Tie, Russia Scandal, Signed Laws, Respect, Jesus Trumped

Saturday Rate of Exchange:
the Flipping Republican Party

from Raymond

Steve Bannon has been telling folks that his driving goal is to become the Riefenstahl of the Republican Party. Leni Riefenstahl was a leading Nazi propagandist in the 1930s.

Burr Deming speculates that, if Bannon feels any revulsion at that Nazi support, it is overruled by his admiration for Riefenstahl’s successful techniques. Burr suggests that the ethic of tactics over morality has taken over the Republican party.

For all the faults of conservatism, the Republican Party was once known as the party of voting rights, the party of morality or at least of moralism, the party of National Security. The party of Fiscal Responsibility.

At some point, things changed. We now have a party of whatever works politically, whatever wins: the Party of What We Can get Away With.

Burr sees hopeful signs that this ethic is finally being noticed by an outraged voting public.

If Alabama, and New Jersey, and Virginia, and a scattering of state and local elections, form a meaningful pattern, a lasting reputation has, at last, taken hold.

Dave Dubya of Freedom Rants reacts:
Continue reading “Saturday Rate of Exchange:the Flipping Republican Party”

2017: The Year In Journalisming

found online by Raymond

From driftglass:

First, OMFG can you believe what an unhinged, racist, con man President Stupid turned out to be? (from my local paper):

Michael Gerson: As the year ends, the moral authority of the presidency is in tatters

Second, OMFG can you believe how quickly and completely the entire Republican party has capitulated to this unhinged, racist, con man? (From Brother Charlie Pierce):

The Republican Party Has Bowed, Completely, to the Mad King
They’re now running interference in the Russia probe and kissing the Trumpian ring.

Third, OMFG can you believe how completely the meathead Republican base have invested themselves in this unhinged, racist, con man? How flatly and automatically they reject factual reality, causality and even their own past as “fake news”?

– More –

Cast in the Image of the President

found online by Raymond

From Vixen Strangely at Strangely Blogged:

The Presidential challenge coin of Donald J. Trump breaks with tradition in a few ways–for one thing, it is not round. Coins are usually round, but Trump’s has a banner with his name at the bottom. The name “Donald J. Trump” is also at the top. His signature is also on it. And the Presidential Seal and the motto “E Pluribus Unum” are gone, but his motto: “Make America Great Again”, is on it.

I would say it breaks tradition because Donald Trump doesn’t consider himself a part of preceding tradition. Could a nation that bears a motto “Out of many, one” be the same that tolerates Trump’s appalling ideas about who the many actually are? This is not a challenge coin, so much as a struggle coin. He struggles to believe he is President.

– More –

The Con-servative Ghost of Christmas Past

found online by Raymond

From Dave Dubya:

It’s time for a visit from the Con-servative Ghost of Christmas Past.

Gary Aldrich, a former FBI agent who worked on the security team for the Bush and Clinton White Houses, spewed his hatred and deranged imagination in the 1996 book entitled “Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House.”

Knowing the radical Right will believe anything about those they hate, his book claimed that Hillary Clinton’s Christmas decorating team decided to deck the tree with drug paraphernalia, condoms and cock rings.

This is American con-servatism folks.

– More –

A Switch, in the Brain, to Control Impulsive Behavior?

found online by Raymond

From The Journal of Improbable Research:

Impulsive beliefs that someone has discovered a switch, in the brain, to control impulsive behavior!

Such beliefs have impelled many scientists (professional, amateur, and imagined) to report that they have maybe, perhaps, almost-certainly, nearly-without-doubt discovered a switch, in the brain, to control impulsive behavior.

A newly published study suggests that a team of scientists has discovered the switch.

– More –

Fondly Remembering Obama – 12/29/2017

A souvenir golf ball is given to a small fan at the Mid-Pacific Country Club, 2010 (From Obama Photographer Pete Souza via Instagram)

Photographer Pete Souza notes:

At the time, the White House informed the press corps about the fact that he was golfing and who he was golfing with. Press photographers also were granted access to take photographs of him golfing.

