Sunday, December 31, 2017

Conservative Columnist and Full Time Hypocrite Ross Douthat Has a Conversion of Convenience

Deficits: Not So Bad, Well Republican Deficits That Is

Conservatives are known for very little, but one of things they are known for is hating the federal deficit. But not so more, at least for one prominent opinion writer, Ross Douthat in the NYT.

That low-inflation, slow-growth context prevailed under Obama; to a lesser extent it still prevails today. There will doubtless come a time when deficit scolds make essential arguments, but of late they haven’t — and when I was one of them, I now believe, I was making a mistake.

So why are we cynical here? Well it seems there is now a Republican deficit, which for conservatives is okay. And the new tax law will increase that deficit and the national debt, far above the forecasts of government analysts. So no, deficits are no longer important.

Also missing from Douthat and others is the recognition that the deficit was substantially reduced under Obama. Indeed deficit reduction has flourished under the last two Democratic Presidents while Reagan and both Bushes had major increases in the deficit when they were in power. But for conservatives none of that matters; support the party no matter reality.  As for Douthat, when the deficit explodes under Trumpie he can now say, 'well I said that would not be so bad'.

Ross Douthat, closes out 2017 as NYT Hack of the Year

Saturday, December 30, 2017

North Carolina Voted For Trump – And Denim Plant in Greensboro Closes – 200 Jobs Gone Abroad

How's That Working Out For You NC?

Remember how Donnie was going to stop jobs fleeing the country. North Carolina has been a major victim of outsourcing, losing furniture and textile jobs by the hundreds of thousands. Enter Donnie and his promise to stop that. But not so fast.

All Gone, and Trump Don't Give a Shit

In October, International Textile Group, acquired by a private equity firm a year ago, announced plans to close the storied Cone Denim White Oak plant in Greensboro, N.C.
That factory was a 112-year-old shrine to bluejeans and the last major manufacturer of selvage denim in the United States.
The blow was most immediate among the plant’s roughly 200 employees, as well as in Greensboro — a.k.a. “Jeansboro” — itself. The company filed notice that it would lay off 208 people.

So is this the end of blue jeans in America? No,

Even before Cone Mills made its announcement, however, some premium indie brands that once prominently displayed the “Made in the U.S.A.” label were starting to embrace a new globalism. The New York brands Unis New York and Outlier now produce much of their clothing in Portugal.

Italian quality at Chinese prices,” explained Brad Bennett, who runs the men’s wear site Well Spent.

And founders of Tellason, Buck Mason and Taylor Stitch all said in interviews that they planned to look to Japan for their denim, once their Cone supply runs out.

So will these blue collar Carolina voters turn on Trump? Nope, after all they believe the wall will get their jobs back.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Dollar General Recognizes What Politicians Don't

The Economy is Creating More Low Income Families

The Wall Street Journal has a great story on the success of Dollar General, a low priced variety store where things cost, well more than a dollar for the most part. The DG strategy has been and will be to expand into rural, low income areas that are not served by other retailers.

But the real news is that the Trumpet policies are not helping his voters, in fact it is hurting them, as evidenced by this.

While many large retailers are closing locations, Dollar General executives said they planned to build thousands more stores, mostly in small communities that have otherwise shown few signs of the U.S. economic recovery.
The more the rural U.S. struggles, company officials said, the more places Dollar General has found to prosper. “The economy is continuing to create more of our core customer,” Chief Executive Todd Vasos said in an interview at the company’s Goodlettsville, Tenn., headquarters.

Yep, you read that right. The economy is continuing to create more poor people. The Republican policies are working as intended.

Leah O’Neill shops for cat food with her daughters Elizabeth and Emily at the the local Dollar General in Evensville, Tenn.
It ain't pretty, but it serves and helps
which is more than Trumpie is doing for his base

Orrin Hatch – Formerly Respected Conservative; Now Senile Old Fool

Thinks Being Utahn of the Year is an Honor

Unlike most Republican conservatives, at one time in history Utah Senator Orrin Hatch actually had a few, a very few but a few, moments of contribution to the national welfare. No more, his rants on t he tax bill showed he has been divorced from reality. But he was just named Person of the Year in Utah by its flagship newspaper.

Utah's biggest newspaper anointed the state's longtime Republican senator, Orrin G. Hatch, as its “Utahn of the year,” a distinction that came with a nearly full-page photo on the paper's front page on Christmas Day.
The senator seemed to appreciate the recognition, tweeting an image of the front page and thanking the Salt Lake Tribune for “this great Christmas honor.”
'But wait, thinks are not what they seem to be.

