Sunday, June 24, 2018

What Happens If Trump's Trade Agenda Brings On Another Great Depression?

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Something like 9,000 of barrels of bourbon were destroyed in a Kentucky warehouse crash Friday. I wonder if insurance will cover the damages. Maybe the company was lucky... since bourbon is one of the U.S. exports being targeted by countries around the world in retaliation for Trump's trade war.

The NY Times reported yesterday-- Lobsters, Small-Batch Whiskey and Trump’s Trade War-- that Trump's trade war may become politically perilous for Republicans because his "trade policies are starting to inflict economic pain across the country, including in areas that are home to the voters who helped him win election... Business owners across the country are fearing the worst and wondering if Mr. Trump, who calls himself a master negotiator, will get the better end of the deal." Malcolm Broome, executive director of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association, is worried because now China is moving into the U.S. share of European peanut butter exports. He said that many of the peanut farmers in his state have been supportive of Trump’s economic agenda, but that they will be watching carefully to see how he manages the trade negotiations. "If this can give him some leverage to get a deal made, they’d be all for that," Broome said. "If it doesn’t work and he’s miscalculated, then it could be a different story."
The cascade of tit-for-tat tariffs has spooked corporate executives, potentially slowing investment, and the Federal Reserve suggested this week that it might have to rethink its economic forecasts if the trade wars continue.

On Friday, Mr. Trump only added fuel to the fire when he threatened in a tweet to impose a 20 percent tariff on all European cars coming into the United States if the European Union did not remove its auto tariffs. “Build them here!” the president wrote.

...In the 2016 presidential election, George Skarich, the vice president of sales for the Missouri-based Mid Continent Nail Corporation, voted for Mr. Trump and hoped that he would use his business acumen to supercharge the economy.

The economy is booming, but Mr. Skarich said he was not reaping the benefits. Instead, as a result of Mr. Trump’s trade policies, Mr. Skarich said his nail company may soon be out of business.

Mid Continent, the largest American producer of nails, imports steel from Mexico to make its nails. That steel is now subject to the 25 percent tariffs that Mr. Trump imposed on dozens of countries, forcing Mid Continent to raise its prices by nearly 20 percent.

Orders have plummeted by 50 percent this month as the company tries to compete with cheaper foreign-made nails. Those foreign manufacturers are not facing higher steel costs, giving them an advantage over Mid Continent.

The company, which employs about 500 workers, has already cut 60 jobs. It could potentially cut 200 more in the coming weeks.

While Mr. Trump might propose that Mid Continent simply buy American-made steel, it might not be so simple: Mr. Skarich notes that the cost of American-made metal is much higher than what the company had been importing from Mexico, meaning it would still have to raise prices for its nails if it used domestic steel.

Mr. Skarich, a Republican, has lobbied Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, for help.

“He ran on ‘Make America Great Again,’ and the point was to defend and protect jobs in the United States,” Mr. Skarich said. “Now here is an action he decides to take that has the potential to cost 500 U.S. citizens their jobs.”

Friday, The Atlantic published a piece, How Do You Know When It's Officially a Trade War?. Thanks to Trump's idiocy, we're now locked in a trade war with our closest allies. Imposing tariffs, which are met with retaliatory tariffs, which are then met with even more retaliatory tariffs, is the kind of tit-for-tat behavior global trading rules were designed to prevent. On Friday Trump was threatening more tariffs on counties that respond the tariffs he's already imposed, which they're doing anyway. "[T]he EU’s new tariffs, on items like bourbon and blue jeans, went into effect Friday. It’s not clear whether Trump’s new threat was timed to mark that event. After all, it was only two days ago that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told American lawmakers that the White House had made “no decision” on whether to recommend tariffs on automobile imports.
But how do you know when it has materialized? Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, a U.S. geoeconomics fellow at the London-based Chatham House, told me a trade war requires two elements. “One is the tit-for-tat tariffs that set off a downward spiral of protectionism,” she said. Check. “The other element is that there is no more space for negotiations to potentially de-escalate the dispute.”

It’s this element that’s missing so far. Though the EU has previously stated that it will not negotiate under threat, the bloc hasn’t ruled out negotiations entirely. In fact, Germany’s auto industry—which would be hardest hit by automobile tariffs—has said it would be amenable to reducing auto tariffs between the U.S. and Europe, provided that it be discussed through negotiations. “The basis for future agreements between the EU and the U.S. must be the rules of the WTO,” the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) said this week in a statement. “There is no proposal for unilateral concessions or the mutual dismantling of car duties exclusively.”

Whether the Trump administration would be open to such negotiations is still unclear. The American president instructed the Commerce Department to investigate whether there could be national-security grounds for imposing tariffs on European automobiles and auto parts, which was the justification the administration used to impose its metal tariffs. Ross, the commerce secretary, said the department aims to wrap up its review within the next two months.

But if the Trump administration is not open to negotiations, the EU has already signaled its willingness to make a collective response. “We did not want to be in this position,” Malmström said Wednesday in a statement in reference to its retaliatory tariffs, adding that when it comes to the bloc’s retaliatory measures, “Our response is measured, proportionate and fully in line with WTO rules. Needless to say, if the U.S. removes its tariffs, our measures will also be removed.”

“I do think that at the moment Trump is using this as more of a negotiation tactic-- I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that he tweets that on the same day that the European [retaliatory] tariffs go into effect,” Schneider-Petsinger said. “There are tensions that cannot be ignored and shots are being fired, but it’s not a full-blown trade war yet because there is still room for de-escalation.”

If it’s still something less than a trade war, it will no doubt incur casualties-- on both sides. Germany sold 1.35 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2017. And as the VDA pointed out last month, U.S.-based German automobile plants employ as many as 110,000 people. Half of those jobs, the VDA says, are dependent on German exports.
Saturday, David Lynch, writing for the Washington Post, reported that "in less than two weeks, U.S. customs officers are scheduled to begin collecting tariffs on Chinese imports, a step that will either give President Donald Trump the leverage he needs to secure a trade deal with Beijing or plunge the world's two largest economies into a dangerous commercial conflict. With no talks underway between the two sides, prospects for an early deal that averts imposition of the import levies appear dim.
Once the U.S. tariffs on the first $34 billion in Chinese goods take effect on July 6-- and trigger Chinese retaliation against American farmers and exporters-- the political pain will mount for the president, according to several former U.S. negotiators and trade analysts.

