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Not Even a Reacharound?

[ 43 ] January 22, 2017 |

Another Trump contractor gets ripped off:

At a reception in the White Housea short time ago, according to the pool report, President Trump spotted FBI Director Comey and called out to him. Comey came over to Trump to shake his hand and then gave Trump a hug before shaking the Vice President’s hand.

“He’s become more famous than me,” said Trump.

A lousy handshake and pat on the back in exchange for the presidency? What a rip. Well, at this point if you do business with Trump you are the sucker.


NFL Conference Championship Open Thread

[ 136 ] January 22, 2017 |

C2vZckQVEAEeKc1“With the exception of the 49ers, the Colts are the best-managed team in the NFL. Period.”

The Colts, who had Andrew Luck fall into their laps in 2012, somehow managed to blow the worst division in the NFL to a team that had the worst passing attack in the league and was missing its best defensive player for most of the year. Mere weeks later, Jim Irsay came down enough to fire the man who traded a #1 pick for Trent Richardson, although for reasons that remain unclear the coach remains in place.  Fortunately for Irsay, Trent Baalke just became available, so the organizational philosophy can seamlessly continue.

Speaking of squandering talent and gross managerial incompetence, Magary noted this week that even before the Chargers shot the hostage San Diego is one of the most tortured sports cities in the country:

But this is wrong. As pain goes, the Chargers have a resume that stacks up with pretty much anyone: Nate Kaeding, Ryan Leaf, trading a first-round pick to draft Bryan Still, trading ANOTHER to draft Mikhael Ricks, nine blown leads of 10-plus points in this decade alone, Marlon McCree fumbling his own interception in the playoffs against the Pats, losing at home in the playoffs to the Jets… TWICE (once to Herm Edwards and once to fucking Mark Sanchez), Craig Whelihan, Junior Seau killing himself, Eli refusing to play there (there!), Dr. David Chao, letting Drew Brees walk for nothing, Terrence Kiel’s lean, LaDainian riding his exercise bike, and on and on. There was also the time where the Chargers were reduced to extras in the only Super Bowl they ever made… a 49-26 whomping at the hands of Steve Young and the 49ers that was preordained the moment San Diego won the AFC title.

I know a few Chargers fans. Their fatalism is no different than that of your average Jets fan, or Eagles fan, or any of their other northern NFL counterparts who know exactly when things will go wrong for their team, and how they will go wrong. And the Chargers’ failures are just as traumatic for them as other teams’ more notorious boners are for their fanbases.

Barnwell had a great piece earlier this year observing that San Diego is now the most tortured fanbase in the country. In addition to the Chargers, the Padres have been to the World Series twice — first, against the best American League team of the 80s and next against a team that has a serious argument as being the best team in the history of major league baseball. And in the latter, the series started with Richie Garcia — one of the few people in American sports with an arrogance-to-competence ratio higher than Grigson’s — gift-wrapping four runs for the Yankees because he was pissy about the Padre catcher doing his job and trying to frame pitches.

Anyway, one management decision that never gets the scale of criticism it deserves was A.J. Smith’s decision to fire Marty Schottenheimer coming off a 14-2 season and having his team outplay Belichick and Brady in a playoff game but lose because an idiot decided to return what should have been a game-sealing interception. I wouldn’t be inclined to fire a 14-2 coach even if he was blundering in the playoffs — the Chiefs aren’t going to fire Andy Reid, even though he seemed to take an even higher does of Boulevard-and-Ambien at halftime last week, because unless Belichick is tired of the singles scene in Boston firing him would almost certainly make the team worse. But Schottenheimer wasn’t blundering in San Diego — he was just incredibly unlucky and the end of close games. And not only did Smith fire Schottenheimer, he replaced him with…Norv Turner, already well-established as the platonic ideal of head coaching sub-mediocrity. That talent base should have gone toe-to-toe with the Patriots for years, but Smith blew it, and now Chargers fans will never get the chance for another winner.

On to today’s games:

ATLANTA (-6) over Green Bay Did Denver winning last year with bad QB play portend a change in the NFL? Between Denver’s “historic defense and getting the breaks in every single close game” model predictably proving to be unsustainable and 3 Hall of Fame QBs and a fourth who was better than any of them this year in the championship games, I thin we can safely say “no.” You can make a case that my analysis from last week still applies here — in a shootout go with the QB with a longer track record of greatness — but Atlanta is a major step up in class offensively from the Cowboys, and while Ryan has never been this good he’s been good for a while. I’m not picking against one of the best offenses in NFL history at home in a shootout.

