Slack Chat – Handicapping the Race to Leavenworth

T: All right, John – If you could choose which beltway regulars we get to lance from our consciousness like festering boils, who would they be? Give me your mountain.

J: I would say the Giant Cheeto, Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer and Adolph Bannon.

Conway because she has demonstrated impressive incompetence, such that even the ordinary incompetents populating the White House feel the need to isolate her from the public as much as possible… Spicer because he’s just annoying, and Bannon because he’s dangerous… he’s been largely shunted off to the side but he does still represent the flannel wing of the GOP, and he still has leverage with Trump, although it has been somewhat diminished recently.

T: My mountain shares two names with yours (Trump and Bannon). I wouldn’t dump Conway; I think she’s harmless, and it’s always nice to know somebody who looks like the “My Name is Earl” daytime hooker has a decent job. I wouldn’t dump Spicer, either. I could argue that both of them perform a vital public service. Spicer is a hateful little troll who serves as an iconic target for the Trump resistance, and Conway is such an obvious schmoo that her mere presence in the White House lends the place a little un-class, un-credibility and un-dignity.

Bannon I’ll grant you, and Trump. Both are too dangerous to be anywhere near the launch codes.

J: Do you think Trump needs any more lightning rods? How in the hell is lightning going to get past his giant, reverse-polarity head?

T: Well, to me there ain’t no such thing as too much negative force in a resistance field. We’ll take all the lightning rods we can get. Just plant ‘em in the White House rose garden.

J: All right then, who would be on your Mount Lanceboil?

T: My other two are Mitch McConnell and Jeff Sessions.

McConnell is actively suppressing the Russian investigation, and he was already a political mud pie in my mind for treating the Supreme Court like a dammed football.

Plus Paul Provenza sat next to him at one of the White House correspondents’ dinners. He said he’s a humorless prick.

J: There seems to be a concentration of humorless pricks in the administration.

T: Sessions … He’s funny-looking enough to fit in with the Spicer/Priebus/Conway group, but he is a Sheldon Adelson tool. If left to his own devices, he would take marijuana away from even medical users, and he’ll outlaw any gambling that isn’t a state lottery or in a brick and mortar casino. Preferably one of Adelson’s casinos.

J: I could agree with Sessions, he’s in a much more dangerous position than McConnell… or Conway, for that matter. A few months ago I would have argued for Priebus to be on the mountain, but he has been pretty effectively neutered.

T: I wouldn’t dismiss Priebus out of hand. He’s the GOP’s Neidermeyer.

J: Priebus still has influence, but he represents the establishment wing, which has fallen out of favor now that it has been shown that it doesn’t have the power to jam through legislation.

T: He was in the middle of the intrigue that led to the firing of FBI director Comey.

J: There was a lot of intrigue around that; a lot of people wanted Comey out.

T: Yes, there are a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who weren’t all that torn up to see him go over the side. All the angst was about who did the pushing.

J: I think it was just a matter of time before he got fired, but I was definitely surprised at the timing; I thought they would wait until the Russia business died down somewhat before they gave him the ax.

T: McConnell is going to have to appoint a special prosecutor now – Comey’s ouster could be the best thing that happened to the Russia investigation.

J: I agree; I think public opinion has been building toward an independent investigation – and Trump just threw a whole can of gasoline on that fire.

J: Did you see this? Michael Flynn was subpoenaed today – something about providing documents relating to his Russian contacts.

T: Nice mug shot there – you can always tell if you are on the media’s shit list by your picture. If you look freshly coiffed, as if you just got out of a makeup chair, you are on the good list. If you look like a hungover serial killer …

But Flynn always looks like a hungover serial killer.


T: Speaking of future prison wives, I have a another question: Who is going to jail? If we stipulate that there is some fire to go with all this smoke – that laws were broken, at a Watergate level – what are the odds these people go to jail?

J: I’ll put Flynn at 10-1 he goes to jail, 2-1 he cuts some kind of immunity deal in return for testifying against the rest of the crew. Roger Stone, I’d say 5-1; he revels in his “dirty trickster” persona, and I think it’s going to come back to haunt him. Carter Page I’ll venture 20-1; he’s a big talker but he seems to be peripheral to the case… a wannabe Russian made man.

T: I would put Flynn’s jail odds a lot higher … I’d say 5/2 for jail, 3/5 for either jail or a deal, and 6/5 for the deal. Flynn has been on the US shit list before, and his current crime is clearly in the room with treason, if not actually sitting in treason’s lap and licking treason’s ear.

Let’s be more systematic, though. Stipulating that some people are going to jail, how would you set the odds?

J:  Here’s my list:

  • Trump 5/1; he knows how to keep his hands clean but he could well get pulled in as an unindicted coconspirator, like Nixon was.
  • Pence 5/1 Possible perjury case, but it’s iffy… depends on the zeal of the prosecutor.
  • Michael Flynn 3/5, although my guess is he’d flip rather than go to jail.
  • Carter Page 10/1, big talker but all hat and no cattle.
  • Paul Manafort even money, he was probably the bagman.
  • Roger Stone even money, dirty trickster extraordinaire.
  • Kellyanne Conway 20/1, nothing but a talking head – she sounds like Georgette from Mary Tyler Moore if Georgette moved to D.C. and spent 20 years smoking crack with Marion Barry. Even in this crowd of clowns she’s hard to look at.
  • Steven Bannon 5/1 for something related to national security disclosures.
  • Mitch McConnell 20/1 just for assholery.
  • Paul Ryan 20/1 more assholery.
  • Chaffetz 20/1 still more assholery.
  • Nunez 5/1 for obstruction of justice.
  • Sessions 20/1 yet more assholery.
  • Comey 20/1 the fall guy, would be tough to make a perjury case against him but an eager-beaver prosecutor might try.

