]


especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare

Are you arguing in good faith here? Your original point about media presentation seemed valid on a meta-level.

posted by aspersioncast at 8:30 on March 14 [7 favorites +] [!]


looks like aspersioncast cast aspersions here

if only there was hysterical and maybe e pony term for it
posted by anem0ne at 9:41 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


It's not just about that, though. It's that it's the first time in the history of America where you have to pay a tax just for being alive.

If you don't want to buy car insurance, no one is forcing you to buy a car. If you don't want to pay income tax, no one is forcing you to earn money. But the ACA individual mandate creates a tax that is levied on you at birth and remains with you until your death. It is, frankly, a frightening precedent.


I find this comment really frustrating because it's easy to say you're "Never Trump" but when it comes to something like an actual, concrete GOP policy, one that will literally cost lives, instead of "Okay, I'll work with everyone trying to save lives instead of cost them" it's all "a frightening precedent". I think Trump is bad and dangerous in many, many ways but this is a Republican policy, a terrifying, callous, and dangerous one, and it doesn't fill me with confidence that conservatives, even the ones ostensibly on my side, would rather handwring about the dangerous precedent of taxation than save lives.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:42 AM on March 14 [58 favorites]


I'm not sure I understand Bannon's master plan here.

1. Let Ryan roll out a healthcare bill that everybody hates.
2. Watch the bill fail.
3. Blame Democrats for the bill failing.
4. Continue to blame every problem with the healthcare system on Democrats for the next 8 years.


I have a bad feeling that the plan is

1. Let Ryan roll out a healthcare bill that everybody hates.
2. Have DJT swoop in and veto the bill, doing a solid for the base, looking all "outsider."
3. Have DJT "broker" a "really better" bill that passes, looking like a boss.
4. Profit.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:44 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Corb: interestingly you are one jump away from the suggestion that it would be better funded from a small increase in normal income tax, and at that point single payer makes more sense, no?

I don't like single payer, but yes, I would have vastly preferred if the ACA were funded through a simple tax increase rather than mandating people buy health insurance or face a penalty. I know it may seem weird to some, but this kind of stuff actually matters to me.

So essentially, I think "what form of health care should the government help pay for" is an argument we can have, but "how should it be funded" should be "through the normal taxing authority without creating mandates."
posted by corb at 9:44 AM on March 14 [18 favorites]


But the ACA individual mandate creates a tax that is levied on you at birth and remains with you until your death.

Other people have pointed out the error in the "tax just for being alive" framing, but this point is erroneous as well. Children are under no obligation to provide their own health insurance, and once an individual reaches the statutory age, they're automatically covered under Medicare.
posted by Gelatin at 9:45 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Can you explain the difference between "a mandate to pay $X that is assessed at tax time via the IRS" and "a tax processed through the normal taxing authority?"?
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:45 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


No libertarian first principle survives first contact with an actual society, but the whole "forcing" and "compulsory" frame is perhaps the most useless of the lot. If it weren't a state made up of representatives elected by the people forcing you to do something, it would be a warlord, or a benevolent king if you're lucky. We have to all agree on what we are so that we can haggle over the price. No society free of compulsory activity has ever existed, so to split hairs over the differences in how those obligations are enforced is a total waste of time.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:48 AM on March 14 [38 favorites]


So essentially, I think "what form of health care should the government help pay for" is an argument we can have, but "how should it be funded" should be "through the normal taxing authority without creating mandates."

So it sounds like it's a priority to have (the illusion of) a choice. This seems to be an ideological/worldview difference, where folks on the right would generally prefer to choose--and succeed, or fuck up--on their own. On the left, the preference is to work together to make systemic solutions and frameworks within which we can succeed or fuck up with lower stakes, i.e. if you fail you won't die in a gutter; if you succeed you will be only nine digits rich instead of eleven digits rich.
posted by witchen at 9:49 AM on March 14 [18 favorites]


The difference is that it's a tax conditional on whether or not you have "chosen" to buy health insurance through a private company.

I think from corb's last few comments, her position is that maintaining a strict separation between the state and private industry is very important, and that therefore a tax that gives you financial incentive to do business with a private company is morally suspect.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:49 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


This sounds a lot like "I'm going to wear my seatbelt because that's the smart thing to do but I don't like you telling me I HAVE TO."
posted by phearlez at 9:49 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


jaduncan - I was sarcastically pointing out how disingenuous it is to say that "no one forces you to earn money" as some purported justification that taxes are bad - that ordinary people can just blithely "choose" not to pay income tax. I also support a welfare state or social safety net for people who are unable to acquire necessary resources. Heck, I feel fairly certain that automation is going to force a Universal Basic Income in my lifetime. I just think it's beyond ridiculous to claim that in the United States you can effectively avoid earning income. Even people who receive welfare benefits still end up dying of easily avoidable problems due to low or no income - read city papers in the depths of winter and you will always find stories of elderly people dying of exposure because they had to "choose" between a heating bill and some other necessity.

Honestly, if a Republican talking point on their legislation is "Hey, you could just choose not to earn money," I think their idea is dead in the water.
posted by Slothrop at 9:49 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


This idea that it's the first time you "had to pay a tax to be alive" is just comical

Every time somebody pays a sales tax, they're paying a tax for the privilege of buying something on an open market. You can't opt out of them even if you, rightly or wrongly, do think you personally "need" the thing. It may not literally be a category of tax on "being alive" since we at least exclude food in most states I think, but the basic idea we've never taxed people in ways someone might choose to construe as coercive and unfair is fashionable nonsense.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:50 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I don't like single payer, but yes, I would have vastly preferred if the ACA were funded through a simple tax increase rather than mandating people buy health insurance or face a penalty.

It is funded through a variety of simple tax increases. Even the "mandate" is actually just a tax increase - the GOP calls it a penalty, but legally (as affirmed by SCOTUS), it is a tax and is collected as a tax and enforced by our central tax enforcement agency. One can even pre-pay it by increasing their withholding. You are arguing against a strawman ACA invented by the GOP. The actual bill is paid for through our normal taxing authority.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:50 AM on March 14 [24 favorites]


Girl Guides of Canada cancel all trips to the U.S., including trips with final destinations in the US and trips with connecting flights through the US. "We really wanted to make sure that no girl gets left behind," spokesperson says
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:51 AM on March 14 [67 favorites]


So essentially, I think "what form of health care should the government help pay for" is an argument we can have, but "how should it be funded" should be "through the normal taxing authority without creating mandates."

I assume you're aware of and perfectly in agreement with the Sebilus decision that said exactly this, that the mandate was in fact a valid exercise of the tax power.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:51 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


I think from corb's last few comments, her position is that maintaining a strict separation between the state and private industry is very important, and that therefore a tax that gives you financial incentive to do business with a private company is morally suspect.

Well, that I can agree with. Again: single payer fixes this. If Republicans were really so concerned about this problem, there is, in fact, a solution. A number of different solutions, actually, that have decades of data behind how effective they variously are.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:51 AM on March 14 [26 favorites]


(I leave it as an exercise for people who've ever made enough money to itemize to list the ways that the tax code is basically suffused with incentives to do business with private industry)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:52 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


> therefore a tax that gives you financial incentive to do business with a private company is morally suspect.

Sure, and I could raise the same objection to any policy that subsidizes or in any way favors automobile traffic over public transit, because that policy pushes me strongly in the direction of car ownership, where I'm "forced" to do business with a private company. Ditto the mortgage interest deduction, 401ks... Nearly everything the state does has a significant on the bottom line of a private company, so it's really hard to accept this special pleading about specific instances where the policy has the benefit of keeping people from dying.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:53 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


Republicans, for the most part, prefer people to interact with private companies, even if a tax incentive is involved.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:53 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I thought that was pretty blatant sarcasm, no?

Please remember that we're all on edge here, and that the executive branch of the United States along with its ally Russia is waging war against the concept of truth, so please don't be hard on people for not picking up on sarcasm. This is why we have [real] and [fake] tags.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 9:53 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Can you explain the difference between "a mandate to pay $X that is assessed at tax time via the IRS" and "a tax processed through the normal taxing authority?"?

I'm not corb, but I can see the difference. Think about the bistromaths endemic to the healthcare system -- inflated rack rates, bullshit discount rates -- and how the mandate is forced to be complicit in that process by contracting with private entities. We know why it's complicit: the political need in 2009 to gain buy-in from entrenched players, along with the "keep your doctor, keep your plan" stuff for people in the group market. But it also enforces a terrible model.

(The public option might have made a difference here, but it might have also forced public entities to behave like private ones.)
posted by holgate at 9:54 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


SNL Weekend update premieres on Thursday, August 10.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:58 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I think from corb's last few comments, her position is that maintaining a strict separation between the state and private industry is very important, and that therefore a tax that gives you financial incentive to do business with a private company is morally suspect.

Yeah, so essentially there's a few big problems I have with it and that is a major one, which goes into other problems with the government pushing you into essentially monopolistic systems in some states but that is a far longer rant than I think anyone has time for.

But the crux of it is that if the government feels it should be in the business of healthcare - which, we can abstractly debate, but it already kind of is, wrt Medicaid, Medicare, etc - I feel it should just provide said healthcare directly. And if it feels that it needs more money to do so, it should take it from its usual money pots, rather than create these penalties to force people into things. And if it feels those money pots aren't big enough because it's expensive, that it should raise its income to provide for said money pots to be larger.

I think there's this idea that Republicans always oppose taxes, no matter what, and I think that broad brush really kind of erases "people who will grumble about more taxes because taxes suck, but also acknowledge that the government needs money and be okay with it if it's necessary."
posted by corb at 10:01 AM on March 14 [17 favorites]


Huh. I wonder why didn't Democrats think of raising taxes and spending more.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:03 AM on March 14 [50 favorites]


Bad things will happen in the healthcare system in the future (because they always do) and as long as Republicans don't successfully change it, they can't be blamed.

Sure they can. They've been calling Obamacare a disaster (a lie) and promising to fix it (another lie) for going on a decade now, and now they have a Republican Congress and President. Their base, drunk with fear and loathing on all the lies they've been told (from "taxed at birth" to "death panels"), expect the Republicans to do something. Whatever happens from here on in, even if they don't do anything to change Obamacare, they own the situation.

The "party of personal responsibility" just wishes they can avoid the blame for what comes next.
posted by Gelatin at 10:03 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Bizarro video of Trump's photo op with the Saudi Crown Prince, referring to the media as "nice people."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:04 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


I feel it should just provide said healthcare directly

Please go forth and speak to your fellow Republicans, because they were the folks who stuck us with the ACA--this was the Heritage Foundation plan, and Romney's plan. If you want people to be able to access health care regardless of their personal assets, and you don't want private companies to be involved, there is a way to do this. It's very popular and works well. We're the only modernized country that doesn't use it. Please talk to your peeps.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:06 AM on March 14 [82 favorites]


We've gone from magically being able to not earn income to having magic "money pots." corb, you would prefer that the ACA was funded by a tax increase, but not by an individual mandate that is leveled as a tax (legally defined as such by the Supreme Court) on the individual who refuses to get coverage? That would mean that everyone else who pays the tax pays for the person who refuses to get coverage, but will with 99.99%* certainty use health care. How is that at all a Republican/Libertarian position? Whatever happened to personal responsibility in that case?

Again, to avoid confusion regarding my sarcasm, I am for universal government-provided healthcare.

*-Emergency room visits have decreased under Obamacare. This is because people without insurance still get sick and injured anyway, and before Obamacare they just went to emergency rooms to be treated.
posted by Slothrop at 10:09 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


I think from corb's last few comments, her position is that maintaining a strict separation between the state and private industry is very important, and that therefore a tax that gives you financial incentive to do business with a private company is morally suspect.

If only the Republicans weren't obsessed with taking a page from Margaret Thatcher's destructive playbook and privatizing everything in sight, from roads to prisons.
posted by Gelatin at 10:10 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


> We know why it's complicit: the political need in 2009 to gain buy-in from entrenched players, along with the "keep your doctor, keep your plan" stuff for people in the group market. But it also enforces a terrible model.

This points toward one of the reasons why I get so bothered by libertarians and other conservatives who insist that engineering freedom requires devising, from first principles, a system that admits to the possibility of freedom. This sounds fine... but we don't live in first principles; we live on Earth, in complex societies with competing powerful institutions, and so we make choices (political choices and other choices) that will tend to produce preferred outcomes, or at least least-bad outcomes, given the constraints on possibility imposed by the actual power of actual institutions. First principles and good intent does not matter; what matters is increasing actual freedom of action for actual people actually here in America. The ACA does that.

I mean, look, putting on my first-principles hat I'll note that genuine material freedom for all requires equal access to resources, rather than the purely formal equality offered by liberal legal systems. The ACA increases material freedom. It doesn't do it as well as expropriating the assets of insurance companies at gunpoint and using them as starter funds for state-provisioned health care — but in reality, right now, in this wretched year 2017, we don't have the force or organization to do anything like that. So we support the ACA, and we support attempts to establish single payer, and we hope that someday, in a better future, we can seize real freedom from out of the hands of our capitalist dominators.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:11 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


I think there's this idea that Republicans always oppose taxes, no matter what, and I think that broad brush really kind of erases "people who will grumble about more taxes because taxes suck, but also acknowledge that the government needs money and be okay with it if it's necessary."

But you still haven't listed any taxes that you're ok with increasing. You keep talking in hypotheticals. If you don't believe that health care is a human right, then say so. If you believe it is a human right, then what is your proposal for ensuring that everyone has health care, even those who cannot afford it or those who don't plan ahead and pre-purchase insurance? If Republicans want their considerations taken into account they have to actually propose specific plans based on their specific values. My proposal is medicare for all paid for by progressive taxation and a really high estate tax.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:11 AM on March 14 [18 favorites]


It's disheartening how obvious it is when the Trump administration speaks about "Americans," they actually mean a pretty specific subset of Americans.

I have this idea rolling around in my head for a project to reclaim the word "Americans." It would be single image capsule bios of terrific, upstanding people of color, LGBTQ people, and immigrants titled "I LOVE AMERICAns."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:12 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


This seems to be an ideological/worldview difference, where folks on the right would generally prefer to choose--and succeed, or fuck up--on their own.

The ones who aren't just morally bankrupt opportunists seem to believe innovation is directly connected to survival stress and the desire to win that we valorize in, say, professional athletes. In reality, most truly history making innovations come from bookish intellectuals and deep thinkers who don't give a rat's ass about success as a proxy for social worth and making the big bucks, fairly humble people with modest ambitions for their own personal wealth, like Einstein or Tesla, say. When you make wealth the only respectable ambition to pursue, you end up with a bunch of people whose only ambitions are to get wealthy by whatever means, with any incidental public benefit being only secondary or coincidental to their real aims. That's one of the root problems with modern American "conservatism."
posted by saulgoodman at 10:12 AM on March 14 [24 favorites]


I would be super delighted not to start a corb show where there's 274282 comments trying to thread the needle of exactly what fictional scheme nobody will ever enact would satisfy her.
posted by phearlez at 10:12 AM on March 14 [74 favorites]


I think there's this idea that Republicans always oppose taxes, no matter what, and I think that broad brush really kind of erases "people who will grumble about more taxes because taxes suck, but also acknowledge that the government needs money and be okay with it if it's necessary."

Well, the election of representatives who routinely go the obstructionist, all-taxes-suck route does most of the work on that erasure; this is a problem that comes down to policy in practice, and policy in practice right now is Trump & Co, on the strength of broadly partisan conservative voters, recklessly dropping the other shoe on decades of agitation to demonize and scrap some pretty necessary if sometimes grumble-worthy spending at the direct cost of millions of American's already shaky health care stability.

At a certain point it makes sense to stop fixating on the brush strokes and reconsider instead who is actually putting most of the momentum into the brush.
posted by cortex at 10:13 AM on March 14 [21 favorites]


I think there's this idea that Republicans always oppose taxes, no matter what

Yes, I got this idea from Republicans who seem like the always oppose taxes no matter what.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:14 AM on March 14 [84 favorites]


a. There is no way to have a complex, functioning human society of some kind without a system of taxation. How those taxes are collected is mostly about logistics (automatically or via penalties/fees) and justice (whether everyone is paying their fair share or not). Both of which are difficult to monitor, and we can and will argue about endlessly but neither of which justifies just tossing the whole idea of taxation.

b. Deducting my single-payer taxes from my check instead of making me jump through a complicated system of levels and penalties would be great! Let's do that.
posted by emjaybee at 10:17 AM on March 14 [20 favorites]


Wherein close Trump friend and advisor Chris Ruddy, CEO of NewsMax, advocates for a pubic option.

4. Reject the phony private health insurance market as the panacea. Look to an upgraded Medicaid system to become the country's blanket insurer for the uninsured.
posted by chris24 at 10:18 AM on March 14 [13 favorites]


Yes, I got this idea from Republicans who seem like the always oppose taxes no matter what.

AKA A harmed society is a polite society.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:18 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


But the crux of it is that if the government feels it should be in the business of healthcare - which, we can abstractly debate, but it already kind of is, wrt Medicaid, Medicare, etc - I feel it should just provide said healthcare directly. And if it feels that it needs more money to do so, it should take it from its usual money pots, rather than create these penalties to force people into things. And if it feels those money pots aren't big enough because it's expensive, that it should raise its income to provide for said money pots to be larger.

corb, I agree with you 100% about this point, but I am compelled to point out that as far as the Republican Party is concerned, it's a complete non-starter. For one thing, because it'd compete with countless numbers of for-profit businesses. The Democrats weren't even able to offer a government-provided health plan ("public option") because its critics stated outright that private plans couldn't compete with it, which should have given the bad faith of their arguments away -- well, it did, for those who were paying attention, which sadly was not the news media, but never mind.

In any case, yes -- the flaws of the ACA is basically that it's one of those "market-based solutions" Republicans keep talking about, in which coverage was gained thru buying private health insurance. We agree that that's far from an optimal solution, but even so, millions of Americans gained health insurance because of it.
posted by Gelatin at 10:19 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Sigh. Ok, if you don't want to pay car insurance so you don't buy a car... but come the day you're walking/biking along and get hit by a car, it's really important that the drive is insured and that you have health insurance, too.

Seriously, all the "I'm young and healthy, why do I need insurance?!" types need to be told that they have to sign a pledge to
a)never ride in--much less operate--a motorvehicle while uncovered
b)never bike while uncovered
c)never walk/sport while uncovered
d)actually, just never leave their hermetically-sealed house while uncovered

I mean, before we get into the "it'll never happen to me!" realm of cancer and other terrible diseases, I currently have 3 friends out with torn ACLs from their various winter sport activities, and another who needed surgery for a broken shoulder after, yep, being hit by a car while biking to work. Good thing everyone involved had some form of insurance! You need health insurance if you want to maintain your current lifestyle, much less to ward off aging and/or catastrophic illness.
posted by TwoStride at 10:20 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


This sounds fine... but we don't live in first principles; we live on Earth, in complex societies with competing powerful institutions, and so we make choices (political choices and other choices) that will tend to produce preferred outcomes, or at least least-bad outcomes, given the constraints on possibility imposed by the actual power of actual institutions. First principles and good intent does not matter; what matters is increasing actual freedom of action for actual people actually here in America.

I mean, I think this is honestly the problem with pretty much all political discourse that takes place on the internet, right? Because some of us are talking about first principles at one moment, and some of us are talking about the least-bad options at the same moment, and it's not always clear which we are talking about at any given moment and it makes our stuff look incoherent as fuck. It's hard to have nuanced conversations about "Okay, what do you believe in an ideal world? What about in a not-ideal but still pretty good world? What about a crap one?" when there's fifteen people all trying to get at a different angle of stuff. *

Because I think a lot of our answers are not always the same in all moments. If I'm asking you about your first principles - and I'm super interested in the answers, because I think our first principles always inform our choices - you're going to have a different answer on the ACA or really anything else, than if we're talking about that "in the imperfect (and vulgar-capitalist) world we live in, what specific policy do you want to advance"?

I think right now a lot of people are stressed and jumping down each other's throats because we're zooming in from the small to the large back and forth in a situation that's effectively a wartime footing. The answers of 'what do we do in the age of Trump' are different from 'what would we like to do if we designed the world', and I think it's important to remember that.

*I note as ever, my memail is always open and I am happy to talk nuanced for those who want to get into the fine detail
posted by corb at 10:20 AM on March 14 [17 favorites]


> Yes, I got this idea from Republicans who seem like the always oppose taxes no matter what.

Not true! Sometimes Republicans support sales taxes.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:20 AM on March 14


I think there's this idea that Republicans always oppose taxes, no matter what, and I think that broad brush really kind of erases "people who will grumble about more taxes because taxes suck, but also acknowledge that the government needs money and be okay with it if it's necessary."

Take it up with Grover Norquist. Republican politicians always oppose taxes, no matter what. Evidence: They wouldn't raise taxes, not even a penny, to pay for the second Gulf War.
posted by Gelatin at 10:21 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Okay, I see: the ACA makes you buy something from a private entity. Agree, corb, that's grody, but there was nobody--noooobody--on the right arguing what you're arguing now when they were trying to set it up, so they went with Romneycare (which made people buy something from a private entity and nobody--noooobody--on the right argued against it.) (Or they might've but it couldn't've been too many, given it became the law of Mass and then the law of the land).

Perhaps Bannon's plan now is to throw Ryan under the bus, write up a single payer plan that includes an explicit and increasingly baroque-in-phrasing ban on all abortion and birth control funding in every paragraph, and call it something like Brave Eagle. Gin up support for the tax increase to pay for it by calling it the Support Our Unborn Troops and Miners tax.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:21 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


I feel it should just provide said healthcare directly

As an outsider, it seems like Americans too often conflate healthcare and health insurance. This is especially clear when people speak about choice. Some Americans are so wrapped up in choice of health insurance that they don't see how little choice of healthcare even people with supposedly great insurance have.

The argument seems to be "why should I pay for a plan that covers X, Y, Z, if I don't want and will never use X, Y, Z" but this misses that A) Nothing about having a plan that covers these things means you have to have those tests/procedures/services and B) Presumably the thinking is that you're paying more because your plan covers this, but in a single payer system, what you pay is based on your means, not on what services you need/use/are at risk of using. C) And if you're thinking "but if it didn't cover X,Y,Z for the people who DO want/need it, then I'd pay less, then you're a jerk.

Anyway, once you have a single payer system in place EVERY doctor, EVERY hospital, EVERY procedure, is available to EVERYONE. So yeah, you only have one health insurance plan to choose from, but you have full choice of healthcare that as far as I can tell, no US private insurer offers. There are no networks. No approved providers. Nobody but your doctor and you deciding what procedures/services you should have. Never have to worry about whether something is covered. Never have to call your insurance company for any reason. Never get a bill or statement in the mail. Never give a thought to money when you're in the hospital (well, parking costs near hospitals are not as well-regulated as they should be, at least here). Never have to declare to anyone that this doc or that is your "PCP" (wtf? whose business is that?). Never send your private health information to your insurer.

It seems strange to me that anyone would want more choice of insurance so they could have more limited choice of healthcare and have to deal with all the hassles of an insurance company.

Oh, and most healthcare providers ARE private businesses, so it's not the government providing heallthcare, they're providing health insurance. You then take your insurance and get your healthcare wherever you want mostly from the private sector. I think this works well because the healthcare providers DO have to compete with each other. If I don't like one doctor or clinic or lab or hospital (though hospitals are mostly public-ish) I can up and go to another.

So yeah, reasonable Americans, you should be pushing for more choice, but part of that needs to be pointing out how every private insurance company severely limits your choice, and they should be required to get out of the business of telling you where you can get your healthcare or what healthcare you should get. If they can't do that, then maybe they should get out of the health insurance business all together and leave it to someone who can.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:23 AM on March 14 [75 favorites]


David Frum (who's Canadian, so his conservatism comes from a different set of foundations) offers a sane conservative alternative: accept universality, work on cost control at the provider level, not by foisting it on individuals who simply aren't in a position to make informed and cost-efficient choices because of how the market is structured and how ill health works. It's not something the GOP in its current form will support, especially not when the HHS secretary is an insider-trading profiteer.

The Dutch system is a decent model here. It's very Dutch, very consensus and committee. A payroll tax covers chronic and long-term stuff (and also abortions) and then "regular doctor stuff" is from premiums to competing private (not-for-profit) companies, or to a subsidised public option for those with low incomes. Lots of risk equalisation, lots of hard negotiations to set the reimbursement rates for providers.
posted by holgate at 10:24 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


a. There is no way to have a complex, functioning human society of some kind without a system of taxation.

I think there might be on first principles alone personally, but we've already got a system in place with institutional momentum and political realities and cultural realities that make the kind of wholesale structural reform thinking and deep reform impossible in practice. If the Federal government just started printing its own money to pay its own working budget without radically boosting spending, we could bypass the bond markets and create GDP growth directly without hyperinflation, and you wouldn't need an income tax base. You'd still want to tax the extremely wealthy though to solve the surplus capital problem. But that's my personal hobby horse, and I agree it's a relatively new way of thinking about how a monetary system might work, but it's basically just radical Keynesian economics applied literally and I think it could work with enough will.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:25 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I have this idea rolling around in my head for a project to reclaim the word "Americans."

John Cena is here to help you out.
posted by Gelatin at 10:26 AM on March 14 [18 favorites]


I don't like single payer, but yes, I would have vastly preferred if the ACA were funded through a simple tax increase rather than mandating people buy health insurance or face a penalty.

Easy Peasy. Employer assessed payroll tax, which goes to the Medicare trust rather than some health insurance company.

YOUR NET PAY STAYS THE SAME. There's no 'mandate' on anyone, but rather a regulation that Artificial Legal Entities applying for an EIN have to comply with.
posted by mikelieman at 10:26 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


By my back of the envelope calculations I have paid somewhere around $16000 worth of my taxes to help the US government kill people since 2012. That money included all the 'bistromaths' endemic to healthcare as well. The only difference is the government did the contracts on my behalf with General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, BAE and others. So I guess my hands are clean because I didn't pay them directly. Yet I am still that much poorer, defense contractors are that much richer and the dead are still that dead.
posted by srboisvert at 10:26 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


> I mean, I think this is honestly the problem with pretty much all political discourse that takes place on the internet, right? Because some of us are talking about first principles at one moment, and some of us are talking about the least-bad options at the same moment, and it's not always clear which we are talking about at any given moment and it makes our stuff look incoherent as fuck. It's hard to have nuanced conversations about "Okay, what do you believe in an ideal world? What about in a not-ideal but still pretty good world? What about a crap one?" when there's fifteen people all trying to get at a different angle of stuff.

Honestly, I think first principles are more or less totally unimportant; there is no such thing as abstract thought, only thought in context. A consequentialist approach to assessing political actions — less "what does this mean and how does it accord with my values?" and more "what does this tend to result in when implemented in its context, and how does that accord with my values" — is more fruitful.

The first approach is a way to have a bunch of on-paper freedoms that get taken away from you by the first cop, landlord, or CEO that can get their grubby little mitts on them. The first approach leads us toward theorycrafting about what's just, while the second approach keeps us focused on actually making a more just world. In the latter approach, it's difficult to justify opposition to the ACA.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:29 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


Republicans love taxes. Here in Kansas, the sales tax and sin taxes were substantially raised by Brownback as a way to (inadequately) cover his massive tax cuts for the rich. National Republicans realize someone's got to pay for the military and they're thrilled to let the middle class do their patriotic duty. They just think the wealthy should have an exemption.

You can see it shown quite baldly when Obama was willing to lower middle class tax rates and the Republicans refused to play along. Can also see it when the Republicans praise people like Trump and Romney for avoiding tax, but criticize poor single moms who avoid it via low wages, credits, and deductions.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:32 AM on March 14 [23 favorites]


I liked Julian Assange so much more before he found that magic crown that turned him blue and gave him ice powers. I swear, before he started wearing that crown he was a decent guy.

Oh really? Rapist and misogynist Julian Assange used to be a decent guy? When was that exactly?
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:33 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


John Cena is here to help you out.

I want to high five John Cena so much right now.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:34 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I want to high five John Cena so much right now.

Bear in mind that it would likely kill you.
posted by Etrigan at 10:35 AM on March 14 [18 favorites]


Oh really? Rapist and misogynist Julian Assange used to be a decent guy?

Years and years ago he was part of the "Rubberhose Cryptography" project, which had some insights. Probably was a creep then too, but it wasn't part of his official bio.
posted by mikelieman at 10:36 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


are we all arguing over what the best healthcare plan would be? i think it's single payer. that's the one we should do IMO, like just expanding Medicare to everyone and let the private insurance companies fail, that's the best way. well i'm off to drink some delicious and healthy milk
posted by Greg Nog at 10:38 AM on March 14 [25 favorites]


Honestly, I think first principles are more or less totally unimportant;

This time, that might depend on what's left after Trump. If there's not enough left or it's too mangled to repair more efficiently than scrapping altogether, we might end up with a basically razed foundation again here to start building up from scratch again. The Rs and business interests have already corrupted so many of the foundational institutions... :(

Money is an invention, a technology that's supposed to make it easier to allocate resources and accomplish real things. It's become the point instead.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:38 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Here are some talking points for calling legislators to oppose the Paul Ryan's reckless and wasteful tax cut:

* Americans will be paying more $$ for less coverage.
* According to the CBO, 14 million Americans would lose coverage next year. Within a decade 24 million would lose coverage.
* The WH's own estimate says that 26 million Americans would lose coverage in a decade.
* The bill contains nearly $1T in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade.
* The much touted "deficit reduction" of $337B is over not per year, so the yearly reduction is a paltry $30B--a drop in the bucket of our national budget.
* Insurance companies will be allowed to charge our nation's elders more for their insurance.
* Insurance companies will be allowed to use the old system that allowed them to offer extremely high deductible, low-benefit policies that will cost Americans dearly.
* Tens of thousands will die each year because of Paul Ryan and his casual cruelty. (For use in deep blue districts)

Feel free to use any, all, or none of these!
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:39 AM on March 14 [24 favorites]


I think the biggest talking point is that 7 million will lose employer provided health insurance. That means at least 3.5 million working republicans will lose health insurance that they used to have. Probably more.
posted by srboisvert at 10:42 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


Maybe Ryan is being set up to be the Trumpists' Ernst Röhm?
posted by dazed_one at 10:43 AM on March 14


Here are some talking points for calling legislators to oppose the Paul Ryan's reckless and wasteful tax cut:

Senator Schumer's DC office went to voicemail. I suspect some offices aren't open today because of the weather. YMMV
posted by mikelieman at 10:43 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Of course the most reasonable and humane Republican plan would be the one they came up with in response to HRC's push for universal healthcare in the 1990s, later passed in Massachusetts and dubbed Romneycare.

Whatever happened to that one? They may have had a winner there. They should... Oh... I see.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:44 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Maybe Ryan is being set up to be the Trumpists' Ernst Röhm?

No, that'd be Milo Yiannopolis. Or Peter Thiel. Both of them are queer enough for the radical rightwing to kill once they have outlived their usefulness.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:45 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Folks, I firmly believe that the U.S. WILL have Single Payer. It may take yet another generation or two to get there, but we will.*

As has been noted here, the health-care-mediated-by-health-insurance-coverage scheme that our country has been experimenting with for the past century has serious flaws and efforts to tinker around the edges aren't sufficient to really fix things. The ACA was a huge leap forward, yes. But because it is still reliant on a profit-driven market of middlemen, it is ultimately unsustainable. Medicare and Medicaid are also unsustainable in the long term, because profit-driven inefficiencies are baked into those programs, too.

We are living through what I think are the death throes of a bad system that has hurt and killed literally millions of Americans (an estimated 40k+ per year). The flailing attempt at TrumpCare is a part of that death spasm. The time is coming when the majority of the voting public will finally be ready to give Single Payer a shot. Maybe it will start in California and spread from there. But once people have it, and get the taste of actual universal health care (and not just "increased access to health insurance") enjoyed by a hundred other countries, there will be no turning back.

American Exceptionalism and The Rugged Individual can only hold back this tide for so long. Eventually the reality faced, and embraced, by every other developed country on the planet will be evident even to us. We're just going to have to slog and fight through a lot more shit before we can get there.**

Which is really sad, because if we could just go ahead and get there, the millions of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that we are wasting now could be much better invested in developing our civilization in other needed ways.***



*This assumes that the U.S. still exists as such.

**Fuck Joe Lieberman.

***UBI, cures for diseases, and more tiny hats for animals.

posted by darkstar at 10:46 AM on March 14 [14 favorites]


* The much touted "deficit reduction" of $337B is over not per year, so the yearly reduction is a paltry $30B--a drop in the bucket of our national budget.

.8% of budgeted USG spending in 2016. It also only reduces costs because TrumpCare uninsures people by forcing out the old, disabled and children.
posted by chris24 at 10:49 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Folks, I firmly believe that the U.S. WILL have Single Payer. It may take yes another generation or two to get there, but we will.

Will this be before or after the adoption of the metric system and the public acceptance of a dollar coin?
posted by rocket88 at 10:50 AM on March 14 [26 favorites]


Folks, I firmly believe that the U.S. WILL have Single Payer. It may take yes another generation or two to get there, but we will.

One of the reasons the public option was so strongly opposed was that it'd provide a superior product at a lower price, because for-profit insurance couldn't compete on a cost basis.

Astonishingly, those were the stated reasons at the time.
Republicans argue that a public plan would invariably drive private insurers out of business and prompt employers to drop private coverage, pushing people who are already insured onto a plan run by the government.

I agree that a public option would likely be another step on the way to single-payer, which is among the reasons I support it.
posted by Gelatin at 10:52 AM on March 14 [30 favorites]


Serious Q: who doesn't Bannon hate? Does he have any positive goals?

His "positive" goal is the restoration of Father Knows Best America™. Male dominated, white dominated, capitalist dominated.


All for the benefit of the "right Christians".
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:53 AM on March 14


Folks, I firmly believe that the U.S. WILL have Single Payer. It may take yes another generation or two to get there, but we will.

I mean if the High Warlord of the Irradiated Wastelands Formerly Known As America grants all of his subjects access to his enslaved clan of mutant chirurgeons that counts as single payer right
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:54 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


We are living through what I think are the death throes of a bad system

I think this is very close to being an Occam's Razor-type of interpretation. I don't see how anything moves forward at all, like in society in general, if 1/5 of Americans can't see a doctor. And the remaining 4/5 are dealing with the public health fallout, absenteeism from work, and all the rest. Not to mention the loss of profits!

Single-payer is really the only solution, short of upholding and bolstering the ACA. Anything less than the ACA status quo isn't tenable for short- or long-term. And the ACA, untouched, is barely tenable as it is, because insurer profits are still prioritized over health outcomes. The for-profit model had a good (lol) run, but it's not compatible with life.
posted by witchen at 10:54 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


The White House just released the Washington Post story about cutting federal agencies, as like a press release.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:58 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


The White House just released the Washington Post story about cutting federal agencies

Jump back -- so, is the WaPo not "fake news" now?
posted by Gelatin at 11:00 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]




Maybe someday America will become a real country.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:04 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Maybe someday America will become a real country.

"What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea." - Mahatma Gandhi
posted by mikelieman at 11:05 AM on March 14 [35 favorites]


are we all arguing over what the best healthcare plan would be?

This is mostly abstract argument, given current circumstances, but "anything that resembles a model used elsewhere" would be an improvement. Most single-payer systems aren't fully single-payer: they offer choices where it's not stupid to have choices. The US has specific challenges that make certain models less suitable (e.g. Singapore, a dense city-state, doesn't have to worry about rural county hospitals or medevacs from remote areas) but that's okay.

