What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 18, 2017

Tina Fey, Last Night



You'll want to watch this a few times.

Moral equivalence? Who drove the car into the crowd, Hillary's emails?

August 17, 2017

Men Of Honor

The Navy:
The Army:
The Marines:
The Air Force:
And let's not forget:
In contrast, look at anything said by the current Commander-in-Chief at his most recent news conference.

Even conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said Trump's comments were "a moral disgrace."

August 16, 2017

I've Looked At Covfefe From Both Sides Now

This weekend a woman was killed by a white supremacist/neo-nazi/alt.right supporter who drove his Chevy Challenger into the crowd she was in. He also injured 19 other people with his car. The woman, Heather Heyer was protesting the white supremacists/neo-nazis/alt.right supporters who had descended onto Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of a man, Robert E. Lee, who defended the "states' right" to enslave other human beings. He was a traitor for levying war against the United States.

And yet, Donald J Trump said there was blame on "both sides" for the violence.

He also said that there were some "very fine people" among the white supremacists/neo-nazis/alt.right supporters.

David Duke liked what Donald J Trump said.

When you get a hearty thumbs up from a racist for imposing a false moral equivalence onto, as Senator McCain tweeted, "racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry," you're doing something very very wrong.

Even though there are many Republicans who denounced Trump for this, he still is leader of the GOP, he still is the (orange) face of American conservatism right now.

If you voted for Trump, this is yours. You made this happen.

What are you going to do about it?

August 15, 2017

It's Tuesday - But It's DIFFERENT This Tuesday

For the past twenty some odd Tuesdays, I've been posting open letters to my Senator, Pat Toomey. He's answered a few, ignored most and pivoted and dodged when he did respond.

Considering the events of this past weekend, however, I've decided to take a break from the Tuesday letters to Toomey - I'll be back next week.

To his credit, the Senator did post this on his Facebook page - but only two days after the racist violence:
I am disgusted by white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis and believe the racism and hate spewed by these groups have no place in our society.
It's good that he's finally there, I suppose.

But condemning Nazis and White Supremacists and the KKK is easy.

Watch:


August 14, 2017

How The Local Politicians Responded To The White Supremacists UPDATE - ANOTHER UPDATE

As the man said "All politics is local," it might be a good idea to see how some local elected officia
ls reacted to the violence of this weekend in Charlottesville, specifically whether they denounce or even mention the white supremacists at the heart of it.

First the Governor. In a series of tweets, he got it right. Including this:
Then Senator Casey:
And:
And now Senator Toomey:
Sadly, you'll note that he fails to take that last big step to mention "white supremacy" or "Nazis" or anything more specific than "racism, hate and violence" in his tweet. I mean it's great to see racism as vile, but just as I can imagine the alt.right folks in Pennsylvania concluding that those opposing them are "the real racists," I can imagine a lot of them actually agreeing with Toomey's tweet. At the very least, a clarification is in order, doncha think?

Representative Tim Murphy does the job without explicitly calling out the white supremacists or Nazis by name:
Saturday's violence in Charlottesville was an exhibition of racist hate masquerading as political dissent. There is no "other side" to the debate over racial equality and common decency. The racist extremists who sought and invited this violence should be driven from all venues of public life. Hate is hate, and there is no antidote for it but universal rejection.
His "other side" is probably a reference to this tweet from former Vice President Joe Biden:
Which is itself a repudiation of Donald Trump's offensive "On many sides." moral equivalence. And in doing so Murphy does in fact, though in a round about way, denounce those who stand against racial equality (that is to say, those promoting white supremacy).

Representative Mike Doyle's response was short and to the point, while not specifically denouncing the white supremacists at the center of the protests:
This is almost exactly Pat Toomey's reaction. However, as I can't imagine very many alt.right folks among Doyle's constituency (or indeed looking at Doyle's twitter feed for political reinforcement), the context is different. Still, perhaps a clarification might be in order.

Take a look, for example, at what Senator Lindsey Graham had to say this weekend:
“[Donald Trump] missed an opportunity to be very explicit here,” said Graham on Fox News Sunday. “These groups seem to believe they have a friend in Donald Trump in the White House. I don’t know why they believe that, but they don’t see me as a friend in the Senate and I would urge the president to dissuade these groups that he’s their friend.”
Dissuade these groups that they are your friends. They're white supremacists, they're Nazis and they should be re-fringed to political impotence.

UPDATE: Senator Toomey just posted this on Facebook:
I am disgusted by white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis and believe the racism and hate spewed by these groups have no place in our society.
SECOND UPDATE: Representative Mike Doyle updated his Facebook page with this:

August 13, 2017

On Many Sides - Donald Trump Refuses To Condemn Neo-Nazis/White Supremecists

Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history.

Only yesterday:
We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides.

On many sides.
That's what he said. That is what Donald J. Trump said.

He said it a few hours after this happened in Charlottesville, Virginia:
Video recorded at the scene of the car crash shows a 2010 gray Dodge Challenger accelerating into crowds on a pedestrian mall, sending bodies flying — and then reversing at high speed, hitting yet more people. Witnesses said the street was filled with people opposed to the white nationalists who had come to town bearing Confederate flags and anti-Semitic epithets.
So far one person dead and 19 injured. The dead and injured were among those opposing the Neo-Nazis and white supremacists protesting the removal of this statue from Emancipation Park. Formerly known as Lee Park, it was named after the Confederate General who committed treason by levying war against the United States of America in order to protect the institution of slavery.

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.

At the tiki-torched prelude-protest the night before, this is what happened:
Hundreds of white nationalists marched and rallied at the University of Virginia Friday night. They carried torches and chanted, "You will not replace us and "Jews will not replace us."
The day of the protest Joe Heim, staff writer for the Washington Post tweeted this:
This is who invaded Charlottesville this weekend. Racists and bigots of various seasonings and at least one white domestic terrorist - the guy driving the gray Dodge Challenger.

