Rob wrote a great piece last night eviscerating David Shephard’s condemnation of conservatives who actually stand on principles on the Bull Elephant. You should really go read Rob’s fisk. He uses big words, and he didn’t drop the F-bomb even once! (Note: this is why I will never write for an actual news source or political site again. Too much effort to constrain my cursing.)
Shephard, whose claim to fame is apparently being a lobbyist in Richmond, claims that the House Freedom Caucus and its “conservative” members were never meant to be legislators, because they apparently never influence policy (Except for tanking the GOP’s shit show of a health care bill, of course. You’re welcome.) They should just hang out in think tanks and attend luncheons, proclaims a snot-nosed millennial whose contribution to the economy is lobbying and consulting.
If my eyes rolled back any harder, I’d need a pair of salad tongs and a team of Navy SEALs to retrieve them.
And that’s why, Shephard claims, Trump voters hate these guys, mmkay?
Because apparently people who want to examine legislation that has the power to affect millions of Americans and significantly impact our economy by using actual economic principles and rational thought don’t belong in government.
Rob rightfully excoriated this dick weasel.
The Trump voter, for the most part, is driven by emotion rather than logic. Trump, to his credit, seized on the undercurrent of frustration with business as usual in Washington, and rode it, against all expectations, including mine, to the White House. But let us not kid ourselves, Trump has little idea, even from moment to moment, of what he actually wants to ‘get done’. All he is interested in is ‘winning’. He is an ideologically unmoored populist. Steve Bannon, his chief political guru, has little ideological compass himself, and lacks the depth of knowledge to develop one. …And this is the guy who had the unmitigated gall to tell House conservatives in a meeting this past week “Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.” This administration will never be an effective leader for conservative principles as it stands right now.
I have, for the most part, avoided partisan discussion on this blog, choosing instead to focus on particular issues objectively and examine them from both sides. There’s a reason for this. Partisans focus on party. As Shephard shows, they care little for actual principle, and care only about advancing the party brand. Even when the party elite try to advance pure shit legislation that the majority of Americans recognize as dreck, winning is more important than what’s good for the country.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not only a Republican problem. The majority of Americans also opposed ObamaCare, but the legisleeches back then cared more about passing legacy legislation than ensuring the good of the nation. But apparently Republicans have learned nothing from that disaster.
It’s apparently more important for them to appear to be keeping their campaign promises than to actually be keeping them. Winning. That’s how you win in politics. You manipulate public perception into believing you’re doing something, and you claim victory. It’s not about America. It’s about your party winning in Congress. So yes, when intelligent people step in and put a damper on your plans with actual facts and figures, you have no choice but to malign and bully them.
What really gets me is that Shephard has so little self awareness, that he actually thinks denigrating legislators who analyze legislation and consider its fiscal implications as worthless and “a waste of a desk and a chair,” while wrapping himself in the “conservative” mantle somehow reflects positively on him and the vapid establishment squishes who pride themselves on having no principles, but “winning” at the polls.
The Trump voters work for a living, he says in an obsequious attempt to lick the taints of the ignorant, as if the members of the House Freedom Caucus have done no real work in their lives.
Mark Meadows, the current Chairman, started a small restaurant in North Carolina, and later sold it to start a successful real estate development endeavor in Florida. Yeah, what a failure!
Brian Babin of Texas is a dentist. Obviously, he can’t relate to the working man.
Rod Blum – with his degrees in finance and business administration obviously has nothing to contribute to the conversation about legislation that would affect this nation’s people and economy, and neither does economist Dave Brat.
The caucus includes businessmen, military veterans, doctors, realtors, small business owners, as well as lawyers. Obviously, they have nothing to contribute to the health care legislation debate, and they certainly don’t have anything in common with those Trump voters who work for a living, right, jackass?
