EXIT STAGE RYAN

Aquarian Weekly
4/18/18

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

EXIT STAGE RYAN

I was waiting in the modest airport in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic with my family finishing up a wonderful new book on Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and peeling pieces of my burnt skin from my wrist when I saw Paul Ryan appear on CNN and say, after weeks of vehemently denying credible news reports, that he is no longer seeking re-election for the United States Congress. He’s handing in his speakership. For all intents and purposes, with the heat rising to dangerous levels in and around his party and its president, he is getting the fuck out of Dodge.

With the entire federal government in his party’s hands, the third most powerful figure in the United States government is quitting. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has seen the writing on the wall and it is not good. Internal Republican polling strongly indicates there is a political Blue Tsunami coming in six months and he wants no part of it.

Like athletes who take the millions to play in a new city and then have the balls to tell you it’s because of their family, Ryan is wheeling out the usual tropes. Anti-Trump Republicans and conservative columnists and the predictable wave of liberal analysis have wrongly interpreted this slipping out the back door as a clear sign of Ryan’s exhaustion of working for and a general disgust in the behavior of our game show president. That, of course, is utter nonsense. There are more pictures of Paul Ryan smiling while standing or sitting or signing bills with Donald Trump aka David Dennison (Warning: That ain’t ever getting old around here) than there is of Melania Trump, who looks in every White House photo op like she’s been kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

You see, when it suited his agenda (and I am seriously not sure what the hell that is anymore), Ryan ate Donald Trump’s shit, carried his water and spent more press conferences playfully dodging questions about his angry, off-the-hinge tweets. Even when he was uncomfortable with the president of the United States providing cover for marauding Nazi marchers, one of which murdered a protester with his car, there was something of an embrace of Trump.

Ryan told CNN their “differences” were merely “style” and geographic origins, that only lunatics are from New York City and not sweet, homey, down-to-earth Wisconsin, where paying porn stars to sleep with you and then shut-up and personal lawyers being raided by the FBI is unfamiliar cosmopolitan shenanigans. He was apparently the one person who missed the Netflix Making of a Murderer series, which makes his home state appear as some backwater third-world desert of kill-crazed hicks, corrupt police and a government asleep at the wheel.

What Ryan is most of all is a quitter and he is running from this rat-infested sinking vessel as fast as you can imagine

Despite his purported Ayn Randian roots, his long-rumored ideological fiscally conservative bent and the rest of what he tells girls and Wall Street hucksters at DC cocktail parties, Ryan sold his soul to Trumpism, with its empty promises, bloated deficits, and anti-trade, barely coherent nationalistic claptrap. Ryan is just another hack like Gerald Ford, who wanted everyone on his golf outings to think he wasn’t ruined by the pardoning of Nixon and some far-fetched palaver about “healing the nation” when he took one for the party and then went out and lost the presidency to a peanut farmer.

What Ryan is most of all is a quitter and he is running from this rat-infested sinking vessel as fast as you can imagine, despite there being zero chance, even in a year where most Republicans would be lucky to not be tarred and feathered in town squares, to be re-elected. According to the numbers’ geeks over at Five Thirty-Eight, Wisconsin’s 1st district, or what Ryan has been representing now since 2011, is 11.3 percentage points more Republican than the nation as a whole. Even in the current and climbing seven-to-ten-point Democratic advantage nationally, Ryan, with nearly $10 million in his coffers, would retain his seat, with the ignominious chore of handing the gavel back over to Nancy Pelosi, if she survives a fervent progressive insurrection, of course. But Ryan has endured worse. He ran on the doomed Mitt Romney ticket and once even tried to fake like he didn’t want to endorse Trump over moral reasons, which he soon found out was not his thing. Fuck morals. We got tax cuts to get to.

And all of that is fine. I expect politicians to smear their rhetoric with hard-ons for morality and then trolling for teenage interns or turn the EPA into a private resort for friends and family, but Ryan wants you to think otherwise. He plays the whole this-and-that game as well as any of them. And this way leads to the exit, before he is fully blamed for kowtowing to and enabling what appears to be on a daily basis some kind of ridiculous parody of a frat house administration being run by a sloppy con artist and a bunch of people profiting off the idea of governance.

Thirty-eight House Republicans, including Ryan, have decided to not run for re-election this year, and twenty-five of them are through with the whole concept of politics as a viable vocation for people who thought Jesus had something to do with the founding of this nation built on free labor and land grabs. That is the greatest mass exodus in civic duty since World War II, according to the Brookings Institution. That is 75 years of politicians sucking it up against all odds being bested by a year in which just saying you belong to this party is as if you are pleased to be taking a dump on all that is decent and upstanding in the national fabric.

Paul Ryan thinks by quitting he gets to escape all that. And sure, I guess, he does. Pretty soon his corporate benefactors, whom he handed the candy store with that monstrous “tax reform” boondoggle last year, will pay him Clinton money to laugh about how silly this Trump idiot is, followed by a Comey-styled, “Can you believe Trump said this about that?” book.

Next!

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I’M OFFICIALLY BORED OF CRAZY TRUMP

Aquarian Weekly

4/11/18

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

I’M OFFICIALLY BORED OF CRAZY TRUMP

Donald Trump, aka El Douche, aka David Dennison aka Twitter Boy, our game show president, needs new material.

I was frankly psyched for this run since it purported to be rife with intrigue, goofiness, abject megalomania and off-the-charts WTF. For columnists with a penchant to choose anarchy over actual governance and for someone whose love for this country expands only about six feet outside my door, a Trump presidency was supposed to be entertaining. And although for a while it was, it appears now to have a shelf life.

I believe this whole Trump thing has jumped the shark.

Crazy tweets about celebrities and half-baked conspiracy theories and campaign rallies and hookers and Russians and knee-jerk racist rants and random firings of lunatics from every angle in jobs they have no business having and fucking up all over the joint was amusing for a while, but save for this idiot yanking his pants down at the U.N. or flailing his cock at a festival audience ala his mentor, the ghost of Jim Morrison, this has become tiresome.

This whole thing has devolved into Trump’s old NYC 1980s routine of calling up Page Six of the NY Post and telling the staff who he’s sleeping with to close a deal on a swamp in Jersey. It is One Trick Pony land. He’s got one bit, it is stale, and it needs to change.

Hell, I honestly don’t know what to write anymore about this buffoon. Over sixty major contributors to the administration have either left in ignominious shame, quit under extreme pressure or were sacked on Twitter. Some of them have either publicly or privately mocked him as a child wracked with ADD with the inability to concentrate on anything other than what people say about him. A dozen or more of the campaign to elect El Douche are either under investigation or indicted, arrested or turning state’s evidence for something to do with colluding with Russia. There are what, now, 20 to 30 women either accusing this pig of sexual harassment or assault and still others, one most infamously, revealing massive pay-offs to keep affairs quiet. There is a trade war with China to save 300 steel jobs for another 16 months, which is turning the stock market into a cartoonish rollercoaster, hundreds of thousands of children are being turned from citizens into criminals as he and congress dither over DACA, and most recently in a fit of stroke or a doped-up rage he appointed John Bolton, an onerously psychopathic TV personality with a hard-on for invading 16 different countries, his third (Third!) national security advisor.

