2017 Politics open thread, January 1-7

Happy New Year!  On January 20th we will have a new president.  I’m sure you have some thoughts on that.

 

Advertisements

56 thoughts on “2017 Politics open thread, January 1-7

  1. That was before the Post quietly retracted its “Russians hacked Vermont utility” story.
    But for my daily Breitbart reading, I would have missed the retraction.

  2. A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials

    A code? Eye roll…

  3. But for my daily Breitbart reading, I would have missed the retraction.

    Of course you read Breitbart!

  4. On hacking, I saw the documentary Zero Days about our efforts to hack into Iran’s nuclear program. In recent days it has been all about Russian hacking but we too have waged cyberwarfare.

  5. Interesting argument about the “Russians hacked the election” narrative. Former member of Congress Tom Tancredo points out that the US and other western powers do the same thing.

    “United States government sponsorship and funding of interventions in foreign elections has been official government policy for at least 50 years since the Cold War began in the 1950s, and it has had bipartisan Congressional support. Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent ANNUALLY on such activities.
    Simply put, there is yet to be any evidence of Russian “hacking” of the 2016 election. And yet, the White House and the media establishment is intent on planting that idea in the American political conversation as if it were a proven fact. Trying to influence American public opinion is not the same as manipulating the election results and the attempt to confuse and confound the two is an insult to the American people.”
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2016/12/31/tancredo-biggest-fake-news-story-year-russia-hacking-2016-election/

  6. Kate – he definitely set a good example and people did admire the good job he and Michelle did raising their kids in the glare of the White House. It however didn’t translate into inspiring people to behave in the same responsible fashion. My personal feeling is that the ton of hope that was present when he was first elected didn’t morph into hoped for societal changes.

  7. He certainly has a lovely family. But it’s hard to look past the arrogance and condescension with which he regards anyone who disagrees with him.

  8. “ I do not understand how people don’t like Obama (as opposed to how I do understand not liking his policies).”

    I don’t know if I can help you understand, but heck I’ll try anyway. :) For one thing, the arrogance about which another Obama supporter (I believe) posted here last week is unappealing. More than that arrogance, he must have known that with that comment he made (that he would have won against Trump) he was kicking HRC while she was down.

  9. But it’s hard to look past the arrogance and condescension with which he regards anyone who disagrees with him.

    How would you classify the President-Elect?

  10. I wouldn’t want to have a drink with either of them.
    Trump is obnoxious in many ways but not IMO as arrogant as Obama.

  11. Congressional Republicans say Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence claim they’ll essentially delegate the substantive agenda to House Speaker Paul Ryan and other leaders on Capitol Hill, though the president-elect already has had several screaming phone calls with top Republican members of Congress.

    Al Hunt is the only one reporting that… Is it not
    true or is everyone on the call at this point not even willing to go off the record? The idea that Trump is going to be Ryan’s stooge is absurd so it’s at least plausible.

  12. “Trump is obnoxious in many ways but not IMO as arrogant as Obama.”

    Can someone please clean up the tea I just spit out across my keyboard when I read this?

    Literally, T believes he is smart enough not to have to actually learn the critical information needed to do the job. When he is not making false allegations and misrepresentations, he actually threatens to sue people or worse if you disagree with him…. “lock her up!”

    Is it not arrogant to believe the ethics rules for holding office don’t apply to you?

  13. “Literally, T believes he is smart enough not to have to actually learn the critical information needed to do the job. ”

    Saac, there’s always:

    “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

  14. Milo,

    T sure knows more about politics that Rep. Goodlatte. He’s not your congressman, is he?

  15. “HRC does seem to have aged better than Bill.”

    Empathizing with the previous discussion on aging and hair getting finer and a little more sparse with age, what is Hillary’s team doing to give her that full, thick mane at her age?

  16. Some people just have a lot of hair. My mom is older than HRC and has a lot more hair than HRC does and still gets hers thinned out when it gets cut. I suspect that I will never have thin hair. Perhaps when I am in my 70s I will finally be happy to have so much thick hair.

  17. Kate, you’ll be happy by 50. Sigh.

    I think Hillary just uses a lot of product.

  18. If you’re bored, it is very interesting to read the party platforms over the years. Well, the preambles, anyway. I was reading the Vanity Fair criticism of this year’s Democratic Party platform and went down a rabbit hole of party platforms. I’d post a bunch of links, but I think they’d put me in moderation. But http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ has a bunch of them, and check out the 1948 States’ Rights platform. Hard to see how you can support both “the racial integrity of each race” and “a minimum interference with individual rights”, since the right to choose whom to marry seems kinda fundamental. Then for fun google the Communist Party USA platform and also look at the 1950s and 60s Dem and Repub platforms.

  19. If four white people had been arrested for beating a black man, amidst racist ranting about Obama that they helpfully recorded on video, any doubt that they would be charged with hate crimes? And that the police would rush rather than decline to disclose the races of the victim and the assailants, which races were apparent on the video?

    “As the victim cowers with his back to the wall, someone can be heard repeatedly shouting, “f— Donald Trump” and “f— white people.”
    Throughout the 28-minute video — which focuses mostly on the young woman behind the camera — the group laughs, jokes and listens to music as the victim sits motionless on the floor. About halfway through, someone says the man “represents Trump,” and threatens to put him in the trunk of a car and “put a brick on the gas.”
    Police declined to give the race of the suspects or the victim. In the video, the suspects appear black. The victim appears to be white.

    Area North Detectives Commander Kevin Duffin said the department was weighing whether to bring hate crime charges against the suspects, saying it was not yet clear whether the attack was motivated by bias. “They’re young adults. And they make stupid decisions,” Duffin said. “That certainly will be part of whether or not we seek a hate crime to determine whether this is sincere or just stupid ranting and raving.” ”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/05/4-in-custody-after-group-beats-disabled-man-on-facebook-live-while-shouting-anti-trump-profanities-chicago-police-say/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_mm-chicago-245am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.abdb0b289a8f

  20. “They’re young adults. And they make stupid decisions,” Duffin said. “That certainly will be part of whether or not we seek a hate crime to determine whether this is sincere or just stupid ranting and raving.” ”

    I can kind of see what he’s saying. But I’ve never agreed with the idea of “hate crime” as a separate crime, anyway. Abduction, confinement, assault, torture…they’re already illegal. Motive can certainly be considered at trial or during sentencing, so why do we need a special crime in a separate category?

  21. 1) Do you think anyone here is going to defend those criminals?

    2) Hate crime laws exist mainly so that prosecutions can be moved from state venues to federal venues when the states aren’t protecting a specific class of victims. Is this a relevant case? You decide.

  22. “when the states aren’t protecting a specific class of victims”

    These should have been set and allowed to expire decades ago. Like the Voting Rights Act — it’s a non-ideal but necessary solution to correct an injustice, but the goal should be to make itself irrelevant and then phased out.

  23. Hate crime legislation allows prosecutors and politicians to pander to certain favored victims over others. If having black suspects, on video, declaring a racial motive for their brutality isn’t enough to trigger a hate crime charge, it’s hard to imagine what might pass muster.

    Also interesting to note that this is the section Chicago incident in which blacks were depicted on video assaulting whites with anti Trump rants. And though the mainstream media was quick to report on alleged anti Muslim attacks, most or perhaps all of them have been debunked as hoaxes.

  24. “And that the police would rush rather than decline to disclose the races of the victim and the assailants, which races were apparent on the video?”

    On the local news this morning, the races of all parties were given. And the police are referring a potential “hate crime” as part of the discussion. What are you protesting? That they didn’t specifically list the races of the victim and perpetrators in the news conference? What difference does that make? This seems like a reach.

    As far as the hate crime goes – could be classified as a hate crime because the victim has special needs as well?

  25. “could be classified as a hate crime because the victim has special needs as well?”

    Assuming that one supports the idea of a separate “hate crime” prosecution, shouldn’t there be some indication that the crime was at least partly motivated by that particular protected status of the victim?

    If I drive a truck through a Christmas market, is it somehow worse if one of the victims turns out to have been a half-Cherokee lesbian disabled veteran?

  26. “Assuming that one supports the idea of a separate “hate crime” prosecution, shouldn’t there be some indication that the crime was at least partly motivated by that particular protected status of the victim?”

    Agreed. If there was evidence though, would that qualify? I suspect that was a motivator, although maybe just because it was just easier to take advantage of the victim because of it.

  27. These should have been set and allowed to expire decades ago. Like the Voting Rights Act — it’s a non-ideal but necessary solution to correct an injustice, but the goal should be to make itself irrelevant and then phased out.

    I agree with your goal, but you’re saying that if you set an expiration date on these laws, then the underlying problems that created the need for them will magically fix themselves by the expiration date. It makes much more sense to wait until the underlying issues are resolved and there is no longer a need for the laws to decide when they can be phased out.

  28. And getting back to the article, and the original intent of hate crime prosecutions (let the feds handle it if the backward locals will not), why are the Chicago detective and Chicago PD involved in the decision?

  29. DD – No, it should be set to expire, and require an extension if they think it’s still needed. Like the Patriot Act. And the Voting Rights Act.

  30. “And getting back to the article, and the original intent of hate crime prosecutions (let the feds handle it if the backward locals will not), why are the Chicago detective and Chicago PD involved in the decision?”

    I’m not sure that they really are – do they just mean that they are cooperating with the State’s Attorney and the US DA’s office? The State’s Attorney’s office would decide what charges to bring if it is charged locally. I’m not quite sure how the Feds involvement is decided.

  31. Slate’s headlines, and even their openings are maddening. Someone needs to teach them the whole Inverted Pyramid concept of journalism:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2017/01/04/republicans_are_secretly_killing_the_mortgage_interest_deduction.html

    Once they get past the “You Republicans will rue the day you ever voted for this!!” the author completely pivots about halfway into the article and talks about how conflicted he is over the mortgage interest deduction, and concedes all of its disadvantages.

