Thursday, November 30, 2017
Long Way Home
What's missing from the White House
Faster, Badder, Faster, Badder
What started as the usual Republican wet dream of undeserved tax cuts for greedy wealthy people and corporations has turned into a monster capable of destroying the American way of life as the only ones left to enjoy it will be those earning 7 figures or better.
The tax plan has been marketed by President Trump and Republican leaders as a straightforward if enormous rebate for the masses, a $1.5 trillion package of cuts to spur hiring and economic growth. But as the bill has been rushed through Congress with scant debate, its far broader ramifications have come into focus, revealing a catchall legislative creation that could reshape major areas of American life, from education to health care.Every nasty vicious right wing idea that could never stand the light of day in open debate is being crammed into this monstrosity and pushed forward at lightning speed for the Senate before anybody kows just how much shit has been crammed into this wealthy donor goody bag. And if we aren't pulling down 7 figure incomes, we will be paying for their new yachts while we try to make the rent on their slum apartments.
Some of this re-engineering is straight out of the traditional Republican playbook. Corporate taxes, along with those on wealthy Americans, would be slashed on the presumption that when people in penthouses get relief, the benefits flow down to basement tenements.
Some measures are barely connected to the realm of taxation, such as the lifting of a 1954 ban on political activism by churches and the conferring of a new legal right for fetuses in the House bill — both on the wish list of the evangelical right.
With a potentially far-reaching dimension, elements in both the House and Senate bills could constrain the ability of states and local governments to levy their own taxes, pressuring them to limit spending on health care, education, public transportation and social services. In their longstanding battle to shrink government, Republicans have found in the tax bill a vehicle to broaden the fight beyond Washington.
The result is a behemoth piece of legislation that could widen American economic inequality while diminishing the power of local communities to marshal relief for vulnerable people — especially in high-tax states like California and New York, which, not coincidentally, tend to vote Democratic.
All of this is taking shape at such extraordinary velocity, absent the usual analyses and hearings, that even the most savvy Washington lobbyist cannot be fully certain of the implications.
Mr. Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress — stymied in their efforts to repeal Obamacare, and short of legislative achievements — have signaled absolute resolve to get a tax bill passed by the end of the year. As the sense has taken hold that Washington is now a trading floor where any deal is worth entertaining so long as it brings votes, interest groups have fixed on the tax bill as a unique opportunity to further their agendas.
CALL YOUR SENATOR NOW! at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to vote NO.
We're gonna get fucked again
Trevor Noah looks at the end of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Another explanation of the GOP Tax Scam
Seth Meyers gives us a Closer Look
The ultimate aim of GOP Tax "Reform"
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Nothing to see here, let's move along.
"As a 14-year old, I did not deserve to have you, a 32-year old, prey on me"
Leigh Corfman responded to a direct attack from sleazebag Roy Moore calling her a liar, with an open letter that eloquently explains what her position is.
Mr. Moore,C'mon Roy, apologize. Both Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Bakker were man enough to do so, why can't you?
When the Washington Post approached me about what you did to me as a child, I told them what happened, just as I had told family and friends years before. I stand by every word.
You responded by denying the truth. You told the world that you didn't even know me. Others in recent days have had the decency to acknowledge their hurtful actions and apologize for similar behavior, but not you.
So I gave an interview on television so that people could judge for themselves whether I was telling the truth.
You sent out your spokesmen to call me a liar. Day after day.
Finally, last night, you did the dirty work yourself. You called me malicious, and you questioned my motivation in going public.
I explained my motivation on the Today show. I said that this is not political for me, this is personal. As a 14-year old, I did not deserve to have you, a 32-year old, prey on me. I sat quietly for too long, out of concern for my family. No more.
I am not getting paid for speaking up. I am not getting rewarded from your political opponents. What I am getting is stronger by refusing to blame myself and speaking the truth out loud.
The initial barrage of attacks against me voiced by your campaign spokespersons and others seemed petty so I did not respond.
But when you personally denounced me last night and called me slanderous names, I decided that I am done being silent. What you did to me when I was 14-years old should be revolting to every person of good morals. But now you are attacking my honesty and integrity. Where does your immorality end?
I demand that you stop calling me a liar and attacking my character. Your smears and false denials, and those of others who repeat and embellish them, are defamatory and damaging to me and my family.
I am telling the truth, and you should have the decency to admit it and apologize.
Soon to include the Senate
Their god is cool with it.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
A most productive president
Having trashed the world economy
And brazenly stolen the homes of millions of Americans, a series of patchwork efforts reined in the worst of Wall Street's depradations. Sadly those regulatory efforts were made under President Obama and The Tangerine Shitgibbon is on personal crusade to remove every trace of that black guy from the government. The wreckers are about to grab control of the last best regulatory agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
A decade after the financial crisis, the federal government is easing up its policing of Wall Street and the banking industry, even without actually repealing broad swaths of regulation.When the government is in the hands of people who believe you should give up all you have in the quest for their profits.
The public battle over who will serve as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — with the White House trying to install Mick Mulvaney, a staunch opponent of the agency — is the most recent example of the banker-friendly approach that has gripped Washington. Less visible are the subtle but steady efforts at the White House, in federal agencies and on Capitol Hill to lessen the regulatory burden on banks and financial firms since President Trump took office.
At the Treasury Department, officials are trying to make it easier for financial firms to avoid being tagged as “too big to fail,” a designation that subjects them to greater oversight. A major banking regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, has become more forgiving of big banks when it comes to enforcing laws. And the Securities and Exchange Commission is reining in the power of regional directors to issue subpoenas.
In Congress, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing legislation to reduce regulation on small financial institutions. The proposal contains “targeted, common-sense fixes,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who now supports a handful of changes and exemptions to rules he voted to impose after the financial crisis.
The changes are the result of a combination of forces: business-friendly appointments by the president, a lack of financial and personnel resources at many federal agencies, minute changes in rules imposed by regulators and a relaxation in how bank examiners supervise large institutions.
It was a rare instance of a politician casting Wall Street as a victim — especially since the banking industry is on a roll. Commercial banks last year generated $157 billion in profits, the highest level ever, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Banks are making lots of loans. Their stock prices have been marching ever higher.
Critics of the Trump administration’s approach argue that the regulatory pendulum is swinging too far and too fast in favor of the banking industry, risking a repeat of the problems that led up to the financial crisis.
“The fear is that this administration will go back on all of the promises that it made on the campaign trail to look out for the little guy and will roll back all of the protections that were put in place after the 2008 economic collapse,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, a consumer group. “What’s happening at the consumer bureau is a perfect example of that. They’re trying to put in charge a guy who doesn’t even believe that the C.F.P.B. should exist.”
