Tuesday, October 31, 2017
The Pumpkin Patch Kids
Wall St. needs you to go out to dinner
Wall St in its infinite capacity to follow the leader when investing money has found itself in a bind after investing $Billions into various and sundry restaurant chains, too many chains in fact and not enough customers.
After a prolonged stretch of explosive growth, fueled by interest from Wall Street, experts say there are now too many fast-food, casual and other chain restaurants.And another Wall St fairy tale not taken to its logical conclusion turns out to not have the happy ending investors and everybody else involved were looking for. So the banks will write off the losses, chains will curt back and some will go bust and lots of low wage employees will be looking for the next great Wall St investment boom to work for, if they can.
Since the early 2000s, banks, private equity firms and other financial institutions have poured billions into the restaurant industry as they sought out more tangible enterprises than the dot-com start-ups that were going belly-up. There are now more than 620,000 eating and drinking places in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the number of restaurants is growing at about twice the rate of the population.
That trend is evident on a more local level here in the sprawling suburbs southwest of Chicago, where the population is growing fast, but the number of restaurants is growing even faster. Twenty years ago, Mr. Mooney would have been competing against about 600 eateries in the region; by the end of last year, that number had more than doubled.
“Everybody thinks their brand has what it takes to succeed in the marketplace,” said Victor Fernandez, an industry analyst with TDn2K, a Dallas-based firm that gathers data on the chain restaurant industry. “You look at a location that looks good, but everybody is looking at the same place and they all come in, and the result is you get oversaturation.”
The glut of restaurants has increased the pressure on individual restaurant owners. Industry sales are up nationally, but growth has slowed to the lowest rate since 2010.
As Americans work longer hours and confront an ever-growing array of food options, they are spending a growing share of their food budget — about 44 cents per dollar — on restaurants, according to food economists at the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service.
But while consumer demand contributed to the restaurant boom, it was changes on Wall Street that really fueled the explosion. Chains like Del Taco, Papa Murphy’s and others began attracting money from private equity firms, and banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America saw lending opportunities in the restaurant industry.
Those developments complemented each other well. New fast-food investors wanted to rely less on owning restaurants, and offloaded many company locations to eager buyers who came with bags of cheap money from the banks. The investors could then count on a steady stream of franchise fees and royalty payments — buffers against overall sales declines if, say, the market ever became oversaturated. And they didn’t have to worry about actually operating the restaurants.
Normally this would bring on a DC feeding frenzy
But even with a lead in like Donny Dinkydick's panicked tweet to "DO SOMETHING' over the weekend, his desperate dismissal of George Papadopoulos as a "low level volunteer" has yet to stir up the sharks.
President Trump on Tuesday tried to diminish the significance of a former foreign policy adviser, who admitted to lying to the F.B.I. about how, during last year’s presidential campaign, he sought to meet with Russians offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton based on purloined emails.Now is not a good time to declare George a "low level volunteer" when this picture is floating around the Internet. That's George, second one up from Sessions facing the camera at a Trump level foreign security meeting. No mention if they discussed Russian e-mails at this meeting.
In his first comment on this aspect of the case being developed by the special counsel investigation, Mr. Trump did not deny that the foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, worked to collaborate with Russia. He simply brushed off his significance and focused on the fact that Mr. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. to cover up the contacts with Russia.
“Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.
As for the indictment of his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, the president repeated that the crimes alleged took place outside the context of the election contest.
Mr. Papadopoulos was named by Mr. Trump in March 2016 as one of five foreign policy advisers. While the president and his team now seek to minimize Mr. Papadopoulos’s importance, at the time Mr. Trump described him in flattering terms. “He’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy,” he told The Washington Post.
According to a statement of offense signed as part of his guilty plea, Mr. Papadopoulos admitted that he spent months last year cultivating contacts in an effort to arrange meetings between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russian government officials.
Mr. Papadopoulos said a London-based professor with extensive Russian contacts introduced him to a woman described as “Putin’s niece” and told him the Russians had “dirt” on Mrs. Clinton based on “thousands of emails” of hers. (The woman was not actually related to President Vladimir V. Putin.)
The professor, identified on Monday by a Senate aide as Joseph Mifsud, told Mr. Papadopoulos about the emails in April 2016, three months before WikiLeaks released nearly 20,000 hacked Democratic emails. Mr. Papadopoulos kept senior campaign officials informed about his efforts and they encouraged him but made clear they wanted to keep some distance publicly. “It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal,” a top campaign official wrote in an email at the time.
How sharper than a Stephen Colbert monologue
Not last night as Stephen came out slicing and dicing.
It's Mueller Time!
And Trevor Noah gives us the scoop on why we can celebrate.
Seth Meyers on The Trump Indictments
A Closer Look
Monday, October 30, 2017
You Are Not Needed Now
Two out of three Be Good Tanyas Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton, recovered from her injuries and other problems, sing a Townes Van Zandt song.
It's all downhill from here
Tom Tomorrow illustrates the various steps by which our world limbo's beneath the ever descending bar of reality.
Favored by Republicans everywhere
Another damned GOP Tax Lie
And anybody who has been paying attention can't help but notice that most of the revealed elements of the Republican Tax 'Reform' have been promoted by lies. Lies like the US having the highest corporate tax rate to support an otherwise indefensible corporate tax cut and the small business sob stories about the Estate Tax which is only applicable to maybe 5000 families who can all easily afford it. The GOP assault on the SALT deductions is another area bringing new GOP lies to the fore.
The main Republican argument for killing the state and local tax deduction is that the break forces residents of low-tax states to subsidize those in California and other high-tax states.In the great tradition of wingnut welfare, the Republican tax plan wants to increase the burden on states that work hard and prosper for the benefit of a bunch of lazy good for nothing states. Good for nothing except being dumb enough to vote Republican.
But when it comes to federal taxes, the data show that it’s the other way around. And it could get worse for Californians if the deduction is eliminated as part of the GOP tax overhaul.
California is among 13 states that ship more tax money to Washington than they get back in federal spending, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, a public policy think tank in Albany, N.Y.
They’re known as donor states, a title California has held for years, mostly because of the state’s relatively younger population and large number of high-income earners.
Killing the state and local tax deduction, as President Trump and congressional Republican leaders have proposed, probably would tilt the equation even more against California.
“We will end up being an even greater donor state,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park). “That’s not fair.”
In 2015, California residents and businesses pumped $410 billion worth of income, corporate and other federal taxes into the U.S. Treasury, the Rockefeller Institute said.
