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The tRump Fib-o-lator

[ 16 ] February 22, 2017 |

The Tangerine Nightmare has gone 0 days without lying or twisting the truth. The Washington Post has project to track the nature and the frequency of the fibs. May the saints preserve them from carpal tunnel, poor posture and eye strain.

Donald Trump earned 59 Four-Pinocchio ratings as a presidential candidate. Now that he’s president, he has continued his proclivity for making dubious, misleading or false statements. He also often repeats the same debunked claims even though they have been fact-checked. It’s hard to keep up with all of Trump’s rhetoric, so the Fact Checker is assembling in one place all of his suspect statements from his first 100 days as president. You can sort them by various categories and see how many times he has repeated the same false statement.

I hope they won’t stop after a 100 days. But they’ll probably need a long vacation at that point because if lies were money, Napoleorange would be as rich as he claims to be.

At rate, there are all sorts of nifty graphs and charts and even a way to submit lies they may have missed.

The Washington Post also put together a pie chart showing how he spent his first 744 hours in office, including time spent Tweeting.

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Maher doesn’t know what he did to Yiannopoulous, but you should thank him for it

[ 125 ] February 22, 2017 |

Chronically unfunny being Bill Maher is one seriously confused sack of creep. He wants credit for the fact that Milo Yiannopoulous lost his job, a book deal and a speaking gig. At the same time he insists Yiannopoulos is harmless. (Thanks to Tsam for the heads up.)

Was Milo Yiannopoulos’ appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher the tipping point in his career downfall?

No.

Maher thinks so.

And that proves it.

In an interview with the New York Times, Maher took credit for Yiannopoulos’ crumbling public image, saying his Real Time appearance exposed him as an “emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe.”

“And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC,” he said. “Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.”

As the article notes – right after the lede so Maher looks especially far up himself and dim – Yiannopoulos’ comments about men having sex with minors are what got him in trouble. Maher – for reasons that make sense to him – is eager to give the impression that appearing on his show is the kiss of death for one’s career.

Even while claiming Yiannopoulos’ career as a casualty of his show, Maher refused to claim that Milo is dangerous, instead calling him “a little cuckoo” and blaming the outrage on the left.

“You know what he is? He’s the little impish, bratty kid brother. And the liberals are his older teenager sisters who are having a sleepover and he puts a spider in their sleeping bag so he can watch them scream.”

To take Maher’s stupid metaphor to its natural conclusion: Maher is the abusive dad who beats the bratty kid brother black and blue for his little prank. Once he’s tossed the kid into the basement he goes back to the girls’ room opens the door and leers at them. “You’re welcome,” he says.

But really he’s just full of shit.

Only Blind Partisanship Could Prevent Liberals From Seeing Rand Paul as a Principled Critic of Executive Overreach

[ 92 ] February 22, 2017 |

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More on Rand Paul, Trump’s most slavering congressional lackey:

The Republican Party has largely decided to cover for Donald Trump’s massive corruption, grotesque lies, and manifest unfitness for office. But few of them have gone quite so far, or quite so cravenly, as Rand Paul. The junior senator from Kentucky, and onetime hope of the extremely short-lived “libertarian moment” in American politics, has not only attached himself to Trump, but is actively snuffing out whatever faint stirrings of opposition his colleagues can muster.

While the GOP Congress has ignored the president’s self-enrichment, refusal to disclose his tax returns, and clear violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, some have expressed willingness to investigate his opaque ties to Russia. Paul is not one of them. And not only does he see no need for investigation on Russia, Paul has staked out a stance against any investigations, period, on the brutally frank grounds that it would impair the party’s legislative agenda. “I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party,” he told “Kilmeade and Friends.” “We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans.”

Many Republicans have made piecemeal excuses not to exercise the oversight function. Only Paul has elevated the practice of looking away from the crimes of the Executive branch to an actual principle of governance.

No wonder Michael Tracey liked him so much!