Conservatives should not be defined by the number of notches they carve in the “win” column. Conservatives should specifically defined by their principles and ideology, which shouldn’t changed based on the way the political wind is blowing. If Shephard is correct, and the typical Trump voter wants results that will “improve our country,” they should be thanking the members of the House Freedom Caucus for ensuring that the GOP’s dumpster fire health care legislation, which did nothing to reduce government dependence and kept much of what Americans hated about ObamaCare in the first place firmly in place, never saw the light of day.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus were elected for a reason. They were open and transparent about their views, and their constituents selected them to represent their views in Congress. Maybe they were tired of politicians who told them what they wanted to hear, and then fell right in line with the usual bullshit once they got to Washington. There’s a reason they sent the calculating, ambitious, unprincipled Republican Eric Cantor home in favor of the educated, passionate, pro-freedom economist Dave Brat, despite Brat’s considerable disadvantage in the fundraising department. There’s only so many times you can betray the principles you claim to hold, before your constituents say, “ENOUGH!”
Congress needs more ideologically committed conservatives (and liberals), not fewer. We need less notches on our political bedposts and more actual wins. We need people who stand behind what they believe and rely on knowledge and experience, not their FEELZ, and who won’t be threatened and intimidated into backing down and doing anything less than what they objectively understand to be good for the country. They shouldn’t care that some carnival barker threatens to primary them, because this shouldn’t be a career from which to profit, but an honor to serve the people who put them in office.
The fact that these are men who stood up and opposed a bill that would have been awful for the country despite attempts to threaten and intimidate them speaks volumes about their love of their country and their respect for their constituents and yanks the curtain open on the puppetmasters, shining a stark spotlight on their lack of values and respect for America.
Trump promised us during the election that we would win so much, we’d get tired of winning.
Perhaps our definitions of “winning” need a tweak.
So, I’ve been in Miami the past few days. I generally like TDYs, but not to Miami, because it’s a) hot, b) humid c) filled with the kind of annoying drunken coeds on spring break that make you want to climb a tower and start picking them off with a high-powered rifle.
Also, whenever I go to Florida, I invariably wind up with a three-day headache. This trip was no exception, so it made the numerous meetings I had to attend that much more miserable.
That said, we did have some excellent food, saw some very cool art in the Winwood district between meetings, and I got to talk to a class full of high school students about careers. Yeah, I know. Someone allowed me to speak to kids. I actually corrupted young minds. You can blame my buddy Tim, who is a high school teacher, and somehow thought it was a cool idea to expose his students to my special brand of crazy. I did not drop the F-bomb during my speech. I did, however, drop one several times as we walked outside. In front of kids. Apparently, that’s a no-no or something… as if they never heard the word, “fuck” before.
I did take some very cool photos in Winwood with my phone, and they have this awesome taco joint, where we got to sit outside, eat amazing food, and get glared at by feral kittens.
So what happened while I was gone?
Apparently, someone leaked 45’s tax returns from 2005. After getting her acolytes in a frothing frenzy about the shock and awe contained in those documents, Rachel Maddow broadcast on her show that…
…Trump paid his taxes.
At a higher rate than Romney, Obama, and Bernie Sanders.
Wow… well, that was a letdown, eh unhinged leftists?
And guess what! I know you’ll be shocked at this, but not only did he pay his taxes in 2005, he’s still President!
I’ll let you take a woosah moment.
What else happened?
I was watching the news this morning at my hotel room, when they decided that this was somehow newsworthy.
Mom jeans. With plastic panels, so when you wear these monstrosities, everyone can see your knees. Because what you need more than anything in the world is plastic panels that make your skin exude oodles of moisture to sweat up these clear panels on a warm day. Because, see, plastic doesn’t exactly allow for air circulation.
Is there anyone in the entire universe who would pay $95 and actually wear these things? They’re like chaps for your knees.
Perhaps Nordstrom needs to fire a buyer or two.