At the same time, Washington sent the state $393 billion worth of payments and services, including Social Security checks, Medicare payments, federal employee salaries and government contracts.
That $17-billion shortfall ranked as the fourth-worst state balance of payments.Calculated another way, California received 96 cents of federal spending for each dollar paid in federal taxes. While that’s close to break even, it’s well off the $1.14 national average and ranked 40th in the nation. New Jersey was last at 74 cents.
Three states — New Mexico, West Virginia and Mississippi — received more than $2 in federal outlays for every dollar in taxes paid, according to the Rockefeller Institute.
“The reason a lot of states ... have a bad balance of payments is because the relatively rich states are paying into a tax system that has progressive rates — and they pay a lot,” said Don Boyd, director of fiscal studies at the Rockefeller Institute, which is the public policy research arm of the State University of New York.
On a per capita basis, Californians paid $10,510 in taxes to the federal government in 2015. That ranked 12th in the nation. The leader was Connecticut at $15,643. Mississippi was last at $5,740.
The state and local tax deduction helps offset some of the higher costs for donor states by reducing the amount of tax money flowing to Washington, analysts said.
The deduction allowed Californians to reduce their combined taxable income by $101 billion in 2014 — one-fifth of the total value of the deduction nationwide, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
R.I.P. Dennis James Banks
Among the first and most prominent and founder of AIM, you changed the way the First Peple of the United States thought of themselves.
Two serious dope problems
John Oliver examines Donny's approach to dope and the Alabama Dope, Crazy Roy Moore.
Lock Him Up!
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Sang Amy Rigby, if she had two she'd be a star.
Be careful what you wish for
39 Days Later
The governor of Puerto Rico has called for the cancellation of the Whitefish contract and the activation of the traditional mutual aid agreements with mainland utilities to restore electricity.
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said that the contract was a distraction after critics in the electric power industry, Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency raised questions about whether the company, Whitefish Energy, was well equipped to respond to the hurricane damage.When all is said and done, only Whitefish and Hinky Zinke can complain about the cancellation, if they aren't too busy trying to explain how it happened.
Thirty-nine days after Hurricane Maria hit the territory, Rossello said that he would request assistance from Florida and New York under mutual aid arrangements that utilities traditionally activate to help other states during an emergency. About 80 percent of the people living on the island still have no electricity.
“As a result of the information that has been revealed and the need to protect the public interest, as governor I am asking the power authority to cancel the Whitefish contract immediately,” Rosselló said in an usual Sunday morning news conference at La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion.
In tweets Sunday morning, Rosselló also called for additional measures to scrutinize contracting by the island’s power authority more carefully. Rosselló said there should be a “special outside coordinator” to monitor the utility’s purchases so we “can have more clarity in this process.”
The governor’s statements, however, added to the confusion about the oversight of the utility and the commonwealth, both of which are bankrupt. A financial oversight board Congress created for Puerto Rico is planning to go to a federal court this week to seek clear authority to examine contracts as small as $10 million. Just last week, the oversight board said it would use its authority to install its own emergency manager to pay closer attention to the day-to-day operations of the utility.
The governor also did not say how the utility would disentangle itself from the contract with Whitefish Energy.
Sam Bee looks at GOP love of dirty air & water
And makes a request for a hearing
The lady is a true patriot
Some who sit and wait do not serve
Saturday, October 28, 2017
The Big Moon
Nice hats, though.
R.I.P. Robert Wilson Blakeley
A lifetime of service to your country and all we remember of you is the sign you designed.
Maine's test vote
The question on the ballot has real consequences beyond merely saying yes or no to expanding Medicaid, something Maine's Gov. Paul 'Fat Bastard' LePage has vetoed every time it came before him.
The referendum on Nov. 7 represents a new front in the pitched political battles over health care. Maine is one of 19 states whose Republican governors or legislatures have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, and the other holdouts — particularly Utah and Idaho, where newly formed committees are working to get a Medicaid expansion question on next year’s ballot — are closely watching the initiative, whose outcome may offer clues about the salience of the issue in next year’s midterm congressional elections.It may seem an exercise in futility with the expected Republican budget expected to slash Medicaid funding worse than Freddie Kruger could ever dream of. But a positive result would give pause to many Republicans facing re-election in 2018 and energize progressive Democrats across the country.
After President Trump and Republicans in Congress spent much of the year trying to repeal the health law and cut spending on Medicaid, a half-century-old entitlement program that covers one in five Americans, the pro-expansion side in Maine is hoping to benefit from energized public support for it.
Turnout may be the biggest challenge for the advocacy groups leading the effort. There are no national or statewide races here to drive people to the polls this year. And Mr. LePage’s stance on government safety net programs appeals to many voters in the state’s more rural regions. He derides Medicaid expansion as “pure welfare” that would burden the state’s taxpayers.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the few Republicans who firmly opposed the Obamacare repeal bills, is not taking a position on the ballot measure — she never does on referendums, according to her staff. But leaders of the campaign are hoping her outspoken support for Medicaid during the repeal battles will help.
About 80,000 additional Mainers would become eligible for the program if the ballot measure were to succeed, according to the nonpartisan Maine Office of Program and Fiscal Review, although those with income above the poverty line currently qualify for subsidized coverage through the Obamacare marketplace. In all, more than 2.5 million poor uninsured adults across the country would gain access to Medicaid if the holdout states expanded the program, joining about 11 million who have already signed up under the law.
Sam takes a break from Donny Dinkydick
And uses her show to explain climate change
Right wing Fetish Patriotism
Bill Maher rips the right for being wrong about our AMerican values.
Behind the smoke and mirrors
Friday, October 27, 2017
Two sisters, one song
Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer sing the title song from their first album together, "Not Dark Yet"
How Not To Sail To Tahiti
It may be a 2,700 mile trip but sailing from Hawaii to Tahiti does not take 5 months, nor does it end up closer to Japan than to the destination. That is what happened to Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba and they most definitely did it the hard way.
They survived shark attacks, the loss of their engine and then their main mast during a five-month ordeal lost at sea. Now, two sailors and their dogs are finally safe after being rescued by the US Navy on Wednesday.Now the question is will they return to the sea or has their adventure turned them into convinced landlubbers ??
Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba ran into trouble during the 2,700-mile journey from Hawaii to Tahiti. After their rescue, they credited the two animals onboard with them with keeping their spirits and said they managed to stay alive because they had packed a water purifier and enough food to last for a year before leaving.
“There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night,” Appel told media from the USS Ashland, which rescued them.