    Personally, I favor the whole idea. I also think the top-rated commenter made a good point that it carries a relative preference for taxpayers in low-tax areas by rendering irrelevant the state and local income tax deductions for many of those who live in areas where they consistently vote for high taxes.

  32. I am so confused. They aren’t proposing killing the Mortgage Interest Deduction at all, are they? They are talking about raising the Standard Deduction. Seems like the headline should be the elimination of the deduction for State and Local taxes. This really has nothing to do with the Mortgage Interest Deduction.

    “Had I known this tax change was coming down the pike, I might have kept renting. I certainly would have purchased a somewhat less expensive apartment.”

    But he isn’t losing anything? If you take out the elimination of the State/Local tax deduction out of the equation, if his itemized deductions were less than $24K, he gets a BIGGER tax break. If they were more – he gets to itemize like normal. He should be mad about that, not about the increase in the standard deduction. I would guess that the increase in standard deduction is net good for a lot of middle class people (even homeowners), not bad.

  33. Also, in the city where there is a large commerical base, my property taxes are extremely low compared to the collar counties and some of the more affluent suburbs. And there is no city income tax. I’m not sure I buy the blanket statement that this is “sticking it” to cities. My brother, who lives in a rural area, pays the same property taxes on his house as me. My house is worth > 4x as much. I would also pay 2X in income taxes in his rural state.

    My sales tax is higher, but I don’t deduct that anyway. And it doesn’t make up for the property/income tax difference.

  34. Ivy – Correct. He’d only lose the relative advantage compared to someone who isn’t paying quite as much mortgage interest.

    The headline could just as well have been about the elimination of the state/local tax deduction, or the charitable contributions deduction, and it would still be inaccurate. It’s more that the change would render the deductions irrelevant for a big slice of the middle class.

  35. Right Rocky? It’s really good for renters and people with modest homes. Lots of people will likely pa ysignifcantly less in taxes.

    This seems like it is a net loss only for a section of probably more UMC voters who will end up losing because of the deduction eliminations. For us, in 2017, we would probably lose since we do itemize over that amount and are not subject to AMT. But in future years, we could potentially win with this change since our mortgage interest is very quickly declining and the other deductions don’t add up to over $24K (our state taxes are very low & our charitable contributions are not in the 5 figures).

    The fact that it will hit UMC people more than anything makes me curious about the debate on this. Remember how quickly the 529 reform got killed?

  36. “The fact that it will hit UMC people more than anything makes me curious about the debate on this. Remember how quickly the 529 reform got killed?”

    Unlike Obama’s 529 elimination proposal, this is not “hitting” anyone. Of course, the lost revenue will have to be made up somewhere, maybe. Or just Starve the Beast. But nobody really has any cause to complain about the effect on their personal bottom lines. Slate was trying to say that the loss of the relative advantage of the mortgage deduction for that segment will cause a drop in housing prices. I see what they’re saying, and it will probably have some small effect, but I think that’s a good thing, as it makes housing more affordable, and I’ve always been opposed to the deduction in principle. Also, 99% of homeowners have no understanding of this nuance whatsoever. I think I’ve read that a large percentage of people with mortgages believe that they’re benefitting from the deduction even when they’re taking the standard deduction. So I don’t see that many people changing their real estate decisions based on this.

  37. Eliminating the ability to deduction state/local taxes and charitable contributions, even in concert with raising the standard deduction to $24K or even $30K, will absolutely have a negative tax consequence for some people. Like me personally. (that doesn’t mean that I necessarily oppose it though)

    “Also, 99% of homeowners have no understanding of this nuance whatsoever. So I don’t see that many people changing their real estate decisions based on this.”

    I completely agree on that.

  38. You’re right, I forgot that they actually do want to eliminate those deductions, which I realize is what you meant when you said that it should have been the headline. But I think the proposal is that this only happens in concert with a reduction in marginal rates.

  39. @Milo – I should probably read a better article on this proposal, especially if Trump is behind it because it’s likely to become reality. In theory – I am okay with eliminating deductions and raising the standard deduction. Simplification & eliminating the nudge for home ownership is okay with me.

    I’d have to think more about charitable contributions though. I’m iffy because of the potential downstream effects (lowering donations as a whole for non-profits). I DO think that people who take advantage of that understand that nuance a bit more.

    While I am not a fan of Trump, I would be surprised if he proposes changes to the tax law that would hurt me personally (or people like me).

  40. “changes to the tax law that would hurt me personally (or people like me).”

    Oh no, not a chance, not from either party. The GOP isn’t looking to raise taxes, and the Democrats have become far too dependent on the UMC that is heavily concentrated in affluent, inner-ring suburbs. If they lose those, they’ve got nothing on the national level.

Comments are closed.