Wondering why a few conservative friends fail to be impressed.

Thanking God for a Numble Leadership

Years ago, I described the Christian rage that had been directed toward me. It had happened a decade or so before, in a chat room I once frequented.

A pompous, judgmental personality habitually condemned those who were not professed Christians. Christians did not escape his wrath. Many were condemned for not holding the right hatreds. “Apostasy” was a favored word.

Chat rooms are often dens of overstatement and bravado. Anonymity allows a level of daring that polite company might otherwise inhibit. His boasts were, at least in part, an attempt to goad his opponents into anger. For him, an insufferable persona was a weapon.

So I asked him if he took full credit for his evident moral superiority. No, he responded, he was much too humble to accept full credit. I speculated how grateful he must be.
Continue reading “Thanking God for a Numble Leadership”

Holiday Rate of Exchange:
UnNetting Net Neutrality

from Raymond


Libertarian Michael A. LaFerrara is irritated at widespread criticism of the FCC after the vote to end net neutrality:

No. The FCC didn’t “give” the ISPs anything. It restored the rights of ISP providers to manage content traffic on their own networks—the networks that they built—as they see fit.

Our readers react:

Dave Dubya (of Freedom Rants):

Let’s see. Corporate control of the internet is good because the tyrannical government has been dictating what we say and read on the internet. The FCC is bad because corporations should control public airwaves.

This present catastrophe must be stopped at all costs. My “free speech” has been suppressed! Help me, libertarians!

Oh, that’s right. We are on our own and corporations own the internet AND the government. Well, that should work out swell. ..for somebody. I wonder who?

Infidel753 who writes at his own site.:

The FCC didn’t “give” the ISPs anything. It restored the rights of ISP providers to manage content traffic on their own networks—the networks that they built—as they see fit.

Typical libertarian tactic — resort to semantics and abstractions instead of addressing practical effects of things. The question is, will this mean that ISPs will be able “to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit or charge more for faster speeds” or not, regardless of the terminology being used to describe it? Because if that kind of thing starts happening and the internet turns to crap, nobody will care about semantics.

Continue reading “Holiday Rate of Exchange:UnNetting Net Neutrality”

Xmas Season Exchange:
Tax Reform

by Burr Deming


My long-time friend T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, makes the case for the Republican Christmas gift to Trump and friends:

First, despite our friends on the left’s predictable whining on the topic, the return of some of our tax dollars is a good thing. After all, this is NOT the government’s money. It is ours. If the tax reform stays pretty close to its current iteration, it will help spur the economy via corporate tax cuts that finally make the U.S. competitive on the global stage. (And it is not corporations that pay taxes anyway, but rather the consumers that do.) Further, the increase in deductions for children and in improved tax rates will help a vast majority of middle class Americans. No, my Leftist friends, the poorest half of Americans do not get a tax cut per se, as they do not currently PAY any income taxes.

And readers respond:

Dave Dubya of Freedom Rants:

(And it is not corporations that pay taxes anyway, but rather the consumers that do.)

Well, then. Why tax corporations at all? Why not let the public pay for their use of roads, water, electricity, raw materials, and infrastructure? Even if we never buy their products. After all, like the politicians they bought, we serve them, don’t we?

We “leftists” know the poor don’t pay income tax. We also know when the elites get massive tax cuts while hoarding more wealth than ever, services for the poor are cut. Millions will lose health care and it will become more expensive for the rest of us. All so Ivanka and her precious siblings won’t have to pay a dime in taxes on their hard-earned inherited wealth.

But ours is not to reason why, just coddle and serve the rich. And we should shut up and drink their “trickle down” voodoo economics koolade, as we wait for their corporate ruled utopia to bring great jobs and more freedom…to work for a frozen minimum wage.

Cut their taxes and the greedy elites will deliver a wonderful Greater America. If we just believe…

Their false beliefs are amazing and horrifying.


Here’s a decent article on the first subject:


Probably most people assume that the corporate income tax is largely paid by consumers of its products or services. That is, they assume that although the tax is nominally levied on the corporation as a whole, in fact the burden of the tax is shifted onto customers in the form of higher prices.

