Thursday, November 8, 2018

Le$$ons Learned

In the wake of Trump’s undertow:

"With split Congress, prospect for economic deals looks dim" by Josh Boak Associated Press  November 08, 2018

WASHINGTON — With Democrats now in control of the House, President Trump faces a tough test of whether he can forge compromises with a group of lawmakers who, he had warned his supporters, would wreck the US economy.

The president on Wednesday floated the possibility of agreements with Democrats to boost spending on America’s infrastructure and to limit drug prices. Yet the poisonous atmosphere in Washington, mandated federal spending limits, and a potential duel over the government’s borrowing authority make it difficult to achieve any deals that would boost growth. 

The odd thing is, that was floated back in 2016 when the Republicans had control.

This is the problem. Every two years we are told how imperative the elections are, and then nothing is done. The $ame old $atu$ quo intere$ts are $erviced while the pharmaceutical price gouging continued (with accompanying lobbying loot) and the infrastructure was allowed to rot.

I've seen this show before, readers. More than once.

Over the next two years, most economic and market analysts foresee mainly entrenched gridlock in Congress. Many think the two sides will mostly maneuver for public favor while looking toward the 2020 presidential election year.

That is going to be next post after this one.

What they are saying is what I just outlined above. It's the going to be the same old illusion, imagery, and diversions that have been presented to us the last two years while the $tatu$ quo intere$ts continue to get wealthier beyond belief and the war machine grinds on.

That said, most economists don’t think a stalemate in Congress would necessarily depress growth. The $20 trillion US economy — the world’s largest — relies far more on the health of the global economy and the willingness of consumers and businesses to spend rather than on any government actions.

Nor do market analysts think stock prices will suffer. In fact, major stock averages soared Wednesday in the wake of the elections. In part, that’s because Tuesday’s vote caused no major surprises, in part because the prospect of little or no major congressional initiatives means lawmakers won’t stand in the way of a robust US economy.

Think of that for a minute and consider the mind-set of the reporter.

What lawmaker stands in the way of a robust US economy?

That is the way the corporate ma$ters that own the pre$$ and other industries think. 

So on the one hand we have certain elements of politics and the pre$$ calling for more regulation, while acknowledging that is something that just stands in the way of a robust economy. 

That's it, reader, keep hopping from foot to foot. 

You $ee who is calling the tune, right?

‘‘While you might see further gridlock if the Democrats take the House, that doesn’t mean it would tip the boat and slow growth,’’ said Beth Ann Bovino, chief US economist at S&P Global.

Is that what the American people voted for (well, I know I did, but I'm considered fringe by the mind-shaping societal managers because I think for myself)? 

It's actually a good thing. the last thing you want Congre$$ doing is taking any action at all because when they do it only makes things worse.

Economists at Bank of America concluded, ‘‘We expect a divided government to lead to a legislative logjam in Washington, D.C. in the next Congress, limiting policy actions to passing the budget with modest spending increases and raising the debt ceiling.’’

You get your popcorn and soda yet?

The new Democratic-led House could thwart Trump’s plans for more tax cuts, a wall along the border with Mexico, and a 5 percent budget cut to Cabinet departments, but the Democrats’ own agendas would also likely meet with defeat. 

Yeah, say goodbye to that middle-class tax cut he promised that Republican leadership knew nothing about.

The economy has enjoyed an acceleration in growth this year — but annual growth is widely expected to dip back to its long-term average. It’s even possible the economy could slip into a recession within a few years as growth stalls — for reasons unrelated to who controls the White House or Congress. A global slowdown could, for example, spill into the United States, or higher interest rates, spurred by the Federal Reserve, might depress economic activity.....

Trump will still get the blame, though -- especially in my pre$$.


"US stock market pushes higher after midterm elections" by Thomas Heath Washington Post  November 08, 2018

The Dow Jones industrials like a divided government — so far. The blue-chip index closed Wednesday up 545 points after Democrats took back the House in last night’s midterms and Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate.

It’s the Dow’s sixth up day in seven sessions.

‘‘With the conclusion of this year’s midterm elections, the cloud of uncertainty has been lifted, allowing stocks to resume their recovery from the October sell-off,’’ said Sam Stovall, chief of US equity strategy at CFRA.

Tuesday’s split decision of Democratic House and Republican Senate puts the kibosh on any tax cut that President Trump was proposing for the second half of his term.

So the middle cla$$ gets $crewed again, and what's with the self-internalized Jewi$h $upremaci$t terminology?

Goldman Sachs on Wednesday said it does not expect any tax legislation over the next two years.

‘‘Having gotten tax cuts, spending increases and deregulation in the past two years, the market is glad to take two years of stasis now,’’ said Ed Keon, chief investment strategist at QMA.

As long as "the market" is happy.

Michael Farr, a Washington investor, said he expects tempests between Trump and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.’’

do not!

Nancy and Maxine Waters should circle the wagons daily,’’ Farr said. ‘‘I think we go back to a no-budget world of continuing resolutions and threats of government shut downs.’’

He expects that House Democrats will not be friendly to the financial sector.’’

Waters as new chair of the House Financial Services Committee is no friend to Wall Street,’’ Farr said. ‘‘Those companies will have to watch their backs.

She may have to watch hers!

Looking ahead, the one place Trump and Democrats may find common ground is infrastructure. Both sides have shown willingness to pass legislation on that, as it reaches into every corner of the country and gives both parties something to brag about.

