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Newt Gingrich: The Greatest Wingnut Welfare Queen of Them All

The Definer of Civilization has another shitty book out.

It is called "Understanding Trump".

It has a forward by Eric Trump.

It has a breathlessly excited blurb by Sean Hannity.

It has a glowing write-up in Breitbart the official house organ of GOP's General Directorate for the Moral Hygiene of Party Members:
Newt Gingrich: Donald Trump One of the Smartest Presidents Ever

Discussing his new book, Understanding Trump, with Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow on Monday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich explained why he believes Donald Trump is one of the smartest people ever to have served as President of the United States.

“What always surprises members of the elite is I believe he is one of three or four smartest people ever to be president,” Gingrich said, adding:
I think he’s in the same league as someone like Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt … I also think he’s one of the most energetic since Roosevelt, which is why you get these tweets at five in the morning, when he wakes up he has too much energy. I think also he has an instinct for disruption comparable to Andrew Jackson… He is constantly looking for ways to fix things, to change things, to breakthrough.

So why is The Offal That Walks Like a Man being interviewed by the once-venerable NPR as if he were a serious thinker?

Because until they are cast into Mount Doom, The Gingrich Rules are forever.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


“We have seen this with cults and religions.” by @BloggersRUs

"We have seen this with cults and religions."

by Tom Sullivan

Saucepan Revolution, Iceland, 2008-2009.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., appeared on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show last night after the Senate voted 51-50 to begin debate on ... something unspecified related to gutting Americans' access to health care. Warren was defiant, visibly shaken, and emotional at the prospect that Republicans might vote to take away health care coverage from tens of millions. Madame professor was gone. A mother was speaking:

For me, it's about the families ... This is about the mammas and the daddies who were out there, who ended up just creating a crowd this afternoon after our vote to stand on the steps of the United States Capitol and to plead, plead for health care coverage for their children.
Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote for Republicans to begin debate after Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, a few days out of brain surgery, flew in on a private jet to vote for the motion. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who had reason to give Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) his middle finger, spent ten minutes speaking with a tense and red-faced McConnell before voting aye after McCain did.

There will be a lot of histrionics over the next few days, but even for Republicans they could be meaningless even if something passes out of the Senate. David Dayen and Ryan Grim explain at The Intercept:

This upends the long-standing promise McConnell made these wavering senators over health care. He said repeatedly that they would have the opportunity to amend the bill to their liking on the floor, if they’d only pass a motion to proceed. Even in his floor speech before the vote, McConnell referred to an “open amendment” process, where Senators could “work their will.”

But what McConnell has set in motion would rob these Senators of that ability.

That’s because skinny repeal is just a vehicle to advance the process, as Thune articulated. What’s in it doesn’t really matter, and that includes any additional amendments senators manage to attach. The real action would occur in that House-Senate conference negotiation, where the leadership teams of both Republican caucuses would hash out the final bill. Portman, Murkowski, Heller and their colleagues would be as distant from that negotiation as they were from knowing what they would voted on today.

And then the so-called moderates, with no chance to pass an amendment, would be told to vote for the bill out of party solidarity, to keep the seven-year promise of repealing Obamacare. They would face enormous pressure to advance a bill they had no say on. It is the exact opposite of what McConnell promised.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told a crowd following the vote:
Make no mistake about it: There is no doubt-and we all know when the bill gets to conference-who’s going to call the shots. The Freedom Caucus which will be for full repeal or something even worse than what came from the House. And remember-on the House bill, a whole number of Republican Senators said they wouldn’t vote for it.

Those Republicans promised they could make changes will face an up-or-down vote on whatever emerges from the conference, with even more pressure to pass it than they faced on Tuesday.

After the vote, McCain delivered a self-serving lecture about how the Senate doesn't behave like the Senate anymore, having just reaffirmed the non-deliberative process he decried. That he drew plaudits for a speech after failing to take a stand spoke more loudly than his words. Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, spoke with Slate after the vote. What is on display in the Senate, particularly among Republicans "of otherwise admirable character and intelligence," is behavior similar to people fearful of being shunned by their tribes. "We have seen this with cults and religions." Ornstein explains our system is supposed to defend itself against, "I will be blunt, a deranged president." And yet, members with larger responsibilities are jumping to his tune. "This vote tells me: Be very afraid."

