Theresa May Said Austerity is Over, Kansas Concurred, When Will the GOP Recognize The Damage They’ve Done

Britain was one of the last countries to recover from the 2008 meltdown because of austerity.  That misplaced rage caused the anger over Brexit and finally, finally a liberal backlash that hurt May.

Last week the Kansas tax cut, spending cut experiment ended.  In 2011, Conservative flim flam Gov. Sam Brownback, an old fashioned austerity snake oil salesman, with the help of his Kool-Aid drinking legislature, excitedly enacted the old Reagan game plan (which Reagan never actually did) based on the Laffer Curve of tax cuts and spending cuts causing money to rain down on everyone.  It was the governmental equivalent of Bernie Madoff.

The rain never came, just the pain.  The policies turned surpluses into massive shortfalls as tax revenues cratered as tax cuts were exacerbated by businesses using tax loopholes to avoid taxes at record numbers.  Some politicians were surprised when a policy based on stinginess and greed resulted in stinginess and greed.

Gov. Sam Brownback has touted the policy as a way to spur economic growth, but critics question the fairness of exempting one group of taxpayers while their employees continue to pay income taxes.

And some lawmakers say the policy needs to be tweaked or abandoned in the face of a projected $700 million deficit for the next budget year.

All through this Brownback and his acolytes are in denial.  After 6 years of watching the state sink, waiting for that money rain, the legislature threw out the Kool-Aid and reversed course, over Brownback’s veto!

The WaPo has a report on the innocent people left by the side of the road in Kansas, the collateral damage of doomed and heartless economic policies.

In Iola, community workers talk of tragedies that could have easily been prevented.

Holly Jerome, a director at the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center, spoke about a patient who lost a leg to diabetes and a disabled drug addict who couldn’t go back to work because his insurance wouldn’t cover a nonaddictive pain medication. Angela Henry, project director of the community organization Safe Base, told of a 13-year-old girl who lost part of her jaw when her parents couldn’t pay to finish a dental operation, and the packing pellets a dentist put in her tooth rotted.

“The experiment has been conducted, and I don’t know how anyone who looks at data or who hears the stories that we live every day could say the experiment has been successful,”  Toland said.

People suffer from these policies.  The politicians that promulgate them always tout personal and economic responsibility with a messianic fervor but they commit governmental malpractice because it’s the equivalent of praying over a (self-inflicted) bullet wound.  Isn’t the mission of government to provide for the citizenry?  To reckon with the greater good of doing the best you can for the most people by providing the infrastructure for safety and opportunity for as many people as you can?

Austerity by definition says we’re going to do less and hope things work out.  That’s hardly a conservative approach.  For the person who lost their leg, or the kids losing educational opportunities, or the person who breaks an axle on a potholed road government failed them and it’s downright evil to tell them that somehow, somewhere down the (pot holed) road it’ll be worth it.

It’s crazy that anybody would ever believe in this nonsense.  But more amazing is that despite the Kansas disaster, numerous GOP politicians in D.C. and around the country keep selling this nonsense as if it were an actual economic plan that would or could benefit people.  They keep faith in a theory that government shouldn’t be providing benefits or infrastructure, that everyone’s on their own and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  Of course that’s not for public consumption, that’s just what they say to each other. In public they discuss it as a plan to create wealth and prosperity… by withholding spending.  Keep clapping for Tinkerbell!!

The currently debated Trumpcare tax cut plan disguised as a healthcare plan is typical. Trump and GOPers will tout more coverage, better coverage when what they’re doing can not possibly achieve any such thing.  They know in fact it does the opposite.  But they sell it shamelessly to the rubes who have been told that government is the problem.

Paul Ryan needs to be asked about Kansas every waking moment of the day.  Mitch McConnell needs to be asked about what he would say to the person who loses their leg because they no longer have health coverage.

“I’ve said all along, I’m not looking for a handout. Nobody should ever get anything for free,” she said. “You should work for what you get. But they make it harder and harder every day.”

The goal of government is to make it easier.  Anything less is malpractice.

40 Countries Price Carbon Pollution as of 2018, Not the U.S., Of Course

But China will be pricing carbon nationally as of 2018.

The big recent news is China, of course. In July, its carbon cap-and-trade system — which has been tested in nine provinces for several years — will go national, effectively doubling the world’s priced carbon. (That’s the giant bubble on the map above.) At that point, fully a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions will be priced at one level or another. A quarter!