The only thing you can say on Rand’s behalf is that at least he’s no longer even pretending that he will act to check the unprecedentedly corrupt and unfit president and doesn’t even pretend that his actions are motivated by anything but partisanship. This in its way is an improvement over the McCains and Grahams who will pretend to be disturbed by Trump’s abuses of power but will do exactly as much about them as Paul will.

The Further Adventures of Paul Ryan, Serious Policy Wonk

[ 162 ] February 22, 2017 |

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Paul Ryan has a very, very serious proposal to eventually have a proposal to take away health insurance from millions of people to pay for upper-class tax cuts. He is defending it with all the seriousity his proposal deserves:

The rhetoric: In her inaugural weekly address, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claimed that repealing Obamacare—a law that, in her words, has experienced “immense progress”—will result in widespread death and suffering.

The reality: Similar claims of 36,000 annual deaths made by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were already disproven earlier this month—but that didn’t stop Leader Pelosi from following suit.

Only if you click through to the link that allegedly “disproves” the claim, Kessler doesn’t dispute that repealing the ACA would result in large-scale avoidable death and suffering, but merely says that we can’t be sure that the number of deaths would be exactly 36,000 people a year. Whether this justifies Bernie’s claim being given FOUR PINOCCHIOS is, ah, debatable — remember that Kessler once named a perfectly defensible normative claim about Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare in the form it’s always existed the “lie of the year” because look at Paul Ryan’s hangdog expression, he would never mean to do that. But that aside Sanders’s claim was not “disproven”; it just put an exact number on a potential range of outcomes, and Pelosi’s accurate claim was not addressed at all. Very serious!

And while the scare tactics Leader Pelosi used painted a grim picture, the status quo remains: Keeping Obamacare will result in even higher costs, fewer choices, and lower-quality care for Americans nationwide.

In fact, the ACA has substantially lowered costs from where they would have been without the law, and the idea that it has resulted in “lower-quality care” is silly. It has reduced “choice” in the sense that it has made the worst junk insurance that gives you almost nothing in exchange for your premiums illegal, but this not a flaw in the law.

That’s why Republicans are focused on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a patient-centered system—one that prioritizes affordability, quality, and choice. Because being forced into something by the government is the last thing a patient needs when working with his or her health care provider.

See, “choice” gets the italics as well as the bolding, because what Paul Ryan wants is for the law, in its majestic equality, to allow rich and poor alike to afford the best insurance that can be purchased on a deregulated market. And since without a mandate and with a substantial reduction in subsidies most insurance markets will be sent into a death spiral, even the “choice” part won’t really pan out.

In addition to the obvious “rich and poor alike can save money for health care” problem, note that this language is also part of the longstanding conservertarian war on the concept of insurance. It uses buzzwords to avoid being as blunt about it, but the fundamental premise of Ryan’s logic is the same as the obscenely self-centered people who don’t understand why their health insurance should cover maternity since they’ve already had their kids.

Poor Ken Arrow must already be spinning in his grave.

Today in Republican Priorities

[ 96 ] February 22, 2017 |

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These are nice people.

Under CEP, schools or school districts where 40 percent of the student body directly qualifies for free meals (via food stamps or other nutrition assistance or welfare programs) may offer those meals free to all students. The school is then reimbursed at a variable rate, according to the percentage of low-income students […]

Despite these successes, however, CEP is not universally beloved. The program has attracted particular ire from House Republicans, who attempted to reform the program in their version of last year’s Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. They believe CEP unfairly subsidizes the meals of kids who could afford to pay full price, at enormous cost to taxpayers, and have advocated for a 60-percent threshold to determine a school or district’s eligibility. Although they were ultimately unable to raise the CEP threshold in the last Congress, they now have a Republican president, in addition to a congressional majority.

Can’t create dependency in those lazy 7 year olds! If they want to eat, they need to work! Sadly, this is not far from established conservative doctrine.

Party Involvement

[ 152 ] February 22, 2017 |

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Given the skepticism many LGM commenters consistently express over protest, you may be warmed to note the huge increase in involvement within local Democratic Party politics.

