Nel's New Day

December 31, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-nine – Tomorrow a New Year

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may have declared that “Obamacare” is dead, but enrollment was only slightly down from last year as of three years before the end of the time on December—despite DDT’s efforts to kill it with a vastly shortened enrollment time and removal of funds to publicize and help people with enrolling. Also not counted are special extensions that will bring in more people. DDT is primarily hurting his on supporters: 80 percent of the enrollees are from states that voted for him with 40 percent coming from only four states.

A new report on DDT’s meeting with top officials about immigrants last June highlighted his racism when he said that all 15,000 Haitians “have AIDS” and Afghanistan is a “terrorist haven.” The 40,000 Nigerians who received U.S. visas for 2017 would never “go back to their huts” in Africa once they had visited the United States, DDT allegedly said. DDT’s advisor Stephan Miller and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security, blamed Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson for the foreigners’ visits. Tillerson told Kelly that he could stop issuing visas. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, press secretary, said that everyone at the meeting denied the harsh words.

A federal judge blocked DDT’s separation of families in immigration and partially lifted a ban on refugees from 11 mostly Muslim countries, including those who have a relationship with people or groups in the U.S. including resettlement agencies or humanitarian organizations.

A D.C. federal judge ordered DDT’s commission investigating voter fraud to give the Democratic members equal access to the panel’s records that Republican members have. Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap was denied documents in deliberations of the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity including location, speakers, and content of last September’s meeting. Several committee members say that the group has been dormant for the past few months.

A federal judge ordered the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to give low-income families greater access to housing in more affluent neighborhoods, according to a rule from the former administration. The current system concentrates families with public rental assistance in heavily segregated, high-poverty communities. HUD Secretary Ben Carson had delayed implementing the rule.

A federal court ruled that a California school district cannot force a high school football player to stand during the national anthem before football games.

Apppointments:

In his confirmation hearing, Dr. Dean Winslow, appointed to be the Pentagon’s top health official, made the mistake of saying that it’s “insane” that “in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy … a semi-automatic assault rifle like an AR-15, which apparently was the weapon that was used.” He has now withdrawn his name from consideration because the Senate Armed Services Committee put his appointment on indefinite hold because he does not “support the unrestricted ownership of semiautomatic assault weapons by civilians.”

Trump Tweets:

DDT celebrated Christmas Eve by retweeting an image of himself having stepped on CNN and leaving a bloody spatter. His tweets are official records of the presidency. [visual] Even ultra conservative Joe Walsh criticized him: “Grow up sir. Have you no sense of decency? Go spend time with your family.”

The day after Christmas, DDT shouted his anger at Fox, not even able to spell “frlends”: “WOW, @foxandfrlends “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!”

DDT is angry with AG Jeff Sessions for leaving the Senate to take the position for which DDT nominated him.

DDT plans to massively increase the flawed homeland missile defense system despite government reports that upgrades may not succeed. The idea to destroy incoming ballistic missiles above the atmosphere will cost another $10 billion in addition to the existing payments of $40 billion. The plan is also to make the new radar operational in three years before any testing and the installation the next year with only one test. DDT says the program has a 97-percent success rate; the Pentagon cites 50 percent of the time. Over three-fourths of the existing interceptors have circuit boards susceptible to electrical shorting. No correction was taken. There is also no way to know if the interceptors hit a missile or just a decoy or debris. The radar operates in the “S-band” radio frequency which may not be able to identify long-range missiles. The missile agency chose this frequency over X-band, three times as accurate, because it was cheaper. Boeing has thus far been awarded “performance” bonuses of $2 billion for the 50-percent failure rate.

DDT has heavily criticized China for providing oil to North Korea but said nothing about Russia’s also breaking the UN sanctions by making several ship-to-ship transfers of oil to North Korean vessels this past year.

In his ignorance about the growing HIV/AIDS crisis, DDT sent letters by FedEx to the remaining members of his HIV/AIDS council, informing them that they were fired. Six other members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) had resigned earlier this year because of the lack of strategy and input from experts for developing policy while a push for legislation to hurt people with HIV and reverse gains in eradicating the disease. The change may be to rewrite the PACHA charter to focus on abstinence and non-evidence-based religious beliefs. DDT’s goal may be to return to the epidemic of the 1980s during Ronald Reagan’s term as reflected in David Frances’ How to Survive a Plague.

After DDT gave lumps of coal to the poor and middle class with his tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, over 500 people—almost ten percent of coal employees in the state—are being laid off in the next few months. The bankrupt Armstrong Coat in Madisonville is laying off all 427 employees at all their facilities, and Thoroughfare Mining is permanently laying off all 99 employees at its Survant Mine in Central City. The layoffs are a national trend: a Bastrop County (TX) power plant/mine will shut down with almost 400 jobs lost. More bad news for the coal industry with layoffs in Mississippi. Luminant Generation will a power plant with 135 employees and another one with 255 jobs. The Kemper power plant in Dekalb (MS) will lay off 250 workers and another 75 workers at its mine. The list keeps going on as companies switch to natural gas and renewable energy despite DDT’s campaign promises. The two biggest coal producers in the nation—West Virginia and Wyoming—are dead last in population growth because of its resource dependence.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is no longer to protect; the mission statement is now to search for “outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations.” As a U.S. representative, the bureau’s acting director, Mick Mulvaney, stated that the agency should be erased.

Thanks to DDT, the Presidential Challenge Coin, given to members of the service to commemorate special achievements and milestones as well as put on veterans’ graves in Arlington, reflects DDT’s narcissism. Among other changes, both sides of the coin feature “Make America Great Again” instead of the national motto “E pluribus unum” meaning “Out of many, one.”

Over seven years ago, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers, released millions of barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and cost millions of dollars of damage in the Gulf and along its coast. DDT is now recalling rules to prevent a recurrence, including one certifying that safety devices are working.

Not all men are created equal, a cornerstone for the Declaration of Independence and democracy, according to DDT in 2009 during an interview with Deborah Solomon of The New York Times. DDT said about people being created equal:

“It’s not true. Some people are born very smart, some people are born not so smart. Some people are born very beautiful and some people are not so you can’t say that’re all created equal.”

For the tenth year in a row, President Obama is Gallup’s most admired man in the United States. Only Dwight Eisenhower exceeds this record as 12 times.  Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman for 16 consecutive years. DDT is the only elected president to not receive this honor in his first year in office.

Nothing may demonstrate DDT’s ridiculous lies and behavior more than his vacation and golf habits, more obvious because he vigorously criticized President Obama for doing either. DDT is so thin-skinned that his aides are forced to lie about how much time he’s spent this year—one-third of the days—by leaving schedules blank or using outright lies. Last week, DDT even made a box truck move with him on the golf court to avoid any photos at his own club. Once DDT spotted the photographers, he ordered trees planted to make his activities more opaque.

December 28, 2017

DDT Unsupervised Interview

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 8:53 PM
Tags: , , , ,

While the staff of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) left him unsupervised at his Mar-a-Lago golf course, where he spent the third day playing golf, DDT ran into New York Times journalist Michael Schmidt. The 30-minute on-record interview may make history—and provide fodder in court cases.

The interview began with DDT saying he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general had he known that Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

“I thought it was a terrible thing he did. [Inaudible.] I thought it was certainly unnecessary, I thought it was a terrible thing….  I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him.”

DDT’s position is that he made the media with his presence and that it will “tank” if he is no longer in the White House. For that reason, he stated, the media will see that he is re-elected in 2020. He added that the NYT will fail without him.

“They basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.’ O.K.”

During the short interview, DDT insisted 16 times that the inquiry has found “no collusion.” He thinks the investigation should stop because “it makes the country look very bad.”  He accused the Chinese of secretly shipping oil to North Korea and made veiled threats against China.

Other DDT comments:

“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”

“I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most.”

