Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lou Rawls had a hit with it


But Mabel John did "Your Good Thing Is About To End" first and much better.




The deficit increase will be YUGE!


But that is OK because the Republicans will be doing it and it will be for their own benefit. Indeed if the proposed tax cut budget passed through the Senate is any indication, not only will the deficit be YUGE! but Defense will be the only item in it that can be funded.
The Senate Budget Committee unveiled a 2018 budget blueprint on Friday that would open the door for a $1.5 trillion tax cut, even as an independent analysis concluded that the plan as offered would far exceed that price tag and overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the rich.

The budget resolution could also pave the way to opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling, a hot-button Republican proposal that has languished for decades.

Passing a budget resolution would be a critical step for President Trump and Republican lawmakers in moving forward with their plan to overhaul the tax code. The parliamentary language in the resolution would allow Republicans to pass tax cuts that cost as much as $1.5 trillion over the next decade with only 50 votes in the Senate, not the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. Republican leaders concede that without a budget, there will be no tax cut.

But the analysis released on Friday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center could change the politics of tax cutting and make even 50 votes a struggle in a Senate with 52 Republicans. The report estimated that the tax cuts that Republicans are considering would cost the government $2.4 trillion over 10 years — which would worsen budget deficits by considerably more than $1.5 trillion — while showering benefits on the wealthy.

In the first detailed assessment of the plan’s financial impact, the analysis found that the average tax bill for all income groups would decline by nearly $1,600 in 2018, boosting after-tax incomes by 2.1 percent. Those in the top 1 percent — with incomes above about $730,000 — would receive about half the total tax benefit. They would see an average tax cut of $129,000, increasing after-tax incomes by 8.5 percent.

Those with incomes between about $49,000 and $86,000 would see an average tax cut of $660, raising their after-tax income by 1.2 percent.

The analysis said the Republican plan also would provide enormous benefits to corporate America, with a $2.6 trillion cut in business taxes over the next decade. Individual income tax revenue would actually increase by $470 billion over that period, largely as a result of changes in personal deductions and exemptions as well as an increase in the bottom tax rate to 12 percent from 10 percent.

“Tax collections would shift dramatically from businesses to individuals,” said Eric Toder, co-director of the Tax Policy Center.

The loss of deductions would hit the upper middle class the most, and more than a third of the taxpayers who earn $150,000 to $300,000 would see their taxes go up next year, the report found. They would be hit particularly hard by the repeal of the state and local tax deduction.

And all of that would have to be squeezed into a $1.5 trillion budget hole, forcing lawmakers either to scale back cuts, phase them in, find more loopholes to close or identify other taxes to raise.
And the best thing about this budget, from a Republican point of view, is that middle and lower income tax payers will pay most of the burden leaving the corporations and wealthy individuals to enjoy their hard earned riches.

Cattle call for incompetents


Or continue the fight with some of the second string termites already working to destroy the healthcare structure in this country. That is the dilemma facing Cheeto Mussolini as he plays golf while deciding who will replace Tom 'Dr Death' Price at HHS.
The White House had no comment on Saturday, but the two most frequently mentioned candidates to succeed Mr. Price are two officials who already work in the department: Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Both have previously been vetted by the White House, nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate to their current jobs within recent months, a significant selling point.

Other names have been floated as well, including David Shulkin, the secretary of veterans affairs and a favorite of the president’s, but he has been criticized for a European trip with his wife that mixed business and sightseeing and was partially financed by taxpayers. Some reports have floated former Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, an assistant secretary of health and human services under President George W. Bush. But he was a caustic critic of Mr. Trump during his own brief campaign for the White House that ended in late 2015 after he called the future president a “narcissist” and “egomaniacal madman.”

Mr. Trump may not necessarily fill the post quickly. He has left the Department of Homeland Security in the hands of an acting secretary since John F. Kelly left in July to become White House chief of staff. The president appears to be in no rush despite a series of hurricanes and a roiling immigration debate, issues managed by the department. He said on Friday that he would make a decision “probably within a month.”

If Mr. Trump picks Ms. Verma to succeed Mr. Price at the Department of Health and Human Services, it would be taken as a sign among many that he wants to continue vigorous opposition to the Affordable Care Act, with the government doing the minimum required by the law to implement its provisions. Ms. Verma, an ally of Vice President Mike Pence, worked closely this year with Republicans in Congress on their proposals to undo the law and to cut Medicaid, the program for more than 70 million low-income people.

Still, some progressives have interpreted her work under the health care law in Indiana, where Mr. Pence was governor, to mean that while she opposed the Affordable Care Act, she was committed to finding ways to enforce it if it remained on the books.

Mr. Gottlieb has more experience in Washington and was seen at the time of his appointment as the more moderate of candidates being considered. In his first months at the F.D.A., he has deftly balanced the concerns of patients and pharmaceutical companies, while taking steps to combat the opioid epidemic and speed access to lower-cost generic drugs. His nomination would be seen as a signal that the president might want to take a different approach to the health care debate.
With his short attention span, it may be a tough row to hoe getting Cheeto to continue the fight. Either way the termites will continue their destruction of another agency of the federal government that the Evil Koch Brothers hate.

The termites in the US House of Law


Samantha Bee looks at the Federalist Society


It could just be a fat guy on his bed


Bill Maher connect the dots of The Kremlin Konnection for those who haven't paid attention.


Weekend Wisdom



Friday, September 29, 2017

Save Me


The Danielle Nicole Band


Some things are more important


From the pen of Jack Ohman



One tiny little mutation


After a great deal of forensic medical work, scientist think they have pinpointed the single mutation that changed Zika from an existing nuisance disease to a deadly virus responsible for thousands of children born with microcephaly.
Why did the Zika virus cause thousands of babies to be born with microcephaly, unusually small and damaged brains, when previous outbreaks in Africa and Asia seemed to cause much less harm?

An intriguing study in mice, which has prompted some skepticism among experts, suggests that a single genetic mutation helped transform the Zika virus into a devastating force in Latin America. The report was published on Thursday in the journal Science.

The mutation, called S139N, first arose in an Asian strain of the Zika virus in 2013, just before a small outbreak in French Polynesia — the first linked to an increase in babies born with microcephaly.

