Open Forum

Where you can't be off topic because there IS no topic.

The floor is yours.

Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US immigration officials bar doctors from giving flu shots to detained kids

    I await the spirited and moral defense of this administrations immigration policies and it’s enforcement of them from our resident cult members in 3…2…1… Never.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The chief executive of Obria, an anti-choice and anti-contraception organisation that has been awarded millions of dollars in grants by the Trump administration, once said that Christianity was dying out thanks to contraception and abortion, leading Europeans to be “replaced” by immigrant Muslims.

    The reported remarks by Kathleen Eaton Bravo, the founder and chief executive officer of the Obria Group, raise new questions about the Trump administration’s controversial decision to award millions of dollars in health and human services grants to the group, which runs a national network of health centers opposed to abortion and contraception.

    Bravo’s remarks, which were published in a 2015 interview with the Catholic World Report, shows how xenophobic fears about immigrants from African and Middle Eastern countries “replacing” white Christian populations have influenced anti-choice campaigners in the US.

    In the interview, Bravo was asked whether abortion was getting the attention it deserved. She said it was not, because abortion had become a political rather than a moral issue.

    “Few realize that it has had a devastating impact on our society, and threatens our culture’s survival. Take the example of Europe. When its nations accepted contraception and abortion, they stopped replacing their population. Christianity began to die out. And, with Europeans having no children, immigrant Muslims came in to replace them, and now the culture of Europe is changing,” she said.

    Like any of these people have any morals.

  3. Bill says:
  4. CSK says:

    Three questions Cult45 will never answer:
    1. Why is Trump so frantic to keep his tax returns hidden?
    2. Why won’t Trump allow Perry et al to testify before the House?
    3. What are your feelings about Ivanka’s relationship with C. Steele?

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Seema Verma who, as a senior figure in the Trump administration, has made it more difficult for poor Americans to access health coverage, has filed a claim of $47,000 for the loss of her luggage while on a three-day work trip.

    According to Politico, Verma filed the claim on 28 August 2018 after having her luggage stolen while giving a speech in San Francisco. Her expenses included 20 pieces of jewellery, which sounds reasonable for a three day-work trip – if you are Snoop Dogg.

    She had originally estimated the cost of those pieces at $20,000, but came back with the higher $43,065 price tag after visiting a jeweler three weeks after the theft. (the CMS only granted a $2,852.40 reimbursement) Because sometimes you’re just that rich that you forget about that extra 20 grand you dropped at the jewelers.

    Verma is the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is responsible for Medicare, the US health insurance program for seniors and Medicaid, the program for low-income Americans.
    Shouldn’t someone who values their expensive items have at least been insured? Verma, a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility when it comes to health insurance (she has suggested low-income families do unpaid community service to pay towards it) had not insured her items. Verma has condemned Medicare for All, calling it a “scary” and “bad” idea that would “bankrupt future generations”. So maybe it’s just a little bit rich that she thought the taxpayer should pick up her uninsured jewellery bill.

    Yep, the party of privatize the profits is still trying to socialize the losses.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: She should be fired for simple stupidity.

    During a brunch at the office, “Coker inappropriately ‘flashed’ children, staff, and colleagues …” the complaint says. “Employees at the brunch were offended and some suggested that they could not tell if Coker was wearing a costume or was truly naked. After flashing the crowd of employees and seeing their reaction, Coker stated, ‘Hey everybody, relax, it is fake, please erase the pictures.’”

  7. Kit says:

    This story smells like it contains a whiff of something rotten: Saudi Aramco shares soar as it becomes world’s largest listed company

    The oil company raised a record $25.6bn from an initial public offering managed by Goldman Sachs but investors were only able to buy a paltry 1.5% of the company.

    The investment index providers MSCI, S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell, which is owned by the London Stock Exchange, have all said they will fast-track the inclusion of Aramco shares into their indices, which would mean that investors around the world, including pension funds, would automatically be forced to buy shares.

    Aramco could still raise more money as it seeks a broader base of international institutional investors than the mainly Saudi investors who backed the initial float.

    The Saudis, Goldman Sachs, pension funds, global warming… what could possibly go wrong?

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    There are no libertarians outside of think tanks.

    Tucker Carlson

    Oh but National Conservatism’s economic theories are a hot mess. Another example of the far right and far left (nearly) meeting to complete a circle rather than a continuum.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: 3 days from now Bass Pro will make a major ad buy on his show and suddenly he won’t want to talk about this anymore.