While it’s ridiculous that we are burdened with such heavy stupid, our uniquely American albatross, individuals, businesses, cities, states and much of the rest of the world is moving forward to meet the challenges of climate change and bring about the completely sustainable energy future that everybody who doesn’t have their head up their ass knows is coming.

Our grandchildren will likely all live exclusively in air conditioned bubbles floating in the oceanic Waterworld, but many of us did try to protect the planet, so sorry kids.

Speaking to the children of the 22nd century (because the internet is forever): If it’s any comfort, children of the 22nd century, all those other animals and plants that we enjoyed in the 20th century, that are gone now, were overrated.

What Charlie Pierce Said

There are no “Right” or “Wrong” People who get shot.  Please.

On the whole, people shouldn’t get shot. They shouldn’t get shot in the streets. They shouldn’t get shot in school. They shouldn’t get shot in the workplace. They shouldn’t get shot while carrying snack food in the “wrong” neighborhood, and they shouldn’t get shot while they’re trying to surrender. They shouldn’t get shot while dancing in a nightclub. And they shouldn’t get shot on the ballfield on a spring morning.

If everybody agreed on this we’d be better off.


Maybe Now We’ll Start Profiling Angry White Guys?

Nope.  But get ready for Bernie Sanders and all progressives everywhere having to apologize for one nutjob with a gun as if we’re the ones that advocate violence and being armed.

It’s as predictable as sunrise that on talk radio and Fox people will connect this shooting to Democrats, Bernie, Hillary, etc. as if they’re a death cult that advocates for violent extremist action.  Bernie has already said he was sickened by the act and that the nut job may have been a Bernie supporter.  Um, we’re the ones for gun control and called tree huggers.  You can’t have it both ways – that we hate guns but we’re the real violent extremists.  Oh but they will try because modern conservatives have no internal bullshit monitor or self-editing based on self-contradiction or shame in so-doing.  (Latest evidence is: saying that Robert Mueller was a great public servant one week does not keep a conservative from calling him partisan and saying he should be fired the next  week.)

Nobody on the right has ever even acknowledged the many, many, many times that nut jobs have murdered people after actually, really, truly being inspired by words spoken on talk radio and Fox News and other right wing outlets that DO ACTUALLY, REALLY, TRULY talk about violence and “2nd Amendment Remedies” and also push Republican candidates. Trump especially never has.

The truly sickening part of the absolutely inevitable act of violence is how the red team gangsters will scream and try to turn this into an issue to cow progressives.

That can’t happen.

All Those Times Important People Said They Were Confident That Russians Did Not Alter Votes Are Now Inoperable

Russia hacked voting systems in 39 states before the 2016 election. Uh oh!

In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.

This is part of why Obama issued warnings and sanctions on Russia.  But given this knowledge, how can anybody so confidently state that they absolutely didn’t, couldn’t have messed with actual votes?  I’m not so sanguine.

As Charlie Pierce writes:

Depressingly, the Obama administration decided to keep a lid on most of what it knew so as not to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the election, even though those same people in the Obama administration knew that the integrity of the election was completely up for grabs. There are a lot of dangers to self-government, and one of those dangers that’s done a lot of damage in my lifetime has been the feeling that the American people are such fragile ornaments that we don’t dare risk telling them the truth of something lest they fall to the floor and shatter to pieces. This is just the latest example of this infantilizing attitude toward our general democratic obligation to be wise to what out government is doing.

It all makes the Trump and Republican lack of interest in this even more disturbing.



David Leonhardt – Where’s the Opposition to Trumpcare?

The parties that waged war against Medicare in the 40s and 60s, and the Clinton Health Care Plan in the 90s are way too quiet right now in the face of an attack on their industry that is arguably much worse than those instances.  David Leonhardt asks why so halfhearted?

The opponents I’m talking about include almost every major health care interest group: the lobbying groups for doctors, nurses and hospitals as well as advocates for patients with cancer, diabetes, lung disease, heart disease or birth defects. Each understands that the bill would deprive millions of Americans of insurance. Each has criticized the bill, and some, including AARP, have done more, like organizing phone calls.

But they have not come close to the sort of public campaign that would put intense pressure on senators.

Because even in the face of awful legislation from people with wrongheaded goals that will do scads of damage across the horizon, everybody is afraid of Republicans and nobody is afraid of Democrats.

… the groups are wary of attacking the Republican Party, given its current power. “We’re living in a world in which it’s just Republican votes,” one lobbyist told me. Speaking loudly against the bill risks alienating powerful politicians — and risks making the health care groups look partisan.