Zika is believed to have first appeared in Latin America later in 2013, possibly introduced by soccer players from French Polynesia competing in a tournament in northeastern Brazil. The mutation has appeared in every strain of the virus in the Latin American outbreak, the researchers said.

The study, by scientists in China, found that strains of Zika with the S139N mutation caused substantially more death and microcephaly in mice than other strains. And in a laboratory dish, the S139N strain killed many more human cells important to early brain development than an earlier strain without the mutation.

Some experts voiced doubts, saying the findings were too preliminary to establish that a single mutation was the critical factor. At least, they said (and the study authors agree), the results must be replicated in primates, because laboratory experiments with mice and even human brain cells cannot fully capture how the virus functions in nature.
Further research is needed to positively determine if this is the only cause, but it is frightening to realize that only one small bit of genetic material can have such a large effect.

When you are guaranteed to lose


Why would anybody take a job with the responsibility for cyber security of a large corporation? The heart of all cyber security is the knowledge that if someone can make it, someone can break it. If not today then tomorrow.
“It’s about the only executive-level job I can think of where you are 100 percent accountable for the failures to come even though it’s a guarantee that (they) will happen at some point,” Cunningham said.

“It’s like playing chess with a blindfold on,” added Cunningham. “You cannot win.”

Tech honchos blame their higher-ups — the bosses who don’t understand the threats, don’t want to spend money in an area that has no apparent return and don’t want to take responsibility when things go awry.

The job of CISO (pronounced see-so) used to be the digital equivalent of stocking the moat around the castle with crocodiles and making sure the drawbridge functioned.

“In the past, it was about defending the perimeter,” said Godfrey R. Sullivan, a former chief executive and current chairman of Splunk, a San Francisco company that produces software to analyze high volumes of machine-generated data.

But Sullivan said conditions have changed. Most likely, hackers have already gotten past the perimeter and reside in target networks.

“The bad guys are in your building,” Sullivan said. Information security officers nowadays have to hone their skills at continuous analysis of data entering and leaving the networks, he added.

Indeed, breaches may be inevitable.

“The long-time folks have been saying, it’s not ‘if’ but ‘when,’” said Rich Barger, director of security research at Splunk.

CISOs get in trouble, Sullivan said, when they discover breaches and don’t act quickly. That may have happened at Equifax.

According to security researcher Brian Krebs, one of the vulnerabilities of Equifax was at its Argentine operations, when hackers discovered they could access its website by typing in “admin” at login and “admin” at password. Another vulnerability involved failure of Equifax to patch a known security hole in its website application software that came to light in March.

“They say that happened in March. Well, what happened between March and now?” Sullivan asked.
With a breach guaranteed, you will get judged on your response to the breach. Nevertheless, it is a field with greater demand than supply of people, even capable failures can move to another position.

What's happening in Puerto Rico


Trevor Noah takes a look and it's not all laughs.


A Litany of Trump Lies


Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look


When states go bad



Thursday, September 28, 2017

I'm Gone


Pieta Brown


Shouldn't that be BIGLY ?


From the pen of Jack Ohman



It helps to have a white president


And a Republican too. Without these vital elements we might still have the mighty deficit hawks whining about the Yuge! deficit despite it being largely a product of their activities. And with the latest tax cut plan designed to shift the tax burden off the wealthy, people and corporations and onto the dumb schmucks who voted for them, the hawks are quiet.
In 2001, when surging budget surpluses fueled hopes of extinguishing the national debt, a pitched battle broke out over President George W. Bush’s proposed $1.6 trillion tax cut. Nevermind that the tax cut’s 10-year tab was supposed to leave behind more than $3 trillion in surpluses — Democrats and some Republicans said that the tax cut was just too large.

Fast forward to President Trump’s Washington, where the budget deficit for this fiscal year is expected to near $700 billion and the federal debt has topped $20 trillion.

A new tax cut is emerging to rival those of the Bush years, and the deficit hawks have hardly peeped.

“It’s a great talking point when you have an administration that’s Democrat-led,” said Representative Mark Walker, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of about 150 conservative House members. “It’s a little different now that Republicans have both houses and the administration.”

For years, Republican lawmakers lamented the soaring national debt, pressing for spending cuts and clinging to the mantle of fiscal responsibility. But last week, Senate Republicans hammered out a deal to allow for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, betting that supercharged growth will make up for lost revenue, a potentially dubious prospect. The tax plan outlined Wednesday by the White House and Republican leaders in the House and Senate could cost more than $2 trillion over the next decade, according to a preliminary estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

This month, the majority of Republicans in the House and the Senate voted to raise the debt limit without doing anything to rein in spending.

Republican lawmakers are pushing to increase military spending by tens of billions of dollars, topping even Mr. Trump’s request for a beefed-up military. Democrats are sharing in the fiscal intemperance, lining up behind a “Medicare for all” proposal despite having no definitive plan for how to pay for universal, government-provided health coverage.

And as Congress mulls large tax cuts, the tabs for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria keep rising.

When Mr. Bush took office and pushed for a big tax cut, the fiscal outlook was strong. The Congressional Budget Office in 2001 was projecting $5.6 trillion in budget surpluses over 10 years.

Now, the budget office forecasts that deficits will total $10.1 trillion over the next decade. The deficit is expected to top $1 trillion a year in 2022 and keep growing from there. Federal debt held by the public is at the highest level since shortly after World War II, at 77 percent of the gross domestic product.

“I think the greatest threat to our nation is us,” warned Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “The way we handle our finances, we as a nation are the greatest threat to our nation. It’s not ISIS. It’s not North Korea. It’s not ascendant China. It’s not Russia. We are the greatest threat.”

But such voices are strangely quiet these days in Washington. Even Mr. Corker seems accommodating.
They know full well what long term damage they do but as long as it is to their short term benefit they are all for it.

R.I.P. Hugh Hefner


You provided a happy ending to many a teen age fantasy. Me, I just read the articles and interviews.

