Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Democracy Doesn't Just Cost Lives – It Costs Billions in Lobbying

Which Kinda Defeats the Purpose of Democracy

As new tax legislation that will benefit everyone except middle income hard working Americans gears up the pigs are at the trough.

WASHINGTON — The sweeping tax rewrite unveiled by President Trump and Republican lawmakers this past week leaves many of the details to Congress, but two sentences in the nine-page framework have Washington lobbyists salivating over a payday that some industry experts predict could top $1 billion.

So what are the lobbyists concerned about? Getting fair treatment for the regular folks? Hardly.

Tucked away on Page 8, the sentences refer vaguely to plans to repeal or roll back “numerous” exclusions and deductions, and to “modernize” tax rules affecting specific industries “to ensure that the tax code better reflects economic reality and that such rules provide little opportunity for tax avoidance.”

That language has prompted concerns among a wide range of businesses and industries about the prospect of losing valuable tax breaks — from preferential tax treatment for insurers to credits for renewable energy to a prized tax treatment used by the commercial real estate industry.

Now no one knows the details of the tax plan that will ultimately be enacted, including those responsible for writing the legislation and voting on it. But we do know from what has been presented that a middle income family might get a few hundred dollars in tax relief if they are lucky, while those industries battle over billions.


Sounds fair to us.

While the U. S. Looks at a Pedophile Senate Candidate, anti-Semiticism and Fascism Rises in Europe



Poland Just the Latest Nation to Catch the Disease

Maybe They Always Had It

It is ironic that close to the day America celebrates its veterans the nation of Poland hosted a huge rally promoting ultra conservatism joined to hatred for Muslims and Jews.

WARSAW—Tens of thousands of Poles marched across downtown Warsaw on Saturday, in an independence-day procession organized by a nationalist youth movement that seeks an ethnically pure Poland with fewer Jews or Muslims.
The largely young crowd shot off roman candles and chanted “fatherland,” carrying banners that read “White Europe,” “Europe Will Be White,” and “Clean Blood.” Some of the marchers flew in from neighboring countries—Slovakia, Spain and Hungary—waving flags and symbols those countries used during their wartime collaboration with Nazi Germany.

Poland of course has an ugly history of murdering a large number of Jews, and its complicity in WWII atrocities has been well documented. So what is going on here.


Well the migration of Arab families to Europe to escape physical violence and preserve their families just drove the nativists and bigots crazy. So the rise of forces we thought we defeated over 70 years ago shows just how strong hatred is in the world, and how clueless the U. S. is to stop it. In fact, it is hard to see how the person the nation put in charge of itself isn't part of the problem. He sure isn't part of the solution.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

On. Sen. Franken The New Yorker Gets It Wrong

His Resignation Would Not Be Retribution

Given that he has admitted wrong doing (although it is impossible not when their is photographic evidence) the question is whether or not Sen. Al Franken (D. Mn) should remain in the Senate. He should not.

A writer for The New Yorker though takes issue.

But maybe “Should Al Franken resign?” is the wrong question.
The question frames the conversation in terms of retribution, but it is not possible to hold to account every man who has ever behaved disrespectfully and disgustingly toward a woman. Nor even every senator, or every comedian. And, even if it were possible to punish every single one of them, what would be accomplished? Punishment, especially when it is delayed, is not a very effective deterrent.


The problem with the above is that leaving the Senate is not punishment or retribution. Serving in the Senate is a privilege. It is an honor. It is a position of leadership. Out of more than 300 million people in the nation it is one of 100. Asking Mr. Franken to leave the Senate simply reaffirms the belief that the men and women who serve the nation in elected office should be more than just people not convicted of a crime. They should have honor and dignity. Sen. Franken has neither.

Supporting progressive legislation is not enough to qualify a person who behaves improperly for the Senate just as supporting conservative legislation is not enough to vote for someone who aspires to the Senate who has also behaved inappropriately towards women.




Monday, November 20, 2017

George Will, Protector of the Rich, Now Wants to Protect Massively Wealthy Universities

Opposes Very Modest Tax on Huge Endowments

One of the many financial abuses in American life is the accumulation of huge endowments by very wealthy colleges and universities who then just accumulate more money. Harvard is the biggest offender here, they charge a large tuition while at the same time building and building their endowment.

