From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
I know it. You know it. We all know it. Still, it’s always nice to see a respected, Pulitzer-winning columnist---in this case Leonard Pitts of The Miami Herald---remind his millions of readers that if America really is circling the drain, it's not because "both sides" are doing the swirling. It's because of one thing and one thing only: the idiots and their various propaganda outlets (with Russia freshly added to the list) leading the opposition party in the pursuit of raw power and dictatorship:
A party that once provided a sober conservative counterweight to the Democrats’ more liberal impulses has flat out lost its mind, given itself over to rage, fear, schoolyard taunts and bizarre conspiracy theories. Which leaves me impatient with those who frame our political divide as if the issue were that left and right had equally abandoned the center. No fair observer can believe that.
To the contrary, it becomes more obvious every day that we are where we are because something is very wrong with the GOP. To not acknowledge and report that, apparently out of some misguided notion that doing so wouldn’t be “fair and balanced” is, in itself, deeply unfair and unbalanced. In our terror of being called biased, we in media have neutered ourselves, abandoned our watchdog function. [...]
Enough. You will never find answers where you are scared to ask questions. Here’s what we should be asking: How did the GOP get this way? And how can the right right itself?
We all know how they got that way: voter suppression, gerrymandering, obstruction, religious fanaticism, and the non-stop construction and maintenance of a pile of Big Lies that Jon Stewart famously called "Bullshit Mountain," like this recent steaming pile from a sitting United States senator that got applause:
“President Trump is the greatest thing that’s happened to this country,” [Sen. Luther] Strange said. “I consider it a Biblical miracle that he’s there.”
How can they right themselves? I dunno. When the party that once recognized Russia as the enemy and higher learning as an asset becomes the party where Russia is friend and college is foe, you pretty much have to tear up the charter and start fresh.
Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Cheers and Jeers for Monday, July 17, 2017
Note: Just a heads-up that this is a weird posting week for C&J. Tomorrow we'll be conked out under the OR klieg lights at Mercy Hospital for some minor surgery to remove our chemo "Mediport" and also finally have this live grenade removed from our spleen (boy, is that a long, booze-soaked story). So No C&J tomorrow or Wednesday, but we'll be back Thursday and Friday. As always, thanks for your patience. ---The Patient
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Barack Obama's birthday: 18
Days 'til the 8th Milwaukee Brewfest: 12
Drop in consumer spending (which accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity) in June, according to the Commerce Dept.: 0.2%
Expected budget deficit this year, despite Trump's claim that he would eliminate it very quickly and beautifully, believe me, believe me: $702 billion
Estimated fee Britain will have to pay the European Union as part of its"Brexit" divorce: $114 billion
Amount of the fine Airbnb host Tami Barker had to pay after she canceled a woman's reservation because “One word says it all: Asian”: $5,000
Percent chance Bill Clinton was caught hiding among some Bushes last Thursday: 100%
Puppy Pic of the Day: Early St. Patrick's Day…
JEERS to Mitch McConnell and his Magical Shit Show. Let's take a quick Monday morning look at where things stand on "Trumpcare," the massive money grab disguised as a health care bill. There have been some late-breaking developments, none of them good for the Republican effort to trade health care for millions for tax cuts for the rich:
» There will be no Senate vote this week. Doctors found a sliver of integrity hiding behind John McCain's left eye, so they surgically removed it and he'll be out of action for at least the rest of the week. With Susan Collins and Rand Paul already in the "No" camp, McConnell can't lose a single vote. So…he postponed the vote, but not before ordering one of his interns to throw several chairs across the room in a fit of rage.
» The CBO releases its score of Trumpcare this week. Like all the previous scores, it will be the equivalent of a solid F, predicting tens of millions will lose their health insurance.Republicans will attack the CBO as a worthless bunch of monkeys with abacuses, the opposite of when they called the CBO heroic titans of truth and justice when it scored Obamacare seven years ago.
» Vice President Mike Pence is in deep shit after taking an opportunity during the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island to tell a huge lie about Ohio's Medicaid performance, pissing off the one guy in Ohio you don’t want to piss off: the governor. On top of that, the presentation by Republicans sent there to convince governors to support the bill was described as "atrocious."
» Trump voters are now scared shitless of Trumpcare. They had no idea he would betray them like this! Idiots.
» America's insurance industry is scared shitless of Ted Cruz's amendment designed to flood the market with junk policies and starve the Obamacare exchanges, issuing an unprecedented letter calling it "unworkable in any form."
» Lost in all the hubbub: Donald Trump has yet to give a speech, hold a town hall meeting, or otherwise defend his signature health care plan in any detail. Mainly because he doesn;t know what’s in it, and couldn’t really care less.
» The ultimate insult: Republicans inserted a provision that lets them keep their Obamacare while the rest of us common schlubs have to switch to Trumpcare. Message: they care.