As most GOP Senators are rich
As most Senators have made a bundle on 'public service' it makes a twisted kind of sense that to attract the support of those who are still on the fence new additions to the Republican Tax Scam should include additional benefits for the wealthy and, if anything, make the burden greater on working and poor people.
The Republican tax bill hurtling through Congress is increasingly tilting the United States tax code to benefit wealthy Americans, as party leaders race to shore up wavering lawmakers who are requesting more help for high-earning business owners.The notion that the bill/scam could be passed without debate was always a wet dream. There is plenty of debate but very little of it is in public so as not to spook the rubes who will have to pay for the Ultimate Giveaway To The Rich And Corporations. Anybody who works for a living and thinks they will get an actual tax cut must be planning on dying soon.
On Monday, as Republican lawmakers returned to Washington determined to quickly pass their tax overhaul, senators were in feverish talks to resolve concerns that could bedevil the bill’s passage. With pressure increasing on Republicans to produce a legislative victory, lawmakers are contemplating changes that would exacerbate the tax bill’s divide between the rich and the middle class.
Those include efforts to further reward certain high-income business owners who are already receiving a tax break in the Senate bill but who are at the center of a concerted push by conservative lawmakers and trade groups to sweeten those benefits.
As Republican leaders pressed for a Senate floor vote this week, there appeared to be little momentum for amendments that would help low-income Americans, which some Republican and many Democratic senators had sought.
The Congressional Budget Office said this week that the Senate bill, as written, would hurt workers earning less than $30,000 a year in short order, while delivering benefits to the highest earners throughout the next decade. Those estimates echo other analyses, like that by the Joint Committee on Taxation, which have found the biggest benefits of the bill increasingly flowing to the rich over time. By 2027, the budget office said, Americans earning $75,000 a year and below would, as a group, see their taxes increase, because individual tax cuts are set to expire at the end of 2025.
The week is expected to be punctuated by behind-the-scenes arm twisting and deal making as party leaders work to allay senators’ worries without exceeding their self-imposed $1.5 trillion budget for tax cuts. At least a half-dozen senators have raised concerns about the bill, including its potential to add to the federal deficit and a provision that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty.
Many of those senators are in discussions with party leaders over how to tweak the bill to address their concerns. James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma, said on Monday that he was in talks over a proposal meant to ensure the tax plan did not balloon the deficit. Mr. Lankford said the Senate was discussing inserting a provision that would lead to tax increases — as yet unspecified — after a period of years if federal revenues fell short of lawmakers’ projections.
“To me,” Mr. Lankford said, “the big issue is how are we dealing with debt and deficit, do we have realistic numbers, and is there a backstop in the process just in case we don’t?”
Mr. Corker and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has also expressed concerns about the bill’s costs, said on Monday that they were similarly interested in some type of trigger or backstop.
Some other senators’ concerns appear less likely to be addressed. Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida, for example, appear to be making little progress in persuading party leaders to expand access to the child tax credit for low-income families, by allowing the credit to be refundable against payroll tax liability. Such a move would allow working parents who do not currently face income tax liability to still benefit from the expanded credit envisioned in the bill.
Trevor's Plan to stop Trump's tax scam
And the Daily Show host has a very clever plan
Stand by your molester
Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look at the Trump stuff
It's all he does nowadays
Monday, November 27, 2017
Blues In My Heart
Duke Robillard Featuring Catherine Russell
And now, in another Reality
Tom Tomorrow fills us in on what the Trumpoons are saying about their Great Orange Distraction.
I Write You A Lovesong
The Good Lovelies
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Land of Confusion
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Turn Yourself Around
Friday, November 24, 2017
Luella and the Sun
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving !
Arlo, who else?
Stop to consider
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Walking On Broken Glass
Lake Street Dive
Lots of turkeys this year
R.I.P. Delloreese Patricia Early
When you sang it was obvious you were touched by an angel.
Such a small margin
Almost as small as Donald Trump's hands and other things. Having passed the Republican Tax Disaster in the House, it is now up to the Senate to draft and pass their version of the bill before going to reconciliation. The vote is epected to be along party lines which gives the GOP a margin of 2 Senators. As no Democrats are planning to vote yes the votes ofa few Senators with reservations is now the focus of all concerned.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, wants the full Senate to consider the tax bill next week. Because Republicans hold a narrow 52-to-48 majority, party leaders can afford only two defections, assuming Democrats are unified against the bill and Vice President Mike Pence provides the tiebreaking vote. The math would grow even tighter if Democrats gain a seat in the special election for Senate in Alabama next month.Three seperate areas of contention and no certainty which way the Senators in question will vote. And if Mitch does something nice to the noisy ones, what will keep anothe Senator speaking up to get his share of the boodle? No wonder Mitch's throat pouch quivers in fear when an important vote is taken.
The concerns expressed by Republican senators are hardly monolithic, and Mr. McConnell will have to walk a delicate line to resolve the issues without setting off additional objections from other lawmakers.
The deficit issue is a crucial one, given several senators have already expressed concerns about piling up more debt as a result of the tax overhaul. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee has said he will not vote for a tax plan that he determines will add to the deficit, after accounting for economic growth spurred by the legislation. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma has also expressed deficit concerns.
Mr. Flake, who has spoken positively in recent days about the effort to overhaul the tax code, repeated his deficit concerns on Monday.
“We’ve got to realize we have a $20 trillion debt and a deficit that’s about $600 billion a year, and we can’t do things that are simply going to explode that deficit,” Mr. Flake said on KFYI, an Arizona radio station.
“I think we desperately need tax reform,” Mr. Flake said. “It’s been more than 30 years since we’ve had significant tax reform. My concern is that it’s really tax reform and not just tax cuts.”
Another matter under scrutiny is how the Senate bill treats small businesses and other so-called pass-through entities, whose owners pay taxes on profits through the individual tax code.
Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, objects to how such businesses would fare under the legislation, which in his view favors larger corporations. Mr. Johnson came out against the bill last week.
In an interview on the radio station WISN on Monday, Mr. Johnson expressed optimism that the issue would be addressed. But he still complained about what he deemed an “awful, rushed process” with a “desperation to pass anything.”
“That’s not the best way to pass something that’s going to affect so many people’s lives and have such a dramatic impact on our economy,” Mr. Johnson said.
Then there is the contentious issue of health care, which Senate Republicans brought into the already difficult tax debate when they added to their bill the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most people have health coverage or pay a penalty. The Senate proposal would eliminate those penalties, effectively scrapping the coverage requirement, known as the individual mandate.
