Voters Should Be Aware Of GOP Tax Scheme, Higher Inflation Would Follow

Here is why I have a clear difference with Republicans who desire, should they gain the majority in congress, to make the tax cuts and adjustments enacted in the 2017 overhaul of the tax system permanent in the country. I know these wild-eyed Trumpsters with one car and a mortgage cheer, not knowing the tax scheme under the single term of Donald Trump was never aimed to assist them. FAR from it!

What high school Econ 101 taught us in classrooms is that such a move would further stimulate the economy at the same time the Federal Reserve is trying to rein in demand against 40-year-high inflation. The tax cuts in the 2017 law added $1.9 trillion in government debt through 2028. The method of paying for these cuts will be deficit-financed, and as such those ideas chased on the campaign trail with rabid fervor about tax policy will play into inflation. I thought the GOP voters were asking for inflation to be dealt with by voting for Republican candidates!

Readers of Caffeinated Politics know I have been closely following British pols for much of this year, and from the day Boris Johnson imploded, applauded the words of Rishi Sunak. He comes to mind again as the midterm elections draw near. It was his reasoned tone and views on not committing to tax cuts and playing to the lowest common denominator that caught my attention and respect. He refused to play to the Conservative Party, and while they opted for Liz Truss and her fanciful ideas about fiscal policy, he had the last laugh. I say this as the Brits found out a great deal about what deficit-financed tax cuts can do. In their case, it brought down an entire government!

Measures of such enormity should be discussed with more seriousness by the GOP rather than just playing to the lowest level of the conservative base. They may not care to be serious about issues with the Trump base, (they have proven to fall for anything) but the majority of the nation is aware of the dangers and harm that the GOP can do to the national economy.

Another Angry White Male And The Right-Wing Conspiracy Media

Once again we have a narrative that, sadly, fits the profile of so many others about angry white men. The lunatic who is fed continuously the fascist offerings from conservative media acts out, but then the ones who pour the gasoline through the airwaves pretend they had nothing to do with the dreadful outcome.

David DePape attacked Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. With a hammer. To the skull. Once again strong evidence exists of his personal history of online radicalization. DePape’s online postings included a range of false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, (shocked!) Jan. 6, (shocked) coronavirus vaccines, (shocked) the war in Ukraine (shocked), and QAnon. (shocked). Where or where would one find a daily…no, hourly…diet of these bat-shit crazy offerings in America? Hmmmmmm…..

A native of Canada, DePape was once a Green Party-registered public nudity activist in San Francisco but time shows that his dive into conservative conspiracy theories was where he thrived. He railed about pedophilia, elites, transgenders, and anti-whiteness. His blog contained bigotry against a wide range of groups and topics like “Holohoax.” WordPress, correctly, removed one of his sites Friday. (This blog also uses WordPress)

I am not sure what it will take to wake up the Republican Party to the dangers they are creating among their base and using right-wing media to spread the disease. The untenable attack on Pelosi is just the latest tragic and telltale sign of what is happening in the land due to the corrosive and thuggish people who listen to the rhetoric from conservative media. Sadly, we have, yet again, the outcome of a litany of absurd and ridiculous far-right looney conspiracy theories that took root in the mind of someone who believed it was time to act out on behalf of all who share his views.  The GOP must reckon with the fact that their embrace of lunacy does have consequences.  They can not pound over and over—year after year–false narratives about the 2020 election and vaccines and rants about transgender people and the insanity of the ‘white replacement theory’ and fail to understand that is does inevitably incite violence.

I have been consistent and continuous about the need to consider the grave dangers our democracy faces, as it slides towards embracing autocracy and fascism. The rhetoric and programming from AM talk radio to FOX News are aimed at white males, and stirring their resentments about a growing list is the goal. Stoking the fears of the undereducated and lower economic strata is proving to be a violent and dangerous path for the nation.

The Republican Party needs to turn off its self-created madness.

Political Violence Ramps Up In America, Brazen Attack By Angry Male On Home Of House Speaker, Paul Pelosi Attacked With Hammer

The attacks upon our democracy are growing. It is not just idle words about something that may happen, or a partisan offering to curry favor with this or that group of voters. Fundamental attacks upon the political institutions of our nation are underway and have been in various forms since Inauguration Day in 2017. Attacks upon the foundations of the Fourth Estate, the attack on our Capitol for the counting of the Electoral College votes, and the erosion, drip by drip, of the political culture in our country have fascist motives. Right now our nation is again dealing with something that is most serious. That being, the shocking news from overnight.

