Wednesday Open Thread

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”

–Mark Twain

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  1. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    I confess that Trump is so foul and vicious these days that the fun has sort of gone out of the Trumpstink reports.   Yes, he still stinks.  But he is less and less a laughing matter and more and more a malignancy.   But stay upwind, anyway.

  2. Arvadonian1Arvadonian1 says:

    Yesterday's oval office meeting demonstrated precisely why Nancy Pelosi is uniquely qualified to be Speaker at this point in history.  I'm VERY disappointed that that fact seems lost on Ed Perlmutter.

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    Michael Cohen got 3 years. Not bad. Which may turn out to be better than what Manafort gets. Manafort's only chance to get out of prison is in the mercurial little hands of Donald Trump and his use of the pardon power.

  4. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    In America, it's only class warfare when the oppressed fight back.

    Who’s More Likely to Be Audited: A Person Making $20,000 — or $400,000?

    If you claim the earned income tax credit, whose average recipient makes less than $20,000 a year, you’re more likely to face IRS scrutiny than someone making twenty times as much. How a benefit for the working poor was turned against them.

    Budget cuts have crippled the IRS over the past eight years. Enforcement staff has dropped by a third. But while the number of audits has fallen across the board, the impact has been different for the rich and poor. For wealthy taxpayers, the story has been rosy: Not only has the audit rate been cut in half, but audits now tend to be less thorough.

    It’s a different story for people who receive the EITC: The audit rate has fallen less steeply and the experience of being audited has become more punishing. Because of a 2015 law, EITC recipients are now more likely to have their refund held, something that can be calamitous for someone living month-to-month.

    • DavieDavie says:

      I'm surprised Congress didn't also mandate a drug test for anyone claiming the EITC.  It sucks to be poor and Republicans usually take every opportunity to remind them of that fact.

      • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

        IIRC, it was suggested, Davie. Some of the members who had either used or been raised by parents who used social assistance knocked some sense into the ones who thought it up and explained to them that people who can't feed their kids without assistance aren't likely to be buying contraband.

  5. DENependent says:

    Westword has a great analysis of where Polis won the governor's race by Chris Bianchi. Even more interesting than the four counties that flipped from Trump to Polis is that fact that:

    "If you got rid of Denver County and neighboring population-rich Broomfield, Adams and Arapahoe counties' collective votes, Stapleton still would've lost."

    The big take away is that in all but Morgan county this version of Republicanism is less popular than it was in 2016. It is not that Republican cannot win, I think that it is likely that Jefferson County is still a place where the right Republicans could win. They just need better candidates.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      In Jefferson County, Republicans also need a better message, and a message that is not delivered by registered agents like Katie Kennedy, Mike McCauley, and Rick Enstrom.

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      Better candidates … I'm curious who those people would be, as they don't seem to have emerged yet.

      They would need better candidates across the board — and I have a hard time seeing the Trumpified GOP Assembly and primary voters backing someone who isn't in wholehearted support of the Trumpster. In 2022… maybe.

      The Republican candidate in my neighborhood seemed like a perfectly nice person, and brighter than many. he had some not-awful ideas to campaign on (ballotpedia.org/Bob_Lane_(Colorado)). And he didn't crack 30% of the general vote.

      • DENependent says:

        That is the possibly unsolvable problem for Colorado Republicans.

        There are Republicans in other states like Larry Hogan in Maryland who managed to not get taken out in the primary and does not support the racist wing of the party. He won reelection with a margin of 11.84% in the general election. Even in his 2014 primary he trounced a Republican promising the a repeal of state income tax.

        As for Bob Lane… While HD-9 is not the most Democratic district in the state it has not elected a Democrat by less than 62% since redistricting. He would have to be an extraordinary candidate to break through in such a district in this very democratic year. Not-awful is a very low bar to jump over. And I would dispute "not-awful" myself. One of his positions was "Eliminate the Colorado Income Tax on Capital Gains and dividend income". And cut what, exactly? Just another pie in the sky you can cut taxes without thinking about consequences Republican in my view.

        • unnamed says:

          Larry Hogan, Charlie Baker (MA) and Phil Scott (VT) are generally okay.  And also very much the exception today.

          • RepealAndReplace says:

            They would actually make fine moderate Democrats. Give it time. They may yet join those of us who were once Republicans but switched.

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              I'm still a registered Republican. The combo of the Trumpies and the bedroom police who control the party at the grassroots makes it tough to remain such.

              But, not a liberal and can't see myself as an "I feel strongly both ways" Independent.

              • unnamed says:

                Therein lies your dilemma.  You're an old-school conservative who is more hands-off with the culture wars and not a racist/fascist. 

                Sadly, Republicanism here is best represented by the vapid moron who has yet to emerge from the fetal position since the Election Day curb stomp.  And he was so looking forward to gloating. 

              • DENependent says:

                I was a registered Republican before 2002, but then I was in a very conservative county. When I moved to Denver I switched to Dem. without any serious misgivings since I again wanted to have a say in local politics. When they let me move to independent and still get a primary vote I did so.

