US Politicking

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jennypenny
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Re: US Politicking

Post by jennypenny » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:26 am

If you don't know much about the Uranium One deal and why it's in the news, here is the short story and the long story.

It's curious that the reporting has been off on this one. One connected DC reporter told me "I'm just not seeing what the story is here." It seems odd that this story isn't getting more attention given all of the current paranoia surrounding Russia. One reason could be political, but the problems seem to stem from Justice and not the Administration at this point (which included Obama and Clinton at the time). If it turns out that the FBI is at fault and didn't communicate the information properly, that would be an interesting wrinkle since the head of the FBI during this period was none other than Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel overseeing the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by Tyler9000 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:12 am

jennypenny wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:26 am
It's curious that the reporting has been off on this one. One connected DC reporter told me "I'm just not seeing what the story is here." It seems odd that this story isn't getting more attention given all of the current paranoia surrounding Russia. One reason could be political, but the problems seem to stem from Justice and not the Administration at this point
No insider info from me, but the theory floating around that I find plausible is that the justice department is being intentionally cagey about U1 because it's already a focus of the Mueller investigation. People assume Mueller was complicit because he was FBI director at the time, but for all we know the deal was done over his objections and now he is uniquely positioned to make things right. Because the media relies on leaks to function and generally has run with the Russia/Trump narrative for a year now, they're pretty much blind to things going on behind the scenes and are easily distracted by an occasional strategically-dropped anti-Trump leak.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by jennypenny » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:01 am

Trump is usually pretty good at reading the mood of the public at large (if not the political mood within DC), but he totally misread public sentiment wrt Moore. I took this picture while picking up groceries this morning. For those not familiar with NYC media, it's rare to see both the Daily News (liberal-leaning) and the NY Post (conservative-leaning) running with the same headline ...

Image

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Re: US Politicking

Post by BRUTE » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:40 am

"pervnado continues"

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Re: US Politicking

Post by plantingourpennies » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:35 pm

Pervnado intensifies.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by Kriegsspiel » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:19 pm

Pervnado climaxes.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by BRUTE » Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:46 am

it is super effective

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Re: US Politicking

Post by jennypenny » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:02 pm

The Flynn stuff is going to be a circus. Ignore the typically partisan politicians and those who like to capitalize on others' missteps and watch the statements of people like Dianne Feinstein for clues into which way this might go for Trump.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by BRUTE » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:56 am

so.. tax cut?

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jennypenny
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Re: US Politicking

Post by jennypenny » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:47 am

I think you mean tax reform. ;) I'm not sure anyone will end up paying less when all is said and done.

The Senate bill that passed last night is closer to the House bill than anticipated, so I see no reason for it to get hung up in committee. They'll probably get a final version onto Trump's desk by Christmas.

Top tax rates in the two plans were similar as well as corporate tax rates, so no hang ups there. The AMT was put back in albeit with a higher limit. A $10K deduction for local taxes made it into the final cut. Small business pass throughs saw their limits raised to be a little more in line with corporations. 529 deductions were extended to include K-12. The ACA individual mandate was repealed.

Universities were hit hard with taxes on endowments and taxing tuition waivers for grad students. Some have argued privately that it's a penalty for universities taking such a hard swing to the left. Others have said that it's because universities are functioning like for-profit enterprises now with tuition rates that demonstrate that. Regardless, grad students are the ones who are being made to pay the price. The reasoning used is similar to taxing other waived income like forgiven debt.

FYI ... Individual tax cuts phase out in 2025.

Nothing about this seems simpler to me, but we haven't seen the final product yet.

-------

ABC was forced to retract their Flynn story. They tried to call it a clarification and got vilified, even within the press. They then went with 'correction' but ended up pulling the story and tweets and putting out new material. Ross is probably toast. This isn't his first big mistake and media outlets are on their heels right now.

Basically, Ross reported that 'someone' (Kushner) told Flynn to contact the Russians during the campaign. What Flynn actually said was that it was after the election but during the transition. That's a key distinction. While still technically not allowed, it's kind of customary. Think of all the diplomats that went to Trump Towers during the transition.

That said, the optics still aren't great. If they'd met with the Russians at TT like everyone else, it would look more routine. That wasn't going to happen, so reaching out quietly isn't out of the question, but when you add in Flynn and Manafort's business dealings and Trump asking Comey to ease up on Flynn, it looks bad even if there was nothing sinister about it. IMO, Ross inadvertently helped Trump because his over-reporting and retraction makes it look like the press is trying to make things look worse than they are.

