What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 16, 2017

Senator Toomey RESPONDS To Another Letter

In yesterday's mail, I received another response from Senator Pat Toomey.

Senator Toomey begins with this:
Thank you for contacting me about reforming our nation's tax code. I appreciate hearing from you.
Again, relieved that he STILL appreciates hearing from me. Whew.

The first task is to ascertain which of my open letters to Toomey he's answering.  As this one is dated November 27, 2017 we can safely assume it doesn't answer any letter after my thirty-seventh (which is about Thanksgiving anyway).

So which one is it?

Letter 33 kind of mentions tax reform, but really only in passing. It's my only "tax" letter so this must be it.

In that letter, I wrote that:
The LA Times reported that "Senate Republicans overcame internal divisions late Thursday to approve a 2018 budget that will increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years to allow for President Trump’s proposed tax cuts. They also reported that the budget "slashes domestic spending, including steep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid."
I also wrote that the NYTimes reporting on how Trump's tax plan is
...potentially a huge windfall for the wealthiest Americans with no benefits for the bottom 1/3 and only modest benefits for the middle class.
And I asked how he could vote for something that does all that and slashes Medicare/Medicaid while increasing the deficit by a trillion or more dollars.

To that letter, Senator Pat Toomey responded with:
Tax reform can help to create sustained economic growth for all Americans. The Congressional Budget Office (CB) has projected the nation's gross domestic product to increase by a meager 1.9 percent each year over the next decade. I refuse to accept sub-two percent growth as the new normal knowing that, in the sixty years before the Obama administration, economic growth averaged 3.4 percent per year.

On November 16, 2017, the House passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) by a vote of 227-205. Later that same day, I joined a majority of my colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee in passing our own version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Passage out of committee was a big step towards enacting pro-growth tax reform, and I look forward to moving this bill to the Senate floor soon.

For example, the bill lowers our country's statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent, which is the highest in the developed world and far above the average rate of our economic competitors (less than 23 percent). Without a significant reduction in business tax rates, the U.S. will never be the best place to invest and create jobs. And with the increasing international mobility of capital, a significant burden of business taxes now falls on workers, undermining wage growth.

I am confident pro-growth tax reform will deliver hardworking families across Pennsylvania a direct pay raise through cutting individual tax rates across the board as well as doubling both the standard deduction and the child tax credit. Reforms to the business side of the tax code that will make us globally competitive will result in an indirect pay raise as more jobs and new businesses are created, resulting in an upward pressure on wages.

I value your input and I will keep your concerns in mind as I continue working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to fix our broken tax system and advance policies that will help grow our economy and create jobs.
It's always nice to see how he values my input (thanks, Pat!) but I asked about the projected increase in the deficit, the proposed slashing of domestic spending (including Medicare and Medicaid) and the financial windfall for the already wealthy with little or no benefit for anyone else and the Senator pivoted to a discussion about decreasing corporate tax rates and how that'll be increasing jobs.

Swing and a miss Pat, sorry.

And unless this polarized beyond compare Congress can get together on something big, this Tax Reform package will, according to the CBO, trigger millions in Medicare spending cuts:
Without enacting subsequent legislation to either off set that deficit increase, waive the recordation of the bill’s impact on the scorecard, or otherwise mitigate or eliminate the requirements of the PAYGO law, OMB would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by the resultant total of $136 billion. However, the PAYGO law limits reductions to Medicare to four percentage points (or roughly $25 billion for that year)...
I wonder how many of Senator Pat Toomey's constituents are aware that the tax plan that'll be lowering the tax rate for big corporations will also be slashing Medicare.

December 15, 2017

A Tale Of Two Senators

While Pennsylvania's Republican Senator (and my part-time pen-pal) Pat Toomey is doing trying to kill Obamacare:
[Toomey] sometimes pretends to care about the poor and middle class, as he did during the nanosecond of Senate debate on the massive tax cut bill that will affect us all for generations.

When he got the floor the first time, he explained why he favored eliminating the tax penalty for uninsured (young and healthy) individuals who refuse to buy health insurance – the individual mandate.
Pat Toomey did not explain just exactly how all those people, once they are freed from the terrible burden of the individual mandate and thus are free not to buy health insurance, will be able to afford medical care when they suddenly come down with cancer or get hit by a bus.

But that’s their problem. They’ll be gloriously free to die or go bankrupt so long as they are not forced to subsidize the rest of us.
(And to Jodine Mayberry, hello from Pittsburgh!)

Pennsylvania's Democratic Senator is doing this:
“President Trump’s documented history of sexual harassment and assault should have been disqualifying during last year’s election,” Casey told ThinkProgress in a statement Wednesday. “His offensive verbal assault against Senator Gillibrand yesterday demonstrate he still doesn’t get it. And while he should resign, we know he won’t. I support a congressional investigation in order to hold him accountable for his actions.”
But we know the Republican controlled Congress simply won't hold Trump accountable - despite the boasts of pussy-grabbing and the incompetence and the obvious (to anyone not caught in teh Benghazi crazie) obstruction of Justice.

December 14, 2017

From The USAToday, Yesterday...

From the USAToday:
This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.
Well, one of them did OK the use of torture of other human beings and the other one let him get away with it. Oh, and the torture-guy lied the country into a war that killed 4500 American servicemen and women and took an illegal sidestep around the FISA courts to spy domestically, but I understand the point - in comparison to Trump, either man is an angel.

In case you're not catching it, let me reiterate the point being made:
A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.
Agreed. But wait!  There's more:
Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed.
This is something most of Americans knew on November 8, 2016.

Just saying.

December 13, 2017

Let's Start With These Two Words

Or these two:
Trump Looses.
And some numbers (as of 11:59pm last night) from the New York Times:
  • Jones - 671,151 (49.9%)
  • Moore - 650,436 (48.4 %)
Moore lost, Trump lost, decency won.

December 12, 2017

My FORTIETH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

According to the New York Times, the recently released report by the Joint Committee on Taxation shows that the Senate's tax reform plan won't pay for itself and will raise the deficit by a trillion dollars. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that the tax plan would add $1.4 trillion.

Just in order to shuttle more money to the already wealthy.

Simple question this week: As a fiscal conservative, how can you possibly approve of such a plan? Or do you no longer consider yourself a fiscal conservative?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


December 10, 2017

Fake News At Breitbart (In A Piece ABOUT "Fake News")!

I saw this at Breitbart today:
MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a hard leftist Democrat (sic) senator from New Jersey who spent Saturday campaigning with fellow radical Doug Jones, went on a fake news tirade on Saturday night, pushing inaccurate information about GOP nominee for U.S. Senate Roy Moore and calling for President Donald Trump to resign.
So "pushing inaccurate information" is their definition of "fake news." So be it.

The piece continues:
According to Vice News’s Alex Jaffe, who interviewed Booker at a Jones campaign event in the state of Alabama, Booker called for President Trump to follow Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) in resigning. Franken, this week, announced his forthcoming resignation from the Senate over allegations of sexual misconduct that he has admitted to and apologized for after photographic evidence emerged of him groping radio personality Leann Tweeden. Several other women have similarly accused Franken of sexual misconduct. Franken, in his speech announcing his plans to resign within “weeks,” bashed both Moore and Trump.

Allegations have been made about both Moore and Trump, but in both of their cases no actual evidence has emerged to substantiate the allegations. In Moore’s case, just this week, one accuser admitted she forged the yearbook inscription she and her activist attorney Gloria Allred originally claimed was written by Moore himself decades ago.
Ok. Let's stop right there. Did that accuser really admit that she "forged the yearbook inscription"?

No, that in itself is fake news.  From the BBC:
Beverly Nelson said she noted the date and location beneath what she maintains is his handwriting on her yearbook.

Her lawyer said the "red herring" does not undermine her client's claim Mr Moore attacked her when she was 16.

The candidate's team says Ms Nelson's admission amounts to a "forgery" that debunks her whole allegation.

In a news conference last month, Ms Nelson did not mention any additions.

On Friday morning, Ms Nelson told ABC News she had included some notes beneath an inscription that she says was written by Mr Moore.
Say what you want about the inscription but it's not a forgery.

And yet Breitbart said she admitted to exactly that.

Even Fox News has admitted that their earlier reporting (that Nelson had "forged" the inscription) is inaccurate. According to The Hill in a tweet (since deleted) announcing this story they said:
BREAKING NEWS: Roy Moore accuser admits she forged part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama senate candidate.
But Fox has since have issued a correction:
An update to this story reflects that Beverly Young Nelson admits writing what ABC News characterized as “notes” beneath what she says is Roy Moore’s signature, and that the only notes below the signature are the date and location. Furthermore, the headline on story now specifies that Nelson admits to writing part of the inscription herself, rather than forging part of it. [Emphasis added.]
Is Fox News wrong? If you say that the inscription is a forgery, you're saying exactly that. Fox News corrected their reporting while Breitbart has not. And yet they're using it as an example of a bit of "inaccurate information" (i.e. "fake news") being pushed by Senator Cory Booker.

Let's move on to the next sentence:
What’s more, Booker falsely claimed that Moore was “banned” from the shopping mall in his hometown of Gadsden, Alabama, decades ago, something the mall manager has proven was untrue and fake news.
Really? This is proven as untrue and fake news?  Let's take a look at Breitbart's own reporting on this:
Barnes Boyle, 86, told local Alabama news station WBRC on Thursday that they kept track of reports and that Moore was never banned from the mall.

“Sure, it’s part of the job, yeah. We did have written reports and things, so, but to my knowledge, he was not banned from the mall,” he said during a brief interview.

WBRC Fox 6 News anchor Janet Hall said the station checked on the report in the New Yorker that alleged Moore had been banned from the mall in the 1980s.

“We cannot confirm that,” she said.

Boyle told the station he is a Roy Moore supporter and plans to vote for him in December. [Emphasis added]
In case you didn't think that was important, just imagine how Breitbart would report it if the details were switched: that even with no paper trail to support it either way, the then manager of the mall specifically remembers a ban. And oh, by the way, he's planning on voting for Moore's opponent.

I'd think the reporting would be a tad different, don't you?

But because it aligns with Breitbart/Bannon's defense of Roy Moore (a guy who even his friends admit pursued teenage girls because of their "purity"), it gets an passing mention, otherwise unnoticed, and then nothing more.

Where's the fake news? Brietbart has the fake news.


December 7, 2017

More On Daryl Metcalfe (Part II)

I gotta, I just gotta.

So how far has State Rep Daryl Metcalfe's "I'm definitely not gay" rant gone?

This far:
Luckily, Penn Live has followed up with interviews of each.

First, Metcalfe (who's hinting at some sort of legal recourse, I think). It's interesting that he's profoundly in favor of a person's right not to be touched, a defense of their personal sovereignty. Funny, then, that he's still such a big fan of the pussy-grabber in the Oval Office. Huh.

Second, Matt Bradford, (who's trying his best to be cordial and civil in the face of an uncordial and uncivil man). How difficult must it be to try to deal with a nut job who, as he says, can go off the rails at any moment?

Note to Rep. Bradford: DEFCON 5 is the lowest state of readiness. You probably meant DEFCON 1.