By now we are aware of the attack upon the home of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the third person in the line of succession to the presidency. The person who attacked Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi‘s husband with a hammer, after breaking into the San Francisco home early Friday morning was reportedly searching for the house speaker. He was heard shouting “where is Nancy?”

I am not the only one in this land who has stated that the political rhetoric that led up to January 6, and has followed since has placed elected officials in danger. It is absolutely unacceptable for violence, of any kind, to be made in threats or otherwise to those who step up and offer their services to the nation. And that goes regardless of political party or ideology. It is incumbent upon all people in the political sphere, be they elected officials or ones rejected by the voters, to never incite, or further any line of dialogue or action, that precipitates violence against politicians or their families.

We have crossed so many red lines since Donald Trump rode an escalator down to announce his bid for the White House. We have been deposited so often into the basement in our country that nothing really surprises me anymore. We even had to endure media companies needing to review the material posted by a former president, so to make sure violent or insurrectionist material was not online.

If one listens and reads the crazy lingo from those angry males who are engaged in right-wing militancy it is soon apparent, that they are again aggrieved—their favorite pastime when not stroking their weapons. Our nation, it needs all to be reminded, did not just arrive at such a moment; rather the GOP helped to create this situation.

The animus the Republican Party has fostered and yes, stoked, within their ranks against law enforcement and the rule of law-and-order is highly troubling and unsightly. We watched the GOP fall for Trump starting in 2015, and then over his term in office followed the disregard he had for the FBI, wanting to use the Attorney General as his own personal lawyer, and striving mightily to undercut the Constitution. The Republican Party stood by and watched and even started to mimic and repeat his false claims and further the erosion of respect for folks who put on a robe or a badge when they head to their job.

This is yet again a time when it is needed to write about the growing trend in the nation that views violence as an acceptable path forward in our nation. A poll finds that Americans say they believe violence against the government can at times be justified, that result being the largest share to feel that way in more than two decades. The percentage of Americans who say violent action against the government is justified at times stands at 34 percent, which is considerably higher than in past polls by major news organizations dating back more than two decades. Again, the view is partisan: The new survey finds 40 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents, and 23 percent of Democrats saying violence is sometimes justified.

Our nation has been placed in a truly contentious and troubling place due to the Republican Party caving to the very thing the Founding Fathers feared.  It was my clear favorite of those men, Alexander Hamilton, who worried about the populace being swayed by a charlatan or one with low character. He knew of the Donald Trump types, as Hamilton had read books about the nature of mankind. He was also most aware of the threat of unlearned people being easily led, and led woefully astray, as the Trump base within the Republican Party has continually demonstrated.

The angry males that are now threatening and seeking to intimidate the majority of the nation are precisely what Hamilton was worried about in his days of pondering the larger questions about our then-young nation. We join him in his justified worries.

Why Are Prominent Trump Supporters Antisemitic?

A friend wrote to me this morning and put a topic of the day into stark relief.

As you may know, today, is the 4th anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre.  Unfortunately, people promoting antisemitism is very much in the news, i.e. Kayne West, Nick Fuentes and others, who all happen to also be Trumpites!

Well stated. To the point and direct. We should keep in mind that antisemitic acts were going down in the United States for almost 15 years, and then, in 2016, they started to move up.  The year that conservatives embraced Donald Trump. That is when data shows hate crimes of all sorts started to increase. To burrow down into the data even more counties that voted for Donald Trump by the widest margins in the presidential election also experienced the largest increases in reported hate crimes. Who can forget the vile attacks on Asian Americans in 2020 and the racist language coming from the Oval Office? The data is crisp and hard-to-miss. The FBI’s annual reports on hate crime statistics show that hate crimes increased from 6,121 incidents in 2016 to 7,314 in 2019, a 19.49 percent increase.

Today, President Joe Biden addressed this anniversary.