In the Republican tax bill there is provision to put a very small tax on these endowments. George Will is horrified!

Most university endowments are compounds of thousands of individual funds that often are restricted to particular uses, all of which further the institutions’ educational purposes. Hence these endowments are akin to the untaxed “operating foundations.” Yet the Republicans, without public deliberations, and without offering reasons, would arbitrarily make university endowments uniquely subject to a tax not applied to similar entities.

What is Will logic? Well this.

Are Republicans aware, for example, that Princeton University’s endowment earnings fund more than half its annual budget and will support expansion of the student body? 


Notice that what is being said is that not only is none of the principal of the endowment being used to support operations, only half of the earnings are plowed back into benefits. Good grief. So if a person gives Princeton, which is one of the better places to give, $1 million, then not only does none of the $1 million go to student aid or reduced tuition, only half of the income from investing the $1 million goes to student help. If the $1 million earns 6%, then only $30,000 a year is used for benefits. These places deserve a higher tax, not a lower one.

Can Anyone Explain Evangelical Support for Roy Moore?

Maybe that Religion Thing is a Big Con Job

It was not that long ago that conservative religious leaders were outraged, outraged at Bill Clinton. Character matters they all said. Well here is what they are saying now.

In just over a week since the allegations surfaced, Mr. Moore has spoken at a Baptist church, held a press conference with half a dozen evangelical pastors who defended him, and called the campaign a “spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message.” He denies the allegations. Several national evangelical leaders—including Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Jerry Falwell Jr. , president of Liberty University—have voiced support for Mr. Moore.

So how does one explain this? Here are some possible explanations.

  1. The Devil made them do it.

  1. Molestation of teenage girls is less important than repeal of the Estate Tax.

  1. The Democrat running against Moore is secretly a Muslim.


  1. Deep down they all want to cruise the malls for teenage girls.

  1. In their past they did cruise the malls for teenage girls.

  1. When they asked “What Would Jesus Do?” they hung up the phone when He told them not to do it.

  1. Being a Fundamentalist Religious Zealot means never having to say you are sorry for sexual molestation.

  1. They all meet regularly at Teenage Girls R Us.


  1. The Democrat running against Moore is Jewish.

  1. Nothin says lovin like grabbing a woman's butt without her permission.

  1. The Democrat running against Moore doesn't believe that gay couples should be imprisoned for life before eternal damnation.

13. They all meet regularly at Hypocrites R Us.




Sunday, November 19, 2017

When Will Dems Learn to Confront the Tax Cut LIes?

You Can't Win if You Don't Show Up

On Meet the Press and Face the Nation the Republicans set out the Republican budget director to lie about the tax cuts.  The Democrats set out, well, nobody.

Ways the Republican Tax Bill Could Be Even Worse and

Other Snarky Comments on the News

  1. The House and Senate will have to merge their tax bills. Here are just some of the things that would make it worse than it already is.

[ THIS SPACE LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK ]


  1. Republicans claim their tax cut will reduce the deficit, but there is no independent analysis to support this. Economics for the GOP is faith based, not reality based. This comment from a Bush era Treasury official tells it all.

Phillip Swagel, who served as the U.S. Treasury’s top economist from 2006 until 2009 in the George W. Bush administration, said it was“just implausible” that the Trump administration has an analysis that concludes tax cuts will pay for themselves.

  1. Alabama religious leaders showed their true colors in supporting Roy Moore. Many said while they had not talked with Jesus they were certain that were Jesus voting he would support Moore against any Democratic candidate since it was well know that Democrats were the spawn of Satan. The leaders supported that charge by citing a version of the Bible they expected Jerry Falwell Jr. to publish next year.

  1. Anyone who thought Al Franken was funny should now realize how wrong they were.

  1. Anyone else notice that America's number one moralist,  I-Know-Better-Than-You VP Pence has been pretty silent on Roy Moore.

