Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The United States of Corporate America

I have a question about this from Patrick Martin (WSWS):
this from Patrick Martin:
The tax cut legislation backed by the Trump White House is more than just a trillion-dollar windfall for the super-rich. The bills passed by the House and Senate in different forms will now be reconciled in a special conference, but both versions contain provisions that will devastate public education while promoting the growth of private and religious schools.
The largest single impact will come from drastically reducing the deduction for state and local income taxes, as proposed by the House, or eliminating the deduction altogether, as proposed by the Senate. Both versions put a $10,000 cap on the deduction for state and local property taxes. These two forms of taxation supply the bulk of the funds for public education.
School districts across the country have warned that without the federal deductions to cushion the impact, it will be much harder to maintain existing state and local taxes to support public schools, let alone win the approval of millage increases. If state and local taxes are to offset the loss of the federal deduction lowered (or simply frozen at present levels, which means a reduction over time in real terms), the result would be a sharp fall in funding for public schools.
According to the National Education Association, the largest US teachers’ union, the House bill would threaten $250 billion in funding over 10 years, the Senate bill would threaten $370 billion in funding over the same period. At an average cost of $100,000 per employee, counting wages, health care, taxes and pension contributions, that means 250,000 to 370,000 school jobs would be at risk.
In other words, the Trump tax cut could have as devastating an impact on education as the 2008 Wall Street crash. The deep recession which followed the crash led to huge spending cuts by state and local government, resulting in the elimination of 366,000 school jobs during the ensuing six years. The Obama administration’s “stimulus” program did little or nothing to offset these drastic cuts.

Why are we calling it "the Trump tax cut"?

If there was this huge opposition by Democrats or Republicans or both, I could see calling it "the Trump tax cut."

But the reality is that the duopoly's gone along with it.  

It is the United States of Corporate America's tax cut.

That can't be stressed enough.

I know it's word choice and I'm not going to slam Patrick Martin over it.  He's a great writer.

I just feel like as there is less and less difference between the duopoly parties, we shouldn't miss out on any chance to make it clear who they work for.


Where was the Official Democratic Party Outrage when President Obama was opening public lands and waters to drilling right and left?

Don't be fooled: both Wall Street parties have put profit before planet.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017.  Corrine Brown has been ordered to surrender herself by January 8th to begin serving her five year prison term, female veterans in the US continue to battle mistaken perceptions, the VA tries to reassure with regards to their doctors, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron talk Iraq, and more.

Starting in the United States:

Judge said Carla Wiley of Virginia was the 'least culpable' of the three but that it was too serious a crime to get just probation because 'she helped herself to $82,000' out of the fake charity account.

Judge Corrigan said victims were unlike most fraud victims. None were financially ruined or devastated by the lost donations. The motivation for donating was more about staying in Brown's good graces rather than benevolence.

"Brazen barely describes it" said judge about not only taking money from the charity for personal use, but then filing for tax deductions claiming she'd given large sums TO the charity.

After her conviction told in past interviews she is 100% innocent. Today, the judge said because the former Congresswoman is unrepentant, she doesn't get the same leniency as person who is full of remorse.

Carla Wiley (charity director) sentence: 21 months in federal prison. 3 years of supervised release.

Ronnie Simmons sentence: 48 months in federal prison.

Former Congresswoman Corrine Brown sentenced to federal prison for five years after being convicted of 18 counts of wire, tax and mail fraud. We're live right now outside the courthouse on ABC25 NBC12

MONDAY MORNING READ | Corrine Brown and her cohorts in fraud scheme to be sentenced Monday morning.

(Via FCN)

Corrupt Corrine Brown is going to prison.  She's been ordered to surrender herself at the start of the new year.

How different life might have been for her if there were competency tests imposed upon members of Congress.  Maybe, while in prison, she can apply herself and learn the English language?

What did Corrine in?

She was fleecing, she was stealing, she was moving along at a fast pace.

Might have gotten away with it a little longer or even forever.

But she decided that she and her wig hats deserved to be the lead Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Was she qualified?

Hell to the f**k of no.

But she wanted it.

Not because she was a fighter for veterans.

She spent the bulk of her time blaming veterans in Committee hearings.

It was their fault, she would insist, that they didn't get their education stipend, their fault that the check was supposed to have been issued in the fall and now, in the new year, they were still waiting.

Time and again, when the VA screwed up, Corrine would excuse the VA and blame the veterans.

Excuse me, after Bully Boy Bush was thankfully out of office, Corrine would excuse the VA and blame the veterans.

How different life might have been for her if, in the fall of 2014, she'd taken a damn hint.

Instead, she demanded that she be named the Democratic leader of the House Veterans Affairs Committee -- even if she couldn't quite pronounce those words -- and Nancy Pelosi sided with her.

From November 19, 2014, "Corrine Brown is not fit to serve:"

 If Democrats want to hand Republicans the 2016 elections, there's no better way to do that than making the ridiculous US House Rep Corrine Brown the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Brown is not just a joke, she is an embarrassment for the party.

That doesn't start -- or end -- with her ugly wigs -- which are dirty and smell when you're close to her.  That smell's not a surprise, they usually look like rats nests.  They're often turned the wrong way as well.

A little while ago, an outlet rightly made fun of her ridiculous wigs and there was this effort to stop the criticism by whining "sexism."

Sexism is real and it exists.

You're wearing 30 different wigs in public in 9 months and wearing trashy wigs at that will result in people talking.  And it has nothing to do with your gender.

People have made fun of Donald Trump's equally ridiculous wigs for years.  Donald Trump, newsflash, is not a woman.

If she just wore one bad wig throughout, people would probably feel sorry for her.  But she's basically ordered the entire Eva Gabor catalog and with all that wig purchasing, she should have been able to get one decent wig.

More to the point, how about one age appropriate wig?

Corrine's not going on tour with Rufus.

Everyone laughs at her wigs.

No one laughs at her speaking.

A member of Congress should conduct themselves as a professional.  Corrine's been in Congress for two decades.

That's more than enough time to learn the English language.

Corrine is a special kind of stupid -- the kind where you could get by if you stuck to very simple words but Corrine wants to show off what she thinks she knows so she uses "words" that aren't words.  The more syllables in a word, the greater chance Corrine's going to re-invent the word.

And when she's on a tear -- against Bully Boy Bush or whoring for Barack -- she starts speaking so fast and constants go from slurred to completely absent with her voice rising to a level that only certain dogs can hear but you know she's finally done speaking because she's got that moronic grin on her face like she made a contribution and an important point.

Veterans [know] that stupid grin.

They see it a lot in the last years as she repeatedly blames veterans in public hearings.

That's why veterans hate her.

I'm writing this piece because veterans can't stand her.  I'll be at a veterans hearing later and I was comparing notes last night with veterans from three different VSOs and the issue of Brown was brought up.

I couldn't believe it because it seems like just yesterday we were all fighting to get Mike Michaud appointed as the Democratic leader on the House Veterans Affairs Committee -- Mike over Corrine.

And now we've got to do it again?

(Mike's retiring.  Veterans support Tim Walz -- himself a veteran -- for the post.)

Corrine is infamous for flaunting her stupidity for the greater whoring.

So when veterans weren't getting their checks for college in the fall of 2009, to whore for the VA -- and Barack, let's not forget that's the only reason she whored -- Corrine blamed not the VA, she blamed veterans and then she tried to blame universities.

It was the VA.

And this would come out in a House hearing and Brown wouldn't bat an eye.

But grasp that when the government was screwing over the veterans (then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was told in February 2009 that his problem was going to happen and he refused to inform Congress or the American people, that's screwing over veterans -- when you know months ahead of time that this is going to happen and you say nothing and you do nothing, that's screwing over veterans), Corrine wanted to 'share' that the problem wasn't the VA, it was veterans.

I don't know if she's out clubbing or what, but she gets her 'information' at two and three in the morning while flipping through cable channels -- she brags about this repeatedly in Congressional hearings which doesn't make her look smart at all.  As a member of Congress she should have better intelligence available to her but she drops basic cable the way some other members work in shout outs to the Washington Post or the New York Times.

She's an uninformed idiot and a member of Congress who needs to take speech classes but thinks so little of her position that she's okay with being a public joke.

If her district's okay with it, that's their business.  Up until she tries to become the Democratic leader of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, that's her business.

But this member of Congress has spent the last six years, as the VA has been rocked by one scandal after another, covering the administration and blaming veterans.

We've called her out here for that repeatedly and sometimes an e-mail comes in from someone saying, "I read what she said, you are wrong."

No, you did not read what she said.

You read her prepared written remarks.

Corinne has difficulty reading them and often veers away from them.

In addition, because we have called her out repeatedly, in the last three years she's had these pro-veteran written statements that go completely against what she says in her so-called questioning.

They aren't questions.

They're attacks on veterans and lengthy defenses of the VA and the White House.

Veterans know this and that's why they oppose her.

Until she started attacking veterans, I didn't spend any time mocking her wigs or noting her inability to speak accurately (forget properly -- she uses words she doesn't know the meaning of and uses them wrongly).  But when she began attacking veterans in public hearings, we called her out.

Even so, I still try to avoid her as much as possible and just ignore her when I'm reporting on hearings here.

If the Dems are stupid enough to make her their leader on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, I will be doing two reports on every HVAC hearing I attend -- the basic report and then the one chronicling the embarrassment that is Corrine.

And while the right may or may not join in, I will be the one doing the takedown because I've been at the hearings since 2006, all but the field hearings.  And I have notes and I will easily point to how, for example, an issue mattered to her in 2006 (when a Republican occupied the White House) but with a Democrat in the White House, the issue doesn't just fail to matter to her, she now attacks veterans for it.