Along with a news article and the photo, the newspaper published a scathing editorial that took aim at the senator's recent record, most notably his part in the Trump administration's decision to shrink two national monuments in the state, and said that the designation was meant to anoint the Utahn who had had the most impact, “for good or for ill.”
Hatch had earned the title because of his part in the “dramatic dismantling” of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, his role in helping to pass the recent tax code overhaul, and his “utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power,” the editorial board wrote.

Gosh Orrin, maybe you want to go back and read what they actually wrote about you.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Peggy Noonan Supports the Party Line on Tax Cuts – Strains Mightily to Sell Them

And Fails Because of Logic, Facts and Data

Every now and then Peggy Noonan writes something makes sense in the WSJ. When she does we imagine the powers that be call her into the office and say no, don't do that again. You have to toe the party line. And so she does in her musings on the tax bill.

Like other hard line Republicans she thinks it will do good and she chastises the Dems for not supporting, telling them they will rue the day (just like they did in Alabama perhaps).

And the bill is going to prove popular. The Democrats bet wrong on this. Almost immediately on passage, Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp announced a raise in their lowest wage to $15 an hour. AT&T said it would give about 200,000 unionized workers a $1,000 bonus and increase capital spending $1 billion. Comcast said it would give 100,000 employees bonuses and spend more than $50 billion in infrastructure improvement.

Gosh, a few corporations that need regulatory favors from Trumpie dole out a few crumbs. Conservatives like Noonan think those who recognize the pittance are looking down on the recipients, but in fact it is Noonan and her ilk that are condescending to working families. They think those families are fools, idiots who can be bought with a few pieces of silver. Sorry Peg, they are smarter than that.

The corporations that announce investments would have invested anyway. They just want to get some mileage out of fooling Trump, and it's just so easy to do. As for the provisions, notice this

 But it is good to cut the corporate rate from an absurd and uncompetitive 35% to a more constructive 21%; it is compassionate to double the child tax credit; it is fair to cut taxes for small businesses, many of which are struggling.

Like every other Republican apologist Noonan leaves out things like the elimination of the personal exemptions, or the fact that child tax credits expire when the child is a senior in high school which is just when their costs to their parents start to skyrocket. Impact on the deficit and national debt? Nowhere to be found in the unbridled praise.

As for Noonan there is this.

As a salaried worker in a high-tax state, I am about to get clobbered with the loss of the state and local tax deduction.

Oh, poor poor Peggy. But wait, no, she is getting a big drop in rates. And you know, probably in her future is Peggy Noonan LLC, a pass through that will get to exclude 20% of her income from any taxation. Why can't these people just tell the truth.

How Can a Tax Bill So Bad That Every Democrat Voted Against It

Only Republicans Could Come Up With One

There is nothing more popular than cutting taxes. There is nothing politicians like more than being re-elected. There is nothing better for one's re-election chances than cutting taxes.

So how is it that every Democrat in the Congress, including Democrats in Republican states facing huge re-election risk voted against the tax bill? It must be that the bill is so terrible that there is no political risk to opposing it.

To do that the bill would have to cut corporate rates for companies that already have massive amounts of cash on hand. It would have to give most of the benefits to the wealthy and a huge benefit to the ultra wealthy. It would have to increase the complexity of the tax code and make it much more difficult for ordinary Americans to fill out their tax forms. It would have to let the tax cuts for individuals expire. It would have to be the product of lobbyists. It would have to have special provisions for pet projects of Republicans. It would have to have a Corker Kickback to get the vote of the one Republican who was opposed to it.

No tax bill could do all that, could it? Uh, yes.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How Does Trumpie's Best Bud Putin Conduct Democracy? Easy, Ban the Opposition Candidate

Expect Trump to Praise Putin as Leader, And Try to Emulate

Donnie has openly expressed how much he loves Putin. And now that Putin has banned the opposition candidate from next years election expect Donnie to love him even more.

MOSCOW—Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny threatened protests and called for a nationwide boycott of next year’s presidential election after officials Monday ruled him ineligible to run against President Vladimir Putin.
We are declaring a voters’ strike,” said Mr. Navalny, 41 years old, in a video released after the Central Election Committee announced it would bar him from the March 2018 election. “Going to the voting booth now is voting for lies and corruption.”
He said on Twitter he would use his substantial street support in Russia’s bigger cities to organize protests against the decision.
It used to be, of course that Russia and before that the USSR was the enemy of American and freedom. Well, they still are, it's just that right now it seems like the Republicans and Trumpie are also the enemies of America and freedom, so naturally they ally with Putin. Expect the conservative establishment to whimper in protest.

