Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Daughter-wife Ivanka has a "lifestyle company," whatever the hell that means. Last week her company tweeted a suggestion for Thanksgiving table decor:
Responses were immediate and hilarious!
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The photo is from today's annual White House ceremony pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey. I have no interest in the trivial tyrant in the center of the shot. It's the other two who intrigue me.
The one on the left looks like America's next serial killer. And on the right is the animatronic Bride of Trumpenstein wearing what appears to be my grandmother's carpet.
"I love paying income taxes," said no one, ever. Yet government does require sufficient funding and taxes are the cost we pay for a civilized society. The urge to cut taxes for the sake of cutting them is wrong-headed and unworkable.
President Reagan -- the right's beloved Saint Ronnie -- discovered this in his first year in D.C. In the thrall of supply-side ideology, Reagan pushed for the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, a.k.a. the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut. It slashed all tax rates, and he hailed it as the "World's Largest Tax Cut." But the ERTA didn't work. It did not produce any of the anticipated miracle revenue growth. Instead it ballooned the federal deficit and sent interest rates from 12% to 20%. So in 1982, Reagan began a series of corrective tax increases. (Most conservatives have conveniently forgotten this history.)
Then in 1986, Ronnie and Democrats Tip O'Neill and Dan Rostenkowski brokered the Tax Reform Act of 1986. It was billed as a "simplification," but it wasn't. Such things never are. But its changes were sweeping enough that to this day, federal tax code is know as the Tax Code of 1986.
TRA86 reduced the number and rates of individual tax brackets. From 15 brackets ranging from 0% to 50%, we went to just two brackets of 15% and 28%. TRA86 "broadened" the tax base by reducing or eliminating many tax deduction/shelters, especially those for corporations. It retained and enhanced favorable treatment for individual real estate ownership and investment.
Given funding necessities and the march of time, we eventually grew back to seven tax brackets with current rates ranging from 10% to 39.6%.
Today's GOP says that, after 31 years, the time has come for another major revision to the tax code. Maybe. They claim that TRA86 was an economic shot in the arm. Debatable. It was a boon to the real estate/home equity markets, but did not by itself spur any other real economic growth.
But the 1986 Act had two qualities notably absent in today's tax "reform" circus:
1. It was bipartisan, with Republicans and Democrats working together for almost two years before enacting it.
2. It was "revenue neutral," meaning it was paid for, designed to maintain revenues and not increase the deficit. It raised taxes on corporations to give tax cuts to individuals.
Ronnie at least tried to fair. Donnie makes no such attempt, and doesn't even lie about it very well. It's a Merry Christmas hand-out to those who need it least -- the Donor Class!
*Oh hell, I'll 'splain it now. Most large corporations are C-corps, and they pay corporate tax rates. Pass-through entities are non-C-corp businesses where the owner's personal income "passes through" the company and is taxed at the individual rate (up to 39.6%), not the corporate rate. Pass-throughs include partnerships, sole proprietors, LLC's and S-corps. Ninety-five percent of all U.S. businesses are pass-throughs. Only five percent are C-corps. Pass-through entities generate 40% of total U.S. business income. They are not necessarily "small" businesses. The GOP tax plans propose to cap the individual tax rate on pass-through owners at 25% max. But 90% of all pass-through owners are at 25% tax or less right now. They won't benefit at all from the new cap. However, the pass-through landscape does have few high-income players -- half of all pass-through income is now taxed at the top 39.6% individual rate. For them, a cut to 25% would be huge! The Trump Organization owns over 500 pass-through companies.
|And so many, many more.|
No random/ambush kissing, touching, hugging, or grabbing of ass (or other parts). It's not cute or sexy. It's assault, and it's somewhere between creepy and criminal.
No "accidental" nudity. No greeting female guests/co-workers in your towel, robe, or birthday suit. It's nice to have a penis, and it's great to be proud of it, but you're not allowed to take it out in public, or wave it around in people's faces.
No manipulation or exploitation of women for sexual gratification. No using your power, position or status to extort sexual favors. Really scummy, and probably criminal.
No "dating" of children. That's called statutory rape or child molestation. Definitely criminal.
No excuses. Think with the big head, dummy!
It's much in the national news right now, but it's nothing new, and it's not limited to the U.S. The problem of men behaving badly is global and age-old, going all the way back to whoever it was who first believed that women were somehow not equal, were a bit inferior, and could therefore be oppressed, abused, sexually harrassed, underpaid and denied equal rights forevermore. But the times, they are a-changing, and women are no longer willing to just quietly "accept it." The #MeToo movement has helped a lot. We've finally reached a tipping point. Good.
Friday, November 17, 2017
Continuing their pattern of doing every awful thing imaginable, the Trump administration/wrecking crew has reversed a rule banning big-game hunters from importing African elephant parts for display as "trophies." Can't you hear Beavis & Butthead (Don Jr. & Eric)? -- "Oh, Daddy, please! We just gotta have more elephant tails! Please, Daddy, please!"
