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Dear JeffyBeau: Where's the rest of it?

Our distinguished Attorney General and laid-off Keebler Elf, The Hon. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, hereinafter "JeffyBeau," for brevity, Got Real Tough on America's cities today.

It's all about Enforcing the LAW, doncha know.

To make Americans SAFE.

From Terrible, Horrible, Awful, Violent People.

And to be sure that America's Cities know it's their JOB to keep people safe, JeffyBeau sez this:

"Y'all ENFORCE the laws, and y'all COOPERATE with Federal Law Enforcement to keep folks safe, or NO MORE DOJ GRANT SUGAR FOR YOU!"

Oh, wait.

Just a minute, that's not *precisely* what he said.

Let's say, he made a good START on saying that.

But it was way, way more limited.

He didn't include a few things.

Like, um... racially or religiously motivated hate crimes covered by Federal statutes.

Or, um... violations of the Federal Violence Against Women Act.

Or, hmmmm, lessee... not even various RICO-related crimes that involve violence tied to organized crime and gangs.

So apparently, the only kind of Terrible, Horrible, Awful, Violent People JeffyBeau is concerned about are the Bad Hombres that commit a teeny-tiny minority of violent crimes in America's Cities.

But that teeny-tiny minority is enough to cut off their DOJ Grant largesse. And maybe even claw back previous crime-fighting money from the DOJ.

JeffyBeau, honey, do y'all mind a little friendly advice?

Just sayin' here... You are the folksy lawyer-type and all, and I'm merely one of those Democrat Lefty Libtard Obstructionist Observers, but all the same, here's how it 'pears to me:

Remember the grounds on which various Federal Court Judges enjoined against enforcement of the Muslim Ban 1.0 and the New Improved Muslim Ban 2.0?

That they picked on a particular class of people? Denying due process based on factors that could just possibly be construed as discriminatory?

Well, JeffyBeau darlin'... I can pretty much GUARANTEE you that right now, even as I'm typing this, there are some mighty slick, well-funded attorneys, on retainer for some of America's biggest cities, putting together a helluva case to show how, if DOJ is going to say it's okay to pull out the sugar for them not co-operating with ICE, y'all better be ready to put the same kind of muscle behind cooperation with Federal enforcement of ALL KINDS of violent crime related to Federal Statutes.

Including, like, the far more common kinds, like, you know: Violence against women. Hate Crimes. Stuff like that.

Of course, to prove you're serious about all that, the DOJ better show a proportional enthusiasm for getting local law enforcement cooperation in pursuing THOSE nasty, bad, violent criminals.

Of which, there are a WHOLE LOT MORE.

Numerically speaking, as it were. And proportionally, too.

So, JeffyBeau, when do we get the rest of it?

I'm waiting.... ::taps foot::

::looks at watch::



If You Can't Be a Good Example, You May Be an Awful Warning...

What a delicious, delightful, de-lovely day it has been (with thanks to Cole Porter)!

Watching >>Redacted<< and Paul Ryan simultaneously flopsplaining the AHCA fail from opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue was a much-appreciated moment of fulfilling schadenfreude for so many of us, and surely there will be many, many more.

In fact, if these three contributions to the Great AHCA Autopsy have any validity (and I suspect they have considerable) the hits will just keep on coming:

Republicans Land a Punch on Health Care, to Their Own Face - NYT

Inside the GOP's Health Care Debacle - Politico

9 Strategic Mistakes President >>Redacted<< and Republicans Made on Health Care - Time.com

All three articles offer some interesting and unique analysis, but they also have one strong analytical point in common, which is simply that for all the bill's manifold flaws, and for all the current Administration's bumbling ineptitude, and for all Ryan's unpopularity and weaselly manipulations, the thing that really saved Americans from losing their health insurance and access to care was the House Freedom Caucus:

"Since the Tea Party wave of 2010 that swept House Republicans into power, a raucous, intransigent and loosely aligned group of lawmakers — most from heavily Republican districts — have usually ended up landing a punch to their own party’s face." - Jennifer Steinhauer, NYT

"But by and large, Trump's first attempt to corral the Republican-controlled Congress—and particularly the Freedom Caucus, a rambunctious, ideologically charged collection of GOP legislators who have long refused to fall in line behind the party's leadership—failed miserably." - Tim Alberta, Politico