Bret Stepehens Shows the NYT Readers His True Conservative Colors

Pro Corproation – Pro Rich – Anti-People

The NYT tries and fails to find thoughtful conservatives for their Op-Ed pages but they just cannot. Probably because modern conservatism has no one thoughtful. The latest Times effort, former WSJ opinion writer and full time climate denier Bret Stephens.

Stephens writes about the fact that while Dems are wrong to go against the great tax bill, he admits there are some things wrong with it. Here they are, in idiot terms everyone can understand.

There are things genuinely to dislike in the tax bill. It raises taxes on too many people. It barely cuts the top income-tax rate. It doesn’t eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax.

And this

But here are two things to know: Slashing corporate rates — the bill’s central achievement — is good economics. And wailing against the bill as an American Armageddon is dumb politics, at least for Democrats. . . .

Maybe the current bill cuts the rate too far — or, as I think, doesn’t cut it far enough.

Yes, Dems are dumb to campaign against the bill. Really. If it's so popular and good why do conservative billionaires, the ones who will really benefit have to spend millions to promote it. Selling tax cuts ought to be like selling air conditioning in Phoenix.

Stephens is a political idiot, or maybe he thinks he can convince Dems to support even lower taxes for corporations and the ultra wealthy. Sorry Bret, they and we are not that stupid.

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Dangerous Idiot That Will Now Set Coal Energy Policy

Just When You Thought There Were No More Crazies to Join the Administration This Cretan Comes Around

It is not hard to criticize Trump appointments when the individuals are condemned by their own words.

Such is the case with the person selected to manage coal mining policy. Here is just a little bit of his ridiculous resume.

The man President Trump picked to regulate coal believes that mining is simply "accelerated erosion."

Kentucky mining engineer Steven Gardner also believes mountaintop mining is good because it creates flat land. He questions humans' role in climate change and has said there is "no such thing as renewable energy."

And he's set to lead an agency that parted ways with him after his analysis found a stricter coal regulation would cost thousands of mining jobs.

Gardner, who runs Lexington-based consulting firm ECSI LLC, has long sought to fight what he calls "myths" about coal.

"People who work in coal are unfairly profiled as polluters, although they provide resources modern society demands," Gardner wrote in a 2015 Lexington Herald-Leader op-ed.

We invite any doubters to visit the coal country in West Virginia and Kentucky. See how wonderful the flattened mountains are. Just try not to be sick. Then go look at your solar panels and windmills and wonder how a person who says there is no such thing as renewable energy can be anything other than the person who walks behind the elephants at the circus with a broom and a crap collector.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Is Trump a Bigot and a Racist?

We Report, You Decide

The Holiday Spirit, Trump Style

The NYT is reporting on conversations Trumpie had with senior advisers about immigration. It turns out, according to the Times that the dear leader of the nation harbors some pretty ugly thoughts.

According to six officials who attended or were briefed about the meeting, Mr. Trump then began reading aloud from the document, which his domestic policy adviser, Stephen Miller, had given him just before the meeting. The document listed how many immigrants had received visas to enter the United States in 2017.

More than 2,500 were from Afghanistan, a terrorist haven, the president complained.
Haiti had sent 15,000 people. They “all have AIDS,” he grumbled, according to one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person who was there.

Forty thousand had come from Nigeria, Mr. Trump added. Once they had seen the United States, they would never “go back to their huts” in Africa, recalled the two officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the Oval Office.
Continue reading the main story

Yeah, all Haitians have Aids and all Africans live in huts. Hm. What's the common denominator here? Oh yes, race.

To be fair some people in the meeting dispute the account in the Times.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, denied on Saturday morning that Mr. Trump had made derogatory statements about immigrants during the meeting.
“General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims,” she said, referring to the current White House chief of staff, the national security adviser and the secretaries of state and homeland security. “It’s both sad and telling The New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway.”

Well Sarah has a lot of credibility, doesn't she But there are other denials.

 Several participants in the meeting told Times reporters that they did not recall the president using those words and did not think he had, but the two officials who described the comments found them so noteworthy that they related them to others at the time.

Note the carefully worded statements here, not direct statement that it didn't happen, just folks did not recall it happening. This is much like Donnie Jr. 'not recalling' meeting with Russians.

Anyway, taking into account what we know about Trump and his history on race, the public can easily decide for themselves about his alleged racism.   

Saturday, December 23, 2017

From NYT: Corker Says He Faced ‘Tough’ Decision in Supporting Republican Tax Bill

Yeah, Whether the Corker Kickback was Large Enough to Buy His Vote, Or Did He
Want More?

