Thursday, November 30, 2017

University of Notre Dame Reverses Policy – Will Allow Health Insurance to Provide Contraception Products

Why the Change? No Reason Given

There are a large number of religious sects who believe that using contraception is immoral. That's fine. Nobody ever wants to force them to do so. But most of the sects also believe they have the right to force their religious views on others and in the case of religious sponsored employers they want to use the power of the employer to do so. Which brings us to the strange case of the University of Notre Dame, full time professional football team sponsor and part time educational institution.

Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that faculty, students, and staff will be able to obtain coverage for contraceptives through their university-sponsored insurance plans. The surprise decision is a reversal of the school’s announcement last week that it would discontinue birth-control coverage in light of new religious-freedom protections put in place by the Trump administration.

The school spent years and what is likely millions of dollars fighting the requirement that they allow their health insurers provide contraception coverage independent of the school, and finally won. Then they changed their minds. No reason given.

We would like to think that someone at the school realized that contraception usage reduced abortions and so that it was not only not against doctrine but helped in a cause the religious sponsor of the school felt very strongly about. But that would require a confluence of logic and religion.

Moore Campaign Won't Substantiate Claims of False Reporting

Gosh, We Wonder Why

The response of the Roy Moore Senate campaign to charges the candidate pursued and in one case assaulted a young girl is to challenge the media.

Senate candidate Roy Moore’s campaign refused Wednesday to substantiate a key claim it made as part of an effort to raise doubts about one of the Alabama candidate’s accusers.

The details are, well, silly. Here's the charge.

According to records the media has not bothered to look at, we’ve been able to find that Corfman’s supposed pickup place was almost a mile away from her mother’s house and would have been across a major thoroughfare,” Ben DuPré, a longtime aide to Moore, said at an event Tuesday in Montgomery. “This is yet another improbable fact in Leigh Corfman’s own words and story that the media has not bothered to investigate.”

And when the Washington Post tried to follow up.

The Post requested documentation to support DuPré’s description of another address on Tuesday, and a spokeswoman for the Moore campaign said she would try to respond. On Wednesday morning, after another request for the information, Brett Doster, a strategist for the Moore campaign, sent an email to The Post.
The Washington Post is a worthless piece of crap that has gone out of its way to railroad Roy Moore,” Doster wrote in an email he described as an “on the record” statement. “There is no need for anyone at the Washington Post to ever reach out to the Roy Moore campaign again because we will not respond to anyone from the Post now or in the future. Happy Thanksgiving.”

The Moore campaign, sounds like a guilty reaction to everyone.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Remember Comopassionate Conservatism – No More – An Ugly Part of the Electorate Gets Uglier

Texans Who Want Billions From Taxpayers for Hurricane Relief Don't Think Puerto Rico Should Get Any

After All, They Are Hispanic

The people of Puerto Rico are as much American as the people in every state of the nation. The only difference is well, they don't get the representation in government that is automatically given to the rest of us. Yes this is unfair, but no one seems to care.

And now, when the island of Puerto Rico has suffered from a horrible hurricane some people in Texas have gone beyond not caring and openly oppose U. S. federal government aid to Puerto Rico. Here is the tale from one Trump supporter

Often, the prayer is accompanied by frustration with President Trump, whom she voted for and who visited this neighborhood after Harvey.
He really made me mad,” said Maddox, 70, who accused Trump of trying to pit those on the mainland against Puerto Ricans, even though they’re all Americans.
I don’t know,” said her husband, Fred Maddox, 75. “I think he’s trying.”
He continued: “It’s a problem, but they need to handle it. It shouldn’t be up to us, really. I don’t think so. They’re sitting back, they’re taking the money, they’re taking a little under the table. He’s trying to wake them up: Do your job. Be responsible.”
Oh gee, we know who 'they' are. They are the hated non-whites. And survey data now shows the bigotry of the Trump voters.

A survey released last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a majority of Americans believe that the federal government has been too slow to respond in Puerto Rico and that the island still isn’t getting the help it needs. But the results largely broke along party lines: While nearly three-quarters of Democrats said the federal government isn’t doing enough, almost three-quarters of Republicans said it is.

As for Trump, well he only cares about not breaking his arm patting himself on his back.

On Oct. 3 — two weeks after the storm — Trump toured a neighborhood outside San Juan, Puerto Rico, and has repeatedly proclaimed, against much evidence, that his administration had a “tremendous” response to Maria. He gave his administration a “10” during a White House appearance with Puerto Rico’s governor this week. “I think we did a fantastic job, and we’re being given credit,” he said.
In fact, conditions remain dire throughout much of the island. Nearly 80 percent of Puerto Ricans still lack electricity, and 30 percent do not have access to clean drinking water.

You're doing a heckuva job Trumpie. Now go back to bailing out rich Texans.

Contrary View: Garrison Keillor Says Al Franken Should Not Resign

Here's What He Says an Why He is Wrong

This Forum has said in no uncertain terms that Sen. Al Franken (D, Mn) should resign because of his past conduct. The great Garrison Keillor says no.

And then there is Sen. Al Franken. He did USO tours overseas when he was in the comedy biz. He did it from deep in his heart, out of patriotism, and the show he did was broad comedy of a sort that goes back to the Middle Ages. Shakespeare used those jokes now and then, and so did Bob Hope and Joey Heatherton when they entertained the troops. If you thought that Al stood outdoors at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and told stories about small-town life in the Midwest, you were wrong. On the flight home, in a spirit of low comedy, Al ogled Miss Tweeden and pretended to grab her and a picture was taken. Eleven years later, a talk show host in LA, she goes public, and there is talk of resignation. This is pure absurdity, and the atrocity it leads to is a code of public deadliness. No kidding.