All across the country, party meetings that had once been sleepy affairs, dominated by Robert’s Rules of Order and a handful of graying activists, have become standing room only. The overflowing crowds have sent stunned party regulars scrambling to find new venues, while the surge in interest, and the coinciding fundraising boost, is enabling local chapters to hire staff and build infrastructure in previously unthinkable ways. On the national level, Democratic politicians have been rushing to respond to the sudden outpouring.

“I’m as busy this year as I was at any time last year in the heat of a huge election,” said Mark Fraley, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party in Indiana.

Fraley said he received 65 emails in a single weekend from people requesting to become precinct chairs, a thankless job that normally requires begging and pleading to get someone to fill. The county party has restructured and added five deputy chairs to channel all the energy, and created six new committees.

“What’s very different is that it’s made the party younger. Young people never really wanted to have as much of a meaningful part in the Democratic Party infrastructure. Now that doesn’t seem true anymore,” he said.

The story follows with a bunch of examples of individual activists and their stories.

Of course, we need both protest and political engagement. Do one or the other. But do something!

Comme on fait son lit, on se couche. Dumbass.

[ 153 ] February 22, 2017 |

The man who put the words Liberal and Fascism side by side and wrote a book to go with the result is concerned about right wing tribalism. What has him all bewuthered is the fact that CPAC invited Milo Yiannopoulis who – unlike past speakers such as Coulter or Limbaugh – is just too crass.

Even now, Schlapp defends the initial decision to invite Yiannopoulis. On Monday’s ”Morning Joe,” he insisted: “The fact is, he’s got a voice that a lot of young people listen to.” A lot of young conservative people, he should have added, precisely because he enrages so many young liberals.

And that’s part of the problem. We are in a particularly tribal moment in American politics in which “the enemy of my enemy is my ally” is the most powerful argument around.

And Goldberg may ask himself: Well, how did we get here?

Or he would. If he were less of a hypocrite and capable of performing the complex task of connecting past actions to current circumstances.

Today, the right sees the left as enemies — and, I should say, vice versa.

The right sees the left as enemies in part because some morally flaccid members of the right have made a mint selling books with catchy titles like Liberal Fascism. The left sees the right as enemies because the right likes to hurt people. But that’s good enough for Mr. Bothsides.

Yiannopoulous is a hero for many because he fights political correctness and is transgressive. A flamboyant provocateur who wears his homosexuality on his sleeve and acts very much like a left-wing performance artist, he gives the right an edgy cultural avatar to pit against the left. At a time when entertainment and celebrity matter more than facts and arguments, he is an entertaining celebrity.

This being Goldberg, he – or his interns – have to find some way to criticize the left. Hence, Yiannopoulous is like a left-wing performance artist rather than the latest in a long line of predictably edgy types who’ve transgressively fought political correctness to the delight of dullards like Goldberg. One might even argue that the author of a book titled Liberal Fascism has dabbled his tootsies in the waters of transgressive P.C. fighting and likely sees the younger and less rumpled Yiannopoulous as an interloper.

Countless conservatives defend Yiannopoulous (who admits he’s not a conservative) in much the same way Democrats defended the anti-Semitic “radio priest” Charles Coughlin as long as he supported the New Deal as “Christ’s Deal.”

Something something, the Ku Klux Klan Robert Byrd the real racists.

Conservatives cling to rationalizations to defend their champion.They say he “distanced” himself from the alt-right. He did, cynically — only after “Daddy,” his term for Donald Trump — was elected. They credit his claim that he can say anti-Semitic things because his grandmother was (allegedly) Jewish, and he can say racist things because he sleeps with black men.

No-one on the right, including Goldberg, sees the need to condemn Milo’s virulent sexism and transphobia because that’s perfectly normal, innit?

These are the kinds of arguments a coalition accepts when it has lost its moral moorings and cares only about “winning.”

Unlike the good old days when Goldberg rose to prominence and the coalition only cared about “victory.”

What a boob.

As an aside, it looks like MY is out at BlightShart.

Yiannopoulous resigned from Breitbart on Tuesday in the face of reported internal anger from staff.

;_;

(The post title in American would be You made your bed, now lie in it. Dumbass.)

