Doug Jones Won in Alabama

Ha! Ahhh, so glad I was wrong about this one. I haven’t talked about this one too much, but I have been paying attention, and when the votes first started to come in I expected a Moore win. Should’ve known better than to assume.

So, Doug Jones won in Alabama, by a slim margin yes, but this is Alabama. No Democrat has won there since 1992, so this not only a major upset for Moore and Trump (also Bannon) but the Republican establishment. From what I can glean, an energized base and significant Black voter turnout was what won this race for Jones, which does bode well for Democrats running in states with a larger and growing minority populations, especially with a Trumpian foil to play off of.

However this doesn’t change certain actions being taken elsewhere. While it could be said that the Senate should wait on all major votes until their newest member is sworn in, I very much doubt the Republicans are inclined to wait for a surefire no vote. especially if, as they claim, they have the votes necessary pass their tax bill. Regarding Sen. Strange, I’m uncertain he should vote at all. While I don’t begrudge the man, the combination of a lame-duck status and the fact that this man was not selected by voters but by the former governor is enough for me to question his current role. Still, if the Republicans push through with this vote, Strange will support them, and America will simply have to deal with the consequences. Assuming it passes of course.

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Update 30th November Edition

So, the tax plan has moved forward once more, North Korea has announced that it has completed it’s nuclear program and has fully operational nuclear capabilities, and Trump re-tweeted fake anti-Muslim videos. Well, shit.

First off, the Senate has voted on a party line basis to move the tax bill (one of them, I don’t know which, none of the reporting I’ve read has actually labeled the bills. I’m assuming it’s the Senate one) forward, meaning they will now debate it on the floor. Likely this means that the bill will be discussed for a bit, republicans stymieing any attempts to filibuster or amend the bill and try to move the bill as fast as they can onto a vote. I still don’t know where this is going or if it’ll pass, and part of why I feel that way is that this is just a really bad bill. It’s poorly designed, badly crafted and just really short sighted. Even if this does pass there’s every chance that if the democrats get far enough along by 2020, they’re just gonna try and repeal the damn thing. Assuming that’s possible of course.

Anyway, secondly, North Korea has proclaimed victory, or something. They’ve got nukes, and Trump an’t pleased. That’s kind of it. War has not been prevented, negotiations are not happening and nobody’s backing down. This is not going to end well.

And finally, Trump has re-tweeted some conspiracy shit about Muslims from a British far right group. This isn’t news, it’s just really fucking stupid. So yeah, not a great day.

 

Citation:
The Atlantic: North Korea Announces Nuclear Capability 

Update November 24 Edition

Because it’s a slow day in America (I still don’t understand Thanksgiving but whatever), Zimbabwe’s still reeling and rejoicing from Mugabe leaving and Europe’s mostly focused on the Germans inability to form a government. So yeah, not a lot has happened today, the Tax Bill is still a maybe up in the Senate, both theirs and the House’s, Frankel has now got two more women accusing him of sexual misconduct. On one hand that means this is four times he’s been accused of this and that means we’re looking at a pattern of behavior, not one fuck up. On the other hand, they haven’t yet gone public with their identities and that means these claims can be refuted. The problem with anonymity at this present moment and with this sort of claim is that unless your pretty public with who you are and what they did, too many people will brush it aside as a political attack.

They can’t do that with Tweeden as she not only went public with her allegations but gave evidence. Menz in turn also went public and I’ve yet to hear anyone deny her allegations. But these two haven’t done that, and unfortunately it would be far too easy to simply say it’s an attack from the Right rather than consider what this means of Frankens character. But that’s just my take on it.

We’ll see how things look next week.

Lazy Thursday November 2nd Edition

Why? Because I’m lazy.

Yeah so this is gonna be short, but lets summarize a few stories and move on, yeah?

So first, further reports on the Manhattan Attacker, seems he was a guy from Uzbekistan, came through the diversity visa lottery, and was sympathetic to ISIS propaganda and attacked. Thus far no further deaths or injuries have been named, and ISIS, as far as I’m aware has not yet claimed the attack. So that’s a thing. I know this sounds blase, I’m just struggling to convince myself this is ever going to end and considering the consequences the opposite would bring. It’s not fun.