T: Here’s mine:

  • Trump – 7/1; I honestly don’t think he’s directly involved, but he might be too stupid to get out of the way.
  • Pence – 5/1; Flynn might toss him under the bus for the phone call, and there is no obvious reason to believe Pence was naive enough to believe some lying jackass like Flynn. He was gullible – or he lied. Neither possibility is ennobling.
  • Michael Flynn 2/5; he could cut a deal, but that’s the only thing keeping him out from under some rough trick named Jim. Or on top – Flynn strikes me as more of a top.
  • Carter Page – 8/5; if anyone is likely to wind up dead in a dumpster before this is over, it’s this guy. I agree that he’s a wannabe, but I disagree about what that means. The wannabes are always the most willing to commit any atrocity that will grease their way into the group. Page is as wannabe as they get, and every bit as soft, doughy, creepy and stupid as Trump.
  • Paul Manafort – 9/5; I think his crimes might have been out of federal jurisdiction, or he would be 2/5 like Flynn.
  • Roger Stone – 2/1; he’s in it down to his tonsils – he may have replaced Manafort as the primary contact. If Page winds up in a dumpster, check for Stone’s prints.
  • Kellyanne Conway – 50/1; it’s just a flyer bet. I would be shocked if she was directly involved, but she could have been privy to crimes. She is so above her depth in this mess that she makes Carter Page look like a savvy insider.
  • Steven Bannon – 12/1; he’s more dangerous to the country now than the rest of them combined, but I think he’s clean as far as the Russia deal. He wasn’t involved when the hacking occurred, and his role in the race seemed more akin to propaganda than espionage.
  • Mitch McConnell – 4/1; he acts guilty, and I want to know why. I doubt he was in on Russia, but he may be guilty of obstruction of justice as part of the cover-up, assuming there actually is a cover-up.
  • Paul Ryan – 500/1; I would be shocked if he was involved in any of this mess. He’s as dumb as a tongueless parrot, but I think he’s basically an honest guy.
  • Chaffetz – 9/2; there is no in-between with Chaffetz. His resignation means he’s clean – or he’s filthy.
  • Nunez 5/1; I am amazed by … how can I say this nicely? – by how god dammed stupid some of these guys are. Nunez butchered his 15 minutes of fame worse than Ken Bone, that fat guy in the red sweater at the debate who forgot to delete his browser history.
  • Sessions – 99/1; he’s a pro. I don’t much like him – he’s a little too southern beltway for my tastes, and he’s a freedom fighter (he fights freedom) – but I am sure he would never commit treason. On purpose, anyway.
  • Comey – 40/1; he could still wind up getting caught in the net, but as the FBI director he’s one of the few names on this list who was thoroughly vetted prior to joining the beltway klatch.

T: Neither one of us thinks Trump is guilty of overt criminal acts, but he is the top chop so he’s susceptible. Witches die in witch hunts.

J: I don’t think Trump is guilty. I think he knew what was happening but was smart enough to keep it all at arm’s length, or further… they’d never be able to prove anything.

T: How many people went to jail for Watergate?

J: It was a lot… all the burglars, most of Nixon’s top aids.

Wikipedia says 40 indictments, eight of Nixon’s top aides plus the burglars, so 13.

T: What are the odds that this turns out to be a Watergate-level investigation, with eight or so main players eating tossed salads and calling some Aryan Nations thug daddy?

J: I’d say right now about even money that we end up with criminal investigations coming from this.

T: I think a full blown mess is probably more like 5/1, maybe even higher. Deep down, I don’t believe Trump and his advisers were in bed with the Russians. Well, maybe in bed together, but not conjugating their verbs, so to speak.

J: I don’t really, in my heart, believe that the Russians influenced the election. They tried, but I doubt they actually had much if any influence.

T: Attempted treason is still treason, though.

J: Yep, no mitigation for sucking at it.

Slack Chat: How Paul Ryan managed to bungle his own ambush

T: Hey John, get inside Paul Ryan’s head. Why are they in such a hurry to pass the health care repeal? Is there some deadline they are trying to outrun?

J: My guess is because there are other legislative priorities; the government runs out of money on April 28, so they have to at least get started on the budget before then. Plus which there’s tax reform, and immigration, and the infrastructure bill… so yes, even this early in the session, the clock is ticking.

The cynical side of me says they’re trying to push this garbage barge through congress, knowing that it will fail in the Senate. That way they can say “we tried; it’s the Senate’s fault that we couldn’t get it done.”

T: At this point, do they pretty much want to keep Obamacare and blame the repeal’s failure on the liberals?

J: There are a few hardcore Tea Partiers in the House who want to repeal Obamacare; but I think that given the choice, most congressmen would rather tweak Obamacare to make it work better. Since Trump ran on a platform of repealing it, though, they’re stuck at least pretending to try.

Obamacare could be improved fairly easily, but again, the GOP is stuck, having promised repeal for the last seven years. Their base would see anything less as a betrayal, even if it means that their insurance goes up 750 percent.