“Paul [Manafort] only worked for me for a few months. Paul worked for Ronald Reagan. His firm worked for John McCain, worked for Bob Dole, worked for many Republicans for far longer than he worked for me. And you’re talking about what Paul was many years ago before I ever heard of him. He worked for me for — what was it, three and a half months?”

“And by the way, I didn’t deal with Russia. I won because I was a better candidate by a lot. I won because I campaigned properly and she didn’t. She campaigned for the popular vote. I campaigned for the Electoral College. And you know, it is a totally different thing, Mike. You know the Electoral College, it’s like a track star. If you’re going to run the 100-yard dash, you work out differently than if you’re going to run the 1,000 meters or the mile…. So I went to Maine five times, I went to [inaudible], the genius of the Electoral College is that you go to places you might not go to.

And that’s exactly what [inaudible]. Otherwise, I would have gone to New York, California, Texas and Florida.”

“Now, in my opinion, they should come to me on infrastructure. They should come to me, which they have come to me, on DACA. We are working. … We’re trying to something about it. And they should definitely come to me on health care. Because we can do bipartisan health care. We can do bipartisan infrastructure. And we can do bipartisan DACA…. I want to do a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, at least. We want to fix our roads, our highways, our bridges, which are in bad shape. And you know some of them are actually, they’re x-ed out, they have, you know, possibilities of collapse under bad circumstances. And in 10 years they will collapse. So, I want a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. I think it can be bipartisan. I believe we can do health care in a bipartisan way, because now we’ve essentially gutted and ended Obamacare.”

“I know more about the big bills. … [Inaudible.] … Than any president that’s ever been in office. Whether it’s health care and taxes. Especially taxes. I’ll tell you something [inaudible]. … Put me on the defense, I was a great student and all this stuff. Oh, he doesn’t know the details, these are sick people. So, the taxes. … [Inaudible.] … The tax cut will be, the tax bill, prediction, will be far bigger than anyone imagines. Expensing will be perhaps the greatest of all provisions. Where you can do something, you can buy something. … Piece of equipment. … You can do lots of different things, and you can write it off and expense it in one year….”  I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most.”

“Now here’s the good news. We’ve created associations, millions of people are joining associations. Millions. That were formerly in Obamacare or didn’t have insurance. Or didn’t have health care. Millions of people. That’s gonna be a big bill, you watch. It could be as high as 50 percent of the people. You watch. So that’s a big thing. And the individual mandate. So now you have associations, and people don’t even talk about the associations. That could be half the people are going to be joining up. … With private [inaudible]. So now you have associations and the individual mandate.”

“I’m always moving. I’m moving in both directions. We have to get rid of chainlike immigration, we have to get rid of the chain. The chain is the last guy that killed. … [Talking with guests.] … The last guy that killed the eight people. … [Inaudible.] … So badly wounded people. … “

“China. … China’s been. … I like very much President Xi. He treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China. You know that. The presentations. … One of the great two days of anybody’s life and memory having to do with China. He’s a friend of mine, he likes me, I like him, we have a great chemistry together. He’s [inaudible] of the United States. …[Inaudible.] China’s hurting us very badly on trade, but I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war. O.K.?”

“And, by the way, it’s not a tweet. It’s social media, and it gets out in the world, and the reason I do well is that I can be treated unfairly and very dishonestly by CNN, and, you know, I have — what do have now, John, 158 million, including Facebook, including Twitter, including Instagram, including every form, I have a 158 million people. Reporting just this morning, they said 158 million. So if they a do a story that’s false, I can do something — otherwise, Andy, otherwise you just sort of walk around saying what can I do? What, am I going to have a press conference every time somebody, every time Michael writes something wrong?”

Joy Reid’s analysis:

  1. Trump speaks a lot like a child does. Lots of focus on who likes him, who loves him, who is his friend… his biographers all emphasize his deep desire to be loved & it comes through.
  2. Trump repeats whatever he is fixated on over and over again. I counted 15 “no collusion” repeats, sometimes two or three times in a single paragraph. And he keeps returning over and over again to the election and how he managed to win via the Electoral College. He’s fixated.
  3. Trump thinks being president means he can do whatever he wants. He has an autocrat’s impulse, and believes literally everyone in government, from the attorney general to every member of Congress, essentially works for him, owes him loyalty, and must “come to him” for mercy. He literally adopted a “Godfather” phraseology to all but say Democrats could have avoided blue state tax hikes via SALT if they had “come to him” to plead for his largesse. It’s a combination of the impulses of 1. and 3.
  4. Trump thinks he is still the star of a TV show, and that the media has the power to decide who wins elections, based on ratings. Seriously:
  5. Trump invents his own reality, and then states that everybody else believes his version of reality too. And since he is so transparent, it’s hard to argue that this is a strategy, rather than a form of self-delusion or just stubborn refusal to accept what is real.

Reading the entire transcript of the interview shows the rambling as DDT interrupted his comments to chat with people around him in the Grill Room and repeated himself. It’s a frightening episode in DDT’s record and one that the aides are going to be covering up for a long time. If the NYT releases the entire transcript, people may see more evidence of DDT’s ranting delusions, lack of focus, and repetitions.

DDT wants attention, and this interview will provide it. He may not like the kind of attention he gets.

December 23, 2017

The Christian War on Christmas

For centuries, fundamentalist Christians avoided any involvement in politics. During Ronald Reagan’s campaign, however, Republicans decided to use evangelicals to get their candidate elected, and these Christians have increasingly left their biblical religion to move to a political religion. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has raised this avoidance of traditional Christian values to a high. This year, he and other Republicans spread the lies about the use of “Merry Christmas,” telling people that it had been banned and that President Obama never used the term. Videos prove them wrong, but facts don’t dissuade fundamentalist Christian beliefs, especially because the Fox seasonal message began with the term “War on Christmas.”

The politicization of Christmas, as shown by this billboard, is in keeping with the rest of the Republicans. More confirmation of the GOP lie comes from the political group America First Policies that is spending $1 million for a pro-DDT A pro-Trump nonprofit says it is spending $1 million to air a new pro-Trump ad concluding with a little girl saying, “Thank you President Trump for letting us say ‘Merry Christmas’ again!” The ad also thank DDT for “reminding us to stand for our national anthem.”

DDT goes beyond politics to capitalism with his baseball cap, embroidered with colored lights on “Make America Great Again” and “Merry Christmas” on the back. Selling for $45, the cap is all sold out, but you can still get one from eBay for $150.

Six years ago, DDT tweeted the lie, “What a convenient mistake: @BarackObama issued a statement for Kwanza [sic] but failed to issue one for Christmas.” Tweeting about Kwanzaa did not preclude President Obama from also sending his last Merry Christmas message with the image below.

 

 

“The best part of the holidays is the time we share with those we love. On behalf of Michelle, Malia, and Sasha, Merry Christmas everyone.”

Chris Hayes has put together a number of video clips showing President Obama saying “Merry Christmas.” (Check out the last minute for this montage.) Meanwhile, tweets from Ivanka Trump and her brother Eric trumpet “Happy Holidays!” (And yes, Ivanka Trump is Jewish.)  Despite DDT’s concentration on the word “Christmas,” the invitations for the White House parties called the event a “Holiday Reception.”

Christmas celebrations for DDT’s first term were similar in style to those of past years but less in substance. DDT’s events were also less attended as shown by this visual from the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. It’s like the difference between inaugurations for President Obama and DDT. As you might guess, DDT’s ceremony is on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The White House decorations for DDT were sometimes a bit bizarre. The library had a “booktree” although DDT doesn’t read books. The books were purchased with a focus on the color green instead of the books’ contents, indicated by such titles as World of Golf, Tainted Evidence, and Ronin: A Marine Scout-Sniper Platoon in Iraq.” Another that may be a precursor to DDT’s term is American Mourning, how public mourning shapes politics and our future outcomes. Last year’s library decorations used the theme “Let Girls Learn” for the First Lady’s education program.