  1. Don't believe polls that show Moore losing; In Alabama nothing is more scared than the Republican brand, not even the right of young girls to be free of sexual assault.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Whiff of Anti-Semeticism Creeps Into Trump Tweet on Al Franken

Just a Coded Message to His Base

While cowardly ducking any questions on Roy Moore, the Pussy Grabber in Chief did weigh in on the revelations that Senate Democrat Al Franken engaged in sexual assault.

President Trump, who was dogged by sexual misconduct allegationsduring his 2016 campaign, took aim at longtime critic Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Thursday night, after Franken was accused of forcibly kissing and groping a woman 11 years ago.
The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words,” Trump wrote on Twitter, misspelling the apparent reference to the 19th-century novel “Frankenstein.” Trump added in a second tweet that Franken had last week been “lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women.”

Yes, we know the 'Frankenstien' (sic) reference is a play on words on Frankenstein's Monster (yes kiddies the Frankenstein was the doctor, not the creation). And we know that Trumper is spelling challenged. But also in there is the not so subtle reminder that Franken is Jewish, and we all know how the Trump fans feel about the Jewish community. So for the Groper it's just another day like Charlottesville, reassuring his base that he too hates those Jewboys.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Al Franken's Senate Career is Over - And Should Be

Lesson Number One:  It's Never Just One Incident

Lesson Number Two:  If There is Photographic Evidence the Game is Up

Accusations by a women complete with photo that she was inappropriately grabbed and kissed by Senator Al Franken (D, Mn) will cause Mr. Franken ot resign his Senate seat.  He may not realize it at this point, the Dems may not realize it at this point but his career is over.

Franken has already become the butt of late night talk shows, and redicule is the precursor to resignation.

From the Washington Post

Colbert told his audience some of the details of Tweeden’s allegations, such as “during rehearsal he came at her, put his hand on the back of her head, mashed his lips against hers and aggressively stuck his tongue in her mouth.”
“Now for those of you not in showbiz, actors call that technique ‘sexual harassment,’ ” Colbert said. He also took issue with Franken’s statement that the photo “was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t.”
“No. Your movie ‘Stuart Saves His Family’ was intended to be funny but wasn’t,” Colbert shot back. “That photo was intended to embarrass her. That’s why he did it while she was asleep.”
Both ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” brought up Tweeden’s vest that she was wearing in the photo, with Kimmel calling it a “grope-proof vest.”


The story moved beyond a he said-she said narrative with the publication of a photo taken of Mr. Franken fondling the victim while she slept.  The Senate leadership has called for an investigation and hearing.  The investigation will reveal other victims, the hearings would be an embarassment for everyone.  So Al will resign, the only question being when and how much damage he will allow before he does so.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R. Wi) is a Lying Sack of Doodoo

He Will Vote for Any Tax Bill

In order to make political points conservative Republican Senator Ron Johnson has said he won't vote for the tax bill because it favors corporations.

WASHINGTON—Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) said he opposes the Senate Republican tax package, saying it unfairly benefits corporations more than other types of businesses.
“If they can pass it without me, let them,” Mr. Johnson said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m not going to vote for this tax package.”

Now no one should be fooled. Johnson the Liar said the same thing about repealing ACA and then just went ahead and voted for it. No one believed him then, no one believes him now.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Once Again David Brooke of the NYT is Exposed as a Fool and an Idiot



An Embarrassment to Himself and Others

This forum has long commented on the lack of even basic logic and common sense in the columns of David Brooks. The man is truly an idiot in a Brooks Brothers suit. The latest evidence, his column trying to explain the alienation of the extreme religious right and their tolerance for moral failure in politicians they support.

Here is what he said near the end of his column.

Suppose America’s leaders had gone to conservative evangelicals a decade ago and said: Look, we understand that changing attitudes about gay marriage put you in a tough position. We’re not going to stop doing what we think is right, but we’re going to try to work out some accommodation with you on religious liberty so you can feel at home here and practice your faith.

How in the world has legalization of same sex marriage in any way impeded anyone's ability to practice their faith? If a person believes same sex marriage is immoral, then they don't have to marry a person of the same sex. The problem here is that these people want to practice their faith by imposing their faith on people who do not believe in that particular faith.


The nation understands this, why can't this simple truth get through the thick skull of David Brooks.  

