Friday, September 29, 2017

Last Call For The Confederacy Of Dunces

Last time I checked Ohio was on the Union side in the Civil War, but apparently that never stopped a monument plaque to Gen. Robert E. Lee going up in Franklin Township north of Cincy (in Boehner Country, of course) some 90 years ago.  The township took it down after the events of Charlottesville last month, figuring "nobody's going to miss a Confederate plaque in small-town Ohio."

Oh, were they ever wrong.

Franklin Twp. trustees said they working out details to return a Confederate marker to public display and hold a re-dedication ceremony. 
A handful of residents attended Wednesday evening’s meeting to ask why there has been little information about the 90-year old marker honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Dixie Highway that was removed overnight Aug. 17 from the intersection of Hamilton-Middletown Road and Dixie Highway. 
The controversy started Aug. 16 when reporters asked about Franklin Township’s plans for the monument after the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. 
“The monument is going back,” said Trustees President Brian Morris. “It might not be in the exact same spot. You’re going to get essentially what we all want, but it might not be in the exact same spot.” 
Morris said he is looking at several places in the township along Dixie Highway but no site has been selected and more details remain to be worked out. 
“We’ll have a re-dedication ceremony,” Morris said. “It’s going to be put back out in public. Rest assured, get the word out, it will be back.”

Apparently the answer to "who would miss a Confederate plaque in small-town Ohio" is "racist small-minded old white people complaining to township officials."

Which is exactly what Ohio is like in 2017, for those of you who keep saying I should move across the river to "less" racism or something.

Collective Trumpunishment

The Narcissist-in-Chief's ego has gotten so swollen and infected that as Paul Krugman points out, Americans are going to die as a direct result of this kakistocratic administration.

When Hurricane Maria struck, more than a week ago, it knocked out power to the whole of Puerto Rico, and it will be months before the electricity comes back. Lack of power can be deadly in itself, but what’s even worse is that, thanks largely to the blackout, much of the population still lacks access to drinkable water. How many will die because hospitals can’t function, or because of diseases spread by unsafe water? Nobody knows. 
But the situation is terrible, and time is not on Puerto Rico’s side: The longer this goes on, the worse the humanitarian crisis will get. Surely, then, you’d expect bringing in and distributing aid to be the U.S. government’s top priority. After all, we’re talking about the lives of three and a half million of our fellow citizens — more than the population of Iowa or metro San Diego. 
So have we seen the kind of full-court, all-out relief effort such a catastrophe demands? No. 
Admittedly, it’s hard to quantify the federal response. But none of the extraordinary measures you’d expect to see have materialized. 
The deployment of military resources seems to have been smaller and slower than it was in Texas after Harvey or Florida after Irma, even though Puerto Rico’s condition is far more dire. Until Thursday the Trump administration had refused to lift restrictions on foreign shipping to Puerto Rico, even though it had waived those rules for Texas and Florida. 
Why? According to the president, “people who work in the shipping industry” don’t like the idea.

And as Krugman adds, it's not just Puerto Rico, it's healthcare too.

Obamacare repeal has failed again, for the simple reason that Graham-Cassidy, like all the other G.O.P. proposals, was a piece of meanspirited junk. But while the Affordable Care Act survives, the Trump administration is openly trying to sabotage the law’s functioning. 
This sabotage is taking place on multiple levels. The administration has refused to confirm whether it will pay crucial subsidies to insurers that cover low-income customers. It has refused to clarify whether the requirement that healthy people buy insurance will be enforced. It has canceled or suspended outreach designed to get more people to sign up. 
These actions translate directly into much higher premiums: Insurers don’t know if they’ll be compensated for major costs, and they have every reason to expect a smaller, sicker risk pool than before. And it’s too late to reverse the damage: Insurers are finalizing their 2018 rates as you read this. 
Why are the Trumpists doing this? Is it a cynical calculation — make the A.C.A. fail, then claim that it was already doomed? I doubt it. For one thing, we’re not talking about people known for deep strategic calculations. For another, the A.C.A. won’t actually collapse; it will just become a program more focused on sicker, poorer Americans — and the political opposition to repeal won’t go away. Finally, when the bad news comes in, everyone will know whom to blame.

No, A.C.A. sabotage is best seen not as a strategy, but as a tantrum. We can’t repeal Obamacare? Well, then, we’ll screw it up. It’s not about achieving any clear goal, but about salving the president’s damaged self-esteem. 

It's worse than that.  It's collective punishment of the people who dared to vote against Trump in 2016.  He lost the GOP primary there to Marco Rubio, remember?  As a result, he is trying to cause as much suffering to those who, as far as Trump is concerned, no longer matter as Americans and therefore no longer deserve anything from the country other than the coercive power of the state at point-blank range.

This is about Trump making sure his regime hurts anyone and everyone who stands up to him in any way.  And if thousands of American citizens in Puerto Rico have to be sickened or even die from neglect in order to make that point, if millions have to lose their health care coverage and some will die as a result?

So be it.  Dear Leader Trump has spoken.

He is a monster, full stop.

Flaking Out Over Sinema Verite'

My favorite pain in the ass conservative Democrat, Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, is finally throwing her hat into the ring to take on embattled GOP Sen. Jeff Flake in 2018.  While I definitely believe Sinema will end up in the Heitkamp/Donnelly/Manchin wing of the Conserva-Dems and will be a major roadblock to broadband regulations and health care legislation in the future, that's what Jeff Flake was now, plus he votes with Trump far more often than Sinema does.

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is running for the Senate seat held by Jeff Flake, ending months of speculation about her political future and giving Democrats a top-tier fundraiser with experience on Capitol Hill.

In a video announcing her bid,the Arizona Democrat recounts her upbringing in a family that fell from the middle class into homelessness. She made her way to Congress, Sinema says, with hard work and help from "family, church and, sometimes, even the government."

"I really feel like I have a duty to serve and give back to this country, which has given so much to me," she said in an interview with The Arizona Republic. "Working hard is all I know; it's who I am. I believe I'll be the hardest worker for Arizonans in the United States Senate."

Sinema, who has a reputation as an energetic problem-solver not focused on partisanship, said she intends to make her work on behalf of military veterans and in cutting regulatory red tape for businesses the core issues of her campaign.

"Our nation is facing a lot of problems right now, but we can fix these problems if we work together," Sinema says in the video. "It's time to put our country ahead of party, ahead of politics. It's time to stop fighting and look for common ground."

The fact of the matter is the Dems need to win Flake's seat next year.  As I've said multiple times, Heitkamp, Manchin, and Donnelly all face tough re-elections in Trump states, along with Claire McCaskill, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, Jon Tester, and Bill Nelson.  If Flake and Dean Heller survive and the GOP runs the table on these, that's 60 for them, and that's the end of the ball game.

Frankly, I'd expect the GOP to pick up four or five of these, but all eight is certainly not out of the question.

So yes, I want to see Sinema win.  Even if she does do obnoxious things like meet with Donald Trump, and still hasn't learned that for all her "bipartisan" leanings, Republicans are still happily depicting her as an "extreme liberal" who hates America and loves "illegals".

We'll see.


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