Democrats Fail to #FlipThe6th

The big Georgia 6th District race to replace Tom Price went down on Tuesday, and the Democrats and their many, many Hollywood allies failed to, as they tweeted over and over and over, #FlipThe6th. Democrat candidate and non-resident of the district Jon Ossoff did not pull off the big upset and “referendum on Trump” that the major press and Samantha Bee were super excited about. Bummer, guys.

At The Resurgent, Erick Erickson notes that the spin from the Democrats and the Republicans regarding the race doesn’t give you the actual picture of what went down.

First the Democrats:

First, don’t believe the Democrat spin that “it should never have been this close.” The race featured 18 people of two parties on a single ballot. There were five mostly unknown Democrats, two mostly unknown independents, and eleven Republicans, more than half of whom were well known. The Democrats rallied to a 30 year old who lives outside the district and built up his positive name ID while the GOP field fought each other for three-quarters of the race. That is a standard dynamic in special elections like this.

Then the Republicans:

Second, don’t believe the Republican spin that this was expected and they’re home free in the runoff. While I support Karen Handel and she is a friend, her campaign team has often lagged in generation of grassroots enthusiasm and she does not like to raise money. That said, she is so well known in the 6th, she could play the first stage of this race conservatively and did. Additionally, while the race was going to be close given the dynamics, Jon Ossoff did better than most people, myself included, expected. He outperformed the polling and did better than Hillary Clinton.

Erick also breaks down the White House spin and, basically, the conventional social media “wisdom” in this great article.

One thing to note is that there really was a small rebuke of Trump … among Republicans. The more the candidate was with him, the worse they performed, generally speaking.

The race goes to a runoff in June, and Republican support is expected to coalesce behind second place finisher Karen Handel, who will face Ossoff one-on-one – perhaps making a summer victory more likely.

There is plenty of spin to go around, as Erick noted, but there is no escaping the fact that Republicans had a divided field, and Democrats had a united one. In June, this red district will not face the same dynamic. It will be one on one. Until then, expect Democrats to keep dumping money in Georgia. The truth is, they need this win very badly. If for nothing else, to salve the feels of the celebs who couldn’t talk up a win.

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The Murderous Internet

Long before there was Twitter or Facebook, Confucius touched on an idea that would become more true in the internet age than ever it was in the past, when he wrote that “to see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.”

Evil happens on the internet. Or because of it, sometimes. This is often attributed to the decay of inhibition and reality that comes from anonymity and the solitude of a fake social world online, but I think there is more to it than that.

This weekend, on Easter Sunday, a man in Ohio began a Facebook Live broadcast using his smart phone, took a gun, and murdered a grandfather who was returning home from Easter dinner with his family. The same marketplace into which he brought his murderous display became then home to thousands of expressions of dismay and alarm, and of course conjecture about his motivation. Was it fame? That fabled 15 minutes we’re so often offered by media as motive for heinous acts? Maybe. Probably. Partly.

I think also a new addiction, only slightly different from fame (or perhaps more accurately a specific kind of fame) played a part: fake internet points. Upvotes, likes, hearts, favorites … people go to extraordinary lengths to rack them up. They covet them, treasure them. In earlier days the “lulz” were less specific, but the addiction is the same. It’s approval. Actually more than approval, it’s affirmation. Confirmation of one’s consequential existence, maybe. “I matter. I affect the world.”

But also only partly.

There’s another thing too, which I mentioned above. It’s emulation.

Take the 2016 election, for example. I repeat: for example. During the campaign, a few loud voices with large followings on Twitter made a game of being as nasty and snide as possible in their support of their candidate. It came from all political points of view, of course. As for the ones on the “right”, they are the guys who started the “cuck” trend, among others. They styled themselves warriors, striking back against the unfair power of the left and the media. If the left is going to be mean and nasty to us, we’ll be twice as mean and nasty to them. Send one of us to the hospital, we send one of them to the morgue.

Those loudmouth jerks had a knack for nastiness and their followings and influence grew. Their notoriety reached the mainstream. And you know what happened? Every idiot egg with “deplorable” in their name believed themselves to be exactly as notable and intimidating, and went about proving it by copying and pasting every insult they could find and repeating it endlessly. If you use Twitter, you see the word “snowflake” about every seven minutes. Right? That’s not just obnoxious, it’s part of the point here. Monkey see, monkey do.