Alabama Voters Are Among the Worst, Maybe They Are the Worst



We'll See, as the Chief Groper Would Say

One likes to praise ordinary people, the hard working tax paying citizens of a state. But Alabama, the state that is in love with racist Jeff Sessions makes that very hard. Look at this.

A growing number of Republicans say they won’t vote for either candidate. And if more credible allegations emerge before Election Day, Moore’s remaining support could crumble. One poll (which has Moore up by just four points) found that 37 percent of voters say Moore should withdraw, but that number goes up to 64 percent “if the allegations are true.” 


Yes you are reading the correctly. 36%, more than one third of the voters in Alabama believe that even if the allegations of sexual molestation and acting as a sexual predator are true about Roy Moore, he should still stay in the race.


What is there kind and compassionate to say about such people?  Yeah, if Alabama seceded now it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.  Voting for a man who sexually assaulted and stalked teenage girls, that might be the worse thing in the world of democracy.

The Best Word on Health Care Insurance and the Tax Bill

From the Incidental Economist and the Great Nicholas Bagley

When somebody else says it far better than we can say it, we present what they are saying.

The tradeoff here is both simple and brutal.

“Republicans want to pay for a permanent corporate tax by taking insurance from millions of people. Is that who we are as a nation?”
That’s the end of my latest op-ed in the Washington Post. Here’s the beginning.
To finesse the tricky politics and brutal math of tax reform, Senate Republicans now say that they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. For Republicans, repeal would be a trifecta: a blow to Obamacare, a money-saver for the federal government and a way to finance a permanent cut to the corporate tax rate.
Republicans are right about all of this. What they haven’t highlighted, however, are the tradeoffs: the estimated 13 million people who will lose insurance if the mandate is repealed. Is the country really better off if millions of people forgo medical care, and millions more go bankrupt, so that corporations can pay lower taxes? That’s not a rhetorical question. Those are the stakes of the game.
It’s actually worse than my op-ed suggests. In a smart post, Bob Laszewski explains why eliminating the mandate while loosening the restrictions on short-term plans “would be devastating for those in the unsubsidized middle class who would not be able to afford coverage once they got sick.”


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Texas Sen. John Cronyn Wants Mitch McConnell's Job

And Other Revelations on the News

  1. In what should not have been a surprise, the 2nd in command in the Senate, Rep. John Cronyn endorsed the candidacy of disgraced former Alabama judge Roy Moore. He did this despite a reputation for having at least some respect for the law. Moore has been twice removed from the bench for cause, and one time the cause was violating the Constitution. Cronyn wants to be the go-to guy if enough Senators ditch McConnell, so he needs to be on Steve Bannon's best side to do that.


  1. With its obnoxious commercials and obnoxious spokesperson those who write on this Forum will never ever use Trivago to book travel. Could those people be any more offensive?

  1. Politico says Kushner will take a diminished role during Trumpie trip to China. Really, how is it possible for this pretender to take even more of a diminished role than he does now, in any area?

  1. Fox News has not offered Mark Halperin a $25 million contract, though lord knows they want to.

  1. The people of Puerto Rico are just cursed with bad government that will make their lives worse by wasting money to rebuild the grid by contracting with a firm totally unqualified to do the work. Anyone who believes no Trumpie officials were involved needs to start paying attention and wake up from the dead.

  1. The Republican deficit hawks who decided to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit to finance tax cuts for big corporations and wealthy donors say deficits don't matter, unless they are used to finance benefits to low and middle income families.

  1. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley says she would not take the Secretary of State job if (when really) the current Secretary quits. Ms. Haley did not say that she needs to learn more about foreign countries, like where they are, before she is qualified. Trump spokespersons did not say that they think she will change her mind as qualifications are just not on their radar screen for filling key positions.

  1. Information that the Clinton campaign paid for opposition research on Trump's personal issues just shows how inept that campaign was. Trump's personal failing were more than adequately documented in the press, and the Clinton campaign needed to promote reasons to vote for Hilary, not reasons not to vote for Donnie. Donnie himself provided all the reasons not to vote for him.





Leadership in the Czech Republic Passes to a Trump Like Figure



No, That is Not Good - Is Europe  Slowly, Silently Turning Fascist?