Keillor's point is that we cannot go back and change history, and cannot judge past acts and actors by today's standards. The example he and everyone uses is the slaveholding Founding Fathers. But Jefferson and Washington were giants, they created America and the past is past, cannot be changed. But Al Franken is the present. If he were to resign, as he should, it would say that when we can recognize what is wrong and if we can do something about it, we should.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Why Is It Always So Easy to Fool Thomas Friedman of the NYT

Don't Know – It Just Is

For almost 40 years Thomas Friedman has been an intelligent and energetic and thoughtful observer of the world, and his columns and books on foreign policy and developing economies have provided great insight into the world. But he has a fatal flaw, an incurable optimism that defies reality.

Friedman is famous for believing that the U. S. could reform and rebuilt Iraq into a western style democracy. That failed, as it had to, but Friedman never learned. Now he is gushing over the potential reforms in Saudi Arabia that have little chance of succeeding in the long run. He writes about the current leader, whom he calls M. B. S. and that person's anti-corruption/modernazation drive.

But guess what? This anticorruption drive is only the second-most unusual and important initiative launched by M.B.S. The first is to bring Saudi Islam back to its more open and modern orientation — whence it diverted in 1979. That is, back to what M.B.S. described to a recent global investment conference here as a “moderate, balanced Islam that is open to the world and to all religions and all traditions and peoples.”

The problem of course is that unifying force of the Arab and Persian Middle East is hatred of Jews and Israel. The leaders of Saudi Arabia will have to unite the different factions, and will do so by continuing and increasing their attacks on Israel, both verbal and military. They cannot do otherwise a and still stay in power.  This will be under the radar, but it will happen.

Saudi Arabia will always be a hotbed of hatred of Jews. Call us when that nation recognizes Israel, but we won't be standing by the phone. You can fool Friedman most of the time, but you cannot fool those of us living in the real world.

Why Tiger Woods Plays Golf with a Anti-Black Bigot Like Trumpie

And Other Snarky Comments on the News

  1. The great golfer Tiger Woods is trying to comeback from injuries and his own bad behavior in his private life. So he played golf with the Grabber in Chief. Given the attacks that Trump has made on black athletes one has to wonder what Tiger's motive was. The answer which is obvious to anyone who has observed Woods over his career is that Woods only cares about Woods. If golfing with the President will help Woods he will do it regardless of what Trump thinks about African Americans in general.

  1. Ivanka Trump is going to India to represent American women in business and how they an succeed. Of course her recipe is have a daddy that does everything for her and manufacture in low wage countries.

  1. This Forum has called for Nancy Pelosi to speak out more for Democrats. Having watch her defend a Democrat whom she would have not defended were he a Republican we are changing our minds. Please Nancy, just go back to wherever it is you hide out from reporters.

  1. Al Franken is pathetic, walking away from reporters after he returned to Washington. Please go Al, just go, now.

  1. It is not true that Roy Moore was banned from the show, The Teenage Dating Game, but only because there was no such show.

  1. Who beside the Congress knew that taxpayer money was funding secret settlement for wrong doing by people in Congress?

  1. No, the Bill Clinton situation is not relevant today. Yes he should have resigned but tha was 20 years ago. Now it is only a poor excuse by the GOP to defend child molestation.

  1. The people who charge the Washington Post is fake news tried to produce fake news but the so-called fake news paper found them out and didn't report the fake news. Expect Trumpie to complain.

  1. No one should be fooled about Republicans not voting for the tax cut bill. With a close vote in the Senate the phony recalcitrants are just trying for leverage to get their pet projects in the bill. It's what Dems did in the passage of ACA.

Monday, November 27, 2017

If There Tax Cut is So Great Why Do Republicans Have to Lie About It?

Maybe Because It Isn't So Great'

Whenever Republicans speak publicly about their massive tax cut for large corporations and for the wealthy they just flat out lie. For example

  1. They say this is a middle class tax cut; independent analysis says taxes will increase for millions of middle income Americans.

  1. They say this will not help the wealthy, yet only the very, very wealthy will benefit from the Estate Tax repeal.

  1. They say corporations will pass on their tax cuts to employees in higher wages. Who believes that?  When has that ever happened?

  1. They tout the doubling of the standard deduction, not mentioning that most of the benefit will be offset by the elimination of personal exemptions.

  1. They say tax rates will go down because high marginal rates discourage working. The lowest rate goes up  by 20 percent.

  1. They say there will be more foreign investment in America. Going to a territorial corporate tax regime will encourage American companies to invest abroad.

  1. People like Lindsey Graham say the economy needs a tax cut. The unemployment rate is at the lowest its been in over a decade.  The economy meeded fiscal stimulus in 2009 when all Republicans worked against it.

Etc,etc. Etc.

Media Bias Against Democrats Erupts on Meet the Press

No Fairness on Sunday

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi appeared on Meet the Press.  She wanted to talk about the tax bill, but instead the moderator pressed her relentlessly on Bill Clinton and his actions of 20 years ago.  When she tried to talk about current events she was pressed relentlessly on Democrats and given no time or opportunity to talk about the Republican President who bragged about assaulting women and the Republican Senate candidate who faces highly credible accusations of child molestation.

When the Republican Senator Rob Portman then came on he got to talk about the Democrats, got to make a pitch for the tax bill and got to totally ignore the questions about Republicans.  He gave no answers and was not even pressed like Ms. Pelosi.

