Hollywood To Unveil New Award Show Devoted to Ridiculing Trump and His Supporters

September 20th, 2017

Today Hollywood groups announced that they were unveiling an award dedicated to ridiculing President Donald Trump and all his supporters.

“Sure, there was a fair amount of ridicule of the Bloated Orange Buffoon and his deplorable voters at the Emmys this year,” said Screen Actor’s Guild spokesman Amy Schumer. “But it showed there’s a real thirst for Hollywood celebrities to reward withering contempt aimed at both Drumpf and his ignorant, uncouth supporters, as well as to parade and celebrate our moral superiority to them.”

The new award show, The First Annual Smarmies, underwritten by SAG and the Writers Guild of America West, will debut in late October with Chelsea Handler as the host. Categories include:

  • Best Anti-Trump Storyline in a TV Drama
  • Best Anti-Trump Skit
  • Best Anti-Trump Monologue
  • Best Anti-Trump Song
  • Best Anti-Trump Tweet
  • Best Essay By A Former Republican Lamenting The Rise Of Trump And Confessing Their Sins
  • Best Mock Trump Assassination
  • Best Skit Expressing The Nobel Nature of Hillary Clinton OMG We Love Her So Much
  • Best Storyline Illustrating Why Enforcing Immigration Laws Is Evil
  • Best Performance Ridiculing Christians For Their Crazy Beliefs
  • Best Performance Celebrating Muslims
  • Best Performance Ridiculing Guns, Hunting or NASCAR
  • Best Monologue Explaining To Ignorant Trump Supporters In The Heartland How Very Wrong They Are And How They Need To Mend Their Ways And Abandon Trump If They Want To Win Back Hollywood’s Respect
  • Lena Dunham, Keith Olbermann, Kathy Griffin and Cher are among the announced celebrities who will be presenting awards.

    “We want to make sure the award ceremony is broadcast in prime time,” said Schumer “especially in states like Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, so we can let those inbred redneck freaks of JesusLand feel the naked contempt their intellectual betters hold them in.

    “That was the problem in 2016: We just didn’t let middle America feel our disdain for them enough. This time we’re going to fix that. Once middle America finally realizes how much Hollywood celebrities hate them, I’m sure they’ll stop voting for the candidates we oppose!”

    Lazy Blogging: Random Tweet Edition

    September 19th, 2017

    Monday was a bear, for Reasons (some good, some bad), so here’s the lazy blogger’s friend: Random Tweets.

    “Why nothing about the Emmys going full Social justice Warrior instead,” you ask?

    Because the last time I watched the Emmys, Toshiro Mifune was goofing on his appearance in Shogun. Which would put it around 1982…

    Liberals Freak Out Over Trump Tweet

    September 18th, 2017

    (Hey kids! Save that headline and you’ll be able to use it again and again and again…)

    Once again, President Donald Trump retweeted a silly meme and liberal Twitter freaked out:

    That’s Trump hitting a golf ball cut with one of Hillary Clinton’s many, many campaign trail stumbles, with CGI in the later of that ball hitting her, causing the stumble.

    It’s obviously silly, obviously unreal, and elicits a chuckle. It also reminds his followers that the MSM repeatedly covered up this and other Hillary stumbles until leaked footage of her 9/11 collapse made them cover the issue.

    Yet liberal Twitter reacted as if President Trump were advocating assaulting random old women in the street:

    Do they actually think Trump is promoting violence? Will hundreds of MAGA-cap wearing Trump supporters descend on Hillary’s book tour with 9-irons and attempt to hook and slice her to death?

    It’s like people accusing Mel Brooks of wanting to murder black law enforcement officers based on the sheriff-welcoming scene in Blazing Saddles.

    The mockery of same was equally as swift:

    And this is such a big story that the New York Times, the Washington Post and The Guardian all have stories on it.

    The weird thing is, the media ought to know by now that such unbalanced pearl-clutching overreactions hurt them far worse that Trump. They also show Trump’s still using the media’s obsession with him to dominate the news cycle.