T: It’s a strange brew, isn’t it? Trump lives in a Manhattan tower, but he’s basically just a rich redneck from Queens who hates the cultural elites because they make him feel inferior. Rural conservatives are attracted to him because he hates the elitist crowd as much as they do, so they will follow his lead, even if he directs them into an active volcano.

J: It is a strange brew… a billionaire running as a “man of the people” and the people actually buying it.

Some of them, anyway.

T: If you were Paul Ryan, and you actually wanted to fix this mess, how would you approach health care?

Assume you have to start exactly where it is today, with the current bill out there and all the surrounding hoopla and other stuff floating around.

J: If I was Ryan, and actually wanted to fix healthcare rather than just send over a Trojan-horse bill for the Senate to sink and be the fall guys for, I would withdraw this bill and go back to committee; I would rewrite the bill to strip out the most offensive positions, extend the Medicaid subsidy wean-off period to five or six years, strip out anything to do with Medicare, and put back the 3-1 age rating limit. That bill wouldn’t pass the House, it isn’t conservative enough, but at least it would be a framework for negotiations. But I don’t think Ryan is seriously interested in reform. He’s looking for political cover from his right flank.

T: Looking forward, what scenarios you can see? For instance, if the bill never gets passed in any form, does the GOP lose the Senate in 2018? The House?

J: I think the GOP may very well lose the House anyway. The Democrats only need about 28 seats to take control and midterm elections historically have not been kind to the president’s party. That would be a crippling blow to Trump… any of his agenda that hasn’t passed will go nowhere.

It’ll be gridlock all over again.

T: I’ll settle for gridlock. The only executive action Trump knows how to do is to point his middle finger at Obama.

This just came across the wire:

U.S. House Republicans are working on changes to their healthcare overhaul bill to provide more generous tax credits for older Americans and to add a work requirement for the Medicaid program for the poor –  U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Sunday.

J: It doesn’t really change my earlier assessment, Ryan is giving with one hand (the break for seniors) and taking away with the other (the work requirement for Medicaid). I still don’t think he’s serious about passing this bill; if he were he wouldn’t have included the work requirement, that’s a sop to conservatives that won’t pass muster in the Senate.

T: Was there any way he could have presented this, or any other bill that would have passed through all the various cliques in the GOP?

J: Honestly, I doubt it. The GOP is, to coin a phrase, on the horns of an enema. I don’t think any bill that is conservative enough to pass the house will pass the Senate, and no bill that is moderate enough to pass the Senate will get through the House.=

Trump and his base think the GOP majority can do whatever it wants; while that’s theoretically true, Ryan knows the reality of the situation. He is trying to give the house republican caucus cover for the bill’s inevitable failure in the Senate.

T: How connected is Trump to the Legislature? Is he just golfing and signing whatever Steve Bannon sticks under his nose – Henry Blake in a $10,000 suit, with Bannon as Radar – or is he calling Congress at all hours, driving Ryan nuts?

J: I don’t think he’s connected at all. I think Ryan is running the legislative agenda; all Trump is doing is putting his name on things, not unlike what he does with his businesses.

T: It’s fun, watching the president’s people all trying to act governmental, given what a bunch of Beverly Hillbillies most of them are. I’d be tempted to root for them, if they weren’t such a bunch of assholes.

J: It’s turned out to be every bit the gong show I expected it would be… they’ve certainly lived up to their advance billing.

T: Who gets to finally gong them off? Will it be the Russians? The Trump family tax returns? Will Trump try to blow up North Korea and have the button taken away? Will Melanie turn out to be a Russian plant? Will Trump die of a gas-induced stroke after trying to eat an entire bucket of KFC boneless honey barbecue wings? The possibilities are endless.

Slack Chat: The Zombie Administration

February 5, 2017

T: Did you see this article, John?

J: The land mine in there is the repeal of the provision limiting the amount carriers can charge older people. The AARP will be all over that. The repeal of the individual and employer mandates is important too; it drive healthy people out of the market.

T: They are carefully extracting themselves from the preexisting conditions exemption.

J: I can understand the logic behind that; they want to discourage people from running out and getting insurance only when they get sick. If they’ve been covered all along the repeal of the exemption wouldn’t apply to them. But carriers could charge whatever the market would bear for older people.

T: I don’t dispute your first point – you shouldn’t be able to buy insurance after the fact, any more than you should be allowed to buy flight insurance after a plane crash – but according to this plan a temporary lapse in coverage – one late payment – and you are screwed. Done.

The GOP wants to get back to the “we only cover healthy people” model. Anyone with auto insurance knows the drill. If you are on the safe list- the never filed a claim list – they take your money happily, knowing there is virtually no risk that you will file a claim. But if you file a claim, they remove you from the safe list and dump you like you are radioactive.

You pointed out the land mine already: young, healthy people won’t be required to sign up, so they won’t. Later, when they are older or come down with serious conditions, they won’t be able to get the care your average prison inmate gets, because they will have a record of interrupted coverage. One day of lapsed coverage and they are ejected forever.

Anyone over the age of 2 needs to get coverage and keep it, and if you are under 2 you better pray the Shriners don’t have you on speed dial.

J: I understand that health insurance is expensive, and that’s only gonna get worse if the ACA is repealed.

We need single-payer in this country. All European countries have single-payer systems, and their per patient costs are from one third to one half less than the same services here in the US. That’s because there are no private insurers; the government controls everything, and it negotiates prices with drug companies and salaries with doctors.

T: Remember my Cake Principle?

Terry’s Cake Principle: If you leave a cake on the counter unprotected, it will eventually disappear. Like anaerobic respiration – a process where organisms eat anything that doesn’t move until it’s gone – the cake will be eaten, finger by stray forkful, until even the crumbs are gone, even if they have to be licked off the counter.

A medical billing system that does not regulate the insurance side of the equation might as well be a cake on the counter.

J: Insurance companies are in business to make money, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that; it’s capitalism. However, we’ve reached a point in the system where the only way to continue to increase profitability (and make no mistake, insurers are profitable; they just want to be more profitable) is to restrict access to care.

They’ll start with the younger people who are less likely to miss it, then gradually creep up the age and sickness scale, licking more and more frosting off the cake.

T: Far too many people in this country who think medical care is free, and that is as big a problem as the inherent sneaky greed of the insurance bureaucracy.

J: It’s not free. Research and development of new drugs isn’t free, doctors don’t work for free,  and those big hospitals don’t just appear magically overnight.

T: There is a reason why insurance is always so complicated and conflicted. Two sides, both unreasonably greedy because the system is so opaque and convoluted, struggle to find a happy medium between gouging and stealing.

J: As much as I’m opposed to socialism in general, there’s one aspect of life in America where it does make sense, and that’s health care. Making money on the backs of the sick, injured and elderly just sticks in my craw.

T: As often happens in our system, the middle class is expected to pay for everything. The poor get better medical care if they don’t work than if they do, and the morass between “too poor to pay taxes” and “rich enough to self-insure” is in danger of being broken – retirement plans, savings accounts and even homes lost to catastrophic medical bills – at any time.

J: I deal with the screwing of the middle class every day at work; it’s my job to get the insurance carriers to pay the benefits they’re contractually obligated to pay. You’re right about the working poor; if you’re not poor enough to get Medicaid, you’re going to get forced into a plan with a $6,000 deductible –  you can’t afford to get sick – and don’t even get me started about the current VA mess.

T: The last couple of times I went to the VA Hospital the hallways looked like the zombie apocalypse, except all the zombies were wearing Vietnam Veteran ball caps.

J: Single-payer is inevitable in the US; it won’t happen until the Democrats have control of all three branches, maybe 2022, but it will happen sooner or later.

T: Will it happen in time for us? We’ll both turn 60 during the next administration.

J: I certainly hope so. I suppose the good news, if you want to call it that, is that we’ll hit Medicare eligibility not too long after that, so it won’t be our problem.

T: I’m VA eligible; I get to be a zombie.

J: By that time all the zombies will be wearing Desert Storm ball caps.


Slack Chat – Live Dinosaurs and the Hilton/Richie Ticket

T: I just watched Jurassic World. There is no way in hell I’m riding a dinosaur, I don’t care how friendly it looks.

J: You’ve seen one Jurassic movie, you’re pretty much seen them all.

T: Yep. Dinosaur meets girl, dinosaur eats girl.

J: And not in a good way.

T: Nope, although there was one scene that looked like it might be heading that way, she started shooting at a rapter and, well – eat eat eat.

J: They might as well have called it Jurassic Pork.



T: Have you ever noticed that the hot chicks in action films always start out dressed like Cossacks? First look their hair is in buns and they are wearing baggy, figure-obscuring pants, a jacket three sizes to big and horn rim glasses. They undress gradually as the movie goes on .. their hair comes down on their shoulders and then gradually gets more and more mussed up, until at the end they are all heaving breasts, clothes torn to hell, one skintight pantsleg ripped all the way up to the hip and a monstrous head of hair flowing everywhere but in front of their eyes, which are on fire. The freshly fucked-with look.

J: Yeah, they all have to have the perfectly coiffed wild jungle hair.

J: You wanna riff on action film tropes? Ok, let’s talk Action Film Tropes.

The villain always has to make a windy speech to the hero explaining his evil plan. And there has to be a Comical Sidekick or the Token Ethnic Guy. Or both. If the comical sidekick is the token ethnic guy, he has to be paired with the token neanderthal white guy with the 19 inch neck, wearing a sport jacket two sizes too small.

The token ethnic guy always gets it first, unless he’s the comical sidekick. In that case, he just gets beat up a lot.

T: Nowadays the token ethnic guy gets to live, as long as he is saved by a white guy. In Jurassic World, the Wwite guy saved the ethnic guy, but the ethnic guy gave him a cool salute, you know – to show that he was worth saving.

But the fat guy, he got eaten. The fat guy always gets eaten. If there are two fat guys, they find a way to get ’em both eaten. We should make a movie where the fat guys eat each other.

J: The movie always starts with a minor character no one cares about getting killed/eaten.

T: That was one of the cool things about “Scream.” They started right off with Drew Barrymore. Nobody believed she was gonna get snuffed.

J: She’s too good an actress to get snuffed early in the film. Didn’t save her though.

T: Yup. She got cut up like a bologna loaf in a lawn mower.

J: I hear people applauded when Paris Hilton got it in “House of Wax.”

T: Oh, I’ve seen that, I think – she got a ten-foot piece of rebar jammed through her head? That one?

J: Yeah … I would have cheered too.