One of the casualties of the Syrian Civil War has been the destruction of democratic values in Europe. The Czech Republic joins Poland and Austria and Hungary as turning away from decency and compassion and is now looking at government as an oppressive force.

From the Financial Times


This week’s Czech election, after Austria’s parliamentary poll a week earlier, has shown that the march of the populists in Europe is far from over. The clear winner in Prague was a five-year-old party led by a billionaire businessman, Andrej Babis. Support for mainstream centre-left and centre-right parties all but collapsed. A far-right party won 11 per cent of the vote. The victory of a wealthy, media-owning tycoon in a country from the ex-Soviet bloc brings inevitable concerns, too, about the potential for “state capture”.

There are plenty of examples in the ex-communist world of wealthy leaders running countries in the interests of themselves and their cronies, weakening democratic restraints to make themselves difficult to unseat. One big question is whether the Czech Republic will now join Hungary and Poland to form an enlarged illiberal bloc in central Europe. Mr Babis certainly shares the anti-migrant stance and hatred for EU refugee policy of Hungary’s premier Viktor Orban and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s ruling party.

The good news is that the new Czech leader does not display the fascist tendencies of other countries of central Europe. But it is clear the the attempt of Europe to do a decent thing, accept refugees from Syria and other war torn areas has had a terrible impact on government, and that nativist peoples of many European countries, maybe all European countries are now turning the continent back to the 20th Century, and not the good part of it.


Of course in America we don't know or care what is going on.

Republicans Say they Need More Evidence of Roy Moore's Proclivity for Teenage Girls



Here It Is

[Update: It appears that at least in the Senate the Republicans are being disgusted by the Moore history and are rejecting his candidacy. Now Sean Hannity and Bannon are vacillating. Moore looks like a goose being cooked for the holidays.]

The weasel like Republicans who say only “If it is true . . .” about the egregious behavior of Senate candidate Roy Moore have some more evidence to say it is true.

A former colleague of GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore said Saturday that it was "common knowledge" that the Alabama Republican dated high school girls when he worked in the Etowah County District Attorney's Office in the 1980s.
In a statement to CNN, Teresa Jones, who served as deputy district attorney for Etowah County, Ala., from 1982 until 1985, said that multiple people thought it was unusual that Moore dated high school girls, but that no one ever raised the matter with him.
"It was common knowledge that Roy Moore dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird," Jones told CNN. "We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall ... but you really wouldn't say anything to someone like that."



Over to you Republicans, let us know when you get your moral compass back.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Nation Gives Thanks to Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore


Conclusive Exposure of Religious Hypocrisy


One of the most astounding developments of the 2016 election was the fact that so-called deeply religious leaders embraced the amoral Donnie. Their excuse was the Supreme Court, but everyone knew the truth. They supported a person for political reasons and the fact that the person violated their moral precepts was irrelevant. But a lot of people bought the lie because of the Supreme Court.

But the largely confirmed sexual abuse of a 14 year old girl by the ultra conservative, ultra religious Alabama Senate candidate has now confirmed that those faith leaders have no faith or leadership. There is no condemnation, only the weasel statement of “if he did that . . .” which since no one can be certain lets them off the hook.   But there should be litle doubt in that he did it.  The woman's story checks out, she is a Trump supporter and there is contemporeneous communicatins about the action.  And the last two Presidential candidates before Trumpie have stood up and called it right, Moore is unfit for office.


And now the nation knows, the religious right is neither religious nor right.  

How the Wealthy Survive Massive Inequality – Delusion and Denial

Just Ordinary Folks Who Work Hard

Rachel Sherman, a researcher into socio-economics has an opinion piece in the NYT on her anecdotal research into how wealthy people fell about their wealth and how they can look themselves in the mirror after spending huge sums on non-necessities for themselves.

In part they do this by trying to hide their affluence, like from the servants.

She took the price tags off her clothes so that her nanny would not see them. “I take the label off our six-dollar bread,” she said.

She did this, she explained, because she was uncomfortable with the inequality between herself and her nanny, a Latina immigrant. She had a household income of $250,000 and inherited wealth of several million dollars. 


