Sunday, April 30, 2017

Congratulations are in order

To The Secret Sisters for singing so fine on "He's Fine" and to Brandi Carlile and The Twins for producing this and other songs on the Sisters 3rd album, You Don't Own Me Anymore.

A quick review in pictures

From the pen of Brian McFadden

In the beginning there was Peaches

And then Samantha Bee was introduced.

They want to gut our constitutional protections

And the first and most important one to remove is freedom of speech and the press. That this was the subject of the first amendment was no accident. The Founding Fathers knew very well that if you stifle what can be said or read you can control what people think. And that is why it is such a threat to The Tangerine Shitgibbon and his evil minions.
A day after Watergate reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward issued a stirring call for the press to hold Donald Trump to account, the president’s chief of staff said the White House is actively considering a change to libel laws affecting news reporting.

“I think it’s something that we’ve looked at,” said Reince Priebus, appearing on ABC’s This Week. “How that gets executed and whether that goes anywhere is a different story.”

On the campaign trail last year, Trump responded to reporting on his policies and background by floating the possibility of a change to libel laws. Such a move would in reality require a change to the US constitution, which enshrines freedom of the press in the first amendment, the supreme court having ruled on the issue.

Undaunted, the president returned to the theme on Thursday, writing on Twitter: “The failing [New York Times] has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change libel laws?”

On ABC, Priebus cited “articles out there that have no basis of fact and we’re sitting here and 24/7 cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with Russia and all these other matters”.

Links between Trump aides and Russia affecting the election campaign are the subject of House, Senate and FBI investigations as well as anonymously sourced reporting by major news outlets. Trump has been strongly critical of such reporting, on Russia and other subjects.

Woodward and Bernstein, who won Pulitzer prizes for their exposure of the cover-up of criminal activity by the Nixon White House, spoke at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington on Saturday night.

Bernstein said: “This question of what is news becomes even more relevant and essential when we are covering the president of the United States.

“Richard Nixon tried to make the conduct of the press more the issue in Watergate instead of the conduct of the president and his men. We tried to avoid the noise and let the reporting speak.”

On ABC, Priebus was asked if the president should be able to sue news outlets over stories he didn’t like.

“Here’s what I think,” he said. “I think that newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news. I am so tired–”

Interrupted, he said: “And I answered the question, I said this is something that is being looked at. It’s something that as far as how it gets executed, where we go with it, that’s another issue.
It is a real pity and a shame that they don't like what is written about their activities, but that is part of the cost of being the boss. If they don't like it they can always retire to Putin's Russia where Putin himself will see that they are not bothered by people saying mean things to them. At least not in English.

Jiminy Glick Interviews Trump

The Man Who Would Be King

Saturday, April 29, 2017

An anthem for the 100 Days

Even though they will never change, Billie Holliday sings the perfect song for the Trumpoons.

Executive Orders make everything perfect

From the pen of Jim Morin

R.I.P. Florence Finch

Unsung war hero who none of us have heard of. “Women don’t tell war stories like men do,”

The Dreaded North Korea Rocket Test Occurred

And much like your Uncle Norm's leftover bottle rockets it went up somewhere and came down someplace else that was not on the agenda.
North Korea launched a missile on Saturday, even as the United States and China have been seeking to curb the North’s military ambitions. But the test ended in failure, the South Korean military said. It was the second consecutive failure in the past two weeks.

The missile took off from a location near Pukchang, northeast of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, the South Korean military said in a statement. It did not identify what type of missile was launched.

Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the United States Pacific Command, said the American military had “detected what we assess was a North Korean missile launch” from near the Pukchang airfield.

“The missile did not leave North Korean territory,” Commander Benham added. “The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.”

The missile flew only “for several minutes” to the northeast, reaching an altitude of 44 miles, the South Korean military said. It provided no further details.

It was the North’s first test since the government of Kim Jong-un launched a ballistic missile near its submarine base on North Korea’s east coast on April 16. That launch was also a failure, with the projectile exploding just after liftoff.

In a statement, White House officials said that President Trump had been briefed on the launch. Mr. Trump said on Twitter: “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!”

The test on Saturday came hours after Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson led a ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday. Referring to North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile programs, Mr. Tillerson warned that “failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.”

The world has been watching North Korea closely in the past several weeks, amid fear that the country might attempt its sixth underground nuclear test. Satellite imagery of the nuclear test site in the country’s northeast showed that the North was ready for a test, analysts said.
This might be a good time for The Tangerine Shitgibbon and his flock of howler monkeys to reconsider the efficacy of crying wolf so far ahead of the wolf actually appearing. If they want to keep the rubes in a proper state of fear between elections, they might want to find a more suitable boogy man.

Trump voters are happy with what they got

And hope he will get rid of all that scares them.

And look at Kansas to see what happens.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Red Molly is on the road again

After 18 month hiatus. No new album yet but "Willow Tree" is from their last one.

Numbered, Numbered, Weighed, Divided

From the pen of Adam Zyglis

As the Russia investigation gets closer

The Tangerine Shitgibbon keeps flinging poo at North Korea hoping to create the Mother of All Distractions.And the investigation must be near a sensitive point because Tangerine is wagging the dog for all he is worth, including a dog'n pony show for all the Senators.
President Trump warned Thursday of the possibility of a “major, major conflict” with North Korea, in an interview in which he said he was seeking a diplomatic solution to concerns that Pyongyang was preparing to conduct another nuclear test.

In the interview with Reuters, Mr. Trump praised President Xi Jinping of China for his efforts to resolve the dispute over North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs, but he cautioned that diplomatic efforts might fail.

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” he said. “Absolutely.”

Mr. Trump’s remarks came amid signs that North Korea might soon conduct another underground detonation at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site despite Mr. Trump’s warning not to do so. China has played a mediating role in the crisis, as Mr. Trump has urged Mr. Xi to use Beijing’s leverage with North Korea, a longtime ally, to persuade it not to conduct a test.

“I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn’t want to see turmoil and death. He doesn’t want to see it,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Xi. “He is a good man. He is a very good man, and I got to know him very well.”

In the interview, Mr. Trump actually offered some grudging praise for North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

“He’s 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime,” he said. “So say what you want, but that is not easy, especially at that age.”

“I hope he’s rational,” Mr. Trump added of Mr. Kim.
I'm sure Kim Jong Pudge hopes the same thing about Trump.

Free to spill

Oh those pesky regulations that the nasty Democrats keep imposing on poor widdle businesses. Fortunately The Tangerine Shitgibbon is on the scene and working hard to remove all those nasty limits. Like those regulations designed to prevent oil companies from running unsafely and killing workers as they spill crude across the land and waters.
Just past the seventh anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, President Trump on Friday directed the Interior Department to “reconsider” several safety regulations on offshore drilling implemented after one of the worst environmental disasters in the nation’s history.

Friday’s executive order was aimed at rolling back the Obama administration’s attempts to ban oil drilling off the southeastern Atlantic and Alaskan coasts. It would erase or narrow the boundaries of some federally-protected marine sanctuaries, opening them up to commercial fishing and oil drilling.