  10. Teve says:

    Friend of mine on Facebook yesterday:

    Christopher Steele maybe knocking boots with Ivanka Trump was not a plot twist I anticipated

  11. Scott says:

    Hopefully non-political. In my neighborhood, it seems there is a lot more Christmas lights up. And they are a lot more elaborate. Don’t know why. Good weather here in San Antonio? Late thanksgiving forcing everyone to accelerate the season? Trump won the War on Christmas? (Oops, there goes the non political)

    OTOH, Hanakkah is late this year beginning 22 Dec. So the menorahs aren’t up yet.

  12. CSK says:

    @Teve: Who could? This stuff defies even the weirdest fiction.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This town is giving families $500 a month. The results are remarkable

    On a recent Saturday morning, for the first time in months, Tomas had time to go to the pool with his kids. He sat at the edge of the water breathing in the smell of chlorine and realized suddenly that his kids had learned to swim, while he had been working. This poolside revelation was generated in no small part with the power of cash.

    Since February, Tomas and more than 100 other families in Stockton, California, have been receiving $500 a month with no strings attached. The policy experiment is part of the historic Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (Seed) project, led by one of the youngest mayors in America, Michael Tubbs.
    The “time tax” of poverty is not to be underestimated. People juggle the logistical chaos of holding down multiple jobs. They navigate the financial necessity of overtime. They lose hours to the inefficiencies of public transportation. Five hundred dollars a month doesn’t fix income insecurity or solve important structural problems, but for the majority of families in Seed, that $500 represents a 30% increase in monthly income, and that buys a lot.

    A big, important and sometimes messy part of why guaranteed income works – and why it’s working in Stockton – is trust. For the most part, trust in American society works in direct proportion to how much money you have; the larger your bank account, the more trust you are allotted. Our entire social safety net system is largely based on not trusting people who don’t have financial resources. While there is next to no scrutiny about how wealthy people spend their money, there are elaborate rules and mandates about what you buy with your food stamps and who can live with you in government-subsidized housing. The Seed project money comes with no restrictions. Our pilot project is predicated on the idea that people experiencing poverty know best what they need or don’t need, and can be trusted accordingly.
    People are working; the economy isn’t. That imbalance came through loud and clear as we got more information about how the $500 was impacting people’s lives in Stockton. There has been much hyperbolic hand-wringing about how cash transfer programs like Seed will spur everyone to quit their jobs and no one will work ever again. I think most people would be hard pressed to stand behind that position after hearing from the Stockton participants.

    In fact, Tomas used the money to buy time to figure out his next career move. He not only spent more time with his kids, he researched, prepared, applied for and got a better-paying, salaried job with real advancement opportunities. There’s no way that he would have had the hours in the day to do that if he didn’t have the extra time and money that came with that prepaid debit card.

    Food for thought.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft has taken its inaugural test flight, taking off from the Canadian city of Vancouver and flying for 15 minutes.

    “This proves that commercial aviation in all-electric form can work,” said Roei Ganzarski, chief executive of Australian engineering firm magniX.

    The company designed the plane’s motor and worked in partnership with Harbour Air, which ferries half a million passengers a year between Vancouver, Whistler ski resort and nearby islands and coastal communities.

    Ganzarski said the technology would mean significant cost savings for airlines and zero emissions. “This signifies the start of the electric aviation age,” he said.

    1 more step.

  15. Teve says:

    Will Saletan

    At his rally in Hershey, Trump says Warren was rising in the polls until “she opened that fresh mouth of hers.”

  16. CSK says:

    @Teve: Trump also added that he “heard” Lisa Page had to get a restraining order against Peter Strzok. Just a rumor, you know.

    God, who could possibly like this disgusting pig of a man? Yeah, I know: Stupid people with shitty values. Thanks, Teve.

  17. @Sleeping Dog:

    Tucker Carlson is not, and never has been, a libertarian. He isn’t even an intellectually consistent conservative. He’s a Trumpidian a hack.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: If you go over to Reddit and read the comments left by those identifying as NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), you will discover that a lot of them are just looking forward to the day where they can live off what they call “neetbux” and are pinning their hopes on Andrew Yang and the implementation of UBI. There’s a lot of complaints about “wage-slaving” and how they can’t possibly take low-paying unskilled jobs. Most of them seem to be the stereotypical young male basement dweller living off his parents filling his life with anime and video games and never going outside. Some of them are proud how many days they haven’t set outside their dwellings and how they intend to “live off the system”(a.k.a. disability or their parents) for the rest of their lives.

