An outside-the-Beltway perspective on current events, politics, media, and the arts. We are proud to be part of the Reality-Based Community.

Contact Us

Recommended Diversions

Tuesday :: Feb 13, 2018

Focus on the Real Issues

by Deacon Blues

Progressives and MSNBC reflexively spend too much time focusing on Russia, Trump's credibility problem, and his women troubles. Sure, it's fun to see direct evidence that the White House did in fact lie about what it knew, and when it knew it about former aide Rob Porter's security clearance failures. The FBI confirmed today that the White House, going back to the time that Reince Priebus was Chief of Staff knew that Porter failed his background check, yet Donald Trump let him have access to classified material all this time. OK, so Trump is a liar and a security threat to this nation. We already know that.

What's not getting enough attention right now are several more important things. First, Trump's budget proposal yesterday is nothing more than a draconian statement of values that Democrats should be pouncing on and tying around the necks of every Republican member of Congress every day between now and November.

Second, the nation's intelligence community reconfirmed again today that our elections are under attack from Russia, and that the administration has done nothing about this, which in itself should lead to demands from Democrats for intelligence committee investigations. Oh wait, we supposedly already have those going on.

Third, we are about to see a new war in the Middle East, with an Israeli prime minister looking for any distraction he can get from his own legal problems. And yet America is willingly on the sidelines letting Russia run the show. It may be a brilliant Trumpian strategy to let Putin tie himself down in a no-win situation, or it may be a precursor to getting dragged into something that a competent president and administration could have avoided, had they only given a damn.

Sure, it's fun to talk about Trump's trouble with the truth, his trouble with Russia, and his treatment of women, but these aren't the real issues that need our attention. And every day the media and progressives fixate on those things is a day that Trump escapes accountability for real problems he has created.

Deacon Blues @ 12:22 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::

Sunday :: Feb 11, 2018

Are Dems Ready to Capitalize on Trump's Infrastructure Plan?

by Deacon Blues

Trump is set to finally release his infrastructure plan tomorrow, and as to be expected, there's no real money behind it.

The plan calls for investing $200 billion in federal money over the coming decade to entice other levels of government and the private sector to raise their spending on infrastructure by more than $1 trillion to hit the administration’s goal of $1.5 trillion in new funding over 10 years. It also seeks to dramatically reduce the time required to obtain environmental permits for such projects.

Two hundred billion in actual federal dollars? That's it?

Notice anything special about the total level of investment? That $1.5 trillion? It's about the cost of Trump's tax giveaway to the wealthy and Corporate America. Hmmm.

I hope the Democrats are ready to respond that their plan, released recently, is much better, and in need of funding without putting the cost onto workers and the middle class by way of a large gas tax increase, and without giving corporations any more tax incentives than the handouts they just got.

If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi don't see this as a huge opportunity to repurpose those recent tax giveaways into a way to largely finance actual infrastructure spending, something that a recent Quinnipiac poll found 87% support for, then both Chuck and Nancy need to step down. Make Wall Street and the wealthy pay for the $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending, reverse their tax cuts, and make the GOP and Trump defend why handing them money for nothing is better.

Deacon Blues @ 4:08 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Friday :: Feb 9, 2018

Setting In Motion His Own "Massacre"

by Deacon Blues

With the news this afternoon that Rachel Brand, the Number Three official at the Department of Justice is bailing out after only 9 months on the job, and the possibility that John Kelly will also get out after getting heat for Trump's coverup in the Rob Porter fiasco, we face the prospect if not the certainty that the president will in fact replay Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre.

That's because with Brand out of the way, Trump can now fire Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein, and order his next-in-line Solicitor General to fire Mueller, since Jeff Sessions is recused. And if Kelly is gone and replaced with toady Mick Mulvaney of the OMB and CFPB, there'll be no one to stop Trump from doing it.

So for those House and Senate Republicans like Lindsey Graham and others who said it wasn't currently necessary to pass legislation protecting the Special Counsel, it's time to choose sides: do we live in a democratic republic or a banana republic? Their answer to that question and Trump's likely "massacre" will decide the 2018 elections.

Deacon Blues @ 3:27 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::

Women are Property to Trump

by Deacon Blues

So we've reached a point where the President heaps praise upon someone accused of beating two wives, yet allegedly expresses disappointment against the man's current girlfriend, the president's communications director for making the issue personal, and is disappointed with his Chief of Staff for how the situation was dealt with.

Isn't it clear that what really bothered Trump, and Kelly for that matter, was that there were pictures? If there hadn't been pictures, would Trump or Kelly care that Porter hit two wives and was a candidate to hit Hope Hicks, if he hasn't already?