This year Melania Trump chose the theme “Time-Honored Tradition. The spooky trees in the White House East Colonnade (below left) produced a variety of humorous tweets complete with photoshopping. Tim Teeman wrote:

“Melania Trump, with what looks like the help of Tim Burton, has designed an anti-Christmas wonderland of white branches set stark against the wall and casting creepy shadows on the ceiling…. The only thing missing is a dragon breathing fire, intent on stopping you getting your hands on a magic amulet.”

In contrast is the East Colonnade decorated at Christmas in the time of President Obama.

DDT dropped his obsession with Christmas by spending his first day of that vacation at Mar-a-Lago talking about problems in North Korea and the Middle East as well as lambasting FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who he had appointed as acting FBI director after he fired James Comey. That was after he skipped over the majority of his supporters to give a massive Christmas gift to the wealthy through the tax bill that he signed yesterday.

Although fundamentalist Christians perceive DDT’s occasional fixation with saying “Merry Christmas” as a form of religious liberty, all other religions are downplayed or eliminated from notice. People who have watched politics the past year might see that there is no “War on Christmas,” but there is a war on Jews—as shown by the white supremacists marching against them—and a war on Muslims, made clear by DDT’s travel bans. People are really demanding Christian beliefs.

To feel the Christmas cheer, remember how Barack and Michelle Obama celebrate it with children. Below is President Obama a week ago taking a bag of gifts to 50 children  of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

Happy Holidays!

December 22, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-eight – A Tax Bill for the Wealthy, Another Spending Bill Continuation

Thanks to help from Democrats, the government won’t shut down for at least four weeks, and the new tax bill, signed today by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). won’t cut $125 billion in programs such as Medicare. The DOJ also can’t use federal funds to interfere with these medical programs. Missing from the bill was any reference to DACA Dreamers, young immigrants who are being deported at 122 each day because of congressional refusal to address DDT’s executive order, and the $81 billion disaster bill, lost in the shuffle. The military got a few billion, but long-term problems weren’t addressed. The stopgap spending bill, expiring on January 19, 2018, also renews CHIP, insurance for nine million children in poverty.

This week, DDT also released the 55-page security strategy, written from a hawkish “America First” rhetoric. DDT lumps Russia and China together, diminishing the chance to cooperate with China when North Korea is a grave threat. No mention, however, was made of Russia meddling in the U.S. election. Climate change was identified as an economic problem, not a security threat. Calling for incessant competition, DDT risks all agreements with foreign countries.

DDT is rapidly moving forward with his “Make America Alone” program in his altercation with the United Nations. At the request of Arab and Muslim countries, the 193 members of the UN General Assembly met in a rare emergency session for a vote on a resolution condemning the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Before the vote, DDT threatened to pull foreign aid from any nation voting for the resolution, and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reiterated the threatening speech immediately before the vote. Eight countries voted to support the U.S. while 128 voted against DDT. Earlier all 14 nations in the UN Security Council—including Russia, China, France, UK, and Japan—voted against DDT.

Russia:

FBI senior officials warned both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign that Russians may try to spy on or infiltrate their operations and urged them to contact authorities if anything suspicious took place. Therefore, DDT was lying when he said he knew nothing about it.

Investigator Robert Mueller also knows that White House Counsel Don McGahn knew national security advisor Michael Flynn broke the law as early as January and warned DDT about Flynn’s possible violations of lying to federal investigators and the Logan Act that prevents private citizens from negotiating with foreign government.

Ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and others have expressed serious concerns that GOP committee members are racing to finish their Russia investigation by the end of the year and, therefore, intentionally are over-scheduling interviews, ignoring leads, and skipping important details.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declared in a speech on the Senate floor, “In the United States of America, no one is above the law, not even the president.” He called the attacks on Robert Mueller irresponsible partisanship and warned that firing Mueller could amount to a constitutional crisis. “Interfering with his investigation by issuing pardons of essential witnesses, is unacceptable, and would have immediate and significant consequences,” Warner stated.

Negative media about Mueller thrived on texts from a former team member, Peter Strzok, that criticized DDT. The DOJ, however, has not explained why only 350 of 10,000 text messages were leaked—or what was in the other 9,650 texts.

To further discredit Mueller, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), banned from leading an investigation into DDT’s collusion with Russia, has secretly formed a coalition of House Republicans to build a case with classified information that senior members of the DOJ and FBI mishandled the contents of a dossier describing ties between DDT and Russia. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has called for FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe to be fired. During the past few weeks, the GOP panicky attacks about the investigation grow as  revelations about discoveries of collusion emerge.

AG Jeff Sessions has ordered prosecutors to investigate his totally debunked accusation that Hillary Clinton obtained a large donation to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for selling 20 percent of U.S. He swore under oath that he could recuse himself from any issues regarding Russia, Hillary Clinton, and the Clinton Foundation. Lying under oath is a felony, subject to up to five years in prison, and Sessions voted in 1999 to remove a president from office for allegedly violating that law.

Appointments:

Matthew Peterson, the Trump judicial nominee who couldn’t answer basic legal questions during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, has withdrawn his nomination.

All DDT’s unconfirmed nominees cannot be held over after this year without a unanimous consent on each from the Senate. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) has notified the White House that he will not approve Kathleen Hartnett White’s nomination to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) into 2018.  DDT could retain the woman called “apologist for polluters” as senior advisor because the confirmation does not require confirmation.

K.T. McFarland, former deputy national security advisor, may not be confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore after she told senators that she didn’t know anything about Michael Flynn’s contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition. Court documents show that she is lying.

In a 10-13 vote, the Senate Banking Committee rejected Scott Garrett, DDT’s nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank. The former New Jersey representative had pushed to disband the Ex-Im Bank which lends money to foreign buyers to promote U.S. exports.

Sexual Misconduct:

Alex Kozinski, a Reagan appointed judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, resigned after the initiation of a judicial investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct by 15 women.

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is putting the team up for sale after the NFL began an investigation of his sexually suggestive comments and inappropriate touching as well as racial slurs.

Florida state Sen. Jack Latvaia resigned from his candidacy for governor after reports of sexual harassment and demeaning, vulgar comments to female staffers.  He could also face charges for criminal bribery, unlawful compensation, or even extortion for trading legislative support for sex with a lobbyist.

Singer-songwriter Joy Villa has accused Corey Lewandowski, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, of sexual misconduct.

DDT is wooing Jewish voters and practicing his pardoning by commuting the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, convicted in 2009 for money laundering and finance fraud regarding his massive kosher slaughterhouse, Agriprocessors, in Postville (IA). In a 2008 raid, immigration officials arrested 389 illegal immigrants working there.

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló ordered a recount of deaths caused by Hurricane Maria. The official count is 64, but 1,065 more people died than usual during September and October than in earlier years. One third of the island still lacks power, 93 days after the disaster. After the financially punitive action taken by Congress toward the island, Rosselló said he will encourage the 5.3 million Puerto Ricans living across the mainland to vote out House Republicans in 14 different states.

As with all disasters, DDT politicized this week’s tragic train wreck south of Seattle when the first train on the newly furbished track to save ten minutes from another route blew through a 30-mph zoned curve at 80 mph and crashed down on the freeway below. DDT wrote that it “shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”

DDT’s arguments have several problems:

  • DDT wants the military budget expanded by more than ten percent.
  • DDT’s budget slashes federal aid to U.S. rail systems.
  • The route got $181 million from the 2010 budget stimulus.
  • The engineer failed to brake when the train was going almost three times the speed limit.
  • An infrastructure plan doesn’t exist.
  • DDT’s tax plan already puts the nation into $1.5 trillion more debt.
  • DDT’s only infrastructure plan is to make states and localities responsible and blame them if they don’t have the money for improvement.
  • The train lacked technology to slow or stop trains going too fast. Congress had mandated the Positive Train Control in 2008 with a deadline by 2015 but had postponed the requirement until 2018 because railroad companies complained about the requirement and refused to sufficiently fund the technology that could save lives.