Fun fact: Bolton found out about the gig while on Fox News ranting about invading North Korea.

Hell, Trump’s lawyer had to get a lawyer.

But this ain’t cutting it for me.

In order to get me going here, he has to be waaaaay crazier.

Let’s face it kids, the funny has gone out of this thing. It is a TV show that needs to be cancelled, but it won’t.

And even if it did (Trump’s most brilliant move) we would be stuck with a man who thinks Jesus tells him what kind of shirt to wear every day and strives daily to spread the word that homosexuals are agents of Satan, while he can’t apparently be at a lunch alone with a woman for fear he might glance at her cleavage and Moses will yank him into a closet and make him look at pictures of Marylyn Manson jacking off to mutilation videos.

Mike Pence is Trump’s great equalizer, and something the Democrats should think about if they take back the House this fall, because there is enough evidence of the president committing six counts of obstruction of justice (most of it coming from either Trump’s TV appearances, speeches or twitter), to impeach him. But while Trump is like a sloppy dog that shits on your couch twice a day, Pence is a starving Rottweiler headed for your throat.

Be that as it may, Trump needs new material. Yesterday, at the time of this writing, he held another in a long, tedious stream of press conferences where he claimed for the billionth time that the 2016 presidential election, an election he won by a perfect storm, was rigged and fraudulent and that millions, not forty or a couple of hundred, millions of people voted illegally. This is so December, 2016. In fact, Trump himself – he probably forgot, what is he 75?, disbanded a special team to investigate voter fraud after it had the audacity to tell him the truth; he’s nuts, there is no voter fraud, and that he actually won the election and that maybe this whole paranoia is a sign of deeper issues, because, um, he is already the leader of the free world, so what the fuck is wrong with him?

In the same off-the-cuff riffing, as if some kind of blandly presented homage to the corpse of Robin Williams (he literally showed the speech prepared for him and flipped it away like it was a 1971 Johnny Carson appearance – I have seen about two dozen people do that in cheap comedy clubs, come on) he wheeled out the same exhausted, “Mexicans are the worst” shit, blathering something about “more rapes than ever”. I am not sure what this creep’s fascination is with rape except that he has been accused of just about everything egregious you can do to a woman, including marrying them, (rim shot!), so maybe this is his next move.

Soon after this standard, almost word-for-word greatest-hits of the kind of submental Citizen Trump performance he has cranked out a thousand times since late 2015, he gets on Air Force One and claims that the $130,000 paid to a porn star to shut-up had nothing to do with him, despite it being faxed and signed on Trump Administration paperwork, negotiated by his personal lawyer, and paid to a woman who went on 60 Minutes and said she got it for enduring what sounded like reluctantly mechanical sex with a fat old man.

Ugh, man that was a waste of our time. This Stormy Daniels may be more desperate for attention and even stupider than Trump; a spectacular feat in itself.

All I am saying is if this show is going to run for another two and a half years, it has to step it up. He is all talk, no action, except for perpetuating the rote Republican stuff that has failed miserably for years. He needs to take this mania to another level. We need better crazy, because this crazy is repeating itself.

I think it’s time he brings in pros to advise him; Charlie Sheen or Bill O’Reilly or Iggy Pop, real loons, who know how to change it up to keep the ratings going. I mean, this might fly for Johnny Lunch Pail and Mom & Pop Idaho, but this is the big stage. I don’t expect him to rise to the level of Andrew Jackson, but at least spice it up, get beyond the tweets and the Mexicans nonsense.

Trump has become an over-used catch phrase, a bubble gum pop song you can’t get out of your head.

If he is going to suck this badly at being president, he has to be more hilarious and outrageous.

This crap might get the liberals over at MSNBC lathered, but radicals need this moron to kick into a higher register and fast.

Let’s go Dennison, make with the pants-dropping.

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THE HALF-ASSED STEEL TARIFF

Aquarian Weekly
3/14/18

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE HALF-ASSED STEEL TARIFF

Man, I was all prepared to crank out another two-way column that would upset everyone who loves and hates the president simultaneously, but after that noodle proclamation or whatever that was David Dennison aka Donald Trump signed into whatever it is he signed it into I’ve got nothing.

What I was going to write is that it should come as no surprise to anyone that Dennison aka Trump has been saying since, I don’t know, the late 1990s that he despises trade deficits and believes the U.S. is getting ripped off. He is partially right about this, which was ostensibly the foundation of Senator Bernie Sanders run, and that is why Dennison aka Trump was elected president by a thin margin of 77,000 voters in the Rust Belt in November of 2016. Beyond quasi-racism, name-calling, and fending off sexual assault and harassment claims, this was the core of his campaign. Dennison (Trump) would have been right to pay back those who put him in the White House, even if it plunged the rest of us into a possible trade war and jacked up the price of cars (steel) and beer (aluminum), among other goods. This idea, though, that just because the president is under siege from porn stars and a special counsel that he’s trying to change the narrative (while theoretically could be true) should not be deemed as the normal Trumpian aka Dennisonesque “shoot-from-the-hip” stuff. This is why is he president.

However, this week El Douche only went half-way – and some with a grasp of the facts and statistics could argue no-way – to end with any strong measure the true trade deficit for the steel and aluminum industries. By exempting Canada and Mexico from his half-assed edict, the president is barely throwing a cup of water on what he and the unions believe is a raging fire. It is symbolic, like most things Dennison (Trump) says or does. He is our most “How Does This Look?” president. He waves his hands a lot to make you think he’s pulling a rabbit out of a hat, when it isn’t really a hat and there was never actually going to be a rabbit.

To be fair, this is politics as usual, but this was supposed to not be that this time, right?

If Dennison (Trump) was to do what he boldly claimed a week earlier before the markets tumbled and nearly every member of his pro-trade/antiunion party starting to cry foul, then there could have been real teeth to this, and with it, part of the doom that I would have loved to predict here. But like Mexico paying for the border wall, branding China as currency manipulators, wiping out the ACA in his first week, revealing his tax returns, suing the 19 women accusing him of all measures of sexual improprieties, signing any DACA bill sent to his desk, outlawing bump stocks, signing the “largest tax cut in history”, growing the economy by four-percent, appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, eliminate Common Core, (fuck it, I’m exhausted, you get it) he failed to either do anything or went to the edge and pulled back.

Let’s see how Americans like paying more for stuff to save a few thousand jobs in three states.

