Category Archives: Corruption

Politicizing the Census Bureau for GOP authoritarianism

Steve Benen warns of an ominous development at the U.S. Census Bureau. Trump eyes radical choice for the Census Bureau:

The Census, conducted every 10 years by constitutional mandate, is one of those incredible important tasks that most people probably find rather dull. That’s a shame because getting this right has an enormous impact on everything from federal spending to representation in Congress.

With that in mind, it was disappointing when Census Bureau Director John Thompson, in the midst of a funding fight, decided to resign unexpectedly in May. Making matters worse, we’re just now getting a look at the replacement Donald Trump apparently has in mind. Politico reports:

The Trump administration is leaning toward naming Thomas Brunell, a Texas professor with no government experience, to the top operational job at the U.S. Census Bureau, according to two people who have been briefed on the bureau’s plans.

Brunell, a political science professor, has testified more than half a dozen times on behalf of Republican efforts to redraw congressional districts, and is the author of a 2008 book titled “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America.”

Some Trump personal choices are alarming, some are disheartening, and some belong in the you-have-got-to-be-kidding me category.

As Slate explained earlier this year, “The decennial census is critical to ensuring that Americans are fairly represented in Washington, since it’s used as the basis for congressional redistricting. A mishandled census could undercount poor and minority populations, putting some states and many cities at a demographic disadvantage.”

It’s against this backdrop that Trump is eyeing someone who has not only played a direct role in helping Republican gerrymandering efforts, but who quite literally wrote a book criticizing competitive elections.

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The GOP has become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump (updated)

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake was overheard saying to Mesa Mayor John Gileson on a hot mic on Saturday that “[If we] become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast.” Flake, on hot mic, says GOP will be “toast” if it’s the party of Trump and Moore.

Sunday evening, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to call the senator “Flake(y)” and lambasted him for “saying bad things about your favorite President.”

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After multiple women came forward accusing Moore of inappropriately pursuing or sexually touching them when they were teens, Flake said he would “run to the polling place to vote for the Democrat” if he was an Alabama voter.

The accusations against Moore have put the White House in a difficult situation politically, as at least 16 women have accused Mr. Trump of behaving inappropriately toward them. [UPDATE: Meg Kelly at the Washington Post breaks down President Trump and accusations of sexual misconduct: The complete list.]

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Mr. Trump has yet to personally address the accusations against Moore, although White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has said he believes Moore will do the “right thing” and step aside “if” the allegations are true. Sanders has refused to answer further questions about the president’s own accusers.

That was until Monday, when White House counselor Kellyanne Conway went on FOX & Friends (aka Trump TV) to signal that the Trump White House was now going all-in in its support of this serial child sexual predator because Moore is a member of the GOP tribe. Kellyanne Conway on Roy Moore’s candidacy: “We want the votes in the Senate” for tax bill:

During an interview in which White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was attacking Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, she was asked by Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” whether she was saying Alabamans should vote for Moore.

“Folks, don’t be fooled. He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime. Weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners,” Conway told Fox & Friends. “And Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he’s not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him.”

Co-host Brian Kilmeade [appearing bewildered] asked her, “So, vote Roy Moore?”

“I’m telling you, we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.”

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GOP resorts to lying about its tax bill (part two)

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman hascbeen on fire the past couple of weeks exposing the lies of the GOP tax bills. Last week he wrote, Everybody Hates the Trump Tax Plan and blogged Days of Greed and Desperation (excerpt):

The House tax bill is wildly regressive; the Senate bill actually raises taxes on most families, while including a special tax break for private planes. In effect, the GOP is giving middle-class Americans a giant middle finger. What’s going on?

A large part of the answer, I’d suggest, is that many Republicans now see themselves and/or their party in such dire straits that they’re no longer even trying to improve their future electoral position; instead, it’s all about grabbing as much for their big donors while they still can. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose; in the GOP’s case, that means the freedom to be the party of, by, and for oligarchs they always wanted to be.

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So their incentive is to stuff everything the donors want, no matter how outrageous — tax hikes on most of the population, tax breaks on private planes — through the sausage grinder right now.

I have to admit, I didn’t see this coming. And there’s a pretty good chance that this desperate grab will fail — remember, it only takes three Republican Senators with a shred of principle. But that’s where we are.

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GOP resorts to lying about its tax bill (part one)

Rep. Martha McSally had a GOP talking points cookie-cutter op-ed in The Arizona Republic over the weekend to which she simply signed her name. McSally: Why I voted for the House’s tax reform bill.

Note: The House tax bill is merely a placeholder. The Senate is writing its own bill, and it will be a conference committee bill yet to be determined that is the actual bill that will matter.

Rep. McSally’s rumored replacement to run for her CD 2 congressional seat when she announces for the senate, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Lea Márquez Peterson, similarly had a GOP talking points cookie-cutter op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star to which she simply signed her name. Lea Márquez Peterson: Tax reform will help small businesses in Arizona.