Portman was clearly uncomfortable, but chose to go with party over morality.  Once a decent person, it appears Portman has sold his sole for Republican gains.  As for the media, despite their protests they clearly are sensitive to the unsupported claims of bias against conservatives and so they try to equate Democrats and Republicans when it is only one party that finds a sexual predator acceptable as a serious Senate candidate.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Nothing Says Christmas Shopping Like Buying That 9th Assault Rifle

There really is no good explanation for America's relationship with guns. It is fairly obvious that anyone who wants to own a gun already has one or ten. But gun sales continue to rise.

WASHINGTON — The FBI was flooded Friday with more than 200,000 background check requests for gun purchases, setting a new single day record, the bureau reported Saturday.
In all, the FBI fielded 203,086 requests on Black Friday, up from the previous single-day highs of 185,713 last year and 185,345 in 2015. The two previous records also were recorded on Black Friday.
Gun checks, required for purchases at federally licensed firearm dealers, are not a measure of actual gun sales. The number of firearms sold Friday is likely higher because multiple firearms can be included in one transaction by a single buyer.
All of this just makes so much sense. A gun in every room. A gun for every person in the house plus a bunch left over for the neighborhood kids. A gun for Grandpa who is senile. A gun for Aunt Jessie who thinks 'packing heat' is her hot water bottle.

Eventually science may find that the gun crazies suffer from a genetic disorder. No, well anyone got a better explanation.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Trump Says Workers Will Get Big Raises From Tax Cut to Corporations

Workers Want it Guaranteed

Corporations Stop Laughing Long Enough to Respond

In what has to be one of the most illogical and unsupported economic theories the Trumpies say that by massively cutting business taxes all of that money will be given to workers. See, since 2009 corporate profits soared. And since 2009 worker's incomes have been stagnant. So naturally increasing profits will result in higher incomes.

This week, the Communications Workers of America asked several companies that employ its members to promise to give workers a pay increase if the cut in the corporate tax rate goes through. The request, while unlikely to be heeded, highlights a critical question over who would benefit the most from the tax bill: shareholders or workers?

Seems reasonable enough to us. And the response, seems expected to us.

In a letter sent this week to the top executives of Verizon, AT&T and six other companies, the communications union asked them to pledge a $4,000 annual pay increase for employees for every year that the corporate rate rests at 20 percent. The union, which has called the tax measure “an outrageous money grab” and urged lawmakers to reject it, also asked the companies to say that they will not take advantage of other changes in the corporate code to send American jobs to other countries.

The companies largely declined to comment or dismissed the letter as a stunt.
Jim Gerace, chief communications officer for Verizon, said that the company would take up the wage issue with the union when contract negotiations begin in 2019, “regardless of the outcome of tax reform legislation,” and that “it’s just too early to speak to the impacts on our business” from the tax bill.

Friday, November 24, 2017

So Called Religious Freedom Group Wants to End Your Freedom

They Know Best, You Don't

It is impossible to deny that throughout history many religious orders have as their main mission the imposition of their beliefs on non-believers. The Founders recognized this and put Freedom of Religion first in the Bill of Rights. But that doesn't stop some from trying to subvert it.

The First Amendment has become the most powerful weapon of social conservatives fighting to limit the separation of church and state and to roll back laws on same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

Few groups have done more to advance this body of legal thinking than the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has more than 3,000 lawyers working on behalf of its causes around the world and brought in $51.5 million in revenue for the 2015-16 tax year, more than the American Civil Liberties Union.

Huh? How can a constitutional right to practice religion be used to force religion on those who do not subscribe? Easy, use the bigot friendly courts.

Among the alliance’s successes has been bringing cases involving relatively minor disputes to the Supreme Court — a law limiting the size of church signs, a church seeking funding for a playground — and winning rulings that establish major constitutional precedents.

And so the Supreme Court will hear cases that if decided in favor of those who would coerce the rest of us into accepting their prejudice and hatred will destroy much of religious freedom in the nation. What, they are not haters? Well there is this.

“They’ve got some very big, very clear goals,” said Mr. Montgomery, who has studied Alliance Defending Freedom since the group’s founding in 1994.
One of those goals was to defend laws that criminalized gay and lesbian sexual conduct.

In a brief the alliance filed urging the Supreme Court not to overturn a Texas law that made homosexual activity illegal, its lawyers described gay men as diseased and as public health risks. The court decided 6 to 3 that the law was unconstitutional.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Republican Hypocrisy is Big and Small – See Asheville NC for Small

These People Have No Soul

One of the admirable principles of Republican policy gurus and stalwarts is the supremacy of local control. Conservatives hate central government and believe political power should be devolved to local levels. But it turns out this is only when they are getting their way. In Asheville North Carolina the state GOP wants the city to select city council members by district as opposed to at large. The citizens of that city feel differently and voted overwhelmingly to keep at large representation.

Unfortunately, the city council doesn’t seem to understand what most ordinary citizens do — that following the law isn’t optional," State Sen. Chuck Edwards said in a press release. "For months, they have blatantly ignored the law, then organized and helped defeat a referendum in an attempt to preserve the status quo system from which they personally benefit."
Edwards also contends the city ignored their own poll showing "a clear majority of respondents agree single-member districts are a good way to ensure differing political views in Asheville have equal representation on city council.

Gosh, the voters spoke, about 75 to 25 against districts. But Republicans only like votes when they go their way, don't they.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Democracy Doesn't Just Cost Lives – It Costs Billions in Lobbying

Which Kinda Defeats the Purpose of Democracy

As new tax legislation that will benefit everyone except middle income hard working Americans gears up the pigs are at the trough.