TEAM TRUMP (-6) over Pittsburgh Playing its best game, Pittsburgh can certainly win in Foxboro, but New England’s offense has also been fantastic, and Roethlisberger has been too erratic to pick against Brady and Belichick on the road, particularly since Brown actually had a point about the extra day and a half the Pats had to work with. Anyway, you know these teams. But connoisseurs of “Josh McDaniels, COACHING SUPERPROSPECT” stories can enjoy Peter King making sure to preemptively explain how Jed York’s grapes were sour after the 49ers decided to go with Shanahan. You see, McDaniels is an incredibly great coach who will be able to win as long as he takes over a team with championship-caliber talent. Hard to argue with that logic! I do fully expect him to be back in the Super Bowl in his appropriate role as Belichick’s playcaller, though.

Is Our Media Learning?

[ 86 ] January 22, 2017 |


WASHINGTON — President Trump used his first full day in office on Saturday to unleash a remarkably bitter attack on the news media, falsely accusing journalists of both inventing a rift between him and intelligence agencies and deliberately understating the size of his inauguration crowd.

In a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency designed to showcase his support for the intelligence community, Mr. Trump ignored his own repeated public statements criticizing the intelligence community, a group he compared to Nazis just over a week ago.

He also called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” and he said that up to 1.5 million people had attended his inauguration, a claim that photographs disproved.


“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said, contradicting all available data.

Aerial photos have indicated that former president Barack Obama’s first inauguration attracted a much larger crowd. Nielsen ratings show that Obama also had a bigger television audience.

It would have been nice if they had laid off the “Shape of the Earth, views differ” before the election, but…

I’m more convinced than ever that the widespread assumption that Clinton would win and Trump didn’t need to be taken seriously was a huge factor in this election. (Cf. also, of course, the scale of today’s protests.)

2000 v. 2016

[ 123 ] January 20, 2017 |


There’s been some interesting discussion about Paul’s comparison between the 2000 and 2016 election thefts. I already responded to one point in comments, but rather than reply to them all I thought I’d collect some thoughts here:

  • Whether the actions of the Supreme Court 5 in 2000 are worse than Comey’s is an interesting question. Certainly, there is no question that Bush v. Gore was every bit as partisan and lawless as Comey’s letter. I also agree with a commenter that an ex post intervention is many respect is worse than an ex ante one. While Comey’s letter was always going to be damaging to Clinton, had it generated, say, one day of negative coverage from Clinton rather than days of Kardashian-sisters-playing-nude-volleyball-on-Mars saturation coverage it probably wouldn’t have tipped the election, and there are any of other factors that make the outcome contingent. As soon as Bush v. Gore was handed down, Bush was becoming president.
  • On the other hand, one crucial distinction between the cases is that Bush was going to become president in 2000 no matter what the Supreme Court did. If the recount had come out in favor of Gore (and while any comprehensive, uniform recount would have resulted in Gore winning, whether the specific recount ordered by the Florida courts would have resulted in Gore winning Florida is much less clear), the Florida legislature would have sent a pro-Bush set of electors and Congress would have declared those electors the legitimate representatives of Florida. This is not to say that the Supreme Court’s intervention was unimportant — the Republicans should have had to have stolen the election more openly. That the Court legitimated Bush is important and indefensible. But Comey’s actions almost certainly actually swung the election; the Court merely legitimated what was going to happen no matter what. And, as Paul points out, the 2000 election was close to a statistical tie whereas without the Comey intervention Clinton wins the popular vote by ~4 points and is well north of 300 electoral votes.
  • One point where I do respectfully disagree with Paul is that I think he’s minimizing the importance of the ex ante vote suppression by Jeb Bush in 2000. It’s impossible to know precisely how many votes this cost Gore, but given how narrow the margins were it was probably decisive. It’s important to note here that Bush’s theft of the election was critically dependent on being ahead in the initial Florida count. Not only did this generate a media narrative that Gore was a Sore Loser for exercising his right to have a recount, but all of Bush’s legal machinations were dependent on stopping vote counting from happening, which doesn’t work coming from behind. Like Jill Stein and Wednesday morning quarterbacking about resource allocation, arguments that Republican vote suppression — while worthy of criticism no matter what — flipped the election in 2016 founder in Pennsylvania. But in 2000, racist vote suppression almost certainly put a Republican in the White House.
  • I also note the irony that the media’s favorite Respectable Conservative Alternative to Trump in the Republican primaries was the Comey of 2000. While I would like to think that Comey will be permanently reviled as it becomes ever more clear what a catastrophe Trump is, I suspect his reputation as a Nonpartisan Straight-Shooter of Integritude will somehow survive in the Beltway.
  • I’m still amazed by the number of people on the left for who it’s very important that Comey get a pass. Certainly people on the left have invoked bullshit about election results having One True Cause to exonerate Nader — doncha know, if Gore had only used the ultimate tactical nuclear bomb of using a popular incumbent more on the stump, losing was unpossible! Still holds up! — but I don’t recall anyone bringing up Gore’s allegedly faulty campaign tactics as a shield for Scalia or Jeb Bush or Katherine Harris.