Trevor's take on Crazy Roy Moore


From The Daily Show


Today's Closer Look


Seth Meyers looks at Crazy Roy Moore


First requirement - a real President



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Trump's briefing for Puerto Rico visit


From the movie West Side Story


Executive Oversight


From the pen of Bill Day





























From the pen of Dave Granlund


It''s a Republican Congress


So when it comes time to spend money, say on the military, they vote to give away $30 Billion more than requested. And when they it comes time to pay for all the wasted money in the military, they slash taxes. And when they slash taxes and leave the government without funds they slash and eliminate and and all government services that aid the population.And all the time they brag about how they are reducing your taxes which doesn't really happen.
Republican leaders on Wednesday proposed slashing tax rates for the wealthy, the middle class and businesses while preserving popular tax deductions that encourage buying homes and giving to charity, according to a nine-page framework they hope will eventually unify the party behind a proposal to revamp the U.S. tax code.

But the document, titled “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code,” leaves many key questions unanswered. In it, the White House and Republican congressional leaders do not identify the numerous tax breaks they say will be removed to offset some of the trillions of dollars in revenue lost by cutting tax rates.

The framework is being presented to Republicans and the public Wednesday as a starting point for negotiations on a tax deal. Congress would have to vote the changes into law, and Republican leaders are now tasked with resolving controversial questions to unite their party — and possibly some Democrats — behind tax legislation.

The White House and GOP leaders negotiated for months and have agreed in large part only on the taxes they want to cut.

They propose, among other things, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and making it much easier for multinational companies to bring money earned overseas into the United States. This is roughly in line with a long-standing House Republican goal, though President Trump has consistently pushed for the corporate rate to be lowered to 15 percent.

They also propose collapsing the seven individual income-tax brackets into three and allowing more people to qualify for the Child Tax Credit, designed to help low-income working families.

But they stop far short of offering a complete plan, a calculated decision they made to delay attacks from business groups they fear will erupt once they realize some of their favored tax breaks could be eliminated.

Some budget experts believe the blueprint outlined by Republicans on Wednesday could decrease government tax revenue by more than $5 trillion over 10 years. To offset some of that loss, Republicans need to identify tax benefits that they plan to jettison. That process has not yet begun.

“I hope that people will have the intestinal fortitude it’s going to take to do it right,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said late Tuesday. “People say the health care was hard — you have no idea. You have no idea how this is going to be.”
And not only will it be hard, Sen. Corker knows the result will be so bad he won't stand a chance of re-election so he is getting out in 2018. In the meantime the incomplete barebones "plan" that has been revealed is merely for the purposes of establishing the narrative of its goodness. The evil it does will remain undercover until it is too late to stop it.

Stephen celebrates death of Trumpcare


Stephen Colbert announces the end of Trumpcare and other Trump disasters.


Seth Meyers on Puerto Rico


And he fires both barrels at the Pumpkin Plutocrat.


Makes Puerto Rico easier to understand



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Loving You Still


Maybe April


Monsters are always hard to kill


From the pen of Kevin Siers



Burdened with capable staff


The Secretary of the Interior Ryan 'Hinky' Zinke has promised to get rid of those who actually care about government lands and replace them with properly "loyal" oil industry stooges to make the rape and pillage of our natural resources easier on the bottom line.
In a speech to the oil industry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke claimed that nearly a third of his staff is disloyal to President Trump, saying that workers in Washington are reluctant to relax regulations to permit increased mining for coal and drilling for natural gas and oil on public land.

Zinke promised a “huge” change by restructuring staff positions and possibly shifting decision-making positions in the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation from Washington to points out West in the speech Monday to the National Petroleum Council of oil and gas executives, first reported by the Associated Press.

“I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag,” the news agency reported the secretary as saying. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, fell back on military jargon to show how he intended to bring them in line, saying it’s necessary to “push the generals where the fight is.”

The speech was Zinke’s latest effort to instill fear in his staff. He told a Senate panel in June that he wanted to strip 4,000 employees from the Interior Department — about 8 percent of the full-time staff — as part of meeting Trump’s proposed budget cuts. Attrition, reassignments and buyouts would be employed to achieve his goal, Zinke said.

If that didn’t work, he said, layoffs could follow. That same month, Zinke ordered the reassignments of 50 Senior Executive Service employees, forcing many into jobs for which they had little experience and that were in different locations. At least one executive, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife director stationed in Atlanta, quit.

Interior’s Office of Inspector General is evaluating the reassignments to determine whether they violated the U.S. code, which instructs an agency’s leadership to notify affected personnel well in advance of the reassignment and give them a chance to choose a job option. Several executives said their reassignment notices arrived out of the blue with no prior discussion.
And we all await the new and Hinky approved Loyalty Oath for government employees.

No sweat, they are Republicans


So what ever bullshit stunts they choose to engage in, including using insecure private e-mail accounts to pass state secrets to the Russians, is perfectly acceptable to the great unwashed Republican base. Even when one of the users is a woman, Trump's own daughter/wife Ivanka.
At least six of President Trump’s closest advisers occasionally used private email addresses to discuss White House matters, current and former officials said on Monday.

The disclosures came a day after news surfaced that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, used a private email account to send or receive about 100 work-related emails during the administration’s first seven months. But Mr. Kushner was not alone. Stephen K. Bannon, the former chief White House strategist, and Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff, also occasionally used private email addresses. Other advisers, including Gary D. Cohn and Stephen Miller, sent or received at least a few emails on personal accounts, officials said.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter, who is married to Mr. Kushner, used a private account when she acted as an unpaid adviser in the first months of the administration, Newsweek reported Monday. Administration officials acknowledged that she also occasionally did so when she formally became a White House adviser. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with reporters.

Officials are supposed to use government emails for their official duties so their conversations are available to the public and those conducting oversight. But it is not illegal for White House officials to use private email accounts as long as they forward work-related messages to their work accounts so they can be preserved.
And now we can watch the apologists swarm like breeding gnats on a hot summer night, pulling out all stops to show their people are different. The only real difference is that the Trumpies have good reason not to let their e-mails go into a permenant government file.

When Is the Right Time for Black People to Protest?


Trevor Noah answers this question and makes racism clear to all who will see.


All the concussions, none of the hitting


Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look at Trump football


The Real Donald



Monday, September 25, 2017

Otherwise


Heather Maloney from her album Making Me Break


He didn't say 'Hold my beer'


Tom Tomorrow
, in a daredevil feat of cartooning, creates the "Parable of the Orange Chauffeur"

The gourd would be so much smarter


From the pen of Monte Wolverton



This should work just great


Federal regulators have the responsibility of ensuring a level playing field and honest activities. One of the most sensitive areas for regulation is the financial area. The Trump administration with its criminal friendly ways has brought their ideas to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
After years as a sleepy federal backwater, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission became one of Wall Street’s most aggressive watchdogs during the Barack Obama administration.