Because the media doesn't understand the technicalities of taxes they have focused on the change of heart by Sen. Bob Corker (R, Tn) who changed his vote on the tax bill from negative to positive.  This happened after the Conference Committee added a provision that would likely benefit Corker by millions.  But instead of flat out admitting what he did Corker has put out fake outrage about the story, and is trying to claim he acted on prinicipal.

WASHINGTON — A day before Republicans are expected to begin voting on their $1.5 trillion tax cut, the big question was not whether it would pass but why the lone Republican Senate holdout, Bob Corker of Tennessee, suddenly flipped his position to support a bill he once said was fiscally irresponsible.
The theories varied from political to financial. Some suggested Mr. Corker, who has said that he will not seek re-election to the Senate, may be rethinking his political future, while others claimed he was bought off by a late-added provision that would benefit people with large real estate holdings, including him.
In an interview on Monday, Mr. Corker dismissed those theories and said he faced a wrenching decision as a Republican lawmaker with deep concerns about the country’s mounting debt and a strong desire to overhaul the tax code. In the end, he said, he put his fiscal principles aside on the assumption that the nation would be better off with the tax cuts than without.

Senator Corker was a hard no, a very hard no, a very public no. What changed? Well not the essence of the bill which had only minor differences from the Senate version he voted against. So the only thing that is likely is that he got a whisper from the leadership, support the bill and we will do a nice thing for you. Sen. Corker is very wealthy, but his greed apparently knows no limits. He is leaving the Senate, his departure probably his only contribution to the welfare of the nation.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Kudos to Republicans in Virginia

Accepting a One Vote Defeat with Grace

Update:  A final count has declared the vote a tie, but that does not take anything away from the Republican's graceful reaction to losing by one vote.

The House of Delegates in Virginia has 100 members. It was heavily Republican until Donnie took office. After the November election it was 50 Republicans, 49 Dems with one race in favor of a Republican by 10 votes. So a recount took place. And here's what happened to Del. Yancey, the apparent Republican winner.

Of the 23,215 votes cast in the district on Election Day, Yancey held a lead of just 10 votes going into Tuesday’s recount.
But five hours later, after a painstaking counting overseen by local elections officials and the clerk of court, Yancey’s lead narrowed — and then reversed.
The final tally: 11,608 for Simonds to 11,607 for Yancey.
Yes, you are reading that correctly. The Republican lost by one vote. And that one vote was huge as now the House of Delegates is 50-50, with two other recounts outstanding. But the really great thing is how the Republicans reacted.

Yancey, who was in Richmond at a committee hearing, can contest the results of the election with the legislature, a step that veteran lawmakers last recall happening in 1979. But GOP officials said that seems unlikely.
We congratulate Delegate-elect Simonds and welcome her to this historic body. We also thank Delegate David Yancey for his distinguished service,” House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (Colonial Heights) and other Republican leaders said in an email.
The responsibilities of the House of Delegates as an institution transcend party labels, and our obligations to govern this Commonwealth remain,” the GOP leaders said. “We stand ready to establish a bipartisan framework under which the House can operate efficiently and effectively over the next two years.”

WOW! Okay, words are cheap and let's see what happens when legislative work has to be done. But for now Virginia Republicans have shown Trumpie and his cronies how it should be done. Not that he will listen or watch, of course.

Rest Easy America - Togo Is On Our Side at the UN

The United Nations passed a non-bindng resolution overwhelmingly condemning the United States for its decision to unilaterally  make the Middle East worse off by recognizing Jeruselum as the capital of Israel. 

The against the resolution had nine votes.  But not to worry Americans, the nation of Togo stood up and stood with Trump in supporting us.  So never mind that our crucial allies opposed us, we will always have Togo.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Watch This Space Christmas Day

Because nothing says more about holiday cheer than a grouchy post.

A True Tax Story With AT&T and The Billions It is Getting From the Tax Cuts

And the Crumbs It is Giving to Its Employees

Here's How Things Work in Trumpworld

Suppose you got a windfall, say a distant relative you never knew you had leaves you $10,000. Being a windfall you want to be generous and make a donation to charity. So you give the Red Cross or the United Way or something like them $75.00 and keep the rest for yourself.

This is the case with AT&T's decision to give its employees $1,000.00 each when Trumpie signs the tax bill. That sounds pretty nice until you get into the numbers and the facts. Here they are.

  1. In 2016 AT&T made about $20 billion before tax and had a tax liability of about $6.5 billion.  Let's say this also is how they will do in 2017 and 2018.

  1. The Republicans just lowered the rate from 35% to 21%, which means a $2.8 billion tax cut for AT&T each year for the next ten years. This is $28 billion over the next decade.

  1. To try and curry favor with the Trumpster ATT&T will give each employee a one time bonus of $1,000 at a cost to AT&T of about $200 million.

