Martin Luther King Jr Day, Trump style

Today we honor Martin Luther King Jr, yesterday we had this:

President Trump, on the defensive in the wake of recent disparaging comments about Haiti and African nations that have revived questions about whether the leader of the world’s melting pot is a racist, declared Sunday that he is not one.
‘‘No, No. I’m not a racist,’’ Trump told reporters who asked for his response to those who think he is a racist. ‘‘I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.’’

But today is not the day to remember that we have a racist, sexist, xenophobe for a President. It’s a day to remember MLK and not only the warm fuzzy King of “I have a dream” but the one who agitated, the one who campaigned against the Vietnam war, the one whose last campaign was on behalf of a union. So some quotes:

  • We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that it signed years ago. And we are coming to engage in dramatic nonviolent action, to call attention to the gulf between promise and fulfillment; to make the invisible visible.
    Why do we do it this way? We do it this way because it is our experience that the nation doesn’t move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action.
  • In 1863 the Negro was told that he was free as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation being signed by Abraham Lincoln. But he was not given any land to make that freedom meaningful. It was something like keeping a person in prison for a number of years and suddenly discovering that that person is not guilty of the crime for which he was convicted. And you just go up to him and say, “Now you are free,” but you don’t give him any bus fare to get to town. You don’t give him any money to get some clothes to put on his back or to get on his feet again in life.
    Every court of jurisprudence would rise up against this, and yet this is the very thing that our nation did to the black man. It simply said, “You’re free,” and it left him there penniless, illiterate, not knowing what to do. And the irony of it all is that at the same time the nation failed to do anything for the black man, though an act of Congress was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest. Which meant that it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor.
    But not only did it give the land, it built land-grant colleges to teach them how to farm. Not only that, it provided county agents to further their expertise in farming; not only that, as the years unfolded it provided low interest rates so that they could mechanize their farms. And to this day thousands of these very persons are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies every years not to farm. And these are so often the very people who tell Negroes that they must lift themselves by their own bootstraps. It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.
    We must come to see that the roots of racism are very deep in our country, and there must be something positive and massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism and the tragedies of racial injustice.
  • A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
  • Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
  • You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

Trump political correctness, being pettyedition

Donald Trump is so petty:

On Wednesday, journalists from CNN said they were stopped from seeing the president’s round at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

As photographers set up a new shot, while remaining on public property, a large white truck moved between the camera and the golf course, CNN reported.

The White House often won’t confirm whether or not the commander-in-chief is on the course, refusing to provide details on his recreational activities. In November, a pool report said that Trump was going to have a “low-key day.” The White House communications staff later asked for a correction to clarify that Trump would not be having a quiet day, but would instead have a schedule full of calls and meetings, according to a pool report. Later that morning and a couple of tweets later, Trump’s motorcade was spotted at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

People aren’t supposed to talk about Trump playing golf since it makes him look bad. And he golfs a lot:

Wednesday’s outing marked the 87th day Trump has spent at one of his golf properties since taking office.

Trump wants credit

The tax bill that gives the vast majority of its benefits to the rich and corporations has passed and President Trump is worried he won’t get the credit:

President Trump signed the most consequential tax legislation in three decades on Friday, even as he complained that he has not been given credit for his administration’s accomplishments during a turbulent first year.

In typical Trump fashion, he cared more about appearances than the actual thing:

There was some discussion in Congress and at the White House that Trump should consider delaying the signing until early 2018 as a way to delay automatic spending cuts that could have been triggered by the tax cuts.

In addition, some companies said that delay would give them more time to adjust to the major changes that the new tax code will mean for their businesses.
However, once Congress reached a deal this week to avoid the possibility of the spending cuts, White House officials signaled that Trump wanted to sign the bill into law as soon as possible.

Also in typical Trump fashion he only wants the credit for the good stuff:

Gary D. Cohn, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said Wednesday the administration tried more than two dozen times to eliminate the carried interest loophole and that, as recently as this week, Trump asked why it was not gone.
Cohn, a former top Goldman Sachs executive, said opposition from lobbyists and lawmakers on Capitol Hill was intense and that the best that could be done was to extend the “holding period” for investments that qualify for the tax break to three years from one.
“The president strongly believes, and he ran on this, that carried interest is a loophole,” Cohn said at an event sponsored by Axios.

He was powerless to do anything, but he should get credit for the bill anyway.

The bill contains many things that have been shown to be bad for the economy, such as:

Kansas eliminated state taxes on pass-through income in 2012, and the outcome was not what backers had expected.
In the three years after the law took effect in Kansas, the number of residents claiming pass-through income jumped 20 percent. As a result, the state lost $200 million to $300 million in tax revenue a year, according to estimates by The Tax Foundation, with most of the gains going to wealthy business owners, some of whom simply restructured existing companies to take advantage of the lower rates. Facing a budget crisis, Kansas lawmakers repealed the tax cut earlier this year.

So, no problem Mr. Trump, we will give you all the credit for this awful bill.

Trump administration talks tough on crime, unless

Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions like to talk about getting tough on crime (while lying about the actual crime statistics), so let’s look at a big crime:

After two years of painstaking investigation, David Schiller and the rest of the Drug Enforcement Administration team he supervised were ready to move on the biggest opioid distribution case in US history.