Clearly, some Democrats are. Warren is.

Yes, this is very tiresome. But that's how it is with zealots. When you run out of steam, they run right over you. Not this time. Look, I'm not the protesty type. But I ran by a dollar store the other day and grabbed a cheap pot and a wooden spoon to keep in the car. You never know where you'll be when a deranged president fires Robert Mueller and sparks "the greatest constitutional crisis since Watergate." Besides, I might need them before that. I thought what Icelanders did in 2008-2009 was pretty cool.

Go watch the Warren interview (can't embed here).


10 Free Video Tutorials For Learning Sketch

YouTube is the best place to teach yourself anything in the modern era. Techie subjects are covered in greater detail because most tech-savvy people also know how to record videos and get them online.

One of the newer design programs, Sketch, has been giving Photoshop a run for its money. This is an OSX-only program, but it’s made specifically for web and mobile designers.

It can feel a little strange coming from an Adobe background, but with the right tutorials anyone can learn it, and in this guide, I’ve curated the best Sketch tutorials to get you started with the basics and beyond.

iOS Calendar in Sketch 3

ios calendar tutorial

Mobile iOS apps are simple to design because they come with screen restrictions and clear guidelines for the designer. That’s why this iOS video tutorial is a great place to start learning Sketch.

Over the course of a half hour you’ll learn the fundamentals of icon design, vector creation, color selection, and keyboard shortcuts. The narration is easy to follow, and you can do all of this on your own with just a copy of the program.

If you’re hoping to learn more about icon design or mobile app design, then this video is for you.

Intro to Sketch for Web Design

intro web design sketch video

Alternatively you might be looking to use Sketch for website design. In that case you’ll love this brief intro from London designer Charli Marie.

If you’re a complete beginner then picking up Sketch can be a hassle, but this is particularly the case for websites where you need to consider responsive layouts, grid systems, and more intricate nuances like textures/patterns on the page.

Granted this video will not make you a complete Sketch master or an expert web designer. But it’ll offer a very clear introduction to the program so you can get up and running fast.

Simple Menu UI/UX

uiux sliding menu sketch

Diving into the more detailed side of design is this Sketch 3 tut covering how to make a sliding nav menu.

This video follows a very simple process of designing a slide out menu on top of an existing interface. Most mobile designers need to do something like this since the sliding menu is the most common choice for responsive menus.

And you can follow this tutorial with the newer version covering another method of designing a vertical slide-out menu.

Nike Store UI Redesign

nike store ui redesign

Another way to practice design is by re-creating interfaces. For example this tutorial teaches you how to redesign a Nike product page in Sketch 3.

It spans about half an hour with guides on working with vectors, basic page shapes, color schemes, textures, and pretty much everything else you’d need to learn.

This video will not make you an expert, but it’s definitely a fun way to get started in this design software.

Dropbox UI/UX Redesign

dropbox ux sketch video

Here’s another cool example from the same YouTuber teaching you how to redesign Dropbox in Sketch. It’s just about the same length of time, and the process feels similar, but there’s also a very unique methodology in this video.

You’ll learn more about matching the colors/textures/icons with Dropbox’s branding and how to design around the company’s image. So you’re not just learning how to use Sketch, but also how to design with specific goals and criteria.

Definitely a unique tutorial for web designers and the final result is fantastic.

Minimalist Website in Sketch 3

minimalist freebie sketch

If you’re looking for a simpler introduction, you might try this tutorial created by Hacksaw Academy. It’s one of the newest videos in this list, and it teaches you how to create a minimalist website mockup from scratch.

In total the video spans 15 minutes which isn’t too long for a design tutorial.

