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Saturday :: Jan 20, 2018

Schumer Blew It


by Steve

There’ll be no histrionics from me about the “Trump shutdown” or the “Schumer Shutdown”. Plain and simple, Chuck Schumer blew it last night. He’s now allowed the White House, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan to seize the narrative and control several news cycles with a false message. And it could all have been avoided.

Right before the final vote was recorded, just as the Clerk of the Senate asked if there were any senators who wanted to change their votes, Schumer should have allowed all of his red and purple state Democratic senators to change their votes and push the Continuing Resolution over the top. They would have been spared any 2018 electoral damage, and it would have given the GOP a false sense of disarray in the Democratic ranks, which would come in handy when the Democrats employed their full leverage over the GOP next month when the White House and McConnell could have been destroyed for taking the country into a shutdown over any refusal to protect the Dreamers and fix immigration. The Democrats could have taken that message into the midterms and destroyed the GOP.

Instead, Schumer was maneuvered into throwing 9 million CHIP kids overboard this month on a futile effort to get DACA fixed now when it didn’t have to be fixed until next month. In other words, Schumer and the Democratic caucus once again chose identity politics to chase the Latino vote over kitchen table issues for working class voters across the country. It was the wrong call. The Democrats should have allowed the CR to pass, pocketed the CHIP 6-year authorization and taken it off the table, and immediately begun messaging that they were subjected to a “hostage taking” by McConnell and Ryan, whereby they were forced to choose between CHIP and the military versus the Dreamers, after months of GOP broken promises over DACA. The message could have been hammered day in and day out over the next 30 days so that the next vote would have been a choice between upholding promises and keeping the government open, and shutting it down over pure racism. Clean and simple. And yet Schumer let it get away.

A CNN poll shows that voters weren't willing to shut down the government now over DACA, but a 30-day effort to pressure and leverage the White House and congressional GOP leaders by name for their broken promises would have changed the power dynamic, especially with suburban and independent voters, who are critical to the Democrats’ hopes this November.

Schumer and Durbin blew this, and they and Pelosi need to go. Since none of them will leave, Democrats will fail this fall due to their own self-inflicted wounds.

Steve @ 12:34 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::


Thursday :: Jan 18, 2018

Democrats: Take the CHIP Extension and 30-Day CR


by Deacon Blues

Once again, the ineptitude of total GOP government control has led the country to an imminent government shutdown this weekend. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has yet to be extended, leaving over 6 million families with a loss of pediatric health care. And the 800,000 Dreamers have yet to see Donald Trump live up to his rhetoric about wanting to protect them from deportation.

Instead, Republicans are trying to use the impending shutdown, which is totally of their own making to make Democrats choose between a CHIP extension and a Dreamer fix, through trying to leverage the shutdown as a hammer. In the midst of this GOP effort to drive a wedge between Democrats and their base, Trump is undermining Republican strategy by saying he is against tying a CHIP extension to a temporary Continuing Resolution (CR), which is exactly what the House GOP wants to do.

The simple fact is that a Dreamers deal does not have to get done this month, whereas a CHIP extension does. A Dreamers deal needs to be done before April.

Yes, Democrats are under great pressure from their base to remove the threat of deportation from the Dreamers, but it is also true that Democrats cannot have any fingerprints upon a CHIP expiration or a government shutdown in a year where there are vulnerable incumbent Senate Democrats from purple and red states on the ballot in November. And it is also a fact of life that nearly three quarters of voters want the Dreamers to be protected.

So allow me to suggest the following. The House GOP already has enough votes to pass a 30-day CR without a DACA fix but with a 6-year CHIP extension. House Democrats should let them do that, and Chuck Schumer should wait until the last minute tomorrow to allow his red and purple-state 2018 incumbents to vote with Senate Republicans to pass the bill with a 60-vote total. The goals here would be to:

1. Take the 6-year CHIP extension now and get it off the table, with the 30-day CR;

2. Push the DACA fix to next month’s debate to avoid another shutdown, knowing that the electorate would support Democrats demanding a clean DACA fix as part of any budget deal;

3. The GOP would be severely punished if it went over the cliff and shut the government down over a DACA vote tied to funding the border wall.

If Schumer waited until the last minute to see he can get a better deal from a wavering GOP, he could then turn loose his vulnerable 2018 incumbents to vote with the GOP and send a bill to the White House that Trump has signaled he doesn't want. It would force a wedge not amongst the Democrats but rather between the GOP and Trump should he decide to veto the bill and shut down the government.