The inclusion of the repeal immediately raised questions about how such a provision might influence the votes of the Republican senators who objected to previous efforts this year to repeal the Affordable Care Act, particularly Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Stephen Colbert begins with the implosion of the Georgia Dome and follows with the latest Donny implosion.
Another Closer Look
With Seth Meyers
Defining his base
Monday, November 20, 2017
On a parallel world to ours
Tom Tomorrow reports that president Trump has created new cabinet departments to utilize the vast talent pool at his disposal.
Suck it up, Satan! He's all yours now.
About that yellow brick road
The color comes not from gold but from the constant pissing on people by their elected Republicans at the behest of their financial donor/owners. Stan Collender, a federal budget and tax expert, explains why the Yuge Tax Disaster is a long term disaster for the American economy that is totally unecessary.
There's no economic justification whatsoever for a tax cut at this time. U.S. GDP is growing, unemployment is close to 4 percent (below what is commonly considered "full employment"), corporate profits are at record levels and stock markets are soaring. It makes no sense to add any federal government-induced stimulus to all this private sector-caused economic activity, let alone a tax cut as big as this one.This is not any fulfillment of GOP economic wet dreams, this is a full fledged attempt to destroy the economy of the United States.
This is actually the ideal time for Washington to be doing the opposite. But by damning the economic torpedoes and moving full-speed ahead, House and Senate Republicans and the Trump White House are setting up the U.S. for the modern-day analog of the inflation-producing guns-and-butter economic policy of the Vietnam era. The GOP tax bill will increase the federal deficit by $2 trillion or more over the next decade (the official estimates of $1.5 trillion hide the real amount with a witches brew of gimmicks and outright lies) that, unless all the rules have changed, is virtually certain to result in inflation and much higher interest rates than would otherwise occur.
The GOP's insanity is compounded by its moving ahead without having any idea of what this policy will actually do to the economy. The debates in the Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees and on the House floor all took place before the Congressional Budget Office's analysis and, if it really exists, the constantly-promised-but-never-seen report from the Treasury on the economics of this tax bill.
The real economic insanity of the GOP's tax bill will be felt in future years. Consider the following.
- The $1 trillion a year budget deficit will not be the result of cyclical changes that will be reversed when the economy improves. These will be permanent structural deficit increases.
- The tax hikes that will be needed to resolve the structural imbalance between federal spending and revenues will be impossible for political reasons.
- Whenever the U.S. economy grows more slowly than expected or there's a downturn, an annual deficit of $2 trillion could easily become the norm.
- The federal government will have far less ability to respond to economic downturns unless previously unimaginable and politically intolerable deficits, tax increases or spending cuts suddenly become acceptable.
- Reduce the national debt? As they say in New York, fuhgeddaboudit at least in the next decade.
- Much more national debt plus rising interest rates means interest on the national debt will be the fastest growing part of the federal budget.
- Without massive cuts in Social Security, Medicare and the Pentagon, it won't be possible to reduce federal spending enough to do more than tweak the deficit.
- Washington's ability to invest in anything new that will improve the economy (think infrastructure, education and medical research) will be far less given the already-high deficits.
- Even though the limits to monetary policy became obvious the past few years, the Federal Reserve will be the major economic policy maker in Washington over the next decade.
In other words, if the GOP tax bill is enacted, Congress and the president this year will give up almost all ability to deal with the U.S. economy for at least a decade even when, as almost certainly will happen, there's a downturn. No one else will be able to fulfill this role.
That's almost a textbook definition of economic insanity.
GOP tax magic explained
Nebraska just approved their new jobs
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Swallow Me Up
Lynn Hanson & the Good Intentions
It's all in how you say it
R.I.P. Lonnie Melvin Tillis
With a cruel stutter when he talked, Mel Tillis' music helped him to show what he could be to the world and it was pretty damn good.
Everybody's favorite idiot bastard child
Is not happy with the Republican Tax Disaster and is letting everybody know it. The reason is quite obvious, the family business that keeps Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin fat and sassy is not getting the proper tax break that larger corporations are getting.
Mr. Johnson had become the first Senate Republican to say publicly that he could not vote for the Senate’s version of the tax bill. During the phone call on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Ryan, who had campaigned heavily for Mr. Johnson in 2016, posed an essential question, according to the senator: “What are you going to need?”In an election year with a real chance that Ron will be thrown out, he is not going to vote for somthing that will break his rice bowl when he is sent back home. And if the Senate makes changes to keep him happy, they may not have the offsets to keep the bill within reconciliation limits. And Ron is only the first to ask for his special interest.
What Mr. Johnson needs, he said in an interview from Wisconsin on Friday, is for the bill to treat more favorably small businesses and other so-called pass-through entities — businesses whose profits are distributed to their owners and taxed at rates for individuals. Such entities, including Mr. Johnson’s family-run plastics manufacturing business, account for more than half of the nation’s business income, and the senator says the tax bill would give an unfair advantage to larger corporations.
“I just have in my heart a real affinity for these owner-operated pass-throughs,” he said. “We need to make American businesses competitive — they’re not right now. But in making businesses competitive, we can’t leave behind the pass-throughs.”
The sudden fissure between longtime allies laid bare the challenge that Republicans face as the tax bill leaves Mr. Ryan’s care and navigates the rough waters of the Senate, where different priorities within the party could sink the bill if not adequately addressed.
Senate Republican leaders, who are seeking a major legislative victory before year’s end, hope to bring their tax bill, which differs significantly from the House measure, to a vote after Thanksgiving. But it is unclear whether it has enough support to pass in the narrowly divided chamber.
Offering concessions to skeptical senators one by one could prove an impossible task for Republican leaders, who face restraints under Senate rules on the total size of the tax cut package. Those leaders are hoping, instead, that they can pull off a version of Mr. Ryan’s strategy: all but daring holdouts to derail the party’s top priority.
Republicans, who control Congress and the White House, are desperately seeking their first significant legislative achievement of the Trump presidency. Mr. Johnson’s public wavering elicited calls from President Trump and a visit from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Gary D. Cohn, chairman of the National Economic Council, all of whom sounded out Mr. Johnson about his concerns.
Mr. Johnson is a firm believer in the power of tax cuts to lift economic growth. He grew up on a Minnesota farm, worked as an accountant after college, and spent more than 30 years immersed in his family’s plastics company before assuming his Senate seat in 2010.
