It used to be third-world shiteholes and banana republics where the ruling autocrat was brought low by the thieving ways of his inept relatives. Thanks, GOP, for making this comic trope AMERICAN!
… Within the warped internal logic of the Trump presidency — where it is taken as a given by essentially everybody around him that the president is impulsive and grotesquely ignorant — his shocking actions and statements have a more understandable basis.
A week ago, it appeared that the probe would center around the activities of a handful of figures who are now marginal within Trumpworld: former campaign manager Paul Manafort, foreign policy adviser Carter Page, and deposed National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. That has changed. The Washington Postreported Friday that investigators have identified a current White House official as a person of interest in its financial probe. (The story hinted, and New York Magazine contributor Yashar Ali confirmed, that the person is Jared Kushner.)…
All this implies that the probe is scrutinizing the financial aspects of Trump’s business, which is a family operation. While some Trump advisers opposed the firing of Comey, Kushner reportedly advocated for it. That fact may seem strange if one thinks of Kushner as a voice of pragmatism. But it is easier to understand if you think of him as a figure sitting near the heart of a financial scandal, who harbors a strong interest in suppressing the investigation…
The official White House line maintains — or has tried to maintain — that the administration welcomes special prosecutor Robert Mueller and sees his work as a chance to dispel the cloud of suspicion needlessly hanging over the presidency. Their actions suggest a very different calculation. From Trump’s campaign to ensure the loyalty of his FBI director, to his subsequent firing of him, to his tweet-rages against the special prosecutor as an unfair witch hunt — all of this indicates high levels of panic in the Oval Office. Trump has almost certainly engaged in obstruction of justice for the simple reason that there is a lot of justice to obstruct.
"Buddy, help me out on this one? Do me a solid, as a friend? On my son-in-law possibly being in business with the Russian mob or whatever?"
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Anne Lauriehttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAnne Laurie2017-05-23 06:03:512017-05-23 06:03:51Tuesday Morning Open Thread: The Kleptocracy
This weekday feature is for Balloon Juicers who are on the road, travelling, etc. and wish to share notes, links, pictures, stories, etc. from their escapades. As the US mainland begins the end of the Earth day as we measure it, many of us rise to read about our friends and their transient locales.
So, please, speak up and share some of your adventures, observations, and sights as you explore, no matter where you are. By concentrating travel updates here, it’s easier for all to keep up-to-date on the adventures of our fellow Commentariat. And it makes finding some travel tips or ideas from 6 months ago so much easier to find…
We’re working on a better system for submitting photos and accompanying text. It will allow you to attach text to pictures and submit them so that I don’t scramble the description or leave out an important detail. Plus less time needed for the mechanics on my end, so all-around better, I’d say.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Alain the site fixerhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAlain the site fixer2017-05-23 05:00:522017-05-22 22:17:31On The Road
You see: New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling cauldron of many cultures.
There is no other place quite like it in the world that so eloquently exemplifies the uniquely American motto: e pluribus unum — out of many we are one.
But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.
America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp.
So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.
And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame … all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans.
There are good people in this country, politicians who understand they represent all the people. Remember that.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Cheryl Roferhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgCheryl Rofer2017-05-22 23:52:192017-05-22 23:52:59New Orleans Mayor Landrieu Speaks Out On Confederate Monuments
The Department of Health and Human Services accidentally leaked their own budget this evening. Bob Herman at Axios saved a copy. The biggest aspect of the budget is it laid out another $600 billion dollars in cuts to Medicaid and CHIP over ten years in addition to the $820 billion in Medicaid cuts in the AHCA.
Loren Adler at Brookings thinks the cuts would be to tie the AHCA block grants to no more than inflation rate growth without regard to population or case mixture. As the Baby Boomers retire, more of them will require nursing home care that is currently paid for by Medicaid but there would be no federal money.
$610 billion in additional Medicaid cuts is on par with instituting Medicaid block grants that only grow with CPI, on top of AHCA changes. https://t.co/67F5o8sfgS
This is a budget wishlist that pits old people versus kids, the disabled against the pregnant and state budgets against upper income tax cuts in the federal budget.