Both opinions make assertions that are simply false and/or misleading.

Is lying to us the best that we can expect from Tea-Publicans?

Matthew Yglesias asks, If the GOP tax plan is so good, why do they lie so much about it?

In politics pretty much everyone shades the truth and engages in some convenient spin now and again. But if you saw a candidate standing on a dais pointing at his pet dog and telling you it was a cat, you’d think something pretty odd was going on.

By the same token, both citizens watching the tax reform debate in Washington and reporters covering it ought to ask themselves: Why, if this plan is so good, do its authors keep lying about what the bill does?

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After their tax bill, the GOP is coming for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

The Senate Finance Committee late Thursday approved the Senate’s version of the GOP’s “tax cuts for corporations and Plutocrats” bill, after the House passed its version earlier in the day. Senate panel approves GOP tax plan. The panel voted to send the tax plan to the full Senate on a party-line vote of 14-12.

The Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said in a statement “When the Senate returns after Thanksgiving, I will bring this must-pass legislation to the floor for further debate and open consideration.”

Well, this is going to make for some heated discussions at Thanksgiving dinner when your drunk uncle shows up wearing his MAGA hat and Trump T-shirt. Here’s some information that you can use to try to properly educate your ignorant drunk uncle.

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post explains, The GOP tax plan is moving forward. It’s a big scam on Trump’s base.

If you’re one of those white working-class voters who propelled Donald Trump into the presidency and gave Republicans total control of Washington, the GOP has a message for you: Sucker!

Today the House [passed] its version of a tax reform bill, and if and when the Senate passes its version, the two will be combined in a final bill that will most likely wind up becoming law. We already knew that the House version would raise taxes on tens of millions of Americans — about 36 million, according to figures from the Joint Committee on Taxation, whose job it is to analyze tax bills before they’re voted on. Now we’re learning more about the Senate version:

The tax bill Senate Republicans are championing would give large tax cuts to millionaires while raising taxes on American families earning $10,000 to $75,000 over the next decade, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ official nonpartisan analysts.

President Trump and Republican lawmakers have been heralding their bill as a win for hard-working Americans, but the JCT report casts serious doubt on that claim. Tax hikes for households earning $10,000 to $30,000 would start in 2021 and grow sharply from there. By the year 2027, Americans earning $30,000 to $75,000 a year would also be forced to pay more in taxes even though people earning over $100,000 continue to get substantial tax cuts.

Everyone always knew Republicans were going to cut taxes for the wealthy. They’re Republicans; that’s what they do. But it’s a genuine surprise to see them raising taxes on people with more modest incomes. Why isn’t this being angrily decried by all those conservatives who believe that tax increases are a crime against humanity? Could it possibly be that they don’t really care about the middle class as much as they say? Was the whole point of this exercise to cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and if regular people have to pay more so those at the top can pay less, then that’s fine with them? Say it isn’t so!

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Rep. Martha McSally, Donald Trump’s ‘twin sister’

Remember this from this past July? Rep. Martha McSally reveals her uncomfortable position in the Trump era:

A secretly recorded tape of U.S. Rep. Martha McSally talking to potential donors offers a rare glimpse into what the two-term Tucson Republican is thinking in the current political climate.

During the 63-minute recording made in late May at a closed-door meeting in Tucson, McSally tells the Arizona Bankers Association that since January, her critics have painted her with the same brush as President Trump.

“There’s just an element out there that’s just, like, so against the president. Like they just can’t see straight. And all of a sudden on January 20, I’m like his twin sister,” she said, in audio that was recently posted online by a grassroots political group called Indivisible Southern Arizona.

That was then, this is now.  Apparently McSally has been to a Breitbart reeducation camp, because she is now making an explicit effort to appear to be Trump’s twin sister in a sadly pathetic attempt to gain Trump’s fickle endorsement for Senate.

Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star reports, Steller’s Friday Notebook: McSally pivots to pro-Trump position:

For some time, I’ve suspected that Rep. Martha McSally is angling for an endorsement from President Trump as she considers jumping into the U.S. Senate race — maybe even as a condition for running.

That would give her a big advantage over the top GOP candidate in the race now, Kelli Ward, who is a devoted fan of the president and was endorsed by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

I can’t say I’ve confirmed this is what McSally is doing, but on Thursday, she offered one more piece of evidence for the theory. McSally’s Twitter account put out a picture of her with Trump, each with an arm around the other, each giving a thumbs up.

McSally’s text said: “Great meeting with President @realDonaldTrump this a.m. to discuss our tax cuts that will bring relief to hard-working American families!”

This was the fourth tweet naming the president that McSally has posted since Nov. 8; her entire Twitter history shows only one Tweet naming Trump before that.

On Nov. 8, a day I think we may look back on as the day McSally actually began running for Senate, she posted a picture of herself with the president’s older daughter. The text of the tweet said, “Discussing our plan to cut taxes, create jobs & deliver relief to American families w/@IvankaTrump. Let’s get it to @realDonaldTrump’s desk.”

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