The women, who are both from Honolulu, lost their engine in bad weather in late May but believed they could still reach Tahiti using their sails. But they were left drifting in the ocean when their mast broke, Appel’s mother said after speaking to her on the phone.
Two months into their trip, well after they were scheduled to arrive in Tahiti, the sailors began making distress calls. But there were no vessels close and they were too far out to sea for the signals to be detected on land.
Appel said they sent out a distress signal for 98 days afterwards, but got no response. “It was very depressing and very hopeless, but it’s the only thing you can do, so you do what you can do.”
A group of sharks attacked their boat one night, and a single shark returned a day later, she said. “Both of them, we actually thought it was lights out, and they were horrific. We were just incredibly lucky that our hull was strong enough to withstand the onslaught.”
Asked if they ever thought they might not survive, she said they would not be human if they did not. She credited the two dogs, which she called their companion animals, with keeping their spirits up.
“There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night,” she said.
The US navy rescued the women on Wednesday after a Taiwanese fishing vessel spotted them about 900 miles south-east of Japan, well off their planned course, and alerted the US coast guard.
The USS Ashland arrived early the next day, the navy said in a statement released on Thursday.
Puerto Rico is a bigger island
But like the US Virgin Islands, it is neither a state nor its own nation. And with the Pumpkin Pretender in the White House and both houses of Congress controlled by Republicans, the possibility of any of them getting the necessary disaster relief and reconstruction aid is practically nil.
After Hurricane Irma and then Maria tore through the Caribbean islands, the United Nations swung into action with helicopters, food drops and multimillion-dollar recovery plans.Puerto Rico has several times held plebicites on the question of statehood and up to now none have received a majority. That might be very different in the future if not for the presence of Republicans in Congress who know they are creating an island of Democrats. As for the US Virgin Islands, maybe they can convince Denmark to buy them back.
But even though both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were decimated by the hurricanes, they couldn’t call the U.N. — an expert in disaster relief — for help.
The islands are U.S. territories with their own governors but no voting representation in Congress, so they must turn to the United States in times of need, even if they aren’t on many Americans’ radar.
“The governor of Puerto Rico can certainly not call the U.N. for help. Puerto Rico’s foreign relations are handled as if Puerto Rico were fully domestic, a state like any other,” said Christina Duffy Ponsa-Kraus, a Puerto Rico expert who teaches legal history at Columbia Law School.
Except they aren’t states like any other.
“That is the awfulness of being a territory,” said José Fuentes, chairman of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council. “You have no political power within your own government and you don’t have the ability to do anything internationally because everything has to go through the U.S. State Department.”
The United States might have been more willing to intervene more aggressively if the two-hurricane ravaged territories actually were foreign countries, Ponsa-Kraus said.
“The territories are marginal, they are invisible, and they have no voice in Washington because you need a vote to have a voice,” she said. “You’ve got these populations of American citizens living in these territories, but most Americans don’t understand that they are American citizens.”
If Puerto Rico, where the hurricane death toll now stands at 51, suffers from an invisibility problem in the minds of many Americans, then multiply that many times over for the U.S. Virgin Islands, with its population of only about 110,000.
While the media is now focused on Puerto Rico’s destroyed power grid and ongoing shortages of food and water, many U.S. Virgin Islands residents are facing similar deprivations but without the attention. Power has been restored to less than a third of St. Thomas residents, 16 percent of St. Croix customers, and hardly anyone on St. John — although the power authority hopes to re-electrify portions of Cruz Bay by the end of the week.
“Why are people who live in the U.S. Virgin Islands not as important as people who live in other places?” asked Stacey Plaskett, the USVI representative in Congress. “Our lives have been forever changed and we need support.”
Many schools are still too damaged to reopen. Others were destroyed or are still in use as shelters. Limited curfews are still in effect. “We lost much of our economy. Many of our resorts are destroyed, and tourism accounts for about 50 percent of the GDP. Many resorts will be lost for this year and next year,” Plaskett said.
The islands already had an unemployment rate of about 12 percent before the hurricanes hit, she said.
Trump wrote another check with his mouth
That his ass won't cover for the opioid crisis. Trever Noah explains why The Tangerine Shitgibbons words are meaningless.
Clinton Derangement Syndrome
Seth Meyers looks at the Right's avoidance of Trump
Presciption drug pushers
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Pull You Through
The Big Bang Theory - Trump Style
Hot Damn! We Got An Emergency!
As opioids continue to kill Americans at a rate that threatens to overtake guns as the All-American favorite in that category, our Tangerine Shitheel has leapt into action and declared it a public health emergency. His actions allow the states to take certain actions and shift the use federal monies to combatting the plague. This is just robbing Peter to pay Paul as he is peoviding no new monies in the face of the GOP's sought after huge tax cuts.
The move falls short of Mr. Trump’s sweeping promise to declare a national emergency on opioids, which would have triggered the rapid allocation of federal funding to address the issue, and does not on its own release any money to deal with the drug abuse that claimed more than 59,000 lives in 2016.Typical Pumpkin Potemkin measure, grab a few headlines and walk away bragging about what a great job he did without doing anything of substance. That is the real substance abuse.
But it would allow some grant money to be used for a broad array of efforts to combat opioid abuse, and would ease certain laws and regulations to address it.
Mr. Trump’s directive, to be announced in an address at the White House on Thursday afternoon before he signs a presidential memorandum on opioids, would fulfill a vow that he made when he assumed office to make tackling opioid abuse one of his top priorities. But he has so far taken limited action to carry that out.
The president in August called the opioid crisis a “national emergency.” But he did not sign a formal declaration designating it as such, allowing the prospect to languish amid resistance in his administration about making an open-ended commitment of federal funds to deal with a crisis that has shown no signs of abating. The crisis has claimed tens of thousands of lives — a death rate that one administration official noted Thursday rivals the number of Americans killed during the Vietnam War.
Beyond the lack of funding, it is not clear how much impact the public health declaration will have in the short term, given that Mr. Trump has yet to name central players who would carry it out, including a drug czar to steer a broader strategy on opioids and a secretary of Health and Human Services who would tailor policies and identify funding streams.
Rage Against The Tangerine
Trevor Noah gives the Daily Show take on the GOP civil war
He ended up in debasement
Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look at the GOP civil war
Are you rich enough to deserve a tax cut ??
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line
Stop getting his flag wet
R.I.P. Antoine Dominique Domino Jr.
You began with New Orleans music, added your own touch of genius and presented something wonderful to the world.
R.I.P. Robert Peter Williams
People recognized what you were doing with Benson, while Benson might be a servant, he would never be servile. And “He wasn’t trying to be mean; he was just trying to be his own man.”