And yet Trump took it upon himself to condemn the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides."

As if both sides, the racists and those opposing them, held something even remotely resembling equal responsibility for the violence brought to Charlottesville by the racists protesting the removal of the Confederate statue of the guy defending the institution of slavery.

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we will save our country.

And then:
The president ignored several questions, shouted by reporters after his remarks, about white nationalists who support his presidency and whether he has denounced them in strong enough terms. While leading politicians from both parties specifically denounced the white-nationalist cause of the protesters, Trump seemed careful to avoid doing the same.
Gee, I wonder why.

Could this be the answer? From Think Progress:
The popular white supremacist site Daily Stormer called Trump’s remarks “really good,” noting that he “didn’t attack us.” They were also pleased he ignored a question about white supremacists after making his statement.
And:
Some commentators on the white nationalist message board Stormfront also praised Trump, with one noting that the president’s comments could just as easily be read as a criticism of Black Lives Matter.
Which I think is entirely the point.

This is the world we now inhabit.

My fellow citizens. We can not escape history. - That is what he said. That is what Abraham Lincoln said.

August 11, 2017

Ah, Those Guardians Of Democracy, Those Fact-Drenched Trump Voters

From The Washington Post:
Nearly half of Republicans (47 percent) believe that Trump won the popular vote, which is similar to this finding. Larger fractions believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted (68 percent) and that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often (73 percent). Again, this is similar to previous polls.

Moreover, 52 percent said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56 percent said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress proposed this.
But wait a minute. Aren't these folks the same scared jitter-ers who thought that Obama was going to claim a third term?

Jitter-ers like Joseph Farah at WND:
The question this harsh, unprecedented attack by a sitting president on a major-party nominee to succeed him raises should be obvious: What happens if Donald Trump wins the election in November?

Given what Obama has said about Trump, would he not have an obligation to prevent Trump from assuming office? And what would that mean to the peaceful process America has enjoyed for more than two centuries of transitions of power?
Rush Limbaugh in 2009:


A partial transcript from Rush Limbaugh's own website:
I think he has natural sympathies toward authoritarians. He has sympathy for dictators. He relates to them. He inherited his father’s Marxism. It’s not me saying this. It’s somebody from the American Thinker, the Nigerian woman writing last week referring to Obama as average African colonel. You have to wonder if Obama is just trying to lay a foundation for not being a hypocrite when he tries to serve beyond 2016. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in the next number of years there is a move on the 22nd Amendment, which term limits the president of the United States. He may not do it that way, he may not openly try to change the Constitution, but there might be this movement in the country from his cultlike followers to support the notion that a democratically elected leader, who is loved and adored has carte blanche, once elected, just serve as long as he wants because the people demand it, the people want it, the people love it. I wouldn’t put it past Obama to be plotting right now how to serve beyond 2016.
And that's straight out of Rush's mouth.

So they'd support the Republican president doing the same thing that they got so skeert-they-crapped-their-pants when they thought the previous Kenyan-born Democrat president was planning on doing the same thing - even though he wasn't.  (It's just another factual error on their parts, just like the 47% who thought Trump won the popular vote and the 68% who thought that millions of "illegal aliens" voted for Clinton.)

Yea, that's a consistent, fact-based coalition over there, supporting the little-handed pussy-grabber who might just get us all killed.

August 9, 2017

Ok, So We're Still Here. Going To Have To Take Things Day-By-Day, I Suppose, From Now On



With that in mind, I am wondering if, say, Bernie Sanders supporter Susan Sarandon (and all those Sanders folks who agreed with her) still believes that Hillary Clinton is "in a way, more dangerous" than Donald Trump.

More dangerous, of course, because Trump's policies are so implausible.

Implausible? They're right before our eyes. Every day. Every hour. Every tweet.

So far today, no nukular war.

But the day is still young.





August 8, 2017

My TWENTY-THIRD Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

A week or so ago, Donald J Trump told the Wall Street Journal that, after his controversial speech at this year's Boy Scout Jamboree, "I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful."

As we all know by now, that was a lie.

Not only did Donald J Trump lie about the Boy Scouts but that speech, as you probably know by now, triggered an apology from the Scouts to anyone offended by the "political rhetoric injected into the jamboree."

Senator Toomey, you were a Boy Scout (an Eagle Scout, in fact). So here's this week's question: How and why do you continue to support such a man who would blatantly politicize the Boy Scouts and then lie about it later?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

August 5, 2017

Senator Pat Toomey, Americans United For Freedom, And One Particular Address In Alexandria

It's a Saturday morning and I'm still a week away from Premier League Football so I decided to rummage around in Senator Pat Toomey's campaign contributions to see what I could find.

Being a rank amateur in such things I found nothing but questions.

Let's begin.

According to this FEC page Senator Pat Toomey's largest single donor in the 2016 election cycle was an organization called "Americans United For Freedom" and they gave him a total of $151,357.55.

And according to this FEC page Senator Pat Toomey was the largest recipient of "Americans United for Freedom" campaign disbursements for that cycle.

And according to this FEC page, "Americans United For Freedom" raised $733,905 during that cycle (and that means, if my math is correct, that Toomey received a little more than 20% of the amount raised).

And finally, according to this FEC page, none of that money actually came from Pennsylvania.

I'd say that's an interesting relationship, wouldn't you? But then again, I'm just a rank amateur at such things.

Granted, he had way more than $150 grand to spend and way more than just one donor. But his largest single donor was that committee and the largest recipient of that committee's money was Pat Toomey. And let me say it again, none of that money came from Toomey's home state.

So who is "Americans United For Freedom" anyway?

According to this FEC page, the mailing address for "Americans United For Freedom" is:
228 S WASHINGTON ST
STE 115
ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314
That's also the mailing address for Huckaby Davis Lisker, Inc. Which is where we find someone named Lisa Lisker.

She's the treasurer for "Americans United For Freedom" and here's a secret surprise for you - she also happens to be the treasurer for Toomey's leadership PAC, Citizens for Prosperity in America!