    (By the way, guys–don’t investigate those threads unless you have heavy-duty emotional armour–just reading them is horribly depressing due to their acute nihilism, cynicism, and selfishness. A lot of them claim they have mental illnesses–my feeling is that after marinating yourself in the above mindset long enough you’re going to develop acute depression and other mental problems even if you didn’t have them before. And that, m’dears, is totally under your control.)

    Stockton seems to be avoiding enabling these critters by providing its money to families who are, on the whole, mentally healthy and who really just do need a “little financial breathing space” to advance ahead.

  19. Kit says:

    @grumpy realist: Administration costs really need to justify themselves. If some small percentage of the money goes to the undeserving, then I’m OK with just giving to everyone regardless of how it’s used.

    My big question with UBI is whether, once implanted, it will just jack up the cost of living.

    Such a large change would likely transform society in ways that we cannot predict. I could imagine, for example, small towns being revitalized. In any case, I’m optimistic about the potential and curious to see if this gains any traction.

  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Trump has now paid the $2M in damages he was assessed for stealing money from Charity.
    This alone should end his Presidency.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: My point, and really it is my only point, is that paying people poverty wages is a sure way to keep them in poverty. If an amount as small as $500 a month can make such a huge difference in a person’s life, than why can’t mega corporations like WalMart do that? If WalMart won’t maybe we should raise their taxes and give it to their employees.//

    As far as

    you will discover that a lot of them are just looking forward to the day where they can live off what they call “neetbux”

    It has been my lived experience that people like that are really pretty rare. Sure they exist (and boy does the internet amplify them) but I doubt they add up to a rounding error and I really can’t get myself all worked up over them when Exxon/Mobile gets $400 billion in tax abatements and subsides every year.

  22. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Cult45 is furious about this. The NY A.G. was just out to get him, you know, despite the fact that he admitted to wrongdoing.

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Reading the tamer NEET threads over at Reddit (I didn’t even go down the crazier subreddits) I realised exactly how much of a cesspool the internet can be and how easy it now is to marinate yourself in an environment which encourages awful mental health. Ugh!

    My only complaint about the government providing “a leg up” is that yeah, this really is something that the corporations should be doing instead–paying a decent living wage. I’d love to create an extra tax on corporations based on the size of their consumer base which increases exponentially. A local mom-and-pop store only has the locals, so it has a nominal or zero tax. Mid-size corporations have a little more. Large corporations such as Walmart and Amazon have much bigger taxes because they’re taking advantage of being able to sell to a huge consumer base. (I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate “access via the internet” into this model–any ideas?)

  24. Kit says:


    If an amount as small as $500 a month can make such a huge difference in a person’s life, than why can’t mega corporations like WalMart do that? If WalMart won’t maybe we should raise their taxes and give it to their employees.

    First, I think there will always be some people who simply get crushed by modern economies, and who might flourish under these sort of free-money schemes.

    Second, while I’d like to take the fight to mega-corporations and to the mega-rich, I have to admit that we’ve pretty much had our asses handed to us these past few decades. We don’t need to give up but we should widen our strategy.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist:

    (I didn’t even go down the crazier subreddits)

    Good move.

    (I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate “access via the internet” into this model–any ideas?)

    Nothing that will survive Republican politics (says the guy with piping run in front of his rural house for fibre optic cable that has been empty since it was laid in 2010)(can’t let Obama do anything good for people out here, that stimulus is bad bad bad!!!!)

    @Kit: As a carpenter who worked nonunion for about 15 years before finally going union for the next 20 years, I know one of the solutions. It really was a night and day difference.

  26. gVOR08 says:


    If WalMart won’t maybe we should raise their taxes and give it to their employees.

    We already do the give to employees part in food stamps, Medicaid, etc. And Amazon, and others.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Trump has now paid the $2M in damages he was assessed for stealing money from Charity.
    This alone should end his Presidency.

    One of a thousand things that should have ended his presidency. And before that his candidacy.

  28. DrDaveT says:


    The NY A.G. was just out to get him, you know, despite the fact that he admitted to wrongdoing.

    This is the part that boggles my mind — the continued vehement denials by #Cult45 members that Trump did the things that Trump has publicly confessed to doing.