Get the DA to stop humping my leg
Bill Maher's opening monologue
Working hard to make your life harder
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Let's Just Have Supper
Good Thanksgiving Holiday advice from Nora Jane Struthers
Still the biggest and dirtiest
In Trump World
Everybody else does it, even when he has set the example to follow. And it worked when he was a big toad in the small pond of NY real estate development. Now he is on the world stage where everything is recorded so when he attempts to mock Sen. Al Franken for his sexual misconduct he is seeing the whole world come back with the question, What about when you did it?
Last fall, Donald J. Trump inadvertently touched off a national conversation about sexual harassment when a recording of him boasting about groping women was made public at the same time a succession of women came forward to assert that groping was something he did more than talk about.As expected, the White House staff and allies are spinning like a room full of dervishes trying to explain why Cheeto Mussolini is different. But when Cheeto steps in a pile of shit he just says it is someone else's fault and goes on.
A year later, after a wave of harassment claims against powerful men in entertainment, politics, the arts and the news media, the discussion has come full circle with President Trump criticizing the latest politician exposed for sexual misconduct even as he continues to deny any of the accusations against him.
In this case, Mr. Trump focused his Twitter-fueled mockery on a Democratic senator while largely avoiding a similar condemnation of a Republican Senate candidate facing far more allegations. The turn in the political dialogue threatened to transform a moment of cleansing debate about sexual harassment into another weapon in the war between the political parties, led by the president himself.
Indeed, Republicans on Friday were more than happy to talk about Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, who apologized this week after a radio newscaster said he forcibly kissed her and posed for a photograph a decade ago appearing to fondle her breasts while she was sleeping. Democrats, for their part, sought to keep the focus on Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate in Alabama who has been accused of unwanted sexual conduct by multiple women going back even further, including one who was 14 at the time.
But the notion that Mr. Trump himself would weigh in given his own history of crude talk about women and the multiple allegations against him surprised many in Washington who thought he could not surprise them anymore. A typical politician with Mr. Trump’s history would stay far away from discussing someone else’s behavior lest it dredge his own back into the spotlight. But as Mr. Trump has shown repeatedly during his 10-month presidency, he is rarely deterred by conventional political wisdom even as he leaves it to his staff to fend off the cries of hypocrisy.
“Like everything else Trump touches, he hijacks it with his chronic dishonesty and childishness,” said Mark Salter, a longtime adviser to Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “The intense, angry and largely ignorant tribalism afflicting our politics predates Trump’s arrival on the scene. But he has infused it with a psychopath’s inability to accept that social norms apply to him.”
How both partys do it
The Daily Show looks at sexual assault from two sides, one contrite and one proud of what he did.
Bill Maher's Christmas Carol
For Ebenezer Trump.
That is not Weiner's dick pic on the right
Friday, November 17, 2017
A capella is good
The T Sisters are excellent singing "You'll Be Fine"
How It Works and The Result
The most blatant theft
In the current Republican Tax Disaster, the most blatant give away to the top takers of this nation is the repeal of the Estate Tax. Years of calling it the death tax and bleating about poor little businesses and farms that are lost to it (Bigly Lie) has convinced many people they will get some benefit from the repeal.They are dead wrong.
Supporters and critics of the Republican tax bills argue over their effect on middle-class Americans, but there is one group that everyone agrees would come out ahead: the millionaires and billionaires who have to reckon with the estate tax.You may dream of one day being able to die and take advantage of the estate tax repeal but you will almost certainly just have to work harder to pay for the $151 Billion revenue shortfall it will cause.
As Steven Mnuchin, President Trump’s Treasury secretary, bluntly declared last month, “Obviously, the estate tax, I will concede, disproportionately helps rich people.”
As it is now, the estate tax affects a small set of wealthy Americans, applying only when someone leaves assets worth more than $5.49 million to heirs. Together, parents can leave $11 million to their children without paying a penny in estate taxes.
Last year, for example, more than 2.6 million people died in the United States. Of the estates filed with the Internal Revenue Service, 5,219 — or 0.2 percent of the total — were large enough to qualify for the tax.
The kind of households that could potentially owe money, however, include Mr. Trump’s, Mr. Mnuchin’s, and those of several cabinet members and advisers, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Housing Secretary Ben Carson and Gary Cohn, chief of the National Economic Council.
(An analysis by the left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund concluded that the estate tax repeal could save Mr. Trump’s estate more than $1 billion, and those of his cabinet members $3.5 billion.)
Mr. Trump has stated, incorrectly, that the tax is crushing “millions of small businesses and the American farmer.” In reality, only about 80 small businesses and farms would fall under the estate-tax tent this year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
Republicans want to shrink the numbers further. In the Senate’s proposed tax bill, exempted income would temporarily double to $11 million per person — $22 million for a couple — during the next decade.
If those rules had been imposed last year, the number of estates owing money under the tax would have been no more than 2,204 — fewer than 0.1 percent of the total.
The House bill approved Thursday goes a step further, doubling the exemption through the 2024 tax year (and indexing for inflation), but then eliminating the tax. The result is that other taxpayers would have to make up the $151 billion cost over the next decade.
The Myth of Star Wars lives on
Not the movie, but the defense industry welfare program called Star Wars. After years of pouring $Billions down the missile intterception rathole, the focus is shifting to a new rathole with new and increased capacity for $Billions to be poured now it.
The new approach, hinted at in an emergency request to Congress last week for $4 billion to deal with North Korea, envisions the stepped-up use of cyberweapons to interfere with the North’s control systems before missiles are launched, as well as drones and fighter jets to shoot them down moments after liftoff. The missile defense network on the West Coast would be expanded for use if everything else fails.Since the current system is composed of 97% hype and 3% effectiveness and Cheeto Mussolini is doing all he can to get Kim Jong Pudge to really test it, the military is under great pressure to shovel YUGE piles of money at the defense contractors to develop new ways to make money disappear. That is something the military is better at than actually winning.
In interviews, defense officials, along with top scientists and senior members of Congress, described the accelerated effort as a response to the unexpected progress that North Korea has made in developing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear bomb to the continental United States.
“It is an all-out effort,” said Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who returned from a lengthy visit to South Korea last month convinced that the United States needed to do far more to counter North Korea. “There is a fast-emerging threat, a diminishing window, and a recognition that we can’t be reliant on one solution.”
For years, that single solution has been the missile batteries in Alaska and California that would target any long-range warheads fired toward the American mainland, trying to shoot them down as they re-enter the atmosphere. Such an approach, known as “hitting a bullet with a bullet,” remains of dubious effectiveness, even after more than $100 billion has been spent on the effort. Antimissile batteries on ships off the Korean coast and in South Korea protect against medium-range missiles, but not those aimed at American cities.