Don’t get me wrong, what our game show president doesn’t know about trade you could barely squeeze into Yankee Stadium. He infamously blurted out recently when pressed on this idea; “Trade wars are easy to win”, despite U.S. going oh-fer in every instance, most disastrously the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff that expedited the Great Depression or the fabulous 18 months when George W. Bush tried to save the steel industry in 2002 by raising tariffs on selected steel products that tanked more jobs than were saved and plunged the very states it was to “save” into economic crisis.

I was actually looking forward to a real biting trade tariff to prove AGAIN this nonsense about U.S. jobs being mostly eliminated from trade and how if it were implemented they would suddenly return. Then in another generation some other blowhard will promise to fix it and make jobs come back and some new suckers will buy it. But alas, none of that will happen, because in order of annual percentage, here are the top ten countries importing steel into this country, all of which have been sighted by the United Steel Workers Union as “cheating” by dumping unfairly underpriced product into this country – which by the way is the case with nearly every product that enters this country or is made by manufacturers abroad to keep prices down in places nearly 80-percent of the country shops at like Walmart and Target – but that is another cogent argument in the face of hysteria for another day:

1. Canada 16.7 percent
2. Brazil 13.2 percent
3. South Korea 9.7 percent
4. Mexico 9.4 percent
5. Russia 8.1 percent
6. Turkey 5.6 percent
7. Japan 4.9 percent
8. Germany 3.7 percent
9. Taiwan 3.2 percent
10. China 2.9 percent

And this is according to Reuters. In other estimations China is farther down the list, but definitely farther down than Canada and Mexico, who have been exempt from these tariffs. And this is a good thing if you care about unwinnable trade wars and paying more for goods, but it is really just a Band-Aid on a gaping wound if you voted for David Dennison aka Donald Trump and you expected results.

Listen, I get the steel and aluminum lobby has this coming every ten years or so. Someone has to pay lip service to these voters. However, why is the president choosing winners and losers here? Why is this socialist edict of saving a few thousand jobs more important than costing thousands or more of other jobs that may and would disappear as a result of a true tariff with real teeth. And what of these other countries that are not Canada and Mexico? Do they, especially allies like Brazil, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea (who at the time of this writing is working its ass off trying to avoid a nuclear war between ego-mad sociopaths) view this as a hostile gesture borne of capitalist cronyism and retaliate in kind?

A Symbolic gesture to the voter base is as old as the concept of politics, and thank goodness someone got to this nut job before he made a sweeping 25 percent/10 percent tariff on key trade partners like Canada and Mexico, which by treaty, must not be fucked with. If Dennison aka Trump really wanted to enact his belief and if we are truly to see this fail miserably, then why half-ass it. Why not just go after the WTO as he has NAFTA?

Show some guts and do what you say, for once.

Let’s see how Americans like paying more for stuff to save a few thousand jobs in three states.

That would be worth writing about.

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THE FIGHT FOR LEGAL MARIJUANA

Aquarian Weekly
3/7/18

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE FIGHT FOR LEGAL MARIJUANA
Voting is Not Enough – Time to Get Involved

In a not-too-shocking twist, a formally bold New Jersey Senate, pummeled by misinformation, illogical panic and religious idiocy, is beginning to show signs of cracking on one of the key issues of the 2017 gubernatorial election, the legalization of marijuana. Our new governor, Phil Murphy was elected this past November with 56% of the vote on the force of this promise. This space fully endorsed his candidacy – only done maybe twice in two decades here – for this issue based on last summer’s details of the N.J. Senate’s proposed bill to do so, which Murphy then used as one of his campaign platforms. The economic and legal ramifications of this vote is, in my humble opinion and backed with strong data from states who have gone this route, important for the money desperately needed for education, infrastructure and to finally deal with a state that is taxed higher than almost every other in the union. Plus, it is stupid to make a vice that is scientifically less damaging than alcohol illegal, allowing only drug dealers to profit from its overwhelming use.

It is simple common sense, reality, statistics and economic solvency we are discussing here. And it must be done by this governor within the first 100 days, as promised, or the shit will come down.

The support for legalizing marijuana in New Jersey currently is around 42%, so it is not as important an issue for as many as it is here, but for those who understand how important this will be for the region (New York has suddenly begun discussions long overdue in legalizing it and seeing the same positive economic indicators if they do), it is paramount.

I implore Senate President Stephen Sweney, a fellow architect and strong proponent of this bill, to stand strong and get your constituents in line. Many Democrats, of course, have been besieged with the usual nonsense that has no basis in reality to thwart this effort; preachers, knee-jerk lazy cops, who cannot help but whine about adding freedoms, and those who are afraid to make this kind of political leap. Republicans too are split, but if they are truly for state’s rights, free-market control beyond government regulation and economic sanity, then the choice is easy.

The real indicator that this is on the cusp of happening is the panic among the opponents of the bill, who suddenly, after years of fear-mongering and draconian crap from the former governor, are pitching the always half-assed decriminalization concept along with expanding medicinal marijuana.

It is simple common sense, reality, statistics and economic solvency we are discussing here.

Fuck that. They had their chance, and with no prior support for an economically sound and legally binding push for legalization, they wish to water it down to appease pot heads and liberals. This is NOT about that. This is about pulling the dumb and scared into the 21st century. It is about stopping the cuts on our already razor-thin educations budget, our crumbling infrastructure and what is likely to be escalating taxes thanks to the ridiculously irresponsible and possibly unconstitutional federal government tax reform that puts limits on our write-offs here. Not to mention the way the economic structure of the Western Hemisphere will crumble if this idiotic trade war the president of the United States wants to embroil us in which will raise the price of automobiles, canned goods, etc.

If you support this bill and the idea of legalizing weed you must contact your state legislator, and for that I provide a handy little list. Find yours and call them and tell them to be brave and stand up for the electorate and do the right thing for the state.

Dawn Marie Addiego (R) – Medford, NJ 08055 (609) 654-1498

Christopher Bateman (R) – Somerville, NJ 08876 (908) 526-3600

James Beach (D) – Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 (856) 429-1572

Chris A. Brown (R) – Linwood, NJ 08221 (609) 677-8266

Anthony R. Bucco (R) – Denville, NJ 07834 (973) 627-9700

Gerald Cardinale (R) – Cresskill, NJ 07626 (201) 567-2324

Richard J. Codey (D) – Livingston, NJ 07039 (973) 535-5017

Christopher J. Connors (R) – Forked River, NJ 08731 (609) 693-6700

Kristin M. Corrado (R) – Wayne, NJ 07470 (973) 237-1360

Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D) – Camden, NJ 08102 (856) 541-1251

Joseph P. Cryan (D) – Union, NJ 07083 (908) 624-0880

Sandra B. Cunningham (D) – Jersey City, NJ 07305 (201) 451-5100

Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D) – South Plainfield, NJ 07080 (908) 757-1677