African elephants are an endangered species.
The rationale for this fish-in-a-bowl "sport hunting" is that it creates necessary revenue for animal conservation efforts. Wealthy trophy hunters pay very large fees for the privilege of killing these magnificent creatures, and all that money helps protect and preserve the animals and their habitat. The hunters have convinced themselves they're actually saving animals by killing them and mounting their heads on a wall.
I call big BULLSHIT! I will readily grant that African animal conservation takes a bunch of money. But if the primary concern of these high-minded hunters is really the preservation of elephants, lions, leopards, etc., they should just donate the fee or an even larger amount, and skip the killing part. That would literally save an animal and help the cause.
And I can hear their reply: "Hell no, you pantywaist lib-tard! If I'm coughing up $50 large, I'm friggin' shootin' something! Yee-ha!"
|A whole lot of "conservation" going on here.|
Thursday, November 16, 2017
|Ohio's next governor?|
We will always need a CFPB. We should have established one a long time ago. The reason we didn't is that conservatives believe in the fairy tale of self-regulation, and resent the idea of any government oversight of business dealings. Republicans have loathed Cordray and the CFPB from the get-go. In a recent party line vote, Republicans spit in his eye and overturned the class-action rule, returning to the bad old days of bank-controlled forced arbitration (where banks always win and consumers always lose).
Cordray's sudden departure leaves the CFPB in a weird spot. The agency will continue to exist and do its work, but without his leadership and vision. Control will initially fall to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who will appoint an interim director. Don't expect much. Mnoosh and Trump will undoubtedly select the one individual who can do the most harm to consumer finance. They may pardon Bernie Madoff and give him the job. But take heart -- our turn will come again, and soon.
It's reported that Cordray will enter the 2018 Ohio governor's race. As much as I hate to see a strong consumer advocate like him leave D.C., I'll be glad if he runs for governor. He's a former Ohio Attorney General and he'd clearly be the strongest Democrat, with a good chance of winning next November. He'd make a great governor.
Although he hasn't even announced his candidacy, Ohio Republicans wasted no time in attacking him. Ohio GOP Chairperson Jane Timken said yesterday, "Ohio voters know a swamp creature when they see one, and just like Hillary, Crooked Cordray can't be trusted."
Jane, you ignorant slut! I give you a D for originality with your recycled Trump-speak, and an F for your knowledge of swamp creatures.
|Jane, these are swamp creatures.|
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
(Yet another email to my useless weenie Republican Senator Rob Portman.)
Portman office staffers: Please see that Rob himself gets this and reads it fully. I want and expect a brief personal reply from the Senator, not the usual staff-generated policy boilerplate.
Tax cuts, cancer, and the GOP playbook, in four steps:
1. Decide to quickly ram through an enormous tax cut for corporations and wealthy individuals with only Republican votes by using the budget reconciliation loophole and the 51-vote simple majority.
2. Write your own partisan budget "rules" allowing you to increase the deficit by up to $1.5 trillion, which will of course increase the national debt. In other words, give yourselves the authority to make make deep tax cuts without paying for them. (The GOP's self-proclaimed fiscal responsibility is a crock.)
3. With your tax cut plan reducing federal revenue so much that you struggle to meet the $1.5 trillion deficit cap, you attempt to get there by cutting popular, long-standing tax deductions like mortgage interest, state and local taxes, medical expenses and student loan interest. Also, you'd trigger an automatic $25 billion cut in the hugely-popular Medicare program.
It's this last step that's the cruelest insult. You're willing to trade lives for tax cuts, and I am a prime example. Your constant undermining of the ACA will kill me -- literally.
That's why I'm writing you again, Rob. This February I was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic bone cancer. I've undergone major surgery and radiation. I'm now being treated and kept alive by a targeted therapy medication, which I will need for the rest of my life. My total billable medical expenses so far this calendar year are in excess of $325,000. I'm self-employed and covered by the ACA, and for that, I'm thankful beyond words. Without the ACA, I'd be broke and dead.
Rob, here's what I need you to answer for me: You and your insurance-ignorant party persist in blatantly sabotaging Obamacare. Now you've dragged it into your tax cut scheme. When, due to your actions, even my subsidized premiums become impossibly expensive, what would you suggest I do? Obamacare is my Plan A, my best option by far, and it's working for me. Since you so desperately want to take it away from me, please tell me, what's my Plan B?
I await your prompt and brief answer.
cc: Sen. Mitch McConnell
Sen. Chuck Schumer
Sen. Sherrod Brown
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Clown Prince and global chump Donnie Destructo has returned from his big-boy trip where he met all his Asian "friends" (and BFF Vladi-Pooh). He has of course resumed his disgraceful daily ass blow-outs of tweets, shiny-object deflections, and lies.