So the administration plans to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the two other approaches, both of which are still in the experimental stage. The first involves stepped-up cyberattacks and other sabotage that would interfere with missile launches before they occur — what the Pentagon calls “left of launch.” The second is a new approach to blowing up the missiles in the “boost phase,” when they are slow-moving, highly visible targets.
President Trump has praised the existing missile defense system, insisting last month that it “can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time,” a claim that arms control experts call patently false. In trial runs, conducted under ideal conditions, the interceptors in Alaska and California have failed half of the time. And the Pentagon has warned administration officials that the North will soon have enough long-range missiles to launch volleys of them, including decoys, making the problem far more complex.
That helps explain the rush for new protections.
They may be next
Samantha Bee looks at the Pences
A Closer Look at Sexual Harassment
Just missing the video
Thursday, November 16, 2017
We should all be worried
If you are a corporation struggling to deal with record profits
What is the one thing you most need from Congress. If you are a Republican the answer is simple, permenant tax cuts! To do so will require the eager Republicans to like like an evangelical preacher to try and convince people this is a wonderful idea.
There are tough choices at the heart of the Republican tax bills speeding through Congress, and they make clear what the party values most in economic policy right now: deep and lasting tax cuts for corporations.Despite minor differences both Houses of Congress share a commonbelief that the middle class is to be milked for all they are worth so glorious corporations and their wealthy owners can save a few million more on their taces. The purported idea that the cuts will stimulate growth is hogwash. If the example of Kansas is not enough, consider the meeting between Economic Adviser Gary Cohn and a group of CEO's. When asked how many would invest in their companies, very few said yes.
The bill set to pass the House on Thursday chooses to take from high-tax Democratic states, particularly California and New York, and give to lower-tax Republican states that President Trump carried in 2016, particularly Florida and Texas. It allows for tax increases on millions of families several years from now, if a future Congress does not intervene, but not for similar increases on corporations.
The version of the bill moving through the Senate Finance Committee chooses to give peace of mind to corporate executives planning their long-term investments. That comes at the expense of added anxiety for individual taxpayers, particularly those in the middle class, who could face stiff tax increases on Jan. 1, 2026.
A consistent conservative philosophy underpins all those decisions. So does a very large bet — economically and politically — on the power of business tax cuts to deliver rapid wage growth to United States workers.
There is also the appearance, to liberal critics in particular, of Republicans seeking to reward their prized constituencies first, while leaving others to bear the consequences if their most optimistic scenarios do not play out.
The tax plans have evolved rapidly since House leaders first introduced their bill at the beginning of the month. Amendments in the Ways and Means Committee restored some cherished tax breaks that had been targeted for elimination, including those for adoptive parents, and expanded the bill’s tax breaks for owners of businesses that are not organized as traditional corporations.
The Senate bill differed from the House version when it was introduced last week, and broke further away on Tuesday night, with a package of amendments that included repealing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that most individuals buy health insurance. To comply with procedural rules that would allow Republicans to pass the bill on a party-line vote in the Senate, the amendment also set an expiration date — Dec. 31, 2025 — on all the individual tax cuts in the legislation.
Samantha Bee on Roy Moore
Keeping the nukes safe from Trump
Trevor makes it clear how the system works.
His hamburger was from Australia
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
From Brandi's New Album
Brandi Carlisle and Ensemble sing "The Joke" from her upcoming new album.
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
He wouldn't die
So in Zimbabwe the military threw him a coup. According to news coming from that country, 93 year old Robert Mugabe is under house arrest.
Zimbabwe’s military said early Wednesday that it had taken custody of President Robert Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, in what increasingly appeared to be a military takeover in the southern African nation.And when the military has corralled all of its targets they will present us with an update.
After apparently seizing the state broadcaster, ZBC, two uniformed officers said in a short predawn announcement that “the situation in our country has moved to another level.” While denying that the military had seized power, they said that Mr. Mugabe and his family “are safe and sound, and their security is guaranteed.”
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” said the main speaker, who was identified as Maj. Gen. S. B. Moyo, the army’s chief of staff.
General Moyo — who was not widely known to the public but who was considered close to the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, Gen. Constantine Chiwenga — warned that “any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.”
Around 6 a.m. on Wednesday, taxis were running on the main roads leading to central Harare and people seemed to be making their way to work. Some soldiers could be seen on the main roads but were not stopping commuters.
After the short announcement, commercials on farming and corn seeds appeared on the state broadcaster. There was no further clarification of the whereabouts or status of Mr. Mugabe, 93, who is the only leader his nation has known since independence in 1980.
The office of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa said in a statement that Mr. Zuma and Mr. Mugabe had spoken. Mr. Mugabe “indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine,” the statement said. It said that South Africa was in contact with the Zimbabwean military.
Asked in a brief telephone interview about reports of a possible coup, Zimbabwe’s information minister, Simon Khaya Moyo, said, “What can I say? I don’t know about that.” He did not elaborate.
The television announcement came after a long night of rumors and sketchy reports in Harare that a coup might be underway. The day before, in a remarkable act of defiance, General Chiwenga had warned that “when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in.”
They make it worse by the hour
And despite an approval rate almost as bad as Donald Trump, the Republican tax bill continues on to the inevitable Republican Party suicide that is its passage. If you are not very wealthy or incorporated, there is little or nothing that will please you.
Republican and Democratic senators clashed on Wednesday morning over changes the Republicans made to their sweeping tax legislation late Tuesday night, as the momentum behind the tax overhaul showed no signs of slowing with votes expected in both chambers of Congress later this week.So far the only good thing about the bill is that the House and Senate have not agreed on what should be in it.
Democrats attacked Republicans for inserting a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most people have health insurance into the tax bill and for imposing a 2025 expiration date for individual tax cuts, while making the corporate tax cuts permanent.
“This bill seems to get worse by the hour,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. “This is not just another garden variety attack on the Affordable Care Act, this is a repeal of that law.”
Repealing the health law’s so-called individual mandate allows Republicans to save more than $300 billion over 10 years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 13 million fewer people would be insured after a decade without the mandate and health insurance premiums would rise by about 10 percent per year over that time.
Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the Republican chairman of the finance committee, downplayed the move to make the individual tax cuts temporary, not mentioning that change in an opening statement in which he defended his party’s right to undo the mandate. He later suggested that Republicans would be unlikely to resist if Democrats wanted to help them make those cuts permanent after they expire.