If Dr. GOP can deliver a healthy tax cut baby
The Republican Party has a chance of surviving its disastrous exercise in governing under Pumpkin Potemkin, Mitch the Turtle and Lyin' Paul Ryan.
The Republican tax plan is a bit like having a baby to save a failing marriage.The Republicans find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. They can agree that massive tax cuts for their stinking rich donors and corporations are a must have. On the other they have to find ways to pay for it if they want to pass it under reconciliation rules to avoid a filibuster. And the ways to pay are where they get down in the weeds and will probably blow the whole thing up because every one knows Republicans can't agree on any details like that.
With divisions roiling the party, the prospect of a once-in-a-generation bill to cut taxes on businesses and individuals increasingly appears to be the last, best hope for a fractured establishment desperate to find common ground and advance an effort it has long championed as the pinnacle of Republican orthodoxy.
But even in this policy refuge, tensions are sure to rise as the details of a formal tax plan spill out. On Wednesday, a top House Republican said that changes to retirement savings were still being considered, even after Mr. Trump declared Monday that “there will be NO change to your 401(k).”
A fight over taxes would be particularly rough on a Republican Party already fraying on the edges. The potential for further dissolution was strikingly apparent on Tuesday, when Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, blistered his party and President Trump in announcing his plans not to seek re-election. Mr. Flake’s broadsides came on the heels of a morning spat between Mr. Trump and another retiring Republican senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, which exposed the growing rifts between old-guard conservatives and Mr. Trump’s new-wave populists in Washington.
In the face of those divides, Republican leaders retreated to the only safe ground they have left: a partisan, fast-tracked tax bill, which party leaders hope to introduce next week in the House and deliver to Mr. Trump’s desk by Christmas. The stakes are rising by the day, as Republican donors and voters watch the intraparty dispute unfold and worry about the party advancing the legislative priorities it has long espoused, let alone holding its congressional majorities in the 2018 midterms.
Pressure is only increasing on Republican lawmakers, with conservative commentators and other observers saying failure on a tax bill is not an option.
“I’ve sensed this shift in just the last couple of weeks. I think the Republicans are finally figuring out if they don’t pass this, the political consequences are going to be catastrophic,” said Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation who is advising Mr. Trump on tax policy. “The attitude of the conservative base is, ‘If they don’t do this, they’re worthless.’”
Large donor groups are particularly blunt on this point. “Passing tax reform is critical for Republican lawmakers, and they are building momentum to get it done,” said James Davis, an executive vice president at Freedom Partners, which is part of the billionaire Koch brothers’ network of political groups.
The comity of a tax cut was evident only on Tuesday, as Republicans appeared to come apart at the seams over their party’s president.
Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and Stephen Colbert
Stephen examines the latest clown car antics.
Who are the Mercers?
Seth Meyers tries to explain the rich and crazy RW bankrollers.
Snake oil is still snake oil regardless of who sells it
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Put 3 women singers together
Give them 3 hours to write a song and this is what you get from Krysta Nick, Amber DeLaCruz and Hailey Steele
Take care of me , I take care of you
Who you gonna call?
When over 80% off your power grid has been knocked out leaving millions of people in distress and without power the first name you turn to is....Whitefish Energy! NOT! But that is what the government of Puerto Rico appears to have done.
For the sprawling effort to restore Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid, the territory’s state-owned utility has turned to a two-year-old company from Montana that had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria made landfall.Well now we must wonder how much help 'Hinky' Zinke was in getting the contract, how much will come back to 'Hinky' and what assistance Donny Dinkydick promised to withhold from Puerto Rico if they didn't hire the right company. With the Republicans in control of Congress we will never know.
The company, Whitefish Energy, said last week that it had signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure. The contract is the biggest yet issued in the troubled relief effort.
Whitefish said Monday that it has 280 workers in the territory, using linemen from across the country, most of them as subcontractors, and that the number grows on average from 10 to 20 people a day. It said it was close to completing infrastructure work that will energize some of the key industrial facilities that are critical to restarting the local economy.
The power authority, also known as PREPA, opted to hire Whitefish rather than activate the “mutual aid” arrangements it has with other utilities. For many years, such agreements have helped U.S. utilities — including those in Florida and Texas recently — to recover quickly after natural disasters.
A resident on Oct. 13 tries to connect electrical lines downed by Hurricane Maria in preparation for when electricity is restored in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. (Ramon Espinosa/AP)
The unusual decision to instead hire a tiny for-profit company is drawing scrutiny from Congress and comes amid concerns about bankrupt Puerto Rico’s spending as it seeks to provide relief to its 3.4 million residents, the great majority of whom remain without power a month after the storm.
Whitefish Energy is based in Whitefish, Mont., the home town of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Its chief executive, Andy Techmanski, and Zinke acknowledge knowing one another — but only, Zinke’s office said in an email, because Whitefish is a small town where “everybody knows everybody.” One of Zinke’s sons “joined a friend who worked a summer job” at one of Techmanski’s construction sites, the email said. Whitefish said he worked as a “flagger.”
Zinke’s office said he had no role in Whitefish securing the contract for work in Puerto Rico. Techmanski also said Zinke was not involved.
Techmanski said in an interview that the contract emerged from discussions between his company and the utility rather than from a formal bidding process. He said he had been in contact with the utility two weeks before Maria “discussing the ‘what if’ scenarios” of hurricane recovery. In the days after the hurricane, he said, “it started to make sense that there was a need here for our services and others.”
When you want an important bill passed
One of the tried and true methods for success has never been to attack an important member of the committee workin on the desired legislation. Donny Dinkydick seems to think it will bring him the success he hasn;t found elsewhere in DC.
President Trump renewed his attacks on Senator Bob Corker on Tuesday, chastising him for his skepticism over a $1.5 trillion tax cut. Mr. Corker responded by going on national television to say that Mr. Trump was “debasing” the United States and that the president struggled with the truth.If Trump gets anything he likes is the Billionaires Tax Cut Bill it will be a miracle.
Mr. Corker “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee,” Mr. Trump wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday. Mr. Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, is not running for re-election after serving in the Senate since 2007.
The extraordinary back and forth between a Republican president and the Republican chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee came just hours before Mr. Trump is to join Senate Republicans for their weekly lunch in the Capitol. That lunch is expected to be dominated by a discussion of the ambitious tax package set to be released as soon as next week.
Republicans are attempting to craft a tax bill that can pass the Senate by a party-line vote, avoiding a Democratic filibuster.