WASHINGTON — The sweeping tax rewrite unveiled by President Trump and Republican lawmakers this past week leaves many of the details to Congress, but two sentences in the nine-page framework have Washington lobbyists salivating over a payday that some industry experts predict could top $1 billion.

So what are the lobbyists concerned about? Getting fair treatment for the regular folks? Hardly.

Tucked away on Page 8, the sentences refer vaguely to plans to repeal or roll back “numerous” exclusions and deductions, and to “modernize” tax rules affecting specific industries “to ensure that the tax code better reflects economic reality and that such rules provide little opportunity for tax avoidance.”

That language has prompted concerns among a wide range of businesses and industries about the prospect of losing valuable tax breaks — from preferential tax treatment for insurers to credits for renewable energy to a prized tax treatment used by the commercial real estate industry.

Now no one knows the details of the tax plan that will ultimately be enacted, including those responsible for writing the legislation and voting on it. But we do know from what has been presented that a middle income family might get a few hundred dollars in tax relief if they are lucky, while those industries battle over billions.

Sounds fair to us.

While the U. S. Looks at a Pedophile Senate Candidate, anti-Semiticism and Fascism Rises in Europe

Poland Just the Latest Nation to Catch the Disease

Maybe They Always Had It

It is ironic that close to the day America celebrates its veterans the nation of Poland hosted a huge rally promoting ultra conservatism joined to hatred for Muslims and Jews.

WARSAW—Tens of thousands of Poles marched across downtown Warsaw on Saturday, in an independence-day procession organized by a nationalist youth movement that seeks an ethnically pure Poland with fewer Jews or Muslims.
The largely young crowd shot off roman candles and chanted “fatherland,” carrying banners that read “White Europe,” “Europe Will Be White,” and “Clean Blood.” Some of the marchers flew in from neighboring countries—Slovakia, Spain and Hungary—waving flags and symbols those countries used during their wartime collaboration with Nazi Germany.

Poland of course has an ugly history of murdering a large number of Jews, and its complicity in WWII atrocities has been well documented. So what is going on here.

Well the migration of Arab families to Europe to escape physical violence and preserve their families just drove the nativists and bigots crazy. So the rise of forces we thought we defeated over 70 years ago shows just how strong hatred is in the world, and how clueless the U. S. is to stop it. In fact, it is hard to see how the person the nation put in charge of itself isn't part of the problem. He sure isn't part of the solution.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

On. Sen. Franken The New Yorker Gets It Wrong

His Resignation Would Not Be Retribution

Given that he has admitted wrong doing (although it is impossible not when their is photographic evidence) the question is whether or not Sen. Al Franken (D. Mn) should remain in the Senate. He should not.

A writer for The New Yorker though takes issue.

But maybe “Should Al Franken resign?” is the wrong question.
The question frames the conversation in terms of retribution, but it is not possible to hold to account every man who has ever behaved disrespectfully and disgustingly toward a woman. Nor even every senator, or every comedian. And, even if it were possible to punish every single one of them, what would be accomplished? Punishment, especially when it is delayed, is not a very effective deterrent.

The problem with the above is that leaving the Senate is not punishment or retribution. Serving in the Senate is a privilege. It is an honor. It is a position of leadership. Out of more than 300 million people in the nation it is one of 100. Asking Mr. Franken to leave the Senate simply reaffirms the belief that the men and women who serve the nation in elected office should be more than just people not convicted of a crime. They should have honor and dignity. Sen. Franken has neither.

Supporting progressive legislation is not enough to qualify a person who behaves improperly for the Senate just as supporting conservative legislation is not enough to vote for someone who aspires to the Senate who has also behaved inappropriately towards women.

Monday, November 20, 2017

George Will, Protector of the Rich, Now Wants to Protect Massively Wealthy Universities

Opposes Very Modest Tax on Huge Endowments

One of the many financial abuses in American life is the accumulation of huge endowments by very wealthy colleges and universities who then just accumulate more money. Harvard is the biggest offender here, they charge a large tuition while at the same time building and building their endowment.

In the Republican tax bill there is provision to put a very small tax on these endowments. George Will is horrified!

Most university endowments are compounds of thousands of individual funds that often are restricted to particular uses, all of which further the institutions’ educational purposes. Hence these endowments are akin to the untaxed “operating foundations.” Yet the Republicans, without public deliberations, and without offering reasons, would arbitrarily make university endowments uniquely subject to a tax not applied to similar entities.

What is Will logic? Well this.

Are Republicans aware, for example, that Princeton University’s endowment earnings fund more than half its annual budget and will support expansion of the student body? 

Notice that what is being said is that not only is none of the principal of the endowment being used to support operations, only half of the earnings are plowed back into benefits. Good grief. So if a person gives Princeton, which is one of the better places to give, $1 million, then not only does none of the $1 million go to student aid or reduced tuition, only half of the income from investing the $1 million goes to student help. If the $1 million earns 6%, then only $30,000 a year is used for benefits. These places deserve a higher tax, not a lower one.

Can Anyone Explain Evangelical Support for Roy Moore?

Maybe that Religion Thing is a Big Con Job

It was not that long ago that conservative religious leaders were outraged, outraged at Bill Clinton. Character matters they all said. Well here is what they are saying now.

In just over a week since the allegations surfaced, Mr. Moore has spoken at a Baptist church, held a press conference with half a dozen evangelical pastors who defended him, and called the campaign a “spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message.” He denies the allegations. Several national evangelical leaders—including Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Jerry Falwell Jr. , president of Liberty University—have voiced support for Mr. Moore.

