Closing Thought–19Jan18

The Games Politicians Play

Midnight today could bring about the shutting down of the government…..and as usual the blame game has already started……the jockeying for position….the he said they did…..the game is afoot!

If he were a betting man, it doesn’t sound like President Trump would be betting on a short-term budget agreement passing Congress by Friday. In brief comments to reporters outside the Pentagon Thursday, Trump said there “could very well be” a shutdown. “We’ll see what happens. It’s up to the Democrats,” Politico quotes him as saying. That seems to be Mitch McConnell’s line, too. Politico reports—by way of GOP sources and an email from McConnell it viewed—that should the short-term funding bill the GOP is pushing not pass by the Friday deadline, McConnell plans to try to foist the blame for the ensuing shutdown on Democrats and their DACA-related demands, particularly those Democrats whose seat will be up for grabs this fall and who hail from states Trump won (there are 10, Politico notes).

The reported strategy is for McConnell to keep the Senate in session all weekend and arrange a slew of votes that could put Dems in a bad light, should they continually vote against things like the Children’s Health Insurance Program. If a shutdown does kick in at midnight Friday, the AP reports the impact would be evident but not paralyzing. Federal workers would be impacted and national parks could close, but essential things—Social Security payments, Homeland Security, the military, air traffic control, food inspection—would truck on. There could be an economic cost, though. In a great primer on what a shutdown could mean, the Los Angeles Times notes that the 16-day 2013 shutdown dropped Q4 GDP growth from 3% to 2.4%, per Standard & Poor’s estimates

This will be just another game that will feed the Twitter account and the media for a few days until a compromise is found….YAWN!

But let us say all falls to shit and the shutdown occurs……

The looming government shutdown has had one tangible effect so far: President Trump has put plans for a trip to his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort on hold, reports NBC News. “The President will not be going to Florida until the CR passes,” the White House said, referring to a continuing resolution to keep the government open before a midnight deadline arrives. Trump had been planning to leave Friday to attend an anniversary bash on Saturday at Mar-a-Lago, a celebration of his first year in office, reports Bloomberg. More on the shutdown, including a Friday meeting between Trump and Chuck Schumer, and its potential effects on everyday life:

  • Prospects: Things are “dicey at best” in terms of a deal, with Politico seeing a “seemingly intractable impasse” in the Senate. One huge sticking point is that Democrats want any spending plan to include protections for about 700,000 young “Dreamer” immigrants. Still, it’s possible the Senate could take some kind of action Friday to stave off the shutdown, if only for the short term. One positive sign: Trump invited Schumer to the White House, and the two were meeting Friday afternoon, per the Hill.
  • The effects: You’ll still get mail if the government shuts down, and Social Security recipients will still get their checks. Air traffic controllers and the TSA would stay on the job, so air travel shouldn’t be greatly affected, explains USA Today. But services deemed “non-essential” would suffer—for example, those waiting on a passport might be out of luck. The AP has a video primer.
  • The furloughs: An estimated 850,000 “non-essential” federal workers can expect to be furloughed, per the Week; the Washington Post has a detailed breakdown. Of note: Military operations and national security wouldn’t be affected, though civilian Pentagon workers would likely be sent home.
  • National parks: Stay tuned. Typically, they close during shutdowns, but the Trump administration is working on a plan to keep them open, if on a limited basis, reports CNN. “The American public and especially our veterans who come to our nation’s capital should find war memorials and open air parks open to the public,” says an Interior Department spokesperson.
  • Blame game: Trump and Republicans were aggressively trying to pin the blame for any shutdown on Democrats. “Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate – but they want illegal immigration and weak borders,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!” Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan also went after Democrats, with McConnell saying their “fixation on illegal immigration” will be to blame, reports the AP.
  • The winner? Paul Kane at the Washington Post ponders which side would prevail in the “court of public opinion” and finds that it would boil down to a messaging game. If Democrats can make any shutdown “about Trump and his ability to govern,” they’ll triumph. “If Republicans can make it about immigration, the victory is probably theirs.” A poll by ABC News and the Washington Post is good news for Democrats: 48% say they’d blame Trump and Republicans for a shutdown, 28% blame Democrats, and 18% blame both sides equally.
  • The factions: It’s not just Democrats who would prevent the Senate from getting the necessary 60 votes on a plan, and the New York Times lays out the various factions at play. At least three Republicans are in the “no” camp as well.

Let’s go and start our weekend…..it is cold but warming so go out and make some fun…..peace out…..chuq

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Profiles In Cowardice

Have you heard the term “purge” used so much here in the US?  It was a term used by Stalin to rid himself of all those people that did not show proper loyalty to Fearless leader.  And now it is being used by the treacherous foot soldiers of Donald Trump…..member of Congress who swore an oath to protect the Constitution not a person.