So when AUF gave all that money to Toomey's leadership PAC the paperwork didn't even have to leave one desk? Am I getting this right?

And what else can be found at that address?

Did you know as of January 2017, it was the mailing address for not one but two US Senators: John McCain and Lamar Alexander?

You can check for yourself this FEC page to see what other committees call this address home. There's lots and lots. And lots.

It must be a very important address. I don't know what any of this means except that it, perhaps, illustrates how tightly the ties that bind money and politics in our nation's capital.


August 4, 2017

Before It's Too Late - Some Great American Culture

Reports are in that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been busy:
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III began using a grand jury in federal court in Washington several weeks ago as part of his investigation of possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The development is a sign that investigators continue to aggressively gather evidence in the case, and that Mueller is taking full control of a probe that predated him.

In recent weeks and months, Mueller has been expanding the legal team working on the matter, and recently added Greg Andres, a longtime white-collar lawyer specializing in foreign bribery who previously worked in the Justice Department’s criminal division.

Mueller’s investigation now includes a look at whether President Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James B. Comey, as well as deep dives into financial and other dealings of former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
And he may be getting (if he needs it) some Congressional cover:
Two bipartisan pairs of senators unveiled legislation Thursday to prevent President Trump from firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III without cause — or at least a reason good enough to convince a panel of federal judges.

Senators have raised concerns that the president might try to rearrange his administration to get rid of Mueller, who is spearheading a probe of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and any possible collusion between the Kremlin and members of the Trump campaign and transition teams.
Let's just hope he doesn't need that cover and that the rule of law will prevail.

Let's just hope it's not all crashing down around us in slow motion.

Let's try to remember some good parts about the America-That-Was.  And for that, we'll celebrate a birthday today - Louis Armstrong, American musician, born today (yes today) in 1900:


And here he is a few decades later:


Oh, yea. And Barack Obama was born today, too (in 1961 - in Hawaii).


Do you remember when presidents were, uh, presidential?

When they weren't such an insult to decency and honesty? When they weren't under investigation for selling the country out to the Russians? When they weren't a threat to the rule of law and democracy itself?

Yea, good times.

August 2, 2017

Trumpian Greeting Cards










Vote for me (call it a lifetime achievement award)

So this is a thing I'm nominated for (thanks to Sue Kerr who's nominated in multiple categories -- vote for her!). 

You can find me under BEST LOCAL BLOGGER. 

To be honest, David DeAngelo does all the heavy lifting here these days, but maybe I'll blog more if yinz all vote for me. LOL

You can vote daily until the 18th.





Dump Trump


What A Dump!

Hey, remember when this happened?
Vanity Fair has posted photos of President Obama with his feet up on his Oval Office desk. But it's not just any desk. This desk was a gift from Britain's Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880. Known as the Resolute desk, it was built from the timbers of an Arctic exploration ship of the same name. Nothing like disrespecting history.
Much like the rest of the right wing echo chamber, my good friends on the Tribune-Review editorial board were outraged? disappointed? annoyed? (it's hard to tell) by Obama's obvious disrespect of history.

I wrote about why that's bullshit here.

But they are on the record defending the dignity of the White House and its history - that's not in dispute.

So I wonder how this is gonna play with the MAGA crowd:
During election season, [Trump National Golf Club] Bedminster morphed into a kind of permanent campaign rally site. Trump posters and bumper stickers were plastered across the property, and an anti-Hillary shrine was built in a bar in the men's locker room. The club held a Ryder Cup–style competition in which the teams wore either red or black Make America Great Again hats. At most other golf courses in America the TV is tuned to Golf Channel, on mute, but throughout last summer and fall, the television in Trump Bedminster's shop was on Fox News, with the sound blaring. As President, Trump has already made four visits to the club. He has his own cottage adjacent to the pool; it was recently given a secure perimeter by the Secret Service, leading to the inevitable joke that it's the only wall Trump has successfully built. Chatting with some members before a recent round of golf, he explained his frequent appearances: "That White House is a real dump." (A White House spokesperson denies this occurred.) [Emphasis added.]
With all the rampant, out-of-control, honesty oozing out of the Trump Administration every day, every hour, I am absolutely nay resolutely sure that that White House spokesperson's denial is 1000% true. Believe me.

Who's disrespecting the White House?



August 1, 2017

My TWENTY-SECOND Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Yesterday, the Washington Post published a story asserting that Donald J Trump himself "personally dictated" the initial, and misleading, statement describing his son's meeting in Trump Tower - a meeting Donald Jr took after being promised in an email damaging information on the Clinton Campaign from the Russian government.

That statement said the meeting was primarily about Russian adoption and it has since been shown to be misleading, at best. Dishonest, at worst. By any reckoning, it was a personally dictated presidential deception about Russian meddling with our election.

So, here's my question: How comfortable are you with the President of the United States misleading the American people on such an important matter?

You voted for him, you have to have an opinion about this. I'd like to know what it is.

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

July 31, 2017

Two Senators, Two Sides On Health Care, Two Different Reactions From Constituents

First, we'll start in Maine:


And this is what it looked like:
On the other hand, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, author of one of the Trumpcare replacements the Senate rejected hasn't felt such a warm embrace by his constituents in a while - at least if this piece at the York Dispatch is to be indicative of the whole:
The U.S. Senate narrowly voted to move forward Tuesday with debating a plan to repeal and replace "Obamacare," and Sen. Pat Toomey quickly released a statement to let his constituents know why he voted in favor of the move.

The Pennsylvania Republican posted his statement on Twitter: "I voted to open debate on reforming our health care system because we cannot continue on the current path without disastrous consequences. Today, we are one step closer to replacing Obamacare and putting Medicaid on a sustainable trajectory to ensure it will be available for future generations."
...
Toomey's statemement received more than 700 replies on Twitter with only a handful in support of the senator's decision.
Like this one:
And that was one of the nice ones.

