Senator Depressed Over Second Quarter GDP Numbers
The announcement that the US economy grew by 4.1% for the recently completed quarter sent Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) into a fit of nearly suicidal depression. "If this keeps up it will reverse all the progress achieved by President Obama," the Senator lamented.
During the eight years that Barack Obama was president the GDP averaged an annual growth rate of less than 2% and never once reached 3% for any of those years—the first time that this has happened during any previous administration since the statistic has been tracked.
Booker attributed the disparate economic growth patterns to "racism and sexism, pure and simple. The same white bigots who refused to invest when a black man was president have come forward to reward the white man who conspired with the Russians to cheat a woman out of her turn to be the nation's ruler."
The possibility that differing economic policies could have played a role in the differing outcomes was rejected by the Senator. "A person has to be optimistic about the future in order to invest in businesses that grow the economy," Booker asserted. "President Obama was a man that everyone I know was supremely optimistic about. The same can't be said about Trump. Everyone I know hates him and his policies."
"I think the problem is that the wrong people are being allowed to make investment decisions," Booker opined. "Trump has undone a lot of the regulations that gave the government the final say on how society's limited resources were to be used. If we were to examine the details behind the 4.1% growth rate we'd find that the wrong products are being produced. So even though unemployment is at historic lows the jobs aren't contributing to socially desirable outputs. This is not the direction our country should be going."
The Democrat expressed his confidence that "the upcoming elections will show that voters reject the false prosperity engendered by the Trump Administration. When Democrats regain the majority in Congress we will put a stop to it. We will repeal the tax cuts, reimpose the regulations, and impeach the usurper who tried to impede the fundamental transformation President Obama promised would be his legacy."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass)--a projected rival of Booker's for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination—said she felt sympathy for his depression, but called his approach to getting the country back on track "timid. We can and need to do more than just undo what Trump has done. There was a time in this country when tax rates exceeded 90% of a person's income. So, I think there's a lot more upside to explore on the tax issue. Why should a person who earns a billion dollars be allowed to keep $100 million of it when there are so many poor people who need that money? Even a 99% tax rate would still leave that rich person with $10 million, which is far more than he needs to live on. Ultimately, I think we need to move toward a system where the government controls all the money and distributes it based solely on need."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)--yet another potential 2020 Democratic presidential contender—commended "the forward thinking of my colleagues, but the most crucial issue for our Party is the abolition of ICE. Only the total elimination of all barriers to immigration will ensure the future electoral success for Democrats across the nation."
Clapper Says Security Clearance Essential
While it is a normal business practice for former employees to turn in their keys and lose access to their employers' confidential communications, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says the Trump Administration removing his security clearance would be "a low blow."
"I was hired by CNN with the expectation that my continued access to the government's classified information would make my commentary more interesting and credible," Clapper pointed out. "Stripping my clearance from me is a direct attack on my ability to fully monetize my expertise. It will deter my contacts who are current DNI employees from leaking classified information to me because it is a felony to convey classified information to a person not authorized to receive it. Loss of these leaks would put me in the same disadvantageous position as any other private citizen when it comes to knowing what's really going on inside the government and would violate the terms of my contract with CNN."
The Trump Administration would not be the first to cancel former employees' security clearances. Reviewing whether someone no longer employed by the government ought to retain access to classified information is fairly routine. Former President Obama canceled the security clearances of a number of former Bush Administration employees.
Clapper's objection is that his prospective loss of his security clearance is "not routine. The fact that I have been attacking Trump on a regular basis makes it look like it's personal. I view it as my patriotic duty to attack him for his unfitness to serve as president. I am only continuing the effort of the intelligence community to prevent the nation from the harm he is causing to the country. Just because we weren't able to prevent his election doesn't relieve us of the obligation to continue the fight. Tying my hands by revoking my security clearance is an unfair tactic that would, by itself, further demonstrates his unfitness for office."
NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian confirmed Clapper's assessment of the financial impact that losing his security clearance will have on him saying "the only thread of credibility we have for interviews with these guys is the supposition that they have 'real intelligence' backing up what they say. If everyone knows they lost their clearance this thread will have been snipped. So, yeah, their gigs with the cable networks would be endangered if that happened."
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md) agreed with Clapper's complaint and characterized the canceling of security clearances as "something a totalitarian regime would do. The work of Clapper, Brennan, and the other former intelligence officials to take down the rogue Trump regime is in the vital interest of the American people. Access to classified materials is their key weapon in this fight. Disarming them in this way is same the kind of thing Hitler and Stalin did to make their enemies helpless to defend themselves."
Massachusetts Passes NASTY Women Act
Alarmed that the confirmation of a Trump appointee to the US Supreme Court could eventually lead to the overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing unrestricted abortions, the Massachusetts Democratic legislature and Republican Governor combined to enact the NASTY Women Act (Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women Act).
Gov. Charlie Baker called it "a great day for our state. By being proactive, Massachusetts will be prepared for the eventuality that the federal policy mandating that abortion is the default position in America will be eliminated. States that wait until Roe v. Wade is reversed could see a gap in which unwanted babies are not terminated because there is no state law in place to ensure that undesirable births don't occur."
Anne Fox of Massachusetts Citizens for Life called the legislation "a political stunt. Massachusetts is one of the 15 states which have abortion enshrined in their state Constitutions. Overturning Roe v. Wade will change nothing in this state."
Rep. Jim Hawkins (D-Attleboro) begged to differ, "that is where Ms. Fox is wrong. We are going to raise a ton of money off of the 'stunt'--money that will be used to elect more pro-choice Democrats across the state. Combined with Planned Parenthood's catchy 'freedom to f**k' slogan I can see it fueling a 'blue wave' nationwide. Considering the havoc wrought on the planet by the excess human population, making sure that abortion remains the policy in as many places as possible is crucial if we hope to save the environment."
Food Fascism Gains Ground in California
Two San Francisco city officials are pushing an ordinance that would ban businesses from providing in-house cafeterias for their employees. The measure's co-sponsor, Supervisor Aaron Peskin, argues that "local employers like Airbnb and Twitter are wrongfully denying nearby restaurants the sales they would be entitled to expect if the cafeterias did not exist."
"It's really about equality," Peskin insisted. "Just because you work for a generous employer shouldn't mean you aren't forced to go out for lunch like the rest of us." Of course, the "equality" aspect is tarnished a bit by the measure's "grandfather" clause authorizing those establishments that already have cafeterias to continue operating them. Competing business would be barred from establishing new cafeterias.
Peskin also has his eye on companies hiring private buses that enable their employees to commute in relative luxury. "The City has its own train and bus services funded by the taxpayers," Peskin observed. "It is everyone civic duty to ride these. No one should be permitted to skirt this responsibility just because they have access to a more convenient and comfortable alternative."
Meanwhile, the city of Santa Barbara has passed an ordinance that levies a punishment of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for each plastic straw a waiter gives to a restaurant customer. Santa Barbara's Environmental Services Outreach Coordinator, Bryan Latchford emphasized the "up to" wording of the ordinance. "Enforcement will be on a case-by-case basis," he explained. "There could be some leniency for first offenders. The harshest penalties would normally be meted out only to the worst violators—like those who have been previously warned or waiters who give customers straws without the customer requesting it. I mean, it's still illegal even if the customer requests it, but the request might be a mitigating factor—especially if the customer is insistent or aggressive."