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It’s Friday, July 21st, 2017…and here’s The Gouge!

First up, in yet another brilliant posting at Stilton’s Place, the always-insightful Mr. Jarlsberg correctly concludes it’s time we sent the GOP Senate contingent… 

Back to Healthcare Reform School

Now that healthcare reform reform has failed, two groups of people are celebrating. Those who love Obamacare the most, and those who hate Obamacare the most.

At this point, it’s moot to debate the relative virtues or failures of the proposed GOP bill, but we are going to take strong exception to the idea that if the healthcare system is allowed to completely collapse in the next few years (which Trump is enthusiastically tweeting as a “plan”), that America’s sick, dying, overcharged, and uninsured will blame the out-of-power Democrats for having created Obamacare, rather than the fat and happy Republican legislators who stood around this national bonfire roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.

Put another way, when our healthcare system fails the voters will not reward the party that did nothing (even if the reasons were good), but will instead flock to the party that promises a quick and all encompassing fix – namely, a single-payer “Medicare For All” plan.

That’s going to be the Democrats, which is hardly surprising: Obamacare was designed to fail after destroying the free market health insurance system, thereby leaving fully socialized medicine as the only viable alternative. And the Dems knew human nature well enough to understand that this would assure their party power.

Think we’re wrong? Just ask yourself – if you were the patient in the cartoon above, who would you blame? The former doctor who misdiagnosed you, or the current doctor who says he’ll watch you suffer and die because it’s the easiest way for him to remain blameless?

Unfortunately for America, just as the low-information voters in Arizona and South Carolina continue to return these conjoined clowns…

…to office, certain morons in Alaska and Maine will likely re-elect the likes of Linda Murkowski and Susan Collins, no matter how much harm they inflict upon the rest of the country.

In two related items, while the Washington Examiner‘s David Drucker explains…

Why Mitch McConnell is making the Senate vote on doomed Obamacare repeal

 

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., aims to send a message to the Republicans he leads: After four elections and seven years of promising to repeal Obamacare, it’s time to choose.

That’s why, knowing full well the votes weren’t there, McConnell switched from the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would partially repeal and replace Obamacare, to the straight-repeal legislation that Senate Republicans approved in 2015, when President Barack Obama was still around to veto it.

McConnell couldn’t round up the 50 out of 52 available Republican votes he needed to pass BCRA. The bill collapsed amid complaints about a leadership-driven legislative process and philosophical differences among conservatives and centrists about what to do with Medicaid. But the majority leader essentially thinks Republicans are making excuses.

To teach them a lesson about governing, and smoke out exactly where various members stand on Obamacare repeal, McConnell is forcing a tough vote on a bill that’s likely doomed — an unusual move for a political operator who always has his eye on the next election.These members have to be held accountable,” said a Republican operative familiar with McConnell’s strategy, who like others interviewed by the Washington Examiner, requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.

“They have been hiding behind himand hiding behind process argumentsfor months now,” this operative added. Said another, this one a veteran McConnell observer: “It’s important to set a marker. If this ends in an insurance bailout, there will be no revisionist history…”

…the WSJ‘s Kimberly Strassel offers the Senate Majority Leader an appealing alternate plan for dealing with…

Our Self-Interested Senators

An open health-care debate finally would bring some actual accountability.

 

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at this point has busted pretty much every move in his effort to rally 50 votes for an Obama Care replacement. He’s listened. He’s negotiated. He’s encouraged. He’s cajoled. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Months later, still lacking a majority, the time has come for the Kentucky Republican to execute the final, clarifying move. It’s time for Mr. McConnell to make this all about his self-interested members.

Up to now, this exercise has been about trying to improve health care and the federal fisc. The House bill isn’t perfectno bill ever isbut it amounts to the biggest entitlement reform in history. It repeals crushing taxes. It dramatically cuts spending. And it begins the process of stabilizing the individual health-care market and expanding consumer freedom.

None of this is good enough for a handful of senators, so now it’s time to make this exercise all about them. Mr. McConnell should make clear that the overwhelming majority of the Republican Party stands ready to make good on its repeal-and-replace campaign promise—and that it would have done so already were it not for a cynical or egotistic few. It’s time for some very public accountability.