Next up is the fiasco of a health care bill the GOP decided to excrete out of its wrecked anus. Rob blogged about this dumpster fire, previously, as did our buddy Jason Pye at FreedomWorks. The Congressional Budget Office savaged the bill, and some Republicans are now running from it like a BLM protester after breaking the window of a convenience store.
Here’s a clue, GOP. You don’t take a horrible law, and make it worse by adding your own even more horrible law on top of it, and then expect everyone to do a happy dance, because “Oh, look! We did something!”
It’s time Republicans stopped being stupid, but I guess that’s too much to ask for.
Oh, it snowed in DC. From the looks of it, we got maybe an inch or two, but that apparently didn’t stop the panicked doofi from stampeding grocery stores like so much rabid cattle. It was in the 70s in Miami, and today was a positively frosty 60 degrees. Yes, be jealous.
Also, apparently, Amy Schumer had a
comedy tragedy special on Netflix recently. Let’s put aside the fact that she really does remind me of a potato, and apparently has the IQ of one. She was apparently so unfunny and terrible, that the makers of “Ishtar” are breathing a sigh of relief, because their unwatchable dreck is no longer at the bottom of the cinematographic heap.
This was painful to watch. Save yourself the time and don’t bother watching this train wreck (that lame pun was better than anything in this special). I have never been a big fan of Amy but she was better when she was stealing other people’s jokes. Maybe she search some old comedy tapes for new material. 1 star is generous for this slop.
If this show was a smell, it would smell of fermented beans and disease.
Mercifully it ended but I’ll never be able to get those wasted hours back. Amy if you ever read any of these reviews I have a special message for you: suicide is still an option.
On my flight back to DC, I finally got a chance to watch “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” I loved it! Not because I’m a Harry Potter fan… well… not only because I’m a Harry Potter fan. I thought the design was stunning, Eddie Redmayne is a phenomenally talented actor, and he was at the same time shy, innocent, and a brilliant badass, Colin Farrell was just right for the role of the ultimate bad buy pre-Voldemort, and JOHNNY DEPP!
And finally, I’m excited, because Wonder Woman is finally coming out this June! As a kid, I watched Lynda Carter transform into Wonder Woman on TV every day, and I wanted to be her so badly! That series resulted in my wearing “bracelets” made of tin foil on my wrists and a desire to change my name to “Diana.” And now, Gal Gadot will bring one of my favorite superheroes to the big screen! And it looks terrific, so I’m more than excited!
And yes, now that I’m back from TDY, I will blog more regularly. Thanks for caring.
I am too tired to blog today. It’s been a long, really weird day that started out with a weird protester banging on a drum in front of the White House. Repeatedly. Non-stop.
Boom-boom, boom-boom, BOOM. BOOM.
I got a headache just walking to the office from the metro, and I felt awful for the Secret Service guys, who had no choice but to stand post and listen to this unwashed douche canoe.
When I got to work, it was nothing but meetings, edit papers, answer emails, more meetings… So, right now, I’m pretty much dead.
Luckily, my husband writes for the Bull Elephant, and he’s on top of the GOP’s ACA “repeal” thing.
Thing is it’s barely a repeal. It’s an attempt to be all things to all people, because dog forbid the Democrats call them mean for living up to what they’ve been promising!
However, the Medicaid expansion repeal wouldn’t take effect until 2020, and ACA enrollees would actually be grandfathered in, so they can keep ACA coverage! Perhaps worse, the bills include a new entitlement in the form of a tax credit for people to buy insurance! It keeps the requirement of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, which defeats the purpose of insurance, and the dreaded “Cadillac tax” on high-end health insurance plans still appears in 2025. It would also attempt to make younger, healthier people purchase coverage, by allowing a 30% premium increase on anyone who’s had a gap in health insurance coverage!
The media – and by virtue every Democrat and Republican – were in a froth flecked rage over the weekend, because a CIA briefing regarding Russia’s cyber meddling in U.S. elections was leaked to the press.
The assessment – as reported by Reuters – said that “Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system.”
Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Post said intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks.