People will need healthcare; the cost of the most important bits of healthcare in the developed world (even with the most optimistic efficiency projections) will never ever ever be priced for individual purchase; therefore, mechanisms are needed to spread out that cost across the population, over time, so that the healthy cover the sick in the knowledge that good health is temporary. Paul Ryan cannot even grasp this, because he is a terrible person.
posted by holgate at 11:07 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


Republicans argue that a public plan would invariably drive private insurers out of business

Wouldn't that be the market working, though? I'm so confused!
posted by kirkaracha at 11:08 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Folks, this article makes me think that Trump may actually go for single payer lite. Meets his campaign promises (if you squint), crushes Ryan and his cohorts, and leaves the Democrats in the dust.
One could thus imagine “Medicaid for all” as a lower-cost alternative to “Medicare for all.” More affluent people would probably find Medicaid coverage to be excessively restrictive for their taste, in which case they would probably seek to obtain supplemental insurance — a practice that’s common in France and some other countries with national health care systems. But the private insurance system would exist as a layer on top of a basic blanket of security that guarantees health care fundamentals for everyone. You could certain tack health savings accounts (Ruddy’s point 7) on top of this as well.

Now, needless to say, embracing this idea would be a huge break with the ideological orthodoxy of the Republican Party. But Trump really did campaign on a promise of universal coverage. And as he told CBS’s Scott Pelley back during the primary, “the government's gonna pay for it.”

The GOP establishment’s bet since Inauguration Day has been that Trump didn’t really mean it when he said that. And so far, their bet has paid off. Ruddy is suggesting that maybe Trump should stick to the ideas that let him beat the establishment and win the election. It’s an idea that’s so crazy it just might work.
posted by maudlin at 11:09 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


Wouldn't that be the market working, though? I'm so confused!

Well, it would be, except that it isn't fair that the government doesn't have to make a profit (also, ominous but unspecified Big Brother-ish overtones).
posted by Gelatin at 11:10 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Republicans argue that a public plan would invariably drive private insurers out of business and prompt employers to drop private coverage, pushing people who are already insured onto a plan run by the government.

No doubt it's old news by now, but I want to make sure highlight the dog-whistley part for people. Corb's pragmatism aside, in my experience (living in the now red Wisconsin) run by the government is seen as a bad thing on the right. You only get one government, the idea goes, and it probably sucks, so instead of making it better, everyone should have "access" to "choice"*. If something is run by the government, it's automatically bad. Not the result, necessarily, but the idea that you can't choose something different if the government product doesn't work for you.

I'm having a hard time articulating the argument, but I guess that's on of the reasons why I'm not really a political conservative anymore.

*See also school choice, etc.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:11 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


Folks, this article makes me think that Trump may actually go for single payer lite. Meets his campaign promises (if you squint), crushes Ryan and his cohorts

Let me stop you right there: And so Randian Ryan and his cohorts in the House are going to vote for single-payer why, exactly? As a favor to Trump?
posted by Gelatin at 11:11 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


I think I'm wrong on something, and would like to be corrected:

Did US corporations really lobby against public health insurance in the 1920s-1930s because "health insurance as a job benefit" was seen as a way to keep workers from jobhopping?
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:13 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


We need to start hammering home the point that even in mainstream economic theory, a perfectly efficient system doesn't have room or need for profit. Profit is what you get by shortchanging or not maintaining assets properly or not passing along material savings to consumers. Creating profit necessarily requires squeezing out more money than should be left over once all costs and externalities are properly accounted for. Anytime you privatize any sector to allow for profit in the mix, you make the sector less efficient in that sense.

There's a sort of brand loyalty at work that makes some think any public service will necessarily be less efficient than a private one performing the same function because its leaders aren't motivated to be fiscally responsible, but in a certain sense, profit seeking isn't fiscally responsible from a public interest point of view in the first place. The profit motive can easily corrupt the core mission of an organization. I mean, look what market forces have done to retail stores: more and more, companies don't have any particular focus other than making money by any means, so you end up with weird mission creep/corruption stuff in the private sector all the time, like MTV morphing from an outlet dedicated to broadcasting and promoting music videos to being about lifestyle and reality TV and dabbling in just about every kind of commercial enterprise.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:14 AM on March 14 [20 favorites]


And so Randian Ryan and his cohorts in the House are going to vote for single-payer why, exactly? As a favor to Trump?

Have they yet actually stood up to him when they had an opportunity not to roll over and show their bellies?
posted by Etrigan at 11:15 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Two things before we move on to Spicey Time

Welfare was a Conservative invention. German Reichschancellor Bismarck introduced universal welfare in Germany to stop the rising tide of Social Democracy (not even Communism). In the late 19th century.

Also, it seems that very often young white men argue that they don't need insurance, because they don't need healthcare. Because they are all paleo and do their benchwork, or whatever. This thread has reminded me of my personal experience. When I was in 8th grade, our biology teacher told us that at least one from our class would die before we were 30 and it would most likely be a boy, and that happened. Actually many of my friends died before we were 30, and all of them were men. Most of them upper middle class white men, though that guy from my class wasn't. They died from cancer, heart attacks, suicide, overdoses. Most of them from completely unexpected illnesses. One cousin was run over by a car when he was a ten.
Among people I knew who died before they were 50, there are far more men, and three women, one died from an eating disorder, one was brutally murdered, and one had a known heart disease and an eating disorder.

So this is pure anecdote, but is seems that the demographic who needs insurance the most are also those who imagine they don't need it at all. Not anecdotally, statistics agree with me. Men have a far higher mortality than women. But they are less likely to support universal healthcare.
posted by mumimor at 11:15 AM on March 14 [17 favorites]


I too favor state-run MTV
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:15 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


It's that it's the first time in the history of America where you have to pay a tax just for being alive.


before the revolution, i believe the colonies were subject to poll taxes - The Massachusetts law of 1646 served as a model for the New England colonies. Every male 16 years and older, the year of registration for potential military service, was required to pay an annual tax of 1s. For administrative simplicity, the tax was often combined with the country rate.

so, you see, it IS NOT the first time
posted by pyramid termite at 11:15 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


If something is run by the government, it's automatically bad. Not the result, necessarily, but the idea that you can't choose something different if the government product doesn't work for you.

Included in there is the assumption, implicit or otherwise, that the "moochers" could just continue to vote themselves more and more generous benefits, to be paid for by the actually productive members of society.

(Also note that private "medigap" coverage is a thing that exists; I agree that it's a dog whistle, but it's also deceptive to imply that a cheaper public option is the equivalent of outlawing private insurance altogether.)
posted by Gelatin at 11:16 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Spicey is claiming the CBO numbers are not a good reference because they don't fully take into account their magic three-pronged plan.

[violent imagery redacted]

Bottom line, fuck you, you ghouls.
posted by prefpara at 11:17 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Spicer's latest compliant is that the CBO score doesn't take into account "phases 2 and 3," which literally do not exist. He is upset the CBO has not scored random fantasies rather than actual legislative language.
posted by zachlipton at 11:17 AM on March 14 [39 favorites]


So the White House line is that the CBO is a budget office and doesn't know anything about healthcare, so the $337 billion deficit number can be trusted but the 24 million dropped is fake
posted by theodolite at 11:17 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


Spicey Lies Time!!
posted by waitangi at 11:18 AM on March 14


Spicer explicitly endorsing the Underpants Gnome Theory of Healthcare.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:18 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


Maybe Trump could lean on his past experience to create some kind of Single Nonpayer health plan where the government agrees to pay healthcare providers but then doesn't.
posted by snofoam at 11:19 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


Spicer claims that many Americans have no choices.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:20 AM on March 14


Welfare was a Conservative invention. German Reichschancellor Bismarck introduced universal welfare in Germany to stop the rising tide of Social Democracy (not even Communism). In the late 19th century.

Which Marx predicted. One of the many outrageous aspects of the Republican war on the New Deal is that FDR arguably saved the US from Communism and -- at least at the time -- fascism. Marx maintained that the liberal reforms would only forestall, not prevent, the ultimate proletarian revolution, but FDR proved him wrong, and for some reason the Republicans have never forgiven him.
posted by Gelatin at 11:21 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Spicer's latest compliant is that the CBO score doesn't take into account "phases 2 and 3," which literally do not exist.

Remember that one guy who loudly defended The Phantom Menace in 1999 because we hadn't seen the full scope of what Lucas had planned yet?
posted by Etrigan at 11:21 AM on March 14 [44 favorites]


Spicey is claiming the CBO numbers are not a good reference because they don't fully take into account their magic three-pronged plan.

Of course, nothing was stopping them from putting their magic three-pronged plan on the table in the first place, except that the CBO would fully take it into account. It's an implicit admission that the results would not be pretty.

If only the political media had learned to not be fooled by "secret plans" after Nixon.
posted by Gelatin at 11:23 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Reporter: ok Sean, so what specifically will be in phase 2 and 3?
Sean: competition.
posted by prefpara at 11:25 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Folks, this article makes me think that Trump may actually go for single payer lite. Meets his campaign promises (if you squint), crushes Ryan and his cohorts, and leaves the Democrats in the dust.

Maybe Trump would but I don't see how President Bannon and his "dismantle the administrative state" goes for an expansion of medicare. Nothing in any of their actions thus far has indicated a willingness to grow government. Even if you could get House and Senate (R)s on board, which I find hard to believe.
posted by phearlez at 11:25 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Trump would introduce single payer if he could be bothered to figure out how government works. It is totally consistent with his thinking (insomuch as there is a line or a thought there). But, he can't be bothered to figure out how government works. So there's that.
posted by mumimor at 11:25 AM on March 14 [23 favorites]


So how about that town hall with the Senate Dems' outreach chair?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:26 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Nothing in any of their actions thus far has indicated a willingness to grow government.

They're pretty happy to grow the CBP, and the military.
posted by emjaybee at 11:27 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Gah, phases 2 & 3.

It's been Trump's MO from the start of his campaign, from proposals to tax returns -- promise that the great, unbelievable, the most incredible [THING] is coming later and close with "what-have-you-got-to-lose?"

Still waiting on tax returns. And actual policy proposals.
posted by notyou at 11:31 AM on March 14 [19 favorites]


No problem. Just pass stage 1 when stage 2 and 3 are also ready to present.
posted by jaduncan at 11:31 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Spicer's chutzpah to claim that the CBO can estimate budgets but not count the number of uninsured is really something. They go together. They figure out how much money the government will have to pay in subsidies and Medicaid by figuring out how many people will receive them. The only way to get the budget savings is by having more people uninsured. You can't be happy about the budget numbers without accepting the number of uninsured people.
posted by zachlipton at 11:32 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


So how about that town hall with the Senate Dems' outreach chair?

if this reaction from the crowd in a deep-red area re: a coal miner expressing support for universal coverage doesn't get the dems to go all-in for single payer...

like, now is the PERFECT time for them to hammer on medicare for all, but instead we're getting "uhhh this needs some revision doesn't it!!"

just thinking about this is getting my blood pressure up so i'm gonna go take some deep breaths and stare out the window for a bit
posted by burgerrr at 11:33 AM on March 14 [28 favorites]


Gah, phases 2 & 3.

It's been Trump's MO from the start of his campaign, from proposals to tax returns -- promise that the great, unbelievable, the most incredible [THING] is coming later and close with "what-have-you-got-to-lose?"


I can guarantee you he has referred to Melania as "Phase 3" at least once. While she was standing there.
posted by Etrigan at 11:33 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I know this is petty, but will Spicer ever stop prefacing every fucking answer with "I think"?

He literally chastised a reporter yesterday for asking him for his personal opinion, which he apparently understands is not what he is there to provide.
posted by prefpara at 11:34 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Of course, nothing was stopping them from putting their magic three-pronged plan on the table in the first place, except that the CBO would fully take it into account. It's an implicit admission that the results would not be pretty.

Speaking of which: TPM: [GOP Senator] Cotton Calls BS On House GOP Repeal Plan: 'There Is No Three-Phase Process'
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Tuesday threw cold water on remarks from top Republicans that legislation the Congressional Budget Office gave a dreadful score to is just one of three phases in the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare. "There is no three-phase process. There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin," Cotton told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
posted by cjelli at 11:34 AM on March 14 [33 favorites]


I know not what Phase 3 will be, but Phase 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:34 AM on March 14 [40 favorites]


"What about Phases 2 and 3?"

"Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:35 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


Spicer claims that 80% of Americans don't support sanctuary cities.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:38 AM on March 14


in sum:

Phase 1: Repeal Obamacare
Phase 2: ???
Phase 3: Profit!
posted by entropicamericana at 11:39 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


We need to figure out how to position a single payer approach politically now, before the Millennials move into the high health care cost years. That includes determining how to relate the strategy to what everyone "knows" about the baby boom generation decimating Social Security and burdening Medicare and the VA System. How can we educate low information voters about how to harness actuarial science for societal good, especially when they fear demographic bulges? One angle: on a personal level, a lot of people have experienced life in the sandwich generation, caring for both young children and older parents simultaneously. No one wants that for their kids, and single payer can help.
posted by carmicha at 11:40 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Spicer claims that 80% of Americans don't support sanctuary cities.

Also expands the "city won't hold people for ICE pickup" definition of sanctuary cities to "city allows any undocumented immigrants to access any public services."
posted by melissasaurus at 11:40 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Percentages are apparently another thing this administration doesn't understand.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:40 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


LOL, a reporter asked how the CBO was supposed to take something into consideration that does not exist.

Spicer says that you can't base your score off of "one piece of information."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:41 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


80% of people don't understand what a Sanctuary City is.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:42 AM on March 14 [24 favorites]


Spicer claims that 80% of Americans don't support sanctuary cities.

. . . 80% of Americans probably live in a Sanctuary area.

Or are we just talking about Real Americans?
posted by dinty_moore at 11:42 AM on March 14 [15 favorites]


"Medicaid for all, funded from taxation" is the kind of thing that would trigger a bish-bosh-bash impeachment process to usher in Mike Pence, whose Indiana version of Medicaid expansion was notable in its meanness. The man's attitude to public health is on record: he presided over a HIV epidemic spread by dirty needles. If Bannon could finagle "Medicaid for all white folks", though...
posted by holgate at 11:42 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Nothing in any of their actions thus far has indicated a willingness to grow government.

They're pretty happy to grow the CBP, and the military.


I was thinking more in the sense of "expanding responsibility."
posted by phearlez at 11:43 AM on March 14


Trump already trotted the sanctuary cities percentage out a few weeks ago.

Source: Fucking infowars.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:43 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that 80% number appears to be accurate. Or at least an actual poll number.
posted by notyou at 11:43 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Q: How can the CBO take into account phases 2 and 3 when they don't exist?
A: That's a question for the House, but it's bad that the CBO based their score off of just this one piece of information. You all should have reported last night that this was just one of three parts. We always talk about all three parts but you people report it without that.

Spicer seems hurt that people don't take his mythical phases 2 and 3 seriously.
posted by zachlipton at 11:43 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


After the revolution, I say we put Spicer and Conway on stage and have them each argue that the other does not exist until they both disappear in a puff of smoke.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:43 AM on March 14 [19 favorites]


80% of people don't understand what a Sanctuary City is.

I certainly don't, because it's my impression as I read the various arguments about whether or not Austin counts as one that the term has no clear meaning outside of an attempt to signal something to one side or another!
posted by sciatrix at 11:44 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


I think they should argue about who's first against the wall.
posted by notyou at 11:45 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that 80% number appears to be accurate. Or at least an actual poll number.
An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes should be required to turn them over to federal authorities.
...
A survey from Harvard–Harris Poll provided exclusively to The Hill found that 80 percent of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting to federal agents the illegal immigrants they come into contact with.
I'll see your "80% of Americans don't know what the fuck they're talking about", and I'll raise you "And neither do some pollsters and/or The Hill writers".
posted by Etrigan at 11:46 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Donald Trump set to completely scrap US consumer protection agency, says man expected to lead it

Loan sharks, payday lenders and rogue debt collectors could be given carte blanche to rip off American customers as part of a touted shake up of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Randy Neugebauer, considered the favourite to replace the current director of the CFPB, said Mr Trump was facing pressure from inside the Republican Party to dismantle the agency entirely.

posted by futz at 11:47 AM on March 14 [17 favorites]


(I support the stuff we are doing to protect immigrants and not turn anyone over to ICE without a criminal warrant here, for clarity. I am just really tired of arguing about sanctuary cities as a term because oh my God could you fuckers not.)
posted by sciatrix at 11:47 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Politico: Why Trump's prosecutor purge could haunt the GOP.

Former prosecutors tend to be good candidates for public office for both parties.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:49 AM on March 14 [15 favorites]


Yeah, that 80% number appears to be accurate. Or at least an actual poll number.

Like the infowars poll that Harvard-Harris poll the Hill is relying on seems a little . . . odd?

DailyKos is hardly un-biased, but they've voiced some suspicions.

Anybody here know anything more?
posted by aspersioncast at 11:50 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


How can we educate low information voters about how to harness actuarial science for societal good, especially when they fear demographic bulges?

"We're the greatest country in the world, and the rich want to see us begging for crumbs from insurance companies that care more about profits than helping people. We're the workers. We're the lifeblood of the country. All we want is the same basic right every other developed country has: to know that if we get sick, we can see a doctor."

We don't need to harness actuarial science; low-information voters don't give a shit about actuarial science, nor should they. All they should care about is the right to not die poor and penniless. That's what we promise, that's what we pursue.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:51 AM on March 14 [44 favorites]


I certainly don't, because it's my impression as I read the various arguments about whether or not Austin counts as one that the term has no clear meaning outside of an attempt to signal something to one side or another!

That's because "sanctuary cities" isn't a real thing! Or, wasn't until NY AG Schneiderman drew up model guidelines [pdf] for other states/cities to follow earlier this year.

I think people hear "sanctuary cities" and picture like Bill de Blasio hiding undocumented serial killers in his basement and helping them identify Innocent American Citizens to kill so that the city can collect estate taxes.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:51 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Donald Trump set to completely scrap US consumer protection agency, says man expected to lead it

They have no positive solutions for anything. Fucking consumers is the point, just like all taxes (on the rich) is theft.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:52 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Politico: Why Trump's prosecutor purge could haunt the GOP.

Former prosecutors tend to be good successfully elected candidates for public office for both parties.


Let's phrase that correctly, shall we?
posted by phearlez at 11:52 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


I find that Spicey time has become like one of those videos like a snake eating a goat where 8/10 of you is like *don't watch that what's wrong with you* and 2/10 is like *but it's so fucked up I have to witness this fucked up thing*
posted by angrycat at 11:52 AM on March 14 [16 favorites]


Folks, this article makes me think that Trump may actually go for single payer lite. Meets his campaign promises (if you squint), crushes Ryan and his cohorts, and leaves the Democrats in the dust.

Anything's possible. Honestly, at this point, anything. And this is probably what a politically savvy and pugnacious Trump would try to do—outflank his opposition on the left, use his capital to coerce his opponents on the right, and rely on the rest of Americans forgiving him everything else in return. Except: Donnie isn't politically savvy; he isn't particularly pugnacious except when it comes to threatening journalists and immigrants; and he hasn't demonstrated any ability to compel Congress to do anything they don't want to do already.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:53 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Spicer says there is "significant reporting" and he feels "very confident" that there will be something on the Obama wiretap evidence. He says "no" when asked if it's possible there won't be any evidence.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:53 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


evidence or "evidence"?
posted by thelonius at 11:54 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Spicer says there is "significant reporting" and he feels "very confident" that there will be something on the Obama wiretap evidence. He says "no" when asked if it's possible there won't be any evidence.


So they're abandoning the tactic of insisting Trump didn't actually mean wiretapping when he said wiretappping?
posted by flatluigi at 11:55 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


"Evi" dense.
posted by valkane at 11:56 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


A: That's a question for the House, but it's bad that the CBO based their score off of just this one piece of information. You all should have reported last night that this was just one of three parts. We always talk about all three parts but you people report it without that.

Well, gee, maybe the political press has learned their lesson about "secret plans" after all.
posted by Gelatin at 11:57 AM on March 14


Did US corporations really lobby against public health insurance in the 1920s-1930s because "health insurance as a job benefit" was seen as a way to keep workers from jobhopping?

Employer health plans were adopted as a recruiting tool on a large scale during WWII when wages were frozen.
posted by srboisvert at 11:57 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


So they're abandoning the tactic of insisting Trump didn't actually mean wiretapping when he said wiretappping?
I think the plan is to say a bunch of conflicting nutty stuff when asked about it and assume that at some point there will be a new controversy and everyone will forget about it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:58 AM on March 14 [17 favorites]


I think the plan is to say a bunch of conflicting nutty stuff when asked about it and assume that at some point there will be a new controversy and everyone will forget about it.

To be fair, experience indicates that would be a pretty fucking solid plan.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:59 AM on March 14 [34 favorites]


"Look. The President just says shit sometimes and you're going to have to get used to it."
posted by notyou at 12:00 PM on March 14 [28 favorites]


Randy Neugebauer, considered the favourite to replace the current director of the CFPB, said Mr Trump was facing pressure from inside the Republican Party to dismantle the agency entirely.

Amusingly Neugebauer means 'new born'. What better person to dismantle a consumer protection agency than someone who was born yesterday!
posted by srboisvert at 12:00 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Randy Neugebauer, considered the favourite to replace the current director of the CFPB, said Mr Trump was facing pressure from inside the Republican Party to dismantle the agency entirely.

I realize that the executive can cripple an agency by appointing a yahoo to run it, and generally neglecting it, but correct me if I'm wrong, isn't the CFPB's existence a matter of statute? Wouldn't Congress have to act to abolish it? (Not that they wouldn't, or that we aren't dealing with an abnormal situation...)
posted by Gelatin at 12:02 PM on March 14


This weekend, my mom, who was a pre-school teacher, was visiting. She compared the Trump administration to that one a-hole toddler who never really gets in trouble because there's simply no time to give him a stern talking to about shoving since you're already busy sopping up the milk he poured onto the floor and anyway, he's now trying to climb onto the cabinet and out the window.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:04 PM on March 14 [40 favorites]


isn't the CFPB's existence a matter of statute? Wouldn't Congress have to act to abolish it?

Yes, but it spent the first 18 months of its life without an administrator, because Congress refused to approve any of Obama's appointments. A new agency without an administrator to set policy and do senior hiring is... not very effective.
posted by suelac at 12:05 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't that be the market working, though? I'm so confused!

Schumpeter's gale only hits trailer parks and small businesses. It isn't for corporations.
posted by srboisvert at 12:05 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Randy Neugebauer, considered the favourite to replace the current director of the CFPB, said Mr Trump was facing pressure from inside the Republican Party to dismantle the agency entirely.

The CFPB had an extremely public example of its effectiveness just last year, when it hit Wells Fargo for creating millions of financial accounts for customers without permission. This was the biggest case the bureau has been involved with, so it was the first time a lot of casually-news-aware Americans noticed it: about as clear-cut a case of big banks screwing over the little people as you could want, and the CFPB came out as the hero. This should be the easiest political narrative in the world: the GOP wants to destroy the agency that keeps you safe from financial predators. Hits right at the middle-class, the heroes and villains are obvious, and if the Democrats can't make this case then I don't even know.
posted by skymt at 12:06 PM on March 14 [65 favorites]


"The microwave is not a sound way of surveilling someone."

OK, thanks.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:09 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


We don't need to harness actuarial science; low-information voters don't give a shit about actuarial science, nor should they.

I disagree. There's a huge number of people, most of whom vote GOP, who shake their heads sadly any time a spending opportunity comes up that they don't understand, meanwhile saying some varient of "But the budget! We can't afford it!" (or, related, "What about liability?") because they think it makes them sound smart and wise and fiscally responsible. We need to give these people an alternative number-based narrative that also makes them sound smart and wise and fiscally responsible.
posted by carmicha at 12:09 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


"The microwave is not a sound way of surveilling someone."

I'm going to need a [real] or [fake] tag for this one.
posted by cooker girl at 12:10 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


how long until spicer's response to every question is just "Top. Men."
posted by murphy slaw at 12:11 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


"The microwave is not a sound way of surveilling someone."

I'm going to need a [real] or [fake] tag for this one.


Spicer did say this, yes.
posted by cjelli at 12:11 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


Corb: I don't like single payer, but yes, I would have vastly preferred if the ACA were funded through a simple tax increase rather than mandating people buy health insurance or face a penalty. I know it may seem weird to some, but this kind of stuff actually matters to me.

I appreciate that. Taking you up on your suggestion of getting back to first principles, IMHO it all boils down to one question:

Is medical care a market good, or not?

If one thinks medical care should be a market good, then people who can't afford treatment should be left to die. Period. Anything else screws up the market incentives. The young people who think they don't need health insurance would change their mind very quickly after the first couple quadriplegic snowboard accident victims are left to freeze to death on a ski slope, because the ambulance alone exceeded their credit card limit.

I don't think most people are willing to accept the harsh consequences that such logic entails, though. Paul Ryan actually does, if you fuzz up the darker results with a little rhetoric, and that is scary.
posted by msalt at 12:12 PM on March 14 [36 favorites]


it's not a SOUND way it's an ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION way wake up sheeple
posted by murphy slaw at 12:12 PM on March 14 [22 favorites]


That might the thing that finally broke my brain.
posted by cooker girl at 12:12 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


There's a huge number of people, most of whom vote GOP, who shake their heads sadly any time a spending opportunity comes up

Yeah, I remember how after Obama's election Mitch McConnell and John Boehner would shake their heads sadly and intone "we're broke." In the richest nation in the world. After George W. Bush passed his tax cuts.
posted by Gelatin at 12:12 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


mumimor: "Trump would introduce single payer if he could be bothered to figure out how government works. It is totally consistent with his thinking (insomuch as there is a line or a thought there). But, he can't be bothered to figure out how government works. So there's that."

I think this bears expanding on, because it's one of the things that people get confused about with Trump. When Trump "supports" single-payer, he is having an emotional reaction. He knows, because he isn't a lizard-person, that people shouldn't be dying in the streets because they can't see a doctor.

But Trump is so monumentally stupid that he can't even understand the tradeoffs involved or how you can graft your way into this terrible situation. That's how awful a businessman he is--he can't figure out why people don't have good healthcare, because he can't figure out how to con some money out of the most easily conned business in the history of time.

In any case, Trump is fundamentally a good person in the sense that your racist uncle is--he agrees that morality exists and that it'd be best if everyone was good and happy... but we all know that that can't happen, so I've got to get mine while the getting is good. Which is to say, only good insofar as it doesn't impede his desires in the least. And you should understand Trump's support of single-payer in the same way that you'd understand your racist uncle's support of women's basketball or latino youth centers. Those things are lovely right up until he can't find parking at the Wal-Mart, and then they're enemies of America.
posted by TypographicalError at 12:12 PM on March 14 [13 favorites]


What he said was "That's not how Soundwave surveils someone," which is true, he uses those little cassette dudes.
posted by emjaybee at 12:13 PM on March 14 [27 favorites]


> how long until spicer's response to every question is just "Top. Men."

Are we to understand "top" here as an adjective or a verb?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:13 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]




Are we to understand "top" here as an adjective or a verb?

As a noun.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:15 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


In any case, Trump is fundamentally a good person in the sense that your racist uncle is--

I thought the big takeaway from the last year or so was that hey, maybe they actually aren't.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:15 PM on March 14 [23 favorites]


I think maybe that was the joke you were going for though? Sorry
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:16 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


In any case, Trump is fundamentally a good person in the sense that your racist uncle is--he agrees that morality exists and that it'd be best if everyone was good and happy... but we all know that that can't happen, so I've got to get mine while the getting is good.

You need to show your work here, because I think all available evidence contradicts that premise.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:18 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


Remarkably, while Spicer pointed out that microwaves are not effective surveillance tools, he stepped around denying that Trump believes that he was spied on through microwaves and televisions. Presumably either Trump actually thinks he was spied on through household appliances or Spicer is hedging because he thinks that Trump might think that.
posted by vathek at 12:18 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]


if this reaction from the crowd in a deep-red area re: a coal miner expressing support for universal coverage doesn't get the dems to go all-in for single payer...

Just to be clear even Bernie Saunders is kind of failing here. He starts out by saying "every worker" then he points out other countries provide healthcare to 'every person' and then the coal miner says "every American citizen'.

Those are three different groups. Every person is the superset. Every worker is a subset and every citizen is a subset. You can be a worker in America and not be a citizen (there are about 13 million of these who are documented and another 30 million or so undocumented). There are probably a couple of dozen millions of unemployed, disabled people, retired people or kids in school who are not workers.

You have to be very careful about the casual conversation exclusions when talking about who deserves what. There will be people at the table that you will exclude or allow to be excluded by others who will recognize that they are candidates for being thrown under a policy bus.
posted by srboisvert at 12:18 PM on March 14 [27 favorites]


Yeah, I remember how after Obama's election Mitch McConnell and John Boehner would shake their heads sadly and intone "we're broke." In the richest nation in the world. After George W. Bush passed his tax cuts.

And launched two trillion-dollar wars, while cutting those taxes.
posted by darkstar at 12:20 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


Spicer keeps saying this healthcare bill is only part one of three of the total plan. But remember last week when he put the stacks of paper next to each other, and compared just this little part to the whole of Obamacare?

I also love this idea that a bill that amends another bill by adding more provisions is somehow "less" government than the original bill. It's like I told my law school lenders "Thiiiiis [gestures to mountain of undergrad debt] is excessive debt; thiiiiis [gestures to smaller pile of debt covering one semester] is not."
posted by melissasaurus at 12:24 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


And launched two trillion-dollar wars, while cutting those taxes.

That's the thing; with the GOP, winning the race to say that a policy, program or perspective is the best vis-a-vis fighting terrorism means being able to spend $Sky'sTheLimit. This is why I think I have made some headway framing global warming, especially sea level rise, as a threat to military readiness both in terms of protecting coastal bases and fomenting strife in areas that will experience food/water shortages, catastrophic weather events, etc.
posted by carmicha at 12:25 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


And anyway, how can Spicey wave off the CBO projections that 24M people will lose coverage when the leaked White House estimate projects that 26M people will lose coverage?
posted by darkstar at 12:27 PM on March 14 [13 favorites]


Same way Spicey waves off everything else.

You gonna believe what he tells you to believe or are you going to believe that nonsense you read with your own eyes?
posted by INFJ at 12:28 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Des Moines Register - Editorial: GOP needs to oppose King's re-election, not just King's words
If King’s world view truly doesn’t match that of the Republican Party, then party leaders at both the state and national level need to stand together in supporting an opposing candidate in the 2018 Republican primary. Given King’s longstanding record as one of the least effective members of Congress, the GOP should have no difficulty finding a more thoughtful and qualified individual to represent the people of Iowa’s 4th District.

The only question is whether these party leaders have the courage of their alleged convictions.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:29 PM on March 14 [58 favorites]


Actually, I think Trump would like single payer healthcare because he is the type of employer it would hugely benefit. The employers who gain from employer-provided healthcare are those who depend on highly skilled workers with many opportunities. A good insurance can keep employees from moving on when they get more interesting offers (as seen from countless asks). Unskilled, low-payed hospitality staff are not worth wasting healthcare on, and it is a bother that you can't have them in full-time/over-time jobs if you don't.
This is how welfare works in many European countries, with Germany as the worst example - when the employers don't have social responsibilities, they can drive the workers to the bottom, relying on the state to pick them up.
Don't misunderstand me, I prefer the very different European systems to the US system, but there is an other side to them which Trump must have learnt from his international ventures.
posted by mumimor at 12:30 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


which Trump must have learnt

I see the flaw in your plan.
posted by Etrigan at 12:32 PM on March 14 [25 favorites]


And anyway, how can Spicey wave off the CBO projections that 24M people will lose coverage when the leaked White House estimate projects that 26M people will lose coverage?

They attempted to spin the leaked White House estimate as essentially "not what we think will happen, but what we think the CBO will say, using their methodology." Nobody really believes them.
posted by zachlipton at 12:32 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


I see the flaw in your plan.

Absolutely!
posted by mumimor at 12:39 PM on March 14


Guys, I am suffering from incompetence fatigue and in my fever dreams I see President HRC getting shit done. Sob.
posted by lydhre at 12:45 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


if it's any consolation, in the universe where HRC won the house GOP has already started impeachment proceedings over Her Emails and it's a real drag
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:47 PM on March 14 [54 favorites]


Actually, I think Trump would like single payer healthcare because he is the type of employer it would hugely benefit.

Honestly, I see no evidence to suggest that Trump has any opinions at all on health care. I suspect that if Steve and Jared told him one morning that "everyone was saying" that single-payer was the thing, then he be all over it. And if Ivanka dropped by later on that afternoon and told him that single-payer was the worst, then he'd want to talk to Steve and Jared again.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:50 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Trump is fundamentally a good person in the sense that your racist uncle is--he agrees that morality exists and that it'd be best if everyone was good and happy

lol no
posted by dis_integration at 12:50 PM on March 14 [31 favorites]


Monica Crowley Lost White House Job, Now She’s Got One With Pro-Russian Oligarch
Monica Crowley told the Justice Department's National Security Division that she will represent billionaire Victor Pinchuk in discussions with U.S. government officials “and other policy makers” regarding “issues of concern to Mr. Pinchuk.” [...]

In 2015, the Pinchuk Foundation paid the Trump Foundation $150,000 in exchange for a video appearance by Trump at Pinchuk’s annual Yalta European Strategy meeting. A former official in the IRS’s Exempt Organizations unit told The Daily Beast at the time that the payment raised questions about whether Trump was evading taxes by routing income through his foundation.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:50 PM on March 14 [16 favorites]


Trump summoned D.C. mayor to Oval Office for storm that brought 2.5 inches of snow: Presidents have over the years invited D.C. mayors to ceremonial and political events, but no one could recall a D.C. mayor being summoned to the Oval Office to brief the president — not for Nor’easters that paralyzed the city; not when a 2011 earthquake damaged city landmarks; not even after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:50 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


It's worth pointing out that for all of Spicer's talk about how having coverage doesn't mean access to care because deductibles are too high, the CBO said the AHCA will cause higher deductibles.
posted by zachlipton at 12:50 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


He starts out by saying "every worker" then he points out other countries provide healthcare to 'every person' and then the coal miner says "every American citizen'.

it's an opening for the dems. we've spent years compromising before we even start to negotiate, and there honestly is not going to be a better time to push for single payer. as evidenced by many, many recent townhalls and the like, people are NOT stoked on the GOP replacement and actually wish the ACA went further. the dems could get a lot of non-voters excited by pushing for single payer and if they don't take this opportunity...i just don't know. i wouldn't be surprised, but it's very disheartening to think about
posted by burgerrr at 12:52 PM on March 14 [15 favorites]


In 2015, the Pinchuk Foundation paid the Trump Foundation $150,000 in exchange for a video appearance by Trump at Pinchuk’s annual Yalta European Strategy meeting.
Well, if you're going to make a bad decision, that's probably the place to do it.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:54 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


Des Moines Register - Editorial

Per jason_steakums' tip, the daily newspaper of the biggest city in Steve Racist King's district still appears to have no opinion on him.
posted by holgate at 12:56 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


> Monica Crowley Lost White House Job, Now She’s Got One With Pro-Russian Oligarch

"Wingnut fails upward" is sort of a "dog bites man" story these days, innit?
posted by tonycpsu at 12:56 PM on March 14 [15 favorites]


He knows, because he isn't a lizard-person, that people shouldn't be dying in the streets because they can't see a doctor.

you could be right because in theory anybody could be right about anything and only Professor Xavier knows for sure what's in our secret brain parts, but this is like "Obama is wiretapping my toaster oven" level of completely made up no evidence and only possibly true in the strictest sense of definitely not being true
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:58 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Trump summoned D.C. mayor to Oval Office for storm that brought 2.5 inches of snow

Micromeddling.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:59 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Trump summoned D.C. mayor to Oval Office for storm that brought 2.5 inches of snow

what a big orange weenie - what's he going to do in a REAL crisis?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:00 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


I kinda wish they'd just replace Spicer with Steve King. He could just come out and say "Look, we're making sure the right People are getting health care, okay? The one's who will support and maintain Western Civilization in the right Way."
posted by valkane at 1:00 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one thinking 45 thinks the DC mayor has magical weather powers and therefore should have prevented all this?

would I be surprised if he Tweeted that?

am I thinking "maybe day-drinking is a viable option"?
posted by emjaybee at 1:02 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


He's probably worried that the snow will prevent him from going to Mar A Lago this weekend.