Making China Great Again
Trevor Noah on The Daily Show reviews Trump's success
Donald Trump and Minions
Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look
Just missing the vows and the ring
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Sarah Jane Scouten
Too low down to read what's on top
National GOP turning on Roy Moore
The nasty old Alabama bird dog, Roy Moore is finding that fewer and fewer people are willing to support him outside of Alabama and inside as well.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that he had “no reason to doubt” the women who have made sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, joining a wave of high-profile Republicans who have expressed confidence in his accusers.Sessions joins a growing collection of national Republicans who see no upside in supporting someone so thoroughly tarred with the pedophile label.
But Sessions did not say whether Moore should be seated if he wins a Dec. 12 special election to fill the Senate post Sessions once held. Ethics personnel at the Justice Department have advised him not to involve himself in the campaign, Sessions said.
Asked whether the Justice Department would investigate the allegations against Moore, Sessions said the agency would evaluate any allegations that they were presented with according to normal procedure, though he added, “This kind of case would normally be a state case.”
Sessions made his comments during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning.
Earlier Tuesday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) urged Moore to end his campaign, joining Senate GOP leaders calling on the Alabama Republican to withdraw from the contest.Too much coming out against him and the few that do support him do so with threats and stuff and nonsense. Time for Roy to crawl back under his rock.
“He should step aside,” Ryan told reporters in the Capitol. “Number one, these allegations are credible. Number two, if he cares about the values and people he claims to care about, then he should step aside.”
Ryan’s comments came a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other leading Republican senators called on Moore to bow out. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said the Senate “should vote to expel” Moore if he refuses to step aside and is elected in next month’s special election.
Desperately needing a diversion
During the campaign, Cheeto Mussolini was really into prosecuting Hilary Clinton for no legitimate reason. After the election he just forgot about it as he knew full well it was all bullshit. Now, as the law in the form of Robert Mueller closes in on him, he really truly need something to distract, blow smoke and muddy the waters and so he is digging up his call for investigating Hilary.
President Trump did not need to send a memo or telephone his attorney general to make his desires known. He broadcast them for all the world to see on Twitter. The instruction was clear: The Justice Department should investigate his defeated opponent from last year’s campaign.Jeff Sessions has apparently been looking into a DoJ investigation of various Clinton Attack Scenarios as if they were true. Nevertheless, as much an ideological shitweasel as Jeff can be, he does on occasion speak and act as a real Attorney General should. And he is very much aware of how loyal Trump is to his supporters.
However they were delivered, Mr. Trump’s demands have ricocheted through the halls of the Justice Department, where Attorney General Jeff Sessions has now ordered career prosecutors to evaluate various accusations against Hillary Clinton and report back on whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate her.
Mr. Sessions has made no decision, and in soliciting the assessment of department lawyers, he may be seeking a way out of the bind his boss has put him in by effectively putting the matter in the hands of professionals who were not politically appointed. But if he or his deputy authorizes a new investigation of Mrs. Clinton, it would shatter norms established after Watergate that are intended to prevent presidents from using law enforcement agencies against political rivals.
The request alone was enough to trigger a political backlash, as critics of Mr. Trump quickly decried what they called “banana republic” politics of retribution, akin to autocratic backwater nations where election losers are jailed by winners. The issue will almost certainly energize what was already shaping up to be a contentious hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning, when Mr. Sessions is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
“You can be disappointed, but don’t be surprised,” said Karen Dunn, a former prosecutor and White House lawyer under President Barack Obama who advised Mrs. Clinton during her campaign against Mr. Trump. “This is exactly what he said he would do: use taxpayer resources to pursue political rivals.”
Democrats still vividly recall Mr. Trump on the campaign trail vowing to prosecute Mrs. Clinton if he won. “It was alarming enough to chant ‘lock her up’ at a campaign rally,” said Brian Fallon, who was Mrs. Clinton’s campaign spokesman. “It is another thing entirely to try to weaponize the Justice Department in order to actually carry it out.”
But conservatives said Mrs. Clinton should not be immune from scrutiny as a special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, investigates Russia’s interference in last year’s election and any ties it may have to Mr. Trump’s campaign. They argued, for example, that Mrs. Clinton was the one doing Russia’s bidding in the form of a uranium deal approved when she was secretary of state.
"A pedophile will stay true to your values"
Trevor Noah examines the sexual crimes of Roy Moore and their politization
The creepiest things in Alabama
Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look at Roy Moore and Trump
Alabama makes #1
Monday, November 13, 2017
Angel From Montgomery
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Looking Up At The Snakes Belly
Tom Tomorrow re-examines the various GOP fun-n-games swirling around accused child molester Roy Moore and his AlaDamnBama allies.
Another Bannon weekend
Hate crimes up last year
According to the FBI who keep the statictics, hate crimes are on the rise with the largest increase last year being against religious targets.
There were more than 6,100 reported incidents of hate crimes in 2016, up from more than 5,800 the year before, the FBI said in a report based on data submitted by law enforcement agencies across the country. The number of hate crimes increased for a second consecutive year, and as was the case in 2015, the largest share of victims last year — nearly 6 in 10 — were targeted because of bias against the victim’s race or ethnicity.Someone needs to tell Donald Trump so he can claim one legitimate success for his policies last year.
Hate crimes motivated by hatred of a religion increased last year, with a rise in the number of crimes targeting Jews and Muslims. Of the incidents spurred by hatred of a particular religion, anti-Semitism was again the leading cause, motivating about 55 percent of those episodes, followed by anti-Muslim sentiment, which spurred about 25 percent. The number of hate crimes targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people also went up last year.
“It’s deeply disturbing to see hate crimes increase for the second year in a row,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement Monday. “Hate crimes demand priority attention because of their special impact. They not only hurt one victim, but they also intimidate and isolate a victim’s whole community and weaken the bonds of our society.”
The FBI numbers come as reports of bias-fueled incidents have increased over the past year, heightening a sense of unease nationwide.
Studies have shown increasing discrimination against Muslims in the United States. Jewish schools and institutions have been repeatedly shuttered by threats. Cities have struggled with how to handle white-supremacist groups seeking to hold rallies, and gay rights activists have decried what they describe as the Trump administration’s “all out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities.” The number of American hate groups also has incThe number of hate crimes triggered by bias against a person’s racial or ethnic background rose to 3,489 from 3,310 a year earlier, the FBI report said. Half of those episodes were motivated by racism against black people. One in 5 victims were targeted because of religious bias, while 1 in 6 were victimized because of biases related to sexual orientation, the report said.
While the FBI data captures a sweeping look at bias-fueled crimes in the nation, this report is considered incomplete because not all jurisdictions report their hate crimes. According to the FBI, 88 percent of agencies voluntarily participating in the hate crime statistics program “reported that no hate crimes occurred in their jurisdictions” last year.reased, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Kansas a RWNJ testbed for America?