    Demolishing the “Southern Strategy” Myth

    September 17th, 2017

    Here’s a Prager University video demolishing the myth of the “Southern Strategy,” the idea that the party of Bull Conner and George Wallace magically became the party of civil rights and the Republican Party took their place as the party of racism.

    (Hat tip: Adam Baldwin’s Twitter feed.)

    Possible Conflict Between Assad/Russia and SDF/U.S. Brewing?

    September 16th, 2017

    Remember how a month ago how almost all the different Syrian factions were concentrating on crushing the last remnants of the Islamic State?

    Good times, good times.

    Well the good times may be over, as Russian and Syrian forces launched an airstrike against the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces northeast of Deir ez-Zor.

    Both are converging on Deir ez-Zor, thought to be the de facto capital of what’s left of the Islamic State. SDF also wants to keep Assad’s forces on the western side of the Euphrates.

    Here’s the situation from Syria Livemap:

    It would be nice if both sides could finish dismantling the Islamic State before launching the next war…

    LinkSwarm for September 15, 2017

    September 15th, 2017

    Greetings, and welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Cleanup from Harvey and Irma continues apace, and there was another London jihad terror attack.

  • Bomb attack on a London tube train injuries 20, but no reported deaths. “Officers believe that the blast on the train at Parsons Green, southwest London, was caused by an improvised explosive device and hundreds of detectives are now investigating with the assistance of MI5.” More west than southwest, I would say, since it’s north of the Themes and south of Earl’s Court.
  • Also, not one, but two jihad knife attacks in France today, fortunately with no fatalities. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Irma death toll is at 82, 39 of them in the United States, and 1.5 million homes remain without power.
  • “Houston councilman tells residents not to donate to Red Cross.”

    Houston City Councilman Dave Martin, who represents hard-hit Kingwood, had a message for the public about the American Red Cross.

    “I beg you not to send them a penny,” he said at Wednesday’s council meeting. “They are the most inept unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced.”

    In part of a broader rant that also roped in a perceived lack of assistance from his native New Orleans (“Send me your darn trucks, Mitch,” he said, a plea for the Big Easy’s mayor, Mitch Landrieu, to send waste trucks westward to haul off storm debris), Martin said local folks opened shelters and gathered water and supplies to help his northeastern suburb’s evacuees.

    “Don’t waste your money,” said Martin. “Give it to another cause.”

  • Woman downloads app during Harvey, and suddenly she’s doing rescue dispatch.
  • How many times must a gay Democratic mayor be accused of child sexual abuse before resigning? Judging by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, the answer is evidently “five.” Edited to add: Forgot to mention (as Dwight does in the comments below) that Murray was a member of Illegal Mayors Against Gun Owners.
  • Speaking of prominent Democratic office holders who are sex offenders, Anthony Weiner is arguing he doesn’t deserve to go to prison because it’s not his fault that those darn sexy 15-year-olds keep attracting his attention and taking advantage of his sickness. See Anthony, the thing is, when normal men receive a message like “High! I’m nubile jailbait!”, we ignore it because we’re: A.) Not perverts, and B.) Not complete morons. But only the dimmest, stupidest, sickest pervert would fall for that crap when he lives under a media microscope and after it’s already ruined his life.
  • The Awan family Democratic House member data breach gets murkier:

    On April 6, at midnight, in a small room once used as a phone booth on the second floor of the Rayburn House Office Building, a Capitol Hill Police Officer doing his security rounds discovered evidence that will possibly reveal one of the the biggest security breaches involving House Democrats by the Awan family, a group of entrusted IT staffers, according to court records, police reports and news reports.

    In the small room, the U.S. Capitol Police found a laptop computer registered to Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a Florida Democrat and former DNC chairwoman. Wasserman-Schultz had been fighting authorities for months to return the laptop, that she once claimed was not hers.

    What’s more concerning, say senior House officials who spoke to Circa, is that Imran Awan was also allegedly transferring files – including documents and emails – of House Democrats to a secret server connected to the less secure House Democratic Caucus. The organization was then chaired by Rep. Xavier Becerra, who left Congress in January after being sworn in as the Attorney General of California.