So they can "maneuver for public favor while looking toward 2020?

RelatedVoters approve billions in bond issues

For school construction and infrastructure upgrades, including road and bridge repairs, proving that the voter's heart is in the right place even as his/her wallet is stolen.

Construction, materials and industrial stocks, including Honeywell and United Technologies in addition to Caterpillar, could benefit from a big infrastructure program that includes ports, airports, roads and bridges. That would be good for growth, but not good for the federal deficit as it would require the government to borrow more money. Investors also like Democrats as a check on Trump trade policies.

As I always say, CUI BONO?

Farr agreed that infrastructure may be common ground for both parties, but there isn’t much else the two sides share.’’

Immigration and trade still largely fall under the president’s purview and will likely continue without much change.’’

He also expects some news to be made from special counsel Robert Mueller in the near future.

‘‘He was quiet pre-election,’’ Farr said. ‘‘Finally, markets don’t have a lot in this election to derail them or further ignite them. Caution is warranted.’’

He is on today's front page. These two article were found on pages C4 and C5.


As was this one:

"Banks could face tighter scrutiny under Rep. Maxine Waters" by Ken Sweet Associated Press  November 08, 2018

NEW YORK — Come January, the banking industry is going to be on Representative Maxine Waters’ time.

With Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, the California Democrat is expected to become chairwoman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the nation’s banking system and its regulators.

Waters is no friend to the nation’s biggest banks and Wall Street, and has been a vocal critic of President Trump and his administration. She has called for more regulation of banks, and has opposed Trump’s political appointees moving to roll back regulations on banks and other financial services companies. 

Impeach 45!

With a Republican-controlled Senate and Trump in the White House, it is unlikely Waters’ proposed regulations on banks will make it into law. However, it’s also much less likely that any new deregulatory bills get through, either.

Where Waters will likely have the most power will be in her subpoena and investigatory powers that come as head of the committee.

One particular target for Waters will likely be the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Banks and their executives also are more likely to be called to testify in front of Congress. Democrats have been increasingly vocal about bringing scandal-plagued Wells Fargo in front of Congress again to discuss some of the bank’s more recent missteps.

I'm tired of photo ops for campaign purposes.

There’s also likely to be more scrutiny of Deutsche Bank, which has been the primary financier of Trump’s business entities since before he became president.....

Awright, you $ee where that's going.


I wonder if anyone will ask her about OneUnited (there was a probe and she was cleared).

Also see:

What the Democratic takeover of the House means for health and medicine

I a$$ume it means the $ame as for the "market."

Somerville Hospital apologizes after death of woman outside

She couldn't get over the wall. That's why they didn't let her in.

The midterms are over, but the lessons continue

For that you have to flip back to the front page:

"Jeff Sessions is forced out, raising concerns about Mueller probe" by Peter Baker and Katie Benner New York Times   November 08, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, replacing him with a loyalist who has echoed the president’s complaints about the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and will now take charge of the inquiry.

Sessions delivered his resignation letter to the White House at the request of the president and Trump tapped Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, as acting attorney general. In that capacity, Whitaker assumes control of the Russia investigation, raising questions about the future of the inquiry led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Whitaker, a former college football tight end and United States attorney in Iowa, and a onetime Senate candidate in that state, has previously questioned the scope of the investigation. In a column for CNN last year, Whitaker wrote that Mueller would be going too far if he examined the Trump family’s finances. “This would raise serious concerns that the special counsel’s investigation was a mere witch hunt,” Whitaker wrote, echoing the president’s derisive description of the investigation. Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents related to Russia.

Until now, the investigation has been overseen by Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, because Sessions recused himself in March 2017, citing his active role in Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Democrats quickly demanded on Wednesday that Whitaker also remove himself from taking charge of the inquiry, citing potential conflicts of interest, including his criticisms of the Mueller investigation, as well as his connections to a witness in that investigation, Sam Clovis, a former Trump campaign aide. In 2014, Whitaker was the chairman of Clovis’s unsuccessful campaign to become Iowa state treasurer.

“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said in a statement.

Justice Department ethics advisers may be asked to weigh whether Whitaker should recuse himself. If he were to agree to do that, Rosenstein would continue to oversee the special counsel.

The ouster of Sessions came just a day after midterm elections that handed control of the House to Democrats, dealing a major blow to Trump for the final two years of his term. Republicans preserved their hold on the Senate and increased their majority slightly, making it likelier that Trump will be able to confirm a replacement, but House Democrats have made clear that they plan to use the subpoena power that will come with their majority to reopen the lower chamber’s own investigation into the Russia matter.

Well, he won't be meeting with Putin now, and Pompeo postponed the meeting with North Korea. 

Hope you are happy now.

John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, called Sessions before the president’s postelection news conference Wednesday to tell the attorney general that Trump wanted him to step down, the administration official said. Trump, who did not speak with Sessions himself, ducked questions about Sessions’ fate at the news conference.

Sessions then had his letter, which was undated, delivered to the White House. “Dear Mr. President, at your request I am submitting my resignation,” he wrote.

Whitaker’s ascendance to the top of the Justice Department shows how much loyalty means to Trump. The president has long regarded Whitaker as his eyes and ears inside a department that he considers an enemy institution.....

He was Sessions’ chief of staff, and who is Matt Whitaker again?