As we grieve this deadliest act of antisemitism in American history, we stand with the community of Squirrel Hill—and Jewish communities across America and around the world—in resolving to combat antisemitism and hate in all of its forms. This is especially true as we witness an ugly increase in antisemitism in America. That’s why I established the first Ambassador-level Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism and appointed the renowned Holocaust expert Deborah Lipstadt to the role. My Administration worked with Congress to secure the largest-ever increase in funding for the security of synagogues and other religious institutions. And, at last month’s United We Stand Summit, my Administration announced a series of actions and commitments to take on hate-fueled violence. 

Meanwhile, autocrat and fascist-in-waiting Donald Trump made for a verbal cuddle session with a most despicable antisemite, Kanye West.

Trump had high praise on Tuesday for rapper Kanye West even as the hip-hop star continued to face backlash over anti-Semitic remarks he made in a pair of TV interviews.

Not only did Trump refuse to condemn West’s comments, but he doubled down with effusive praise, thanking the rapper for his undying loyalty and support.

“He was really nice to me. Beyond anybody, he was,” the twice-impeached former president said in a new interview. “He was great to me.”

History will severely judge Trump and those who did his bidding.

Congressman Mark Pocan Signs Letter Giving Russian President Putin Voice In Progressive House Caucus

Congressman Mark Pocan

It was not what I expected as the first news story to read when I turned on my computer today. In fact, I looked to see if the story was the daily offering from Andy Borowitz. The news article, however, was from NBC News, and then I noted in my listings every major news operation was reporting on the undermining of Ukraine and its people by Progressive House Democrats. A letter from the caucus was sent to the White House on Monday (yesterday) but retracted only hours later. The damage, however, was done. Without one iota of foresight, the caucus had already allowed Russian President Putin a victory off the battlefield.

Progressive House Democrats sent that letter to President Biden asking that he pair the military and financial support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a “proactive diplomatic push” that involves direct talks with Russia.  To say that letter with its weak-kneed overture to Putin was a stab in the back to worldwide efforts, that have proven to be forceful and meaningful, would be a vast understatement.  Of course, Russia would much enjoy seeing a split in the majority party of the world superpower at a critical juncture in both the military moves in Ukraine and the political timing approaching the midterm elections.  Having gained a voice in the Progressive Caucus Putin must be pleased that the united message against Russia’s war of aggression has a crack that can now be used to further his aims against a sovereign nation.

If I could talk with Mark over a cup of coffee I would encourage him to realize that stopping Putin is in America’s best interests for security reasons, and standing with our NATO alliance is essential. Putin invaded Ukraine not because he felt threatened by NATO expansion or by Western so-called pressures. He ordered his military to move because he believes that it is Russia’s divine right to rule Ukraine, to wipe out the country’s national identity, and to integrate its people into a ‘Greater Russia’. We all have had some Russian history and can recall that since the mid-1920s there was a running argument that ‘Russia was robbed’ of core territory when the Bolsheviks created the Soviet Union and established a Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. What these Progressive Democrats, who signed the letter, are just not grasping is that Putin is trying to change the historical narrative of the last hundred years, not just the years following the end of the Cold War. He wants to make Ukraine, Europe, and indeed the whole world conform to his own twisted version of history. There can not be an inch of wiggle room when it comes to what Putin gains from this act of aggression. To consider any talks with Putin at this time would be a sign of weakness and damaging to the long-term interests of the NATO alliance.

It was most disconcerting that over a week ago House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said a GOP majority would not give a “blank check” to Ukraine, indicating it would instead focus on relieving economic pain at home.  Standing on the foundations the Republican Party had firmly owned during the Ronald Reagan years, such as being tough on Russia, and aligning with core values about democracy has become ancient history for some in the GOP. But McCarthy now has a number of progressive allies in his plans for future congressional action–or not–regarding Ukraine.

Let me weigh in as a liberal Democrat. I am not pleased to see so many of those in Congress who are often right on a whole array of economic and social issues flounder so completely when it comes to an absolute need to stand firm against Putin. Sadly, and not for the first time when it comes to foreign policy issues, Pocan comes from a partisan position.

He lacked the will to offer his backing in Congress for a needed military strike against Syria in 2013 after that rouge regime used chemical weapons on its people. Now with this Russian aggression, he believes that his district, which includes liberal Dane County, must be catered to with squishy words about our continued needed resolve and support for heightened military measures, so to push Russian forces out of a sovereign nation it invaded. Too often that sentiment seems the default position of progressive Democrats. I understand politically why Pocan wishes to keep his bona fides with the Progressive Caucus but it should be of higher importance that he not turn off common sense and the moral calling that history demands of him.