And Democrats get a 6-year CHIP extension now, and the opportunity to leverage the GOP severely 30 days from now.

Update, Friday: After initially signaling that Senate Democrats would stop the House's CR dead in its tracks, Chuck Schumer agreed to President Trump's request for a 1:1 meeting, without any GOP leaders. This is a good development, knowing that Trump really wants to be seen as a deal maker here, and knowing that Lindsey Graham and other Senate Republicans want a deal as well. My hope is that Schumer will be able to work with Trump to get something through the Senate that would create problems for House Republicans. A wedge is a wedge.

Deacon Blues @ 2:11 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Tuesday :: Jan 16, 2018

Graham Wants Trump to Stop the BS


by Deacon Blues

Without getting into any further dissections of whether it matters if Trump used the word "shithole" or "shithouse" in racial insults towards African and Haitian peoples, it is clear that Trump is doing whatever he can to energize his deplorable base to stick with him. He is willing to sacrifice the Dreamers to do it.

He and those around him have all but said that his legislative agenda between now and what may be a brutal midterm election will be 1) immigration, 2) infrastructure, and 3) trade. With Lindsey Graham now calling for a return to a possible DACA compromise, and Democrats continuing to insist that any government funding bill be tied to a DACA fix, is there room here for such a compromise?

Trump wants: To stoke up his base and keep blaming others for his own failings and dereliction of duty. His rants about blaming Democrats for any government shutdown and failure of a DACA deal are lies and limp attempts to direct heat away from the GOP's total control of the government and inability to do anything except make rich people richer. Stephen Miller has convinced Trump that he needs his base to stay angry all the way to November, which means no immigration or DACA deal and no waffling on NAFTA. Democrats need to take this into account.

Democrats want: To help the Dreamers and get a DACA deal done while keeping the pressure on Trump and his minions in the Congress to govern, knowing that the House GOP caucus hates government. What Democrats need to do is lay out some clear principles and essentials in any deal and stick to those calmly and consistently.

May I suggest the following Democratic essentials and talking points?
1. Trump and the GOP are responsible if the government shuts down; they control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
2. If Trump and the GOP leadership fail to keep the government from closing, we need a new Congress next year.
3. There must be a DACA deal as part of any government funding deal; no more demonization of brown people.
4. Democrats should be willing to fund a down payment on a border wall as part of a bipartisan border security plan.
5. Democrats will insist upon an infrastructure plan focused on real jobs and not more corporate tax breaks.
6. A new Democratic Congress in 2019 will pass real tax reform for working families and repeal the GOP's tax cut for themselves.
7. A new Democratic Congress will fix Obamacare and not take away healthcare from millions of Americans.
8. A new Democratic Congress will actually drain Trump's swamp and stop him from enriching himself while in office.

Talking Russia all the time is not a recipe for Democratic success in 2018. A focus on kitchen table issues, and restoring our honor in the world can be.

Deacon Blues @ 11:07 AM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Wednesday :: Jan 10, 2018

Trump Will Fire Mueller


by Deacon Blues

"For 11 months they’ve had this phony cloud over this administration, over our government … it’s a Democrat hoax."
--Trump, just now

Although I fully supported her doing so, I think it is more likely than ever that Trump will fire Mueller after Dianne Feinstein's action to release the Fusion GPS Senate Judiciary Committee transcript. Trump has already resorted to name-calling mode against Feinstein this morning, and just now said in full Mussolini mode that he's not sure there's a reason why he'd need to sit for an interview with Mueller.

By releasing the Fusion GPS transcript into the public record, Feinstein undermined the GOP's "soft kill" of Mueller's effort, where the White House and congressional GOP toadies employ a coordinated discrediting campaign to de-legitimatize any final conclusions from Mueller that are adverse to the president. The transcript has given the lie to those efforts. Now all that is left for Trump to do is go for the actual direct kill of firing Mueller, which he will stupidly do after Mueller asks for the interview.

Trump is delusional enough to reject an interview request, and then fire Mueller for even trying, thinking that his sheeple will back him up. But even his most ardent ass-kissers in the House GOP will have a hard time explaining why Trump is justified in firing someone who sought to get him on the record and settle this once and for all. And anyone who justifies firing the prosecutor after rejecting an interview request is clearly endorsing obstruction of justice.