To do that, they must contain the revenue losses from reducing tax rates, both over the next decade and in the years to follow.
The party’s most difficult fights will be over how to do that — by some combination of eliminating popular tax breaks and employing accounting maneuvers, such as setting some tax cuts to expire, in order to reduce revenue losses.
Mr. Corker stands as a possible impediment to that plan. A longstanding opponent of rising federal deficits, the senator has said he will not vote for any tax bill that would increase the federal debt by a dollar. But on Thursday, the House is expected to give final approval to a budget blueprint that would protect a 10-year, $1.5 trillion tax measure from a Democratic filibuster.
A Treasury Department report released on Friday showed that the budget deficit for fiscal 2017 grew by $80 billion, to $666 billion, as federal spending eclipsed revenues and economic growth remained tepid. At the same time, Congress is contemplating what the president has promised would be the largest tax cut in history.
General Kelly Owes Representative Wilson an Apology
And Trevor Noah makes it perfectly clear who is the empty barrel.
I'm not sure why
But Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look at the deluge of Trump shit last week
It worked so well in Kansas
Monday, October 23, 2017
From Larkin Poe's new album Peach
Trump's Riverine Culture
According to Tom Tomorrow the Trumpoons and their Great Leader are so deep in denial you would think this is Egypt.
The new Press Secretary
Aside from a few 'weak tea' criticisms
The Republican run Congress has made it clear that it has no real intention of finding any dirt on Donny Dinkydick in connection with his sale of the US government to Russia.
The exchange, described by three people with knowledge of it, typified the political morass that is crippling the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — and whether the Trump campaign colluded in any way.God Forbid any of this should extend into the election season and possibly hurt the cause. Voters understand these are fake investigations, but this time the public is aware that there is a seriously real problem underneath it all. The sooner the GOP can drop this, the sooner the public will forget it.
But the problems extend beyond that panel. All three committees looking into Russian interference — one in the House, two in the Senate — have run into problems, from insufficient staffing to fights over when the committees should wrap up their investigations. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s inquiry has barely started, delayed in part by negotiations over the scope of the investigation. Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, while maintaining bipartisan comity, have sought to tamp down expectations about what they might find.
Nine months into the Trump administration, any notion that Capitol Hill would provide a comprehensive, authoritative and bipartisan accounting of the extraordinary efforts of a hostile power to disrupt American democracy appears to be dwindling.
“Congressional investigations unfortunately are usually overtly political investigations, where it is to one side’s advantage to drag things out,” said Mr. Gowdy, who made his name in Congress as a fearsome investigator of Democrats. He added, “The notion that one side is playing the part of defense attorney and that the other side is just these white hat defenders of the truth is laughable.”
Instead, he said, he is looking to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, to conduct an apolitical investigation.
None of the challenges have thus far stopped the committees. And given the closed-door nature of their work, prominent new avenues of inquiry could always emerge, such as Russia’s use of social media to sow chaos and discord, capable of influencing the public discourse.
But all three are up against a ticking clock, with Republicans in both chambers eager to wrap up the investigations before too long.
Who are you going to believe?
Members of Congress who are desperately looking for way to pay for their disgusting tax cuts for the rich plan or Donny Dinkydick who lies with every breath he takes and hasn't been know to keep any position more than 24 hours, unless he is attacking someone who hurt his fragile ego.
President Trump said early on Monday that his proposed tax plan would not prompt any changes to Americans’ tax-deferred retirement plans, pushing back against reports that the Republicans are weighing a proposal that would significantly reduce the income workers can save in these popular programs.It remains to be seen if Donny has had any effect on the result, but never forget that his is just the first of the obscene maneuvers by the GOP to pay for their Richers Tax Cut on the backs of people who work for a living.
Mr. Trump’s shutdown of the proposal is the first of what many Republicans privately fear could be a presidential pattern that disrupts their efforts to pass a sweeping overhaul of the tax code. In it, Mr. Trump appeared to rule out a politically difficult idea, which, if enacted, would have provided some revenue to help pay for the tax plan.
Republicans’ ability to win passage of a tax package hinges on its ability to survive a complex set of legislative restrictions in the Senate. Republicans are attempting to cut business tax rates deeply, and also to cut individual tax rates, using a legislative route that allows them to bypass a Democratic filibuster and pass a bill with a simple Senate majority. To do that, they will need to make some tough political choices, eliminating some popular tax breaks, or employing some budgetary accounting tricks, in order to offset lost revenues from rate cuts.
Mr. Trump’s tweet concerned one of those accounting maneuvers, which would have allowed Republicans to effectively borrow tax revenues from the future to offset some rate cuts today. Reducing 401(k) contribution limits would force retirement savers to pay more in taxes today, as they sock away money, but less in the future, when they began withdrawing retirement funds tax-free.
Republicans had not decided whether to include a reduced cap on contributions in their final version of the tax bill even before Mr. Trump’s tweet.
Details of the Republicans’ tax bill have been closely held, and they would not comment on Friday about possible changes to 401(k) policies. It was not clear from Mr. Trump’s Twitter post on Monday whether he meant that he would not support a bill including alterations to 401(k) limits or that he knew the Republicans’ draft bill did not include such changes. Several sources said last week that such changes were under consideration as House Republicans prepare to release a tax bill in the coming weeks.
Democrats and other critics of Mr. Trump’s tax plan have said it would not help middle-class Americans, despite White House and Republican promises. “Tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans should not be paid for by increasing taxes on middle class Americans saving for retirement,” a group of Democratic senators, led by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, wrote to the administration in September.
Any plan to cap 401(k) savings could bolster those arguments.
When Donny fails people get hurt
How do you define Great?
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Danielle Darrieux who died last week at the age of 100 sang this song in 1959 in between making films in Europe and occasionally Hollywood.
How the GOP keeps the little boogers away
When did we begin to honor treason?
And make no mistake, any and all efforts to "honor" the Confederacy are trying to glorify treason against the United States.
More than 150 years after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, local officials across the Deep South are removing contentious Confederate monuments from prominent perches in busy town squares and government buildings. In August, violence at a rally of white nationalists seeking to preserve a statue of Lee in Charlottesville, Va. — and comments by President Trump opposing its removal — brought renewed national attention to the issue.Thinking they were right is no justification of treason and they did not fight the good fight so many seem to think. And because they were not crushed and extirpated from thesoil of the United States, like venomous snakes their descendents keep rearing their ugly heads.
Less publicized has been the quiet rise of a new generation of Confederate markers — on private land, in cemeteries, on historic battlefields.
