VA cuts program for homeless vets after touting Trump’s commitment 

 

Politico

VA cuts program for homeless vets after touting Trump’s commitment

David Shulkin is pictured. | AP PhotoThe VA says it is essentially ending a special $460 million program that has dramatically reduced homelessness among chronically sick and vulnerable veterans. VA Secretary David Shulkin is pictured. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo

By Arthur Allen and Lorraine Woellert   December 6, 2017

Four days after Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin held a big Washington event to tout the Trump administration’s promise to house all homeless vets, the agency did an about-face, telling advocates it was pulling resources from a major housing program.

The VA said it was essentially ending a special $460 million program that has dramatically reduced homelessness among chronically sick and vulnerable veterans. Instead, the money would go to local VA hospitals that can use it as they like, as long as they show evidence of dealing with homelessness.

Anger exploded on a Dec. 1 call that was arranged by Shulkin’s Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans to explain the move. Advocates for veterans, state officials and even officials from HUD, which co-sponsors the program, attacked the decision, according to five people who were on the call.

“I don’t understand why you are pulling the rug out,” Elisha Harig-Blaine, a National League of Cities housing official who was on the call, said in an interview afterward. “You’re putting at risk the lives of men and women who’ve served this country.”

“The VA is taking its foot off the pedal,” said Leon Winston, an executive at Swords to Plowshares, which helps homeless vets in San Francisco, where he said the VA decision is already having an impact. HUD recently put up 100 housing vouchers for veterans in the program, but the local VA hospital said it could only provide support for 50.

The agency’s move came as HUD on Wednesday released its annual survey showing a 1.5 percent increase in veteran homelessness over 2016 — the first rise since 2010. Most of the jump occurred in Los Angeles, where housing costs are skyrocketing.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who sits on a veterans’ affairs subcommittee, called the VA decision “a new low” for the Trump administration that was “especially callous and perplexing” in view of the latest data on homelessness.

In a statement late Wednesday, Shulkin insisted that overall funding for veteran homelessness was not being cut, and seemed to suggest he might reverse the decision. He promised to get input from local VA leaders and others “on how best to target our funding to the geographical areas that need it most.”

HUD data show there were nearly 40,000 homeless veterans in 2016, and even those with housing still need assistance. The program has reduced the number of displaced service members, serving 138,000 since 2010 and cut the number without housing on a given day by almost half. More than half the veterans housed are chronically ill, mentally ill or have substance abuse problems.

They can easily lose their housing again and need VA case managers to mediate with landlords, pay bills, and help them access the agency’s services and jobs, said Matt Leslie, who runs the housing program for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

“The people in this program are the most vulnerable individuals,” Leslie said. “If someone’s going to die on the streets, they are the ones.”

VA officials briefed congressional staff on Tuesday about the decision — which was buried in a September circular without prior consultation with HUD or veterans’ groups, according to advocates.

Agency spokesman Curtis Cashour said the move gives VA medical centers more flexibility. “VA has a responsibility to ensure resources go where they best align with veterans’ needs,” he said. “This move gives control and management of resources to local VA facilities, [which] know their communities and the veterans they serve better than anyone else.”

The decision affects $265 million immediately and would divert $195 million more under the VA’s 2018 budget. Under the program, HUD offers housing vouchers for veterans, and the VA provides case management — finding them apartments and making sure they stay there. Officials said it was possible that some of the vouchers could still be assigned, with the help of city or federal housing officials.

Carolyn Clancy, acting undersecretary for health, said the VA was moving forward to distribute money from the program to medical centers.

The Dec. 1 call came four days after Shulkin, appearing at a Washington shelter with HUD Secretary Ben Carson, announced that President Donald Trump was committed to continued reductions in veterans’ homelessness and was increasing funding in the area.

Shulkin and Carson promised to help every veteran find a home.

When asked about the administration’s budget, which includes no additional vouchers for the hard-case veterans, Carson said HUD had “excess vouchers. When we use those, we’ll look for more,” he said.

“The old paradigm of dumping money on problems doesn’t work,” Carson added.