"Freedom Caucus members were goaded on... The Freedom Caucus had notched one victory. It was time for another. And another. And another. But they were not officially signing on as supporters, and every shift rightward made it more difficult for lawmakers from swing districts or from moderate ideological backgrounds to acquiesce." Philip Elliot, Time.com

Paul Ryan's flopsplaination this afternoon contained a rare moment of honesty:

"Ryan said he was aware of the problem during a 10-minute session with reporters where he accepted blame for the failure. He repeatedly said his caucus was used to functioning as "an opposition party" looking to move into a governing one. “We weren’t just quite there today. We will get there,” Ryan said." - Time.com

Give the devil his due- as Speaker, it's a Party Leader's privilege to give the diagnosis and use the royal "we" in copping to the flaws that accompany it. But I'm betting that he was looking at HFC members when he delivered that line. Or if not looking at them, silently making a bitter roll call.

Of course, it's easy enough to look at the banner carriers of Conservative Ideological Purity as only half of the GOP's problem. At some point during the wild ride, I carried away a journalist's observation that "Ryan's only got two problems: Republican moderates and the Freedom Caucus."

And I thought to myself, "Is there a middle ground between GOPpies who can be reasonably identified as "moderates" (mostly pragmatists from swing districts, I suspect, rather than true ideological moderates,) and the Freedom Caucus? And if so, how big is it?"

Either not big enough, or not assertive enough, to pull the outliers from the middle and the far right back into the fold when the chips are down and the politics really matter. Given something better to work with in terms of policy (these three and many more articles have pointed out that the bill itself offered woefully inadequate policy foundations for the scope and impact to which it aspired) the occupants of such a theoretical middle ground might have been able to pull in enough support. But when politics is all they got, the GOP apparently has no remaining center of gravity.

Hopefully that is the key difference we can rely upon, when the GOP has finally gnawed itself into oblivion and the Democrats are given another chance at Legislative control in either House. We have our own ideological purists whose lessons learned from painful time in the wilderness may well be very similar to the Tea Party-inspired HFC.

When that happens, it will be incumbent on the Democrats in our middle ground between the moderate centrists and whatever we're calling our ideological banner carriers (be it "far left" or "real progressive" or any other form of True Scotsman) to exercise our Party's clear superiority in crafting solid policy to underpin politically fraught legislation. And then to act as a strong center of gravity to bring in enough support.

It will help enormously if Democratic voters study the Awful Warning provided so vividly these past eighteen days.


Watching [Redacted] and Ryan simultaneously flopsplaining AHCA: Priceless.

Short summary:

>>Redacted<<: "Democrats' fault. What AHCA? TAX REFORM! BIGLY YUGE TAX REFORM!!!"

Ryan: "Governing is HARD."

That is all.


Quick Checklist of [Redacted] and his Administration's YUGE Accomplishments So Far!


Suspend the TPP: DONE! (Needs more coverage. Big celebration. Parties. Fake media trying to downplay this INCREDIBLY MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT!)

Build a Wall: IN PROGRESS-ISH (Taking bids. Lots of bids. Specs already done, though: Gotta look nice on our side and be hard to climb and something else, can't remember, but, you know... it'll be tremendous.)

Make Mexico Pay for Wall: Not so much

Repeal Obamacare: Not so much

Ban Muslims: IN PROGRESS-ISH (We did TWO Muslim bans. So-called "Judiciary Branch" obstructing. Bad.)

Protect Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security: Not so much (Budget things. Complicated. Don't worry, you'll love not having these when you see the YUGE tax cuts you'll get.)

Make NATO Allies Pay Their Share: Not so much

Implement Amazing Total ISIS-Defeating Plan in 30 Days: Not so much

Take No Salary: IN PROGRESS-ISH (Bookkeeping, you know? So, yeah, have to take the checks, but will totally donate "profits" at the end of the year. To, um... someone.)

Appoint Special Prosecutor to Investigate Hillary: Just don't say those words. Don't. Just... don't.

Massive Infrastructure Investment: Not so much

Renegotiate the Terrible, Horrible Iran Deal: Not so much

A whole lot more: Not so much

Stuff Presidents Sorta Have To Do Because It's the JOB:

Appoint a Cabinet: Almost there! Almost!

