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      Not unexpected. This will make direct competition with entrenched players nearly impossible, since they will be able to buy access to customers, and upstarts won’t. The Internet as a place where anybody could start a new business will constrict. Oligopoly and monopoly providers (and many areas effectively have only one ISP) will extract even higher […]
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Racing to pass the Ugly Tax Reform bill before the s{}% hits the fan.

In case you haven’t heard, Flynn is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation and:

Game, set, match.

Donald may soon be out of the White House.

Therefore, the Republicans have only a short period of time to pass the tax bill before they have to turn on Donald.

And the $1 trillion additional deficit is not a bug. It’s a feature! The next step is to gut Medicare and Social Security, so says Marco Rubio.

Update: WaPo posts on the plan to gut Medicare and Social Security after the Tax Reform bill passes. Is that what Trump voters sent Donald to Washington to do??

So, to all of you elderly Fox News lovers who didn’t vote for Hillary last year because you thought that the GOP would *never* touch social security, this is what you get for your lack of interest in anything but scary Muslims and sex and missing white women.

The rest of us do not deserve this.


Read The New Yorker today. Start at the top.


I failed to catch this yesterday about Democratic lawmakers offering an amendment to make corporations accountable:

Sooooo, there’s that.

No one can say they didn’t know when this abomination screws us.


They are unworthy of us

Dear Trump voter.

The people who run our country right now are completely unworthy of us.

So much bad juju hit the fan yesterday that shows how corrupt, compromised and callous they are that it would be very difficult to deny it anymore. Unless you live in Fox News Land. Seriously, you’ve got to shut that shit off because it looks like Donald Trump might be indicted shortly for obstruction of justice. I’ve heard that he’s going to blow a gasket if he’s not completely exonerated by Christmas. Consider the gasket blown.

There’s almost too much to cover that happened yesterday. And most ordinary citizens can do nothing about it. All the senators and representatives who might be able to do something are either outnumbered or in the wrong state. Our fate is entirely in the hands of the Republicans.

Donald and the Republicans lied to you. They lied on a massive scale. Just before they were to vote on that “Tax Reform” package last night the Joint Congressional Taskforce charged with running the numbers came back to say that the bill would add a trillion dollars to the deficit. Steve Mnuchin, the Secretary of the Treasury told every one for weeks now that he had 100 people running the numbers to find out just how good the bill would be to the country. It turns out he was lying. A treasury insider in the group that was supposed to be doing the work said no such effort was going on. That triggered the Inspector General of the Treasury to start an investigation. So there’s a lot of lying about these numbers. And they HAVE to lie because they are so bad and will affect so many middle and working class people in profoundly negative ways.

But that wasn’t everything that happened yesterday. No, not even close. It turns out that last summer, Trump told members of the Senate Intelligence committee to drop the Russia investigation. And here’s where it is necessary to apply a litmus test. Ask yourself, could Obama harangue the Senate committee investigating about Benghazi and get away with it?

Then there is Rex Tillerson getting ready to resign as Secretary of State. Check this out (why YES! It is CNN. But foreign news sources are reporting the same thing. So either they’re all wrong or Donald is wrong. We must entertain the notion that Donald is wrong):

My theory is that Donald likes to stir the pot to make his base afraid because studies show that his supporters are more likely to be fearful people. (It’s all about your amygdala. Conservatives have differently sized and proportioned amygdalas. There’s likely nothing you can do about it except be aware of it, like being tone deaf. It can’t be changed. Trump supporters are always going to be susceptible.) So keeping Trump voters focused on their mortality means they will take their eyes off of everything else and that drives them towards politicians that present themselves as bigger than life and the ones more likely to provide security. They’re using that psychology to achieve other goals but they project security. It’s just a pose but the small evil group that runs things and to which no one we know belongs have made manipulating the psychology of the Trump base into an art form. So if you suddenly find yourself terrified of nuclear war with North Korea and attacks by Muslims, it’s very likely that the manipulators are pushing your buttons. The rest of us have rational fears, like falling into a river because the rotting bridge wasn’t maintained due to budget cuts.

Betsy de Vos is resigning as Secretary of Education. We are already replacing the guy who resigned at HHS. The rats are abandoning the ship. There’s something going down. And to add more weirdness to this pileup, the FBI is creating a new unit to investigate and stop foreign governments from messing with our election systems. Election systems sounds oddly like they are referring to voting machines and state election operations. But we don’t know exactly what they’re referring to because the FBI isn’t talking. I’d keep an eye on this because I think it’s the sleeper in the whole pile of bad news. Something significant is going on behind the scenes. Something big.