A second federal judge has struck down DDT’s executive order allowing employers to deny birth control coverage in insurance, and a circuit court has supported three lower courts in mandating military recruitment of transgender people.

The first trial against protesters against DDT’s inauguration was a giant victory for the U.S. people: all six defendants were found not guilty of all charges while almost 200 others are still waiting prosecution. All had been circled by the police and arrested en masse. DOJ had admitted it had no evidence of the six defendants destroying property but accused them as part of a rioting conspiracy. The trial may have been protection for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department that violated city regulations on handling demonstrations.

In a June poll, 90 percent of respondents who said they trust Fox over other news networks viewed Trump favorably, but approval fell to 74 percent in October and decreased to 58 percent in December. Fox viewers who strongly approved of Trump’s job performance dropped from 55 percent in March to 32 percent in October.

DDT finally got his first major win in 334 days and personally came out at least $15 million ahead. Now the Republicans are looking for ways to get votes in 2018.

[Update: DDT’s first 334–not 303–days.]

December 21, 2017

Disastrous Tax Bill Leads to GOP Fractures over Spending Bill

In their contempt for democracy, the Republicans, the epitome of “makers” exploiting the so-called “takers,” passed their social reform bill in the dead of night to benefit large businesses and wealthy people. The process, carried out in great haste with extreme chaos and negligence, allowed for neither hearings nor debate—not even the opportunity for congressional members to examine the 1,097 pages. If one considers democracy, the way that Republicans passed the bill may be even worse than the contents. If the tax bill were a good deal for most of the people in the U.S., Republicans wouldn’t have to lie about it. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) summarized the GOP position when he said, “It’s always fun when you win” about his defeat of the people who voted for him. “Fun” also means that he gained billions of dollars from the tax bill.

“Fun” for DDT also means destroying Puerto Rico. The tax bill requires the federal government to treat the territory in the same way that it treats foreign countries in bringing operations and jobs to the U.S. from overseas. Forty-seven percent of PR’s GDP comes from manufacturing, primarily pharmaceuticals and medical devices generating revenue from patented drugs and technologies. The 12.5 percent tax levied against profits in PR for “intangible assets” of U.S. companies abroad plus a minimum of ten percent tax on their profits abroad, as in foreign countries, means that businesses will pay more to operate in PR than on the U.S. mainland. It will cost U.S. citizens their jobs and destroy PR’s economy after DDT went to the island to complain about the cost of recovery from Hurricane Maria, something he did not do at any of the summer’s disasters on the mainland.

DDT may not have his “fun” of signing the bill until January 3 because he is afraid to let the 2010 “pay-as-you-go” law automatically cut Medicare and other programs. These would take effect in 2018 if he signed it in 2017. To avoid bad press, he is hoping that Congress will waive these cuts by 2019. Spending caps went into effect under a GOP-created law in 2011 and have received two two-year waivers–also from the GOP. The most recent one expired on October 1, 2017, and Republicans didn’t get around to lifting it again.

To pass the waiver, the GOP needs Democrats who are raw from the GOP pushing through the tax bill and plan to negotiate for restoration of the health-insurance mandate, due to expire in 2019. The schedule is not set, but Congress will most likely not pass this bill by the end of this week while they struggle with other expiring laws, like the spending bill that keeps the government from shutting down.

One vote to transfer the Great Society into Ayn Rand’s idea of plutocracy came from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) who earlier gained the support of her constituents when she refused to vote for an earlier bill because it would drive at least 13 million people off health insurance. The new bill does the same thing, but she claimed that her vote was okay because Congress would shore health insurance markets and undo Medicare cuts guaranteed by the tax bill that she supported with her vote. Even after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that the House wouldn’t support the deal, she voted for the tax bill. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who made the promise to Collins, is not known for truthfulness. Collins decried media coverage as “unbelievably sexist” because it describes her as being “duped.” She may have to eat her words after discovering that’s exactly what happened.

After the beautiful togetherness and self-backslapping of GOP leaders following the tax bill’s passage, Republicans are back to fighting over the spending bill that must be passed in two days to avoid a government shutdown. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) described the altercation following the joint communion for the tax bill:

“It’s kind of like leaving the hospital, just finding out you’re cancer free, and getting run over by a Mack truck.”

Ryan already refused to allow Collins’ funding for the Affordable Care Act in this year’s spending package. Gone—at least temporarily—is the agreement for legislation to reduce health care premiums for nine million people without government subsidies. House Republicans refuse to address Collins’ proposal to continue the health care subsidies without attaching Hyde Amendment language prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion. Democrats oppose this demand because it expands the existing amendment by discouraging private insurers from covering abortions. Insurers must keep funds for insurer subsidies separate from abortion services, but Republicans want more. Many Republicans are totally against the ACA, and abortion makes a good excuse to block Collins’ proposal. Collins and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have withdrawn their bill for these subsidies until next year’s full spending bill.

The stopgap also fails to address funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reauthorization and funding for Community Health Centers. Without CHIP, nine million children lose their health insurance, even those in the middle of such serious problems as cancer treatment.

In the Senate, at least eight Democrats or independents must support all Republicans for a stopgap measure to overcome a filibuster. Without a stopgap measure, the federal government shuts down at midnight Friday. GOP leaders want a bill that expires on January 19, 2018 to stop the shutdown. They call is the “CRomnibus” proposal, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has other names for it:

“Some people are calling it the ‘punt’-ibus, just punt this down the road. I call it the ‘none’-tibus because it’s not going anywhere.”

The GOP House leadership had trouble with its representatives from large blue states because the tax bill penalized their residents disproportionately by reducing deductions for state property and income taxes. Now GOP representatives from Texas and Florida are opposing a bill without the $81 billion disaster bill. Lawmakers in states badly hit by hurricanes vow to stay in Washington until they get their disaster funding. Conservatives object because the disaster relief isn’t paid for by cuts in other parts of the budget, a scenario that takes everyone back to the fight over funding after Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast. Democrats in the Senate oppose the disaster bill because, according to the Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “still does not treat Puerto Rico, California and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as Florida and Texas.”

In another contentious issue, the GOP had planned to take a separate vote tomorrow to reauthorize Section 702 spying powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for three weeks. After opposition from the Freedom Caucus today, that plan was dropped. Schumer agreed, saying that they need a clean spending bill:

“We cannot do a short-term funding bill that picks and chooses what problems to solve. We have to do them all together, instead of in a piecemeal fashion. It has to be a truly global deal. We can’t leave any of those issues behind.”

The Republicans claim that they can’t shut down the government because it would ruin their win with the tax bill. They have 48 hours pass a bill in the House, send it to the Senate who might make changes if they pass it and then send it back to the House who will then have to agree. That’s before the bill gets sent to the president for signing. The 2880 minutes are ticking away.

December 19, 2017

Tax Bill a Lump of Coal for the Holidays

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 10:05 PM
Tags: , , ,

During his campaign, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) promised to bring coal back, and he’s lived up to his promise: most people in the United States will get a lump of coal in their holiday stockings, thanks to DDT and the GOP. This morning, 227 Republicans passed a disastrous social reform bill, masked as tax cuts, in opposition to all Democrats and 12 other Republicans. Their desire was to “do something,” just as serial killers want credit for their negative actions. GOP leadership is preening over a bill that has only 33 percent support among the public with 66 percent of the nation knowing that it benefits the wealthy rather than the middle and lower classes.

After its success in the House, the tax bill ran into a small glitch because the rush in the Senate kept it from living up to requirements that would avoid any filibustering. Tonight the Senate is working on a revised bill that will go back to the House after it passes the Senate. There is little hope that the bill will fail.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claims that the GOP made major accomplishments in 2017. Other than potentially passing a bill with less than one-third approval and packing the courts with judges who believe in discrimination, the GOP Congress has no other successes. The greatest accomplishments have been in energizing the Democrats. Thus far they have far more viable candidates than the Republicans and flipped the Virginia House of Delegates with a 50-50 tie between the two parties. The last recount resulted in a Democrat winning by one vote to change 16 seats from red to blue. [Update: After a court decided that one of the the discounted votes is for a Republican, the result is a tie. In that case, the winner may be chosen by drawing a name for a glass bowl. The loser may then seek a second recount. A Republican win would leave the Virginia House of Delegates with a 51-49 majority for the GOP.]

