Thought Chasm these posts, while infrequent and poorly thought out, are also not all that complex, structurally.

Death and Tax Cuts

So why do Republicans hate Obamacare so much? It’s not because they have better ideas; as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, they’re coming up empty-handed on the “replace” part of “repeal and replace.” It’s not, I’m sorry to say, because they are deeply committed to Americans’ right to buy the insurance policy of their choice.

No, mainly they hate Obamacare for two reasons: It demonstrates that the government can make people’s lives better, and it’s paid for in large part with taxes on the wealthy. Their overriding goal is to make those taxes go away. And if getting those taxes cut means that quite a few people end up dying, remember: freedom!

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Posted in politicish, quick thoughts, wtf??

John Boehner told Republicans some inconvenient truths on Obamacare

And this is where the 2012-versus-2016 distinction becomes so important. A party that doesn’t have a health care plan might be able to repeal Obamacare before it exists — in that case, you’re simply replacing the status quo with the status quo. But it can’t repeal Obamacare after it exists, because that would mean replacing the status quo with complete chaos.

And no one would want to introduce chaos, right? right? wait… right?

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Posted in politicish, quick thoughts

Trump vs. the Very Fake News Media

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.

—Barack Obama

Well, I don’t know, I was given that information. I was given—I actually, I’ve seen that information around. … Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person.

—donald trump

The parallels are striking.

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Posted in haha, politicish, wtf??

“We should not — and cannot — trust this man.” A CIA vet on Trump’s feud with US spies.

The only thing you can do is what is now happening: an aroused populace can protect democracy. You fight darkness by casting light upon it. So one should not characterize leaks, as the cowardly and self-interested Republicans have, as the issue. Leaks are the only option that one has in this existential crisis to protect the Constitution.

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Posted in politicish, quick thoughts

Trump finds the limits of executive power

If he is right, then he has only one option — rescind the order, start from scratch … write a new order that will both protect the security of the United States and avoid constitutional challenge.”

Dershowitz added: “But it would require him to admit that he is wrong. So now there is a clash between the ego of the President and the national security of the United States.”

There are few presidents in the history of our country that would find more difficulty in deciding these two courses of action. And there is probably only one that is likely to make the wrong choice. Unfortunate, then, that that rare person is currently the president, right?

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Posted in politicish, quick thoughts

A Good Idea, Even if It’s From Republicans

It’s a win-win: Less carbon in the atmosphere, and more equal distribution of income.

That it’s being proposed by Republicans doesn’t make the idea any less worthy.

I’m aware that some on the left would rather use revenues from such a tax to invest in clean energy and other social causes rather than return the revenues directly to the public. That detail can be worked out.

The idea is getting a hearing in the White House. And in these dreadful times, that’s good news indeed.

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Posted in quick thoughts

Labor Leaders’ Cheap Deal With Trump

Today labor leaders face a clear choice. They can join the diverse and growing movement that is confronting Mr. Trump’s agenda on every front and attempt to lead America’s workers to a clean and safe future.

Or they can be the fist-pumping construction crew for a Trump dystopia — muscle for a menace.

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Posted in politicish, quick thoughts

Donald Trump’s most bone-chilling tweet

…Trump is apparently attempting to delegitimize our federal judiciary by calling Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush-appointed judge, a “so-called” judge while arguing that his decision is “ridiculous.”

Let’s be blunt, because the stakes demand it: An independent federal judiciary is our last, best hope at preventing Trump from violating the US Constitution and illegally grabbing power. And Trump has to understand that, hence his attempt to undermine it.

The President truly appears to be leading a master class in transforming the United States into a dictatorship. Trump—and it’s fair to assume it is by design—has sought to undermine anyone or anything that tries to counter him.

Anyone watch the game? Really good, right?

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Posted in quick thoughts, wtf??

Trump adviser cites non-existent ‘massacre’ defending ban

So to recap: There was no massacre in Bowling Green, and Obama didn’t ban Iraqi refugees from the country for six months. Major outlets, including CNN, did cover Alwan and Hammadi’s case. We did not, however, cover the Bowling Green massacre because it never happened.

“I bet it’s brand new information to people.” Yes, Ms Conway, it is typically considered brand new information when you make something up. Here’s something that has been said millions of times before, and often directed at you: “you’re an idiot.”

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Posted in haha, quick thoughts, wtf??

FACT CHECK: Hillary Clinton Received 800,000 or More Votes From Non-Citizens in the 2016 Election

The documentation offered to support this assertion has ranged from vague to nonexistent. When asked to defend it in a 24 January 2017 press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that Trump’s belief that there was massive voter fraud in 2016 was “based on studies he’s seen.” Pressed to cite such a study, Spicer said, “There’s one that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who voted were non-citizens.”

