Category Archives: AZBlueMeanie

Rep. Trent Franks to resign from Congress, special election to be called

Arizona’s Christian Right congressman Trent Franks (8th Congressional District) unexpectedly announced his pending resignation from Congress on Thursday after creeping out two staff members in his office by talking about surrogate pregnancy for he and his wife.

It is not at all clear from published reports whether Franks approached these two staffers about becoming the surrogate. That would give this story an entirely different context.

Rep. Franks told reporters that he would let his statement speak for him, which attempts to frame the incident in a light most favorable to him. (My Spidey senses are tingling that there is more to this story):

Franks’ full statement:

I have always tried to create a very warm and supportive atmosphere for every last person who has ever worked in my congressional office. It is my deepest conviction that there are many staffers, former and present, who would readily volunteer to substantiate this fact.

Given the nature of numerous allegations and reports across America in recent weeks, I want to first make one thing completely clear. I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.

However, I do want to take full and personal responsibility for the ways I have broached a topic that, unbeknownst to me until very recently, made certain individuals uncomfortable. And so, I want to shed light on how those conversations came about.

My wife and I have long struggled with infertility. We experienced three miscarriages.

We pursued adoption on more than one occasion only to have the adoptive mothers in each case change their mind prior to giving birth.

A wonderful and loving lady, to whom we will be forever grateful, acted as a gestational surrogate for our twins and was able to carry them successfully to live birth. The process by which they were conceived was a pro-life approach that did not discard or throw away any embryos.

My son and daughter are unspeakable gifts of God that have brought us our greatest earthly happiness in the 37 years we have been married.

When our twins were approximately 3 years old, we made a second attempt with a second surrogate who was also not genetically related to the child. Sadly, that pregnancy also resulted in miscarriage.

We continued to have a desire to have at least one additional sibling, for which our children had made repeated requests.

Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others.

I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.

We are in an unusual moment in history – there is collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety. It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims. 

But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation. Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of January 31st, 2018. It is with the greatest sadness, that for the sake of the causes I deeply love, I must now step back from the battle I have spent over three decades fighting. I hope my resignation will remain distinct from the great gains we have made. My time in Congress serving my constituents, America and the Constitution is and will remain one of God’s greatest gift to me in life.

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Democrats begin to clean house of sexual harassers while Republicans embrace them

This week, Time magazine named its person of the year: the “Silence Breakers” who were part of the #MeToo movement.

Time

The five women who appear on the Time cover are actress Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift, Uber engineer Susan Fowler, lobbyist Adama Iwu, and strawberry picker Isabel Pascual. This year, all five women broke silence and told their stories of sexual assault or harassment.

Interesting factoid: #MeToo? In 80 years, no American woman has won Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ by herself:

No American woman has won Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” by herself in more than eight decades. Over the course of the 91 years that the magazine has proffered the title, in fact, only one has done so: Wallis Simpson, who earned the title in 1936 thanks to her relationship with King Edward VIII, a relationship which eventually led to his giving up his throne.

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Study: The wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the country’s wealth

Those GOP plutocrat campaign donors really need their tax cuts (not). Christopher Ingraham reports,  The richest 1 percent now owns more of the country’s wealth than at any time in the past 50 years:

The wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the country’s wealth, according to a new paper by economist Edward N. Wolff. That share is higher than it has been at any point since at least 1962, according to Wolff’s data, which comes from the federal Survey of Consumer Finances.

From 2013, the share of wealth owned by the 1 percent shot up by nearly three percentage points. Wealth owned by the bottom 90 percent, meanwhile, fell over the same period. Today, the top 1 percent of households own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. That gap, between the ultrawealthy and everyone else, has only become wider in the past several decades.

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GOP tax bill a comedy of errors that can be gamed by tax attorneys

Tea-Publicans have been scheming for their tax cut plans for corporations and their plutocrat campaign donors for years, so it would be fair to assume that they had taken the time to work through all of the tax consequences and to get the language of the bill right.

This assumption would be entirely wrong.

In their haste to pass the GOP tax bill in the Senate last week, which included illegible handwritten changes made in the margins of the bill added at the last minute, Tea-Publicans made a number of mistakes that add up to billions of dollars if not corrected.

You’re shocked, I’m sure.

Jordan Weissmann at Slate finds Senate Republicans Made a $289 Billion Mistake in the Handwritten Tax Bill They Passed at 2 a.m. Go Figure.