Some communities have excess vouchers, but many more don’t have enough, said Harig-Blaine, who is also a member of Shulkin’s advisory committee. Even in cities where there are excess vouchers, they exist only because the voucher community can’t compete with private market rents, he said — not because there aren’t homeless veterans there.

All 14 members of the Senate Appropriations Military Construction-VA Subcommittee, including Murray, asked the VA to reconsider its decision, but apparently the letter had no effect.

“It will take a congressional fix at this point,” Harig-Blaine said.

Advocates said cuts to the program were doubly foolish because the chronically homeless veterans it serves typically cost cities and the health care system hundreds of thousands of dollars for emergency room visits, ambulance runs and jailings that could be avoided if the veterans were reasonably sheltered.

“These are the kinds of veterans it deals with,” said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Renuka Rayasam contributed to this report.

Dramatic footage shows massive wildfires raging near Interstate 405 in California.

December 5, 2017. WATCH: Dramatic footage shows massive wildfires raging near Interstate 405 in California.

Read more: http://nbcnews.to/2iwykTf

Wildfires rage near I-405 in California

WATCH: Dramatic footage shows massive wildfires raging near Interstate 405 in California. Read more: http://nbcnews.to/2iwykTf

Posted by All In with Chris Hayes on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Senate Republicans Made a $289 Billion Mistake in the Handwritten Tax Bill They Passed at 2 a.m. Go Figure.

Not surprising that Republi-cons botched their rushed, tossed together tax bill. They are neither capable nor interested in governing effectively or crafting legislation that solves financial crisis’ for America’s middle class. Their goal was simply payback to the rich and powerful. Even a quick glance at the winners in the bill, mirrors the list of donors to Trump Inc. and the congressional GOP, not America’s other 98% or beguiled Trump voters.              John Hanno

Slate

Senate Republicans Made a $289 Billion Mistake in the Handwritten Tax Bill They Passed at 2 a.m. Go Figure.

By Jordan Weissmann      December 6, 2017

“Derp a derp derp derp derp.”  Alex Wong/Getty Images

It appears that Senate Republicans managed to make a $289 billion or so mistake while furiously hand-scribbling edits onto the tax bill they passed in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The problem involves the corporate alternative minimum tax, which the GOP initially planned to repeal, but tossed back into their stew at the last second in order to raise some desperately needed revenue. The AMT is basically a parallel tax code meant to prevent companies from zeroing out their IRS bills. It doesn’t allow businesses to take as many tax breaks but, in theory, is also supposed to have a lower rate.

Except not under the Senate bill. When Mitch McConnell & co. revived the AMT, they absentmindedly left it at its current rate of 20 percent, the same as the new, lower rate of the corporate income tax that the bill included. As a result, many companies won’t be able to use tax breaks that were supposed to be preserved in the legislation, including the extremely popular credit for research and development costs. Corporate accountants started freaking out about this over the weekend, but the situation reached high farce when a group of lawyers from Davis Polk pointed out that, by leaving the AMT intact, Republicans had essentially undermined their bill’s most important changes to the international tax code.

Without getting too stuck in the weeds, the GOP’s bill was supposed to take the U.S. from a “worldwide” system of taxation, where the IRS tries to take a cut of profits American companies earn anywhere on the globe, to a modified “territorial” system, where companies could bring back their profits either tax-free or at a much lower rate. With the AMT still kicking around at 20 percent, though, “the United States would continue to operate under a worldwide system of taxation,” the lawyers wrote.

Keeping the AMT was supposed to raise $40 billion, but that already appears to be a gross underestimate. (The figure came from Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, whose analysts I can only assume were running on Red Bull and fumes while trying to provide the GOP with last-minute scores.) NYU Law professor and tax expert Lily Batchelder concludes that the AMT will actually cost companies at least $329 billion—good for limiting the blow to the deficit, bad for the corporations who are supposed to be stumping for this legislative Frankenstein—just based on the value of the R&D credits and international exemptions that have been rendered useless.