McConnell blamed the negative polling for his tax bill on the press and Democratic resistance. Yet the media, except for the far-right such as Fox and Breitbart, publishes the facts—such as the revisions of the bill to capture both chambers of Congress gives 83 percent of the tax cuts to the top 1 percent by 2027, an increase of 62.1 percent with the original Senate bill. Over one half the people in the United States will pay more in taxes. Even in the bill’s first year, the top 20 percent gets almost two-thirds of the bill’s benefit.

The tax cut fails four Republican rules:

  • It increases the debt by at least $1.5 trillion—or possibly more.
  • It doesn’t benefit the middle class.
  • The wealthiest, including DDT), are the primary beneficiaries.
  • It likely won’t supercharge the economy, according to independent experts in the field.

DDT had promised to get rid of the carried interest loophole that gives massive tax breaks to managers of private equity funds, venture capital funds, and hedge funds. Instead of paying taxes at the higher rate of ordinary income, they can use the low rates of capital gains. The new tax bill allows them to continue saving money with that practice if they hold the investment for at least three years.

House Speaker Paul Ryan claimed that the bill would deliver revenue neutrality, simplicity, and fairness. None of those happened—not even simplicity. The tax bill still has seven tax brackets, and the revision of “pass-though” income in businesses confuses even most tax experts. The business revision will create many jobs for people who magically become independent contractors or part of LLCs.

Fairness? The bill gives breaks to businesses owned by trusts. The marriage penalty returns because the maximum deduction of ten thousand dollars for state and local taxes is the same for individual filers and for couples. And far more.

Robert Reich lists other flaws in GOP arguments about their tax plan:

It won’t make U.S. corporations competitive with foreign corporations, which are taxed at a lower rate. (1) With all the loopholes for U.S. corporations, they pay the same as foreign-based corporations. (2) Most other countries require a “Value Added Tax” on top of the tax. (3) Other countries will cut their tax rates to be competitive. (4) Most corporations benefiting aren’t “American” because over 35 percent of their shareholders are foreign, 20 percent of the employees are foreign, and U.S. citizens work for foreign-based corporations. (5) The “competitiveness” of U.S. corporations depends on U.S. workers, diminished in education, health, and infrastructure through shrinking public investments. (6) Profits of U.S. corporations, already at record levels, are used to buy back stocks and raise executive pay—the same thing that corporations will do with the $1 trillion that the GOP is giving them.

Big corporations and the rich won’t use the investment to invest and create more jobs. (1) Job creation doesn’t trickle down as proved by Reagan and George W. Bush’s tax cuts. (2) Demand for goods and services causes corporate expansion and new jobs. The middle class and poor could provide this demand if they had additional money, but the rich, far more benefited by the bill, won’t create this demand. (3) Financing the wealthy by losing health coverage for 13 million low-income people and subsequent cuts in Social Security and Medicare won’t create more jobs.

Small businesses will have no incentive to invest and create more jobs. (1) At least 85 percent of small businesses earn so little they already pay the lowest corporate tax rate. (2) The larger rewards for big business will give them more ability to squeeze out small firms and force them out of business.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin repeated the myth that “wages will go up” because of “lowering business taxes.” Businessman and former mayor Michael Bloomberg said that “sitting on a record amount of cash reserves: nearly $2.3 trillion. It’s pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth.”

A prize last-minute tweak that originally appeared in neither the House nor the Senate costs less-advantaged people $418 billion. Known as the “Corker Kickback,” because Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) was against the bill until that provision was put in, allows real-estate developers through LLCs to deduct twenty percent of the income that these properties generate. Corker denies that he knew about that provision in the bill because he hadn’t read it before he changed his vote. Corker said: “Deficits matter. They’re a greater threat to us than North Korea or [the Islamic State].” Now he’s willing to take almost $2 million away from poorer people with his vote for the tax bill. Only the Republicans could turn tax cuts into such an unpopular bill.

Corker isn’t alone in supporting the bill that pays him back. Twenty-three other leading GOP lawmakers responsible for crafting the bill will also see this windfall, but they were supporting the tax bill before the change.

DDT will make even more money off this part of the tax bill. Once the tax bill goes into effect, people who voted for DDT may have concrete proof of how he and the GOP will cheat them just as DDT swindled contractors without promised pay or students at Trump University with dishonest marketing. Without DDT’s releasing his tax returns, people are highly unlikely to believe that his own taxes are going up, a claim that received four Pinocchios for falsehood.

Vice President Mike Pence also lied about the tax bill to avoid going to the Middle East at this time. It’s natural that he would want to avoid the hostility that he would face after DDT claimed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the Western Wall as belonging to Israel. Thus Pence said he was postponing the trip to break a tie on the bill. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has gone back to Arizona for the holidays and won’t be present for the vote. That leaves 99 people left in the Senate for the vote, making a tie impossible.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) tried to blame Democrats for any of the bill’s problems. The GOP refused to allow any participation from Dems, and it is doubtful that Dems could keep Republicans from paying back all the wealthy donors who have been buying the GOP for years.

DDT supporters are clinging to their choice, many of them even with the possibility of paying higher taxes and health care premiums. Will they stay loyal when DDT breaks another campaign promise and tries to take away some of their Social Security and Medicare?

[Update: After a court decided that one of the the discounted votes is for a Republican, the result is a tie. In that case, the winner may be chosen by drawing a name for a glass bowl. The loser may then seek a second recount. A Republican win would leave the Virginia House of Delegates with a 51-49 majority for the GOP.]

December 17, 2017

Jerusalem Decision Continues to Rankle

Jerusalem continues to stay in the news as leaders of 57 Islam nations have declared East Jerusalem the Palestinian capital. Turkey, chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, hosted the summit meeting in Istanbul. The nations also condemned actions of Dictator Donald Trump to change the status of Jerusalem as a “unilateral” and “dangerous declaration” as well as an announcement that the U.S. was withdrawing as a sponsor of peace for the region.

In another objection to DDT’s declaration on December 6, 2017 that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, Ali Salam, mayor of the Israeli town of Nazareth, said that Christmas celebrations were canceled.  He has withdrawn the statement, but the objection still exists. Nazareth, home to Jesus during his youth, is now a town of 76,000, about 80 percent Arab. “Christ”mas celebrations in Nazareth seem to focus on Santa Claus.

Determined to create more problems in the Middle East, DDT may follow his officials in their view that the Western Wall will also be declared a part of Israel. The contradictory position is that borders of the city must be determined through Palestine-Israel negotiations but refuse to accept any position in which Israel doesn’t control the Wall. The sacred location is outside Israel’s pre-1967 borders and is next to Islam’s most revered sites.

VP Mike Pence is headed for the Wall on his trip this week. He will be accompanied by a rabbi, similar to DDT’s trip last May. Pence will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will no longer meet with Pence after DDT tried to give Jerusalem to Israel.

Until DDT, the United States has not recognized Israel sovereignty over the Old City, territory occupied in 1967 and home to valued Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious sites. Israel controls the Western Wall, a retaining wall from the biblical Jewish Temple, and holds state ceremonies there. Nearby is the hilltop Noble Sanctuary, the third holiest Islam site, and the Temple Mount, considered the holiest site in Judaism.

Thousands around the world continue to protest DDT’s announcement, and DDT is the object of satire.

The UN Security Council plans to vote tomorrow on a resolution requesting the withdrawal of DDT’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The draft U.N. text expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.” It “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” The resolution also asks countries to not establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and “demands that all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.”