In the end, I'm not sure much was learned yesterday. One key point though is that Flynn, like Papadopolous, only plead guilty to lying to the FBI. That gives the appearance that their testimony is being used for Mueller to work his way up the food chain. That doesn't necessarily mean that he'll find anything more, it only gets him through another door. The WH response yesterday was possibly telling. They looked surprised and didn't respond with their usual bravado. That could mean that they know Kushner is in trouble. It could also mean that they don't know what's going on and were going off of press reports (which were bad during the afternoon).

If Kushner gets caught up in it officially (and it's pretty clear he withheld information from the FBI) it would be a big blow. He is key to the WH's middle east strategy.* For all his faults, Trump is known for being close to and protective of his family. I wonder if he's close enough to Kushner to fall on his sword to save him. I doubt it, but his behavior is hard to predict. It probably also comes down to how loyal Kushner is, too.

* Kushner is making some headway in ME discussions. ME diplomats like working with him. They also like the fact that he's Trump's son-in-law. They prefer doing business with family members. They assume that it's more likely that Kushner has Trump's ear and is truly speaking for him (therefore negotiating on better footing) than some random US official.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by CS » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:44 pm

@jp

The thing that burns me is that there is an amendment for tuition deduction for religious schools - while taking graduate tuition deductions away. That is setting the scene for a constitutional challenge.

It is clear the corporations will pay less - short term at least, as well as pass through businesses (aka rich people). I say short term - because the long term reaction to the last time something like this happened (1929, when again, those in power passed tax cuts that personally benefited them), was to jack up marginal tax rates. The rates for individuals went as high as 90%. I'm not sure what the end top tax rate was for businesses.

And it was only with the huge economic boon that the US gained with World War II that we ultimately recovered. That war made us relatively rich. I cannot see those circumstances repeated - or at least I hope not.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by Tyler9000 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:36 pm

jennypenny wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:47 am
ABC was forced to retract their Flynn story. They tried to call it a clarification and got vilified, even within the press. They then went with 'correction' but ended up pulling the story and tweets and putting out new material. Ross is probably toast. This isn't his first big mistake and media outlets are on their heels right now.
You called it! ABC News suspends Brian Ross for 4 weeks over erroneous Flynn story

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Re: US Politicking

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:42 pm

JP knows some shit.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by TheWanderingScholar » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:12 pm

Yeah, this is really going to put a hamper on the US technological edge, screwing over graduates in the process.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by jennypenny » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:36 pm

Bye bye Franken.

Someone (likely Schumer) obviously gave the word this morning that Franken was out and it was ok for Democrats to speak out against him. I've heard that Franken was told he was out and this morning's twitter chorus was to emphasize that point. I'm not sure what the trigger was today. If I had to guess, I would say it had something to do with Moore. It's an interesting coincidence that it came right after McConnell started to back away publicly from expelling Moore if he wins. I wonder whether there was a backroom deal to expel Moore and Franken was the price Dems had to pay. Many, including Democrats, have been unhappy with the lack of public censure of Franken and Conyers. No one is equating Franken and Moore, but the optics were bad and the number of Franken accusers keeps rising.

Today's action by Democrats probably shuts the door completely on HRC's return to politics. It also sets the stage for some strong female contenders in 2020. Last I checked, none of the male contenders like Booker and Sanders have chimed in today on Franken. That silence is not going unnoticed.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by Tyler9000 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:10 pm

jennypenny wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:47 am
ABC was forced to retract their Flynn story. They tried to call it a clarification and got vilified, even within the press. They then went with 'correction' but ended up pulling the story and tweets and putting out new material. Ross is probably toast. This isn't his first big mistake and media outlets are on their heels right now.
Since then, Bloomberg's story that Mueller has subpoenaed Trump's bank records from Deutsche Bank was shown to be false and just today CNN's story that Trump received Wikileaks information before it was made public was quickly debunked by simply looking at the date of the email that was ten days later than they reported. Either the press is so twisted in knots over Trump that they jump on any negative story they can, or they're being deliberately set up with false leaks. Or both. No matter how you spin it, media credibility is at an all-time low.

Oh -- and Moore's most prominent accuser admitted today that she personally wrote part of the yearbook note that she & Allred previously presented as his own writing. Funny detail to forget. Things will get really interesting if Moore wins and Franken attempts to reverse his retirement.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by jennypenny » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:54 pm

It's a strange situation. On the one hand, there are always missteps and corrections in journalism. The only difference now is that there is a lot more scrutiny on the media and those missteps receive a lot more attention. OTOH, the level of hysteria among journalists is embarrassingly high right now. It's not simply that they are all dying to get the goods on Trump. A bigger part is that they're trying to be the first to get the goods. Of course, their hysteria means they assume there is an impeachment-worthy story just waiting to be uncovered.