The officials described the individuals as people known to the intelligence community who were part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and reduce Clinton’s chances of winning the election.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” the Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying. “That’s the consensus view.”
As soon as the news came out, Trump supporters immediately went into fully defensive mode.
How do we know these reports are true?
Do all 17 intelligence agencies agree?
Are we supposed to disregard what was in those emails, because they may or may not have come from the Russians, and they probably haven’t, because MEDIA LIES!!!!11
Obama Administration lies!
This is the same CIA that assessed the presence of WMD in Iraq! (Which, by the way, many Republicans were more than happy to defend.)
WikiLeaks denies this, so it must be false! (Coming from the same people who attacked Julian Assange as a criminal and dog knows what else when he published Bradley Manning’s leaks.)
Clinton supporters worked themselves into a frenzy, because…
That means Hillary actually may have won!
Invalidate election results!
Challenge them in courts!
The Russians installed Trump in the White House!
Install Hillary in the White House using the courts! (This last bit of full retard recommendation came from none other than the Huffington Post, whose staff has apparently been eating paint chips and huffing Sharpies in an effort to get over the election.)
In the interest of accuracy and fairness, let’s examine the report.
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.
There are two assessments here – both about Russian intent. One is that they wanted to influence the election to help Donald Trump win, and the other is that they also wanted to undermine the confidence in the U.S. electoral system. These are not surprising assessments, and there’s nothing to disbelieve here, given the Russians’ history of meddling in sovereign nations’ affairs, and threatening the sovereignty and even territorial integrity of at least one of its neighbors in the not too distant past.
Anyone remember this report (in Russian) I cited back in 2014, detailing Russian meddling in the Crimean referendum prior to its annexation? Anyone see already filled out ballots being brought in?
Note what the assessment does not say.
The assessment does not say that Russia HELPED DONALD TRUMP WIN. That would be near impossible to quantify, because the agency would have to examine reasons why Trump voters voted the way they did, and assume said voters were telling the truth about their motivations. It would also have to quantify how many Trump voters would have voted for Hillary had it not been about the Russian revelations.
The agency did not assess any of this. They made a judgment call based on existing intelligence and historical evidence about Russia’s motivations for interfering. At no time did they make an assessment on the success or failure of these efforts!
The agency also did not judge (at least not judging from the available media reports) that Trump or anyone in his campaign were complicit in these efforts or somehow colluded with Russia to steal the election.
Why haven’t they released the underlying intelligence that was evidence for this assessment?
Because it’s classified.
But the briefing was released! We want to see the underlying intelligence!
My guess is the briefing was released without authorization – probably to influence policy. If you want to see the underlying intelligence, get a clearance, join the intelligence community, work on cyber issues. No one is going to give you read access to sensitive material that may compromise sources and put lives and collection in danger, because your tinfoil hat is so tight, that you think the CIA is somehow biased against Trump, and made an assessment about him cheating his way into the White House that the CIA didn’t actually make.
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.
Some are using this bit in the report to claim that because there is disagreement, the assessment is false/biased/an Obama Administration plot to overturn the election. The DC, in particular, ran a story yesterday claiming the FBI disagreed with CIA’s assessment.
The FBI did not corroborate the CIA’s claim that Russia had a hand in the election of President-elect Donald Trump in a meeting with lawmakers last week.
Except, according to the original report, that’s not really what the CIA assessed. They assessed the motivations for the meddling (that the Russians wanted Trump to win), not that somehow Russia HELPED Trump win, because it’s nearly impossible to assess that Russia was actually responsible for Trump’s victory. CIA was assessing Russia’s motivations and desires vis-a-vis the election. I doubt anyone can dispute the Russians’ involvement given these activities detailed in an August report in which the FBI confirmed that Russians had, indeed, been mucking around in our elections systems. But FBI, being a law enforcement agency, uses a different standard of evidence than the intelligence community, because their ultimate goal is to bring a prosecution.