Complaints from affected voters could push Trump to settle for a limited deal involving higher Chinese purchases of American products and promises of future market openings and leave the president vulnerable to charges of having blinked in his confrontation with China, the former officials said.

...Trump's base, which cheers his attacks on Beijing as a hostile power guilty of "economic aggression," expects him to fulfill his promise to shrink the trade gap, which he blames for the loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs.

So far, that gap has widened during his presidency and is on course to set a record in 2018. Through the first four months of this year, the U.S. trade deficit with China was nearly 12 percent higher than during the same period last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

...More than twice as many jobs are exposed to Chinese tariffs in counties that voted for Trump in 2016 as in areas that backed Hillary Clinton, according to the Brookings Institution.

"They have mapped this out to a very fine level of detail, down to congressional districts," said China expert Aaron Friedberg of Princeton University. "It is intended to inflict maximum pain on people they recognize as being Trump's primary constituents in hopes that it will make him change course."

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Tuesday Is The Big Day In Colorado Between Progressive Levi Tillermann And The DC Bosses' Candidate

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With all the excitement over Alexandria Ocasio's shot at beating Joe Crowley on Tuesday another crucial race that hasn't gotten the kind of traction it deserves is the contest in the Denver suburbs (CO-06), a district that wraps around the city on three sides, from Littleton in the south west, across through Centennial, up through Aurora in the east and then across Brighton in the north. The PVI is a swingy D+2. Obama beat McCain and Romney and Hillary beat Trump 50.2% to 41.3%. So why is a unaccomplished Republican, Mike Coffman, still in office? Have you ever heard of the DCCC, the GOP's most potent weapon?

And the DCCC is at it again. They found a really worthless New Dem, Jason Crow, who they're trying to pass off as an attorney who fights for working families. Actually he fights for pay day lenders who are screwing working families. But what's a word or two difference. The tragedy here is that the DCCC, by blatantly backing the conservative hack in the race, has been blatantly undercutting the grassroots progressive, Levi Tillemann.

After Hoyer's stunt, Blue America got in touch with Adgreetz, one of the most innovative digital ad agencies in the world, to see if we could help even-out the playing field a little. They haven't worked in the political world but among their current and past clients are Amazon, Google, BMW, Anheuser-Busch, Quaker, Pepsi, Kraft, Disney, HBO, the Wall Street Journal, Acura, NBC, Universal Pictures, ABC, Intel and Toyota.

They specialize in very targeted, personalized communications. This one is a video they developed with Levi and have been getting out to likely Democratic primary voters in the district-- in this instance to "someone" named Eric.

This similarly personalized GIF was sent via e-mail to all the likely Democratic primary voters in the district; again to "Eric."

The company CEO, Eric Frankel, told the company's clients that "the Levi for Colorado personalized messages are a prime example of the positive ways in which data-driven technology can be used in our ever-changing world. This upcoming midterm election is a very important one for the country, and finding smart and innovative ways to cut through the noise of disinformation is paramount... The personalized messaging content was tailored to recipients by name, contribution history and location.

Tillemann said that he has been "blown away by the power of the platform and how easy it was for us to build videos that were specifically targeted to each voter. We're looking forward to collaborating with them in the general election."

On Wednesday the local Fox affiliate in Denver spotlighted the primary race, Crow, playing the identity politics game-- "I'm a veteran," focusing on me, me, me-- while Tillermann tried talking about what he hopes to achieve for the residents of the district: "I'm the only progressive running in the 6th congressional district."
Tillemann has positioned himself as the most progressive in the race vowing to impeach Trump and vote out Nancy Pelosi as Democratic Leader.

"I'm the only candidate who is fighting to impeach Donald Trump," Tillemann said.

Crow for his part believes the Mueller probe into Trump should be protected but isn't ready to commit to an impeachment vote.

Crow believes a challenger to Pelosi should emerge but wouldn't rule out voting for her.

"I would like to see healthy competition, I got to win my race first," Crow said.

On the issues the candidates can appear similar but on health care Crow is for a federal public option to improve health care costs while Tillemann supports Medicare for all.
If you want a status quo, establishment candidate who uses words to hide meanings, Crow is your guy. On the other hand if you prefer a straight-talking agent of change who is addressing many of the same issues Bernie addressed in 2016, Tillemann is the candidate to vote for on Tuesday.



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Señor Trumpanzee-- Losing Control Of The Narrative... Womp, Womp

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Señor Trumpanzee isn't exactly being subtle in his campaign to gin up fear and loathing towards immigrants, even more so than normally. It looks like this is going to be a major campaign theme for the GOP this year-- more so than their failed tax scam. He feels it won him the White House-- maybe more so than Putin's exertions on his behalf-- and he seems to feel more racism and xenophobia is just what Republican congressional candidates need for the midterms. According to Susan Glasser's post for the New Yorker, "Trump has remained determined to talk about immigration, even when others in his party have resisted. Indeed, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill were furious with Trump as the immigration controversy spiraled out of control this week-- a time they had planned to spend celebrating the G.O.P. tax cut, along with the general strength of the economy, which they hope to make the centerpiece of their fall campaign... On Monday, as the political pressure on Trump was escalating, I met with Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster who has advised G.O.P. leaders about this fall’s elections at a couple of recent retreats. Trump, she told me, had a 'freakishly stable' approval rating; in such a polarized moment, people know where they stand on the President. She said that, unlike in previous midterm elections in which the incumbent President’s party has done poorly, voter enthusiasm for Trump has remained strong among Republican voters, even as a blue wave of Trump-hating Democrats has been building. Said Anderson: 'The question is, if the blue wave is coming, have Republicans built a large enough wall to stop it?'"

On the far right, there's plenty of excitement about locking up brown children, who Trump and his most ardent backers equate with MS-13. This morning, Adam Raymond reported for New York Magazine that Fox and Friends were quick to back up Trump's assertion that these children in prisons are The Other. "Brian Kilmeade," he wrote, "came to the defense of President Trump on Friday for his policy of forced family separation at the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Trump ended the policy with an executive order Wednesday, but the horror for many separated families is not going to end soon. In his comments, Kilmeade defended Trump’s 'zero tolerance' immigration policy as a way to send a message to would-be migrants in other countries. As for the separation of families, which could do real and lasting damage to many parents and children, Kilmeade brushed it off because the children aren’t Americans. 'Like it or not, these aren’t our kids,' Kilmeade said... Trump has taken to talking about immigrants like they’re vermin." That was Hitler brainwashed Germans before he started exterminating Jews.