So how does one explain this? Here are some possible explanations.

  1. The Devil made them do it.

  1. Molestation of teenage girls is less important than repeal of the Estate Tax.

  1. The Democrat running against Moore is secretly a Muslim.

  1. Deep down they all want to cruise the malls for teenage girls.

  1. In their past they did cruise the malls for teenage girls.

  1. When they asked “What Would Jesus Do?” they hung up the phone when He told them not to do it.

  1. Being a Fundamentalist Religious Zealot means never having to say you are sorry for sexual molestation.

  1. They all meet regularly at Teenage Girls R Us.

  1. The Democrat running against Moore is Jewish.

  1. Nothin says lovin like grabbing a woman's butt without her permission.

  1. The Democrat running against Moore doesn't believe that gay couples should be imprisoned for life before eternal damnation.

13. They all meet regularly at Hypocrites R Us.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

When Will Dems Learn to Confront the Tax Cut LIes?

You Can't Win if You Don't Show Up

On Meet the Press and Face the Nation the Republicans set out the Republican budget director to lie about the tax cuts.  The Democrats set out, well, nobody.

Ways the Republican Tax Bill Could Be Even Worse and

Other Snarky Comments on the News

  1. The House and Senate will have to merge their tax bills. Here are just some of the things that would make it worse than it already is.


  1. Republicans claim their tax cut will reduce the deficit, but there is no independent analysis to support this. Economics for the GOP is faith based, not reality based. This comment from a Bush era Treasury official tells it all.

Phillip Swagel, who served as the U.S. Treasury’s top economist from 2006 until 2009 in the George W. Bush administration, said it was“just implausible” that the Trump administration has an analysis that concludes tax cuts will pay for themselves.

  1. Alabama religious leaders showed their true colors in supporting Roy Moore. Many said while they had not talked with Jesus they were certain that were Jesus voting he would support Moore against any Democratic candidate since it was well know that Democrats were the spawn of Satan. The leaders supported that charge by citing a version of the Bible they expected Jerry Falwell Jr. to publish next year.

  1. Anyone who thought Al Franken was funny should now realize how wrong they were.

  1. Anyone else notice that America's number one moralist,  I-Know-Better-Than-You VP Pence has been pretty silent on Roy Moore.

  1. Don't believe polls that show Moore losing; In Alabama nothing is more scared than the Republican brand, not even the right of young girls to be free of sexual assault.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Whiff of Anti-Semeticism Creeps Into Trump Tweet on Al Franken

Just a Coded Message to His Base

While cowardly ducking any questions on Roy Moore, the Pussy Grabber in Chief did weigh in on the revelations that Senate Democrat Al Franken engaged in sexual assault.

President Trump, who was dogged by sexual misconduct allegationsduring his 2016 campaign, took aim at longtime critic Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Thursday night, after Franken was accused of forcibly kissing and groping a woman 11 years ago.
The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words,” Trump wrote on Twitter, misspelling the apparent reference to the 19th-century novel “Frankenstein.” Trump added in a second tweet that Franken had last week been “lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women.”

Yes, we know the 'Frankenstien' (sic) reference is a play on words on Frankenstein's Monster (yes kiddies the Frankenstein was the doctor, not the creation). And we know that Trumper is spelling challenged. But also in there is the not so subtle reminder that Franken is Jewish, and we all know how the Trump fans feel about the Jewish community. So for the Groper it's just another day like Charlottesville, reassuring his base that he too hates those Jewboys.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Al Franken's Senate Career is Over - And Should Be

Lesson Number One:  It's Never Just One Incident

Lesson Number Two:  If There is Photographic Evidence the Game is Up

Accusations by a women complete with photo that she was inappropriately grabbed and kissed by Senator Al Franken (D, Mn) will cause Mr. Franken ot resign his Senate seat.  He may not realize it at this point, the Dems may not realize it at this point but his career is over.

Franken has already become the butt of late night talk shows, and redicule is the precursor to resignation.

From the Washington Post

Colbert told his audience some of the details of Tweeden’s allegations, such as “during rehearsal he came at her, put his hand on the back of her head, mashed his lips against hers and aggressively stuck his tongue in her mouth.”
“Now for those of you not in showbiz, actors call that technique ‘sexual harassment,’ ” Colbert said. He also took issue with Franken’s statement that the photo “was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t.”
“No. Your movie ‘Stuart Saves His Family’ was intended to be funny but wasn’t,” Colbert shot back. “That photo was intended to embarrass her. That’s why he did it while she was asleep.”
Both ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” brought up Tweeden’s vest that she was wearing in the photo, with Kimmel calling it a “grope-proof vest.”

The story moved beyond a he said-she said narrative with the publication of a photo taken of Mr. Franken fondling the victim while she slept.  The Senate leadership has called for an investigation and hearing.  The investigation will reveal other victims, the hearings would be an embarassment for everyone.  So Al will resign, the only question being when and how much damage he will allow before he does so.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R. Wi) is a Lying Sack of Doodoo

He Will Vote for Any Tax Bill

In order to make political points conservative Republican Senator Ron Johnson has said he won't vote for the tax bill because it favors corporations.

WASHINGTON—Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) said he opposes the Senate Republican tax package, saying it unfairly benefits corporations more than other types of businesses.
“If they can pass it without me, let them,” Mr. Johnson said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m not going to vote for this tax package.”