In South Carolina last month, a granite monument dedicated to the “immortal spirit of the Confederate cause” was unveiled on a spot where Civil War enthusiasts gather each year to reenact the Battle of Aiken. In Alabama in August, a gray stone memorial was dedicated in a private Crenshaw County park to unknown Confederate soldiers. In Georgia last year, a black marble obelisk was erected on public land in the mountain town of Dahlonega in memory of the county’s nearly 1,200 Confederate veterans.
In all, more than 30 monuments and symbols to the Confederacy have been dedicated or rededicated since 2000, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. A historian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, conducted an inventory of his own state and found that 20 monuments had gone up there over that time — the most since the early 20th century.
The people funding the monuments — often the great-great grandchildren of Confederate soldiers — say they simply want to remember their loved ones and ensure their legacies live on. More controversially, many also promote a revisionist history in which slavery was not a major cause of the war.
“We just want to honor our ancestors,” said Hank Van Slyke, a 62-year-old engineering specialist and commander of a local Sons of Confederate Veterans brigade that put up the monument in Orange. The group is an association of male descendants of Confederate soldiers, and was formed in 1896 to hail the “hallowed memories of brave men” and “record of the services of every Southern Soldier.”
“Throughout history, whoever wins the war and conquers the nation, they get to write the history books,” he said. "We've always studied that we had a good cause and our ancestors fought for what they thought was right.”
To pay for the Billionaire's Tax Cuts
And because they like slashing money from everything except unbridled defense spending, the Republican budget cuts money from every possible place they can find. Some of them have a purpose you might wish to continue.
The Department of Homeland Security plans to close a New York-based laboratory that has helped the city’s Police and Fire Departments develop systems to detect nuclear and biological threats, a move that some local officials fear could hamper the city’s efforts to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks.It is rather strange for the GOP to be cutting security funding, but it does work that interferes with the GOP's friends in the terrorist and illegal drug businesses and profits do come first. Also it is located in New York, that hotbed of Democrats, can't have that.
The radiological program that the facility, the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory, developed with the New York Fire Department is widely considered the national standard, and technologies it has tested are in widespread use around the country. It has also worked on systems to combat drug trafficking and money laundering: Portable card readers it tested have helped officials recover millions of dollars in drug proceeds smuggled across borders using gift and other prepaid cards.
“The lab has provided an invaluable amount of information to us over the years, including helping us understand biological and nuclear threats when nobody understood that stuff,” said Gerard McCarty, the director of emergency management at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “And they continue to provide critical support to us in researching and testing technologies.”
The Trump administration has proposed closing the lab as part of larger cuts it envisions for the Department of Homeland Security’s scientific research and development programs. The administration’s budget would cut funding for these programs by more than 18 percent, from $771 million in the last fiscal year to $627 million this year, according to budget documents.
But in interviews, law enforcement and emergency management officials in New York and New Jersey, as well as members of Congress from both parties, said they were concerned about the potential loss of a Homeland Security research facility in a city that remains a top target for terrorists.
Some officials pointed out that the lab’s annual budget was just $3.4 million, and others noted that the lab’s work had saved communities millions of dollars in research costs.
“It’s less than a pittance in the federal budget,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut. “It’s not even a fraction of a rounding error and has broad ramifications and impact on the law enforcement community.”
Mr. Blumenthal and three other Democratic senators recently wrote a letter to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee asking them to include funding for the lab in the 2018 budget, saying the loss of the facility would have serious repercussions for national security. The other signers were Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut.
In the House, Representative Dan Donovan, Republican of New York, sponsored an amendment to a spending bill, passed in September, that would maintain the lab’s funding.
“Today, the United States — and specifically New York City — faces a heightened terror environment,” Mr. Donovan in a statement. “Bombing attempts in New York and New Jersey last year, as well as global attacks in public areas and on mass transit systems, remind us of the importance of developing innovative technologies that allow security personnel to respond to and mitigate evolving threats.”
Salt in the Wound
Bill Maher's monologue on Trump's week
Eliminated from the GOP Bible
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Margo Price raising a little hell from her new album
Some truth in what she says
They won't even let you retire in comfort
The Republicans, in their search for ways to pay for huge tax cuts for the Evil Kochs, the Mercers and the DeVos' and the like, are looking at severely reducing the amounts you can contribute to your 401k, that already anemic replacement for a proper pension.
House Republicans are considering a plan to sharply reduce the amount of income American workers can save in tax-deferred retirement accounts as part of a broad effort to rewrite the tax code, according to lobbyists, tax consultants and congressional Democrats.Keep you mouth closed before they try to steal the gold fillings from your teeth.
It is unclear if Republicans will ultimately include a cap on contributions in the tax bill that they are expected to release in the coming weeks. Such a move would almost certainly prompt a vocal backlash from middle-class workers who save heavily in such retirement accounts and from the asset management industry.
The proposals under discussion would potentially cap the annual amount workers can set aside to as low as $2,400 for 401(k) accounts, several lobbyists and consultants said on Friday. Workers may currently put up to $18,000 a year in 401(k) accounts without paying taxes upfront on that money; that figure rises to $24,000 for workers over 50. When workers retire and begin to draw income from those accounts, they pay taxes on the benefits.
Rumors have circulated for months that negotiators were debating including a cap as a way to help offset the revenue loss from a reduction in business tax rates that Republicans have put at the center of their plan. Reducing contribution limits would be, in effect, an accounting maneuver that would create space for tax cuts by collecting tax revenue now instead of in the future.
Such a move would be likely to push Americans to shift their savings to so-called Roth accounts, where contributions are taxed immediately, and not when they are drawn out as benefits. That would increase federal tax receipts for the short run.
The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that tax exclusions for individual retirement contributions will cost the federal government $115 billion for the 2018 fiscal year. That is just a fraction of the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republicans are aiming to enact.
In addition to being politically problematic, including a cap could also complicate the tax bill’s prospects in the Senate. Under the rules of budget reconciliation — the method Republicans are employing to avoid a Democratic filibuster of the bill — legislation cannot increase budget deficits after a decade. Shifting revenue by lowering 401(k) limits “raises money early, but loses money late, and that’s exactly the opposite of what you want in a reconciliation bill,” said Rohit Kumar, a former Senate aide who leads the tax policy services practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, an accounting firm, in Washington.
Just take the "Protection" from the name
And let the Environmental Protection Agency continue as the Environmental Agency to better reflect the corporate attitude of the Trump administration. The various Trump appointees to this agency are like the predator insects in the Nature they want to destroy. You know, the ones that lay their eggs in the bodies of their victims so their young can grow by devouring the host. One of Trump's choices for a unit dealing with toxic chemicals is a good example.