A UN Security Council resolution adopted in December 2016 “underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.” The resolution passed with 14 votes in favor and an abstention from the U.S.

The current resolution will fail because it cannot pass with a veto from the United States, but a majority vote will further isolate the U.S.

Jerusalem was granted special status in 1947, placed under international sovereignty and control, because of its religious importance to all three Abrahamic religions. Zionist forces took over the western half of the city in 1948, and Israel captured the eastern half in 1967. In 1980, Israel declared that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel” in the “Jerusalem Law.” The UN declared that law “null and void” through the passage of Resolution 478; international law maintains that an occupying power cannot have sovereignty in the territory it occupies.

Israel gives citizenship only to Jews in East Jerusalem. The 420,000 Palestinians lack any citizenship, even of Jordan or Palestine. They are treated as foreign immigrants and required to fulfil requirements to maintain their residency status, including proof that they have lived there continuously for a specific period of time. For proof, they must submit many documents including title deeds, rent contracts, and salary information. Citizenship from another country revokes their status to residency. All Jews in the world, however, may live in Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship.

The UN also considers Israel’s settlement in East Jerusalem to be illegal, directly contravening the fourth Geneva Convention preventing an occupying country from transferring its population to occupied territory. Reasons include a temporary occupation that cannot use military rule to establish a long-term presence, protection of occupied civilians from theft of resources, demographic changes in the territory. Despite international law, Israel has built over a dozen housing complexes, or settlements, in East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhoods, and 200,000 Israeli citizens live there under army and police protection, infringing on Palestinian rights.

Israel already forces Palestinians to suffer from apartheid while DDT makes the situation worse as The New York Times describes:

“The president [has] made a typically grandiose and poorly thought-through political gesture to domestic supporters — in this case, those who staunchly back Israel’s hard-line Likud government.”

December 16, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-seven – Sexual Misconduct Stays in News

The biggest news against Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was Roy Moore’s loss in the race for Alabama’s U.S. senator, making the second loss for DDT in the election after Luther Strange lost the primary. Roy Moore won’t concede the election after losing by 1.5 points, claiming that he’ll win with military and provisional votes. He’s asking for donations for an “election integrity fund,” but probably not because Alabama is one of the worst states in the nation for voter suppression. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is dragging his feet in seating Sen. Doug Jones while pushing the tax bill before Strange departs. Seven years ago, McConnell pushed the seating of Scott Brown, a new GOP senator, to vote for the Affordable Care Act.

DDT’s false claims about Russian not meddling in the U.S. presidential election has been declared the lie of the year. The House Judiciary Committee failed to get FBI Director Christopher Wray to denounce the FBI and then grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about whether he would fire special investigator Robert Mueller. Rosenstein said he would not without good cause, which he does not have at this time. DDT has never hosted a Cabinet meeting about Russian interference in the U.S. election, and White House staff are not allowed to speak about the subject.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that he would talk diplomacy with North Korea “without precondition” for three days until he reversed his position to say that North Korea must “earn its way” by stopping its nuclear threats.

The week’s mystery is John Kelly’s ejection of former Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault Newman from the White House. The Secret Service denied that they escorted her off the premises, but she isn’t allowed to return before her last day on January 20, 2018. Steve Benen lists the major disappearances since January 20, 2017. Omarosa’s fame came from her statement that everyone “will have to bow down to President Trump. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

Appointments:

The Senate has confirmed three lifetime appointments for the U.S. Circuit Courts and Court of Appeals:

  • Leonard Steven Grasz – Unanimously rated “not qualified by American Bar Association and supports the teaching of creationism and anti-LGBTQ policies;
  • Don Willett – Bases judicial decisions on personal anti-LGBTQ and anti-worker views;
  • James Ho – Wants to “abolish all restrictions on campaign finance,” defends torture, and opposes LGBTQ rights.  sides with teaching of creationism and anti-LGBTQ policies.

FEC Member Matthew Petersen has never tried any case, argued a case in state or federal court, and deposed anyone by himself. During a confirmation hearing, he could not define basic legal terms such as the Daubert standard, motion in limine, motion in limit, the Younger abstention doctrine, and the Pullman abstention doctrine. He claims to understand “the challenge” if he were named the U.S. District Court judgeship for the District of Columbia and thinks that he is qualified.

Michael Dourson backed out of the nomination for U.S. top regulator of toxic chemicals. He ran a consulting company that defended toxic chemicals on behalf of companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and DuPont and advocates weaker chemical safety standards.

After Moore lost the Senate race in Alabama, Sen. Chuck Grassley pulled two of DDT’s judicial nominees from consideration. Jeff Mateer, DDT’s pick for the Eastern District of Texas, and Brett Talley, a choice for Alabama, both made comments supporting discriminatory groups or policies. Talley, whose wife works for White House counsel, had been considered “not qualified” by the American Bar Association and defended judicial discrimination, including against transgender people. Grassley pled ignorance about these problems despite wide media coverage about them.

Moving Forward:

DDT failed to kill “Obamacare” despite eliminating almost all funding for ads and assistance plus considerably shortening the signup time. This year’s enrollment is almost equal to that of last year. DDT has refused to extend the deadline even one day after December 15 although it has been extended to January 31 of the next year in the past.

Thanks to U.S. District Judge Wendy, Beetlestone, DDT’s rules of employers’ “religious or moral” exceptions to contraception which prevent its no-cost coverage are blocked nationwide during trials from lawsuits against them.

DDT thought that he would kill the nuclear deal with Iran, but because Congress failed to take action in 60 days, the agreement stays in force.

Thirteen U.S. scientists received “Make the Planet Great Again” grants from France’s President Emmanuel Macron, offered after DDT said that the U.S. was backing out of the Paris climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Grants were awarded to five other scientists in other parts of the world.

Assaulters of the week:

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) won’t be seeking reelection. He’s joined by Ruben Kihuen (D-NV). That makes seven congressional members going or gone thus far because of sexual misconduct—four Republicans and three Democrats.

Chief Justice Sidney R. Thomas of the 9th Circuit Court has asked that one of his judges, Reagan appointee Alex Kozinski, be investigated by another court for complaints of sexual misconduct by at least 15 women have accused Kozinski of inappropriate sexual conduct or comments. Dahlia Lithwick wrote about her experience 20 years ago with Kozinski when she was clerking for then Chief Justice Judge Procter Hug of the 9th Circuit Court.

Accused of sexual crimes and misconduct including sexual assault of a teenager, Kentucky state GOP Rep. Dan Johnson killed himself. Four of his Republican colleagues have also been accused of sexual misconduct. The House Speaker has already resigned. Johnson’s enabler wife plans to replace Johnson in the legislature.

DDT Tweets:

About a senator’s statements call for investigating sexual misconduct allegations against DDT: “Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Charles E. Schumer and someone who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!” Katty Kay, anchor for BBC World News America, called DDT’s tweet “clearly sexual” and “demeaning to women.” DDT has not responded to the same request from male Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Fifty-nine women congressional members have formally requested the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to investigate allegations of DDT’s sexual misconduct. From an editorial by the conservative USA Today:

“A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.”

About women accusing DDT of sexual assault: “women who I don’t know and/or have never met.” Witnesses, videos, and photographs show that he is lying.

The funniest one comes from DDT’s namesake, Donald Jr.: “I would pay good money to see all those people complaining about Obama’s FCC chairman voting to repeal #NetNeutality actually explain it in detail. I’d also bet most hadn’t heard of it before this week. #outrage.” Ajit Pai is DDT’s FCC chairman, appointed in January, and millions of people know about net neutrality because they made public comments to stop its loss. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, joined by attorneys general from at least 18 states, plans a lawsuit to keep net neutrality. At least 83 percent of people oppose the commission’s decision; even three-fourths of Republicans don’t agree with losing net neutrality. The FCC net neutrality repeal cannot go into effect until it is approved by the Office of Management and Budget—which could take months.  The industry’s argument for Pai’s change of “freedom” of the net only allows corporations to control what people watch and overcharge customers.