                It is not so much that I feel both ways, just that I want to register my discomfort with the Democrats even though I have not voted for any Republican since Ben Nighthorse Campbell retired.

          • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

            Do you truly believe Hogan, Baker or Scott would be viable in Colorado?

            The party demonstrated how much it liked less than absolute Trumpists when it dissed AG Coffman with 5% at the Assembly. Doug Robinson, the only Republican running for Governor who didn't firmly embrace Trump, earned 9% of the votes in the primary. The one-time Bush-backing Bush relative was forced to embrace Trump and Tancredo.

            • RepealAndReplace says:

              Touché…….the party that gave us Dan Maes and Ken Buck probably wouldn't be interested in a Larry Hogan or a Charlie Baker.

              • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                I don't recall that Victor Mitchell embraced Trump to any great degree. He got 31% of the primary vote, if I recall correctly. He had my vote.

                I talked with Victor at the Western Conservative Summit last year. He seemed an OK dude. But he did have to tilt to the right later on to satisfy the "pro-life," bedroom police, crowd.

  6. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    National Enquirer publisher AMI strikes deal with prosecutors in Michael Cohen probe

    As part of the agreement, AMI admitted to making a payment of $150,000 in cooperation with members of Trump's presidential campaign in order to prevent former Playboy model Karen McDougal's claims of an affair with Trump from being made public during the 2016 race.

  7. DavieDavie says:

    Mitch McConnell is probably the most morally and ethically corrupt political hack in modern times (and dang proud of it):

    The Senate narrowly confirmed Jonathan Kobes as a federal appeals court judge on Tuesday even as the American Bar Association questioned his understanding of “complex legal analysis” and “knowledge of the law.”

    Mr. Kobes, a 44-year-old aide to Senator Mike Rounds, Republican of South Dakota, is the second of President Trump’s judicial nominees to be confirmed whom the bar association deemed unqualified.

    A number of other Trump nominees have raised concerns, including five who also received the unqualified rating. Others were rated as qualified but carried with them politically or racially insensitive remarks from their past that resurfaced during their confirmations. One wrote in an online forum that the nation’s commitment to diversity was tantamount to accepting “lower standards.”

    To the chagrin of even some Republicans, their confirmation hearings have thrust politically sensitive topics into the spotlight at a time when the party is wrestling with issues of race and governing competence. Despite the controversies, they have all won the backing of most Republican senators, revealing how far they are willing to push the boundaries on their drive to reshape the judiciary as a conservative bastion.

    Mr. McConnell has come to define his legacy by his ability to transform the judiciary, calling the confirmations “the most significant, long-term contribution we are making to the country” in an interview with a Kentucky radio station last week.

    All the nominees apparently need to qualify are:

    The nominees are deeply conservative and often white, young and male. 

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      Kobes has apparently tried 6 "not complex" cases. He has never been a judge at any other level. And now, he's part of the Circuit Court of Appeals. 

      Thanks to the "bi-partisan" vote of Jeff Flake in opposition creating a 50-50 tie, Kobes will go down in history — "the first federal judicial nominee ever confirmed with a [Vice-President's] tie-breaking vote." 

      Cory's gotta be pleased at the chance to support his friend Mike Rounds' effort to get a staff member and former Federalist Society member on the Circuit Court.

    • Genghis says:

      Trump has already put more judges on federal courts of appeals than any other president since the current system went into effect, and he still has at least two more years and a GOP-controlled Senate. Federal courts of appeals are, of course, where the rubber truly hits the road with regard to federal constitutional adjudication.

      It's difficult to overstate how well and truly fucked we are in this regard.

      • DavieDavie says:

        McConnell hatched the plan to bottle up all of Obama's judicial nominations 10 years ago, and when 2010 rolled around, he was able to implement it for the next 6 years.  2016 was a truly fateful loss that will reverberate for decades to come.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Thank you, Jill Stein

  8. Genghis says:

    Eli Stokols tells us that Mike Coffman considers his CD-6 loss "inevitable" because that mean ol' Trump guy just wouldn't stay out of the news, proving yet again that Coffman is a dumbfuck on multiple levels.

  9. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    What's important, you see, is that we elect Democrats.

    Democrats could have blocked Republicans from shutting down debate on Yemen, and even highlighted GOP attempts to turn off the War Powers Resolution.

    Instead, five Democrats decided passing the farm bill today instead of tomorrow was more important.https://t.co/hxQHIRXVzL

    — Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) December 12, 2018

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

       It seems like a classic divide and conquer tactic,  equipping the must-pass farm bill with a poison pill to cut off debate and votes about the war in Yemen and our support of the Saudis. 

      And it seems that tactic worked. At least for now. So feed hungry kids in the US with the SNAP and school lunch programs, which are in the farm bill, but keep on starving kids in Yemen. 

      What I don’t know: Will we get another chance to discuss Yemen when the 116th Congress is seated? Which reps are bought off by the Saudis? 

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