Newsom Spanks GOP Talkshow Clown In California Recall Election

California Gov. Gavin Newsom didn't "survive" last night's recall election as so many news outlets are putting it this morning. He delivered an epic smackdown to MAGA talkshow host Larry Elder, with "No" at 64 percent to a piddling 36 percent in favor of ousting the Democrat as of current tabulations. The prototypical blue state, where Democrats outnumber Republicans almost 2 to 1, voted to retain its Democratic governor. BREAKING ... said no one ever.

There are no shortage of bad takes going around this morning. Apparently Democrats are in big trouble, mister, and getting shellacked is actually great news for John McCain the GOP. Take a wildass guess which CNN pundit wrote, "Tuesday night was, weirdly, a very good night for Larry Elder's political future."

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Joe Biden Hauls Sinema, Manchin To Oval Office For Loving, Genial Threat Session

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the plucky centrist from Arizona, has armed herself with what Axios called “secret spreadsheets" for the negotiations over President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion budget plan. (Negotiations that will take place in person with Senator Joe Manchin — separately, like they are in trouble at school — and President Joe Biden today!) The spreadsheets are so secret she won't shut up about them as she "strategizes with colleagues about next steps in the budget process." It's not clear yet what exactly she or her advisers on the chamber of commerce want but Sinema is nonetheless bringing an “accountant-like focus" to the proceedings. This implies that all the other Democrats would spend money like they're making a Marvel movie if it wasn't for Sinema's responsible centrism.

Sinema and Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, aren't necessarily aligned on which Democratic priorities they can tolerate. Is increased spending on childcare, health care, education, and the environment really worth raising taxes slightly on corporations and the wealthy? Sinema will just have to refer to her spreadsheets for the answer.

It wasn't that long ago that Donald Trump and the GOP Congress shattered the US piggy bank and surrendered the contents to the wealthiest Americans. The tax scam bill was unpopular and remained so until Americans kind of forgot about how bad they'd been screwed over. This is a common GOP tactic. Meanwhile, Biden and the Democrats' plan is overwhelming popular, but Sinema and Manchin are still trying to nickel-and-dime it to death.

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If *Joe Scarborough* Thinks Dem Plan Doesn't Tax Rich Enough, That Plan Could Use Some Fixin'

The House Ways and Means Committee has turned in its homework for its part of the Build Back Better budget plan, with a plan to increase personal and business taxes, as well as a number of other tax increases, that would rustle up about $2.1 trillion toward Joe Biden's agenda for rethinking the social safety net and moving America away from fossil fuels. That's far short of the $3.5 trillion that had been announced earlier this summer as the spending target, and as the New York Times explains, the Ways and Means plan wusses out by dropping several measures the White House wants, which would have raised taxes on the super-wealthy:

[The] proposal, while substantial in scope, stopped well short of changes needed to dent the vast fortunes of tycoons like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, or to thoroughly close the most egregious loopholes exploited by high-flying captains of finance. It aimed to go after the merely rich more than the fabulously rich.

There are things to like in the Ways and Means proposal, like the increase on the top marginal income tax rates for individuals to 39.6 percent, the rate prior to Donald Trump's Big Fat Tax Cuts for Rich Fuckwads. It raises the corporate tax rate to 26.5 percent, less than the 28 percent Biden wanted, but more than the 25 percent Joe Manchin wanted (and all of 'em lower than the 35 percent rate prior to 2017).

The plan also raises the capital gains rate to 25 percent, from the current 20 percent, which is an improvement, but nothing like the tax equalizer Biden called for. Since the obscenely rich make their money off investments, not paychecks, Biden had called for people making over a million dollars a year to pay a capital gains rate of 39.6 percent, just like the top marginal income tax rate. And again, since the super-wealthy don't get their money as paychecks, even raising the income tax rate leaves their real income mostly untaxed.

Happily, the bill is just getting started, and Senate Dems, as well as progressives in the House, may well take a less chickenshit approach to taxing the wealthiest Americans, who already avoid paying anything like the tax rates the rest of us do.