But Hitler Trump has, according to Vanity Fair's Peter Hamby lost control of the narrative. Trumpanzee has "rarely," he wrote, "been on his heels as he has over the past week. Even during the hottest-burning controversies and scandals of his administration, Trump is usually the stick-and-move president: provoke, evade, pivot to the next thing. The media has a hard time keeping up, and congressional Democrats are too busy holding limp-dick press conferences like it’s still 2006. They’re about as effective as those digital finger-waggers who tweet 'Sir!' at the president every time he burps."
But the wrenching story of migrant children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border has unfolded differently. Trump has been forced to play defense. It’s not just because the policy is cruel, inhumane, and an ugly stain on our country’s moral integrity. It is all of those things. But Trump has done plenty of ugly things. What’s different this time, and the handful of times Trump has found himself losing, is that there are pictures.

Think of the handful of moments when Trump has been subjected to a sustained drubbing that’s lasted more than just a day or two: the Access Hollywood tape. Sean Spicer’s lie about the size of the inauguration crowd. The massive airport protests around the travel ban. Trump’s “very fine people” comment about neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville. The Rob Porter domestic-abuse allegations fiasco. (Porter has denied the allegations.) And now the gross panorama of migrant children being separated from their desperate parents. All of these stories were accompanied by images-- pictures or video-- that either tilted public opinion against the president or blatantly contradicted the dubious claims of Trump and his allies.

As CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted on Wednesday, “It’s not an accident that the US government is making it so difficult for journalists, lawmakers, lawyers and others to bring you images and firsthand accounts from these separated parents and children. They are hiding the truth from you because they fear your reaction.”

The power of images is a simple concept, hardly new in politics... The media gatekeepers-- television news networks, print newspapers, radio-- used to determine how images reached the public. Thanks to Internet-connected smartphone cameras, images today are created and distributed by everyone. In the past, the written and spoken word, whether delivered by a newspaperman or a politician, had a kind of power that not longer exists. Even during Vietnam, as the culture wars were tearing us apart, there was some measure of public agreement on the credibility of news organizations and consensus around facts and the terms of debate.

Today, it’s exceedingly difficult to compete with Trump at the rhetorical level. This is in part because Trump has no shame, while most people do. But it’s also because Trump has so bent, damaged, and disfigured language to a point that we no longer have a shared vocabulary, especially in a world of open platforms and algorithm-fueled polarization. It’s easy for Trump to belittle the press and its reporting as “FAKE NEWS” because the press can’t usually provide contrary evidence other than “sources say.” But hard, concrete, visual evidence-- the pictures we see from the border—seems to be the most effective antidote to Trump and his ability to dominate our mindshare. As the migrant story took hold across every channel and platform, visual media came to feel like a cure, however temporary, for our political schizophrenia.

“Trump lives constantly in search of a positive feedback loop from cable news,” Republican strategist Kevin Madden told me. “When the optics of a news event or controversy turn on him, it causes him to freeze, uncharacteristically. When the images are out of his control or can’t be washed through the news cycle as easily as other controversies, they tend to endure and cause more of a problem.”

The usual Trump outrage cycles are fueled by policy decisions, the Russia investigation, or anonymously sourced stories about some White House drama. These stories are almost always conceptual rather than visual. They unfold in a certain noisy and unfulfilling way-- cable panels, Twitter fights, reporters jousting with Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the briefing room-- that makes them easy to tune out. It cannot be stressed enough: the vast majority of Americans do not watch cable news, do not have Twitter, and could not pick Ronna McDaniel (née Romney) out of a lineup. The controversies that usually consume Washington-- and the cable-viewer in chief-- are usually of little concern to the rest of the country.

But when media organizations deliver on their original value proposition-- showing the public something compelling and important-- Trump has a harder time creating his own reality. News today works best when it visualizes the stakes and victims and consequences of policy decisions, rather than just talking or writing about them. People don’t trust reporters. They do trust pictures.

The border story blew up in the last week, but it had been percolating in the print press for more than a month without much national attention. Molly Hennessy-Fiske of the Los Angeles Times, long on the border beat, filed a haunting dispatch from a McAllen, Texas, courtroom on May 18, describing tearful immigrant parents who had been separated from their children. But the story wasn’t roiling the national conversation, and it certainly wasn’t on television. That changed when cameras arrived and pictures emerged, much like the Rob Porter scandal grew once images came to light of his battered ex-wife.

Television journalists like MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff, CBS’s Gayle King, and CNN’s Nick Valencia showed viewers the detention centers, the cages, the tents, the obstinate officials who came off as cold-blooded and tone-deaf. Still photographers, often unsung these days, also led the charge. John Moore of Getty Images, who has covered immigration for a decade, captured the iconic image of a sobbing two-year-old Honduran girl alongside her mother while she was being searched in the Rio Grande Valley. Then there was the ProPublica audio clip that became a video, repeated over and over on television and social media, allowing us to hear the wails of detained, sobbing children.

All of these images and news packages flooded social media, snowballing into a giant content mill of awfulness. It was enough to drown out Trump’s side of the argument and make him feel smaller than usual, a rare thing indeed. “Trump views his ‘success’ as being what makes good TV, as with the North Korea summit. To become himself a media object, or best, to make media become him,” said the social-media theorist Nathan Jurgenson, one of my colleagues at Snapchat. “Given the centrality of media in all this, it makes sense that the things that rile him up the most are media objects, too. Ones that seemingly depict another narrative.”



Trump’s team, ever astute, contributed to the cause, optimizing their callousness for social media. Corey Lewandowski had his “womp womp” moment when responding to news of a disabled child being separated from her mother. Melania Trump smartly wore her “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket for the television cameras. And when Trump signed his executive order halting the family separations on Wednesday, the White House sycophants who had previously claimed the policy was out of his hands were now all memorialized on tape as liars forevermore.
Pictures... and audio. Here's Ted Lieu (D-CA) on the floor of the House with the inept Trump enabler Karen Handel R-GA):



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Trump's Zero Tolerance Incarcerations-- Follow The Money

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Ben Ray Lujan (right), Pelosi's DCCC chairman, takes blood money from the crooks building private immigrant detention facilities for Trump. Why won't he return the cash?