The team, based at the DEA’s Denver field division, had been examining the operations of the nation’s largest drug company, McKesson Corp. By 2014, investigators said they could show that the company had failed to report suspicious orders involving millions of highly addictive painkillers sent to drugstores from Sacramento, Calif., to Lakeland, Fla.

and what happened?

Instead, top attorneys at the DEA and the Justice Department struck a deal earlier this year with the corporation and its powerful lawyers, an agreement that was far more lenient than the field division wanted, according to interviews and internal government documents.

Although the agents and investigators said they had plenty of evidence and wanted criminal charges, they were unable to convince the US attorney in Denver that they had enough to bring a case.

Discussions about charges never became part of the negotiations between the government lawyers in Washington and the company.

And this is the way of things: there’s the law for the rich and powerful and the law for the rest of us. The actions of McKesson Corp. might have lead to thousands of deaths but no one will go to jail. Try that if you’re not rich or powerful.

Donald Trump and Political Correctness

Here’s more political correctness from the Trump Whitehouse:

The words “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” and “diversity” were among seven terms and phrases reportedly banned from use in some official documents at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Documents related to federal budget proposals that contained those words were sent back to the agency for “correction,” according to the CDC’s Alison Kelly. She told The Washington Post that four other banned words and phrases — “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based” — were communicated verbally.

The Trump administration in its early days quickly scrubbed information related to LGBTQ people from the Health and Human Services website, and the Associated Press reported in March that the US Census Bureau would not include a category for LGBTQ people in its proposal for the 2020 census.

And just days after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Reuters reported that his administration told the Environmental Protection Agency to remove mentions of climate change from its website. Trump has previously made clear his personal doubts about climate change, at points insisting it’s an “expensive hoax.” The president’s views on the matter helped inform his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change in June.

Donald Trump is fond of saying that he hates political correctness but he really means he likes insulting people. This type of stuff is the real thing and he’s all for it.

 

Deplorable Trump, deplorable Roy Moore

Hillary Clinton famously called many of President Trump and his supporters deplorable:

And if you have read about the ones he says he’s likely to support, he’s not kidding. In fact, if you look at his running mate, his running-mate signed a law that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT Americans. And there’s so much more than I find deplorable in his campaign: the way that he cozies up to white supremacist, makes racist attacks, calls women pigs, mocks people with disabilities — you can’t make this up. He wants to round up and deport 16 million people, calls our military a disaster. And every day he says something else which I find so personally offensive, but also dangerous.

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?
The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric.

Roy Moore is the sort of person she was talking about so, of course, Trump is campaigning for him. Besides being a probable pedophile and all-around sleaze, here’s some more:

At Moore’s Florence rally, the former judge outlined all the wrongs he sees in Washington and “spiritual wickedness in high places.” He warned of “the awful calamity of abortion and sodomy and perverse behavior and murders and shootings and road rage” as “a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins.”

In response to a question from one of the only African Americans in the audience — who asked when Moore thought America was last “great” — Moore acknowledged the nation’s history of racial divisions, but said: “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

At the same event, Moore referred to Native Americans and Asian Americans as “reds and yellows,” and earlier this year he suggested the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were divine punishment.

Moore tends to prefer his interpretation of Christian Scripture to laws and court orders, which has twice put him out of a job for defying federal court rulings.

And more:

The Guardian reporter interviewing Moore asked about Russia, noting that President Ronald Reagan once said the Soviet Union was “the focus of evil in the modern world.”

“Could say that very well about America, couldn’t you?” Moore responded. “Well, we promote a lot of bad things. Same-sex marriage.”

The reporter said that was “the very argument that Vladimir Putin makes.”

“Well, maybe Putin is right,” Moore said. “Maybe he is more akin to me than I know.”

The final piece of resurfaced commentary came via CNN, which highlighted a speech Moore gave in 1997 criticizing the theory of evolution.
“We have kids driving by shooting each other that they don’t even know each other,” he said. “They’re acting like animals because we’ve taught them they come from animals. They’re treating their fellow man with prejudice because we’ve taught them they’ve come from animals, not from God, who despises that sort of thing.”

And he will probably be a Senator by the end of Tuesday.

Donald Trump is a sick joke

So the pick to be the interim leader at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is:

Richard Cordray, the Obama-appointed leader of the bureau, abruptly announced he would leave the job at the close of business, a week earlier than anticipated. He followed up with a letter naming his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the agency’s deputy director.

The White House retaliated, saying that the budget director, Mick Mulvaney, who once characterized the consumer protection bureau as a “sad, sick joke,” would be running the agency.

Mulvaney tries the usual lies:

“I believe Americans deserve a C.F.P.B. that seeks to protect them while ensuring free and fair markets for all consumers,” he said in a statement. “Financial services are the engine of American democratic capitalism, and we need to let it work.”

Grab your wallet when a Republican says they want to protect the consumer. Mulvaney doesn’t like the CPFB:

Mr. Mulvaney, who as a Republican congressman from South Carolina was a co-sponsor of legislation to shut down the consumer bureau, had been widely anticipated.

Really doesn’t like it:

‘‘The place is a wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody,’’ he told the Credit Union Times in 2014. ‘‘It turns up being a joke in a sick, sad kind of way.’’

This is a typical Trump appointment, he wants to get rid of the agency he has been assigned to run. I’m assuming the courts will have to weigh in on this, hopefully we get to keep someone who wants to keep the CFPB for a little while longer.

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