But the final result is also very simple, so beginners won’t feel too overwhelmed. This makes for an excellent starting point to pick up Sketch, but I recommend going beyond this tutorial if you really want to master the program.

Design a Landing Page

landing page video series

Designer Adam Rasheed went above & beyond with his landing page video tutorial covering all the major aspects of Sketch.

This tutorial breaks up into five parts with the very first video totaling over 90 minutes long. Talk about detailed!

You’ll learn about the proper workflow used to create a web page mockup and how you can follow this in future projects. Plus Adam gets into detail on how to create certain page elements like navigation menus, signup forms, and thumbnail galleries.

Basic iOS App Mockup

simple ios mockup sketch

The entire SketchCasts YouTube channel is full of great advice for beginners and experts alike. Sketch has a lot of features, and this channel covers all of them in practical lessons.

I specifically recommend starting with their iOS app mockup tutorial which feels more like a wireframe than a mockup. But you’ll learn all the fundamentals of designing a page by setting dimensions, grids, and proper alignments.

All the techniques you’ll learn in this video apply to professional design work no matter what type of interface you’re creating.

Button System with Nested Symbols

buttons nested symbols

If you wannt to get a little more technical then check out this tutorial on nested symbols in Sketch. This is a unique property of the software and you could learn it through other guides online.

But this 30-minute tutorial shows you visually how to create a Sketch library of buttons using nested symbols in your work. It’s an incredibly practical approach to nested symbols, and you’ll take a lot away from the experience.

However this is not really made for absolute beginners. You should at least have some comfort tinkering in Sketch before diving into this video.

Flexbox for Sketch App

sketch flexbox video tutorial

Modern web designers need to follow responsive techniques. This holds true for frontend development and basic mockup design/wireframing.

In Sketch this process is super easy and this tutorial shows you how it’s all done. This video guide uses the auto-layout plugin made solely for Sketch as a responsive design tool. If you’re a web designer moving into Sketch then this video is a must-watch.

But you can also read through the written article if you prefer that instead.

Fast Prototyping with Sketch, Invision and Craft

invision craft sketch tutorial

Before tackling a full mockup you may want to prototype your website or application. This is like a visual plan for how all your pages fit together and how users traverse the interface.

With this video tutorial you’ll learn how to setup Sketch and how to connect it with two other programs: InVision’s backend along with the free Craft plugin.

An excellent guide for skilled designers who want to work more with prototyping in their day-to-day.

These are my top picks for free Sketch video tutorials but there are many more released each year. If you want to continue the search, try browsing YouTube to see what else you can find.


MSNBC Number One

MSNBC Number One

by digby

It isn't just the Trump bump:

MSNBC finished as the most-watched network in all of basic cable in primetime on Monday, for the first time in its 21-year history, according to Nielsen Research. 
The Comcast-owned network averaged 2.34 million viewers, edging Fox News and its average of 2.25 million. Disney's 1.74 million viewers, USA Network's 1.57 million viewers and HGTV's 1.51 million viewers rounded out the top five. 
Cable news rival CNN finished ninth behind the Discovery Channel in total viewers in primetime, averaging 875,000 viewers. 
Fox News still finished first in the "Total Day" (6 a.m. to 6 a.m.) category, extending its winning streak over all basic cable channels to 29 consecutive weeks, averaging 1.4 million viewers. 
New daily developments regarding investigations into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with Trump campaign associates has been a boon for progressive MSNBC, particularly host Rachel Maddow. 
Maddow again had the No. 1 program of the week in cable news, averaging 2.94 million total viewers and 711,000 in the key 25-54 demographic advertisers covet most. In all of basic cable, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) on USA Network was the most-watched, with Maddow coming in second.

MSNBC's shows consistently have an interesting  rotation of experts, pundits, reporters and political insiders while CNN hasa format of featuring the same people spouting predictable talking points day after day. It's dull.

Fox, of course, is simply in Bizarroworld.


The Republican God Demands Blood Sacrifices

And as headline-grabbing as they may be, America's periodic mass shootings weren't calculated, sadistic or widespread enough to slake the thirst of the Republican's God of Blood and Soil.

So now, this...

See, Republicans never really cared what was in the bill:  as long as it made Libtards sad and immiserated and terrified tens of millions of poor and working class people on the way to sickening , bankrupting or killing hundreds of thousands of them, they were gonna be cool with it.  

As I warned on this little blog of mine eight long years ago...
So now we have to chase the wingnuts through time.

We have to chase them and beat them because they are on the verge of having everything they believe in -- their entire, globally-destructive boondoggle of plutocrats and pissy sociopaths –- bookended in history for all time as a transient, tragic spasm of cultural psychosis between New Deal Classic and New Deal 2.0, which makes them more desperate than ever.

Because outside of our hopeful little, wavering campfire circle, darkness is always waiting. Always busy, circling, sniffing, hunting for a way back in.

And if we leave the agents and emissaries of darkness alone back there in the American time-line, unchallenged, rewriting our past, salting our history with their lies, then sooner that you'd believe possible they'll be back.

Raging back, skulls stuffed full of manufactured legends and synthetic grievances, hearts steeped in ignorant fury, with Limbaugh cranking at enough decibels to drown out every other sound in the Universe.

Raging back to snuff out freedom and tolerance and the hated Middle Class once and for all.
But, y'know, those emails.

And stuff.

About that incivility

About that incivility

by digby

We're being admonished not to say anything critical of John McCain's vote to proceed with the destruction of health care for millions of people because it would be indecent considering what he's dealing with.

Just a little reminder:

Note that those signed were printed.


Interesting New Newsletter Design Trends

Newsletters have long been a necessary aspect of marketing. While in the early years, designs were basic and uninspiring, we are now seeing some extraordinary examples of companies and individuals look to separate themselves from the competition and deliver something with high visual appeal to subscribers.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the latest newsletter design trends and showcase some of the most effective examples in circulation.

Attention-Grabbing Imagery

As users’ inboxes are busier than ever, companies only have a split second to grab attention as emails are flicked through and discarded at a mere glance. One way to do so is through bright and colorful imagery which stands out while also conveying a message and acting as a CTA area.

newsletter design trends

Minimal Content

Similarly, email content is down-sizing to ensure they don’t lose users’ attention with overly long content sections and text areas. The content is kept precise and to-the-point, allowing the user to gather necessary information in just a few of seconds.

newsletter design trends


Brutalism has also found its way across to newsletter design. It is particularly effective in promoting artists’ music such as in Beck’s example below. It uses long, distorted drop shows, bright colors, collage imagery, and basic upper and title case typography.

newsletter design trends

Bright & Vibrant Colors

Bright color usage is especially effective in drawing a user’s attention and adds much visual interest to what would, as you will see from the below example, otherwise be a somewhat underwhelming newsletter that could easily be glanced over or missed while checking your inbox.

newsletter design trends]

Focus on Typography

Typography is an excellent medium for carrying a brand in an email newsletter. So often, newsletters do not conform to the same standards as their counterpart website.

The below example uses typography elements sparsely but with purpose, including important information such as location and dates, and emphatic type for the company name. It results in a poster-like appearance – great for demanding attention and showing off a product or clothing line.

newsletter design trends

Have you received a remarkably designed newsletter recently? If you have, share it with us below!


Sunday Morning Comin’ Down:  2006 Redux

I am here, girl, because I put no trust in a desert god and his mud-pit prophet. I prospered because I bowed lower than my brothers before the Egyptians, and now the Egyptians bow low before me. Joshua wanted you... Baka wanted you... but you belong to me... a gift from Rameses to His Excellency. -- Dathan the Overseer (The Ten Commandments) explains how to prosper under President Stupid

Although many historians and most Republicans deny it, once upon a time there really was a Bush Administration.  

It really was led by an ignoramus who was, in turn, manipulated by monsters.  It's president really did lose the popular vote and then take office under the sketchiest of circumstances.  It really did reel from one catastrophe to the next because its only road map was a failed ideology and the council of evil men.

And the Beltway media really did roll over for the Bush Administration.  Over and over again.  Despite overwhelming evidence that it was a rolling disaster that just kept getting worse.

And because many historians,  most Republicans and even the Teacher of the Rules of Civilization himself (h/t Heather and Blue Gal at Crooks & Liars) --

-- have labored so mightily to pretend the Failed Bush Administration never happened (and therefor cannot be used as a guide to help us find our way through the Failed Trump Administration), before proceeding I believe it is necessary to pour a wee dram from a January, 2006 cask of "Sunday Morning Comin' Down":
...when it comes to the U.S. unsheathing the saber in Iran, George Will [On "This Week...'] put a grim, angry smile on my face.

Will unpacks his wee soapbox, clambers atop it, and says, sure, we can bomb the crap out of Iran and knock it back ten years or so.

But, Will asks, “Then what?”

“That’s the question. That’s the question we didn’t ask bef…”

And in that perfect little jewel of a moment you could positively smell Karl Rove tickling the joystick that controls the high-voltage, barbed wire cock-ring that the GOP keeps wrapped around the withered sac of its pet journalists.

George unwrapped his lips from around the words he was just about to say like a man stung in the gums by a wasp the size of an Escalade. He then quickly shifted gears and began nattering on about Admiral Yamamoto telling the Japanese high command that, sure, he could attack the U.S. fleet and run wild in the Pacific for a “year and a day.”

…but “Then What?”

Of course the statement Will was verging on making before Karl the Klown jolted him back to goodthinkfulness was this:

“That’s the question. That’s the question we didn’t ask…before we invaded Iraq.”

But of course, that’s kind of a sore subject; one that the Stalinist Right has striven mightily to stomp down the ol’ Memory Hole and piss away into the mists of forgotten myth and lore.

Because, of course, people did ask that question before Dubya rolled our children into Iraq to be slaughtered behind his PNAC fantasies and petroleum dream, didn’t they George?

Millions and millions and millions of people asked that very question.

Very Loudly.

They were called Democrats, George.

And your Party called them unAmerican, remember George?

And even the Democrats who supported the invasion of Iraq –- and there were many of them -- made it very clear that they were not giving your President a blank check.

The Dem’s made it abundantly clear that there needed to be concrete, convincing evidence of an imminent threat. Evidence of WMDs delivered by inspectors on the ground. Evidence of some linkage to 9/11.

They demanded that enough troops be used to get the job done. And they insisted on a clear exit strategy.

And your President mumbled, “Yeah…Ok…whatever”, blew off every warning and caution, grabbed the keys to the car and drove it right off the fucking cliff, didn't he George?

And the Democrats who had made the epic mistake of trusting a dim little creep like George Bush to behave responsibly with the national Credit Card?

Your Party called them weak and cowardly, remember George?

Funny how you seem the effortlessly remember, oh, say, every stray stat surrounding Cal Koonce’s ERA, but can’t seem to remember these rather vitally important, life-and-death facts about your Party and President, isn’t is George?

Joe Klein thinks its “absolutely shameful” that the President keeps using national security for political gain.

Gee, Joe. Really? Wow? Who'da thunk it?

On The Chris Matthews' Show...Also a thematic rerun of last week’s twaddle.

Every single fucking question framed as “Just look what at what a muslim-whippin’ badass Bush is! How vewwy vewwy manly. Look how snugly his balls fit in my mouth.

And Holy Crap what a bunch of whiners and quibblers the Democrats are! With all their whinging and wheezing about this mysterious Constitution and 'civil liberties'.

Jeez! What a buncha brittle old women the Dems are talkin’ about the fact that the foundation stones of American Democracy are being sledgehammered to sand by that tough, musky, Hombre-In-Chief, a man who’s taint sure tastes like peppermint ice cream to me!"

What was missing was anyone uttering a discouraging word.

