jobs

An Abiding Question: Sinister or Stupid?

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Everett, Washington, 30 August 2016. (Detail of frame via YouTube)

“Take a moment to imagine the feeding frenzy that would exist right now if, just two weeks after the election, the Clinton Foundation quietly told the IRS it broke the law.”

Steve Benen

The msnbc producer and blogger has a point. For all the scandalmongering about family foundations, we knew before the election that the Donald J. Trump Foundation had some skeletons in its closet.

We might, then, turn to the Washington Post and the incomparable David A. Fahrenthold:

President-elect Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has admitted to the IRS that it violated a legal prohibition against “self-dealing,” which bars nonprofit leaders from using their charity’s money to help themselves, their businesses or their families.

That admission was contained in the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s IRS tax filings for 2015, which were recently posted online at the nonprofit-tracking site GuideStar. A GuideStar spokesman said the forms were uploaded by the Trump Foundation’s law firm, Morgan, Lewis and Bockius ....

.... In one section of the form, the IRS asked if the Trump Foundation had transferred “income or assets to a disqualified person.” A disqualified person, in this context, might be Trump―the foundation’s president―or a member of his family, or a Trump-owned business.

The foundation checked “yes.”

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A Tweet

Acknowledging that I would not disparage one for making the point, the question remains: Is there any reason we should find this surprising?

Steve Benen via Twitter, 5 December 2014

The Future, Revealed?

Jobs, jobs, jobs ... j'abortion!

We might for a moment pause to recall 2010. Republicans achieved a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, but the real story was in the state houses, where the GOP made astounding gains by hammering away at the economic instability their Congressional partners worked so hard to create.

And then they tacked away from jobs. As Rachel Maddow memorably put it, “Jobs, jobs jobs … j’abortion”. State-level Republicans passed record numbers of anti-abortion bills, knowing that most of them were unconstitutional. And it is certainly an old conservative scheme, to tilt windmills, lose, and then bawl that the sky is falling because the Constitution is Sauron and Democrats and liberals the armies of Mordor.

With many predicting a Republican blowout in the 2014 midterms, some are looking ahead to figure out just what that will means in terms of policy and governance. And some of those are Republicans.

Yet there is a week left; perhaps this isn’t the best time to be telegraphing the Hell they intend to call down upon the Earth.

Or, as Lauren French and Anna Palmer of Politico explain:

Conservatives in Congress are drawing up their wish list for a Republican Senate, including “pure” bills, like a full repeal of Obamacare, border security and approval of the Keystone XL pipeline — unlikely to win over many Democrats and sure to torment GOP leaders looking to prove they can govern.

Interviews with more than a dozen conservative lawmakers and senior aides found a consensus among the right wing of the Republican Party: If Republicans take the Senate, they want to push an agenda they believe was hamstrung by the Democratic-controlled chamber, even if their bills end up getting vetoed by President Barack Obama.

Their vision could create problems for congressional leaders who want to show they aren’t just the party of “hell no.” And while conservatives say they agree with that goal, their early priorities will test how well John Boehner and Mitch McConnell can keep the party united.

Two points: Swing voters can’t say they weren’t warned. And conservative voters complaining about gridlock should admit that’s what they’re after.

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The Man From Massacusetts … or … New Hampshire? Maybe Narnia?

Scptt Brown can't remember what state he's in.

One might wonder if Americans prefer to live in some sort of fantasy world in which Good and Evil are constantly dueling it out to no foreseeable end. A hard-fought, close competition is what we seem to prefer, and when it’s, say, sports, that’s probably just fine.

But here’s the analogy: What if the game is only close because one team gets more points each time they score?

Welcome to New Hampshire, where Scott Brown (R) trails incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) by about one and a half points, well within the margin of error. Nobody is quite sure why.

Maybe Shaheen doesn’t shower, or has halitosis, or something. It would be one thing to wonder about the idea that Mr. Brown has no jobs agenda, but he has also boasted that he shouldn’t.