  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    We already do the give to employees part in food stamps, Medicaid, etc. And Amazon, and others.

    Yes…but Walmart, Amazon, and others, pay zero taxes…so you and I are subsidizing them by paying benefits to their employees.

  30. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT: Maybe they think there’s some sort of Trump doppelganger that confesses to wrongdoing. Beats me. I’ve never witnessed anything like this. I could almost understand if they were saying, “Sure, we know he’s a crook and a liar and a cheat, and we don’t care.” But to deny that Trump is what he says he is is just confounding.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I put these guys’ book on my wish list, but haven’t read it yet. Promises to be interesting. Basically instead of shotgunning aid willy nilly, lets do Randomized Controlled Trials and find out what works. Stockton appears to be doing an RCT on UBI, and it seems to be working.

    Read an anecdote years ago but didn’t think to record the source. Wealthy donor in Victorian England was working with organizations that provided meals and shelter to the poor. They insisted on no alcohol. He asked what their goal was. To feed and shelter the poor, or to feed and shelter AND impose our morality? He set up a soup kitchen and shelter and allowed alcohol. Got much higher participation. Fed and sheltered a lot more people.

    Conservatives constantly accuse liberals of wanting to perfect people. I have no idea where that comes from. It’s conservatives who always want to tack on work requirements or drug tests to coerce people into being better. KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid, is a generally applicable principle.If you want to help people who don’t have enough money, give them more money.

  32. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @CSK: It’s because what Trump admits to legally doesn’t match what he tweets and what gets repeated inside the right wing bubble. In those places he denies doing anything wrong, it gets repeated over and over by the propagandists masquerading as journalists, and so they believe he didn’t do anything wrong. In their universe, he never has admitted guilt.

    Never underestimate the power of ignorance.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Yep.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: It does look interesting. This gave me a chuckle:

    We use science to set public policy.

    The author of that article must not be an American. Policies on everything from climate change to agriculture to Flint water is based less on science than it is on profit.

    I’m a fellow fan of the KISS Principle.

  35. Moosebreath says:

    Trump’s team is literally posting pictures with him as Thanos from the Avengers movies.

    In the words of the creator of Thanos, Jim Starlin, “After my initial feeling of being violated, seeing that pompous dang fool using my creation to stroke his infantile ego, it finally struck me that the leader of my country and the free world actually enjoys comparing himself to a mass murderer”.

    How many members of Cult 45 will now start believing Thanos is the hero of those movies?

  36. CSK says:

    All of ’em, Katie! (There’s a blast from the past for you.)

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:
    You may well be absolutely right. I can’t think of another explanation.

  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug, I know that, but I did like the line about there not being libertarians outside of the think tanks. Which is an exaggeration of course. Plus the interview was further evidence of how befuddled Rethug economic theory is when they stray away from neo-liberalism.

  38. Sleeping Dog says:

    Meant to post this earlier and forgot.

    Finland is a Capitalist Paradise.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Personally, I’d be looking at possible insurance fraud, but since she was too stupid to actually insure the pieces herself, I’ll simply applaud the CMC’s thrifty approach to allowing claims on staff travel.

  40. CSK says:

    @Moosebreath: Never, ever underestimate the stupidity/gullibility of a Trumpkin.

  41. DrDaveT says:


    Conservatives constantly accuse liberals of wanting to perfect people.

    I don’t really see that. I see liberals asking “what policy will do the most to help people?”, and conservatives asking “what policy will best avoid ever helping anyone unworthy?”. In the conservative mind, if anyone unworthy benefits, the entire program should be avoided.

    I am again struck by how utterly incompatible conservatism is with orthodox Christian doctrine.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: Relatively cheap low wattage LED sets are changing the whole scene. A string of outdoor bulbs still costs what it did in 1960 (maybe even less, my dad wouldn’t do outdoor decorations, so I’m just trying to recall what I used to see in ads) and uses a fraction of the electricity. Add computer-driven programs and lights that change color that can be gridded together fairly easily because of their small size, any almost anyone with a median level income (which still will exclude half the population) can create a Ready Kilowatt Memorial Christmas House display.

    In my area, we still have a few homes that trunk in 440 for Christmas lights, but those homes are largely lighting up close to an acre of outside yard with larger lights and motor animated objects. From what I’m told, you can run pretty amazing displays off household current if you limit to minibulbs.

  43. Just nutha ignint crackerd says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Unfortunately, you may be missing the point as seen by conservatives and Republicans. Allow me do dust off and don my old conservative tin foil hat to explain.