One senator gets spontaneous applause for voting against Trumpcare while another gets very little that isn't whatever the opposite of applause would be called for supporting it.

A lesson for a Monday morning, I suppose.

I wonder if Pat Toomey is watching.

July 28, 2017

A "Skinny" Trumpcare Fails In The Senate. Pat Toomey "Disappointed"

In case you missed it, this happened over night:
Senate Republicans suffered a dramatic failure early Friday in their bid to advance a scaled-back plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, throwing into question whether they can actually repeal the 2010 health law.

Their latest effort to redraw the ACA failed after Sen. John McCain’s decision to side with two other Republicans against President Trump and GOP leaders. The Arizona Republican, diagnosed with brain cancer last week, returned to Washington on Tuesday and delivered a stirring address calling for a bipartisan approach to overhauling the ACA, while criticizing the process that produced the current legislation.

It was a speech that laid the groundwork for Friday’s dramatic vote.

The vote was 49 to 51 — all 48 members of the Democratic caucus joined with McCain and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to block the legislation.
This was the GOP's third attempt to repeal Obamacare.  There was the
And yet Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (along with most of the GOP in the Senate) voted in favor of each of them.

Toomey's disappointed in last night's vote and did so with some bigly spin of his own:
I am disappointed with this setback on efforts to fix our broken health care system. For the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians suffering from the higher costs and fewer choices caused by Obamacare’s collapse, Congress must not give up on repealing and replacing the failed health care law.
Not collapsing, Senator. Not failed, Senator. Sabotaged:
Unable — at least so far — to kill the Affordable Care Act outright, the Trump administration has conducted a sustained war of attrition designed to inflict fatal damage on Obamacare.

This war, often operating below the radar, entails the use of a quintessentially conservative strategy, and the cooperation of Congressional Republicans. In a way, it’s pretty simple: You cut the budget, impose debilitating regulations, track the subsequent missteps and then attack the program as a failure.
Sound familiar, Pat?

July 27, 2017

Donald J Trump - On Transgender Rights.



From Christine Vendel at Pennlive:
Donald Trump said last year he would be the "real friend" of the gay and transgender community.

But transgender advocates say his presidency has been anything but friendly toward their cause. The latest blow for them came Wednesday when Trump announced on Twitter that he had decided to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
Vendel collected some local reactions.  First Senator Casey:
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, criticized Trump's decision and said it was inconsistent with recommendations of previous military leadership.

"Americans willing to serve our nation in the military should be judged on their ability to do the job, not their gender identity," Casey said in a statement provided by his spokeswoman. "Prohibiting qualified, capable people from serving in our nation's military because of who they are makes our nation less safe."
And Senator Toomey:
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey's office released a statement that said Toomey, a Republican, believes every person should be judged based on his or her merits.

"That is why, during his entire public career, he has supported measures to protect individuals from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity," the statement said. "Department of Defense personnel decisions should be based entirely on maximizing the Armed Forces' ability to protect and defend the American people."

Toomey's office, however, did not offer additional clarification about whether Toomey supported or opposed Trump's ban.
I'll also note that in 2015, Toomey voted against "an amendment aimed at ending discrimination against same-sex marriage benefits for veterans." Here's the roll.

That kinda shifts the whole "during his entire public career, he has supported measures to protect individuals from discrimination based on their sexual orientation" phrase into something resembling dishonesty, doesn't it?

[Note: I ran out of time this morning and couldn't find this. My apologies for not including it.]

Then there's my local member of Congress, Mike Doyle:
Even more locally, Adam Smeltz of the Post-Gazette has this on Mayor Bill Peduto:
Transgender people who enlist in the U.S. military “should be honored for” wearing the uniform, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday, rebutting President Donald Trump’s announcement that they can no longer serve.

“They are people who have put their lives at risk in order to defend this country, and discrimination shouldn’t be a case we look at to determine whether or not they’re qualified,” said Mr. Peduto, who has criticized Mr. Trump before. “When they wear that uniform, they wear it for all Americans, and they should be honored for that.”
Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve.

Full stop.

July 26, 2017

Meanwhile, Outside...

While the republicans in the United States Senate decide on how many people will lose their health insurance and thus how many American citizens will die because of it (hey, I guess there IS a death panel after all!), we still have to contend with the planet's rising temperatures.

And so from the scientists at NOAA:
Overall, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature for June 2017 was 0.82°C (1.48°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F) and the third highest June temperature in the 138-year record, behind 2016 (+0.92°C / +1.66°F) and 2015 (+0.89°C / +1.60). June 2017 marks the 41st consecutive June and the 390th consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average.
And:
The first six months of 2017 have each ranked among the top three warmest months on record, giving way to the second highest January–June period in the 138-year record at 0.91°C (1.64°F) above the 20th century average of 13.5°C (56.3°F), behind the record year of 2016 by 0.16°C (0.29°F), but ahead of 2015 by 0.05°C (0.09°F).
That's what the science says.

The current occupant of the Oval Office, however, is on record calling it all a hoax and our junior senator from Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey, voted against a resolution that said that "human activity significantly contributes to climate change."

And then there this:
President Donald Trump plans to nominate his longtime campaign aide Sam Clovis to head science at the US Department of Agriculture, despite the fact that Clovis lacks a background in science and a congressional rule maintains that the role must be filled "from among distinguished scientists."

Clovis, who has been serving as senior White House adviser to the USDA since Trump took office, has a background as an economics professor and a former talk radio host, but he has no formal background in the hard sciences. The White House announced Trump's plans to nominate Clovis Wednesday night.
And yet, it's still getting warmer out there.

That's what the science says.

July 25, 2017

My TWENTY-FIRST Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Donald Trump and his advisors have been privately discussing replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions - possibly as a part of a plan to stop Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia and any possible links it had to Trump's presidential campaign.

Given that you've already publicly declared that you have "every confidence" in Mueller's "integrity and professionalism", is this OK with you?

