News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Harassment, Tax Reform, RUSSIA and Much, Much More

Men dressed as 1812-era Russian and French soldiers re-enact a staged battle near the Belarus village of Bryli, about 115 kilometers (70 miles) east of the capital, Minsk, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, to mark the 205th anniversary of the Berezina battle during Napoleon's army retreat from Russia. The retreat across the Berezina of the remnants of Napoleon's Grand Army, which invaded Russia June 24, 1812, took place from Nov. 26 to Nov. 29, 1812. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Good Cyber Monday!

Here is what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the afternoon, President Donald J. Trump will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Senate Finance Committee.
  • The President will then host an event honoring Native American code talkers.
  • Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

[Alleged] sexual predator update, beltway edition

The most astonishing spectacle surrounding the #metoo-ism saturating the headlines is not the actual scope of alleged harassment but rather the degree of shameless double standards demonstrated by the media and the Democrats. Back during the election, the media was treating the harassment allegations against President Trump as fact and, of course, as disqualifying of his candidacy. In a spoonful of heaping irony, some of the loudest crusaders against the president’s alleged harassment have since been fired or run out of town for their own naughty behavior. But now, when the scale of deviants is much heavier on the left than the right, the tune has changed. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of deviants on the right, they just haven’t surfaced yet. But they will… I’m looking at you [REDACTED].

On a Sunday spin show, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi preached about the virtue of “due process” regarding the alleged actions of Rep. John Conyers.

“We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused — was it one accusation? Was it two?” Pelosi asked. “John Conyers is an icon in our country. He’s done a great deal to protect women.” If you parrot the proper progressive ideas, you get a pass on the actual terrorizing by the underdogs you claim to be fighting to protect. This reminds me of that time when all the while elite men of Air America displaced minority programming on the radio so they could give a voice to… minorities.

Conyers has stepped down from his powerful position on the House Judiciary Committee but will not exit Congress. The situation is similar to accused Senator Al Franken, who said over the weekend that he is “ashamed,” but not so ashamed he’s going to abandon his seat in the Senate.

“I’m embarrassed and ashamed. I’ve let a lot of people down and I’m hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust,” Franken told the Star-Tribune in a phone interview.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow,” Franken said. Of course he is. Franken has asked for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate his situation. Let me clue you in to the Senate Ethics Committee: Senators are put on the Ethics Committee as punishment. When was the last time you heard anything of significance come out of the Ethics Committee? There’s no fundraising potential on Ethics, compared to, say, the powerful financial committees, where banks and financial institutions donate big money to politicians because of the potential for industry-crushing regulation. No, a seat on the Ethics Committee is useless. One’s position on the Senate Power Matrix depends on one’s fundraising prowess and there’s no money in Ethics.

There was also some back-and-forth on the Roy Moore controversy over the weekend. The media was buzzing about whether or not President Trump had passively endorsed the embattled Republican Moore by criticizing his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones.

“The last thing we need in Alabama and the U.S. Senate is a Schumer/Pelosi puppet who is WEAK on Crime, WEAK on the Border, Bad for our Military and our great Vets, Bad for our 2nd Amendment, AND WANTS TO RAISES TAXES TO THE SKY. Jones would be a disaster!” Trump wrote.

One thing to keep in mind as we are treated to harassment allegations on a steady basis is the difference between finding these accusers to be making credible allegations against suspected perpetrators and the subject of those allegations being adjudicated as guilty in an adversarial process. While some of the stories we hear are salacious, let’s make sure cooler heads prevail.

House to vote on sexual harassment training

It looks like the House will join the Senate and require training on the prevention of sexual harassment for its legislative branch employees.