Call Congress and give them an earful.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00David Andersonhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgDavid Anderson2017-05-22 22:27:082017-05-22 22:27:08Medicaid in the President's budget request
Commenter BL wrote and asked if I’d re-up the request for assistance.
Look at that face! You know you want to help that face!
The dog has been lost since at least Friday morning and we have had several bouts of rain. He only had an Invisible Fence collar, and no other tags or tattooes. He is not microchipped and his collar is not registered with Invisible Fence. I have posted on several lost pet sites, facebook, a local neighborhood social media site, and Craigs List. I’ve notified the county animal control and the community HOA. I filed a found dog report with the county shelter.
I have had only one response and that was not the right dog.
Today, the president of the HOA of my development (who is a big dog lover and just took in a puppy today or would help take in Buddy for the next 3 days) drove around our neighborhood and the next development over, and asked everyone she saw if they knew where Buddy belonged with no luck. I also drove around neighborhoods this weekend and saw no signs or anyone looking for a dog.
In my county, if you turn the dog into the county, you have 5 days to pick up your dog and then they start to look at adoption.
Tomorrow will be the 5th day.
I would like to go ahead and ask the Balloon Juice community to help place the dog for adoption somewhere.
Here is what I know:
He is an older, intact, black lab mix and weighs 69lb. The vet said everything looked good except for his heart (he may have an arrhythmia). He is stiff, and had trouble walking for me on Friday, but the vet says his hips and knees seemed good (at least as much as he could tell without an xray). The walking/stiffness may be more back related. He can go up and down stairs, but it is difficult for him. His teeth are in great shape. He is very friendly with people and ok with my dogs. He is a little protective of his food with my dogs, he is ok with me taking food from him. He, unfortunately, wants to chase cats, and so, I cant keep him in the house while I travel since I have cats.
However, he likes to mark – including in the house. I have started trying to correct that, but I expect that is going to take awhile as he is old and has years of habit to undo. But I doubt he is an outside dog, since I had trouble getting him to go out into the rain. Maybe the marking is due to some level of anxiety in a new setting, although he seems calm.
I had him vaccinated for rabies while at the vet this weekend to keep everyone safe. I can arrange for the rest of the vaccines later this week, when I get back. I am postponing my travel to WV until tomorrow evening, so I can take Buddy somewhere tomorrow. If I have no other option, I will ask my daughter (but she is pregnant, in that stage where you feel nauseous all the time, and is dealing with her own dog emergency – one of her dogs is going through chemo and had to be rushed to the emergency vet this morning, plus she also has cats). I suppose the last resort is the county shelter, but they do euthanize animals they cant place. They told me they have a 60% placement rate.
Let me know if you need anything else from me. I have been reading Balloon Juice for a couple of years and I’ve seen how the group rallies for pets.
If you can help BL and this fine fellow out, let us know in comments or email me and I’ll put you in touch.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Adam L Silvermanhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAdam L Silverman2017-05-22 21:02:242017-05-22 21:03:21Pet Bleg II: Sending Out the Signal
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Anne Lauriehttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAnne Laurie2017-05-22 20:46:392017-05-22 20:46:39Open Thread: When Someone Tells You What They Are...
Apparently something horrible has happened at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00John Colehttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgJohn Cole2017-05-22 19:42:232017-05-22 19:42:23Explosions in the UK
I’m not raising money for either of those two races anymore, since all the money will probably go to advertising of dubious efficacy.
I just emailed ActBlue about setting something up where we donate and money goes equally to all Democratic challengers. In the meantime, we’re still raising money against the asshole in NJ-6 (Rodney Frelinghuysen) who sent the letter that made the woman have to resign her job at a bank.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Doug!https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgDoug!2017-05-22 19:14:382017-05-22 19:14:38Fire on the mountain, run boys run
Didn’t “peach” used to be thieves’ cant for “incriminate one’s associates to the authorities”?
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Anne Lauriehttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAnne Laurie2017-05-22 19:04:442017-05-22 18:11:16Open Thread: "Peach" in Our Times
Okay, the Secretary of Commerce thinks criminalizing protests isn’t such a bad thing, since he got ‘two gigantic bushels of dates’ from his security detail. One look at Wilbur Ross’s face, you can understand why dietary fiber is so valuable to him!