    In fact, Tomas used the money to buy time to figure out his next career move. He not only spent more time with his kids, he researched, prepared, applied for and got a better-paying, salaried job with real advancement opportunities.

    While that story is indeed wonderful, it also neglects an important factor in the conversation. Tomas’s windfall from the government came at a cost to Thomas–who was crowded out of the opportunity to improve his life by Tomas’s windfall of governmental largesse. Additionally, we don’t know for sure that Tomas wasn’t an outlier in the overall story of Stockton’s experiment and that most recipients merely wasted their $500 on cell phone data plans and[edit:] used to order DoorDash delivered junk food as a substitute for home cooked meals.

    To me (at least based on what the voices emanating from the foil hat are saying) the most important factor is the gross unfairness of the system of excluding poor Thomas from his opportunity–taking it away to give it, instead, to Tomas who is already receiving government largesse. If the government can’t give opportunity to everyone, it is only fair that it should provide additional help to no one, so that the most deserving–the Thomases, who have families to support them while they get a leg up on the wagon of opportunity, can have as fair a shot at success as Tomas.

    I hope I was able to capture the spirit of the argument that may yet be better made by someone less ignint and more eloquent than this humble cracker fallen from my roots as I am. I’m merely here to fuel the fire start the conversation, as they say.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: @Kit:
    In the words of Warren Buffet (IICR), “You’re absolutely right. There is a class war, and right now, our class is kicking your class’s ass.”

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I can’t speak for your industry, but in warehousing, I made almost 80% more as a Teamster than my non-union counterparts and ~2.5x more than I did daylaboring in shipping a few years later (still at about 30% above the minimum wage of the time). And the money doesn’t include the difference in pension and benefits.

    Unionization makes a difference. If only we could convince workers of that. 🙁

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: @CSK: Hey! Be fair now. We all know stories of poor people who confess to minor (or in some cases, even felonies) to avoid being unfairly prosecuted for far more serious crimes with far greater penalties. It’s called pleading down. For you to believe that it doesn’t happen to the rich too shows just how far the fake news lamestream media lies have corrupted your understanding of how the world works.

  47. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Indeed. I am but a hapless victim of the lamestream, anti-Trump, anti-American media.

  48. Kathy says:


    We could attack Dennison this way, portraying him as a feeble, fat, lazy, stupid, dim-witted versions of the great, cruel villains in fiction and history, so that rick Moranis’ “Dark Helmet” looks heroic by comparison: Darth Vader, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Pinochet, the Queen of Hearts, the Joker, the Penguin, bin Laden, etc.

    “Duh, Tarkin, put an exhaust port right here. it will look great! Solid gold, with diamonds, and the Rebels will pay for it, duh?”

  49. An Interested Party says:

    I guess the rifle was more interesting…

  50. Kathy says:

    Israel seems to be heading towards a third election.

    I think parliamentary democracies ought to have a tie-breaking system of sorts, or a provision for a minority government when two consecutive elections fail to establish a majority one. You can’t just keep having elections indefinitely.

  51. Kit says:


    Trump’s team is literally posting pictures with him as Thanos from the Avengers movies.

    This immediately put me in mind of this gem from The Weekly Standard (May 15, 2002): The Case for the Empire

    from the beginning, Lucas confused the good guys with the bad. The deep lesson of Star Wars is that the Empire is good.

    I suppose that this idea was born one late bibulous evening in a bar, and had the Weekly Standard’s hacks falling off their chairs. But to publish it? Just as the US was beating the drums of war in the run up to invading Iraq? It’s been a good two decades now, and the great question I’ve been asking myself about the American Right, and which I expect others to be asking deep, deep into the future is: Just what were they thinking?

  52. Kathy says:


    This immediately put me in mind of this gem from The Weekly Standard (May 15, 2002): The Case for the Empire

    That is the worst whitewash of the empire I’ve ever read.

    First, it ignores that the noble chancellor Palpatine was playing both sides,in a deliberate effort to further weaken the republic.

    Second, Piett gets promoted after Vader murders his predecessor.

    Third, Vader tells Luke together they can take down the emperor and rule the galaxy as father and son, not only that they can end “this destructive conflict.”

    Fourth, remember when the empire blew up Alderaan?

    It doesn’t work even as satire.