Is it OK with you that Donald J. Trump, as elected leader of the country and (more importantly, it seems) leader of your party, has chosen a route so disrespectful of the rule of law? If he gets away with it would the phrase "rule of law" have any meaning anymore?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up: 

July 24, 2017

ANOTHER RESPONSE from Senator Pat Toomey

In a break some recent responses, this one is by letter. An actual letter mailed through the US Postal service.

So what's this letter about? As usual, Senator Toomey let's us know up front what he's discussing:
Thank you for contacting me about the Paris Agreement. I appreciate hearing from you.
Good. So when did I mention the Paris Agreement?

Just once, in my sixteenth letter. (I did previously ask the Senator asking if he agrees with the 97% of climate scientists who've concluded that the earth is warming up and that human beings have significantly contributed to that warming but so far he hasn't chosen to answer that question.)

But back to the sixteenth. I wrote:
In light of Donald Trump's decision to remove the United States from the Paris Accord this past week, I'd like to ask you about your position on Climate Science.
And then I presented Senator Toomey with a statement, signed and agreed to by a a dozen and a half leading scientific organizations that said that
Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.
I then asked Senator Toomey if he agreed with that. I asked for a "simple yes or no" answer.

And he simply refused answer that question  - or at best he simply chose not to. His long-ish letter describes, instead, why he supports Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement.

And even then, he gets a few things wrong. For instance he says that:
Further the Paris Agreement would have a negligible impact on preventing climate change and reducing world temperatures.
Whereas some actual scientists at MIT have gone on record responding to Trump's assertion that the Paris Agreement:
...also accomplishes LITTLE for the climate.
With this:
[T]he 0.2 degree-figure used in the talking point reflects the incremental impact of the Paris Agreement compared with the earlier Copenhagen agreement. If you instead compare the impact of the Paris Agreement to no climate policy, then the temperature reduction is much larger, on the order of 1 degree Celsius — 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit — by 2100. This would be a significant reduction in the global temperature rise, though much more is needed if the world is to achieve its goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less.
And so on. Regardless of any amount of truth in Toomey's letter, it simply doesn't change the fact that he chose not to answer my question about whether he agrees with the science, instead he filled up a page with other stuff hoping I didn't notice.

Well Senator, I noticed..

And this is how the Senator answered (a scan to follow - my scanner's broken)
Thank you for contacting me about the Paris Agreement. I appreciate hearing from you,

Like many Pennsylvanians, I believe it is essential to protect our state's natural beauty and the quality of our environment. I am supportive of reasonable pollution controls that are designed to protect public health and hour natural resources, and I believe individual state agencies have the best knowledge and experience to safeguard these important assets. It is for these reasons that I have supported commonsense efforts in Congress to protect the environment and conserve lands for the enjoyment of future generations.

On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, an international promise to reduce global carbon emissions over the net few decades. Signed by then-President Obama in September 2016, this agreement establishes voluntary carbon reduction plans and financial contributions for climate change mitigation programs in developing countries. The Obama Administration supported this program by unilaterally pledging billions of American taxpayer dollars to the United Nation's climate fund, which I believe has little accountability and insignificant U.S. oversight.

I support the withdraw from the Paris Agreement as it would have neither protected the environment nor Pennsylvania's industrial and energy sectors. The benchmarks established for the United States under the agreement would have threatened millions of industrial jobs across the country, and Pennsylvania's 36,000 coal and coal-dependent jobs. Further the Paris Agreement would have a negligible impact on preventing climate change and reducing world temperatures.

While the United States would have been expected to make significant carbon reductions under the Paris Agreement, China and Russia would have been given a free pass to increase emissions for the next decade. The Paris Agreement also does not include a viable enforcement mechanism to unsure that countries actually meet their commitment. This inconsistently-applied standard favors countries like China and Russia wile American tax payers are left to foot the bill.

Thank you again for your correspondence. When considering any environmental regulations, it is important that American policymakers and negotiators strike an appropriate balance between conservation, energy production, job creation, and job growth. Do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.


July 22, 2017

I Guess It All Depends On How You Define "Town Hall" (Sen Toomey's So-Called "Town Hall" in Harrisburg)

Let's start here:
Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania explained why Republicans are having such trouble with health care. Speaking at a town hall during the July 4 recess, Toomey said, ‘I didn't expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn't. So we didn't expect to be in this situation.' [Emphasis added.]
Actually if you read the entire piece, it's not only about health care. In fact very little of it is.  It's about how even the GOP got Trump wrong and now the party establishment has a problem on its hands.

From the piece:
No kidding. I too can report that, from June 16, 2015, to November 8, 2016, the feeling among the elected officials, party functionaries, consultants, strategists, and journalists in our nation's capital was that Donald J. Trump stood no chance of becoming president of the United States. And because the political elite held this view with such self-assurance, with all the egotism and snobbery and moral puffery and snarkiness that distinguishes itself as a class, it did not spend more than a second, if that, thinking through the possible consequences of a Trump victory.

Among those consequences: The expectation that Republicans might actually try to keep the promises they've made to voters over the last eight years.
Among these promises: Obamacare.

But I want to get back to my start. Was it a "town hall"? I guess it all depends on how you define "town hall."

If you read Time (and there's hardly a less mainstream news source than Time), it was certainly called that:
Speaking at a town hall Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Senator said that Republicans were having difficulty crafting a law to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act because they hadn't planned for it to happen this year.
 But what were the parameters of this so-called "town hall"?

From Pennlive:
Sen. Pat Toomey next week will appear in a televised town hall hosted by ABC27 News.

The event, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the news outlet's Harrisburg station, will be broadcast by other ABC affiliate stations in Altoona, Wilkes-Barre and Erie.

Viewers will be connected with the Republican senator during the live event via social media. ABC27 will take questions for Toomey on its Facebook page.

Because of capacity limitations at the station, admittance to the town hall is by invitation only.
There it is: "by invitation only" with questions streaming in over the TV station's Facebook page .