But that copycat behavior extends far beyond buzz words and into legitimate wickedness. Need an example?

marykatharineham

Despicable right? Deplorable, even. A supposed peacenik lefty who feels totally justified in being disgusting. But not alone. As Mary Katharine notes, she’s had many such tweets directed at her. Going for the most evil, awful, heinous comment possible is not just a pastime on the internet, it’s something that is copied and repeated endlessly by a thousand dimwitted nobodies trying to sound like badass somebodies. “Bob” surely saw someone else attack her tragic loss and joined in. All the easier knowing others do the same thing.

Or how about these people tweeting their wish for the murder of President Trump and his supporters? There are endless examples from all sides of politics and as many or more that have nothing to do with politics. Because this isn’t specific to a point of view or a demographic. The common denominator is access to the internet. That’s it.

The obvious question is why. Why? What do they think they are accomplishing attacking dead relatives or issuing death threats or the thousand other daily internet evils? Some have a thin idea that they are making a point, having convinced themselves that they are proving something about how “the other side” acts. I once thought that. They aren’t though. You can tell from the urgency and viciousness that it’s just an excuse to be despicable and indulge one’s own anger.

For others, the copycats for example, there’s no rationale at all. No greater point. They simply enjoy being bad guys. They like being awful and they relish suffering and it makes them feel good to be evil because they are sick, evil people. Sick, evil people who can’t come up with their own insults.

And now we have a murder. Played out live on Facebook, watched by millions, spread over countless re-uploads and social media posts. Hosted on dozens of sites now. And the same sickness is in the comments and replies and reactions to this, too. The anonymous trolls trying to outdo one another in gross reactions where they cheer it, joke about it, make memes out of it. And soon enough, try to repeat it.

Oliver Willis said on Twitter yesterday (yes, oh irony, thou art blogging) that social media has been, for the most part, a net negative for mankind. On that point I see no room for argument. The bad far outweighs the good, and the trend has been a continuous downward slope. The good things come fewer and farther between, the bad faster and in larger numbers every day.

When you’re out there on Twitter today, or Facebook or Tumblr or Instagram or whatever new hot thing is making waves, think about what you’re looking at and chuckling about. The lame excuse of moving the Overton window or fighting against political correctness is dead. That’s not what’s happening. It’s just people enjoying being terrible people, enjoying evil.

This isn’t a way to blame the medium or the tools. Neither the internet nor the gun are responsible parties. This murderer who won’t get his name in print in this article made his own evil decision. He is responsible. Only a human decides what he or she does. And that’s the point: make a better decision. Start now. If you see someone cheering a personal tragedy, a dead spouse or child, a diagnosis, a failure or a loss, don’t follow them. Don’t like it or favorite it. Don’t be a part of it. Becoming a spectator is the beginning of wickedness. And we know now where that wickedness leads.

To a street in Ohio on Easter Sunday.

Recognize that you are being radicalized. And then stop it from happening.

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Nikki Haley is the Hero Gotham Deserves

… AND the one we need.

Ambassador Nikki Haley went to the United Nations to chew gum and kick ass. And she doesn’t chew gum. What she has done is speak as a sane, clear, powerful voice of our new and still coalescing foreign policy. There may be no Trump doctrine yet, but there is a Haley doctrine: keep it real.

Take, for example, her smack down of Russia over Assad.

“To my colleagues from Russia, you are isolating yourselves from the international community every time one of Assad’s planes drop another barrel bomb on civilians. And every time Assad tries to starve another community to death. People not just in the west but across the Middle East and the world are speaking out against Assad’s brutality. It is long past time for Russia to stop covering for Assad. It is long past time for Russia to push seriously for peace, and not continue to be part of the problem.”

That’s just a taste. Watch the whole video above, it’s worth it.

It’s the second time in about a week Haley has slayed at the U.N. On Friday, addressing our laying waste to a fifth of Syria’s entire air forces, she laid out the why and made no apologies.

There is no clearer voice right now on the issue of what we are doing and why. Nikki Haley doesn’t mess around. Not with Syria. Not with Russia. Not with the U.N.

The United Nations is a total train wreck. The whole world should be grateful for someone like Nikki Haley going in there and not only setting the record straight, but reminding the U.N. of their responsibilities and commitments.

And maybe that’s really the doctrine of the new administration. Commitments. Mattis is telling NATO to honor their commitments, Haley is telling Russia and the United Nations to honor theirs, and 59 tomahawk missiles told Syria they damn well better live up to theirs.

It’s time the rest of the world starts standing by their agreements, and if James Mattis and Nikki Haley have anything to do with it, they will.

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Hooray for Bombs!

Everyone in the world is still talking, and thinking, and planning, about President Trump and the U.S. military sending missiles downrange and blowing up a Syrian air base last week. In American politics, we hear the phrase “the whole world is watching” all the time, because we think everyone everywhere is hanging on every little change of fortunes in D.C. It’s silly sometimes. But not this time.

This time the whole world is watching.

Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has been shopping a new tag line lately, as Sooper notes at The Right Scoop, and it’s a good one.

“The Obama era for American foreign policy is clearly over.”

As Bolton explains to Hannity’s audience, those missiles hit more than an airbase, they struck a note. Rang a bell. Raised a flag. The message: things are different.

They don’t have to be hugely different for that message to have a huge impact. Trump’s base is caterwauling about globalism and perpetual war in the middle east and all their other peacenik, isolationist bellyaches, but the low-casualty, high-impact strike isn’t exactly a nuke. It was, as Bolton notes, “measured.” An explosive force to shake the ground if not the Earth.

But as a change from the Obama era the seismic reading is off the scale. And it wasn’t wanton. They broke their agreement. They used chemical weapons. They were held accountable. See? Different.

Maybe that’s that “smart” power we’ve heard about all these years.

It matters. Even if the nutwhacks who comprise a large and incredibly vocal part of his base, and who have his ear, get their way and he retreats to the fig leaf of anti-globalism as an excuse for weakness, we have still gained from just these particular 59 wake-up calls. A reminder that we still have, and can use, devastating force. That nobody could stop us from doing it, or punish for having done it. And perhaps a hint that maybe there’s a bit of unpredictable crazy eyes on the button at the White House. And everyone knows you don’t mess with crazy.

Or as Sen. Graham put it Sunday:

Instilling worry is good, too. Not to mention the idea of actions having consequences:

“It’s enormously important because we know that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was right at the top of the agenda in [the U.S./China) bilateral meetings, and what Trump basically said is when a country like Syria undertakes solemn commitments – in the chemical weapons convention, in the famous John Kerry deal that we thought eliminated or at least the Obama administration thought eliminated Syria’s chemical weapons – when countries violate those commitments there’s going to be consequences.”

That’s Bolton again. Of course, the world is complicated and is more complex than just “we waved our gun,” but, again, the point he is addressing is more than valid: this isn’t the Obama era anymore.

Whoever it was in the Trump administration that crafted this policy, if it can be called that, who put this first move on the board, they accomplished that. Whoever it is that told him to do it. Whoever it was.

Oh don’t give me hell for suggesting it wasn’t the Donald. His own minions and legions are crying from the rooftops that he was duped by globalist deep state establishment yeargh. His own fans. His followers. They think it. Just like they say he was tricked and deceived into endorsing that House Obamacare bill. So don’t fault me for believing his beliebers.

I’m just saying that whatever voice manipulated him into doing this, good for them. Whoever they are. In the long run, I think it’s a good thing.

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Not Everyone is Enamored of Trump’s Syrian Intervention

Last night President Trump received support from Senators McCain and Graham, from Senator Rubio, and even agreement (in advance) from Hillary Clinton. But there are those with reservations about Thursday’s missile strike.

Senator Ted Cruz offered a carefully worded statement with an important takeaway: justify it.

Today, after eight years of Obama foreign policy failures, Syria is a humanitarian disaster. Bashar al-Assad is a monster, a puppet of Russia and Iran, and he has once again used chemical weapons against his own citizens, murdering innocent men, women, and children.

Our prayers are with Assad’s victims, and with the victims of the ISIS and al Qaeda terrorists ripping Syria apart. And, as always, our support and prayers are with the brave Americans in uniform who carried out the military strike tonight.

Any military action in Syria must be justified as protecting the vital national security interests of America – including decisive action to prevent chemical weapons from falling into the hands of radical Islamic terrorists – and I look forward to our Commander-in-Chief making the case to Congress and the American people how we should do so in the days ahead.