Were the Russians successful in undermining Americans’ confidence in their election systems, which is the second assessment CIA made? Gallup polling in September indicated that only 62 percent of Americans had confidence in the accuracy of the vote count, but this number is similar to the polls conducted in 2008 – before revelations about active Russian meddling came to light. So it’s difficult to attribute the low confidence to the Russians. But again, the assessment wasn’t about the Russians’ success or failure, but the motivations behind their hacking activities. Big difference.
Further, the Democrats weren’t the only ones hacked, according to the FBI, although the Republican Party denies it was hacked.
A solid explanation of the differences in FBI and CIA assessments can be found here.
For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said in a television interview that the “Russian government is not the source.”
Well, gosh. Because the information would arrive at
Assange’s Ecuadorean Embassy’s doorstep stamped: FOR WIKILEAKS — WITH LOVE — FROM THE KREMLIN! Of course, Kremlin’s involvement would be several times removed! That doesn’t prove or disprove anything. It would be rather suspicious if there were obvious links to the Kremlin. That’s when I would scream that something is off, because the Russians are never this obvious!
Hopefully, this clarifies some stuff, because both sides seem to be going full turnip on this issue.
Nothing in the reports claims that the intelligence community assesses that Russia helped Trump win – only that this was the Russians’ desired outcome.
Nothing in the reports claims that either Trump or his campaign were in any way complicit in those efforts.
Nothing in the reports or the assessments claims Hillary would have won had Russia not interfered. Frankly, she was a weak candidate to begin with
And by the way, nothing in the reports indicates in any way that Russia was successful in hacking the actual RESULTS or somehow changed them in some way. Nothing.
So maybe Republicans need to stop screeching about lies and CIA conspiracies.
And maybe the Democrats need to quit wailing about how the election was ostensibly stolen from Queen Pantsuit.
And maybe – just maybe – we need to focus on the fact that Russia, in addition to its activities threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors, and using outright thugs to do it, trying to weaken the NATO alliance, shooting down civilian airliners, and using militants to achieve its goals of increasing its influence in the former Soviet sphere, has also been trying to wage cyber warfare against us.
If you don’t think that’s a big deal, because “we deserve it for our own meddling,” and you think that’s just fine, because ultimately your guy won, I wonder if you’d be intellectually honest enough to admit if you’d feel similarly had Hillary won.
I’d wager to say you’d be screaming bloody murder.
The following post was written by the wife of an Army buddy of mine. These are her thoughts. These are her emotions.
These thoughts are not partisan in nature, nor are they impugning either of the repulsive characters involved in the Khan saga.
My friend is a Soldier. He was there when Humayun Khan sacrificed his life. He saw that sacrifice in raw and vivid detail. His wife says he’s been having a difficult time with all this. Every time he sees another exploitative story, according to her, he gets upset.
I haven’t said a word about the Democrats shameful use of this Gold Star family’s tragedy as a political tool in their convention. Nor have I said anything about Donald Trumps equally shameful subsequent attacks on the parents.
Both are equally repugnant, and I would urge every reader to put aside their hatred for either or both candidates, read these thoughts and consider where we are as a country. Is this the best we can be?
This post isn’t about what I feel. It is the voice of another – a voice that needs to be heard.
It’s an election year and the internet world is buzzing. People are snarling and growling at each other like so many monsters while hidden behind cyber veils of anonymity. Every action and every word of the candidates are being dissected, torn apart, and re-imagined to suit whatever agenda is being served.
It is an absolute muckraking mess. I customarily try to avoid these things and stay in my bubble so that I can enjoy my life.
Unfortunately, I have been shoved so far into the political toilet this week, that I am barely afloat. I find myself up, late at night, writing this because someone needs to address this issue.
No this has nothing to do with women’s rights, or my uterus, or gay rights, or transgender rights, or any of the hot button issues that you may think would concern a young woman. Instead it boils down to one simple fact – one simple moral principle that seems to have been lost on the media, the masses, and the political parties, in what can only be described as a feeding frenzy.
