Franken Returns “Embarrassed,” Taxing Issues

The Harassment Beat: Minnesota Sen. Al Franken says he’s returning to work in Washington today, “embarrassed and ashamed,” but with no intention of resigning. He’s been accused of grabbing women’s butts when he takes pictures with them.

Franken said he has no memory of doing that but, “we have to listen to women and respect what they say.”

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has stepped down amid accusations that he sexually harassed aides.

And, to the dismay of many Republicans in Congress, President Trump yesterday continued his support for the embattled Judge Roy Moore in his run for the Alabama senate seat. “The last thing we need in Alabama and the U.S. Senate is a Schumer/Pelosi puppet who is WEAK on Crime, WEAK on the Border, Bad for our Military and our great Vets, Bad for our 2nd Amendment, AND WANTS TO RAISES TAXES TO THE SKY. Jones would be a disaster!”

Trump didn’t even mention the name of the accused child molester he supports.

Taxing Issues: Congress returns to work today with the Republicans hoping to fulfill their pledge to pass dramatic tax reform before Christmas. They have a lot of hurdles to jump.

The majority can afford to lose only two votes, and appears to have lost one or two already. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says big corporations would get too much of the tax benefit.

The House and Senate plans could also add $1.5 trillion to the national deficit over the next 10 years, although the Republicans claim that economic growth and resulting tax payments would pay that off. It has never happened with previous tax cuts. Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker says he won’t vote for anything that increases the deficit.

A provision in the Senate bill to eliminate the health care coverage requirement has some legislators reluctant to mix taxes and health care. Throwing in another issue, the Senate bill would also allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as a sop to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who’s been skeptical of the tax bill.

Both bills give with one hand and take with the other. Proposals include eliminating popular breaks for mortgage interest, charitable giving, student loans, and taxes paid to state and local governments. That means taxes would go up for a lot of people. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll says just 33 percent of adults support the current tax plans while 50 percent oppose them.

A NY Times editorial says, “The House and Senate tax bills probably would provide a tiny lift to the economy for a couple years — enough, supporters no doubt hope, for them to cynically claim success. It’s what comes next that the G.O.P. glosses over: the addition of more than a trillion dollars to the federal debt in just 10 years. Far from paying for themselves, these cuts would leave a bill for several future generations to pay off.”

The Anti-Government: A clash takes place today over who is in control of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The outgoing director named a temporary replacement, as provided by law, and President Trump appointed his Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who would dismantle the bureau.

The bureau protects Americans from predatory banking and financial practices. The Republicans hate it.

Leandra English, the replacement named by her former boss, has filed a lawsuit to block Mulvaney from taking the job. Let’s see who shows up in the office this morning.

Time Out: Time, Inc., the publisher of Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and People, has sold itself for $3 billion cash to the Meredith Corporation in a deal backed by Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers who use their money to back conservative causes.

Meredith, which publishes Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens, has accepted a $650 million cash infusion from the Koch brothers to close the deal.

What influence the brothers would have over editorial content is unknown. They have spent fortunes to sway elections, but they’ve never owned a publishing company. It’s likely that they didn’t buy into a troubled publishing company to just leave it the way it is.

Golf Links: From yesterday’s White Press Pool report: “At about 9:33 a.m., the motorcade arrived at surprise! Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. About a minute after arriving, the president sent another tweet about the Alabama Senate race.
Your pool still has not seen the president and has not been told what he will be doing today. The pool is now holding across the street at a public library.”

From CBS News radio correspondent Mark Knoller, who tracks presidential statistics: “By my count, Pres Trump has spent all or part of 87 days at one of his golf clubs – plus one in Japan. More often than not, WH won’t say when he plays golf. Compares at same point in presidencies: Obama – 24 rounds of golf George W Bush – 7 rounds.”

The Royals: Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle have announced they are engaged to get married in the spring of 2018. Harry is the fun royal. She’s 36 and he’s 33.

Excess Celebration: The Auburn University football team was fined $250,000 by the Southeastern Conference because its jubilant fans filled the football field after Saturday’s upset win over Alabama. Two things are wrong here. One: the SEC is anti-fun. Two: Auburn has the money.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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