It’s also really quite easy to pick on a former U.S. Senator who complains about his opponent’s outlook on “securing” the U.S.-Mexican border but quite literally never felt like showing up to his committee meetings on the subject. As a senator from Massachusetts, Mr. Brown attended exactly zero border security hearings for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Or maybe we might chuckle when he cannot remember legislation he sponsored.α

But let us pause for a moment to reconsider his tenure as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. The idea of carpetbagging in the twenty-first century is hardly rare, but one would expect that Mr. Brown could at least remember what state he is in. And forgetting that he’s not in Massachusetts, anymore, Toto, wouldn’t be so big a deal, except that he keeps doing it.

Really.

James Pindell of WMUR explains the latest slip:

New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown tried to politically navigate how he could run for office in the Granite State thirteen weeks after officially moving here from Massachusetts.

An FEC filing by U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown of New Hampshire, once again forgetting which state he is in.For the most part Brown has not let the move dominate the campaign, which has been about other issues. But then there are moments when mistakes are made.

The report was filed with the Senate last week, as required, but the Federal Election Commission has not put it online yet.

What a show.

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α Then again, he has every reason to want to forget. It’s a bit hard to pitch to a major voting bloc like, oh, say, women, when you have a record of sponsoring legislation trying to strip their rights of self-determination.

Oakes, Bob and Shannon Dooling. “Analysts Say Scott Brown Must Galvanize GOP Base In N.H. Senate Race”. WBUR. 15 August 2014.

Pindell, James. “Analysts Say Scott Brown Must Galvanize GOP Base In N.H. Senate Race”. WMUR. 23 October 2014.

The Republican Jobs Agenda

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH8)

“That’s the cruel irony in Boehner’s tweet. It would be funny, but it represents the massive economic damage that the Republican Party has unnecessarily inflicted on the country the past six years. And that’s not funny at all.”

Danny Vinik

It is easy enough to enjoy something that sounds like refreshing honesty from Speaker Boehner (R-OH8), an admission that the GOP does not have a jobs plan nearly four years after employment and economic concerns won Republicans a majority in the House of Representatives.

(1)(2)(3)(4)(5) #5pts4jobs→Speaker.gov/5pointsCertainly, there have been signs along the way, and many Democratic sympathizers have become familiar with the Maddowism, “Jobs, jobs, jobs, j’abortion”. But beyond the record number of reproductive health prohibition bills sponsored in the states since 2010, Republicans have managed to highlight their own dearth of ideas and actions on the employment front. Northeastern carpetbagger Senate candidate Scott Brown, formerly of Massachusetts and now seeking office in New Hampshire, recently explained his outlook: “Here’s the thing. People say, ‘What are you going to do to create jobs?’ I am not going to create one job, it is not my job to create jobs.” Supporters will certainly point to the rest of the quote, which is about keeping government out of the way because it’s an individual person’s job to create his or her own job. And while that is a tremendously unrealistic outlook in and of itself, a twist of rhetoric conservatives have used for years, Brown’s amateurish phrasing reminds of two things at least; first, the former Senator still isn’t ready for the office, and more importantly to our consideration at the moment, that unreadiness opened him to a Kinsley gaffe. Remember that to Republicans, child labor prohibitions, workplace safety regulations, anti-harassment rules, and the need to pay wages in general are all examples of government getting in the way. If only we would kick the kids out of school and send them to work in unsafe factories and mines where they are vulnerable to bullying, harassment, and exploitation by others, everything in the world would be great. Really, isn’t this the sort of argument we should have settled about our labor politics a generation ago? Except, of course, that some aren’t ready to let go of their hopes for such regal privilege in American society, so here we are amid a slow economic recovery from damage inflicted by related conservative economic policies, Republicans are doing everything they can to stall the recovery and inflict more damage against their society, and all so they can complain about the unemployment rate.

Can we at least stop pretending Republicans are decent people? Sure, say what you will on behalf of the rank and file voters, but this has been going on so long that if they wish to claim some sort of ignorant detachment from the actions of their chosen political representatives they are either lying or in need of psychiatric intervention.

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