But Mr. Trump also took aim at regulations on oil-rig safety. In the final years of the Obama administration, the Interior Department implemented several new rules aimed at improving the safety of specific pieces of offshore drilling equipment that had failed during the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and were found to have been responsible for the deadly BP oil rig explosion that caused that spill.

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon killed 11, set off a weeks-long crisis for the Obama administration and spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into the sea.
How will Tillerson's buddies get rich if they can't drill anywhere they please. And the spillage and environmental destruction are a small price to pay for those good old boys to make some more millions. Besides the government will clean it up when they are done.

Seth Meyers on Trump's stumpage

Colbert spanks Trump

It wasn't easy

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Playing the PHC with some good backup

Jesca Hoop sings "Pegasi" on the 2/18/17 show.

Nature is such a pest

From the pen of Kevin Siers

You can't ignore Kansas

When looking at the newly announced Trump 'Tax Plan' the Sam Brownback induced fiscal disaster of Kansas should be the first thing that comes to mind.
As President Trump’s top economic advisers faced a barrage of questions on Wednesday about the tax plan they had just unfurled, there was one that they struggled most to answer: how to keep the “massive tax cuts” they proposed from ballooning the federal deficit.

The White House insists that economic growth will cover the cost, which could be as high as $7 trillion over a decade. But the question will dog Republicans and could fracture their party as they face the prospect of endorsing a plan that many economists and budget analysts warn will increase the deficit. After years of fiscal hawkishness, conservatives now face a moment of truth about whether they truly believe America’s economy is drowning in debt.

Some skeptics are already ringing alarm bells, fearing that Republicans will sign on to what critics see as a dangerous plan composed by a president who called himself the King of Debt.

“It seems the administration is using economic growth like magic beans: the cheap solution to all our problems,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group that advocates fiscal restraint. “But there is no golden goose at the top of the tax-cut beanstalk, just mountains of debt.”

Ms. MacGuineas’s group estimates that Mr. Trump’s plan could reduce federal tax revenue by $3 trillion to $7 trillion over a decade. The economy would need to grow at a rate of 4.5 percent — more than double its projected rate, an unlikely prospect — to make the plan self-financing.

While Mr. Trump and his team point to the growth linked to tax cuts passed by previous presidents, today’s economy is different from that of 1981 or 2001, when Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush cut tax rates.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that the federal debt will grow by $10 trillion over the next decade. By 2027, the deficit could reach $1.4 trillion, or 5 percent of the economy, it says.

“This is fool’s gold that you’ll cut taxes, everybody will work harder, more money will come and you’ll erase the fiscal impact,” said Steve Bell, who was a Republican staff director of the Senate Budget Committee from 1981 to 1986. “It never happens.”
So long as the tax rate remains low, the corporations will continue to sit Smaug-like on their hoards of cash. And even an old, old real estate salesman like Trump can't throw enough pixie dust in our eyes to make the economy grow as much as needed. But the richers will be happy, imitating their corporations and siting on their own hoards of cash.

The Simpsons on Trump's 100 Days

Trump, Taxes and Russia

By Colbert

The simple truth

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Want some Fun?

Blondie has a new album coming out in May and "Fun" is the first release from it.

When you ignore the warning signs

From the pen of Dave Granlund

The Big Lie Promises Big Corporate Tax Cuts

The Tangerine Shitgibbon, desperate for something to pass and impress the rubes, has announced a yuge, beautiful tax cut, if you are a corporation. With US corporations already yugely profitable and sitting on yuge hoards of cash like Smaug, don't imagine that these cuts are needed to stimulate the economy.
The Trump administration on Wednesday declared that President Trump would press for the largest tax cut and broadest revamp of the tax system in history, as officials said they would seek huge reductions to 15 percent in the rate paid by businesses large and small.

“We want to move as fast as we can,” Steven T. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said at an event in Washington as the White House planned an afternoon rollout of its principles for what it bills as the first overhaul of the tax code in three decades. “This bill is about creating economic growth and jobs.”

He vowed it would be “the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country,” in line with Mr. Trump’s grandiose portrayal. But there was no expectation that the White House would elucidate how the deep cuts would be financed, and administration officials are cognizant of the challenges of pushing through a proposal that could dramatically add to the national debt.

If, in fact, the proposal cuts taxes but fails to close loopholes or raise some other taxes, it would not be a true reform of the tax code. It would be a tax cut along the lines of President George W. Bush’s tax measure in 2001 and 2003. Nor is it clear that it would be the largest in history. Tax cutters from Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan vie for that title.

Mr. Mnuchin offered few specifics about the blueprint, other than confirming that its centerpiece will be a 15 percent business tax rate, which would apply not only to corporations, but also to small businesses and other large owner-operated conglomerates, such as Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. He also said the White House is not on board with the border-adjustment tax that is central to House Republicans’ tax plan “in its current form,” setting up an intraparty struggle over the elements of the plan and how to offset the deep reductions envisioned.

Mr. Trump also wants to increase the standard deduction for individuals, according to people briefed on the plan, an attempt to fulfill his promises to provide tax cuts for middle-income people and simplify the process of filing returns. That proposal is likely to engender strong resistance from home builders and real estate agents, who fear it would diminish the importance of the mortgage interest deduction, as well as other sectors that could see the tax benefits associated with their businesses curbed or eliminated.

And Democrats are gearing up for a fight. “Trump’s latest proposal is another gift to corporations and billionaires like himself,” said Tom Perez, the Democratic Party chairman. “Trump must release his tax returns, as millions of Americans are demanding, before Congress can consider any Trump tax plan. We must know how much Trump would personally financially benefit from his own proposal.”
The increased standard deduction is hardly likely to survive in Congress because the purpose of the bill is to transfer more of the tax burden from the poor abused corporation to the backs of the consumers who aren't good for much else. And the key to what actually comes out depends on the haste with which Tangerine with the help of Lyin' Ryan and The Turtle, can push it through Congress, if at all. The faster it moves, the more unpleasant shit will be crammed into it. The Democrats need to bring the disaster that is Kansas front and center in this fight.

Trump's 100 Days

Colbert is intelligible.

The Best Way

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jack Be Nimble

Shannon McNally

Trump's politics as golf

From the pen of Nate Beeler

Typical Toddler Trump

Despite his desperate craving for the approval which comes with a positive "100 Days Report Card", Donald Trump is rejecting the whole idea because he knows he has failed in almost every area of government.
In case anyone was wondering, President Trump wants it known that he does not care about the false judgment of his administration after just 100 days. “It’s an artificial barrier,” he sniffed the other day. “Not very meaningful,” he scoffed. A “ridiculous standard,” he added on Twitter.

So how is Mr. Trump spending his final week before the artificial and ridiculous 100-day point of his presidency? With a flurry of action on health care, taxes and the border wall to show just how much he has done in the first 100 days — amplified by a White House program of first-100-days briefings, first-100-days receptions, a first-100-days website and a first-100-days rally.