    In one of the new SW novels, Bloodline, an imperial apologist tells Leia the Rebel Alliance’s destruction of two death stars was a terrorist act, as they killed over a million people taking out the battle stations. Sure, but the Empire took out a whole planet full of many more millions of people. The moral balance is as clear as that. This piece is akin to saying the Third Reich was better than the Weimar Republic.

  53. Kit says:


    That is the worst whitewash of the empire I’ve ever read.

    Agreed. Then again, the real empire being whitewashed in that article is the American one. It really is an instructive little document. The Weekly Standard crew thought these arguments justified both America ruling the world, and the manner in which it did so. But in fact, this line of reasoning, when used domestically, would undermine that empire and so much more. In fact, it even undermined The Weekly Standard itself.

    I see on Wikipedia that Last actually kicked off the whole meme that the Empire was a force for good. No doubt the entire subject has been brought to glistening sheen by right-wing trolls by now.

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My pay jumped, iirc 20- 25%, but the real difference was in the union administered health insurance and pension. Before I went union, I had none. After…

    When my youngest got a MRSA Osteomyelitis in his upper femur, he spent a week in the hospital in isolation, getting daily cat scans etc to keep track of the infection hoping they could save his leg (they did) and 6 weeks afterward on a $30,000/week antibiotic. My cost? The $250 ER copay. That was it.

    15 years later I got my ass thrown in the hospital with blood clots (“Your lungs look like apple trees.”) having to be transported up to STL via ambulance because they were scared shitless out here and then I spent another 6 days in ICU confined to a bed. My cost? A $20 copay for the office visit with my doc and a 2nd small copay for the ultrasound that found the original clot in my leg. That was it.

    Of course, I had to work for it. 250 hrs/quarter (if I didn’t I had to pay to make up the difference) and 1000 hrs in a plan year guaranteed the next year whether I worked or not.

    Plus, I have a pension. It’s not as much as I would like or would be if I had joined earlier and/or managed to keep working longer but it’s administered by the union so I know it’s secure. In ’09 when the economy tanked and took the stock market with it, a lot of guys were out of work and the pension assets took a big hit, putting the pension into the red. Those of us who were still working had to contribute extra to get it back in the black. Being fortunate enough to still be working, I didn’t mind having to carry an extra chunk of the load. I suspect that someday somebody else will have to do the same for me.

    Recently the state GOP tried to get Right to Work into law here. The unions got it on the ballot and Miserians said “Fuck no” for the second time in the past 4 decades or so. They will try again in 10 or 20 years and hopefully MO will say NO again.

  55. OzarkHillbilly says:


    This piece is akin to saying the Third Reich was better than the Weimar Republic.

    At least the 3rd Reich kept the trains running on time.

  56. Guarneri says:

    Let’s review, shall we?

    Horowitz tells us point blank that an FBI attorney doctored an email in an anti-Trump manner. No bias there; probably just some whacko Republican conspiracy theory.
    The FBI says it didn’t start investigating Trump until July 2016, based upon Downer. Downer says he didn’t even think about it until July 2016 and the hack announcement. Fusion’s Glen Simpson says he simply wanted to have Steele dig into Trumps “business affairs” in May 2016 and, you know, Steele just stumbled onto a massive political conspiracy. But Steele says that, well you see, he says that Simpson specifically asked him in May to look at Russian meddling in the upcoming election and whether they were trying to engineer a result. So Simpson knows the narrative before his spy sleuth even tells him about it? Whatup with that?? Bah. Probably just some whacko Republican conspiracy theory.

    And Horowitz tells us that his report in no way exonerates anyone who touched this whole investigation process. Hmmm. The FBI brass are liars? Dopes? The Keystone cops? Bah. Probably all just some whacko Republican conspiracy theory.

    Either that of some FBI guys need to lawyer up…………

  57. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Lev Parnas, who is paying Rudy to fabricate dirt on the Bidens, was paid $1M by Russia.
    It’s so easy when you follow the money.

  58. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Wow, Drew…you are scared shitless for your Dear Leader. That’s so cute.

  59. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Louis Gohmert (R-TX), the dumbest person in the history of Congress, outed the whistleblower.
    I hope there will be consequences. But I doubt it. Republicans do not believe in personal responsibility.

  60. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Eric Holder ripped Barr apart in an op-ed in the WaPo this morning.

    “He is unfit to lead the Justice Department”

    Unfortunately it’s behind a paywall.