That rests in Mr. McConnell giving his caucus a drop-dead date to broker a compromise, after which he will proceed to bring up the House bill. And any Republican who votes against moving forward, “a motion to proceed,” will forever be known as the Republican who saved ObamaCare. The Republican who voted to throw billions more taxpayer dollars at failing entitlement programs and collapsing insurance markets. The Republican who abandoned struggling American families. The Republican who voted against a tax cut and spending reductions. The Republican who made Chuck Schumer’s year.

And that’s only a short list of the real-world accountability. That vote might also provide home-state voters a new, eye-opening means to account for the character of their senators. Few things drive conservative voters battier than phony politicians, those who say one thing and do another to avoid hard choices…”

Just in case you’ve forgotten the names and faces of those who need to go:

Top row from left: Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), Susan Collins (Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.). Middle row: Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Gov. John Kasich (Ohio). Bottom row: Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Lee (Utah), Bill Cassidy (La.). With Republicans like these, who needs Dimocrats?!?

In a related item, writing at the Morning Jolt, Jim Geraghty details not only the fecklessness of Senate Republicans, but the slow-motion, unending accident occurring because…

The President Won’t Stop Steering Himself Directly into Controversy

 

The theme for today’s Jolt: You can’t save everybody.

They Fear Responsibility for Change More Than They Fear the Status Quo

You can’t save a party from itself.

I like Ohio senator Rob Portman quite a bit. But there’s no getting around the fact that his campaign website in 2016 said this:

Senator Rob Portman believes that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced with reforms that will actually lower costs and improve the quality of our health care. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the health care law the Democrats shoved through Congress in 2009 will slow economic growth over the next decade, cost 2.5 million jobs, and contribute a trillion dollars to the deficit. There are alternatives to Obamacare that would actually reduce the costs in health care. Ohio Senator Rob Portman believes that we should allow companies to sell insurance across state lines, pass tort reform to reduce the extra costs due to frivolous lawsuits, and allow smaller businesses to band together and get the same tax benefits that larger businesses have when providing health care to their employees. Other proposals include establishing well-funded high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions and providing tax credits for people to purchase insurance on the individual market. Together, we can repeal Obamacare and replace it with common-sense reforms to lower costs and improve our health care system.

The Senate version of the Obamacare replacement bill was far from perfect, but it was a giant step in the direction that Portman claimed he wanted back in 2016. There wasn’t much wiggle room in his rhetoric on the trail; Obamacare “must be repealed and replaced.” Now the senator prefers the status quo to the GOP alternative.

Back in 2015, when Obama was president and sure to veto it, Portman voted for a repeal-only proposal. His tune this week:

“If it is a bill that simply repeals (Obamacare), I believe that will add to more uncertainty and the potential for Ohioans to pay even higher premiums, higher deductibles,” the Ohio Republican told MSNBC on Tuesday.

“The circumstances have changed altogether for Ohio,” Portman said. (He means for himpolitically!) “We’ve gone from a situation in Ohio where [we] had a lot of competition [and] multiple insurance companies” offering plans to a situation where 19 counties in the state have no insurer offering coverage on the individual market for the next enrollment period.

Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski also voted to repeal in 2015, and she, too, says repeal-only is now unacceptable.

So yes, blame the (spineless, self-serving) senators for changing their tune as soon as there was a Republican president who might actually sign their ideas into law. But don’t let the president off the hook; his interest in using the bully pulpit to get this bill passed was intermittent at best.

Imagine a world where Trump tweeted to his Alaskan supporters to call Murkowski’s office and urge her to support the bill. He won the state by 15 points. Imagine a world where Trump held a rally in West Virginia, telling all of his supporters who attend that they need to call Senator Caputo. Instead, he’s tweeting: “As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!

Instead, Trump continues to provide fodder for the MSM to remain focused on collusion which likely never happened; and which, even if it had, is in no way a crime, high or low:

Donald Trump’s astonishing second meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G-20

 

You can’t save a president from himself.

The White House official said Mr. Trump spoke with many leaders during the dinner [at the G20 summit] and said the president “spoke briefly” with Mr. Putin, who was seated next to first lady Melania Trump, toward the end of the evening.

Mr. Bremmer said the two spoke for about an hour, joined by Mr. Putin’s translator.