It may not be meaningful, but Mr. Trump has invested quite a lot of meaning in the 100-day grading period, deeply anxious that he be judged a success at this early stage. And not just a success, but one with plenty of superlatives: the most successful president with the most executive orders and bills signed and the best relationships with foreign leaders and the most action taken by any president ever in the first 100 days. Even though it’s an artificial barrier.

“As with so much else, Trump is a study in inconsistency,” said Robert Dallek, the presidential historian. “One minute he says his 100 days have been the best of any president, and the next minute he decries the idea of measuring a president by the 100 days.”

And lest anyone say otherwise, Mr. Trump has already told supporters not to believe contrary assessments, anticipating more critical evaluations by journalists, not to mention partisan attacks by Democrats. “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days,” Mr. Trump boasted in Wisconsin last week, not waiting for the final 10 days to grade himself.

Hoping to pad the report card, he announced suddenly late last week that he would unveil a sweeping tax plan on Wednesday and pressed House Republicans to hold a vote by the end of this week on a revised plan to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care program, even as lawmakers were trying to avert a government shutdown.
I can't have it so it means nothing, pay no attention to it. And don't believe anybody who says anything bad about me, what do they know anyway! We all knew someone like this in school.

100 Days of Nothing

Seth Meyers takes a 'Closer Look' at the beginning of our national disaster.

Let him build it "on spec"

Monday, April 24, 2017

Singing with an overbite

In that wonderful precise way the British do, Bella Hardy sings "The Herring Girl"

Updating your high school civics lesson

Tom Tomorrow takes the times to bring us up to speed on how a 21st Century government runs itself.

Political legerdemain

When you need money for maintenance

That is when Republicans will cut your funding, pushing you to a state where they can gleefully crow about how bad you are and should be put to sleep. And when you are Amtrak, it is just one more arrow shot by Republicans in their years long quest to destroy rail transport in America.
The Northeast Corridor, the nation’s busiest rail region, faces a $28 billion backlog of repairs needed to modernize equipment that 750,000 riders rely on every day, both on Amtrak and on the commuter rail lines that share the same tracks.

Without major investments, the kinds of recent upheavals that have upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of travelers will be difficult to avoid, said Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School.

“If a bridge collapses, would people say, ‘Oh, sorry, that just proves we shouldn’t invest in bridges’?” she said. “No, they’d fix it.”

But Amtrak, a favorite punching bag for Republicans, could face major cuts under President Trump. His budget proposed eliminating federal funding for Amtrak’s long-distance routes and would slash a grant program that Amtrak was counting on to build a new Hudson River rail tunnel. Yet many long-distance routes traverse parts of the country that voted for Mr. Trump, including the City of New Orleans line, which runs between Chicago and New Orleans.

At the same time, Amtrak has been under increased scrutiny after two fatal train crashes in the last two years. A derailment in Philadelphia in 2015 killed eight people. Federal officials blamed the engineer, who lost track of his location on the route, for the crash and said safety technology not yet installed on the tracks could have prevented the accident. A crash last year killed two workers when a train hit construction equipment on tracks near Philadelphia.

Then there is the fragile infrastructure at Penn Station, North America’s busiest train station. The recent derailments closed several tracks, leading to cancellations and delays across the three railroads that share the station: Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road.

On April 14, a New Jersey Transit train became stuck in the Hudson River tunnel for hours, setting off another round of delays and harsh words between Amtrak and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who had already threatened to halt his state’s payments to the railroad as a result of the earlier derailments.
There is much work that needs to be done. Sadly Republicans only see a public asset they can not drain so they seek to destroy it.

Now that they are running the show

The Republican Congress has not exactly gotten off to a grand start and the thought of a government shutdown that would lie entirely upon their shoulders has them very nervous.
After their already shaky start, it is hard to imagine Republicans would want to top off a chaotic first 100 days of unified government control with a disruptive federal government shutdown.

But that astounding scenario remains a live possibility this week as lawmakers and the Trump White House have so far been unable to agree on a plan to fund the government beyond Friday despite months of staring at the hard April 28 deadline. It is an unsettling but not unfamiliar position for congressional Republicans who have forced government closures in the past and know well that they will be assigned the brunt of the blame if federal agencies are shuttered yet again.

Should a shutdown occur, this one would have a defining new wrinkle. The politically charged spending fights that closed the government during the Clinton and Obama administrations were the product of clashes between congressional Republicans and a Democratic White House in a sharply divided Washington. Today, Republicans control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and allowing the federal government to go dark on their watch might be hard to explain.

“Our Republican colleagues know that since they control, you know, the House, the Senate and the White House, that a shutdown would fall on their shoulders, and they don’t want it,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

Republican leaders from President Trump on down insist they are determined to avoid a shutdown and will be successful in doing so. Failure would put a bizarre exclamation point on the symbolic 100-day marker that the administration coincidentally will reach Saturday.

“No one wants a shutdown,” Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, told reporters on Friday. “We want to keep it going.”

Republicans have good reason for doing so considering that history shows the party image takes a beating with the public when government agencies lock their doors, national parks refuse visitors and federal workers are told not to report to work. Democrats, while not victorious in special House elections held so far, have shown renewed strength, and a shutdown in the early days of Republican stewardship of Washington would only fuel their energy.
In addition to the usual difficulties agreeing in money, Congress has to deal with The Tangerine Shitgibbon demanding money for his beautiful fence.
“Elections have consequences,” Mick Mulvaney, the former House conservative who is now the head of the Office of Management and Budget, told The Associated Press in an interview. He offered Democrats a deal: The administration would support continued subsidies for millions of people receiving health insurance through the Affordable Care Act in exchange for Democrats agreeing to the initial wall funding.

Mr. Schumer called that proposal a nonstarter. Other Democrats suggested they saw no reason to accept that offer because Republicans are separately but simultaneously trying to unravel the health care program. They also believe that if White House refusal to fund the subsidies caused a collapse of the health insurance market, Republicans would get the political blame for that upheaval, as well.
So Republicans have every reason to keep the government running except for their reasons for holding out. Or to put it another way, there aren't enoughRepublicans who like what is being done and not enough Democrats willing to go along.

The apple doesn't fall far from the orange

Mr Oliver Johnsplains Ivanka and Jared.

Few things ever really change

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Continuing Her Re-Creation

Imelda May presents her new look and sound with "Should've Been You" from her new album Life. Love. Flesh. Blood. produced by T-Bone Burnett

A history lesson

Nobody wants to pay for the damn thing

Not the Mexicans and not the Texicans, not even the Americans who want to keep the Mexicans out. Paying for Trump's Beautiful Yuge Wall doesn't seem likely to come from anywhere, not even "Billionaire" Trump himself. But Trump is so desperate to fund his "signature" project, he is demanding that it be included in a 'must pass' government funding bill despite threats of a shutdown if it is.
President Trump and his top aides applied new pressure Sunday on lawmakers to include money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in a must-pass government funding bill, raising the possibility of a federal government shutdown this week.

In a pair of tweets, Trump attacked Democrats for opposing the wall and insisted that Mexico would pay for it “at a later date,” despite his repeated campaign promises not including that qualifier. And top administration officials appeared on Sunday shows to press for money for the wall, including White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who said Trump might refuse to sign a spending bill that does not include money for the wall.