There really is nothing surprising in the behavior of Trump, Kelly, or Hicks, nor is there anything surprising in the "look the other way" reaction from all female Trump cultists, including Kellyanne Conway. Women are property to all Trump males, and Conway would let her best friends be physically abused and demeaned as long as she herself stayed close to Dear Leader.

Democrats should simply ask openly "would you let your daughter or sister work in the Trump White House?"

Deacon Blues @ 12:40 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Wednesday :: Feb 7, 2018

Taking Credit Has Its Risks

by Deacon Blues

With a government shutdown looming once again, and the president cheerleading for it, Democrats need to be smart and play the long game over these coming months as we head into the midterms. Although new, credible national polling shows that Trump is getting bigly credit for the economy, and that the GOP tax cut is initially popular with the electorate, Democrats need to message and strategize around the following factoids.

The Senate just reached a two-year budget deal to avoid a shutdown, which seemingly has the support of Speaker Ryan, White House staff, and the Pentagon. The deal also includes a debt-ceiling increase and deprives Trump of any leverage on the budget or immigration. Even though Nancy Pelosi and presumably House Democrats are unhappy and wanted to tie the next funding resolution to a DACA fix, polls show that the public supports the Dreamers but doesn't support shutting the government down over the issue. However, and more importantly, these same polls show the electorate doesn't support shutting down the government over immigration cuts either, which is exactly what Trump is threatening to do.

No matter how tough it may be for Pelosi and House Democrats, they need to enable the Senate deal to make its way to a full floor vote in the House while calling for a standalone DACA vote, and then back Trump into a corner with a choice of signing the Senate 2-year deal, or doing something that 66% of voters say is wrong: closing the government over immigration. And it also helps that while Trump pounds the desk for his wall and cutting chain migration and visa programs, 78% of voters support leaving immigration the same as it is now, or actually increasing it.

Second, while Trump is reaping the (short term) benefits of a good economy and the tax cuts, the stock market shows us that such euphoria can be fleeting, given the uncertainty over what the Fed will do with interest rates this year, and what damage there will be to public opinion should Trump veto the budget deal and send the country into a government shutdown and an accelerated debt-ceiling vote caused by all the red ink from the GOP tax cut. For example, how popular will the tax cut be 4 weeks from now when the White House and Freedom Caucus in the House GOP demand sharp entitlement and domestic spending cuts as a condition of any debt-ceiling extension? Democrats should be ready with messaging that hits the White House and GOP hard for trying to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare to pay for Trump's deficits and Wall Street's fleecing of Main Street.

Third, the electorate already doesn't trust Trump on Russia, and half or more of the electorate think:
-Trump is trying to obstruct the investigation (53-41%);
-Mueller's investigation is legitimate (50-42%);
-The probe is being carried out fairly (56-28%); and
-The FBI is not biased against Trump (55-33%).
So when Trump redacts information from the House Democratic Intelligence Committee response to last week's Nunes' fairy tale, Democrats should be ready to ask the FBI and DOJ for their redactions to compare them to what Trump took out, so that they can show how much was redacted to protect Trump and not national security. If the House Democrats cannot get those standalone redactions from the administration, they should hit the airwaves to hammer Trump for politicizing the national security agencies in an effort to save his own skin.

Lastly, while Trump fends off Democratic attacks for politicizing national security, and while Trump takes credit for the economy, Democrats should also keep hammering him for letting Russia into our elections with no consequences, and for not producing an infrastructure spending plan that creates jobs and not more tax breaks, something that has the support of 87% of the electorate.

Chuck and Nancy, this stuff isn't hard, and if the two of you can't come up with a strategy and messaging plan to do these things, then it's time to step aside.

Deacon Blues @ 11:27 AM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Thursday :: Jan 25, 2018

Trump Takes the Dreamers Hostage

by Deacon Blues

No one should be surprised that Trump's "offer" to take care of the Dreamers is nothing more than a hostage-taking, whereby Stephen Miller and John Kelly trade the lives of the Dreamers for drastic crackdowns on all immigrants to please the racist base of the GOP.

That's exactly what the White House proposed today, and Democrats should be glad that the Trump team was stupid enough to show their cards this far in advance of the February 8th government shutdown deadline. Democrats now have those two weeks to get their advocacy and messaging rolled out to explain to the electorate why the hostage-taking cannot be allowed to close the government, and why a separate vote like Mitch McConnell promised is required.

If Trump wants to please his base this badly with such a hostage-taking, he should make his own party walk the plank in selling it to voters so the electorate can see how racist and nativist the GOP has become. I'm guessing that Trump doesn't have the votes among his own Senate Republicans for this, so we may be headed for a shutdown in February that will only destroy the Republican Party this November.

Deacon Blues @ 2:44 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
« Link to Previous Entry