Sunday, December 17, 2017

America’s economic inequality is on track to become much worse because of GOPlin’s tax cuts

AZ Blue Meanie directs our attention to the recent 2018 World Inequality Report: inequality in U.S. is a result of deliberate policy decisions. The World Inequality Report 2018 was summarized in an article in the Washington Post, U.S. lawmakers are redistributing income from the poor to the rich, according to massive new study. Here is some of the Post’s reporting.

Back in 1980, the bottom 50 percent of wage-earners in the United States earned about 21 percent of all income in the country — nearly twice as much as the share of income (11 percent) earned by the top 1 percent of Americans.

But today, according to a massive new study on global inequality, those numbers have nearly reversed: The bottom 50 percent take in only 13 percent of the income pie, while the top 1 percent grab over 20 percent of the country’s income.

What’s more: the US is unique among western democracies.

That trend is even more remarkable when you set it against comparable numbers for wealthy nations in Western Europe. There, the bottom 50 percent earn nearly 22 percent of the income in those economies, while the top 1 percent take in just over 12 percent of the money.

And that has not changed much in the studied period, 1980–2016. Here’s the graph comparing the US and Western European nations.

The Blue Meanie sums up with a disheartening appraisal.

And then there were none … Senator Bob Corker, who was the only Tea-Publican to vote against the Senate GOP tax bill, announced on Friday that he will vote for the final GOP tax bill. Et tu, Corker? …

You want to know how corrupt is the GOP? Corker’s flip informs us. John Cassidy (New Yorker) assesses the damage to be inflicted by the GOPlin’s bill: The Final Version of the G.O.P. Tax Bill Is a Corrupt, Cruel, Budget-Busting Hairball, and closes with this juicy example of GOP hypocrisy.

Another provision, which wasn’t in the House or Senate bills, allows real-estate developers who own buildings through L.L.C.s, as Trump does, to deduct twenty per cent of the income that these properties generate. To qualify for the break, the properties have to be newish ones that haven’t been fully depreciated. “This helps people who have held property for a while, like Donald Trump,” David Kamin, a law professor at New York University, told David Sirota and Josh Keefe, of the International Business Times.

Another beneficiary of this provision may well be Senator Bob Corker, of Tennessee, who is also a real-estate investor. Corker had been the only Republican to vote against the Senate version of the tax bill, but on Friday he announced that he’d changed his mind, and that “after great thought and consideration, I believe this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make U.S. businesses domestically more productive and internationally more competitive is one we should not miss.” Corker didn’t mention his personal interests, but Sirota and Keefe did. “Federal records reviewed by IBT show that Corker has millions of dollars of ownership stakes in real-estate-related LLCs that could also benefit” from the final bill, they reported.

Read Cassidy’s report for more examples of what got added to the tax bill at the last moment - in secret.

Scriber agrees with the Meanie in predicting passage of the tax bill - with only Republican votes.

The GOP tax bill in all likelihood is going to pass on a party-line vote: all Tea-Publicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.

The GOP exists for one purpose, and one purpose only: to serve the interests of corporations and wealthy plutocrats who are systematically turning our country into an authoritarian oligarchy. They do not represent the interests of working Americans, the retired, the disabled, or the poor — the 99%.

Now that the GOP’s wealthy plutocrat donors have their tax bill, next year they are coming for the spare change they have left in your pockets, i.e., America’s safety net: social security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The GOP tax bill already includes massive cuts to Medicaid, and if Congress does not vote to waive the PAYGO rules, the GOP tax bill will also trigger massive cuts to Medicare, and other social welfare programs. The GOP tax bill will also undermine the “Obamacare” health insurance system. It is all about taking wealth from average Americans and redistributing it upwards to the wealthy plutocrats at the top who seek to lord over us all in an authoritarian oligarchy.

Touching the third-rail of American politics, social security, will prove to be a heavier lift for the GOP. But as we are seeing with the GOP tax bill, they have the votes to do as they please, regardless of public opinion, because they do not serve your interests.