As a public service announcement to keep us properly focused, Buster offers this simple reminder:
RUSSIA! RUSSIA! RUSSIA!
MONEY! MONEY! MONEY!
CORRUPTION! CORRUPTION! CORRUPTION!
The appointment of Brett Talley to the federal judiciary is patronage, partisanship and judicial packing at its very worst. He's just three years a lawyer, has never tried a case, has a "not qualified" rating from the ABA, and conveniently forgot that his wife is a White House lawyer. And the fake president wants to reward him with a lifetime appointment to the federal bench?
How about no? How about hell no? How about no friggin' way?
Even you, Rob, can muster the speck of integrity necessary for a "no" vote. Can't you?
I'll be watching your vote.
Monday, November 13, 2017
Sunday, November 12, 2017
On a state visit to Vietnam, Donnie Waddlebutt got all tangled up in his "beliefs."
Regarding Russian interference in our 2016 election, on Saturday our fake president said this: "He [Putin] said he didn't meddle. I asked him again. And I believe, I really believe he means it. I think he is very insulted by it."
As for the four U.S. intelligence agencies which concluded that the Russian government did indeed work to influence our election, "Gimme a break! They [the intelligence agencies and their leaders] are political hacks. President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with it."
|"I'm lying again, and I don't give a shit."|
Then on Sunday, the Lyin' King attempted a reboot, self-translating his previous remarks like so: "What I said -- and I'm surprised there's any conflict on this -- what I said there is that I believe he believes that, and that's very important for someone to believe. I believe that he feels he and Russia did not meddle. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies."
Wow! That's a spectacularly tortured word salad. For a congenital, constant liar, you'd think he'd be better at it by now.
Imagine our history if other presidents had been such stupidly compromised liars.
John F. Kennedy: "I believe Kruschev believes there are no Russian missiles in Cuba."
Franklin Roosevelt: "I believe the Japanese ambassador believes there was no attack on Pearl Harbor."
Dolt 45 wraps up his Asian "diplomatic" tour today with a state visit to his role model, Philippine strongman dictator Rodrigo Duterte, of whom Trump said, "I believe he believes he's not a murderous thug."
Saturday, November 11, 2017
"But I don't blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit."
Friday, November 10, 2017
by Buster Gammons
Thursday, November 9, 2017
FANTASYLAND: How America Went Haywire
A 500-Year History
by Kurt Andersen
I highly recommend Fantasyland.
(Andersen began writing this book well before Trump announced his candidacy. By the time he finished writing, the Abominable Showman had been elected president. Unimaginable, but it fits the pattern.)
"The easiest thing of all is to deceive oneself; for we believe whatever we want to believe." -- Demosthenes
"Unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." -- Philip K. Dick
"You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts." -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan
"My biggest concern is the rise of the idea that personal opinion should be given the same weight as what's scientifically understood." -- Bill Nye
"There was a time in this country when, if you were a dumbass, you had to shut the fuck up." -- Bill Nye
"Face it, folks, we are a divided nation, divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart." -- Stephen Colbert
"The American experiment, the original embodiment of the great Enlightenment idea of intellectual freedom, with every individual free to believe anything he or she wishes, has metastasized out of control." -- Kurt Andersen
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
What it is seems exactly clear.*
But it wasn't just that one contest or that one state. It was up and down the ballot everywhere -- an unmistakable rebuke to Toxic Trump. The newly elected include women, black women, black men, Latinas, Asians, Sikhs, former refugees, lesbians, and transgender men and women.
It was a good day, and there's more to come.
(*Apologies to Stephen Stills)
"The right thing to do is pray in moments like this, because you know what? Prayer works." -- House Speaker Paul Ryan
"We think this is something heavy right now. But look at what happened with Hitler." -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
"I don't know what law could have changed this situation." Also said all churches need "professional armed security." -- Texas AG Ken Paxton
"This isn't a guns situation. This is a mental health problem." "Background checks would have made no difference." If there were background checks, "hundreds more could have died." -- Fake president Yam Face.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
The House Republicans tax plan is a 500 page document compiled in secrecy. The GOP is in a rush to make it law. It bestows huge tax cuts on major corporations and wealthy individuals, and gives lumps of coal to everyone else. Independent analysts have said it will increase the deficit by $1.5 to $2.2 trillion, even after eliminating popular deductions state and local taxes, medical expenses, and student loan interest.
A neighbor and friend has a wife in an Alzheimer's care facility. (I know other people in similar circumstances, and there's a history of the disease in my own family.) Assisted living facilities are expensive propositions, and my friend is troubled by the prospect of losing the medical expense deduction. He crunched his numbers and estimated that losing the deduction would cost him around $20,000! This makes him unhappy.