What sort of town hall is that? 

It's a pretty safe guess that the protesters outside this so-called "town hall" were not among the invited:
[The protesters] then jeered Toomey as his vehicle arrived at the station on the other side of a barricade and row of police officers.
It was "by invitation only" AND protected by a "row of police officers" AND a barricade?

What sort of town hall is that? And I have a question: who chose which questions the Senator would hear? Was it Toomey's office or the TV station, if it's the latter, were there any parameters set up beforehand as to what Toomey would hear?

I only ask because in a real town hall meeting, citizens can walk up to any microphone and be heard by their elected official.

That's obviously not what happened in Harrisburgh over the July 4th weekend. We should stop calling it a "town hall."

July 21, 2017

It's Trump War - It's Just That Almost No One Sees It.

From Talkingpointsmemo:
The Times and the Post tonight both have stories out reporting the Trump legal team’s expanding war against Special Counsel Robert Mueller and – hyperbolic as it may sound to say – the law itself. While there are a number of individual dimensions to the stories, the larger story, especially from the Post, is that the President refuses to allow the law to apply to himself or his family. [Italics and links in original]
War against the law itself and then there's Trump's war on the media:


Resist.

July 20, 2017

What Senator Toomey Wants, What He's Voted For, And What We'd Get Because Of It.

From The Health Affairs Blog:
Late in the day on July 19, 2017, the Senate released the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA) of 2017 (summary). The bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) coverage provisions, but delay the repeal of the coverage provisions until 2020, presumably giving Congress time to come up with a replacement. It is virtually identical to the reconciliation bill that passed both houses of Congress in 2015, only to be vetoed by President Obama. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) simultaneously released a cost estimate of the bill, which was very similar to the report it had offered on the 2015 bill. 
Senator Pat Toomey, like most other GOP senators at the time, voted for that reconciliation bill.

Senator Toomey this week:
I intend to vote to proceed to a full Obamacare repeal bill that would take effect in two years so that Congress can use this time to craft a legislative replacement and move toward a consumer-driven health care system.
And what the CBO said about this appeal bill (the one that's "virtually identical" to the one Pat voted for 2 years ago:
The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 17 million in 2018, compared with the number under current law. That number would increase to 27 million in 2020, after the elimination of the ACA’s expansion of eligibility for Medicaid and the elimination of subsidies for insurance purchased through the marketplaces established by the ACA, and then to 32 million in 2026.
So Pat Toomey's solution to:
Obamacare is failing. In Pennsylvania, Obamacare premiums are up 120 percent and 40 percent of our residents are limited to one insurer on the exchange. Families are still in dire need of relief.
Is to make sure 32 million fewer Americans have health care insurance, hoping that the Congress, after failing to come up with a solution after 7 years of working on one, will somehow magically come up with a solution in just 2.

In the meantime, 32 million fewer insured.

The GOP plan. Pat Toomey's plan.

Hooray for us.

July 19, 2017

Toomey-Time Round-Up! (Part The Second)

Yesterday, we started looking at all the letters of mine that Senator Pat Toomey has chosen not to answer (so far, of course).

We know that he (or at least his office) has seen everything up to my nineteenth letter (we know this because he answered it).

Yesterday, we ended with the tenth letter.

What else has he decided not to answer?
  • Eleventh letter - I asked Toomey if he agrees with the 97% of climate scientists who've concluded that the planet is warming up AND that human activity is (at the very least) a significant cause.
  • Twelfth letter - This one was about former NSA Flynn. I asked Toomey whether he was concerned that Trump knew for two and a half weeks that Flynn was in danger of being compromised by the Russians before firing him.
  • Thirteenth letter - I asked Toomey if, given Trump's firing of FBI director James Comey and then his subsequent leaking of classified information to the Russians, he still had confidence in Trump's abilities as leader of the free world.
  • Fourteenth letter - This one is a follow up to the thirteenth. I asked Toomey if he was OK with Trump bragging to the Russians about his firing of James Comey, calling him "a nut job."
  • Fifteenth letter - I asked Toomey if he was concerned about Jared Kushner's dishonesty regarding his meeting with the Russians and then subsequent attempts to secure a "back channel" to them outside of the ability of US Intelligence to monitor.
  • Sixteenth letter - This is another climate science question. I asked Toomey a simple yes or no. Does he agree that "that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver"? 
  • Seventeenth letter - This one is probably moot. It's about Toomey's failed ACA replacement legislation. 
  • Eighteenth letter - Probably also moot as it's also about Toomey's failed ACA replacement.
Senator, I'd still like to see answers to these important questions as they touch on issues of global stability as well as domestic security.

July 18, 2017

It's Toomey Time - Time For Toomey Round-up! Time For Toomey Round-up!

Since we've hit the nice round number of twenty in my weekly "Open Letters To Senator Toomey" project, I thought it might be a good idea to look at some of the questions he has (so far) chosen not to answer.

I also figure I'd give him a break since his Trumpcare (Obamacare replacement) bill has stumbled.

We know that the Toomey office has received everything up to and including my nineteenth letter.

So he's seen everything before that and has (again, so far) chosen not to answer the following questions:
  • Third letter - Does Senator Toomey agree with Donald J Trump when the latter said that the press is "the enemy of the people"? 
  • Fourth letter - In his push to "defund Planned Parenthood" is Senator Toomey comfortable knowing that if he did, he'd be depriving thousands of low-income women in Pennsylvania necessary cancer screenings and STD treatments?
  • Fifth letter - this one's probably moot. In it, I asked about Senator Toomey's plans to protect his constituents in the event that the House Obamacare replacement becomes law. As we've seen his Senate Obamacare replacement, we already know that answer.
  • Sixth letter - Given Trump's repeated, uh, misstatements (and the repeated debunkings that followed) regarding the non-existent wiretapping of Trump Tower, how much does that undermine Senator Toomey's confidence in Trump's ability to lead?
  • Eighth letter - Senator Toomey supported a resolution that would have allowed ISPs to sell anyone's personal browsing history. Given the lack of public support of that idea, why is the Senator supporting it?
  • Tenth letter - Is Senator Toomey OK with Trump's continued refusal to release his tax returns? If it was good enough for Ronald Reagan, why isn't it good enough for Donald J Trump?
And that's the first half or so.