Two Giants

[ 15 ] February 22, 2017 |
5/2/1968 Kenneth J. Arrow, professor of economics, in his office. Credit: Chuck Painter / Stanford News Service

5/2/1968
Kenneth J. Arrow, professor of economics, in his office.
Credit: Chuck Painter / Stanford News Service

Two of the most important social scientists of the 20th century, whose work remains highly illuminating in the 21st, died this week. First, the Nobel-prize winning economist Ken Arrow, who was enormously and justly influential. Most relevant to contemporary American politics is his still-definitive explanation for why markets in health care don’t work.

Also dying this week was Ted Lowi, one of the true greats of political science. R.I.P.

Undemocratic Elections Have Very Bad Consequences

[ 190 ] February 21, 2017 |

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None of this is surprising, but it’s still terrible:

The Trump Administration released new rules Tuesday that will hugely increase the number of undocumented people who are targeted for deportation. The new directives from the Department of Homeland Security call more people to be deported more quickly, even for non-violent crimes like abuse of public benefits. It also directs the agency to hire 10,000 new immigration and customs officials, and build new detention facilities to hold everyone who is suddenly considered an imminent threat to the nation.

As The Hill notes, the new rules, implemented under Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, repeal all the directives issued to immigration officials by the Obama administration. Instead of focusing on the deportation of people convicted of violent crimes, the new rules expand the definition of what a “criminal alien” is.

[…]

The new rules also confirm something ProPublica reported: that the United States now intends to deport people to Mexico who are not, in fact, from Mexico.

Well, that SEARING SELF-EXAMINATION after which the RNC determined the party should become more inclusive certainly seems to have been very effective.

Preventing Panic?

[ 139 ] February 21, 2017 |

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As the Trump administration seeks to implement precisely what he said he would do and deport every undocumented immigrant in the country (although somehow I think the Irish undocumented immigrants won’t quite be treated the same as those from El Salvador and I wonder why that is….), it tries to claim that it wants to prevent panic while destroying lives and families. OK. Because what it is really doing is Making America White Again.

The new policies represent a sharp break from the final years of the Obama administration and could reverse a reduction in the number of deportations in President Barack Obama’s last years in office.

After deportations reached a record high of 434,000 in 2013, pressure from immigration advocates prompted the Obama administration to implement new guidelines that focused enforcement on hardened criminals. The number of people deported in 2015 was just over 333,000, the lowest number since 2007.

Kelly’s new DHS policies considerably broaden the pool of those who are prioritized for deportations, including undocumented immigrants who have been charged with crimes but not convicted, those who commit acts that constitute a “chargeable criminal offense,” and those who an immigration officer concludes pose “a risk to public safety or national security.”

The Trump administration “is using the specter of crime to create fear . . . in the American community about immigrants in order to create an opening to advance the indiscriminate persecution of immigrants,” said Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, deputy vice president at the National Council of La Raza. “This administration is saying, ‘Now, everybody is going to be a priority,’ and the devil may care.”

DHS officials emphasized that the guidelines in Kelly’s memos are focused on carrying out Trump’s vision and that they hew closely to the language of the executive orders. And they said the secretary has written the memos to abide by federal immigration laws established by Congress.

It is my feeling that ICE agents should be seen as people committing crimes against humanity. If you choose to deport people for a living, you are a major cog in an unjust machine. These are the active enemies of everything that you should hold dear about this nation. And they deserve to be treated with utter contempt by everyone who knows them. There are plenty of other law enforcement or public safety jobs they could hold. This is the most despicable possible job. Shun them as racist thugs.

Ellison or Perez?