This drips with condescension, in particular because the subject believes her servants are too stupid to know what things cost. As for their attitudes about their wealth, well they are just 'ordinary'.

My interviewees never talked about themselves as “rich” or “upper class,” often preferring terms like “comfortable” or “fortunate.” Some even identified as “middle class” or “in the middle,” typically comparing themselves with the super-wealthy, who are especially prominent in New York City, rather than to those with less.

When I used the word “affluent” in an email to a stay-at-home mom with a $2.5 million household income, a house in the Hamptons and a child in private school, she almost canceled the interview, she told me later. Real affluence, she said, belonged to her friends who traveled on a private plane.


The subjects almost always describe themselves as 'hard workers' and seem to justify their wealth because they work hard. Hard work is the person who holds down two jobs just to pay the bills and lives in substandard housing. Hard work is roofing, it is standing in an assembly line for 8 hours a day, it is cleaning toilets and fixing cars. Hard work in not attending meetings or going to conferences in exotic locales where everything is paid for by the company.



We all see these families when we travel. They are the ones with kids in first class. They are the ones paying $500 a night for a hotel. They are the ones who have to check several bags to provide for their overpriced designer clothes when they leave home.



No one begrudges people the fruits of their labor, or feels that all of their inheritances should be taken away, But in a land where many people do not have a first home is it really right that the wealthy get tax deductions for having a second one?


Monday, November 13, 2017

Roy Moore Threatens to Sue Washington Post - Post: Bring It On!

Don't Worry WaPo - He Won't Sue

The many political cowards that inhabit politics, starting with Donnie, always threaten to sue when the news reports accurately their faults and transgressions.  Remember that Donnie was going to sue all the women who accused him of improper behavior.  Remember he was not going to settle the Trump University suits against him because he doesn't settle when he is right.  Of course no suits have materialized against any women, and the suits against him on Trump University were quietly settled with a large payment by Trumpie.

And now Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is saying he will sue the Washington Post for reporting that he molested a teenage girl.

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama sought to refocus his campaign on the conservative religious ideals most likely to motivate his base voters, dismissing the national firestorm over allegations that he pursued teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
Addressing a gathering at the Huntsville Christian Academy in Huntsville, Ala., on Sunday night, the former judge suggested that he was investigating his accusers, threatened to sue The Washington Post and called on the United States to restore its culture by going “back to God.”

Well, not to worry newspapers. See when you sue you have to be deposed under oath. And Trumpie and Moore cannot withstand cross examination under oath. So nothing will happen here,although it it does the WaPo will be ecstatic.

Maine Voters Approve Medicaid Expansion; Paul Ryan Shuts Down Voting in House



Two Tales of Democracy

The disdain that Republicans have for the democratic process was evident when despite repeated opposition to expansion of health care in Maine by its Republican Governor, the voters, when given a chance overwhelmingly approved it.

Maine voters on Tuesday delivered a strong rebuke to their governor by approving an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under Obamacare — the first time state voters have directly authorized such an expansion.

The vote makes Maine the 32nd state to agree to expand Medicaid to thousands of low-income adults who qualify for coverage and represents a major setback for Republican Gov. Paul LePage, an ally of President Donald Trump who vetoed expansion bills on five occasions. The measure was winning 59 percent to 41 percent with roughly two-thirds of precincts reporting as of 10 p.m., according to the Associated Press, just weeks after Republicans in Congress failed in their efforts to repeal the health care law.


And Maine of course is a conservative state, where the obnoxious Republican has been elected twice and where its Senators are one Republican and one Independent. Had they listened to the people Medicaid expansion would have taken place a long time ago.  Of course the Governor will do everything to defeat the will of the people, so nothing is certain.  

And then there is the autocratic House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan vowed an end to the much-despised top-down approach of his predecessor when he took the speaker’s gavel in 2015, promising a House that’s “more open, more inclusive, more deliberative, more participatory.”

“We're not going to bottle up the process so much and predetermine the outcome of everything around here,” he said in his first news conference as speaker.




But two years later, the House Rules Committee, which is controlled by the speaker, just set a record for the most closed rules in a session — barring lawmakers for the 49th time from offering amendments on a bill.




This would be surprising only to people not familiar with Paul Ryan.