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Auto-aurotic fixation by @BloggersRUs

Auto-aurotic fixation

by Tom Sullivan


Still from Goldfinger (1964).

Wondering this morning: can you brainwash yourself? Because we have not seen the kind of homicidal groupthink behind the Senate health care bill since Jonestown. Former health insurance executive turned health care crusader, Wendell Potter, told Joy Reid his insurance company colleagues "would never be this cruel."

"There is something that has really happened to this party of my father and my grandfather," Potter says. "It's as if they're under some kind of evil force that would lead them to take away access to health care for millions of people..." It's gold. It's money, and the power, not the freedom, that comes with it.

I've said I can often tell a new acquaintance is a Republican by how quickly the conversation turns to money. It's a fixation. One wonders a guy like Donald Trump ever had the time away from counting his money to have sex. Unless impoverishing others is even better.

That was the plot of the 1964 Bond film, Goldfinger. The super-villain meant to break into Fort Knox, not to steal the gold there (far too troublesome to move), but to irradiate the U.S. reserves, making his own supplies far more valuable and allowing the Chinese to profit from the economic chaos. If Auric Goldfinger were real, the Midas cult would promote his beatification.

President Donald Trump. Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, obviously, are nowhere near that clever. But they've got cruel down cold. Exhibit A is the Senate health bill revealed yesterday. It's complex. Vox's Sarah Kliff has an explainer. But the New York Times editorial board cuts to the chase:

It would be a big mistake to call the legislation Senate Republicans released on Thursday a health care bill. It is, plain and simple, a plan to cut taxes for the wealthy by destroying critical federal programs that help provide health care to tens of millions of people.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and other Republicans have pitched the bill as a fix for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But their true ambition is not to reform Obamacare, which, whatever its shortcomings, has given 20 million Americans access to health insurance. If passed in its current form, the Senate bill would greatly weaken Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides insurance to nearly 69 million people, more than any other government or private program. It would do this by gradually but inexorably shifting more of the financial burden of Medicaid to states, in effect, forcing them to cover fewer people and to provide fewer services. Over all, the Senate would reduce federal spending by about $1 trillion over 10 years and use almost that much to cut taxes for rich families and health care companies.

If you can't set off a dirty bomb in Fort Knox, this might be the next best thing. Weaken and impoverish your neighbors to make yourself and your friends richer and more powerful.
The inevitable shrinkage in Medicaid will be particularly devastating to older Americans. Contrary to what many people think, the program does not just benefit the poor. Many middle-class seniors depend on it after they have exhausted their savings. Medicaid pays for two-thirds of the people in nursing homes. The disabled and parents who have children with learning disabilities also rely on Medicaid. The program covers nearly half of all births in the country. And in recent years, it has played a very important role in dealing with the opioid epidemic, especially in states like Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia. Medicaid pays between 35 percent and 50 percent of the cost of medication-assisted addiction treatment, according to two professors, one from Harvard and one from New York University.
A constituent explains to West Virginia's Republican Sen. Shelley Capito what passage of the Senate bill would mean for her daughter:

It tugs at your heart. If you have one. Unless you are someone whose soul is so corrupted by the lure of gold and the cultish brainwashing to which you've eagerly submitted that taking away health care from millions is your dream. Someone like this guy:

Superman: Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the death of innocent people?

Lex Luthor: No, by causing the death of innocent people.

Ah. Sorry. Wrong guy. Like Goldfinger, that super villain is fictional. I meant this one:

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Refresh Types

The hardest refresh requires both a Mac keyboard and a Windows keyboard as a security measure, like how missile launch systems require two keys to be turned at once.
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A headline for the ages

A headline for the ages

by digby

Oh Politico, you never disappoint:

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Dispatch from the shooting gallery

Dispatch from the shooting gallery

by digby


My God this is so awful:

A 17-year-old boy and his dog were fatally shot by deputies early Thursday morning after the pit bull attacked a deputy in Palmdale, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

The incident occurred about 3:47 a.m. in the 38500 block of 10th Street East, authorities said in a statement.