Michael J. Doherty (R) – Washington, NJ 07882 (908) 835-0552

Nia H. Gill, Esq. (D) – Montclair, NJ 07042 (973) 509-0388

Vin Gopal (D) – Ocean Twp., NJ 07712 (732) 695-3371

Robert M. Gordon (D) – Fair Lawn, NJ 07410 (201) 703-9779

Linda R. Greenstein (D) – Cranbury, NJ 08512 (609) 395-9911

James W. Holzapfel (R) – Brick, NJ 08724 (732) 840-9028

Thomas H. Kean, Jr. (R) – Westfield, NJ 07090 (908) 232-3673

Fred H. Madden, Jr. (D) – Turnersville, NJ 08012 (856) 232-6700

Declan J. O’Scanlon, Jr. (R) – Red Bank, NJ 07701 (732) 933-1591

Steven V. Oroho (R) – Sparta, NJ 07871 (973) 300-0200

Joseph Pennacchio (R) – Montville, NJ 07045 (973) 227-4012

Nellie Pou (D) – Paterson, NJ 07505 (973) 247-1555

Ronald L. Rice (D) – Newark, NJ 07106 (973) 371-5665

M. Teresa Ruiz (D) – Newark, NJ 07104 (973) 484-1000

Nicholas J. Sacco (D) – North Bergen, NJ 07047 (201) 295-0200

Paul A. Sarlo – Wood-Ridge, NJ 07075 (201) 804-8118

Nicholas P. Scutari (D) – Linden, NJ 07036 (908) 587-0404

Robert W. Singer (R) – Lakewood, NJ 08701 (732) 987-5669

Troy Singleton (D) – Moorestown, NJ 08057 (856) 234-2790

Bob Smith (D) – Piscataway, NJ 08854 (732) 752-0770

Brian P. Stack (D) – Jersey City, NJ 07307 (201) 721-5263

Stephen M. Sweeney (D) – West Deptford, NJ 08086 (856) 251-9801

Samuel D. Thompson (R) – Old Bridge, NJ 08857 (732) 607-7580

Shirley K. Turner (D) – Ewing Twp., NJ 08628 (609) 323-7239

Jeff Van Drew (D) – Cape May Court House, NJ 08210 (609) 465-0700

Joseph F. Vitale (D) – Woodbridge, NJ 07095 (732) 855-7441

Loretta Weinberg (D) – Teaneck, NJ 07666 (201) 928-0100

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RUSSIA IS WINNING

Aquarian Weekly
2/7/18

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

RUSSIA IS WINNING

No matter where you fall on the President Trump/Russian Collusion or Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy Theories, it isn’t hard to argue that Russia, clearly an enemy of these United States, is a big winner in this.

Currently, because of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, and the White House (for reasons that you can decide fits – I subscribe to Donald Trump is an egomaniac who would rather see the entire structure of the American electoral system be destroyed to make the point that his election was the best ever, since…well…let’s leave it at best ever) continues to battle against it. The argument is fluid; it never happened at all or is overrated or is Fake News or Hillary did it or whatever dime-store, half-assed bullshit passes for a defense in the last fifteen minutes.

Want more?

There are three separate investigations going on in the House of Representatives, the Senate and a Special Counsel appointed by the Justice Department. The aforementioned Justice Department is simultaneously at war with congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the White House. The previously noted FBI is at war with the White House and the House and the White House has gone far out of its way to attack the integrity of the FBI since January of last year, including the firing of its director (“Over the Russian thing” – Trump to NBC Nightly News), then the Twitter tirades that led to another chief FBI official to quit, and now is seriously deconstructing The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) authorities, which was bloated by the fancy Patriot Act (remember that, fans?) to greatly assist, no, provides unchecked power to the executive branch to curtail spying, the type of spying that led to the Russian meddling in the first place.

Need more?

Right now, the co-chair of the House Intelligence Committee David Nunez, who tried to sell some ruse to the press last year after sneaking into the White House to get approval or talking points or a sack full of money, is poised, against legal and security advisors, to release a top-secret FBI memo for blatant political purposes.

The very structure of the federal government hangs in the balance.

This may worry you if you give a shit about America, but it is by far the greatest victory of a foreign power against the United States since the Chinese kicked General Douglas MacArthur’s overwhelmed troops across the 38th Parallel in the late autumn of 1950.

It is an ass-kicking of epic proportions that must have people in the Kremlin, never mind Trump’s boss Vladimir Putin, dancing in the aisles.

I have not seen this kind of pummeling since Mike Tyson’s mid-1980s bouts. It is so lopsided and sad there has to be a referee somewhere that can stop it.

The kicker, and this is my favorite; the Senate this week voted 98-2 (talk about ass-kicking) to impose new and stricter sanctions on Russia, which is openly mocking our very institutions right under our noses.

And…wait for it…

President Donald Trump refused to sign it.

Game. Set. Match.

Why doesn’t Trump just hand the whole thing over to Putin right now? In fact, when he’s done with his insufferably ponderous State of the Union Address, which I think may be entering its 60th hour, he can call up Putin and end the charade of his actually running things. Heck, it might be fun for a while. Get monosyllabic bigotry in a more exotic language for a change, instead of Queens-dumb. Listening to Trump massacre the English language was entertaining for a bit, but it’s time for new blood.

At least Putin is in shape.

Mind you, this is a president that has picked a fight with every human you can name. Go ahead, name them: He is fighting them.

Putin?

Nope.

And what this tells you is that in some way, and I have no idea why, although the infamous Dossier does give us some clue, the Russians have our president by the balls.

Why doesn’t Trump just hand the whole thing over to Putin right now?

The final indignation to all this, again, if you give a shit about America, is not only are the Trump lawyers – wholly expected and understandable – whipping up the Johnny Cochran “O.J. Defense” of going after the cops and make it about them, but so is the entirety of one of our only two major parties; and the one that is in power. Nearly every breathing Republican in the legislative branch has not only gone out of their way to make this about the FBI and kowtow to the brainless at FOX News, but are ignoring the real crime to expand the jury’s (the American public’s) opinion that if the law is corrupt, which we all know it is, then the accused did nothing wrong.

The two are mutually exclusive crimes. Lawyers know this. It is called muddying the waters. It is a distraction tactic, and quite effective if done right. Cochran was a master at it.

O.J. murdered two people and got off. Even people rooting for O.J. to get off understood this. They just didn’t like cops.

Donald Trump did something wrong here; collude with Russians to meddle with an election he would win or obstruct the investigation into it because it makes him look bad. Either way, he and Republicans suddenly don’t like federal cops.

And once that goes bye-bye, then the Russians win.

The Russians are winning.