    The Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak was the first to break the story and last week Rosiak reported Wasserman Schultz’s IT staffer, now indicted Awan, is believed to have planted her laptop in the Rayburn office room, along with his Pakistani ID card, copies of his driver’s license and his congressional ID badge. Awan also left behind letters to the U.S. attorney.

    Awan apparently wanted the evidence discovered, according to a Capitol Hill police report on the matter.

    Officials are now asking the question of why the computer was left but the answers remain elusive.

    “There is no reason to accommodate all the members data on one server and one that was apparently hidden,” said the Senior House official. “Why didn’t Xavier Becerra know this because it happened on his watch? Each member had their own server to protect against this and Awan intentionally tried to hide what he had done from investigators.”

    Becerra’s office did not return phone calls for comment.

    The House official told Circa that Awan was also allegedly uploading “terabits of information to dropbox so he was possibly able to access the information even after he was banned from the network.” The official said there is a need for a full congressional investigation on the matter.

    “I think this may lead to information as to who really accessed the DNC server – everybody talks about Russia – but look at the access (Awan) had and potentially those emails could have been sold,” the House official added.

  • Speaking of data breaches, here’s Brian Krebs on how to protect yourself after the Equifax data breach. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • “The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that will provide $1.2 trillion to fund the government past Sept. 30, and will allocate $1.6 billion towards President Donald Trump’s border wall.” This is why I don’t freak out over all the reports of President Trump’s reported amnesty deal with Democrats. It’s not that I trust Trump, it’s that I have no interest in watching the magician make flourishes with his left hand. If such an amnesty actually approaches the voting stage, then I’ll worry. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Still, President Trump would do well to heed Kurt Schlicter’s advice and not let Chuck Schumer play him for a fool. “What we saw isn’t the art of the deal. This is the art of being suckered.”
  • An organizer for the #BlackLivesMatter rally where five Dallas police officers were killed has been arrested on felony theft charges. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Illegal alien arrested in murder involving a stolen police officer’s firearm was wearing an electronic monitor issued by United States immigration officials at the time.
  • “Outraged illegal aliens demand ICE announce their raids in advance.” Note: Not an Onion headline. (Hat tip: BigGator5’s Twitter feed.)
  • Obama Administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice admits that she unmasked Trump associates.
  • Even with President Donald Trump’s recent chumminess with Democratic congressional leaders, he’s less of an authoritarian threat than Hillary was. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Don Surber puts his finger on what’s ailing the Democratic Party:

    It comes down to one man.

    The leader of the party.

    Barack Obama.

    He was a terrible president.

    Also this:

    Calling us deplorable backfired too.

    Democrats are intellectually lazy. Decades of demonizing conservatives failed to win the last election. Name-calling won’t win votes. Racist, sexist, even Nazi, no longer have any meaning thanks to overuse.

    If Democrats want to win again, then they will have to sell their ideas, not their skin color, their sex, or any other superficiality.

    People want results, not tokens.

    (Hat tip: The Other McCain.

  • How Antifa are helping reelect Donald Trump.

    It should be apparent, but evidently is not to antifa members and leaders, that the United States, despite Donald Trump being president, is not in a comparable situation to that of Weimar Germany on the eve of Hitler’s ascension to power…Leftist violence in the 1930s in Germany led many to support the Nazis in the hope they would put an end to the continuing street brawls and violence. Today, the antifa left may even help to get Donald Trump reelected in 2020.

  • “And they wonder why people don’t vote for Democrats around here anymore.”
  • In a poll of possible Democratic candidates for 2020, Bernie Sanders has a commanding lead over— [At this point a lynch mob broke into the writer’s house to wreck terrible vengeance upon him for mentioning the 2020 presidential election more than three years out.]
  • Democrats declare war on vaping.
  • Camille Paglia says that transgender activists are committing child abuse by advocating “sex change” surgery for children.