After all, if Trump really is innocent and didn't collude, why would he refuse an interview request?

Deacon Blues @ 1:25 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Tuesday :: Jan 9, 2018

Feinstein Releases Fusion GPS Transcripts


by Deacon Blues

God bless Dianne Feinstein. After those slimy political hacks Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham participated in a political hit job last week by asking the Justice Department to go after Christopher Steele rather than investigate what's actually in the "dossier", Feinstein kneecapped those pricks this afternoon by releasing the full testimony of Fusion GPS to Grassley's committee.

Cue the whining and soiled undies from little Lindsey and lying Chuck about damaging the investigation. What investigation, you corrupt a**holes. The Democrats have given away too many news cycles to a corrupt, coordinated obstruction of justice from Senate and House Republicans to prop up a regime that is afraid of sunlight.

The sad thing is that it may very well turn out that there was little actual collusion or coordination between Putin and the Trump campaign, and that the Russian involvement and success came about through luck and an effective disinformation campaign that Obama's team should have taken more seriously. But for some reason, Team Trump made things worse with a cover-up and a textbook case of obstruction of justice. And if it turns out that the bigger crime is what the White House and sleazebags like Grassley and Graham did to hide the truth, then they all deserve orange jumpsuits.

Update: One outcome of the transcript release today is the revelation that Steele briefed the FBI and the New York Times not once, but twice on his findings from the dossier. However, after his second NYT briefing and despite the details he presented both the Bureau and the NYT, the paper for some reason cleared Trump of involvement with the Russians in the days just before the election, sourcing that to the Bureau. Seeing this, and becoming alarmed that something was going on that he and Fusion didn't know, Steele then cut off further conversations with the Bureau.

Simpson testified that what he and Steele suspected was that the NYT was going to some lengths to reveal for the first time the existence of a FBI inquiry into Trump, sourced to the Bureau, but went further to exonerate Trump right before the election.

The New York FBI office, and Rudy's boys strike again.

No wonder Grassley and Graham went to such lengths to avoid investigating this, while smearing Steele and Fusion.

Deacon Blues @ 10:30 AM :: Link :: Comments (1) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Monday :: Jan 8, 2018

Do Stable Geniuses Lie Like a Dictator?


by Deacon Blues

It takes a certain kind of "stable genius" to stand up in front of thousands of farmers and lie to their faces about the tax cuts they are about to get, and what his political opponents will do in the future.

President Trump delivered an economic victory lap during a speech to farmers on Monday in which he vastly overstated the size of the tax cuts passed by Congress late last year and played up a rollback of regulations on American businesses.
Declaring that the "American dream is roaring back to life," Mr. Trump — who has made clear that he likes big numbers — claimed that the tax overhaul cut taxes by $5.5 trillion when, in fact, the legislation will reduce the overall tax burden on individuals and companies over the next decade by $1.5 trillion, or $4 trillion less than what he cited.
"We have just signed into law the most significant tax cuts and reforms in American history — it’s a total of $5.5 trillion in tax cuts," Mr. Trump said, adding that most of those benefits would go to "working families, small businesses and — who? — the family farmers."
Mr. Trump apparently chose to highlight just one side of the ledger — the total amount of tax reductions in the bill that he signed in December — without counting the amount of taxes that were increased in the same legislation to help pay for the bill. White House officials declined to respond to questions about the president’s $5.5 trillion figure.

There's nothing wrong with political hyperbole; politicians' life blood is the art of shading the truth and spinning. But it takes a certain malevolent mendacity to tell bald faced lies to thousands of people, and then tell more falsehoods about your political opponents.

The president used the speech to offer a preview of the political message he will deliver to voters as lawmakers prepare for the midterm elections in November. Democrats in Congress, he warned, will try to reverse the tax cuts — which passed entirely along party lines without a single Democratic vote — if they seized the majority this year.
"If the Democrats ever had the chance, the first thing they would do is get rid of it and raise up your taxes, sometimes by up to 40, 50, 60 percent more than you have right now," Mr. Trump said.

After reading that lie, why would Chuck and Nancy meet with the president on anything at all?

Deacon Blues @ 3:48 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Wednesday :: Jan 3, 2018

Trump Throws Bannon Overboard


by Deacon Blues

Well, let's see how strong the Breitbart/Bannon "force" is now. We now are witnessing a real civil war inside the GOP, where Trump will eventually win, but at what cost?

"Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency," the statement said. "When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party."
Trump continued: "Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself."
The statement from Trump came after Bannon has criticized Trump and his family in recent interviews — mocking the president’s intellect, criticizing the operations of the White House and torching Donald Trump Jr. and the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. His most recent comments, published online Wednesday in excerpts from a book by journalist Michael Wolff, came two weeks after a Bannon profile in Vanity Fair that infuriated the president and his senior aides.
"Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was," Trump’s statement said. "It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books."

Sure, Mitch McConnell is a happy guy today because he pulled Trump back into his orbit with Bannon's banishment. But how much of Trump's nationalistic alt-right base will travel back inside the Beltway with him, and how much of it will think that Trump has abandoned the cause? It won't be too hard for Bannon to point out that the tax scam Trump signed was clearly more "business as usual", a breach made all the more complete by today's trashing of Mr. Alt-Right.

Trump better hope that Bannon hasn't rolled on him to Mueller. But if Bannon hadn't done so yet, he certainly will do so now.

Deacon Blues @ 12:49 PM :: Link :: Comments (1) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Tuesday :: Jan 2, 2018

GOP Stupidity in Abundance


by Deacon Blues

Here's three for the "Dumb Republicans" file, in just one day.

Air Safety Charlatan
As is his wont as an adolescent, Donald Trump took credit for the lack of domestic airline fatalities in 2017, for which there haven't been any since . . . . 2009.

President Trump started the first Tuesday of 2018 with a tweet claiming credit for the lack of aviation deaths in 2017, citing his supposed "strict" policies on commercial aviation.
[snip]
The major U.S.-based airlines have not recorded a fatal crash since Sept. 11, 2001, and U.S. carriers in general have not had any fatalities since 2009.
Trump’s biggest proposal relating to aviation has been to privatize the air traffic control system, separating it from The Federal Aviation Administration . . .

It's OK little Donnie. Here's your milk, now go to the corner and tell the dust bunnies how great you are.

Nikki Haley Soils Herself
Our UN ambassador told the world today that the United States would never accept a nuclear North Korea, even though North Korea is already nuclear.

"As we hear reports that North Korea might be preparing for another missile test -- I hope that does not happen, but if it does -- we must bring even more measures to bear on the North Korea regime," she said. "The civilized world must remain united and vigilant against the rogue state's nuclear arsenal. We will never accept a nuclear North Korea."

Who is we, Kemosabe?

Haley already threatened to "take names" at the UN of countries that voted against us on the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capitol, which resulted in her getting embarrassed by the world community. Now, she makes a fool of herself again.

And yet the GOP thinks she is presidential material in a post-Trump world? Well, I guess in a Palinesque way, yes she is.

Goodbye Hatch
Several weeks after he attacked Sherrod Brown for suggesting he was more interested in helping the wealthy than he was his constituents, and ten days after he pushed through a tax scam that proved Brown's point, Utah GOP dinosaur Orrin Hatch announced today he will not run for re-election in 2018, just days after Donald Trump asked him to run again to prevent Mitt Romney from coming to the US Senate in 2019.

"Only in a nation like ours could someone like me — the scrappy son of a simple carpenter — grow up to become a United States senator," he said, addressing Utah voters. "As your senator, I’ve always sought to fight for those who could not fight for themselves. And I believe the results speak for themselves."

What utter horsesh*t. Hatch hasn't been fighting for the little guy for decades, and just last week directly enriched himself with the tax scam.

Please Senator Hatch, take your piety home and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way.

Deacon Blues @ 1:46 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::

The New York Times Fluffs Trump


by Deacon Blues

There's been an uptick of late in Trump fluffing by the New York Times' reporters and editors, where assertions are slipped into stories by reporters and left in there by editors without any factual basis for the claim. One recent example from yesterday is the following opening paragraph:

A wave of optimism has swept over American business leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs job creation — and may finally raise wages significantly.

Sure, and I may finally earn a million dollars this year. But there's no proof of either, yet the Times let that piece of Trump fluffery start the New Year.

If you read the entire 37 paragraphs of that story, you will find no evidence or quotations from any business executive that Trump's regulatory rollback will lead them to increase pay for their workers, or actually hire more staff. Yet the Times reporters put that into the opening paragraph, and their editor let it pass.

Who says working the refs doesn't work?

Deacon Blues @ 11:48 AM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
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