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TIME FOR ATLAS TO SHRUG

Aquarian Weekly
1/10/18

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

TIME FOR ATLAS TO SHRUG
Federal Government’s Attack on American Progress, Technology, Ingenuity & Creativity

Money is made possible only by the men who produce.
– Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

The abomination peddled to the American people as a tax cut at the end of 2017 by the anti-progress, anti-metropolis, socialist, redistribution-of-wealth Republican corporate puppets that handed a bill to the most productive and creative regions of this nation to pay for nanny-state corporate handouts is a blight on not only our economic freedoms but an outright attack on the true power centers of this republic. Piled high on their submental propaganda that technology and international trade is a modern evil intent on destroying the free enterprise of the 21st century, this law is antithetical to its authors’ purported ideology that was tossed where all ideologies go whence power calls, in the trash bin of history.

By handing over a shameless gift to the largest corporations in America while ignoring smaller ones – I am the proud owner of a corporation, Vincary Media, which will not be seeing any trimming of my tax rate from 35 to 21 percent as the multi-billion dollar ones are – what will be forever known as the draconian Trump Tax Hike of 2018 penalizes those who live in the highest tax brackets; in other words the greatest achievers, most productive cities, the media and technology centers, the bastions of trade and commerce that prop up the rest of this nation internally rotting from atavistic energy concerns to a barely breathing manufacturing (and I use that term as loosely as one can muster without bursting into paroxysms of laughter) hub.

Simply put; this ten-thousand dollar cap on state and local tax deductions, is in effect a discriminatory double-tax on the most important regions of the United States; more particularly New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, or to bang this point home ever more succinctly, the nation’s largest, most productive, creative and thus cutting-edge centers.

I live in one of those centers.

For the first time since writing this column (est.1997), and certainly the first time since having incorporated as a free-lancer (est. 2003), I was informed by my accountant that I will be paying more taxes this year. Not during two Democratic administrations and a Republican two-term one did I receive this call. I am going to pay more taxes. Let that sink in if you voted for any Republican (fiscal conservatives my ass) at any point over the past decade. Thank you. Appreciate it. Excuse me while I go kick Rush Limbaugh in his drug-addled balls.

Of course, this is the culmination of the sophomoric economic idiocy of our game show president, but really that drooling moron is window dressing compared to a congress that has previously been hijacked by self-styled tax guru, Grover Norquist, who somehow (Good for him) got these dinks to sign a pledge to “never raise taxes”, but is now clearly sucking at the teat of big business that would make the ghost of Calvin Coolidge wish he were a whore at the Mardi Gras parade. By the way, Norquist, like me, who lives in high-rent Washington D.C., is going to pay more taxes this year (Good for him).

The abomination peddled to the American people as a tax cut at the end of 2017… is a blight on not only our economic freedoms but an outright attack on the true power centers of this republic.

Everything that keeps this nation alive economically comes from urban centers. Even the preponderance of cash that is sent to farmers all over the fruited plain, as everything grown in this country is subsidized by tax money, and where does all that come from? You and me, well more like me since I live in a higher taxed area, but it sure ain’t corporations with their off-shore bank accounts and massive write-offs (corporations never paid 35 percent taxes, on average is was 14 percent and soon it will be in the single digits), while the rest of us suckers continue to fork over basically the same rates, which will rise in a decade but remain cut for corporations.

You want to know how funny this all is; Donald Trump’s precious Twitter was invented and founded in San Francisco, one of the highest taxed cities in America. Those people are F-U-C-K-E-D.

The queer aspect of this is it began under the watch of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has claimed in the past that he was inspired by Ayn Rand’s hoary screeds on the injustices of laws created by governments to support weakness, usually reserved for economics, as a result of ingenuity and creativity. Rand’s novels, most notably, The Fountainhead (wildly overrated combination of penis envy meets a preternatural industrial revolution jones) and Atlas Shrugged (painfully underrated ode to individualism and the bloated natural order of exceptionalism), deal with the intervention of government against the will of man, or the private state, which looks, by nature (according to Rand, and a theory of which I enthusiastically subscribe, Objectivism) runs counter to the tenets of a free society.

Once you single out one economic swath of the collective field to bear the burden, you are slanting it, or in more legal terms, practicing cronyism or racketeering. In a very binding way (and a tax law is as binding as it gets, bubba) what this congress and our president did was take away the motivation for the centers of our commerce, education, art and ingenuity to continue its greatness in order to prop up what Rand calls (and I am sure Ryan, when he was all cool in his, “Hey I’m a young conservative, look at my pecs,” period) moochers.

Rand’s novel proffers that the best and brightest protest by removing their minds and talents from this mooching society obsessed with ancient rituals like coal mining and Catholicism (Rand was card-carrying atheist, who thought Jesus was a sucker, something Republicans always fail to point out) and see how the rest of society fares. Spoiler alert, it crumbles.

Fun Ayn Rand fact, she scrapped her screeds and went for the real money in Hollywood writing banal scripts for B-movies, another place that will be fist-raped by this tax law.

And lest anyone use the pointed argument that my beef is with my absurdly high state tax, I remind you that if I go to Cabo San Lucas and choose a hotel on the beach, and then a room facing the ocean, I expect to pay more. I expect that being 34 miles from the greatest city on planet earth, with access to the best education, art, industry, technology etc., to pay more, but I also expect to have the write-offs commensurate with the rest of the country in which the property values are equal to the less than ideal area in which they find themselves.

Now those who choose cynicism and paranoia as a hobby, and I am all for that, may say this is Republicans and Trump penalizing states, especially urban and suburban (educated, cultured, high-level-producers), social progressive thinkers, media centers, and those who openly mock their knuckle-dragging bullshit, to pay for not supporting them. They will never pay the political price for having screwed us. And they are right.

But I say to them and you and all Americans; remember that waaaaayyyy more people died, it’s like ten-to-one in almost all calculations, in WWII (and every ensuing war for that matter) in New York, New Jersey and California. We have sacrificed and created enough.

Time for Atlas to Shrug.

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WELCOME BACK TO CORPORATE LAND

Aquarian Weekly
12/20/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

WELCOME BACK TO CORPORATE LAND
Net Neutrality, Tax Rates and Deregulation A-Go-Go

It is an interesting plan devised by a man who has bankrupted more businesses than anyone in the history of modern American entrepreneurship, and backed by dinosaurs from the Industrial Revolution run under the guise of some Eisenhower-era dream of the old, America First, anti-global economic structure that has zero chance of working in the current 21st century landscape.

But okay.

The main goal of this Republican-controlled federal government has been to deregulate everything in sight, cede the entire ecological, moral and structural game to not the private sector, but the corporate-level powerbrokers. The idea is to make things so easy for multi-billion dollar businesses they will rush back to this country and provide jobs. This, as stated many times in this space, has never worked in a long-term growth of the economy. I am not going to bore everyone with details, but it can be verified by simply doing the research and crunching the numbers. I invite you to do it.