The bottom line is that we should prepare for the worst. Hoping for the best is futile when it comes to GOP and their wealthy corporate masters. The next chapter in this sorry saga will be an assault on the social safety net - which has already begun in the repeal of ACA individual mandate. Trump will eventually go, but the GOPlins’ deal with the devil will be with us for a long time.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

John NIchols: Trump’s “most brutal blow to democracy”

John Nichols, friend of the Democratic Club of the Santa Rita Area, explains in The Nation how Gutting Net Neutrality Is the Trump Administration’s Most Brutal Blow to Democracy Yet. He says ”This cannot be the end of a free and open Internet. Activists must fight on in the courts, in Congress, and in the streets.”

Despite overwhelming public support for a free and open Internet, the [FCC’s] Trump-aligned majority engineered a 3–2 vote to overturn net-neutrality rules that have required Internet service providers to treat all online communications equally—and, in a related move, the commission majority rejected the authority of the FCC to protect a free and open Internet. Commission chair Ajit Pai, the telecommunications-industry lawyer who has done Donald Trump’s bidding in debates on a host of media and democracy issues, has cleared the way for service providers to establish information superhighways for political and corporate elites, while consigning communications from grassroots activists to digital dirt roads.

Much of the debate about overturning net neutrality has been focused on the damage the move will do to consumers, and there can be no question that clearing the way for unprecedented profiteering by telecommunications corporations barters off our digital future to the same grifters who have turned broadcast- and cable-media platforms into vast wastelands of commercial excess. “ISPs want to turn the internet into cable,” says Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA). “[They] want people to pay for every application.”

But the biggest cost of eliminating net neutrality will be to the American experiment in citizen-driven dialogue, discourse, and decision making. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says:

The internet makes it easier for people to get organized and amplify their voices. Ending Net Neutrality will make it harder for the people to fight powerful interests.

Describing net neutrality as a racial-justice, social-justice, and economic-justice issue, Congressman Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, explained that “A free and open Internet allows us to organize and resist. We need that now more than ever.”

And that is why the alliance4action and similar groups need to ramp up their resistance to what the FCC has done - as Nichols notes:

Ellison is right. Those who would resist the Trump administration’s most authoritarian and anti-democratic instincts—on issues ranging from voter suppression to freedom of the press to civil rights and civil liberties—have used a free and open Internet to organize throughout 2017. They will need to continue to do so in 2018 and beyond.

Nichols cites a dissenting opinion of one of the FCC commissioners.

This is not good. Not good for consumers. Not good for businesses. Not good for anyone who connects and creates online. Not good for the democratizing force that depends on openness to thrive. Moreover, it is not good for American leadership on the global stage of our new and complex digital world,

[Jessica] Rosenworcel said of the FCC vote.

I’m not alone with these concerns. Everyone from the creator of the world wide web to religious leaders to governors and mayors of big cities and small towns to musicians to actors and actresses to entrepreneurs and academics and activists has registered their upset and anger. They are reeling at how this agency could make this kind of mistake. They are wondering how it could be so tone deaf. And they are justifiably concerned that just a few un-elected officials could make such vast and far-reaching decisions about the future of the Internet.

So is the FCC’s 3–2 vote the end of it?

No. Net neutrality’s defenders will fight on in Congress, in the courts and at the ballot box to overturn this wrongheaded decision. Groups associated with the Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition—led by the Center for Media Justice, Color Of Change, Free Press Action Fund, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and 18 Million Rising—intend to fight on for net neutrality with legislative and legal strategies.

They have reason to be confident.

Martha McSally’s dithering is a death watch

Michael Bryan explains McSally’s Holding Pattern at Blog for Arizona.

The bottom line: Bryan makes some predictions about what explains CD2 Rep. McSally’s apparent dithering (and what roles Sen. McCain and Gov. Doozy are playing).

(1) McCain will announce his immediate resignation from the Senate before or at the end of this session of the Senate on December 29, 2017.
(2) McCain will make it known that McSally has his support to be appointed to his seat.
(3)Ducey will appoint McSally to McCain’s seat.
(4) McSally will run for the remainder of McCain’s term in the 2018 election substantially or completely unopposed in the Republican primary.

Here’s the longer story that supports Bryan’s predictions.

Arizona has become one of the few states that are key to control of the U.S. Senate in 2018. With Flake declining to run for re-election and McCain facing the end of his life, both of Arizona’s Senate seats are in flux at a time when electoral tides are strongly disadvantaging Republicans. When McCain inevitably lays down his duties and resigns, one would expect there will be a wide field of both Democratic and Republican candidates vying for Arizona’s two open Senate seats.