    In sex-reassignment surgery, even today, with all of its advances, cannot, in fact, change anyone’s sex. You can define yourself as a trans man or a trans woman or one of these new gradations along the scale, but ultimately every single cell in the human body, the DNA in that cell remains coded for your biological birth.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • “The Left Is Still Freaking Out About Betsy DeVos Because School Choice Is An Existential Threat.”
  • Don’t look now, but there’s a new war in the Congo.
  • “Brexit: EU repeal bill wins first Commons vote.”
  • When are experts right and when are they wrong? Scott Adams offers some guidelines.
  • Oberlin College: Hey! Let’s go full Social justice Warrior! Reality: Hey! Enjoy declining enrollment and financial problems.
  • Russian company develops anti-riot truck that’s like a moving battlement. Looks like it would be adept at crushing pro-democracy protestors and Antifa equally.
  • Jack Kerouac: “You stupid hippies should get the hell off my lawn!”
  • How it took four decades to restore Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil. Including a fascinating interview with Welles from 1958.
  • “Commuters express concern as Thomas the Tank Engine falls to the power of Chaos.”
  • My library was featured on the Ace of Spades Sunday book thread.
  • J. J. Watt $33 Million, ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox/130 Celebrities $44 Million

    September 14th, 2017

    In this corner, we have J.J. Watt’s YouCaring Campaign for Hurricane Harvey relief in Houston and surrounding environs. He raised (as of this writing) just shy of $33 million.

    In this corner, we have ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, George Clooney, Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Stephen Colbert, Stevie Wonder, Tom Hanks, Barbra Streisand and Cher in a national telethon to raise money for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma relief. They raised $44 million. (For comparison’s sake, the 2010 Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy telethon, the last full 21 hour one and the last one Jerry Lewis presided over, took in just shy of $59 million.)

    So the combined forces of the four major networks and 130 celebrities managed to raise 1/3rd again as much as J.J. Watt did with a Twitter account.

    This is not to denigrate the telethon. Their heart was in the right place, and I’m sure most of the money will be put to good use. But it does rather suggest that the days of telethons as efficient fundraising vehicles has now passed…

    (More background on Watt’s campaign here.)

    Clinton Corruption Update for September 13, 2017

    September 13th, 2017

    With Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming book on why she lost the 2016 President election, How I F*ck*ed Up Deplorables 1 Me 0 Who Knew Wisconsin Was a State? What Happened (Amazon link provided for those who have a crying professional need to buy the book or an unquenchable thirst for schadenfreude, because let’s face it: that thing has “massive stacks of remainder copies” written all over it) in the news, I guess it’s high time to do another Clinton Corruption update. Once again we ask the eternal question: How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

    Though there is this: “Clinton: ‘I Am Done With Being a Candidate.” From your lips to God’s ear…

  • Looking for a handy primer on Clinton’s EmailGate scandal? Judicial Watch has produced this 28 page primer based on a recent panel discussion featuring Tom Fitton and Michael Bekesha of Judicial Watch, former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova and reporter Jason Leopold. Some excerpts:

    We found out that as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton had not gone through the classified email training that was required by presidential executive order, and by federal law We asked for the records of the training. The State Department gave us a “no records” response. So, that’s yet another area of the law where Mrs. Clinton didn’t have to follow the rules.

    But let’s get back to the emails themselves. We found a nearly five-month total gap in Mrs. Clinton’s emails. And keep in mind: these are in the emails she decided to turn over. We also found that one key State Department official did not want a written record of issues about the Clinton emails. There’s an email talking about keeping this Clinton email discussion “offline” because this Freedom of Information Act official knew that the emails would be subject to disclosure under the Act.

    And now, let’s talk about the so-called personal emails versus government emails: If Mrs. Clinton had been at the State Department and was doing things right, she could have set up a lunch date with her daughter and then deleted the email. But, once she decided to leave government, she could not take any of those existing emails with her. Yet, that is what she did. All of those emails are the government’s property. And, that’s the issue right now.

    Snip.

    The purpose of the private email server was to destroy history. Hillary Clinton wanted to hide, delete, evade, and prevent the disclosure of official government activity. The way she did it and the people who did it with her, who lied to federal courts about whether or not they had information, is a crime. There were crimes committed in front of Judge Sullivan in the form of false statements, and, ultimately, that will be part of the criminal case that the Justice Department has to review.

    If you still want to know the EmailGate skinny, it’s worth reading the whole thing.