Democrats said they vigorously oppose any money for the border wall in a new spending bill, setting the stage for a last-minute showdown as the White House and lawmakers scramble to pass a stopgap bill before funding expires at the end of Friday.

Trump’s position could also put him at odds with Republican congressional leaders, some of whom have voiced skepticism about including wall funding in the most immediate spending bill. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) made clear to rank-and-file GOP lawmakers on Saturday that his top priority was to pass a bill to keep government open.

“The Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning. In a subsequent tweet, he wrote: “Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Mulvaney, “Will he [Trump] sign a government funding bill that does not include funding for the border wall?”

“Yeah, and I think you saw his answer just in your little lead-in, which is: We don’t know yet,” Mulvaney said in the interview. He was referring to comments Trump recently made to the Associated Press.

Democrats took a hard stance against the wall.

“The wall is, in my view, immoral, expensive, unwise, and when the president says, ‘Well, I promised a wall during my campaign,’ I don’t think he said he was going to pass billions of dollars of cost of the wall on to the taxpayer,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on “Meet the Press.”
The government needs funding but the fence doesn't and there are lots of Republicans who agree with the Democrats on this. The question is how much effort will Trump put into it before he gives up.

Meet the Slow and the Furious

You can't pick 'n choose reality

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Not often you see her play a guitar

But with Chris Thile running the PHC show he gets first dibs on the mandolin and Sarah Jarosz gets the guitar on "Jacqueline"

The Path Not Taken

From the pen of Tom Toles

He really wants a bigly win

And despite the pissing and moaning about how 100 Days means nothing, Donald Trump really, really wants a bigly win at the beginning of his reign. So with that in mind, he has promised something yuge about taxes for Wednesday.
President Trump promised on Friday that he would unveil a “massive” tax cut for Americans next week, vowing a “big announcement on Wednesday,” but he revealed no details about what is certain to be an enormously complicated effort to overhaul the nation’s tax code.

Mr. Trump offered his tax tease in an interview and again during remarks at the Treasury Department on Friday afternoon as he raced to stack up legislative accomplishments before his 100th day in office at the end of next week.

His announcement surprised Capitol Hill and left Mr. Trump’s own Treasury officials speechless as he arrived at the Treasury offices to sign directives to roll back Obama-era tax rules and financial regulations. Earlier in the day, when reporters asked Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, how far away a tax overhaul proposal was, he said he could not give an answer. “Tax reform is way too complicated,” he said.

Mr. Trump told The Associated Press in the interview that his tax reductions would be “bigger, I believe, than any tax cut ever.” But he faces an enormous fight among clashing vested interests as Congress tries to rewrite the tax code.
He has dumped an impossible task on his Treasury minions made even worse by his failure to work with the members of Congress who will do any actual enaction upon taxes.
Starting that fight next week is further complicated by Mr. Trump’s hopes to revive the Republican health care plan that collapsed last month. And it would mean trying a tax overhaul as his White House faces the prospect of a government shutdown if lawmakers cannot agree on a funding bill by April 28.

The details of Mr. Trump’s tax plans remain the subject of intense speculation, with stock markets regularly gyrating when White House officials discuss the subject. Since taking office, the president has suggested that he wants to enact the deepest cuts to individual and corporate tax rates in history.

But despite Mr. Trump’s statement on Friday that his tax overhaul “really formally begins on Wednesday,” White House officials quickly cautioned against high expectations that Mr. Trump would provide the legislative text of a detailed tax plan next week.

Instead, a senior administration official said the president would release only the “parameters” that Mr. Trump expected a tax plan to follow in the long congressional debate that would surely follow. Another official said the information released next week would be more like a “broad” outline. Wall Street, which tends to celebrate tax cuts, barely reacted; the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 0.3 percent Friday.

The administration has maintained that middle-income tax cuts, a simplification of personal income taxes, and making business taxes more competitive with other countries are the top priorities. Mr. Trump insisted that his plans were on track and that his strategy to remake the economy would change history.
And his crack staff immediately performed damage control to clarify what would be done but the damage has already been done. They can only hope he doesn't go off script when he reveals his beautiful massive tax cut plan.

Put Earth First

Forget the escape, fix where we are.

The Man with Antique Ideas

Friday, April 21, 2017

She started as a drummer

And fortunately for us she picked up a guitar, wrote some songs and stepped out front. Sera Cahoone performs "Up To Me" from her new album.

No secrets in DC

From the pen of Jeff Danziger

Arkansas Gov Hutchinson gets his first scalp

In a triumph of political depravity, Arkansas has executed the first of 8 death row inmates they want to of in a chemically induced mortality extravaganza before their killer drugs expire.
The State of Arkansas, dismissing criticism that it intended to rush too many prisoners to their deaths too quickly, on Thursday night carried out its first execution in more than a decade. Using a lethal injection drug that has been the subject of sharp constitutional debate, the state plans to execute three more men by the end of the month, before its supply of the chemical expires.

Ledell Lee, who was condemned to death for the murder of Debra Reese more than 20 years ago in a Little Rock suburb, died at 11:56 p.m. Central time at the Cummins Unit, a prison in southeast Arkansas, after the reprieves he had won in federal and state courts were overturned. He received injections of three drugs: midazolam, to render him unconscious; vecuronium bromide, to halt his breathing; and potassium chloride, to stop his heart.

State officials administered the lethal injection at 11:44 p.m., after Mr. Lee, who requested holy communion as his last meal, wordlessly declined to make a final statement. Sean Murphy, a reporter for The Associated Press who witnessed the execution, said Mr. Lee was not visibly uncomfortable as he was put to death. The prisoner, Mr. Murphy said, was not responsive when the authorities performed consciousness checks.

An evening of appeals kept Mr. Lee, 51, alive as his death warrant neared its midnight expiration. The United States Supreme Court, as well as a federal appeals court in St. Louis, issued temporary stays of execution while they considered his legal arguments. In Little Rock, the Arkansas capital, Gov. Asa Hutchinson monitored developments at the State Capitol.

At one point on Thursday night, the Supreme Court nearly halted Mr. Lee’s execution, but decided, 5 to 4, to allow the state to proceed with its plan, which had called for eight prisoners to be put to death over less than two weeks. The court’s majority — which included the newest justice, Neil M. Gorsuch — did not explain its decision, but in a dissent, Justice Stephen G. Breyer complained about how the state had established its execution schedule because of the approaching expiration date of Arkansas’s stock of midazolam.
Fortunately for Arkansas, Neil Gorsuch was able to help them use up one dose of the soon to be unusable midazolam. Better to kill them than waste money letting it expire.

Whither goest the Geryymander

Nobody seems to like the poor gerrymander, but nobody seems to stop doing them when they get the chance. At present the Republican Party is in the ascendent, having mercilessly gerrymandered all the states they won in the 2010 off year election while Barack Obama and his crew ignored the non-DC electoral landscape. So thorough was the job done that one might even think Obama and Karl Rove were working together for the result. And now a case goes before the Supreme Court to decide how one defines a political gerrymander.
The hand-to-hand political combat in House elections on Tuesday in Georgia and last week in Kansas had the feel of the first rounds of an epic battle next year for control of the House of Representatives and the direction of national politics as the Trump presidency unfolds.