I have always thought most of the American politicians were cowards….but since January these people give a whole new definition to the term.

The fate of nations often comes down to the choices made by a handful of individuals at a particular moment in history. Today, the United States is facing just such a moment. What a handful of individual Republicans decide will shape the future not just of the country, but of democracy itself.

Modern history is littered with similarly pivotal choices, for better or worse. A century ago, the Russian Revolution came down to a showdown between the iron will of Vladimir Lenin and the indecisiveness of Alexander Kerensky, who ended up sneaking out of Saint Petersburg to escape the Bolsheviks.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/us-republicans-tax-bill-tribalism-by-nina-l–khrushcheva-2017-12

There has been a flow about our politics that has made party more important than country…..it has been brewing for decades but finally came to a head with the election of a new president.

The Congress is proving that traitors are in the government and not in the streets…..all Americans should be wary of anyone that uses the term “purge” when talking about the government and its institutions.  They should label the traitors as such especially when they are going against the oath to protect the country from enemies both foreign and domestic and those enemies are found within the Congress.

Investigation Of The Investigation

I recently humorously asked who would investigate the investigation…..and dam if I did not get an answer….

President Trump has called the investigations into his campaign’s ties to Russia a “witch hunt.” This week, Donald Trump Jr. suggested they were part of a “rigged system” of “people at the highest levels of government” working to hurt the president. Some House Republicans apparently agree. According to Politico, some Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have been meeting secretly for weeks “to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly—and perhaps criminally—mishandled the contents” of the Russia dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia. Led by Devin Nunes of California, the group aims to release a report on its findings early next year, in what Politico notes could be used to derail special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Republicans, who refused to discuss the effort, largely argue the Russia dossier contains false accusations. They also question whether the dossier, written by a former British intelligence agent and funded in part by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, was used to obtain surveillance warrants on Trump’s associates. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, says the latest effort is simply a “pernicious” attempt “to undermine the investigations and these institutions out of fear of what they’ll find.” Nonetheless, Nunes, who’s referred to law enforcement agencies as “dirty,” plans to subpoena FBI agents connected to the dossier, per Fox News. Meanwhile, Republican senators appear in no hurry to pass legislation that could protect Mueller should he be fired, reports the Washington Post.

I also have written about the chances of a coup, either by the generals or by Trump himself, it appears the there are a few in the Congress that are working in conjunction with Trump to rip the institutions that have safe guarded our country for decades…….

Fox News and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway asserted that the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are somehow plotting a “coup” against the United States because they’re daring to investigate Donald Trump for his various crimes. Back in the real world, things are shaping up very differently. In fact rogue Congressman Devin Nunes, who has already broken enough laws this year that he should be in prison, has been caught leading what can only be described as an actual attempted coup against the United States.

http://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/devin-nunes-coup/6816/

Once again the morons in Congress are wasting taxpayer money on worthless investigations in the same vane as the Benghazi investigations….

The Trump presidency is anything but boring….they do seem to spit in the face of the Founders and their desires for this government.

I need a shower.

Is She A Russian Stooge?

It was fun watching Clintonians go about character assassination of the Green Party’s Jill Stein….and when we thought it was all over Stein is once again in the news…..this time as part of the Russian meddling investigation….

In her first comments to the press, former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said she will cooperate fully with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into “collusion with the Russians” during the 2016 campaign, and is currently searching for relevant documents. Stein denies holding any substantive communications with the Russian government or RT, its state-owned media property.

Stein says her involvement in the inquiry, first reported by BuzzFeed News, came as a surprise when they were first contacted last month. After a subsequent dialogue between attorneys representing Stein and lawyers from the Senate Intelligence Committee, the ex-candidate received a formal request for cooperation. Although she says the possibility of testifying before Congress has not yet been broached, Stein says she would be “happy to do so” if asked.

https://theintercept.com/2017/12/18/jill-stein-will-hand-over-russia-related-communications-to-senate-commmittee/

Since I could not support Clinton and I would hate myself if I voted for Trump Stein was the most logical vote for me…..with that said….if there was any collusion between the Green Party and Russia or any form of meddling in the election then I damn well want to know.  Unlike Trump supporters I refuse to look the other way at these accusations.  I want to know.

The Tax Vote

The GOP has NO shame….how can they stand before the nation and lie and lie and lie……

Can we move the f*ck on?

Did you hear the Speaker go on and on….all of it lies….tax reform did not happen tax cuts for the wealthy did…..they stole the future and did not need a weapon to do so…..

Most Americans do not understand a word of economics why else do you think they can lie and get away with it…..but Vox has made it simple for everyone to understand the whole picture……a  fellow blogger Gronda Morin posted it on his site and I wanted to let my readers see what the truth of the matter…….