Now the agency — which is responsible for policing a broad swath of markets and financial machinery, from trading in commodities to digital currencies to the complex derivatives that helped torpedo the financial system in 2008 — is shifting its law enforcement strategy: It will increasingly look to banks and other financial institutions to come clean on their own about misconduct and problems in the market.

The commission’s director of enforcement, James McDonald, plans to unveil the new framework in a speech Monday night at New York University. It is premised on the idea that large financial institutions, given the right incentives, have the potential to be invaluable partners for law enforcement.

“We start with the shared understanding that the vast majority of businesses want to comply with the law,” Mr. McDonald will say Monday, according to a draft of the speech reviewed by The New York Times.

“But we also know that companies with even the best intentions can make mistakes or have a few bad actors,” he will say. “We also recognize that no matter how much corporate leaders may want to foster compliance within the company, when they detect misconduct their decision whether to voluntarily report it often comes down to their perception of whether they’ll be treated fairly.”

A similar philosophy is leading to a wide rollback of federal regulations on businesses under President Trump.

Under the commission’s new approach, companies that come clean about misconduct, cooperate fully with the agency as it investigates and fix their internal problems potentially stand to save millions of dollars.

Penalties imposed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission range from a few hundred thousand dollars into the hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on the severity of the offense and the size of the offender. Mr. McDonald said in the draft speech and in an interview that the agency expected to reduce penalties by roughly 75 percent for those that fully cooperate. In rare instances, he said, cases would be dropped altogether.
Commodity Futures Trading is the closest that the financial world gets to a wide open casino and even the smaller dishonesties can make one big money. Getting one of the many companies involved in trading to admit any mistake that makes them money is like getting Donald Trump to show his tax returns. It ain't gonna happen. But it makes the crooks feel safe and warm.

Try as they might..


Getting the requisite 51 votes for the Cassidy-Graham Deathcare bill is showing itself to be a heavy haul. Andf over the weekend along with all the unpublicized threats to the holdouts, a shit ton of lipstick was applied to this pig to try and make it more attractive.
With time running short, the authors of the latest plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act shifted money in the bill to Alaska and Maine, which are represented by Republican senators who appear reluctant to support it.

The revised version of the bill, written by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, would provide extra money for an unnamed “high-spending low-density state,” a last-minute change seemingly aimed at Alaska and its holdout Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, who has yet to say how she will vote. It would also send money toward Maine, whose Republican senator, Susan Collins, had said earlier on Sunday that she would almost certainly vote no.

Mr. Cassidy circulated a table on Sunday showing the state-by-state impact of the revised bill from 2020 to 2026. It indicated that Alaska would receive 3 percent more money under the bill than under current law, while Maine would get 43 percent more.

However, the numbers and the calculations could not be independently confirmed. Similar estimates prepared by Mr. Cassidy’s office for the earlier version of the bill differed significantly from estimates by the Kaiser Family Foundation and health policy consulting firms, which said that most states would receive less money than under current law.

Still, the aim seemed clear. Ms. Collins said on Sunday that she was all but certain to oppose the proposal, bringing to three the Republicans who have publicly voiced opposition — enough to end the bill’s chances this week as time runs out on a last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In addition, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said he had not yet been won over and suggested that Senator Mike Lee of Utah had the same stance. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, the first Republican to come out against the measure, once again criticized the bill in blunt terms, despite pressure from President Trump to rethink his opposition.

“It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” Ms. Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I have a number of serious reservations about it.”

The cascade of critical comments left Mr. Trump and Republican leaders on the precipice of failure in their 11th-hour attempt to fulfill the party’s promise to dismantle a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s legacy.
While there may be a smidgen of conscience involved, most of the holdouts are experienced politicians who can turn on a dime if the proper button is pushed. And until then what they see is a true stinker of a bill that loses more for their states than it gives them. We hope this can hold up against the very loud voice of Big, Big Money talking at them.

While you weren't looking


John Oliver exposes the terrible corporate consolidation occurring.



And enjoy Jim Cramer farting up a storm.


Healthcare isn't a business



Sunday, September 24, 2017

Spanish Mary


Rhiannon Giddens


These options too close to Trump


From the pen of Nate Beeler



Now everybody has drones


And while the ISIS drones are still a far cry from good old US high tech killer drones, luck and poor training can amplify the effect of a small explosive package on your enemy.
At the vast, windswept White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico earlier this year, nearly a dozen military contractors armed with laser guns, high-tech nets and other experimental systems met to tackle one of the Pentagon’s most vexing counterterrorism conundrums: how to destroy the Islamic State’s increasingly lethal fleet of drones.

The militant group has used surveillance drones on the battlefield for more than two years. But an increase in deadly attacks since last fall — mostly targeting Iraqi troops and Syrian militia members with small bombs or grenades, but also threatening American advisers — has highlighted the terrorists’ success in adapting off-the-shelf, low-cost technology into an effective new weapon.

The Pentagon is so alarmed by this growing threat — even as it routs the Islamic State from its strongholds in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria — that it has launched a $700 million crash program overseen by two senior Army generals to draw on the collective know-how and resources of all branches of the armed services, Silicon Valley and defense industry giants like Boeing and Raytheon to devise tactics and technology to thwart the menace.

One important piece of that effort was the contest in New Mexico. It amounted to a Pentagon counter-drone bake-off, called the Hard Kill Challenge, to see which new classified technologies and tactics proved most promising. The results were decidedly mixed, and underscore the long-term problem confronting the Pentagon and its allies as it combats the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in a growing number of hot spots around the world beyond Iraq and Syria, including Yemen and Libya.

“Threat targets were very resilient against damage,” the Pentagon agency assigned to help crack the problem, the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization, said in response to questions from The New York Times about how the contractors fared against mock enemy drones. “Bottom line: Most technologies still immature.” The agency said some of the technology might work well with “adjustments and further development.”

In the meantime, the Pentagon has rushed dozens of technical specialists to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to help protect American troops and to train and, in some cases, equip local allies against the drone threat, which has killed more than a dozen Iraqi soldiers and wounded more than 50. The aircraft, some as small as model airplanes, conduct reconnaissance missions to help Islamic State fighters attack American-backed ground forces. Other drones drop bombs or are rigged with explosives to detonate on the ground.
About 100 years ago, the budding air forces of the World War I combatants were following a similar path with manned airplanes. It will be interesting to see how they turn out.