An Inaugural Poem

[ 35 ] January 20, 2017 |

An anonymous bard sends along this celebration of our new president:

Come out for the Drumpfster, deplorables all,
Short-fingered vulgarian, builder of malls!
With purpose and strength he came down from his tower
To welcome his vassals in a golden shower.
Now a cry has gone up and the KKK calls,
“Come out for the Drumpfster, deplorables all!”

When freedom is threatened by Obamacare
And Muslims and Mooselimbs run loose everywhere
We’ll take an extra syllable or two to express how mad we are
And thank the Almighty for Drumpf our new czar.
He’ll never betray us, he’ll build us a wall,
Who elected the Drumpfster, deplorables all!

When arrogant Negroes displayed their free phones,
And crashed the economy with their home loans,
As Kenyan usurpers defiled our White House
And limousine liberals lined their own pockets*
The forgotten decided to heft up their balls
And march for the Drumpfster, deplorables all!

The Drumpfster’s a humble man, eager to serve,
Ne’er screwing his clients out of fees they deserve.
A soldier for justice, a wronger of right,
And an indefatigable warrior for the execution of five young black men even after DNA evidence determined that they were totally innocent of the horrible rape of which they were falsely accused and about which Drumpf took out a full-page ad in the New York Times not long after the events of that terrible night.
The honest and true gladly shout “uber alles!”
And stand for the Drumpster, deplorables alles!

True friend of the migrant from both far and near,
He rejects the swarthy, and guards our frontier,
Lest a scarf-wearing woman, cov’ring her hair,
Should threaten our lives and our nation impair.
We stand with the whites who say “yee-ha” and “y’all,”
Coming out for the Drumpster, deplorables all!

Academe lies in ruins, and this we deride
So we can say “retard” and “pussy” with pride;
Its mendacious scientists roaming the land
With lies about “climate change” and lists of demands.
Now we learnèd of mind add ourselves to the crowd
(We learned to say learnèd, of this we are proud!)

The black man, forgotten, in poverty dying,
The poor man, the sick man, with young children crying,
The soldier abroad and the mother who waits,
The young without work or behind prison gates,
The veterans, wounded, are totally fucked
The Drumpfster will drumpf them in his Drumpfster truck.

Whilst scary young shemales flashing their gams
Teach children to dress up as ewes or as rams,
We doughty young boys will defend our bathrooms
For Drumpf will ensure that all grooms will be grooms!
Now the bonnie young lassies en route to the ball
Have a champion in Drumpfster, deplorables all!

But for all his great wisdom, the crotch-grabbing man
Is matched by his children, the handsome Drumpf clan,
And the flower of Europe, Melania the fair,
Adds a luster and grace with her long flowing hair.
May they purge the White House of the blackness that palls,
And cleanse it with Drumpsters, deplorables all!

Is there man left in Russia, be it early or late,
Who remembers Ivan or Putin the Great?
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.
Get up and walk free, while democracies fall,
And pledge to the Drumpster, deplorables all!

Welcome to 1,460 days of hell. Let’s try to save the ACA and remember to make a daily toast to the health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

James Comey’s Coup D’Etat

[ 146 ] January 20, 2017 |


Some desperate leaks before Trump shuts the investigation down:

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.


The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.


Representatives of the agencies involved declined to comment. Of the half-dozen current and former officials who confirmed the existence of the investigations, some said they were providing information because they feared the new administration would obstruct their efforts. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the cases.


And it’s not just that the FBI chose to inform the public about one, and only one, ongoing investigation. The investigation that the FBI did the inform the public about 1)served the longstanding partisan interests of the director and 2)was utterly trivial, and in the most decisive intervention there was absolutely no relevant new information about it. There is no possible justification for violating norms and rules to inform the public about one and not the other except to put a thumb on the scale for Trump.