But for all the zeal on the ground, none of it may matter as much as a case heading to the Supreme Court, one that could transform political maps from City Hall to Congress — often to Democrats’ benefit.

A bipartisan group of voting rights advocates says the lower house of the Wisconsin Legislature, the State Assembly, was gerrymandered by its Republican majority before the 2012 election — so artfully, in fact, that Democrats won a third fewer Assembly seats than Republicans despite prevailing in the popular vote. In November, in a 2-to-1 ruling, a panel of federal judges agreed.

Now the Wisconsin case is headed to a Supreme Court that has repeatedly said that extreme partisan gerrymanders are unconstitutional, but has never found a way to decide which ones cross the line.

Some legal scholars believe this could be the year that changes that. If that happens, they say, an emphatic ruling against partisan gerrymanders would rank with another redistricting decision: Baker v. Carr, the historic 1962 case that led to the principle of one person, one vote.

“My feeling is that there is increasing concern within the court about the extent of partisan gerrymandering over the last 10 or 15 years,” said Richard H. Pildes, a constitutional law professor at the New York University School of Law. “I do think this is a pivotal moment — a big, big moment.”

Gerrymandering has always been contentious. But the extraordinary success of a Republican strategy to control redistricting by capturing majorities in state legislatures in the 2010 elections has lent urgency to the debate.

Today, at a time of hyperpartisan politics and computer technology that can measure political leanings almost house by house, Republicans control legislatures in 33 states, 25 with Republican governors. They have unfettered command over the boundaries of at least 204 congressional districts — amounting to nearly half the 435-seat House.

In contrast, Democrats’ share of state legislature seats has shrunk to a level not seen since Warren G. Harding was president, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And in recent years, their numbers in the House of Representatives have hovered near levels last seen during the Truman administration.

Partly because of the Voting Rights Act, gerrymanders based on race are flatly illegal, but ones based on partisan intent remain in limbo.

The Wisconsin case heads four legal actions on partisan gerrymanders that the Supreme Court could consider and, perhaps, consolidate. In Maryland, another three-judge panel will hear arguments over whether a Democratic legislature gerrymandered House districts in 2011 to oust a 10-term Republican congressman.

In North Carolina, a June hearing is scheduled in a suit over the unabashedly partisan carving of the state into 10 Republican and three Democratic House seats — this in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans.

The state representative who drew that map said he had engineered 10 safely Republican seats only “because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

Experts disagree over how much gerrymandering has hurt Democrats. One prominent 2013 study mostly blamed geography, not partisanship, because Democrats tend to cluster in cities. But the most recent study, by a Princeton professor, Samuel S. H. Wang, concluded that gerrymanders had cost Democrats as many as 22 House seats in the 2012 election — nearly enough to flip the chamber’s control.
And now the legality of these situations will be determined by a court with the likes of Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, jurists notorious for placing their political agenda ahead of the law at all times. WASF.

One very powerful angry little man

Trevor Noah looks at the marijuana policy of the little shitweasel from Alabama and maybe why The Tangerine Shitgibbon does what he does.

Know anyone in Montana?

Send this to them and let them know Rob is the only natural born Montanan in the race.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why rush this relationship

Terra Lightfoot is in "No Hurry" from her album Every Time My Mind Runs Wild.

Major economic factor

From the pen of Joel Pett.

It's a winnable race

Montana may appear to be Republican territory, but Rob Quist, Democratic candidate for Montana's sole House seat intends to appeal to his fellow Montanans independent streak, the same one that elected a Democratic governor and senator.
Rob Quist surveyed his audience last week at an annual powwow of Montana’s Native American tribes, a kaleidoscope of feathers, moccasins and beads, before turning his thoughts to a very different audience, far to the east: the national Democratic Party.

“They’ve been on the sidelines a little too long, and it’s time for them to get in the game,” said Mr. Quist, the banjo-playing Democratic nominee in a special May election to fill Montana’s at-large House seat.

But, he predicted, “they’re coming in.”

“I don’t know that it makes a lot of sense to spend resources where you don’t have a shot at winning,” Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking House Democrat, said. “People tend to get disappointed.”

Mr. Clyburn noted that few leading Kansas Democrats said they “thought they were headed to a victory” rather than just a “closer than expected” finish.

But that is not the case in Montana, where a preference for Republican presidential candidates belies the state’s enduring Democratic tradition. Its governor, Steve Bullock, is a Democrat. One of its senators, Jon Tester, is a Democrat. And now its one House seat is vacant.

“National folks should be coming in here,” Governor Bullock said. “It is a winnable race.”

Mr. Bullock should know. His re-election last year, by four percentage points against the Republican Greg Gianforte, was the fourth consecutive gubernatorial race that Democrats have won in Big Sky country. The state has also not sent two Republican senators to Washington at the same time since the Constitution was amended to require the popular election of senators.

Yet to the frustration of Democrats here, Mr. Quist has received no defense from national third-party groups — and he’s running against Mr. Gianforte, who was just beaten statewide. Mr. Gianforte and three Washington-based conservative organizations have spent more than $1.4 million on television and radio since February, much of it attacking Mr. Quist.
Mr Gianforte, a transplanted tech billionaire from California, may be spending a Montana shit ton of money on TV but he has not been doing public events among the people who didn't vote for him once already. Rob Quist, Montana born, has been traveling the state meeting the people he is asking to vote for him, something people in Montana enjoy and appreciate. The national party should be giving him whatever help he wants.

In adoration of all things private

The IRS has begun using private debt collection agencies to corral unpaid taxes. This is in lieu of the far more cost effective and law abiding in house collection which over the years has been a problem to far too many big money Republicans.
The Internal Revenue Service is about to start using four private debt-collection companies to chase down overdue payments from hundreds of thousands of people who owe money to the federal government, a job it has handled in house for years.

Unlike I.R.S. agents, who are not usually allowed to call delinquent taxpayers by telephone, the outside debt-collection agencies will have free rein to do so. Consumer watchdogs are fearful that some of the nation’s most vulnerable taxpayers will be harassed and that criminals will take advantage of the system by phoning people and impersonating I.R.S. collectors.

Additionally, one of the four companies that the I.R.S. has hired, Pioneer Credit Recovery, a subsidiary of Navient, was effectively fired two years ago by the Education Department from its contract to collect delinquent debt for misleading borrowers about their loans at what the department called “unacceptably high rates.”

Proponents of the plan, who include Democrats and Republicans, point out that the debtors are shirking their tax obligations and that collecting from them will add to the Treasury’s coffers. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the new debt-collection program had the potential to gain a net $2.4 billion over the next 10 years.

“Collecting tax debt that’s due and not in dispute is a matter of fairness to the many taxpayers who pay what they owe,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa. “It’s been clear for a long time that the I.R.S. isn’t collecting the debt that these contractors will focus on.”