Also see:

Sessions’ ouster throws future of special counsel probe into question

It will just be thrown into the House.


"Rudy Giuliani’s lavish spending, including thousands of dollars a month on cigars and jewelry for a new love interest, undermines his claim that he can’t afford to pay his soon-to-be ex-wife support of $63,000 a month, her divorce lawyer told a Manhattan judge. Giuliani, who’s known President Trump for decades and is one of his fiercest defenders in cable news appearances, sat quietly in a pinstriped suit and took notes while Bernard Clair, his estranged wife Judith Nathan’s attorney, spoke animatedly about the luxury lifestyle the couple once shared. Giuliani’s assertion that he can’t afford to pay Nathan is also undercut by the millions of dollars he’s earmarked to earn this year and his decision to work for free as President Trump’s lawyer, Clair said. Giuliani’s lawyer, Faith Miller, said Nathan had mischaracterized some expenses. “It seems both parties spend money on certain expenses that most Americans wouldn’t,” Justice Michael Katz said. “But that was their lifestyle.” 

So that is why he hasn't been on TV much.

"Women mark a night of victory and path to change" by Stephanie Ebbert Globe Staff   November 07, 2018

It was their pragmatism that carried the day.

The wave of motivated women who ran for office this season dominated Tuesday’s midterms, setting records for female representation from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill in election outcomes that marked a new Year of the Woman in politics.

In Massachusetts, women’s ranks in the Legislature increased from 24.5 percent to 28.5 percent. In Washington, Congress will get at least 35 female newcomers — a figure that exceeds that first vaunted “Year of the Woman,” which followed the 1991 Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into sexual harassment alleged by Anita Hill against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. The US House — which Democrats claimed as the majority party, thanks in large part to female victories — will have more than 100 women for the first time.

“In spite of the challenges they may have confronted, campaigning as newcomers, they did deliver,” said Kelly Dittmar, a scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “They not only reached a record level of representation, but they were a significant factor in lifting the House from red to blue.”

The anti-Trump fervor that animated many newcomers’ campaigns did not carry all Democrats to victory; see Stacey Abrams in the Georgia governor’s race, Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke in Texas, or gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum in Florida, but many female candidates who channeled their frustration with male-dominated governance into campaigns of their own met huge success, logging a series of notable firsts on every level.

In New Hampshire, Safiya Wazir, 27, is believed to be the first former refugee ever elected to the state Legislature, after knocking off a longtime Democratic incumbent in the primary and a Republican Tuesday night. Her family fled the Taliban in Afghanistan when she was 6 years old.

Maine elected its first woman governor. Janet Mills, who had served as attorney general, will succeed the combative outgoing Republican Paul LePage. Meanwhile, Republican Kristi L. Noem became the first female governor of South Dakota, and Democrat Laura Kelly turned the Kansas capital blue, beating the conservative, Trump-aligned Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach in the race for governor. All told, nine women were elected governor — matching the record set in 2004 and matched in 2009.

Everyone knows why Gillum lost.

RelatedParties split governors’ seats in states that sent Trump to the White House

Connecticut Republican Bob Stefanowski, after leading for much of election night, conceded to Democrat Ned Lamont, and in Wisconsin, the Associated Press projected Democratic State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers the winner.

Looks like they got even with Walker because the race was deadlocked before Milwaukee delivered for Evers with late absentee ballots, more than 45,000 of them.

Congress got its first Muslim women members in Rashida Tlaib, a former Michigan state legislator, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota; and its first two Native American women, Deb Haaland of New Mexico and Sharice Davids of Kansas. Texas, which had never before elected a Latina to Congress, sent two — Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut will be the first black woman to represent her state in Congress. and Ayanna Pressley, the Boston city councilor who upset 10-term incumbent Representative Michael Capuano in the primary, became the first woman of color elected to represent Massachusetts in Washington, D.C.

See: Final Tip of the Capuano

In an interview Wednesday morning, Pressley said she’s excited to join what looks to be the most diverse incoming congressional class in history; however, Pressley added, “None of us ran to make history. Only to make change.”

You better turn back to the bu$ine$$ pages again.

“2018 is so much more than a year of the woman. It’s part of a movement that has been building for years and will change the face of politics in this country,” said Andrea Dew Steele, founder and president of Emerge America, a national organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office.

But it won't change the $ub$tance.

In Massachusetts, women claimed a record number of seats in the House — 46 out of 160 — and inched up their total in the Senate to 11 out of 40. That boosted women’s overall representation in the Legislature to an all-time high — 57 members, or 28.5 percent of the House and Senate.

Women’s activists say they want to increase women’s representation not only for fairness’ sake, but also to increase the diversity of perspectives in government.

“We do not change the face of politics unless we literally change the face of politics,” said Becca Rausch, 39, a Democrat who toppled incumbent state Senator Richard Ross in her first legislative campaign.

Rausch was one of several female newcomers who upset Republican legislative incumbents.....

The last thing we need in this state is the get bluer!


Maybe a name change would help: 

"The Girl Scouts of the United States of America filed a trademark infringement lawsuit Tuesday against the Boy Scouts of America for dropping the word ‘‘boy’’ from its flagship program in an effort to attract girls. The Girl Scouts is among a number of major youth organizations in the nation seeing declines in membership in recent years due to competition from sports leagues and busy family schedules....."

They are all registering as Independents like me.