So he decided to call his Congressman, Rep. Pat Tiberi (R), to voice his displeasure. Lame-duck Tiberi is among the exodus of congressional Republicans. He's taking early retirement at the end of the year, so the shits he's giving right now are few and far between, and he's sure as hell not taking any calls in his office (not that he ever did).
|"I am shocked -- shocked!"|
Then he called Tiberi's local office here in Columbus. The indifferent local staffer on the call made no pretense of caring: "You say the House tax plan will cost you $20,000? OK, so what's your reason for calling?" "You know, we'll never see him again, but sure, we'll let the Congressman know. Now I'm gonna uncross my fingers and hang up. Bye."
Such is political life here in Ohio's 12th Congressional District. You get your choice between pretend concern and honest contempt.
For twenty minutes every afternoon, down is up, paralysis is progress, enmity is harmony, stupid is smart, villain is victim, disgrace is honor, plutocracy is populism, and Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia (if anyone would summon the nerve to investigate her, which, you know, never, ever happens.)
Sarah Sanders Huckabee's press briefings are breathtaking.
When her boss does something execrable, she validates it at greater length and with more passion than most paid sycophants would muster.
She's awful at this, but that makes her an excellent fit for an administration in which mediocrity, inadequate experience and nepotism run rampant. She's a bogus message.
(Excerpted from Frank Bruni's op-ed, New York Times, 11/5/17)
Russians Involved in Trump Campaign Hold Reunion
Hundreds of thousands of Russians welcomed the opportunity to celebrate and share warm memories of their successful 2016 effort.
(respectfully swiped from Andy Borowitz)
Monday, November 6, 2017
This viral image, taken by a White House photographer, shows D.C.-area cyclist Juli Briskman instinctively flipping the bird to the fake president as his motorcade passed by. Ms. Briskman was exercising her First Amendment rights and expressing the majority view about Frito Corleone.
She did not originally realize she'd been photographed. When she began to see herself all over the place, she used the photo as her Facebook profile picture. The 50 year-old mom also went to her employer, government IT contractor Akima LLC, to explain the situation.
She was promptly fired.
To hell with Akima, and hooray for Juli! She's got the right stuff. Some D.C. company better hire her quickly, or we just might have to elect her as our next president.
For one last time on our statewide issues, Buster says:
Vote NO on Ohio Issue 1. It's a so-called "Marsy's Law." Proponents are fear-mongering, trying to have us believe that crime victims have no rights (which is false). The solution, they say, is a new constitutional amendment which would tip the scales in favor of the victim. It is overkill. Issue 1 is opposed by state associations for both prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys.
Vote YES on Ohio Issue 2, the "Drug Price Relief Act." Issue 2 will mandate lower drug prices for Ohio's Medicaid recipients, thereby saving money for the state. The pharmaceutical industry is opposed, desperately using speculation, scare tactics, and a record-amount $62 million in negative advertising. If Big Pharma is willing to spend $62 million to keep Medicaid drug prices where they are, how much are they profiting at current price levels?
Now is the time. It's not a mental health problem. Carrying more guns in public, even in church, won't help. What will help is effort, money and votes in support of meaningful gun control.
Our current path -- exemplified by Dolt 45, the Texas AG, and virtually every elected Republican -- is so very clearly wrong; it's indefensible. The Second Amendment has been perverted, and the GOP has completely sold out to the NRA.
Any objective person of good conscience and reasonable intelligence cannot support the Republicans' "eyes wide shut" approach to our national epidemic of gun violence. Our path must change, and right now is the best time to start reversing our course.
All those, both elected officials and private citizens, who do not actively oppose the insanity of the NRA/GOP gun lobby are in fact supporting it. Those who choose to do nothing are indeed doing something.
The photo is of the Texas terrorist. He was an evil POS. He was white. He was not Muslim. He was sane enough to plan his attack and wear a ballistic vest. And he was every bit a home-grown, self-radicalized domestic terrorist, greatly aided in his terrorist scheme by ridiculously easy access to lethal weapons.
If there's any madness here, it's in our national gun policies, or lack thereof.
Sunday, November 5, 2017
This Sunday morning a man armed with an assault rifle entered a church in a small Texas town and opened fire. He killed at least 26 people and wounded another 20.
How many of us must be slaughtered in senseless gun violence before our legislators do something? Anything? The madness of their willful inaction must stop!
The victims and their families don't need your "thoughts and prayers." They were in a church, for cryin' out loud! Prayers everywhere. What's needed is meaningful gun control.
The GOP's new tax scheme is an unfunded give-away to the wealthy which will increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion. Bill Maher nailed it like so:
Someone asked Paul Ryan, "When did Republicans stop caring about deficits and the national debt?" And he explained that, "After careful consideration, the current president is white . . . and rich."
|"$450 K is not middle class? We don't friggin'care!|