Friday links! Get confident, stupid edition

You know what the problem is with this country? No one has the courage of their convictions anymore. We’ve suffered a nationwide crisis of confidence, and now Americans are afraid to go their own way and live as devil-may-care visionaries. People are so concerned with fair play and rules of decorum that they aren’t willing to stand up for what they believe is right. We have all become hobbled by our sense of ethics and the way things ought to be done, afraid to act because we might be wrong. Also, the sun makes us colder each morning, and birds crawl silently along the ground. Today is Friday, and everyone in America is extraordinarily confident. Won’t you explore that classic mark of genius with me?

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Friday links! Triumph of the mediocrats edition

Greg Gianforte and a lectern no one knew better than to paint with gloss

I interviewed Greg Gianforte in 2015, and he did not attempt any takedowns. He seemed friendly, if a little nervous. I saw no flash of the belligerence that would characterize his interactions with reporters over the next year and a half. While I disagreed with pretty much all of his political positions, he struck me as a decent person who genuinely wanted to help. Wednesday night, he made it impossible for me to keep thinking of him that way. In response to a question about the Congressional Budget Office score of the Republican health care plan, Gianforte attacked Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, throwing him to the ground and punching him in the face. The next day, voters selected him to represent Montana in the US House. He spent election day completely incommunicado, refusing to address reporters directly or through his campaign spokesman. He didn’t come out of hiding until the results were in. I congratulate the soon-to-be Representative Gianforte on his victory. I welcome him to the office he won by outing himself as a self-pitying bully with neither adult judgment nor fixed principles, and I look forward to writing about him for the next two years. Today is Friday, and the people committed to winning at all costs have notched another victory. Won’t you survey the field with me?

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Friday links! Donald Trump’s lawyer edition

Michael Cohen does work.

If Donald Trump lied any more often, he’d have to guard a door in a logic puzzle. He does not always lie. He’s not at the dry cleaners like, “I’m Marie of Roumania, and I’m here to pick up my dog.” But although he periodically speaks truth, he is so much more likely to disregard it that his defenders urge us not to take him literally—that is, as though his words had fixed meaning. Trump is a bullshitter. He might be the chief bullshitter of our bullshit age. So can you imagine being his lawyer? One pities such people. How much bullshit must Michael Cohen, Sheri Dillon, and the rest of Trump’s team of paid advocates wade through to convert his raw, jazz-style bullshit into something finished enough to bullshit a court of law? Today is Friday, and even the president needs fixers. Won’t you make this all go away with me?

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Friday links! James Comey, Historical Figure edition

In the year 2016, mild-mannered James Comey is working in the FBI library when he is bitten by a radioactive history book. From that moment on, the 56 year-old boy has the power to change history—but it is a power he cannot control. All he gets is a feeling of mild nausea when it’s about to happen. Doomed to shape history but never on purpose, he is: James Comey, Historical Figure. Today is: Friday. Won’t you chronicle our hero’s exploits with me?

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Friday links! It’s the economy, you stupid garbage-eating piece of shit

House Republicans celebrate passing the AHCA.

As you may have heard, Republicans in the House passed their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act yesterday. No longer will kids with cancer, women who had C-sections, and other drains on the system force the cost of their care onto real Americans by buying health insurance. No longer will insurers labor under the burdensome system of regulations that has depressed their soaring profits since 2010. Now freedom rings. Before doing the deed, the GOP caucus pumped itself up with a basement rendition of “Taking Care of Business”—fortunately, no one present could perceive irony—and celebrated afterward with Bud Light and a bus trip to the White House. Never mind that the Senate plans to scrap their bill and start over. The important thing is that House Republicans sent a message. Today is Friday, and America’s only functioning political party is hell-bent on cashing in while it can. Won’t you try not to get sick with me?

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