An outside-the-Beltway perspective on current events, politics, media, and the arts. We are proud to be part of the Reality-Based Community.

Contact Us


Recommended Diversions










Tuesday :: Sep 19, 2017

Graham/Cassidy Is a Teachable Moment


by Deacon Blues

Remember last week, when the political world was talking about how "Chuck and Nancy" had pulled the wool over Donald Trump's eyes and gotten a budget/debt ceiling and DACA commitment from him that went against what his congressional GOP allies wanted? Ah yes, those were the days when Democrats like Bernie Sanders and the clueless 2020 hopefuls like California senator Kamala Harris were so comfy with the status of health care in the USA that they felt it was time to wish for ponies and call for Medicare For All.

What a bunch of suckers.

While Chuck, Nancy, and Bernie were patting themselves on the back and basking in more positive media coverage than they deserve, Trump's White House and Mitch McConnell were quietly readying for a final assault upon Obamacare through the Graham/Cassidy repeal-and-replace legislation, a bill that will destroy health coverage, Medicaid, and nursing home care for millions of Americans. According to several accounts, McConnell and the authors are only 1-2 GOP votes short of hitting the 50 votes they need to allow Mike Pence to put the bill over the top and send it over to the House, where even hapless Paul Ryan will be able to sell the Freedom Caucus on the need to pass the bill unscathed by the September 30th expiration of the reconciliation budget rules that avoid a 60-vote requirement in the Senate.

Don't bank on GOP senators like John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, or other holdouts from the last effort to save Obamacare this time. We are about to find out that all of McCain's pronouncements about "regular order" and a bipartisan process are meaningless at the goal line, and he and other Senate Republicans will easily throw millions of Americans overboard in the name of party unity and undoing the Obama legacy.

There's a whole set of lessons learned from what is about to happen to millions of Americans. First and foremost, as most recently evidenced by Trump's embarrassment at the United Nations today, Donald Trump at the end of the day only cares about two things: Donald Trump and undoing anything that is the Obama legacy. And Democrats should know this by now, but they don't. Second, never ever take a Republican at their word and count on them to protect their constituents. Despite evidence that Cassidy's home state of Louisiana would be among the hardest hit states and that Graham's home state hospitals will be devastated by their own bill, both crafted something that is even worse than the previous efforts.

And lastly, as a corollary to the second point, can we please stop any pretense that Lindsay Graham and even John McCain are worthy of any bipartisan respect? They are not, and both they and almost the entire GOP congressional caucus are about to do irreparable harm to millions of everyday Americans for purely partisan reasons without one iota of concern for policy or people. I expect Trump and Pence to screw millions of Americans because I know what I'm getting with those two: Trump is slime and Pence is a whore for the Koch Brothers. But for any Democrat to ascribe anything positive to Lindsay Graham is lunacy after what is about to happen to health care in this country.

And for the love of God would Bernie, Chuck, and Nancy get a damn clue.

Deacon Blues @ 10:46 AM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::


Friday :: Sep 15, 2017

California to Require Tax Return Release for Presidential Candidates


by paradox

A flicker of hope for the Republic emanated yesterday from California when the legislature passed a bill requiring all Presidential candidates to release their tax returns for the previous five years.

Whatever chicanery or filth President Trump is hiding in his taxes will thus finally see the light of day for 2020, no Presidential candidate could not register for California and hope to be credible.

Continue reading "California to Require Tax Return Release for Presidential Candidates"
paradox @ 5:38 AM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: Digg It! ::
Wednesday :: Sep 6, 2017

Turning DACA Into a Democratic Victory


by Steve

Trump’s move yesterday to disrupt the lives of nearly a million people with his DACA decision doesn’t have to end up badly. I would argue that with the news today that Trump stiffed the congressional GOP leadership to cut a deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi this morning on temporary government funding, a debt ceiling increase, and Hurricane Harvey funding points to a roadmap in the months ahead, if the Democrats and Trump are agile enough to grab it.

First, it’s clear that Trump’s move yesterday was designed to get leverage for funding the border wall, as evidenced by the White House statement that Trump wants a broader deal and not just a single-issue DACA fix. Instead of fighting the White House on this linkage, Schumer and Pelosi should see them on that bet, and then raise them with linkage to a full immigration reform measure next year. The GOP will want immigration to be changed from a “come one, come all” program to one based on economic value to the country, as Senator Tom Cotton proposed in the New York Times months ago. And although it may be distasteful for House and Senate Democrats to go along with border wall funding and a visa program that prioritizes needed skills and labor, they can negotiate changes that continue an open door for refugees with all others to follow the process and get in line.

If Pelosi and Schumer pivot and signal to the White House that a grand deal is possible that would give Trump the one thing he promised his base (the wall) in exchange for full administration support for the 2013 immigration reform package (which included the DACA fix) authored by the Gang of Eight senators, it creates a situation where the White House would be pushing something through the Senate that will destroy the House GOP caucus upon its arrival. Even if Schumer and McConnell get over 60 votes for a package that includes DACA, the Tom Cotton changes that the conservatives want coupled with “refugee protection” language Democrats would want, and a guarantee that the cost of the wall will not be paid for through cuts to discretionary programs or entitlements, Paul Ryan could never get that package through his caucus in an election year (or any other year) without splintering the House GOP. He would not only lose his speakership and put the House GOP on full display as a useless body just months before the midterms, but Trump would be able to argue that he needs the Democrats to deliver to his base what he promised, thereby cementing into place the final rupture that would lead to a Democratic recapturing of the House in 2018.

I realize such a formulation is distasteful on many levels for progressives, but frankly a down payment on a border wall that may never be built and immigration changes that factor in economic harm to Main Street are a worthy price to pay for full immigration reform and the implosion of the Republican Party months before the 2018 midterms.

Steve @ 2:26 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
« Link to Previous Entry