  1. This bonus is less than 1% of the tax savings, about the same as the $75 a person who got a windfall of $10,000.

  1. The payment will be made in 2017 when AT&T has a higher tax rate, like 35% . So the taxpayers are paying about $350 of the bonus. The workers will get the money in 2017 when their tax rates are higher than they will be in 2018.

But wait, there's more. AT&T will spend $22 billion on capital expenditures in 2018, all of which is tax deductible. So for tax purposes instead of having taxable income of $20 billion they will get to deduct $22 billion and have a tax loss of $2 billion. With a 21% tax rate will mean that AT&T will get a tax refund (now or later) of about $400 million.

Bottom line, AT&T will go from having a  $6.5 billion GAAP tax liability to paying no taxes and getting a $400 million refund. WOW!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

West Virginians No Longer Need to Worry About Whose Side The State EPA is On

It Ain't Theirs

Government regulatory agencies are supposed to protect, well, the people. But in West Virginia a rich coal mine owning Democrat turned Republican is now making the state's environmental protection agency protect potential polluters.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday waived the state’s authority under the federal Clean Water Act to determine if another major natural gas pipeline proposal would harm rivers and streams.
The DEP announced in a news release that the agency had waived its legal authority to decide if the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would violate West Virginia’s water quality standards. Agency officials also released copies of letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineersinforming those agencies of the DEP’s waiver decision.
The announcement is the second time in a little more than a month that the Gov. Jim Justice administration has waived the state’s authority to certify — or refuse to certify or add conditions — that a natural gas pipeline proposal would comply with the state’s water quality standards. On Nov. 1, the DEP announced a similar waiver decision regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The natural beauty of West Virginia is unsurpassed. It's only enemy is industry which would poison the earth, water and air in pursuit of profits and low wages and unsafe working conditions. The only protection of the populace is government. And now, sadly, that is no longer the case.

These pipelines may be safe. But no one will ever know because the state won't even investigate. The reason, the state headed by its governor just does not care.

Ok, Senator Collins, Here's How You Got Duped

And No, The Charges of Your Dupation Are Not Sexist

Here is this from Taegan Gooddard insightful political forum.

Political Wire

December 19, 20

Collins Rips ‘Sexist’ News Coverage

December 19, 2017 at 6:44 pm ESTBy Taegan Goddard0 Comments
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) blasted media coverage of her support for the GOP tax bill as “extremely discouraging” and “unbelievably sexist,” Politico reports.
Said Collins: “They’ve ignored everything that I’ve gotten and written story after story about how I’m duped. How am I duped when all your amendments get accepted?”

Ok, Susie (sorry, that is not sexist;  this form also uses similar terms with Trumpie) here's what happened to you.

  1. After defending ACA you voted for bill that destroys it, along with killing coverage for 13 million and higher health care costs for everyone.  You have beeen fooled into thinking you get some help for ACA down the road.

  1. You think you get a vote on the two bills that will help ACA survive. You won't. And even if you do there is no chance the House will pass the legislation, or ever take it up.

  1. When Obama was President you were a deficit hawk, hated the national debt, and were very public about it. You just voted to increase the debt by over $2 trillion when tax cuts are extended.
4.  You have been told the bill will pay for itself.  If you believe that you are the very definition of a dupe.

Senator Collins has become a national joke, And no, it has nothing to do with her gender.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Great Tweet From David Axelrod

Obama's former senior adviser mocked Roy Moore's refusal to concede:

God Told Roy Moore “Go Man, Go”

Snarky Comments on the News

  1. It has been reported that Judge Roy Moor in Alabama ran for the U. S. Senate because God told him to Go. It turns out that what God meant was for Roy Moore to go away, leave, exit, withdraw, whatever. God, it seems, is embarrassed by Roy and just wanted him to no longer take God's name in vain, the in vain part being God wanted no part of what Roy was spouting.

  1. To the surprise of no one Florida Senator Marco Rubio will vote for the tax giveaway. One of the most nakedly ambitious men in politics Rubio was never going to throw away his career to give low income families a few hundred dollars in a tax break. All he cares about is what looks good on his resume. (real news sneaks in).

  1. It has been reported that in addition to attempting to get zero votes from African Americans the Trump now wants to get zero women votes in the next election. “We want only white men to vote for us” a Trump spokesperson did not say.

  1. Trump will have no benefit from the tax bill as long as one does not count the hundred of millions he will get as a benefit.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Trump Transition Team Scared to Death of Mueller Investigation

Complains Investigation Should Not Have Their e-mails

The people investigating how Trumpie and friends colluded with the Russians have obtained the e-mails from people who worked on the transition team. The team is crying foul. It seems they claim the Special Counsel should not have them, which of course implies that they have much to hide.

An organization that was part of President Trump’s transition team claimed Saturday that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III improperly obtained a trove of transition emails as part of the inquiry into Russian influence in the 2016 election and other matters.
The batch of emails totaling thousands of pages of communications was improperly provided to Mueller by the federal General Services Administration, the organization claimed in a letter delivered to congressional investigators.

Now innocent people would be happy to give a prosecutor everything. That way they would be exonerated. A guilty party, well they would be acting just like Trump and his cronies. Like this.

Transition documents are private property, not government records, the organization contends. The letter invokes federal law and decades of precedent to argue that Mueller overstepped.
The transfer of transition documents is “unlawful conduct that undermines the Presidential Transition Act of 1963,” the letter said, “and will impair the ability of future presidential transition teams to candidly discuss policy and internal matters that benefit the country as a whole.”

What are they hiding? And how can there be tens of thousands of e-mails? Were these people doing nothing but writing e-mails?

Sen. Bob Corker (R. Tn) Sells Out His Tax Cut Vote

Gets a Provision That Favors Him

In the Senate lineup the Republicans have some pretty loathsome folks who lie as a matter of course. They lied in their attempts to gut health insurance for low income people, and they have lied about their tax bill, a huge giveaway for the very wealthy and for large profitable corporations. But nobody has lied like Senator Corker.

The Senator made big headlines by announcing he would not vote for the tax bill if it increased the deficit. It increases the deficit, something like $.14 trillion, yes trillion. So now the Senator will vote for it. Why? Well maybe here's why.

Corker’s vote is considered pivotal in the closely divided Senate and he could be in a position to make or break the landmark legislation. He declared his support for the final reconciled version of the bill on Friday after GOP lawmakers added a provision that could benefit his vast real estate holdings -- a provision that Corker denied having any knowledge of.

That's right, his defense is he didn't know what he was doing.

I had like a two-page summary I went through with leadership,” said Corker. “I never saw the actual text.” Despite not reading the bill -- and having time to read it before the final vote scheduled for this week -- he reiterated his support for the bill to IBT, support he announced hours before bill’s full text was publicly released on Friday.

So let's summarize. Sen. Corker says he opposes the bill, votes against the Senate version, and after it changes to benefit him personally he changes his vote and then says he doesn't understand the change and didn't read the bill and doesn't know what it means or what is in it but will vote for it anyway.

What a steaming pile of garbage.  Sen. Corker had already announced he was leaving the Senate.  His vote was not needed for passage.  Apparently he just wanted to make a few bucks on the way out.  And yes, he was already very rich.  

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pettiness Continues in the White House - This Time Over a Hanukkah Celebration

Not Unexpected in a Mean and Vicious President

Religious celebrations have often been an opportunity in politics to bridge the bitterness of disagreement among elected officials. But the Trumpies see it as an opportunity to fan the partisan wars and just plain insult their enemies.

WASHINGTON — The latkes were fried and the kosher lamb chops were prepared on Thursday, just as in past years, for the first White House Hanukkah party of the Trump era. But there was one prominent break with tradition: President Trump did not invite Democratic lawmakers.
Mr. Trump, who prizes loyalty and seldom forgets a slight, left Democratic members of Congress off his Hanukkah list this year, according to congressional aides tracking the invites. He also did not invite Reform Jewish leaders who have been critical of him or progressive Jewish activists who have differed with him publicly on policy issues.

The move injected a partisan tinge into a normally bipartisan celebration at the White House, where on Thursday Mr. Trump spoke to a crowd standing amid Christmas trees.

I know for a fact there are a lot of happy people in this room,” Mr. Trump said to raucous whoops and applause, adding simply, “Jerusalem.”

He wished those assembled a Happy Hanukkah, then said, “I think this one will go down as especially special.”

Like Elvis, Decency has left the building.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tax Cut for the Wealthy to Increase Defiit by $1.4 Trillion

And Craven, Cowardly Corker to Vote for It

Early on in the so-called debate on the tax cut Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tn) said he would not vote for it if it increased the deficit.  Now the final bill is out and here are the numbers.

"The preliminary deficit estimate for the final version of the GOP tax bill says it would add $1.46 trillion to the budget deficit over the coming 10 years.
The true deficit cost is likely to be even higher if lawmakers extend the tax cuts for individuals before they expire at the end of 2025. This "sunset" gimmick is used to make the tax cuts more generous over the eight years they would be in force."