Appoint 500 or so Other Senior Officials: Not so much

Ensure That No Possible Credible Appearance of Conflicts of Interest can Undermine Credibility: Not so much

Articulate a Coherent Foreign Policy: Not so much unless "America First!" counts as a "foreign policy."

Develop a Budget that Identifies Administration's Priorities for Congress: Done!

Engage Foreign Leaders on a Basis of Mutual Respect: ummm... let's take a "partial" on this

Build a Strong, Effective, Collegial Staff: ditto on the... well... Not so much

Build Credible, Trustworthy Lines of Communication With the Media and the American People: Twitter counts, right? Right? It does! It SHOULD! You NEVER see Fake News on TWITTER!

Build an Effective Relationship With Legislative and Judiciary Branches: Take a "partial" on this, too?

Stuff He Didn't PROMISE TO DO:

Lie About Intell Services of America's Closest Ally: DONE!

Get Embroiled in Major Criminal Investigation Involving Foreign Election Meddling: DONE!

Make Buttloads of Cash on Name-related Patents and Business Deals: DONE!

Golf a Shitload: IN PROGRESS

Advertise Golf Courses: IN PROGRESS

Go ahead and add your own contribtutions to the list of YUGE ACCOMPLISHMENTS!


Humpday Clusterf**k Roundup: March 22 "AHCA" Edition

Today's Clusterf**k Highlight

"Obamacare Repeal/Replace" aka "Affordable Health Care Annihilation" or AHCA

The story so far:

A signature campaign promise, there was SO much support for this among GOPpies in general and Trumpettes in particular that the policy geniuses (genii?) at the White House put it number two (how shatteringly appropriate!) on their "to do" list, right after kicking out the Muslims. Seemed like an easy gimme, with majorities in both houses and six years' work behind the scenes to craft the perfect solution.

So far behind the scenes that, when the time came, no one could find the draft to dust off and send over, so they can run it against the checklist of promises like "you can keep your doctor," "everyone will be covered," "Prescription drugs will be way cheaper," "no more mandate," "no Medicaid for all the undeserving people," "lower cost," and "reduce the deficit," and then add a few tax breaks for the big donors. Before holding the grand unveiling of the Perfect Solution to the Apocalyptic Disaster of Obamacare to universal hosannas and sending back to Congress to pass in a unanimous party-line vote.

Which meant they had to cobble something together from scratch, pulling together all the expert resources on health care, insurance, medicaid, healthcare economics, technology, budget management, state-by-state Obamacare implementation status, and so on and on and on. Fortunately when you have control of the Executive Branch which supplies leadership to all the various departments and functions of government, you can do that in jiggety time. Assuming you've filled all the leadership appointments with people who thoroughly understand and are ready to work with, motivate, and inspire cooperation from their departments.

Oops. So, here we go: Toss the ball to Ryan.

Got it, sir. No problem.

Someone here must remember where we stored all that careful work we were doing for the last six years on a better alternative to the civilization-destroying Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka "ACA", aka "Obamacare." Anybody? Darryl, did you check the closet in your scheduler's office? No?

Dayum. Well, we all know what's wrong with the hellmaw that is Obamacare, and we have this list of campaign promises, we can pull an all-nighter or two and crash out something, right? Someone get Tom Price on speed dial, and Trey, you order the pizza.

Okay, everyone, here we are, ready to craft the perfect replacement for the Nightmare that is the ACA, and here's the list: Has to drop the mandate, we can't force people to participate in the risk pool, right? UnAmerican, that. And it has to be cheaper for the people who DO participate. Somehow. And they have to be able to stick with their doctors... and it has to cost less... and...

Close that door, kick out the press. We'll get back to you.

Sure we can get this done in the first hundred days, no problem, Your Orangitude. Got the interns in there typing now.

SPICEY! Get over here. Haul out the props table. Here's the deal-- we did it, and it's SMALLER!

No, not "the biggest", that's a BAD thing here. Smaller, right? Get it?

Everybody loves it. Promise. His Orangitude's hardly gonna be able to walk for all the roses they're gonna throw. Seriously.

But we gotta get it through FAST, before too many town halls happen. Fast, you hear?

Steve? You got something HELPFUL to add?

Yeah, I know we all complained bitterly about how Obama rushed everything through in a mere four months, this is NOT HELPFUL, Steve, shut up and sit down.

At least we have a stack of paper.

