#NeverStopComplainingAbout #NeverTrump

If every #NeverTrump conservative had been an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Trump administration starting January 20, do you really think the administration would be in measurably better shape? Trump still would have claimed Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, he still would have been content to let the House set the details of the Obamacare repeal, he still would have signed the giant omnibus spending bill, he still would have fired Comey, he still would have had the Bannon-Kushner-Priebus-Kohn-Ivanka “Game of Thrones” infighting, he still would have a glacial pace of naming appointments, tax reform and the infrastructure bill would still be passing slower than a kidney stone… This is a White House where the biggest problems are all self-inflicted.

[#NeverTrump conservatives] do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake. While they strongly differ with the Left, they do not regard the left–right battle as an existential battle for preserving our nation. On the other hand, I, and other conservative Trump supporters, do.

If you really believe America is fighting a second Civil War… what do you do with people who disagree with you? Shoot them? Blow them up? Imprison them? Keep them in prisoner of war camps? Call our current conflict with the Left what you like – but it’s not war.

.. But where Kurt has really matured as a storyteller is in all the human touches of what could have otherwise been fine as an entertaining social satire and techno-thriller. The ordinary people of Jasper, Ind., in the late 2020s really don’t want to be involved in a political war and have no appetite for launching an insurgency against their own government. But sometimes bad laws and bad leaders set an unstoppable sequence of escalation in motion. Halfway through the book, I realized I’m reading a prequel, and I’m somehow still wondering what’s going to happen. The sense of dread and impending bloodshed is palpable.

.. Kurt, a retired Army infantry colonel, served in the Balkans, and this book is undoubtedly shaped by his experiences there. I’ve heard him speak about how Kosovo once was and could have remained a beautiful place, and how the locals made choices that amounted to throwing it all away, casting away the rule of law and the humanity of their neighbors in the process.

.. If the only concern among Democrats was accountability for suspected “high crimes and misdemeanors,” you wouldn’t hear any talk of “but Pence would be worse!”

The CBO, Always the Skunk at the Garden Party

Why is the Republican Party in its current predicament in health-care policy? A lot of reasons, but a big one is that they now have to explain the tradeoffs of a specific plan when their standard-bearer refused to do so in 2016. On the trail, Donald Trump made sweeping promises about how much better health care would be, with no specifics or ideas about how he was going to get there:

“I am going to take care of everybody,” he told 60 Minutes.I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now…The government’s gonna pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.”

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.” People covered under the law “can expect to have great health care. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.”

“Obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced.You’re going to end up with great health care for a fraction of the price and that’s gonna take place immediately after we go in. Okay? Immediately. Fast. Quick.”

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”

You can’t keep all of those promises. Some of them are more or less contradictory. You can’t keep Medicaid intact AND repeal Obamacare, because Obamacare expanded Medicaid. If insurance companies cannot charge more for those who have preexisting conditions, it is very difficult to reduce premiums.

The Facts of the Seth Rich Murder That Don’t Support Conspiracy Theories

The conspiracy is based on a true event — the terrible and unsolved murder of Seth Rich, a young Democratic National Committee staffer. Early the morning on July 10, an unidentified assailant shot Rich in the back. The police haven’t solved the crime, and their current best theory is that the attack occurred as part of a botched or interrupted robbery. Rich’s valuables, however, were still on his body, and the police (so far as we know) have no leads…

For the theory to be true, its believers have to demonstrate that Rich leaked to WikiLeaks, that someone in the DNC (or the Clinton camp) in turn had Rich murdered, that the D.C. police are intentionally slow-walking the investigation, that the major intelligence agencies (namely the CIA, FBI, and NSA) are together either deliberately concocting a story about Russian interference or too stupid to recognize an inside job, and finally, that the remainder of official Washington is either oblivious to or colluding with conspirators who’ve damaged relations with Russia in hopes of bringing down a president. Oh, and did I mention that the family of the slain young man is also either in on the conspiracy or unaware of its existence?

When Does All That Evidence of Collusion Arrive?

Imagine a scenario where the FBI and prosecutors eventually can prove some underling violated the law — obstruction of justice? Lying to investigators? — but not Trump. Will Democrats accept that?

Pity the FBI and intelligence community. They have to get to the bottom of this in a world where just under half of Capitol Hill, most of the media, almost all of academia, a good portion of the think-tank world and “intellectual class” etc., believe that the real mission of the investigation is to correct the “error” of the 2016 election.

If you talk to Democrats lately, they speak not as if the voters merely made a mistake, but that somehow history itself has gone wrong. They speak we’re living in an alternative timeline, experiencing events that “weren’t supposed” to happen. In their eyes, Hillary Clinton was obviously so much more appealing that Trump. She led in the polls! She had so many more campaign offices! She spent so much more money! She ran so many more ads! Surely, a result like this must be the result of someone cheating.

Because so many Democrats associate Trump with apocalyptic threats — global warming, the sudden establishment of a repressive theocracy like The Handmaid’s Tale, nuclear confrontation, race wars — they all see themselves as their own personal Kyle Reeses, on a mission to save the future.

.. Mr. Trump’s presence is an opportunity for [Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] to show off his modernization effort. An extravaganza featuring something for everyone — the Harlem Globetrotters taking on a Saudi basketball team, car races, country singer Toby Keith — is intended to convince Americans there is a new, open Saudi Arabia and Saudis that mixing cultures and sexes isn’t evil.