Last week the Bush-luvin’ pee party was at least momentarily broken up by…

Cynthia Tucker throwing a hard elbow right in the throat of the cocka-suckas on her right and left. She actually said the words, “Southern Strategy.” Spoke of the Original Republican Sin of choosing to deliberately and shamefully pander to racists. Of always swinging through the Segregationist Academy of Bob Jones University when out making the presidential campaign rounds.

Which was followed by…silence. In memory, what seems now like a million years of crickets, broken only when Andrew Sullivan announced that he thinks the President is genuine. In his heart. It is wrong and irresponsible to ascribe racists motives to Blah Blah Blah.

Cynthia Tucker didn’t say Dubya’s a racist. She didn’t say Dubya hates black people. No, Dubya hates poor people: he just sucks a lot of racist dick, uh, recreationally.

But alas, that was last week.

This time around Chris made sure no one was on the panel who would challenge him when he leaped up on the table, ripped his shirt off to reveal his Bush/Cheney ’04 pec tat and commemorative GOP nipple clamps, and screamed:

“Sure Dubya might be a liar and a dimwit, torturer and thief. But for God’s sake people: just look at the ass on that man and tell me you could say “No” to that!”

That was January, 2006.

Within a year it had become embarrassingly obvious that the Bush Administration had not only used 9/11 to lie us into the wrong war, but that they were fucking that war up very badly, and were bankrupting the country and breaking the army in the process.  This, added to all the other failures of the Bush Administration, meant that the sheer weight of ongoing Republican perfidy and incompetence could no longer be merely shrugged off or papered over or shouted down.

For one, brief moment it all became too much and suddenly a few Actual Liberals were allowed on the teevee machine!

Sure, they were paired with Both Siderist stooges like Harold Fraud Junior so that establishmentarian testicle cozies like David Gregory wouldn't get any of the career-killing Liberal stank on him, but there they were:

But soon enough Lords and Ladies of the Beltway decides they were just not, not, not going to discuss the Failed Bush Administration anymore, because any such discussion held the very real risk of leading quickly to the subject of the craven complicity of the Lords and Ladies of the Beltway.

And so, just as suddenly as they had arrived, Actual Liberals were gone.  Poof.  As if they had never existed.

Instead, the still-burning, still-bleeding history of the Failed Bush Administration was welded into an oil drum and sunk into the Potomac, while Bush Administration hacks and speechwriters -- the men and women who had crafted the words and policies that nearly destroyed this country -- were rewarded with lucrative and well-protected sinecures throughout the media.

Human hassocks like Harold Fraud Junior remained a permanent fixture in the new order because nobody can slide that entire Both Siderist kielbasa down his throat quite like Harold Fraud Junior.

Newt Gingrich was raised from the dead to became to most frequently invited guest on Meet the Press.

And Peggy Noonan's Collaborator's Prayer (which she rolled out just three months after Barack Obama was inaugurated) --
God, grant me enough gin to look the other way when artrocities are committed by my friends and benefactors,
Enough rum to actually go on teevee and say this shit in pubic,
And enough fellow media collaborators to know that I'll never have to pay a price for any of it.
-- became the Beltway's holy writ and Both Siderism became their state-within-a-state religion.

Of course in this brave new world of every act of explicit Republican barbarism and sedition being reported as "Why Won't Obama Lead?", there was no place for those of us who knew that the obvious answer to that questions was "Because Republicans are depraved motherfuckers.  Because Republicans have been depraved motherfuckers for as long as anyone can remember.  Holy shit, didn't we already settle all of this with you goofs ten minutes ago during the Bush Administration?"

And so the entire Bush Administration went down the memory hole.  The entire Republican base was allowed to re-brand itself as "independents" just in time to pour into the streets demanding the impeachment of the Kenyan Usurper.  And Liberals -- the ones who had been right about the Right all along -- were given a "Best of Luck in All Your New Endeavors!" card signed by no one and escorted out of the building.

And in no small part because the Beltway media collectively decided that it was in their financial interest  to sell the country out, look the other way and "just keep walkin'

no matter how racist or deranged or destructive the Republican Party became, we now have another, exponentially-worse Republican ignoramus in the White House who is being operated by even more lethal cabal of evil men.

