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“What If Trump Tries To Ban Santa?”: An Unmade Hypothetical, But Frighteningly Plausible Trumpian Idea

Reporter: Is it true that you have argued for a ban on Santa Claus crossing American borders on Christmas Eve?

Trump: Americans are afraid and rightly so. They are even afraid of Santa Claus. Who is this guy anyway? And where has he been? He is a citizen of what country? We just don’t know. Is he a tourist? Do we give visas to workers from the North Pole? Until we figure out what the heck is going on, we can’t let this guy cross our border into America. And another thing—even if we built a wall 50 feet high on the Canadian or Mexican border, this guy could fly right over it. He has to be stopped.

Have you always felt this way about Santa?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Santa. And he loves me. Has for many years. He’s huge. In fact, he’s so huge that he should try to mix in a salad every once in a while. I mean who knows what kinds of diseases he’s bringing into the country. High blood pressure. Diabetes. Obesity.  What kind of a role model is that for our children? Let’s stop all this political correctness and call out the Fat Boy for what he really is. He makes Chris Christie look like Tiny Tim.

You’ve argued for banning Muslims from coming to America, even as tourists. You’re not suggesting that Santa Claus is a Muslim, are you?

We don’t know where he’s from. Have you ever seen his birth certificate? There’s just something about this guy that’s so creepy. He lives with elves, for God’s sake. Now there’s nothing wrong with elves. Elves love me. I get a lot of them jobs in the off season. And then there’s this Ho, Ho, Ho business. I am accused of disrespecting women. Where are those critics when this guy is flying around calling everybody a Ho?

But, wait, isn’t Santa Claus another name for St. Nicholas, a Christian saint?

That’s what the media would have you think. How many years now has the American media reaped millions—billions—with Santa this and Santa that? Think about it. Who has done more to secularize Christmas than Santa Claus? Who has turned Americans more into greedy, needy socialists than Santa? His Christmas is nothing more than a welfare program designed to redistribute wealth in this country. Santa is the ultimate insider. It’s time to shake things up in this country.

But lots of your opponents think Santa represents family values.

Yes, but where did he come from? He came from Europe. That makes him a socialist. And where were the terrorists who shot up Paris from? They were from Europe. There is something going on with that guy. And what’s up with that sack? Do you know how many automatic weapons he could fit into that sack? Does anyone stop the guy at the border—who knows what country he just came from—and ask him to open that sack for inspection?

So how should we celebrate Christmas without Santa?

Give yourself a present by voting for me. When I’m president, this country will be great again. We won’t need some Tub of Lard loser to make us happy. We’ll have all the jobs we need. The elves will have jobs. The elves can help us build a wall to secure our border. And Santa can pay for it. One thing about elves, though. They just walk under the turnstiles onto the subway platforms. Huge security risk.

But how will we celebrate Christmas?

You’re not hearing me.  But that’s so typical.  And one more thing:  until we know what’s going on in New Jersey, there will be no more dancing allowed there.  Because I saw a video of New Jersey Muslims—and there are thousands in New Jersey—dancing after 9/11.  People are saying that I made that up, but look at this video—thousands and thousands of people dancing in New Jersey.

With all respect, sir, that looks like a Springsteen concert.

Yeah, but look…Bruce is wearing a Santa hat. Oh, and Bruce loves me. He really does. Has since “Born to Run.”

 

By: Roy Peter Clark, The Daily Beast, December 20, 2015

December 24, 2015 Posted by | Christmas, Donald Trump, Santa Claus | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Your Tax Dollars”: Family Of New GOP Senate Pork Buster Joni Ernst Pocketed Almost Half A Million In Government Assistance

Anyone who tuned in to hear the GOP response to the State of the Union address was treated to an introduction to the GOP’s newest freshman Senate star, Joni Ernst of Iowa.

You may recall Ms. Ernst’s legendary campaign commercial where she informed us all that she had grown up castrating pigs and was, therefore, uniquely qualified to cut the pork from bloated federal spending. You may also recall that, in the castration commercial, she told us about how her family had taught Ernst what she needed to know about the importance of living within one’s means—a lesson, Ernst argued, that has been lost on the federal government.

Turns out, the Senator’s family has a somewhat unusual concept of what “living within one’s means” actually involves as we now know that her father and uncle have been the beneficiaries of some of that good old government pork that the newly minted Senator has sworn to snip from the body of the federal budget.

Apparently, living within their means, inside the Senator’s family, involves including some of your tax dollars and mine as a part of the family budget.

While it may be true, as Senator Ernst recounted in her official response to the SOTU, that she had to walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways, when she was a kid—not really as her actual claim to feeling the pain of low income Americans is that she and her friends wore bread bags over their one and only pair of shoes to protect them from the snow—her family may well have paid for those shoes with taxpayer cash.

An examination by the Washington DC based District Sentinel website reveals that Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, pocketed $38,395 in taxpayer money in the guise of corn subsidies.