So to recap: everybody hates Trumpcare, which trades the lives of countless poor and middle class citizens in exchange for a bag of gold for the rich, and the only way it can pass is for Republicans to tell you things about it that ain't so and then shift into "La La La I Can't Hear You" mode. Well, fuck that. Make 'em hear you, via your nearest phone, computer, fax, telegraph, in-person visit, banner-dangled-from-a-crane, or skywriter-for-hire. But no bags of flaming poo. Unless they’re really stubborn.
CHEERS to getting a visit from Dr. Juno. The pics are back from the Fotomat hut, and NASA sure got some great images of Jupiter's giant red rash, which has been a sore spot for the planet since the 1600s. The probe Juno flew less than 6,000 miles from it, and here's what it saw:
The science lessons to be learned from this project will be many. At the top of the list, as always: nerds rule.
CHEERS to merry meetings. Speaking of adventures in space, forty-two years ago today, on July 17, 1975 (12:08 pm ET to be exact), an Apollo crew docked with the Soyuz 19 spacecraft in orbit. (Because, if memory serves, Denny's was too crowded.) It was the first time the world's foremost cold warriors hooked up in space for procreative purposes. A floppy-haired Peter Jennings anchored the event on ABC News, inadvertently calling it a “meeting between an American space capsule and a Russian space ‘crapsule’”:
Yes, those are model spaceships hanging on strings behind him. Ed Wood shoulda sued the network for stealing his idea.
CHEERS to drip...drip...drippage. Let’s check in and see brand-new evidence that Donald Trump, Jr. is still lying about how many Russians attended the June 2016 meeting he had with Russian government saboteurs who were trying to dig their tentacles into the U.S. election last year. Here’s the latest count...
cc: Robert Mueller.
JEERS to proving our point…very badly. The White House commission on "Election Integrity" is nothing but a huge data grab designed to suppress the votes of Democrats. It's been roundly criticized by just about everyone from both parties, and one of the ancillary concerns is that your and my private data will be hacked or otherwise made public. As if to prove the point, the White House itself went and did just that…
The White House just responded to concerns it would release voters’ sensitive personal information by releasing a bunch of voters’ sensitive personal information. […]
This week, the White House decided to make those emails from concerned citizens public through the commission's new website. But the administration made a big mistake: It didn’t censor any of the personal information such as names, email addresses, actual addresses,and phone numbers---included in those emails.
In effect, the White House just released the sensitive personal information of a lot of concerned citizens giving feedback to their government. That’s made even worse by the fact that the White House did this when the thing citizens were complaining about was the possibility that their private information would be made public.
And coming soon to the White House website: all your favorite launch codes!
CHEERS to the chain of command. Seventy years ago tomorrow, in 1947, President Truman signed the Presidential Succession Act, which clearly establishes who takes over if the president dies or is incapacitated. Let's see:
Vice President Mike Pence (But only with Mother's permission)
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan [Stunned, horrified silence]
President pro tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch (How does "The United States of Mormon" grab ya?)
Sec. of State Rex Tillerson (He’d sleep his way through the presidency and no one would notice.)
Sec. of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin (Free DVDs of Suicide Squad for everyone!)
Bert the House Janitor (He'd clean up the town.)
Sneezy (He'd be dwarfed by world events.)
After that they just start drawing names out of Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's girdle.
Ten years ago in C&J: July 17, 2007
CHEERS to sleepovers. To accommodate a filibuster by Republicans over a Democratic Iraq bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid forced debate to run overnight. They even brought in cots so the senators could catch a little shut-eye between quorum calls. And for those of you who suspected as much, we can confirm: Mitch McConnell sucks his thumb and sleeps with a talking Cheney doll.
And just one more…
CHEERS to the building eggscitement. Tomorrow is National Caviar Day. I'm sure you're itching, as I am, to send the butler to the walk-in refrigerator to dip into your resplendent reservoir of roe. But before you do, make sure he's not gonna fuck it up:
Fine caviar should never be served with or stored in metal because of oxidation which can impart a metal flavour to the berries (yes, that what each little egg is properly called). Serve caviar very cold and nestled inside another bowl or container that holds ice to keep it fresh and cool.
Choose servers made of glass, bone, wood or plastic. If you want to go by tradition, try mother-of-pearl or gold.
While it’s tempting to overdo it, try not to as eating more than two ounces or two spoons of caviar is considered a social faux pas.
And no matter what, fellow Kossacks, never, ever spill any caviar on your Manolo Blanhiks. They kick people out of country clubs for less.
Have a tolerable Monday. Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?
Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:
Microscopic tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are the toughest animals in the Cheers and Jeers kiddie pool, capable of withstanding intense radiation, extreme temperatures, and even the vacuum of Bill in Portland Maine's writing.