It's got a GREAT name, it's got "America" in the name. THEIR bill didn't have "America" in the name.

F**k the CBO, they're a bunch of liberal shills, we all know that.

No, Frank, you may NOT mention who nominated Keith Hall, sit down and shut up.

How many of the campaign promises does it keep... A couple... well, one at least... The TAX CREDITS! Look at the TAX CREDITS! This is miles better than the rending maelstrom of horror that is Obamacare.

And if you weenie Freedom Caucus snowflakes can't handle a few town halls, just lock yourselves in your offices until the vote. Turn off the phones. Whaddaya mean, Alex Jones knows your "secret number?"

We have ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CONFIDENCE that this bill will pass. Tomorrow.

Because no one would DARE vote against it, and risk the wrath of a President with a massive 37% approval rating.

And access to all of Uncle Vladdy's kompromat files.

Happy Humpday Clusterf**k, everyone!


My 2017 Letter to 1967 Me

Dear Bright,

Memorial Day is just a couple of months away. Young men are being drafted and sent to Southeast Asia to die as cannon fodder for a foreign policy you believe is stupid, counterproductive, and cruel. You're going to join a small-town Memorial Day parade, wearing raggy clothes and carrying a big black flag, as your own way of protesting against the spit-and-polish my-country-right-or-wrong jingoism that supports the deaths of those young Americans.

I wish I could tell you that you spark a movement, or even just that you will make people think, that the Adults in Charge look at you and say to themselves "If we are losing the support of our youth, the future and conscience of our nation, we must be doing this wrong."

I can't. They won't.

They will call your parents. Who will tell them politely that the First Amendment is an important thing here in America. You'd never admit it to them, of course. But you know your parents aren't Adults in Charge, they're Real Grownups. They don't really belong in that small town, either. (Don't worry, you'll all get out. Hang in there.)

This, and a good many more things- things you'll see on television, read in the news, hear from others, and experience personally- will convince you that pretty much all adults are Adults in Charge- comfortable hypocrites who will callously let others suffer and die rather than make any changes to Business As Usual. That they can't be trusted. That as age accumulates, so does denial, selfishness and cowardice.

Here's some of the things they'll say that will make you snort with angry contempt:

"You're not seeing the larger, longer view."

"Change takes time."

"Compromise is a good thing."

"Half a loaf is a good start."

"Anger and extremism will defeat your own ends."

Because right now, in the coming decade or so, you will know, from your vantage point secure on the moral high ground, that you are correct, and that the fight for justice, human rights, an earth that will support life, a sustainable economy for everyone- is the fight. No delays or compromises can or should be tolerated. And anyone who says otherwise has sold out. Been co-opted. Become Part of the Problem.

You're not alone, and over the next ten years, this commitment, energy and conviction from you and thousands of other young people will power some amazing and historic accomplishments.

And then the backlash will come. Won't tell you too much about it. You're going to study history, so you'll recognize how it works. That won't make it any less painful and discouraging. It'll be hard to see past the reverse tide, as the same Adults in Charge who ignored you on Memorial Day push back, undo, and mobilize comfortable indifference and self-interest behind the inertia of Business as Usual.

But here's the thing, Young Me: In spite of that rollback, a lot of important changes will not be undone. They won't be the big, complete, dramatic changes you want, the ones you're fighting for. They'll be smaller things. Incremental things. Compromises. They wouldn't have happened without your energy, and even though they weren't enough for you and they paled beside the dazzling possibilities of the great leaps of progress you want- they endured.

And here's the other thing: Even though a lot of the young people around you right now will get absorbed in their own lives and their personal aspirations for success and security, and some will get lost in their own dramas and excesses, some won't.

Some will keep that youthful passion for justice, human rights, an earth that will support life, a sustainable economy for everyone. And hard experiences, self-discipline, and the assumption of responsibility and integrity will temper them into leaders of principle. Not Adults in Charge, but Real Grownups. They'll learn to listen to the fear behind the anger, and reach out effectively to those who disagree with them.

They'll learn the power and value of delaying a grand leap to secure an unspectacular step forward. They'll learn the difficult and important craft of compromise without sacrificing integrity. They'll grasp the powerful secret: The more credit you assign to others for the slow and difficult steps, the surer you make the achievement of the objective.

Try to be one of them, 1967 Me.

Try really hard.

2017 Bright
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