T: Is Paris Hilton basically a vacuous blonde bimbo version of  Trump?

J: She has a tremendous talent for self-promotion, just like Trump.

Or she did anyway, she sank faster than a torpedoed rowboat. No one talks about her anymore.

T: President Hilton. Hail to the bimbo.

And Nicole Richie as Vice President.

J: She is as qualified as Trump.

T: A dead wombat is as qualified as Trump.

J: No, wombats live in Australia, so they aren’t native-born, so not qualified… if you want to go marsupial, a dead possum would be the way to go.

T: Plus wombats don’t live 35 years.

J: You’d have to do the dog years conversion thing.

T: Wombat years? Is that a thing?

J: Sure, why not? I read about it in Dundee Weekly .

They have about the same life span as dogs – 15 in the wild, 20 in captivity.

T: And about 12 minutes in a Disney feature.

There ain’t that many adopt-a-wombat movements buying Super Bowl commercials these days.

J: No … Purina Wombat Chow isn’t a big seller either.

T: Actually it is in Australia … it tastes like a mix of Vegemite and Underwood deviled ham.

J: Well, who wouldn’t want to eat that?

T: Have you ever had Vegemite? You take a bottle of cooking oil and a jar of peanut butter… toss the peanut butter out and drink the oil. But think about the peanut butter while you drink it.

J: A dead possum is as qualified as Trump.

T: Plus they make good door stops.

Slack Chat: Mayo Clinicians

T:  Sometimes you’re the lightning, sometimes you just hope you ain’t the fish.

And sometimes you just douse the flames and move on.

J:  God’s smoking some salmon tonight.

T:  If Drew Carey is right, it’s tuna that is getting smoked. You ever hear that routine, John?

J:  No, never heard that one.

T:  Back when there were all those protests against Dolphins getting caught in tuna nets. Dolphin safe tuna. Drew Carey said, “Well, that’s great if you’re a dolphin, but what if you are a *&$#ing tuna? A tuna is flopping around in the boat; it says what, I’m not cute enough for ya?'”

J:  Getting caught must be like going to heaven for a fish. You go up into the light and see your dead relatives lying around.

T:  Is heaven just a tuna boat? John, you have offered the “heaven as tuna boat” theory.

J:  I think I’ll start a religion: Tunafarianism. Our god will be Ras Tunari.

T:  I dunno, John, sooner or later someone’s gonna want to know how you reconcile reincarnation with the fact that your followers all taste good with mayo and pickle relish.

J:  Splitter!

T:  The mayo schism!

J:  Always look on the white (bread) side of life.


Slack Chat – live blogging the second debate

October 10, 2016

T: Welcome to what is going to be a messy mess, I think. We’ve never done this before, so everything is experimental.

J:Welcome everyone… this should be fun, right?

T: I’ll be ecstatic if I just keep my temper tonight … So, J … how does Hillary respond to Trump’s press conference?

J: Hard to say… I’m sure she’s got something ready for him though.

T:  My best guess is that she generalizes … something along the lines of “well, my husband was part of an old boy network that can’t be allowed to continue” – something like that.

J: If I was her I’d say something along the lines of “If you want to keep reliving 1992, that’s up to you, but I and the rest of the country have moved on… we want to address the pressing issues facing America today.”

T: The only problem with that is Trump can come back with “well, that was 2005, so why are we talking about THAT??”

D: At this point….what does it matter?

T: I was going to say something like that, D. One thing that might get lost in the shuffle is that Hillary was already several points ahead in the polls. She doesn’t need to win this argument and I can’t see how she can possibly lose it … but then again how did we get here? Nothing is logical as long as we are talking about The Donald.

J: I think that bringing the accusers on will backfire. It will just make her a sympathetic figure.

T: At this point is it possible for Trump to look loonier? Probably not … but he is upping his creepy factor and … what would you call it? The abuser factor?

J: He’s definitely upping the ick factor.

D: So……what are we drinkin?

T: I was thinking about that earlier today. He’s so far beyond the normal edges of decency that it’s disorienting.

T: I don’t drink much anymore myself … I’m loading up on Wyler’s light fruit punch.  I can’t imagine listening to Trump with a load on …I’d put a rock through my television screen.

J: I’ve got my fizzy lemonade here. What’s the drinking game? When Trump says “great”?

D: Lemonade here…….and Kokanee……to temper the acid dontcha know.

J: Here we go.

T: Tic Tac unendorsed Trump?

D: Do you really believe that HRC is any more decent in reality than Trump? I mean…….she doesn’t spew vomitus tripe like he does……..but in reality behind the scenes do you think she is “more decent”?

T: Don, you have had decades to decide what you think about her. Nothing I say is going to compete with that.

D: An honest question………I mean no ill wil.

T: I think I’ll actually have to start drinking if Hillary walks up to Trump and tongue kisses him.

J: No middle finger, but only just barely.

T: Trump looked like he was heading in for a root canal … like I predicted, no handshake! What odds was Vegas paying out for that?

J: They were laying 5-2.

T: Trump was laying … aw screw it, it’s too easy.

J: Trump is awfully fidgety there. He’s losing the thread already. The question was about the kids of America.

T: He’s trying to be mild mannered Trump Kent. He’s usually stomping all over the place, like a kid with ADHD.

J: African-Americans are GREAT! Drink!

T: Deflecting. FYI, ISIS is getting its brains beat in right now. Trump treats campaign briefings like so much toilet paper.

Trump treats everything like a dog – if he can’t eat or fuck it, he pisses all over it.

J: ISIS will be run out of the last town they hold by the end of the year.

T: Well, it’s easy to beat up criminals. The trick is to neutralize ’em.

D: What a disaster.

J: Oh, here it comes…. the sex-tape question.

T: That wasn’t what I expected – he just regurgitated his old schtick.

J: GREAT! Drink!

T: Bread and circuses … he’s making lots of promises, nothing unusual.

D: What about THE ISSUES?????? (not that this isn’t an issue……it is……) but I wonder if we are going to hear anything about the rest of them?

J: GREAT! Drink!

T: He looks calm: he’s about to spring what he thinks is his big move.  Here we go.

J: GREAT! Drink!

T: Trump called Paula Jones a loser back in the 1990s … I wonder if Hillary mentions that? Trump confessed to sexual assault, just to be clear.

J: No, it’s really no surprise that he blames Hillary for Bill’s cheating. That’s how he rolls.

D: Hillary has Gary Johnson’s cotton mouth………..can you hear it?

th-2J: Man, I would be hammered by the end of this thing if I was really drinking.

T: Pretty strong statement, accusing Hillary of assault herself … and here comes crazy Trump. Flinging feces now. He’s on tip toes, you see it?

J: He’s going to lose it.

T: He’s about to the precipice.

.J: Trump is still snorting, what is the deal with that? Has he got the walking pneumonia?

T: Carrie Fisher says he’s doing cocaine, but that’s ridiculous. He’s 70 years old. He’d be dead if he was doing that much coke.

D: Got it.

T: Lol, how wild is that? Trump is going to bring the seventeenth investigation into Hillary’s email server.

J: Acid-washed E-mails?

T: At this point I’m sure Hillary would love to share all those emails. He’s gone, seeya. The applause is probably deliberate, Hillary’s people told ’em to egg him on, lol.

J: LOL! Man, he’s losing his shit… he’s off his nut.

T: What else does Trump have? Benghazi, I suppose …there’s another hour and he’s about out of bullets. And C means confidential, not classified.

J: He’ll jail Hillary. Oh, that’s nice.

T: 22 million GW emails, btw. He’s so disappointed. 39,000? Wasn’t it 33,000? Am I seriously questioning Trump’s accuracy? He’s about as careful with his facts as a four-year-old, peeing in a reservoir.

J: He’s over the precipice… we’re going to get to watch a live meltdown on national TV.

T: Oh GOD the laughter!!! I’m a gentleman (loud laughter) – that’s Hillary’s next ad.

J: This guy wants to be President? Really?

T: Is that the moment? The official, stick a fork in him moment?

J: Yep, there’s another ad. Trump is the gift that keeps on giving.

T: Is she deliberately going over, to bait him?

J: No specifics on what Trump would replace it with.

T: Does he have any specific plans for anything?

J: Specifics are against his policy.

J: GREAT! Drink!

T: Anybody can say everything sucks.

J: GREAT! Drink!

T: He’s not as nutso as I thought he would be at this point – he saved himself a little.

J: It was great when it was Romneycare, though.

T: Classic “media is the message” illustration, there.

J: I said GREAT! Drink!

T: Trump ain’t the only one losing it tonight.

J: Rut roh, Muslim ban again … let’s see how he handles it this time.

T: He should convert.

J: Muslims have to report. Here’s your yellow star.

T: He’s still holding it together, he calmed down after the audience laughed at him. Does Hillary push him again, or does she take the air out of the ball?

D: She just restated his point.

T: It’s such a good point … “I’d like to report an old white man in a blue suit terrorizing Muslims, Mexicans, African-Americans, Women, gerbils, marsupials, and I’m pretty sure a taco bowl (the video is fuzzy)” – every Muslim watching the debate … Clinton’s response was weak, though. She’s taking the air out of the ball.

download-19J: Second mention of Khan. Not sure that helps her much. She’ll stick the needle in again. It’s just too easy.

T: How many times does he have to hear the tape of him supporting the war before he stops saying he didn’t say it?

J:”Disaster” would have been a good drinking word, too.

T: Yaknow, it’s gotten fairly snoozy, hasn’t it? Prevent defense isn’t as lively as “common, Donald, we all know you want to say it.”

J: It was pretty lively early but it’s turned kind of slow lately.

T So … top of the hour it gets interesting, huh? Tax returns, self-dealing, Cuba … What else? I’m sure we are going to get at least some Wall Street angst from Trump – where he pretends that he speaks for all those people he avoided so many taxes for.

J: Well, here comes the Wall Street question.

R: Why don’t you interrupt her?

J: Oh, here’s the bait… the religious-test thing.

T: Hey R!

R: Hey.

T: He just makes it up … pouting in at a record clip is wrong – there have been more Hispanics leaving than coming in to the country since 2007, and Obama has deported more illegals than any president in history.

T: Ooh, should he be bragging about endorsements? Hillary is going to kill him on that.

J: He just denies what he’s on tape as saying. He really does live in his own reality.

D: Guys…….do you think that maybe her questions and answers are scripted?

T: No, Don, just well practiced. Hillary prepares. That’s not a bad thing.

D: OK……I had to ask.

T: Trump has trained anyone who spent too much time listening to him to doubt everything about Hillary, so it’s hard to keep a balanced opinion.

J: I think she might have rehearsed some mini-speeches and just uses them as the opportunity arises.

T: Sure. So does Trump. He really struggles when he gets off script.

T: Uh oh … Hillary has the cat that ate the canary look on her face – she’s about to go after him.

J: Two GREATS! Pour me a double!

R: Wow! This Putin Relationship is kind of weird…

T: Trump has most of his money tied up overseas.

J: Wait, what? You’re a billionaire and she can afford to do more ads than you?

D: They all do…..Clintons included.

T: The Clintons aren’t business people, they are consultants. They get paid, they don’t invest. As their primary business, anyway. Trump doesn’t invest any more, either. He hasn’t built anything since 2006.

D:  I think consultant is stretching it……they are paid speakers.

J: Bigly!

T: Bigly – is that a double?

J: No, but I’ll drink anyway. And our tax rates are comparatively low, actually.

T: What are we, Don? Musicians are just paid “speakers” too. Is there something wrong with that?

download-21D: As musicians? More similiar to speakers than consultants……….but I believe we provide a “service” that goes beyond what a paid speaker has to offer.

J: GREAT! Drink!

T: Who decides what’s valuable? The person signing the check decides. Speak, sing – what’s the difference?

J: I think that’s about ten. I would be so wasted by now.

T: Ten???? Try twenty. Richie’s dog just threw up.

R: Wake up poor & middle class Americans! I think Trump is gonna cater to the wealthy!

J: Trump catering to the rich? Next you’ll be telling me that there’s gambling at Rick’s.

T: I gotta say – this panel is pretty anti-Trump, isn’t it?

R: If this is so obvious why are so many poor people with ebt cards in their pockets voting Trump!

T: Trump’s voters are, on average, actually higher income than the rest of the country. I know, it surprised me too.

R: Bullshit. I don’t know a lot of wealthy yet people that are unemployed or on welfare are screaming Trump.

T: Oh sure. When there are millions of something you are going to get a wide cross-section. Keep in mind that the median voting age is 53. Hillary was a Senator for eight years with a republican president, but apparently she was supposed to cure cancer and get rid of his post nasal drip. Lol, I beat her to it.

R: Apparently not because so many poor Caucasians want to vote for Trump!

T: What the hell is he talking about? What does he know about the nuclear program? The money that went to Iran was Iranian money, not American money. It was payment for previous frozen accounts.

J: It was basically just unfreezing THEIR OWN money.

T: And we are killing ISIS, fyi. Russia is actually killing Syrians.

R: He knows what his buddy Putin tells him! Trump will probably just let Putin run the White House.

J: And Pence gets thrown under the bus.

T: Now he’s really channeling Archie Bunker.

D: “Everybody pulled his weight……guys like us we had it made……those were the days.”
T: Trump sits around, shooting the shit with his Medal of Honor recipients, grabbing poor, unsuspecting kittens …

J: WTF was that?

T: ?

J: Trump’s answer… he talked for two minutes and didn’t say a word?

D: Clarence Carter? (Editor’s note: The questioner’s name was James Carter.)

J: Jimmy Carter sure looks different.

T: In the year of the outsider, the year of the grievance … we are going to get the most insider candidate of the bunch because the outsider voters didn’t bother taking the time to pick a viable candidate. They could have owned this election.

J: I wonder if Trump ever read the books that he supposedly wrote?

T: Trump is being just as big a dick as ever, but he’s just not all that amped up. Did he lose his starch when they laughed at him?

J: Nah… I was hoping for more. So, what do you guys think? Who won, who lost?

download-1T: I don’t think Trump is coming out of this well either way, and I don’t think Clinton gave him much in the way of bulletin board material.

J: I think the moderators need a kill button for microphones.

D: I can’t make up my mind……..I’m gonna reserve judgement until after the 4am Tweets.

T: My big takeways are (1) Trump was tame, almost cowed, after he was laughed at. At that point he looked like he was about to go into his full bully mode. (2) Hillary’s non-hand shake (which I predicted, by the way right John?) will be the big story tomorrow morning.

J: GREAT! Drink!

T: Is he bragging about giving money? Isn’t this the guy with the 916 million dollar tax loss?

J: GREAT! Drink!

J: They stopped saying that for a while, so I had a chance to sober up.

J: Yes, you did call that. You win two internets. About what I expected; Clinton was clearly better prepared. Trump came off as kinda whiny, frankly, with his complaints about the moderators and so on.

T: The text – the meat – of the debate, to me, was typical typical, nothing that anyone is going to remember tomorrow. The Trump move to try to demonize Hillary through Bill’s sexual history … that seems to have either had no effect or perhaps backfired a bit. My best guess is no long-term effect.

J: Nothing substantive, nothing that’s really going to change any minds, I would say.

T: All I’m going to remember is Trump getting laughed at for saying he’s a gentleman.

J: That’ll be in a Hillary ad by morning.

The branding of Kelly Anne Conway (slack chat)

T: What do you think of this idea, J? A good ten percent of Trump’s supporters might be Obama fans who are bored by Hillary, like Obama was a Philly Cheese Steak and Hillary is a tuna sandwich.

J: Maybe not bored by Hillary, but put off by her… I think a lot of Trump’s support is really anti-Clinton voting rather than pro-Trump.