Twice before, in 1996 and 2006, the I.R.S. has tried to farm out some of its collection duties. Both times, the programs were shut down and deemed failures. The most recent attempt cost millions more than it took in. It also generated thousands of complaints, including one oft-repeated horror story about an older couple who received more than 150 phone calls in less than a month.

Even so, Congress passed a law in 2015 ordering the I.R.S. to once again outsource some of its delinquent debt. The provision was buried in a $305 billion highway funding bill. The agency hired four companies — CBE Group, ConServe, Performant and Pioneer Credit Recovery — and started giving them cases this month.

The companies will work on commission, earning up to 25 percent of the delinquent debt they collect.

The I.R.S. is owed some $138 billion in severely overdue payments on 14 million accounts, according to agency data, and that huge sum drives lawmakers crazy. Enlisting the private sector’s expertise to solve the problem is an idea that comes up again and again.

High-profile lawmakers on both sides of the aisle backed the latest debt-collection plan. In addition to Mr. Grassley, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, has been a proponent of using private collectors for years. Three of the four companies that won the latest I.R.S. contracts are based in the two senators’ states.

Mr. Schumer held a news conference in October to announce the 300 new jobs Pioneer planned to add in upstate New York as a result of the I.R.S. contract. The jobs “will help inject new life into the regional economy,” he said.
Dear Chuck Schumer, I hope he doesn't really think 300 debt collectors will help any economy with less than 100% unemployment. And if Congress really wanted that money collected, they could have funded the effective IRS debt collection instead of giving up 25% of the take to a bunch of hustlers one of which has already been fired from a government debt collection gig for lying to the customers. Most likely the only result will be further GOP attacks on the IRS.

A self righteous landfill of angry garbage

A Farewell To Bill O'Reilly From Stephen Colbert And 'Stephen Colbert'

Happy 420 Day

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


From South Africa by way of Berlin, Alice Phoebe Lou

Donald Trump has the Best Bombs

From the pen of Steve Bell

Retired Miners healthcare to run out

If you are a retired miner depending on the government funded healthcare to keep breathing on this planet, you still have a few days left to plan you funeral.
Donald J. Trump made coal miners a central metaphor of his presidential campaign, promising to “put our miners back to work” and look after their interests in a way that the Obama administration did not.

Now, three months into his presidency, comes a test of that promise.

Unless Congress intervenes by late April, government-funded health benefits will abruptly lapse for more than 20,000 retired miners, concentrated in Trump states that include Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Many of the miners have serious health problems arising from their years in the mines.

In mining areas like Uniontown, Pa., and surrounding Fayette and Greene Counties, which Mr. Trump carried 2 to 1, it is an upsetting and potentially costly prospect. “It’s just a terrible, terrible feeling,” said one of the retirees, David VanSickle, who spent four decades at work in the mines. “I think about that 25 times a day.”

The president has offered no public comment on the issue, even as he has rolled back regulations on mine operators, an omission that has not escaped the notice of Mr. VanSickle and other retired miners.

“To me, that was kind of a promise he did make to us,” Mr. VanSickle said about Mr. Trump, whom he supported last fall. “He promised to help miners, not just mining companies.”

Responsibility for the retirees’ health plans has increasingly shifted to the federal government in recent years, as struggling coal companies have shed their liabilities in bankruptcy court. Congress voted last fall to finance benefits for a large group of retirees for several months, but House and Senate Republican leaders have yet to agree on a longer-term solution.
Despite what The Tangerine Shitgibbon may have said during the campaign, his plan for the miners health is very much like the Congressional Republicans plan, die quickly. The mining companies abandoned their retirees as soon as possible and the GOP sees no reason why they should keep those people alive.

How to Trump friends and Influence People

One new twist to the international scene is how artfully Cheeto Mussolini had everybody believing the Carl Vinson strike group was actually sailing toward the Korean peninsula. This really impressed the shit out of our South Korean friends and allies.
When news broke less than two weeks ago that the Trump administration was sending the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to the Korean Peninsula, many South Koreans feared a possible war with North Korea. Others cheered for Washington, calling the deployment a powerful symbol of its commitment to deterring the North.

On Wednesday, after it was revealed that the carrier strike group was actually thousands of miles away and had been heading in the opposite direction, toward the Indian Ocean, South Koreans felt bewildered, cheated and manipulated by the United States, their country’s most important ally.

“Trump’s lie over the Carl Vinson,” read a headline on the website of the newspaper JoongAng Ilbo on Wednesday. “Xi Jinping and Putin must have had a good jeer over this one.”

“Like North Korea, which is often accused of displaying fake missiles during military parades, is the United States, too, now employing ‘bluffing’ as its North Korea policy?” the article asked.

The episode raised questions about whether major allies of the United States, like South Korea and Japan, had been informed of the carrier’s whereabouts, and whether the misinformation undercut America’s strategy to contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions by using empty threats.

Compounding their anger over the Carl Vinson episode, many South Koreans also were riled at Mr. Trump for his assertion in a Wall Street Journal interview last week that the Korean Peninsula “used to be a part of China.” Although Korea was often invaded by China and forced to pay tributes to its giant neighbor, many Koreans say the notion that they were once Chinese subjects is egregiously insulting.

“The 50 million South Koreans, as well as many common-sensical people around the world, cannot help but feel embarrassed and shocked,” said Youn Kwan-suk, spokesman of the main opposition Democratic Party, which is leading in voter surveys ahead of the May 9 presidential election.
And in the aftermath, the strike group is sailing toward Korea and the ships have had their deployment extended another 30 days. North Korea may or may not give them another chance at a missile test. Everybody is trying to explain what did or didn't happen because of this. And nobody wants to say it happened because the Trump administration is a giant bumblefuck.

The next election of concern is France

John Oliver explains,

Time and time again

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

George Harrison re-interpreted

And Bettye LaVette makes it sound so easy. "It Don't Come Easy"

You have to pay every penny

From the pen of Joel Pett

Hiding his taxes doesn't help

The Republicans much ballyhooed "tax reform", originally an excuse to slash taxes on the wealthy so the rest of us could support them, has grown to include many changes that need to be made, if not necessarily in the form suggested. And it turns out that Donald Trump who should be the biggest booster behind the change may be the greatest obstacle at this time.
As a candidate, Mr. Trump declared that he understood America’s complex tax laws “better than anyone who has ever run for president” and that he alone could fix them. But it is becoming increasingly unlikely that there will be a simpler system, or even lower tax rates, this time next year. The Trump administration’s tax plan, promised in February, has yet to materialize; a House Republican plan has bogged down, taking as much fire from conservatives as liberals; and on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told The Financial Times that the administration’s goal of getting a tax plan signed by August was “not realistic at this point.”

A tax overhaul could be the next expansive Trump campaign promise that falters before it even gathered much steam.

“If they have no plan, they can’t negotiate,” said Larry Kudlow, the economist who helped Mr. Trump devise his campaign tax plan. “In that case, tax reform is dead.”

The first pitfall for Mr. Trump was the debacle of his health care plan, which burned political capital and precious days off the legislative calendar. But his administration saw repealing the taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act as an important step that would allow for deeper tax cuts later. Mr. Trump even suggested last week that he might return to health care before tax cuts.

