Archive of Articles for October, 2017

Mueller's Team Remarkably Leak-Free

[ Posted Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 – 17:37 UTC ]

What with the holiday and all, I don't have time today to adequately comment on the big story in Washington this week: the indictments and plea deal connected to the investigation of Bob Mueller. Instead, I'm just going to offer up one brief observation that few in the media have yet made -- how remarkably tight-lipped the Mueller investigation has been, to date. In fact, all the rampant speculation that is currently flying about what to expect next from Mueller's team really proves the point, because speculation is all that is even possible in such a leak-free environment.

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Apocalyptic Nightmares For Right And Left

[ Posted Monday, October 30th, 2017 – 18:23 UTC ]

As that learned philosopher Alice Cooper once said, welcome to my nightmare. Nightmares, actually, since (as usual) we have one terrifying tale of fright for the right, and one spine-tingling scare story for the left, just to be even-handed.

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Friday Talking Points [459] -- Deficits Don't Matter, Again (Neither Moral Nor Financial)

[ Posted Friday, October 27th, 2017 – 17:29 UTC ]

There's an easy test to see whether Republicans in Congress care about financial deficits: Is there a Democrat in the White House? If so, then deficits are so important that the situation requires threats of government shutdowns and defaulting on the national debt to fight deficit spending. However, if there's a Republican in the White House, then (as Dick Cheney so eloquently put it) "deficits don't matter." This was on full hypocritical display once again this week, as congressional Republicans voted to blow a $1.5 trillion hole in the national debt, so that the wealthy and big corporations can enjoy massive tax cuts.

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GOP In Open Warfare With Itself

[ Posted Thursday, October 26th, 2017 – 17:04 UTC ]

While admittedly the Democrats have some fence-mending to do between the two wings of their party, at least their rhetoric doesn't lean quite so much towards military metaphors. But over on the Republican side of the aisle, both sides seem to be using the term "open warfare" to describe what is going on. Steve Bannon was the first to use the belligerent "warfare" terminology, but it now looks like allies of Mitch McConnell are just as committed to a battlefield fight over the course of the next year.

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Trump Will Protect Your 401(K)... Or Maybe Not

[ Posted Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 – 17:45 UTC ]

Republicans are playing a game of peek-a-boo on their tax plan. They don't want to release the full details, because they know full well this will leave them open to attack from both the left ("Not one penny more for the One Percent!") and from the right ("Why are we blowing up the deficit, now that we're in charge?"). But the congressional Republicans who are in charge of drafting the tax bills do still need to gauge support for various proposals, so they are currently engaged in selective leaking in order to run these ideas up the old political flagpole, to see if they are salutable or not (so to speak) among their members. The latest of these is to sharply reduce the amount of tax-free income that can be socked away in a 401(k) retirement plan. President Donald Trump initially pushed back hard against this idea, but today indicated that he might just be open to negotiation on the issue. Which begs a much larger question: Will Trump actually go to the mat fighting for any particular tax issue? Or will Republicans just flat-out ignore the White House, knowing full well Trump is so desperate to sign a major piece of legislation that he'll agree to pretty much anything they come up with?

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Flake News

[ Posted Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 – 15:31 UTC ]

I have to begin with an apology for that headline... but in the era of Donald Trump, it was impossible to resist. Senator Jeff Flake made the news today by announcing he will not be seeking re-election next year. He did so in a rather spectacular fashion, with a Senate floor speech that came close to denouncing Trump and all he stands for. As time goes by, more and more Republicans are taking the opportunity to do the same thing, but so far this hasn't much impact on the political world beyond the realm of rhetoric. So while I appreciate Flake's statement for the entertainment value alone, I also have serious doubts as to whether it means much in the grand scheme of things.

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The GOP's Big Lie About Tax Cuts

[ Posted Monday, October 23rd, 2017 – 17:08 UTC ]

Call it the refusal of "trickle-down economics" to die. Ever since Ronald Reagan introduced the idea, Republicans have clung to a very mistaken concept -- that tax cuts always pay for themselves. Though proven false again and again, this is the fallback Republican position when trying to hoodwink the American public into massive tax cuts for those at the tippy-top of the income scale. "Don't worry," the GOP tells the public, "these tax cuts will generate so much new growth that they will pay for themselves!" As always, the reality turns out to fall far short of this lofty goal.

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Friday Talking Points [458] -- Gold Star Lies

[ Posted Friday, October 20th, 2017 – 17:41 UTC ]

Call this the week when White House Chief of Staff John Kelly lost all remaining shreds of credibility. Kelly, as we all know, was supposed to bring the adult supervision to the White House that would magically transform Donald Trump into a serious president. A retired Marine Corps general was going to whip the White House into shape, and clear sailing ahead would thus quickly ensue.

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The Off-Off-Year Governors' Races

[ Posted Thursday, October 19th, 2017 – 17:20 UTC ]

In a few weeks, there will be elections for two governorships, in New Jersey and Virginia. These off-off-year contests are always closely watched, especially by those hoping for a shift in the balance of power. However, no matter the outcome, these two states aren't always accurate harbingers of how the midterm elections will turn out in the following year. Still, it being an off-off year, political pundits don't have any other key election results to talk about, so expect to be hearing lots of opinionating over the next three weeks or so.

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Trump's Despicable Gold Star Lies

[ Posted Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 – 17:16 UTC ]

President Donald Trump, once again, has been caught in numerous despicable lies, this time both to and about Gold Star families. This continues a pattern for Trump, of disrespecting other people's military service when they are not whole-hearted supporters of Donald Trump. But over the past 48 hours or so, Trump has hit new lows in this regard. And yet he still has the gall to denounce professional football players for "not respecting the flag."

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