One of the most salient players in this drama has remained purposefully and stubbornly obscure as to her next moves, however: Representative Martha McSally. While it is widely known that her ambition, and her current intention, is to move up to the Senate, she has remained stubbornly non-committal regarding launching a campaign for Flake’s seat in 2018.

She is certain to run for Senate; she has already recruited (and McSally’s political shop is running the nascent campaign of) Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Lea Márquez-Peterson to try to succeed her [in CD2]. Since it seems certain that she plans on departing her current office for the Senate, but is passing up weeks of fund-raising and earned media in a primary against her main rival for the nomination for Flake’s seat, Kelli Ward, what could explain her current passivity?

McSally simply doesn’t plan to enter the primary for Flake’s seat. She expects to take over McCain’s seat, likely well before the primary election next year — probably before the end of this year.

Appointment to replace McCain provides several advantages to McSally. She would likely quash any primary challenge merely by occupying the seat, especially if she is perceived as McCain’s own choice to replace him. Even if she does not quash all opposition, incumbency conveys powerful advantages against both primary and general election challengers. Appointment to McCain’s seat also avoids an unpleasant primary contest with Ward, which would serve to further irritate the far-right Trumpian faction of Arizona’s Republicans, whom McSally has already irritated more than once.

Governor Ducey, likely with the knowledge and blessing of McCain, must be planning to appoint McSally to fill McCain’s seat when he resigns due to his failing health. It is unlikely that McSally would sit on the sidelines like this if she did not have assurances that the appointment to McCain’s seat was hers.

A fellow author at Blog for Arizona, Larry Bodine, concurs and comments on McSally’s “death watch.”

Michael – you are right on the money. McSally is on a death watch, waiting for McCain to die so she can take his seat.

McSally does not like dealing with her pesky constituents or showing up at town hall meetings with us annoying voters. An appointment would be her dream: a US Senate seat without having to face the voters.

She has been actively campaigning for the Senate seat…with anti-education Governor Doug Ducey. McSally has also been tweeting pictures of herself with Trump and is no doubt getting checks and instructions from the Koch brothers. All the pieces are in place for her coronation.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Disrespect for workers binds Trump and the GOP

This morning I am going to connect two dots. One is what Republicans think about workers. The other is what Donald Trump thinks about other people. Let’s start with the GOP.

Paul Krugman posted about how Republicans Despise the Working Class. Snippets follow.

You can always count on Republicans to do two things: try to cut taxes for the rich and try to weaken the safety net for the poor and the middle class. That was true under George W. Bush, who sharply cut tax rates on the top 1 percent and tried to privatize Social Security. It has been equally true under President Trump; G.O.P. legislative proposals show not a hint of the populism Trump espoused on the campaign trail.

But as a terrible, no good, very bad tax bill heads for a final vote, something has been added to the mix. As usual, Republicans seek to afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable, but they don’t treat all Americans with a given income the same. Instead, their bill — on which we don’t have full details, but whose shape is clear — hugely privileges owners, whether of businesses or of financial assets, over those who simply work for a living.

And this privileging of nonwage income isn’t an accident. Modern Republicans exalt “job creators,” that is, people who own businesses directly or indirectly via their stockholdings. Meanwhile, they show implicit contempt for mere employees.

More about that contempt in a moment. First, about that tax bill: The biggest-ticket item is a sharp cut in corporate taxes. While some of this tax cut might trickle down in the form of higher wages, the consensus among tax economists is that most of the break will accrue to shareholders as opposed to workers. So it’s mainly a tax cut for investors, not people who work for a living.

And the second most important element in the bill is a tax break for people whose income comes from owning a business rather than in the form of wages. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has evaluated the Senate bill, which the final bill is expected to resemble. It finds that the bill would reduce taxes on business owners, on average, about three times as much as it would reduce taxes on those whose primary source of income is wages or salaries. For highly paid workers, the gap would be even wider, as much as 10 to one.

So why are they doing this?

After all, the tax bill appears to be terrible politics as well as terrible policy. Cutting corporate taxes is hugely unpopular; even Republicans are almost as likely to say they should be raised as to say they should be lowered. The Bush tax cuts, at least initially, had wide (though unjustified) popular support; but the public overwhelmingly disapproves of the current Republican plan.

