The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Ryan

Filmishmish is an Arabic term meaning “in the time of the apricots” or “when the apricots bloom”, which is something akin to the English phrase “when pigs fly.” It seems as if we Progressive Democrats live in the time of apricots. We are filmishmish flotsam.

Let’s review where we are. With the Republican Party skulking behind closed doors cooking up the greatest transfer of wealth in human history from the poorest, oldest, and sickest to the richest Americans, what are Democrats doing?

Like zombies in the express lane of the lobotomy clinic drive-thru, one set of Democrats are shuffling around mumbling about a special election in a Republican +20 district in Georgia. While another set of self-serving insurrectionists are trying to depose Nancy Pelosi. Yet another set is second-guessing and flirting with Trumpian populism masquerading as BernieBroism. And not to be forgotten, we have the Alt-Left cross-pollinating with the Alt-Right, thereby erasing any semblance of a difference.

Here’s the deal – the loss in Georgia wasn’t the end of the world. Losing sucks. I hate losing, but a win in Georgia would have been the equivalent of a sugar high to a diabetic – dangerous and injurious to our long-term health.

Let’s break it down. First and foremost, Democrats, while losing, are over-performing in these special elections. There is a good piece by Dave Wasserman, no Democratic fluffer, in the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. The report centers on the Partisan Voter Index which measures each district by the spreads in the last two presidential races relative to the nation as a whole.

The Voter Index for the five special elections this year equates to over-performance by the Democrats of 8 points. If Democrats were to over-perform in the 2018 mid-terms at that rate, the Democrats would pick up 80 seats.

Eighty seats!

Realistically, that isn’t going to happen since incumbents are going to be more firmly entrenched than special election nominees, but Democrats are in a strong position in 2018. In fact, we are in a much stronger position than Republicans were in 2010 or 2014.

Democrats allowed the Georgia “expectations game” to froth up into a bad case of hydrophobia. The political consultants sold a bill of goods. There was plenty of money to support the wrong conclusions. The truth no one wanted to believe was this: Hillary was the high water mark for Democrats in the district. Surprise! Hillary was a good candidate. Hillary lost the district by 1½% and a presidential race is always of higher concern than a congressional contest.

That is not to say Ossoff was a bad candidate, but he looked like he just asked his daddy to borrow the car for an after school math club meeting. He didn’t live in the district allowing him to be “otherized” as “not one of us”. Catnip to the tribal instincts of the district.

This brings us to the next major point – tribalism. The base of the Republican Party is full-blown tribalistic and ethnocentric. As such they are enthralled by authoritarianism. Dolt 45 scratches that itch.

Here is a piece of long journalism on tribal epistemology. The frightening aspect of tribalism is that truth is no longer operative. There is no fact outside what is good for the tribe. Hypocrisy is suspended. It is no longer offensive if it furthers the tribal cause. The world exists in terms of “us” versus “them”. The “others” threaten the tribe. It is not enough to defeat the “others,” they must be annihilated.

When you overlay the Republican tribal mentality against the failures of Dolt 45 and his merry band of henchmen, a monumental case of counter-intuitive logic appears like Stonehenge out of the mist.

The tangelo wearing a kangaroo stretch scrotum continues to hold his base because he hasn’t done anything yet. He’s signed some fancy press statements about thinking about doing things, but he has not yet done anything. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Not until the dissonance occurs between promises and actions will the tribe fall out of like with his Orangeness. For instance, let’s say twenty million people lose health care so that one million rich people can get a tax cut. That is liable to cause more than a little economic angst to creep into the tribal zeitgeist. So much for economic populism.

This is why the Georgia loss is a positive development. Anything that builds confidence for an agenda that has no constituency is blowing smoke up the all too receptive sphincter of the orange biopsy. Likewise, Custer didn’t lose sleep over worrying about overconfidence.

Folks, Dolt 45 hasn’t yet been presidenting for six months. He’s supremely talented at turning everything he touches to crap, but even he needs the time to do it in world-class fashion. Perhaps the season of Filmishmish is upon us, but no pigs fly before their time.

What’s on your mind today?

 

 

 

The god couple…

Have you ever saved a fortune from a fortune cookie? I have. Why on earth would a person save a little wad of paper tucked into a baked concoction of egg whites, flour, and sugar? It makes no sense other than it might make you feel good or coincidentally validate some action or behavior in retrospect.

That’s what former FBI Director and Lurch body double, Jim Comey must have been thinking last week. Through all the “mildly nauseous” episodes and the “aw shucks Lordy” moments, it felt like “Long Tall Comey” was feeling almost zestful at the little cookies directed toward the ambulatory orange rind.

It rang true when Comey justified his memo writing by saying he did it because, “The nature of the person.  I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.”

What didn’t ring true was the triggering of his Hillary madness based upon Loretta Lynch asking if anyone minded calling the exercise a “matter” as opposed to an “investigation”. Really St. Jim? Was that the real trigger for all your madness and criticism of Hillary? Or was it perhaps just political cover?

When I put the pile of crap about the “nature of the orange person” in one hand and the mouse turd of calling something a “matter” versus an “investigation” in the other, one feels considerably weightier than the other.

But therein lies the rub. They might just both be true. Could be. I don’t feel they are both true, but I don’t know for certain. What I do know is that according to my values hierarchy, calling someone a liar who at his core is a dishonest and untrustworthy is a big deal.

Another off-pissing aspect was the credibility competition between Comey and Dolt 45. Invariably the male pundits trivialized the credibility contest as they do with sexual harassment claims. Instead of the insulting “he said, she said,” they dumbed it down to “he said, he said.”

Wrong. It was really “Trump said or tweeted and Comey swore under penalties of perjury.” Trump is an inveterate liar. He doesn’t mind being called a liar. It is a prerequisite for New York real estate development. It is what he does, has done, and will continue to do until his vermilion verisimilitude is relocated to the ninth circle of hell.

Just as Comey’s representations draw conflicted credibility responses due to confirmation bias, there are certain things about this entire sordid affair that only have one side. For instance, if Dolt 45 didn’t know better than to ask Comey to let the “Flynn thing go,” he must have had a series of memory numbing strokes since he asked Attorney General Granny Sessions and dead-eyed Douchner to leave the room.

And here’s something no one has offered to explain: For the past eighteen months, you couldn’t throw an empty vodka bottle anywhere near the Trump campaign without hitting a Russian. Flynn, Manafort, Page, Stone, Seb Gorka, Boris Epshteyn, Sessions, Douchner, Russian spymasters, Russian bankers, plus Boris and Natasha chasing Moose and Squirrel. Even Doltalot’s new lawyer has all sorts of Russian connections. No one has offered the first explanation of why the mango meerkat campaign suffers from an epidemic of Putinophilia.

Like Greyhounds chasing imaginary prey, everyone is going to be running in circles sniffing out obstruction of justice claims. Two points: (1) Obstruction doesn’t have to be successful to be illegal; and (2) Obstruction is always in the eye of the beholder and Republicans are unlikely to ever see it.

The challenge for us, who believe science-based solutions should underpin progressive policy, as we say it around these parts, is to keep our daubers up. We have eighteen months before the midterms and perhaps at least that long before we see the first reports from Special Counsel Mueller’s band of merry marauders. He does seem to be interested in money laundering and financial fraud.

While Russians don’t have fortune cookies, if they had fortune blinis, they might contain this old Russian adage: От тюрьмы и от сумы не зарекайся. Translated – Don’t denounce prison or poverty. It means anyone can lose all their money or be thrown in jail, no matter how they live or behave.

We can only hope for such a good fortune.

What’s on your mind today?

 

Operator:  Hello, this is the Spitefulness Hotline for Inhumane Troglodytes, S.H.I.T., how may I help you?

Caller:  I just called because I’m scared.  Really scared.

Operator:  Why are you scared?

Caller:  I’m a Republican and I’m having doubts.

Operator:  Doubts about what?

Caller:  Doubts that we are running out of ways to actually hurt people.  The only thing that helps me is drinking. Drinking a lot. Well, and the cocaine. That seems to help.  Then there’s the sex with my congressional staff.  Then there’s the sex with the spouses of my congressional staff.  And occasionally there’s the sex with their kids, but…

Operator:  Okay, I get it.  You’re just an average god-fearing, family values Republican trying to make a difference by delivering spitefulness to those hateful hordes back home.

Caller:  You are incredibly perceptive.

Trump ties: For the man who ate everything…

Operator:  Thank you.  I used to work as a Planned Parenthood protester.  I could spot those pregos at 50 paces.  Everyone said, “If pigs had a nose for truffles, I had a snout for amniotic fluid.”  Now, what seems to be the problem today?

Caller:  I’m just worried and depressed.  What if we can’t come up with new ways to hurt people?  I mean how else are we going to hypnotize the bloodthirsty Tea Party types?  What are we going to rant and rave about?  What if Ann Coulter couldn’t buy that cheeseburger she needs?  And how is it fair that Ailes and O’Reilly only got $65 Million?

Operator:  Is this the first time you’ve felt this way?

Caller:  No.  I had a bad case of the sads when we softened up on Civil Rights and the lunch counter thing.  And that Bush prescription drug plan!  Don’t get me started.  The only thing that kept me going during the Bush years was bombing some brown people.  Now those were some good times.

Operator:  That’s why we’re here.  If you are feeling charitable or bighearted, we are here to put the Freon back in your veins.  Why’d you want to S.H.I.T. talk today?

Caller:   It’s like what happens when you are coming down off a really good coke high.  You know no matter how good it gets, it won’t get any better than nose sledding through that pure white snow.  I mean really.  How does it get any better than charging cancer patients $142,000 more a year for piss poor insurance coverage?  How’s it gonna get better than hitting minimum wage working mothers with $17,000 more a year just because they might have a kid at some point?  If we don’t have that to look forward to, is life worth living?  Can you feel me bro?

Operator:  I can feel ya.

Trump’s Wimminz Advisory Council…

Caller:  I mean we made sure mentally ill people could get guns.  We finally got more mercury back where it belongs – in our air and water.  We even said, in our out-loud voices, that cutting Meals on Wheels was the compassionate thing to do.  Does it get any better than that?  Amirite?

Operator:  Have you tried talking with anyone else about these feelings?

Caller:  Well, we have cheerleading sessions down in the basement of the Capitol.  After we sacrifice some goats, the anime-eyed granny starver gets up and promises to take Medicare away, but he’s just talkin’.  Daddy won’t deliver.

Operator:  How do you know?

Caller:  He’s actually going to give the old folks vouchers.  Vouchers, I tell you.  Like grocery stores won’t take vouchers for cat food?  Of course they will.

Operator:  There are always wars.  Think about that.  Those young Bernbrained bros are about to get a camo-clothing allowance.  That’s something to look forward to.

Caller:  I know, but how many times can you watch chemical weapons and still get that cold fuzzy feeling?  I love the smell of Sarin in the morning.

Operator:  Do you have a family?

Trump: Bigger is more better — right?

Caller:  No, I ICE’d ‘em last year.  Had them deported. It was just a little early Christmas present I gave myself.

Operator:  Hey listen, like all good conservative think tanks we run an intellectual support group for those who might be feeling a little too altruistic and not getting their venom on.

Caller:  Really, what’s it called?

Operator:  S.H.I.T. for Brains.  Can we count on you?

Caller:  You bet.

Operator:  We like to keep anonymous data on our callers for statistical purposes.  We have a few questions.  Just exactly how white are you?

Caller:   I was the centerfold for Cracker Quarterly.

Operator:  What sign were you born under?

Caller:  Tuscaloosa 12 miles.

Operator:  Who has been your greatest influence?

Caller:  Porn stars.

Operator:  Why?

S.H.I.T. for Brains Board Meeting…

Caller:  On camera, no one changes positions faster.

Operator:  That’s all I need.  Thanks for calling.  Spread S.H.I.T. around.

Caller:  I feel better.  Here’s a little virtual fist bump just like the one Kush, ever so gently but firmly, gave me as we reached for the same Egyptian 1,500 thread count sheets.

End of recording.

What’s on your mind today?

 

Sometimes when presented with esoteric information I find myself thinking, “Why would I ever need to know that?” Without being psychic, there’s a better than even chance you are about to have that exact same thought, because…

This post is about budget reconciliation, the Senate Byrd Rule, and tax cuts.

Stick with me for about 400 more words and I promise everything will come together.

First, a quick story. Let’s say you are an enterprising high school student who, on occasion, visits your parent’s liquor cabinet. The parents, just as enterprising, mark the level of happy juice remaining after they partake. Therefore, fun is calibrated by hash marks running down the spine of the bottle indicating how much happy juice remains to be imbibed.

How does the enterprising teenager cover his surreptitious “borrowing” of fun juice?  A “C” student would use water to fill the bottle back to the hash mark. An “A” student would find the pen used to make the hash mark and just make a new, lower one.

Folks, that’s a synopsis of the federal budget reconciliation act for purposes of tax cuts. I’ll explain.

Being discerning Widdershinners, the velocity with which the Republican American Health Care Atrocity Act (AHCA) moved was worrisome. Why the breakneck speed to alter almost one-fifth of the economy? The reason: Paul Ryan didn’t want anyone to notice the tax cut hash marks were being changed.

What the AHCA did was to lower the liquor bottle hash marks for tax cuts. It changed the tax baseline. The reason this is important is that the Senate rules require any tax cut to end after ten-years unless it is “paid-for” – ergo, the lower the hash mark, the less you have to replace. That’s the Byrd Rule.

The Republicans wanted to eliminate $1.0 Trillion in taxes over the next ten years by repealing the A.C.A. That meant $1.0 Trillion less they would have to replace in “pay-fors” in the next round of tax cuts, which they euphemistically call “tax reform”.

Paul Ryan doesn’t care about health care policy. He cares about tax cuts. The AHCA was merely a means to an end. Ryan, with a complicit White House, was merely figuring out a way to make the coming tax cuts larger and permanent.  He was lowering the hash mark on the liquor bottle so he and his overlords could swill more of that sweet, delicious juice of the tax cut. The repeal of the A.C.A. taxes make the next tax cuts coming through “tax reform” look more affordable.

The chart below demonstrates what a massive redistributive tax cut the AHCA represented. It was redistribution from those least able to pay to the wealthiest collective in the country – the One Percenters.

Why am I taking your time with this? The quest for larger and permanent tax cuts isn’t over.

Ryan and his tax cut swilling cohort aren’t quitting – just like drinkers, nobody likes a quitter. Yesterday, a purloined recording of Ryan cooing to Republican donors surfaced. He promised:

We’re not going to just all of a sudden abandon health care and move on to the rest. We are going to move on with rest of our agenda, keep that on track, while we work the health-care problem. . . . It’s just that valuable, that important.

The anime-eyed granny-starver isn’t giving up. He might announce his grand plan as early as Thursday or Friday. Hell hath no fury like a Republican denied tax cuts. Who would have thought Republicans would seek to cut taxes, end regulation, rollback civil rights, and then for good measure, cut some more taxes? Who’d a’thunk it?

This class on budget reconciliation is now adjourned.

What’s on your mind today?

 

Indeed, a bold move, let’s see if it pays off for them. So bold, the logic is nonexistent or exists in a parallel bizarro universe. Originally, I was going to post about a political science study, but it is too egg-headed and stuffy for a day like today.

Today we get to watch a bunch of Congressional one-eyed lemmings follow one another off the cliff because they’ve been told they can learn to fly on the way down.

 

These lemmings were tricked into trying to “midair Kitty Hawk” by King Don Dumb, the author of Schart of the Zeal.  That’s a book about living a goony-eyed life of believing your own sh!t so much you get all excited and poop yourself, but not before toot farting, thereby signaling your unbridled zeal.

Here’s the upside for King Don Dumb if it passes – 24 million lose their health insurance, premiums go up, deductibles go up, coverage goes down, but the really rich get millions in tax cuts.

Wreck-It-Ralph has let himself go…

Overnight, there was another ransom note from the freaky Freedom Caucus.  Not only does it cut essential benefits like maternity care, newborn care, pediatric care, mental health, drug treatment, rehabilitation, prescription drug coverage, preventative care, wellness care, chronic disease, laboratory services, hospitalization, and outpatient services, there’s more – even though that list looks like pretty much everything insurance is supposed to do.

To the things listed as essential services, add about eight other technical things that must have been written down during especially unctuous nocturnal emissions of insurance lobbyists.  They include eliminating the “single risk pool” allowing insurers to cull the cheap healthy from the expensive sick, reinstating lifetime and annual coverage limits, eliminating the requirement for no-cost preventative care like mammograms, and undoing the Medical Loss Ratio standards, which is a fancy term for forcing large insurers to pay out at least 85% of premiums on claims and rebating the rest.

And here’s what I can’t believe hasn’t been covered: This travesty – this atrocity increases the deficit. It’s only slightly cheaper than the ACA, but it still increases the deficit because of the tax cuts. These heartless, amoral, hell-bound morons are borrowing money to heap suffering on 24 million people. It’s like an arsonist taking a mortgage on a house before torching it.

For seven years we’ve heard that selling insurance across state lines is the magical elixir to reduce premiums. That tired story is just another hornless unicorn, but it is what “wonkinator” Paul Ryan has sworn will work. States already allow interstate insurance sales, but insurance companies don’t do it because it doesn’t make economic sense. As health care expert Austin Frakt, told the Los Angeles Times, “I never understood the appeal of this idea. It only makes sense if you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Here in one chart is all you need to know. The chart depicts the percentage of income paid for premiums of a 60-year old making $20,000.00 a year. Under the ACA, she pays about 5% of her income no matter where she lives. Under this “Death Care” (© Fredster), in some parts of the country the same 60-year old pays 100% of her income for coverage. No one is going to do that. No one can do that.

 

The Council of Scary Lady Parts meets to cut mammograms, pregnancy, and pediatric care…

No idea how this will turn out in the morning, but I’m sure of these things: The legislative language is still being worked out, there is no CBO score so no one knows how much these changes will cost, and oh yeah, this Death Care is polling at 17%.

One other thing, even if it does pass, it is DOA in the Senate. King Don Dumb has tooted and schart his pants declaring, “Take it or leave it, I’m done with health care.” At about 11:00 p.m., he blamed the anime-eyed granny-starver for this fiasco. As if that is a surprise.

The bold strategy is whether or not they can hide the fact this “wealth care” is only about the rich and Republican swamp dwellers. Hell of a thing. If someone had only warned us.

The first procedural vote is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. EDT this morning.

What’s on your mind today?

 

 


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