Now no one should be fooled. Johnson the Liar said the same thing about repealing ACA and then just went ahead and voted for it. No one believed him then, no one believes him now.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Once Again David Brooke of the NYT is Exposed as a Fool and an Idiot

An Embarrassment to Himself and Others

This forum has long commented on the lack of even basic logic and common sense in the columns of David Brooks. The man is truly an idiot in a Brooks Brothers suit. The latest evidence, his column trying to explain the alienation of the extreme religious right and their tolerance for moral failure in politicians they support.

Here is what he said near the end of his column.

Suppose America’s leaders had gone to conservative evangelicals a decade ago and said: Look, we understand that changing attitudes about gay marriage put you in a tough position. We’re not going to stop doing what we think is right, but we’re going to try to work out some accommodation with you on religious liberty so you can feel at home here and practice your faith.

How in the world has legalization of same sex marriage in any way impeded anyone's ability to practice their faith? If a person believes same sex marriage is immoral, then they don't have to marry a person of the same sex. The problem here is that these people want to practice their faith by imposing their faith on people who do not believe in that particular faith.

The nation understands this, why can't this simple truth get through the thick skull of David Brooks.  

Alabama Voters Are Among the Worst, Maybe They Are the Worst

We'll See, as the Chief Groper Would Say

One likes to praise ordinary people, the hard working tax paying citizens of a state. But Alabama, the state that is in love with racist Jeff Sessions makes that very hard. Look at this.

A growing number of Republicans say they won’t vote for either candidate. And if more credible allegations emerge before Election Day, Moore’s remaining support could crumble. One poll (which has Moore up by just four points) found that 37 percent of voters say Moore should withdraw, but that number goes up to 64 percent “if the allegations are true.” 

Yes you are reading the correctly. 36%, more than one third of the voters in Alabama believe that even if the allegations of sexual molestation and acting as a sexual predator are true about Roy Moore, he should still stay in the race.

What is there kind and compassionate to say about such people?  Yeah, if Alabama seceded now it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.  Voting for a man who sexually assaulted and stalked teenage girls, that might be the worse thing in the world of democracy.

The Best Word on Health Care Insurance and the Tax Bill

From the Incidental Economist and the Great Nicholas Bagley

When somebody else says it far better than we can say it, we present what they are saying.

The tradeoff here is both simple and brutal.

“Republicans want to pay for a permanent corporate tax by taking insurance from millions of people. Is that who we are as a nation?”
That’s the end of my latest op-ed in the Washington Post. Here’s the beginning.
To finesse the tricky politics and brutal math of tax reform, Senate Republicans now say that they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. For Republicans, repeal would be a trifecta: a blow to Obamacare, a money-saver for the federal government and a way to finance a permanent cut to the corporate tax rate.
Republicans are right about all of this. What they haven’t highlighted, however, are the tradeoffs: the estimated 13 million people who will lose insurance if the mandate is repealed. Is the country really better off if millions of people forgo medical care, and millions more go bankrupt, so that corporations can pay lower taxes? That’s not a rhetorical question. Those are the stakes of the game.
It’s actually worse than my op-ed suggests. In a smart post, Bob Laszewski explains why eliminating the mandate while loosening the restrictions on short-term plans “would be devastating for those in the unsubsidized middle class who would not be able to afford coverage once they got sick.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Texas Sen. John Cronyn Wants Mitch McConnell's Job

And Other Revelations on the News

  1. In what should not have been a surprise, the 2nd in command in the Senate, Rep. John Cronyn endorsed the candidacy of disgraced former Alabama judge Roy Moore. He did this despite a reputation for having at least some respect for the law. Moore has been twice removed from the bench for cause, and one time the cause was violating the Constitution. Cronyn wants to be the go-to guy if enough Senators ditch McConnell, so he needs to be on Steve Bannon's best side to do that.

  1. With its obnoxious commercials and obnoxious spokesperson those who write on this Forum will never ever use Trivago to book travel. Could those people be any more offensive?

  1. Politico says Kushner will take a diminished role during Trumpie trip to China. Really, how is it possible for this pretender to take even more of a diminished role than he does now, in any area?

  1. Fox News has not offered Mark Halperin a $25 million contract, though lord knows they want to.

  1. The people of Puerto Rico are just cursed with bad government that will make their lives worse by wasting money to rebuild the grid by contracting with a firm totally unqualified to do the work. Anyone who believes no Trumpie officials were involved needs to start paying attention and wake up from the dead.

  1. The Republican deficit hawks who decided to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit to finance tax cuts for big corporations and wealthy donors say deficits don't matter, unless they are used to finance benefits to low and middle income families.

  1. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley says she would not take the Secretary of State job if (when really) the current Secretary quits. Ms. Haley did not say that she needs to learn more about foreign countries, like where they are, before she is qualified. Trump spokespersons did not say that they think she will change her mind as qualifications are just not on their radar screen for filling key positions.

  1. Information that the Clinton campaign paid for opposition research on Trump's personal issues just shows how inept that campaign was. Trump's personal failing were more than adequately documented in the press, and the Clinton campaign needed to promote reasons to vote for Hilary, not reasons not to vote for Donnie. Donnie himself provided all the reasons not to vote for him.

Leadership in the Czech Republic Passes to a Trump Like Figure

No, That is Not Good - Is Europe  Slowly, Silently Turning Fascist?

One of the casualties of the Syrian Civil War has been the destruction of democratic values in Europe. The Czech Republic joins Poland and Austria and Hungary as turning away from decency and compassion and is now looking at government as an oppressive force.