Moving Backward:

DDT has erased rules that tried to prevent explosive train wrecks.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has authored a huge higher education bill that guarantees colleges and universities can discriminate against LGBTQ students without danger of losing federal funds under the guise of religious freedom. The bill also removes protections for victims of campus sexual assault.

In the trial of six protesters on DDT’s inauguration day, the judge eliminated one of the eight charges and lowered the maximum penalty from 60 years. In its closing argument, DOJ admitted that it had no evidence that the people on trial had committed acts of violence or vandalism or planned the protest march, but they incited others by wearing black. The lawyer also accused two of the defendants who gave medical assistance as being “prepared for war … “to mend them and get them up on their way.” Deliberations are scheduled for late next week.

DDT socialist move will let restaurant owners make servers share their tips with untipped employees such as cooks and dishwashers means that the employers, who are not required to distribute the tips, can pocket $5.8 billion a year. Comments are due by February 5, 2018.

Four Trumps failed to successfully vote absentee in a New York mayoral election on November 7:

  • Melania didn’t sign her envelope.
  • Ivanka didn’t mail her ballot until Election Day—too late for counting.
  • Jared Kushner didn’t return his ballot.
  • DDT put his wrong date of birth on his application for an absentee ballot.

DDT’s continued approval rating of 32 percent is near the tipping point of leadership failure at 30 percent.

December 15, 2017

The Tax Bill Would Destroy Our Nation’s Future

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 11:13 PM
Tags: , , ,

The new tax bill, approved by a joint Senate/House committee in both congressional chambers, is ready for votes in both chambers this coming week with no experts testifying and no Democratic support.

Benefits for corporations: The permanent drop to 21 percent—40 percent of the rate during the 1950s—saves them $1 trillion in a decade. Corporations have not indicated any desire to invest these savings in the economy. Foreign income by U.S. companies would be tax-free. These cuts are permanent; those for individuals expire in nine years. Corporate cuts disproportionately help the wealthy because they are the share-holders.

Benefits for the wealthy: The highest tax rate for married couples making over $470,000 has been dropped 2.6 percent to 37 percent although DDT had said the bill would not cut taxes on the rich. DDT had said that his wealthy friends were complaining. Overall, 47.5 percent of taxpayers have an average increase of $150 in taxes, and 31.3 percent may get a reduction with an average of $1,500. This doesn’t reflect the cost of health insurance premiums.

Cuts for tax deductions: Only $10,000 in state, local, and property taxes can be deducted on federal income taxes, causing property values to fall in high-tax cities and leaving less money for public schools and infrastructure. The bill also prohibits taxpayers from prepaying next year’s state and local income or property taxes to prevent people from deducting them from 2018 taxes.

Increase in insurance premiums: The disappearance of an individual healthcare mandate will cause premiums for people not on the Affordable Care Act to rise and 13 million more people to be without health insurance in a decade. The elimination of the mandate doesn’t occur until 2019.

No estate tax under $22 million: Currently heirs don’t pay estate taxes under $11 million for married couples, but the new tax doubles that amount.

A 20-percent reduction for “pass through” companies: In S corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and sole proprietorships, income is “passed through” to the business owner’s individual tax return. The new bill invites a plethora of sham businesses for salaries to allow people to deduct 20-percent of their income up to $315,000 tax-free.

Drop in AMT (alternative minimum tax) for individuals: The tax began in 1969 to keep wealthy families from lowering their tax bill to almost nothing through credits and loopholes. The AMT level had not been changed, and couples earning over $84,500 may end of paying the AMT. The proposed threshold is $500,000.

No corporate AMT tax: This tax has kept corporate taxes close to 21 percent.

Drop in mortgage interest deduction: This deduction would be reduced from up to $1 million in mortgage loans to a cap of $750,000 for new loans.

Business perks: Additional tax relief for owners of engineering and architectural firms and the elimination of any change in capital gains treatment of home sales are among appeasements to business lobbyists and congressional champions.

Items left in place: The student loan deduction, the medical expense deduction, and the graduate student tuition waivers; retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans;

Churches, synagogues, mosques and other nonprofits (the Johnson Amendment stays in place) can’t get political and endorse candidates in elections or collect money for them with undisclosed donations.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who promised he would not vote for any bill that raised one penny of the national debt, is now in favor of a bill that increases the debt at least $1 trillion dollars (100 trillion pennies). Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who was earlier opposed to dropping off health insurance, seems fine with the bill predicted to do that to 13 million people. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who caved on the last bill because he was promised that he could stay in a room where DACA might be discussed, is expressing doubt, but he can be expected to give in. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) who voted against an earlier bill because he didn’t get enough money for his own business in Wisconsin must have gotten the money because he stated that the probably non-existent “economic growth” will be the way that “most Americans benefit from this tax reform.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) now approves after the new bill slightly expands a child tax refundable credit by $300 from $1,100. The child tax credit, doubling to $2,000, would phase out at $400,000 in earnings for married couples, up from the current $110,000.

Over 30 years ago, the 1986 tax reform bill may have dropped the corporate tax rate to 34 percent, but the reduction was covered by eliminating or reducing business tax breaks. Congressional sentiment was to have fewer tax loopholes and shelters for the rich to avoid an increase in the deficit. The capital gains increased from 20 percent to 28 percent because of the bipartisan belief that these taxes should be at least commensurate with ordinary income for workers. Not ideal, but far superior to the today’s GOP view of tax “reform” of giving money to rich individuals and businesses, taking from the poor, and driving up the deficit with the goal of eliminating earned benefits such as Medicare and Social Security.

The tax bill is like an oil spill: it will keep oozing bad news. Egregious pieces of the Senate bill may remain such as a tax exemption for cruise ships that dock in Alaska, a favor for Sen. Dan Sullivan; allowing luxury car dealerships to deduct interest on loans to showrooms for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); and a tax deduction for $10,000 of private school tuition.  A deduction for domestic manufacturing is gone, encouraging companies to move offshore. Fossil fuel drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge stays.

Republicans have had enough time to play with their largely disliked tax scam bill, but they ignored CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), insurance for 9 million poor children, that expired at the end of September. GOP leaders such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) have sneered at people who need this insurance because they don’t work hard enough. Because of their indifference, young people won’t play basketball or join a dance team because they can’t afford an annual physical. Thousands more won’t have access to dialysis, surgery, or chemotherapy because the GOP believes that these children don’t deserve help. Meanwhile, they’re putting the same children into debt with a bill that gives money to the wealthy.

If the GOP wants to put the nation into debt by $1.5 trillion, they could stop child poverty, as Rachel West explains:

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 5.7 million poor families with children would need an average of $11,400 more to live above the poverty line in 2016. In total, the income needed to boost these families—along with the additional 105,000 children who were not living with their families—above the federal poverty level is about $69.4 billion per year in today’s dollars. Over ten years, that adds up to about 46 percent of what Congress plans to spend on its tax plan. There would be so much money left over after we boosted these kids out of poverty that the United States could also pay tuition and fees for all of them to get an in-state education at a four-year public university, and it still wouldn’t costs as much as the tax plan. If Congress wanted to really let loose, and spend just 12 percent more than the tax bill does—for a total of $1.74 trillion—we could completely eliminate all poverty in America.”

Using the $1.5 trillion in this way would give a real boost to the economy. People could afford to buy things that other people would need to manufacture; people could buy services that would create more jobs. With all these jobs, the taxes would vastly increase in an upwardly spiral movement instead giving businesses the opportunity to take their $1 trillion out of the country.

Giving almost $1.5 trillion to the wealthy and businesses also takes away any chance for fixing the crumbling infrastructure throughout the United States. The bill gives no opportunity to repair highways, bridges, airports, railways, water and sewage plants, electrical grids—the list has grown more and more as taxes dropped in the last half century. Now the Republicans expect states to fix all the infrastructure form their meager state budgets, already weakened by increasing federal demands on them.