This week the organization In The Public Interest issued a report-- An examination of private financing for correctional and immigration detention facilities-- that examines the finances behind Trump's ramping up of the criminalization of immigration. The Department of Homeland Security has been instructed to "accelerate resource capacity." The report shows how private prison corporations CoreCivic and GEO Group are primed to provide additional immigration detention space by privately financing new facility construction, a new business frontier-- privately financing new facilities through "public-private partnerships." Providing financing to governments has become a central growth strategy as both companies became Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in 2013, requiring them to have significant real estate holdings.  REIT status allows the corporations to avoid corporate-level taxation. GEO Group received almost $44 million in tax benefits in 2017.
While governments have traditionally used municipal bonds to finance the construction of correctional facilities, there is evidence that the two major private prison companies, CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA) and GEO Group, are actively pushing governments to consider the use of private financing to build new facilities, and that governments are increasingly interested in the idea. This focus on building new prison and immigration detention facilities with private financing (known as “public-private partnerships”) represents a critical shift in these companies’ business model.
Friday, In These Times published an essay by David Dayen, These Private Prison Companies Are Already Profiting Off of Trump’s Order on Family Separation. "[T]he Trump administration," he wrote, "still has the goal, expressed in the order, of detaining families together indefinitely, until their immigration cases are complete. That goal is contingent on convincing a federal judge to rip up the Flores settlement, a 1997 agreement that says migrant children can only be kept up to 20 days in non-secure, licensed facilities. On June 21, Trump’s Department of Justice asked a judge to change the rules, but the Obama administration asked for the same changes in 2016 and was rebuked."

In the last few years, the private prison companies have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump, Republicans and Blue Dogs in exchange for their support.

Last cycle the dozen members of the House who took the biggest bribes from the GEO Group were:
Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)- $10,000
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- $9,690
Scott Tipton (R-CO)- $7,500
Mike Bishop (R-MI)- $6,000
Steve Russell (R-OK)- $5,000
Michael McCaul (R-TX)- $5,000
Steve Knight (R-CA)- $5,000
Will Hurd (R-TX)- $5,000
John Culberson (R-TX)- $5,000
Don Bacon (R-NE)- $5,000
Rod Blum (R-IA)
Barbara Comstock (R-VA)
Tom Guild, the progressive Democrat whose Oklahoma primary is Tuesday noted that his far right Republican opponent, Steve Russell, is one of Congress' biggest supporters of the for-profit prison industry-- and, in return, the industry has funded his political career in a big way. "Public-private partnerships," Tom told us yesterday,"between elected officials creating 'demand' for additional detention facilities and private owners of such incarceration factories looking for a big pay day constitute old fashioned pay-for-play corruption. Steve Russell (R-OK) taking huge campaign gratuities from the private detention facilities industry earns him an honorary membership in the DC Swamp and is not a notable man bites dog storyline. Russell and Trump are two peas in a pod sharing the characteristics of avarice and greed while swimming in a putrid smelling self-dealing cesspool. It’s no wonder that Americans who currently approve of Congress' performance are limited to close friends and family members of those serving in Congress. Hopefully, the good folks in Oklahoma’s fifth congressional district will give Steve his walking papers soon. Then, he can go out into the 'real world' and earn an honest living for a change while chafing under the laws he created."

They also put mammoth amounts of cash into directed PACs-- $170,000 into Trump Victory, $50,000 into another Trump front group-- Rebuilding America Now and then $50,000 each to Republican Super PACs and Dark Money committees like Win In 2016, NRSC Targeted State Victory Committee and the Florida First Project and $25,000 each to House Majority 2016, Conservative Congress Now!, NRCC, Growing A Sustainable Future, and the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

So far this cycle they've ponied up big bucks for several shady groups like Kevin McCarthy's Victory Fund ($45,000), various GOP building funds (over $100,000), and $10,000 each for John Culberson's PAC, Rick Scott's PAC, Henry Cuellar's PAC Paul Ryan's PAC and, hold your nose, the DCCC. And this year's dozen biggest GEO Group bribe-takers so far:
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog, TX)- $10,000
John Culberson (R-TX)- $10,000
John Carter (R-TX)- $10,000
Scott Taylor (R-VA)- $6,000
Ron DeSantis (R-FL)- $5,000
Matt Gaetz (R-FL)- $5,000
Tom Graves (R-GA)- $5,000
David Pence (R-IN)- $5,000
 John Katko (R-NY)- $5,000 (returned)
Robert Aderholt (R-AL)- $3,500
Vicente Gonzalez (Blue Dog-TX)- $2,500
Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)- $2,500
The other big private prison spender in Congress is CoreCivic. So who were the big bribe takers from these crooks? Last cycle's dozen worst-- you know with some of these congress crooks, a pattern emerges:
John Culberson (R-TX)- $11,500
Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)- $11,200
Diane Black (R-TN)-$11,000
Will Hurd (R-TX)-$7,500
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)- $5,000
John Carter (R-TX)- $5,000
Paul Ryan (R-WI)- $5,000
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)- $5,000
Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)- $5,000
Tim Ryan (D-OH)- $4,500
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- $4,000
Gregg Harper (R-MS)- $4,000
And so far this cycle... you can recognize some of the names that are constantly getting blood money from the private prison industry... repulsive characters like John Culberson of Texas for example-- always standing up and fighting for the private prison industry. Here are the 5 worst House members so far in 2018
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)- $19,100
John Culberson (R-TX)- $11,000
John Rose (R-TN)- $7,700
Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)- $5,500
Greg Pence (R-IN)- $3,500
Mike Siegel, the progressive Democrat running for the very gerrymandered Texas seat that Trump enabler Michael McCaul occupies mentioned to my yesterday that "McCaul is responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Trump Administration. As Homeland Security Chair, he has been an architect of the Travel Ban, a proponent of the Border Wall, and a defender of Family Separation. Not only are his actions immoral, but his acceptance of campaign contributions from the private prison industry-- and his advocacy to demand full occupancy of detention centers-- is downright corrupt. I am confident that the voters of the Texas 10th will not look kindly on his actions."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

Say one thing for the goons in the White House: They've gone all in your face with their attitude. Other politicos put on a pretense of giving a damn. Other administrations have tried to cover their evil, knowing that you really can fool some of the people some of the time. Not the Trumpies. They want you to know their evil and they relish you living in its effects. They even have rallies for the occasion. This is the Republican Party. Whether it's the congressional hit squads of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell fighting for the forces of starvation and disease by taking away Medicare and Social Security, or stealing children from their parents, Republicans not only don't care, they will rub that fact that they don't care right in your face. It's not that this is all that new, but, Republicans have stepped up their game.