From the Financial Times

This week’s Czech election, after Austria’s parliamentary poll a week earlier, has shown that the march of the populists in Europe is far from over. The clear winner in Prague was a five-year-old party led by a billionaire businessman, Andrej Babis. Support for mainstream centre-left and centre-right parties all but collapsed. A far-right party won 11 per cent of the vote. The victory of a wealthy, media-owning tycoon in a country from the ex-Soviet bloc brings inevitable concerns, too, about the potential for “state capture”.

There are plenty of examples in the ex-communist world of wealthy leaders running countries in the interests of themselves and their cronies, weakening democratic restraints to make themselves difficult to unseat. One big question is whether the Czech Republic will now join Hungary and Poland to form an enlarged illiberal bloc in central Europe. Mr Babis certainly shares the anti-migrant stance and hatred for EU refugee policy of Hungary’s premier Viktor Orban and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s ruling party.

The good news is that the new Czech leader does not display the fascist tendencies of other countries of central Europe. But it is clear the the attempt of Europe to do a decent thing, accept refugees from Syria and other war torn areas has had a terrible impact on government, and that nativist peoples of many European countries, maybe all European countries are now turning the continent back to the 20th Century, and not the good part of it.

Of course in America we don't know or care what is going on.

Republicans Say they Need More Evidence of Roy Moore's Proclivity for Teenage Girls

Here It Is

[Update: It appears that at least in the Senate the Republicans are being disgusted by the Moore history and are rejecting his candidacy. Now Sean Hannity and Bannon are vacillating. Moore looks like a goose being cooked for the holidays.]

The weasel like Republicans who say only “If it is true . . .” about the egregious behavior of Senate candidate Roy Moore have some more evidence to say it is true.

A former colleague of GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore said Saturday that it was "common knowledge" that the Alabama Republican dated high school girls when he worked in the Etowah County District Attorney's Office in the 1980s.
In a statement to CNN, Teresa Jones, who served as deputy district attorney for Etowah County, Ala., from 1982 until 1985, said that multiple people thought it was unusual that Moore dated high school girls, but that no one ever raised the matter with him.
"It was common knowledge that Roy Moore dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird," Jones told CNN. "We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall ... but you really wouldn't say anything to someone like that."

Over to you Republicans, let us know when you get your moral compass back.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Nation Gives Thanks to Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore

Conclusive Exposure of Religious Hypocrisy

One of the most astounding developments of the 2016 election was the fact that so-called deeply religious leaders embraced the amoral Donnie. Their excuse was the Supreme Court, but everyone knew the truth. They supported a person for political reasons and the fact that the person violated their moral precepts was irrelevant. But a lot of people bought the lie because of the Supreme Court.

But the largely confirmed sexual abuse of a 14 year old girl by the ultra conservative, ultra religious Alabama Senate candidate has now confirmed that those faith leaders have no faith or leadership. There is no condemnation, only the weasel statement of “if he did that . . .” which since no one can be certain lets them off the hook.   But there should be litle doubt in that he did it.  The woman's story checks out, she is a Trump supporter and there is contemporeneous communicatins about the action.  And the last two Presidential candidates before Trumpie have stood up and called it right, Moore is unfit for office.

And now the nation knows, the religious right is neither religious nor right.  

How the Wealthy Survive Massive Inequality – Delusion and Denial

Just Ordinary Folks Who Work Hard

Rachel Sherman, a researcher into socio-economics has an opinion piece in the NYT on her anecdotal research into how wealthy people fell about their wealth and how they can look themselves in the mirror after spending huge sums on non-necessities for themselves.

In part they do this by trying to hide their affluence, like from the servants.

She took the price tags off her clothes so that her nanny would not see them. “I take the label off our six-dollar bread,” she said.

She did this, she explained, because she was uncomfortable with the inequality between herself and her nanny, a Latina immigrant. She had a household income of $250,000 and inherited wealth of several million dollars. 

This drips with condescension, in particular because the subject believes her servants are too stupid to know what things cost. As for their attitudes about their wealth, well they are just 'ordinary'.

My interviewees never talked about themselves as “rich” or “upper class,” often preferring terms like “comfortable” or “fortunate.” Some even identified as “middle class” or “in the middle,” typically comparing themselves with the super-wealthy, who are especially prominent in New York City, rather than to those with less.

When I used the word “affluent” in an email to a stay-at-home mom with a $2.5 million household income, a house in the Hamptons and a child in private school, she almost canceled the interview, she told me later. Real affluence, she said, belonged to her friends who traveled on a private plane.

The subjects almost always describe themselves as 'hard workers' and seem to justify their wealth because they work hard. Hard work is the person who holds down two jobs just to pay the bills and lives in substandard housing. Hard work is roofing, it is standing in an assembly line for 8 hours a day, it is cleaning toilets and fixing cars. Hard work in not attending meetings or going to conferences in exotic locales where everything is paid for by the company.

We all see these families when we travel. They are the ones with kids in first class. They are the ones paying $500 a night for a hotel. They are the ones who have to check several bags to provide for their overpriced designer clothes when they leave home.

No one begrudges people the fruits of their labor, or feels that all of their inheritances should be taken away, But in a land where many people do not have a first home is it really right that the wealthy get tax deductions for having a second one?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Roy Moore Threatens to Sue Washington Post - Post: Bring It On!

Don't Worry WaPo - He Won't Sue

The many political cowards that inhabit politics, starting with Donnie, always threaten to sue when the news reports accurately their faults and transgressions.  Remember that Donnie was going to sue all the women who accused him of improper behavior.  Remember he was not going to settle the Trump University suits against him because he doesn't settle when he is right.  Of course no suits have materialized against any women, and the suits against him on Trump University were quietly settled with a large payment by Trumpie.