As for Sen. Corker, well his vote is yes, because he wants to make sure that everyone, and we do mean everyone knows that when a Republican says something you cannot take it to the bank because they are not bankable, they are bankrupt.  Corker is retiring, good riddance, and it is painful to say but maybe the Senate would be better if he was replaced by Roy Moore.  At least Moore says what he thinks, he doesn't try to hide his awful positions behind pious lies.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Think Republicans Won't Pass Their Tax Bill – Think Again

A Few Politicians Playing Silly Games

The news media is all atwitter over possible Republican defections from their tax bill. Sen. Corker of Tennessee is a no, and several other Senators are saying they need changes or they won't vote. But they are just playing for the press, in the end they will fall in line.

Susan Collins is a case in point. To get her vote the Senate Majority Leader promised her some help on preserving health care. But he is laughing out loud, knowing that his promise is worthless, that the House will not even vote on the things Collins wants. The question, is she so naive she doesn't understand this. Probably so, or she could just be looking for a face saving fig leaf to justify her vote.

Senator Rubio is just a big grandstander. He will get some type of minor concession to appease his ego. Other Senators will fall in line, and so a tax cut for the wealthiest, less health care for middle income families and an inflation generating deficit busting tax cut will become law. Soon.

Public Health Wins Major Victory Against Alcohol in the UK

Sorry Whiskey Industry, Massive Alcoholism is Not a Public Virtue

It is not secret and it is not character condemnation to notice that in many parts of the world alcohol addiction is a serious social problem. Governments struggle with the issue because a free society allows people to consume alcoholic beverages, but a compassionate society tries to limit the damage they do.

In Scotland one solution was to set a minimum price for alcohol in order to prevent cheap drinks from encouraging people to drink more than they should. The industry reacted as expected.

In 2012, the semiautonomous Scottish government passed legislation that set a minimum price for all alcoholic beverages of 50 pence a unit. The alcohol industry attacked the law as illegal and ineffective, saying it wouldn’t stem heavy drinking but instead force responsible drinkers to pay more. Executives have expressed concern that laws passed in the home of Scotch could set an international precedent that could unleash a wave of regulation and crimp profits.

Yes, people would pay more, that is the point. And yes whiskey companies might make less money, which if they had just shred of decency they would accept as a penance for producing a product that literally destroys people. So they challenged the law, and glory be, they lost.

In a blow to big alcohol, the U.K.’s Supreme Court has ruled that Scotland can set a floor on beverage prices—a landmark decision that could set a precedent for other countries.

With the ruling, Scotland will become the first country to implement a per unit floor price for alcohol, which is meant to curb heavy drinking by boosting the price of the cheapest alcoholic beverages.

This is a nice win for those who support using market forces rather than regulation to curb a social ill. And it looks like the concept may spread, and if just one person is spared the horror of alcoholism well it would have been worth it.

Paul Ryan May Leave Congress

Christmas Comes Early If True

Politico is reporting that House Speaker Paul Ryan may quit the Congress after this term. If so it would be a fantastic present to the nation.

Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with President Donald Trump, Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker.

Ryan is the impetus behind one of the worst pieces of tax legislation ever, a law that when it is enacted will throw millions off of health insurance, raise health care costs for everyone, give the largest and most wealthy corporations a big tax reduction, give the people with the largest incomes a big tax break and generally screw up the economy.

He is a mean man. He wants to end the economic security for millions of Americans, gut Medicare, end Medicaid and cut Social Security. He has done nothing as Speaker except con the press into thinking he is smart. His leaving would be the only contribution he has ever or will ever make to the nationl

Thursday, December 14, 2017

When Did Jimmy Kimmel Become a Better Spokesperson Than Any Democrat

Don't Know, But We Appreciate It

The Moore Candidacy is Over, But Voters Must Continue to Learn From It

For some reason Alabama Senate candidate and credibly accused sexual predator Roy Moore has picked a fight with late night host Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel of course is very articulate and he has a whole bunch of writers behind him. For Moore is was a shellacking he well deserved.

It doesn’t fit your stereotype, but I happen to be a Christian too. I made my first holy communion, I was confirmed, I pray, I support my church, one of my closest friends is a priest, I baptized my children. Christian is actually my middle name. I know that’s shocking, but it’s true. So if you’re open to, when we sit down, I will share with you what I learned at my church. At my church, forcing yourself on underaged girls is a no-no. Some even consider it to be a sin.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

Moore has made the mistake of calling out a man who is not cowed, not afraid, and unless Moore chickens out (like we know he will) Kimmel is willing to confront him.