Priorities, people.
posted by cooker girl at 1:07 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


Trump summoned D.C. mayor to Oval Office for storm that brought 2.5 inches of snow

what a big orange weenie - what's he going to do in a REAL crisis?


He's concerned he'll miss his Saturday tee-off if the roads to Andrews aren't clear.
posted by dis_integration at 1:07 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Good news, everyone!*

CBO projects TrumpCare will save Social Security $3 billion!

Take a guess why that is...



*Spoken in Professor Farnsworth's voice
posted by darkstar at 1:08 PM on March 14 [15 favorites]




Trump summoned D.C. mayor to Oval Office for storm that brought 2.5 inches of snow
The request for the presidential briefing was made about 4 p.m., aides said, and seemed hastily arranged. The invitation came about 45 minutes after Politico posted an article on its website with the headline: “Will Trump bungle first big snow threat like Obama did?” (Emphasis mine.)
posted by Room 641-A at 1:13 PM on March 14 [39 favorites]


In any case, Trump is fundamentally a good person in the sense that your racist uncle is--he agrees that morality exists and that it'd be best if everyone was good and happy... but we all know that that can't happen, so I've got to get mine while the getting is good.

Trump is not a good person, he does not agree that morality exists, he is a malignant narcissist which is a form of sociopath, a person without a conscience. He's a career conman who makes money from ripping people off. He's not simply uninformed, he's incapable of feeling empathy for anyone. He will say things that sound sympathetic but there's no true emotion behind them. Even in his own family his attempts at mimicking love come across as skeevy & incestuous.
posted by scalefree at 1:13 PM on March 14 [57 favorites]


Trump is fundamentally a good person in the sense that your racist uncle is

In that he is not, is not willing to learn how to be, and is incapable of hearing any information that might indicate otherwise. But like, really loves his dog or something.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:16 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Per jason_steakums' tip, the daily newspaper of the biggest city in Steve Racist King's district still appears to have no opinion on him.

There's this incredibly frustrating news culture of "don't rock the boat" here (with the exception of some brief glimmers of hope, once when I worked in local news here under a great news director, we caught King in some nonsense that ended up on Colbert). Partially it's because the news outlets are understaffed and overworked, partially it's the political views of some news outlets' ownership and management, partially it's because of calls from upset rural readers/viewers when anything pisses them off, but largely it's the assumption that the reaction will be worse than it is in reality, working off of an outdated assumption of what rocks the boat and upsets people. We were "the home office in Sioux City, Iowa" on Letterman because KMEG thought Star Trek reruns were more palatable to their viewers than Letterman - out of touch then and now.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:17 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I have this idea rolling around in my head for a project to reclaim the word "Americans."

You should take a look a look at Define American project.
This is a project started by Jose Antonio Vargas, who is journalist that found out as an adult that he is undocumented, and wrote about it last year in the New York Times magazine.
posted by mach at 1:17 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


also your racist uncle might not be as good a person as you think he is.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:18 PM on March 14 [36 favorites]


I thank my lucky stars that none of my racist uncles are my employers, or my neighbors, or my stepkids' friends' parents. I'm especially thankful that I don't encounter any of my racist uncles as a member of a minority group.
posted by witchen at 1:20 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Trump summoned D.C. mayor to Oval Office for storm that brought 2.5 inches of snow

I, for one, didn't have to go in to work today, but the roads were well-plowed. Historically the city has kinda sucked at snow.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:21 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


*Spoken in Professor Farnsworth's voice

(Speaking of which, whenever I see Bannon, I mumble to myself "Not only do you not deserve a Nobel Prize for loosing this bloated man-ball on the world but you are hereby kicked out of the Academy of Science!")
posted by octobersurprise at 1:23 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Oh and HAHAHA hilariously, I'm thankful none of my racist uncles are the president of this country. But I guess they might as well be. At least one of them knows how to change the oil in his wife's car, and helps with the dishes after dinner--which is more than DJT would ever bother to do.
posted by witchen at 1:23 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


But like, really loves his dog or something.

Trump is the first president in modern history without any pets in the White House, because he is a miserable shell of a person incapable of even feigning affection for another living being
posted by theodolite at 1:24 PM on March 14 [72 favorites]


Just out of curiosity, what would happen if the D.C. mayor told Trump to fuck himself?

I'm just lookin' for a hero, man.
posted by angrycat at 1:25 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


CBO projects TrumpCare will save Social Security $3 billion!

Because of all the poor people who couldn't afford insurance will die & not need their benefits anymore.
posted by scalefree at 1:27 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Bowser has shown a lot of spine, despite her corporatist leanings, and with the constant assault on our autonomy from dickbags like Chaffetz it wouldn't shock me in the slightest if she told The Trump to fuck himself.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:28 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


(Trump hates dogs.)

Seriously, why don't they just do singlepayer for only American citizens and only "not-your-fault" straightup accidents and diseases? If you have sex and want birth control, that's your fault, you pay for it out of pocket. If you have sex and get pregnant, that's your fault, you pay out of pocket to gestate and have the kid or you pay for a plane ticket and fly to California or some other godless place to abort the fetus. If you're not a citizen and you get sick or fall under a train, it's not our problem, go back to your country and get treatment. Lifestyle disease? We told you to "just say no." DJT just said no; he has never inhaled the smoke from burning intoxicants or touched a single drop of alcohol and he is right there in front of you acting as a healthful object lesson. You ignored the lesson? Your choices are your fault; you pay. Heart attack? Well, we'll look at it. Maybe you have the kind of heart attack that comes from constant stalwart striving in the pitiless saltmines of Wall Street, in which case, thank you, soldier. But probably you should have jogged more, in which case, your heart disease is your fault. Mental illness? Sure thing, that's covered in that we pay for the PSAs touting the first lady's cure of plenty of fresh air in proximity to plants. Don't take the fresh air and sniff the flowers and become cured? Oops, sorry, you seem to have the kind of mental illness that is your fault. Do you have the black lung? Evidence of MAGA success; you clearly have a job! And this is how you repay your employer? By nearly inaudible but highly disturbing constant wailing for O2? Here is a two-foot stack of forms to go home and fill out and a MAGA hat to wear while you do it; come back when you're done and then we'll take half a year to review your case, oh, you died waiting? We love our miners.

They would pay for flu shots and Viagra and cough medicine and keep plague and suchlike bad-optics public-health catastrophes from sweeping the land, thus protecting their vile soft underbellies from attack by whatever remains of the left wing and garnering acclaim among previously uninsured renouncers of Obamacare who will be brought to amazed tears the first time they go to their brand new primary care doctor and get antibiotics for strep throat instead of waiting sixteen hours in the E.R.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:29 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Trump is the first president in modern history without any pets in the White House, because he is a miserable shell of a person incapable of even feigning affection for another living being

Even the eagle they brought in for a photoshoot could sense something was off with him.
posted by scalefree at 1:30 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


Donald Trump and the Narrative of US National Security
Trump (backed by the Breitbart and Fox megaphones) may be able to persuade more Republicans to rally around his vision not only to support his policies on trade and immigration (which are closer to his point of view anyway) but Trump’s views on Russia as well. Trump may be able to cherrypick a few Gorkas and Millers from obscurity in the short-run, but in the longer-run, a Republican Party steeped in Bannonite ideology may produce bevies of them, many of whom will go on to leadership positions. What starts with Iowa Congressman Steve King now may be a deeper bench in years to come, particularly if Trump manages to win re-election. That’s what keeps me up at night.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:32 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I guess the "dog" in that analogy is just a big poorly-kerned gold sign with some d-bag's name on it.

There really needs to be a [sob] tag

posted by aspersioncast at 1:32 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Trump is the first president in modern history without any pets in the White House

Hey now, he'll bring in Chris Christie soon enough.
posted by Justinian at 1:32 PM on March 14 [22 favorites]


Trump is the first president in modern history without any pets in the White House,

To be fair, Steve Bannon's dog, Cerberus, doesn't really get along with other dogs.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:33 PM on March 14 [39 favorites]


also your racist uncle might not be as good a person as you think he is.

Yeah, my racist grandparents abandoned me on the side of the fucking road in their city after inviting me to stay with them. My parents won't stand up for me when I say I'm scared. My sister won't stand up for me when I say it hurts me to hear her Republican friend say that states' rights are more important than my wife being able to live with me. I can't even get a family member to acknowledge that I have a reason to be afraid or do a little legwork to verify the things I say on their own.

This whole--this whole year has been a process for me learning how little I matter to my own family members if I don't toe their party lines. It's been heartbreaking, finding out how little it helps to say "I'm so scared; will you help me?" and how little all those strong family bonds they all bang on about matter when I ask for support and understanding. It hurts to find that all that rhetoric about proud Irish immigrant ancestors and remembering where we came from means nothing next to the chance to hate on today's immigrants; to find all the rhetoric about my mattering means nothing if I speak out too loudly; to find that all the rhetoric about respect being central to humanity means nothing if I ask for some for myself.

Discovering the hypocrisy of the right, the number of people I lived all my life thinking of as really good people despite their politics, and finding out that the goodness was the veneer all along over the rotten shell is maybe the most heartbreaking thing about my life right now. I used to believe that honorable opposition existed, and I don't know if I can any more. I used to think--well, never mind.

I envy those of you who get to believe your family will catch you if you fall, I guess. I don't feel that way any more. And I don't even--what do I mourn? The spun-sugar lies that melted away the instant I tried to lean on them? The belief I used to have in my ability to matter for people? When do I even have time to mourn that now? The people I loved from birth abandoned me and told me it was my fault, and I'm still trying to survive.
posted by sciatrix at 1:35 PM on March 14 [142 favorites]


Official: Tax Mar-a-Lago owner to help pay for cost of Trump visits [Palm Beach Post]
Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner is exploring the idea of imposing a special tax assessment on President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion as a means of recouping costs the county has incurred during the president’s frequent visits.

Kerner has asked County Attorney Denise Nieman to research the idea of designating Mar-a-Lago a “municipal services benefit unit,” which could position the county to assess a special tax for any special benefit the county has provided or is providing to the property owner.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:36 PM on March 14 [73 favorites]


Yeah, Donald is not a good person. He says things like "everyone will have health care and it'll be the best health care!" because people cheer when he says it. That's it. That's the sum total of his fucks for health care.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:36 PM on March 14 [29 favorites]


(((hugs to sciatrix)))
posted by emjaybee at 1:39 PM on March 14 [80 favorites]


The Venn diagram for "good people" and "brags to acquaintances about their proclivity for sexual assault" has zero intersection.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:40 PM on March 14 [80 favorites]


Not to leap onto a landmine or anything, but if I understood it correctly, the racist uncle/Trump analogy wasn't ever intended to state that Trump is a good person, only that he believes himself to be one. Taking part of that longer comment, stretching the (admittedly not awesome) analogy until it breaks, just so you can gain a bit of satisfaction making sure everyone understands just how hard Trump sucks is maybe not the best derail I've seen all day. I mean, sure, not a great metaphor there, but still.

Even accounting for analogies gone awry, I'm 100% sure we're one and all on-board the Trump Sucks Right Down to the Marrow Train.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:47 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


>what a big orange weenie - what's he going to do in a REAL crisis?

Blame someone else and talk about how great he is.
posted by Catblack at 1:47 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


This whole--this whole year has been a process for me learning how little I matter to my own family members if I don't toe their party lines.

Sciatrix, I am so sorry you are having to deal with this and are hurting. I know it is cold comfort for loss of family, but many people here care about you and find you an amazing and inspiring individual. I know I, personally, am always impressed with your bravery and strength in showing vulnerability. Please don't lose hope. You are one of the best of us.
posted by corb at 1:47 PM on March 14 [68 favorites]


Trump summoned D.C. mayor to Oval Office for storm that brought 2.5 inches of snow

what a big orange weenie - what's he going to do in a REAL crisis?


Stage a photo-op and take credit where none is deserved.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:51 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]




Not to leap onto a landmine or anything, but if I understood it correctly, the racist uncle/Trump analogy wasn't ever intended to state that Trump is a good person, only that he believes himself to be one

Oh yeah I got that, I assumed we were just rolling with it because analogies are fun. Sorry to add to the derail.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:57 PM on March 14


The people I loved from birth abandoned me and told me it was my fault, and I'm still trying to survive.

You didn't deserve to have your heart broken twice this year, sciatrix. I suppose none of us did, but the Potemkin family realization is a particularly cruel one, so. I'm so sorry, and I say that with depth of someone who's had the same realization. You will get through it, and I'm glad you have your partner by your side. You can always MeMail me. (That goes for anyone else in that boat, too.)
posted by schadenfrau at 2:01 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]


We were "the home office in Sioux City, Iowa" on Letterman because KMEG thought Star Trek reruns were more palatable to their viewers than Letterman.

Aside: I was always curious about that! I figured it was just another one of Dave's typically odd non-sequiturs. Neat to get the backstory, jason_steakums.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:06 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


This is not an encouraging sign, from Prerequisite for Key White House Posts: Loyalty, Not Experience
Still, Mr. Greenblatt seemed at that point somewhat taken aback that Mr. Trump had identified him to the news agency as his principal adviser on Israel, telling reporters that Mr. Greenblatt was so passionate that “when he goes on vacation, he goes to Israel.”

“I knew that he was relying on me for certain aspects of Israel, but I didn’t know I was his top adviser,” he said.
posted by zachlipton at 2:09 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


New Dykes to Watch Out For strip about not burning out from resisting.
posted by emjaybee at 2:10 PM on March 14 [21 favorites]


Probably the only thing even in the neighborhood of "good" about Trump is that he reveals who people truly are. Sometimes slowly, sometimes all at once. But sooner or later, almost everyone will have to react (or fail to react) to Trump and in those reactions our underlying human natures are exposed.
posted by mhum at 2:11 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


"The microwave is not a sound way of surveilling someone."

Good to know. I can stop putting my pants on when I get up for a glass of water from the kitchen in the middle of the night.
posted by JackFlash at 2:12 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


He's like the Sorting Hat nobody asked for.
posted by emjaybee at 2:13 PM on March 14 [31 favorites]


JackFlash, the toaster noticed.
posted by erisfree at 2:14 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Probably the only thing even in the neighborhood of "good" about Trump is that he reveals who people truly are. Sometimes slowly, sometimes all at once. But sooner or later, almost everyone will have to react (or fail to react) to Trump and in those reactions our underlying human natures are exposed.

oh man I thought all those supernatural beings sent down to earth to make us reveal our true natures through the way we react to them had their work all wrapped up by the end of the 70s

ATTN INTERPLANETARY WATCHERS: YOU FORGOT TO RECALL THIS ONE! THINGS WENT TOO FAR!
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:14 PM on March 14


JackFlash, the toaster noticed.

Gah!
posted by JackFlash at 2:16 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


(Trump hates dogs.)

I was almost willing to give him a chance until you said that. I can't abide a dog-hater.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:17 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Monica Crowley Lost White House Job, Now She’s Got One With Pro-Russian Oligarch

They must be pretty confident that Congress has been completely neutered because they are being pretty damn naked about being Putin puppets. It was bad enough when the finance officials revolved into bank jobs and back but National Security to Eastern oligarchs is just all kinds of insane.
posted by srboisvert at 2:19 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


JackFlash, the toaster noticed.
That's OK.
It's a brave little toaster.
A flying toaster.
It's one of us.
posted by Floydd at 2:19 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


He probably hates music, too.
posted by valkane at 2:20 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Still, Mr. Greenblatt seemed at that point somewhat taken aback that Mr. Trump had identified him to the news agency as his principal adviser on Israel, telling reporters that Mr. Greenblatt was so passionate that “when he goes on vacation, he goes to Israel.”

“I knew that he was relying on me for certain aspects of Israel, but I didn’t know I was his top adviser,” he said.

Area Man Surprised After Tipsily Discussing Last Holiday at Golf Club
posted by jaduncan at 2:21 PM on March 14 [30 favorites]


He's got a fantastic White House pet plan in the works, you're going to be very pleased. They've already got the sharks, they're just trying to figure out the cheapest way to waterproof the lasers.
posted by contraption at 2:21 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


And flowers.
posted by valkane at 2:21 PM on March 14


wasn't ever intended to state that Trump is a good person, only that he believes himself to be one

The distinction was clear, but I don't think it's wise to treat hopeful imaginings like that as known facts or even likely facts. Plenty of bad people do think they're good because this is a thing that matters to them for whatever reason. Trump has never behaved like such a person. he may get self-esteem from feeling big, feeling powerful, even feeling liked and accepted, but not from feeling moral. observation suggests that morality, like fine cuisine and tie clips, is just something completely out of his scope of reference and interest. he doesn't act like he has a wicked moral system he believes is right, or a hypocritical one, or a simplistic one he's self-righteous about, but like he has none at all.

I can see how this comes across as a pointless argument about nothing. and maybe it is. but it has been suggested that he is difficult to predict by those who expect some semblance of normal evil behavior and this does seem like part of why.
posted by queenofbithynia at 2:22 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


But not Gennifer Flowers! "Great gal, one of the best, really willing to help me out."
posted by valkane at 2:22 PM on March 14


Were you all aware that the tape- and packing- and everything-supply company ULINE is owned and operated by a bunch of assholes (the Uihlein family) who not only are pro-Trump but are willing to post this kind of garbage on their company's web site?
posted by komara at 2:24 PM on March 14 [42 favorites]


The new Dykes to Watch Out For strip just nails my state of despair: we're holding steady at le pantalon confortable.
posted by lydhre at 2:27 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


this kind of garbage on their company's web site

my favorite thing in the world is so-called "patriots" who don't know how to correctly display the flag.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:28 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


I can barely keep up with things these days because this whole healthcare debate is so stressful to me as someone who is disabled and who's husband has an expensive chronic illness. He was a healthy 30 year old who was taken down by an autoimmune disorder and nearly died. He luckily had good employer insurance at the time that covered his hospital stay after a $500 deductible. Since then he had needed almost $1000 in medication a month to stay out of the hospital.

He didn't "need" insurance before he got sick but DAMN were we lucky he had it. Because before the ACA he wouldn't have even been able to get coverage once he did get sick.

What people really want is not to have to pay for anything (whether that's healthcare or food stamps or what) but still have people get help if they really really need it, like through charities. Explaining to people that only a fraction of people ever get helped by charities is really hard because people want to believe we as a society don't just let people suffer. So long as it's not from their pocket.
posted by threeturtles at 2:28 PM on March 14 [27 favorites]


Trump is the first president in modern history without any pets in the White House

There was this minidrama a few months ago where one of Trump's socialite friends decided she was going to give him a goldendoodle named Patton and announced it to the press as a fait accompli. A few weeks later she withdrew her offer, claiming she had fallen in love with the dog and couldn't bear a parting. To judge by his press photos, Patton is a friendly, fluffy boy who will never comprehend the enormous bullet he dodged.
posted by Iridic at 2:35 PM on March 14 [23 favorites]


The fact is that many people don't want and don't insurance, especially not the kind mandated by ObamaCare. The fact is in order for ObamaCare to work - especially when pre-existing conditions are covered those who are healthy, those who won't use much health care need to pay into the system so others can pay less.

So, anytime I see lines like this trotted out, I'd like to know: do you actually know anybody who has had to do without insurance? Do you know what their medical care looks like?

Up until the ACA, I never qualified for Medicaid, because in many states, pregnant women, children, and the disabled are given priority (as they should be), and single healthy adults are SOL. I am a relatively healthy woman without any chronic diseases, but my employment situation has always been tenuous, and insurance was almost never an available benefit even when I was employed. I am the ideal person who "won't use much health care", but amazingly, shit happens in life and rather than deal with life-ending medical debt, I've often chosen to "pull myself up by my bootstraps" and fixed things myself.

I have:
- Debrided and cleaned out an open wound when I had a motorcycle accident, picking through bits of my knee tissue with tweezers trying to decide whether various stringy bits were attached to me or part of the pants I was wearing.
- Gone to a chiropractor that advertised free initial x-rays to see if I'd broken my wrist (I had). I then treated it myself with a brace.
- Cut out a cyst on my leg with a pocket knife.
- Cut off a ripped off toenail with a pair of scissors.
- Used all kinds of home remedies I found on the internet to various degrees of success when dealing with common and easily treatable conditions like strep throat.
- Gone without an ADD diagnosis for most of my life because when you can't afford a doctor you sure as hell can't afford a psychiatrist, let alone medication.

There's more, but this is what life looks like without insurance for many of us. Waiting until you have no alternative but to go to the doctor, when you know without a doubt you can't just ride it out this time, and doing that waiting because you know that you can't afford thousands of dollars in medical bills for every little thing that comes along. You patch yourself up the best you can and hope for the best. And that works OK sometimes, except when it doesn't.

Now that I have medicaid, I got strep throat and saw a doctor to get some antibiotics. If I am wounded, I can go to an urgent care and get xrays and I don't have to play "does-this-look-infected-to-you" with my friends anymore. I got vaccinated for free, and sterilized so I can stop worrying about being forced to give birth someday by regressive slut-punishing bastards.

With the way things are going, all of that is going to go away for me, and many people I care about. I'd encourage anybody who feels like anyone "doesn't need insurance" to stop for a minute and actually think about what that means, because we don't live in a magical fairyland where only people who can afford it have health problems.
posted by Feyala at 2:35 PM on March 14 [102 favorites]


Trump is the first president in modern history without any pets in the White House

A mental exercise for the reader:
In the absence of reporters and/or TV cameras, can you imagine the current US president doing any of the following things?
  • petting a dog
  • smiling at a baby who's not related to him
  • helping an elderly stranger to navigate stairs
  • asking an employee about how she and her family spent their vacation
  • listening while a young child tells a joke and then laughing like it's the funniest thing he's ever heard
  • fetching his wife a cup of tea when she's feeling ill
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:36 PM on March 14 [21 favorites]


@atul_gawande: Final point: Annual opioid overdose deaths now exceed the peak of deaths in the worst year of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
posted by PenDevil at 2:36 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]


are willing to post this kind of garbage on their company's web site

I'm amazed that half of her concern about California involves LUNCH BREAKS. The demon lunch break! O the horror!
posted by suelac at 2:37 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


The "they can ask for charity" thing blows my mind. Anyone who has ever been on the board of a church, even a big one, should realize that paying the medical bills of one uninsured church member with cancer would blow through your entire budget in less than a year, even with extra donations.

So that doesn't happen. The church will give you a little, and then they will maybe visit you and watch you slowly decline and give you a nice funeral. Because that's all they can do.
posted by emjaybee at 2:37 PM on March 14 [37 favorites]


fetching his wife a cup of tea when she's feeling ill

That depends. Have you seen Crimson Peaks?
posted by corb at 2:40 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Anyone who has seen a US medical bill should be aware that for something unusually and unluckily interesting the congregation would have to sell a rural church to pay it.
posted by jaduncan at 2:40 PM on March 14 [16 favorites]


•helping an elderly stranger to navigate stairs

Donald's the one who needs help with stairs, apparently

•asking an employee about how she and her family spent their vacation

well now scroll up and you'll see that this is exactly how he found his principal advisor on Israel
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:41 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


The fact is in order for ObamaCare to work - especially when pre-existing conditions are covered those who are healthy, those who won't use much health care need to pay into the system so others can pay less.

This is simply a way of saying that health insurance is, uh, insurance.
posted by Justinian at 2:41 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]


And I don't even--what do I mourn? The spun-sugar lies that melted away the instant I tried to lean on them? The belief I used to have in my ability to matter for people? When do I even have time to mourn that now? The people I loved from birth abandoned me and told me it was my fault, and I'm still trying to survive.

Hi sciatrix (and anyone else feeling this way), if I can keep a little bit of that belief in humanity alive -- you matter to this stranger. The things that your loved ones can't provide to you -- security, reassurance, goodwill -- I will work harder for to balance the scales. Your posts inspire me, even though I don't participate that much here.
posted by orbit-3 at 2:42 PM on March 14 [48 favorites]


1. Let Ryan roll out a healthcare bill that everybody hates.
2. Watch the bill fail.
3. Blame Democrats for the bill failing.
4. Continue to blame every problem with the healthcare system on Democrats for the next 8 years.

5. Hammer this home until it becomes the accepted media narrative and framing for all healthcare system discussions.
6. Use this advantage to win two-thirds supermajorities in the House and the Senate, and full control of at least 38 states.
7. You see where this is going...

(Please please do not let these last three things happen!)
posted by SisterHavana at 2:48 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Do you know what their medical care looks like?

Yup. I've dug out ingrown toenails, stitched up wounds, taken herbal remedies by the boatload, and once helped a friend set a broken finger in a parking lot. Life as a "healthy" young adult without insurance sucks. In the years after college, if we did anything physical like a softball game or any outdoor-type activity, at least one person could be heard on the sidelines shouting "Be careful, you don't have insurance!!"

I have friends who in their 40s are in chronic pain due to untreated injuries from their 20s. I personally recall I time when I actually had health insurance but the copay was so high I couldn't afford to go, but after two weeks of dizziness, fever, and general misery I borrowed the money from my folks to go to the doctor. Of course, I did have mono, but it was almost played out so there really wasn't anything they could do.

And let's not even get started on the number of friends and aquaintances I have who got married to get health insurance.

Yeah, it's a damn walk in the park to be "healthy", young and uninsured.
posted by teleri025 at 2:48 PM on March 14 [26 favorites]


JFC!!! That nyt article Prerequisite for Key White House Posts: Loyalty, Not Experience is data point #1000 that we are functioning (?) in a kakistocracy.
posted by lalochezia at 2:50 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


JFC!!! That nyt article Prerequisite for Key White House Posts: Loyalty, Not Experience is data point #1000 that we are functioning (?) in a kakistocracy.

We had that during Bush II as well, the whole pillaging of Iraq was driven by ignorant but loyal 20-somethings
posted by mumimor at 2:52 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]



"Trump is the first president in modern history without any pets in the White House"

Exclusive of Penthouse Pets?
posted by Chitownfats at 2:53 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Wired asks the important questions: No, Microwave Ovens Cannot Spy on You—for Lots of Reasons
But what if we were to take Conway not literally, but seriously? Asked whether a microwave could be turned into not a camera, specifically, but a listening device, Stephen Frasier, a microwave imaging and radar researcher at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, let out several seconds of sustained laughter.
While we're on the subject of Conway's statements: Overlooked in all of this: KellyAnne Conway seems to think Inspector Gadget was an inspector of gadgets, not a gadget-filled inspector

I'd also like a ruling from our judges on whether a microwave oven is a gadget. Judges? No I'm sorry, the judges say we can't accept that.
posted by zachlipton at 2:54 PM on March 14 [20 favorites]




No, Microwave Ovens Cannot Spy on You—for Lots of Reasons

But what if we were to take Conway not literally, but seriously? Asked whether a microwave could be turned into not a camera, specifically, but a listening device, Stephen Frasier, a microwave imaging and radar researcher at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, let out several seconds of sustained laughter.

I would bet hard cash money that CES had at least one smart microwave with a microphone and web connection. It's the Internet of Terribly configured nix boxes. So, uh, give it a year or two.
posted by jaduncan at 3:01 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Prerequisite for Key White House Posts: Loyalty, Not Experience

Reince Priebus has never looked more like a beloved French comedian than in that Omarosa photo
posted by theodolite at 3:01 PM on March 14


So, anytime I see lines like this trotted out, I'd like to know: do you actually know anybody who has had to do without insurance? Do you know what their medical care looks like?

I had a roommate back in college whose parents ran a Thoroughbred farm, so she didn't have insurance through them. (There was also some sort of tax thing, as I recall, which meant she had had to try to flounder through the FAFSA as best she could without help from them, and which later wound up meaning she had to leave the university because she could no longer afford the tuition there.) She told me about having sewn up a cut wound on her foot herself with a bit of local anesthetic intended for the horses; about treating injuries and 'minor' ailments herself as well as she could so many times I've forgotten all the specifics.

I believed her, because when she had a bad toothache during our sophomore year it took me weeks to convince her to go to the health center to get it looked at it instead of flushing it desperately with salt water twice a day. And that was after having gotten university insurance through our pack of student fees.
posted by sciatrix at 3:02 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


Gallup's daily tracker has him at 39% approval, 55% disapproval. His second least popular day since taking office. If the last couple days' trend continues, tomorrow will be his least popular day ever.

We're so lucky they're this bad at fascism.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:04 PM on March 14 [34 favorites]




The sick thing about all the workarounds people come up with to avoid going to the doctor is that many conservatives would applaud it as ingenuity and innovation. They like it when you sew up your own wounds.
posted by witchen at 3:06 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


it took me weeks to convince her to go to the health center to get it looked at it instead of flushing it desperately with salt water twice a day. And that was after having gotten university insurance through our pack of student fees.

There have been a few times that I've had insurance and didn't use it, not because it was cumbersome, but because once you start seeing the medical establishment as a trap meant to extort hidden fees and ruin your life, it doesn't even register as a viable option without some serious consideration.

Doctors are for Other People.
posted by Feyala at 3:08 PM on March 14 [29 favorites]


The sick thing about all the workarounds people come up with to avoid going to the doctor is that many conservatives would applaud it as ingenuity and innovation. They like it when you sew up your own wounds.

I do. I am in the wilderness a lot and admire self-sufficiency. Doing it when I'm near an NHS hospital just seems idiotic.
posted by jaduncan at 3:09 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


They like it when you sew up your own wounds.

Pluck! Grit!* Good old-fashioned American sepsis!

*Real, actual, grit in your wounds
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:10 PM on March 14 [30 favorites]


Russia appears to deploy forces in Egypt, eyes on Libya role - sources

Well, that was fast. I was giving until past April for Putin to push a little further, but I guess you strike while the iron is .. uh .. still assembling his administration.
posted by eclectist at 3:10 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


The sick thing about all the workarounds people come up with to avoid going to the doctor is that many conservatives would applaud it as ingenuity and innovation. They like it when you sew up your own wounds.

One libertarian of my acquaintance insists that all the criticism of Mylan is misplaced because you can vote with your dollars by DIY-ing a solution. Like, you just explain to your kid's teachers that you have to train them on the 3D-printed syringe that you made from a CAD file you downloaded from the Internet. American resourcefulness in action!
posted by Ralston McTodd at 3:10 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


They like it when you sew up your own wounds...
Pluck! Grit!* Good old-fashioned American sepsis!


Pull yourself up by your gurney straps!
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:11 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


She told me about having sewn up a cut wound on her foot herself with a bit of local anesthetic intended for the horses; about treating injuries and 'minor' ailments herself as well as she could so many times I've forgotten all the specifics.

Finagling vet medications for human use is A Thing in America, and it leads certain people to say "well, we need a totally free market in medicine like with vets", without considering how the costs of veterinary medicine are mostly curtailed because euthanasia is also A Thing for sick animals.
posted by holgate at 3:14 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]


One libertarian of my acquaintance insists that all the criticism of Mylan is misplaced because you can vote with your dollars by DIY-ing a solution. Like, you just explain to your kid's teachers that you have to train them on the 3D-printed syringe that you made from a CAD file you downloaded from the Internet. American resourcefulness in action!

Can any FDA approved plastics even be 3d printed yet?
posted by jaduncan at 3:18 PM on March 14


Oh wow. I buy a ton of stuff from Uline. I had not realized that the family supports awful causes and people per Wikipedia so I got in touch with Customer Service. Next stop: spreading the word. Thank you, komara.

Hello-- Just a note to let you know that I will never buy anything from Uline ever again. Why? It's the despicable letter from company President Liz Uihlein. She's is entitled to her perspective, of course, but using her company as a platform to spread her opinions is an affront to decency and an insult to customers and employees who don't share her views.

Although I enjoy buying from other Wisconsin businesses and supporting job creation in our state, I do not wish my companies, which are privately held, to expend dollars to advance this perspective or benefit the Uihlein family. I'm also forwarding a link to Uihlein's letter far and wide to help other people make informed choices about whether to purchase goods from your company.

Please stop sending me your catalog immediately. Thank you.
posted by carmicha at 3:19 PM on March 14 [77 favorites]


once you start seeing the medical establishment as a trap meant to extort hidden fees and ruin your life, it doesn't even register as a viable option without some serious consideration.

This helps make the vitamin/supplement industry so profitable, especially the "miracle cures doctors won't tell you" side of it -- for instance, Mike Huckabee promoting cinnamon pills for diabetes, or the orange menace himself with a piss-test and vitamin-peddling pyramid scheme.
posted by holgate at 3:20 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


The sick thing about all the workarounds people come up with to avoid going to the doctor is that many conservatives would applaud it as ingenuity and innovation. They like it when you sew up your own wounds.

The weird part of this is that even doctors are reluctant to make decisions for insured medical patients. I had a bike accident last summer where I was knocked out cold and in the emergency room the team of three doctors just gave me a big shruggie on whether I should get a scan because they can't ever be sure that insurance will cover it. They were all like "You seem fine but you could be bleeding in brain. You can get a scan or you can go home and if you head starts to hurt or you get dizzy come back in". So I got the scan because I don't like rolling dice with death. Now in all likelihood waiting would probably have been the smarter medical decision because a bleed might not have even been visible so soon after the accident but that isn't what they said to me. What they said was "Have you been here before? Well we are a small plate place. Pick a couple things. We recommend three plates per person".

The American Health Sales system is just so fucked.
posted by srboisvert at 3:24 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


> We're so lucky they're this bad at fascism.

My current thing to not think about lest the panic overtake me is that history will remember Trump less like Hitler and more like Hindenburg: not the monster himself, but instead the in-over-his-head old man whose ineptitude results in the monster's rise to power.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:26 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


The sick thing about all the workarounds people come up with to avoid going to the doctor is that many conservatives would applaud it as ingenuity and innovation. They like it when you sew up your own wounds.

The example Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) gave in an interview with MLive.com was from his own experience when he waited until the morning after to take his youngest son to the doctor with an injured arm, because he did not want to waste money on an expensive emergency room visit. The arm, it turned out, was broken.

posted by PenDevil at 3:27 PM on March 14 [27 favorites]


My letter to Uline got a response! Here it is, in full, formatted as received with just the names replaced/redacted:

Dear carmicha,

Thank you for contacting Uline Customer Service.

We are unable to comment on the political beliefs or positions of any of our owners or employees.

We appreciate your feedback and will forward it to the appropriate department.

Sincerely,

[Redacted]
Uline
posted by carmicha at 3:33 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


Actually, Hindenburg was the name of the doctor. His airship was the monster
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:33 PM on March 14 [42 favorites]


That's fucking child abuse.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 3:33 PM on March 14 [22 favorites]


I was responding to the story about Huizenga.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 3:34 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Yes it is.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, in West Virginia, the legislature is working on a bill to eliminate approximately all mine safety enforcement. There would no longer be inspections, just "compliance visits and education" and instead of citations for violating regulations (which they also plan to repeal), you just get a "compliance assistance visit notices."
posted by zachlipton at 3:44 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]




CNN Reporter Jim Acosta Confronts Spicer: 'Medicare Is Government-Run, People Like It!'
While Spicer was spewing his talking points about the ACA being "government-run health care" that "nobody wants," Acosta stopped him cold.

