While Dems Babbled About Russia, GOP Passed Trickle-Up Economics Tax Bill

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Yesterday my social media feeds were ablaze with people celebrating the latest new “bombshell” Russiagate revelation, which, as always, turned out to be nothing once the facts rolled in. Less than nothing, in fact, since Trump supporters everywhere are jumping up and down on ABC’s correction of an important part of its breaking coverage of the Flynn plea that it had misreported. The popular narrative on pro-Trump forums today is quite understandably that this is more vindication of their president in yet another example of the “fake news” biased reporting against him. Russiagaters gained no ground, and lost some.

Late last night, the US Senate passed the most drastic rewrite of America’s tax system since the Reagan administration, which is expected to mostly benefit the wealthiest Americans while further crippling the nation’s already broken healthcare system. It even includes a late addendum to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Hours after the tax bill passed while everyone was distracted by a bogus Russiagate story, “Trump and Flynn” is still trending on Twitter in the US.

That’s right, Republicans are openly enacting trickle-up economics plans, an expansion of a continuing trend in which wealth is funneled to the wealthiest of the wealthy while ordinary Americans are squeezed tighter and tighter by inflation, wage stagnation, diminishing social programs, and the decimation of a quality job market by predatory corporate giants like Walmart and Amazon… and Democrats are still babbling about Russia.

The GOP is basically handing the Democrats a platform, saying “Look at us! We’re legislating wealth redistribution upward!” and judging from their actions Democrats are still basically saying “Hmm, but how do we beat these guys?? Keep going with the Russia thing I guess?”

This is after both parties in both houses gave Trump an even more over-inflated military budget than he’d already asked for, because it seems like the only things America can afford these days are bombs and tax breaks for billionaires. This is also after a recent CBS poll showed that a clear majority of Americans want the rich and large corporations taxed more, not less, and an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that the tax bill is supported by a mere 25 percent of Americans.

This is all perfectly in line with the carefully choreographed dance the two parties have been doing for decades. The GOP shoves the nation in the direction of corporatist oligarchic tyranny while in power and the Democrats make a big show of putting up a very feeble resistance to it, and then when the Dems are in power they keep everything the Republicans did in place while continuing the march toward corporatist oligarchic tyranny a bit more subtly. No proportionate shove in the other direction is ever forthcoming from the Democrats, resulting in an overall movement to the corporatist right, which is why what now passes for the “left” in the United States is considered right-wing in most first world countries.


From The Case Against Compromise Politics

This is because Democratic politicians, like Republican politicians, have careers that are sponsored by donors who are wealthy enough to sponsor them. These donors expect favors, and they receive them. Take a look at the ongoing rants of top Dem donor Stephen Cloobeck if you want a perfect illustration of how this works; a plutocrat wants more plutocrat-friendly policies, and tells Democratic party leaders that they need to make this happen or he’s pulling funding.

So of course the Democrats have been pouring far more energy into Russiagate than they have into opposing the GOP’s march into plutocratic tyranny. One is completely inconsequential to their wealthy donors, and the other is ultimately their job to facilitate, not oppose.

Despicable as Trump is, a malignant narcissist of catastrophic proportions, he is nonetheless innocent of the Russiagate charges, obsessively and dishonestly pushed by the Democrats and the intel establishment supported by their phalanx of media prostitutes. This is simply a case of runaway corruption and collective imbecility that endangers the peace of the world. The image above aptly captures the reigning idiocy.

There are many dangers to Russiagate, including complicity in the US power establishment’s cold war maneuverings and escalations which risk the life of every organism on earth, and another is that it distracts from the very real dangers that the Trump administration poses while fixating on nonsense instead. You know there would have been far more opposition on this tax bill had rank-and-file Democrats not been fixated on Russia hysteria this whole time.

You can’t focus on real problems and made-up Russia conspiracy theories at the same time, America. Republicans are going to keep getting away with making things cushier and cushier for the owners of powerful corporations at your expense while you’re fixated on the Putin decoy. Better sober up fast on your own, because the Democrats in Washington sure as shit aren’t going to help you.


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About the Author
Caitlin Johnstone
is a brave journalist, political junkie, relentless feminist, champion of the 99 percent. And a powerful counter-propaganda tactician. 
CAITLIN JOHNSTONE—You can’t focus on real problems and made-up Russia conspiracy theories at the same time, America. Republicans are going to keep getting away with making things cushier and cushier for the owners of powerful corporations at your expense while you’re fixated on the Putin decoy. Better sober up fast on your own, because the Democrats in Washington sure as shit aren’t going to help you.


BONUS: Steve Lendman’s analysis—
The Abominable House and Senate Tax Cut Bills

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)


Chuck Grassley, a political piece of scum disgracing the US senate. He happens to be a Republican (the out-in-your-face brand of corporate fascist, as opposed to the treacherous, semi-hidden corporate fascist brand represented by the Democrats). People like Grassley —who already played a big role in defeating single payer—are par for the course in American politics which thrives on corruption.
It’s worse than you think. The final version following House and Senate reconciliation will show the full extent of harm done to ordinary Americans – so corporate predators and super-rich ones benefit hugely at their expense. A congressional assault on Medicare, Medicaid and likely Social Security will follow to help defray part of the cost. Millions will lose health insurance. Ending the individual mandate assures higher premiums.

Most wealthy US households will pay no estate taxes. The estates of fewer than 0.1% of super-rich ones will pay it above a higher threshold level. Trump and other other wealthy Americans will save millions of dollars in taxes by elimination of the alternative minimum tax (ATM). Corporate predators will use their windfall for increased stock buybacks, along with financing mergers and acquisitions, not for jobs creation, minimally for other investments.

The measure will blow an additional $2 trillion hole in the deficit, in 10 years to top $30 trillion. Today it’s $20.6 trillion, or $63,000 for every US citizen, $170,000 for all taxpayers. This year’s federal budget deficit exceeds $670 billion. Financing it will be more expensive if interest rates rise. The nearly 500-page Senate bill wasn’t read by GOP senators voting for it, a flurry in last minute changes likely understood only by senators making and demanding them. According to top Senate Dem. Finance Committee member Ron Wyden:

“The American people are going to be stunned when they see what’s really in this.”

The measure has nothing to do with economic growth or jobs creation. As offshoring continues, more jobs will be lost, ones remaining mostly rotten ones for ordinary Americans, needing two or more to get by.

Bipartisan Policy Center senior vice president Bill Hoagland explained “entitlement cuts are definitely” coming. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s Maya MacGuineas, “Republicans have been telling themselves for years that they wanted to get into power so they could balance the budget, reduce the debt, cut spending and fix entitlements. They’ve just made it harder, not easier.”

Rubbing salt in an open wound, GOP hardliner Senator Chuck Grassley explained the misnamed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a payoff to corporate and high-net worth donors at the expense of ordinary Americans, saying:

People and entities that “invest” deserve congressional support, adding “not having the estate tax (and ATM) recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

The average American spends all they have and can borrow through credit card and other debt, struggling to feed their families, pay rent, service mortgages, handle medical bills, heat homes, cover transportation costs, manage education expenses for children, and other costs of daily living. Millions of households are one missed paycheck from homelessness, hunger and despair. America has a higher percentage of working poor than any other industrialized country. It’s the only developed one without some form of universal healthcare. Grassley and other GOP hardliners showed what side they’re on – thumbing their noses at constituent voters, supporting monied interests putting them in office, no one else.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Stephen Lendman Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.

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Parting shot—a word from the editors
The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found

In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” — acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump — a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all. Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report 


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