Having said that, it is important to point out that my criticism of this does not mean I support the complete government-controlled regulation-happy opposite argument. There is free market and then there is fixing the game for corporations. The latter is what we discuss here today.

So far Republicans have done next to nothing in the way of legislation. There is no administration that I can find, at least in the 20th century, that has gone a calendar year having done nothing with or without control of the entire government. Aside from an alarming spate of executive orders, which have purportedly moved the unemployment rate from 4.8 to 4.5 since Donald Trump has taken office, and the continued spike in the stock market, which today, as for the past eight years under the previous administration, means less than it did a half-century ago, because the main percentage of trading is done by the famed one-percent of the citizenry.

It is important to note that I write “purportedly” on these figures, because normally unless a major law is enacted, like say the 2001 Bush tax cuts or the 2009 Obama stimulus package – both passed by single-party control in the first year of those presidents – the economic indicators in the first year of any administration is the result of the previous one’s agenda. This is especially prevalent among two-term presidents, as George H. W. Bush found out in his first term after eight years of Reagonomics.

Either way you stand on this issue, it is easy to see that Trump and the Republicans mean to hand over all control of the American economy to the most powerful corporations, first and foremost through the language in the current tax bill before congress, which has a 29 percent approval of the American electorate. Not that polling or even popularity means anything. It is only illuminating when viewed through the lens of those polled that voted for the Donald Trump that ran as a populist, forgotten-man candidate. Despite being crushed in the popular vote, the president carried the Rust Belt to electoral college victory due to this weak Huey Long charade, which has now emerged as the predictable land-baron, big business stooge he truly is and has always been. The whole “con job” thing Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio bitched about in the primaries is coming home to roost.

There is free market and then there is fixing the game for corporations. The latter is what we discuss here today.

But again, if honey deals to the one-percent and corporations in the current language of the proposed tax bill, as covered in this space a few weeks ago, was not enough of a sign that Citizen Trump, The Voice of Johnny Lunch Pail, was a ruse, then the repeal of Net Neutrality by the always upstanding FCC (someone should have sacked this nonsense in the 1970s, but that is a column I have written too many times to fathom, so let’s leave it at that) seals it.

This repeal is the government’s gift to gargantuan service providers to decide the economic structure of the Internet, where, the entire country and really the world lives and breathes. Whether they pledge to or not, your service provider can now gauge consumers, block content they do not have complete or part ownership of, and dismantle any even playing field for start-ups, free-lance users or anyone not a massive, faceless conglomerate.

The chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai says this will free the internet for investment and innovation, as if this is a new thing. Never happened before. There was no 1990s boom, which was the last strong economic period. Everything that has transformed the brick-and-mortar economy into the cyber one never happened, according to Pai, who was an attorney for (ha!) Verizon and has railed against Net Neutrality from the second he took this unelected office in 2012.

No matter where you stand on your economic theories and principles, how exactly is Net Neutrality bad, unless you have the strings of providing access to the Internet.

It reads: “Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, Internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.”

You want to pay more money for what you already can do now and/or have your service provider decide what you can and can’t see, to allow only those with more money than you to have better, more complete access to the Internet? Then this is a fantastic ruling.

Again, no matter where you stand on this, we are in a new era of a complete corporate take-over of the American economic landscape. This was mostly true under every previous administration dating back to the earliest days of the American Century, but now it is unashamedly absolute. For the results of this, immediate and long-reaching, we will see whom it benefits.

But make no mistake, we are back in Corporate Land.

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ROY MOORE + ALABAMA = SENATE

Aquarian Weekly
12/13/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

ROY MOORE + ALABAMA = SENATE

I think they’re afraid I’m going to take Alabama values to Washington and I can’t wait.
– Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore Tweet, 12/5/17

You betcha.

Aside from Mississippi, which is one of the great jokes in the history of the human experiment known as the United States of America, Alabama’s abominable track record of civil rights abuses and cultural dumbness, usually backed by some hayseed reading of the Bible, is unprecedented. If you have half a brain you are embarrassed by it and most of the American south, which was allowed to rise from its ignominious beating after the Civil War only to predictably send horrid goons like Judge Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate.

Assuming the nine or ten or twelve (I’ve lost count) non-coordinated accusations of at least sexual misconduct and worse rape of underage girls for years – so bad he was banned from a fucking mall – is a fabricated Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, the fact that a man twice removed from the bench for criminal behavior, who states proudly that no Muslim should be allowed to serve as a civil servant and that homosexuals should be incarcerated, is considered a fair Republican candidate for one of only 100 jobs in the highest levels of our federal government is all you need to know about Ala-fucking-bama.

When Richard Nixon began his Southern Strategy in 1968, peeling off the racist vote from the Dixie-crats, who abandoned the party that fought vehemently against emancipation in the 19th century to pass the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act, the fate of the GOP was forever linked with lunacy. And this past week it has been sealed. The RNC, after first abandoning the criminally defiant Moore, is back on board, as is those who tried to save face, like the bottom-feeding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who initially asked for Moore to quit the race only to tell a national TV audience to “let the citizens of Alabama decide.”

And we know what Alabama will decide.

Roy Moore is going to the U.S. senate.

Why?

Because he is running in a state that would vote for the corpse of Charles Manson if he had an R in front of his name.

Think I’m being Jokey McJoke-Joke?

There is not one statewide Democrat in any level of office in the entire god-forsaken place.

No shit.

It’s a fixed game in stupid-ville. Believe me.

This is because Alabama is easily suckered by slack-jawed, religious morons who like to wave guns around to act like macho (latently gay) cowboys (spectacularly queer) while telling everyone that anyone above the Mason Dixon line is a godless sexually promiscuous Communist baby-killing dope-heads.

And although most of us are, the real problem is not that there are imbeciles who vote in Alabama, it is that one of only two of our nation’s major parties support and benefit from this weird shit, while telling us who to have sex with, what women can do with their bodies, who should get tax relief, and what constitutes an “American”.

Now, to be fair, the overwhelming support of Moore from our game show president, who himself has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by a dozen women and was caught on tape bragging about doing it for fun, is understandable. Donald Trump, I get. He’s a serial sex fiend and an unrepentant deviant and America elected him president, and really, how can he actually believe abused women accusing another sexual predator is sane behavior? Trump backing this shit-stain makes perfect sense.

What I don’t get is Roy Moore. Isn’t he supposed to be some kind evangelical religious nut, who was sacked from a state gig forcing the Ten Commandants down everyone’s throat? Even when apparently breaking one – adultery – as he was fucking his eventual wife whilst she was married. I mean, I get Trump. He was having hookers pee on him while sitting in a hot tub with teenage beauty contestants in the 90s. Moore was apparently being born again five times and thanking Jesus for his guns. Where is the consistency here?

Judge Moore is right about one thing; Alabama “values” are coming to Washington, as they have for nearly 250 years.