Lily Batchelder tweets:

Appears corporate AMT provision probably raises >$300B, not $40B JCT estimated under duress Fri night. This means Rs have to take Senate bill to conference and can’t just have House pass it, unless they want to *really* piss off bus community. 1/5

Appears corporate AMT provision probably raises >$300B, not $40B JCT estimated under duress Fri night. This means Rs have to take Senate bill to conference and can’t just have House pass it, unless they want to *really* piss off bus community. 1/5

I’m getting >$300B from fact that provision appears to repeal R&D credit, which costs ~$113B, and participation exemption, which costs $216B. See JCT estimates at https://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=startdown&id=4860 … and https://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=startdown&id=5043 …. 2/5

I’m getting >$300B from fact that provision appears to repeal R&D credit, which costs ~$113B, and participation exemption, which costs $216B. See JCT estimates at https://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=startdown&id=4860 … and https://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=startdown&id=5043 …. 2/5

And corporate AMT provision does a lot more than this, so even $300B is probably low-balling. 3/5

When I talked to Batchelder briefly on the phone Tuesday night, she pointed out that while the GOP’s AMT debacle would end up raising more money than expected, there are almost certainly other, undiscovered mistakes in the bill that would lose revenue. “I think this evidences what can go wrong when you try to pass massive tax reform this quickly,” she said.

On the bright side, this mammoth screw-up will make it harder for the House to simply pass the Senate’s bill if the GOP’s conference committee hits a wall. Republicans have to enact something that fixes this, lest they tick off the very donors this legislation was meant to appease.

One more thing

You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.

Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future. Join Slate Plus

Jordan Weissmann is Slate’s senior business and economics

Sen. Susan Collins, caught in a tax bill lie, faces an enraged electorate back home 

Daily Kos

Sen. Susan Collins, caught in a tax bill lie, faces an enraged electorate back home 

By Joan McCarter    December 5, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07:  U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), C, who defected and voted against the GOP majority, speaks to the media after the Senate voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as education secretary on Capitol Hill on February 7, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The historic 51-50 vote was decided by a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)Susan Collins, tool of Trump and McConnell.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins was a critical single vote on the disastrous Republican tax bill. She pretended for days that she was holding out for promises from Mitch McConnell on legislation she had to see pass in return for her vote—promises she knew McConnell wasn’t in a position to make. Let any speculation about whether Collins was acting in good faith in these negotiations end now. She has proven that when it comes to tax cuts for the donor class, she’ll lie to America with the best of them.

On Meet the Press Sunday, Chuck Todd asked Susan Collins how she could support a huge tax cut after having complained about excessive debt. “Economic growth produces more revenue and that will help to offset this tax cut and actually lower the debt,” she calmly replied. An incredulous Todd asked Collins how she could defend such a claim when every study has concluded the opposite. She cited Glenn Hubbard, Larry Lindsey, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin.

Jennifer Rubin got hold of two of the three, Hubbard and Holtz-Eakin. Both economists denied having ever claimed the Republican tax cuts would produce enough growth to recoup the lost revenue.

She’s now reaping the reward for her vote in Maine. When she returned back home after helping kill Trumpcare in the Senate, she was greeted as a hero at the airport. After this vote, she was greeted by protesters who stood with their backs to her. The protests are not letting up, as protesters basically took over her Bangor office, with an electrician, a nurse, a senior, and a veteran getting arrested when her staff complained to police. That’s not going to make for very good headlines for her back home. Since the protesters vow to continue their efforts until they secure her “no” vote when the bill goes back to the Senate after conference, those bad headlines are just going to continue.

Collins has made a total fool of herself and it gets worse for her every day.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is making sure everyone knows that he was not a party to any of McConnell’s negotiations with Collins and he wants no part of the promises supposedly made. He is making absolutely no commitment to bringing up the legislation stabilizing Obamacare that she conditioned her vote on.

Her only hope of redemption now will be not voting for this travesty when it comes back to the Senate. But she’s already forfeited any claim she’s had on being one of the principled Republicans.

THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER! Republicans must still pass a final version of the tax scam bill through both the House and the Senate. We can still stop this. Call your members AGAIN TODAY at (202) 224-3121.