What's good conscience?


Bill Maher's monologue


Sunday school



Tough question



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Hornets


I'm With Her on Prairie Home Companion


The heart of the matter


From the pen of Steve Sack



Despicable GOP


Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look at Republican failings.


The Ultimate City Slicker


Bill Maher explains


Donny's secret



Friday, September 22, 2017

What's New


Ella Fitzgerald


Choking the patient is intended


From the pen of Jim Morin



Give them their own private Twitter channel


Where the Tangerine Shitgibbon and Rocket Man can fling their 144 character poo at each other all day and night and the rest of the world can live our lives in peace. The immaturity of our great leaders is appallingand should be kept under wraps.
North Korea has long cultivated an image of defiant belligerence, punctuating its propaganda and diplomacy with colorful threats, insults and bluster. But by addressing President Trump in a personal statement on Friday, the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has pushed his government’s brinkmanship to a new, potentially more perilous level.

In a statement written in the first person, published on the front pages of state newspapers and read on national television, Mr. Kim called Mr. Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” who had “denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world.”

Mr. Kim vowed to take the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

In a country where the leader is essentially portrayed as a god, Mr. Kim’s decision to respond personally to Mr. Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly and pledge reprisals escalated the standoff over the North’s nuclear program in a way that neither he nor his predecessors had done before.

Though the statement made no mention of nuclear weapons, in the context of a political system built on a cult of personality, Mr. Kim’s intervention appeared to sharply reduce the possibility that his government might retreat or compromise, even in the face of war.

Mr. Kim condemned Mr. Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself, and he declared that it had “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”

Shortly after Mr. Kim’s statement was released, his foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, delivered prepared remarks to reporters outside his hotel in New York, saying it was up to Mr. Kim to decide what to do, but that North Korea might conduct the “biggest ever hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific.”

Mr. Ri could not have made such an alarming comment without approval from Mr. Kim, although some analysts question whether North Korea has the technology or political daring to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test, something the world has not seen for decades.
In addition to these insults, Kim compared Tangerine to a barking dog. This may or may not be a step up from a running dog. but imagine how pleasant the world would be if they were only Twitter bombing each other instead of threatening to really bomb a lot of other people?

And on the Mueller front


Trevor Noah gets us up to speed if we have been distracted.


Jimmy Kimmel is on a roll


And the total lack of shame on the GOP side comes shining through, again.


With role models like this



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Preachin' Blues


In the Blessed Church of Larkin Poe.


It will be quick, we promise.


From the pen of Tom Toles



R.I.P. Giacobbe LaMotta


Life hit you with its best shot but you always answered the bell like a Raging Bull. Be at peace Jake.

Puerto Rico is a part of the US


Just as the US Virgin Islands are. And both have been devastated in a way that Florida and Texas can give thanks did not happen to them. Unlike the aforementioned states, the islands do not have and resource or industrial base to re-build on, they will need $Billions to restore a minimum quality of life. And they face a President who could give a fuck about anybody other than himself and a Congress with people who would deny their own, forget about others.
Daybreak in Puerto Rico on Thursday exposed the crushing devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria — splintered homes, crumbled balconies, uprooted trees and floodwaters coursing through streets.

The storm cut a path through the island on Wednesday and 100 percent of the territory remained without power. Officials predicted that it could take months to restore electricity as rescue brigades ventured out to assess the toll of death and injury.

Puerto Rico faces numerous obstacles as it begins to emerge from the storm: the weight of an extended debt and bankruptcy crisis; a recovery process begun after Irma, which killed at least three people and left nearly 70 percent of households without power; the difficulty of getting to an island far from the mainland; and the strain on relief efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other groups already spread thin in the wake of several recent storms.

“Irma gave us a break, but Maria destroyed us,” Edwin Serrano, a construction worker in Old San Juan, said.

Maria had entered Puerto Rico’s southeast side on Wednesday with category 4 winds of 155 miles per hour, then lost strength, regained power Thursday and continued its furious roll northward, bringing pounding rains and heavy winds to the Dominican Republic.

Officials cautioned that it could deliver dangerous storm surges to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, which were already reeling from the effects of Hurricane Irma.

Most predictions suggested that Maria would veer north and spare the mainland United States. But officials cautioned that the East Coast was still not out of danger and even absent the storm’s main fury, coastal areas could still feel its effects this weekend with heavy rains and dangerous gales.

Here’s the latest:

• Maria passed close to the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic on Thursday morning as a Category 3 storm. Hurricane warnings were in effect for parts of that country as well as the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas.

• Flash flood warnings covered the entirety of Puerto Rico on Thursday. Forecasters say Puerto Rico will see about two feet of rain by Friday, with as much as 35 inches in places. Storm surges were expected to raise water levels by as much as six feet in the Dominican Republic.

• There is significant concern about the expected “life-threatening” storm surge of nine to 12 feet in the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas, according to Michael Brennan of the National Hurricane Center.

• Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN late Wednesday that officials knew of only one fatality in Puerto Rico, but noted that they still could not communicate with the southeastern part of the island, which was hit earliest and hardest by the storm.

• Charles Jong, a spokesman for the government of Dominica, said that 14 people had died in that island nation. “The conditions on the ground in Dominica are very bad,” he said. Residents were without power and running water, and floodwaters had washed away many people’s stockpiles of food, he said.

• Two people were also killed on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, officials said.

• In the United States Virgin Islands, Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp announced a 24-hour curfew for all four islands until further notice. In Puerto Rico, Gov. Rosselló had previously set a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew effective until Saturday.
Puerto Rico will be blessed with a visit from Pumpkin Potemkin who will bring them plenty of caps (@$40 apiece)

Jimmy Kimmel Doesn't Like Lies


And he ripped Bill Cassidy for lying about Graham-Cassidy Deathcare bill



And when some GOP stooges pushed back he ripped them too. What he did to Brian Kilmeade was a joy.


No respect for his authoritah!



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Walkin' After Midnight


Patsy Cline


A year of Yuge disasters


From the pen of Jim Morin



We suck all the time


Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look at the latest Trump disasters.


