Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, November 9th, 2017.


Roy Unmoored?

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Trump Maladministration

Judge Roy Moore is being accused of inappropriate relations with a minor. I’m not surprised in the least. However, the interesting development here is that Mitch McConnell and a bunch of other Republicans are telling Moore to drop out of the race if the allegations are true.

This tells me McConnell et al. really don’t want Moore in the Senate. If they supported him, they’d be blustering about liberal media slandering this upstanding virtuous Christian man blah blah blah.

At this point the Alabama ballot cannot be changed, but Moore could still withdraw or be disqualified by his state party. The guy Moore defeated for the nomination, Luther Strange, could run as a write-in candidate.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have adopted a unique strategy for helping Doug Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent. Well, not so unique for the Democrats.

With less than a month until Alabama’s special election for U.S. Senate, political experts say national Democrats are deploying a unique strategy to support their nominee, Doug Jones: They are staying away.

“I don’t have a sense at all that the DNC (Democratic National Committee) is anywhere in this state,” said Derryn Moten, chairman of the Department of History and Political Science at Alabama State University. “They don’t want to damage or do anything that might damage Jones’ chance to win that Senate seat,” he said. The party “doesn’t want to do anything that would be an albatross around Jones’ neck.”

That’s so … lame.

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What’s Up With the Time Warner, AT&T Thing?

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Trump Maladministration

AT&T has been planning to buy Time Warner for a while. The telecommunications giant would then also own CNN, HBO, Warner Brothers, and a bunch of other stuff with lots of content. One can see the potential.

The Justice Department appears to be trying to block the sale. There probably are good reasons to be leery of this much money and assets all glomming together into one global powerhouse. But there’s a strong appearance that the only reason Trump’s Justice Department is stepping in is that Trump wants to punish CNN.

There are all kinds of conflicting reports out today saying that either the Justice Department has made the sale of CNN a condition of the deal, or that AT&T offered to sell CNN, then said it wouldn’t. Whatever it is, the sticking point seems to be centered on CNN.

Reuters:

Reports that the Justice Department is pushing for significant asset sales and conflicting reports of its discussions with AT&T cast new doubt on the deal on Wednesday. Shares of Time Warner closed down 6.5 percent at $88.50.

The dispute is the latest twist in a deal which took on broader political significance immediately after its inception in October 2016. U.S. President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of CNN, attacked the deal on the campaign trail last year, vowing that as president his Justice Department would block it. He has not commented on the transaction since taking office in January. …

… The discussion of a potential sale of CNN has politicized the situation. Trump has repeatedly tangled with CNN, calling the network’s coverage “fake news.”

Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said on Wednesday he opposed the mega-merger but was also worried about political implications of any divestiture of CNN.

“I am deeply concerned with the notion that the Justice Department may be pressuring the companies to consider spinning off CNN’s parent company Turner Broadcasting as a path forward toward approval of the acquisition, given the president’s repeated public complaints about CNN’s coverage of him,” Franken said. “Any indication that this administration is using its power to weaken media organizations it doesn’t like would be a profoundly disturbing development.”

What makes this all especially suspicious is that Trump’s guy to head the antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, said in an interview last year that the AT&T/Time Warner sale did not constitute an antitrust problem.  But now, he has changed his mind. One suspects Trump is behind this.

And then there’s this:

AT&T also said it would invest an additional $1 billion in the United States next year if Trump signed into law the provisions in the current House of Representatives tax bill.

“By immediately lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, this bill will stimulate investment, job creation and economic growth in the United States,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chief executive.

The lot of them can drop off the planet, IMO.

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