That’s not a dissent, but it is careful. And the reminder to justify to congress how this protects American interests is something Senator Cruz has brought up before. In an op-ed for the Washington Post in 2013, Cruz outlined why he would vote against Obama’s air strikes. Most of his reasoning would be exactly as applicable today, and this in particular is especially relevant:

First, Assad’s actions, however deplorable, are not a direct threat to U.S. national security. Many bad actors on the world stage have, tragically, oppressed and killed their citizens, even using chemical weapons to do so. Unilaterally avenging humanitarian disaster, however, is well outside the traditional scope of U.S. military action.

Cruz tread more cautiously than Senator Paul, who is offering outright opposition. After the details were made public, Paul took to Twitter and made his case, starting out bluntly:

He then offered the same reminder Senator Cruz offered: get approval.

And then ends with another stark observation about efficacy.

Fellow libertarian-ish Republican Rep. Justin Amash, too, was clear on how he views the constitutionality here.

This strike is not exactly the same as those under Obama’s administration. This directly attacked a Syrian government target. And it is true, the constitution is clear about the requirement that Congress declare war, not the President.

Now that the events have simmered overnight, there will be discussion among lawmakers about authorization and constitutionality. Perhaps Senator Cruz can shed some light at length today. In the meantime, I’m happy to just be happy that a brutal dictator got a missile to the face. If anyone deserves it, it’s that evil monster, Bashar al-Assad. You know, Russia’s other pal.

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Russia Blasts U.S. Over Syrian Missile Strikes, Says Trump Violated International Law

Russia tonight issued an angry recrimination against the United States over the strike on Syrian targets. Fifty-nine “Tomahawk” missiles rained fire on the Syrian air base the U.S. says was responsible for the recent chemical weapon attack in the country. Moscow is not pleased with the strike.

The statement said the strikes were launched on an “invented pretext” and “violated international law”. They also reiterated their position that the Syrian army “does not have any chemical weapons.”

So to summarize, Putin is saying Trump launched an illegal attack under false pretenses in order to distract people from his own failings elsewhere (Iraq.)

It would be nice to say “suck it, Putin” – the idea of Russia opining about obeying international law and respecting sovereignty is so laughable it hurts – but we don’t know for sure yet that our continuing policy won’t be changed by their reaction. Consider what Secretary Tillerson said, amazingly, about the major attack and reversal of policy.

“You should not in any way extrapolate that [the strikes] changed our policy or posture on Syria in any way.”

We will see what there is to see, but for now the news is that Russia condemns the strikes and says the attack was a violation of international law and an attack on a sovereign nation under false pretenses.

That is no small charge, PR or not, but it is a very familiar one. They said the same thing two and a half years ago about Obama’s air strikes.

And the smaller question than how it will affect U.S.-Russia relations is .. how will it affect Putin-MAGA relations? The Trump fanboi club have become quite enamored of Vlad. Will this statement affect the crush?

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VOTE OR DIE! President Threatens Trumpcare Doubters with Permanent Obamacare

Obamascare (verb): To frighten a member of congress into voting “yes” by threatening them with the Affordable Care Act.

President Trump had a simple message for the GOP on Thursday night, in the hours after the vote on AHCA was delayed: Pass my bill, or GTFO.

(GTFO stands for Get The Full Obamacare.)

He’s offering the House two options, they can either vote today, Friday, and pass the American Health Care Act and send it to the Senate, or they can fail to pass it, and he will just leave Obamacare in place and move on.

“We’re going to repeal Obamacare. We are going to replace Obamacare with something so much better.” – Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

It’s a win for Trump either way. If they pass it, he can not only claim victory over congress, but that he forced them to live up to their promises of these 7 years past. After which, of course, the whole mess gets repeated in the Senate, where he has plenty of enemies to blame when it fails.

If they don’t pass it, he gets to move on to something else, blame the House conservatives forever, and he has Obamacare there to always bitch about. Since Trump doesn’t like conservatives, this seems like it’s tailor-made for him. But either way, he wins.

All of which may, at first, sound like a brilliant move by a skilled tactician. That is, until you remember who it is that loses: the American people.

Trump, Ryan, and pretty much every Republican in existence have spent months – nay, years – telling us how terrible Obamacare is, and how much it hurts America and the American family. Trump made it one of the features of his campaign, one of his core appeals to working class, tea party types. The government is taking your money, they are wasting it, they are controlling healthcare. I will fix it.