But then, Ernst’s dad can’t hold a candle to his brother when it comes to receiving government redistribution of wealth as Senator Joni’s Uncle Dallas has pocketed a cool $370,000 in government subsidies.

Somehow, as Senator Ernst castigated the federal government for all this wasteful spending and wealth redistribution, she failed to mention that her own family has benefitted substantially from the same.

I suppose we can forgive this bit of hypocrisy given Ernst’s long record of involving herself in ‘clean’ government back in Iowa, right?

Not so much.

As reported by Salon, it turns out that daddy’s construction company (and here I thought he was but a poor, struggling farmer) was awarded some $215,665 in building contracts from the Montgomery County during the years 2009 and 2010.

There is certainly nothing inappropriate in a builder winning a few government contracts—unless it turns out that the builder’s daughter Joni, who would go on to become a United States Senator, happens to be the powerful county auditor for that very same Montgomery County.

According to Iowa law, that is a “no-no.”

“The Iowa Code lays out stringent conflict of interest standards for county contracts. Chapter 331 of the code stipulates that ‘[a]n officer or employee of a county shall not have an interest, direct, or indirect, in a contract with that county.’ The provision applies if 5 percent of a company’s outstanding stock is owned by either a county employee or an immediate family member – including a parent – of an employee.”

I’m not sure how much more “on point” the statute could be.

Meet the new GOP—same as the old GOP.

 

By: Rick Ungar, Contributor, Forbes, January 22, 2015

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Federal Budget, GOP, Joni Ernst | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Where Is The Outrage”: How States Are Redistributing The Wealth

In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama was lambasted for supposedly endorsing policies of wealth redistribution. The right feared that under an Obama presidency, Washington would use federal power to take money from some Americans and give it to others. Yet, only a few years later, the most explicit examples of such redistribution are happening in the states, and often at the urging of Republicans.

The most illustrative example began in 2012, when Kansas’ Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a landmark bill that delivered big tax cuts to high-income earners and businesses. Less than two years after that tax cut, the state’s income tax revenues plummeted by a quarter-billion dollars — and now Brownback is pushing to use money for public employees’ pensions to instead cover the state’s ensuing budget shortfalls.

Brownback’s proposal: Slash the state’s required pension contribution by $40 million to balance the state budget, even though Kansas already has one of the worst-funded pension systems in the nation.

Brownback defended his proposal to take money from middle-class state workers and use it to effectively finance his tax cuts for the wealthy. He told the Wichita Eagle: “It’s kind of, uh, well where are you going to go for the funds? And I don’t like it, but it’s kind of what’s your other option if you don’t hit K-12 and higher ed with allotments?”

Brownback is not alone. He joins fellow Republican Gov. Chris Christie in coupling large tax breaks with cuts to actuarially required pension payments. In New Jersey, Christie slashed required pension payments while signing legislation expanding tax credits to corporations, and doling out a record amount of taxpayer subsidies to businesses. Many of those subsidies have flowed to firms whose executives have made campaign contributions to Republican political organizations. Earlier this month, New Jersey pension trustees filed a lawsuit against Christie for not making legally required contributions to the state’s pension system.

Both Brownback and Christie promoted their tax cuts as instruments to boost economic growth. Yet, a recent review of federal data by the Kansas City Star found Kansas “trails most other states when it comes to job growth.” Likewise, an investigative series by Gannett newspapers recently found “New Jersey’s job growth rate [is] the second worst in the nation. … New Jersey’s middle class has lost billions in income through layoffs, salary cuts and wage freezes [and] more than 100,000 job seekers have been unemployed for months on end.”

Illinois followed a somewhat similar path. For years, lawmakers did not make the full actuarially required pension payments, causing severe funding shortages in the state’s pension system. While lawmakers said there was little money to meet pension obligations, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed a corporate tax cut in 2011 that is projected to cost the state more than $370 million a year in lost revenue. Two years after signing that bill, as pension funding gaps swelled, Quinn signed legislation slashing public employees’ retirement benefits. An Illinois judge last month ruled that the legislation violated the state’s constitution, though the ruling is being appealed.

The obvious question raised by these episodes is: Where is the outrage? To date, these attempts to use workers’ money to finance massive giveaways to the rich have generated little media coverage or political opposition — and certainly less than the full-fledged frenzy that took place when Obama made his “spread the wealth” comment a few years ago.

The tepid response to this kind of wealth transfer suggests that for all the angry rhetoric about redistribution you might hear on talk radio, cable TV and in the halls of Congress, the political and media class is perfectly fine with redistribution — as long as the cash flows from the 99 percent to the 1 percent, and not the other way around.

 

By: David Sirota, Senior Writer, the International Business Times; The National Memo, December 26, 2014

December 27, 2014 Posted by | Chris Christie, Sam Brownback, State Pension Systems | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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