Let me help out, congressional employees. You don’t have to wait for the official government version:

  1. Don’t touch people without their permission. So simple. I learned this in preschool and from my parents when I was a little girl. Don’t touch your colleagues. Or strangers.
  2. You can’t sleep, phone sex, sext dick/boobie pix with your subordinates or work colleagues. Nope.
  3. Don’t surprise your office mates/subordinates by flashing your junk/boobs/baby maker when they deliver documents to you after hours or anytime. Related: don’t wear your underwear/bathrobe birthday suit around co-workers.
  4. Don’t get your subordinates/colleagues drunk or high in the hopes they will have a lapse in sexual judgment.
  5. Don’t make comments or jokes about your colleagues/subordinates’ genitals, body or booty. It’s never funny.
  6. Don’t offer quid pro quo promotions. Suggesting a move up the ladder to some “fresh meat” for that assistant to the deputy undersecretary of your office’s fax machine job shouldn’t come with strings.
  7. If someone is unconscious/sleeping, they can’t give consent.

Simple rules, really. Follow them.


This week in tax reform

Senator Lindsey Graham is optimistic the Senate will pass tax reform by the end of the year.

“We’ll get there because failure is not an option when it comes to the Republican Party and cutting taxes,” Graham said. “To every Republican senator, the fate of the party is in our hands as well as that of the economy. The economy needs a tax cut and the Republican party needs to deliver, so I think we’ll get there.”

There are plenty of other things on the agenda before the year is over.

At the same time, they’re dealing with Democrats to avert a Christmastime government shutdown. And that battle is complicated even further by an emotional fight over the fate of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants.

The to-do list, which Trump will discuss with top congressional leaders at a White House meeting on Tuesday, doesn’t end there. Lawmakers are butting heads over a third tranche of emergency aid for hurricane-ravaged areas. Key surveillance powers used by the National Security Agency need to be renewed. Funding for a health insurance program benefiting 9 million lower-income children is already long expired, with several states close to running out of cash.

But no matter how jam-packed the legislative agenda might be, there’s always time for some symbolic grandstanding,

“Whatever others will do is their choice,” Rep. Al Green (D) said in a speech laying out his impeachment vow. “My conscience dictates that I will vote to impeach. Let others do what they may. History will judge us all.”

RUSSIA update

The FBI did not inform the targets of RUSSIAN cyber attack they were under assault by the foreign power.

The FBI failed to notify scores of U.S. officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has found.

Nearly 80 interviews with Americans targeted by Fancy Bear, a Russian government-aligned cyberespionage group, turned up only two cases in which the FBI had provided a heads-up. Even senior policymakers discovered they were targets only when the AP told them, a situation some described as bizarre and dispiriting.

Read the entire story, it’s incredible. What is going on over there?

Historical picture of the day:

During a combined British-American drive across open country in Germany, American medical corpsmen pick up a wounded man and place him aboard a British tank for transfer to a safe area on Nov. 27, 1944. Unlike the last war, the wounded are not left to lie in the mud while the attack goes on. They are picked up right away and their chances of survival improved. (AP Photo)

Other morsels:

Gun background checks hit a new record on Black Friday with more than 200,000 requests

U.K. Begins Another Gun Surrender Initiative Amid Increase in Gun Crime Wait, where did those guns come from?

Cordray’s successor sues Trump administration over Mulvaney’s appointment to CFPB

Twitter rakes NY Times over the coals for story on the ‘the Nazi next door’

Singer Morrissey says he would kill Trump at the press of a button ‘in the interest of humanity’

Black Friday Online Shopping Sales Hit Highest Mark Ever

CNN Guest: Stop Saying ‘Fake News’ Because It’s Being Used As A ‘Weapon’ Against CNN

America is Running Out of Muslim Clerics

Graham, Durbin disagree on new CFPB director

Family finds 4-foot-long python in apartment toilet

Five African-American churches found vandalized

Man charged for vandalizing 5 churches in New Jersey

“They’re monsters”: Thieves ransack family-run Christmas tree farm

Gay couple, devout baker take cake fight to high court

Egyptian village where mosque was attacked had been warned

Egypt mosque attack survivor: I hid under dead bodies

A bakery in Finland wants humans to eat high-protein bread made with crushed crickets

Here’s how much you need to exercise if you sit all day

The ACLU has taken over 100 legal actions against the Trump administration so far

‘House of Cards’ extends production hiatus amid Kevin Spacey probe

And that’s all I’ve got, now go buy some unnecessary crap on Cyber Monday!