An insult comic insulting the world


Trevor Noah encapsulates Trump at the UN


If you think health care is expensive



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I Fall To Pieces


Linda Ronstadt


All the world's a campaign stop


From the pen of R J Matson



Stop being a Dick


That was the message, in much more diplomatic language
, from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to our own bellicose ignoramus Cheeto Mussolini.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned world leaders against war with North Korea, calling on them to take the threat of "nuclear peril" seriously.

"We must not sleepwalk our way into war," said Guterres on Tuesday at the annual summit of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

"When tensions rise, so does the chance of miscalculation. Fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings," he said in his first state-of-the-world report since taking the top job at the UN on January 1.

"The solution must be political. This is a time for statesmanship."

His message on "fiery" rhetoric was implicitly directed at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but also at the United States and President Donald Trump, who later warned of "totally destroying North Korea" if it does not back down.

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," Trump told the UNGA, shortly after Guterres' speech.

"'Rocket Man' is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary," Trump added, referring to the North Korean leader with a nickname he gave last week on Twitter.

The UN Security Council has unanimously imposed nine rounds of sanctions against North Korea since 2006 and Guterres appealed for the 15-member body to maintain its unity on Pyongyang.

He made a Batman movie


Trevor Noah looks at Treasury Sec Mnuchin on The Daily Show


The Definition of Snowflake



Monday, September 18, 2017

In Memory of Jesse Zazu


Died September 12, 2017 of cervical cancer. Those Darlins perform "Ain't Afraid" a song she wrote about her diagnosis.


Meanwhile in reality


It is getting harder to satirize Donald Trump but Tom Tomorrow makes the good effort.

The New Looters


From the pen of Joel Pett



Here they come again


Desperately trying, like Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The latest monster, the Cassidy-Graham bill would distort and destroy the ACA in a way guaranteed to enrich their good old buddies at the expense of millions of Americans. Business as usual for the Republicans.
Just when the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act appeared to be dead, a last-ditch push to obliterate the law could be nearing a showdown vote in the Senate, and a handful of Republicans insist they are closing in on the votes.

The leaders of the latest repeal effort, Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, say their drive is gaining momentum. But it is still a long shot. Under their bill, millions could lose coverage, Medicaid would see the same magnitude of cuts that earlier repeal bills extracted, and insurers in some states could charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.

Already, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, has said he will not vote for the measure because it leaves too much of the Affordable Care Act in place.

And Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who cast the deciding vote that killed the repeal effort in July, expressed misgivings that the Senate would try again to pass a bill that had not been examined by committees with expertise — and with no Democratic support.

Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Republicans who steadfastly opposed previous repeal efforts, have not said where they stand. But the new bill holds the same provisions that they opposed this summer: deep cuts to Medicaid and a temporary elimination of federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

Mr. Graham and Mr. Cassidy express a sense of urgency. If the Senate does not vote by the end of next week, it will become nearly impossible to repeal the law because the drive to kill the Affordable Care Act will lose the procedural protections that allow it to pass the Senate with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes that would otherwise be needed.
Sens. Collins and Murkowski need to hear support for a NO vote. And even a pusillanimous scumbag like Dean Heller needs to hear from the people.

Damn hard to kill the monsters



Sunday, September 17, 2017

For The Last Time


Lera Lynn


What's ahead for 'Pig Boy' Bannon?


From the pen of Brian McFadden



World leaders to gather at UN


And Cheeto Mussolini will be there as well because being the head of a country is the only qualification to join that party. Cheeto will probably hate it because once again he will be surrounded by egos as big as his in much more capable people.
Every year, the president heads to New York to welcome world leaders to the United Nations General Assembly. He gives a speech and meets with an endless string of foreign potentates to discuss a dizzying array of complicated, often intractable issues.

The days are “kind of like speed dating from hell,” as one analyst put it, and the evenings are “the world’s most tedious cocktail party.” In other words, not exactly President Trump’s favored format.

But when Mr. Trump attends the first United Nations session of his presidency this coming week, all eyes will be on him as counterparts from around the globe crane their necks and slide through the crowd to snatch a handshake — and, in the process, try to figure out this most unusual of American leaders.

“The world is still trying to take the measure of this president,” said Jon B. Alterman, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and author of the speed-dating analogy. “For a number of leaders, this is going to be their first chance to see him, to judge him, to try to get on his good side.”

In some places, there has been an instinct to dismiss Mr. Trump as a bombastic, Twitter-obsessed political and diplomatic neophyte. “But the fact is you can’t write off the American president,” Mr. Alterman said.

One of Mr. Trump’s primary tasks will be to define how his America First approach — which has led him to pull out of international agreements on free trade and climate change — fits into the world-first mission of the United Nations.

His challenge is “to describe the Trump Doctrine on U.S. global leadership and engagement,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. “The perception in many parts of the world, including the U.N., is that President Trump is unilateralist and isolationist. Trump has the opportunity to present and describe his vision and strategy. The world will be all ears.”

Mr. Trump arrives in New York at a time of crackling tension over North Korea’s provocative actions and deep uncertainty about what he will do with President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. While foreign leaders once feared that an erratic American presidency was taking shape, they have been reassured, to some extent, that Mr. Trump is settling into a somewhat more conventional foreign policy than many had anticipated, analysts said.

The president has not launched an all-out trade war with China, ripped up the Iran deal or the North American Free Trade Agreement, or moved the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, at least not yet. He has belatedly reaffirmed support for NATO and agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan.
Far from a stellar record in office. Hopefully he will be able to refrain from starting a major international incident.

A tweet from God



The others aren't pulling their weight



Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Matador


Gretchen Peters


A lesson in Civics


From the pen of Pat Bagley



R.I.P. Harry Dean Stanton


So many times I saw you on TV or in movies because you were that good. You always followed The Code.


Can't beat the Taliban


So we will build a larger fortress in Kabul to prepare us for the next 17 years of futility. And because we are such nice guys, we will include other embassies and ministries in the new, improved safe zone.
Soon, American Embassy employees in Kabul will no longer need to take a Chinook helicopter ride to cross the street to a military base less than 100 yards outside the present Green Zone security district.

Instead, the boundaries of the Green Zone will be redrawn to include that base, known as the Kabul City Compound, formerly the headquarters for American Special Operations forces in the capital. The zone is separated from the rest of the city by a network of police, military and private security checkpoints.