Republican leaders in Congress also failed to create momentum. Speaker Paul D. Ryan built a tax blueprint around a “border adjustment” tax that would have imposed a steep levy on imports, hoping to encourage domestic manufacturing while raising revenue that could be used to lower overall tax rates. But it has been assailed by retailers, oil companies and the billionaire Koch brothers. With no palpable support in the Senate, its prospects appear to be nearly dead. Heading into a congressional recess, Mr. Ryan admitted that Republicans in the House, Senate and White House were not on the same page.

The president’s own vision for a new tax system is muddled at best. In the past few months, he has called for taxing companies that move operations abroad, waffled on the border tax and, last week, called for a “reciprocal” tax that would match the import taxes other countries impose on the United States.

But it is Mr. Trump’s own taxes that have provided the crucial leverage for his opponents. More than 100,000 of his critics took to the streets over the weekend in marches around the country, demanding that the president release his returns. Tax legislation, they say, could be a plot by Mr. Trump to get even richer.

“When they talk about tax reform, are they talking about cutting Donald Trump’s taxes by millions of dollars a year?” asked Ezra Levin, a member of the Tax March executive committee. “We don’t know.”

Beyond the politics of Mr. Trump’s returns, lawmakers do not want to pass an overhaul of the tax code that unwittingly enriches the commander in chief and his progeny. Those who are worried about conflicts of interest point to the potential repeal of the estate tax or elimination of the alternative minimum tax as provisions that would enrich Mr. Trump.

Perhaps the most consequential concern relates to a House Republican proposal to get rid of a rule that lets companies write off the interest they pay on loans — a move real estate developers and Mr. Trump vehemently oppose. Doing so would raise $1 trillion in revenue and reduce the appeal of one of Mr. Trump’s favorite business tools: debt.
Without any idea how the current tax code benefits Cheeto Mussolini, it would be easy to craft a reform bill that would be a massive windfall for the Trump cartel at the expense of those who voted for him. But without some Democratic support, that will never happen.

Colbert Tucks Into Alex Jones

Shining a light on it

Monday, April 17, 2017

Living In The City

Hurray For The Riff Raff from their new album The Navigator

The Slippery Slope of Airline Travel

And Tom Tomorrow shows us what will happen once our feet have slid in due time.

Not learning in this class either

From the pen of David Horsey

Unpopular Governor fading away

The Outlaw Jersey Whale Chris Christie is ending his second term as one of the least popular governors in the history of New Jersey. On might suggest that you have to go back to Ben Franklin's Tory son to find one less popular. Still the Garden State Lardoon has his duties to attend to.
As the final months of his tenure in Trenton wind down, Gov. Chris Christie has kept himself conspicuously busy. He celebrated the opening of a new drug treatment facility. He delved into the intricacies of the Mets’ pitching rotation on a sports radio station. He dropped by the Prudential Center to warn children about the dangers of drug addiction.

This is not how he thought it would end, running out the calendar with largely dutiful tasks.

“Well, one, I thought I might be president,” he said in an extended interview in his office earlier this month, “so that’s a fairly material change.”

With a 20 percent approval rating that secures his place among the most unliked governors in New Jersey history, the final nine months of the Christie administration, which began in 2010, reflect a governor in a dimming twilight.

His legacy has been battered by a brazen political scandal known widely as Bridgegate; his once promising quest for the White House was profoundly quashed. Nonetheless, Mr. Christie aggressively defended what he said he had done for the state, and said he was focused on what he still wanted to accomplish.

“My obit will be fine; I’m not worried about that,” Mr. Christie said in the interview. “The first graph of my obit will be pretty, pretty good, and my children and hopefully someday grandchildren will be able to read it and go, ‘O.K., Grandpa lived a life of consequence.’ That’ll be good.”

But as he travels the state promoting his initiative against the opioid epidemic plaguing the country, the energy seems different. Gone are the throngs of national media who in 2013 thought they were covering the probable Republican presidential nominee. Gone are the nearly daily outrages and television clips of him berating an opponent or dressing down a lawmaker.

In their place is a man keenly aware of his legacy, evident in the battles he chooses and in the reflexive defense against criticism. He has recently supplanted his small-government conservatism with populist rants against corporate America — Amtrak, United Airlines and Horizon health insurance were his most recent targets. The rhetoric is in line with the Trumpian politics of the moment, perhaps as a way to rehabilitate his image as he ponders his future.

“You think about it, you go back prior to Bridgegate, his numbers were off the charts,” said Stephen M. Sweeney, New Jersey’s Senate president and a Democrat who has both sparred and collaborated with the governor. “You go from being loved to not being liked, it’s pretty tough.”
In truth he never should have had a second term but the dirty inside politics of New Jersey had the Democratic leadership selling out their candidate because they didn't like her thereby giving the OJW a free second term when he should hve been delivered to the ash heap.

The President says how much he wants to spend

And then it falls to Congress to say how much will actually be approved for spending by all the various parts of the government. This is usually a task hashed out through the Congressional year but prior to the Tangerine Shitgibbon, the Republican House was putting off all spending bills to refuse Obama any success and pressure the Democrats into going along with their hellish priorities. And that brings us to the present when all the previous spending bills expire on April 28 and there has been no progress on their replacements.
The fate of the federal government – whether it stays open or shuts down at the end of April – is all up to Congress and President Donald Trump. What could possibly go wrong?

Republican and Democratic congressional leaders are optimistic that when they return from their recess the last week of April, they’ll reach a deal and avert a government shutdown by April 28, when legislation that is now funding the government expires.

Yet there are a number of issues, including the White House’s push for U.S.-Mexico border wall money and Trump’s threat this week to pull some health care funding, that could lead to a collapse of comity and a budget blowup.

It’s happened before: The longest shutdown, in December 1995-January 1996, lasted 21 days. Conservatives in the House of Representatives prompted a 16-day shutdown in 2013 over opposition to paying for President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

This year’s showdown is most likely in the House, where Republicans are counting on Democratic support to pass a spending bill because some House conservatives have steadfastly refused to vote for spending bills: “Anything that depends on 216 Republicans is a highly risky proposition,” said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a top Republican on the House Appropriations and Budget committees, citing the number needed to pass legislation in the House.

That could, however, mean White House priorities go wanting, for now.
The majority of spending can be easily agreed to but there are a few real bones of contention that will probably be passed over because there just isn't enough time and there probably never will be.

Another week, another Trump dump

From John Oliver

The Holy Mother of Teabaggers

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Down Here

Shelby Lynne

An early star of the '60s folk music scene

Carolyn Hester stayed with traditional folk music and her career faded as Dylan and others took the audience elsewhere.

Historical meaning

An Easter message from Spicy Sphincter

Melissa McCarthy does it again

Easter explained

Jesus and Mo make everything clear

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Phoebe Bridgers


A Guide to the New Senate

From the pen of Brian McFadden

Coal ash with us now and......