But Republicans don’t seem able to help themselves: Their disdain for ordinary working Americans as opposed to investors, heirs, and business owners runs so deep that they can’t contain it.

When I realized the extent to which G.O.P. tax plans were going to favor business owners over ordinary workers, I found myself remembering what happened in 2012, when Eric Cantor — then the House majority leader — tried to celebrate Labor Day. He put out a tweet for the occasion that somehow failed to mention workers at all, instead praising those who have “built a business and earned their own success.”

Yes, it was just a gaffe, but a revealing one; Cantor, a creature of the G.O.P. establishment if ever there was one, had so little respect for working Americans that he forgot to include them in a Labor Day message.

And now that disdain has been translated into legislation, in the form of a bill that treats anyone who works for someone else — that is, the vast majority of Americans — as a second-class citizen.

Trump: “most people aren’t worthy of respect”

Back in October 2016 I picked up on a NY Times report and posted on this telling quote: Donald Trump: “you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect”

What Drives Donald Trump? Fear of Losing Status, Tapes Show. The New York Times obtained “Recordings of Donald J. Trump [that] reveal a man who is fixated on his own celebrity, anxious about losing his status and contemptuous of those who fall from grace.”

The Times reported:

Who earns his respect? “For the most part,” he said, “you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect.”

That contempt for others, the lack of respect particularly for workers, is shared by Trump and the GOP. And that is a deep psychological reason why the GOP will not abandon Trump.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Election 2018: The US Senate is in play and “Arizona votes may just matter like they never have before.

Joe Ferguson at the Arizona Daily Star reports on CD2 with the announcement that Hispanic Chamber CEO Lea Márquez-Peterson enters Southern Arizona’s CD2 race. However, Márquez-Peterson promises to withdraw should current CD2 Republican Rep. Martha McSally run for reelection in CD2.

But the bigger story is what may happen to Arizona’s two US Senate seats with Flake not running and McCain’s uncertain health.

McSally’s silence on her political ambitions is a course of lots of speculation. Scriber’s favorite is this column by Blake “What the Devil won’t tell you” Morlock in the Tucson Sentinel, Showstopper: Ala. result means Senate control will rest with Az voters. 2 branches of government on the line; 2 Senate races possible here next year. Snippets follow.

We’ll have at least one hotly contested U.S. Senate race here next year, and it’s a distinct possibility we’ll have two happening at the same time. And control of the U.S. Senate will be on the line.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake announced in November he would not seek a second term in the Senate, just as hard-charging Democrat Kyrsten Sinema stepped up and conservative insurgent Kelli Ward, a former state representative, surged forth in the polls. Were it not for the Jones win in Alabama, Democrats could win Arizona’s Senate seat but in the best-case scenario, that would still leave the party in a 50–50 tie with the GOP. Vice President Mike Pence would break the tie and let the Republicans organize the majority. Arizona would be relevant but less than decisive.

Well, that all changed Tuesday night [with the election of Alabama Democrat Doug Jones to the US Senate].

The road for control of the Senate now runs down Speedway, up Central Avenue, traces along Montezuma in Prescott and threads through Broad Street in Globe to the railroad tracks in Flagstaff.

No Democrat has been elected to the U.S. Senate from Arizona since 1988 but we have been inching into the purple.

A lot of smart people on the right are going to dismiss the [AZ Rep. Kyrsten] Sinema threat. They’re kidding themselves. I’m not her biggest fan, but she is very smart, she works her ass off and she’s moved in Congress from the far left to the hippie-punching middle. She’s lost liberal friends but those butt-hurt lefties have seen the fruits of treating former friends like abject enemies. They got Donald Trump. Trump’s been nothing but kicking them in the ribs for going on a year. To fight back, they’ll have to vote for Sinema. So liberals will likely show that minimum degree of horse sense. I’m reaching, but we’re seeing it in Virginia and Alabama.

I have yet to mention U.S. Rep. Martha McSally for an uncomfortable reason. I have no doubt that we’ve seen the last of her re-election bids for the U.S. House of Representatives. Lea Marquez Peterson, head of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is a McSally supporter running for her House seat. Like everyone else, I’m making the obvious assumption that Peterson got the congresswoman’s “all clear.”

