—**— YOU CAN’T HAVE JUSTICE AND DEMOCRATS TOO —**—
Despite a mountain of evidence, witnesses, a judge who abhors corrupt politicians and good ole fashioned common sense, it appears that justice in the case of Senator Bob Menendez may be elusive after all, at least if a former jury member is to be believed.
A woman who sat on the jury for weeks in the Menendez corruption case opened up to reporters outside court today after Judge William Wells dismissed her — and she predicted the trial would end with a hung jury. The juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, was reportedly dismissed so she could spend time with her family. That’s a bit of an odd development, considering the jury has been deliberating on a verdict for three days now. I would assume that this sudden departure denotes some sort of family emergency, but reports are that she is already heading out on vacation.
Weird. I’d like to say that Judge Walls dismissed her for being a moonbat, but as it turns out, he promised back in August that she would be able to leave for vacation on this date. He made good on her promise and now an alternate has taken her place; hopefully someone more level-headed.
As she left, the juror told the media that Menendez “did nothing wrong,” and that the prosecution was trying to “railroad” him.
She added that if she had stayed on she would have voted in Menendez’s favor, though that’s hardly a surprise.
It’s unclear exactly when a verdict will be reached, but the judge has ordered the jury to begin fresh deliberations on Monday, since court will be closed tomorrow for Veterans Day.
This latest revelation, while discouraging, shouldn’t be surprising. It was reported on Tuesday that the jury asked Judge Walls “the definition of a Senator.” No, I’m not kidding. He reportedly refused to answer, presumably out of fear that he could be slowing the process of natural selection that is sure to take them any day now. I can hardly blame him. No need to delay the inevitable.
For those of you who actually care about how Menendez ended up in court on corruption charges, here is a quick reminder of what he’s accused of.
Menendez, 63, accepted an abundance of campaign donations, gifts and vacations from Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist. In return, Menendez used his position to lobby on behalf of Melgen’s business interests. Melgen allegedly directed more than $750,000 in campaign contributions to entities that supported Menendez, according to the indictment, which prosecutors said were inducements to get Menendez to use his influence on Melgen’s behalf. Prosecutors have also accused Menendez of trying to hide the gifts.
Melgen paid for Menendez and his girlfriend to stay for three nights at a Parisian hotel where rooms typically cost about $1,500 per night and allowed ole Bob the use of his private jet. That’s a normal relationship between a NJ Senator and a Florida doctor, right? Right. And oh by the way, Menendez pressured State Department officials to give visas to three young women described as “Melgen’s girlfriends.”
These aren’t empty allegations, by the way. There are paper trails for it all. The defense doesn’t even deny the perks Menendez received from his doc buddy. I mean, how could they? It’s literally proven. Their defense is that the two have been best buds forever (a lie) and that they’ve always looked out for each other like this (another lie).
This case is about as open and shut as you can get, frankly. And with the bulldog judge assigned to oversee the trial, I was actually filled with hope that justice would be done. I failed to factor in the most important prospect involved in political trials: jury nullification. This trial is happening in New Jersey, after all. And no offense to the NJ crowd, but many of you are Democrats.
Could it be that some on the jury won’t take a Democrat out of the Senate regardless of what evidence exists? It certainly seems that way. Maybe big bad Trump is so big and bad that abjectly corrupt Senators must be kept in place to oppose him, regardless of his/her crimes.
I don’t know if there was ever a time when integrity truly ruled the day in our country, but if so, I’d love to figure out how to get back to that time.
I weep for my country. I hope she proves me wrong with this verdict.
—**— REFORM NEEDED FOR TAX REFORM —**—
As noted several times previously, this Frankenstein monster known as GOP tax reform is sure to have a million changes before the final product is introduced for vote. That being as it is, though, one would think that things would be clearer now than when this whole debacle began. Miraculously, the GOP have managed to do just the opposite; make things even murkier as time passes. At this rate, they’ll be voting for something more convoluted and establishment-rigged than our current tax code, which is one hell of a feat. Only the Turtle McConnell GOP could pull off such DC mastery.
Senate Republicans revealed their own version of tax-reform legislation today, breaking with PDT by offering a one-year delay to the corporate tax cut, and with House Republicans by completely repealing a deduction for state and local taxes. The Senate bill also keeps in place the estate (death) tax as well as a variety of popular tax credits and deductions for adoption, medical expenses, teacher expenses and graduate school.
I’m sure there’s a conservative bill in there somewhere, though.
The differences I just laid out set the table for one hell of a contentious negotiation between the House and Senate later in the year, assuming Turtle McConnell can round up enough votes to even bring the thing to the table, which is far from certain at this point. Many of these new details were unveiled to Republican senators during a special morning meeting in the Senate’s Strom Thurmond Room. I’ve got an idea for you. How about you unveil the details in a place called THE FRIGGIN LIVING ROOM. MOST AMERICANS HAVE ONE. GET ON TV, TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WITH TAXES, THEN LET THEM DISCUSS AMONG THEMSELVES WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT IT. MAKE IT SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD AND TO THE POINT. THAT SIMPLICITY AND STRAIGHTFORWARDNESS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE ENTIRE PREMISE BEHIND TAX REFORM IN THE FIRST PLACE, REMEMBER?
I swear, sometimes the caps lock button just doesn’t do my frustration justice. We need a caps-caps-caps lock button for when the GOP is reaching an extra layer of stupid.