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Rudy Giuliani Not Drunk YOU ARE DRUNK

Rudy Giuliani's having a weird one. Yeah, that is obviously an evergreen statement. But he just needs you to know and understand and acknowledge that HE IS NOT DRUNK. Have we had this conversation before? It sure feels like it. Would we even be mad if Giuliani was drunk? After all, he's not allowed to practice law in New York or DC at the moment, which means he's probably got some time on his hands, and his life has probably never been in a darker place than it is right now, he's broke and under criminal investigation by the office he used to run.

Have 95 drinks, Rudy!

Anyway, this is the Daily Mail's headline:

EXCLUSIVE: 'Yes, I had one scotch': Giuliani says he was NOT drunk during rambling September 11th speech at Cipriani, isn't an alcoholic and denies mocking the Queen: Claims he is the victim of a left-wing smear

This is just an awesome news story. He wasn't drunk, he's not an alcoholic, he didn't make fun of the Queen, and he wasn't touching his penis, officer, YOU WERE TOUCHING YOUR PENIS, OFFICER.

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Healthcare

Does It Cost MORE When You Negotiate Medicare Drug Prices, Or LESS? 3 'Centrist' Dems Just Don't Know!

Someone who is good at economy, please help them understand drug prices, their family is dying!

In 2015, Medicare stopped covering penis pumps.

This was in response to a report the previous year that it had been vastly overpaying for penis pumps for the last several years — about $360 per device, well above the market rate. Indeed, a quick Google search shows most regular penis pumps run from about $11-$60, with some very fancy Hydromax costing in the low to mid $100s. An extremely fancy bionic penis pump costs $237, and that was almost definitely not what Medicare recipients were getting.

Professional Electric Penis Enlargement Pump

The reason for this was because Medicare has to pay whatever a company wants to charge for a pharmaceutical drug or medical device and is not allowed to negotiate prices the way any other entity would be able to. But rather than fix that, Congress just straight up banned Medicare from covering penis pumps in particular — which was actually kind of a crappy thing to do, because sexual health is important to overall health.

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Congress

House Dems Just Passing Tax Increases On Rich F*ckwads, Redistributing Income Right And Left!

Go on, House Dems, take another bite.

The House Ways and Means Committee passed a package of tax increases on the rich and tax benefits to help working families and renewable energy; the bill will now go to the Budget Committee, where it will be incorporated into the $3.5 trillion (over 10 years) Build Back Better reconciliation bill that Democrats hope to pass by the end of the month. There's some good stuff in here! As we noted yesterday, the tax increases could be more aggressive, especially in taxing the most nauseatingly wealthy Americans, but there's still hope that the tax increases can be toughened up as the bill moves forward.

The tax package passed out of committee on a nearly straight party-line vote of 24-19, with one Democrat, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, voting against it because she thinks the reconciliation package is too expensive overall. Murphy said she supports much of what's likely to be in the final bill, but that she's "optimistic" the final bill will be more "fiscally responsible," so there's her eventual reelection ad we guess.

Let's take a look at what's in this puppy, and what isn't but should be!

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Conspiracy theories

They May Take Nicki Minaj's Cousin's Friend's Balls, But They'll Never Take Tucker Carlson's Freedom

Day three.

The actual Politico Playbook, not some kind of parody version of it that Wonkette might invent, wrote this morning that "Nicki Minaj said she received an invite from the White House to talk about her cousin's friend's testicles" — and she did say that — but that the White House denies this, explaining that what they offered Minaj is a phone call. Telemedicine about her cousin's friend's testicles? Dr. Fauci gonna make Nicki Minaj's cousin's friend hold 'em up to the Zoom so he can get a good look at whether dude's got a case of the Vax Nuts? Not quite. Playbook writes that "a White House official told our Alex Thompson that they just offered to connect Minaj to talk to one of their doctors about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine."

So that's one update for the Tucker Carlson Is Worried About Nicki Minaj's Cousin's Friend's Balls Report this morning.

Let's check with Tucker and see how he's holding up.

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