Deputies at the scene said they initially responded to a report of loud music at a party. As they were conducting an investigation, one of the deputies was allegedly bitten by a pit bull. The deputy was not seriously injured.

The dog was restrained by its owner, but as the investigation continued the animal got loose again and charged at the deputies, authorities said. The deputies then opened fire on the pit bull.

Amid the shooting, the dog's owner allegedly raced around a corner in an effort to apprehend the animal. The teen was struck at least once in the upper torso, the sheriff's department said.

He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. His name was not immediately released.


Note that the deputy wasn't seriously injured. Too bad about the dead boy. Ooops. Turns out when you try to apprehend your dog which the cops want you to apprehend they will just start firing willy nilly and shoot you too. Good to know.
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Oh look, more hacking

Oh look, more hacking

by digby

This piece by TIME isn't alarming at all. But it does explain why Republicans believe that they can do absolutely anything they choose with no repercussions at the ballot box. They have "friends" helping them:

The hacking of state and local election databases in 2016 was more extensive than previously reported, including at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers, current and former officials tell TIME.

In one case, investigators found there had been a manipulation of voter data in a county database but the alterations were discovered and rectified, two sources familiar with the matter tell TIME. Investigators have not identified whether the hackers in that case were Russian agents.

The fact that private data was stolen from states is separately providing investigators a previously unreported line of inquiry in the probes into Russian attempts to influence the election. In Illinois, more than 90% of the nearly 90,000 records stolen by Russian state actors contained drivers license numbers, and a quarter contained the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers, according to Ken Menzel, the General Counsel of the State Board of Elections.

Congressional investigators are probing whether any of this stolen private information made its way to the Trump campaign, two sources familiar with the investigations tell TIME.

“If any campaign, Trump or otherwise, used inappropriate data the questions are, How did they get it? From whom? And with what level of knowledge?” the former top Democratic staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, Michael Bahar, tells TIME. “That is a crux of the investigation."


I wrote about the hacking of the DCCC for Salon. That's an under-reported part of this story but an important one. Republicans showed that they are more than willing to accept help from these sources and it helped them win. I think we can expect more of it since they are not going to do anything to prevent this from happening again and the president's ongoing clear signals that the US isn't serious about doing anything about it.

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QOTD: Orange Julius Caesar

QOTD: Orange Julius Caesar

by digby

Talking about his cabinet full of wealthy Wall Streeters and plutocrats at his rally last night:

These are people that are great, brilliant business minds. That’s what we need. That’s what we have to have. So the world doesn’t take advantage. We can’t have the world taking advantage of us anymore. I love all people. Rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense? If you insist, I’ll do it — but I like it better this way.
That's Trump populism for you. Very impressive.

The crowd loved it.  But then he knows he could shoot into the crowd and kill one of them and they'd still love him. In fact, Trumpcare is a version of exactly that. Only he's using a Thompson submachine gun.

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10 WordPress Themes for Your Web Design Business

One of the sad ironies of being a busy web designer is that you make time for everyone’s website – except your own. So it stands to reason that many of us could use a little head start when developing our own business sites. Certainly, a WordPress theme can do just that.

While you may be thinking, “I’m a designer, I don’t need to use a theme…” try to think of this in a different light. A theme can be a great launching point for your site building process. Find one that has features that will make your life easier – and then customize it to suit your specific needs.

So, while all the themes in this collection will look great with a default setup, they also offer you the power to add your own mark. You’ll be able to change various settings through the WordPress Customizer or through a bundled page builder. If you want to take things even further, create a child theme and make changes to both templates and CSS.

Let’s take a look at 10 WordPress themes that may just be the right fit for your web design business:

Smoothly

Smoothly is a portfolio-style theme that includes six unique concepts. The looks are all quite stylish with features like video backgrounds and on-scroll animations. There is lots of functionality via a vast collection of bundled plugins – including several exclusives.

The bundle covers things like Google Maps, social sharing, filterable post grids, along with ways to display your portfolio and team members. Visual Composer is added for easy page layout creation. You’ll also find an included child theme to allow for advanced customizations.

Smoothly WordPress Theme

Hoper

Hoper provides a simple and attractive theme that can serve as a vehicle for your online portfolio. Use it as either a single-page or multi-page site.

Based on Bootstrap, the theme can be customized through the Redux framework and the Unyson page builder. A filterable portfolio is included to display your work in style. The overall look and functionality are exquisite.

Hoper WordPress Theme

Minify

As the name may suggest, Minify is a minimally-styled WordPress theme. The result is a look that makes content quite easy to digest. It utilizes Bootstrap, which provides both a solid foundation and an opportunity for customization.

There are a variety of home page, header, portfolio and blog layouts to choose from. Under the hood, you’ll find well-commented code to help guide you in making tweaks. Visual Composer is also included.

Minify WordPress Theme

Ana

Ana is a cool and modern theme aimed at creative professionals and agencies. It sports multiple demo site variants, six home page layouts, two types of navigation and six single portfolio styles. The included AJAX page transitions provide a unique way to keep visitors engaged.

There are lots of settings available to tweak in the WordPress Customizer. The package includes a copy of Visual Composer.

Ana WordPress Theme

Mochito

Mochito is a slick, one-page theme that utilizes AJAX for smooth scrolling and some excellent animation. You’ll find a hero image area that can display as a standard rectangle or take on a variety of attention-getting shapes.

Or, take it full-height to really wow your visitors. You’ll also find a copy of Visual Composer, custom Shortcodes, multiple page templates and Google Maps integration.

Mochito WordPress Theme

Eurybia

Your business is different, and so is Eurybia. It’s clean, but with a side of dark and disturbed mixed in for good measure.

There are some nice touches added in, like multi-column mega menus, smooth scrolling, lots of grid styles and some really attractive WooCommerce product layouts. It uses the Redux framework and a copy of the ubiquitous Visual Composer is bundled in.

Eurybia WordPress Theme

Minimus

If you really want your work to be front and center, check out Minimus. While the theme includes four demo home pages, the full-width “Portfolio Showcase” is a great choice for designers who want their portfolio to do all the talking.

Bundled plugins include Essential Grid, Slider Revolution and Visual Composer. Also check out the variety of menu styles, custom Shortcodes and parallax scrolling.

Minimus WordPress Theme

Gravity

Gravity aims to focus on typography, usability and UX. From the looks of things, they hit the mark. The layouts are pixel perfect and text is very easy to read.

The smooth scrolling animations make for an elegant experience. Included are copies of the Slider Revolution and Visual Composer plugins, along with an advanced portfolio system.

Gravity WordPress Theme

Dieter

Show off your artistic side with Dieter. It includes several customizable layout options, various headers and a mega menu. The theme can be used for landing pages or full-blown multi-page websites. There are a large collection of custom Shortcodes for adding design and functionality features.

Overall, the design’s use of whitespace and color bring a very modern and appealing look. Copies of Slider Revolution and Visual Composer plugins are included.

Dieter WordPress Theme

Horizon

Horizon features a horizontal slider/portfolio that will certainly get a users’ attention. With large, muted photos and bold typography, you’re sure to get your message across.

Also included are some lovely page transitions, multiple blog layouts (including a really nice masonry grid) and optimization for touch-enabled devices. Quite a unique theme compared to the usual portfolio fare.

Horizon WordPress Theme

Show Your Design Business Some Love

While finding the time to take care of your own website may be difficult, it’s vitally important. The types of design work clients look for changes with the times. You certainly don’t want them looking at an outdated site.

The themes showcased above will give you the opportunity to start fresh while saving you some time. Your business will be better for it.

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The GOP is finally doing their oversight duty. They’re investigating Hillary Clinton and Loretta Lynch

The GOP is finally doing their oversight duty. They're investigating Hillary Clinton and Loretta Lynch

by digby

I wrote about it for Salon this morning:

Was President Donald Trump an unwitting agent of the Russian government? That’s not the sort of question we would have ever thought would be asked in a Senate hearing — and not just because until quite recently the idea that there would ever be a President Donald Trump was an absurd joke. This question is not something we could ever have imagined would be asked at a Senate hearing no matter who the president is. Yesterday it was.

The Senate Intelligence Committee heard testimony from Bill Priestap, assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, who said unequivocally that the Russians had interfered in the election. He noted that they had tried to do this many times in the past with cruder methods but the internet has given them new and very effective tools to accomplish their goals. When asked what those goals were, he replied:

The primary goal, in my mind, was to sow discord and to try to delegitimize our free and fair election process. I also think another of their goals, which the entire United States intelligence community stands behind, was to denigrate Secretary Clinton and to try to help then — current President Trump.
Following up on that comment, Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico asked Priestap if he thought Trump was an unwitting agent of the Kremlin. He sat there for several beats, saying nothing. Then the leading FBI counterintelligence official answered, “I can’t really comment on that.”

Heinrich said he didn’t blame him and the room erupted in relieved laughter. It was a very weird moment. A top FBI official said that the Russian government had interfered in the election on behalf of the current president and that he couldn’t comment on whether or not our president was an unwitting Russian agent. My God.

It’s hard to imagine a more serious and important question, particularly since Trump still refuses to admit that this interference happened, despite the insistence of the entire U.S. intelligence community that it did. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to find all this suspicious. He is the president and he denies that there is a major threat to our democratic system.

One would think that leading Republicans might start to feel the hair on the back of their necks standing up a little bit. The mere fact that a plausible case can be made that Trump was working for the Russians, knowingly or otherwise, should have them worrying about the fallout. But they have bigger fish to fry, it seems. It’s not that congressional Republicans and administration officials don’t care about their oversight responsibilities. They do. They just aren’t interested in oversight of Donald Trump. Instead they are committed to ensuring that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch are properly held to account, even though none of them is still in office.

This is no joke. Fox News reported on Tuesday that Trump’s State Department has opened a formal inquiry into former Secretary of State Clinton’s emails. You may have thought this question had been thoroughly investigated and finally dropped, but apparently some Republicans are determined to keep digging until they find a reason to “lock her up.”

And it’s not just the State Department. Fox News reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has “launched its own inquiry into Clinton’s handling of emails.” And Fox News detailed as follows:

Grassley cited among his concerns the July 5 statement of former FBI Director James Comey that the agency found Clinton and her staff members were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” Grassley also contended there is “evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information”
Hillary Clinton left the State Department in 2012. That’s five years ago.

Grassley has finally roused himself to examine the possible obstruction-of-justice charges against the president, but according to Politico it’s mainly out of pique that the Trump administration hasn’t turned over documents he has requested. You’ll be glad to know that along with that investigation Grassley plans to take up the federal case of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s suggesting that James Comey use the word “matter” rather than “investigation” in the middle of a presidential campaign.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Republican from South Carolina who is now House Oversight Committee chair (replacing the abruptly retired Jason Chaffetz), said yesterday that his committee plans to pull back on calling witnesses as this might interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller. This essentially means that the committee’s investigation will grind to a halt. Gowdy’s view is that “Congress tends to politicize everything” (which is hilarious coming from the grand Benghazi inquisitor) and the real issues with the Russia probe are not the possible interference, which he believes is overblown, but rather the active measures of Russia, the Obama administration’s response and the leaks coming out of the Trump administration. In other words, his priorities have absolutely nothing to do with Donald Trump.

Gowdy hasn’t said whether he also plans to get back in the Clinton investigation business, but he told Fox News’ Martha McCallum last month that he believed James Comey “had access to information” that made it necessary to wrest the email investigation from the Department of Justice and then he hinted broadly at collusion between former Attorney General Lynch and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He may get another crack at his old nemesis after all.

Mueller has been up on Capitol Hill this week filling in the various committees on his investigation. Undoubtedly and for good reason, he has asked them to be cautious about compromising his investigation. It’s entirely possible that Republicans in both houses will defer to Mueller and let the special counsel’s office work quietly behind the scenes to determine if our president is a Russian agent while they stage a public spectacle featuring Hillary and Bill Clinton, Loretta Lynch and James Comey for the viewing pleasure of their president and their voters. 