"Powerful Mass. Democrats show willingness to work with Trump" by Liz Goodwin and Libby Berry Globe Staff  November 07, 2018

WASHINGTON — With Democrats taking over the House for the first time in eight years, Massachusetts’ all-Democratic delegation stands to regain clout in the Capitol, with two likely chairmen poised to help shepherd the Democratic agenda in the chamber, but they and their party will face a conundrum when coming up with that agenda — do they try to work with the unpopular president or satisfy their fired-up base with obstruction and aggressive oversight?

The two likely chairmen from Massachusetts say they’re willing to work with President Trump on some areas, signalling the new House majority is at least publicly rejecting the “resistance” label now that they’re poised to take charge, but Tuesday’s election results mean a dramatic realignment of power in Washington, with Democrats gaining control of the House of Representatives — and its subpoena power — for the first time since the Tea Party-propelled Republican victory in 2010.

Yet despite the victory, the country remains divided.

Republicans, who largely opted for the “obstruct” route after that takeover of the House, have trouble believing Democrats would risk working with Trump, given a majority of their voters say in polls they would like to see the president impeached, and the appetite for a big bipartisan deal likely won’t be huge within the GOP either, if Democrats are hauling Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and other Trump fixtures in front of House committees for grueling oversight hearings.

Did you see who Trump watched the returns with?

Democrats have already expressed interest in subpoenaing Trump’s tax returns, re-booting the House Russia investigation, and digging into whether Trump’s businesses are profiting from foreign governments, but some Democrats see a political upside for Democrats in attempting to deliver on promises Trump didn’t keep.

They never learn their lesson, do they?

Democrats will walk a fine line in attempting to deliver concrete policy changes, which would require bipartisan support and the president’s signature, while also conducting the aggressive oversight that’s sure to alienate the White House and their Republican colleagues.

At the heart of this debate will be the newly empowered Massachusetts delegation, which is riding this blue wave into the best position on Capitol Hill it has had in decades.....

To hand out pork!



Ex-Texas Rep. Steve Stockman gets 10 years for conspiracy

He bilked at least $775,000 from conservative foundations, and yet he still won.

Either way, Trump wins:

"A win in the Senate and a loss in the House both spell victory for Trump" by Jennifer C. Braceras   November 07, 2018

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California may have won reelection, but she is arguably Tuesday’s biggest loser. Her handling of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings was an embarrassment to the ordinarily decorous Senate and ruined any chance her party had of retaking the upper chamber.

Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri all voted against Kavanaugh and lost their races. Florida’s Bill Nelson also opposed Kavanaugh and is likely to lose his seat as well. Montana’s Jon Tester, another Kavanaugh foe, was able to eke out a win, but West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, the only “Red State Democrat” to vote for Kavanaugh, also won.

Even in Tennessee, where the GOP held onto the seat being vacated by Republican Senator and Trump critic Bob Corker, the Kavanaugh hearings may have tipped the balance. The race between popular former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen and Republican congresswoman Marsha Blackburn was neck and neck until the Kavanaugh hearings, and although Bredesen said he backed Kavanaugh, Tennessee voters understood that a Democratic Senate would mean gridlock on judicial appointments.

Democratic analysts and #MeToo activists who predicted that Kavanaugh’s confirmation would lead to a backlash against Senate Republicans were wrong. To the contrary, it mobilized an army of conservative voters, many of whom are not particularly thrilled about the Republican in the White House and were not originally enthusiastic about this off-year election. Polling data indicate that Feinstein’s 11th-hour attempt to sink the nomination by bringing forward a decades-old claim she had sat on for months woke a sleeping giant, nearly wiping out the 10-point enthusiasm advantage held by Democrats in July. The significance of this shift cannot be overstated. Feinstein’s mistreatment of Kavanaugh not only angered Trump’s base but brought legions of principled Never-Trumpers back into the Republican fold — at least for the time being.

Put simply, the Democrats overplayed their hand, and while they tried mightily to spin these midterms as a national referendum on Trump, moderate to conservative voters saw it as a referendum on fairness, due process, and the over-reach of the #MeToo movement.

To be sure, the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, but that was to be expected. In the past 100 years, only two presidents have held the House in their first term (Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 and George W. Bush in 2002). The interesting aspect of the contest for the House is not that the Democrats took control by a relatively slim margin, but that they did so by defeating moderate Republicans such as Barbara Comstock from Virginia. In defeating these members, Democrats have eliminated the very Republicans most likely to compromise on policy. And many of the new Democratic additions are radical spit-fires like democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, who will only increase the partisanship in the House. Meanwhile, the members likely to assume House leadership roles and committee chairmanships are the same polarizing figures who have held power in their caucus for decades: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters of California, and Jerrold Nadler of New York, to name a few.

Ironically, while the media will be loath to admit it, this is perhaps the best possible outcome for President Trump: With many of his GOP critics gone, Trump’s influence with Republicans in both chambers grows stronger, and with the increase in GOP senators, no longer must the White House bend over backwards to accommodate moderate Republicans like Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

At the same time, divided government may rein in many of Trump’s worst impulses and force him to moderate his rhetoric, while providing him with the perfect political foil. As comedian Dennis Miller put it last night, “Paul Ryan is ostensibly a friend who can only make Trump look bad. Pelosi is an enemy who can only make Trump look good.” Ultimately, and much to the Democrats’ chagrin, all of this will only increase Trump’s prospects for reelection in 2020.Advertisement

Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that even when Trump loses, he wins.