For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.Industry profits is the name of the game and now having their hands on the means of government they are systematically destroying anything that may hinder their profits regardless of its effect on the health of their fellow citizens. What matters is they get rich now, not whether they might get sick later.
The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, has been linked to kidney cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders and other serious health problems.
So scientists and administrators in the E.P.A.’s Office of Water were alarmed in late May when a top Trump administration appointee insisted upon the rewriting of a rule to make it harder to track the health consequences of the chemical, and therefore regulate it.
The revision was among more than a dozen demanded by the appointee, Nancy B. Beck, after she joined the E.P.A.’s toxic chemical unit in May as a top deputy. For the previous five years, she had been an executive at the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association.
The changes directed by Dr. Beck may result in an “underestimation of the potential risks to human health and the environment” caused by PFOA and other so-called legacy chemicals no longer sold on the market, the Office of Water’s top official warned in a confidential internal memo obtained by The New York Times.
The E.P.A.’s abrupt new direction on legacy chemicals is part of a broad initiative by the Trump administration to change the way the federal government evaluates health and environmental risks associated with hazardous chemicals, making it more aligned with the industry’s wishes.
It is a cause with far-reaching consequences for consumers and chemical companies, as the E.P.A. regulates some 80,000 different chemicals, many of them highly toxic and used in workplaces, homes and everyday products. If chemicals are deemed less risky, they are less likely to be subjected to heavy oversight and restrictions.
The effort is not new, nor is the decades-long debate over how best to identify and assess risks, but the industry has not benefited from such highly placed champions in government since the Reagan administration. The cause was taken up by Dr. Beck and others in the administration of President George W. Bush, with some success, and met with resistance during the Obama administration. Now it has been aggressively revived under President Trump by an array of industry-backed political appointees and others.
Dr. Beck, who has a doctorate in environmental health, comes from a camp — firmly backed by the chemical industry — that says the government too often directs burdensome rules at what she has called “phantom risks.”
Other scientists and administrators at the E.P.A., including Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, until last month the agency’s top official overseeing pesticides and toxic chemicals, say the dangers are real and the pushback is often a tactic for deflecting accountability — and shoring up industry profits at the expense of public safety.
He made sure the tiniest cock won
Bill Maher rips Facebook for being Putin's tool in the election.
Some answers are easy
Friday, October 20, 2017
" I Got Lucky With You"
The Sweetback Sisters sang this in 2013 and included it on their latest album just out.
Building the GOP Tax Plan
Starting off on the wrong foot
Since it involves tax evasion, it may well be the right foot for a Republican. It seems the little old charity that Crazy Roy Moore once led promised to pay him almost a half a million dollars on back pay and when it did so, did not report it as income.
The Alabama charity once led by Senate candidate Roy Moore did not report to the Internal Revenue Service that in 2011 it guaranteed him $498,000 in back pay, according to an income report provided to The Washington Post by the charity itself.And now the value of defunding the IRS will probably pay off for the Republicans. If there is no one to investigate this blatant evasion he will probably get elected by the rubes who have to make up what he cheated the government out of.
Five tax law and accounting specialists said it appears the guaranteed payment should have been reported as compensation, a disclosure that would have triggered a federal tax bill of more than $100,000.
Moore and his campaign have not responded to questions about whether he paid the taxes, or to requests that he release his income tax returns.
John Bentley, a board member and former chairman of the charity, the Foundation for Moral Law, said Moore once told him that he had sought advice on the financial arrangement from an accountant. Moore said he was told the compensation was not taxable until he cashed in on the promised back pay, Bentley said. Moore has not yet done so, he said.
The tax issue is the latest in a series of questions over Moore’s financial ties to the Alabama charity where he worked after he was ousted from the state Supreme Court in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a public building. Moore, 70, a Republican, is the front-runner in the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In 2011, the charity gave Moore promissory notes worth $498,000 for unpaid salary in previous years, backing them up with a second mortgage on the group’s historic building in Montgomery, Ala. The note entitles Moore to demand payment at any time or claim an equal stake in the building, which serves as the group’s headquarters.
David Walker, a tax law professor at Boston University, said IRS rules for compensation are complex. But he said that it appears Moore’s financial transaction with the charity became taxable the moment he was given the right to demand payment or foreclose on the group’s building.
Very hush-hush top secret
That would be the much ballyhooed but seldom seen Republican tax overhaul plan that, like the healthcare plan before it, is being prepared in secret so any who object to it will not have time to properly oppose it as Turtle Mitch and Lyin' Ryan try to ram it through their respective houses of Congress without alteration.
Almost no one on or off Capitol Hill has seen the tax overhaul bill that Republicans are drafting behind closed doors. Congressional staff members have not settled on many key details. Yet party leaders are preparing to move ahead on a timeline even more aggressive than their unsuccessful attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.Let's be clear about this, the tax code does need an overhaul. Can we trust the present Republican clown posse to do what is necessary? No. The secrecy and efforts to force it through as rapidly as possible make it clear this is a tax overhaul for the benefit of the billionaire donors to the Republican Party.If the GOP fails they will also lose millions of dollars of campaign support that has allowed them to buy elections across the country.And, after what these clowns have been doing in office, the loss of funds would mean the end of the Republican Party.
The swift pace to complete, release and quickly vote on a tax cut is aimed at leaving little time for the type of dissent that has scuttled previous tax proposals.
Senators approved a budget resolution for the 2018 fiscal year on Thursday night, setting up a rapid series of hearings and votes with the aim of getting a bill to President Trump by Christmas.
Republicans have been meeting for weeks in closed-door sessions to debate details of the tax plan, including two half-day retreats for House members late last month. House leaders will hold two smaller-group sessions next week, scheduled to last three to four hours each.
The speed is striking — and strategic — for tax legislation that lobbyists believe could span 1,000 pages. Republicans hope the breakneck pace will help hold their narrow Senate majority together against what will almost certainly be a deluge of lobbying and Democratic criticism.
The last major tax overhaul, which passed in 1986, took nearly 11 months from introduction to presidential signature.
“Some have described Washington as the slowest town until it is the fastest town,” said Representative Peter Roskam, Republican of Illinois, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Tax Policy in the House Ways and Means Committee, “and I think that’s what’s going to happen here.”
Congressional Republicans are under intense pressure from campaign donors, business groups and the White House to deliver a major legislative victory after nine months of congressional disappointment on big issues. Party leaders say they have learned from those setbacks, including the collapse of the health care push this summer.