Let’s put this simply and clearly: the FBI stole the election, on behalf of the minority candidate. Trump is not a legitimate president and should not be treated as such. And let us note as well that the media outlets who chose to give Comey’s letter saturation coverage are accessories after the fact.

…rewenzo in comments:

1) Our domestic security forces were investigating both Clinton and Trump

2) Clinton was being investigated for maybe improperly storing work emails on a private server, which is a trivial offense. Not only was it trivial, but by the summer the FBI and DOJ had publicly concluded that charges could not be brought, meaning the investigation was for all intents and purposes closed.

3) Trump was being investigated for being in cahoots with a foreign dictatorship which was hacking Clinton’s campaign, and this investigation is still ongoing even as he is sworn in to office.

4) The FBI at no point mentioned to anyone they were investigating Trump, and even went out of their way to leak to the media that Trump was not being investigated.

5) The Director of the FBI chose to inform the American people by letter to Congress (i.e. the opposite of a leak), in late October (the platonic ideal of an October surprise, so you know it was intentional) that they had found troubling new evidence in the investigation of Clinton which required the investigation to resume.

6) This letter was a violation of (a) longstanding FBI policy; (b) longstanding DOJ rules designed specifically for the purpose of preventing the FBI from interfering in elections and (c) the Hatch Act.

7) The FBI at the time had no way of knowing that the emails were relevant, and indeed, from all indications, must have known they were probably irrelevant.

8) The emails were quickly and easily determined to be irrelevant.

9) The FBI was in communication with members of the Trump campaign about the Clinton emails and had given Giuliani a heads up that they were going to leak the story

10) The FBI knew Clinton was being hacked by Russia, and were also investigating Trump on suspicion of being involved but did virtually nothing to warn Clinton – essentially left a voicemail.

Conservatives were making fun of John Lewis because it turned out he boycotted Bush’s first inaugural too. But the joke is on Republicans, who literally cannot win presidential elections in a legitimate fashion. This is the second straight Republican president who was awarded the presidency by an organ of the state, and not by voters.

ACA Repeal Would be A Massive Upward Distribution of Wealth

[ 218 ] January 19, 2017 |


We all know that the Affordable Care Act is a neoliberal bailout of the health insurance industry designed by the Heritage Foundation, Milton Friedman, and George Gilder. And, yet, it’s a somewhat odd brand of neoliberalism:

There is one fact that is both central to the debate over repealing the Affordable Care Act yet strangely absent from explicit discussion about it. One of the main ways the ACA makes health insurance affordable is by providing families earning less than 400 percent of the poverty line (i.e., less than $85,000 for a family of three or less than $47,550 for a single person) with tax credits to defray the cost of purchasing insurance. Giving people money helps make things more affordable. President Obama and the congressional Democrats who wrote the law didn’t find the money for those subsidies hidden in a banana stand — they did what Democrats like to do when paying for things and raised taxes on affluent families.

Republicans do not like this idea. They dislike the idea of raising taxes on wealthy households so much that back in 2011, they pushed the country to the brink of defaulting on the national debt rather than agree to rescind George W. Bush’s high-end tax cuts. In December 2012, they tried to insist that they wouldn’t let Obama extend the portion of the Bush tax cuts that everyone (including rich people) got unless he also extended the tax cuts that only rich people got.


This did not play a major overt public role in the 2009-’10 debate about the law, but the Affordable Care Act’s financing rests on a remarkably progressive base. That means that, as the Tax Policy Center has shown, repealing it would shower money on a remarkably small number of remarkably wealthy Americans.

The Affordable Care Act, in summary, taxed the rich in order to provide benefits to the poor and middle class. It did so first by a historic expansion of the public health insurance system for the poor, and second by substantially increasing public expenditure and regulation of the remaining elements of the system.

The answer, of course, is that the Affordable Care Act is not a “neoliberal” program. It is a liberal program squarely within the New Deal/Great Society tradition. It is absolutely true that it was compromised and failed to achieve all that it could have, but this also…places it squarely within the New Deal/Great Society tradition. The New Deal, as most of you know, was very severely compromised by interests that make insurance rentiers look benevolent by comparison. And it’s truly perverse to assert that LBJ is a New Dealer and Obama is not because the former’s health care reform did nothing at all for people who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, rather that at least making remaining markets fairer and more accessible when the votes to eliminate them aren’t there.