Egypt's el-Sisi tells @potus he has "a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible." Trump's response: "I agree" #riyadh
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Anne Lauriehttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAnne Laurie2017-05-22 17:48:262017-05-22 17:50:12Open Thread: Now, the Happy Part Is Over...
I always hate the “Not my President” nonsense because that’s not how it works- yes, he is my President, unfortunately and god damnit. But I made an exception for this t-shirt.
The nice thing about this shirt is that even if Trump is impeached, it works for Pence, too! So its got good shelf life.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00John Colehttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgJohn Cole2017-05-22 16:23:482017-05-22 16:23:48My New T-Shirt Came
note: I pulled this and scheduled it for a later publish to not stomp on Betty’s post. Sorry for the brief stomp, Betty!
Just a quick update:
The video as is back – yay more site revenue for good causes.
The video ad is back – boo, it makes the page refresh.
Well folks, we’re working on it. We’re seeing what we can do to make the best of both worlds.
Please don’t block all the ads on the site, they’re the lifeblood that a) keeps the community going, and b) ensure that good pet causes are supported. And, should you ignore this plea, once the refresh issue is past, please consider white-listing the site so that we get more ad revenue!
For today, perhaps tomorrow, as we experiment with some settings, the ad may go away, make the page refresh, or show an error message. Please be patient while we try to get it right.
This wouldn’t even be seen by you if we had a test server, but which we don’t…yet. I just started setting it up today, and expect to have it fully functional by the end of the week. When ready, it will be an almost clone of the full site, with a few configuration differences. It will be a full-time dedicated server for experimenting with new or changed features, etc. So less bumps in the future as we return to the ideal of a full-time test/development server!
Alongside this will be a proper Issues tracker so that problems, ideas, complaints, etc. about the technical side of the site can be put in one central, public place. No more spreadsheets, to-do lists, emails, comments, phone calls, etc. – just a simple, organized list of Issues.
More details will be forthcoming, but it is my sincere hope that we’ll be able to improve this site, smooth over rough patches, and hopefully add a feature or two here and there that makes your reader/commenter life better.
As a final piece of news, you may have noticed that there is an In Memoriam widget at the top of the sidebar. It’s temporary, just there for a few weeks, but please do keep greennotGreen’s family in your thoughts and prayers, and if you have a bit to spare, consider a donation to honor her, and to thank her and her family for sharing her journey. I know that I am changed from going through this; I suspect many of us are.
I don’t expect to be in the comments much, but feel free to post tech issues, ideas, etc. I am taking good ideas and adding them to the list. That won’t mean they all get done, but once they’re official issues, at least there’s a process and explanations if an issue is closed without resolution.
ETA: Please give feedback below if the desktop site is working better for you than earlier today or yesterday, or if it’s the same, or worse. If it is the same as before, also let me know. I made some changes that seemed to fix things but then I just saw what I think was the partial reload, so now I’m not sure what to think.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Alain the site fixerhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAlain the site fixer2017-05-22 14:30:392017-05-22 14:46:59Site Tweaks and Suchlike
If the states are allowed to intervene, however, they could pursue the appeal even if Trump decides to drop it. With the appeal in place, the injunction couldn’t take effect until the case is heard and decided.
What’s more, the states are very likely to prevail. Not on the merits: as I’ve written before, the House is right that there’s no appropriation to make the cost-sharing payments. But the D.C. Circuit is likely to be skeptical of the district court’s conclusion that the House of Representatives has standing to sue. That’s why the states want to court to decide the case quickly: they hope to get rid of the lawsuit once and for all…
Courts try to strike a balance. They insist that third parties intervene as early as possible. They also don’t allow intervention if someone who’s already a party can be counted on to represent the third party’s interest.
That’s why the states couldn’t have intervened when the case was before the district court. The Obama administration was vigorously defending the constitutionality of the cost-sharing reductions, much as the states would have done. Their interests were aligned. Even after Trump’s election, it looked like the Justice Department would keep defending the payments—which is perhaps why an earlier effort to intervene in House v. Price was rebuffed.