Lawmakers “should have had a bill six months ago,” said Stephen Moore, a senior fellow in economics at the Heritage Foundation, who is advising the White House on the tax effort. “They will look so incompetent if they don’t get this done,” he said, adding that Republicans know the economy could suffer and that they could lose badly in the midterm elections next year if they do not pass something quickly. “Ultimately, that’s why I’m optimistic.”
Trevor Noah reflects on Trump's Phone Calls
On the Daily Show
Business as usual for GOP
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Just Like Magic
They have served 1 Million Meals So Far
And if you want to help them prepare the next million meals you can donate to Chef Relief in Puerto Rico Doing so will help Chefs José Andrés and Jose Enrique and volunteers prepare more meals for the people who are so much in need of it.
Donny has a script
What did they ever do to him?
For some reason Cheeto Mussolini has the island of Puerto Rico in his sights just as surely as Hurricane Maria did. And the combined hurricane damage and Trump's relief failure is a one-two punch that American citizens should not get from their country.
President Trump’s approach to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria has been coherently inhumane. He has called some Puerto Rican leaders “politically motivated ingrates,” made insensitive references to how much federal money is being spent on recovery, refused to support equitable health-care access for the island’s 3.5 million U.S. citizens, bemoaned on Twitter how federal personnel could not be in the commonwealth after the hurricane “forever” and this week complained from the Rose Garden that the military is distributing food, “something that really they shouldn’t have to be doing.”If the island location is confusing to Donny then we can only hope no disasters happen on Hawaii.
Only one notable deviation from this narrative stands out. While on his official trip to the island, Trump told Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera that Puerto Rican governments “owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we’re going to have to wipe that out. You can say goodbye to that.” Hours later, the White House was back on track: “I wouldn’t take it word for word,” said Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget.
A week later, congressional Republicans unveiled a relief plan that would only add to the island’s debt load.
The disjointed thread of off-the-cuff commentary Trump has issued in real time and on social media since the storm reveals either the president’s profound ignorance or his deep-seated prejudices. He seems fully unaware of the United States’ history of involvement in Puerto Rico; the nation took the island as booty after the Spanish-American War in 1898 and made us citizens without consulting our forebears in 1917, just one month before the country’s entry into World War I. For decades, the U.S. military was here — seemingly forever — using two small but inhabited islands as live ordnance ranges for the Navy. Trump, however, seems to believe that Puerto Rico is a foreign jurisdiction and hence, in his mind, U.S. tax dollars should not be spent to prop up the island’s fragile health-care system nor to save lives and rebuild in the aftermath of a major hurricane.
But if he is in fact aware of our standing as citizens — which he certainly should be — then perhaps he is simply treating Puerto Ricans as he has women, other Latinos, African Americans, Muslims, people with disabilities and any number of other groups
When you have the sensitivity of a radish
It should be expected that you will say things like, "He knew what he signed up for". When you are the president much more is expected of you, not the least being someone to show you how to do it right. Not that Donald Dinkydick would have listened.
People trying to express sympathy to the families of fallen troops say the wrong thing all the time. When Marine First Lt. Travis Manion was killed by sniper fire during the Iraq troop surge in 2007, one well-wisher told his family that it was “such a waste.” Another called it a shame for him “to die in vain like that.”Given Trump's heartfelt lack of sympathy for any creature not himself, one would think his phone calls would be tightly scripted to avoid these problems. Then again they do make excellent distractions from the normal havoc he is wreaking in DC.
But usually, such comments do not come from the president. Asked amid an outcry over President Trump’s telling a soldier’s widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for,” families of slain troops described on Wednesday a range of encounters with him and his six immediate predecessors, from sympathy and sincerity — including from Mr. Trump — to awkward distances.
Mr. Trump has denied making the comment, which was described by both the mother of the soldier and Representative Frederica S. Wilson, Democrat of Florida, who was present for the call. Mr. Trump spoke to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, killed in an ambush in Niger this month, as she was being taken to receive her husband’s body, according to his mother.
Several military families whose loved ones were killed this year did describe phone calls from Mr. Trump that they said gave them solace. Another spoke of a promised call from him that never came. Together, the episodes underscore one of the most difficult duties of a president — comforting family members of Americans killed carrying out the orders of a commander in chief.
“I picture myself in that limo — the last thing you’d want to hear is something like that,” said Nadia McCaffrey, whose only child, Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey, was killed in an ambush in Iraq in 2004. She was furious with President George W. Bush after her son was killed, she said, and refused to take calls from the White House.
Families of slain service members who have had exchanges with past presidents decried the timing of Mr. Trump’s phone call, which they said came at what was most likely one of Mrs. Johnson’s most vulnerable moments. And while a number of relatives said they were subject to verbal punches dressed up as sympathy, none came from the presidents who sent their sons and daughters to war.
Yes they do
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Take Me For A Little While
They didn't get there by themselves
R.I.P. Gord Downie
When your Prime Minister weeps for you, you must be one of the Great Canadians even if you did end your days Tragically Hip
He supports it, except maybe he doesn't
But the exact position of Donny Dinkydick depends on which day it is and sometimes even what time of day it is. In the case of the ACA fix cobbled up by Sens Murray and Alexander, he was all for it yesterday, today not so much.
President Trump on Wednesday qualified his endorsement of a bipartisan Senate proposal to stabilize health insurance markets, even as the chief architect of the deal predicted that it would become law before the end of the year.And it has only just begun it long and arduous trip to becoming law. Wonder what Donny will think about what ends up on his desk?
Mr. Trump on Tuesday appeared to give his blessing to a deal to restore health insurance subsidies that he had just canceled when the accord was announced. Senators Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, and Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, agreed on legislation that would continue federal payments to insurance companies through 2019 to reimburse them for discounts they are required to provide to millions of low-income people who have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
On Wednesday, the president appeared to send a different message:
I am supportive of Lamar as a person & also of the process, but I can never support bailing out ins co's who have made a fortune w/ O'Care.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
But that message may have been more of a caveat than a rejection. Mr. Alexander, the chairman of the Senate health committee, said he received a telephone call on Wednesday from the president. “He wanted to be encouraging about the bipartisan agreement that Senator Murray and I announced yesterday,” Mr. Alexander said.
Mr. Trump “intends to review it carefully to see if he wants to add anything to it,” Mr. Alexander said, adding that the president “wants to reserve his options.”
Mitch & Donny BFF's
Trevor Noah does Donny Dinkydick from Chicago
Tax 'cut' lies and beyond
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