  61. Teve says:
  62. Kit says:

    @Teve: When I hear conservatives talking morality these days, I give a polite little smile then continue along my way. The one and only good outcome from the Age of Trump has been that Evangelicals and right-wing intellectuals have been publicly stripped bare of all moral respectability, and can now be safely assumed to be a malignant influence wherever they stick their noses. It’s only now that some are waking up to the fact that the conservative project of the past generation argues directly against their sense of morality?! Frankly such a realization should drive anyone with a sense of shame forever off the public stage.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kit: Just what you might imagine they might think. Remember the guys at the Weekly Standard were aristocrats at heart–rule by the best. The difference between that and oligarchy–rule benefitting the best, is small and “the best” are still in charge. It’s all the same–empire, republic, potayto, potahto–just as long the they’re in charge.

    You don’t matter. That’s what they were thinking.

  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah, unions did well for me, too. Had asthma from birth. Not yugely expensive (as some might say) but year on year enough to keep a family poor forever and bankrupt eventually without the insurance. My pension is small, too, but it provides the difference that makes working a cushion rather than a necessity.

    Hope Miserians keep being smart enough to not shoot themselves in the foot. Washington, for all the “left coast” jokes and progressivism in the politics, has strong RTW contingents too. To the point that even union labor here still only makes a little more than what I made closing in on 40 years ago, and far less when you adjust for inflation.

  65. Kit says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    just as long the they’re in charge.

    The crew of the USS Weekly Standard went down with their ship once the paymaster decided to intentionally scuttled it for the greater glory of Trump. Rule by the best should really should demand a pinch more self reflection from its philosopher kings.

    Damn its slow around these parts lately… Don’t tell me that everyone suddenly got a life.

  66. Teve says:


    George Soros is not hated bc he is Jewish it is because he is the architect of the destruction of western civilization.

  67. Matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Wasn’t it just a few months ago that paul or one of the similar right wingers swore that it was impossible for an electric airplane to be built for commercial usage?

  68. pylon says:

    President Trump has paid $2 million to eight charities as part of a settlement in which the president admitted he misused funds raised by the Donald J. Trump Foundation to promote his presidential bid and pay off business debts, the New York State attorney general said on Tuesday.

    The foundation’s giving patterns and management came under scrutiny during Mr. Trump’s run for office, and last year the New York attorney general filed a lawsuit accusing the president and his family of using the foundation as an extension of their businesses and the campaign.

    The payments were part of a settlement announced last month that capped a drawn-out legal battle. In the end, the president admitted in court documents that he had used the foundation to settle legal obligations of his businesses and even to purchase a portrait of himself.

  69. Jax says:

    @pylon: AND I hear his kids have to take a class on “How to NOT steal from a charity foundation”.

  70. Teve says:

    Earlier today four conservative women went on Fox News claiming to be the Conservative “Squad”, and talking about how awful socialism is and complaining about the Do Nothing Democrats.

    It had approximately the same vibe as some white middle school teachers putting on ball caps and loose pants and rapping about doing your algebra homework.

  71. Teve says:

    MLB just took THC off the banned list.

  72. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..MLB just took THC off the banned list.
    MLB is just a few decades behind the (high) times.

    How Dock Ellis dropped acid and threw a no-hitter
    Turn on Tune in Strike out!

  73. Jax says:

    @Kit: I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m suffering from Trump Exhaustion Syndrome. Every singularly awful thing he does, every time he tweets or opens his damn mouth, I feel less and less hopeful. Like we are not going to be able to climb out of this Mariana Trench of darkness he’s dumped us into as a whole country. So I comment less. I don’t have the energy.

    Plus I’ve been spending a lot of time online Christmas shopping. 😉 And sleeping. This is the slow time on the ranch, when I catch up on sleep I missed out on from the start of calving season at the beginning of March, til we get all the fall cattle work done in November.

  74. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Matt: Yeah, I think it was Paul.

    Lounsbury too, though he isn’t a right winger, just a person very impressed with his far superior intellect.

  75. Kit says:

    I hadn’t realised what was going on with the WTO until I read this:

    * By blocking all new appointments to the WTO’s dispute-resolution court, President Trump has allowed the body to dwindle from seven members to just one remaining judge.

    * That’s not enough for the court to issue a binding ruling.

    * From now on, countries will be able to appeal any ruling they don’t like to the WTO’s highest court. Since that court will have no power to rule against them, they’ll be free to continue infringing any WTO rule they want.