We do not have the luxury simply due to our living in the 2nd Congressional District to throw our hands up to the horrible crap that happens to so many around the globe.  When Putin invaded Ukraine there was only one response the world community could give; a complete and absolute rejection of such brazen hostility. I am truly concerned that Congressman Pocan and his fellow Progressives have divorced themselves from reality about Putin and his agenda. Timid and reticent politicians are only remembered for being wrong.

UW-Madison Protestors Missed Chance For Critical Conversation, Matt Walsh Got What He Wanted

Here we go again. A person who desires to create controversy is paid to stir up a university campus, and a small segment of the student body creates headlines in a weak attempt to prove some ‘enlightened’ point. This storyline is getting very, very stale.

Every time there is a ‘fire-eater’ invited to a university campus there is another round of discussions about either the value of hearing ‘the other side’ or why shutting down ‘hate-speech’ is a necessity.  This week attention is being given to UW-Madison where a conservative campus group thought it important to pay for a bully against transgender people to speak and also show his documentary. Call me old-fashioned or just way out of step, but bringing Matt Walsh, who only wishes to needlessly provoke and alienate, seems like a waste of money when a conservative scholar might have been invited that would have afforded truly engaging conversation. I find it difficult to explain why college campus groups would not invest in truly weighty thinkers, a modern-day version of William F. Buckley Jr. I desire this from both sides of the divide and then let the issues and dialogue flow.

As I surveyed the news reports from the UW campus today it was not the first time I knew there are many students and others in the community who want diverse thought presented in an adult fashion. That is not, however, what the university or this city is experiencing today. I know I am over-simplifying matters by putting Walsh, an extremist and self-promoting individual, at one end and the erudite world of the Buckley types at the other.  But as one who does enjoy listening to speakers at UW-Madison I am not pulled in by the ‘hair on fire’ types but instead find the words from the likes of George McGovern or Robert Novak to have real appeal.  (I was most fortunate to walk with the slow-moving Novak due to his recovering from a hip operation down the length of Memorial Union and ask about how he actually wrote columns–he told me he wrote them in one sitting–akin to one take if it were a movie production.) 

What I found troubling about the local chapter of Young America’s Foundation is that while they speak loudly about ‘free speech’ what they really desire is the dissemination of harmful lies and bogus arguments that would not stand up in a robust give-and-take dialogue of ideas. I was reminded today that this grand freedom we all have of speaking freely comes with the responsibility to speak responsibly.

Free speech also allows for the ones who might be offended to counter with even better speech. That seems to have been totally lost on the ones who seemed to buy spray paint by the gross and then harm numerous places on the campus. It was more than sad to see, it was simply pathetic. Those many years ago after Novak finished with his remarks the floor was opened in the Great Hall to questions. He faced some tough attacks and verbal volleys as he sparred with students about the role of journalism and preemptive wars. Those occasions on campus when robust and sharply divided views can be talked about and debated are what truly constitute part of the educational experience.

Instead of engaging with the buffoonish Walsh in a lively debate inside the Hall about his absurd views, protesters to his appearance gave a low-brow performance on the public square with a mindless tantrum of graffiti—the very type of outlandish behavior the YAF were hoping their dollars would buy. As Monday comes to a close Walsh won this day as he wanted exposure and an angry reaction. Meanwhile, the art of dialogue and conversation, something a university should excel at, took a loss.

First Person Of Color, First Hindu To Be Next British Prime Minister, And A Lesson For U.S. About Real Leadership

Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty

Former British Chancellor Rishi Sunak won the race to become the Conservative Party leader on Monday. He is now set to become the UK’s next prime minister, the first person of color, and the first Hindu to serve in that high government role. I have supported Sunak since Boris Johnson resigned from 10 Downing Street. I can support a strong conservative when they are intelligent and reasoned. Above and beyond policy is something much more important that has shown itself as being required in Britain; the larger mission is one about credibility in government, and when governing. Sunak meets and exceeds that level of competency.

The lesson about credible leadership is something the Republican Party should note and seriously consider.

What connected for me on this side of the pond was that fact Sunak refused to lower himself and make absurd promises about tax cuts, just so to be elected by the Conservative Party. He had warned in language anyone might understand that economic policies should not be reduced to political chits. He stayed out of the fray over the past weeks as the economy went south, at what can only be best described as careening out of control at a maddening speed.