It appears that Senate Republicans managed to make a $289 billion or so mistake while furiously hand-scribbling edits onto the tax bill they passed in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The problem involves the corporate alternative minimum tax, which the GOP initially planned to repeal, but tossed back into their stew at the last second in order to raise some desperately needed revenue. The AMT is basically a parallel tax code meant to prevent companies from zeroing out their IRS bills. It doesn’t allow businesses to take as many tax breaks but, in theory, is also supposed to have a lower rate.

Except not under the Senate bill. When Mitch McConnell & co. revived the AMT, they absentmindedly left it at its current rate of 20 percent, the same as the new, lower rate of the corporate income tax that the bill included. As a result, many companies won’t be able to use tax breaks that were supposed to be preserved in the legislation, including the extremely popular credit for research and development costs. Corporate accountants started freaking out about this over the weekend, but the situation reached high farce when a group of lawyers from Davis Polk pointed out that, by leaving the AMT intact, Republicans had essentially undermined their bill’s most important changes to the international tax code.

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Evil GOP bastard Paul Ryan declares a class war on Americans

Last week I told you about the devil’s bargain that the mythical moderate from Maine, Sen. Susan Collins, made in exchange for her vote on the Senate GOP tax bill. The Senate GOP tax bill is also an assault on health care (excerpt):

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has now scored the bill negotiated by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) to stabilize the “Obamacare” market, and it also comes up woefully short. The CBO just released a report that should worry Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski:

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office dealt what should be a crushing blow to the tax bill: The deal that was crafted to win key senators who objected to the bill’s provision that would leave millions uninsured won’t actually stanch the loss in coverage.

With moderates expressing concern over a provision that would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate — leaving an estimated 13 million more uninsured by 2027 — Republican leadership hatched a plan to simultaneously pass a bill to stabilize the Obamacare marketplaces, a proposal negotiated by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

But this proposal hit a major snag Wednesday when a new CBO report found passing the Alexander-Murray proposal — the centerpiece of which is funding Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies that Trump has threatened to pull — would not in fact help mitigate the coverage losses and premium hikes triggered by repealing the individual mandate.

But wait, there’s more. In making this deal with the devil, Sen. Collins forgot about the other devil with whom she actually needed to negotiate, i.e., the GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin.”

Boy genius says “Deal, what deal? I have no deal with Sen. Collins.”

Steve Benen reports, Paul Ryan wasn’t part of Susan Collins’ tax deal:

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) surprised many when she threw her support behind the Republicans’ tax plan on Friday. Among other things, independent estimates showed that the GOP proposal would leave 13 million Americans without health insurance, and that’s ordinarily the sort of thing the Maine Republican would care about.

As part of an explanation, Collins said she’d reached an agreement with party leaders for votes on two other pieces of legislation, which she believes would mitigate the harm done by the GOP tax plan. There are, however, two problems with this, the first being that the proposals Collins has in mind appear inadequate to address the systemic harm done by her party’s proposal.

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Moral bankruptcy: the GOP has become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump

I have said it before and I will say it again: The GOP has become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump.

Back in mid-November when the Roy Moore serial child sexual predator scandal first broke, the RNC pulled financial, ground game support for Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race, and Republican senators, including the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, were saying they had no reason to doubt the claims of nine women against Roy Moore and that he should withdraw from the race. McConnell Says Roy Moore Should Withdraw From Senate Race in Alabama. The GOP even contemplated extra-constitutional means to run a write-in candidate to replace Roy Moore on the ballot. The Republican Party’s Dream of an Alabama Write-In Candidate Is Dead.

What a difference a few weeks makes. In an instant replay of last year when the GOP was freaking out over the Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump admitting to being a serial sexual predator to Billie Bush and GOP politicians were fleeing from endorsing their party’s nominee, and Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence was plotting a “coup” to replace Trump as the GOP nominee for president, God’s Plan for Mike Pence, in a few weeks they all came back to supporting Trump, because GOP tribalism. IOKIYAR.

Serial sexual predator Donald Trump has consistently stood by serial child sexual predator Roy Moore, and he has dragged the GOP along with him. All is forgiven. The GOP has become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump. Roy Moore Gets Trump Endorsement and R.N.C. Funding for Senate Race:

President Trump on Monday strongly endorsed Roy S. Moore, the Republican nominee for a United States Senate seat here, prompting the Republican National Committee to restore its support for a candidate accused of sexual misconduct against teenage girls.

Mr. Trump’s endorsement strengthened what had been his subdued, if symbolically significant, embrace of Mr. Moore’s campaign. At Mr. Trump’s direct urging, and to the surprise of some Republican Party officials, the national committee, which severed ties to Mr. Moore weeks ago, opened a financial spigot that could help Mr. Moore with voter turnout in the contest’s closing days.

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