Corrine Brown has betrayed veterans repeatedly over the last six years which is why she does not have support from the veterans community.

In addition, she's an embarrassment to Congress with her inability to dress in a professional manner or to speak the English language.  The party puts her in that chair and they become the laughing stock.

And she shoots off her idiotic mouth against veterans in the middle of a hearing as Ranking Member?  You better believe the news media will have to cover it and the train wreck that's been largely hidden for two decades becomes very public with Americans wondering why the Democratic Party hates veterans?

That's already a possible them[e] for the GOP to run with thanks to the nonsense Nancy Pelosi just pulled on Tammy Duckworth.

Tim Walz is the choice of veterans, not Corrine Brown.

Brown has done nothing to earn a leadership role and she's done nothing for veterans in the last six years.  Or actually ever.  She's never led on a veterans issue her entire time in Congress.

To now put her in leadership of the Veterans Affairs Committee would be a slap in the face to veterans.

Again, I wasn't aware this was an issue until last night.  A number of us lobbied last time around and knowing what her peers think of her, I thought it would never come up again.  But she wants the spot and if the Democratic party's stupid enough to give it to her, everyone's going to suffer.

Including Corrine who just painted a bull's eye on her back.  It's coming, Corrine, trouble's coming.

Okay, so we printed the whole thing.  But trouble was coming, she was warned.  She painted that bull's eye on her back and now she's going to prison.  Life could have been so much different for Corrine.  She was basically Mel Brooks and Madeline Kahn in HIGH ANXIETY at the airport.  Remember?  They need to get through security.  He's wanted for killing a man.  So they talk really loud and are annoying.  No one wants to deal with them or look at them, so they just get waived through.  That's what it was with Corrine.  No one wanted to talk to her, she just got waived through.  And then she made the mistake of screwing over veterans.

Now it's off to prison for Corrine.

A felon.  Convicted on multiple count.

She says she doesn't want that on her tombstone but it doesn't appear she's going to have a choice.

Staying with the topic of veterans, Chris Cassidy (BOSTON HERALD) reports:

Women are the fastest growing demographic among veterans, but the hospitals that treat them don’t have enough female doctors, perform enough outreach or offer sufficient counseling and addiction recovery services for them, women vets told the Herald.
“The female veterans I serve feel the VA is not doing enough to support female veterans,” said Roseann Mazzuchelli, the veterans agent in Winthrop and a 21-year Army veteran. “They do a great job, most of the time, at helping out the guys, but we’re all service members.”

Women made up just 6 percent of the veteran population in 2000, but that figure is expected to grow to 16 percent by 2040, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs report earlier this year.
Meanwhile, female veterans described to the Herald a VA culture that’s still woefully behind the times.

Page Policastro was seeking help with alcoholism but there were no female specific groups and, she explains, serving with men had meant showing no vulnerability or "weakness" as a form of self-preservation and survival.  Another female veteran attempting to deal with addiction as well as trauma left the program "after being ridiculed by the men in the program."  And on trauma, women who have been harassed and/or assaulted have attempted to get counseling only to be assigned a male counselor and told no female was available.

They also have to battle the perception that they are not veterans.  This can be something as simple as not being believed at Dukin' Donuts on Veterans Day or being overlooked when donations come in for veterans ("Mach3 razors and Old Spice deodorant" lead the donations).

Perceptions are shaped by what we see.  So it does matter, as Ava and I pointed out last month, when that crap-ass show THE PUNISHER (NETFLIX) shows 13 veterans and only one is a woman and she doesn't even have any lines.

Perceptions on VA medical care continue to be problematic with allegations that some doctors hired by the VA were hired after malpractice actions were taken against the doctors.  Apparently to address issues of compentance, the Secretary of the VA Tweeted the following:

"Veterans and their families can learn where their health care professionals received their medical training and where they got their professional degrees." via

Still on Tweets and the US government, Vice President Mike Pence Tweeted the following:

Important dialogue with Bashar Warda, the Archbishop of Erbil, about ' commitment to directly assist persecuted Christians & religious minorities in Iraq. I’m heading to the Middle East this month to discuss U.S. plans to accelerate funding those impacted in the region.

And yesterday, the White House issued the following:

For Immediate Release

Readout of President Donald J. Trump's Call with President Emmanuel Macron of France

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Emmanuel Macron of France. The Presidents agreed on the need for the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to resolve their differences through dialogue. President Trump and President Macron also discussed the path to peace in the Middle East. The conversation confirmed the close relationship between the United States and France as allies committed to stability in the Middle East and North Africa.

The conversation follows Macron's call over the weekend for the Shi'ite militias to be disbanded.  It's a call Donald Trump has yet to make publicly.

Lastly, HRW's Kenneth Roth calls attention to justice concerns in Iraq:

Chaotic, haphazard trials of ISIS suspects in Iraq, beyond violating due process, are making justice for most serious suspects less likely: report.

The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley and LATINO USA -- updated: