17 May 2017


I would be lying if I said that, since Trump started his long, slow meltdown, I have not had my moments of Schadenfreude. But the present crisis, although it really does look like the turning point that will likely end in the premature end of his horrible, horrible presidency, is nothing to celebrate. Our country is wounded by these events, and we will be lucky to emerge on the other end without damage that will be very, very hard, and take a long time, to repair. And that's not even addressing the damage Republican policies will inflict, to the extent they are able to enact them. That, in fact, is about the only silver lining: Trump's corruption and ineptitude will have derailed a good deal of the Right Wing agenda. 

14 May 2017

Petition: Tell Senate Democrats to REFUSE business as usual until a fully independent special prosecutor is appointed

I just signed a petition telling Senate Democrats to refuse to allow business as usual until a fully independent special prosecutor is investigating Trump, and I
​'d like to suggest you do so​
, too.

New York Times translation

Digital automatic translation (such as Google Translate) is already useful, but it isn't the equivalent of human translators yet, and may never be (although I'd bet it will). So, when a publication like the New York Times has to decide which languages are important enough to translate the contents of the daily digital edition immediately so it can appear timely, they obviously can't do dozens. You might expect French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Hindi, maybe. But they only do two, probably because of resource limitations. And which two? Spanish. Not surprising. Chinese. Which even a decade or two ago would probably have seemed very odd. But now, well, it's the obvious choice.

10 May 2017

This cannot just be allowed to happen without consequences!

Look, we always knew McConnell was and is a party hack who cares nothing for something even as basic as the Rule of Law. But saying there's no need for additional investigation is so outrageous that I truly hope and expect there will be an enormous backlash. Folks. We CANNOT let this just go by as if nothing had happened. Trump and his thug cronies MUST be called to account. And if the institutions of our government fail, we must take to the streets to demand that this matter be investigated impartially and the law be enforced.

No Compromise.
No normalization.
No cooperation till this happens.
No let up on our own party until they have the spine to stand up for our country.

09 May 2017

Stupid Party and the plan to destroy Medicaid

If the Stupid* Party, despite clangorous pleas from their own Governors, hospitals, medical associations, doctors, and even many health insurers, goes ahead to gut and destroy Medicaid, they will create such an ungodly mess that the ONLY SOLUTION will be Enhanced Medicare for All, aka Single Payer. I don't hope for that, because literally millions will suffer, and hundreds of thousands will die, as a direct result of Stupid Party stupidity, but that is what will happen. And in the process the Stupid Party will lose the White House, both houses of Congress, and if their current extreme stupidity continues, eventually even control of the Supreme Court. And that will serve them right, but at what a price!

(* Definition of Stupid, in case you doubt it: quality of a person whose habitual actions harm others, despite little or no appreciable net benefit to himself or his community. I submit that the fact that one party in this country overwhelmingly practices stupidity, while the other, by and large, does not, is well nigh irrefutable. And which is which should not even be a question).

08 May 2017

Old White Male Power's last gasp

I guess I am somewhat insular... nearly everyone I know is appalled by the retrenchment of White Male Power symbolized by the news photo this past week of a bunch of old white men gathered around the Old White Man in Chief to celebrate the meaningless passage of their huge Tax Cut and Ruination of Health Care Act of 2017... in only the House... with no chance that anything like it will become law. But if you sometimes have difficulty articulating to others the BIG PICTURE of why this is terrible, and OBJECTIVELY, FACTUALLY bad for America, I highly recommend this website, and, for an introduction, the excellent Ian Masters interview from yesterday with Stephan Schwartz.

02 May 2017

Trump supporting elimination of Filibuster even for Legislation?

So now we read where Trump supposedly favors eliminating the Senate filibuster even for legislation.

Of course, the fear is, if that were to come to pass, that the Republicans, who now control both houses, the presidency, and the Supreme Court, could simply legislate their entire agenda without impediment.

But I'm not extremely worried (just somewhat). For several reasons: 1. McConnell is unlikely to go along with this, for his own reasons, and increasingly members of both houses are not that intimidated by Trump's bloviation. 2. See 1. For the same reason, and because the Republican party is sharply ideologically divided, they are unlikely to unify around a systematic policy agenda. (Although they could indeed do a LOT of damage, which would take a good long while to fix, so No. 1 is a critical line of defense). 3. Although there is a pretty serious short term downside risk of very bad consequences, in the long run, eliminating the filibuster for legislation is both good for progressive policy outcomes, and probably inevitable, now that the confirmation filibuster has already been permanently trashed. And, after all, it IS totally undemocratic, so with the future in mind, its demise should be accepted if not, immediately, celebrated.

If they do end up doing this, our resistance will have to kick up into War Emergency Overdrive. Resistance, including making it clear to Republicans in the House and Senate that they could well lose re-election if they destroy the social safety net that so many of THEIR constituents and supporters take for granted, has so far saved the ACA and prevented a massive tax cut from taking shape and sailing through (which was feared, and which may still happen). Resistance, even in the face of a simple majority Congress, could prevent the evisceration of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Progressive Taxes, and Fundamental Environmental Protections. But it will require truly MASSIVE activism on a scale dwarfing even the AntiWar movement of the Vietnam era.


Republican Dithering may indeed kill the ACA Exchanges

It is unbelievably frustrating, as TPM reports, that the sheer ineptitude and dithering of the Republicans is creating so much uncertainty in the ACA Exchange marketplace that it will likely turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy: the exchanges will fail for the same reason stock markets often crash. Which is artificially induced uncertainty about the future of the "rules." If they would just quit messing with a system that works more or less (since they clearly have no intention of making the PROGRESSIVE fixes it actually needs), it would probably work OK until we can get rid of them in the next round of elections. But that may well not happen. Thanks to the uncertainty as to whether the critical subsidies will still be there for the next few years, the ACA likely WILL enter a death spiral, but not because of inherent flaws; rather because the government is not reliable. Sheesh. Now, in all likelihood, when the time comes, we'll have to start all over. And create Medicare for All. Which is a good thing. But in the meantime, people will suffer and die. And the blame goes nearly 100% to Trump and the Republicans in Congress.