Republicans are refusing to name new witnesses in the Congressional investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 election and may be prematurely winding down the probe, according to the ranking Democrat in the House Intelligence Committee. Continue Reading →
Former reality show star Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to be held responsible for the words that come out of his own mouth, even when it’s on tape. For example, the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which he suggests that because he’s powerful, he can just grab women by their p-ssies. Trump defended sexual harasser and… Continue Reading →
Bruce Bartlett, former Reagan and Bush I economic adviser:
I think many Democrats and independent political observers are puzzled by the intensity with which Republicans are pursuing their tax cut. It’s not politically popular and may well lead to the party’s defeat in next year’s congressional elections. So why do it?
The answer is that Republicans are pushing the tax cut at breakneck speed precisely because they know they are probably going to lose next year and in 2020 as well. The tax cut, once enacted, however, will bind the hands of Democrats for years to come, forcing them to essentially follow a Republican agenda of deficit reduction and prevent any action on a positive Democratic program. The result will be a steady erosion of support for Democrats that will put Republicans back in power within a few election cycles.
The theory was laid out almost 30 years ago by two Swedish economists, Torsten Persson and Lars EO Svensson. In a densely written article for the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1989, they explained why a stubborn conservative legislator would intentionally run a big budget deficit.
House Republicans pass major tax cut bill after Trump’s closed-door speech
It has to do with what economists call time inconsistency – the consequences of actions taken today may not appear until the future, when a different political party will be in power. Thus the credit or blame will accrue to that party rather than the one that implemented the policy, because voters tend to attribute whatever is happening today to the party in power today even if that party had nothing to do with it.
Thus Barack Obama got blamed for a recession and resulting budget deficits he had nothing to do with originating. No matter how many times the Congressional Budget Office showed that the vast bulk of the budget deficits in his administration were baked in the cake the day he took office, Republicans nevertheless blamed him and his policies exclusively for those deficits.
I watched the crazy press conference Roy Moore’s lawyers held last night to blow up some smoke and obfuscate the facts. About ten minutes after the whole show ended, I saw this:
At one point during the meeting, she said, Moore came around the desk and sat on the front of it, just inches from her. He was so close, she said, she could smell his breath.
According to Johnson, he asked questions about her young daughters, including what color eyes they had and if they were as pretty as she was. She said that made her feel uncomfortable, too.
Once the papers were signed, she and her mother got up to leave. After her mother walked through the door first, she said, Moore came up behind her.
It was at that point, she recalled, he grabbed her buttocks.
“He didn’t pinch it; he grabbed it,” said Johnson. She was so surprised she didn’t say anything. She didn’t tell her mother.
She said she told her sister years later how Moore had made her feel uncomfortable during that meeting. Her sister told AL.com she remembers the conversation.
And then, the Washington Post released this story about two of the girls he stalked at the local mall:
A few days later, she says, she was in trigonometry class at Gadsden High when she was summoned to the principal’s office over the intercom in her classroom. She had a phone call.
“I said ‘Hello?’” Richardson recalls. “And the male on the other line said, ‘Gena, this is Roy Moore.’ I was like, ‘What?!’ He said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m in trig class.’ ”
Richardson says Moore asked her out again on the call. A few days later, after he asked her out at Sears, she relented and agreed, feeling both nervous and flattered. They met that night at a movie theater in the mall after she got off work, a date that ended with Moore driving her to her car in a dark parking lot behind Sears and giving her what she called an unwanted, “forceful” kiss that left her scared.
“I never wanted to see him again,” says Richardson, who is now 58 and a community college teacher living in Birmingham. She describes herself as a moderate Republican and says she didn’t vote in the 2016 general election or in this year’s Republican Senate primary in Alabama.
Moore’s campaign did not directly address the new allegations. In a statement, a campaign spokesman cast the growing number of allegations against Moore as politically motivated.
“If you are a liberal and hate Judge Moore, apparently he groped you,” the statement said. “If you are a conservative and love Judge Moore, you know these allegations are a political farce.”
Richardson, whose account was corroborated by classmate and Sears co-worker Kayla McLaughlin, is among four women who say Moore pursued them when they were teenagers or young women working at the mall — from Sears at one end to the Pizitz department store at the other. Richardson and Becky Gray, the woman who complained to her manager, have not previously spoken publicly. The accounts of the other two women — Wendy Miller and Gloria Thacker Deason — have previously been reported by The Washington Post.
Phyllis Smith, who was 18 when she began working at Brooks, a clothing store geared toward young women, said teenage girls counseled each other to “just make yourself scarce when Roy’s in here, he’s just here to bother you, don’t pay attention to him and he’ll go away.’ ”
In what can only be described as a predictably corrupt turn of events, new information has come to light about the supremely unqualified Brett Talley, Alabama federal court nominee who has only been a lawyer for three years and has never tried a case. Today the New York Times tells us that Talley “forgot” to tell… Continue Reading →
Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a new special counsel to probe things President Trump said he wants investigated about Hillary Clinton and James Comey.
The main focus of Sessions decision appears to be the “uranium one” conspiracy theory which has been an increasing focus of President Trump’s and which he has demanded the Justice Department investigate.
The story was first reported by the Post and then a short time later by the Times. It’s notable to see how each news organization has grappled with what seems to be the transparently political nature of what Sessions is doing. The Post, at least in its original version of the story, all but ignored it. The only mention is a final sentence that reads: “Sessions’s letter is likely to be seen by some, especially on the left, as an inappropriate bending to political pressure.”
Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.
Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.
Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.
I don’t think this story makes a real difference. I mean, it’s Alabama. All he’s got to do is say he begged Jesus for forgiveness, and the same evangelicals will support him. But prominent Republican hypocrites like Mitch McConnell (who didn’t care at all about Trump) are frantic. After all, they’re badly spooked by Tuesday’s election results, and several Republican senators have said if the stories are true (even if a 14-year-old thought she was giving consent, it’s still a crime), Moore needs to drop out.
There is no statute of limitations in Alabama for sexual abuse of minors under age of 16. Law enforcement needs to open an investigation on Roy Moore. https://t.co/f87zGREGJi
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) November 9, 2017
The problem is, it’s too late to get Moore off the ballot. Even if Republicans manage to put together a write-in campaign for Luther Strange, who Moore defeated in the GOP primary, odds are it will only split the vote and give the win to Democrat Doug Jones.
Hahaha! Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
— The Hill (@thehill) November 9, 2017
Shortly after a report emerged Tuesday evening claiming that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee in part funded a dossier containing explosive allegations about President Donald Trump’s links to Russia, the Republican National Committee trumpeted the story in outrage. Continue Reading →
Also known as “money talks, bullshit walks.” AKA: “Once a Republican, always a Republican.” Via Charlie Pierce:
You would have thought that Senator Jeff Flake would have basked a little longer in the applause he got for scarpering out of the Senate before he got around to the business of emptying his words of any significant meaning they ever had. Instead, Flake—along with fellow brave truth-tellers Bob Corker, Ben Sasse and, significantly, John McCain—joined with every other Republican (including Mike Pence, The Great Tiebreaker) to arrange for the screwing of countless Americans and their families.
In the dead of Tuesday night, with the applause still ringing in his ears, Flake voted to strip the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau of a rule that allowed Americans to file class-action suits against banks rather than being forced into an arbitration process that generally is as rigged as a North Korean election. From The Los Angeles Times:
The rule was unveiled in July by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and praised by Democrats and consumer advocates as giving average people more power to fight industry abuses, such as Wells Fargo & Co.’s creation of millions of unauthorized accounts. But banking lobbyists argued that the rule would unleash a flood of class-action lawsuits, and that the cost of fighting those suits would be passed on to consumers. Republicans quickly moved to repeal the regulation.
You have to love their timing, too. This move comes hard on the heels of the Equifax calamity, and just as the Congress is shilling for a massive upward shift in the country’s wealth that is disguised as a “middle-class tax cut.” Further, it proves that our political system learned absolutely nothing from what happened in 2008, when the masters of the universe nearly blew up the entire world economy.
Set to take effect in March, the rule would not have banned clauses in checking account, credit card and other banking agreements that say disputes between companies and customers must be dealt with privately or in small claims court. Instead, there would have been a ban on provisions that block consumers from banding together to bring class-action cases. The CFPB argued that such cases help hold banks accountable. The determinations of an arbitrator are binding and consumer advocates say most decisions favor the company. The private proceedings also allow banks to deal with individual problems quietly rather than address widespread abuses. George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said the vote “means that big financial companies can lock the courthouse doors and prevent consumers who’ve been mistreated from joining together to seek the relief they deserve under the law.”
You’d almost think they were trying to hide something!
A computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials was quietly wiped clean by its custodians just after the suit was filed, The Associated Press has learned.
The server’s data was destroyed July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state’s election system. The data wipe was revealed in an email — sent last week from an assistant state attorney general to plaintiffs in the case — that was obtained by the AP.
More emails obtained in a public records request confirmed the wipe.
The lawsuit, filed by a diverse group of election reform advocates, aims to force Georgia to retire its antiquated and heavily criticized election technology. The server in question, which served as a statewide staging location for key election-related data, made national headlines in June after a security expert disclosed a gaping security hole that wasn’t fixed six months after he reported it to election authorities.
It’s not clear who ordered the server’s data irretrievably erased.
The Kennesaw election center answers to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, a Republican who is running for governor in 2018 and is the main defendant in the suit. A spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office said Wednesday that “we did not have anything to do with this decision,” adding that the office also had no advance warning of the move.
The center’s director, Michael Barnes, referred questions to the university’s press office, which declined comment.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, who are mostly Georgia voters, want to scrap the state’s 15-year-old vote-management system — particularly its 27,000 AccuVote touchscreen voting machines, hackable devices that don’t use paper ballots or keep hard copy proof of voter intent. The plaintiffs were counting on an independent security review of the Kennesaw server, which held electronic poll book data and ballot definitions for counties, to demonstrate the system’s unreliability.
Wiping the server clean “forestalls any forensic investigation at all,” said Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist who has closely followed the case. “People who have nothing to hide don’t behave this way.”