And now, having already failed to repeal Obamacare on his first day or in his first month, he’s going to give up and fail to do it at all? He’ll do that instead of negotiate? That, instead of deal-making from the “Art of the Deal” author? Instead of putting in the work, he’ll just stick Americans with the legislation he called “amazingly destructive.”

“We are going to make this country so great again. We are going to work so hard.” – Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Trumpcare is his baby. He’s the President, and this was one of his campaign promises. A promise made before we knew there would be majorities in both houses. A promise made over and over.

Some say the threat is a good gamble. Force congress to act on their promise. Make them vote and move forward at last. But that leaves aside the fact that this bill isn’t what they promised. Yes, sure, after all this time, it should have been. They should have been prepared for the negotiations and have a real bill ready. They don’t, though, and there is no good in doing bad. Wrong is worse than nothing.

Besides, doing something works. Some parts of the bill are already better today than they were Monday. Just last night, they changed the Essential Health Benefits mandate. That process should continue because this is serious business. Don’t stop now, when it has destroyed deficit savings without changing the amount of people who will become uninsured. You want to keep the bad press and uninsured Americans and get barely half the cost savings? Why not fix it before you vote? Negotiating works. Do the work.

But no, the leadership and the White House want their participation trophy. They want it now. They don’t want members going home for the weekend and having time to think. Because they don’t want to fix it. They’ve made their concessions, and now they want credit and photo ops.

This immediate, world-ending, Obamascare deadline is because Trump is tired of looking bad. He’s the man behind Trumpcare, and every day people are trashing it. Even his stalwart, erstwhile campaign defenders.

So this is it. Hell or high premiums. Today the House will vote. And if they don’t give Trump what he wants, he’s going to punish the voters with more Obamacare.

That’s what you got when you voted, folks. He won. Now we’ll see who loses.

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Loopy Lou Dobbs Wants Gorsuch Gone for Not Loving Trump Enough (VIDEO)

Lou Dobbs is a nut. He has a rubber butt. Every time he turns around it goes “putt, putt.”

Sorry, nonsense seemed like the only reasonable reply.

Because while the Democrats are trying the filibuster for no reason, and every correct person in America is waiting or the inevitable and good for America “yes” on future Justice Gorsuch, Lou Dobbs is wringing his man boobs because the judge doesn’t genuflect to Trump with sufficient passion and lust.

We’re sorry, Lou-py, but the balance of the court and the future of America pique our interest just slightly more than Trump fluffing. But hey, do feel free to send him some dreamy posters of Trump to put on his wall if that makes you feel better.

You nut.

Filed under: It’s a cult.

lou-dobbs-gorsuchActual photo of Lou Dobbs watching the Gorsuch hearing.

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RIGHT NOW: Bannon and Priebus Rush to Capitol Hill over #AHCA

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon walks to a meeting in the office of Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) White House chief strategist Steve Bannon walks to a meeting in the office of Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

You can keep trying to call it #Ryancare, but this is another full court press by the Trump administration to get this bill passed. It’s #Trumpcare, folks. Bottom line. (Though they’ll never own up.)

Right now, Reince Priebus and Trump’s Brain (Steve Bannon) are on Capitol Hill doing what we can assume is some kind of damage control after the Trumpcare bill was delayed thanks to objections from both conservative and moderate republicans over what appears to be an attempt by the GOP and the White House to have their cake and subsidize it, too.

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WORSER: New CBO Report on Amended AHCA Released (After Vote was Delayed)

The revised Congressional Budget Office report on the republican’s so-called “repeal and replace” legislation has been released. This is the new estimate based on the amendments from earlier this week.

Here is the PDF of the report.

Spoiler: It didn’t really improve.

Obviously, the report does not cover changes made in the last 18 hours or so in concession to the Freedom Caucus. Nor, obviously, address that more changes may be coming.

One immediate point that jumps out is that there is a smaller savings now than was originally projected.

As a result of those amendments, this estimate shows smaller savings over the next 10 years than the estimate that CBO issued on March 13 for the reconciliation recommendations of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The estimated effects on health insurance coverage and on premiums for health insurance are similar to those estimated for the committees’ recommendations.

The uninsured numbers remain the same, at the 14 million increase over ACA that was projected in the previous CBO report.

The report was just released, so we’ll dig into more and post updates as and if they are necessary. This is the short version. I don’t know yet if there will be a third report forthcoming in the near future involving the latest changes.

The short version is, not as much money saved, no additional coverage. Um .. okay?

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