That was just yesterday.

Meanwhile, a Depression era historian says that what is going on now with massive transfers of wealth from the masses to the already wealthy, combined with the obsessive worship of business, is what lead to the Great Depression. Trickle down economics have been tried for more than a hundred years with disastrous consequences. By now, the wealthy and corporations that are demanding these transfers of wealth know that it doesn’t work abc that disaster looms but they’re doing it anyway. It’s the short term gratification of thrill seekers who are living for Today and putting the lives of everyone else at risk. Enjoy the market while you can. There will be a reckoning when the great multitude of citizens are crushed by the rise in state and local taxes they will have to pay to patch the streets and educate their kids and they won’t be paying for other consumer goods because no one forced any kind of accountability for job creation and rising wages in the tax reform bill that eventually passes. That means less money to spend, fewer goods being bought, a deflationary spiral, recession or depression. It is going to get ugly. We know this because it has happened before. This is not rocket surgery.

Don’t let history repeat itself.

Of course, if you think you have enough wealth and whatever happens is going to happen to other people, who were not as virtuous and thrifty as you, and not you so you don’t need to worry, well, we have a different problem altogether.

CHIP Funding Down to the Line in Pennsylvania

Teresa Miller is the CHIP coordinator in PA. She’s got a dilemma. Should she give parents a 30 day notice now that PA is going to run out of CHIP funding in January or wait to see if Congress will pass a funding bill by Christmas?

The answer is: send out the letters now because after the Tax Reform bill is signed by Trump, Republican lawmakers are going to whip around and scream, “THERE’S NO MONEY FOR CHIP! IT WILL INCREASE THE DEFICIT!!”

You know they will.

Tax Reform has consequences.

Speaking of which, check out Atrios’ post about the geniuses behind the spending cut triggers in the bill, contractionary policy, recessions and zero lower bounds. Unless you’re a Trump voter, in which case cause and effect are meaningless, the tax reform package will wreck the economy, the Republicans will scare the s#%^ out of you with videos of scary faux Muslims beating up kids and North Korea ad nauseum and you’ll vote for the monsters anyway.

Ezra Klein tweets:

Soooo, you know, there’s that….


The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Yulín Cruz, was on Late Night with Stephen Colbert and announced something truly shocking and heartless. The new Tax Reform bill will slap a 20% excise tax on any goods from Puerto Rico into the US. I’m trying to understand how that money will be transferred directly to the hedge funds that own Puerto Rico’s debt. A debt which can never be discharged in bankruptcy according to some weird legislative trickery from a decade ago.

Anyway, she is echoing how all rational compassionate and intelligent people feel about Trump and the Republicans right now, which means they will need to find new and better ways to suppress the vote next year.

Puerto Rico still needs our help. You can donate to Somebody Help Us here.


More on Matt Lauer. The accusations against him are very serious. One woman says he summoned her to his office, locked the door and then had sex with her to the point where she passed out. I’m still trying to figure out what that’s all about. Did he try some kind of asphyxiation on her? In any case, that’s not even the act that got him fired. It was a completely different sexual encounter. Something tells me that Lauer is going to turn out to be the worst kind of sadistic misogynist and these first few accusations are only the tip of the iceberg.

But I’m not sure that’s even the worst of it. What he did to drive Ann Curry out of NBC was supposed to be worse. Maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with sexual harassment but it might have to do with gaslighting her, ruining her reputation amongst the executives and generally being a fucking asshole to work with. And he probably got away with it because Lauer had “Star” power.

That sounds familiar. Wasn’t it Trump who said he could get away with grabbing women by the pussy because he was a star and they can do whatever they want?

Yes, I believe he did.

Tax Cuts and Fairies.

Seth Meyers breaks down what’s in the Tax Reform bill that Republicans are trying to ram through this week. Claire McCaskill, senator from Missouri makes a cameo appearance at the end that’s bound to become a classic:

Ok, so when the economy is wrecked by this tax cut, no one gets a raise and millions lose their healthcare, you can’t say you weren’t warned oh you intrepid Trump voters.

Sure, it *could* be fake news. It happens not to be but it could. But that’s not really the point.