And now Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is saying he will sue the Washington Post for reporting that he molested a teenage girl.

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama sought to refocus his campaign on the conservative religious ideals most likely to motivate his base voters, dismissing the national firestorm over allegations that he pursued teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
Addressing a gathering at the Huntsville Christian Academy in Huntsville, Ala., on Sunday night, the former judge suggested that he was investigating his accusers, threatened to sue The Washington Post and called on the United States to restore its culture by going “back to God.”

Well, not to worry newspapers. See when you sue you have to be deposed under oath. And Trumpie and Moore cannot withstand cross examination under oath. So nothing will happen here,although it it does the WaPo will be ecstatic.

Maine Voters Approve Medicaid Expansion; Paul Ryan Shuts Down Voting in House

Two Tales of Democracy

The disdain that Republicans have for the democratic process was evident when despite repeated opposition to expansion of health care in Maine by its Republican Governor, the voters, when given a chance overwhelmingly approved it.

Maine voters on Tuesday delivered a strong rebuke to their governor by approving an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under Obamacare — the first time state voters have directly authorized such an expansion.

The vote makes Maine the 32nd state to agree to expand Medicaid to thousands of low-income adults who qualify for coverage and represents a major setback for Republican Gov. Paul LePage, an ally of President Donald Trump who vetoed expansion bills on five occasions. The measure was winning 59 percent to 41 percent with roughly two-thirds of precincts reporting as of 10 p.m., according to the Associated Press, just weeks after Republicans in Congress failed in their efforts to repeal the health care law.

And Maine of course is a conservative state, where the obnoxious Republican has been elected twice and where its Senators are one Republican and one Independent. Had they listened to the people Medicaid expansion would have taken place a long time ago.  Of course the Governor will do everything to defeat the will of the people, so nothing is certain.  

And then there is the autocratic House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan vowed an end to the much-despised top-down approach of his predecessor when he took the speaker’s gavel in 2015, promising a House that’s “more open, more inclusive, more deliberative, more participatory.”

“We're not going to bottle up the process so much and predetermine the outcome of everything around here,” he said in his first news conference as speaker.

But two years later, the House Rules Committee, which is controlled by the speaker, just set a record for the most closed rules in a session — barring lawmakers for the 49th time from offering amendments on a bill.

This would be surprising only to people not familiar with Paul Ryan.

Unbiased Media? Meet the Press Features Repubicans to Lead Off the Show

Fox News Lookalike for MTP

Conservatives always cry media bias to explain their losses.  On Sunday Meet the Press lead off with Pa. Senator Pat Toomey who repeated the nonsense that the tax cuts will reduce the deficit rather than increase it, a statement so at odds with logic, truth and the fact that the Senate's own budget resolution that it makes one wonder just how brazenly these people will lie.

Then the show featured the White House legislative liason to promote Republican propaganda.  On Face the Nation the show led with two Republians and an Independent Bernie Sanders, the man who conveniently uses the Democratic party when he wants to, then throws it aside.

 Evenutally of course the Dems and opposition got some time, but the prominence of Republicans just goes to show how much the networks sometimes enable the Trumpies rather than present honest and objectived reporting.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Wonder Why NFL Players Are Protesting Violence Against African Americans? Teacher Threatens Student in Georgia

What would happen if a black teacher was recorded telling a white student that he should be shot in the head, and that the teacher might be the one to do it? Conservatives would scream for weeks. But this did happen in Georgia, 

In the video, Paul Hagan, a physics teacher at the Rockdale Career Academy in Conyers, Ga., can be heard addressing a student who is just out of frame. “Don’t smile at me, man, O.K.?” the teacher can be heard saying in the 26-second clip. 

“That’s how people like you get shot.”

I got a bet,” he continued. “I bet by the time you’re 21, someone’s going to put a bullet right through your head, O.K.? And it might be me, the one that does it.”

Wow, the outrage must be hug, eexcept the race roles were reversed.. Yes, wait a minute, it was an African American who was the victim, who was the target and the teacher was white.. Never mind says Fox News, never mind.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Roy Moore Courageously Goes on Sean Hannity Show

And Other Snarky Comments on the News

  1. The embattled Alabama Republican Senate candidate, a disgraced judge, found the most sympathetic inteviewer in the world in the form of Sean Hannity to hide from serious journalism so he could deny claims that he was a serial sexual abuser. Look for appearances on Fox News to follow.

  1. Who would have thought Mitch McConnell had a backbone? From Taegan Goddard.

Bonus Quote of the Day

November 10, 2017
This is what happens when you let reckless, incompetent idiots like Steve Bannon go out and recruit candidates who have absolutely no business running for the U.S. Senate.”
  • Former Mitch McConnell chief of staff Josh Holmes, quoted by the New York Times, on the allegations that Roy Moore initiated sexual relations with teenagers.
McConnell will of course embrace Moore as soon as he joins the Senate and is willing to vote for tax cuts for the wealthy,

  1. Are we the only ones who find the reporting on sexual misconduct by people like Moore and comedian Louis C K so disgusting that it is difficult to read.

  1. Once again we have to ask why the people who promote family values cease to have them?

  1. Virginia showed the Dems how to win. Any chance they got the lesson?

6. Trump nominated a man to be a federal judge who has never set foot in a court room. The nominee may have expressed the thought that Trump will not be regarded as the absolutely worst man ever to be President, so that makes him qualified. His approval is expected along party lines.