Category Archives: President

USA Today declares war on Donald Trump

In November 2015, Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post presciently warned How Trump is ‘defining deviancy down’ in presidential politics:

“Defining deviancy down.” That was the provocative title of a 1993 essay on crime written by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.). He explained his concept succinctly a few months later at a breakfast of civic-minded New York City movers and shakers. “I wrote that there is always a certain amount of deviancy in a society,” Moynihan told the Association for a Better New York. “But when you get too much, you begin to think that it’s not really that bad. Pretty soon you become accustomed to very destructive behavior.”

Again, Moynihan was talking about the tolerance of crime. But as the 2016 Republican presidential contest drags on, his diagnosis fit politics in general and the campaign of Donald Trump in particular. Just when you thought the Big Apple billionaire couldn’t sink any lower, he does. He gleefully dances through the nativist, racist, misogynistic slop as if he were Gene Kelly  in “Singing in the Rain.” And to make matters worse, Trump is rewarded for it.

Little could this Cassandra, cursed to speak true prophecies that no one believed, forewarn just how much Donald Trump would “define deviancy down” over the next two years after his column.

It has been a daily assault on the senses of tweeted insults and shameless lies, and outrageous behavior that previously was considered taboo and would have been a career-ending scandal for any other politician. For Trump, it just another day that ends in “y.” Trump’s goal is to overwhelm the senses through chaos theory. Americans have become numbed to the daily dose of scandal and are physically and mentally exhausted.

Trump’s sycophant cult of personality supporters — in particular, the conservative media entertainment complex — are seeking to normalize his boorishness and belligerence and utter lack of character, and conduct previously considered outside the bounds of normal acceptable behavior and common human decency. These sycophants, in particular the conservative media entertainment complex, the conspiracy theory fever swamp from which Donald Trump emerged two years ago, are also “defining deviancy down.” They are systematically destroying the norms of a civilized democratic society.

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Ignoring bad optics, GOP conferees transfer even more wealth to their wealthy plutocrat campaign donors (Updated)

Despite the fact that The Republican tax plan is the most unpopular bill in 30 years, GOP conferees are transfering even more wealth to their wealthy plutocrat campaign donors. Tea-Publicans simply do not care what this looks like to average Americans, they are obligated to deliver a quid pro quo to their wealthy plutocrat campaign donors. They are looting the treasury on behalf of the oligarchy.

CNBC reports, The Latest: GOP agrees to lower top tax rate for individuals:

Congressional aides say Republican negotiators have agreed to lower the top tax rate for individuals from 39.6 percent to 37 percent as the final parameters of a sweeping tax package are starting to take shape.

The agreement was confirmed by two congressional aides who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because they were not authorized to speak publicly about private negotiations.

The tax cut could be a windfall for the wealthiest Americans. It could also provide ammunition for Democrats who complain that the tax package is a massive giveaway to corporations and the rich.

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Congressional aides say Republican negotiators have agreed to set the corporate income tax rate at 21 percent as part of last-minute negotiations on a sweeping tax package.

Both the Senate bill and the House bill would lower the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. But negotiators agreed to bump the rate up to 21 percent to offset revenue losses from other tax breaks, said two congressional aides.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations.

Business and conservative groups have lobbied hard to keep the corporate rate at 20 percent.

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Democrat Doug Jones scores an upset victory in Alabama

Back in November after Democrats won a sweeping victory in Virginia and in races across the country, I said that the Democratic Party should go all-in in backing Doug Jones in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate.

They did, and last night Doug Jones broke through in the GOP’s solid South to become the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama in a generation.

Roy Moore was not the only loser on Tuesday. Donald Trump is a two-time loser in Alabama, having backed Luther Strange in the GOP primary and going all-in for the accused serial child sexual predator Roy Moore. Robert and Rebekah Mercer’s white nationalist attack dog, Stephen Bannon from Breitbart, suffered another defeat in his war against the GOP establishment. And FAUX News (aka Trump TV), which went all in for the accused serial child sexual predator Roy Moore.

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Treasury Department engages in #GopTaxScam

The Treasury Department failed to produce an economic analysis of the GOP tax bill before the House and Senate votes, despite the year-long promises from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. This resulted in the Inspector general launches inquiry into whether Treasury hid Republican tax bill analysis

The Treasury Department’s inspector general has launched an inquiry into whether the department hid an analysis of the Republican tax bill — or even did one at all.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote to Treasury Inspector General Eric M. Thorson on Thursday asking for an inquiry after a New York Times article said members of the Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy, which would do such an analysis, said they were not working on one.