Republicans embrace partisanship.  A byproduct of that is that it makes their opponents look partisan, which makes those more high minded people uncomfortable, so they equivocate when they need to embrace the moment in order to defeat the enemy.

Republicans are acting like a gang, a criminal enterprise based on complete loyalty to the gang at all costs.  It is unprecedented.  The reaction to it has to be unprecedented too. People and groups have to be as fearless as the Republicans are.  Not as unethical or disgusting.  But unafraid of the consequences of standing up.


For First Time Trump Hits 60% Disapproval

And almost all of that is STRONG Disapproval.  Gallup Daily Tracking Poll.

But do not doubt that he could bring it up to 65%, maybe 70% if he keeps going (and he will).

Just to push back on the establishment a bit, there is no requirement to respect the office of the president.  The president is the office.  I respect some presidents and I do not respect other presidents entirely because of how they wield the power of that office and whether it’s moral, ethical and beneficial to the citizenry.

If you suck you don’t get my respect just because some people disagree on the suckage. Those people who want to walk that middle line of respecting it all no matter how damaging should be given dispensation to drop that nonpartisan pretense in some cases. Nixon was such a case.  Bush/Cheney was such a case.  Trump is a case well beyond any sensible person’s benefit of the doubt.

Politics is Sports With Unlimited Working the Refs

Especially in the Citizen’s United age.

Sports are great because the rules apply to both teams equally and while you can try to “work the refs” their job is to apply those rules equally, evenly and appropriately.  They are paid professionals whose integrity must be beyond reproach to be effective.  We’re so dedicated to this concept that we’ve turned to technology to ensure that the just result is allowed to prevail over faulty (but sincerely applied) judgment.

In politics, the rules and norms are supposed to apply to both teams (all teams in multi-party system) but the refs exist in two layers:

1. the press, who are split between cadres of paid professionals whose goal is that their integrity and dedication to fairness are beyond reproach, but is actually in the eye of the beholder, and also a growing contingent of overtly partisan outlets who may falsely claim integrity but clearly root for a team, all of which informs layer 2;

2. the ultimate ref – the citizen, the voting public, not paid professionals trained in anything, with differing levels of education, information, attention spans, individual interests and dedication.  There used to be a stronger sense of honor around being a citizen, upholding a sense of right and wrong and fairness, but like honor in sports and other aspects of life, the pressure to succeed, to win, to be on the achieving side of the ledger in a more and more desperate society has eroded that sense of honor.  Cynicism rules, feeding less identification with the two teams for most and hyper identification with the teams for a rabid minority.

So already we have a vast difference between these two things that render fairness in politics much harder to achieve, to say the least.  And then on top of that you have the working of the refs, the legally protected ability to misinform, propagandize, to lie to the refs for the outcome you want for your team.  In politics we’ve seen cheaters prosper so that it is not unreasonable, if you are so inclined, to decide that honor and integrity is for suckers.

So I wish the sports analogy worked.  But it doesn’t.  And for that we’re fucked.

The Confluence of Stupid, the Arts, Arts Patrons and TrumpPolitics

What’s offensive here is that it’s actually pretty fucking hackneyed by now to do a production of Julius Caesar with a Caesar that echoes a current president/prime minister. The Public Theater’s annual summer ritual of Shakespeare in the Park features a Trump-like Caesar and, no spoiler alert should be necessary, after eleventymillion performances of Julius Caesar over 400 years, Caesar gets murdered in all eleventymillion.

But maybe they’re not teaching Shakespeare in High School any more because right wing nut jobs are offended that the play depicts the murder of our president.   So…

Delta Airlines and Bank of America responded to the firestorm by withdrawing financial support from the production, which is currently running at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater as part of New York’s famed Shakespeare in the Park festival.

Of course they did.  They’re businesses, constitutionally against offending anyone.  They never considered that merely funding the arts actually offends the same people screaming now.

Like the Kathy Griffin idiocy, which was a bad idea to do on Griffin’s part and a ridiculous overreaction by CNN and the faux offended (Republicans have hypocritically made the “offensive” image that nobody should ever see a de rigueur part of every anti-liberal ad they produce now), a silly image is thrown around as if it were actually a threat or way beyond the pale and you know no president has ever been portrayed like this before!  Not since the last one, anyway.

Besides everything else, Chris Hayes (who was a theater major in school, good man) screams the completely missed point of the play: