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Member since: Fri Apr 4, 2014, 03:21 PM
Number of posts: 16,104

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"Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run...

there's still time to change the road you're on."

Companies that tie announcements to tax bill earn goodwill with Trump

Source: Washington Post, by Philip Rucker

Moments before President Trump claimed his first legislative victory, he was notified that AT&T would be investing an additional $1 billion in U.S. networks and offering its employees a one-time bonus — thanks, the company said, to the Republican tax bill.


Trump tweeted Friday morning: “Our big and very popular Tax Cut and Reform Bill has taken on an unexpected new source of ‘love’ - that is big companies and corporations showering their workers with bonuses. This is a phenomenon that nobody even thought of, and now it is the rage. Merry Christmas!”


“It’s an extremely clever way to get the president’s attention,” said Scott Reed, the chief political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It reinforces his signature legislative success, and it probably gets them some good points inside the White House.”

Some of the companies have business motives for currying favor with the administration. Boeing relies on government contracts for much of its business, while AT&T has been seeking to acquire Time Warner, at times arguing with the Trump administration over antitrust issues. The Justice Department is suing to block the $85 billion merger, which Trump said in November was “not good for the country.”


The clearest way to curry favor with this government is to play to the ego of the president, whether that’s the Cabinet roundtable praising him or companies being smart and doing things they were already planning to do in the way that he will like,” said Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson, who was a spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.


Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/companies-that-tie-announcements-to-tax-bill-earn-goodwill-with-trump/2017/12/21/ff65c864-e675-11e7-833f-155031558ff4_story.html

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Welcome to The Trump Family Swamp

Source: WaPo, by Eugene Robinson

The presidency was never meant to be a profit center for a nepotistic, money-grubbing family. But that was before the Trumps moved in.

This scandal is lying in plain sight, overlooked because of the constant stream of missteps, outrages and distractions that come and go at an exhausting pace. While everyone watches his Twitter feed, President Trump is using the White House like a marketing agency for his family brand. This is not normal or acceptable — and it surely isn’t what laid-off factory workers and coal miners had in mind when they jumped on the “populist” Trump train.

Consider this sequence of events: Trump is elected president in November 2016. The membership initiation fee at his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, doubles to $200,000 in January 2017. Following his inauguration, Trump spends 34 days thus far — fully one-tenth of his presidency — at Mar-a-Lago, mixing freely with members in a setting hidden from the prying eyes of the news media.

If you had a corporate or private cause to plead with the president of the United States, and you had ample resources, might you consider a $200,000 Mar-a-Lago membership a promising investment? I think you might.

But the presidency isn’t supposed to be a matter of pluses and minuses on a balance sheet. The president campaigned on a pledge to clean up Washington. Instead, he has created a huge new federally protected wetland — the Trump Family Swamp Inc.

Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/welcome-to-the-trump-family-swamp/2017/12/18/01ad0adc-e42e-11e7-ab50-621fe0588340_story.html

"They are people just like me!" - Trump voter

We're witnessing the wholesale looting of America

Unchecked by norms or political prudence, it’s smash-and-grab time for the GOP.

Source: Vox, by Matthew Yglesias


Politicians have never been renowned for their honesty and have always liked to spin their policies in the most positive light possible. But not only does Trump lie a lot more than his predecessors — a New York Times analysis found six times as many lies in Trump’s first 10 months in office as across Obama’s eight years — but the Trump-era GOP has grown terrifyingly comfortable with a kind of large-scale misrepresentation of what their legislation says that’s totally unprecedented.


It takes a lot more than Donald Trump to orchestrate the kind of feeding frenzy that’s currently playing out in Washington. Nothing about this would work if not for the fact that hundreds of Republican Party members of Congress wake up each morning and decide anew that they are indifferent to the myriad financial conflicts of interest in which Trump and his family are enmeshed. Moral and political responsibility for the looting ultimately rests on the shoulders of the GOP members of Congress who decided that the appropriate reaction to Trump’s inauguration was to start smashing and grabbing as much as possible for themselves and their donors rather than uphold their constitutional obligations.


Trump has always operated in businesses in legal and ethical gray areas — during the transition, he had to pay out a $20 million fraud settlement arising from a fake university he used to operate, and the fraudulent part wasn’t even that the university was fake. His all-purpose excuse for shady, greedy behavior was, to quote the man himself, “that makes me smart.”


And in truth, we have no clear picture of the full extent of Trump’s personal corruption, since in violation of decades’ worth of tradition he’s refused to give us a clear sense of his income streams or financial interests. It would be trivially easy for congressional Republicans to force Trump to disclose his tax returns, but instead of holding his feet to the fire, they are taking their cues from him — even though many of them spent the 2016 campaign openly recognizing that he was unfit for office.