They are blaming the boomerang effect of the Kavanaugh nomination for failure:

"How the GOP stole the ‘Kavanaugh effect’ from the Democrats" by Joan Vennochi Globe Columnist  November 07, 2018

On Election Day, the name of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was not on any ballot, and the drama surrounding his confirmation hearings seems long ago, but President Trump and his fellow Republicans are crowing about the “Kavanaugh effect” — a powerful political undercurrent that helped turn what could have been a deep blue Banzai Pipeline wave into something weaker. It’s not a figment of their imagination. It’s real, and it happened because Republicans successfully changed the Kavanaugh storyline from one of Democrats taking a principled stand against a powerful man to one of Democrats committed to pure character assassination.

Immigration played a big role in the Senate races, with Democrats losing deep red states where Trump whipped up hysteria over a “caravan” of poor people coming from Central America.

It may have been a political stunt, but the point was made

Be afraidlock your doors, and call the sheriff!

While it generated less media attention, Trump also worked to whip up hysteria over accusations of sexual misconduct lodged against Kavanaugh. At Wednesday’s post-election press conference, the president said voters rebuked Senate Democrats for their handling of the Kavanaugh hearings by expanding the Republican Senate majority. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also dubbed the outcome “Kavanaugh’s revenge.” Democrats who voted against Kavanaugh — Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri — all lost their races. Joe Manchin, the Democrat from West Virginia who voted for Kavanaugh, won reelection.

What’s the lesson? Democrats should not be bullied into abandoning the #MeToo cause. Legitimate issues were raised about Kavanaugh, but Democrats clearly underestimated the political fallout associated with raising them. Given the price to pay, they should have distanced themselves from accusers who were not properly vetted.

Christine Blasey Ford has not backed down from the searing testimony she gave on Sept. 27: that she was “100 percent” sure that Kavanaugh assaulted her while they were both high school students. I still believe her, and also believe Kavanaugh’s raging response showed a temperament ill suited for the Supreme Court, but there are problems with other accusers. Judy Munro-Leighton, another woman who sent an e-mail to the Senate Judiciary Committee claiming that Kavanaugh and a friend “sexually assaulted and raped me in his car” has admitted that her charge was false and made “to get attention,” and on the preelection campaign trail, Trump, worked hard to conflate her accusation with Ford’s.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has referred Munro-Leighton to the Justice Department and the FBI for potential prosecution for making false statements to the committee. Grassley also referred Julie Swetnick and her lawyer Michael Avenatti to the Justice Department to investigate charges that they conspired to fabricate accusations against Kavanaugh. Swetnick initially said Kavanaugh was involved in a gang rape at a party, but backed down from that charge during an interview with NBC. Avenatti, who maintains a combative Twitter presence, denies Grassley’s charges.

Wall Street Journal editorial argues the Senate Judiciary referrals are important “because Democrats say they plan to keep harassing Justice Kavanaugh. They vow to reopen investigations if they win the House or Senate, and they may try to dig up more allegations without evidence. It’s important to expose and sanction accusers who lie.”

What should happen now with Kavanaugh? On one hand, he’s fair game, but for every action there is a reaction, and Democrats must be very strategic in what they pursue. With Kavanaugh, once they lost the narrative that they were standing up for women and principle, they lost the high ground forever. Relitigating Kavanaugh’s nomination to the court won’t change that. It only gives Republicans another card to play.

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh spent Election Day sending signals that he might break with fellow conservative justices on a high-profile death penalty case.

As reported by The Washington Post, the new justice joined his liberal colleagues in questioning the state of Missouri about the best way to execute a man with a rare medical condition without violating the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“Are you saying even if the method creates gruesome and brutal pain, you can still do it because there’s no alternative?” Kavanaugh asked.

He’s swiftly writing the new narrative of who he is and what he stands for — and with that, making allegations from the confirmation hearings feel like even older news.

Brett who?


You can blame the pre$$ for that:

"Trump meets, berates the press; Assails CNN’s Acosta over ‘fake news’" by Michael M. Grynbaum   November 08, 2018

President Trump lashed out at journalists during a news conference at the White House on Wednesday, renewing his attacks on media organizations that he says report “fake news” as “the enemy of the people” just moments after pledging an end to partisan politics in the wake of a grueling midterm election.

Well, they fired first and then followed up on it before he responded.

Can't we all just get along?

In tense exchanges on live television, Trump denounced a network correspondent as very rude, told several reporters to sit down, and at one point stepped away from his lectern, suggesting he was prepared to cut off the session — a rare formal East Room news conference — because of queries he disliked.

Not for the first time, Trump appeared most incensed by a question from Jim Acosta of CNN, who challenged Trump’s characterization of a caravan of migrants in Mexico as an imminent “invasion.”

“Honestly, I think you should let me run the country — you run CNN,” Trump replied. “And if you did it well, your ratings would be much better.”

When Acosta attempted a follow-up, about the special counsel’s investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign, the president’s cut him off.

“That’s enough, that’s enough,” Trump said. “Put down the mike.”

As cameras rolled, a White House aide leaned toward Acosta and attempted to remove the microphone from his hands. Acosta held on and declined to sit, as Trump continued to berate him.

I saw that, and felt sorry for the poor young lady who was visibly uncomfortable and was assaulted by Acosta.

The president frequently clashes with reporters, particularly Acosta, whose confrontational style has sometimes rankled his pressroom colleagues, but Trump also enjoys the jousting of a live news conference, and he had submitted to a string of interviews in the run-up to Tuesday’s vote.

By Wednesday, though, Trump seemed more ornery than outgoing.

He did seem rather upset about the previous night's results despite the posturing on Twitter and such.

Attacking the press usually redounds to Trump’s benefit: Many of his supporters are fired up by denunciations of news organizations as liberal elites. Jon Favreau, the “Pod Save America” host and former aide to former president Barack Obama, lamented Wednesday’s exchanges as playing into the president’s hands.

“Can we not make today into another Trump v. Media fight?” Favreau wrote on Twitter. “This is exactly what he wants.”

The president’s “enemy of the people” language has been blamed for rising threats against journalists, and press freedom groups say Trump’s words have emboldened autocrats around the world to crack down on reporters. CNN issued a statement standing by Acosta and calling Trump’s attacks on the news media “disturbingly un-American.”

He just talks turkey as truthfully as he can, and it's up to the media to break the chain.

“While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it,” the network said.

Trump ended his appearance by saying: “It isn’t good what the media is doing. I am being treated very unfairly, and I’m fighting back — not for me but for the people of this country.”

At one point Peter Alexander of NBC News piped up in Acosta’s defense, telling the president that he was “a hardworking, diligent reporter” who “busts his butt.”

Trump shot Alexander a look. “I’m not a big fan of yours, either, to be honest,” the president said.

Even in a tense room filled with journalists, the line earned some laughs.....

They didn't close ranks for him?



"Some European leaders see Democratic House gains as a blow to Trump’s ‘rudeness’ and ‘racism’" by James McAuley Washington Post  November 07, 2018

PARIS — European officials wasted no time in casting the results of the US midterm elections as a rebuttal to the ‘‘rudeness’’ and ‘‘racism’’ of President Trump.

Don't they mean a rebuke?

Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first vice president, declared that the gains that Democrats made in the House of Representatives were a clear sign of growing rift between Trump and the American people.

‘‘Inspired by voters in the US who chose hope over fear, civility over rudeness, inclusion over racism, equality over discrimination,’’ Timmermans wrote in a Twitter post. ‘‘They stood up for their values. And so will we.’’

In France, government officials were mostly silent, in advance of Trump’s visit to Paris for the anniversary of the 1918 armistice later this week, but Pierre Moscovici, a former French finance minister and now the EU’s commissioner for economic and financial affairs, took his own swipe at Trump, playing on the president’s self congratulation.

‘‘The Democrats win the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years despite powerful Republican gerrymandering,’’ he wrote in a Twitter post. ‘‘Donald Trump is right: ‘Tremendous success tonight.’’’

That's France, huh? 


"French President Emmanuel Macron waded into controversy Wednesday by praising a general who helped win World War I but became a top Nazi collaborator in World War II — comments that triggered outrage among French Jews. The 40-year-old French president is gaining a reputation for making awkward or shocking statements......"

No wonder he and Trump get along so well!

Elsewhere in Europe, the reaction was more restrained, albeit still critical of Trump.

Speaking Wednesday morning, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Europe would do well to respond to Trump’s ‘‘America First’’ line with ‘‘Europe United.’’ Maas also said he had high hopes for what Democratic gains in the House might mean.

‘‘We’ll see to what extent that has an impact. We hope that this cooperation will be constructive and lead to constructive results in international politics,’’ he said.

Just a bunch of hot air coming from Germany.

In Russia, the results were also muted.

Asked whether the Democratic gains in the House would further complicate relations between Washington and Moscow, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said that it was unlikely.

‘‘It’s hardly possible to complicate them more. Everything is already quite complicated,’’ Peskov said.

‘‘As for the rest, despite the phobias that exist in the United States, Russia has not meddled, is not meddling, and is not going to meddle in electoral processes in any country in the world, including the US,’’ he added, referencing the conclusion by the US intelligence community that Russian has done precisely that.

We haven't seen nor heard a word of any meddling at all this time out! 




"The mayor of Warsaw on Wednesday banned radical Polish nationalists from marching on the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence due to security concerns. The move prompted Polish leaders to quickly draw up plans for an inclusive march Sunday that could be embraced by all citizens. It was a significant about-face for the populist government, which has been trying not to alienate far-right voters but then faced the strong possibility that the main news from Poland on its centennial would have been about extremists or even violence. It seemed the Warsaw mayor, normally a political rival from the opposition centrist Civic Platform, offered them a way out of their predicament. The event drew heavy media coverage and international criticism. Lawmakers in the European Parliament called the participants ‘‘fascists’’ — a label that infuriated the conservative Polish government, whose leaders said most people marched with the national flag and without the racist banners. They mostly praised the march as an expression of patriotism, with one minister calling it a ‘‘beautiful sight.’’ This year, Poland is celebrating the centenary of its independence, gained in 1918 at the end of World War I. 

Never a big deal when Israel celebrates theirs!

Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz noted that the chief organizer of the Warsaw far-right march is a leader of the National Radical Camp, which traces its roots to an anti-Semitic movement of the 1930s. She said she has asked the government to outlaw it but has been ignored. Many other Poles have resented how the nationalists in recent years have managed to draw so much attention on Independence Day, overshadowing other celebrations. 