Just a few days ago we had Trump advisor Cory Lewandowski making fun of a 10 year old girl with Down Syndrome. Lewandowski is a former Trump campaign chaircretin. To be clear, he is not the one who is in jail but give it time and he might end up in a cell right next to Paul Manafort. Lewandowski has now been dropped by agencies who book people like him for speaking gigs at 6 figures a clip, so that's at least something. Losing such a lucrative income is more justice than he's likely to see from our aptly named criminal justice system. I wonder if it was his idea for his boss to make fun of a disabled reporter during the 2016 campaign. Nah, I bet Mr. Orange Spray Tan though of that one all by himself.

Also a few days ago, we saw Trump's Homeland Secretary, Kristjen Nielsen, denying that children were being stolen from their parents in the name of Trumpism, getting caught in her lies and making sick attempts to feign ignorance, followed predictably by her own in your face moment when she decided to shamelessly dine out in public, in a Mexican restaurant of all places. I'm surprised that she didn't go visit Wounded Knee, Belsen... or a North Korean gulag and have Mexican take-out delivered to her via Air Force One, at taxpayer expense of course.

Ah, but that wasn't enough for one week, certainly not enough to satisfy those who voted for Trump. To satisfy their cravings for more nihilism and downright evil, none other than the First Lady (Melania, not Ivanka) was dispatched to Texas for a pretend to care about the stolen children incarcerated in her husband's Kiddie Internment Camps. Except, she made it plain as day that she didn't care one iota. Melania had a message to send to anyone who is decent enough to actually really care and she wore it both to and from her photo-op. She dressed for the occasion by wearing her now famous jacket that sported the words "I really don't care. Do u?" Jeez. As if we needed corroboration. Yup. Another in you face moment, brought to us by the Republican Party. As to where she got the jacket, I'll just guess that it's just a jacket one gets when one registers as a Republican.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Republican Trump Enablers Getting Kicked Out Of Restaurants

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Hitler thought it up but he could never have done it on his own. He needed enablers and rubber stamps. Same with Trump, of course. So far, as far as we know, only 3 of Trump's henchmen-- Stephen Miller, Kirstjen Nielsen and Sarah Huckabee Sanders-- have been publicly humiliated and thrown out of restaurants.

A couple of days ago, Ben Fearnow, writing for Newsweek reported that Trump's immigration policy architect Stephen Miller was "heckled and called a “fascist” by patrons at a Mexican restaurant in Washington."
Two days before Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was ridiculed by protestors at MXDC Cocina Mexicana, Miller was approached by customers asking if the “real-life fascist” would beg for money for “new cages.” The “zero tolerance” immigration hard-liner had the Espita Mezcaleria encounter Sunday amid intense backlash against a now-reversed policy to separate migrant children from their families. Both Nielsen and Miller’s Mexican restaurant incidents have prompted a deluge of self-proclaimed supporters of President Donald Trump to hit both D.C. establishments with one-star reviews and nasty comments.

...Miller, who was previously communications director for then-Senator Jeff Sessions, called the Trump administration’s policy to separate children from parents who illegally cross the U.S. border a “simple decision,” the New York Times reported. Miller’s vocal and unequivocal stance on immigration culminated with a Wednesday story from the Splinter News website that revealed his cell phone number that caused the publication to be banned briefly from Twitter.

DHS Secretary Nielsen’s Mexican restaurant run-in at DXDC Cocina Mexicana Tuesday evening saw patrons and protesters shouting “shame” and “end Texas concentration camps” as she dined at the D.C. establishment. A barrage of negative, one-star reviews have since littered DXDC Cocina Mexicana’s Google, Yelp and other online review pages for allowing the “leftist anarchists” to disrupt Nielsen’s dinner.
Huckabee's daughter tweeted early this morning that the owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia kicked her out of his restaurant Friday night. According to the owner, she was kicked out on moral grounds (and after the staff voted to do so)-- the exact right reason she should have been! We need a lot more of that from courageous American patriots.

I remember years and years ago I was sitting and having dinner when an old friend and his friends walked in and sat down at a table near ours. In a few minutes he noticed another table with 3 gay guys and bigoted Republican hypocrite Ann Coulter. My friend started exploding at her, loudly and very pointedly. I can't remember if he left (I don't think so) or she left (I do think so). It was a gay restaurant in WEHO. He's a deputy mayor of Los Angeles now.



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Et Tu, George Will? Expect More

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As I've mentioned before, there are plenty of voters who feel this way about that issue and that way about the other issue, but what's going to motivate them to vote for a candidate one way or the other in November. I was on the phone with a Democratic candidate just now and she was telling he that a new poll showed her up 5 points over the incumbent, her Republican opponent, in a pretty red district. excellent! But in the end it's going to come down to about the voters believing she will hold Trump in check. People know he's never read the Constitution and doesn't understand it. Republican enablers and rubber stamps in Congress are not what's called for right now. I never thought I'd hear George Will urging his readers to vote against all Republicans running for congressional seats, did you? Yesterday he did-- "no more presidential poodles," he wrote in his widely syndicated column. Most of the newspapers that carry his work preferred the less incendinary title, "This November, cast your vote against the GOP."
Amid the carnage of Republican misrule in Washington, there is this glimmer of good news: The family-shredding policy along the southern border, the most telegenic recent example of misrule, clarified something. Occurring less than 140 days before elections that can reshape Congress, the policy has given independents and temperate Republicans-- these are probably expanding and contracting cohorts, respectively-- fresh if redundant evidence for the principle by which they should vote.




The principle is: The congressional Republican caucuses must be substantially reduced. So substantially that their remnants, reduced to minorities, will be stripped of the Constitution’s Article I powers that they have been too invertebrate to use against the current wielder of Article II powers. They will then have leisure time to wonder why they worked so hard to achieve membership in a legislature whose unexercised muscles have atrophied because of people like them.



Consider the melancholy example of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who wagered his dignity on the patently false proposition that it is possible to have sustained transactions with today’s president, this Vesuvius of mendacities, without being degraded. In Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons, Thomas More, having angered Henry VIII, is on trial for his life. When Richard Rich, who More had once mentored, commits perjury against More in exchange for the office of attorney general for Wales. More says: “Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world ... But for Wales!” Ryan traded his political soul for ... a tax cut. He who formerly spoke truths about the accelerating crisis of the entitlement system lost everything in the service of a president pledged to preserve the unsustainable status quo.