The question is (shift in my seat and figure out how to phrase it) whether McSally seeks Flake’s seat or holds out for U.S. Sen. John McCain’s. Captain Straight Talk is not doing well. A nasty strain of cancer has struck his brain. How much longer will he be in office? It would be terrible if illness cut his life and career shorter than it would be otherwise, but if happens Arizona is out two incumbents.

McSally could be appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey to take McCain’s seat and then have to stand for election at the soonest possible date. The good news for her would be that McSally could ascend to the Senate without facing a primary against “Chemtrail” Kelli Ward or a general election race against Sinema. But that seat may also be put before the voters next August (in the primaries) and November (to determine who’ll fill out the remainder of the term, through 2020).

Sinema can take Ward, who is running as Trump’s affirmation.

I get that would be a preferable path on one level but it’s less than ideal. I can’t imagine McSally would enjoy being caught waiting on McCain and depending on Ducey to appoint her. That’s a lot of moving parts and some icky karma.

But it’s a very possible scenario and it also explains why she’s taking so long to announce her bid.

The point is: Arizona could have two Senate seats on the ballot in the same year with control of the Senate on the line. That would be a political showstopper.

In the increasingly unlikely event McCain stays healthy and in office, McSally would have to duke it out with Ward in a nasty primary. Already, the culture warriors and laissez faire conservatives are lining up for Ward and against the Tucson Democrat. The big-business guys at Club for Growth and the Koch brothers’ Freedom Works are already on board for Ward. Ken Cuccinelli and the godfather of the Religious Right, Richard Viguerie, have pledged to beat McSally because she doesn’t suit up for the culture war (she just fought in real ones, but that’s not enough).

As an aside, Arizona’s almost certainly going to send our first female senator to D.C. We’ve sent 12 men over the century Arizona’s been a state, and this time, all of the top-level candidates are women: Ward and McSally on the GOP side, and Sinema and political newcomer Deedra Abboud for the Dems. What remains to be seen is which other candidates might yet jump in, especially on the Democratic side if that second seat is in play, but they’d face an uphill climb.

A lot of smart people are going to be trying to sound smarter than they are by detailing exactly what Jone’s victory means for the midterm elections. I kinda doubt Democrats are going to be lucky enough to face Republicans as flawed as Moore. There are only so many mall-trolling, tween-chasing candidates who are nostalgic for the days of slavery.

Say what you want about Kelli Ward but she ain’t that.

I’m going to go with the one analysis I trust. That’s from Alabamian and former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines. That’s right. The great grey flagship of the media elite was once run by a good-old boy from the South. Raines makes the case that Moore represents the fading glory of George Wallace’s Alabama. Much less eloquently, Charles Barkley hit the note with Trumpian aplomb telling Alabamians,”At some point, we gotta stop looking like idiots to the nation.” That’s would seem to be a Deep South thing aimed at the suburbs.

Moore was never that popular with Alabamians and the president picked Election Day to send out the most vile tweet of the Trump era. He called a sitting U.S. senator a slut performing sexual favors for campaign cash. Y’know, just in case women in suburban Birmingham were on the fence.

The effect of Alabama’s vote in a unique race will be overstated. Democrats can roll back into control of the House with the kind of turnout they showed in Virginia and Alabama. The Senate hasn’t been in play until now.

At some point in the coming months, the national political press will look at the map and their eyes will fall down to the bottom left side. They’ll be on a plane for Sky Harbor, about to learn the glory of bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Arizona votes may just matter like they never have before.

USA Today wars on Deviant Donald and his putrid politics

USA Today’s Editorial Board has all but declared war on Donald Trump by asking Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom? (h/t AZ Blue Meanie) Here is the editorial (emphases added).

With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low.

Donald J. Trump
Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck 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!
6:03 AM - Dec 12, 2017

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the president’s smear as a misunderstanding because he used similar language about men. Of course, words used about men and women are different. When candidate Trump said a journalist was bleeding from her “wherever,” he didn’t mean her nose.

And as is the case with all of Trump’s digital provocations, the president’s words were deliberate. He pours the gasoline of sexist language and lights the match gleefully knowing how it will burst into flame in a country reeling from the #MeToo moment.

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.

This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.

Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed.