Read it all at: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/19/16786006/looting-of-america

And if only one senator were absent, how many defections could Republicans afford then? (CNN)

From: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/15/politics/senate-votes-tax-reform/index.html

99 voting senators:

That would bring the magic majority number needed to 50, rather than 51. Republicans could still afford to lose one Republican to side with the Democrats in that case. The vote tally would be 50-49. Done. Passed.

But they couldn't afford to lose two Republican votes, which would put the vote at 49-50. Bill is killed.

To sum up: If no senators are absent, Republicans can afford to lose two Republican votes and still pass the bill (thanks to Pence's tie-breaking vote).

They can also still pass it if two senators are absent and one Republican votes no (thanks again to Pence), or if only one senator is absent and one Republican votes no.

McCain's absence means we only need two Republicans to vote no. And 99 votes means there is no tie Pence can break!

McCain's absence is equivalent to a NO vote! I bet he won't be flying back to save the day!

Wonder Woman's "No Man's Land" scene was the best superhero moment of 2017

Wonder Woman shined in 2017. This scene was a big reason why.

Source: Vox, by Alex Abad-Santos


Throughout our pop culture history of superheroes, there are iconic, indelible moments that are intertwined with our heroes. For Batman, it’s witnessing the murder of his parents, which makes him feel utterly helpless and inspires him to fight back. For Spider-Man, it’s the death of his Uncle Ben and his regret over the role he played in it, which burns the “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra into his brain. For the X-Men, it’s watching their friend Jean Grey become the Dark Phoenix and realizing the primal evil she’s capable of.


In glorious slow motion, Diana shrugs off her costume and appears in her Amazonian battle armor. She emerges from a bunker, shield in tow. Then she deflects a bullet. Then one more. Then the German army begins to focus all their fire on her, as she digs her heels into the ground, tightens her grip on her shield, and deflects a storm of gunfire.

What’s brilliant about this scene is that it’s not only representative of Diana standing up for what she believes in, nor is it solely an instance where she succeeds in doing what was previously thought to be impossible — all while inspiring her handlers and her allies to push forward. Rather, it’s a beautiful combination of those things.


“No Man’s Land” crystallizes Wonder Woman’s heroism in such a beautiful way that as of that moment, you don’t need to know anything about the character’s past to understand her. You almost don’t even need to see the rest of the movie. This amazing scene tells you all you need to know about Wonder Woman’s place in the world.


Read it all at: https://www.vox.com/2017-in-review/2017/12/15/16767902/wonder-womans-no-mans-land-scene

We need a new 'Alabama' theme song. Lnyrd Skynyrd is so offensive!

"On Reacting to Bad News" by Anthony Bourdain

Source: Medium

It is an incredibly difficult and wrenching thing to come forward, to go public with claims of sexual assault or misconduct — as I have seen up close. Women risk a crushing level of public skepticism, vilification, shaming, and retribution. They have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.

Any admiration I have expressed in the past for Mario Batali and Ken Friedman, whatever I might feel about them, however much I admired and respected them, is, in light of these charges, irrelevant. I will not waste anybody’s time with expressions of shock, surprise, or personal upset, beyond saying that I am ashamed that I was clearly not the kind of person that women friends who knew — and had stories to tell — felt comfortable confiding in.

In these current circumstances, one must pick a side. I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women. Not out of virtue, or integrity, or high moral outrage — as much as I’d like to say so — but because late in life, I met one extraordinary woman with a particularly awful story to tell, who introduced me to other extraordinary women with equally awful stories. I am grateful to them for their courage, and inspired by them. That doesn’t make me any more enlightened than any other man who has begun listening and paying attention. It does makes me, I hope, slightly less stupid.

Right now, nothing else matters but women’s stories of what it’s like in the industry I have loved and celebrated for nearly 30 years — and our willingness, as human beings, citizens, men and women alike, to hear them out, fully, and in a way that other women can feel secure enough, and have faith enough that they, too, can tell their stories. We are clearly at a long overdue moment in history where everyone, good hearted or not, will HAVE to look at themselves, the part they played in the past, the things they’ve seen, ignored, accepted as normal, or simply missed — and consider what side of history they want to be on in the future.

To the extent which my work in Kitchen Confidential celebrated or prolonged a culture that allowed the kind of grotesque behaviors we’re hearing about all too frequently is something I think about daily, with real remorse.


"I stand with Gillibrand!"

Now and in the future!

Today on her twitter account:

"When it comes to sexual assault, harassment, and the general mistreatment of women, we must be able to call out anyone, Democrat or Republican."

"As elected leaders, let's rise to the occasion, and not shrink away from it. That is what the larger #MeToo moment is about. Let's send a clear message none of this is okay."

"That means Farenthold should step aside, Moore should never set foot in the Senate, and President Trump should be held accountable."

"The accusations against Moore are disgusting. And President Trump has admitted on tape to how he treats women. His campaigning for Moore isn't leadership, it's shameful."

"We are in a moment of reckoning—and the silence from Republicans is deafening. It is long past time for them to join Democrats in holding members of their own party accountable."

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