Well, this timing sure is suspicious: not long before the ongoing five-nation terror campaign against Qatar began, the Trump family tried to get a Qatari billionaire to put half a billion dollars into their failing 666 Fifth Avenue property. So just remember that the next time President Trump says Qatar "has been a funder of terrorism at a very high level" -- if the vaguely-put "at a very high level" doesn't already strike you as coming from a man who's lying. And maybe the next time your Republican Senator rushes from his car to a meeting of rich people, you could ask him whether President Trump's real estate failures are going to dictate our entire foreign policy from now on.
Speaking of Trump and failures, Charles Pierce at Esquire looks at Trump the Younger's apparent attempts to get "dirt" on Hillary Clinton before the election and concludes that when the Trumps deal with Russian mob figures, they're "punching out of (their) weight class" and are little more than "compliant minnows in a shark tank." As a bonus, we may have learned why the Trump Administration really fired former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Study, though, the works left behind by Sergei Magnitsky, because he was obviously an extraordinarily courageous man, facing as he did certain death by exposing Russian corruption on an almost unimaginable scale.
But Jesus Mary and Joseph can Sen. Kaine (D-VA) stop with the "treason" talk already? It sure looks like Trump the Younger broke the law by soliciting "dirt" on Mrs. Clinton, but is that treason? Article III, Section 3 of our Constitution instructs us that "(t)reason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." Has Congress declared war against Russia? No, it has not -- and I refuse to distend the definition of "enemy" further than that. Anyone who's ever been called a traitor for no damn good reason -- and their numbers include not just you and I, but this nation's Founders -- appreciates the importance of defining terms precisely.
Sam Pizzigati at the OurFuture blog reminds us that the ongoing downfall of Sears more or less reflects our ongoing downfall as a civilization. Wasn't that many decades ago that Sears executives didn't make silly money and its employees got good treatment -- though the 91% tax bracket kept executive salaries down and Sears treated its employees well to keep them from joining a union. Today, of course, the top tax bracket is over 50 points lower and unions have a third of the membership they used to have, so of course a vain bankster runs Sears into the ground and you might find more rats than employees in a store on a given day.
Charles Ornstein at ProPublica describes yet another way right-wingers injure Medicaid users: by demanding that the folks who get it verify their eligibility twice annually instead of once. And here you thought being conservative was about streamlining government services and reducing paperwork! Sadly, today's "conservatives," who we'd better describe as reactionaries, would only reduce the "burden" of "bureaucracy" for corporations, not people. Plus they think any program that works for everyday Americans is evil. Am I beating a dead horse? In these times, beating a dead horse is an act of courage.
Finally, Dean Baker reminds us that "Paul Ryan Hates the Idea of a Free Market in Health Care" and "He Wants to Give Money to Rich People." "There are no government-granted patent monopolies in a free market," Mr. Baker reminds us. "It is possible to argue for the merits of government granted monopolies...but it is not possible to deny that these monopolies are a government policy, not the free market." More to the point, this policy doesn't make people free, not if we pay $360 billion more every year for prescription drugs. Of course, the intellectually-bankrupt Mr. Ryan doesn't oppose any of that, nor does he oppose big pharmaceutical corporations taking taxpayer money to make drugs in the first place (which entitles us to rather more oversight than we've got!).