In the wake of the tragedy congress representative Kevin Brady has delayed the release of the tax reform bill until tomorrow, which is totally not also because they haven’t written the damn thing yet. Also Trump really wants it to be called the ‘Cut Cut Cut Act’. Seriously, because this whole process hasn’t been stupid enough.

So that’s the relevant stuff, a lot more minor things are floating around the media right now, but these are to me the two that matter. Oh well, always some disaster tomorrow right?

Regarding the US Budget

At this stage of the year, the US congress has still not passed a budget, with Rand Paul and the Democratic party being the votes that are currently preventing it from passing. That is not exactly stopping it from passing the senate, but putting it into contention enough that thus far they have not put it to vote. I’ll repeat this, it is now over halfway through October and the US still has not passed a budget. This literally cannot continue, as otherwise the government will shutdown and no one wants that. not even Ted Cruz.

The problem with this budget is that not only is it extremely conservative, which naturally means the Democrats aren’t inclined to vote for it, it cuts large amounts from Medicaid and medicare and provides large dividends of that cut to the defense department. Now I won’t deny that their military does need to rebuild its equipment, arm its soldiers properly and so on, however given the lack of discretion and consideration with the military spending they already have, it’s still somewhat of a contentious position to take.

Additionally of course the republicans need a budget passed to actually make a move on tax reform, another poorly planned bit of (can I even call it this?) legislation that will likely balloon the deficit and the debt. I thought that was bad, but hey, what do I know right?

Anyway this is going to be annoying for a while, and if the republicans and the democrats can’t compromise for a bit it’s likely this will either pass due to Vice President Pence, or the government will shutdown again. Hopefully if that happens it won’t hit the global economy to badly, otherwise I’m gonna get the popcorn ready.

Trump threatens Puerto Rico and targets Obamacare

Busy, busy, busy.

Today Trump has claimed that due to the already perilous situation Puerto Rico was in before Maria hit, FEMA and the military resources provided may move out of Puerto Rico for infrastructure and financial reasoning. Well he claims it’s that, more likely he’s annoyed by the bad press and the San Juan Mayor antagonizing him, so he’s threatening the whole territory. Given the sheer devastation from the Hurricane and yes the previous issues Puerto Rico was dealing with, if Trump pulls out FEMA and the military, people will die. I can’t tell if the region could even be maintained if they leave, as bets I can tell it would depend on whether other states in the area chip in to provide support.

But Trump wasn’t done today, as he signed an executive order requiring agencies to craft new rules, within present laws, to allow insurance agencies to provide cheaper, laxer plans. Basically, lean plans that healthy people will use to be insured, and promptly get kicked off of if they ever get sick. He claims this will give more people coverage, more likely this will hurt the individual market, potentially collapsing it, and harm god knows how many people. This is just petty, he can’t pass the repeal bill so now he’s trying to cripple the ACA by executive order, actions that he and the Republican party exhorted Obama for doing, attempting to craft law from the executive desk!

Some days man, I swear.

Corruption in the White House

Yes, a corruption article. Except not, because I really don’t have anything to say about this.

Okay, so, today I’ve read articles outlining Vice President Pences’ wasting of taxpayer dollars by going to an NFL game, leaving because god forbid he let other people express their freedom of speech in a way he doesn’t explicitly agree with, and return to Washington, which cost, for the flight to Indiana alone, somewhere around $100,000, including transportation and security*. So yeah, bad but come on we’ve seen this before right (Price comes to mind)? Additionally, The Atlantic’s Norm Ornstein had a whole piece on flagrant corruption, willful tax dollar spending, hypocrisy and the like from Price, Pruitt, Mnunchin, Kushner and so forth. And it was a good read don’t get me wrong, but it just didn’t resonate.

It’s not that this isn’t bad, it’s just that this was completely expected, and the idea that some rich prick would come into the White House and waste money, time and international standing on nonsense and that his administration would follow suit was kinda one of the reasons a lot of people didn’t want Trump as president. From there the question really became, why are you shocked and why didn’t anyone put in some form of restraint on these guys before the came into office? This isn’t the first time this has happened (graft is hardly unique in the White House) so why weren’t their protections and limitations in place?

Well there are. They’re just not very effective when congress doesn’t really care. Which was also completely predictable. Just three more years of this folks.

 

*I wrote before that the flight cost around 100,000 total, this was just for the Indiana leg of the trip. Sorry