The Obama administration is the third presidency in the New Deal/Great Society tradition to achieve a substantial measure of policy success. It did not reconstruct American politics — the Republican Party is still represented by the Reagan counterrevolution. But, by the same token, the Trump administration will not uproot the New Deal coalition in the Democratic Party. It may do more or less damage to Obama’s policy achievements, but the next Democratic administration will be committed to restoring and expanding them.

The Arc of History is Long, But It Bends Towards Justice

[ 80 ] January 18, 2017 |


Congratulations to the Rock — happy to see this great player get the recognition he merits under the wire. Glad to see Bagwell and Pudge make it too. All no-brainers to people who aren’t crank drug warriors who don’t need mere evidence to exercise their self-indulgence.

I have a confession: I was sort of OK with the Yankees winning the World Series in 1996. On the one hand, the Braves were the Yankees of the era and a division rival. And, on the other hand, Raines got a ring (one underappreciated thing about Torre and Cashman is the way they used former stars as valuable role players on those early champions.) May the lord forgive me.

I’ll have more thoughts, but I’ll leave Raines and the other winners to their own thread.

…Longtime friend of LGM Jonah, who I think played a far from trivial role in making this happen, gets to write the piece he’s always wanted to write and nails it on a one-hop from left:

My favorite team bit the dust 13 years ago. That same team traded away my favorite player, who went on to play for five different teams after his first run with the Expos. For all of their charm, being a sports fan can be so fickle, it can feel like rooting for laundry.

But those old memories never fade. More than the Expos or even Raines himself, being a fan was about sitting beside my Papas, watching those first games when I wasn’t yet old enough to fully understand what I was seeing.

That’s why, when Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson called Raines’ name today, I, a 42-year-old man of relatively sane mind, jumped around and yelled like a damn lunatic. It’s why I thumbed through so many old albums, and cried like a damn baby whenever I thought about those very first baseball games.

The American Power Elite’s Fierce Resistance to Donald Trump Continues

[ 420 ] January 18, 2017 |


Betsy DeVos, everybody:

As I may have mentioned, my father was a teacher and an administrator in the public high schools for over 35 years. He explained the essential difference between proficiency and growth to me 40 years ago. That a prospective Secretary of Education hadn’t the faintest idea what Franken was talking about should have been enough to make the committee adjourn itself in helpless laughter.


The whole hearing was beyond bizarre. I believe that the hearing into the nomination of Mike Pompeo to run the CIA was less covert than this one was. It started at five in the evening. Committee chairman Lamar Alexander locked the committee into a one round of questioning in which the members each had five minutes. This meant that most of the Republicans gave little five-minute addresses on the greatness of Betsy DeVos, Civil Rights icon and Concerned Mom. Meanwhile, the Democrats each spent some of their time pleading for another round of questioning. The strategy of putting DeVos’ nomination on a rocket sled so as to avoid exposing too much of her abysmal lack of qualifications was so obvious as to be insulting.

As a colleague observes, one thing the Cabinet of Deplorables indicates is Donald Trump’s utter, and entirely justified, contempt for Senate Republicans. He can’t be bothered to do even the most perfunctory quality control or effort to prepare his nominees. And why should he, since the Senate is happy to rush even the most cartoonishly unqualified nominees through. Trump could nominate a barrel of cow shit with a Confederate Flag stuck into it to a cabinet post and get 52 yea votes. Why spend any more time than you have to? It’s called checks and balances.

The Obvious Rightness of the Manning Commutation

[ 91 ] January 18, 2017 |

Both the grossly disproportionate sentence and the awful conditions she was subjected to not only justify but compel commutation:

First, Manning’s sentence was grossly disproportionate. Prosecuting leakers is very rare, although Obama went after whistleblowers to an unprecedented extent. The seven people prosecuted for leaking information to the media by Obama constitute 70 percent of the people prosecuted for this crime in the history of the United States. And there is certainly no precedent for anything remotely resembling a 35-year sentence for leaking information to the media. Sentencing Manning to time served would have been towards the harsh end of what was potentially justified. Arbitrarily singling out Manning for an extraordinarily harsh punishment is exactly the kind of injustice the commutation power should be used to redress.