Whistleblower: At inauguration, Flynn texted on nuclear plan

Associated Press

Whistleblower: At inauguration, Flynn texted on nuclear plan

Stephen Braun, Associated Press    December 6, 2017

Trump did not answer questions about possible plans to pardon Michael Flynn.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A whistleblower has told House Democrats that during President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech, national security adviser Michael Flynn texted a former business associate to say a private nuclear reactor plan Flynn had lobbied for would also have his support in the White House.

As the whistleblower chatted with Flynn’s associate at an Inauguration Day celebration on Jan. 20, Flynn sent text messages saying the associate’s nuclear proposal was “good to go,” the whistleblower said. According to the whistleblower, Flynn also informed the associate that his business partners could move forward with their project, which aimed to construct a network of nuclear reactors across the Mideast with support from Russian and other international interests.

While Flynn’s agreement last week to plead guilty and cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation largely insulates the retired lieutenant general from further legal jeopardy, the whistleblower’s allegations raise new concerns about the extent to which Flynn may have blurred his private and public interests during his brief stint inside the White House. Trump fired Flynn in February, saying he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and others about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said Wednesday that the whistleblower’s allegations raise concerns that Flynn improperly aided the nuclear project after joining the White House as one of Trump’s top national security officials. The project has yet to get off the ground.

Cummings detailed the whistleblower’s allegations in a letter to House Oversight chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, and urged Gowdy to authorize subpoenas to Flynn and his business associates to learn more about his efforts to aid the proposal. Gowdy did not immediately respond to Associated Press requests for comment but previously has referred letters from House Democrats about Flynn to Mueller’s inquiry.

Flynn had been a paid consultant for the venture before he joined the Trump campaign last year. The plan, backed by a group of investors, nuclear power adherents and former U.S. military officers, was to construct dozens of nuclear reactors across the Mideast working with Russian and other international private interests.

House Democrats noted that a federal ethics law requires White House officials to refrain for a year from dealing with any outside interests they had previously worked with on private business matters.

“Our committee has credible allegations that President Trump’s national security adviser sought to manipulate the course of international nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners,” Cummings said.

The whistleblower told House Democrats that while Trump spoke in January, Flynn texted from his seat on the Capitol steps to Alex Copson, the managing director of ACU Strategic Partners and the nuclear project’s main promoter. The whistleblower, whose identity was not revealed in Cummings’ letter, said during a conversation, Copson described his messages with Flynn and briefly flashed one of the texts, which appeared to have been sent 10 minutes after Trump began speaking.

“Mike has been putting everything in place for us,” Copson said, according to the whistleblower. Copson added that “this is going to make a lot of very wealthy people.” The whistleblower also said that Copson intimated that U.S. financial sanctions hobbling the nuclear project were going to be “ripped up.”

Attorneys for Flynn and Copson did not immediately return email and phone requests for comment.

In Flynn’s agreement last week to plead guilty to one count of making false statements, prosecutors said that Flynn lied to FBI agents about his discussions on sanctions against Russia with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition.

Copson had promoted a succession of nuclear projects designed to include Russian participation dating back to the 1990s. In an earlier note to the committee, Copson said his firm had provided Flynn with a $25,000 check — left uncashed — and paid for Flynn’s June 2015 trip to the Mideast as a security consultant for the project.

Flynn’s financial disclosure did not cite those payments, but he did report that until December 2016, he worked as an adviser to two other companies that partnered with Copson’s firm. That consortium, X-Co Dynamics Inc. and Iron Bridge Group, initially worked with ACU but later pushed a separate nuclear proposal for the Mideast.

Associated Press writer Chad Day contributed to this report.

House Republicans Just Brought The Senate’s Tax Bill To A Grinding Halt

Verified Politics

House Republicans Just Brought The Senate’s Tax Bill To A Grinding Halt

By Brian Tyler Cohen     December 5, 2017

Last week, Republicans set the stage for the sole legislative win of Trump’s presidency when the Senate finally passed their version of the tax bill.

Today however, a handful of House Republicans refused to sign off on the Senate bill and voted to send the legislation to conference committee where the two versions of the bill must be reconciled — putting the entire measure at risk.

Conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives are now signaling that they will block several key promises that had been installed in the measure to appease certain Republicans in the Senate.

Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME) were given assurances by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that their requested provisions would be included in the final version of the bill.

Collins demanded legislation that would offset the negative effects of repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate. Flake was promised that there would be protections for the children of undocumented immigrants who lost their security when DACA was rescinded by the Trump administration.

Furthermore, in the Senate version, in a mad dash to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, a provision “of the current tax code that sets an alternative minimum tax floor for wealthy individuals” was preserved. The same provision – long despised by conservatives – would be eliminated in the House bill, setting the stage for another confrontation between conservative and moderate Republicans in the two chambers.

House Republicans are clearly not prepared to deliver on any of these items, and have already suggested that they will stall the legislation until their demands are met.

“We still have the same issues. Nothing has changed in the last two months just because we’re fulfilling our promise on delivering on tax reform,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. “I find it problematic to be promising something that the house has shunned from very early on.”

Tonight’s development is par for the course for a Republican caucus that would rather wheel and deal their way to tax reform without a modicum of unity from their party. With still no legislative victories despite majorities in every branch of government, Republicans are proving themselves unable to govern even in the most favorable of conditions.

Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and business.

Germans see Trump as bigger problem than North Korea or Russia

Reuters

Germans see Trump as bigger problem than North Korea or Russia

Reuters Staff     December 4, 2017

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germans see U.S. President Donald Trump as a bigger challenge for German foreign policy than authoritarian leaders in North Korea, Russia or Turkey, according to a survey by the Koerber Foundation.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Utah State Capitol, where he announced big cuts to Utah’s sprawling wilderness national monuments, in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Topping the list of foreign policy concerns were refugees, with 26 percent of respondents worried about Germany’s ability to cope with inflows of asylum seekers.

Relations with Trump and the United States ranked second, with 19 percent describing them as a major challenge, followed by Turkey at 17 percent, North Korea at 10 percent and Russia at 8 percent.

Since entering the White House in January, Trump has unsettled Germans by pulling out of the Paris climate accord, refusing to certify an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and criticizing Germany’s trade surplus and its contributions to the NATO military alliance.

Trump’s actions prompted the usually cautious German Chancellor Angela Merkel to say earlier this year that Berlin may not be able to rely on the United States in the future. She also urged Europe to take its fate into its own hands.

In the poll of 1,005 Germans of voting age, carried out in October, 56 percent of Germans described the relationship with the United States as bad or very bad.

Despite Merkel’s pledge, the survey showed deep skepticism in the population about Germany taking a more active role in international crises, with 52 percent of respondents saying the country should continue its post-war policy of restraint.

That may reflect the fact that neither Merkel nor her main challengers in the recent election campaign talked much about how Germany should respond to the challenges posed by Trump’s disruptive presidency and Britain’s looming departure from the European Union.

Last week, Norbert Roettgen, a member of Merkel’s conservative party and head of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, decried a “deplorable” lack of leadership in educating Germans about the need to invest more in their own defense and security.

Reporting by Noah Barkin; Editing by Hugh Lawson.     Our Standards:    The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Did you know that there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on earth? 

EcoWatch

Did you know that there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on earth? 

Happy #WorldSoilDay🌍🌱

Start a regenerative agriculture movement in your community:http://bit.ly/2B0D3Yr

See More

Did you know that there are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on Earth? Happy #WorldSoilDay! 🌍🌱Start a regenerative agriculture movement in your community: http://bit.ly/2B0D3Yrvia Regeneration International Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Organic Consumers Association

Posted by EcoWatch on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What the world would look like if all the ice melted

EcoWatch

Countries and cities submerged.

December 3, 2017   Read more: ecowatch.com/2017-state-beach-report

Countries and cities submerged.Read more: ecowatch.com/2017-state-beach-report

Posted by EcoWatch on Sunday, December 3, 2017

Roy Moore’s Spokesperson Just Brought His Senate Campaign to a New Low

Esquire

Roy Moore’s Spokesperson Just Brought His Senate Campaign to a New Low

And, with seven days left, Moore’s team will likely sink further.

CNN

By Jack Holmes     December 5, 2017

It’s easy to forget that, even before multiple women came forward to allege sexual misconduct against Roy Moore, his United States Senate campaign was already insane. The former Alabama state supreme court judge, thrown out of office twice for disregarding the rulings of higher courts, is uniquely unqualified for public service. If you needed a reminder of that, take a look at the people who have agreed to work on his campaign, such as his spokesperson, Jane Porter. She joined CNN Tuesday morning and kicked things off with a totally normal pregnancy congratulations for anchor Poppy Harlow:

“That’s why I came down as a volunteer to speak for Judge Roy Moore,” Porter said. “He’ll stand for the rights of babies like yours in the womb, while his opponent will support killing them up until the moment of birth.”

Moore’s campaign is hitting the abortion issue hard. Doug Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent, is firmly pro-choice, though he opposes late term abortions. So, in a true shocker, Porter’s riff is shall-we-say, inaccurate. It brings to mind those Planned Parenthood “sting” videos from the 2016 campaign, which Carly Fiorina harped on incessantly. (Much of the contents turned out to be fabricated.) It also rings a bit hollow when you talk about protecting unborn children, but support a candidate whom one woman says lured her to his house when she was 14 years old and he was 32 and tried to get her to touch his genitals through his tighty-whities.

That woman, Leigh Corfman, is one of at least eight women to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct. We’re getting to the stage where some standup comedian would say, “Anyone here not a Roy Moore accuser?” Actually, that’s close to what Porter said on national television:

Yes, many women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct. But there are 150 million American women who haven’t. Why won’t the Fake News talk about that? This is both shameless and unsurprising. Oh, and that claim about Corfman’s mother undermining her story? That’s based on an attempted Breitbart smear job that admits(remarkably far down the page) that Corman’s mother clearly said the original Washington Post report was “truthful and it was researched very well.”

Sadly, the campaign’s relentless extremism is successful. Moore still incredibly has the support of 6 in 10 white women, evoking the triumph of Donald Trump in that category last year. It’s a stirring reminder that the motivating factor in the Alabama Senate race—as in every contest of this political era—is identity. Specifically, white, Christian, Real American identity versus The Other. White Alabamians will vote for Roy Moore because, like Donald Trump, he’s the White Candidate. Doug Jones, who prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Klan after the Birmingham church bombing, is the candidate of The Other. No matter that Moore is accused of molesting a 14-year-old. He’s tough on crime, while Jones is weak. Maybe that has something to do with who the crimes’ perpetrators are.

Getty

That’s been a running theme of Moore’s public career, where he has enforced the most reactionary line on every public policy issue available. Moore is lawless, as his defenestrations from the state supreme court for disregarding higher courts suggest. He is a theocrat, in that one of those removals involved his insistence on keeping a statue of the Ten Commandments on the courthouse grounds, in obvious violation of the First Amendment. He refused to recognize the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, an assertion that Christian law reigned supreme over United States civil law. Then, in a wicked piece of irony, he yelled and screamed that Sharia law was on the loose in Illinois, with the frightening idea that religious law was taking precedence over civil law. And of course, he once said Muslim Americans elected to Congress should not be seated because they are Muslim.

Oh, and he said women should not be permitted to serve in public office, either.

Getty

Moore is probably the worst American politics has to offer, although one hesitates to draw the line based on what’s happened over the last two years. His continued presence in our politics is only possible because the Republican Party has allowed it. That began with the Alabama GOP’s steadfast defense of the candidate, which involved some officials citing the Bible to defend Moore even if he did indeed sexually assault a 14-year-old. It has continued with the national party’s decision to re-enter the race on Moore’s behalf this week, after making a big show of pulling support. That mirrors Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Moore’s future colleague who went from declaring he believed Moore’s accusers and would demand an ethics investigation into him if he won to simply saying he’ll leave it up to Alabama voters. Oh, and the President of the United States fully endorsed him.

Truly, there is no bottom to the depravity. Moore will likely win the election, and McConnell will seat him in the Senate. His Republican colleagues will probably welcome him as another vote for plutocratic tax “reform,” and for conservative judges nominated for the federal bench. They might think twice about next year’s Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, though.