All economists reject that idea. They point out that prices are set by market forces and the suppliers of goods and services aren’t only C-corporations, which pay taxes on the corporate tax schedule, but also sole proprietorships, partnerships and S-corporations that are taxed under the individual income tax. Other suppliers include foreign corporations and nonprofits.

But I suppose that Mr. Paine has it all figured out.

“Why tax corporations at all?”

Indeed! If one believes that corporate tax cuts pretty much pay for themselves even in good economic times or that labor or consumers ultimately pay the entirety of the corporate tax, why not just eliminate it entirely for the good of everyone? And if it’s all about competition, why not lower it to 12% to beat Ireland’s 12.5% or to 7% to compete with economic powerhouse Uzbekistan’s 7.5%? Consistency is definitely not one of the GOP’s virtues.

I also always wonder about the “race to the bottom.” If the corporate tax rate–even just the nominal rather than the effective–is such a key component of our global competitiveness, then it must be for other countries too. If other countries come to see the Republican light, why wouldn’t they further lower their rates to compete with us, forcing us to do the same under the next Republican administration? Will we eventually hit 0%? Where will we go after that? Will we begin to pay corporations to stay with us?

Actually, I’m not sure why we need to compete at all. To hear many conservatives tell it, the rest of the world–from Canada to Europe to Mexico to Japan–is a socialist economic hellscape. I suppose that China might be doing all right, but to compete with them, we’ll have to eliminate the minimum wage, health and safety regulations, and–oh. Republicans have been telling us that all along, haven’t they?

2018 and 2020 cannot come soon enough.


If the tax reform stays pretty close to its current iteration, it will help spur the economy via corporate tax cuts that finally make the U.S. competitive on the global stage.

Just because politicians and their media mouthpieces keep repeating this, does not make it true.

No, my Leftist friends, the poorest half of Americans do not get a tax cut per se, as they do not currently PAY any income taxes.

Of course not. You can’t tax what isn’t there. Know what you can tax? The folks that do have money. Still kinda pondering the use of the leftist adjective. Doesn’t really add to the point.


What good will this tax bill do for employment when the current rate is 4.1%, U6 is 8%, and U5 is at 5%? Those are all very low numbers already, resulting from a plunge that began under Obama–not Trump. The labor force participation rate, which of course we don’t hear about anymore from Republicans now that they are in power, hasn’t changed much, but the causes aren’t and probably can’t be addressed by this bill. Wages could improve, but that’s hardly a given. Even if they did, it could just as easily be a result of the already low unemployment rate forcing employers to offer more money to attract workers.

What about the deficit and debt? Remember when that was the definitive issue for Republicans under Obama? Just about everyone projects that this bill’s tax reductions won’t pay for themselves–because of course they can’t. (And where it tries to make up for this, it must take money from people in some other way, like taxing tuition waivers for graduate students.) But Republicans don’t care about any opinion or analysis that doesn’t totally affirm what they want to believe or tell the public. They even try to block or work around unflattering studies–including ones performed by their own. If the goal here is to set up a scenario where spending cuts are necessary, the bill is only even more irresponsible. If spending must be cut, then it should be cut *before* experimenting with taxes and risking additional revenue during good economic times.

Finally, this bill, which Republicans themselves insist is of utmost importance, was rushed for no good reason, without a chance for *anyone* to understand its ramifications. Trump, of course, will sign whatever Republicans put in front of him and parrot their talking points. Despite their continued criticism of the process behind devising and passing the ACA, Republicans did far worse in this case.

To sum up: this is a fiscally irresponsible bill, thought up behind closed doors and in a hurry without a chance for even its supporters to fully understand it, with no clear path to improving an economy that is already doing well. But of course T. Paine defends it. He’s just so independent, that not-a-Republican!

Dave Dubya:

What to think? What to think?

Why bother, it’s already been done for us. Could it be perhaps “Common Sense” has been replaced by the slogans and simple answers of far Right cult beliefs?

If only someone would start a list of all those half-baked ideas and crazy beliefs…