The expansion is part of a huge public works project that over the next two years will reshape the center of this city of five million to bring nearly all Western embassies, major government ministries, and NATO and American military headquarters within the protected area.

After 16 years of American presence in Kabul, it is a stark acknowledgment that even the city’s central districts have become too difficult to defend from Taliban bombings.

But the capital project is also clearly taking place to protect another long-term American investment: Along with an increase in troops to a reported 15,000, from around 11,000 at the moment, the Trump administration’s new strategy for Afghanistan is likely to keep the military in place well into the 2020s, even by the most conservative estimates.

No one wants to say when any final pullout will take place, because the emphasis now is on a conditions-based withdrawal — presumably meaning after the Afghan government can handle the war alone. But President Trump has kept secret the details of those conditions, and how they are defined.

“Until he says what the conditions are, all that means is we’ll be there as long as we want, for whatever reason we want,” said Barnett Rubin, a longtime Afghanistan expert who advised the Obama administration. “And they don’t have to lie to do that, because the conditions will never be good enough to say we’re absolutely not needed.”

In practical terms, it means that the American military mission will continue for many more years, despite its unpopularity with the American public. Many military strategists, in America and Afghanistan, have already penciled in plans well into the ’20s, and certainly past any Trump re-election campaign.
Oh great! Another Republican with a secret plan for the end of the war. Anybody who doesn't know how that turns out is riding the short bus. We can be sure of two things concerning any secret plan. One is that Donald Trump does not have one. And two any plan the military may have is flexible enough to be just out of reach when examined.

What is sauce for the goose.....


Is also sauce for the gander. Bill Maher goes off on a saucy rant for liberal states rights


If it will keep you from voting



Friday, September 15, 2017

Absolution


Sue Foley from her 2006 album New Used Car


All the same to him


From the pen of Kevin Siers



That boy just can't keep his mouth shut


And once again he has shot off his mouth about an event in Britain of which he knew little or nothing about. More likely nothing as the British no longer share intelligence about terrorists until they have been put away.
President Trump on Friday suggested British intelligence officials were aware of the assailant or assailants behind an unfolding terrorist attack on the London subway, an assertion that British officials called unhelpful speculation.

Prime Minister Theresa May alluded to Mr. Trump’s Twitter post in an interview with reporters, saying, “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.”


Later on Friday morning, Mr. Trump said he had been briefed on the London terror attack, and he later spoke with Mrs. May by phone. According to the White House, Mr. Trump expressed sympathy for the people injured and promised to continue working with the British to fight terrorism. The White House summary of the call did not address whether Mr. Trump and Mrs. May discussed the president’s tweet about Scotland Yard.

The small explosion on a crowded Underground train during morning rush hour in the capital on Friday wounded at least 22 people, and the authorities in the city said they were treating the incident as terrorism. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack or whether the assailant or assailants had been on the radar of British intelligence, as Mr. Trump suggested.

In short remarks to reporters on Friday morning, Mr. Trump said he had been briefed on the explosion but did not elaborate on what he meant in his reference to Scotland Yard.
No doubt the reference to Scotland Yard was something he heard on Fux & Fiends. More seriously, we hope he didn't worry about having to re-measure his Scottish golf course in Scotland Yards.

Dinners, Dreamers and Deals


Trevor Noah examines the latest Orange Monstrosity


A rudderless narcissist


Seth Meyers on the Great Deal Maker


One way



Thursday, September 14, 2017

King Cotton


The Secret Sisters


Should be easy to understand


From the pen of Pat Bagley



It must be Thursday


Because The Tangerine Shitgibbon has now declared that yes he does support a law to protect the Dreamers. A law that is now only necessary because of his prior actions.
President Trump confirmed on Thursday morning that he supports legislation that would protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation and would deliver a “massive” increase in border security — but not with a wall on the southern border.

Mr. Trump’s comments, both in Washington and in Florida, affirmed the broad parameters of an agreement that Democratic leaders unilaterally announced Wednesday night after dinner with the president at the White House.

In remarks to reporters as he left the White House on Thursday, Mr. Trump said, “We’re working on a plan for DACA,” referring to protections for immigrants who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He confirmed, “the wall will come later.”

Mr. Trump’s comments seemed to contradict his own Twitter posts early Thursday morning when he said, “no deal was made last night on DACA.” But they were very much in line with Democratic leaders’ statements. Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, also stopped short of calling their agreement a “deal” on Thursday.

But she told reporters, “We agreed to a plan to protect our nation’s Dreamers from deportation,” adding that there would be a “border security measure that does not include a wall” included in immigration legislation.

Republican leaders were contacted after the fact. In a curt statement, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, confirmed that the president called him Thursday morning to discuss immigration issues.

“As Congress debates the best ways to address illegal immigration through strong border security and interior enforcement, DACA should be part of those discussions. We look forward to receiving the Trump administration’s legislative proposal as we continue our work on these issues,” he said.

At this point, any legislative proposal appears to be coming from the minority party. A senior Democratic official familiar with Wednesday’s dinner conversation said the agreement was specific, drawing on language from Mr. Trump’s own budget request. That request included sensors to beef up border monitoring, rebuilding roads along the border, drones and air support for border enforcement.
So Tangerine plans to get a new law with the support of the minority in Congress after pissing off the Republican leaders who have the actual means to make it happen. Any day now he will pull that rabbit out of his ass.

Another Closer Look


Seth Meyers


It doesn't matter how many people get hurt


Trying to warn people about the potential loss of their equity to rising sea levels is not allowed thanks to the influence of realtors specializing in coastal properties. Don't imagine for a second they will let you threaten their profits.
All along the coast of the southeast United States, the real estate industry confronts a hurricane. Not the kind that swirls in the Atlantic, but a storm of scientific information about sea-level rise that threatens the most lucrative, commission-boosting properties.

These studies warn that Florida, the Carolinas and other southeastern states face the nation’s fastest-growing rates of sea level rise and coastal erosion — as much as 3 feet by the year 2100, depending on how quickly Antarctic ice sheets melt. In a recent report, researchers for Zillow estimated that nearly 2 million U.S. homes could be literally underwater by 2100, if worst-case projections become reality.