  • “Huma Abedin’s Emails Provide Further Evidence Of Clinton Pay For Play Scandal.”

    Former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin used her personal email account to transmit classified documents and coordinate favors for Clinton donors, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch Wednesday.

    Judicial Watch obtained the documents as part of a lawsuit filed after the State Department failed to respond to a March 2015 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The newly-obtained documents include 91 Clinton email exchanges that were not turned over to the State Department, contradicting Clinton’s claim that, “as far as she knew,” she had turned over all of her government emails.

    The emails reveal multiple instances in which Abedin used her personal account to send and receive classified documents as well as arrange personal favors for Clinton donors and political allies on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s behalf.

    Snip.

    In one particularly blatant example of nefarious activity, Miguel Lausell, a Puerto Rican Telecom executive and donor of over $1 million to the Clinton Library, requested through Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band that a specific candidate be considered for the U.S. ambassadorship to the Dominican Republic. The following day in April 2009, a Clinton aide passed Lausell’s message to Clinton’s special assistants and instructed them to “make sure there is a response.” It remains unclear whether the person in question received the ambassadorship as the name is redacted.

    In a similar example of preferential treatment toward Clinton donors, the managing director of left wing fundraising organization Democracy Alliance, Kelly Craighead, emailed Abedin asking her to “reach out” to an “extremely loyal supporter” who was awaiting a response regarding an application for a senior position at the Department of State.

  • “U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ordered the FBI to produce uncensored court documents describing the grand jury subpoenas issued to force Clinton’s internet service providers to turn over information related to her private server use, according to a statement released by Cause of Action Institute.”
  • “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attempted to bully tiny Bangladesh to force it to end a corruption investigation of Mohammad Yunus, a long-time Clinton family friend and Clinton Foundation donor.”
  • “Hillary Clinton’s Email Scandal Deserves a Special Prosecutor of Its Own, Former FBI Agent Claims.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • A list of everything and everyone Hillary Clinton blames for her electoral defeat. The first five items are Bernie Sanders, “Bernie Bros,” Jill Stein, sexism and Russia, and it goes downhill from there. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “FBI Refuses To Turn Over Clinton Email Docs Due To A Lack Of Public Interest.” [Does image search for “incredulous stare”]

  • “Arrested DNC Staffer Awan Retains Long-Time Clinton Associate For Legal Help.”
  • Some choice quotes from Hillary’s book. There’s a lot of talk about drinking, in addition to this jaw-dropper:

    Verily, only St. Hillary of the Pantsuits may offer absolution to the sinners, for She is the Way and the Light…

  • “Clinton Was So Confident of Victory She Bought Second Home in Chappaqua to Accommodate White House Staff.” There’s hubris, and then there’s spiking the ball at the 20 yard line…
  • “California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher released a statement on Thursday calling for hearings regarding possible collusion between the Clinton Foundation and Russia.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Excerpts suggest Clinton spends a good bit of her new book bashing Bernie Sanders for have the unmitigated gall to attempt to derail her coronation. The thing is, when Clinton attacks Sanders’ pie-in-the-sky promises as completely unrealistic, she’s correct. The problem is, she and pretty much every other Democrats (and many Republicans) make impossible big government promises that differ only in degree. Plus, it may be unwise to keep bashing the guy you were caught rigging the primary against…
  • “Former Clinton Fundraiser Says Hillary Should ‘Shut The F*** Up And Go Away.'” Is there anyone actually looking forward to her book other than conservative pundits and possibly Peter Daou?
  • Speaking of which: “The strange life of Peter Daou,” which sheds some light on Hillary’s #1 Super Sycophant. Not only was he a conscript to a Lebanese Christian militia, he’s the nephew of Fear of Flying author Erica Jong!
  • As long as we’re here, let’s talk about Verrit, a Daou site boosted by Hillary that was billed as a “left-wing Twitter,” but it’s not even in the same universe. It’s a serious of quotes, with comments. Imagine the cutting edge graphic design of Hypercard, but without all those annoying hyperlinks. Imagine a blog as designed by someone who wanted it to look like a PowerPoint slide, but more boring. The problem isn’t that it’s left-wing, but that it’s absolutely nothing interesting at all.
  • “Hillary Working On Second Book Casting Blame For Failure Of First.”
  • Debt Limit Deal: Maybe Not Completely Awful?