So it is not it is not entirely impossible that, once again, for a brief period of time as the Failed Trump Administration burns right down to the waterline and sinks, Actual Liberals may actually be asked to step in front of the cameras once again and help explain what we are witnessing.

And my advice to them is, this time, ignore whatever Harold Fraud Junior they pair you with to insulate the themselves from your icky Liberalness, focus your attention directly on the host and go full Rustin Cohle on their ass until the ask you to leave.

Because sooner that you will believe possible, Peggy Noonan will be along once again to remind the Lords and Ladies of the Beltway to look away, look away, look away from all the unpleasantness, because "sometimes life has to be mysterious".

Behold, a Tip Jar!


“I think he’s crazy”

"I think he's crazy"

by digby

Yeah, no kidding:

At the end of a Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday morning, Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) didn’t switch off her microphone. Apparently speaking to Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.), the ranking Democrat of the committee, Collins discussed the federal budget — and President Trump’s lack of familiarity with the details of governing.

After Reed praises Collins’s handling of the hearing, held by the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she laments the administration’s handling of spending.

“I swear, [the Office of Management and Budget] just went through and whenever there was ‘grant,’ they just X it out,” Collins says. “With no measurement, no thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It’s just incredibly irresponsible.”

“Yes,” Reed replies. “I think — I think he’s crazy,” apparently referring to the president. “I mean, I don’t say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy.”

“I’m worried,” Collins replies.

“Oof,” Reed continues. “You know, this thing — if we don’t get a budget deal, we’re going to be paralyzed.”

“I know,” Collins replies.

 Twitter Ads info and privacy
“[Department of Defense] is going to be paralyzed, everybody is going to be paralyzed,” Reed says.

“I don’t think he knows there is a [Budget Control Act] or anything,” Collins says, referring to a 2011 law that defines the budget process.

“He was down at the Ford commissioning,” Reed says, referring to President Trump’s weekend event launching a new aircraft carrier, “saying, ‘I want them to pass my budget.’ Okay, so we give him $54 billion and then we take it away across the board which would cause chaos.”

“Right,” Collins replies.

“It’s just — and he hasn’t — not one word about the budget. Not one word about the debt ceiling,” Reed says.

“Good point,” Collins replies.

“You’ve got [Budget Director Mick] Mulvaney saying we’re going to put in all sorts of stuff like a border wall. Then you’ve got [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin saying it’s got to be clean,” Reed continues. “We’re going to be back in September, and, you know, you’re going to have crazy people in the House.”


And now he's insisting that the DOJ  prosecute Hillary Clinton.

Will Sessions be fired? I don't know. But this could be something that finally dislodges some members of the base.They don't care about much of anything he does but this might shake them a bit.


The health care holy grail

The health care holy grail

by digby

I wrote about it for Salon:

Going all the way back to the first months of Barack Obama’s administration, when the Tea Party rose up in the midst of the worst economic crisis in half a century to oppose heath care reform, I’ve been struck by the right’s visceral loathing for the concept of expanding access to health insurance. There’s almost a cultish component to this opposition, an apparent belief that health care is a devil’s bargain of some sort that will doom America to burn in hell. When the Affordable Care Act was being debated in the long months of hearings and town halls back in 2009, its opponents worked themselves up into a frenzy of outrage over a market-friendly program that would allow people to have access to health care at a reasonable cost and wouldn’t discriminate against sick people.

Did all the stories of suffering and financial ruin associated with lack of health care not move them at all? Did they believe it could never happen to them, that they or their loved ones could never lose their health insurance or go bankrupt from medical bills? Beyond the obvious fact that they hated President Obama and that their team was against government in general so they were too, I never understood the overwhelming rage this seemed to induce in so many Republicans. It exposed a streak of cruelty in some Americans that I have to admit surprised me.