Mr. Kimmel said he was spoiling for a fight with Mr. Moore.
Maybe when you say, ‘Come down to Alabama and we’ll do it man to man,’ maybe that means you’re challenging me to a fight, which is kind of what it sounds like. And if you are, I accept, by the way. I accept that invitation. There is no one I would love to fight more than you. I will put my Christian values aside, just for you and for that fight.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

Your move Roy, we expect it will be leaving town with your prehensile tail between your legs.

Kentucky Personifies Republican Attitudes Towards Elected Officials and Sexual Abuse

Deny, Deny, Deny and Don't Resign

[Update:  It is being reported that Johnson has taken his own life.  He continued to deny any wrong doing.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson, who was under investigation for alleged sexual molestation, died of a "probable suicide," the Bullitt County coroner said Wednesday night. 
Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell said Johnson drove onto the bridge over the Salt River on Greenwell Ford Road in Mt. Washington, parked on the north side of it and shot himself in front of his car. His body was found on the bank of the river, just past the bridge.
Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Johnson posted the following message on his Facebook page:
The accusations from NPR are false GOD and only GOD knows the truth, nothing is the way they make it out to be. AMERICA will not survive this type of judge and jury fake news . Conservatives take a stand. I LOVE GOD and I LOVE MY WIFE, who is the best WIFE in the world,My Love Forever ! My Mom and Dad my FAMILY and all five of my kids and Nine grandchildren two in tummies and many more to come each of you or a total gift from GOD stay strong, REBECCA needs YOU . 9-11-2001 NYC/WTC, PTSD 24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. IT Has Won This Life . BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME. “PLEASE LISTEN CLOSELY, Only Three things I ask of you to do,if you love me is (1)blame no person,Satan is the accuser, so blame the Devil himself. (2) Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself .(3)most importantly LOVE GOD. P.S. I LOVE MY FRIENDS YOU ARE FAMILY ! GOD LOVES ALL PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT !

We will leave it up to readers to judge what to conclude about the charges against him.]

Democrats have decided that they will, reluctantly, try to get accused sexual predators out of elected offices. Republicans, like those in Kentucky, are taking a different tact. Here is what is alleged.

Kentucky lawmaker Dan Johnson is refusing to resign amid accusations he molested a member of his church when she was 17.
State leaders from both parties are calling for Johnson’s immediate resignation after the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (KyCIR) published an expose Monday detailing allegations of how the Republican state representative — and self-proclaimed “Pope” of his Louisville church — woke his daughter’s friend during a sleepover in 2013 and forced himself on her, slipping his hands up her shirt and bra and putting his fingers in her vagina.
And here is the Republican's answer.

Johnson on Tuesday denied the accusations.
This allegation concerning this lady, this young girl, absolutely has no merit, these are unfounded accusations, totally,” he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
But the report on his actions is credible. Even to some Republican leaders although the Republican Governor is hiding behind his ignorance.

The KyCIR report highlights how Johnson — known in his church community as “Danny Ray Johnson” — painted a picture of himself over the years as a pro-gun, pro-life “patriot,” which helped propel him into the Kentucky legislature in 2016, when he won the House’s 49th District seat.  But the seven-month investigation, comprised of more than 100 interviews and thousands of pages of public records, alleges the Republican’s persona is orchestrated to mask a series of concerning incidents — including sexual abuse, arson and false testimony.
In the wake of the allegations, David Osborne, the acting Kentucky House speaker, called the report “compelling and deeply troubling,” according to the Associated Press. Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said he had not read the report and wanted to “wait until we get some facts” before commenting.

That this is not an isolated Republican incident is very troubling. But then the party of family values never really had any.

Other Kentucky House Republicans facing scandal in recent months remain in the state legislature. Former Kentucky House speaker Jeff Hoover, after admitting he paid to settle a sexual-harassment claim made by a woman in his office, resigned from his leadership position last month but is still a state representative. Three other lawmakers involved in the secretive settlement had their committee chairmanships taken away from them but also still serve as representatives.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Michigan Republican Governor Will Keep Democrat Out of Congress for a Year

GOP Once Again Defeats Democracy

When Democratic House member John Conyers resigned due to extremely inappropriate behavior with women staffers his seat became empty.  So there needs to be a special election to fill it.  But that election will almost certainly send another Democrat to Congress.  So the Governor of Michigan, a man who cared so little about his constituents that he allowed the people of Flint to be poisoned by lead filled water has a strategy to keep the Dems from filling the seat.

From Taegan Goddard, who knows and publishes good stuff.

Political Wire

Conyers’ Seat Will Remain Vacant for 11 Months

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said a special election to replace former Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) will be not be held until November 6, 2018

Actually that is no special election at all, it is the regular election.  As for the people in Conyers's district, well they probably didn't deserve representation anyway.  After all, they are not rich people from Bloomfield Hills.