Don’t Mention Trump on Thanksgiving

A Survey Monkey poll in 2014 found that 11% of Americans indicated that Barack Obama was the topic most likely to spur an argument on Thanksgiving. This year, 37% say that about Donald Trump.

“The expectation that Trump would be the subject most likely to hijack Thanksgiving transcended party lines: We asked respondents if they considered themselves Republicans, Democrats or independents, and regardless of party affiliation, the most common answer in each group was still Trump. Just over half of self-identified Democrats — 169 out of 319 respondents — said talking about Trump was most likely to start an argument, compared to 34% of independents and 20% of Republicans.”

Conyers Confirms Settlement But Denies Allegations

“Amid rising calls for an ethics investigation into his behavior, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) confirmed that he reached a financial settlement with a former staffer who accused him of sexual harassment but stressed that he did not admit fault in the case,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Conyers: “I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so… My office resolved the allegations — with an express denial of liability — to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation. That should not be lost in the narrative.”

Quote of the Day

“We had so much shit in our entire technology ecosystem that we couldn’t clean it up.  Oh man, those Russians were on us like white on rice.  I mean, they were, Joe, they were destroying data, critical data, Joe. I had a walking list for precinct 89 in Washington, D.C. I know precinct 89, right? And the Russians went in there and corrupted all of our critical data.  All of our critical data.  So, I no longer trusted this damn list that I’ve had for over 20 years of knowing every frequent voter, every Democratic voter.”

— Donna Brazile, in an interview on Sirius XM, on the extent of the Russian hacking of the DNC’s computer systems.

Half End Up Paying More In Taxes

“Republicans are losing the public relations battle on their tax-cut bills. While a tax bill cleared the House last week, several Senate Republicans appear skeptical of their chamber’s version. And polls show that Americans are much more opposed to the GOP’s tax effort than supportive — a fact that has to be weighing on those same wavering Senate Republicans,” the Washington Post reports.

A new report from the bipartisan Tax Policy Center should make it even more difficult for senators to get to yes:

On average in 2027, taxes would rise modestly for the lowest-income group, change little for middle-income groups, and decrease for higher-income groups. Compared to current law, 9 percent of taxpayers would pay more in 2019, 12 percent in 2025, and 50 percent in 2027.

“It’s not difficult to see this winding up in just about every piece of Democratic pushback on the Senate GOP’s tax bill.”

Bloomberg: House tax bill is littered With loopholes for Wall Street’s wealthiest.

A Government Shutdown Is Very Possible This Christmas

Stan Collender: “Congressional staff, lobbyists and reporters all cheered when the current continuing resolution — the law that’s keeping the government’s lights on while Congress figures out what to do about the fiscal 2018 spending bills — was drafted so it would expire on December 9. They all figured the early-in-December deadline meant they could make relatively secure plans to be out-of-town for the holidays.”

“I sure hope they didn’t get nonrefundable tickets.”

“The GOP’s efforts to enact a tax bill by President Trump’s arbitrary and nonsensical Christmas 2018 deadline has made it almost certain that Congress will be in session until close to the end of December. That, in turn, virtually guarantees that the (hopefully) final funding decisions for the year also won’t be made until the end of the month. That will wreak havoc with holiday schedules. It could also mean there could be a federal government shutdown by January 1.”

Lower Turnout Forecast for Alabama’s Special Election

Alabama’s top election official told NBC News he is lowering his prediction for turnout in Alabama’s December 12 special election, a potential measure of how sexual misconduct allegations have roiled the Senate race between Roy Moore (R) and Doug Jones (D).

“Secretary of State John Merrill also said his office has just sent local election officials more detailed guidance for processing write-in votes, a result he said of a higher volume of inquiries than his office normally receives from voters across the state.”

First Read: “While it’s impossible to predict what will happen in the Moore-vs.-Jones race — it’s an election in December, in Alabama and with the Republican nominee facing terrible accusations — it’s fair to say that a lower turnout and more write-in votes probably help Jones.”

It’s All About CNN

A USA Today editorial says the Trump administration’s decision to sue to block the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner “smacks of politics” because of the president’s vendetta against CNN.

Ever since the Nixon administration secretly meddled in antitrust policy, both parties have tried to keep raw partisan politics out of it. Presidents appoint certain types of lawyers to head the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission antitrust units, then leave them alone to conduct independent reviews that follow the facts and the law. At least that was the practice until Trump became president… None of this makes any sense outside of political vendettas. Turner Broadcasting is fairly small potatoes in terms of market power…

If the AT&T-Time Warner case goes to court, the administration is highly likely to lose, but not before wasting a lot of taxpayer and shareholder money on legal fees in the process.

The Chicago Sun Times concurs: “Trump is behaving again like a tin-pot dictator, trying to punish a media company that has dared to cover him honestly, aggressively and accurately.”

Trump’s Science Office Is a Ghost Town

“In its 41-year-old history as the White House hub of innovation, the Office of Science and Technology Policy has never gone this long without a leader or official mandate,” CBS News reports.

“But nine months into his administration, there’s no clear indication that the president is close to naming a science adviser who will inform his policymaking, though that’s the mission that the OSTP has played since its founding in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. From climate change to space to education, the office has served as an in-house incubator for research, data, and crisis management that drove policy under seven presidents.”

Judge Permanently Blocks Trump’s Sanctuary Cities Order

A federal judge permanently blocked President Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities, the AP reports.

“U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick rejected the administration’s argument that the executive order applies only to a relatively small pot of money and said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress. The judge had previously made the same arguments in a ruling that put a temporary hold on the executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities. The Trump administration has appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Leading Trump Pick for Census Causes Alarm

“The Trump administration is leaning toward naming Thomas Brunell, a Texas professor with no government experience, to the top operational job at the U.S. Census Bureau,” Politico reports.

“Brunell, a political science professor, has testified more than half a dozen times on behalf of Republican efforts to redraw congressional districts, and is the author of a 2008 book titled Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America. The choice would mark the administration’s first major effort to shape the 2020 Census, the nationwide count that determines which states lose and gain electoral votes and seats in the House of Representatives.”