Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And... Paul Ryan


McCain got a lot of ink over the weekend for his trip to the security meeting in Munich, ink that was primarily centered on his sharp criticism of Trump and Trumpism. He appeared on Meet the Press Sunday saying that he worries Trump doesn't understand the important issues confronting the country nor how to run an operation like the White House, which he pointed out is now mired in chaos. Miss McConnell, of course, is far more circumspect in his criticism of Trump, but it doesn't take much reading between the lines to see how frightened he is that Trump is going to drag the Republican Party into the toilet with him. He told the Weekly Standard that the president’s approval numbers would be "10 to 15 points higher if he allowed himself to stay on message... What [Trump’s] saying makes everything harder."

Juan Williams asserted in an Op-Ed for The Hill Monday that If a White House scandal begins to damage the GOP brand, the political dynamic will shift [and McConnell and the Senate Republicans will head for the hills]. The 2018 midterm elections defined by Trump scandals will threaten Republican control of the Senate-- not the Trump White House. If Republicans in Congress look to be covering up a national scandal, they open the door to a 'change election' that pushes them out of power."
The Senate Intelligence Committee has already pledged to investigate the Russian controversy. But that is not enough for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who argues that the GOP majority on that panel could lead to a cover-up.

“Republicans need to look in the mirror and do a gut check,” she told the New York Times. She wants an open, public investigation in the form of a select committee.

Top Senate Republicans are resisting a select committee so far.

But the counter-threat for Republicans is the prospect of a catastrophic 2018 election.

...Already, Senate Republicans are open to writing a law requiring Congress to sign off on any changes in the current sanctions against Russia imposed by the Obama administration.

It is a different story in the House, where fear of blowback from Trump supporters has the leadership playing defense for the president.

The House Intelligence Committee is chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican who served with Gen. Flynn on Trump’s presidential transition team at a time when some of the illicit communication between Trump’s team and Russia apparently was going on.

Does this mean that Nunes is investigating himself, along with his House colleagues who also served on the transition team?

In addition, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said last week his committee would not be investigating the Flynn scandal.

"I think that situation has taken care of itself,” Chaffetz said. “I know that the Intel committee is looking into the hacking issue.”

Chaffetz had no problem asserting his committee’s broad jurisdiction over matters of national security when they were looking into Benghazi.

Chaffetz did call for an investigation by the Department of Justice on the Russian issue--  but not into Flynn, only into who leaked the transcripts to reporters.

That is consistent with Trump’s complaint that the real story is media bias against him, as well as leaks from the intelligence agencies intended to do political damage.

Senate Republicans have fully accepted that there needs to be some form of investigation.

“I don’t think we need to go through setting up a special committee,” McConnell said. “But we are going to look at Russian involvement in the U.S. elections. It’s a significant issue.”

The contrast between how Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) House Republicans and McConnell’s Senate Republications handle Flynn is instructive.

Just as Ryan mishandled Trump’s candidacy during the campaign, he is mishandling Trump’s presidency. Ryan did chide Trump over the Muslim ban and his slander of Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s integrity on the basis of his ethnicity. But Ryan still backed him on the basis of party unity.

McConnell, on the other hand, kept his mouth shut and never took the bait when asked to respond to a Trump tweet or rude remark, instead focusing on preserving his Senate majority.

As last week showed, McConnell is a much shrewder political operator than his party colleagues in the House.

He is putting daylight between Trump and the fate of the Senate GOP majority.

This growing chasm-- and lack of cohesion-- inside the Republican Party is, naturally enough, impacting the party's ability to get anything done. Over all, that's extremely lucky for the American public. Remember when they were promising to repeal Obamacare on day one? Trump's incompetent and chaotic regime is also making it impossible for the Republicans to move any of their agenda-- other than setting Wall Street free to rape and pillage again, and that because they have unwavering support for the Republican wing of the Democratic Party (the Wall Street-financed New Dems and Blue Dogs).

Sunday, on Face the Nation (just before the 4 minutes mark on the tape above), Lindsey Graham noted that "the Congress is stumbling. Republicans in the Congress... we’re all tied up in knots. The House is talking about a tax plan that won’t get 10 votes in the Senate. So it's not just the administration that's got problems. Republicans in the House and the Senate have problems and I hope that we will get out act together." He also said that a free press and independent judiciary-- both of which have beens severey attacked by Trump-- are "worth fighting and dying for. The bottom line here," he warned Trump, "is America is not becoming a dictatorship."

So why won't Ryan's tax plan-- raising taxes on the middle class and giving massive breaks to the very wealthy-- get even votes in the Senate? Ryan and his brain surgeon who heads the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, Texas extremist Kevin Brady, came up with this outrageous Trump-inspired 20% across-the-board tax increase on imports to finance tax cuts for the very rich (i.e., the political donor class which underwrites the politicians' sleazy, disgusting careers). David Perdue (R-GA), points out that Ryan's plan is both "regressive"-- which is actually pretty standard for GOP tax plans-- and that it "hammer consumers." Republicans don't like that label, especially before an election.

Cory Gardner, a Republican from swing-state Colorado, is another Republican who wants Ryan to shove his tax plan up his ass. Last week, on the Senate floor he noted that "If you were to go to a farmer and say what does a border adjustment tax mean to you, they might try to sell the farm right then." He quoted the Wall Street Journal article from February 8, ,The Next American Farm Bust Is Upon Us.
The Farm Belt is hurtling toward a milestone: Soon there will be fewer than two million farms in America for the first time since pioneers moved westward after the Louisiana Purchase. Across the heartland, a multiyear slump in prices for corn, wheat and other farm commodities brought on by a glut of grain world-wide is pushing many farmers further into debt. Some are shutting down, raising concerns that the next few years could bring the biggest wave of farm closures since the 1980s."
Today, The Hill published an OpEd by Ro Khanna (D-CA) making a cohesive case against Ryan's idiotic border adjustment tax, which Khanna points out is "reverse redistribution... It is taking money out of the pockets of middle-class families to pay for a $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest individuals and corporations. The entire GOP plan hinges on the assumption that these increased costs will be offset by a stronger dollar. There is a good chance this will not happen. For example, if other countries implement their own tariffs and taxes in response to this U.S. policy, the dollar will not appreciate. Japan implemented a similar policy a couple decades ago and the Yen did not appreciate as expected. Also, most economists believe it could take up to five years for any meaningful appreciation to come about. Middle class families cannot take the risk and pay more for everyday items for five years in the hopes that this financial experiment will eventually work. Do we need a reminder about the last time we took a risk on a 20 percent tax on imported goods? The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which President Reagan often cited as the main culprit for the Great Depression."

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At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points. Ryan et al truly are imbeciles.

If they only abolished obamneycare, medicare and Medicaid and gashed SSI, in 5 years most of the voters of the middle and poor that might react by voting NOT-R will be dead. And surely they could manage enough arcane and overt voter suppression laws to keep all but the rich from electing anyone inconvenient by then.
Plus, who knows, maybe all voters left by then will be dumbfucktard enough to fall for pretty simple propaganda.
And there's always hacking to get the results they want.

All of this has been announced and/or proven already. They're just doing it wrong.

Stupid Ryan et al. Thinking tactically when what they need is a workable strategy.


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