I don't know what to believe anymore. It's possible that there are people deliberately feeding bad information to reporters. There are certainly plenty of candidates. It could be that reporters are surmising too much from statements they receive off the record. It could be that editorial standards are slipping, either because they are caught up in the hysteria as well or because the firehose of news over the last year has strained staff to the point of breaking.

I've heard some crazy stuff this week that I wasn't sure I should post. One person insisted that Franken is so pissed about being forced to resign that he is threatening to 'take other Democrats down with him' by disclosing misdeeds. Two people told me that they were told to take time off over the holidays because if we go to war with NK, no one will get any time off for a while.

Speaking of NK ... preparations are under way. The feeling is that the Olympics in SK might force everyone's hand.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by jacob » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:20 pm

It's not just possible. It's verified. A couple of weeks ago, an operative from Project Veritas got caught trying to plant a false Roy Moore accusation to discredit the Washington Post. It backfired when reporters found out.

The strategy I use (as a news-consumer) is to:
  • Always check the other channel. If it's not even being mentioned on their_side, then our_side is probably trying to sensationalize some minor point taken out of context. BTW http://memeorandum.com is a good algorithmically driven way to see both what's being talked about and who is talking about it. Click "+" next to Discussion to expand to see the headlines. Note how enormously biased the headlines often are.
  • If their_side isn't reporting it, wait one or two days before drawing any conclusions. If there's nothing or it's all sensationalism, it'll die quickly (use memeorandum link to see/follow). Much as the "media is under attack", people are paying an unprecedented (or "unpresidented") amount of attention to media posts and clickbait is rampant these days. That doesn't mean journalists forgot to do their jobs. Just that there are a lot of non-journalists out there too now and laymen can't tell the difference.
And the strategy I use to avoid appearing biased in public is:
  • If you habitually find yourself outraged by something their_side did, try to honestly imagine how you would react/perceive the same action if it was done by your_side. Try to apply the same standards to their_side as you do to your_side and vice versa. Suppose Franken was a Republican? Suppose Moore was a Democrat? And so on? Would you react the same?
  • If you habitually find yourself "waiting for more evidence" or not being really convinced about the accusations leveled against your_side, again try to apply the same standards to their_side before believing the first story you hear. Your_side will tend to downplay anything directed at your_side while playing up anything directed at their_side. Change the channel to average out. Or wait a few days as per the above recommendation.
  • If you habitually find yourself only talking about the bad things on their_side, change the channel more often.
  • Beware of the false equivalence fallacy. Bads exist in degrees. "Whataboutery" was a standard Soviet tactic to deflect attention, but one wrong doesn't automatically cancel out another, because they're not all equally wrong.
I recommend this: https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Matters-Ci ... 0399581162

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Re: US Politicking

Post by jennypenny » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:39 pm

Sorry, I wasn't clear. What I meant was that there is supposition that there are (normally) credible sources within government and elsewhere deliberately giving reporters bad info, or being deliberately vague enough that with a nod or a wink can send a reporter running for a microphone or keyboard with the wrong idea in their head. I've heard this is happening on all sides at the moment.


I should have mentioned in my post that the timing of the winter olympics is particularly troubling because a mass exodus from the Administration is expected at the one year mark.

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Re: US Politicking

Post by Tyler9000 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:44 pm

I do find it plausible that the leaks are real but the news is fake.

That can take two forms. First, insiders may be deliberately leaking bad intel to advance their own interests as JP suggests. Or more interestingly, the Trump team could be feeding enticing (but ultimately false) info into the political system to identify leakers. In both cases, Trump takes the opportunity to publicly embarrass media outlets who rush to publish anonymous sources with no corroborative investigative work. After all, neither of those methods of leaking fake news would matter if media organizations were doing their jobs and checking facts before pushing rumors as breaking news.

Here's what Rod Rosenstein said back in August: "We’ve seen an increase in the number of leaks, and we’re going to respond appropriately and try to establish an effective deterrent. Criminal prosecution isn’t the only way to prevent leaks but it’s an important part of the solution."

https://youtu.be/MwoIMptFVBY?t=1m6s

I certainly have no insider connections to back that up. It just fits the pattern.

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