T: Parents who bought Tickle me Elmos and Cabbage Patch Babies for their kids, they are bored by the Hillary choice. They want another cool toy, not socks and underwear. They want candy in their stocking, not educational games. The put-off crowd, I think that’s the main block … angry white people, basically. Archie Bunker on a rant, Edith with her panties in a bunch. Angry people who want Kaepernick to stand the fuck up. Scared people who think all brown people are thugs and terrorists. Confused people who want gays to go to the bathroom according to gender, not sexual orientation (I’m one of those, actually). The common theme, I think, is that they want the world to look safe, simple. Nice. Pleasant.

Pleasantville. The bored Trump voters, the Obama loving Trump voters … they are addicted to shiny objects, sort of. The big man on campus. Obama is sort of a rock star, while Hillary is more of a stage manager. Trump, of course, is a rock star. His rallies play like rock concerts. In truth, though, he’s more of a hypnotist, a snake oil salesman who uses every manipulation trick he knows – and he knows them all – to lull his audiences into the falsest of false senses of security.

J: It might be that people think that Trump would be a man of action, as opposed to a manager, but the truth is that he would be limited in what he can do…  the presidency isn’t a kingship.

T: That’s one of the nails on the head people aren’t thinking about. Trump’s game is misdirection; he is almost the diabolical opposite of what he claims to be. As a result there is virtually no value in his words – unless you are smart enough to read the opposite of what he is saying – but he waves his watch and they believe every word.

J: No… They think he will just go in and rip down the whole Washington power structure. He would soon find out the limits of presidential power. Congress wouldn’t let him carry out a lot of the things he’s proposing, and the courts wouldn’t let him carry out a lot more. He’d be politically neutered by the end of his first year in

T: I wonder … how long until he tries to bypass Congress? Obama set the precedent. It would be hard to argue that he’s not allowed, after Obama used executive orders so often.

J: Well, it would depend on what he was trying to do. I’m sure he’d try, but whether the courts would let him succeed and to what extent would be an open question.

T: Keep in mind that the country – a lot of the country – is going to scream for him to do things. What happens when he decides to make a punitive drone strike on, say, Kabul?

J: Did you see today that he came out in favor of racial profiling? That’s been found unconstitutional, but he seems to think it can be “tweaked” to pass legal muster. I’m sure THAT’LL help him with African-American voters, he said sarcastically.

T: What if some Pakistani blows up a church? Does he bomb Karachi?

J: What if some Saudi blows up a church? Does he bomb Riyadh and take the oil, like he wanted to in Iraq?

T: Saudis don’t blow up churches any more than Iraqis are terrorists. They are the rich kids. Arabian Trumps.

J: It wouldn’t matter. In Trump’s tiny mind, all brown people are lumped together.

T: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush Jr. thought that way, too. They figured we wouldn’t know the difference – and we didn’t. We supported the attack on Iraq, and we condemned anyone who didn’t toe the company line. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks called foul, and the whole band got fucked up. Toby Keith got rich. Ten years later the slimy prick Keith said he was never for the war. Fucking asshole, the perfect Trump voter. It’s like he doesn’t think anyone will ever call him on his bullshit. Are we going to?

J: As much as possible, yes… if the fucking media would call him on it, it would be better. There’s been a little more of that recently, but not nearly enough.

T: New York Times is killing me. They write up whatever he says as if it’s news. Every fucking thing that comes out of his mouth. They are literally his mouthpiece, his public address system. They piss me off. They should be embarrassed – they are cashing in, peddling their asses on Trump Street.

J: Well, they know that Trump means eyeballs on their page, and fuck actual journalism.

T: Yeah. The other day … they write “Trump fires back” over and over, then Tim Kaine defends himself and they report “Kaine controversy”. Why not “Kaine fires back”?

J: Or  “Trump controversy”?

T: NYT is a fucking Trump brothel. They aren’t supporting him, just feeding off him, selling their journalistic soul for a mess of Trumpage.

J: If they would stop fellating him and report the actual news, the election wouldn’t even be close.

T: New York Times, the only source you need for  Trumpaganda. NYT = need you, Trump.

J: Trump is an hairy man… and Ailes is a smooth man. That’s in the Bible, somewhere around the mess-of-pottage thing.

T: The unholy trinity – the rapist, the racist, and the .. .what do we call that hypocritical worm Preibus? What do we know about ole’ Kellyanne Conway? I wonder how many times Ailes has assaulted her … There are going to be some must-read books in a few years, aren’t there?

J: Yep, going to be some must-reads coming out of this election.

T: Conway’s might be the most explosive, especially if she gets pissed. She knows where a lot of bodies are buried. Talk about the ultimate crazy ex-girlfriend. That whole crew – what a bunch of creeps. I bet even the staffers sexually harass her. Who’s she going to complain to? Ailes?

J: She’s probably NDA’d out the ass. (Editor’s note: NDA is non-disclosure agreement)

T: Could be – but I bet she winds up talking in court, or on the hill.

J: Maybe both.

T: What are the odds Trump commits treason as the President?

J: If he were to be elected, near 100%.

T: Is he capable of driving this dammed country without plowing it into a telephone pole? He’s Toonces the driving president.

J: I wouldn’t trust him to run a fucking lemonade stand, much less the country.

T: Driving off a cliff near you.

J: Going all Thelma and Louise.

T: Yep, and the country is Louise.