The White House official said Messrs. Trump and Putin used the Russian translator because the American translator accompanying Mr. Trump spoke only English and Japanese. Mr. Trump had been seated next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“The insinuation that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd,” the White House official said. “It is not merely perfectly normal, it is part of a president’s duties, to interact with world leaders.”

It is indeed normal and dutiful to have those conversations. But it’s also normal and dutiful to rely on an American translator. This is to protect the president’s interests (Not to mention America’s!), to ensure nothing he says is accidentally mistranslated as, “I think your occupation of Crimea is fine and dandy.” The presence of another American is a firewall in case the Russians start offering an inaccurate account of their conversation.

Also, we already have one case of Trump allegedly disclosing classified information to Russian officials during a meeting. With no other U.S. official present, there’s no way to ensure that doesn’t happen again — or to even know if it happens again. Much like Jared Kushner’s alleged interest in using a Russian Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF), this is a case of the Russian government knowing things that the president or a member of his family is saying and the rest of the American government not knowing.

It’s also normal and dutiful to inform the American public about these conversations — particularly if the conversation was, as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insists, just “pleasantries and small talk.”

Think about it — if you wanted to throw gasoline on the fire of collusion talk, and to undermine the public’s faith in the president’s ability to stand up to Putin when necessary, isn’t this exactly what you would do? Have as much conversation between Trump and Putin, with no other U.S. officials present, as possible?

Unlike, of course, any conversations involving the President’s predecessor:

Sure there’s a double-standard; but The Donald’s doing absolutely NOTHING to combat the negative narrative.

Meanwhile, as Katherine Timpf notes at NRO

Hillary Clinton Is Even Less Popular Now Than She Was During the Election, HuffPo Blames Sexism

 

Yeah,…

After all, it couldn’t simply be because this modern-day harpy is so utterly…

Then there’s this bit of politically-correct insanity from Jeff Foutch, as Truth Revolt reveals how…

USA Today Laments Not Enough People of Color, Women in ‘Dunkirk

No lead actors of color.”

 

“USA Today gave Christopher Nolan’s upcoming WWII epic about the battle of Dunkirk a great review, except for the fact that the movie had too few “people of color” and “women.”

Though Brian Truitt praised Dunkirk, which stars Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, in line with the critics, he gave it a beating for its lack of wokeness. “The trio of timelines can be jarring as you figure out how they all fit, and the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color may rub some the wrong way,” he says.

Breitbart has a perfectly good explanation for the high volume of European males, because Dunkirk was an historical event fought mainly by — wait for it — European males.

Sure it might have provided valuable comic relief if Amy Schumer or Rebel Wilson – or perhaps even both – had been cast as, say, two brilliant battlefield surgeons who insisted on staying behind with the troops when all their male counterparts had fled.

Also, it would definitely have added a new dimension had James Earl Jones been cast as the salty old Royal Naval officer called out of retirement for one last trip across the English Channel, or if Ice T and Snoop Dogg had been given the role of two aging rappers who parachute from a Dakota to administer weed to the desperate troops, or if Oprah appeared in a cameo as Queen Mary welcoming the returning troops after their desperate voyage.

But it wouldn’t have been historically authentic.

Similar complaints were made by filmmaker Spike Lee about the lack of black people in Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers, but the openly conservative director responded that “a guy like him should shut his face…”

Courtesy of Stilton Jarlsberg and USA Today, we present…

Dumbkirk!  Just because it didn’t happen, doesn’t mean Libs can’t pretend it did!

Which brings us, appropriately enough, to The Lighter Side

Finally, we’ll call it a week with another sordid story straight from the pages of The Crime Blotter, courtesy today of a Floridian who ain’t the sharpest pencil in the box:

Self-described drug dealer calls 911, reports stolen cocaine

 

“Calling 911 to report a stolen bag of cocaine probably wasn’t the best idea for a self-described Florida drug dealer. But Okaloosa Sheriff’s officials wrote on Facebook that 32-year-old David Blackmon did just that on Sunday morning.

The post says Blackmon called 911 to report a robbery in Fort Walton Beach. Blackmon told the responding deputy that someone entered his car and took $50 and about a quarter ounce of cocaine from the center console. The report says the deputy spotted some cocaine and a crack rock on the console and a crack pipe on the floorboard by the driver’s side door…”

Something tells us rocket scientists and brain surgeons aren’t frequent fruits in the Blackmon family tree.

Magoo