Everybody knows about the smoke a d CO2 that flows from coal fired generating plants, but unless you have had one of their spills in your backyard, few are familiar with the problems of coal ash, what's left over after the burn.
Coal ash, the hazardous byproduct of burning coal to produce power, is a particularly insidious legacy of the nation’s dependence on coal. Unlike the visible and heavily regulated airborne emissions from power plant smokestacks, coal ash is largely unseen unless there is a major spill and, until recently, far less effectively regulated.

More than 100 million tons of coal ash is produced every year, one of the nation’s largest and most vexing streams of toxic waste. The hazardous dust and sludge — containing arsenic, mercury, lead and other heavy metals — fill more than a thousand landfills and bodies of water in nearly every state, threatening air, land, water and human health.

The Gallatin power plant is facing citizens’ complaints and two major lawsuits over its handling of coal ash. One suit, filed in 2015 by an environmental advocacy group in federal court, says the utility violated the Clean Water Act by allowing toxic leaks from its coal ash disposal ponds. A second, also filed in 2015, by the state’s attorney general and its environmental enforcement agency, asserts that the Tennessee Valley Authority broke state pollution laws and endangered public health.

The plant is among the Tennessee Valley Authority’s fleet of power stations, which have used fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable sources like hydropower to bring reliable electricity to parts of seven states across the Southeast. The authority, created in 1933 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, provides 99.7 percent of Tennessee’s electricity.

The Gallatin plant, like all others that burn coal, produces a steady and difficult-to-control stream of coal ash. Its disposal poses problems across the country, but particularly in the Southeast, which is highly dependent on coal for electricity.

“Gallatin is in many ways the worst site we’ve seen,” said Frank Holleman, a senior lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center, the nonprofit legal organization that filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of two state conservation groups. The group has filed several other suits claiming environmental harm from improper handling of coal ash in other states.

Mr. Holleman said vigorous federal enforcement of laws governing coal ash disposal was crucial because utilities like the Tennessee Valley Authority, which are responsible for managing coal ash storage, held so much political sway at the state level. He said that support for protecting water supplies from coal ash contamination cut across party lines and that efforts by the Trump administration to curb enforcement would be opposed even by residents who had voted for the president.
The current disposal method includes creating a slurry that is pumped into ponds to settle. While doing so, the water can seep into the ground carrying the concentrated toxins in the ash. Many along riversides have broken through or flooded over into the rivers they abut. And what few rules are in place to control the pollution from coal ash are about to be rescinded by that shitweasel Scott Pruitt because who needs clean water?

For Georgia 6th District

You know what Samuel L Jackson looks like, Listen to his words.

The only thing he does well

Friday, April 14, 2017

Never leave the important to the dicks.

A duo from Dallas

They call themselves Lonesome Doves. Their song is "The Wind"

His supporters would buy it, too.

From the pen of David Horsey

click pic to bigly

$16,000,000.00 to kill 36 people

At that rate of expenditure, even King Midas himself would not be able to finance a war the way Donald Trump would direct it.
A day after the United States military dropped its most powerful conventional bomb on caves used by Islamic State affiliates in eastern Afghanistan, officials said on Friday that dozens of militants had been killed, but that they were still trying to assess the full extent of the damage. Residents said the blast had been felt tens of miles away.

The strike on Thursday targeted a set of mountain tunnels in the Achin district, a stronghold of the Islamic State’s regional affiliate, and it was the first use in combat of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, referred to as the “mother of all bombs.” The bombing was part of an intense air campaign against the Islamic State, with American airstrikes in Afghanistan averaging as many as 10 a day in the first two weeks of April.

Gen. Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, said initial information indicated that 36 militants had been killed and three large caves destroyed in the bombing in Nangarhar Province.

Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said on Friday at a news conference in Kabul, the capital, that the Islamic State was using caves, tunnels and “an extensive belt of improvised explosive devices,” or roadside bombs, to resist Afghan and coalition operations.

The general said that he had been in constant touch with his chain of command, but that the decision to deploy such force was shaped by the battlefield realities and not by outside political factors. President Trump has given additional authority to military commanders since taking office, but he has not said whether he personally approved Thursday’s bombing mission.

“This is the first time we have encountered an extensive obstacle to our progress that was constituted by I.E.D.s, the presence of tunnels and caves, and therefore this was the appropriate weapon to use at this time,” General Nicholson said. “It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield, and it has enabled us to resume our offensive operations.”
Not quite as much fun as blowing off a tactical nuke, but a tad safer. And now we know what happens in the real world when we use on. Given the cost of Trump's military profligacy, even an alleged billionsire like him would be broke by the 4th of July.

Happy Cruciversary Jesus

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Put The Fire Out

Courtney Marie Andrews sings a tune from her most recent album Honest Life.

Guiness record for simultaneous face-palms?

From the pen of Jim Morin

The First Step Down A Slippery Slope

The very first German concentration camp was built to handle the overflow of the states prisons. In the early years people were actually released after serving their sentences. But as the years went by, the inmates were more likely to be considered undesirables with little thought or care given to their treatment or well being. And in the end, despite only a few extermination camps being built, all the Nazi camps had become places where inmates died because of hunger, disease, overwork or just senseless cruelty. And now Der Trumpenfuehrer has decided that those undocumented immigrants he considers undesirable will not only be placed in detention centers, but those holding them will no longer need to provide for their care and wellbeing beyond the minimum basic needs.
For more than 15 years, jails that hold immigrants facing deportation have had to follow a growing list of requirements:

Notify immigration officials if a detainee spends two weeks or longer in solitary confinement. Check on suicidal inmates every 15 minutes, and evaluate their mental health every day. Inform detainees, in languages they can understand, how to obtain medical care. In disciplinary hearings, provide a staff member who can advocate in English on the detainee’s behalf.

But as the Trump administration seeks to quickly find jail space for its crackdown on illegal immigration, it is moving to curtail these rules as a way to entice more sheriffs and local officials to make their correctional facilities available.

According to two Homeland Security officials who had knowledge of the plans but declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly, new jail contracts will contain a far less detailed set of regulations.

They will make no mention of the need for translation services, for example. A current rule that detainees’ requests for medical care be evaluated by a professional within 24 hours will be replaced by a requirement that the jails merely have procedures on providing medical care.

The new contracts will require that the jails maintain policies for suicide prevention, solitary confinement and other concerns, but will not specify what those policies should contain.

The changes, which will coincide with the closing of an office that develops regulations, will essentially hold these jails to the same standards they must follow for criminal inmates. That is a break from a long-held philosophy that people held on immigration violations, who are considered by law to be “civil” detainees, should be treated differently, and is in line with the president’s belief that the government should be tougher on the unauthorized.

The moves also underscore the challenges of rapidly expanding immigration enforcement, a centerpiece of President Trump’s campaign platform. An internal memo, first reported by The Washington Post on Wednesday, revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has procured an additional 1,100 detention beds, which are not yet being used, and has identified 27 potential facilities with space for 21,000 detainees.
And once they have rounded up all 11 Million undocumenteds the system will probably collapse into a collection of deadly hell holes providing a final solution for the problem Trump created.

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