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Trump Tax Cut Causes Enormous Deficit and Republicans Immediately Demand Entitlement Repeal

2018-10-19

The gigantic tax cut given out by the Trump administration caused a momentary increase in the gross domestic product, for one quarter, at the cost of a trillion-dollar deficit this year and 1.5 trillion dollars a year after that as far as the eye can see.  This has been a truly wicked plot worked upon the unsuspecting citizens who do not belong to the 0.1% club.  It was obvious all along from the structure of the tax cut, and the obvious has taken place: corporate tax collections are down by a third, and individual tax collections are not making up the shortfall.  We knew a year ago that if we enacted that “tax reform” that was pressed upon us, that we would see a trillion-dollar deficit– and we did.

See this op-ed in the New York Times by Paul Krugman for the details of the tax scam.

(illustration courtesy of pixabay.com and Alexas_Foto)

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Max Boot: “It is too early to conclude that Trump is the worst president ever… but it is not too early to conclude that he is the worst person ever to be president.”

2018-10-16

 

Max Boot, said to be a conservative columnist, made the above statement in a column for the Washington Post on October 3.  The inciting incidents for which Trump received the “worst person ever” prize were the revelations by the New York Times that he had received the equivalent of $440 million from his father practically tax-free (putting the lie to his claims that he is a self-made man) and his public mockery of Christine Blasey Ford for reporting Brett Kavanaugh’s drunken attempt at sexual assault upon her to a Senate Judiciary Committee.

Here is another quote from Max Boot’s column: “[H]e is a liar, a cheat and a bully without an ounce of dignity, empathy or decency. In place of his soul he has a black hole. The only way he can make himself feel better — to fill the emptiness inside — is to abuse those weaker than himself. He is a monster.”  I’m sure that, if Boot is a conservative and/or a Republican, he can be described as a “never Trump” Republican.

Mr. Boot appears to describe himself personally as a conservative, because he will be coming out shortly with a book titled:  “The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right.” However, I didn’t do the necessary research to determine if he supported Trump in the beginning or was immediately turned off– somehow I think it was the latter.

Oddly, people who would be anathema to us under ordinary circumstances have appeared in a softer light since the onslaught of Trumpism.  Those who side with Trump, especially long-term politicians like Mitch McConnell (who is married to Elaine Chao, the present Secretary of Transportation) can be considered the most repellent of human beings and lesser conservatives like John McCain look like heroes in comparison.

There is a big difference between someone you disagree with politically and someone who ignores all ethical and legal red lines in his pursuit of money and political power.  Fundamental dishonesty in dealing with political problems is far worse than principled opposition to abortion, no matter how mistaken that opposition can be shown to be.  It may come down to the difference between telling a falsehood because one has been misled and outright lying.

By the way, speaking of Mitch McConnell, it seems that he has recently stated that the federal budget deficit is “disturbing.”  His response: “entitlement” programs need to be cut.  This is Trump-logic: after a tax “reform” law was put in place, receipts from corporations suddenly dropped by a third and 83% of the tax breaks in the law went to the top 1% of Americans.  No wonder the deficit is ballooning despite Obama’s eight-year efforts to rein it in (no kidding!)  I (and others) say how about we get the rich and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes for Social Security and Medicare, as well as infrastructure and the military, rather than allowing the deficit to get out of hand by cutting taxes and then using that as an excuse to cut aid to the poor and elderly?

(cartoon of Trump courtesy of pixabay.com)

Global Anxiety

2018-10-11

Last Tuesday, a Saudi journalist named Jamal Khashoggi went to his embassy in Istanbul to get a certificate stating that he was divorced so that he could get engaged to a Turkish woman.  She says that she waited “right outside” of the consulate for eleven hours, but he never reappeared.  Surveillance videos show him going in but not coming out.  The Saudi government has denied all knowledge and states that he left the embassy a few minutes to an hour after he arrived.  The Turkish government has made an official request to search the Saudi embassy, and they have given permission.  So far, Jamal Khashoggi has not reappeared.

It should be noted that Mr. Khashoggi has/had gone from being a staunch royalist advocate of / adviser to the Saudi government to recently becoming more critical of the way royal power was being used by the new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.  He had obtained legal residency in the United States and avoided returning to Saudi Arabia.  Finally, the Turkish autocrat privately stated his opinion that Jamal Khashoggi had been murdered and his body dismembered and spirited out of the Saudi embassy.

Last Saturday, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America by a two-vote margin.  If you are keeping count, this is the second Justice who has been confirmed– and is still sitting– following credible allegations of sexual harassment, addiction to pornography, sexual assault, alcoholism, or just plain exposing himself while under the influence of alcohol– allegations which were perfunctorily investigated by the FBI in both cases and swept under the rug.

This past week, the IPCC released a regularly scheduled report which stated, in sum, “It’s Later Than You Think,” concluding that the global economy has about twenty years to switch to a completely net carbon-free state or face disastrous climate change– a switch which the leaders of the United States of America, for one country, do not think is necessary nor advisable, having characterized global climate change as a “Chinese hoax.”