Ryan and many other Republicans have become the president’s poodles, not because James Madison’s system has failed but because today’s abject careerists have failed to be worthy of it. As Madison explained it in Federalist 51: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” Congressional Republicans (congressional Democrats are equally supine toward Democratic presidents) have no higher ambition than to placate this president. By leaving dormant the powers inherent in their institution, they vitiate the Constitution’s vital principle, the separation of powers.

Recently Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who is retiring, became an exception that illuminates the depressing rule. He proposed a measure by which Congress could retrieve a small portion of the policymaking power that it has, over many decades and under both parties, improvidently delegated to presidents. Congress has done this out of sloth and timidity-- to duck hard work and risky choices. Corker’s measure would have required Congress to vote to approve any trade restrictions imposed in the name of “national security.” All Senate Republicans worthy of the conservative label that all Senate Republicans flaunt would privately admit that this is conducive to sound governance and true to the Constitution’s structure. But the Senate would not vote on it-- would not allow it to become just the second amendment voted on this year.

This is because the amendment would have peeved the easily peeved president. The Republican-controlled Congress, which waited for Trump to undo by unilateral decree the border folly they could have prevented by actually legislating, is an advertisement for the unimportance of Republican control.


The Trump whisperer regarding immigration is Stephen Miller, 32, whose ascent to eminence began when he became the Savonarola of Santa Monica High School. Corey Lewandowski, a Trump campaign official who fell from the king’s grace but is crawling back (he works for Mike Pence’s political action committee), recently responded on Fox News to the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome taken from her parents at the border. Lewandowski replied: “Wah, wah.” Meaningless noise is this administration’s appropriate libretto because, just as a magnet attracts iron filings, Trump attracts, and is attracted to, louts.

In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him. A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control, and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House. And to those who say, “But the judges, the judges!” the answer is: Article III institutions are not more important than those of Articles I and II combined.

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Joe Crowley Outed For Flipping Out Over Ro Khanna's Endorsement Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Kyle Kulinski should have a show on MSNBC or CNN. Believe me you're never going to hear any of this stuff from Rachel Maddow.

There are no other members of Congress who have endorsed Alexandria. Instead the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus is whipping for Crowley. (No, I'm not talking about Raul Grijalva.) Ro has endorsed the most progressive candidates running for Congress, the ones who are going to help him pass Medicare-For-All and the whole Bernie platform. He's not the DCCC and he's not endorsing based on who can win. He's not endorsing Blue Dogs from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. He was pushing Randy Bryce before the DCCC had ever heard of him. He's backing the best state legislator in the country who would be a superstar the first day he got to Congress, Kaniela Ing (D-HI). He endorsed Brent Welder and James Thompson in heartland districts the DCCC is igorninhg and two of the best gubernatorial candidate in the country, Ben Jealous (D-MD) and Abdul El Sayed (D-MI). Any other congressional Democrats stepping out on a limb that way. Tuesday is primary day in New York-- an opportunity to replace Crowley with Alexandria Ocasio. Have you helped?

Goal ThermometerEveryone makes a mistake. No one's perfect. But Ro moved quickly to correct his. He's freshman and didn't know about Crowley's disgraceful voting ecord before he (Ro) was elected nor about Crowley's corruption. I think he was misled by someone he had every reason in the world to trust. Watch that whole video by Kulinski up top. He's got most of the points right. If you want to contribute to Ro's campaign, you can do it by tapping on the Blue America 2018 best House incumbents thermometer on the right. Remember, ProgressivePunch's highest lifetime (99.14) shows two members tied for #1-- Ro Khanna (CA) and Jamie Raskin (MD). 100%? No... but better than anyone else. Barney Frank once told me that when someone runs for Congress they may think they're going to be perfect but after a few years they even stop agreeing with themselves on some votes. I don't remember a single sitting member of Congress endorsing Dave Brat when he ran-- and won-- against Eric Cantor. That isn't how DC works. It was extremely courageous for Khanna to do what he did-- and you're not going to find anyone else daring to do likewise-- not ONE. It is unprecedented, part of what is wrong with Congress.

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Private Prisons Want Trump's Zero Tolerance Agenda-- Can You Guess Why?

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What a video! MJ Hegar is running for the Texas congressional seat that covers Williamson and Bell counties, TX-31, between Waco and Austin. It runs from Killeen in the north and Round Rock in the south. The PVI is a daunting R+10. Romney won it 59.6% to 38.3% and Trump won it 53.5% to 40.8%. Bell County includes part of Fort Hood, the largest American military base in the world. It's a traditionally Democratic district but Carter, can ultra-conservative Republican, has been in office since 2002. He never deviates from a hardline GOP approach. For example, on Thursday he voted for the extreme anti-immigration bill and for the far right Agriculture bill.

Carter is a backbencher you rarely hear about outside of his own district. He doesn't do anything except for for extreme right-wing proposals. His Trump adhesion score is 98.8%, the second highest in Congress after whip Steve Scalise. He's a member of the Tea Party Caucus. He's also a bit of a crook

On Thursday the Dallas Morning News revealed that Carter, along with John Culberson (R-TX) and Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX) have taken massive bribes from GEO and it's executives, the private prison company that stands to gain the most from Trump's "zero tolerance" policy that locks up huge numbers of border crossers and their children. GEO operates the private immigration detention facilities in Karnes City, Laredo, Pearsall and Conroe.
Culberson is facing a tough re-election race against Democrat Lizzie Fletcher. The race has been rated a ‘toss up’ by nonpartisan analyst Cook Political Report.

Culberson received the most funding from GEO out of Texas members of Congress, but GEO is also the top donor this cycle for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who received $32,400, and Round Rock Republican Rep. John Carter, who received $31,600.

Both Culberson and Cuellar serve on the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, which funds private immigration detention centers. Culberson is also the chairman of and Carter serves on the House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice and science, which oversees funding for private prisons.

Cuellar’s campaign manager Colin Strother said that GEO is one of the largest employers in Cuellar’s district, and that Cuellar has not allowed campaign contributions to influence his decisions.

“If you live in a district in the state of Washington, you get boating money. If you live in a district in Nebraska, you get agriculture money. We have a district with lots of jail facilities that employ lots of people,” Strother said.