As if things weren’t complicated enough, the House Ways and Means Committee just approved its own version of tax legislation, setting up a likely floor vote in the House next week. To be fair, though, it mostly stays with the same basic tenets that have supposed to have comprised the backbone of tax reform from the beginning. It cuts the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, establishes a lower tax rate for pass-through businesses and cuts individual rates.
Can we just go with the HWMC version and vote on the thing already?
There are two major disappointments related to the tax reform debacle that have real life implications for our economy over the next couple years. First is the Barrycare individual insurance mandate. As I’m sure you already know, this mandate forces businesses to cover anyone considered a full-time employee, which it defines as a 30 hour a week worker. In response, many businesses have cut the hours of employees to avoid the mandate; not because they don’t want to provide their employees with healthcare, but out of necessity to stay afloat. For some reason, Democrats (and many Republicans) can’t get through their heads that companies are always going to look out for their bottom lines regardless of what legislation politicians sign. IT’S WHY THEY’RE IN BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE, BRAINIACS. PROFITS ARE IMPORTANT. The repeal of this mandate would be a massive help to businesses and workers who would like more hours on their weekly check.
Second is the aforementioned delay in corporate cuts. The entire point of those cuts is to make business attractive within our own borders. It cuts down on outsourcing and also attracts outside investment. In short, it makes us competitive in the global market and our own workers benefit. This also matters politically, because it will make it harder for the Trump economy to expand growth as planned. We’re already growing at an impressive 3% clip (impressive because it was done almost solely through deregulation from the Executive branch), but another percentage point of growth, which these cuts are an integral part of, would represent an economic boom. That would make PDT a very, very hard man to beat in 2020. And with a year to get this growth going, GOP congressional reps could also benefit in the 2018 midterms.
And oh yeah, it would be really good for the country. That matters too.
So where do we go from here? Well, its complicated. One thing we have going for us is this is literally do or die for the GOP. If they can’t at least follow through on SOME type of reform to help the business environment, they will officially be the most useless political party in our country’s history and likely pay dearly at the polls. As I’m fond of saying, politicians are good for nothing if not self-preservation. So if you’re discouraged about this thing getting passed, you can hang your hat on that little factoid.
The other side of this is all the competing versions and clashes within the GOP based on how their respective states would be affected, especially the blue state Pubs who fear losing local and state deductions. As I reported before, those deductions are going to have to be ironed out before anything can move forward. There are going to be a gajillion meetings to do just that, so maybe enough horse-trading will take place to get ‘er done.
There are two goals here, GOP. Lower taxes and make the code simpler. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just check those two boxes. Can you at least just do that? JUST THAT ONE FRIGGIN THING FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, PLEASE???
GOP leaders are still planning to bring the legislation to the floor right after Thanksgiving, so I guess we’ll see what they come up with soon.
Pray that these nimrods get this right.
—**— THIS STORY ISN’T GOING AWAY —**—
In this midst of all this chaos, it’s easy to forget the level of corruption that has been exposed within our own government over these past few months. And that’s no accident. The legacy media would have you deaf, blind and dumb as to what’s been uncovered regarding Uranium One, the Obama Department of Justice and Clinton State Department.
Unfortunately for them, we’re none of those things, and that will not be changing anytime soon. And today’s statements about special counsel Bob Mueller from a very prominent Republican drive that point home.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a key conservative and House Freedom Caucus member, said today that Mueller is in a “precarious position” over the Uranium One deal, given his lack of action on the issue:
“Robert Mueller, I think, in light of what we’ve also recently learned, relative to the Uranium One Deal, surely seems a bit compromised to me,” Jordan said in an interview, adding that his failure to press charges in the investigation of the sale to Russia of a U.S. uranium company puts him in “a somewhat precarious position.”
Here is what Jordan would have said had he more testicular fortitude:
“Robert Mueller was head of the FBI when they knowingly allowed a uranium deal with Russia to go through despite knowledge of bribery, kickbacks and extortion. His conflicts of interest regarding anything related to Russia are staggering and, frankly, his bureau needs to be investigated themselves. At the very least, he cannot be allowed to oversee any investigation related to collusion with Russia.”
That’s the GOP we want, though, not the one we have. So for now we’ll have to settle for Jimmy going on TV and saying buzzwords like “precarious” that make headlines without forcing him to take on Mueller like a grown man. I will give Jordan credit for one thing, though. He actually had the stones to call for a new special prosecutor, saying that the “best thing to do” would be for Keebler Jeff Sessions to name another special counsel to look into the case. I damn near fell out of my chair when reading it.
As always, though, and I’m sure you’re sick of hearing me say this— my anger about all this is eased by the knowledge that Donald J. Trump is in the White House. The story isn’t going away because he won’t allow it to, and he knows way too much dirt to allow Congress off the hook.
I’ve asked you for patience in diatribe after diatribe so I’ll spare you another rant. Just remember: guys like Jordan are still talking about this because it’s still a very big deal, regardless of how much the media attempt to squash it. They have a million distractions at the ready at every turn, but the truth WILL win out.
PDT will make sure of it, even if the GOP will not.
There it is, homeskillet. You know the drill: questions, comments, concerns, memes, insults, compliments, stickers, jokes, emojis and, if we have time, complaints.