Matters are very different today. Cementing his reputation as the world’s worst client, President Trump has publicly toyed with the idea of cutting off the cost-sharing reductions in an effort to force concessions from Democrats….
At this point, it’s nuts to think the states can count on the Trump administration to represent their interests.
We have one more CSR court cycle to go through before it is resolved one way or another.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00David Andersonhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgDavid Anderson2017-05-22 14:14:282017-05-22 14:14:28Rewind the timer to 90 days
I’ve mentioned before that my grandma morphed from a sweet (if conservative) little old church lady into a frothing rage-bot due to toxic exposure to Fox News…and how we used subterfuge and deception to combat that malign influence. Below the fold, the cartoon version of the story! Open thread! Read more
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Betty Crackerhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgBetty Cracker2017-05-22 13:29:192017-05-22 13:29:26PSA: DeFOXifying Your Elders (Open Thread)
While we focus on the various obvious bathetic catastrophes (from blowing secrets to the Russians to the big man’s collapsing in a heap after a mere one day on the road) committed by the shitgibbon and his band of merry (but never gay — oh no! not that) men, it’s important to keep at least some attention on the rolling, very real damage the Trump administration wreaks on a daily basis.
I’m so far behind on a book project that I can’t really keep up, and I certainly can’t blog with anything remotely resembling depth and insight, so I’m going to try instead to throw up quick posts as various bits of policy news cross my magpie’s field of vision.
This morning’s treat comes via a Saturday story in FTFNYT.* Under Scott Pruitt, it seems, the EPA has become the Captain Renault of environmental regulators: everything has its price, and the Captain is always eager to make a deal:
Devon Energy, which runs the windswept site, had been prepared to install a sophisticated system to detect and reduce leaks of dangerous gases. It had also discussed paying a six-figure penalty to settle claims by the Obama administration that it was illegally emitting 80 tons each year of hazardous chemicals, like benzene, a known carcinogen.
But something changed in February just five days after Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general with close ties to Devon, was sworn in as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Devon, in a letter dated Feb. 22 and obtained by The New York Times, said it was “re-evaluating its settlement posture.” It no longer intended to move ahead with the extensive emissions-control system, second-guessing the E.P.A.’s estimates on the size of the violation, and it was now willing to pay closer to $25,000 to end the three-year-old federal investigation.
The administration’s response?
The E.P.A. has not yet made a public response to Devon’s new posture, and Mr. Pruitt declined to comment for this article.
Want to bet on how it will turn out?
In just the last three months, with Mr. Pruitt in charge, the E.P.A. postponed a long-planned rule requiring companies like Devon to retrofit drilling equipment to prevent leaks of methane gas — a major contributor to climate change — and to collect more data on how much of the gas is spewing into the air.
The Interior Department, meanwhile, announced this month that it would reconsider a separate rule limiting the burning of unwanted methane gas from wells drilled on federal and Indian lands, a process called flaring. That announcement came the same day the Senate narrowly rejected industry calls to repeal the same rule.
Interior officials have also announced their intention to repeal or revise a contentious rule requiring companies like Devon to take extra steps to prevent groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a drilling technique in which chemicals and water are forced into rock formations.
You get the idea. Pruitt has a history of working with Devon Energy; the administration has both a pro-extractive industry bias and powerful faction and the always reliable motive of f**king with anything that Obama accomplished. Some of what the shitgibbon’s people aim to do can, no doubt, be delayed, obstructed, tied up. Much, perhaps most will go through, at least over the next year or so, up until the pressures of the next election begin to bite.
So: constant vigilance and trust no Republican. They’ll load up anything they can on anything they can, transferring public goods (clean air, clean water, anything not nailed down) to private hands.
Over to y’all.
*Publication of such stories is why I continue to subscribe. Their political desk is…dodgy…but they still field more fine reporters than just about anywhere else I can think of. YM, as always, MV.
Image: Elihu Vedder, Corrupt Legislation, mural in the Library of Congress, 1896.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Tom Levensonhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgTom Levenson2017-05-22 11:05:392017-05-22 11:05:48The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing