Big Government, Economics, Trump

GOP Tax Plan Predicated on 5% GDP Growth

Let this sink in for a second.  As the GOP pushes its terrible no good very bad tax plan, all assumptions for its impact on the economy and the national debt assumes 5% GDP growth year over year.

The chart below represents the last 5 years of the economy.  Notice anything problematic with a 5% growth rate prediction?historical.png

Since no one is economically literate in this country any more, don’t expect to hear this on the talking head networks or from your dumb uncle on Facebook.

Big Government, Politics

Senator Settles $27k Sexual Harassment Suit With Taxpayer Money

Nice work if you can get it.  You can be a scumbag and then, when you get caught, you don’t even have to pay out of your own pocket!

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sex acts, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.

Conyers confirmed he made the settlement in a statement Tuesday afternoon, hours after this story was published, but said that he “vehemently denied” the claims of sexual harassment at the time and continues to do so.

Rep. John Conyers speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 45th annual legislative conference, Washington, DC, September 18, 2015.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Rep. John Conyers speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 45th annual legislative conference, Washington, DC, September 18, 2015.

And the documents also reveal the secret mechanism by which Congress has kept an unknown number of sexual harassment allegations secret: a grinding, closely held process that left the alleged victim feeling, she told BuzzFeed News, that she had no option other than to stay quiet and accept a settlement offered to her.

“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” she said in a phone interview. BuzzFeed News is withholding the woman’s name at her request because she said she fears retribution.

Last week the Washington Post reported that Congress’s Office of Compliance paid out $17 million for 264 settlements with federal employees over 20 years for various violations, including sexual harassment. The Conyers documents, however, give a glimpse into the inner workings of the office, which has for decades concealed episodes of sexual abuse by powerful political figures.

The woman who settled with Conyers launched the complaint with the Office of Compliance in 2014, alleging she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, and ended up facing a daunting process that ended with a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a settlement of more than $27,000. Her settlement, however, came from Conyers’ office budget rather than the designated fund for settlements.

via She Said A Powerful Congressman Harassed Her. Here’s Why You Didn’t Hear Her Story.

Big Government, Hypocrites, Localized

Governor Cuomo Declares MTA State Of Emergency, Skewers Trump, Then Diverts Funds Away From It

At some point the morons of New York who keep voting for this ass are going to realize they’re being played. Maybe.

To some, last week was a turning point in Andrew Cuomo’s long battle to distance himself from his ailing transit agency, the MTA. Instead of shirking off responsibilities for the collapsing subway system, or pressing for token legislation to provide him with even more power, Cuomo seized it himself, declaring a “state of emergency” in the subways and promising $1 billion to help shore up the abysmal service.

As the Daily News points out, the recent amendment to the MTA’s capital plan that its board recently passed strips $1.2 billion from the current capital plan that would have gone toward new subway cars, in addition to $37.6 million for new signals. The MTA argues that because those train cars won’t be ready until midway through the next capital plan in 2023 anyway, it shouldn’t be budgeting for their purchasing. The $37.6 million, the MTA claims, was for new signals that would have operated solely with the new trains.

Ostensibly, that freed up more than $1.2 billion to go toward the city’s crumbling subways, which vitally need new signals to increase capacity on the lines. Currently, the MTA is finishing signal work for a single line, the 7 train, and has just recently begun work on the Queens Boulevard E/F/M/R lines, but only for the sections that run through Queens and parts of midtown Manhattan. Only the L train has been given completely new signals. That $1.2 billion could, theoretically, have gone to start another signal modernization project as soon as possible. Already, the MTA has pegged $3 billion in the current capital plan for new signals, although even the transit agency itself admits it won’t get around to outfitting the entire system with those signals until 2045 (and that’s a hopeful outlook).

Instead, however, the money is going toward Cuomo’s pet projects, including his poorly conceived LaGuardia AirTrain, a third track for the Long Island Rail Road (which is desperately needed but faces stiff local resistance), subway station enhancements that won’t necessarily increase station capacity, and cashless tolls. In keeping with his longtime neglect of the subways, Cuomo has shorted the system cash that had already been allotted to it.

Source: Guess Which NY Governor Just Took $1 Billion Meant for MTA Subway Signals and Spent It Elsewhere? | Village Voice

Big Government, Dumb Laws

South Dakota Legalizes License-Free Hair Braiding

Because without government, who would stop unscrupulous people from dangerously styling your hair?

Thanks to legislation signed today, South Dakotans no longer need the government’s permission to braid hair. Signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, the bill, HB 1048, exempts natural hair braiders from the state’s thicket of cosmetology regulations.

Previously, braiders faced the toughest law in the nation. Before anyone could work twisting or braiding hair, they first had to obtain a cosmetology license. That license requires at least 2,100 hours of training, which can cost nearly $15,000 in tuition. Meanwhile, braiding without a permission slip from the government could lead to fines and even jail time. Adding to the absurdity, many cosmetology schools don’t even teach African-style braiding techniques, and those that do dedicate almost no time to the subject.

Source: South Dakota Just Legalized Braiding Hair Without A License

Big Government, Scary

Child Sentenced To Die By Totally Not a Death Panel Y’all

Boy, it sure is a good thing that death panels in countries with socialized health care are a myth otherwise this case, which clearly could not have happened ever, would be disturbing.

For those of you unfamiliar with the details of an awful story unfolding in Great Britain, little Charlie Gard is a ten-month baby who suffers from a rare genetic condition. In spite of the fact that he also has brain damage, Charlie is extraordinarily fortunate to have something else, as well—loving parents who refused to give up on him, and instead fundraised nearly 1.4 million British pounds so they could take him to the United States to undergo a therapy trial.

But that was before Charlie was sentenced to death by British doctors—and that sentence was upheld by the courts, culminating in the final rejection of the final desperate appeal of Chris Gard and Connie Yates by the European Court of Human Rights.

Source: The European Court of Human Rights sentences a little British boy to death | The Bridgehead