    September 12th, 2017

    There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the debt deal President Donald Trump made with congressional Democratic leaders that pushes U.S. debt over the $20 trillion mark.

    Is it a bad deal? From my perspective, almost certainly. Debt is an existential threat to the Republic, and I believe that we should reduce spending by eliminating vast swathes of federal government programs (Federal housing sibsidies? End them. Department of Education? Eliminate it. Agribusiness subsides? End them all. Etc.) until the budget is balanced. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about hitting the debt limit at all.

    Sadly, my position seems to be a decidedly minority one in D.C. Since politics is the art of the possible, it’s better to ask: How bad is President Trump’s deal among the constellation of actual debt limit deal possibilities?

    The answer seems to be: Still not great, but maybe not as bad as first impressions.

    It’s possible that President Trump went for the deal because he had no choice, as Republican congressional leadership was woefully unprepared on the issue:

    With much of the Washington Republican establishment still grumbling about President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this week to strike a deal with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, one prominent member of the House Freedom Caucus took to the Sunday Talk Shows to deliver what sounded like the faction’s official response to the week’s events.

    In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan struck a delicate balance: criticizing the consequences of the president’s decision without impugning the man himself.

    Jordan explained that while the Trump-Schumer-Pelosi deal wouldn’t be “good for the American taxpayer” the president can be excused for agreeing to it because Republicans in Congress failed to provide him with a suitable alternative.

    And just like that, a member of the House’s most intransigent, conservative faction – the group that almost singlehandedly crushed the Trump administration’s health-care ambitions – turning the blame for Trump’s debt-ceiling can-kicking, and the powerful leverage that Democrats gained because of it, back on the president’s favorite opponents: Congressional Republicans.

    Here’s Jordan:

    I don’t think this was a good deal for the American taxpayer. We didn’t go anything to address the underlying $20 trillion debt but frankly what options did the president have in front of him? The first time the Republican conference talked about the debt ceiling was Sunday morning. And the Freedom Caucus had called for, nine and a half weeks ago, we said ‘don’t leave town until you have a plan on the debt ceiling’ and instead we went home for the longest August recess in a decade, longer even than in elections years.

    Indeed, the deal House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted was actually worse for conservatives:

    Trump on Wednesday agreed to the proposal of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) to increase the national-debt limit for three months, and attach that to emergency aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey. But just days earlier, conservatives had been wringing their hands in fear that Schumer would turn the debt ceiling into the Democrats’ newest set of brass knuckles.

    If not for the high-profile urgency of, in essence, stapling the debt limit to Harvey assistance, the pressing need to re-charge Uncle Sam’s credit card would have given Schumer a fresh way to beat up Republicans. Absent Harvey, Schumer and his band of toughs would have kidnapped the debt limit in exchange for something else, perhaps “DACA or death!” Instead, the debt-limit increase slid through, behind Harvey’s shield, with no last-minute hostage drama.

    Trump rejected the offer of House speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to extend the debt limit for 18 months, past the 2018 mid-term elections. This would have removed federal borrowing from the list of issues on which the GOP could have run next year. Obama hiked the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion — a staggering 87.8 percent. That mess, and how to escape it, would have been a worthy GOP issue. Ryan and McConnell largely would have obviated that opportunity.

    Ryan and McConnell’s 18-month proposal also would have deprived Republicans of a priceless “must pass” vehicle to which they could append items that Senate Democrats dislike. The GOP similarly handed Obama multiple long-term debt-limit extensions that prevented Republicans from sending him short-term debt-limit measures that he would have had to sign, notwithstanding amendments that rankled him. Republicans should not deploy the debt limit every month, in order to corner Schumer and Senate Democrats. But mothballing this weapon until spring 2019 smacks of unilateral disarmament.