“Either the Treasury Department has used extensive taxpayer funds to conduct economic analyses that it refuses to release because those analyses would contradict the Treasury secretary’s claims, or Secretary Mnuchin has grossly misled the public about the extent of the Treasury Department’s analysis,” Warren wrote. “I am deeply concerned about either possibility.”

Rich Delmar, counsel to the inspector general, said Thursday the office had launched an inquiry and that it was a “top priority.”

Yesterday, Treasury released a one-page “analysis” that is a sick joke. Treasury Defends Tax Plan Cost With One-Page Analysis:

The Treasury Department released a one-page analysis of the nearly 500-page Senate tax bill on Monday that suggested the $1.5 trillion plan would more than pay for itself, assuming the economy grows much faster than any independent analysis of the bill has projected.

The Treasury acknowledged that its analysis was based on optimistic economic forecasts that assumed a host of policy changes yet to be enacted, including increased infrastructure spending, further loosening of business regulations and changes to welfare programs.

The analysis left many tax experts scratching their heads and prompted criticism that the Treasury was offering misleading data.

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#MeToo and Megyn Kelly with Trump accusers on Monday (Updated)

Well this may get her fired today: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says Trump’s accusers ‘should be heard’:

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday that the women who have accused President Trump of touching or groping them without their consent “should be heard.”

As a matter of fact, this is going to happen this morning. This is going to be a manic Monday from out Twitter-troll-in-chief, his Twitter rage is going to ‘splode.

As the #MeToo movement reckoning continues on sexual harassment, NBC News will be airing a live TV interview with three women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct on “Megyn Kelly TODAY,” at 9 a.m. Monday ET.

Kelly is the former FAUX News (now Trump TV) anchor whom Donald Trump frequently attacked on Twitter and in public statements during the 2016 campaign, including this memorable quote:

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On Twitter Sunday night, Kelly announced plans to interview Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks on Monday morning. Megyn Kelly’s dismal ratings rise with focus on sexual harassment. Next up: Trump accusers.

After the show, the women will participate in a news conference “calling for an investigation by Congress of sexual misconduct by the president,” according to a news release by Brave New Films, which is hosting the event. The media company released a documentary on Trump’s accusers in November.

UPDATE: In addition to the three who plan to share their stories with Kelly on Monday, 16 accusers will be joining a press conference hosted by Brave New Films at 10:30 a.m. eastern time. According to a tweet from the filmmakers, the women will “share firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct by Trump and demand an investigation.”

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GOP tax bill: the devil is in the details to derailing this terrible bill

The House and Senate conference committee will be meeting this week to hash out the differences between the House and Senate GOP tax bills to come up with a conformed bill that still must be passed by both chambers to become law.

There is a scenario or two in which this terrible tax bill falls apart. Jim Newell writes at Slate, How the Tax Deal Could Fall Apart:

The biggest development this week was that negotiators, for the first time in the process, seriously looked at reinstating some version of the state and local income tax deduction. There appear to be two reasons for this. The first would be the sizable, and mercurial, California GOP delegation in the House. Eleven out of 14 of these members voted for the original House bill—an odd move, since one of the bill’s ambitions is to redistribute Californian wealth elsewhere. Rather than flex their leverage in the original fight, though, they put their faith in Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to ensure it’s fixed in conference. The second reason—and the one that explains why Californians might prevail—is that they appear to have an even greater ally in this fight than McCarthy: President Trump. The Washington Post reported this week that Trump’s rich friends in New York have been bitching to him about the SALT elimination. That goes a long way.

Even a modest retention would be costly. Eliminating the deductibility of state and local income taxes is a major revenue-raiser in both the House and Senate bills. Other pay-fors that were included in both the House and Senate bills might not last in the joint negotiations as well. There is a flat-out error in the Senate bill regarding the corporate alternative minimum tax, and the Senate’s last-minute decision to keep the individual AMT is meeting resistance as well. The House bill, which more aggressively pursued deductions for graduate students and those with major medical expenses, is also expected to be tamed.

What all this means is that conference negotiators are under pressure to find some hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue to keep the bill’s net cost within $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

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