While the GOP was once again screwing America, these also damaging stories were overlooked

Troll-like Texas congressman Blake Farenthold paid $84,000 in taxpayer money to pay off a sexual harassment allegation. Given what he looks like we probably got off light there. Go find any picture of him if you dare, I won’t post it for the same reason I wouldn’t stare at an eclipse, it’s eyeball scalding. Especially the picture of him in his ducky pajamas. He’s just awful, and for a Republican, that’s just typical, a feature, not a bug.

Similarly Trey Gowdy, the chief Benghazi conman is a nightmare for eyes and the coffers. He caused $150,000 of taxpayer money to be paid in a wrongful dismissal suit when he fired a staffer who refused to spend all their time investigating Hillary Clinton.

Again, these morally compromised and ethically challenged idiots are what the GOP offers everywhere. They need to go away ASAP.

 

 

 

Trump Wants More Hardliners

Tillerson sucks, but his period will be looked back on as the height of Trump moderation.

Pompeo and Cotton suck infinitely more because they’re hardliners with no rational understanding of foreign relations and hard-ons for war.

They understand even less than the rest of this stupid administration that North Korea, for example, is already game over.  They are a nuclear power.  The point of becoming  a nuclear power is that nobody fucks with you.  They are unfuckwithable*

 

*a tee shirt a very large body builder in my gym wears in what can only be called stating the obvious.

Historian: This Tax Bill is Straight Out of 1929

But it goes back even further than Silent Cal Coolidge.  As historian Robert McElvaine notes the subject of trickle down economics was the point of William Jennings Bryan’s 1986 “Cross of Gold” speech.

“There are two ideas of government,” William Jennings Bryan declared in his 1896 “Cross of Gold” speech. “There are those who believe that if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them.”

I find studying American history to be strangely comforting because the same impediments to better government and economic and racial justice keep getting raised by the enemies of democracy.  Now that might sound depressing because, well, we keep fighting the same impediments to better government and economic and racial justice.  But the fact that the malefactors of great wealth are so persistent with bad ideas that never work does make them very predictable.  And while we seem to be taking two steps back right now, that’s because for many years we took many steps forward.

In short, despite the absolute blithering nonsense the modern GOP is trying to push on the American people as “improvements”, the pendulum always swings the other way and real progress is made.

During the 1920s, Republicans almost literally worshiped business. “The business of America,” Coolidge proclaimed, “is business.” Coolidge also remarked that, “The man who builds a factory builds a temple,” and “the man who works there worships there.” That faith in the Market as God has been the Republican religion ever since. A few months after he became president in 1981, Ronald Reagan praised Coolidge for cutting “taxes four times” and said “we had probably the greatest growth in prosperity that we’ve ever known.” Reagan said nothing about what happened to “Coolidge Prosperity” a few months after he left office.

In the aftermath of Reagan the country wasn’t awake enough to even wish for another FDR.  In the rubble of George W. Bush, some people finally hoped aloud for the emergence of an FDR.  Now, with the full attack on our democracy being perpetuated by the full force of the Republican party a massive movement of angry and aware voters are ready to be activated.  Virginia was a sample.

If we do indeed crawl back into a recession, or a depression, there will be national wave  that will resemble the 1932 wave.  For a more recent example, it will resemble the absolute marginalization of the Republican party that has taken place in California.

The craziest thing is, as Matt Yglesias notes in Vox, the worst consequences of the current bill could be averted by just cutting the corporate tax rate to 25% rather than 20%.  They just don’t know what they’re doing.

Do GOP Senators Talk to Each Other or are We Just Rubes?

They all come around, although they do have to delude themselves sometimes in order to do so.  But if they couldn’t delude themselves they wouldn’t be Republicans so… see Marco Rubio

But Susan Collins says she’s received assurances from Mitch McConnell that no cuts to Medicare will happen or she wouldn’t vote for the bill.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told reporters at a breakfast Thursday morning that she secured “a personal commitment” from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that Congress would avoid deep automatic cuts to Medicare and other federal programs that would be triggered by the costly tax bill up for a vote this week.

How McConnell can give assurances on that is a good question since it would take a 60 vote margin in the Senate to waive PAYGO rules that would trigger those cuts.  This is a game of chicken with Medicare, that people, even Trumpsters, do not like.

After sounding like she was on board, Collins went on to list a few more requirements she has for her vote.  She says she has a bunch of amendments she wants that have to be in there.

“It would be very problematic for me if the SALT deduction is not in the bill,” she said. “It’s extremely important to me. It would be very difficult for me to support the bill if I do not prevail.”

But the way this bill is being jammed through the meat grinder without hearings and with promises being made that may not be able to be kept, Collins may just have to vote on faith.

Of course if Collins is the only GOP no on the bill, then it doesn’t matter and she can go ahead and just safely vote no to protect herself and the bill can pass with 51.

It’s all a Trumpian disaster.

The Laugh Track – One of Those 1950s Things That Made it an Awful Time

Having a great time reading “The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy” by Kliph Nesteroff.

He notes something absolutely stunning about the sad and sick development of the laugh track, first in radio and then in television and its ubiquity in broadcasting because it comforted executives that didn’t know what was funny and projected that audiences wouldn’t either.

Nesteroff says that the laugh track was almost adopted in movies as well.  Unthinkable huh?  Imagine the great movie comedies of the 50s and 60s with laugh tracks.  Better yet, don’t.

The film Cat Ballou, a 1965 comic western with Lee Marvin and Jane Fonda actually created a version of the film with an added laugh track.  They sent it to a handful of  drive-in theaters (remember them?) to see if that would fly.  Thankfully it didn’t.

That was almost as disturbing as anything I’ve read about our government, war, finance or any of those lesser issues of our time.

God I hate laugh tracks.

For extra credit:  the first sit-com on network TV to not use a laugh track in the modern era was a 1973 show called “Adam’s Rib” with Ken Howard and Blythe Danner based on the Hepburn/Tracy movie.  It was cancelled after one season.  It was ballsy and sadly didn’t take at that time. Many great shows in that early 70s era like “All in the Family” and “Mary Tyler Moore” were shot in front a live audience and “sweetened” with laugh tracks.  It wasn’t until around 2000 that shows trusted the audience enough to do one camera shoots with no laugh track.  See “Malcolm in the Middle”, “30 Rock” et al.