Wnat to know what all those people who sell MAGA hats and howl for smaller government and huge tax cuts actually want for the country? Take a good look at Kansas. You won't see much beyond knowing that the state is no longer working for its citizens.
Kansas runs one of the most secretive state governments in the nation, and its secrecy permeates nearly every aspect of service, The Star found in a months-long investigation.Sam Brownback who has openly been using Kansas as a proving ground, or inthis case a disproving ground, for Conservative ideas and policies knows full well he can't let those ideas and policies see the light of day lest they turn the population against him. And every reactionary SOB who hopes to run our lives knows that secrecy is a necessity.
From the governor’s office to state agencies, from police departments to business relationships to health care, on the floors of the House and Senate, a veil has descended over the years and through administrations on both sides of the political aisle.
“My No. 1 question to anybody who opts in favor of nondisclosure is, ‘What are you trying to hide from us?’ ” said former Rep. John Rubin, a Johnson County Republican, calling Kansas “one of the most secretive, dark states in the country in many of these areas.”
What’s hidden are stories of regular Kansans who have suffered inside the silence.
In the course of its investigation, The Star found that:
▪ Children known to the state’s Department for Children and Families suffer horrific abuse, while the agency cloaks its involvement with their cases, even shredding notes after meetings where children’s deaths are discussed, according to a former high-ranking DCF official. One grieving father told The Star he was pressured to sign a “gag order” days after his son was killed that would prevent him from discussing DCF’s role in the case. Even lawmakers trying to fix the troubled system say they cannot trust information coming from agency officials. (Story coming Monday)
▪ In the past decade, more than 90 percent of the laws passed by the Kansas Legislature have come from anonymous authors. Kansans often had no way of knowing who was pushing which legislation and why, and the topics have included abortion, concealed weapons and school funding. Kansas is one of only a few states that allow the practice. (Story coming Tuesday)
▪ When Kansas police shoot and kill someone, law enforcement agencies often escape scrutiny because they are allowed to provide scant details to the public. The release of body-cam video has become common practice around the country after several high-profile, police-involved shootings. But in Kansas, a new state law is one of the most restrictive in the nation, allowing agencies to shelve footage that could shed more light on controversial cases. (Story coming Wednesday)
▪ Kansas became the first state to fully privatize Medicaid services in 2013, and now some caregivers for people with disabilities say they have been asked to sign off on blank treatment plans — without knowing what’s being provided. In some of those cases, caregivers later discovered their services had been dramatically cut. (Story coming Thursday)
The examples, when stitched together, form a quilt of secrecy that envelops much of state government.
“Damn,” said Bob Stephan, a Republican and four-time Kansas attorney general. “That causes me concern. It’s very disheartening. … It’s gone crazy.”
It’s no wonder Kansas got a flunking grade in a 2015 study by the Center for Public Integrity that measured transparency and state accountability. Among its bad grades: F’s in public access to information, internal auditing and executive accountability.
Though the state’s obsession with secrecy goes back decades, Brownback’s seven years as governor have been marked by efforts to shield executive decisions from the public.
In 2012, the Shawnee County district attorney’s office concluded that private meetings Brownback held with lawmakers at the governor’s mansion technically violated the state’s open meetings act. Prosecutors determined the violations were a result of ignorance about the law and did not pursue penalties.
Two years later, the state’s budget director used a private email address to share details of Brownback’s budget proposal with a pair of lobbyists who had close ties to the governor. The director shared the information several weeks before lawmakers saw it.
In late 2014, Brownback appointed two additional members to the Saline County Commission but refused to release the names of the applicants. Two news organizations sued and the court eventually sided with Brownback. But five applicants came forward and identified themselves. The year before, Brownback had refused a request to identify applicants for a seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals, the state’s second-highest court.
And last year, as Brownback’s office weighed budget cuts in the wake of massive tax reductions and huge revenue shortfalls, he refused to release financial documents that had been public under previous governors.
Critics say the governor also leaves behind a legacy of state agencies that avoid disclosure as a matter of policy.
UPDATE: Charlie Pierce agrees with me.
John Oliver reviews Trump's first year
He looks at the past year and there isn't much that is funny but too much that is true.
Some reasons just are not good enough
Sunday, November 12, 2017
The Title Song from their new album
"See You Around" And when it comes to fine music, I'm With Her.
Lyin' Paul Ryan reveals his Thoughts & Prayers
It will never sink in
No Qualifications Needed
Years ago the Reactionary Right, having seen how effective the courts were at protecting hard won rights of Americans, decided that to impose their ancient views on how to run the country would be to take over the courts. Since then they have moved heaven and earth to prepare judges that will rule by their agenda rather than the laws as written. With The Tangerine Shitgibbon in the WHite House and complete control of Congress the Republican Party is now working as quickly as possible to fill the court benches they worked so hard to keep empty when Democrats had a say in the matter.
Mr. McGahn, instructed by Mr. Trump to maximize the opportunity to reshape the judiciary, mapped out potential nominees and a strategy, according to two people familiar with the effort: Start by filling vacancies on appeals courts with multiple openings and where Democratic senators up for re-election next year in states won by Mr. Trump — like Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania — could be pressured not to block his nominees. And to speed them through confirmation, avoid clogging the Senate with too many nominees for the district courts, where legal philosophy is less crucial.And someday your guilt or innocence may be decided by what the judge's snake handling pastor preached on Sunday because the law will not matter to these ideological zealots, some of whom truly know nothing of the law.
Nearly a year later, that plan is coming to fruition. Mr. Trump has already appointed eight appellate judges, the most this early in a presidency since Richard M. Nixon, and on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send a ninth appellate nominee — Mr. Trump’s deputy White House counsel, Gregory Katsas — to the floor.
Republicans are systematically filling appellate seats they held open during President Barack Obama’s final two years in office with a particularly conservative group of judges with life tenure. Democrats — who in late 2013 abolished the ability of 41 lawmakers to block such nominees with a filibuster, then quickly lost control of the Senate — have scant power to stop them.
Most have strong academic credentials and clerked for well-known conservative judges, like Justice Antonin Scalia. Confirmation votes for five of the eight new judges fell short of the former 60-vote threshold to clear filibusters, including John K. Bush, a chapter president of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal network, who wrote politically charged blog posts, such as comparing abortion to slavery; and Stephanos Bibas, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who once proposed using electric shocks to punish people convicted of certain crimes, although he later disavowed the idea. Of Mr. Trump’s 18 appellate nominees so far, 14 are men and 16 are white.