And, second, not only has Manning been in prison much longer than her offense merited, the conditions she was subjected to in prison were a vile abuse of human rights. She was held in solitary confinement for extended periods, treatment that amounts to torture in practice, even if it’s not defined as such in law. She remained in a man’s prison despite announcing her gender identity as a woman in 2013. She detailed the effects of this treatment in her letter to Obama: “I am living through a cycle of anxiety, anger, hopelessness, loss, and depression. I cannot focus. I cannot sleep. I attempted to take my own life.” She was actually punished for her suicide attempt with more time in solitary confinement, an act of astonishing cruelty.

The disproportionate length of the sentence given to Manning and the cruelty she was subjected to in prison make commuting her sentence a no-brainer.

This doesn’t mean that Obama’s opponents didn’t attack it. Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called Obama’s commutation “outrageous,” asserting that “President Obama now leaves in place a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won’t be held accountable for their crimes.” The idea that seven years of hard prison time in often deplorable conditions doesn’t constitute “accountability” reflects an appalling lack of human decency.

Let me to pause here to note that 1)Paul Ryan wants to take health insurance away from 32 million people to fund massive upper-class tax cuts and 2)many of the same media figures who consider Hillary Clinton’s email server management a scandal worthy of saturation coverage slobber over Paul Ryan as a Serious Policy Wonk with a sincere commitment to helping the poor.

The harsh treatment given to Manning is particularly hard to justify given that most of the people responsible for the financial collapse of 2008 and all of the people responsible for the torture of prisoners under the Bush administration got away scot-free. While it’s too late for many of the worst villains of the first decade of the millennium to be held accountable, it’s important that other injustices be addressed.

I think there’s a solid argument that the pass given to torturers and financial scammers should mean that Manning shouldn’t haven’t had been prosecuted even if charging her is defensible in isolation. But the commutation isn’t even a close call.

Announcing the First James Comey Award For Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Chutzpah

[ 89 ] January 18, 2017 |


Our first winner is director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and man who bears full responsibility for every bad thing that Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the Roberts Court 5 inflict on the country, Mr. James M. Comey:

Mr. Comey discussed the investigation and sharply criticized Mrs. Clinton at a news conference announcing that no charges would be brought against her. He also wrote two letters near the end of the campaign that Clinton supporters say cost her the election. But Mr. Comey has not publicly commented on whether there are any open investigations of Mr. Trump or anyone associated with his campaign.

Democrats said the closest Mr. Comey came on Friday to offering an explanation for his actions was to say he would only disclose an ongoing investigation if the public had an overwhelming need to know about it or if it was obvious there was one underway. He said he did not believe any possible investigation into Trump or his associates met either standard.

Nothing says “the public had an overwhelming need to know” like “we found some emails we don’t even have a warrant to read but have a 0% chance of changing the conclusion of our previous snipe hunt.” As far as a foreign country potentially undermining a presidential election, though, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I can’t decide if the ability of the Democratic congresspeople to retain any measure of composure around this weaselly hack means that they’re better or worse people than me.

Ordinarily, this entry would lap the field. But we have very strong competition from someone you may remember from another instance of gross malpractice by the New York Times:

As far as I can tell, there is no evidence that the materials Manning leaked led to the death of anyone. The same, however, most certainly cannot be said for the senseless war Miller helped bring about by dutifully transcribing whatever fallacious Bush administration propaganda came down the pike.

In conclusion, I declare the winner to be “they can both go straight to hell with no health insurance.”

Finally, a Fresh Idea!

[ 130 ] January 17, 2017 |


I’ll give this a hard pass:

Hoping to help Democrats recover from what it has dubbed the party’s “worst electoral position since the Civil War,” a centrist think tank is launching a $20 million campaign to study how the party lost its way and offer a new economic agenda for moving forward.

The think tank, Third Way, on Tuesday is set to launch “New Blue,” a campaign to help Democrats reconnect with the voters who have abandoned the party. The money will be spent to conduct extensive research, reporting and polling in Rust Belt states that once formed a Blue Wall, but which voted for president-elect Donald Trump last November.

I’ve made fun of pundit’s fallacies from the left being used to explain the 2016 elections, but at least they’re mostly right on the policy merits. I just wish people would make the case that the Democratic Party should continue to move left on the merits rather than bullshitting about how people who voted for Rob Portman and Ron Johnson and Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin rejected Hillary Clinton because they’re strongly committed to MOAR SOCIALISM. The idea that marginal Trump voters are screaming for MOAR ERSKINE BOWLES is equally stupid as an explanation and has nothing to recommend it on the policy merits either.

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