Like whose? 

The end of World War I is also being marked on Sunday in Paris, where dozens of world leaders will gather, including host French President Emmanuel Macron and counterparts Donald Trump of the United States, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In Britain, Armistice Day will be commemorated Sunday with a solemn ceremony at the Cenotaph in London that will be attended by Queen Elizabeth II. Special tributes to fallen and injured servicemen will also include a Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey in London....."

Looks like your only sanctuary may be New York City, which has the largest concentration of Jews outside Israel.

"Hungary’s ruling party guards place in EU center-right fold" by Lorne Cook Associated Press  November 07, 2018

HELSINKI — Hungary’s ruling party pledged Wednesday to respect democracy and the rule of law as center-right parties across Europe weighed whether to eject it and the Hungarian prime minister from the biggest and most influential political group in the European Union.

Fidesz party lawmakers made the commitment at a congress of the European People’s Party group, where an ‘‘emergency resolution’’ was introduced partly to establish where the stridently nationalist party’s sympathies lay.

Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is preparing for the most direct step yet in a drive to subdue the country’s judiciary, ignoring efforts by the European Union to push back against such moves.

The Cabinet in Budapest plans to take political control over a newly created high court for public administration. The EU’s top court just weeks ago ordered Poland to halt a court revamp that would open the way for the ouster of supreme court justices. The two illiberal allies are under monitoring for alleged rule-of-law violations, which may result in the suspension of their voting rights.

The proposed court will be split from the supreme court and operate as a separate entity under the justice minister, according to a bill posted on parliament’s website on Tuesday. The head of the new court will report directly to the minister, who will pick new judges and control the institution’s budget.

What kind of confirmation hearings do they have over there?

The EPP, the group uniting Europe’s center-right parties, has been wringing its hands over whether to keep Orban and Fidesz in the fold or cut them loose before European Parliament elections in May.

Far-right and populist parties have made big gains in EU countries as their leaders bicker over what experts say should be an eminently manageable level of mass migration. Orban’s government erected razor-wire fences to keep migrants out as hundreds of thousands of people — most of them refugees from Syria and Iraq — tried to enter Europe in 2015.

It's okay on the border of Gaza, though.

EU lawmakers voted in September to pursue unprecedented action against the Hungarian government for attempting to undermine the bloc’s democratic values and rule of law. However, some EPP insiders fear that pushing Orban out might push him into the arms of far-right parties such as nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) or France’s National Rally.

Others worry that a policy of containment might undermine the EPP and shift it further right.

A recent battle between Brussels and Italy’s populist government over the country’s budget plans and stalled negotiations over Britain’s departure from the EU in March are other sources of concern that the European project could face chaos after the May parliamentary polls.

Time to get out and end the globalist "project."

In their resolution in Helsinki, delegates underlined that the group’s values were ‘‘being challenged in an unprecedented manner’’ and said populist and nationalist extremism were among the biggest threats ‘‘to freedom and democracy in Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain.’’

Not terrorists or the Russians?

The two-day meeting — involving government leaders from Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Slovenia, and the EU’s main institutions — is a chance for the group to thrash out its strategy to hold power in the polls and nominate its lead candidate.....


RelatedZuckerberg refuses to appear before international parliamentary committee

Also see:

European Central Bank sticks to plan to end stimulus

And that will be the end of the EU.

Boeing issues warning on potential instrument malfunction after Indonesia crash 

It was a NEW PLANE!

Japan med school to admit dozens of unfairly rejected women

Why are they acting like Saudis?

Cameroon Students Have Been Released, Officials Say

After being held hostage for two days, the circumstances of the mass kidnapping were mired in confusion.

Must have something to do with the coup.


Closer to home:

"Question 1 was an acid test for Democrats, showing voters what politicians were made of. Some, like Joe Kennedy and Elizabeth Warren, catered to special interests by backing the yes campaign. Others, like Seth Moulton and Maura Healey, didn’t. A handful of Democrats, including rumored House speaker hopeful Ron Mariano, actively spoke out against the nurse staffing measure, which was soundly defeated. Remember which side politicians took — their stance on Question 1 said a lot about their willingness to buck partisan politics and put the public’s interest first."

So sayeth the Globe, but at least the ballot question raised awareness of nurse stress and burnout.

Maybe if there were more woman on the board.

"The electorate is restless . . . even in Winthrop and Revere. Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo got a warning shot Tuesday when voters in his district handily passed two nonbinding questions aimed at him. Why? DeLeo essentially made himself speaker for life in 2015 and raised his own pay in 2017 by about 50 percent. Voters called for, among other things, a return to the eight-year term limit for the speaker and a repeal of his pay hike. A second successful ballot measure tweaked DeLeo on the issue of climate change."

That one got way more attention from the Globe.


"One question called for pushing the state representative from the district to support repealing a $45,000 increase in annual compensation for the speaker, prohibiting “elected officials and their senior staff from engaging in any lobbying activity for five years once they leave office,” and “a rule that no member shall hold, for more than eight consecutive years, the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives.” That measure implicitly took aim at DeLeo for successfully pressing to erase the term limits for his speakership in 2015 and hike his own total yearly pay by about 50 percent in 2017; and for presiding over a Legislature where lawmakers and their aides routinely become lobbyists......"

Those are two of the 9 political lessons from the 2018 election.