While the two parties have been engaged in a tit-for-tat escalation of hardball politics over judicial nominations since the Reagan years, the Trump administration is completing a fundamental transformation of the enterprise. And the consequences may go beyond his chance to leave an outsize stamp on the judiciary. When Democrats regain power, if they follow the same playbook and systematically appoint outspoken liberal judges, the appeals courts will end up as ideologically split as Congress is today.
We arrest our alleged rapists, they elect them
Bill Maher's monologue
An Alabama boy and his possum
SNL opening skit
Jesus' Message for Alabama
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Make a new batch for 2018
GOP Bigwigs trying to stop the pervert from Alabama
It didn't start as a rumor as most scandals do. It burst forth fully grown in a very well sourced article in the Washington Post. Some prosecutors have said they have won convictions on less evidence than the Post revealed. And now the national Republican establishment is desperately wiggling and weaseling to dump Roy Moore.
Senate Republicans scrambled on Friday to find a way to block Roy S. Moore’s path to the Senate, exploring extraordinary measures to rid themselves of their own nominee in Alabama after accusations emerged that he had made sexual advances on four teenage girls when he was in his 30s.Crazy Roy Moore was never the ideal candidate, even for Alabama, but few have been so wanting that they screw up a Sean Hannity tongue bath. The timing of all this however, makes any changes impossible so the GOP is left to choose, Rock or Hard Place?
Mr. Moore, meanwhile, remained defiant, insisting in a radio interview with Sean Hannity that he would stay in the race. He told Mr. Hannity, the Fox News host, who has endorsed Mr. Moore’s candidacy, that he “never had any contact” with Leigh Corfman, the woman who told The Washington Post that Mr. Moore touched her sexually when she was 14, though he did not deny dating some teenagers.
“I have never known this woman, or anything,” said Mr. Moore, who described the accusations as “politically motivated.”
Republican senators and their advisers, in a flurry of phone calls, emails and text messages, discussed fielding a write-in candidate, pushing Alabama’s governor to delay the Dec. 12 special election or even not seating Mr. Moore at all should he be elected. In an interview, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, declined to say whether he would agree to seat Mr. Moore should he win. Mr. McConnell deferred a question about a possible write-in campaign by Senator Luther Strange, the current occupant of the seat, to Mr. Strange.
The Senate Republican campaign arm, which Mr. McConnell effectively oversees, withdrew Friday from a joint fund-raising agreement with Mr. Moore’s campaign. And Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Steve Daines of Montana rescinded their endorsements of the candidate.
The frenzy reflected not just the worry over the Senate seat once held by Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general, but also the broader danger of the Republican Party’s being associated with Mr. Moore.
If Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee, wins next month, Mr. McConnell’s majority will shrink to one, possibly imperiling the Republican push to overhaul the tax code and most everything else that lawmakers are aiming to do to reverse their spiral before the midterm elections. It could also raise at least the potential that Democrats could seize control of the Senate in 2018, by holding all of their endangered seats and winning Republican seats in Nevada and Arizona.
But if Mr. Moore wins, the party faces a potentially more untenable prospect: welcoming a child-molesting suspect into their ranks, a move that every Republican candidate would have to answer for. That raised memories of Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate who in 2012 said victims of “legitimate rape” rarely got pregnant, an assertion that Democrats hung around every candidate that year.
And Mr. Moore’s interview within the sympathetic confines of Mr. Hannity’s show, which was also an initial safe harbor for Mr. Akin in 2012, made Republicans in the capital only more determined that he had to step aside.
“I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother,” Mr. Moore told Mr. Hannity. Asked by Mr. Hannity if he ever dated teenagers when he was in his 30s, Mr. Moore equivocated, replying, “Not generally, no.”
Trump has gone into permanent bootlick mode
When in the presence of powerful leaders, Trump has twice put his tail between his legs and told the world that Americans are bad but the leaders of China and Russia are good.
President Trump said on Saturday that he believed President Vladimir V. Putin was sincere in his denials of interference in the 2016 presidential elections, calling questions about Moscow’s meddling a politically motivated “hit job” that was hindering cooperation with Russia on life-or-death issues.Fortunately there are still some Americans who believe this is a really disgusting position for an American president to take.
Speaking after meeting privately with Mr. Putin on the sideline of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Danang, Vietnam, Mr. Trump said that he had again asked whether Russia had meddled in the contest, but that the continued focus on the issue was insulting to Mr. Putin.
Mr. Trump said it was time to move past the issue so that the United States and Russia could cooperate on confronting the nuclear threat from North Korea, solving the Syrian civil war and working together on Ukraine.
“He said he didn’t meddle — I asked him again,” Mr. Trump told reporters traveling with him aboard Air Force One as he flew to Hanoi for more meetings. “You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”
Mr. Trump did not answer a direct question about whether he believed Mr. Putin’s denials, but his account of the conversation indicated he was far more inclined to accept the Russian president’s assertions than those of his own intelligence agencies, which have concluded that Mr. Putin directed an elaborate effort to interfere in the vote.
“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Putin. “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
Mr. Trump heaped disdain on the former leaders of three American intelligence agencies — John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director; James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence; and James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired this year — appearing to suggest that they were less trustworthy than Mr. Putin.
“I mean, give me a break — they’re political hacks,” Mr. Trump said. “You have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. Comey’s proven now to be a liar, and he’s proven to be a leaker, so you look at that. And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with that.”
His remarks inspired immediate ridicule from lawmakers, including Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.Trump, as usual had the last word.
“You know who else is insulted by it, Mr. President? The American people,” Mr. Schiff said on Twitter. “You believe a foreign adversary over your own intelligence agencies.”
Representative Ted Lieu, another California Democrat, called Mr. Trump “dumb as a rock.” Mr. Lieu wrote on Twitter that both he and Mr. Trump had seen classified information on Russia’s interference in the election, and that Mr. Trump’s comments were lies.
“Trump knows the Kremlin hacked America last year,” Mr. Lieu said.
After Mr. Trump’s comments, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, a former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, wrote on Twitter that the C.I.A. had told him that the agency’s director “stands by and has always stood by” its January findings regarding Russian interference.
“The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed,” he wrote.
“Having a good relationship with Russia is a great, great thing,” Mr. Trump said. “This artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way, and that’s a shame, because people will die.”Which probably means that Trump and Jared will turn over the last remaining intelligence assets in Russia to Putin to dispose of as Pooty sees fit. And now that Trump has his new orders for the new year, may God have mercy on our country.
Trump and Porn
Stephen's monlogue has both
Trump's Best Hires
Most people scrape off their shoes. Bill Maher makes it clear with New Rules.
How low can they go?
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