[ 364 ] February 21, 2017 |

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Above: Idiotic bullshit

I have stated several times that the DNC race is an overheated attempt to relitigate the primary at great damage to the party. It barely matters who the head of the DNC is. The idea that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was the greatest enemy to democracy since Benito Mussolini was so ridiculously out of proportion to what was actually going on that it should have led everyone involved to rethink their lives. However, in the end, as much as I absolutely think Tom Perez is a wonderful leader and the greatest Secretary of Labor since Frances Perkins, I have to support Keith Ellison for this role. That’s for two reasons. First, I’m uncomfortable with the people who have gotten behind Perez, in particular remnant conservative elements who seem to think that a Muslim as DNC chair would turn off voters. No. That’s a failure of leadership and Islamophobic. Second, the energy is behind Ellison. He represents a more leftist future for that party that I feel will energize voters. But again, maybe it doesn’t matter because both candidates are great and both are avoiding following New York Times stories about white men voting Republican as policy preferences. Steve Phillips:

If progressive whites are defecting because they are uninspired by Democrats, moving further to the right will only deepen their disillusionment. But if the next D.N.C. chairman can win them back, the country’s demographic trends will tilt the field in Democrats’ favor. As Mrs. Clinton’s popular vote margin showed, there is still a new American majority made up of a meaningful minority of whites and an overwhelming majority of minorities. Not only is there little evidence that Democrats can do significantly better with those white working-class voters who are susceptible to messages laced with racism and sexism, but that sector of the electorate will continue to shrink in the coming years. Nearly half of all Democratic votes (46 percent) were not white in 2016, and over the next four years, 10 million more people of color will be added to the population, as compared with just 1.5 million whites.

Keith Ellison, a D.N.C. chairman candidate, has a proven record of engaging core Democratic voters rather than chasing the elusive conservative whites, and the party would be in good hands under his stewardship. (Thomas E. Perez, the former labor secretary, has less electoral history, but his reliance on political superstars such as the strategist Emmy Ruiz, who delivered victories for Democrats in Nevada and Colorado, is encouraging.)

Whoever prevails as chairman must resist the pressure to follow an uninformed and ill-fated quest for winning over conservative white working-class voters in the Midwest. The solution for Democrats is not to chase Trump defectors. The path to victory involves reinspiring those whites who drifted to third-party candidates and then focusing on the ample opportunities in the Southwest and the South.

Mrs. Clinton came closer to winning Texas than she did Iowa. She fared better in Arizona, Georgia and Florida than she did in the traditional battleground state of Ohio. The electoral action for Democrats may have once been in the Rust Belt, but it’s now moving west and south.

Either candidate will pursue these voters as the base of the future. So in the end, I’m good either way. And you should be too.

Acosta

[ 17 ] February 21, 2017 |

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The consensus is that Alexander Acosta is a less horrible choice for Secretary of Labor than Andy Puzder. But that doesn’t mean he is good:

Even though Acosta is a more mainline conservative than Puzder, labor groups have a lot of policy concerns. Obama’s Labor Department pushed through a number of policies, including executive orders that used the federal government’s contracting power to elevate wages and increase labor protections for federal contract workers, rules that doubled the salary threshold that qualifies workers for overtime pay, and required retirement advisers to act in their clients’ best interests.

The department also sought to address employee misclassification, increase corporate responsibility for franchisees and independent contractors, and aggressively pursue labor law violations in sectors with vulnerable low-wage workers. Republicans and their allies in the business community have been gunning to wipe away that work from the get-go. With Puzder’s nomination, Obama labor alums were concerned that a GOP Labor Department would succeed in doing so. Republicans are hoping that Acosta will be equally dedicated to rolling back Obama’s labor legacy. As Bloomberg BNA reports, conservatives further hope that a Republican DOL will go on offense to scrutinize the legality of labor union affiliates like the Fight for $15 and the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, both of which actively lobbied against Puzder’s nomination.

As more information emerges on Acosta, don’t count on unions and other progressive groups to take his confirmation lying down. They still see the labor secretary confirmation as an important opportunity to hold Trump to his campaign promise to be a president for working Americans. “Together, workers will stay in the streets to demand a labor secretary who is a champion for working people and fights to represent their interests in our economy,” Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry said in a statement.

With Republicans wanting a national right-to-leech law very, very badly, Acosta being less egregiously awful than Puzder may not matter too much in the end, although this certainly would not pass a Senate filibuster if it still exists. In any case, it’s going to be a long, bad 4 years for American workers.

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