Culberson’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Henry Cuéllar and Vicente Gonzalez were 2 of the 3 Democrats-- the other was another Blue Dog, Fireman Vela-- who refused to sign a bipartisan discharge petition to allow a DACA debate, killing it. Now we know why.
Another one of the largest groups that runs private immigration detention centers in the United States is CoreCivic. The company runs facilities in Houston, Laredo, Dilley and Taylor.

CoreCivic PACs have given less money to candidates than GEO, but still contributed to three Texans, according to OpenSecrets.org: Culberson with $11,000, McCaul with $3,500 and Cuellar with $1,500.
Thursday, the Houston Chronicle reported on the fate of the more than 2,400 children who are under 12 years old that the Trump regime separated from their parents and locked up in Texas.
“It’s chaos,” said Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission, a national advocacy group. “Everything is just moving really fast … I am not convinced they have a plan for reunifying those they have separated.”

...Under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, parents usually served just a few days of prison time for illegally crossing the border before going to immigration detention centers run by the Department of Homeland Security. From there, they can be quickly deported without their children. In one case, a Guatemalan father was deported and had no idea where his 18-month-old toddler was for five months until they were reunited in December.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement has said it is not routinely informed about how or when parents and children were separated and where the adults may be.

“You’re talking about 2,000-plus children scattered across America,” said U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat. “What a difficult challenge and our fear is that we lose one child.”

The sudden influx of so many very young children has overwhelmed the federal government, which has put out emergency calls for contractors across the nation to provide more bed space and recruit more foster parents. It has meant some children are not put in a foster home with a family, as has generally been the goal for “tender age” kids, but instead may stay for weeks and even months in a residential shelter intended for older children. Most child advocates believe this is not in the best interests of the children.

“Kids, particularly young kids, should be in a smaller, more community-based setting, as opposed to the larger scale institutional-like settings,” said Kathryn Kuennen, associate director of children's services with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which cares for unaccompanied minors.
I haven't talked to a Democratic congressional candidate who isn't concerned about this. Yesterday Randy Bryce, for one, was majorly pissed off. This is what he told his own supporters:
Yesterday, Melania Trump boarded a plane to visit the US-Mexico border, where over 2300 children have been separated from their parents, wearing a jacket that read on the back, "I really don't care. Do u?"

Yeah Melania, I really freaking care.

I care about everyday Americans. I care about hardworking families in Wisconsin and at the border. And millions of Americans, all across the country, stood up and showed that they care too.

But that isn't enough. While Trump may have signed an executive order, if you read the fine print, it doesn't solve the problem. All this order does is turn family separation into family incarceration. And to make matters worse, Donald Trump is still refusing to reunite the children the US has already separated from their parents under his watch.

We have to keep the pressure up because we have to make sure these families are released and reunited immediately. To do that, we need to demand an end to Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy.

Call your representatives now and demand they support an end to Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy. Dial (202) 224-3121 to reach the Capitol Switchboard and speak with your representative.

...We have to keep up the fight, because when we fight, we win.


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What Will Make People Decide Who To Vote For In November?

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There are a bunch of run-of the-mill Democrats and semi-Democrats running in Michigan this year, including for the district in the southwest corner of the state (MI-06) held by Fred Upton. One-- sleazy lobbyist George Franklin-- is especially bad. He's been helping finance Upton against Democrats for years. And now he wants to run against him. What a joke! I can see the GOP ads now: "I was for him before I was against him." And he was. Why? What changed, Georgie?

Upton is real bad but but Franklin is-- at best-- the lesser of two evils. The best Democrat in the race is Paul Clements. This week he told his supporters that "despite hearing that we're in a prolonged economic recovery, over half of all Americans are economically insecure-- unable to maintain long-term savings, fearful of emergencies they can't afford, unable to relax even a little. Whether you're below or above the poverty line, economic insecurity is unhealthy, exhausting, and bad for our democracy. You can read my entire economic agenda here, but I want to focus on three things I will do in Congress to reduce economic insecurity in America.
1. Medicare for All

Canada's health care system has not only produced longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality than the United States; Canadians also know they won't go broke if they get sick. In Congress, I will push for, support, and vote for Medicare for all.

2. Increased Wages

Americans should be able to support their families by working one job. I will work to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour or, for now, half the regional median ($12 an hour in Michigan).

3. Postal Banking

Millions of Americans lack access to affordable banking and financial services, and that means it costs more money to be poor. In Congress I will support the revival of United States Post Office banking, facilitating basic banking services and low-interest loans that can help working class Americans.
There are 6 counties in MI-06. Obama won all 6 both times he ran. Then in 2016 Bernie beat Hillary in 5 counties. And then along comes Trumpanzee-- he won all the counties but one in the district too and beat Hillary district-wide 51.3% to 42.9%, a district Bernie won in the primaries and Obama won against McCain. Here was primary day, 2016
Allegan County:
Bernie- 5,545
Hillary- 3,489
Trump- 5,327
Berrien County:
Bernie- 5,942
Hillary- 6,546
Trump- 7,817
Cass County:
Bernie- 1,683
Hillary- 1,657
Trump- 2,859
Kalamazoo County:
Bernie- 20,146
Hillary- 12,593
Trump- 8,655
St. Joseph County:
Bernie- 2,219
Hillary- 1,382
Trump- 2,655
Van Buren County:
Bernie- 3,656
Hillary- 2,484
Trump- 3,287
Clements is the candidate running on a Bernie-like platform, but the Democratic Party establishment, of course, prefers the lobbyist, Franklin. As of March 31, Franklin had raised $534,743 (the source of $100,000 of it unaccounted for) while Clements had raised $257,757.

Meanwhile, as Clements pushes a cutting edge progressive economic message for working families, Trump and Ryan-- with Upton firmly in tow-- are still trying to chip away at the social safety net-- including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Remember the tax scam that lined the pockets of multimillionaires and billionaires, while doing nothing for the rest of us? They always had the idea of making the rest if us pay for it. Yesterday, the New York Times asserted that "Trump, spurred on by conservatives who want him to slash safety net programs, unveiled on Thursday a plan to overhaul the federal government that could have a profound effect on millions of poor and working-class Americans. Produced over the last year by Mr. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, it would reshuffle social welfare programs in a way that would make them easier to cut, scale back or restructure. Among the most consequential ideas is a proposal to shift the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a subsistence benefit that provides aid to 42 million poor and working Americans, from the Agriculture Department to a new mega-agency that would have 'welfare' in its title-- a term Mr. Trump uses as a pejorative catchall for most government benefit programs." A couple of days ago, writing for the Washington Post, Erica Werner warned that the budget Trump and Ryan (and Upton) purposely exploded will be balanced on the backs on cuts to Medicare and other programs Trump vowed over and over to not touch while he was campaigning.
[T]he budget serves as an expression of Republicans’ priorities at a time of rapidly rising deficits and debt. Although the nation’s growing indebtedness has been exacerbated by the GOP’s own policy decisions-- including the new tax law, which most analyses say will add at least $1 trillion to the debt-- Republicans on the Budget Committee said they felt a responsibility to put the nation on a sounder fiscal trajectory.

“The time is now for our Congress to step up and confront the biggest challenge to our society,” said House Budget Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR). “There is not a bigger enemy on the domestic side than the debt and deficits.”

The Republican budget confronts this enemy by taking a whack at entitlement spending. Lawmakers of both parties agree that spending that is not subject to Congress’s annual appropriations process is becoming unsustainable. But Trump has largely taken it off the table by refusing to touch Medicare or Social Security, and Democrats have little interest in addressing it except as part of a larger deal including tax increases-- the sort of “Grand Bargain” that eluded President Barack Obama.

The House Republican budget, titled “A Brighter American Future,” would remake Medicare by giving seniors the option of enrolling in private plans that compete with traditional Medicare, a system of competition designed to keep costs down but dismissed by critics as an effort to privatize the program. Along with other changes, the budget proposes to squeeze $537 billion out of Medicare over the next decade.

The budget would transform Medicaid, the federal-state health-care program for the poor, by limiting per capita payments or allowing states to turn it into a block-grant program-- the same approach House Republicans took in their legislation that passed last year to repeal the Affordable Care Act (the repeal effort died in the Senate, but the GOP budget assumes that the repeal takes place).  It also proposes adding work requirements for certain adults enrolled in Medicaid. Changes to Medicaid and other health programs would account for $1.5 trillion in savings.

Social Security comes in for more modest cuts of $4 billion over the decade, which the budget projects could be reached by eliminating concurrent receipt of unemployment benefits and Social Security disability insurance.

The budget also proposes a number of other cost-saving measures, some of which could prove unpopular if implemented, such as adding more work requirements for food-stamp and welfare recipients and requiring federal employees-- including members of Congress-- to contribute more to their retirement plans. It assumes repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act that regulated banks after the financial crisis 10 years ago, something Congress recently rejected in passing a banking bill into law that softened some of the key provisions of Dodd-Frank but left its overall structures intact. And the budget proposes $230 billion in cuts from education and training programs, including consolidating student loan programs and reducing Pell Grant awards.

The budget also relies on rosy economic-growth projections and proposes using a budgetary mechanism to require other congressional committees to come up with a combined $302 billion in unspecified deficit reduction.

Overall, the partisan proposal is reminiscent of the budget released in 2011 by now-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who was then the Budget Committee chairman and advanced a bold proposal attacking entitlements, slashing spending-- and creating lines of attack for Democrats once Ryan became Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the GOP ticket the following year.

How is this going to go over with voters? Latest Monmouth poll shows the tax scam is losing more and more support: "34% of the public approve of the tax reform plan passed by Congress last December and 41% disapprove. Another 24% are not sure how they feel.  These results have shifted in the past six weeks. Approval is down 6 points from 40% in late April and disapproval is down 3 points from 44%. The number who give no opinion on the plan has risen 8 points from 16%.  Polls earlier this year had shown a more evenly divided public-- 41% approve to 42% disapprove in March and 44% approve to 44% disapprove in January-- with a smaller percentage of undecided opinion. Public opinion on the Republican lawmakers’ signature accomplishment has never been positive, but potentially growing uncertainty about how American taxpayers will be affected does not seem to be helping the GOP’s prospects for November,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute."

The chair of the House Budget Committee is Steve Womack (R-A). He's in a safe Republican seat that Trump won with 62%. The PVI is R+19, the worst and most backward district in Arkansas, so he doesn't care... but his local paper, the Arkansas Times castigated him for the betrayal. Commenting on his dishonest press conference touting the bonus "A Brighter Future," they reported that "He didn't mention that rising deficits were made worse by the tax cut for the rich he supported. Nor did he mention the pain his budget will cause millions of Americans.
With the nation's attention rightly fixated on President Donald Trump's horrific treatment of immigrant children, House Republicans on Tuesday quietly unveiled their 2019 budget proposal that calls for $537 billion in cuts to Medicare, $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, and four billion in cuts to Social Security over the next decade in an effort to pay for their deficit-exploding tax cuts for the wealthy.

"It's morally bankrupt, patently absurd, and grossly un-American," the advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires said of the GOP's budget proposal, which calls for $5.4 trillion in spending cuts from major domestic programs.

Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), argued in a statement that the Republican proposal demonstrates clearly shows the "House majority's fiscal priorities haven't changed.

"It’s easy to become numb to the harshness of these budgets and to brush aside their policy implications based on the assumption (likely correct) that few, if any, of these policies will be enacted this year," Greenstein said. "But this budget reflects where many congressional leaders—and the president—would like to take the country if they get the opportunity to enact these measures in the years ahead. Rather than help more families have a shot at the American dream, it asks the most from those who have the least, and it would leave our nation less prepared for the economic and other challenges that lie ahead."

Progressives have been warning for months about the GOP's plan to axe crucial safety net programs following the passage of its deeply unpopular $1.5 trillion tax bill, which has sparked a boom of corporate stock buybacks while doing little to nothing for most American workers.

"Each GOP budget is more fraudulent than the last," Seth Hanlon, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, wrote on Tuesday. "We know what they stand for: tax cuts paid for with healthcare cuts."

In addition to proposing devastating safety net cuts, the House GOP budget also calls for partial privatization of Medicare and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a move that would throw tens of millions off their health insurance.
Josh Mahony is the Democrat running against Womack this cycle. He noted that "Womack has forgotten the very people he represents. Cuts to these programs will seriously affect Arkansas families. With cuts to education, healthcare, and Social Security, this bill shows the true priorities of Republicans and it’s not to hard-working Arkansans."




My guess if that the good folks in Arkadelphia, Hope and Texarkana noticed that the person Trump was shooting on 5th Avenue was their kid, they'd vote for him anyway. (Yes indeed; these are the ones.) And they're the ones who were probably offended and totally pissed off yesterday when Ted Lieu played this on the floor of the House of Representatives:



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