Thursday, December 21, 2017

Last Call For Austerity Attack

As I've been warning about for months now, and as GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan has been smugly hinting at for years, massive austerity cuts to government social spending by the GOP are coming, and they are going to destroy the economy.

House Speaker Paul Ryan regards 2018 as a chance to fulfill the ambitions he brought to Congress 20 years ago: reshaping the social safety net for the poor and disabled, as well as programs including food stamps and Medicaid. He said Wednesday he’s focused on getting people from welfare to work.

“People want able bodied people who are on welfare to go to work, they want us to get people out of poverty, into the workforce,” Ryan said in a Fox News interview late Wednesday. “That’s good for them, that’s good for the economy, that’s good for the federal budget.”
Of course the level of cuts Ryan and Trump are talking about would be a humanitarian disaster, exploding the homeless population, wrecking millions of lives, and blasting a hole in the economy.

The White House has laid groundwork for cutting welfare programs. The president’s 2018 budget proposal sought steep reductions in food stamps, Medicaid health insurance payments, Social Security disability benefits, low-income housing assistance and block grants that fund meals-on-wheels for the elderly.

House Republicans released a policy blueprint last year for reshaping poverty programs with more work requirements, stronger protections against abuse and more leeway for states to alter rules. The document targeted Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps and Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income program for disabled and elderly people with very low incomes.

White House officials have offered varying -- and ambitious -- signals on where the president will focus his attention after returning from his holiday break.

Trump keeps talking about his infrastructure program, but it will never happen.  We will be told that America has to tighten its belt and make those cuts to keep the economy going.  If you thought people were suffering under the Trump regime before, well, 2018 is going to get worse, if not bloody, and the butcher's bill is going to start pretty early in 2018, I would suspect.

But you know who might prevent the worst from happening?  The one Republican who's expected to still be around to deal with the bill in 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday morning crushed House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) dream of making cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in 2018 now that Congress has passed tax cuts. 
McConnell said that the Senate would not be able to pass legislation making changes to those programs without support from Democrats, making it unlikely that his chamber would attempt to pass major legislation addressing those programs. 
He made the comments during an interview with Axios’ Mike Allen, who asked McConnell where infrastructure and “entitlement reform” fall on his 2018 to-do list. 
“I think the Democrats are not going to be interested in entitlement reform, so I would not expect to see that on the agenda,” McConnell replied. “And what the Democrats are willing to do is important because in the Senate, with rare exceptions, like the tax bill, we have to have Democratic involvement.” 
He added that it’s more likely the Senate would tackle infrastructure since both parties are interested in such legislation.

No Senate Republican wants to have to deal with a vote to cut Social Security next year in 2020 or 2022 after Paul Ryan has long adios'd the place, but we'll see.

After all, they have to get this all done before Mueller finishes his impeachment recommendations.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Again, there's no greater confirmation that the GOP is terrified of the multiple investigations into the Trump regime -- and proof that the investigations have grown into lives of their own -- than the reaction by House GOP members trying to come up with any way to derail Mueller and his team in a manner where they can sell shutting it all down to the American people.

A group of House Republicans has gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly — and perhaps criminally — mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to four people familiar with their plans
A subset of the Republican members of the House intelligence committee, led by Chairman Devin Nunes of California, has been quietly working parallel to the committee's high-profile inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. They haven't informed Democrats about their plans, but they have consulted with the House's general counsel.

The people familiar with Nunes' plans said the goal is to highlight what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement. The group hopes to release a report early next year detailing their concerns about the DOJ and FBI, and they might seek congressional votes to declassify elements of their evidence. 
That final product could ultimately be used by Republicans to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether any Trump aides colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign — or possibly even to justify his dismissal, as some rank-and-file Republicans and Trump allies have demanded. (The president has said he is not currently considering firing Mueller.) 
Republicans in the Nunes-led group suspect the FBI and DOJ have worked either to hurt Trump or aid his former campaign rival Hillary Clinton, a sense that has pervaded parts of the president’s inner circle. Trump has long called the investigations into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election a “witch hunt,” and on Tuesday, his son Donald Trump Jr. told a crowd in Florida the probes were part of a “rigged system” by “people at the highest levels of government” who were working to hurt the president. 
The sources familiar with the separate inquiry said it was born out of steadily building frustration with the Justice Department's refusal to share details of the way the Trump dossier was used to launch the FBI's investigation of his campaign team last year — or whether it was the basis for any court-ordered surveillance of Trump associates.

House Republicans are trying to criminalize the Steele dossier and blame everything on the "Obama Deep State" at the FBI, as if there's somehow a group of rogue agents working at President Obama's command to destabilize the government.

The problem is you have a bunch of politicians (and Republican ones at that, none too bright these guys) trying to pin something on actual law enforcement types who know how the system works.  It's not going well, and apparently somebody has leaked that Rep. Devin Nunes (who has supposedly recused himself from the House investigation into Trump!) is leading a secret counter-investigation into the Trump investigation.

That's not a good look for the GOP right now.  An off-the-books secret screw job makes it look like, I dunno, these guys are working for Dear Leader Trump and putting party over country. Surely that's not what's going on, right?


Trump Cards, Con't

The United States of America inches closer towards rogue nuclear nation status under the Trump regime as Dear Leader decides he's going to take UN votes against the US as personal insults. Those offending countries will be subjected to a heavy price.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft United Nations resolution against his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump told reporters at the White House. 
The 193-member U.N. General Assembly will hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday at the request of Arab and Muslim countries on the controversial U.S. decision.

The US can't veto a General Assembly resolution, but who is exactly going to enforce it?  Russia?  China?  The EU?  UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (now back on Trump's good side) has all but issued a guaranteed threat.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warns the US will be "taking names" of the countries that vote in favor of a resolution that condemns the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 
"At the UN, we're constantly asked to do more and give more -- in the past we have. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American people, about where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us," Haley wrote on Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday evening. "On Thursday, there will be a vote at the UN criticizing our choice. And yes, the US will be taking names."

We'll see what happens with Thursday's vote, but if we won't stand up to Trump, why should anyone else?

In addition to her admonition on social media, Haley also sent a letter to fellow nations warning them of the potential impact of their vote. 
"As you consider your vote, I want you to know that the President and U.S. take this vote personally." she wrote. "The President will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us."

The answer to that question is "We're a dangerous rogue nation that has to be stopped."


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