It should surprise no one how low he went with Gillibrand. When accused during the campaign of sexually harassing or molesting women in the past, Trump’s response was to belittle the looks of his accusers. Last October, Trump suggested that he never would have groped Jessica Leeds on an airplane decades ago: “Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you.” Trump mocked another accuser, former People reporter Natasha Stoynoff, “Check out her Facebook, you’ll understand.” Other celebrities and politicians have denied accusations, but none has stooped as low as suggesting that their accusers weren’t attractive enough to be honored with their gropes.

If recent history is any guide, the unique awfulness of the Trump era in U.S. politics is only going to get worse. Trump’s utter lack of morality, ethics and simple humanity has been underscored during his 11 months in office. Let us count the ways:

  • He is enthusiastically supporting Alabama’s Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of pursuing — and in one case molesting and in another assaulting — teenagers as young as 14 when Moore was a county prosecutor in his 30s. On Tuesday, Trump summed up his willingness to support a man accused of criminal conduct: “Roy Moore will always vote with us.”
  • Trump apparently is going for some sort of record for lying while in office. As of mid-November, he had made 1,628 misleading or false statements in 298 days in office. That’s 5.5 false claims per day, according to a count kept by The Washington Post’s fact-checkers.
  • Trump takes advantage of any occasion — even Monday’s failed terrorist attack in New York — to stir racial, religious or ethnic strife. Congress “must end chain migration,” he said Monday, because the terror suspect “entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security.” So because one man — 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. who came from Bangladesh on a family immigrant visa in 2011 — is accused of attacking America, all immigrants brought to this country by family are suspect? Trump might have some credibility if his criticism of immigrants was solely about terrorists. It isn’t. It makes no difference to him if an immigrant is a terrorist or a federal judge. He once smeared an Indiana-born judge whose parents emigrated from Mexico. It’s all the same to this president.
  • A man who clearly wants to put his stamp on the government, Trump hasn’t even done his job when it comes to filling key government positions that require Senate confirmation. As of last week, Trump had failed to nominate anyone for 60% of 1,200 key positions he can fill to keep the government running smoothly.
  • Trump has shown contempt for ethical strictures that have bound every president in recent memory. He has refused to release his tax returns, with the absurd excuse that it’s because he is under audit. He has refused to put his multibillion dollar business interests in a blind trust and peddles the fiction that putting them in the hands of his sons does the same thing.

Not to mention calling white supremacists “very fine people,” pardoning a lawless sheriff, firing a respected FBI director, and pushing the Justice Department to investigate his political foes.

It is a shock that only six Democratic senators are calling for our unstable president to resign.

The nation doesn’t seek nor expect perfect presidents, and some have certainly been deeply flawed. But a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great.

Here is more commentary from AZBlueMeanie.

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.

The [USA Today] editors effectively call on Donald Trump to resign. Given his recent bouts of slurred speech and obvious mental deterioration, the 25th Amendment is also seriously in play. And Special Counsel Robert Mueller is closing in on obstruction of justice charges that will merit impeachment. No patriotic American should support the degradation of the office of the presidency and the undermining of our democracy that Donald Trump and his sycophant supporters represent.

So this, our country needs to be rid of Deviant Donald, the worst president ever, before he plunges us yet deeper into his unique, putrid political cess pool.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

1.5% is the most significant digit this morning - Jones whupped Moore in Alabama

49.9 percent–48.4 percent
Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore with 49.9 percent of the vote to Moore’s 48.4 percent in the Alabama special U.S. Senate election for the seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. [FiveThirtyEight]

Watching MSNBC’s coverage of the Alabama special election last night, it was a bit of a nail-biter, but it became clear that Democrat Doug Jones had won even before the news outlets started calling it. The MSNBC numbers junkie Steve Kornacki explained that all of Moore’s votes were in but Jones-favoring precincts were still reporting. And that was that.

This morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl called the Jones win in deeply red Alabama “a harbinger” of the 2018 election. Also on that program, it was noted that a recount is unlikely. Jones’ margin was 1.5%, three times the trigger of 0.5% for a recount.

And here is the latest significant digit: 49. That is now the latest count of Democratic votes in the Senate.

I‘ll end with a personal note. Your Scriber really did not think that the state of Alabama could rise above its religion, its politics, and its history to reject an accused sexual offender. But enough of the voters did that. I owe 1.5% of the Alabama voters an apology.