More later.

July 17, 2017

Happy Birthday Peter Schickele

Ok, so let's take a break from the disintegration of the country and/or the Trump Administration and/or the GOP for some fun.

Today is Peter Schickele's birthday.

Everything you need to know about him as a composer can be found in this piece:


Technically, the piece is a "quodlibet" but that's really not important.

If you need a hand getting through it, here's some help.

Prepare to giggle.

July 15, 2017

ANOTHER Response From Senator Pat Toomey

Like his previous responses, this one is email - saves postage and printing, I guess.

So what's this one all about? Senator Toomey's first sentence tells us:
Thank you for contacting my office about health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you.
I'm relieved that even after twenty letters, he still appreciates hearing from me. I'll take that as a Senatorial encouragement to keep the letters coming.

(That should be encouragement to any of my readers who are in the habit of writing to Toomey to keep writing to Toomey. And hey, if you have both your letter and his response in a post-able form, send it in. I'll post it here.)

Here are my five health care letters:
  • Fifth - where I pointed out the CBO of the Obamacare replacement bill written in The House of Representatives. As Toomey's letter is discussing the Senate's bill, this is probably not the letter to which he's responding.
  • Seventeenth - where I asked about his bill, the BCRA, before it was released. It was written in secret and so I asked why his constituents couldn't see it/comment on it before it was to be discussed in the Senate. This is also probably not the letter to which he's responding.
  • Eighteenth - where I pointed to some poll data showing the then level of public support for ACA (49% supported, 42% opposed) and then asked, given the lack of public support, why write the replacement bill in secret? This is also probably not the letter to which he's responding.
  • Nineteenth -  where I pointed out the CBO analysis of the BCRA and asked whether he's ok with millions of people losing their health insurance just so that the already wealthy can become a little wealthier. This is probably the letter to which he's responding.
  • Twentieth - where I asked him to comment on what Bishop David Zubik said, that "access to health care is a basic human right" and that his replacement bill is "morally unacceptable." Given that he doesn't mention Bishop Zubik at all, this is also probably not the letter to which he's responding.
That leaves the nineteenth letter.  The interesting thing about his response (posted in its entirety at the bottom of this blog post) is how familiar his opening is.  For example, his second paragraph:
Obamacare is fundamentally wrong in its approach to improving our nation's health care system. It forces people to buy overpriced health plans they do not want, hikes taxes, and puts important and personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats instead of patients and their doctors.
Take a look at this from Senator Toomey, dated September of 2013:
Obamacare is fundamentally wrong in its approach to improving our nation's health care system.
Or this from only one month later:
...it is the fact that the President's health care law forces people to buy overpriced health plans they don't want, hikes taxes, and puts important, personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats instead of patients and their doctors.
Toomey's response to me continues:
In Pennsylvania's individual insurance market, premiums have skyrocketed an astonishing 120 percent since 2013. Forty percent of Pennsylvanians have only one insurer from which to obtain coverage. For these reasons, Congress has begun the process to roll back this misguided experiment and address the most immediate challenges presented by Obamacare's collapse.
Is that true? Is Obamacare collapsing?

No, not according to Thomas Howell jr of the conservative Washington Times:
Obamacare in a death spiral? It’s been a mantra of Republicans, who say the law is collapsing and they are riding to the rescue.

But the Congressional Budget Office, in a little-noticed part of its report last week, said that is not the case. In fact, the CBO analysts said, Obamacare’s exchanges are likely to “be stable in most areas” under the existing law.

The analysts said the key is the tax subsidies the government provides to most of those buying plans on the exchanges. As premiums go up, so does the amount the government pays out to help people buy their coverage — meaning there will always be a pool of customers.
That last part kinda redefines Toomey's complaint about skyrocketing premiums, huh?

And that's an important part of whatever is pushing up the premiums - the issue that Senator Toomey  sees as a flaw in the law and not in how it's being sabotaged by members of his party.

Take a look:
Donald Trump has repeatedly assured the American people that their health-care system will collapse on his watch. In many instances, the president has framed this claim as a matter-of-fact assessment of Obamacare’s incurable flaws — in others, as a promise to kill the law by any means necessary.

In early April, Trump sounded the latter note. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the president suggested that he would cease paying out cost-sharing reductions — subsidies to insurers that defray the cost of covering low-income Obamacare enrollees — so as to engineer a crisis in the private insurance market, and, thus, generate more support for repealing Barack Obama’s signature law.
And:
By threatening to stop paying out those so-called cost-sharing reductions — while also threatening not to enforce penalties on those go without insurance — the White House sowed uncertainty that chased insurers out of Obamacare.
So when Toomey points out the lack of a big and healthy health care market, he can actually thank his party brethren for that - especially the orange vulgarity he voted for in November.

Then there's Toomey's defense of his bill's Medicare assault:
Despite inaccurate reports to the contrary, the Senate draft bill keeps Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid, the program for low-income Americans. Obamacare created a new category of eligibility: working age, able-bodied, childless adults. Under the Senate bill, both the 700,000 Pennsylvanians who signed up for this expansion and future expansion enrollees retain federal eligibility for the program. In fact, the federal government will pay at least 90 percent of their costs through 2020, with states paying the balance. Then, over a four-year phase-in period, states wishing to cover this new category of recipients will be required to pay their fair share - only 48 percent in Pennsylvania - for the Medicaid expansion. This is the same amount states currently pay for every traditional Medicaid category: the aged, disabled, children, and families.
We've already discussed this word play on the word "eligibility" in that the "eligibility" remains for people to go on Medicaid but the funding does not.

