A Trillion Here, a Trillion There… Before Long You’re Talking Real Money. (Apologies to the Hon. Everett Dirksen)

Citing the CBO’s forecast of the Federal Deficit (and at these reates it deserves to be capitalized) , WaPo reports that the Deficit will increase by $80o Billion MORE than expected over the next 10 years.

The United States’ annual deficit will come close to hitting $1 trillion in 2019, an unusually high number during a period of economic growth, the CBO added. Driving that number is spending as well a large tax cut in corporate and individual income taxes passed by Republicans in 2017.

“We all know we are already on a troubling fiscal path, but today’s CBO report shows us that our leaders [and by leaders he has to be talking about the Orange one’s White House and Moscow Mitch’s Republican Congress that passed the tax cuts that have led to the increased deficit numbers] are making things considerably worse,” said Michael A. Peterson, chief executive of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which advocates for lower deficits.

It figures that somehow the government under the Orange Clown’s leadership (where can I get one of those baby blimps by the way?) has gotten into a deficit fix that precludes SFB finally doing something that would benefit working folks – reducing or eliminating the payroll tax.

So Cuba Becomes a Potential “See if Anything Sticks” Distraction

From Washington Post:

As sanctions bite in Cuba, the U.S. — once a driver of hope — is now a source of pain

HAVANA — Just like that, the cruise ships are gone, along with thousands of cash-toting Americans who oohed and aahed — and shopped — amid the crumbling grandeur of Old Havana.

For Cubans, it’s a bitter reversal of fortune. President Barack Obama’s opening of relations here, leading to his historic visit three years ago, inspired hopes of an economic boom, bringing American investment and visitors back to this communist island largely shut off from the United States for more than a half-century. A new crop of restaurateurs, IT entrepreneurs, artists and fashion designers, reveling in a fresh sense of optimism, began building businesses to tap into the seemingly lucrative detente.

But as a deepening frost settles in between the Trump administration and Havana, Cuba is instead confronting its worst economic setback in years. 

Lines have snaked for hours in front of markets selling rationed meat. The lawn of the Nicaraguan Embassy — a launch point for migrants seeking to enter the United States via Mexico — is overflowing with visa applicants.

The near collapse of Cuba’s most important patron, oil-rich Venezuela, and the Cuban government’s own failure to enact reforms more rapidly, have damaged the fragile economy, analysts say. But especially in recent weeks, nothing has stung more than stiffening U.S. sanctions.

* * *

The Trump administration is tightening sanctions only a year after Raúl Castro stepped down, leaving someone outside the family dynasty in charge of the island for the first time in nearly 60 years.

Administration officials say President Miguel Díaz-Canel is navigating a still delicate transition, and mounting pressure has led him to dial back support for Venezuela’s Maduro in his standoff with the U.S.-backed opposition leader, Juan Guaidó.

Analysts and some Cuban insiders say the brain trust in Havana has done itself a disservice by seeking to portray Díaz-Canel as a caretaker of continuity rather than a figure for change. Though Cuba has taken important steps toward modernization under Díaz-Canel — improving access to the Internet via smartphones and allowing private WiFi more broadly — it has moved far more slowly on the economic front and remains years behind the free-market reforms made by communist governments in China and Vietnam, for example.

Carlos Alzugaray is a former senior Cuban diplomat.

“This government has a problem,” he said. “And the first problem is the way they have framed themselves, by continually calling themselves ‘continuity’ — which might be pleasing ideologically for some but gives the bureaucracy the perfect excuse to change nothing.”

Trump administration officials accuse Cuba of maintaining “thousands” of military and intelligence personnel in Venezuela. Havana denies the claim.

Carlos Fernández de Cossío, Cuba’s director of U.S. affairs, said Havana supports “any process that avoids military action and that implies a negotiation that solves the Venezuelan problem.”

Asked whether that might mean accepting the U.S. insistence that Maduro leaves power, he said that depended on the Venezuelan leader.

“To start with, you have to ask if Maduro is willing to abandon power, because Maduro has significant support from the population,” he said. “No one knows exactly how much support, but it’s significant. It’s probably higher than some presidents of many Latin American countries have at this moment. It’s probably bigger than the support President Trump has.” 

———————————–

The stupidity from the White House is absolutely stunning. Does SFB REALLY think that Cuba has more sway over what happens in Venezuela than the US has?

And I REALLY wanted to visit Cuba. Oh, well.

