Senators Orrin Hatch and Sherrod Brown had some differences last night toward the end of the Senate Finance Committee’s approval of legislation to ease up on the tax code’s heavy burden on the 1% of the 1%. Senator Hatch did his very best imitation of Eugene Debs, socialist and presidential-candidate-from-prison-cell (he didn’t win 100 years ago, but you never know about 2020!). Debs said in federal court in 1918, “while there is a lower class, I am in it.” Hatch may well have come up from poverty. But he went off the rails somewhere. Orrin, I am not attacking your motives, but the damage you are doing right now is what matters. I don’t care how much integrity you think you have, it’s the nasty details of the bill that matter. It’s the favoritism you show toward your rich donors right now that matters. There is a reason more hands didn’t shoot up for Gary Cohn at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council: those CEO’s didn’t want themselves on video promising to hire more people when they know they are really just going to do stock buybacks and more automation. Your past struggles, Orrin, whatever they were, do not give you a free pass to shift more burdens onto struggling working people. Go home to Utah now if you don’t get that.
There used to be homes for penitent victims of seduction. The whole United States is, or probably will soon be, such a home–for just about all of us. I am not sure what the true story behind Trump’s utter loss of dignity vis-a-vis Vladimir Putin really is. I do know that Mr. Putin is openly laughing at Trump. H.R. McMaster, Gary Cohn, and Steve Mnuchin did not deny Putin’s claim that Trump accepted Putin’s denials of election hacking. Of course Putin is happy to pocket his victories and move on without “relitigating the past,” as Russian award-winner and U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson put it. And of course no one wants needless confrontation much less war with Russia. But when the president of Russia treats the president of the USA the same way Trump treats his own “lickspittle toadies” (as Josh Marshall writes) it is not a happy day for any American. At least not any American not getting lots of Russian cash.