For Governor Charlie Baker, a chance for Mr. Fix-it to repair his broken party

So how does Baker use his political capital?

Here are some suggestions:

"Ballot measures taking aim at climate change fall short" by Brady Dennis and Dino Grandoni Washington Post  November 08, 2018

Efforts to nudge the nation away from burning fossil fuels and toward harnessing renewable source of energy were rejected by voters Tuesday across a swath of resource-rich states in western states.

The failure of environmental ballot measures in Arizona, Colorado — and the likely defeat of a proposal to impose fees on carbon emissions in Washington state — underscore the difficulty of tackling a global problem like climate change at the state and local levels.

I've already had my say.

Even as a United Nations-backed panel of scientists recently warned that the world has barely a decade to radically cut its emissions of greenhouse gases that fuel global warming, the Trump administration has been busy expanding oil and gas drilling and rolling back Obama-era efforts to mitigate climate change. Environmental advocates and Democratic lawmakers have placed much hope in state and local governments to counter those policies, but while Tuesday saw the election of numerous candidates dedicated to climate action, individual ballot measures aimed at the same goal largely floundered.

I wonder how the new Congre$$ will address it. 

Perhaps shut down the war machine?

Voters in Arizona, one of the nation’s most sun-soaked states, shot down a measure that would have accelerated its shift toward generating electricity from sunlight. Residents in oil- and gas-rich Colorado defeated a measure to sharply limit drilling on state-owned land.

Even in the solidly blue state of Washington, initial results looked grim for perhaps the most consequential climate-related ballot measure in the country this fall: A statewide initiative that would have imposed a first-in-the-nation fee on emissions of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent of the greenhouse gases that drive global warming.

But not the far more damaging methane that is let loose by fracking operations.

While voters in King County, home to Seattle, turned out heavily in favor of the measure, residents across the rest of the state largely opposed it. One bright spot for environmental advocates came in Nevada, where voters appeared poised to pass a measure similar to the one Arizonans rejected.

Since President Trump took office, a handful of states — notably California — have vowed to serve as a counterweight on energy and environmental policy to the president, who frequently dismisses the government’s own findings that human activity is warming the globe. In September, California codified into law a commitment to produce 100 percent of its electricity from carbon-free courses by 2045, but Tuesday’s ballot-question results demonstrate the limits to which other states are willing to follow California’s lead — particularly when campaigners against the proposals emphasize the potential impact on pocketbooks.

SeeCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown joins Doomsday Clock group

The new position ensures Brown will stay relevant on the global topics he cares most about.

‘‘What we learned from this election, in states like Colorado, Arizona, and Washington, is that voters reject policies that would make energy more expensive and less reliable,’’ Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, an industry-backed free-market advocacy group, said in a statement.

Supporters and proponents poured an eye-popping amount of money, more than $54 million, into the fight over the future of energy in Arizona. Only two Senate races in the country — in Florida and Texas — saw more spending this year.

The influx of cash underscores how much both sides believed was at stake.....

At least Mainers voted to close the shrimp fishery.


One if by air, two if by you-know

What's the carbon footprint on that anyway?

Okay, let's get you home:

"Uber driver ordered held on $10,000 bail after charged in rape of woman in Dorchester" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff   November 07, 2018

A woman’s birthday celebration at a Boston karaoke bar became a nightmare early Tuesday when an Uber driver picked her up outside the establishment and then allegedly raped her in Dorchester, officials said.

It is time to BAN BOOZE!

The report was filed in Dorchester Municipal Court, where the suspect, Michael J. Squadrito, 40, of Everett, was arraigned on a rape charge. He was held on $10,000 bail and remained out of public view during the hearing. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Boston police Commissioner William Gross said after the hearing that he thought the bail was too low.

“What message are we sending to victims?” Gross said. “It should be $100,000.”

Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Darcy Currey said in court that Squadrito was arrested Tuesday in Chelsea, and that he claimed the sexual encounter was consensual.

Squadrito said the woman requested intercourse and that footage from a camera in his car would corroborate his account, Currey said; however, detectives reviewed the camera’s memory card and couldn’t locate any footage of the incident, according to Currey.....


She should have rented a car instead.


Voters in San Francisco approve tax on large businesses to help homeless

Like in $eattle?

Woke up to this:

Gunman kills 12 at bar in Calif., police say

A hooded gunman dressed entirely in black opened fire on a crowd at a country dance bar holding a weekly ‘‘college night’’ in Southern California, killing 12 people and sending hundreds fleeing including some who used barstools to break windows and escape, authorities said Thursday. The gunman was later found dead at the scene.

Here is what we know so far: It was a toy gun, the entire event was caught on a flip phoneand it could not have been Aaron HernandezBen Carson, or Santa Claus.

Yeah, I am getting tired of the endless, mind-bending, agenda-pushing psyops.

Now you can sit down and enjoy your meal:

"Low-income Americans aren’t frequenting fast-food chains as much, and that’s hurting Wendy’s Co. Wendy’s shares tumbled on Wednesday after the chain reported late Tuesday a drop in North American same-store sales last quarter, missing estimates. Despite steep discounts at its restaurants — and across the industry — customer traffic and sales have weakened as low-income customers eat out less and spend less when doing so."

Did you $ee who is picking up the $lack?

"More than one-third of adults in the United States patronize fast-food restaurants and pizza parlors on any given day, and the higher their income, the more likely they are to do so....."

Bon appetite, readers!