Hell, some of my heroes liked them young; Charlie Chaplin, J.D. Salinger, Chuck Berry, Woody Allen. It’s not my thing, but it’s Roy Moore’s thing, and aside from the rape allegations, if he gets his “virgin/whore” kicks trolling young girls in malls and signing their high school yearbooks after taking moonlit strolls and stealing kisses, it’s his thing, and I have no comment, but you know who always seems to have a comment on people’s sexual activates and is quick to judge the morals of every breathing human? Roy Moore.

But, okay, so Moore is a lying hypocrite. There are plenty of them in congress and certainly Alabama. But while in the last few months in Hollywood (producer, Harvey Weinstein, actor, Kevin Spacey), television (NBC and ABC morning show hosts, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose) and even politics (Minnesota Senator Al Franken) when similar cases were revealed, the accused were either ostracized, fired or forced to quit. Roy Moore is going to the U.S. Senate.

And one more parting note to Moore’s fellow evangelists, whatever the fuck that is, who have crawled from their ideological quagmire to rush to this cretin’s aid, I say, the jig is up. After the whole Trump thing and now this, there is no point any longer hiding behind the charade of God. There is not a single God in any monotheistic framework that would find Donald Trump or Roy Moore amenable to its edict.

Evangelists, like any salesmen, are opportunists. And like any sale, their whole phony god thing is mere exploitation, and worse yet, politically motivated. And next to child molestation, which could also be on Moore’s resume, political motivation is as low as it gets.

But more sympathetic, I could not be. I get that your time is nearly over, and this is your act of desperation, your last breath, the death rattle to all your Moral Majority crap that has been discredited and rightly ignored as we move the species into the twenty-first century without you.

My hope, nay, my prayer, if you will, is that soon, when you’re all rotting in your graves, this great, damaged nation, and humanity as a whole, will share chuckle that we ever considered anything you stood for real and binding.

Judge Moore is right about one thing; Alabama “values” are coming to Washington, as they have for nearly 250 years.

Welcome back.

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THE TAX REFORM SHUFFLE

Aquarian Weekly
12/6/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE TAX REFORM SHUFFLE

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation found that the tax cuts would not pay for themselves by generating enough revenue through economic growth to offset the tax cuts, as Republicans have claimed, but would instead add $1 trillion to budget deficits over the next 10 years. Projections estimate that the bill would lead to additional economic growth of 0.8 percent over a decade, well short of the acceleration needed for the tax cuts to pay for themselves over that time. The analysis said the tax cuts would generate about $458 billion in revenue over a decade, but would also require about $51 billion in additional interest costs. That would leave the bill with a $1 trillion price tag.
– NY Times 11/29/17

Yeah, this ain’t good.

Senate Republicans, because Senate Democrats are now playing the Mitch McConnell/Ted Cruz two-step of not being involved in anything the opposition party proposes, are sending to the floor, or are trying to send to the floor – as of this writing it has stalled due to concerns by some about the above analysis that projects a massive increase in the national debt, a tax reform bill that sucks ass. Remember when bloated deficits used to be an anathema to most Republicans, unless of course there is a Republican in the White House – Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, who both ballooned the debt with unpaid-for massive tax cuts. But a budget deficit and the national debt is only part of the problem with this gigantic boondoggle.

Firstly, this type of massive legislation overhaul happens maybe once a generation, but because Donald Trump has appeared to have now gone completely off the rails – which is a step or two above the rails he careened off of long before he became president – with his picking name-calling fights with a lunatic in North Korea, retweeting three messages from what amounts to the British KKK, supporting a senate candidate from Alabama who has been accused at least eight times of weird illegal sexual shit with children, telling staffers that it was not his voice on the infamous Access Hollywood tape, despite admitting to it and apologizing for it in October, 2016, and his incessant ranting about how he is the greatest president of all time and all of the press except some brainless wind-fart called FOX & Friends, the font of American journalism, is not representing the country well abroad, they are rushing to get something done before either he ends up in a fetal position sucking his thumb and asking for daddy, gets impeached for the mounting evidence of obstruction of justice, or 2017 ends with zero legislation.

The last time the government reformed the tax code was 27 years ago. Two parties held power and there were ten months filled with committee presentations and debates and caucuses and compromise. This time a single party, in relative secret, whipped together a baked fiasco in a month on the whim of fantasy numbers about job growth and higher wages and middle-class blah blah blah. In contrast, the humongous Affordable Care Act was debated in three House committees and two Senate committees, and subject to hours of bipartisan debate that allowed for the introduction of amendments. Interestingly enough (if you find the height of hypocrisy of interest, which I most certainly do), the architect of this shit-show, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rightfully fought against the construction of the 2010 bill that no one seemed to know its contents, and now he makes an even more egregious maneuver for the same reason – do something…anything… NOW!

McConnell and the Republicans keep rolling out this myth that because they run things and Trump was elected that this is the will of the American people. Turns out only 29 percent of people polled approve this bill – not tax cuts, everyone loves those, just this particular bill, which we have established sucks ass – and although the president has zero mandate, having lost the popular vote by three-million and nearly all the Republicans are really in congress to halt the ACA, which they have spectacularly failed to do, they forge ahead.

And why do people overwhelming hate this thing?

Well, despite not knowing all the details of the current tax reform bill, both the House and the Senate versions, which kicks the mandate for the ACA off of the rule book, completely eliminates the valuable tax break, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local income, sales and property taxes, and strikes down a 1954 law that keeps freeloading religious groups, who pay zero taxes while they dumb down the human collective spreading hate and voodoo nonsense, from spending their windfall on political lobbying, what we know of the suck-ass bill is that by 2027, according to the aforementioned Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office, people making $40,000 to $50,000 would pay a combined $5.3 billion more in taxes, while the group earning $1 million or more would get a $5.8 billion cut.

Wha…?

Yeah…it ain’t good.

a budget deficit and the national debt is only part of the problem with this gigantic boondoggle.

Now, authors of and voters for this monstrosity will tell you (AGAIN – these assholes never learn) that these numbers are needlessly dire, because, well, all these tax breaks on the rich and corporations, such as a 20 percent corporate tax rate, down from 34 percent, will provide funds for businesses to re-invest in America and American workers, the flag, Jesus and apple pie, Babe Ruth and the rotting skull of George Washington. In other words, the oft discredited “Trickle Down Economics”.

This, as always, is a steaming pile of horseshit. Never mind this type of thinking failed in the 1920s, leading to the great depression, or the 1980s, leading to an exploding deficit that began the exodus of American businesses aboard, but as recent as 2004 when congress invited American corporations to bring home overseas earnings at a sharply reduced rate, pitching it as a means of bolstering investment. But according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis research, these corporations spent as much as 90 percent of their windfall buying back their shares and giving giant bonuses to their CEOs.