The point is that if they wanted to, the Republicans could make this bill a LOT worse and Trump would still sign it. And you know why?? It’s because Republicans are in charge of all three branches of government. They can clear out your house, take your Christmas tree and presents and your last can of Who Hash if they wanted to. There is absolutely nothing to stop them. In fact, none of us can do anything for at least another year. Our hands are tied. We have to rely on the better angels of their natures to not rob us blind.


Omg, Republicans with consciences. Too funny.

Another one bites the dusssst

Matt Lauer is out. He was fired from NBC’s Today Show this morning after a detailed complaint against him for sexual harassment. The blurb says something to the effect that this might be an isolated incident but that The Powers That Be didn’t think so. Hmmmm… if they had suspicions, you’ve got to wonder why they didn’t do this sooner.

We’ll get to that eventually.

I’m beginning to see a method to this madness. Check out this tweet from Paul Krugman this morning:

And this one from Tom Watson:

The media steadfastly refuses to accept any responsibility for the Trump disaster. It refuses to admit that it pursued Hillary’s email issue to the extent that the average voter thought she had been carelessly slinging classified information around and was criminally involved in some kind of coverup. They did this partially for ratings. But they also did it because there is a stratum of political and opinion journalists, all men, who have this idea in their heads that no woman will ever be as good as the lowest man for the most powerful position in the world. So, nothing she did was ever going to be good enough for them. If she was smart and prepared, it only meant she was calculating. If she was tough, it meant she was a bitch. If she didn’t reveal every corner of her private life, she was being devious and lying.

Deviousness, calculating, bitchy, these are the characteristics that men who have no respect for women and see them as inferior intellects throw around all the time.

It’s curious that the worst offenders in the media last year were also the ones who turned out to be serial sexual harassers. Fancy that. It’s almost like it’s co-located on the same gene. And why should we be surprised that they behaved towards Clinton as they did? They see women as sexual objects with little understanding. When Clinton came along, it was necessary to bust down the idea that she was intelligent. What better way to do that than to play up her stupid email problem and make her look careless and incompetent. It turns out her server was very secure and her campaign team was fastidious about security and phishing. It took one man, John Podesta, to fuck that up. All of her female staff members rejected the phishing invitations.

Anyway, Hillary was unfuckable. That’s what all the “unlikeable” stuff was about. She didn’t excite them, this strata of guys in political media.

And now they’re dropping like flies. They had it coming.

In the meantime, take it away Freddie:

The false premise behind tax reform

Go on, take the money and run. While we all fret about who’s going to get what after the donor appreciation bill gets passed, let us take a moment and ask ourselves:

Is it a good idea to take $1.5 trillion dollars out of the federal treasury?

Because we’re talking about taking the money that might have been used for infrastructure, schools and Medicare and handing it over to corporations who are under no obligation to invest in jobs or increase salaries.

Yep, we’re just supposed to trust them that lowering the corporate tax rate is going to mean more and better jobs. There’s actually no proof that this has ever worked but what the heck? Let’s just keep trying it without changing any parameters. And we’re not closing any loopholes. So, what we are really doing is permanently crippling the federal government from doing its job maintaining infrastructure and schools and Medicare for absolutely no ROI.

I challenge any Republican to find a quid pro quo in this tax reform package that says in effect, “we will give you this tax cut after we have proof that you have hired x workers at $$ over y period of time.” If you find it, please let me know.

What will happen instead is the state and local governments will need to pick up the tab for all the stuff that will be permanently underfunded. And it’s going to hammer the blue states hardest. Residents of New Jersey, California, New York and Massachusetts are going to be doubly screwed because they’re going to lose part or all of their SALT deductions and the value of their real estate is bound to fall. What will make them want to cough up the extra money for roads and schools and teachers? Sooner or later, we’ll all be like Alabama.

There is no reason why these wealthy and well connected people need to care about what happens to the rest of us. In fact, if anything, this tax reform package practically guarantees that they will just take the money and run.

Now is the time that we should ask ourselves if we should let them do that without any strings attached.

Lunch Tweet du Jour

Brace yourself, Conflucians. This one is about Susan Sarandon.

Check out The Guardian’s interview with Sarandon if you can stomach it.

The interview adds more evidence to a hypothesis I’ve been mulling over: a woman who voted for Trump or allowed him to win by spurning Hillary Clinton is *not* a feminist.

This article makes it clear that Sarandon’s problem with Hillary was not her politics. It was her gender. Susan doesn’t like feminists. They’re unpleasant and unlikeable.

Ok, stop laughing. She’s serious.

No, no do not protest. You can not allow Trump to win and call yourself a feminist. It’s not possible.