In the Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria wrote about the bill if it passes:

“The medium- and long-term effects of the plan will be a massive drop in public investment, which will come on the heels of decades of declining spending (as a percentage of gross domestic product) on infrastructure, scientific research, skills training and core government agencies. The United States can’t coast on past investments forever….

“United States has almost 56,000 bridges with structural problems (about 1,900 of which are on interstate highways), and these are crossed 185 million times a day….

“In 1977 the federal government provided 63 percent of the country’s total investment in water infrastructure, but only 9 percent by 2014. There’s so much congestion in America’s largest rail hub, Chicago, that it takes longer for a freight train to pass through the city than it takes to get from there to Los Angeles.”

The GOP tax bill would provide more of the same—more money for the wealthy taken from everyone else–and destroy any opportunity for a brighter future.

December 11, 2017

GOP Plans to Destroy Democracy with Its Tax Bill

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 9:26 PM
Tags: , ,

In darkness, secrecy, and haste, the Republicans in Congress created an ill-conceived bill erroneously labeled as Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (SCAM). The proposed evil law is designed to restructure the social structure of the United States by confirming the nation as a kleptocracy—rule by thieves. The law would take money from almost all the people in the lowest 80 percent, those with the least resources, while giving huge amounts to the top of the food chain and the huge corporations. It dehumanizes people with a class structure that evaluates everyone on economic productivity and exterminates those considered unsuitable. Republicans have moved toward this system in the past decade by removing poor people, women, and minorities from the voting rolls.

In just one example of the GOP cruelty, opening the Arctic national wildlife refuge to oil and gas drilling may destroy the primary food source, caribou, for the Gwish’in people and perhaps the tribe itself. CBO estimates that the government will gain $145 million with drilling, equivalent to a year’s worth of DDT’s weekend trips.

Billionaire Robert Mercer, who bought the presidency for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), said that “a human being is only worth as much as they can earn,” that he’s worth thousands of times more than a school teacher because he makes that much more money than school teachers do.Pervasive GOP language—“makers and takers,” “anchor babies” (but not for the wealthy Russian women who come to the U.S. to give birth); “job creators” (for companies that keep moving overseas and firing people); etc.—describes Republicans’ disdain for the “underclass.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is reluctant to fund CHIP, health insurance for poor children, because it would “help people who won’t help themselves—won’t lift a finger—and expect the federal government to do everything.” These are the people who have a minimum wage of $7.25 in many states because Republicans think that they don’t deserve higher wages. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) determines that people with huge estates should need to pay taxes on them “as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Back to the $7.25 minimum wage that won’t even get them into a movie. And it’s the spending by the majority of people in the nation that drives the economy, not giving money to the wealthy who store it in other countries.

The sole aim of this egregious bill is to kill everything that came out of the New Deal. In the four decades after Herbert Hoover almost completely destroyed the nation, laws tried to stop employers from abusing workers and destroying the environment. They set in motion strategies to support those who could not help themselves and initiated the way to equal economic opportunity. Prosperity for people at the bottom means economic growth. It changed the GOP philosophy that protection of the rich, ruling by businessmen, and slashing taxes and regulations would create national prosperity, beliefs that drove the nation into the Great Depression. Looking at Kansas since the GOP instated this philosophy again demonstrates its failure.

FDR was president for almost four terms and followed by a Democrat for another one. By the 1950s, the standard of living in the nation was the best it had been before—and the best since then. Ignoring the facts, the GOP set out to do away with the philosophy and succeeded in eliminating the high standard of living. In the 1970s, the GOP began moving the nation’s assets to the rich through deregulation. Businesses were encouraged to attack the media, education, politics, and courts—just as in current times. Wealth moved upward.

Between 1946 and 1980, “pre-tax” incomes (ownership of assets, public and private pensions, and disability and unemployment insurance) grew from the bottom up, with an increase faster for the poorest adults than the top 20 percent. Those at the bottom 20 percent doubled their incomes whereas the top one percent increased 47 percent. In “post-tax” income, the bottom 20 percent gained a 179 percent hike over these 34 years.

The FCC regulation requiring news to be balanced, equitable, and honest disappeared in 1987, and biased news outlets such as Fox appeared, calling themselves “fair and balanced.” The GOP began to drive out the “RINOs,” Republicans in Name Only, who might support social welfare, regulations, taxes, or compromise. Between 1980 and 2014, pre-tax incomes dropped 25 percent for the bottom 20 percent while the top one percent incomes went up 204 percent, and the top 0.1 percent increased 320 percent. After-tax income for the bottom 20 percent was a four-percent increase. Post-tax income for those between the bottom 50 percent and the top ten percent rose 49 percent. By 2015, the top 1 percent of families took home more than 20 percent of income. Wealth distribution was 10 times worse than that: the families in the top 1 percent owned as much as the families in the bottom 90 percent. By 2015, the top one percent owned 40 percent of the wealth, equal to assets for the bottom 90 percent.

The “tax” bill is part of the GOP objective to eradicate the middle class by concentrating more income and wealth with the existing rich. Republicans will start by eliminating Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This year’s Senate tax bill starts begins the process by triggering a federal law, PayGo, that limits Medicare to four percent of the annual budget. The $1.5 trill deficit in the bill will them more ammunition when they claim that the country cannot afford the deficit that they created by giving huge sums of money to the wealthy and corporations. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) said:

“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit… Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”

Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) echoed Ryan by saying that “we have to have welfare reform.” Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) said, “If we pass tax reform, we have to have welfare reform.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) stated that the plan had always been “to do two things,” because “the driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries.” No mention that the GOP is creating the huge debt themselves. The common cry from Republicans is that the government should not help people by “paying people not to work” (Ryan), people who “suffer on welfare” (Higgins); etc. Yet almost 90 percent of working-age parents receiving food stamps are back to work in a year, and two-thirds of people who receive them are children, people with disabilities, and people too old to work. Back to their inability to save because of the $7.25 minimum wage. And “welfare” to GOP legislatures is Medicare and Social Security.

A huge irony of the bill’s process come from the excessive complaining from the GOP about what they perceived as the “rushed” process of the healthcare bill seven years ago. The following chart shows the difference between the way that Democrats follow the “regular order” of Congress and that the way that Republicans ignore it.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) described the social engineering of the tax bill:

“It’s really designed to reorder our representative democracy. What they will do with these massive tax breaks is they will buy each other up in more mergers, which will concentrate markets and make it much more difficult for small businesses and workers. They’ll also pay each other off and give each other more bonuses, which they will use to purchase political influence in Washington and state capitals all over the country….

“This is really, I think, more about reordering our society, creating a hereditary aristocracy in the United States and really taking our country and leading it down a path where we will one day see a very tiny group of very, very, very rich elite people in an ocean of desperate people just trying to hang on and make it every single day—not too much different from countries that we see around the world, like Honduras, where I recently visited.”

A few goals of the GOP “tax” bill:

  • Kill off the weak by removing health insurance, Social Security, and the safety net;
  • Make education for only the advantaged through deductions for the wealthy and voucher systems;
  • Restrict income to only the wealthy;
  • Encourage corporations, with profits already at an all-time high, to shelter more assets offshore;
  • Take homes from more people;
  • Make the United States a theocracy by allowing untaxed churches to promote candidates;
  • Destroy the infrastructure and make the climate untenable;
  • Move more wealth upward.

Republicans are desperate to pass the bill because donors are withdrawing money from them until they complete the task. They openly support an alleged pedophile for the Senate because they are also desperate to get his vote. With no empathy or desire to preserve a democracy, the GOP will bulldoze this bill as far as they can through fraud, lies, and any other nefarious actions possible.

DDT promised people he wouldn’t touch Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. People believed him, and he was elected. Will they believe the next conservative who makes these false promises?

Next Page »

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily 60 Second News Bites

Transformational News In 60 Seconds; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

GLBT News

Official news outlet for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of ALA

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: