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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Franken Gone, Moore Comes out of Hiding

Last week Former Senator Al Franken of Minnesota announced his intention to resign from his post. He gave a speech in effect denying most of the accusations against him, decrying Trump and Moore for their own misdeeds and walking off in a huff. I suppose I could feel either vindicated or unimpressed by all this, but honestly my biggest gripe is that no one in the Democratic party waited until after the ethics committee finished it’s review. On one hand I appreciate that by the time Senator Gillibrand and others committed to denouncing Franken and calling for his dismissal an eighth woman had accused him. At some point, patience is no longer an option. Nevertheless trial by public opinion isn’t how any case should be handled, and while I do believe he should have resigned regardless of the results of the investigation, these accusations needed to be investigated properly and, if need be, Franken punished accordingly.

Anyway, it’s happened so there’s not much more to say about that. Though I do wonder, if people continue to push in this manner for long, will there be a backlash? And what will it look like.

Moving on, Alabama’s being interesting again. Moore’s was hiding for the last few days, though he’s now out and about touting his endorsement from Trump, who in turn apparently had a rally for Moore in Florida. Why the hell not.

It’s the final stretch of this race and I still thinks it’s a toss up. With another republican presenting himself as the palatable option for right-leaning voters, and Jones pushing the turnout as much as he can, I’m thinking it will comedown to just that. Democrats are still pissed about Trump and motivated by Virginia’s wins they might well come out in droves. In turn republicans have far less the gain or lose with this seat, Moore remains a controversial figure, and the less extreme voters in Alabama may well split the Republican vote with the other guy. On the other hand, Alabama.

50/50? It’s gonna be close either way.

 

Politico: The #MeToo movement should be ready for a backlash

Tax Cuts and Shutdowns

I swear you leave for a week and everything goes to hell.

So the Republicans passed the tax cut in the Senate, meaning now they need to consolidate both bills into a working framework that will pass both houses, keep in mind that this means the Senate will be the most likely place for it to fail; Corker remains adamantly (as far as I can tell) opposed to the bill, they only need two more people to vote against the bill for it to fail, and one if Roy Moore loses in Alabama.

Secondly, the shutdown looms. The House and Senate need to pass funding for the federal government, otherwise they’ll face a shutdown before Christmas, and no one wants that. With the Democrats playing hardball trying to get the CHIP program funded and the DACA children protected, this means the republican caucus either needs to unify or risk compromise with the Democrats. So predictably the Freedom Caucus raised a fuss. Currently things are progressing rather quietly but unless the Republicans can get their shit together, or suck it up and compromise, I think we’re looking at a shutdown.

And finally, Rep. Conyers has resigned, officially pledging his support to his son to take his place, with another member of his family also pledging to run for the seat. Additionally multiple Senators have demanded that Sen. Franken step down after I believe its now eight women have accused him of sexual harassment. To which I say: good, he should go. Because A: you shouldn’t harass people in any way especially not sexually, and B: I dislike people showing a consistent pattern of abuse of power, having power.

Also Trump has announced the American embassy shall be moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, under the basis that Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel. Because fuck regional stability.

 

Citations:
The Atlantic:  Republicans Pass Their Tax Bill
The Atlantic: Conyers Stepping Down
The Atlantic: Calls for Franken to Step Down 
Politico: Republicans tamp down opposition 

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 

Tax Bill Sweeteners

So today Republican Senators have managed to push through their Tax bill through the committees, which means it can now be voted upon. So how’d they manage this particular trick? Setting up marginal improvements according to particular members desires that basically do nothing. Sen. Corker got a ‘trigger’ put in place which is apparently designed to raise taxes if the bill starts to hit the deficit too much. There is currently no explanation as to how this will work, when or to what degree this would apply, so I can’t give you any opinion on what that would mean for the American economy.

Sen. Johnson in turn also let this bill pass through the committee, given that he was concerned that Pass-through businesses weren’t getting enough bang for their buck, presumably that’s getting a sweetener too. As it stands the bills still about a 50/50 chance of passing, I can’t preclude the likes of Rand Paul, Collins, or McCain deciding no on this bill, especially since the former and latter do seem to enjoy giving the leadership grief. On the other hand this congress hasn’t done very well by it’s donors and that will definitely worry the whole caucus, so yeah. 50/50.

Also Trump and the Democrats seem to be gearing up for a pissing match over a Government Shutdown, focusing on immigration and the Dreamers. Well shit.

 

Citation:
Reuters: Senate Republicans shove through Tax Bill  

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.

Merkel & Moore

Right, so two things have happened recently. One, the negotiations to from a German Coalition government have failed with the FDB walking away, ostensibly to defend their values. Literally everyone is calling bullshit, but we’ll see what happens. Secondly Trump has all but endorsed Roy Moore for Senate and is basically dismissing the sexual misconduct allegations against him. Not that I really expected him to do anything else, but…

Moving on, with the German coalition talks over it’s likely there’s going to be a snap election, this is due not only to the SPD refusing to form another Grand Coalition, but also all the major parties seem to agree that a new election is the best path forward. Likely this is because they think they’ll get a better result this time though understandably that will not be the case for all of them. My guess is either Merkels party the CDP will lose enough votes to bolster the FDB and the AFD, or possibly the Social Democrats though I’ve yet to see anything from Schultz and his party to justify that position. More likely to me however is that the FDB is going to lose votes which will go back to Merkels party, not necessarily due to an agreement with her policies, but a disdain for political power grab by Christian Lindner at the expense of stability.

Maybe, or they’ll whinge and moan about immigration again and the former will happen. Something like that.

As for Trump, well I honestly can’t say I’m surprised, condemning Moore for sexual harassment would of course lead to calls of hypocrisy, some of his aids have said he doesn’t he doesn’t even believe the women, and frankly he’s far more interested in being perceived as ‘winning’ than any ethical or principled stand. Also Tax Reform, so yeah. On the Alabama election as far as I can see it will depend on republican turnout, either they’ll stick with more to support him and spite the establishment, or the more rank and file (Moore’s die-hard’s aren’t going anywhere but nor are they the majority of the Alabama party) will decide to stay at home rather than vote for a child predator in which case Doug Jones wins.

Be interesting to see I guess, how far Alabama might go to spite those they think wronged them.