"Medicare is government-run healthcare," Acosta reminded him. "People seem to like it."

This sent Spicer on a minute-long rant about Medicaid, and how no one can get a doctor who takes Medicaid and so freedom dictates that they should have no doctor at all or some such.

Spicer glided right past Medicare, because Acosta is right. It works, and people like it. And yeah, it's "government-run."

posted by T.D. Strange at 3:51 PM on March 14 [30 favorites]


The example Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) gave in an interview with MLive.com was from his own experience when he waited until the morning after to take his youngest son to the doctor with an injured arm, because he did not want to waste money on an expensive emergency room visit. The arm, it turned out, was broken.

I often think about the fact that I probably owe my continued existence on the planet to not being American. I had appendicitis at 13 and I have a father who is probably 1000% more stingy than Huizenga so instead of a single payer covered same day emergency appendectomy I probably would have had 'wait and see if gets better to avoid a costly deductible' lead to a ruptured appendix with possible septicemia and death. This alternate universe mortality salience is all because a few years after my appendectomy I saw a Macleans magazine advertisement for travel insurance that said an appendectomy in the U.S. cost $13,000 and I figured my Dad wouldn't pay that or even 20% of that since he wouldn't even buy me a baseball mitt. (Appendectomies in the US now apparently cost anywhere from $10,000 to $180,000).
posted by srboisvert at 3:55 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


> Meanwhile, in West Virginia, the legislature is working on a bill to eliminate approximately all mine safety enforcement. There would no longer be inspections, just "compliance visits and education" and instead of citations for violating regulations (which they also plan to repeal), you just get a "compliance assistance visit notices."

Hopefully the compliance assistance visitor will be Mothman.
posted by christopherious at 3:55 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Trump’s White House security aide Keith Schiller has a history of financial problems

And that is putting it mildly.

-- Keith Schiller, the former Trump Organization security chief whom the president has brought into the White House as director of Oval Office operations, has a long trail of tax liens and mortgage foreclosures, according to financial records reviewed by Newsweek.

Schiller and his wife Lena were sued three times for unpaid taxes, once by New York State and twice by the IRS, the last instance as recently as four years ago, publicly available records show. A decade ago, two of their properties, one in New York and one in Florida, were foreclosed for nonpayment.

-- A government employee struggling with financial problems is considered a security risk, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s 2014 guideline on “insider threats.” Schiller’s troubled financial history also raises questions about the rigor of the security vetting process...


He's a violent asshole to boot.

The burly Schiller, 58, was involved in several campaign incidents in which he physically clashed with demonstrators or reporters. In one videotaped incident, Schiller manhandled Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos during a Trump press conference when Ramos persisted in asking questions. In another, Schiller punched a protester outside Trump Tower. (A suit filed by five demonstrators against Schiller and four other unnamed Trump security guards after that incident is ongoing.) And on March 10, Schiller was in the news again when he “began yelling loudly" at reporters to leave a White House press event.

By many accounts, Schiller is not just a bodyguard but one of the president’s closest confidants, often spending evenings dining and watching TV with Trump in the White House residential quarters. Dietl, a Fox News fixture who is running for mayor of New York, says their bond is built on decades of trust and comfort.

Good article. Packed with info.
posted by futz at 3:56 PM on March 14 [23 favorites]


Senate nixes Obama-era drug testing rule: The Senate voted Tuesday to roll back an Obama-era regulation that limits who can be drug tested while applying for unemployment benefits.

Senators voted along party lines 51-48 under the Congressional Review Act to cut the rule. The legislation already passed the House and now heads to President Trump's desk, where he is expected to sign it.

Under a 2012 law, states can only drug test individuals applying for unemployment benefits if they were previously fired for drug use or work in jobs for which workers are regularly drug tested. The Obama rule specified a list of jobs the could be included under the rule.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:59 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


without considering how the costs of veterinary medicine are mostly curtailed because euthanasia is also A Thing for sick animals.

That doesn't explain why the medicines are much cheaper, though. My husband, raised rural, used to get medicines prescribed by the veterinarian for a "Teenage Boy Weight German Shepherd" because they were so much cheaper than a human pharmacy.
posted by corb at 4:00 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Democrats reintroduce major LGBTQ anti-discrimination bills granting gender identity and sexual orientation status as protected classes and explicitly granting transgender students bathroom access. Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, said colleagues opposed to the bill “should have to stand up and explain why.”

The motivation seems to be to drive a wedge through Republican party lines on protecting LGBTQ Americans. I think this is genius, because these are issues that do have wide bipartisan American support and simultaneously factionalize the Republican elected officials dramatically. Pit the theocrats against the money-worshipers with my blessing!
posted by sciatrix at 4:02 PM on March 14 [73 favorites]


So the Spencer Daily News is not doing a great job covering why Indivisible members are picketing Steve King's office, but it's great that Indivisible members are picketing Steve King's office in Spencer.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:02 PM on March 14 [13 favorites]


Schiller’s troubled financial history also raises questions about the rigor of the security vetting process...
Doesn't "not obviously in the pay of a foreign oligarch" count as a win by current security standards?
posted by octobersurprise at 4:07 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


> Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government
We have obtained a list of more than 400 Trump administration hires, including dozens of lobbyists and some from far-right media.


Short Democracy Now interview with the author: From Lobbyists to Reality Show Stars, Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed

Also: Is Jared Kushner Breaking the Law with $400M Real Estate Deal with Firm Tied to Chinese Gov't?
posted by homunculus at 4:10 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Breaking; Chuck Grassley says he won't put AG nom Rosenstein up for a vote until Senate Judiciary gets a briefing from Comey on Russia. (Stories to come, I guess.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:14 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


"Medicare is government-run healthcare," Acosta reminded him. "People seem to like it."

This sent Spicer on a minute-long rant about Medicaid, and how no one can get a doctor who takes Medicaid and so freedom dictates that they should have no doctor at all or some such.


To be fair, he may not know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Wait, no, that's not better.

Or is it?

I don't... eurgh.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:17 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


In Josh Marshall's new piece from today, Among the Brutalized and the Murderers, he explores some of the post-WWI factors that led to the industrialized genocide of the Third Reich.
One persistent theme of this story was that each 'ethnicity' had a state somewhere or was trying to create one that would vindicate and protect it and brutalize those communities which stood in the way of creating ethnically homogenous states. So Magyars were the brutalizers in one place and the brutalized in another - the same could be said for virtually every national group, albeit with the groups with new states generally having the whip hand. This story is most discussed in the arc of German history but Gerwarth places it in a broader, pan-European (at least all-East and Central European) context. [...]

Reading through Gerwarth's narrative you find this recurring pattern of one group brutalizing another where it was in the stronger position. But in virtually every case where it's Pole vs Ukrainians or Magyar vs Romanian or German v Czech, in almost every case, the dominating group is also killing the Jews it found in the way too. Jews similarly became the central objects of cults of revenge in most regions, most consequentially in the German hyper-nationalist right.[...]

The generally peaceful world we have all grown up in is not normal or pre-ordained. It was built by design, a great deal of work and sacrifice and on the experience of and in response to almost unimaginable destruction. It's not natural. It can easily be very different. The wave of rightist, populist politics which is now making a bid for power in Europe and which is represented in the United States by President Trump and his key advisors is expressly based on the rightist, hyper-nationalist politics of this period.
Josh spells it out clearly--the radical authoritarians are making use of old hypernationalistic tools that eventually wrought massive destruction all over the world. I fear that his point about Jewish people--a diasporatic group with no homeland at that time--extends to anyone else without a "homeland" (read: trans people, gay people, Jewish people, refugees, and so on) in the present day.

For all the wanking over the fact that my grandparents' and great-grandparents' generations "won WWII", a whole lot has been forgotten about what had been happening in Europe for centuries, the many sacrifices people had to make, and all the shit they went through to do so. Can't say I've ever met anyone who's has been in combat who wanted to repeat it or to have others experience it--even they who fought the Third Reich or Imperial Japanese Army/Navy.

Breaks my heart how so many seem to be actively working to foment hostilities at all levels of societal organization.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 4:18 PM on March 14 [29 favorites]


Good god can the Dmitry Rybolovlev drama get any worse? Yes, yes it can: Yachts of Trump financial backer, Russian oligarch seen close together

We had Rybolovlev buying a massive mansion in Palm Beach from Trump, then the weirdness of Rybolovlev and Trump's planes meeting during the campaign, and now Rybolovlev's yacht winds up next to Robert Mercer's.

As with everything else, there's a good chance it's nothing, but I mean come on.
posted by zachlipton at 4:20 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


The belief I used to have in my ability to matter for people?

Why Sciatrix Matters to Me:

A few months ago, after the Orange One was elected but before he ascended, I happened to mention a quite liberal Australian friend of mine who had said that he thought the USA had "lost that pride in itself that made it want to be an example. He thought Trump would restore that pride and make the USA a force for good again."

Sciatrix replied
I just wanted to tell your friend that he had hit me in a fucking sore spot, in part because I actually held my patriotism and my faith in institutions pretty close to my heart. And now that faith is bleeding badly and I, like many people around me, am wrestling with a kind of trauma to my soul. If you see your friend, tell me what he thinks of that. I am genuinely interested to know.
I'm not a very confrontational person, and I don't see this guy very often, but as it happened I ran into him the very next day. So I told him what Sciatrix had said, and he seemed to take it to heart.

And since then I've tried to speak up about this and similar things. Just a few days ago when the dinner party conversation was "women can't and shouldn't aspire to the same career paths as men because babies and upper body strength" I gave an impassioned lecture about people doing what they want and are good at rather than accepting arbitrary limitations; and that traditionally female careers aren't actually easier, they're just less rewarding, and that if we respected women and their choices more it would be better for everyone. And you know, there were some very traditionally raised young women there who were nodding along with me thoughtfully, and maybe they're not going to accept being relegated to teaching or childcare without considering where their strengths and passion lie. And that's just a second-degree inspiration from Sciatrix, if they were exposed to her directly I expect they'd be marching in the streets wearing pussyhats.

Sciatrix, I wish the people you love treated you and your family with the respect and love they deserve, but please don't ever think you don't matter to people. You matter to people all over the world, including people who never heard of you, and the things you do and stand for are just going to keep on reverberating, not just in Texas but around the world.

Not singeing mice though, I can't endorse that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:26 PM on March 14 [142 favorites]


The Palm Beach Post's reporting has been great, and suggestive of more to come. Though I'm surprised that nobody asked the (ex-Breitbarter) pet flack of the oligarch what the deal was in flying that huge jet 20 miles across Charlotte.
posted by holgate at 4:28 PM on March 14


Senate nixes Obama-era drug testing rule

Republicans have argued the Obama regulation amounted to a federal overreach that limited a state's ability to determine its own drug testing policy.

"As we saw too often, the Obama administration went beyond its legal authority in creating legislation that limits the role of state governments," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said from the Senate floor.
But it's okay to overrule state governments on weed. I'm developing an unhealthy all-consuming hatred for Republicans in general and that son-of-a-turtlefucker McConnell in particular.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:31 PM on March 14 [26 favorites]


I know about singing mice.

Singeing them freaks me out...
posted by futz at 4:32 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


They're starting the process of fucking up Medicaid. Price is offering to consider waiver requests from states to add work requirements, premiums and cost sharing, and other awfulness.
posted by zachlipton at 4:33 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


Not singeing mice though, I can't endorse that.

She sings to them, she doesn't singe them.

What? They sing to her? Awesome.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:34 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]




They already started (re)fucking up Medicaid, first with the non-expansion of course and then with negotiations with the Obama Administration for waivers, most notably in Indiana but also in a few other states.

Because Medicaid eligibility determinations weren't already a confusing bureaucratic nightmare that the ACA was only just starting to unravel (and in some cases, sadly, make worse, in my opinion, by the addition of managed care organizations).
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:38 PM on March 14




Maddow apparently has Trump tax returns

WHAAAAAAAT!!!!!!
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:39 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


In this country we have cheap food, we have cheap clothes, we have cheap gas, we have cheap electronics and appliances but the one thing that is going to continue to spiral farther and farther out of reach of the middle class American is health care. Due to bad genetics I had to have a hip replacement at 55. Fortunately we had good insurance and the $5,000 that our share of the bill cost. Now my orthopedic surgeon wants me to think about getting a partial knee replacement but nobody can tell me for sure what my costs will be and I don't have a nest egg anymore.

A few days before the inauguration I had to go to the ER. I struggled not to because we all know what kind of bills come out of a few hours in ER. I waited all night and called as soon as my doctor's office was open in the morning hoping he could see me. The triage nurse told me to go to the ER ASAP because I was getting shocky from blood loss. Our Federal Employee Insurance through Blue Cross was pretty helpful. They knocked down the CAT scan bill from $7000 to $1800. Plus three different doctors submitted bills for reading the test results but our insurance said "LOL we will only allow one bill" so our portion was a small fraction of what it could have been. Our out of pocket expenses came to $1000 and the hospital gave us a nice discount for paying cash within 30 days. Not terrible, but $800 is a hard thing to swallow when it is unexpected and it didn't result in a diagnosis and I still have to go have more tests.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:41 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Man, I hope it's at least one real, full, recent tax return. I've been wondering why it would take so long for something like that to leak, and my best guess is that the IRS has really good auditing about who accesses what.
posted by uosuaq at 4:43 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I am profoundly excited for this report, but also slightly concerned because I know Maddow's style, and I'm concerned she's going to spend the first 20 minutes of her show slowly repeating herself as she provides a patient and thorough explanation of what a tax return is and who Donald Trump is before she gets to it.
posted by zachlipton at 4:43 PM on March 14 [28 favorites]


Oh god, Maddow... You better not be playing with us and come out with some tax return from 1986 or some crap.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 4:43 PM on March 14 [20 favorites]


Uh. Maddow has news.

(Tweet does not specify which member of the Family Business. Though that's a pretty clickbaity way to promote, say, a return where Eric writes off his golf car.)
posted by holgate at 4:44 PM on March 14


Is Maddow the type of commentator that overhypes scoops? Asking seriously.
posted by lalex at 4:44 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Yeah, she'd better have the goods, or her credibility is shot forever.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:45 PM on March 14 [15 favorites]


I hope Maddow's people have sourced those tax returns to hell and back. With the way things have been going for the Trump team, I wouldn't put it past them to try a Killian Documents gambit.
posted by vibrotronica at 4:45 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


I hope these are authentic, full returns from at least the last 10 years for that man's "businesses". We all deserve to know about that family's convoluted web of financial depredation and depravity.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 4:45 PM on March 14


i would say that if this isn't the real goods, Maddow is gonna go into Al Capone's Secret Vault of Shame for the rest of her career?
posted by murphy slaw at 4:46 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]




Those tax returns had better not be the one from 1995 Marla Maples leaked -- or a couple more from that era added to the collection.
posted by notyou at 4:47 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Well, I just hopped on a bus to run some errands but it looks like I need to be home in an hour. I'll pick up some popcorn.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:47 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Maddow's ratings have been rising sharply since the election, so I don't think she's dumb enough to pull some sort of "We have the Tiffany Trump Tax Returns!" scam to get people to tune in. I was a regular watcher of her show but took a break for my mental health, but if it is a ratings ploy, it's working for this guy tonight.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:49 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I trust Maddow to believe she has something, and that "(seriously)" in her tweet gives me hope. She may be verbose but she's not sloppy.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:51 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


> The motivation seems to be to drive a wedge through Republican party lines on protecting LGBTQ Americans.

This is definitely worth a shot, but given the number of actual socially liberal Republicans in Congress, it seems like it'll be more of a scalpel than a wedge to me. Maybe peel off two or three of them who actually walk the walk.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:51 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Have been watching Maddow for the past few weeks and she's been like a bloodhound on the trail of the Russia stuff, all the while managing to not overhype the connections or oversell her hand. With her highest ratings in forever, she has nothing to gain by doing this stupid-like.

Also, say what you will about her style and plodding and whatnot. she is my even when i have no evens left
posted by localhuman at 4:51 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]


"We've got Trump tax returns"

Hm. Is it paranoid of me to worry that the fact the wording says "Trump tax returns" rather than "the Trump tax returns" or even "Trump's tax returns" means they might be older tax documents, from like the 1980s or something?
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:54 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


WSJ: "Steve Bannon and the Making of an Economic Nationalist" (routed through tweet to bypass paywall)
posted by Apocryphon at 4:59 PM on March 14


The wording is so specifically vague that I think it can't be the real biggie and must instead be the returns of other members of the imperial household or old/partial returns.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:00 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


1) Could be not so relevant (old or another family member)
2) Could be they don't show as much as we hoped
3) Could be they show a whole hell of a lot and Trump and his followers blow it off as fake news or not important

I'm interested but not looking for the magic bullet.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:00 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I am going to tune into msnbc to see what they are saying ahead of Maddow's show. We will find out what is what in an hour when this thread will explode.

Ok Chris Hayes said nothing about this at the top of his hour and Matthews said nothing at the end of his. I will report back if anything changes but I don't want to clog up the thread with speculation.
posted by futz at 5:03 PM on March 14


I trust Maddow not to pull an Al Capone's Vault on this one, but I'll admit to sharing others' worry that she'll have either tax returns that aren't relevant or tax returns that are relevant but don't show anything noteworthy.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:04 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


It's apparently a David Cay Johnston story. He's doing Lawrence O'Donnell too.
posted by zachlipton at 5:05 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Also, it could be that she has returns from the Trump Company or Trump Foundation, rather than Trump's personal tax returns. (I actually think the former are more likely to have dirt than the latter, but the latter are what everybody's been breathlessly speculating about.)
posted by tobascodagama at 5:05 PM on March 14


GODDAMMIT RACHEL! THIS BETTER BE GOOD! Swear to maude, I can't take the disappointment rn.
posted by Sophie1 at 5:06 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]




GODDAMMIT RACHEL! THIS BETTER BE GOOD! Swear to maude, I can't take the disappointment rn.

My expectations are so low if they look up they see the basement floor. This is the era of disappointment. Don't get your hopes up
posted by dis_integration at 5:14 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


If Maddow has the real deal, I hope that she and her staff are ninja-trained at dodging polonium-tipped blowdarts.
posted by delfin at 5:15 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Also related: Gideon Resnick (Daily Beast) tweeted: i have the tax returns

Seems like this is a David Cay Johnston/Daily Beast story that they're breaking on Maddow. Trade in popcorn futures has been suspended after record-breaking price spikes.
posted by zachlipton at 5:15 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


msnbc now has a countdown to Maddow's show: Trump Taxes Exclusive.

Not sure how long the countdown has been up.
posted by futz at 5:15 PM on March 14


So, while I trust Maddow's judgment, I have no clue how reliable this David Cay Johnston guy is. Anybody else have an opinion on him?
posted by tobascodagama at 5:18 PM on March 14


Resnick tweet was deleted/edited, so here's the original David Cay Johnston tweet.
posted by Freon at 5:18 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


It gives me pleasure to imagine what's going down in the Oval right now.
posted by localhuman at 5:19 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


is there any way someone without cable can pay msnbc to watch it live

asking for about three friends
posted by sciatrix at 5:20 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


My guess: Johnston has new details about the old Trump tax returns from the 1970s that he talks about in his old book on Atlantic City.

Get ready for a nothingburger that Maddow takes an hour to explain while hyping as not a nothingburger
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:20 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


I have no clue how reliable this David Cay Johnston guy is.

Oh, he's pretty good. If someone had docs to leak, he'd be one of the people at the top of the list. (Especially since Wayne Barrett is no longer with us.)
posted by holgate at 5:20 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


is there any way someone without cable can pay msnbc to watch it live

Go to a bar and tip the bartender to change the channel?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:21 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]




It gives me pleasure to imagine what's going down in the Oval right now.

"Waitaminute, who has my returns?"
"Rachel Maddow"
"Which one is she, the blonde with the gams?"
"No Donald"
"Ah, I got it, the blonde with the cans!"
"No Donald, she's a serious and very credible journalist on a network other than Fox News."
.....
"I have no idea what the hell you're talking about"
posted by splen at 5:23 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


If it turns out to be the tax returns for Morton Trump, Peoria accountant, I can't imagine any of Maddow's audience will stop watching her show; I don't know that she has any incentive to NOT drum up a non-story. Yet still, my hopes are high for something juicy.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:23 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


It gives me pleasure to imagine what's going down in the Oval right now.

Something something nuclear launch codes?
posted by acidic at 5:23 PM on March 14


Three sources have told me the tax returns on Maddow tonight are 2005 tax returns and Trump reports 150 million in income.

It hadn't occurred to me that they might just be...boring.
posted by lalex at 5:23 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


I really hope it's more than that, nobody cares about 2005 unless there are sketchy deposits that can be linked to Russia talks. (But most of the interesting stuff with Russia seems to have happened in 2015/2016, so that seems unlikely.)
posted by tobascodagama at 5:24 PM on March 14


If it turns out Donald once bought some tacks at the local hardware store and later returned them...
posted by uosuaq at 5:24 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


via madamejujujive (who has cable, alas i do not get msnbc): "She has tax expert David Cay Johnson on; she & he will also cotinue on hour 2 w Lawrence O'Donnell"
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:26 PM on March 14




Jennifer Rubin, WaPo: Look who’s going after Trump’s Russia scandal
Democrats have been arguing for weeks that a special prosecutor or independent commission is required to get to the bottom of the metastasizing scandal over President Trump’s and his aides’ connections to Russia. Now they are getting help from Stand Up Republic, a group formed by the independent conservative presidential ticket of Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn. Stand Up Republic is out with a new ad entitled “Sunlight."

This is the second such ad dinging Trump on his Russia ties and affection since his inauguration.

McMullin, who has become one of the most prominent conservative leaders in opposition to Trump and Trumpism, in these ads actually pressures Republicans, who have resisted a transparent, independent process. In doing so, he makes a critical point: Trump would not be concealing his taxes, apparently violating the emoluments clause, spitting out inhumane and constitutionally suspect executive orders on immigration and spewing loony conspiracy theories (only to send out Sean Spicer to walk back his “Obama wiretapped me” nonsense) if Republicans would stand up to him.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:28 PM on March 14 [39 favorites]


We can still get good information from his 2005 return. Things like what his effective tax rate was during that period. Charitable giving. Etc. It just won't shed light on possible connections to Russia, sadly.
posted by Justinian at 5:29 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


A 2005 1040 would at very least show how much of the $916 million loss in the 1995 return was still being carried over a decade later.
posted by holgate at 5:29 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Josh Marshall says "2005 is legit, right around the time Trump plugged into the FSU money Bigly."
posted by diogenes at 5:29 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Man, tough crowd. No, the 2005 return isn't as juicy as the 2015 or 2016 return would be but it's still a Big Deal. You people!
posted by Justinian at 5:29 PM on March 14 [25 favorites]


In a time not so very long ago, relationships, like Trump's, with Russian politics and finance, or then, the USSR, could have resulted in capital punishment.

There is a war going on and it's one in which $capital$ is king and winning...for now.

I'm wondering now how far that influence reaches...who is being influenced...why is the IC not dropping the hammer like a bad mofo?

I can only imagine that the trail of evidence must be incredibly damning. Trump & Co is flaunting this right in our faces.

Anyway, democracy is a struggle and we happen to be witness to one of the great struggles. I believe in democracy and I believe in our citizens. Many have been misguided and sold a bill of goods...some might wake up and I hope they do before there is any human cost of life.
posted by snsranch at 5:30 PM on March 14


FSU = Former Soviet Union
posted by diogenes at 5:30 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


The point is, the, uh...leaks? Are trickling in.
posted by agregoli at 5:31 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Man, tough crowd. No, the 2005 return isn't as juicy as the 2015 or 2016 return would be but it's still a Big Deal. You people!

HE LEAKED THEM HIMSELF AS A DISTRACTION
posted by acidic at 5:31 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


So it is 2017. Eventually all the tax return info is gonna leak out right? And by trying to plug the dam aren't the Trump people just prolonging the agony? I mean, unless there is like super illegal shit in there. But it is government record, how incriminating could it possibly be? They ought to just dump it all to wikileaks, then deny anything that they don't like as fake news. We'd cry about whatever is in there for a week or two, then move on to the next disgusting thing.
posted by Glibpaxman at 5:31 PM on March 14


Damn, I was just trying to make a joke. This IS a tough crowd.
posted by agregoli at 5:33 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Damn, I was just trying to make a joke. This IS a tough crowd.

It's hard to do a piss take around here.
posted by nubs at 5:36 PM on March 14 [15 favorites]


Lou Dobbs has chosen which side he is on: Ryan seems hell bound on destroying the GOP and working against the American people…It's time for Speaker Ryan to resign. #MAGA #Dobbs

Also, fabulous news! We're getting another Goldman Sachs guy at the Treasury. From Reuters: BREAKING: Trump to nominate Goldman Sachs managing director James Donovan as deputy Treasury secretary - White House
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:36 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


HE LEAKED THEM HIMSELF AS A DISTRACTION

alexburnsNYT: "Bring me the head of the first person to suggest Trump leaked his own taxes to distract from the health care bill being engulfed in flame"
posted by zachlipton at 5:37 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


The White House has already released a statement that in 2005 Trump paid $38 million in taxes on income of $150million. It's almost like they actually can release this info if they feel like it and their prevarications are bullshit. But that can't be right.
posted by Justinian at 5:37 PM on March 14 [15 favorites]


Fill the swamp.
posted by zakur at 5:37 PM on March 14


All of America right now. (links to a silly gif in a tweet)
posted by diogenes at 5:38 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


HE LEAKED THEM HIMSELF AS A DISTRACTION

CHAPTER 11-DIMENSIONAL CHESS!
posted by Atom Eyes at 5:38 PM on March 14 [13 favorites]


14-Mar-2017 08:29:23 PM - WHITE HOUSE SAYS IN RESPONSE TO MSNBC THAT TRUMP PAID $38 MILLION IN TAXES ON INCOME OF $150 MILLION

Cut to Obama and Maddow clinking glasses behind a microwave because they have the password now
posted by acidic at 5:38 PM on March 14 [28 favorites]


is there any way someone without cable can pay msnbc to watch it live

MSNBC live stream, sketchy but works
(use with no script, ad block and ghostery) they also broadcast CNN and FOX.
posted by phoque at 5:38 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


BUT HE'S BEING AUDITED!
posted by valkane at 5:38 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Can we just tell the White House that we have his taxes every day and they'll reveal what's in them? I bet we could string them along for quite a while before they realize we don't have them.
posted by zachlipton at 5:41 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]


Is he trying to scoop Maddow? What on earth. We've asked for this information a thousand times; you don't get to release it 30 minutes before someone scoops you and claim you're in the right.
posted by samthemander at 5:42 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


14-Mar-2017 08:29:23 PM - WHITE HOUSE SAYS IN RESPONSE TO MSNBC THAT TRUMP PAID $38 MILLION IN TAXES ON INCOME OF $150 MILLION

Damn, that was easy. Maddow should wait a couple days and say she has 2016 returns.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:42 PM on March 14 [36 favorites]


Ooooo I like the way you think, Zachlipton!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:42 PM on March 14


Ok, because I have the patience of a gnat when it comes to this stuff, if the WH has already said what the numbers are, is there anything left to care about?

Like a line item saying "income from Russia, with love?" Or a line about expenses for hookers and laundry?
posted by nubs at 5:43 PM on March 14


So, ~25 minutes until Maddow, we know:

1. She has his 2005 taxes
2. David Cat Johnston is reporting - he has pulitzers for tax reporting
3. These 2005 tax returns are a 1040.
4. 2005 is the year Trump licensed a hotel in Moscow.
5. Felix Sater was involved in the deal
6. Felix Sater is a Russian American.
7. Sater was a senior advisor in building Trump SoHo in 2006 + also involved in Trump Hotel Phoenix
8. Sater met w/ Ukrainian opposition politician Andrey Artemenko + Trump’s personal lawyer in Jan 2017 to discuss lifting Russia sanctions
9. The proposal withdrew Russian forces from eastern Ukraine & allowed Ukrainians to vote on Crimea being “leased” Ex-NSA Head Flynn saw it
posted by waitingtoderail at 5:43 PM on March 14 [31 favorites]



MSNBC live stream, sketchy but works (use with no script, ad block and ghostery) they also broadcast CNN and FOX.


excellent thank you

also, for those of y'all with cable, I bet you you could get into msnbc.com/now and log in.... which, if you combine that with rabb.it, would let you broadcast it for all of us in real time for free

just, you know, just saying
posted by sciatrix at 5:43 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Someone should tweet that they have the pee tape.

15-Mar-2017 03:22:13 AM - WHITE HOUSE SAYS THAT OBJECTS IN CAMERA ARE LARGER THAN THEY APPEAR AND BESIDES IT WAS VERY COLD IN THERE.
posted by Justinian at 5:43 PM on March 14 [26 favorites]


White House statement: Starts with "You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago."
posted by zachlipton at 5:44 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


> Damn, that was easy. Maddow should wait a couple days and say she has 2016 returns.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:42 PM on March 14 [1 favorite +] [!]


Here's hoping the plan is to do it year by year. "tune in tomorrow night for 2006," followed by "tune in tomorrow night for 2007," followed by etc.

okay and in this fantasy the orange fucker resigns the night before she gets to whichever one is most incriminating.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:46 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Comey privately told Sen. Whitehouse and Graham he'd confirm if Russia/Trump FBI inquiry exists by tomorrow

So we get to do this again tomorrow? I might stay in bed.
posted by zachlipton at 5:46 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Any chance it'll be on MSNBC Live Online? The page says it's "temporarily down", but I don't know if that means there's a chance, or if it's been "temporarily" down for weeks/months/years.
posted by fragmede at 5:47 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


That statement dictated directly by Clicker von Bathrobe.
posted by holgate at 5:47 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Is there a link to an easy-to-digest (in the informational sense, at least), compiled list of Trump's EOs to date, and what each of them has done?

I feel like it's so overwhelming that I've started to lose track of exactly how shitty he is.
posted by darkstar at 5:48 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


>Starts with "You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago."

Pro tip: if you don't want people to think they're onto something, don't let them see you sweat.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:48 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


It's like that Star Trek where they speak entirely in cultural references.

GERALDO! IN CAPONE'S VAULT!
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:49 PM on March 14 [25 favorites]


The White House response begins:
You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago.
It goes on to describe DJT as "one of the most successful businessmen in the world" and concludes:
The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans.
Yeah, it's all about the ratings.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:49 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


If you don't have access to MSNBC and you're in the US -- it is one of the channels on Sirius XM, and you can sign up for a free 30 day trial. The commercials are different but otherwise it is live MSNBC.
posted by litlnemo at 5:50 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Also related: Gideon Resnick (Daily Beast) tweeted: i have the tax returns

Found while I was looking for Resnick's tweet:

"Twitter is a good microcosm of the sentiment that one holy grail could bring down Trump and not actually, ya know, organizing & politics

"This will certainly sink Trump

"[you, an unhappy voter]: i'm concerned about losing medicaid
[me, knowing reporter]: trump made a clerical error on his w4"
posted by Coventry at 5:51 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]




> Is there a link to an easy-to-digest (in the informational sense, at least), compiled list of Trump's EOs to date, and what each of them has done?

List of Executive Actions by Donald Trump on Wikipedia.
posted by fragmede at 5:52 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


A very helpful mefite (hi bleep) has agreed to use my rabb.it account to log into MSNBC live with her credentials so y'all can come watch it with us if you want
posted by sciatrix at 5:52 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


According to Ashley Biden, this is her dad's favorite bromance meme.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:54 PM on March 14 [26 favorites]




Apparently, they found the 1040 in Trump's microwave. [fake]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:56 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


@seanhannity

@NBCNews on Jihad against @POTUS From access Hollywood, to morning Lib Joe, to Deep State Leaks. Media Corporate Jihad. Details at 10 FNC [real]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:59 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


While we are waiting, more from our favorite Iowan White Supremacist:

CNN Steve King: Blacks and Hispanics 'will be fighting each other' before overtaking whites in population
King, a Republican, was on the radio responding to a question about Univision anchor Jorge Ramos' comment to Tucker Carlson on Fox News that whites would become a majority-minority demographic in America by 2044, a point Ramos used to make the argument that it is a multiracial country.

"Jorge Ramos' stock in trade is identifying and trying to drive wedges between race," King told Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson on 1040 WHO. "Race and ethnicity, I should say to be more correct. When you start accentuating the differences, then you start ending up with people that are at each other's throats. And he's adding up Hispanics and blacks into what he predicts will be in greater number than whites in America. I will predict that Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before that happens."
Also he concluded the interview by recommending that listeners read the novel, "The Camp of the Saints," by French author Jean Raspail which is, I believe, Bannon's favorite book.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:00 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Maddow just said the fact that someone handed over the return may be "the most important part of this story."
posted by Coventry at 6:04 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Starting to think the real story here is how easy it is to scare Trump.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:04 PM on March 14 [20 favorites]


Time for the Rachel Maddow shaggy dog politics hour.
posted by peeedro at 6:04 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


OMG Rachel get to the point.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:04 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Also he concluded the interview by recommending that listeners read the novel, "The Camp of the Saints," by French author Jean Raspail which is, I believe, Bannon's favorite book.

I didn't think he could top the "other people's babies" comment, but recommending Camp of the motherfucking Saints does so. Wow.
posted by dhens at 6:04 PM on March 14 [13 favorites]


god my attention span is so fucking low these days
posted by lalex at 6:05 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]


Millions of people unfamiliar with Rachel's format are losing their minds on Twitter right now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:05 PM on March 14 [51 favorites]


Maddow is Maddowing. That combined with the "these being handed over may be the most important part of the story" comment makes me think we're waiting on a Nothingburger.
posted by jammer at 6:05 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


For those who are not watching live, they're giving some background on presidential tax return disclosures and how Trump's "audit" explanation actually makes no sense.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:05 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I'm not going to pretend to know the ins and outs of social media and the mainstream media and how these decisions get made and what other factors are in play (like potential sources or people approached for comment spilling the beans) - but I wonder how different this might have gone if Maddow had waited until her show was underway to tweet about what she had;no time for an attempt at a pre-emptive strike.
posted by nubs at 6:05 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Media Corporate Jihad

Tell us how you really feel, Hannity. Is NBC a branch of Al Qaeda?
posted by dis_integration at 6:06 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


This is why I can't really watch Maddow anymore. She's great and stuff but ain't nobody got time for this.
posted by Justinian at 6:07 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]


Rachel Maddow likes to live in an alternate reality where the Internet didn't turn us all into goldfish.

I'd like to live in that reality too.
posted by ocschwar at 6:08 PM on March 14 [35 favorites]


I mean, but for the fact that Twitter is insane and everyone is crazy twitchy now, she really didn't launch that much of a pre-emptive strike. She teased it with a tweet like an hour before air, but people are acting like she's been hyping this as a primetime special for a year and rented out stadia in every major city so everyone can watch it together.
posted by zachlipton at 6:08 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


I didn't think he could top the "other people's babies" comment, but recommending Camp of the motherfucking Saints does so. Wow.

Who wants to start a betting pool on how long we have before King rolls up into Congress wearing a swastika flag pin?
posted by tobascodagama at 6:08 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


FOR THE LOVE OF PETE SPIT IT OUT LADY
posted by photoslob at 6:10 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


1040 forms or 1040 EZ?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:10 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


people are acting like she's been hyping this as a primetime special for a year and rented out stadia in every major city so everyone can watch it together.

Well where are you watching it, then?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:10 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


While Maddow continues to Maddow, The Daily Beast just published their story: Report: Trump’s 2005 Taxes Revealed. Go read.
posted by zachlipton at 6:10 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


6:10 pm PST. so glad I made the extra stop to get ice cream.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:11 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


makes me think we're waiting on a nothingburger.

Eh. Nothing Maddow reveals tonight will drive Trump from the WH tomorrow. But piece by piece is the way journalism works. Everything is part of a case.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:11 PM on March 14 [42 favorites]


I mean, but for the fact that Twitter is insane and everyone is crazy twitchy now, she really didn't launch that much of a pre-emptive strike.


Yes she did. She did announce at 4:30 ish on twitter that she had Trumps taxes and then a more tamed down tweet about an hour (?) before her show. So yes she hyped it bigly and if this tanks she's gonna own it.
posted by futz at 6:12 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Daily Beast says it's just the first two pages.
posted by diogenes at 6:12 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


The Daily Beast preview doesn't look very exciting.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:14 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]




Top line is Trump paying just $5.3 million in regular tax on more than $150 million in income, but getting hit with $31 million on alternative minimum tax. That's relevant since Trump has called to scrap the AMT along with other proposed reforms. Just the first two pages, so no details that might get into the kind of stuff Maddow is talking about now. He continued to benefit from the massive loss he declared in 1995.
posted by zachlipton at 6:15 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


The meat is allegedly here but even though it's hosted on a CDN I'm getting a 522 error.
posted by dis_integration at 6:15 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


"It is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns,” the White House statement read. “The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his"

Trump just gave his blessing to continue to find and publish more.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:15 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Like you gotta go multiregion and load balanced if you're posting Trump tax returns, dude.
posted by dis_integration at 6:16 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


The Daily Beast preview doesn't look very exciting.

Indeed, and knowing the reveal, this Maddow intro is ridiculous.
posted by diogenes at 6:16 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Ugh. She has nothing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:16 PM on March 14


let's hope Maddow has something better than The Daily Beast, which has nothing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:16 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Is he trying to scoop Maddow? What on earth. We've asked for this information a thousand times; you don't get to release it 30 minutes before someone scoops you and claim you're in the right.

Obviously they were always going to release the 2005 returns today. They started the process the day after the election.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:16 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


OMG all these rhetorical questions and I'm very sure the two pages she has are not going to answer any of them
posted by blue suede stockings at 6:16 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Charles Pierce: This Level of Corruption Is Unprecedented in the Modern History of the Presidency. And it's threatening our democracy.
There is a level of intellectual—and, perhaps, literal—corruption that is unprecedented in the modern history of the presidency and that is a genuine and unique threat to democratic institutions that are the objects of destructive contempt. The man ran on chaos. He won on chaos. And now he's governing on chaos. The checks and balances and safety valves of the Constitution—the things that, well, constitute—the immune system of this self-governing republic are facing a threat that is as different as it is lethal.
The Executive Branch Is About to Be 'Reorganized' into Oblivion. Steve Bannon's time has come.
On Monday, not long after the CBO numbers lit the entire healthcare debate aflame again, he made good on his threat. He signed the "Comprehensive Plan For Reorganizing The Executive Branch." I didn't like the sound of this at the time, and it sounds even worse now that it's here.

Quite simply, this empowers the president* and his advisers simply to eviscerate the federal agencies that might inconvenience them by actually acting like they're part of the government or something. Not long ago, the president*'s plans for drastic budgetary cuts in discretionary spending leaked. People howled. (The Coast Guard? Really?). This latest move impresses me most as a backup plan in case those cuts don't fly in Congress. And considering that the White House really is being run by Steve Bannon, last heir to House Harkonnen and destroyer of the administrative state, it seems likely that this is the fundamental purpose behind the order.
posted by homunculus at 6:16 PM on March 14 [19 favorites]


The Guardian is liveblogging Maddow too.
posted by taskmaster at 6:17 PM on March 14


Is this her Geraldo moment? fucking ugh.
posted by futz at 6:18 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


oh god it's like Paul Harvey... And now the rest of the story...
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:19 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I guarantee you multiple political cartoonists are already half done with drawings mashing up Maddow showing Trump's 2005 tax return with Gerardo Rivera opening Al Capone's vault.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:19 PM on March 14 [15 favorites]


At first glance it would appear to be worse than nothing. It establishes that he paid a lot of money in taxes, and gives him the opportunity to be the victim and say waah they stole my taxes and they're out to get mee, which even people who aren't necessarily in his corner might believe.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:19 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


The Executive Branch Is About to Be 'Reorganized' into Oblivion. Steve Bannon's time has come.

Seriously, this is the thing that has me FREAKED THE FUCK OUT right now and I do not feel like I see any coverage of it anywhere.

Whatever Maddow has in his 2005 taxes, it's not gonna be much, and it's just gonna be another piece of this vast Russia puzzle, which - while it's certainly true and a serious danger to the country - is also so broad and complex that most people will never understand it.
posted by dnash at 6:20 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


WHY ARE WE ON COMMERCIAL BREAK
posted by sciatrix at 6:21 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


The Guardian is honestly the best U.S. newspaper.
posted by lalex at 6:21 PM on March 14 [36 favorites]


If the story is nothing then why would the WH and Hannity be so upset? She better have something good.
posted by gucci mane at 6:21 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Maddow's totally like, "u mad bro?" to the internet right now.

She doesn't care if someone scooped her. She gives context. She thinks it's important.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:21 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


It establishes that he paid a lot of money in taxes

Does it? I calculate that at 25%, and I'm wondering if that $150 million is just taxable income, in which case his real tax rate is even lower.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:21 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Why the HELL did she tweet that she had Trump's taxes?! What a joke.

(Meta Seriously)
posted by futz at 6:21 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


but for the fact that Twitter is insane and everyone is crazy twitchy now, she really didn't launch that much of a pre-emptive strike.

Sorry, my attempted point was that the WH wouldn't have time for an attempt to pre-empt the story.

But the hype this got is crazy; it is a reflection of the fact that everyone is looking for the "silver bullet" to bring him down. There is no "silver bullet", but I think hyping a story this way just reinforces the notion and potentially gets in the way of the incremental accumulation of information that is needed in this fight - because when it isn't the silver bullet, we turn away and wait for the next one that might be it.
posted by nubs at 6:22 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


I've got to say that I agree with this tweet: "Whatever comes of this, watching journalists tweet "SAY IT ALREADY" while Maddow provides context is problematic."

It doesn't sound like there's a ton to this story here, and I realize that turns into overhyping quickly, but taking the time to talk through the context is a good thing, and snarking about that 140 characters at a time is unhelpful.
posted by zachlipton at 6:23 PM on March 14 [20 favorites]


That's what she was insinuating in the introduction, right? That Trump has 'leaked' this to muddy the waters and reduce the credibility of the news orgs. Killian documents (or 'Rathergate') style.
posted by postagepaid at 6:23 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Ergh. Did these people ever hear of the story of the boy who cried wolf? Sure, you've obtained this information, get it out there to point up the fact that he hasn't released any returns. But all this hype for nothing just plays into the "nothing to see here" narrative.
posted by Preserver at 6:23 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


You broke my heart, Maddow. You should've just let this stuff drop on the web and talked about it later.
posted by dis_integration at 6:24 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Ugh. She has nothing.

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:24 PM on March 14


I remember back in the 80s when I was making under 10,000 a year and I saw a form titled Alternative Minimum Income Tax and thought that must be for me. Nope. It was for millionaires.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:24 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


@billyeichner: Trump won cause while an intelligent woman was trying to tell us about Russian ties u complained about her presentation & here we are again
posted by rewil at 6:25 PM on March 14 [84 favorites]


That's what she was insinuating in the introduction, right? That Trump has 'leaked' this to muddy the waters and reduce the credibility of the news orgs. Killian documents (or 'Rathergate') style.

Wait...what? Then why on earth would she have teased this as a reveal of the documents that EVERYONE ON THE FUCKING PLANET WANTS TO SEE
posted by saturday_morning at 6:25 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Once again the broadcast media shoots itself in the foot. This feeds directly into the narrative of "dishonest media." Fuck.
posted by photoslob at 6:26 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


David Cay Johnson did say on Maddow he thinks that the Melania girl on girl pictures might have come from DJT himself.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:26 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Ahahahaha, David Cay Johnson suggested that DJT leaked it himself! That's kind of glorious.
posted by TwoStride at 6:27 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


@meakoopa "a thousand thinkpieces draft and undraft themselves about male impatience when a competent woman is talking"
posted by dnash at 6:27 PM on March 14 [29 favorites]


Why the hell are all of you moaning and complaining about actual context? Many Americans are overwhelmed and having a hard time following or even just hiding from news right now; getting this context is actually a pretty important time to get it across. Moreover, dropping the "hey we have tax related stuff" when she did got us all to tune in and listen to the full story, not just scanning down to the bit we did on the Daily Beast story. This stuff is why people trust her: because she brings context and helps people understand what is happening.

I mean I get we're all impatient, but I want the context from experts about what this is likely to reveal about his finances and what it means. I want the next piece of this puzzle. And I'm willing to wait for it without bitching it's not better. It's certainly better than not having it is!
posted by sciatrix at 6:28 PM on March 14 [65 favorites]


Top line is Trump paying just $5.3 million in regular tax on more than $150 million in income, but getting hit with $31 million on alternative minimum tax. That's relevant since Trump has called to scrap the AMT along with other proposed reforms.

Yeah, I think this can be spun into something more than a nothingburger, if people realize that if the AMT was scrapped, someone else would have to pay that $31 million.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:28 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


>>It establishes that he paid a lot of money in taxes

>Does it? I calculate that at 25%, and I'm wondering if that $150 million is just taxable income, in which case his real tax rate is even lower.

Yeah, but half the country already believes that taxation is inherently bad, those billionaires earned that money by working hard, it's mean to take it and give it to welfare cheats who use their food stamps to buy iPads. Some people might be pissed off at a billionaire president who paid no taxes and took away their health insurance. He paid 31 million dollars? Story's over.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:28 PM on March 14


Maggie Haberman points out that Trump must have written part of that White House statement himself, because "totally."

Much as I want to be disappointed, this isn't nothing. It's not a lot, but there's some good news here. Somebody is mailing out Trump's tax returns to reporters, and that's significant (whether it was Trump himself or someone else). It also just blew up the entire "under audit" argument, since the White House was happy to confirm the top-line numbers on this document tonight.
posted by zachlipton at 6:28 PM on March 14 [22 favorites]


I didn't see this myself, but someone on twitter just noted that the returns had "client copy" stamped on them, anyone else notice?
posted by waitingtoderail at 6:29 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Johnston doing a good job methodically explaining than DJT paid less in taxes that poor people and dual-income upper-middle-class people as well.
posted by TwoStride at 6:30 PM on March 14 [13 favorites]


the context

What some call context, others see as bait. The context would be great if any of it linked up to what came afterwards. But it's sounding like there isn't much of a connection. Nothing in these pages that links Trump to Russian influence. Just rich guy bullshit.
posted by dis_integration at 6:30 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


We're also at the point where a guy making $150 million in a year paying 24% is a nothingburger. I mean, it's not new, but that should be outrageous in and of itself.
posted by zachlipton at 6:30 PM on March 14 [22 favorites]


I've got to say that I agree with this tweet: "Whatever comes of this, watching journalists tweet "SAY IT ALREADY" while Maddow provides context is problematic."

It doesn't sound like there's a ton to this story here, and I realize that turns into overhyping quickly, but taking the time to talk through the context is a good thing, and snarking about that 140 characters at a time is unhelpful.


True...but there is also a legitimate criticism when a journalist tries to give so much context up front that they bury the lede 15 grafs (or in this case, minutes) down.
posted by darkstar at 6:30 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


So for me the "context" is the obvious, "This is why we need the President's tax forms." (That was the first 20 minutes of this broadcast.) And it's obvious to me because it's all stuff I've heard/read before since well before the election. These were questions raised in the debates, if you didn't bother to follow the most basic points in the media. And her presentation of this involved a lot of hot bait teasers and a lot of padding out that seemed to get a bit desperate to fill air time.

I mean, we got a massive investigation plus followup plus debate attention ALREADY on, "rich people like Trump don't pay as much taxes as you do, and sometimes they don't pay any."
posted by blue suede stockings at 6:31 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I don't have a problem with context I have an issue with the melodrama. It's the same with Olberman. Also, as a former print journalist, anyone who calls themselves a journalist bloviating on television makes me nuts.
posted by photoslob at 6:31 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


I could listen to David Cay Johnston all day long.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:31 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


And the gentleman she's interviewing is pointing out how much of his taxes he's paying compared to people with vastly smaller incomes, in a way that the rest of us can actually understand, despite his astronomically larger income. And explaining what he should have paid without the AMT and what he paid with it, and also how he benefited.

This is valuable information many of us didn't have a reason to focus on before.
posted by sciatrix at 6:31 PM on March 14 [39 favorites]


The context would be great if any of it linked up to what came afterwards.

Yeah, it isn't really context if it's unrelated to your scoop. It was hype.
posted by diogenes at 6:32 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Right, context was the description the AMT, Trump's desire to eliminate it, and what that would have meant for his taxes. Hype is all the stuff about "his taxes COULD show us..." about stuff that turn out not to be in his taxes.
posted by Justinian at 6:34 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


What some call context, others see as bait.

And what some call bait, others see as literally what Maddow does all the time. It's a style many find annoying, to the extent I joked that this was going to happen, but it's her style, and she's handling this one the same way her show normally operates.
posted by zachlipton at 6:34 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


AMT is not something the average American cares about. They could have done this all without the returns. Ok 90%
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:34 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying that what Maddow and Johnston are talking about isn't important. I'm just saying that wrapping it around a non-existent bombshell reveal is problematic.
posted by diogenes at 6:34 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


If her original tweet had been more honest she wouldn't be getting a lot of this criticism.
posted by futz at 6:35 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


It's not bait unless you have never seen Maddow before. She never claimed there was going to be a bombshell reveal of anything.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:36 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


And what some call bait, others see as literally what Maddow does all the time. It's a style many find annoying, to the extent I joked that this was going to happen, but it's her style, and she's handling this one the same way her show normally operates.

This is totally true, and like I said earlier it's why I can't really watch anymore. But I didn't mean to imply she was doing something different here than she always does.
posted by Justinian at 6:36 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


If her original tweet had been more honest she wouldn't be getting a lot of this criticism

"I've got the first 2 pages of Trump's 2005 1040" fits just fine in 140 characters.
posted by diogenes at 6:36 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


> If her original tweet had been more honest

The text of the original tweet, in its entirety:

"BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC. (Seriously)."

Please point out where the dishonest part is.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:37 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


I think you're overestimating the amount of cognitive capacity a lot of Americans, including Americans who care very strongly about this, have to devote to the tax story specifically without a bit of cues to remind us of context. I also think you're underestimating the sheer fatigue of the Trump presidency on many of us; these days I'm desperately trying to keep up with massive swarms of informations from multiple outlets on top of, y'know, my actual day job. I don't really think there is a way to get people's attention about the tax thing right now that isn't going to raise hopes and get a whole lot of people massively excited and interested.

Seriously, how would you have framed this?
posted by sciatrix at 6:37 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Eichenwald is pointing out that the income numbers here don't match up with his net worth claims (now there's a shocker for you). $150 million is a pretty paltry rate of return on the billions he claimed to be worth at the time.
posted by zachlipton at 6:37 PM on March 14 [22 favorites]


Do they usually put a countdown timer on screen before non-bombshells
posted by edeezy at 6:37 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]


It's not bait unless you have never seen Maddow before. She never claimed there was going to be a bombshell reveal of anything.

What do you call this?

"BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.

(Seriously)."

posted by diogenes at 6:38 PM on March 14


"I've got the first 2 pages of Trump's 2005 1040" fits just fine in 140 characters.

That's not how ratings work, of course, and also, god forbid anyone sit through a 20 minute lesson on what's actually happening in this country.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:38 PM on March 14 [20 favorites]


If it doesn't look like an own-goal to you, and wasn't technically an own-goal, but the other side spins it successfully as an own-goal to people you want to reach with that form of media then it was a fucking own-goal.

Hopefully something exciting actually comes out of this but as it looks like nothing that will energize the formerly un-energized I'm off this hype-train.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:38 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


And the gentleman she's interviewing is pointing out how much of his taxes he's paying compared to people with vastly smaller incomes, in a way that the rest of us can actually understand, despite his astronomically larger income. And explaining what he should have paid without the AMT and what he paid with it, and also how he benefited.

Honestly, the only thing that's going to get through here for the vast majority of people is that he paid $38 million in taxes, which sounds like a HUGE amount of money to most people.
posted by lalex at 6:39 PM on March 14 [18 favorites]


This gets the tax returns issue back into the news, at least.
posted by uosuaq at 6:39 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


What do you call this?

It was pretty straightforward. She even SAID at the top of the story that the leak itself was the most important part. Internet freaking out on her for no reason.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:39 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


If it doesn't look like an own-goal to you, and wasn't technically an own-goal, but the other side spins it successfully as an own-goal to people you want to reach with that form of media then it was a fucking own-goal.

What do you mean 'other side'? Looks to me like the Left is spinning it as an own-goal just fine all on its own, no help needed from the Right.
posted by sciatrix at 6:39 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


A more honest spin: "We've got 2 pages of a Trump 1040 from '05. Here's why we need more."
posted by blue suede stockings at 6:39 PM on March 14 [21 favorites]


CLIENT COPY.

He leaked it.
posted by waitingtoderail at 6:41 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]


That's not how ratings work

Oh, sorry, I thought we were talking about journalism.
posted by diogenes at 6:41 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


If her original tweet had been more honest

Do you not understand that Twitter is a hype & publicity machine? Any media savvy person should have expected precisely this when she posted that. Hoping for more is fine, but actual expectations were exactly this.
posted by dnash at 6:41 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Boy, we sure do like to hate on smart women who explain things thoroughly, don't we.
posted by palomar at 6:41 PM on March 14 [73 favorites]


Wouldn't the handful of people in the world who could possibly produce Trump's 2005 1040 be people who have access to more than that?
posted by klarck at 6:42 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


CLIENT COPY.

He leaked it.


Jesus, if that's the case-- fuck all of this, as someone headed for a death pool in the Ryan plan. Fuck the amount of hype and noise and breathless airtime deliberately whipped up on this right now.
posted by blue suede stockings at 6:42 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


That's not how ratings work, of course

Your credibility is damaged if you don't follow through though. Her show isn't Fox News or the Enquirer. We expect msnbc to deliver.

You'd have to be an idiot not to realize what everyone would take away from that tweet.
posted by futz at 6:42 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


he paid $38 million in taxes, which sounds like a HUGE amount of money to most people.

I disagree--Johnston is modelling exactly how you explain it to people, when he was all, "My wife and I earn $400,000 a year. That is what Trump earned EVERY DAY. We paid more in taxes. That is not right."
posted by TwoStride at 6:42 PM on March 14 [21 favorites]


Yeah, it's going to be remarkable watching people spend the rest of the week arguing over whether or not Maddow's news was too hyped. Because that's the real issue here. (I mean, I know it's the internet and people are gonna internet, but we're not talking about a record drop here.)
posted by octobersurprise at 6:42 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


So Trump leaked his own tax returns?
posted by gucci mane at 6:43 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


But her emails redux?
posted by Justinian at 6:43 PM on March 14


CLIENT COPY.

He leaked it.


Bannon is swirling his finger in a glass of gin and giggling right now.

He's just fucking with us.
posted by photoslob at 6:44 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Yeah, if your takeaway from this was "bullshit hype machine", I don't think she's the problem.
posted by palomar at 6:44 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]


So Trump leaked his own tax returns?

Can't prove it, but jeez, Melania? Why only the two pages?
posted by waitingtoderail at 6:44 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Comparing this shit to something like John Oliver's show which has the same format but more so, and which MeFi as a whole loves, yeah, I'm going to say I think gender is a factor here when I roll my eyes!

Christ on a crutch.
posted by sciatrix at 6:45 PM on March 14 [30 favorites]


Maddow putting out a tweet about the topic of her show tonight offends me far less than the fact that he paid way less of his income in taxes than plenty of families not making hundreds of millions of dollars.
posted by zachlipton at 6:46 PM on March 14 [45 favorites]


There are other people who would have a copy of the client copy. Besides lawyers/accountants etc., the obvious people are his wives and ex-wives and their lawyers and accountants. Trump would have been paying child support (presumably, I hope) and may have been required to hand over tax returns to determine the amount, for example. I don't think it follows from "client copy" that he leaked it himself.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:46 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


How does the fact that it says "CLIENT COPY" means he leaked it? Do you think he could even find his own tax forms? What it means is that the IRS didn't leak it.
posted by uosuaq at 6:46 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Boy, we sure do like to hate on smart women who explain things thoroughly, don't we.

Uh, no? I'd be ripping anyone to shreds who did this. I expect this from Breitbart or FOX.
posted by futz at 6:46 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


Comparing this shit to something like John Oliver's show which has the same format but more so, and which MeFi as a whole loves, yeah, I'm going to say I think gender is a factor here when I roll my eyes!

John Oliver's format is jokes. Also I get bored when he gets preachy for his main segment, too.
posted by dis_integration at 6:47 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Seriously, can we go to the actual leaked documents and what they mean instead of moaning about Maddow's twitter choices now?

Because christ on a fucking crutch, you people.
posted by sciatrix at 6:47 PM on March 14 [40 favorites]


It was so irresponsible of Maddow to let me pin all my hopes and dreams of cathartic impeachment-vengeance on her accurate promotional tweet
posted by prize bull octorok at 6:47 PM on March 14 [73 favorites]


Meh. Trump probably hides a lot of his income from taxation using the same sort of schemes other super-rich folks do, so that it never even makes it to his 1040. Venal, but hardly earth shattering.

Good for Maddow, I guess, for using a fairly clickbaity tweet to get more people to tune into her segment on Trump's opposition to the AMT.

I expect Maddow's bit to be little more than a distraction for the next 24 hours, which is something of a pleasant diversion from debating just how many millions of people will lose their health care, and how many thousands of people will die, due to TrumpCare.
posted by darkstar at 6:47 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Man, I missed the hype. Was there a print campaign to promote tonight's show? Internet ads? Cross-channel promos on other NBC properties on the days leading up to now?

Because there's some fucking hyperbole in the air, and I think it's coming from this thread.
posted by rewil at 6:48 PM on March 14 [19 favorites]


Yeah, it's going to be remarkable watching people spend the rest of the week arguing over whether or not Maddow's news was too hyped.

I'm wondering if maybe, if people want to continue this discussion about hype vs. context in political journalism, then we should have a separate FPP about it? And leave this thread for the larger issues of the Trump presidency?
posted by saturday_morning at 6:48 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Do they usually put a countdown timer on screen before non-bombshells?

On MSNBC, yep, all the time. Anytime one of the name shows is doing a special episode, they usually have a countdown. Like I think Chris Hayes's "Bernie does a townhall in West Virginia" thing from last night may have had one?
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:48 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Does anyone here not love Maddow, or at least appreciate the valuable service she performs nightly? John Oliver's show doesn't break news, this was kind of a letdown (not her fault, imo, the hype machine got ahold of her accurate tweets), people are frustrated, the end.
posted by lalex at 6:49 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


It's all a distraction. Which means there is no distraction - it's all part of a whole.
posted by Artw at 6:49 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Countdown timers are used across the platforms. Very common.
posted by futz at 6:50 PM on March 14


Sigh. I think this was just a reminder that we all want an easy way out, a quick fix, for this presidency. myself very much included. But the real world requires the slow way.
posted by samthemander at 6:50 PM on March 14 [37 favorites]


Yes, but her accurate tweets!
posted by valkane at 6:50 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]


I'm a commercial real estate banker, and I work with client tax returns every day, so it could have come from one of his many banks. (And it's how I knew the second she said she had his 1040 that there wouldn't be anything there - without the schedules, notes, K-1s, etc. you really can't glean a ton of info from just the 1040 without the supporting documentation.)
posted by skycrashesdown at 6:51 PM on March 14 [23 favorites]


Well that got my hopes up for nothing, and if she didn't realize it would, then she's not the journalist I take her for. So well played, Maddox, I suppose.
posted by corb at 6:52 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


It's just so frustrating that it's proving so difficult to break this man. WHY?! He's just a rubber-mask short of being a Scooby-Doo cartoon villain! How is he still winning!?
posted by wabbittwax at 6:55 PM on March 14 [21 favorites]


I mean, to be fair, this administration keeps producing executive orders with approximately the same level of drama as a reality TV show, only now the consequences are all our lives. IN SOVIET AMERICA REALITY TV STARS YOU?
posted by sciatrix at 6:55 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


do you actually know anybody who has had to do without insurance? Do you know what their medical care looks like?

Coming in late to this, but...hi. I lost my job as part of the whole late-2001 dot-com bubble burst and the recession that was occurring around that time. Continuing my insurance would have cost far more than I was getting from unemployment, and I wound up being unemployed for nine months.

Guess when I first found out that I have a predisposition to gout.

Let me tell you, I pretty much singlehandedly propped up ibuprofen sales at my local pharmacy for a couple of weeks.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:57 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Well, it was nice to have a real-time collective MeFi news-watching experience that had some positive anticipation associated with it, anyway.

That hasn't happened since Nov. 9 at about 8pm Central by my reckoning.

Now back to our regularly scheduled, ongoing horror show.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:57 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]


[Folks, if you want to discuss how Metafilter is discussing how the internet is discussing how Maddow discussed her own show, MetaTalk may not have enough metas in it but it is there for you. Otherwise, please move on. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 6:57 PM on March 14 [42 favorites]


*spends 20 minutes talking about that russian dude* "these documents don't tell us anything about connections with the russian dude"
posted by edeezy at 6:58 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


How is he still winning!?

He's being protected by both Houses of the Legislative branch. Checks and balance only check and balance when the other branches of government care more about country than party.
posted by Justinian at 6:58 PM on March 14 [13 favorites]


I prepare client tax returns every day, and I agree with skycrashesdown. It's important to remember that the 1040 is the summary page - almost all the numbers there are net amounts, not gross amounts, and the backup that shows how those net amounts came to be are elsewhere.
posted by yhbc at 6:58 PM on March 14 [16 favorites]




It's just so frustrating that it's proving so difficult to break this man. WHY?! He's just a rubber-mask short of being a Scooby-Doo cartoon villain! How is he still winning!?

The problem is basically that nobody has the legal ability to go after him in any way except for Congress, and they're all on his team. If we had a Democrat-led Congress or he was a Democrat himself with the current Congress, this would be over already.

The checks and balances that we all learn about in school are optional, it turns out. If one branch of the government doesn't want to check the others they don't have to, and there's nothing any of us can do about it.
posted by IAmUnaware at 6:59 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


The fact of the matter is that most of the time on the report was spent talking about what you could learn from Trump's tax returns if you actually had them. This is proof that they really didn't have anything.

I understand them wanting an audience, but if they had even added the word "partial," (because they truly did not have his tax returns) it would have made a huge difference in expectations. I don't blame Maddow personally. I suspect it's mostly all done by PR flasks and interns, but it was clearly a set up that under-delivered.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:00 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


I lost my job as part of the whole late-2001 dot-com bubble burst and the recession that was occurring around that time. Continuing my insurance would have cost far more than I was getting from unemployment, and I wound up being unemployed for nine months.

Guess when I first found out that I have a.


This was me, exactly, except it wasn't gout it was a chronic illnesses.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:01 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Apparently Wells Enterprises, makers of Blue Bunny ice cream, are a major Steve King donor. Sounds like a job for angry customer complaints!
posted by jason_steakums at 7:02 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Well, let's move on to what will probably be the next disappointment: Comey comin'
posted by zachlipton at 7:03 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


I dunno, the news was less exciting than I hoped for, but there was also a faint dogwhistling of "I'm just sayin', if someone got a hold of more current years of his tax returns, we could answer more of these questions, hint hint"
posted by 23skidoo at 7:04 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]


I would just like any of these promised revelations to not end with me wanting to drink myself to death from disappointment, I guess. Well, back to your daily horror!
posted by corb at 7:05 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


He's just a rubber-mask short of being a Scooby-Doo cartoon villain! How is he still winning!?

1. He's really rich.

2. He's propped up by a lot of very powerful people.

3. He's backed by a worshipful throng of racist enablers.

4. The media is (generally) more interested in ad revenue than in speaking truth to power.

and

5. The kids in the Mystery Machine seem to be compelled to attack each other with about as much frequency and passion as they spend working on bringing down the villain.
posted by darkstar at 7:05 PM on March 14 [53 favorites]


People, if she'd had anything more than what was presented tonight, it wouldn't have been a Tweet saying "tune in tonight," - it would have been an immediate interruption of any regular broadcasting.
posted by dnash at 7:06 PM on March 14 [18 favorites]


So perhaps this is hopelessly naive but I'm reading the focus as speaking directly to the leaker: "We received this and it's as important as you thought it was. Look at the response tomorrow, PEOPLE CARE. We have no idea who leaked this. And we can't outright solicit information but per the reasons laid out in the 15-minute intro, the people need, want, and deserve more".

They said at the outset that it was legal because they didn't specifically solicit it, and the lead-in was that the leak itself was the most newsworthy part of it. If this were a TV plot it'd be validation to the source paired with the very positive airing of what could have been a test run by a cautious leaker.
posted by mireille at 7:06 PM on March 14 [39 favorites]


David Cay Johnston had the most all encompassing interview about all his journalism covering Donald Trump over the years on CSPAN, back before the election.
No one knows Trump like Johnston.
posted by readery at 7:09 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Another significant part of this story is that the White House claimed that this reporting was illegal, while legal scholars say otherwise.
posted by zachlipton at 7:09 PM on March 14 [18 favorites]


Okay, so this was basically just a summary of his taxes, stamped Client Copy. Would the lawyer/accountant/ex-wife/leaker be in possession of the entire tax return? which according to him is a stack of paper three feet tall.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:09 PM on March 14


Internet freaking out on her for no reason.

Freaking out is what the internet does, though
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:10 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Another significant part of this story is that the White House claimed that this reporting was illegal, while legal scholars say otherwise.

I mean, if Trump wrote the statement, that makes sense. He has no idea what's legal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:12 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Not only was this news FAKE but it was also ILLEGAL, plus it SMELLED REALLY BAD and IT WAS THE WRONG COLOR and IT DIDNT MATCH and it was also REALLY ITCHY. I'd like to return it, please.
posted by valkane at 7:15 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


Leaking the tax return may have been illegal. Reporting it is obviously not, and Trump is an idiot if he thinks so.
posted by Justinian at 7:17 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I mean, if Trump wrote the statement, that makes sense. He has no idea what's legal

I'm pretty sure he just shat himself, which is amusing.
posted by Artw at 7:17 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


until you consider his reported diet. Then it’s horrifying.
posted by nicepersonality at 7:21 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


I got a kick from the Hannity tweet about NBC's "Jihad" against Trump, which neglected to even mention SNL as one of the offenders, but, I also wonder if he'll ever mention that NBC is still partnering with Trump on the Apprentice TV show. Of course, if this really gets the Trump House mad at NBC's parent company Comcast, I wonder how hard the new FCC chair will work on how to eliminate net-neutrality WITHOUT letting Comcast make any money off of it... Anyway, what are the odds on "Celebrity Apprentice on FOX" next fall?
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:26 PM on March 14


@BrendanNyhan Shiny object alert: There's a proposal to massively change health care policy affecting tens of millions of people. This doesn't matter.

This. 24 million people are still going to be without healthcare if it gets forced through.
posted by Talez at 7:26 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


I've got to say that I agree with this tweet: "Whatever comes of this, watching journalists tweet "SAY IT ALREADY" while Maddow provides context is problematic."

as opposed to whom, the cranky toddlers very serious adults who absolutely had to cling to every second of a tedious cable news program instead of waiting for it to filter through to print media to peruse at their leisure?
posted by indubitable at 7:27 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


According to that Daily Beast story,
2005 was the year that Trump, a newly minted reality star, made his last big score as a real-life real estate developer, when he sold two properties, one on Manhattan’s west side and one in San Francisco, to Hong Kong investors, accounting for the lion’s share of his income that year.
So it's the rosiest year in terms of Trump's income, it probably predates any income from the 2006-ish deals linked to Felix Sater & Co., and with only the first two pages, it doesn't come with any juicy details like itemized deductions or offshore holdings. However, we can no longer say we've never seen Trump's tax returns. Isn't that dandy.
posted by mubba at 7:35 PM on March 14 [20 favorites]


I'm happy to still say we've never seen Trump's tax returns.
posted by Coventry at 7:36 PM on March 14 [14 favorites]


I think we can say that Trump has never seen more of his tax returns beyond the "where do I sign?" line.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:39 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


And speaking of distraction, I suspect that responding to Donald's "Why CAN'T you arrest and prosecute everybody at NBC?!?!" will take time away from all the nasty things his Department of Injustice had planned for this week.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:45 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


For real though I knew better than to watch news. memo to self: do not follow any "breaking news" ever.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:49 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Well, tomorrow is the ides of March, so anything could happen, I guess.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:55 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Egg is on CNN right now! HI EGG.
posted by Justinian at 7:55 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


5. The kids in the Mystery Machine seem to be compelled to attack each other with about as much frequency and passion as they spend working on bringing down the villain.

Shaggy keeps relitigating the primary.
posted by condour75 at 7:58 PM on March 14 [25 favorites]




Meanwhile Sec. Defence James Mattis has gone offscript and told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believes in climate change and recognizes it as a threat.
posted by adamvasco at 7:59 PM on March 14 [58 favorites]


Egg says some things that I can get behind re: his criticism of trump but he is not a good EGG for the long run. I despise just about everything he stands for.
posted by futz at 8:01 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


David Cay Johnston's focus on the sourcing and not the content is the key here to what happens next. If 2005 is the year that was considered leakable (before the Russian outreach began with the SoHo deal) then that draws its own line.
posted by holgate at 8:06 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


The Trumps, they just keep coming.

Day of the Trumpids
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 8:07 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


David Kay Johnston is brilliant and I wish there had been more time with him on the Maddow Show. I don't think this will be the last shoe to drop on this. The timing of the tax return -2005 - re: Russian connections is super interesting.

I fucking hate donald trump.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:11 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]


This ongoing shit has made me so cranky that I'm now even mad at you nice people for even capitalizing his name.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:12 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Uday crowing on twitter lends credit that the leak came from inside the WH. They wanted this out there to change the narrative from healthcare fail and/or Comey. Why 2005 is the next question. Chip, chip, chip away.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:15 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


So it's the rosiest year in terms of Trump's income, it probably predates any income from the 2006-ish deals linked to Felix Sater & Co., and with only the first two pages, it doesn't come with any juicy details like itemized deductions or offshore holdings. However, we can no longer say we've never seen Trump's tax returns. Isn't that dandy.

Exactly, In fact I called a Trump leak on Twitter (where I go by @taoish) before DC Johnston mentioned it. Don't forget that the only jokes Trump banned at his roast were jokes about him not being as rich as he claimed.

Also -- the selective release of one year's taxes, the most innocuous year, is another technique that Trump copies from Bernie Sanders. It worked to quiet demands for more tax years, though it hid the years where Bernie paid his wife and stepdaughter out of campaign funds, the years they made a lot more money because Jane was president of a university, etc.
posted by msalt at 8:16 PM on March 14 [15 favorites]


Burhanistan - fixed that for you.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:16 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


is another technique that Trump copies from Bernie Sanders

We should probably avoid non sequitur derails into relitigating the primaries, please oh please
posted by dis_integration at 8:20 PM on March 14 [19 favorites]


Fwiw, I took Kellyanne Spillway's comments about microwaves to reference this MIT study

Extracting audio from visual information
Algorithm recovers speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag filmed through soundproof glass.