Albeit mistaken about both its origins (it was written by researchers at Old Dominion University using data collected by the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, not Pew) and findings (it did not remotely show that 14 percent of the electorate — amounting to 18 million voters — were non-citizens), Spicer was, at least, alluding to an actual study.

I’ve been reading Snopes a lot lately. I doubt I’m the only one.

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Posted in media, politicish, quick thoughts, wtf??

we need to change the rules

Trump has been a fixture of American privilege and even some news cycles for as long as I can remember. Many of these were not flattering. He’s irresponsible, obsessed with extravagant displays of wealth, and prone to bad judgement. He is the embodiment of corporate influence and exemplifies the stereotype of the affluent, especially its lack of empathy and pervasive sense of entitlement.

He was given vast wealth by his father, yet fully embraces his self-made origin myth—he cannot accept failures. He insists on embarrassing self-aggrandizing, yet it’s authentic—he cannot be embarrassed. He has been bankrupt many times and has many other failures, yet has money and believes himself a success—any slight is met with petulant tantrums or vitriolic bullying.

In short: he is a joke, built up over years of connections made by living in privilege his entire life and through many failures, but he takes himself very (VERY) seriously. (He even made appointing a Supreme Court nominee an episode of Celebrity Apprentice: Presidential Special.) Thus, he is very susceptible to manipulation based on his pride (or just plain old Russian blackmail).

We have been spoiled by men (always men, for some reason) who have taken to the presidency with gravitas or an understanding of the immense pressure and responsibility that comes with the office. This is especially true since World War II, due to our standing as the one or leading super power. We are told we are moral leaders around the globe.

It turns out, none of those values are inherent to the office. Nixon was the most recent (until the weekend) to break that idea. Reagan made a play at it, but he was a shameless opportunist who went from liberal to conservative as he gained influence by selling out more talented colleagues, whether Hollywood or politics. He also played fast and loose rhetorically, but wouldn’t even be elected as a conservative today because of how reserved his actual policies were.

In short: we are now seeing what can happen when someone is elected to the highest office who has no respect for that office or any of the power it holds. Worse, we may be seeing someone who fully understands those powers and is using them purely for self-gain and furthering micro-causes to benefit a small number of close associates.

Reagan held few ideals and voiced concerns of those he thought were his constituents mostly for want of power and prestige. G.W.Bush went further, as the malleable face of war criminals who pushed their ideals through him with little resistance. Trump has taken both to the extreme.

Some of it is the assumptive and subversive racism and sexism of his generation and class, but only to a point. Whether you believe his puppet strings are being pulled by Russia, Bannon, or just some perverted idea that he’s the face of a movement (guy is really quite obsessed with crowd sizes, right?), it’s clear in his first couple weeks that puppet strings are there—even his supporters are aware (mostly).

But worse, he’s just parroting the desires of his inner circle with no consideration and creating contradictions as a result. He was strongly pro-choice; he needs the far-right to get elected; then he’s “pro-life and [has] been pro-life”. He said (related to H–1B visas) those that attend college here “should not be thrown out of our country”; Bannon said the number of south-asian CEOs was bad (notice the use of “civic society” there?); and then #muslimban doesn’t consider exceptions like H–1B. (That could be an oversight of an inexperienced and idiotic administration, or not—both are bad.)

He has no convictions, no ideals, and no morals as long as he can further his brand and influence. That his real estate empire is based on licensing his name to buildings others have built and then his claiming ownership seems to be his entire political strategy.

We cannot stand by and let him run roughshod over whatever democracy we have left. Some said we take him too literally. We should—he clearly does. Whatever checks against presidential powers we have are weak because we have a history of respectable politicians taking that office. This is no longer the case. We need to listen to anyone that has his ear, because it’s their ideas and their voices coming out his mouth, not his own.

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Posted in politicish, recap, reflection, wtf??

Republicans Have One Big Incentive to Stick With Trump

There have been several Trump policies once opposed by top Republicans that many now support or at least will not actively resist. House Speaker Paul Ryan said in 2015 that a proposed Muslim ban “is not what this party stands for, and more importantly, this is not what this country stands for.” He now backs the current executive order, which Mr. Trump imposed only on Muslim-majority countries.

This is the sign of an impressive invertebrate. Big words that mean nothing because he has no true values, save for a strong distaste for the unwealthy.

Support for Mr. Trump in G.O.P. districts is even higher among registered Republicans who are extremely interested in politics (94 percent favorable), identify as strong Republicans (92 percent favorable) or say they are very conservative (94 percent favorable). These groups are especially likely to vote in primaries and are key constituencies in nomination contests for higher office. As a result, they wield disproportionate influence on legislator behavior.

Then again, in our current system of voter manipulation and redistricting for more favorable numbers, it won’t much matter. Sigh.

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Posted in politicish, quick thoughts, wtf??