Since last November’s election the ACA has grown substantially in popularity. Nonetheless,the GOP majority in Congress is hellbent on repealing it even though they clearly have absolutely no idea what to do about the inevitable chaos that will ensue. It’s a crusade whose purpose is no longer clear — the act itself is apparently the goal.

At this point, Republicans aren’t under particular pressure from the faction of their coalition one might expect to push for this repeal. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, many businesses and the AARP are all on record opposing the current GOP strategy. Some of their big ideological donors, including the Koch brothers, support repeal but don’t seem to be making a huge deal out of it. The most loyal base supporters want it, of course. They also want a 2,000-mile border wall and think that Donald Trump is going to bring back the Industrial Revolution. But the fear of the Tea Party running primaries against anyone who fails to vote for this seems overblown at this point. That bubble burst. (Early indications are that Republicans are lagging far behind in candidate recruitment for the 2018 midterms.)

This is just a mindless drive for a “win,” in order to justify a cynical political ploy that energized their voters to oppose the hated Obama and took on a life of its own. Now Republicans would rather see people’s lives destroyed than admit to all that.

The Senate will vote on Tuesday whether to proceed to debate on a bill that nobody except Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has seen. For all we know, the bill doesn’t yet exist. It’s possible they will be voting on the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA) — which is total repeal, causing 32 million people to lose their health insurance — or the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate’s “repeal and replace” bill that will cause 22 million to lose insurance. That latter bill has changed so many times that nobody has any idea what’s in it. There are a number of provisions that have been rejected by the parliamentarian, some of which will result in a death spiral for the individual insurance industry — although there’s no reason to think Republicans care about that in the least.

Nothing matters at all except somehow getting to 50 votes in the Senate. And the truly astonishing thing is that through this entire chaotic process, the leadership has consistently had well over 40 votes, no matter what insane proposal it was contemplating. As Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina said on Monday when asked if he was worried about what was in the bill, “it doesn’t concern me. As I said, I’ll vote for anything.”

Late in the day it was announced that Sen. John McCain would return to D.C. today to cast a vote despite having just undergone brain surgery. Why GOP leaders could not hold off on this vote for a week or so to allow him to recuperate a little more is a mystery. They’re in a big hurry to get this done. It is assumed that McCain would not return under such circumstances if he weren’t going to vote for the motion to proceed, so that much is likely a done deal. Whether there will be enough votes for whatever monstrosity McConnell eventually gets to the floor is still unknown.

But as I wrote last week, even if this effort fails in the Senate, that’s not the end of the story. Even more dispiriting, perhaps, President Donald Trump believes that such a failure has a silver lining since he can then sabotage the existing Obamacare law and “blame it on the Democrats,” which he believes is smart politics.

According to the Daily Beast, the administration is already using money designated to encourage enrollment in Obamacare to spread propaganda against the program and urge people to push their congressional representatives to repeal it, which is against the law. Your tax dollars are being used to fund the cynical partisan work of the Trump administration and the Republican Party. That’s just for starters.

As Ian Millhiser of Think Progress explains, due to some complicated legal issues, it’s possible that the Trump administration will simply stop paying the subsidies that make the Obamacare exchanges work. They could basically pull the fiscal plug, and that would be that. Politico reported last week:

Trump has repeatedly told aides and advisers that he wants to end the subsidy payments, and he has not changed his position, according to several people who have spoken with him. “Why are we making these payments?” Trump has asked.
This will throw the Obamacare exchanges into turmoil and chaos, which is evidently something he would very much enjoy. Polling shows that six in 10 Americans will blame Republicans for the catastrophe, but bear in mind that Donald Trump’s entire life has been organized around blaming others for his mistakes, so he’s confident he can pull this off too.

Tuesday is going to be a dramatic. If this latest attempt at repeal goes down in flames in the Senate, Republicans may have to table their dream for a little while. But they’ll come back with something. It’s a fixation. And until they do, Trump will have his henchmen do everything in their power to undermine the existing program. Either way, these people are going to ensure that the poor and middle class who have the bad luck to need Medicaid or individual insurance will pay the price.


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