    From all reports, Ryan and McConnell were ready to drop-kick the debt-limit 18 months down the road, in return for . . . nothing. Even worse, as conservatives correctly complain, they did not tie the debt-limit boost to any structural reforms, such as a cap on federal spending as a share of GDP, adoption of the brilliant Penny Plan (which would balance the budget by cutting total spending by 1 percent every year for eight years), a private-sector audit of every federal department and sub-cabinet agency, or even converting Washington’s books from cash-basis to accrual accounting. Ryan and McConnell promised 18 months of borrowing and spending on autopilot. Trump properly rejected such fiscal brain death.

    Now, in three months, fiscal conservatives can and should append reformist language to the next debt-limit increase. Ryan/McConnell would have denied them that opportunity until nearly two Easters hence.

    If Schumer wanted to demand “DACA or death!” I would have seen how he likes death: no debt limit vote, cut spending until the budget is balanced, and let Schumer explain why it was necessary for welfare recipients to lose their checks so Democrats could amnesty more illegal aliens.

    Like I said, mine seems to be a minority viewpoint.

    There are also reports that the deal is written in such a way that McConell might get the last laugh:

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote in some “extraordinary” provisions to the debt ceiling bill that could mean there won’t be another debt ceiling fight in 2017 after all, he revealed on “The New Washington” podcast Monday.

    McConnell insisted, in the face of Democrats’ objections, that the bill be written to preserve the Treasury’s ability to extend federal borrowing power by moving money around within government accounts. In layman’s terms, that means the Republicans can work around the December debt limit deadline and push that issue into 2018.

    All this is just rearranging deck chairs on the Debtanic as long as the driving motivation for current congressional leadership is avoiding bad poll numbers rather than actual conservative governance. But short of a debt deal that includes spine replacement surgery for congressional leadership, there seems precious little chance of congress fulfilling any of the myriad conservative promises they made when Obama occupied the White House.

    Texas Gas Shortage Ends

    September 11th, 2017

    The short-lived post-Harvey gas shortage is pretty much already over:

    Long lines for gasoline in Austin and elsewhere in the state have dissipated for the most part along with the short-lived, social media-fueled frenzy over fears of a severe shortage.

    Motorists remain more likely than before Hurricane Harvey hit to encounter the occasional empty filling stations, and gas prices remain elevated, but “the run (on gas) has stopped,” said Cary Rabb, owner of the Round Rock-based Wag-A-Bag convenience store chain.

    “It’s the panic buying that has stopped — at some point, everybody has topped off,” Rabb said.

    In addition, gasoline supplies are becoming more accessible as Gulf Coast refineries and pipelines slowly come back on line after being closed since Harvey made landfall.

    Flint Hills Resources — which operates a Corpus Christi refinery that provides the bulk of gasoline dispensed at Austin area gas stations — “has resumed normal operations,” company spokesman Andy Saenz said Wednesday. The Flint Hills refinery had been shut down since the storm hit, leaving area fuel distributors to tap reserves.

    Flint Hills pumps gasoline to an Austin terminal east of Interstate 35 through a pipeline, where it’s picked up by distributors with tanker trucks and transported to local gas stations.

    Thanks to Hurricane Irma (now downgraded to a tropical storm), it’s Florida that’s suffering gas shortages, not least because Florida is dependent on those same gulf coast refineries idled by Harvey:

    Between 2007 and 2014, Florida’s daily gasoline consumption shrank significantly — by about 90,000 barrels. In 2012, two Caribbean refineries that had supplied Florida with a significant share of its gasoline were idled, leaving Florida more dependent upon refineries located along the Gulf Coast. That’s all well and good when the weather is fair, but Hurricane Harvey disrupted things. For one thing, it forced the shutdown of several refineries in the Houston area. For another, it made navigating the Gulf of Mexico treacherous — you don’t want to sail an oil barge into a hurricane. And there is no gasoline pipeline connecting those Gulf Coast refineries to Florida: that trade is conducted by boat. Pipelines are the cheapest and safest way to move petroleum products from producers to consumers, but America’s fanatical environmentalists, who oppose the development of new energy infrastructure categorically, have been remarkably successful in blocking or delaying the development of new pipelines.

    So far Irma seems to have devastated the Caribbean, but damage to Florida seems to be less than feared for such a large storm.