Don’t say they would never do that. You know they would.

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Oh goodie. The nasty GOP mean ‘tweens are in charge.

Oh goodie. The nasty GOP mean 'tweens are in charge.

by digby

They apparently used the old hippie punch to great effect in Georgia so they're getting thrills up the leg at the opportunity to put it to use again. This is from that nasty, smug, mean little boy Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller:

The mass email from The Daily Caller has a bouquet of groupthink that opens into floral notes of irony: it begins with a jab at “liberal snowflakes” before announcing “we are proud to be the Deplorables, the real Americans that respect this country’s tradition and fight coastal elitism.” And what better way to celebrate Deplorable pride, the conservative magazine asks, than to join their wine club?

“Les Deplorables Wine comes in two varietals, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay. Both are delicious Central Coast wines that will leave you wanting more as soon as you finish a bottle,” the Daily Caller writes, seven sentences after decrying coastal elites, many of whom were undoubtedly involved in the grape-picking, fermenting and bottling process for Les Deplorables.

If the Daily Caller is indeed trying to provoke class antagonism between “deplorables” and “coastal elites,” selling the deplorables on fancy wine seems to belie that mission. Yet the irony of a Daily Caller Wine Club was evidently lost on the editors of the conservative magazine founded by millionaire pundit Tucker Carlson, who himself has been known to be a wine drinker.


Don't try this at home folks. Only Real Americans are allowed to openly behave like nasty little 12 year old twits and insult people based upon where they live. We have to have "empathy" for them.

This is a really nice little scheme though. Sell fabulous Central Coast wine (and it is fabulous) to a bunch of nasty twits while insulting the people who live in the place where the wine was made. Sweet.

And for anyone who thinks getting rid of Pelosi will solve this problem think again. This is something they have been doing for a very long time:

Clinton = hippie
Hillary Clinton = feminazi
Gore = tree hugger
Dean = latte swilling hipster
Kerry= french speaking, arugula eating coward
Obama= secret Muslim usurper

Warren (Boston egghead), Kamala Harris (San Francisco liberal) etc, etc.

They will always find a way to mock Democrats as not being red-blooded Real Americans. It's what they do. And they are allowed to do this with impunity because they are so sensitive about their heartland culture that it would be very rude to retaliate in kind.

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Why are they doing this? Because they can.

Why are they doing this? Because they can.

by digby


Jamelle Bouie answers the question as to why the Republicans are going forward with their kill people for tax cuts bill despite the fact that it's the most unpopular piece of legislation in history:

The 2018 House map still favors Republicans, and the party is defending far fewer Senate seats than Democrats. Aggressively gerrymandered districts provide another layer of defense, as does voter suppression, and the avalanche of spending from outside groups. Americans might be hurt and outraged by the effects of the AHCA, but those barriers blunt the electoral impact.

The grounds for political combat seem to have changed as well. If recent special elections are any indication—where GOP candidates refused to comment on signature GOP policies—extreme polarization means Republicans can mobilize supporters without being forced to talk about or account for their actual actions. Identity, for many voters, matters more than their pocketbooks. Republicans simply need to signal their disdain—even hatred—for their opponents, political or otherwise. Why worry about the consequences of your policies when you can preclude defeat by changing the ground rules of elections, spending vast sums, and stoking cultural resentment?

It seems, then, that we have an answer for Republicans insist on moving forward with the American Health Care Act. Because they can. And who is going to stop them?


It appears they also have a foreign country helping them get elected, for which they seem to be very grateful.

They don't fear the voters because they have managed to create an alternate universe for them in which everything bad that happens to them is the fault of hippies, feminazis, immigrants and people of color and everything good that happens is because of them. When liberals scream they laugh with delight because it means we are seeing justice at their hands.

And they've successfully created an electoral system than keeps them in the majority through undemocratic means. It's a sweet scam. No wonder they are so confident. They have staged a silent coup and we just have to live with it.

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