VOX Graphs To Explain Economy/ US Congress Needs To Learn the Basics

If you study the graphs it makes it painfully clear just how bad the f*cking of the American people will be…..this bill does NOTHING to change any of the math…..

The GOP has been foaming at the mouth since January to do what they have wanted to do to the American people for 30 years.

After all the glowing promises of the GOP…..after all the talking points were spread around…….

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/19/house-and-senate-vote-heres-13-worst-things-trump-gop-tax-scam

OOPS!…….. they’ll have to do it again on Wednesday because of a legislative hiccup. Tuesday’s vote, largely along party lines, was 227-203 and capped a GOP sprint to deliver a major legislative accomplishment to President Trump. In a last-minute glitch, however, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that three provisions in the bill, including one that would allow parents to use college savings accounts for home-schooling expenses for young children, violate Senate budget rules. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the House would vote on the package again on Wednesday, after the Senate removes the problematic provisions and passes the bill, per the AP.

Next year they will come for everyone’s Social Security and Medicare…..wait for it.

2017 Final Tax Bill

It’s Monday and then political world is all a tether over the tax bill that will soon be voted on soon.

This thing had all the political drama that a good saga needed to be newsworthy…..but all that aside…..what does this final version look like?

Congressional Republicans on Friday evening revealed the final version of their massive tax bill, which appears likely to pass next week, the Washington Post reports. Here’s some of what’s included in the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act”:

  • The corporate tax rate is reduced from 35% to 21%, representing an approximately $1 trillion tax cut over the next decade.
  • Despite Trump’s claim the bill wouldn’t cut taxes for the wealthy, the wealthiest Americans see their tax rate reduced from 39.6% to 37%. The bill also raises the income needed to hit that tax rate.
  • People can inherit up to $11 million tax-free—an increase from $5.5 million—in changes to the estate tax.
  • The bill lowers tax rates within all seven tax brackets, leading to lower taxes for most Americans, ABC News reports. But those cuts expire in eight years, and independent analyses have found people making under $75,000 will pay more in taxes over the next decade.
  • The standard deduction is increased from $12,700 to $24,000 for joint filers and from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals.
  • In a move seen as targeting blue states, the bill limits state, local, and property tax deductions to $10,000. Those deductions are unlimited under current law.
  • The bill keeps popular deductions for student loan interest and medical expenses, as well as graduate students’ tax break.
  • The bill repeals the ObamaCare individual mandate and allows drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Hill reports.

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act will be voted on next week, starting with the House on Tuesday. Republicans can only afford to lose two votes in the Senate, but there are currently no Republican senators on the record against the bill. Analysts have suggested tax cuts in the bill will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit and would likely not pay for themselves through economic growth, as Republicans and the Trump administration claim.

BTW, nothing about this is true with the exception that it will add to the National Debt……$1.5 trillion that my granddaughter will have to pay….this bill sucks!

A SNL Skit?

I always appreciate good political humor…..and SNL does it about as good as there can be done…….and I really thought that a news report that I read was a story in “The Onion”……

There’s plenty of speculation in DC about whether President Trump might fire special counsel Robert Mueller. But Mike Allen of Axios reports on another strategy being explored by the president’s legal team: Appoint a second special counsel to investigate Mueller’s investigation. The story suggests that Trump’s attorneys trust Mueller himself but not others in the Justice Department. For example, they point to a Fox News story Monday detailing how the wife of a Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr worked for the company behind the infamous anti-Trump dossier that emerged during the election. Ohr was recently demoted for concealing his own meetings with the company, Fusion GPS.

“The Department of Justice and FBI cannot ignore the multiple problems that have been created by these obvious conflicts of interests,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow tells Axios.
“These new revelations require the appointment of a special counsel to investigate.” It’s not clear how likely this is to happen, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions has previously floated the idea of a second special counsel to cover a wide range of GOP concerns. Meanwhile, the Washington Post has a profile of Trump’s legal trio: Sekulow (the TV presence), Ty Cobb (a White House attorney), and John Dowd (Trump’s personal attorney). They “serve not only as Trump’s lawyers but also as his strategists, publicists, therapists—and, based on Dowd’s claim that he wrote a controversial presidential tweet, ghostwriters,” per the Post.

It is TRUE!  These people want an investigation of the investigation…..(that alone should make one smile)……

My question is who will run this investigation?  FBI?  But I thought they were all corrupt and partisan.  How about the Congress?  Same reasons.

House GOP are morons……they do not know how stupid they appear with this made up BS from FOX…….they cannot think beyond their daily talking points……

Just who will handle this in-depth investigation?