In a related note, did you know the government was recording all of your phone calls? S'crazy man.
posted by petebest at 8:21 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Like when you get the urge to scratch the I hate Bernie or Hillary was a disaster, Bernie would've won itch, count to ten and go look at doggo gifs
posted by dis_integration at 8:23 PM on March 14 [16 favorites]


Thinking about it, I'm, highly skeptical that this succeeds as a distraction from other stuff in any real sense, whether it was intended that way or not. Coming up in the next two days, we've got:

- Congress continues to explode as the healthcare of tens of millions hangs in the balance.

- The budget is announced on Thursday, and background briefings on the plan start tomorrow. There's about to be an explosion of stories about massive cuts to every part of the government, with howls of protest from every impacted group.

- Comey comin'

- He or one of his staff will inevitably say something horrible and/or ridiculous

- The Detroit/Nashville trip, Andrew Jackson lovefest, and rally

Once the budget drops, and even before that as numbers dribble out, the story will be all about the bloodbath in every government department that doesn't carry guns. I really don't see this being much of a distraction for long.
posted by zachlipton at 8:23 PM on March 14 [30 favorites]


Leaking a "good" tax return--instead of just releasing it--seems like a weird distraction. It just makes people wonder, huh, that was 11 years ago, what's happened since? If I was trying to prove my trustworthiness, not being willing to show what I'd been up to for the last 10 years would not do it. Kind of like a giant gap in your resume history; it's going to raise eyebrows.
posted by emjaybee at 8:31 PM on March 14 [10 favorites]


not her fault, imo, the hype machine got ahold of her accurate tweets

What hype machine? We did that, no machine necessary.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:39 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


A "good" tax return? Well, it's pretty good income for someone worth only a billion dollars, which is a small fraction of what he claims. And he's most sensitive about how much he's worth.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:41 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Random thought on Trump's tax returns: he claims he can't release them due to an audit and that's total bullshit in a regular audit, but would he actually be unable to release them if they were audited and what they found kicked it up a notch into being "audited" (read: "investigated") by IRS Criminal Investigation? Or if they were being looked over by IRS CI at the request of another agency's investigation into him or into his various shady partners? An ongoing investigation would seem like a situation where the IRS and other law enforcement agencies really would say no, you can't release those.

I still think it's vastly more likely that he's just straight up lying, but it's an interesting possibility.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:58 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


The EPA Used to Tweet About the Environment. Now It Just Tweets About Scott Pruitt.

The agency's work on climate and energy policy has slowed to a crawl, but it has been replaced with a different focus: the promotion of the new EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. With one exception, all of the EPA's tweets and Facebook posts since Pruitt's confirmation have been about his various appearances or sharing quotes from the EPA chief or President Donald Trump. The only time the EPA tweeted about an environmental issue, it was to promote Trump's executive order attempting to roll back a Clean Water Act rule. (On Monday, outside of the three-week period we used for this analysis, the EPA finally tweeted about a local grant.

This must be so demoralizing for the EPA employees.
posted by futz at 9:00 PM on March 14 [41 favorites]


On the plus side, due to the new direction the EPA is taking, Flint MI may soon have the cleanest tapwater in the United States.
posted by um at 9:06 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


With cuts looming, Park Service closes Ben Franklin print shop, Jefferson’s Declaration House

David Fitzpatrick, the president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2058, said the freeze was responsible for the shuttering of seven attractions, including Declaration House, where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence; exhibits at the site of Ben Franklin’s home and print shop; and the home of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the Polish military leader who served as a brigadier general in the Revolutionary War.
posted by futz at 9:12 PM on March 14 [20 favorites]


@theviewfromll2: Sounds like the documents Trump produced in discovery for the O'Brien litigation finally leaked.
posted by Artw at 9:16 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


oh 2017 how can i hate you when you have finally brought dykes to watch out for back to me
posted by medusa at 9:37 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


McMaster didn't want Flynn's pick for NSC intel director, but overruled by Bannon, Kushner & Trump

Trump isn't a government, he's a regime. None of the official American government even exists, it's entirely a parallel structure, which Republicans have fully accepted. Because they love tax cuts and taking health care from people who can't afford it more than anything.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:38 PM on March 14 [32 favorites]


Gotta have a conduit to the FSB on the council, thems the rules.
posted by Artw at 9:40 PM on March 14


This is just another sign that people are realizing the potential profitability of a post-Trump left. Jill Stein buying one state recount and a dozen new sets of healing crystals was the first indication.
posted by BeginAgain at 9:40 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Whenever Milo Yiannopoulos is compared to Ernst Röhm it always gives me a bit of a sad. I mean, I get it. They're both fascists and also gay. But Röhm was a genuinely brave man who excelled at his chosen, albeit terrible, role. Contrast with today's fascists that go hide under their beds when they hear a loud noise in the street.
posted by um at 9:41 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


David Cay Johnston toots his own horn at the Guardian. He's been up in Trump's grill for a long time.
[In 1988] Competitors, casino regulators and Trump’s own people told me he knew nothing of the casino business. Really? To test this, I interviewed him, making a false statement about craps. Trump incorporated my false statement into his answer – and did so again with three other questions containing false facts, which made me realise: he was just a conman.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:45 PM on March 14 [56 favorites]


As an expert witness for Whole Foods, Kellyanne Conway gave testimony that was deemed 'fundamentally flawed' and thrown out

-- In 2007, Conway — then a Republican pollster running the research firm The Polling Company — was hired as an expert witness by Whole Foods in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission in Washington.

-- During the case, Whole Foods retained Conway to design a survey to support the testimony of David Scheffman, a former FTC official with experience testifying on behalf of companies in antitrust suits. He argued that Whole Foods and Wild Oats shoppers frequently shopped at other grocery chains and that these other supermarkets competed for the business of crossover customers.

-- Kent Van Liere, presented compelling evidence about the study's drawbacks, which the agency said suffered "serious and fatal design flaws, poor execution, and conclusions that are inconsistent with the survey's results," and failed to "meet basic standards" of survey research.

-- He said it was "very curious" that Conway's survey claimed to have interviewed respondents who were in the designated zip codes, yet included respondents who didn't live in the zip codes.

-- Further, court documents said that Scheffman didn't ultimately rely on Conway's report, despite it being conducted on his behalf and cost Whole Foods over a quarter of a million dollars


A $250,000 mistake by Kellyanne and she's still fucking up at every turn. Must be nice (emphatically not) to be her privileged ass.
posted by futz at 9:53 PM on March 14 [18 favorites]


Only she suffered no consequences then or now.

We've got to stop grasping for the silver bullet in decades old documents. They won with this shit and worse right out in the open.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:59 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


CNN Money: Ethics complaint filed against White House official
An ethics watchdog group says a White House official appears to have attended meetings with corporate executives earlier this year while he personally held stock in the companies.

The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint with the White House on Tuesday.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:05 PM on March 14 [25 favorites]


The actual David Cay Johnston story on taxes is finally accessible (maybe, I got in once, now it's being weird), and it's a good read. It's simple and doesn't overhype it (even saying "There’s no smoking gun there, no obvious evasion, but clearly some bending of the tax laws almost to the breaking point"), explains that this shows a ridiculously low tax rate of 24%, connects the information to Trump's plans to eliminate the AMT, and even relates this information to what we know from other reports:
That Trump had only $103 million of his $918 million tax shelter left in 2005 also tells us something about his past income. Using up the other $815 million of negative income in the tax shelter indicates that he earned an average of $81.5 million annually during the 10 years from 1995 through 2004.
If this dropped first instead of the Maddow version, or even if the website hadn't gone down in the first place, it would have hit better, I think.
posted by zachlipton at 10:32 PM on March 14 [23 favorites]


dcreport seems to run into a lot of issues when they get a lot of hits. I couldn't access the site. I'll see if it is cached.
posted by futz at 10:37 PM on March 14




Meanwhile, Robert Costa brings us the latest palace intrigue in Trump loyalists sound alarm over ‘RyanCare,’ endangering health bill. This is a good bit that shows the various factions at work:
Inside the White House, senior officials said they are taking note of the mounting opposition. “You can’t be so blind that you’re not seeing the outside noise,” said one adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the adviser was not authorized to speak publicly.

A second adviser, who also requested anonymity to speak candidly, said, “We take their views seriously and we’re listening, but we do appreciate when those concerns are shared privately and with a smaller megaphone.”
We are so far down the looking glass that someone who sounds suspiciously like Priebus is using the Post to ask Trump's friends and supporters to use their inside voices please.
posted by zachlipton at 10:48 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


Contrast with today's fascists that go hide under their beds when they hear a loud noise in the street.

I guess it's part of the historical tragedy->farce sequence. But, I'm so very glad they're cowards. Especially glad their brownshirts are terrified of being punched, much less going down in a hail of glory. And very glad their side doesn't seem to have anything like the Black Bloc. Though it's kinda surprising they don't, now that I think about it.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:54 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Well a lot of the SA were veterans of WW1, so it makes sense they were not afraid of physical confrontation.
posted by um at 11:07 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Well a lot of the SA were veterans of WW1, so it makes sense they were not afraid of physical confrontation.

Rates of physical violence were also a lot higher in general. Corporal punishment at home and in school, police had a fairly free hand, strike-breaking, political violence on the street, glorification of nationalist violence all over Europe. All of it goes together to make a population that were used to violence in all contexts, so it's not much of a jump to go from one to any of the others.
posted by jaduncan at 11:17 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


Rates of physical violence were also a lot higher in general.

Yep. And all the talk of inner-city warzones in the US distracts from how, say, the Prohibition era in the US had a homicide rate twice what it is today. (The eras that American culture goes back to again and again are ones where murder was more of a presence and gruesomely splashed on newspaper front pages.)
posted by holgate at 11:51 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Ah, yes, back when America was Great Before.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:58 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]



12 GOP senators have criticized Paul Ryan’s health care bill. 3 defections kill it.


I am 99% that this bill won't pass. The repubs won't pass it for all of the fucking wrong reasons though.

Having said that there seems to be a chink in the armor for an increasing number of them and I am pretty sure that it is due to townhalls etc.

When you have Tom Cotton saying that this bill is too harsh on the neediest...I am not buying the words coming out of his mouth until I see action of course. I have wasps at the ready. pssst, I really don't want any bees to get killed so from now on I will be weoponizing wasps. no more bees. I like bees.
posted by futz at 12:05 AM on March 15 [14 favorites]


In case there is any doubt left whether Trump or his minions orchestrated the tax return leak, here is what Republican pollster/messaging guru Frank Luntz tweeted tonight:
Rachel @Maddow debunked one of liberals' most widely-used attacks against Donald Trump – that he pays no income tax.
posted by msalt at 12:05 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


An ethics watchdog group says a White House official appears to have attended meetings with corporate executives earlier this year while he personally held stock in the companies.

Is it Trump?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:08 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


[Re relitigating the primaries: Deleted. Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop.]
posted by taz at 12:09 AM on March 15 [54 favorites]


From the Mefi ElectionThreadReference wiki: RLTP = "Relitigating the Primaries" DRTP = "Don't Relitigate the Primaries"
posted by christopherious at 12:12 AM on March 15


When you have Tom Cotton saying that this bill is too harsh on the neediest...I am not buying the words coming out of his mouth until I see action of course.

Chicken Neck Beardy Boy may be a conservative and also a terrible person, but he's in Arkansas (which voted for Bill Clinton twice) and he knows what his electorate looks like, especially since it has been shouting at him about healthcare for the past month. Arkansas has a "private option" section 1115 waiver to Medicaid expansion, and it cut the adult uninsured rate dramatically.
posted by holgate at 12:30 AM on March 15


So tomorrow is the day Comey makes his Heel-Face turn? I guess this is how all the people waiting for Comey to indict Clinton felt.

I honestly don't know what I expect him to say.
posted by Justinian at 12:31 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I honestly don't know what I expect him to say.
Probably something like this. (relitigating the 1970s europop)
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:39 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


Comey to say whether FBI probing Russia, Trump campaign by Wednesday

"When asked to confirm whether or not the FBI is probing Russia, Comey responds with a belch that lasted for almost 15 minutes." (unidentifiable laughter permeates the backround) [fake]
posted by futz at 1:05 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


Someone photoshopped one of Pete Souza's photos of Obama, and Pete Souza is retweeting it.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:22 AM on March 15 [29 favorites]


He'll say that of course the FBI never investigated the Trump campaign, just people who worked on the Trump campaign
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:25 AM on March 15


It's hard to do backwards math on multimillionaires' tax returns because of the manipulations they do, but what the Trump tax return does seem to say is that he was not nearly as rich or successful as he claimed to be.

But whatever, I call distraction, but I don't think even team Trump believes this can distract from the healthcare idiocy - they've clearly just decided to place that on Ryan. It is more today's Comey story they are aiming at, maybe because they know Comey is going to point to investigations into economic transactions.
Trump may be saying something like "The FBI won't be finding anything there, you all saw my tax return(s), I'm a law-abiding citizen paying millions in taxes. This is Obama trying to incriminate me"
posted by mumimor at 1:33 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


i wonder if congressional republicans will continue to stonewall trump investigations if AHCA goes down and they realize that he's actually no help in pushing their legislative agenda
posted by murphy slaw at 1:53 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


i wonder if congressional republicans will continue to stonewall trump investigations if AHCA goes down and they realize that he's actually no help in pushing their legislative agenda

It all depends on the trumpistas, the congress republicans are scared of their voters, not of the president or his band of rotten men
posted by mumimor at 2:02 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Just to scratch my pedantic itch: the "CLIENT COPY" does not mean for sure that this return was leaked by Trump - there are other plausible scenarios, like a current or former insider who wasn't paid, etc.
posted by thelonius at 3:23 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


There's no black bloc on the alt-right because getting arrested and beat up for your cause sounds suspiciously like caring. They're still trying to walk that knife edge between "true believer" and "for the lulz."
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:55 AM on March 15 [26 favorites]


where'd all the skinheads go, anyway? have they just grown their hair out, retired to 8chan, and decided that actual violence is passé when you can just SWAT people?
posted by murphy slaw at 4:00 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


what the Trump tax return does seem to say is that he was not nearly as rich or successful as he claimed to be.

The thing is, for most people - honestly including myself - we can't really easily tell the difference between someone who "only" makes 80 million a year and someone who makes 250 million a year. They're still in the same category.
posted by corb at 4:26 AM on March 15 [12 favorites]


OK, I don't know what to make of any of this from the president this morning:

(My numbering, not his)

1. Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, "went to his mailbox" and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!

2. Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!

3. Will be going to Detroit, Michigan (love), today for a big meeting on bringing back car production to State & U.S. Already happening!

4. Looking forward to a big rally in Nashville, Tennessee, tonight. Big crowd of great people expected. Will be fun!
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:37 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Oh, wait, OK, here's the Snoop Dogg video that he seems to be bothered buy. I guess it's unclear to me if the president understands the difference between reality and a music video.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:43 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


1. Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, "went to his mailbox" and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!

2. Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!


1. He's a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and you and the White House confirmed the fucking tax return and the numbers last night.

2. Yeah, people went to jail a lot for pretending to kill Obama. I mean look at all those Tea Partiers who got life for burning Obama in effigy... oh wait.
posted by chris24 at 4:44 AM on March 15 [54 favorites]


Well I gotta give it up - there would have indeed been an outcry if Snoop had zizassinated Obama
posted by thelonius at 4:53 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


I too favor state-run MTV

Well then you'll be glad to hear that this is one of the most solid planks in the Robotic Space Communist Party platform. It's coming! Stay tuned!
posted by Meatbomb at 4:58 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


Cohen on Snoop's video:
“It’s totally disgraceful. Snoop owes the president an apology,” Cohen said. “There’s absolutely nothing funny about an assassination attempt on a president, and I’m really shocked at him, because I thought he was better than that.”
Cohen would like you to know that he has the vapors, and never thought that the author of Murder Was the Case rap about such a thing. Shocking, I tell you.

It's also a toy clown gun that pops out a little flag saying bang, followed and then the Trump character is seen alive but tied up. In other news, Donald Trump has previously stated that the entire families of unconvicted terrorist suspects should be assassinated.
posted by jaduncan at 4:59 AM on March 15 [31 favorites]


>@SnoopDogg, failing career and all,

Yeah, well, Snoop Dogg is a musician, and he made a music video. So he's at least doing his job. One wonders if Mr. Trump has someplace he works, or some job he's supposed to be doing, besides commenting on music videos.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:04 AM on March 15 [21 favorites]


wow now Trump is going after Snoop Dogg
good use of your powers of the presidency, you POS
posted by angrycat at 5:05 AM on March 15 [24 favorites]


2. Yeah, people went to jail a lot for pretending to kill Obama. I mean look at all those Tea Partiers who got life for burning Obama in effigy... oh wait.

Obama also didn't waste his time tweeting about such things either.
posted by octothorpe at 5:07 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


Snoop should release his taxes, he probably made more in 2005 than Trump.

Anyway, don't feed the troll. Healthcare bill. James Comey. He wants us talking about Snoop.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:19 AM on March 15 [22 favorites]


Snoop should get as much jail time as Ted Nugent did.
posted by ian1977 at 5:25 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


“It’s totally disgraceful. Snoop owes the president an apology,” Cohen said.

...he continued, "the president however does not owe an apology for accusing Obama of a crime... or not being a US citizen.... or sexually asaulting a woman... or mocking a disabled reporter"
posted by PenDevil at 5:26 AM on March 15 [17 favorites]


Fart Against Trump

Das ist die größte Protestbewegung in der Geschichte der Menschheit.

Am 21. März 2017 um 23.05 Uhr MEZ sollen über 7 Milliarden Menschen einen gigantischen Furz Richtung Weißes Haus schicken.
Join the storm!

It's the largest protest movement in the history of mankind.

On March 21 2017 at 23:05 Middle European Time more than 7 billion people shall send a gigantic fart towards the White House.
Join the storm!


[Real but most likely not serious.]
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:32 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


State v Hawaii argument (against the new travel ban) will take place 9:30 Hawaii time today. So that's something to watch as well.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:34 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


where'd all the skinheads go, anyway? have they just grown their hair out, retired to 8chan, and decided that actual violence is passé when you can just SWAT people?

They have slightly more hair, and are attending conferences in DC.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:36 AM on March 15


Politico: ‘People are scared’: Paranoia seizes Trump’s White House: In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:42 AM on March 15 [11 favorites]


Politico: ‘People are scared’:

Yeah? Well, I'm scared too, except I'm not "scared" that I'll have to leave a highly-paid gig for a lifetime on the wingnut welfare circuit, I'm scared that my university job will get defunded and I'll lose my healthcare and my house.
posted by Frowner at 6:03 AM on March 15 [66 favorites]


New PPP poll:
Only 24% of voters support [Trumpcare], to 49% who are opposed. Even among Republican voters only 37% are in favor of the proposal to 22% who are against it, and 41% who aren't sure one way or another. Democrats (15/71) and independents (22/49) are more unified in their opposition to the bill than Republicans are in favor of it.

63% of voters now support an independent investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 Presidential election, to only 28% opposed to one. On a related note, 60% of voters think Russia wanted Donald Trump to win last year's election to only 16% who think it wanted Clinton to win. Among Trump voters though, 30% think Russia wanted Clinton to win the election to 28% who grant it wanted Trump to be victorious.

Only 27% of voters believe Trump's accusations that Barack Obama tapped his phone during the election last year, to 56% who don't believe them. Trump's voters are going along with him on it though- 57% of them think Trump was tapped to only 17% who don't believe he was.

Trump continues to lose out in his fights with the media. Voters say that the New York Times has more credibility than him, 53/35, and that CNN has more credibility than him, 53/37.
posted by melissasaurus at 6:04 AM on March 15 [34 favorites]


I'm scared that we're all going to die in a nuclear apocalypse.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:04 AM on March 15 [19 favorites]




I'm having a hard time parsing the "were Trump's phones tapped?" question. Accusing Obama of wiretapping is stupid and cruel and possibly a crime (the usual Trumpfecta). But I believe (and hope I'm right) that the DOJ independently tapped his phones as part of the Russia inquiry. So if a poll asked me if I believed his phones were tapped, I'd say yes too. But I don't think it was Obama doing it. Am I missing something? Or is even assuming that much akin to saying that Obama had the DOJ tap his phones, since it happened on his watch?
posted by Mchelly at 6:15 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Aren't everybody's phones tapped at this point?
posted by wabbittwax at 6:21 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


But I believe (and hope I'm right) that the DOJ independently tapped his phones as part of the Russia inquiry

If they did so without a FISA warrant, then they did a very bad thing. But what's more likely is not that they tapped Trump's phones, but that the CIA/NSA/Five Eyes was listening in on all the convos the Russians were having with anyone else, and that in that great big slurp of Russian phone calls, Trump people got caught up.
posted by dis_integration at 6:21 AM on March 15 [14 favorites]


Wait, so the Attorney General perjured himself in front of a Senate committee?

And EPA trumplicant Scat Pruitt perjured himself before a Senate committee as well? About using a private email server?

AlfaBank has an office IN Trump Tower?!?
posted by petebest at 6:24 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


Slate: Rachel Maddow Turned a Scoop on Donald Trump’s Taxes Into a Cynical, Self-Defeating Spectacle
TV is a ratings game, but an entire episode about highly damaging tax returns is just as likely to get you great ratings as milking the possibility that you have highly damaging tax returns, and less likely to get you compared to Geraldo.

...

Trump’s tax returns, whatever information they happen to contain, constitute a major scoop. Maddow’s social media team ensured the highest possible ratings for that scoop. But if ever a story should have been delivered in a stentorian, fuddy-duddy, nonpartisan manner, this was it. In positioning it as a grand revelation, a vital step in comprehending Trump’s corruption, MSNBC created an exceedingly cynical spectacle. By playing into the network’s loyal liberal audience’s fantasy that there exists a Trump silver bullet, it instead delivered Trump a positive news cycle—the guy pays taxes! Who knew!—amidst the debacle of the AHCA, along with more evidence that the media is aligned against him. The lesson? Don’t tell us you have news, just tell us the news.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:45 AM on March 15 [15 favorites]


“It’s totally disgraceful. Snoop owes the president an apology,” Cohen said. “There’s absolutely nothing funny about an assassination attempt on a president, and I’m really shocked at him, because I thought he was better than that.”

When you say that to the Nuge, then I'll believe you.
posted by scalefree at 6:46 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


NYT: Rachel Maddow Lands a Scoop, Then Makes Viewers Wait

The headline is a bit misleading. The NYT seems fully on Rachel Maddow's side here, and goes out of its way to mock the (all male) journalists who criticized what Maddow did.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:47 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


The reply to any trump Supreme Court nomination should be:

We expect to have a new president within a year and the American people deserve to have that president make his or her nomination.
posted by BentFranklin at 6:49 AM on March 15 [38 favorites]


We expect to have a new president within a year and the American people deserve to have that president make his or her nomination.

Or: 'We don't think it's right to nominate a new Justice during the runup to the 2020 presidential elections.'
posted by PenDevil at 6:52 AM on March 15 [32 favorites]


I missed the whole tax hoo-haw last night because I was catching up on Legion (Dan Stevens, call me!), but I actually think the tweet should have been the tip-off that it was not the droids we were looking for. A breathless tweet says "I've got a juicy tidibit!" It doesn't say, "I have gravely concerning information that implicates the President in actual crimes."

I'm also on Team He Leaked Them Himself (or rather Team Bannon Encouraged Him To Leak Them Because He's Too Dumb To Understand The Advantages Of Doing So On His Own.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:53 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


From the NYT article:

Ms. Maddow’s opening monologue raised lingering questions about links between Mr. Trump and Russia — questions that no simple 1040 form, like the one sent to Mr. Johnston, could address.
posted by diogenes at 6:54 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


We expect to have a new president within a year and the American people deserve to have that president make his or her nomination.

Be sure to mention that Pence is getting impeached too, Ryan is quickly drowning under his own incompetence in the House, and it would be best to wait on the SCOTUS pick til we can find a President that will stick around long to see his Judge confirmed.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:54 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Also, Rachel and other journos should be wary of what happened to Dan Rather.
posted by BentFranklin at 6:56 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


CNN: DOJ official says agency will announce developments related to "major" cyber intrusion “with the backing of a nation state" (press conference at 11:30am.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:59 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


There's no black bloc on the alt-right because getting arrested and beat up for your cause sounds suspiciously like caring. They're still trying to walk that knife edge between "true believer" and "for the lulz."

I think it's more like they already have the cops to commit violence and terrify on their behalf, and they're a lot more pervasive, effective and ruthless than any Black Bloc actions.
posted by indubitable at 6:59 AM on March 15 [30 favorites]


DOJ official says agency will announce developments related to "major" cyber intrusion “with the backing of a nation state" (press conference at 11:30am.)

Oh wonderful, it'll be the Trump administration vs Great Britain/Germany/all of the EU for tapping the Russians.
posted by lydhre at 7:00 AM on March 15


David Cay Johnston reported on twitter that people have been calling to harass his wife and child. Because America.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:06 AM on March 15 [11 favorites]


I found this twitter thread useful in laying out the whats and whys of this release of Trump's taxes.
posted by Spumante at 7:11 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


Justice Department charging Russian spies and criminal hackers for Yahoo intrusion: The Justice Department is set to announce Wednesday the indictments of two Russian spies and two criminal hackers for the heist of 500 million Yahoo user accounts in 2014, marking the first U.S. criminal cyber charges ever against Russian government officials.

The indictments target two members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB, and two hackers hired by the Russians.

The charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage, according to officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the charges have not yet been announced. The indictments are part of the largest ever hacking case brought by the United States.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:12 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Also, Rachel and other journos should be wary of what happened to Dan Rather.

She did her homework and sent the returns to the White House before going with the story. Apparently they confirmed their reality so no chance of Rathering here.
posted by dis_integration at 7:13 AM on March 15 [17 favorites]


zachlipton: This is not an encouraging sign, from Prerequisite for Key White House Posts: Loyalty, Not Experience

I was reading through the discussion about Trump's lack of pet and reveling in this glorious image of a bald eagle named Uncle Sam attacking Trump (thanks, scalefree!), so I misread the link as "Prerequisite for Key White House Pets: Loyalty, Not Experience" and I was confused as to why that was a bad thing.

"Come on, just let a dog be a good doggie! It doesn't have to protect the president or do tricks."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:26 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


I'm scared that we're all going to die in a nuclear apocalypse.

The problem with nuclear apocalypse is that people are both scared of dying in one and scared of surviving one, like you wouldn't believe!
posted by juiceCake at 7:32 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


while I cry no tears for the sad and scared White House officials, it terrifies the fuck out of me that so much energy is being spent trying to root out those who don't accept Trump's narcissistic reality.
posted by angrycat at 7:38 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


it terrifies the fuck out of me that so much energy is being spent trying to root out those who don't accept Trump's narcissistic reality.

Imagine how much external fuckery they would be perpetrating if it weren't for all this internal fuckery.
posted by Etrigan at 7:41 AM on March 15 [25 favorites]


As we saw too often, the Obama administration went beyond its legal authority in creating legislation that limits the role of state governments," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said from the Senate floor.


McConnell can say whatever he pleases on the Senate floor or in front of the TV cameras, but I'd like to see him try that "the Obama administration went beyond its legal authority" argument in front of a judge and see if it holds water.
posted by Gelatin at 7:41 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


suelac: I'm amazed that half of her concern about California involves LUNCH BREAKS. The demon lunch break! O the horror!

Treating people like responsible humans who need a break instead of cheating, sneaky slackers who will take any opportunity to not work is kind of a Republican hallmark. For a similar example, the New Mexico governor hates public school teachers so much that she is fighting to keep limited use of sick days as part of teacher evaluations, which is getting bipartisan pushback with House Bill 241, which is subtitled “Teachers are human, too.” The measure passed both house and senate, only to get vetoed by the governor, who trumpets that by negatively scoring teachers who use four or more sick days, she's kept more teachers in the classroom. And now the senate has overturned her veto with a supermajority, so we're waiting to see if the house will quash the governor's nonsense.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:42 AM on March 15 [30 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Folks, I get that the concern is real, but trading worst-fears doomsday scenarios makes these threads hard to read for people who just want to keep up with the present horrors.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:44 AM on March 15 [22 favorites]


Treating people like responsible humans who need a break instead of cheating, sneaky slackers who will take any opportunity to not work is kind of a Republican hallmark.

I feel like projection needs some kind of jingle at this point.

I'd take advantage of everyone
If given half a cha-aaance!
So I got my eye on all you motherfuckers
something something gla-aaance!
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:48 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Well, tomorrow is the ides of March, so anything could happen, I guess.

"Failing Romans Casca, Cinna, Cassius stab me in front of the Capitol? Disaster! And Brutus too? Sad! FAKE KNIVES."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:56 AM on March 15 [36 favorites]


I have this perspective on Trump's 2005 taxes. Since 2005 (through 2016), the federal deficit (not the same as the debt) has totaled $8.46 trillion dollars.

There are 117 million households in the United States. (2010 census). This makes 1.17 million households in the top 1%. The top 1% income averaged $1,153,293 (2013 figures, not everything is available from the same years).

In this case average is a good number to have: multiply average by the population and you have total. $1.15 million times 1.17 million (1% of households) and you have $1.35 trillion dollars of income.

In America, the top tax bracket is 39.6%.

If the top 1% of income earners paid 39.6% that would be $534 billion.
If the top 1% of income earners paid 25% (the amount Trump paid in 2005 on taxable income after the minimum income tax), that number would total $338 billion, a loss of nearly $200 billion in comparison to the 39.6% rate.
If the top 1% of income earners paid 3.5% (the amount Trump would have paid in 2005 if he didn't pay the minimum income tax) that would total $47 billion dollars, a loss of $487 billion in comparison to the 39.6% rate. (the federal deficit was $587 billion in 2016)

In other words, following Trump's lead, the 1% would be adding $200 billion a year to the deficit, or over the last eleven years 2.4 trillion.

Without the alternative minimum income tax (and following Trump's mode of stinginess), that would be 5.9 trillion in 11 years.

The mentality of Trump, inasmuch as it is followed by others in the one percent, is a major cause of the deficit.

In the absence of people like Trump paying their taxes, the rest of us are gouged.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:56 AM on March 15 [62 favorites]


Today is Ruth Bader Ginsburg's 84th brithday.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:01 AM on March 15 [51 favorites]


Treating people like responsible humans who need a break instead of cheating, sneaky slackers who will take any opportunity to not work is kind of a Republican hallmark.


Ah, good old Theory X!
posted by TedW at 8:04 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


The measure passed both house and senate, only to get vetoed by the governor, who trumpets that by negatively scoring teachers who use four or more sick days, she's kept more teachers in the classroom.

I'm sure she's kept more teachers in the classroom day to day. No word on whether that policy helps keep teachers in the classroom year to year, and I'd guess that's a hard no. I've never been so sick in my life as the first year I spent teaching, and that's true for a lot of teachers. This is some evil shit.
posted by asperity at 8:08 AM on March 15 [9 favorites]


But if you give someone a potato or something it needs strict means testing.
posted by Artw at 8:08 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Were you all aware that the tape- and packing- and everything-supply company ULINE is owned and operated by a bunch of assholes (the Uihlein family) who not only are pro-Trump but are willing to post this kind of garbage on their company's web site?

Oh, that Liz Uihlein. As a part-time resident of Vilas County in Wisconsin's Northwoods, I've been angry with her for quite some time. She and her family have no moral issues with using their influence to sneakily buy up a bunch of lakefront land in the area. They see themselves as the saviors of the town, because they own some businesses, and therefore entitled to do whatever they want.
posted by TheFantasticNumberFour at 8:09 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Today is Ruth Bader Ginsburg's 84th brithday.

That makes me want to hide under a blanket for the next four years. Tell me when it's safe to get out, RBG.
posted by lydhre at 8:10 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


Josh Marshall with some encouraging words.

TL;DR: the failure of Trumpcare will cripple the administration and the GOP going into 2018. And the resistance seems to be working so far.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:16 AM on March 15 [13 favorites]


Treating people like responsible humans who need a break instead of cheating, sneaky slackers who will take any opportunity to not work is kind of a Republican hallmark.

Why, it's almost as though they know how they would act if not constrained by the rules of society.
posted by Etrigan at 8:19 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


by negatively scoring teachers who use four or more sick days, she's kept more teachers in the classroom.

Who make the kids sick who bring it home to make their families sick who don't necessarily have healthcare coverage and even if they do they might not sick days so they make THEIR office sick and it keeps rolling and rolling and rolling...

The worst disease this country suffers from is Puritanism, since it just amplifies the rest.
posted by Freon at 8:20 AM on March 15 [67 favorites]


"Failing Romans Casca, Cinna, Cassius stab me in front of the Capitol? Disaster! And Brutus too? Sad! FAKE KNIVES."

Awesome. I couldn't help myself.
posted by jammer at 8:26 AM on March 15 [23 favorites]


Why, it's almost as though they know how they would act if not constrained by the rules of society.

And yet they expressly design those rules so as to affect them not in the slightest. It's like if Superman realized that he might go mad with his own power, and thus calmly and rationally resolved to shoot everyone else in the world with Kryptonite bullets.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:29 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


Awesome. I couldn't help myself.

It was good that you went with that urge. Really good.
posted by mikelieman at 8:32 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Lots of details from Jeff Sessions' remarks today on this WSJ reporter's twitter account. Says Trump did not get any evidence to believe that he was wiretapped. Sessions also calls marijuana a "life-wrecking dependency...that’s only slightly less awful" than heroin.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:32 AM on March 15


futz: The EPA Used to Tweet About the Environment. Now It Just Tweets About Scott Pruitt.

How did I not notice this already? I am on the EPA's email list, because I like to see what environmental grants awarded and fines have been charged in my region. They used to send out a string of emails at a time, which were collected in an EPA Blog Digest email once a week. Looking in my email inbox, I see Scott Pruitt's confirmation on 2/17/2017, then Pesticide poisoning trainings, March 6 on Kauai, March 7 on Oahu (2/21), and EPA awards $380,000 to Diné College for abandoned uranium mine study (2/28).

They're not silent, but definitely not active, and the EPA blog was last updated January 19, 2017.

Another peak inside federal and state government: some colleagues were in a meeting recently where a federal employee, who we have known is a libertarian opened up about what he sees as injustices in how federal funds are spent on people who aren't (like?) him. We've worked this guy for years, and we've known he's an odd fit for his position, but he hasn't spoken up like this before, which is good - previously he was professional, and at this meeting, he was not.

Paraphrasing what Aziz Ansari said on SNL, please go back to pretending that you care about doing your job with some semblance of politeness and consideration about others! I’m so sorry we never thanked you for your service. We never realized how much effort you put into pretending you aren't a selfish person.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:34 AM on March 15 [18 favorites]


"life-wrecking dependency...

...mainly because if we catch you with some, we will wreck your life.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:35 AM on March 15 [35 favorites]


the EPA blog was last updated January 19, 2017.

I'd like to see a running count of things that's true for. I bet it's large.
posted by Etrigan at 8:36 AM on March 15 [9 favorites]


Comey will testify publicly on Russia investigation next week: FBI Director James Comey has agreed to appear at a public House Intelligence Committee hearing next Monday on the investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election, Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters Wednesday.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:37 AM on March 15


Failing Romans Casca, Cinna, Cassius stab me in front of the Capitol? Disaster! And Brutus too? Sad! FAKE KNIVES

Part of me keeps getting excited when anyone talks about "Ides of March Resistance" and then sad when they continue with "postcards".
posted by corb at 8:38 AM on March 15 [12 favorites]


what is this thing with Sessions has with weed. You can't od on weed. Does he actually understand this
posted by angrycat at 8:39 AM on March 15 [17 favorites]


Sessions also calls marijuana a "life-wrecking dependency...that’s only slightly less awful" than heroin.

Come to think of it, a 125 year old Harry J. Anslinger kept alive with evil magicks would look an awful lot like Jeff Sessions.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:39 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


Is anyone else watching the joint statement of Schiff and Nunes? My understanding is that the House Intel Committee has now have access to everything the Gang of 8 has seen, but that it's all kept by CIA(?) and that they aren't even allowing a computer in the room at this time: Schiff said he's been taking handwritten notes and leaving them locked in the room with the intel... Also apparently some external (?) force has pushed the FBI to be more "cooperative" with the Intel Committee?
posted by Freon at 8:40 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Sessions also calls marijuana a "life-wrecking dependency...that’s only slightly less awful" than heroin.

I really want to know the story behind this. Like, did Jeff do something personally embarrassing the first time he got stoned, like smile at a black person?
posted by uncleozzy at 8:41 AM on March 15 [60 favorites]


Sessions also calls marijuana a "life-wrecking dependency["]

To be fair, he was only talking about their record collections. There are only so many Sublime tribute albums that one person should own.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:42 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


I really want to know the story behind this. Like, did Jeff do something personally embarrassing the first time he got stoned, like smile at a black person?

The story is it allows him to smile at a black person as they get led away to prison for minor bullshit.
posted by chris24 at 8:43 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


TPM: Trumptanic Approaches Repeal Iceberg - Everything Is Fine
The GOP and President Trump are now woefully exposed with a deeply unpopular reform, deep in enemy territory with little hope of an organized retreat. The Senate GOP wants to go left; the House GOP wants to go right. And you're already seeing a growing chorus from the feral Trump right that Paul Ryan has led Trump into a trap and he, Ryan, should be forced to pay the price.

This can break Trump if his opponents can organize effectively, maybe even if they can't.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:43 AM on March 15 [12 favorites]


A couple of recent articles, together, paint the picture that a successful safety net and secularization in America may lead to what could be called a Europeanization of the major parties: socialists to the left of me, nativists to the right. If this is the case, then perhaps Democrats could draw lessons from successful leftists in Europe. So... who are the successful leftists in Europe? Or are they all getting trampled underfoot by the rise of the right?
posted by Jpfed at 8:45 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Still catching up from last night, but this: White House statement: Starts with "You know you are desperate for ratings

...was echoed this morning on NPR. My response: Thanks for admitting that people are interested enough in the contents of Trump's tax return that having them would boost ratings, White House spox!
posted by Gelatin at 8:48 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


I'm still unclear on why the far right hates Ryan so much, but I imagine they'll hate anyone.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:50 AM on March 15


Sessions also calls marijuana a "life-wrecking dependency...that’s only slightly less awful" than heroin.

There's part of me hoping that when he falls from power, my country will be at the point that I can light up a joint legally and watch the news coverage. But there's a larger part of me hoping his fall from power happens faster than that.
posted by nubs at 8:50 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


So... who are the successful leftists in Europe? Or are they all getting trampled underfoot by the rise of the right?

I don't know if you can have this conversation without talking about immigration. Which is good, because immigration ain't going anywhere.

My admittedly lay-understanding is that if climate change keeps accelerating at its current WTF-y pace, we're going to see a lot more migration from the burning or submerged or famished or poor places to the places with existing infrastructure that have not been totally ravaged or made unlivable by a convulsing planet.

So. There's gonna be a lot of change. I don't think those of us intent on fighting the fascists / racists / Nazis are going to be able to rest in my lifetime.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:52 AM on March 15 [19 favorites]


I'm still unclear on why the far right hates Ryan so much,

He didn't kowtow to the God Emperor quickly or passionately enough. They know he still hates the guy and is only faking it until he makes it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:53 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


I'm still unclear on why the far right hates Ryan so much

The narcissism of small differences?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:55 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


Today's re:act email on what to do about Trump's taxes:

Ask your rep to support House Resolution 186 (H.Res.186), which directs the Department of the Treasury to provide to the House of Representatives the full tax returns of President Trump for tax years 2006–2015, financial documentation, and any information in its possession that specifies President Trump’s foreign debts, investments in foreign countries and enterprises, and use of tax loopholes.
“Hello my name is [NAME] from [PLACE]. I am calling because I think we have to ensure that our president’s foreign dealings do not violate the US constitution, or pose a threat to our national security. Does [REPRESENTATIVE X] support House Resolution 186 and the release of President Trump’s tax returns? Will [REPRESENTATIVE X] be vocal in doing so?”
Sign up for a tax march near you. On Saturday, April 15, marches are taking place across the country to demand that the president releases his tax returns, sending the message that he is accountable to the people.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:57 AM on March 15 [22 favorites]


The hate katamari of fascists plays no favorites.
posted by erisfree at 8:58 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


kekamari magacy
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:01 AM on March 15 [9 favorites]


Josh Marshall with post #3 about the failure katamari* of Trumpcare and its next target: Paul Ryan.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this, because if the Breitbart wing wins decisively, then we're left with just the really enthusiastic Nazis, as opposed to enthusiastic Nazis and the Nazi-sympathizer who are trying to get them to observe *some* social norms. But I don't think the GOP establishment is a paper tiger when it comes to the machinations of politics within government, so I'm hoping they mortally wound each other. Like the Ryans of the world might be powerless to deal with the ravenous base during an election, but they can bring out the knives for you in committee, or...something.

If Ryan gets primaried by a Trumpist and loses, we have a problem.

*all credit to erisfree. I like "katamari of [some evil thing]" rather than "terrible Nazi zombie virus of the mind," because it seems less...doom-y, somehow
posted by schadenfrau at 9:04 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


If I ever have to meet Jeff Sessions I'm going to take a shitload of pleasure in dressing like a caricature of a prim and proper WASP-y lady and smiling demurely while I tell him about the time I held down a full time job and earned a promotion while also earning a college degree with honors and taking care of an aging grandparent, all while high as a fucking kite every single day on the demon weed. Not that it'll make any kind of difference to him. I'd just really enjoy watching his creepy face freeze in polite horror. Fuck that guy.
posted by palomar at 9:04 AM on March 15 [38 favorites]


What's the popular wisdom about contacting your reps about bills that are still in committee, when your rep is not actually on that committee?

(I fucking hate committees, btw. I understand why they exist but it feels like I have no representation on 80% of what is happening right now.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:05 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


He didn't kowtow to the God Emperor quickly or passionately enough. They know he still hates the guy and is only faking it until he makes it.

He deserves an Oscar. That star-fucking grin he had behind Trump during the entire Congressional address was something special. There should have been cartoon hearts pouring out of his eyes.
posted by archimago at 9:05 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the far right hated Ryan before trump's glorious rise. Eh, I hate him too so fuck it.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:09 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


On the subject of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao's plan to sell off our highways to private entities, how's that working out for Hampton Roads? With tunnel toll bills as high as $18,000, women plead for relief in Portsmouth and Norfolk:
When Virginia launched an infrastructure upgrade and tolls at the Midtown and Downtown tunnels, critics warned that Hampton Roads’ poorest drivers would shoulder the heaviest burden. People who rely on the tubes have some of the lowest incomes in the state, which means they have less to spend on travel. Portsmouth workers like Reynolds cross the Elizabeth River more than anyone else because the city's job base is much smaller than those in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
[...]
Virginia partnered with ERC to build a second Midtown Tunnel tube, renovate the existing tunnels and extend the MLK Freeway to Interstate 264. In exchange for operating and maintaining the roads, ERC gets an average annual profit of 13.5 percent over 58 years.
[...]
Norfolk resident Tamaia Camp owes $18,396 for 981 crossings. She said she was earning about $1,000 per month as a cafeteria worker at Douglass Park Elementary before she quit in April because a fifth-grader punched her in the back while she was pregnant. She said she was already recovering from a back injury at Wal-Mart, her previous employer.
[...]
To crack down on scofflaws, ERC puts registration holds on vehicles whose owners don’t pay on time.

CEO Greg Woodsmall and CFO Anthony Evans wrote in a Jan. 27 financial report that the company wasn't collecting enough money from drivers, so "DMV registration holds and court actions are now fully ramped up. A newly recruited internal collections team are improving results."

That's what happened to Camp, so now her family moves around Norfolk on foot.
Of course, it's probably purely a coincidence that Portsmouth is a majority Black city. So this is what we have to look forward to: selective sales of our highway systems that target the poorest Americans and racial minorities, a mountain of bullshit fees and "billing errors" that always seem to work out in favor of the toll operators and zero oversight by whatever minimal regulatory bodies that were supposed to look after this in the first place.
posted by indubitable at 9:11 AM on March 15 [81 favorites]


I'm still unclear on why the far right hates Ryan so much, but I imagine they'll hate anyone.

As with anything, it's a mix of things; most recently, as much as Democrats criticized Ryan for attacking-but-still- basically-backing Trump in the 2016 election, the far right wing of the Republican leadership criticized Ryan for technically-backing-but-also-attacking Trump in the 2016 election. But that's really only the latest stage of a long-running disagreement between Ryan and the GOP Freedom Caucus, which has tried to unseat him as Speaker; it's essentially a disagreement over what the Republican party is and what it should fight for, and in that context it's not so much that the far right 'hates Ryan,' exactly, as that it hates the fact that the Republican party isn't farther right than it already is, and that it hates the fact that establishment Republicans haven't embraced the policies and approaches that the farthest-right members of the party have been calling for, since before Ryan became Speaker -- the same complaints were being leveled at John Boehner before he resigned; the same complaints drove the debt limit fight, the government shutdown, and the sequester compromise.

You know how there are Republicans in the House attacking the AHCA as being 'Obamcare lite?' These are many of the same people who didn't want to raise the debt ceiling; these are many of the same people who would rather see the government cease to function than compromise with anyone, Democrat or Republican. These are the people who actually wanted to repeal the ACA entirely, while Ryan and much of the GOP leadership were, apparently, lying about that, and using 'repeal' only as a talking point to push some specific (AND TERRIBLE, TO BE CLEAR) reforms of the ACA.

Why those particular divisions exist within the Republican party and why divisions over what, on the outside, seem to be not terribly different positions have spun into hatred and name-calling is left as an exercise for the reader, but it's a hatred less about individuals than it is party ideology and governance.
posted by cjelli at 9:13 AM on March 15 [13 favorites]


Id like to take Sessions on a tour of heroin ravaged Louisville, Kentucky and demand an explanation for the lack of similar numbers of marijuana deaths.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:30 AM on March 15 [21 favorites]


Please don't ruin Katamaris for me too folks.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:31 AM on March 15 [19 favorites]




My admittedly lay-understanding is that if climate change keeps accelerating at its current WTF-y pace, we're going to see a lot more migration from the burning or submerged or famished or poor places to the places with existing infrastructure that have not been totally ravaged or made unlivable by a convulsing planet.

Immigration to the US stabilized under Obama, largely due to economic downturn of 2008. It's a mistake to assume that the United States is as attractive an option for the Americas as Europe is for Africans and the Middle Easterners.

People who migrate to the US would be doing so knowing they will be a marginalized and criminalized underclass (hell even the legal immigrants are a rights restricted underclass). The problem the Europeans are grappling with is a problem of assimilation of immigrants that they grants full rights to.
posted by srboisvert at 9:36 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


...except in some instances it feels, from a great distance and impressionistically, a lot like how African-Americans had "full rights" in 1930.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:40 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


> Why those particular divisions exist within the Republican party and why divisions over what, on the outside, seem to be not terribly different positions have spun into hatred and name-calling is left as an exercise for the reader, but it's a hatred less about individuals than it is party ideology and governance.

I wonder if this is one of the few rare situations where it's useful to think in terms of the Russian Revolution. Lenin's (mediocre) book _The State and Revolution_ is in large part devoted to arguing with anarchists who believed the proper course was to smash the state immediately; Lenin's position was that the dictatorship of the proletariat must take hold of the state apparatus and maintain it until the bourgeoisie were entirely suppressed.

Ryan, in this scenario, finds himself uncomfortably positioned as the Lenin of the bourgeoisie, taking and ruthlessly using state power to suppress all opposition to capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy. The Freedom Caucus are understood as something like anarchists, albeit anarchists with Black Hundredist leanings, demanding the immediate dissolution of the state without regard for whether preserving it will help them reach any particular goal.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:48 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


To me it has seemed for quite a while that the only successful* aspect of the GOP approach to immigration "reform" has been to render the country a less desirable place to visit/live.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:48 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


Just got an email from my unit's business administrator exhorting us to complete our annual Conflict of Interest forms. The fact that I, a lowly technology-maker-goer, have to annually report on whether or not I own any stock in anything that might be construed as a conflict of interest with stuff the university may or may not be developing in a lab somewhere, and that I have to do this every single year, yet apparently the President and his cronies do not is absurd.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:55 AM on March 15 [84 favorites]


The Freedom Caucus are understood as something like anarchists, albeit anarchists with Black Hundredist leanings, demanding the immediate dissolution of the state without regard for whether preserving it will help them reach any particular goal.

That's not at all the read I get of them. I think of them more as extreme ideological purists who are keen on inquisitorial purges of any and all heresy rather than anarchists.

Their product may be the same though.
posted by srboisvert at 9:58 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


It's a mistake to assume that the United States is as attractive an option for the Americas as Europe is for Africans and the Middle Easterners.

I realize the potential for derail here, but I see the next fifty years or so playing out as in the premise for Far North. As the Southern US becomes more flooded and unlivable, there will probably be massive amounts of US citizen migration towards northern states and Canada and Russia. Once this gains momentum, all bets are off. Far North describes just enough of a mass resettlement and vigilante justice system in the new Northern "Christian" settlements, and with a dash of prison camps and a city destroyed by radiation (or was it a virus?) to round out the picture. It's bleak, but I feel like it's prepared me emotionally for some bad times ahead. I've already planned for Far North, and anything less-bad will be great.

But yeah, it seems like Canada would do well to avoid our immigration policy mistakes. Because they're next.
posted by witchen at 10:01 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Yeah, they're only anarchists for the purposes of the analogy to the Russian Revolution. "anarchists for the bourgeoisie" isn't really a coherent political concept.

Really, the only thing you can say about bourgeois anarchists is that they make terrible roommates. literally the worst.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:04 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


I think of them more as extreme ideological purists who are keen on inquisitorial purges of any and all heresy rather than anarchists.

Yeah, I think trying to distinguish between "people who hate government and want to drown it in a bathtub" and "anarchists" may be a distinction without a difference.

But maybe -- "anarchists" like to believe that power vacuums can stay vacuums, that if they take down the current government, then no one will have power over them.

I think many Tea Partiers suffer from this same delusion, but at least some seem to realize that human nature abhors a power vacuum, and to (I think rightly) deduce that corporate power is likely to fill that vacuum, in the US. They are fine with this.

(Of course, in most places it's gangs and war lords, but corporations have a head start here.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:06 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


The fact that I, a lowly technology-maker-goer, have to annually report on whether or not I own any stock in anything that might be construed as a conflict of interest with stuff the university may or may not be developing in a lab somewhere, and that I have to do this every single year, yet apparently the President and his cronies do not is absurd.

One thing I hope Dems do if they ever get control of Congress again is to pass legislation mandating that the President and all members of the administration are subject to -all- laws and regulations regarding conflicts of interest. It's absolutely ridiculous that we've been depending on "norms" all this time. (Other things on the wish list: pass a new VRA, require that all Pres. candidates release (at least) the last 10 years of their tax returns in full, strengthen the anti-nepotism laws to cover all paid advisors, whether paid or not.)
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:10 AM on March 15 [38 favorites]


Are we still waiting on an announcement from Comey re FBI investigation into Trump/Trump campaign associates?
posted by birdheist at 10:13 AM on March 15


NYT: Rachel Maddow Lands a Scoop, Then Makes Viewers Wait


Wait, the NYT is complaining that Maddow made people wait a few minutes?

The same NYT that, literally, sat on a story proving Junior's lying about Iraq for months because they didn't think the truth about him should influence the 2004 elections?

That NYT?

Fuck the NYT.
posted by sotonohito at 10:15 AM on March 15 [22 favorites]


Anarchists want a self-organizing utopia, the Tea Partiers want Snow Crash.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:16 AM on March 15 [12 favorites]


The charges against the Yahoo hackers seem to be the FBI announcement.

We're going to be waiting indefinitely on any word from Comey re the supposed Tru o investigation. Comey has been Trump's man from the beginning.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:17 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


The Freedom Caucus are understood as something like anarchists

I feel like they fit more under the concept of anomie rather than anarchy. I think there have been some studies linking anomie and racism and authoritarianism, but I haven't read through them in depth [she said as she opened google scholar and neglected her actual work].
posted by melissasaurus at 10:22 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


>NYT: Rachel Maddow Lands a Scoop, Then Makes Viewers Wait


Wait, the NYT is complaining that Maddow made people wait a few minutes?

The same NYT that, literally, sat on a story proving Junior's lying about Iraq for months because they didn't think the truth about him should influence the 2004 elections? That NYT? Fuck the NYT.


No, the NYT is not doing that. If you read the actual article, rather than just the headline, the NYT's is criticizing other journalists for complaining that Maddow 'made people wait' for not-very-long-at-all, in the service of providing context to her reporting:
In the need-it-this-instant world of online news...[t]he wait, about 20 minutes in all, may have irked political reporters, but it was of a piece with the strategy Ms. Maddow has laid out for herself and her staff. In an interview last week, she described “a real sense of responsibility” to educate her 2.6 million-strong audience, particularly those who may be casual consumers of the news.
(If you did read the entire article and are responding to that, rather than just the headline, then I'm not sure what to tell you except that I don't read it as criticism of Maddow.)
posted by cjelli at 10:24 AM on March 15 [15 favorites]


I came here to see if John Marshall's analysis had been posted, and it has, but I think folks here are seriously underemphasizing what he says.

I mean, I get that it's easy to feel demoralized and that it feels like any kind of optimism has been forcibly burned away by the ongoing dumpster fire but...

It seems like the Republicans are in a very, very rough spot around Obamacare. I mean, the level of in-fighting that's already happening is a lot. The current bill is almost certain to fail.

And what then? Just the defeat (or more likely withdrawal) of the bill will add stress to the already high tension between the Republican factions. And it will be a big blow to Trump's ego (and therefore probably emotional stability) and his reputation as a winner.

The heart of the problem--the collision between Republican ideology, driven by the hard-liners in the Freedom Caucus and the reality that taking away health insurance from millions of Americans would be an ethical and political disaster--isn't going to go away and isn't easily solvable, for any skilled negotiator or consensus builder. And when the leader of your party is pretty much the opposite of a consensus builder...
posted by overglow at 10:25 AM on March 15 [12 favorites]


Could a single State - ideally a large "Purple" one (Ohio, Florida for example) make it a requirement to be on the Presidential ballot that candidates have released their tax returns? States seem to have a lot of discretion around this kind of thing but not sure where it ends?
posted by Rumple at 10:30 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


Blue-state lawmakers want to keep Trump off 2020 ballot unless he releases tax returns

"A pair of Maryland Democrats on Tuesday announced they would introduce a bill mandating the release of five years of tax returns, mirroring similar proposals in New York, Massachusetts, California and Maine."
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:33 AM on March 15 [39 favorites]


A recent poll from Quinnipiac University found 71 percent of voters think “the government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational use.”

Sessions said on Wednesday that he doesn’t care about being in step with trends.

“We’re not going to worry about being fashionable,” he said.


71% of the people is a "trend"? I get this is a representative republic, but does the voice of the people even factor into this at all?
posted by H. Roark at 10:34 AM on March 15 [15 favorites]


71% of the people is a "trend"? I get this is a representative republic, but does the voice of the people even factor into this at all?

Depends on which groups one considers to be people.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:35 AM on March 15 [27 favorites]


Or states rights? (Usually a conservative rallying cry)
posted by BentFranklin at 10:36 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Re: Far right turning on Ryan...

It is a hallmark of extremism that they hate those most similar, but not identical, to themselves more than their polar opposites.
posted by BentFranklin at 10:37 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


The current bill is almost certain to fail. ... And when the leader of your party is pretty much the opposite of a consensus builder.

To throw in the opinion of someone who voted for their first Democratic presidential candidate this election, this is a useful talking point. I was probably a not-very-good-conservative to begin with, but when I hear about a candidate who doesn't care about policy, I feel obligated to look into my other options. And when I hear that one of those other options very much cares about policy, I start thinking she might not be so bad after all.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:37 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


I guess I'm back in the election threads again. Run! Save yourselves before you get sucked back in!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:38 AM on March 15 [14 favorites]


Dear US American MeFites,

Today is (almost was as it's ending in 20 minutes) election day here in the Netherlands. We really really don't need a little Donald of our own.

Can you please spare a good thought/vibe/whatever it is you do for us? I'm worried. Thank you so much.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:39 AM on March 15 [98 favorites]


Could a single State - ideally a large "Purple" one (Ohio, Florida for example) make it a requirement to be on the Presidential ballot that candidates have released their tax returns?

From OnceUponATime's link:
Hoylman and other lawmakers say Laurence Tribe, a constitutional-law scholar at Harvard University, told them requiring tax disclosures would be constitutional under the broad powers that states have to control ballot access.
However, U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton holds that states cannot impose additional requirements on candidates for Congress, and that would likely hold for the Presidency as well, especially if it were clearly an anti-Trump measure. Three of the five who ruled against term limits are still on the court, too.
posted by Etrigan at 10:39 AM on March 15 [9 favorites]


“We’re not going to worry about being fashionable,” he said.

im giving myself a bloody nose trying to set this stupid smug racist baby on fire with my mind
posted by poffin boffin at 10:41 AM on March 15 [37 favorites]


> Could a single State - ideally a large "Purple" one (Ohio, Florida for example) make it a requirement to be on the Presidential ballot that candidates have released their tax returns? States seem to have a lot of discretion around this kind of thing but not sure where it ends?

A bunch of states are already writing bills saying that presidential candidates must release their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot (I think Hawaii was the first... not sure if any non-blue states are participating).

Unfortunately, it does not seem at all clear that such a requirement would be constitutional. Even if it were, I can't imagine our institutions actually enforcing such rule.

Incidentally, while googling around for links about the constitutionality of a tax return release requirement, I found a right-wing site that dismissed the idea and said the bills are being written "in response to the demands of the far-left so-called “Resistance.”" Which I found very pleasing, in a "u triggered bro?" way. So many hyphenated adjectives indicating contempt! and then scorn quotes to top it off! The fascists really don't like the idea of a Resistance, do they? Just can't handle it.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:41 AM on March 15 [11 favorites]


witchen: haven't read Far North, but it also strikes me that Octavia Butler's Earthseed duo, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, also fits well.

Nnedi Okorafor pointed this out.
posted by anem0ne at 10:41 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Dear Too-Ticky, I am very frightened of DutchDonald, too! I am sparing many many thoughts and good vibes. Godspeed, you guys.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:43 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Could a single State - ideally a large "Purple" one (Ohio, Florida for example) make it a requirement to be on the Presidential ballot that candidates have released their tax returns?

I'd be sort of surprised if it were constitutional -- there's an analog in _Thornton_ where the court said that (1) the only qualifications for [legislative] office are those in the Constitution, and that if you want to change those you need to change the Constitution, and (2) laws that restrict ballot access instead of formally forbidding a run count as qualifications.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:44 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]




I recently had an illuminating experience...
<snip>
...Tell me again how BIG GOVERNMENT is the problem, GOP. I fucking dare you.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:56 AM on March 14 [195 favorites +] [!]

I will never ever for the life of me figure out why my dear neighbours to the south are the only country in the world that will trumpet the need for free markets and champion the growth, mergers & acquisitions that seem imperative for efficiency and (yet) completely fail to apply the principles of economies-of-scale to means of protecting the commons & common good.

Why is it that markets like health insurance which, when administrated as a universal single payer market, can both most efficiently distribute & minimize risk saving money for every individual and the culture as a whole are somehow demonized because a individual can't be made to reap all of the benefits?

Why isn't there more outrage instead of the usual weird-laughing-and-shrugging-thing when a media person does half heartedly point out that such and such an entity has successfully leveraged a situation involving public assumption of risk for purely private profit?

I live on a island south of the 49th and the degree to which your country differs from mine (not that they're different, just the magnitude) never ceases to astound and confuse me. I love so many of your individuals, but collectively you are bizarre and frightening.
posted by mce at 10:47 AM on March 15 [26 favorites]


T.D. Strange: Trump v US intelligence: growing feud puts NSA's legislative priority at risk
The escalating feud between Donald Trump and US intelligence is now putting the top 2017 legislative priority of the intelligence agencies at risk.

At the end of the year, a broad legal authority permitting sweeping surveillance is set to expire. The National Security Agency considers the authority, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa), pivotal to fighting terrorism and stopping espionage. Civil libertarians consider the measure – the wellspring of the NSA’s Prism and “upstream” mass communications-data collection – unconstitutional.

The typical balance of power on Capitol Hill over surveillance is such that opponents of renewing Section 702 face strong political headwinds. The measure was reauthorized with minimal challenge in 2012.

Now the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee has thrown reauthorization into question after extensive leaking about Trump and Russia that the president and his Capitol Hill allies have blamed on the US intelligence community.

Asked at a Tuesday press conference about the renewal of section 702 in light of ongoing leaks concerning Trump and Russia, Devin Nunes said, “I think it’s very problematic.”

He continued: “I’ve expressed this concern to the IC [intelligence community]. We have sent them many followup questions as it relates to intelligence that’s been collected. And we expect prompt answers. I think we also expect unprecedented answers from them of the information that we’re going to be asking for.”
Huh. This is an interesting turn of events, in favor of the public at large.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:51 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


However, U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton holds that states cannot impose additional requirements on candidates for Congress, and that would likely hold for the Presidency as well, especially if it were clearly an anti-Trump measure. Three of the five who ruled against term limits are still on the court, too.

Including Thomas, who argued that since the printing of ballots was not itself the same as barring a candidate -- because write-ins were still possible, and a write-in candidate could still win election -- the law did not actually impose a restriction on anyone's choice for President.

Following that line of reasoning, one would assume that Thomas would also be alright with holding out ballot access as preconditioned on tax information disclosure: it does not impose a requirement on the candidate, it imposes a requirement on ballot access. I'm not saying that's a good or bad line of reasoning, just that the dissent's argument there would seem to apply here, too.

Separately from that, I think, personally, that there's a qualitative difference between imposing term limits (whether as a matter of candidacy requirements or ballot access), which create an actual condition that some people may be unable to meet (by virtue of having already served), thereby barring them entirely because of who they are, and requiring candidates to release tax forms, which is a requirement that every candidate is able to meet -- it would bar candidates (or ballot access) on the basis of their choice to release or not release their tax forms. Or, put another way, if states imposed a one-term limit, then Donald Trump would not be able to be on the ballot in 2020 -- period. If states imposed a disclosure requirement, then it's up to Trump to decide if he wants to be on the ballot or not -- and at that point, he gets to disclose or not disclose, but he's not actually barred from the candidacy.
posted by cjelli at 10:52 AM on March 15 [11 favorites]


I posted a separate thread for the Netherlands verkiezingen, Too-Ticky. I hope the hand counting goes well tonight!
posted by autopilot at 10:54 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


mce my theory is, our government is overrun with members of an Ayn Randian death cult that worships money and those who have it. They team up with the racist Puritan shitheads we've always had to make things terrible for everyone who doesn't have money to shelter them.

The greater good, public service, the future: these are all seen as enemies to the accumulation of wealth. It makes no sense, because on a ruined planet all money gets you is a nice hole in the ground to die in more slowly, but then, cults tend to be like that.
posted by emjaybee at 10:54 AM on March 15 [16 favorites]


Huh. This is an interesting turn of events, in favor of the public at large.

This is definitely not the way I wanted to see FISA end, but I'll take whatever silver lining I can find right now.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:57 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


mce, part of my theory is that this country embodies "the end justifies the means" to an extent rarely seen elsewhere.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:58 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


This is definitely not the way I wanted to see FISA end, but I'll take whatever silver lining I can find right now.


Reminder, this is Devin "There’s been major crimes committed, and it's not Trump's ties to Russia, it's the fact we have leaks" Nunes now saying that the NSA has gone too far.

This is also Devin "Don't shackle the NSA now that we have enemies in the Middle East" Nunes, but that was waaay back in 2014, when "These groups (lead by Islamist warlords) threaten U.S. interests in the region and beyond," not in 2017, when this group (lead by the Russian dictator in presidents clothing) threatens democracies in the US and abroad.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


I came here to see if John Marshall's analysis had been posted, and it has, but I think folks here are seriously underemphasizing what he says.
...
It seems like the Republicans are in a very, very rough spot around Obamacare. I mean, the level of in-fighting that's already happening is a lot. The current bill is almost certain to fail.


This is an interesting point, especially in light of mid-term elections. I know it's exhausting to think about, but while we are only 4 months out from the previous election, there are only 24 months between elections, so we're 1/6 of the way there already. And election campaigning begins in earnest in... May or so. So it's really a bit more than a year away.

In that time, this "repeal" clusterfuck will continue to grind on and pit various factions of Republicans against each other while the Democrats (please, Jesus!) are united against it. The next several months at least is going to be constant bickering between "Trump wants to take away 24M people's health care" and "Trump failed to repeal Obamacare" - two losing narratives for Republicans to run on.

It would probably be a bit much to be optimistic, but I do see a real possibility of Republicans digging their own grave here.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:01 AM on March 15 [11 favorites]


I do see a real possibility of Republicans digging their own grave here.

I suppose the problem is that they seem to be digging an unnecessarily large grave.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:04 AM on March 15 [47 favorites]


Guardian talks to David Cay Johnston: Journalist who got Trump's tax return: 'All I cared was whether it was authentic' He got the document last week, and sent a copy to Spicer hours before airtime to confirm that it was real, on background.
Spicer ignored him. Johnston emailed Spicer again shortly before broadcast, he said, and again received no reply. Then the Trump team briefed the nation’s White House correspondents on what was about to be reported elsewhere – a break from the typical rules of engagement, but not unheard of as a defensive PR tactic.

“He went and took what I gave him and gave it to other reporters,” said Johnston. “That’s as unethical as it gets. It tells me that the Trump White House lacks honor.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:10 AM on March 15 [54 favorites]


It tells me that the Trump White House lacks honor

Are we giving out understatement-of-the-year awards yet? I know it's only March but we might have a winner.
posted by dis_integration at 11:12 AM on March 15 [54 favorites]


(As a guilty pleasure, especially when it seems trouble is brewing for Republicans, I read RedState... there's a post there arguing that Ryan should step down as Speaker immediately... and in the comments people are arguing about whether Ryan or Trump is the bigger RINO.)
posted by overglow at 11:13 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


Oh, now you see the WH lacks honor. Not Sessions lying about contacts with Russia, then everyone spinning his lies as less than substantial issues. Not the hiring and firing of Flynn. Not Kellyanne Conway telling people to buy Ivanka's shit after the angry orange shouted at Nordstroms.

Really, now?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:14 AM on March 15 [14 favorites]


Can we get stats on how much of the proposed rollback of the ACA tax on upper earners ($200K single and $250K couple) is going to flow to high cost of living states like California and New York? We know they hate California and New York. I think it would irk some of the red state reps and their constituents if we figured out where the majority of the one quarter millionaires actually live. Yeah, Warren Buffet has a house in Nebraska, but an awful lot of this money will flow to the coasts, not the middle of the country where people feel left behind and not taken care of by the government.

(I know this is mean-spirited, but I don't know how to wrestle with a pig or punch a nazi without getting dirty and scuffed up.)
posted by puddledork at 11:19 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


Trump’s hiring the Bear Stearns economist who promised the economy was fine right before it went bankrupt ~ Famous last words: “Don’t panic about the credit market.”

But despite decent paper credentials, Malpass has a striking track record of poor judgment about major economic issues over the past decade — cheerleading the economy on the verge of the Great Recession while warning of a collapse just as recovery was getting underway.
posted by futz at 11:20 AM on March 15 [13 favorites]


>> U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton holds that states cannot impose additional requirements on candidates for Congress, and that would likely hold for the Presidency as well, especially if it were clearly an anti-Trump measure. Three of the five who ruled against term limits are still on the court, too.

> Including Thomas, who argued that since the printing of ballots was not itself the same as barring a candidate -- because write-ins were still possible, and a write-in candidate could still win election -- the law did not actually impose a restriction on anyone's choice for President.


I understand that people who really dig their Supreme Court jurisprudence admire a lot of Thomas' writing, but this is the kind of lawyerly hair-splitting bullshit that gets me really ticked off. By this reasoning, though, a state could require that someone has to release their tax returns to havetheir names printed on the ballot, but no such requirement is imposed on write-in candidates, except that only completely legible votes with the candidate's full name will be counted as valid. And there it is, a literacy test I can get behind.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Trump's re-election bid was hoist by the petard primed by Clarence Thomas.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:20 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


I don't know how to wrestle with a pig or punch a nazi without getting dirty and scuffed up.
It looks like, if we're patient, the pig will punch the nazi while the nazi's wrestling with the pig.
posted by Floydd at 11:22 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


> Wouldn't it be wonderful if Trump's re-election bid was hoist by the petard primed by Clarence Thomas.

Although I'm still rooting for a much earlier "Eh, I'm bored, let Pence do it" exit, followed by a bear.
Betsy DeVos, a distraught nation turns its eyes to you - where are those grizzlies?

posted by RedOrGreen at 11:24 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


I understand that people who really dig their Supreme Court jurisprudence admire a lot of Thomas' writing,

.... oh my god, what, really? i'm scared to google this.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:24 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


"Steven T. Mnuchin, Mr. Trump’s Treasury secretary, gave assurances as recently as last month that “there would be no absolute tax cut for the upper class.” During Mr. Mnuchin’s Senate confirmation hearing, Democrats referred to the promise as the “Mnuchin rule.” That tenet, critics say, has now been violated".

source
posted by H. Roark at 11:25 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


>> I understand that people who really dig their Supreme Court jurisprudence admire a lot of Thomas' writing,
> .... oh my god, what, really? i'm scared to google this.


Yeah, sorry, I'm with you on this, but ughhh: "... Thomas has repeatedly led the court back to the original meaning of the Constitution with thought-provoking separate writings that explore the historical record."
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:30 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Is it possible that Donald Trump died during a bizarre urine-related accident back in 2013 while hosting the Miss Universe in Russia and Putin replaced him with a look-alike mole the same way the Illuminati replaced Paul McCartney after his death in 1966? Not that I'd want to start a rumor.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:31 AM on March 15 [12 favorites]


It tells me that the Trump White House lacks honor...

Oh, now you see the WH lacks honor. Not Sessions lying about contacts with Russia, then everyone spinning his lies as less than substantial issues. Not the hiring and firing of Flynn. Not Kellyanne Conway telling people to buy Ivanka's shit after the angry orange shouted at Nordstroms.


Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who's been covering Trump's financial fuckery since the early 1990s. I think his simple statement speaks more loudly than a thousand screaming clickbait headlines about how some TV commentator "eviscerated" the president by calling him orange or whatever.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:33 AM on March 15 [46 favorites]


Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska talked to his constituents in an open town hall meeting, which is now news-worthy in itself, as is his interest in posing questions to his constituents like who is right to be angry, the farmer with the higher health costs under ACA, or the woman with the pre-existing condition who said ACA is "a godsend" for her. He's keen on debating the AHCA, but ..
It is discomforting that this is so rushed. I'll be honest with you. It would be better to have more time to unpack some of the thoughtful questions and challenges that you're raising, as well as others. I would prefer to have that time. But we are where we are. And the House has acted. And this is just a start.
Dude, you're part of the system. You can put the brakes on this and slow it down. That said, I rather enjoyed Steve Inskeep trying to put words into Fortenberry's mouth:
INSKEEP: Were you on your way to saying that if you're in this audience and you're going to end up under this change to the health care law paying more in insurance premiums, which undoubtedly will be the case for at least some people, that, well, that's your responsibility and pay up? Is that where you were going with that?

FORTENBERRY: No. [Detour into personal stories that show "We have to have a system that's fair and works for everyone. What we are currently doing is not sustainable. It does help some people but it hurts many others."]
Also, he failed to answer Inskeep's question of taking money out of Medicaid in future years would likely make it even less sustainable, instead saying "we'll let the States figure it out."

As an indirect reply of sorts, Governors in charge of expansion states, 16 of them Republican, have also been in favor of retaining the [Medicaid] expansion. Many have acknowledged the program's importance to their states in recommendation letters solicited by Republican congressional leaders.

And the block grant is bullshit, as said in kinder words by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:35 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


“He went and took what I gave him and gave it to other reporters,” said Johnston. “That’s as unethical as it gets. It tells me that the Trump White House lacks honor.”

This is infuriating. What part of "the free press is the enemy" is the free press having a hard time understanding?
posted by LastOfHisKind at 11:36 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


Can we get stats on how much of the proposed rollback of the ACA tax on upper earners ($200K single and $250K couple) is going to flow to high cost of living states like California and New York? We know they hate California and New York.
...
I know this is mean-spirited, but I don't know how to wrestle with a pig or punch a nazi without getting dirty and scuffed up.


Two thoughts: First, this is a really good idea and a great way to steal back the framing on income inequality and tax cuts for the wealthy in general; it takes money out of the pockets of Real Americans and hands it over to the Coastal Elites! Second, the fact that an idea as common-sense as this might be considered "mean-spirited" is a great example of the timidity that gets us steamrolled. That's not even playing dirty, it's just refusing to politely acquiesce to your opponents' worldview.
posted by contraption at 11:38 AM on March 15 [9 favorites]


>It tells me that the Trump White House lacks honor...

Oh, now you see the WH lacks honor.


Given that Johnston has been covering Trump critically for more than thirty years, I think that line should probably be read that as 'here's yet another thing that tells me' rather than 'here's the first thing.'

Here's, for example, an interview with Johnston from last September:
I did not appreciate, until I worked on the book, that while Donald holds himself out as a devout Christian—"No one reads the Bible more than me"—while he has all these pastors embracing him as a good Christian man, Donald aggressively, thoroughly and at great length, in many forums, denounces Christianity. His personal motto is "always get revenge," whereas the message of Jesus Christ was "turn the other cheek." And these ministers, some of whom I’ve written to and haven’t—they haven’t responded at all—continue to embrace him. And I find it very troubling. Donald has beguiled them with flattery. If they continue, now that my book is out, if they know about it, to do this, they are then deceiving their flocks, and that’s evil. But Donald himself doesn’t care about these things. He will tell you any lie. He can’t quote a single line from the Bible. Not one. And yet he says, "No one reads the Bible more than Donald Trump." If you ask him, "Well, what do you like in the Bible?" "Oh, there’s so many. There’s so many. I just—there are so many, I can’t choose."
I think it's safe to say that Johnston has no illusions about Trump.
posted by cjelli at 11:39 AM on March 15 [75 favorites]


Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who's been covering Trump's financial fuckery since the early 1990s. I think his simple statement speaks more loudly than a thousand screaming clickbait headlines about how some TV commentator "eviscerated" the president by calling him orange or whatever.

Thats great, but I'm still confused why it took him almost two months into this garbage fire of a presidency to say the White House has no honor.

This is infuriating. What part of "the free press is the enemy" is the free press having a hard time understanding?

Exactly. That tweet was on Feb. 17, 2017, almost a month ago.

Still, I'll take all the voices we can get to say "the White House is without honor," in the off-chance that it changes something.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:40 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


He went and took what I gave him and gave it to other reporters,” said Johnston. “That’s as unethical as it gets. It tells me that the Trump White House lacks honor.”

This is why I hate journalists. The Trump White House lacks honor because they violated a social protocol where journalists expect a chummy relationship with the people they're supposed to be watching that will protect their "scoops"? Not because he's a goddamn fascist?
posted by corb at 11:41 AM on March 15 [12 favorites]




it...it's okay to point out the devil in the details sometimes. really.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:43 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


I'd be sort of surprised if it were constitutional -- there's an analog in _Thornton_ where the court said that (1) the only qualifications for [legislative] office are those in the Constitution, and that if you want to change those you need to change the Constitution, and (2) laws that restrict ballot access instead of formally forbidding a run count as qualifications.

I don't think it's that simple; states have pretty broad authority when it comes to ballot access. Consider... I decide in 2020 to run for President under the banner of the Metafilter People's Front of Judea Party. I go to California, New York, and Texas and inform them of my decision. Am I then on the ballots? Why not? After all, I meet all the qualifications in the Constitution.

Interestingly if the right of states to require tax disclosure were upheld it may well rely in part on Bush-v-Gore.
posted by Justinian at 11:44 AM on March 15


Yeah, I don't really understand the reaction about the "without honor" thing. It seems clear from context that he was not saying, "Until now, I thought this guy was great!" If we had asked him for a reaction about all the other bad stuff when it occurred, he probably would have criticized those things, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:48 AM on March 15 [22 favorites]


FORTENBERRY: ...What we are currently doing is not sustainable. It does help some people but it hurts many others.

So...you're swapping it for a system that is not sustainable, helps fewer people, and hurts larger numbers?
posted by nubs at 11:49 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Ugggh, my local absentee Representative has finally scheduled a town hall.

At 8:30 on a Saturday morning.
posted by Etrigan at 11:49 AM on March 15 [9 favorites]


So...you're swapping it for a system that is not sustainable, helps fewer people, and hurts larger numbers?

Oh, don't worry. When enough young people are attracted to health care, everything will turn up daises. Or somthing.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:51 AM on March 15


Yeah, I don't really understand the reaction about the "without honor" thing. It seems clear from context that he was not saying, "Until now, I thought this guy was great!"

On reflection, I find that I'm really more upset about "that's as unethical as it gets" applied to chummy journalist social protocols.

Because that's the thing, right? This guy is supposedly a journalist crusading for truth? But he still sent the tax return to Spicey to confirm, because he's used to a friendly relationship with the people he's supposed to be a watchdog against. And that let Spicey get ahead of the problem. His stupid chummy protocols did real damage to the truth, and he's complaining about how they were violated when they themselves are the problem.
posted by corb at 11:53 AM on March 15 [9 favorites]


8:30 on a Saturday morning sounds better than the 2 in the afternoon on workdays you see for a lot of "Town Halls". At least working people can get to the Saturday one, even if they have to wake up a bit early.
posted by sotonohito at 11:56 AM on March 15 [13 favorites]


Huh. 17 Republicans sign resolution to fight climate change.

Several Republicans who signed the resolution represent parts of the country most affected. Curbelo hails from Miami, where streets regularly flood at high tide due to rising sea levels.

“This issue was regrettably politicized some 20 or so years ago, and we are in the process of taking some of the politics out, reducing the noise, and focusing on the challenge and on the potential solutions,” Curbelo said in a call with journalists on Tuesday.


"Regrettably politicizes" that is some A++ weaseling out of YOUR party's responsibility here, Curbelo. But as climate change is an emergency, I welcome any signs of sanity by anyone with an R after their name.
posted by emjaybee at 11:56 AM on March 15 [56 favorites]


"Steven T. Mnuchin, Mr. Trump’s Treasury secretary, gave assurances as recently as last month that “there would be no absolute tax cut for the upper class.” During Mr. Mnuchin’s Senate confirmation hearing, Democrats referred to the promise as the “Mnuchin rule.” That tenet, critics say, has now been violated".

It's not violated because Republicans consider $250,000 to $1 million income as middle class.
posted by JackFlash at 12:00 PM on March 15 [10 favorites]


Thats great, but I'm still confused why it took him almost two months into this garbage fire of a presidency to say the White House has no honor.

Because if you've been reporting on how Donald Trump is without honor for more than three decades, it isn't necessary to publicly clarify that this continues to be the case. Reading anything that Johnston has written about Trump up to this point makes it very, very, very clear that this particular statement is a continuation of what he was saying about Trump all through 2016 and 2015, within the context of Trump's presidential run, and not a departure from from some prior faith-in-Trump's-honor.

If anyone is responding to the precise wording of Johnston's statement without looking at his record, I'd really encourage you to step back and read it in a wider context, because it reads drastically different if you've read Johnston talking about this exact topic for years than if you're reading it as 'J. Random reporter discovers Trump imperfect, fallible.'

On reflection, I find that I'm really more upset about "that's as unethical as it gets" applied to chummy journalist social protocols.

Again, I'd really stress here that Johnston has been reporting on Trump's tax fraud, racism, alleged mob ties, and on and on and on for thirty years. Trump has, Johnston has said, called him personally and threatened to sue him over past coverage. This isn't 'being chummy,' this is being responsible and giving the subject of a story the chance to comment and confirm, and, hand-in-hand with that, doing everything by-the-book so that he, Johnston, can't be accused of cutting corners. Even if you think the Johnston is getting the severity of the matter wrong, Spicer and Trump are still the ones in the wrong here and it would be so, so great to focus on, say, Trump's unethical tax practices, or Spicer's unethical relationship with the press, instead of criticizing someone who has been attacking Trump for three decades for being 'too chummy' with him.

Johnston is not Trump's chum.
posted by cjelli at 12:00 PM on March 15 [81 favorites]


Donald Trump on witness list for civil case involving billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

-- Donald Trump has been place on the witness list for a civil trial involving billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, a lawyer involved in the case has claimed.

-- He said there is evidence that at least one former employee at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, was recruited by an associate of Epstein to become involved in alleged sex offences.

-- “Epstein’s phone directory from his computer contains 14 phone numbers for Donald Trump, including emergency numbers, car numbers, and numbers to Trump’s security guard and houseman,” the affidavit reportedly claims.

-- It also quotes an interview with Mr Trump, featured in New York Magazine, in which he said: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it, Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”


And Trump's Labor Secretary pick, Alexander Acosta, gave Epstein a very light sentence and will likely face questions about it at his confirmation hearing. Everywhere you look in this administration you find something unpalatable or illegal.
posted by futz at 12:04 PM on March 15 [51 favorites]


This isn't 'being chummy,' this is being responsible and giving the subject of a story the chance to comment and confirm, and, hand-in-hand with that, doing everything by-the-book so that he, Johnston, can't be accused of cutting corners.

It's also necessary, as the George W. Bush National Guard story was shut down after the authenticity of the documents Rather presented were questioned, despite the fact that the entire episode never proved that Bush actually had done his military duty. Johnston submitted the tax return for confirmation, and Spicer, as press secretary, is fully aware of the norms he's supposed to operate under. Johnston here is signaling what so many have said -- the danger of the Trump Regime is that they shred norms that have checked power for decades.
posted by Gelatin at 12:05 PM on March 15 [20 favorites]


this is being responsible and giving the subject of a story the chance to comment and confirm,

True, but as a reporter I'm of two minds about that standard as it applies to this case.

1) Contacting the subject of an article to get comment/confirmation before publishing is generally good practice, and remains so even in the Trump administration -- reporters need to be open to the possibility that leakers may be giving them bad info, and counter-evidence can prevent overreaching or outright false reporting that would cause more damage to the press than to their actual target. For instance, AP notably contacted the White House the night before publishing their story on DHS memos implementing the first travel ban, and and the fact that the administration could have commented to them and didn't helped defang Spicer's post-publication attacks on the article.

2) When you're just running a document dump and comments from the administration won't add anything, as seems to have been the case with Maddow's story, what's the point? You're not going to preserve your relationship with the White House by following protocol even for stories where it's not useful, because they already hate you.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:07 PM on March 15 [6 favorites]


I dunno, I'll take David Cay Johnston's maybe-slightly-too-cautious-and-deferential approach over Julian Assange's "radical transparency"-as-propaganda any time. Just to draw one possible comparison.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:11 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Sessions also calls marijuana a "life-wrecking dependency...that’s only slightly less awful" than heroin.
There's part of me hoping that when he falls from power, my country will be at the point that I can light up a joint legally and watch the news coverage.
Move to the West Coast! You can do that right now. Pick, a state, any state.
posted by msalt at 12:12 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


The Senate hearing on Russian interference in elections (broadly, not Trump-related per se) is happening now; questioning the panelists/witnesses just started. CSPAN link.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:12 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Sessions also calls marijuana a "life-wrecking dependency...that’s only slightly less awful" than heroin.

There's part of me hoping that when he falls from power, my country will be at the point that I can light up a joint legally and watch the news coverage.

Move to the West Coast! You can do that right now. Pick, a state, any state.


That's assuming that Sessions won't last long enough to fuck that all up.
posted by Etrigan at 12:15 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


One thing I hope Dems do if they ever get control of Congress again is to pass legislation mandating that the President and all members of the administration are subject to -all- laws and regulations regarding conflicts of interest.

I don't think state laws requiring tax disclosure would be unconsitutional. Requirements for a number of signatures to get on the ballot were not unconsitutional, and seem like a much closer analogy than an absolute bar on anyone who has served two terms. The conflict of interest law is not in the consitution, either.

But I think it might be easier to get Congress to pass such a bill, especially after AHCA goes down in flames. How many Republicans really want to say they voted against conflict of interest laws applying to the president?

The flip side of warring on somewhat moderate Republicans and even people like Paul Ryan is that those Republicans aren't bound to you any more. They already know you're going to primary them, so they've got nothing to lose.
posted by msalt at 12:16 PM on March 15


One thing I hope Dems do if they ever get control of Congress again is to pass legislation mandating that the President and all members of the administration are subject to -all- laws and regulations regarding conflicts of interest.

The issue in that regard isn't a lack of laws.
posted by Etrigan at 12:17 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]



>>There's part of me hoping that when he falls from power, my country will be at the point that I can light up a joint legally and watch the news coverage.

>Move to the West Coast! You can do that right now. Pick, a state, any state.


I am not planning any move to the US anytime in the foreseeable or not so foreseeable future; but thanks - I like an awful lot of you that live there. Happy to stay in Canada and try to stem the populist tide from washing away our somewhat sane, stable governance here.
posted by nubs at 12:21 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


I've pretty much put the Maddow show back into the "this flavor of prolefeed is not for me" pile. Maddow seems like a genuinely brilliant/good person — I'd vote for her for any office, in a heartbeat — but the talk-radio-on-the-tv style of her show makes it very hard for me to watch. I hope it's effective propaganda, and it very well might actually be effective propaganda, but I don't really want to watch it myself.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:22 PM on March 15 [18 favorites]


MeFi has now corrupted me to the point that when I think of the words "trump" and "honor" I think of this. [NSFW - it's THAT Oglaf strip]
posted by Ber at 12:23 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Happy to stay in Canada

Oh sure, you like us when you can smoke weed, but for some reason not when we're a terrifying pit of rabid fascists about to get a neutered-CDC bird flu outbreak
posted by Greg Nog at 12:24 PM on March 15 [28 favorites]


Onion: Report: It Unclear Whether Opposition From Every Sector Of American Society Will Have Any Effect On Healthcare Bill Passing
posted by Chrysostom at 12:26 PM on March 15 [39 favorites]


Um, there's a real theme being developed at this Senate hearing on Russian interference. Mr. Democratic Senator With Gray Wavy Hair is brick-by-bricking that we need Trump's tax returns and other business information to evaluate whether Russia is bribing him. He's not using those words, but it's clear, and he's aiming for "airtight."
posted by prefpara at 12:26 PM on March 15 [36 favorites]


I'm personally aiming for "airtight in a dome filled with bees" for the lot of them.
posted by lydhre at 12:33 PM on March 15 [17 favorites]


Oh sure, you like us when you can smoke weed, but for some reason not when we're a terrifying pit of rabid fascists about to get a neutered-CDC bird flu outbreak

Let's not forget how much I like my socialist health care too!
posted by nubs at 12:34 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


I'm personally aiming for "airtight in a dome filled with bees" for the lot of them.

What do you have against bees?
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:34 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Oh, Atom Eyes, you really need to CTRL+F bees in the last 7 or 8 election threads...
posted by Sophie1 at 12:36 PM on March 15 [14 favorites]


sending Atom Eyes off Tehhunding won't bring back our goddamned honey.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:38 PM on March 15 [46 favorites]


EPA filed in the Federal Register their plan to kill the latest fuel efficiency standards.
posted by zachlipton at 12:39 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


I think Atom Eyes meant it would be cruel to put bees somewhere without air.
posted by emjaybee at 12:39 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


I'd let the bees out when the beeing was done, I promise.
posted by lydhre at 12:42 PM on March 15 [17 favorites]


Or with Republicans
posted by knapah at 12:42 PM on March 15 [6 favorites]


the bees will be released from the dome with plaudits and honor once their grim work is done.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:48 PM on March 15 [13 favorites]


EPA filed in the Federal Register their plan to kill the latest fuel efficiency standards.

Republicans want you to spend more money on gas.
File that with all of the other obvious messaging angles that the Democratic Party will never press on...
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:48 PM on March 15 [14 favorites]


Rep. Brat is a no on the AHCA vote in the Budget Committee tomorrow. He's a Freedom Caucus guy who won't support the bill unless it destroys more of Obamacare (including stuff that can't pass through reconciliation). If three more Republicans on the committee balk, the bill isn't advancing. The hearing is tomorrow.
posted by zachlipton at 12:50 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


genuine question: who is actually in favor of the bill and wants it to pass more or less as is?
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:52 PM on March 15


Clostridium botulinum colonies, maybe?
posted by Etrigan at 12:53 PM on March 15 [7 favorites]


I don't think even Ryan wants it to pass.
posted by corb at 12:54 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Y'all. Bees die after they sting. Wasps. They can keep stinging.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:55 PM on March 15 [28 favorites]


We are all human beeings.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:57 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


I am now googling what insects have the worst stings, for political reasons
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:57 PM on March 15 [32 favorites]


Get those Japanese bees that beeball rather than sting.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:58 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


I believe Bullet Ants have the most painful stings. I can neither confirm nor deny that I knew this off the top of my head after watching stupid youtube videos of a crazy dude getting stung on purpose to see what it felt like.

Think of it as the Trump Presidency of the stinging insect world.
posted by Justinian at 12:59 PM on March 15


Bullet ant time.
posted by rp at 12:59 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


Bullet ants. How do "waves of burning, throbbing, all-consuming pain that continues unabated for up to 24 hours" sound to you?
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:59 PM on March 15 [6 favorites]


Sounds like last Nov. 9.
posted by Lyme Drop at 1:01 PM on March 15 [65 favorites]


Jinx, Justinian and rp owe me week-old, unwashed bottles of Coke that are surrounded by scary yellow jackets
posted by J.K. Seazer at 1:02 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


I decide in 2020 to run for President under the banner of the Metafilter People's Front of Judea Party.

Splitter.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:04 PM on March 15 [19 favorites]


They're bees because tradition, guys. Plus ants don't go with a gilded wicker man. It has to be bees. And after, the bees will get a full Triumph with puffy, welt-covered Rs driven before them as captives.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:08 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


What do you have against bees?

Apologies if this was covered previously and I missed it, but as one of Metafilter's resident population of soft-hearted crouton petters, I want to clarify that I do not want these bees to be honeybees, not only because their stings are relatively low on the pain scale, but beacuse they die in really sad circumstances after stinging.

Instead, I propose that we bring on the wasps, specifically Synoeca septentrionalis for the unbeatable combination of:
  • grotesquely painful stings, each inflicting 150 minutes of pain at the 4 level on the Schmidt insect sting index whereas small bees only do 2 minutes on a 1 level. Similarly, the Starr pain index lists them as a 4.
  • flying, unlike other members of the Schmidt insect sting/Starr sting pain level 4 club like bullet ants, because Paul Ryan has an undeniably sting-a-ble granny-starving face
  • eusocial, so there are a lot of them, plus they're definitely socialists or RINO's at the very least
  • aggression, so they actually don't mind this
  • have been known to eat carrion, so [insert comment here about a Trump appointee finally doing good]
  • here is a video of a colony beginning to beat their wings in slow horrible horrible twitching sync in prepartion for fucking someone the fuck up
  • tl;dr: SAVE THE BEES. BRING ON THE RESISTANCE WASPS.
    posted by joyceanmachine at 1:09 PM on March 15 [47 favorites]


    [Folks, let's bring this thing back from beetown.]
    posted by LobsterMitten at 1:11 PM on March 15 [58 favorites]


    Just in case anyone was on the fence about doing this "Ides of Trump" postcard thing, I can report that it is very easy and very satisfying.

    I bought a package of blank 5x7" index cards on my lunchbreak, and wrote "You're fired" on eight of them with pink highlighter.

    Below I wrote a different reason on each card...

    * For palling around with Putin

    * For corruptly using your office to make money

    * For all the shameless alternative facts LIES

    * For being heartless to desperate refugees fleeing with their children for their lives

    * For gutting our diplomatic efforts to prevent war

    * For encouraging white nationalists and Islamophobes to believe their ideas are welcome in your government

    * For making hardworking, tax paying people (who want nothing more than to be allowed to make their immigration legal) live in fear

    * For making me fear I won't be able to afford my kids' medicine anymore.

    Put the White House address on the back of each one with a stamp, and dropped them in the mail. It feels really good. Highly recommended. If you can't get yours into the mail until tomorrow, I think it's still fine -- the post office will be dumping bags of these in the White House mailroom for at least a week regardless.
    posted by OnceUponATime at 1:12 PM on March 15 [31 favorites]


    buzzkill.
    posted by prefpara at 1:12 PM on March 15 [26 favorites]


    [i had to]
    posted by prefpara at 1:12 PM on March 15 [8 favorites]


    Why, I've got some bright red postcards right here! Thanks for the reminder, OUAT!
    posted by soren_lorensen at 1:14 PM on March 15 [7 favorites]


    I don't think state laws requiring tax disclosure would be unconsitutional. Requirements for a number of signatures to get on the ballot were not unconsitutional, and seem like a much closer analogy than an absolute bar on anyone who has served two terms.

    It would be an interesting argument to see, anyway. I'm more on the side of signature requirements being legitimate and necessary parts of election management, while a tax disclosure requirement isn't. But justices gonna do what they want.

    To be clear, I'm in favor of forcible release; you could do it by just directing the IRS to release their records over the last n years for everyone who's registered as a candidate with the FEC. I'm only offering an empirical prediction.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:17 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]




    I wrote one for President Bannon, too. Why not spread the love?
    posted by soren_lorensen at 1:23 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


    I enjoyed doing my Ides of Trump postcards, printed on obnoxious pussy hat pink paper. It was fun. I left out a little "station" at my volunteer job if anyone else wants to, though I suspect not. After a friend of mine asked what I was doing, she was all, you know he's never going to see it and nobody's going to read it, right? Yeah, but it's still fun to clog the mail.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 1:29 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


    Just in case anyone was on the fence about doing this "Ides of Trump" postcard thing, I can report that it is very easy and very satisfying

    Agreed. A friend of mine hosted a postcard party, and I created/decorated a dozen postcards, then filled out probably six or seven of them. Some people were snarky, some people were very detailed and reasoned - I was somewhere in the middle. It was actually nice to think of a subject, create a postcard for it, and then write 50 words about my feelings on the matter. It was both cathartic and soothing, plus it was good company.

    All in all, the organizer reported 150 filled out postcards from the event. 10/10 would do again.
    posted by dinty_moore at 1:29 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


    mosk: @jbarro: Oklahoma State Senator fails the live boy/dead girl test: Story.

    Oklahoma Senator Ralph Shortey is under investigation for an incident at a motel with a teenage boy.

    Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn told NewsChannel 4 the boy is 16 or 17, and that is the age of consent in Oklahoma.
    ...
    The republican from Oklahoma City is married with children.


    I'm just waiting for someone to come up with a Trump-like compliment of Shortey

    futz: quotes an interview with Mr Trump, featured in New York Magazine, in which he said: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it, Jeffrey enjoys his social life.

    And here's his page on Ballotpedia, which informs me he has ONE issue of note: "Human fetuses in food"
    In January 2012, Shortey introduced legislation to ban the use of aborted human fetuses in food. Shortey told members of the media that he had conducted Internet research which led him to believe a ban was necessary. The United States Food and Drug Administration said it was unaware of any concern. Specifically, the legislation would have prohibited the manufacture or sale of any food in which aborted fetuses were used in developing any of the ingredients. Shortey said that he was not aware of any Oklahoma companies that use aborted human fetuses.
    Time to order more brain bleach.
    posted by filthy light thief at 1:30 PM on March 15 [25 favorites]


    I wanted to write "sic semper tyrannis" but then thought that might be considered a threat. (I mean, it is, but, you know.) I opted instead for sort of cryptic expressions of "I am on to you, this shit does not work on me."
    posted by soren_lorensen at 1:30 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


    It looks increasingly like the Obamacare repeal is dead in the water. I wonder what the implications for abject failure on health reform are for the next stage of Ryan's legislative agenda, (additional) massive tax cuts for the wealthy. That should be trivial to pass for Republican majorities, provided they sunset in 10 years, but my understanding is they don't want the tax cuts to sunset which would require balancing massive spending cuts.
    posted by Justinian at 1:32 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


    Time to order more brain bleach.

    When the country is crazy, only crazy people want to lead the country.
    posted by soren_lorensen at 1:33 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


    Shortey introduced legislation to ban the use of aborted human fetuses in food.

    Okay but to be fair, this is pretty much a slam-dunk issue for getting anti-choicers all riled up.

    "[Opponent] wants to force ME and MY FAMILY to eat ABORTED FETUSES? This goes against OUR VALUES!! Vote Shortey!"
    posted by witchen at 1:34 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


    That legislation wasn't called the Don't Feed Us No Fetus act (DFUNFa) and that's how I know I am not cut out for State Senate.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 1:39 PM on March 15 [8 favorites]


    I can't believe it's not fetus!
    posted by peeedro at 1:42 PM on March 15 [37 favorites]


    Shorty's Mirror? He probably makes Fetus Pie for the bake sales.

    I can't believe it's not fetus!

    I have a debilitating stomach ache and this made me laugh so hard I thought I was going to pass out from the pain.
    posted by Room 641-A at 1:47 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


    Apparently Chuck Grassley is pretty pissed with the FBI's lack of responses and answers about possible investigations into the Russian election interference: Grassley Accuses FBI Of Withholding Information On Russia Investigations.
    “Every time they come up here for their nomination hearing and I ask them are you going to answer phone calls and our letters and are you going to give us the documents you want? And every time we get a real positive yes! And then they end up being liars!” Grassley told the Post, referring to senior law enforcement officials. “It’s not if they’re treating us differently than another committee. It’s if they’re responding at all.”
    It further sounds like he's willing to hold up Deputy AG confirmation hearings until Comey responds. It's almost like Congress can act as a check against the executive branch, if they want--not sure where I got that idea, though.
    posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:49 PM on March 15 [32 favorites]


    there goes my modest proposal
    posted by entropicamericana at 1:51 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


    he has ONE issue of note: "Human fetuses in food"

    WTF? I mean...what the actual fuck?
    posted by vibrotronica at 1:51 PM on March 15 [12 favorites]


    Apparently Chuck Grassley is pretty pissed with the FBI's lack of responses and answers about possible investigations into the Russian election interference

    The big question for me is WHY? What reason would the FBI have for stonewalling Congress? Are they worried about leaks? Evidence being destroyed? Are Congressfolk the subjects of the investigation? Is the FBI trying to clean up their act behind the scenes? WHY?
    posted by leotrotsky at 1:52 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


    I am now googling what insects have the worst stings, for political reasons

    tarantula hawk wasp. the inspiration for Fallout: NV's cazador
    posted by indubitable at 1:52 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


    Washington Post: Why America’s Founding Fathers wanted the president to take a salary
    Presidents receive a salary because the Constitution requires it, stipulating that the amount cannot be changed while a person is in office. U.S. law puts the president's annual paycheck at $400,000, plus $50,000 in expenses.

    ...as of Monday, we know that Trump's “intention right now,” according to what press secretary Sean Spicer said in a briefing, is to donate his salary at the end of the year. “He made a pledge to the American people, he wants to donate it to charity and he'd love your help to determine where it should go,” Spicer said to reporters.

    The irony, of course — at a time when questions continue to be asked about overlapping interests between Trump's presidency and his businesses — is that one of the very reasons the framers wanted the president to take a salary, even if they were wealthy enough not to need it, was to avoid potential conflicts of interest. It was also designed to send the signal that anyone — not just the wealthy elite — could become president, and served as a reminder that the president is a public servant to the citizens who pay him a salary.
    I, generally, find 'this is what the Founding Fathers intended' to be unpersuasive by itself, since they very much intended future generations to change and amend and improve the workings of government, but on this particular point they were absolutely right: the potential for corruption is so great that a large Presidential salary is a small price to pay as protection.
    posted by cjelli at 1:53 PM on March 15 [31 favorites]


    The big question for me is WHY? What reason would the FBI have for stonewalling Congress?

    The same reason they released the letter about Hillary Clinton like 3 days before the election?
    posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:53 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


    The big question for me is WHY? What reason would the FBI have for stonewalling Congress?

    Investigations might reveal that the FBI was also responsible for throwing the election to Trump?
    posted by jferg at 1:54 PM on March 15 [9 favorites]


    Grassley's a Republican, though. The Republicans are getting stonewalled, too.
    posted by leotrotsky at 1:54 PM on March 15


    Grassley's a Republican, though. The Republicans are getting stonewalled, too.

    I don't believe that matters to them.
    posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:55 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


    I don't think even Ryan wants it to pass.

    What happens to all those "REPEAL OBAMACARE!" voters? Don't they start calling for heads?
    posted by leotrotsky at 1:57 PM on March 15


    The big question for me is WHY? What reason would the FBI have for stonewalling Congress? Are they worried about leaks? Evidence being destroyed? Are Congressfolk the subjects of the investigation? Is the FBI trying to clean up their act behind the scenes? WHY?

    The last one. They've had whatever evidence they're hiding about Trump/Russia since WAY before the election and did nothing. Comey intentionally sat on the dossier and pushed Clinton emails. They're complicit in covering up behind Trump and feeding Clinton attacks through Guliani and the NY office. Any real response to Congress exposes their own total compromise.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 1:57 PM on March 15 [8 favorites]


    Wonkette: Roger Stone Car Accidented To Death By CIA, But He’s OK Now
    In January, Stone broke all our hearts when he revealed on the Alex Jones Real News And Information Show that he had been murdered to death by the “Deep State,” by being poisoned with polonium 210, which Russian intelligence has actually used to murder at least one former Russian FSB agent that we know of. (If you’re new, the “FSB” is like the Russian version of the “CIA,” just like “Canada SCOTUS” is the Canadian corollary to “SCOTUS.”) However, miraculously, Stone made a complete recovery from getting polonium-ed to death, glory halleljuah!

    Until this week, when the “Deep State” tried to maketh murder upon him again, allegedly, in a car accident that happened, allegedly

    I don't know why y'all are messin with bees when Portuguese Man O' War are just hanging around begging to find a purpose in life. And how convenient is this: Detached tentacles and dead specimens (including those that wash up on shore) can sting just as painfully as the live organism in the water and may remain potent for hours or even days after the death of the organism or the detachment of the tentacle.
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:58 PM on March 15 [6 favorites]


    Yes, the Ides of Trump postcard thing was VERY therapeutic. My group of 4 churned out 84 in 30 minutes and vented for another 30. My mother wrote a well-thought-out and kind plea that she had been working at for hours. The rest of us put essentially "eat shit."

    (I am fearful that this draws a bright pink arrow at the target already pasted on the USPS, but I fear for that wonderfully democratic institution on a normal day.)
    posted by thebrokedown at 1:59 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


    What happens to all those "REPEAL OBAMACARE!" voters?

    Turns out all those voters actually really liked the ACA and now that they've been informed that's the same thing as Obamacare, they've gotten mysteriously quiet.
    posted by soren_lorensen at 2:00 PM on March 15 [28 favorites]


    What happens to all those "REPEAL OBAMACARE!" voters? Don't they start calling for heads?

    it seems possible they never really had a solid understanding of ObamaCare or any cogent objections to it, but wanted something fighty to yell at the black president.
    posted by prize bull octorok at 2:00 PM on March 15 [38 favorites]


    Trump has now embraced Spicey's spin, saying "But wiretap covers a lot of different things." His tweets were quite clear that Obama was tapping his phones in Trump Tower in October, which is much more specific than "a lot of different things."
    posted by zachlipton at 2:11 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


    tarantula hawk wasp. the inspiration for Fallout: NV's cazador

    AKA The PlayStation Crashers

    /shakes fist at cazadors except everything is frozen so I'm paralyzed with my fist motionless in midair

    posted by Celsius1414 at 2:13 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


    Until this week, when the “Deep State” tried to maketh murder upon him again, allegedly, in a car accident that happened, allegedly

    It's interesting how the paranoid/conspiracy worldview is just like cultures that believe all deaths are caused by witchcraft: there are no coincidences. If someone could conceivably have benefitted from arranging a car accident, then, case closed.
    posted by thelonius at 2:14 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


    it seems possible they never really had a solid understanding of ObamaCare or any cogent objections to it, but wanted something fighty to yell at the black president.

    I agree. To this day, I still talk to people who speak of "obamacare" as if it were a specific insurance plan. Healthcare reform had to happen, and it's a shame it didn't happen 10 years before the ACA. The republicans, cowards and idiots that they are, turned a necessary aspect of public policy into a fact-free buzzword centered heavily on white supremacist ideas of who does and does not deserve the social safety net, and absent any sort of policy or argumentation, the fantasy of "obamacare" has festered in the minds of people who are now on the slate to get royally and completely screwed by Republicare. Unfortunately for the rest of the country, it's a crowded slate.
    posted by codacorolla at 2:17 PM on March 15 [19 favorites]


    it seems possible they never really had a solid understanding of ObamaCare or any cogent objections to it, but wanted something fighty to yell at the black president.

    We're talking about a group of people who fought tooth and nail against the ACA like they did anything else Obama proposed, then nicknamed it Obamacare (with the clear implication that because it's Obama's it's trash), and then later forgot they did that and started complaining about the hubris of a man who would name a healthcare reform bill after himself.

    I would say that it seems more than possible that their objections were 99.9% of the time, "a black guy got elected and we're pissed!".
    posted by tocts at 2:20 PM on March 15 [47 favorites]


    he has ONE issue of note: "Human fetuses in food"

    Now, let's not go overboard. He just means in human food, right? It's still okay for me to put human fetuses in my cattle feed?
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:20 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


    NYT: Donald Trump Budget Slashes Funds for E.P.A. and State Department: President Trump’s budget blueprint for the coming fiscal year would slash the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent and cut State Department spending by a similar amount in a brash gesture of disdain for big government, according to congressional staff members familiar with the plan.
    posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:22 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


    in a brash gesture of disdain for big government that does things beneficial to real people.
    posted by oneswellfoop at 2:24 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


    It's almost like Congress can act as a check against the executive branch, if they want--not sure where I got that idea, though.

    It's more that the veterans of Senate Club don't like people who disrespect the