I’m Going to Saginaw

In a landmark decision a three judge panel on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Cincinnati declared that chalking tires to enforce two hour parking limits is an unconstitutional act violating the 4th Amendment unreasonable Search clause. From WaPo:


The age-old parking enforcement practice of tire-chalking is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, saying it violated the Fourth Amendment’s bar on unreasonable searches.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in a first-of-its-kind decision, ruled that marking a car’s tires to gather information is a form of trespass requiring a warrant, similar to police attaching a GPS to a vehicle to track a suspected drug dealer.


Parking attendants across the country have been chalking tires with big white lines for decades in zones without meters to enforce of time limits and issue tickets. It’s a substantial source of revenue for many cities.


The decision, while undoubtedly bringing joy to parking scofflaws everywhere, could cost some cities money, either from lost revenue or having to install meters where none exist.

[…]


The case came from Saginaw, Mich., where lawyer Philip Ellison engaged in a Facebook rant in 2016 after his law partner, sitting in his chalked car, got ticketed while the two talked on the phone.


Ellison said a friend, Alison Taylor, saw the Facebook post and got in touch to complain about her 15th ticket in two years. She, as plaintiff, and he, as lawyer, filed a civil rights suit against Saginaw and a named parking enforcement officer who Ellison claims “issues more than 95 percent of the tickets.”


“We made a federal case out of tire-chalking,” said Ellison, who is seeking refunds for his client and others caught by chalking. He acknowledged some surprise at his victory, as he could find no comparable chalking precedents.

[…]


A lawyer for Saginaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Washington Post – April 23, 2019

No, I’m sure he didn’t – so everyone load up the station wagon – we’re going to Saginaw. Who says the law ain’t fun?

OK, TODAY I’M A LITTLE EMBARRASSED TO BE A LAWYER

OK, today I may be a little embarrassed to be a lawyer. Devin Nunes (no stranger to idiotic and stupidity) sues a bunch of people and virtual entities, some who actually exist, for $250,000,000 (PLUS $350M IN PUNITIVE DAMAGES – GMAFB) in Virginia.

CNN)California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is suing Twitter and three individual Twitter users, accusing them of defaming him in order to derail his re-election campaign and deter him from the Russia investigation.


Nunes, an ally of President Donald Trump and former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, filed the complaint Tuesday in Virginia state court, seeking $250 million in damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.


READ: Devin Nunes’ defamation lawsuit against Twitter, users who criticized him

The California congressman accuses Twitter of allowing the users to spread “false and defamatory statements” about him, alleging that the company harbors a political agenda against conservatives. 

“As part of its agenda to squelch Nunes’ voice, cause him extreme pain and suffering, influence the 2018 Congressional election, and distract, intimidate and interfere with Nunes’ investigation into corruption and Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential Election, Twitter did absolutely nothing,” the complaint says.


The lawsuit was first reported by Fox News, which posted a draft copy of the complaint on Monday. CNN has reached out to both Nunes’ congressional office and lawyer.

 
Twitter declined to comment on the lawsuit. 


Nunes named Republican strategist Liz Mair and two other parody accounts — Devin Nunes’ Mom (@DevinNunesMom) and Devin Nunes’ Cow (@DevinCow) — in his lawsuit. 


He accused Mair and the two other accounts of engaging in a “concerted defamation campaign” to “cause immense pain” and divert his attention from leading the House Intelligence’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.


Nunes pointed to several tweets that he said falsely accused him of federal crimes and includes vulgar language.


“Devin’s boots are full of manure. He’s udder-ly worthless and its pasture time to move him to prison,” reads one tweet from Devin Nunes’ Cow.


The Twitter account @DevinNunesMom was suspended after Nunes’ real mother complained, the complaint said. @DevinCow remains active and has gained followers since Nunes’ complaint was made public. The account posted Monday, “I’m not quitting my day job” in response to the lawsuit. Nunes has asked the court to reveal the users behind the two parody accounts.


Nunes told Fox News on Monday that the lawsuit will be “the first of many.”


“We’re actually going after Twitter first because they are the main proliferator and they spread this fake news and this slanderous news,” Nunes told Fox News.


Mair, who has been outspoken against the President and in 2015 set up an anti-Trump super PAC called “Make America Awesome,” said on Twitter that she is “declining comment on this for now.” 


Nunes’ lawsuit also accuses Twitter of “shadow-banning conservatives” — where a user is unaware his posts aren’t viewable by others except him.

[continues]

He found an attorney Steven Biss, (mylife.com reputation score 0.45/5 – look it up) to file this piece of crap. I hope he’s working on an hourly basis – actually, I hope he’s working on a contingency basis.

Good Lord….