The current president of the United States has been acknowledged to be an unindicted co-conspirator by the Federal Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in accepting the guilty pleas of Michael Cohen.

Associates of Roger Stone who have been subpoenaed by special prosecutor Mueller are refusing to appear, retorting instead with the claim that Mueller does not have proper authority to be a special prosecutor in the first place– a court case which will almost inevitably be adjudicated at the Supreme Court level, should they choose to take the case.  This case alone makes the presence of Mr. Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court particularly problematic.  An adverse ruling by the Court could bring the investigation to a halt.

There have already been strong hints that Donald Trump is planning a purge for the Justice Department and especially the FBI after the mid-term elections on November 6, 2018.  The House of Representatives, which will probably turn majority Democratic in the elections less than a month away; some Democrats are vowing to use their majority powers to initiate investigations into Brett Kavanaugh’s truthfulness during his confirmation hearings and Donald Trump’s violations of the the Emoluments Clause.

Is it any wonder that there has been an increase in global anxiety lately?

White House Adds Corrupt, Trumpist Judge to Supreme Court: Brett “Bart” Kavanaugh is known for having a complete lack of human empathy as a judge, and he will be investigated for impeachment by a Democratic-majority House of Representatives– but Trump needs him for insurance.

2018-10-06

There is one simple reason why Donald Trump had to have Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court: as insurance should he be imperiled by an investigation by federal authorities, namely the Mueller FBI special investigation.  After the midterms, Trump plans to fire Sessions as Attorney General and hire someone who will not recuse himself and who is loyal to him.  Then he will try to shut down the special investigation; he may need the Supreme Court at any time after that.  Fortunately for us, investigations by state Attorneys General are moving into action now.  Matters such as Trump’s evasion of hundreds of millions of dollars in estate taxes, gift taxes, income taxes, and so on, by fraudulent means will be seen by state Attorneys General as a priority when the federal government refuses to lift a finger against Trump.

A Democratic-majority House may delay actual impeachment for Donald Trump in order to perform nearly-endless investigations that the public will find deeply entertaining.  That should improve the climate for the general elections of 2020.

When this matter goes to the Supreme Court, and it will, possibly more than once, Trump will be counting on certain justices to sway the case in his favor, and Kavanaugh will be right in there pitching for him.  Nonetheless, a public climate inflamed by the spectacle of highly fruitful House investigations of Republican and specifically Trumpian wrongdoing will help elect Democratic candidates in 2020.  Because 2018 will not be enough to tilt the Senate to the Democratic side and elect a Democratic President.

Unless House investigations of Kavanaugh also bear incontrovertible proof that the Senate cannot ignore, it may be 2024 or later before any changes in the Supreme Court can be hoped for.  Thus, we are in for a long era of “neoliberal” capitalism with another potential market crash like that of 2008 looming in 2020 or thereabouts.

Even after the Supreme Court has been changed to reflect better the liberal attitudes of the majority of Americans, there will still be the issue of federalism that the Court has turned severely to the right over the last fifty years.  Meaning that the Supreme Court has embraced the novel idea that the federal government doesn’t have the power to do anything as active as they have been doing, such as regulate carbon dioxide levels, promote universal health insurance, guarantee the rights of LGBT people or of women in general, or even regulate air pollution in general.  Or even the right to prohibit slavery.  Yes, it’s sick.

The ideas behind this notion of federal government impotence are too complex and annoying to get into here; suffice it to say that there is a twisted logic behind the attitude that a federation of states doesn’t have sufficient authority to impose its will on all the multifarious peoples in its sovereign states.  Try that type of thinking on China, and see if you can stand up to them; I don’t think it will fly because the Chinese believe that they’re all one country and one government, and that makes them stronger than us.

From now on, this site will be updated very irregularly due to alienation.

(cartoon courtesy of pixabay.com)

White House and Donald Trump Order Sham Investigation by FBI: no questions about Kavanaugh’s drinking history, no look at Swetnick gang-rape claims; he is not qualified even before the sex-abuse claims.

2018-09-29

NBC news has reported online tonight, via the Microsoft News app, that the White House is ordering limitations on whom the FBI can question and what questions they can ask.  In short, the FBI is completely prohibited from investigating the allegations of Julie Swetnick, who claimed that she saw Brett Kavanaugh in line at a gang-rape that was going on in the bedroom of a friend’s house… and also claimed that she herself was raped with the aid of a drug, although Kavanaugh was not among her rapists.  In addition, the FBI is not to make comparisons of the drinking history that Kavanaugh claims and the much heavier drinking that his room-mates and others allege.

These restrictions are a pure partisan attempt to hobble the FBI’s investigations of allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh.  Although the FBI will be able to question Mark Judge, who claims to remember no such incident, they will not be able to make wider inquiries of individuals not on the short list, nor of new individuals whose names come up in the course of their work.  There is a significant likelihood that the FBI will miss bad conduct that is not alleged by the two main accusers and heavy drinking that the nominee has been trying to hide despite direct questions from Democratic Senators.  Kavanaugh met the questions about his drinking with angry cross-questions, such as, “How much do you drink, Senator?” that never answered the direct query at hand, viz: just how much beer have you had to drink at various times in your life?