Capitalizing on the death of a soldier and the pain of his family for political gain is NOT OK.
I’m sure that you have all watched it. The parents of the late Army Captain Humayun Khan stood up at the Democratic National Convention and encouraged voters to vote Democrat, with Mrs. Khan standing strong next to her husband – a mother’s pain and anguish clear on her face. You heard the cheers as the camera panned out over a tearful, diverse and thoroughly patriotic audience who were fired up with the passion of purpose. It was all very heartwarming.
Except that it wasn’t heartwarming at all.
What you didn’t see were the Soldiers who served with Captain Khan as they struggled to cope.
What you didn’t see were their faces going pale as the memories re-emerged.
What you didn’t see was the anger when they realized that one of their own was being used posthumously as a prop to support a politician.
You didn’t see the rage when they realized the pain of Captain Khan’s parents was being exploited, or the abject disgust at the raging media circus that has ensued.
You haven’t seen their faces crumple with an abject sense of helplessness, as the name of a hero whom they hold in the highest regard has been dragged through the dirt by politicians and the media.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am sure that Captain Khan’s parents really only spoke with the best of intentions. I’m positive that they never would have thought that the American media and the American public could be so heartless when speaking of their deceased son. What has been said and done in the name of politics is appalling. I hold the family of Captain Khan in the highest regard.
Now before you stop reading and think that I’m just being some preachy opinionated internet keyboard warrior, I should tell you how I arrived at my view of this fiasco.
On June 8, 2004 Captain Humayun Khan took a Humvee to the entrance of FOB Warhorse. He greeted the gate guards, made conversation with them, and stepped outside to address some locals. It was his day off, but he was at the gate that day when he should have been resting. I have been told that he was meeting with local Iraqis to help them form a neighborhood watch program. A scant few minutes later there was a loud explosion. The guards at the gate were blown into the Hesco barriers by the force of the blast. They suffered ruptured eardrums and a myriad of other injuries.
One of those guards who greeted Captain Khan shortly before he stepped outside the FOB for the last time is my husband.
That was the day that Captain Khan died while saving my husband’s life.
That was the day that a man I never met ensured my future by giving up his own.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. Every time my daughter smiles, every time I hear my husband speak or crack a joke. Every single time we eat a family dinner or enjoy a movie Humayun Khan is there in the back of my mind.
Many of you saw a handsome young man’s face magnified on that screen. You saw the face of an American ideal, you saw the idea of a hero translated into a face.
I saw the face of a true warrior to whom I can never repay my debt. My husband saw the face of a brother in arms, a fellow soldier. He saw the face of a hero as well but he also saw the face of a human being and he remembered in vivid detail.
The general populace is detached. Many Americans only ever see neatly edited clips of war. For many war is a spectator sport. It is a glorious montage of patriotism and heroism that flashes across the screens of our televisions and our devices. Unfortunaly like most entertainments for the spectators it’s not real or solid in their minds.
Soldiers who serve don’t have that benefit; they get the full brutal reality. It is something that they live, see, hear, feel and smell. It is something that changes them. It is the memory that lurks and the bad dreams that torment. It is a never ending feeling and depository of memory.
For Captain Khan’s parents there are no words of gratitude that are appropriate and there are no words of sympathy powerful enough.
No one should ever have to be thanked for losing a child.
The question is where do we go from here? What’s done is done.
There is one thing we can do.
We can demand an apology from both the Democrats and the Republicans. We must remind the politicians that the stories of our honored dead are not theirs to use as they see fit. The valor of our heroes is not a commodity to be traded and capitalized on, and the pain of Gold Star family members is not and never should be a political crutch.
Our military families, Soldiers, veterans and our honored dead are the backbone of this nation. You shouldn’t have to be reminded to treat us with dignity and respect.
We are the citizens of a free nation founded by rebellious fathers. You will not tread on us.