This just in: Corporations are not in the patriotism business. They rightfully answer to their shareholders and bow to profits. Period. Any thought other than that is so painfully naïve it begs to question the mental capacity of those believing otherwise.

The painfully naïve will also try and sell you that these are also dire numbers, like the painfully naive who tried to tell you that young people would buy into the ACA and well, didn’t. Projections to pay for government stuff are like things Trump blurts out daily; not true, ever. They are based on nothing and very silly and at times downright demented.

For instance, the administration’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been on record since April stating that “a hundred people in my staff have been working around the clock on running scenarios for us.” He said it again earlier this month, assuring congress and the American people that the suck-ass bill would “pay for itself”. Republican Senator from South Carolina Bob Corker now says there is no such analysis available or forthcoming, which is leading to an investigation. Seems then that this last-ditch, phony effort to refute the “dire numbers” was, as all things in this Trump Administration disaster of a first year, made-up. Totally. Doesn’t exist.

Yeah…this ain’t good.

Meanwhile Mnuchin’s boss keeps stating this farce is “the biggest tax cut in history.” But guess what? Trump is lying. It is not.

According to The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget it would be “the eight largest as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) since 1918 and the fourth largest in inflation-adjusted dollars.” The latest report shows that the “largest tax cut in history” designation would go to either President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut or President Barack Obama’s 2012 extension of most of the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts, depending on how the size of the tax cut is measured.

Now, all of this can be assuaged if the senate were to say, raise the proposed corporate tax rate to 22-percent. But then the rich donors would go away, as Senator Lindsey Graham admitted last week. This cannot happen. The senate works for them, not you.

So, we get the suck-ass bill.

Remember when Citizen Trump was going to “drain the swamp” and work for the “little guy” and go after Wall Street and big banks? Remember the populist that got 70,000 votes in the Rust Belt that allowed him to run things?

Yeah…this ain’t good.

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MIXED MESSAGES – ELECTION DAY 2017

Aquarian Weekly
11/15/17

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

MIXED MESSAGES – ELECTION DAY 2017

My dear friend of 28 years now, Rob Astorino, the current Republican County Executive of Westchester County, a highly expensive and mostly bucolic enclave in the hub of the Hudson Valley, New York, was seeking his third term this past Tuesday and was slaughtered by Democrat State Senator George Latimer. Rob was a popular public servant, whose career was on an incline from the time he told me in a Manhattan restaurant sometime in the early years of the prior decade that he wished to head into politics to “make a difference in my neighborhood” – something I tried to talk him out of, by the way. But he went in just the same, very successfully, until this year, the year of Donald Trump, or as the man whom my friend lost to in the 2014 New York gubernatorial race, Andrew Cuomo told the NY Post the next day, “This is bigger than just the county executive’s race, Rob Astorino is a fully financed subsidiary of Donald Trump.”

Of course none of the facts presented in that sentence are true. The president, now toxic to his party at an historically low 34-percent approval rating, had nothing to do with Rob Astorino. Without divulging things that are between me and my friends – many of Rob’s staff were instrumental in making me understand Trump within the party structure when the game show host was seeking the Republican nomination – I can tell you there wasn’t anything close to enthusiastic support for or from El Douche. But many of these same people made it clear to me that if Hillary Clinton had been president, their man would be heading back to a job he loved.

Now to be fair these are the deep cuts of losing an election, and boy was it gloomy in that room election night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains, where I had seen Rob take home two victories in 2009 and 2013, but lose by a narrower margin than anyone could conceive in the 2014 governor race. Even that night there was a sense that Rob was headed somewhere. But Tuesday he was headed home.

There is no denying the Republican Party was trounced on every level all across this nation on Election Day 2017, one year removed from the titular start of the wildly goofy presidency of Donald Trump, but I think while the political-climate message in clear, I’m not sure we can determine unequivocally that what transpired Tuesday is any indication that the GOP was not looking at the normal backlash of a first-year presidency.

Although comparing the clown show going on right now on Pennsylvania Avenue to any previous president is silly, every chief executive in my lifetime had to endure a first-year and in some cases a first-half-of-the-first-term hit in the polls and in statewide elections. And it can rightfully be pointed out that despite the unexpectedly rousing victory enjoyed by Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, who was polling at a dead heat that morning and won by ten points, the Commonwealth of Virginia can now be considered a “blue state” – Barrack Obama won it twice, and even Hillary Clinton claimed it last year. In fact, three of the last four governors have been Democrats. Of course when you look at the victories of the first elected Latinas to the state house, the first LGBT candidate, who beat a man who called himself the state’s “chief homophobe” while failing to get a crazy anti-LBGT bathroom bill afloat, and a guy who lost his wife in a shooting beating an NRA lackey, there is more than Trump-hate going on here.

For instance, health care was cited, by a lot, as the most important issue among Virginia voters, many of which live just outside Washington DC. In fact, since Trump has been president and congress has thrice failed to nix it, the Affordable Care Act is on an incredible upswing in sign-ups and its approval rating has gone from well under 50 percent to nearly 65. This is an amazing turnaround and gives the Democratic Party, which seems to stand for nothing beyond “Trump sucks” – a winner right now, I grant you, but not a platform – something to run on in 2018.

But the Democrats have a bigger problem beyond no plan or direction; they are powerless.

Here in New Jersey, it was simply a slam-dunk. Exiting Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating is the lowest of any governor in the history of the United States – or at least since they began polling these things. Christie was at 15 percent on Election Day, which is just a tick above people who burn dogs for the Fourth of July and the guy who massacred those people in Vegas. His beleaguered Lt. governor was predictably shellacked and now a pro-pot, anti-bear-hunt Wall Street Irishman progressive takes charge. That sounds about right. This is some crazy state and we love it, no matter what dink is in Washington DC mucking up the works.

The Republicans do have a Trump Problem, which we will now call it – both politically and in the important public relations realm. The president’s cult of personality – the old, angry, rich white guy who thinks everything sucks except him thing appears to have a shelf life, and seeing how nearly every day someone from his campaign is either revealed to have ties to Russia or is indicted for a crime, circumstances don’t look to get any sunnier. But the Democrats have a bigger problem beyond no plan or direction; they are powerless.

Republicans still have the lion’s share of governorships and state legislatures throughout the republic, many of which have gerrymandered things to kind of queer the results. And the party does run things in DC, where the action would be if they can pass any kind of legislation in the upcoming year, because they have accomplished nada thus far in 2017. Nevertheless, Tuesday’s results do not swing the national balance, if anything it should embolden congress to try and do something if Republicans think a reckoning is coming in 2018.

I am truly saddened for my friend, Rob Astorino. He deserved a better fate. But things have gone sideways right now and inner fighting inside both major political parties means that although today it looks a lot like a spectacular repudiation of something the incorrigible Steve Bannon has taken to calling “Trumpism”, it is no clear indication that it means a hill of beans going forward, now or by the mid-terms elections.

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