Long-time readers of this blog know my utter disdain for Brexit, and the outcome that was warned about has materialized.

Even before the 2016 vote, the country had a chronic productivity problem, excessive reliance on the financial sector and a major deficit in training and skills. But as the Covid pandemic effect fades, we can see the Brexit effect more clearly. On many indicators, such as business investment and trade recovery after Covid, the UK economy has done worse than any other in the G7. The number of small companies with cross-channel relationships has fallen by about a third. On official projections, the country will lose about 4% of its GDP as a result of Brexit. The rating agencies Moody’s and S&P have both reduced the UK’s economic outlook from stable to negative. Yes, it’s the Brexit, stupid.

But now we come to the lesson that should be studied.

Why there is hope for sound governing from Sunak is his ability to learn from mistakes (he was once in favor of Brexit) but this year refused to play to the lowest common denominator for the biggest prize in British politics. It was that act of being fact-based and honest with what a leader must contend with that earned him praise aplenty on this page. Instead of playing to the base, he intends to lead them.

As he demonstrated in his Conservative Party leadership contest with Liz Truss this summer, he is a realist, putting solid public finances and market credibility first – as did Margaret Thatcher. And realism demands that, in extraordinarily challenging economic circumstances, you have to lower barriers to doing business with your largest single market (the EU), not further increase them.

Rishi Sunak has the very life story that Tories require if they are to make inroads into the diverse British society. Born to Indian parents who had left East Africa, attended excellent schools, and rose to a high position in the government showcases the fact all are welcome in the nation. And can lead the country.

While I always follow international news I found my interest in the British political mess was much elevated this year due to the character of Sunak. In today’s political climate in the United States where a candidate will make the most vile and absurd statements just to prove fealty to Donald Trump, the next prime minister proved what an honest and forthright conversation with a nation can produce.

Once again, the U.S. can learn a lesson from Europe. If it wishes to learn……

‘Told You So’ Also Used By New York Times As Rishi Sunak About To Be British Prime Minster

This summer and fall have been alive with fascinating political intrigue not only in our mid-term elections but perhaps even more so as the revolving door at 10 Downing Street will soon rotate again.

For the past six weeks, Mr. Sunak has been lying low as his economic predictions have played out at a dizzying speed. Investors balked at Ms. Truss’s widespread tax cuts and increased borrowing; the pound slumped; government borrowing costs soared; the mortgage market was upended; and the central bank had to intervene. After just 44 days as prime minister, Ms. Truss resigned last week with her economic agenda in tatters.

Mr. Sunak’s relatively gloomy attitude over the summer, warnings about inflation and strict adherence to fiscal conservatism may have cost him the opportunity to be named prime minister in September. But less than two months later, these same characteristics and accurate prognosis of the effects of Ms. Truss’s program have eased his pathway to Britain’s top job.

After Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, took himself out of the running on Sunday, Mr. Sunak has cemented his commanding lead in the contest.

Sunday evening The New York Times had their headline go to the same place that I took a Caffeinated Politics post on October 3rd.

Rishi Sunak has the very life story that Tories require if they are to make inroads into the diverse British society. Born to Indian parents who had left East Africa, attended excellent schools, and rose to a high position in the government showcases the fact all are welcome in the nation. And can lead the country.

Conservative leadership need not be grounded in the harsh racism and stale models of the past. The Tories made a colossal error in supporting Johnson and then the ludicrous Liz Truss and now must step high and higher to get past the detritus that resulted from their actions.

I have said it before this year, and do so again. The Tories can do no better at this time than embrace Rishi Sunak.

He is going into Monday’s crucial Tory deadline in a commanding position, hoovering up scores of MP nominations and seemingly the clear choice of the parliamentary party. His new-found supporters include several big Tory figures who might have been expected to back Boris Johnson–who fled the political contest Sunday knowing his bridges are burned. Many conservatives were reported saying about Johnson that he was a “guaranteed disaster.”

I have supported Sunak since Johnson resigned from 10 Downing Street. I can support a strong conservative when they are intelligent and reasoned. I need not agree on policy in all or even many instances, but instead see the larger mission as one about credibility in government, and when governing. Sunak meets and exceeds that level of competency.