Under these circumstances, the Democratic Party’s position cannot waver: Kavanaugh has lied on multiple occasions during his nomination hearings and does not deserve to be a Supreme Court judge because of his lack of candor, lack of temperamental restraint, and partisanship.  The accusations of sexual misconduct are serious but need not be proven in rejecting his nomination because he even without the accusations, he does not meet the high standards expected of a Supreme Court Justice.

James Roche, freshman room-mate to Brett Kavanaugh: he was “frequently unusually drunk. . .belligerent and mean”… and other sources indicate, he may have joined friends to get girls drunk, then gang-rape them.

2018-09-26

There is abundant evidence that Judge Brett Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker in high school and college.  He even admitted to drinking “a few beers” but denied ever blacking out.  Given the number of lies and misleading statements he made during his regular confirmation hearings, we are bound to be skeptical of his veracity in this matter, when it could disqualify him from the Supreme Court.  He made misleading statements about his activities while working as a lawyer and legal justifier for the policies of the second Bush administration, where torture was legally justified, and indefinite detention at Guantanamo was touted.

If it were not for the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene, inmates at Guantanamo would not even have the right to bring habeas corpus appeals.  In fact, that decision was hotly contested by the then-minority conservatives, and the appellate court has seen fit to ignore it recently, resulting in more time in legal and carceral limbo.  One prisoner has been there for sixteen years, almost since the prison was first opened, yet there is no evidence that he participated in any terrorist acts directly.

Brett Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court would mean a conservative majority despite the timely death of its leading light, Antonin Scalia.  Justice Scalia was a dependable conservative who could be relied upon to twist the facts in evidence or even adduce additional notional “facts” to justify his illiberable rulings.  If the previous president, Barack Obama, had been allowed to nominate a judge to the court as regular procedure dictated in the eleven months remaining in his term, it is possible that we would not be having this discussion.

Justice Gorsuch is not as extreme as Scalia was, but he is equally dependable as a conservative.  Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions are likely to be equally one-sided.  He has all the conservative qualifications needed except one: his character as an adolescent and as a legal adult in college has been whitewashed.  Those who shepherded his nomination knew that he had a history of heavy drinking, but they glossed over it.

It is entirely possible that he believed that he was telling the truth when he claimed, in an interview on Monday, to have been a virgin in high school and college (he is a devout Catholic, like most of the rest of the Supreme Court.) His history of frequent alcohol overuse at that time makes his memories of events that occurred while he was intoxicated highly suspect.  The second and third of the women to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct are also vulnerable to memory lapses because they admit that they were drinking when they were assaulted.  However, the memory of something terrible that happened to you when you were drunk, even thirty or forty years ago, is surely burned deeply into your brain.  A routine “flashing” or a casual sexual assault could easily be forgotten by the one who committed that crime while drunk.

So it is entirely possible that both Kavanaugh and his accusers sincerely believe they are right.  If so, why does not Kavanaugh demand a polygraph test or a thorough investigation?  Is he merely caught up in the president’s rush to confirmation, or is he afraid of what might come out in an FBI probe?  He may well be aware that investigators will quickly come up with strong evidence that his peer group engaged in parties in which they would get a girl drunk and then serially rape her on several occasions, both in high school and in college.  Their notion of “consent” most likely extended to cover a female who was too drunk to resist, so there was nothing to feel guilty about.  Even if he has no memory of participating in such rape parties personally, he is fully aware that his friends were doing it on a regular basis, and the stench of that revelation would end his bid for the high court.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh Is Certainly an Alcoholic and Probably Has Sexually Harassed Women When He Was Eighteen: He is Unfit to be a Supreme Court Justice, Just As Donald Trump is Unfit to be President

2018-09-24

By all the evidence that has come out in the past week, primarily as a result of reporting by the New Yorker, Brett Kavanaugh belonged to societies, a fraternity, and even a secret club when he was at Yale as an undergraduate.  The fraternity in particular was notorious for heavy drinking.  A close friend of Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, wrote in a book that he and his friends got blind drunk almost every weekend when they were in high school as juniors and seniors.  More importantly, he has no recall of events that occurred when he was that drunk.  This makes his denials of sexual assault tenuous at best.

Absent a public statement that he is a recovering alcoholic, it is hard to reconcile Mr. Kavanaugh’s other public statements.  To be blind, staggering drunk repeatedly throughout one’s senior year in high school and freshman year in college implies that he had to somehow recover from this behavior in order to become a functioning adult individual.  In fact, he became a conservative lawyer and worked for such far-right law firms as the one that investigated President Clinton and elicited all the gory details, recommending impeachment.  President Bush has publicly detailed his heavy drinking as a youth and his religious conversion after a drink-driving car accident.  Why has not Kavanaugh made a similar statement– or have I just missed it?