This is not good news for people who market and build waterfront houses. But real estate lobbyists aren’t going down without a fight. Some are teaming up with climate change skeptics and small government advocates to block public release of sea-level rise predictions and ensure that coastal planning is not based on them.

“This is very concerning,” said Willo Kelly, who represents both the Outer Banks Home Builders Association and the Outer Banks Association of Realtors and led a six-year battle against state sea-level-rise mapping in North Carolina. “There’s a fear that some think tank is going to come in here and tell us what to do.”

The flooding and destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey has again highlighted the risks of owning shoreline property. But coastal real estate development remains lucrative, and in recent months and years, the industry has successfully blocked coastal planning policies based on ever-higher oceans.

Last month, President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era executive order that required the federal government to account for climate change and sea level rise when building infrastructure, such as highways, levees and floodwalls. Trump’s move came after lobbying from the National Association of Home Builders, which called the Obama directive “an overreaching environmental rule that needlessly hurt housing affordability.”

In North Carolina, Kelly teamed up with homebuilders and Realtors to pass state legislation in 2012 that prevented coastal planners from basing policies on a benchmark of a 39-inch sea-level rise by 2100.

The legislation, authored by Republican Rep. Pat McElraft, a coastal Realtor, banned the state from using scientific projections of future sea level rise for a period of four years. It resulted in the state later adopting a 30-year forecast, which projects the sea rising a mere 8 inches.
It is not often you find laws that require deliberate lying to make a profit it appears that coastal Realtors in the Southeast are now the equal of used car dealers and rug merchants in honesty.

What's Up DACA


Samantha Bee catches up with Dreamers and takes a healthy shit on Kris Kobach.


And they call themselves patriots



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I Wish I Was The Moon Tonight


Neko Case


Why they don't flinch


From the pen of Steve Sacks



Not quite yet


The Senate voted on the repeal of the infamous AUMF
which up to now has been used to justify unlimited warfare and military involvement anywhere the executive chooses around the globe. The vote fell pretty much along party lines with some exceptions.
The debate pitted the Republican Party’s ascendant isolationist wing, represented by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, against its old-line interventionists, led by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who is pressing his vision of a muscular military even as he battles brain cancer.

Mr. Paul pressed for the repeal vote, in a strange bedfellows alliance with Senator Tim Kaine, the Virginia Democrat who was his party’s vice-presidential nominee last year. But the effort failed when senators voted 61 to 36 to set the measure aside, rather than include it in the annual defense policy bill that senators are considering this week.

“What we have today is basically unlimited war — war anywhere, anytime, any place on the globe,” Mr. Paul told his colleagues in a speech Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor. “I don’t think anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty believes these authorizations allow current wars we fight in seven countries.”

Mr. Paul had proposed repealing the declaration in six months, to give lawmakers time to consider a new one. The issue has been around since 2015, when President Barack Obama asked Congress to replace the authorization of military force passed to battle Al Qaeda with a new one crafted specifically to take on the Islamic State.

But so far Congress has balked, declining to take on the difficult issue even as lawmakers such as Mr. Kaine insist that the legislative branch should reclaim its constitutional duty to declare war.

In the House, in another unlikely partnership, Representative Barbara Lee, the California Democrat who was the only member of the House to vote against the original resolution in 2001, paired up with Representative Scott Taylor, a freshman Virginia Republican and former Navy SEAL, over the summer to convince the Appropriations Committee to insert language repealing the original use of force declaration into a spending bill.

“I just felt compelled to stand up and say, now it’s time to look at the AUMF,” Mr. Taylor said, using the acronym for the authorization for the use of military force. He said once he spoke up, other Republicans joined in to support him: “It’s an issue that I don’t think is going to go away.”

But Republican leaders stripped the provision out of the spending measure; Speaker Paul D. Ryan said at the time that the move was a “mistake” and that such language was not appropriate for inclusion in a spending measure.

“It was really shameful,” Ms. Lee said in an interview. “The Constitution requires us to do our job and debate the costs of war.”
With the Republicans in charge, there is little chance the Congress will do its job. What is certain is that until a major change occurs, the President, whoever he or she may be, will continue to have an open ended ability to start wars at his pleasure.

Having given it great thought


For a month or two, the Republicans in Congress hope to bring forth an overhaul of the tax code without too many people rolling on the floor laughing.A most difficult task given that their plan will largely be a paste up of every bad fiscal idea ever put forth by their paymasters.
The Trump administration and Republican leaders of Congress will jointly release a detailed framework of their plan to overhaul the tax code during the week of Sept. 25, with legislation ready for congressional committee action in the second half of October, Republican tax writers said Wednesday.

Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, briefed House Republicans on the ambitious timeline on Wednesday, offering the most explicit map to enact a tax plan after months of broad principles and missed deadlines.

“The stakes are higher than ever that we deliver this year,” Mr. Brady said, according to a person in the room who requested anonymity to release details about the closed-door meeting.

President Trump, the leaders of the House and Senate tax committees, and the leaders of both congressional chambers have placed an enormous bet that they can rewrite the tax code by the year’s end. On Wednesday, the president tied the effort to recovery from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Mr. Brady said at the meeting that the plan was for the budget process to be completed in the House and Senate by mid-October.

“No budget, no tax reform,” Mr. Brady said, trying to raise pressure on hard-line conservatives who have said they would not support a budget plan before seeing the details of the tax overhaul.

Some Republicans have been unhappy with the process used to craft the tax package, which has included regular negotiations among Mr. Brady, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, Speaker Paul D. Ryan and President Trump’s top economic advisers, Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council.

Mr. Brady explained that developing a unified plan with this working group was necessary after the failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He said that the House and Senate would follow regular procedures to move the legislation through the Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee this fall.

The timeline, which most experts have suggested seems to be overly ambitious, comes as Mr. Trump has been ramping up pressure on Congress to deliver a legislative victory this year.
Another major problem is the refusal of Republican 'leadership' to talk to anyone about what they are doing, a sure fire way to piss off people whose votes they will need. But no one will ever accuse Republicans of having the capacity to govern.

Miss Texas nailed it in 20 seconds


Trevor Noah & Michelle Wolf prove Miss America contestants are smarter than Donald Trump


Rebuilding after Harvey & Irma with help from HUD ??


Seth Meyers examines Trump's answer to "Brownie"


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