But this actually gets us at least close to the question I asked - the one that Pat Toomey failed to answer. He filled his email with lotsa stuff hoping, I guess, that I'd wouldn't notice that he didn't actually answer my question.

I noticed. but since we're talking Medicaid, I'll re-ask specifically about that:
Pat, are you OK knowing that thousands of your constituents risk losing Medicaid coverage (though not their "eligibility" just the funding) simply to allow more of your wealthy friends and supporters to get just a little wealthier?
Since that's what I asked and the page of filler is how he responded, I think it's safe to assume the answer's a quiet conservative "yes."

Senator Toomey's letter in full:
Dear David,

Thank you for contacting my office about health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you.

Obamacare is fundamentally wrong in its approach to improving our nation's health care system. It forces people to buy overpriced health plans they do not want, hikes taxes, and puts important and personal health care decisions in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats instead of patients and their doctors. In Pennsylvania's individual insurance market, premiums have skyrocketed an astonishing 120 percent since 2013. Forty percent of Pennsylvanians have only one insurer from which to obtain coverage. For these reasons, Congress has begun the process to roll back this misguided experiment and address the most immediate challenges presented by Obamacare's collapse.

On June 22, 2017, the Senate Budget Committee released the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a draft proposal to fix Obamacare's flaws. This legislation will not affect that vast majority of Pennsylvania families who receive their coverage through an employer, Medicare, or the Children's Health Insurance Program. The legislation ensures no one currently covered by Obamacare has the rug pulled out from under them. The proposal stabilizes the collapsing individual market by continuing Obamacare subsidies for all eligible Americans of modest incomes, and subsidizes high-cost enrollees via a new stabilization fund. Insurers receive some relief from Obamacare regulations to help lower premiums. More broadly, the bill's tax credits, expansion of health savings accounts, repeal of Obamacare taxes, and restoration of state insurance oversight will help to drive down costs for everyone as we transition to a more consumer-driven market.

Despite inaccurate reports to the contrary, the Senate draft bill keeps Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid, the program for low-income Americans. Obamacare created a new category of eligibility: working age, able-bodied, childless adults. Under the Senate bill, both the 700,000 Pennsylvanians who signed up for this expansion and future expansion enrollees retain federal eligibility for the program. In fact, the federal government will pay at least 90 percent of their costs through 2020, with states paying the balance. Then, over a four-year phase-in period, states wishing to cover this new category of recipients will be required to pay their fair share - only 48 percent in Pennsylvania - for the Medicaid expansion. This is the same amount states currently pay for every traditional Medicaid category: the aged, disabled, children, and families.

Perhaps most importantly, for the first time in its history, the Medicaid program will be reformed so it is sustainable for future generations and for taxpayers. For decades, Medicaid spending growth has been out of control. It is now a major driver of our federal deficits and debt. Obamacare exacerbated it by adding millions to the rolls without any reform. The draft bill begins, eight years from now, to transition from this uncontrolled, unsustainable spending growth to a slightly slower, hopefully manageable, rate of growth. It also gives states flexibility to deliver care more efficiently and effectively through Medicaid without being constrained by federal rules written by Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.

The draft bill is now publicly available, and all health care experts, patients, medical professionals, employers, and individual constituents are welcome to provide feedback. I am open to the ideas of anyone who hopes to improve the health care system. You should also know that should the legislation be brought to the floor of the full Senate, it will be subject to an open and unlimited amendment process, giving every Senator the chance to suggest changes before final passage.

Thank you again for your correspondence. Do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.

July 14, 2017

Red Handed



This is a big fucking deal. It's a big fucking deal that's getting fucking bigger by the day, it seems.

If you don't think so, run your Trumpster noggin by a couple of hypotheticals.

First from the Former FBI Agent, now Yale Law Associate Dean Asha Rangappa writing in the Washington Post:
Imagine that during the 2016 presidential election, a candidate publicly invited the Islamic State to bomb the Democratic Party headquarters. And then imagine that such a bombing in fact took place, resulting in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Now further imagine that the new president not only had no interest in learning more about who caused the attack or bringing them to justice, but in fact went out of his way to make nice with the Islamic State and offer them political and diplomatic concessions. Finally, imagine that there may be evidence that members of the president’s campaign or other American citizens were actively or passively involved in facilitating such an attack.
Or this from Ezra Klein writing at Vox:
Imagine Chelsea Clinton had taken Bill Clinton and campaign chair John Podesta to a meeting set up by a Chinese government intermediary who claimed to have damaging information about Donald Trump’s tax returns and said over email they were willing to share the information in a bid to defeat Trump. Imagine emails emerged in which Chelsea, Bill and Podesta were all told the meeting was with a lawyer for the Chinese government and “is part of China and its government’s support for Ms. Clinton.”

Imagine this information came out mere weeks after stories revealing a major Democratic funder, acting on the behest of prospective National Security Adviser Susan Rice, had been trying to work with Chinese hackers to steal copies of Trump’s tax returns.

Imagine, during all of this, that Hillary Clinton herself had gotten on a stage and begged the Chinese government to release Trump’s tax returns. “China, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the tax returns,” Clinton said in Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Imagine that these stories were not isolated. They came alongside dozens of strange meetings between Clinton campaign aides and Chinese staffers — contacts left off security clearance forms and “forgotten” during sworn congressional testimony — and were buttressed by Clinton herself lurching toward a strangely pro-China policy and an unusual, and repeatedly articulated, affection for China’s leader.

And imagine that in a crucial stretch of the campaign, hackers backed by the Chinese government really did break into the Trump family’s systems and release a bevy of damaging financial documents in a successful effort to elect Clinton.
Yea, imagine the outcry from the Trump supporters and their allies in the "party over country" GOP.

I very seriously doubt it would look like this:
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said Tuesday called the investigation into possible collusion between members of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia "overblown" and said he isn't paying much attention to it.
Speaking of which, I got another response from Senator Toomey last night. A full analysis is on the way.