Monday, April 30, 2018

Our great and glorious leader

High Praise: Things Administration Members Have Allegedly Called Trump
Talking Points Memo
Star the articleMark as unread
“an idiot” —Chief of Staff John Kelly, allegedly
Why: Because Trump doesn’t understand what DACA is.
“a fucking moron” —Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, allegedly
Why: Because Trump wants to restore the nation’s nuclear stockpile to 1960s-levels.
“idiot,” “dope,” “kindergartner” —Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, allegedly
Why: Specifics unclear.
“a deplorable” —White House Press Secretary Raj Shah, allegedly
Why: Because of the Access Hollywood tape.
“an empty vessel when it comes to things like the Constitution and rule of law” —EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
Why: Because, according to Pruitt, Trump would break the law in less creative ways than Obama.

Are we at the beginning of the end of our democracy? Hillary Clinton VIDEO

If you thought Michelle Wolf stepped over the line, there's this...VIDEO

Another take on the White House Correspondents Dinner

This is the BEST take that we've read about Michelle Wolf's "controversial" roast of Trump, Pence, and Trump's Press Secretary Huckabee Sanders:

"I want to take a moment to speak about Michelle Wolf’s caustic routine at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. You may, or may not have found it funny, but it was a tactical, weaponized comic routine.

She called out people in the highest echelons of privilege and power.

It may make you uncomfortable, but it was spot on and sadly true.

She literally spoke truth to power.

And she did it in a raw way that left many breathless. She had the courage to take on Trump and his allies.

I did not find her offensive, mainly because the things she spoke of are offensive in and of themselves- because they happen to be utterly true.

Trump and Pence have worked alongside their willing accomplices in Congress to strip away every dignity, every protection for the most marginalized among us.

Trump has gleefully mocked and disparaged those with disabilities and physical challenges.

He has called for violence against people of color (during his campaign where he encouraged attendees to be rough with peaceful protestors).

He has constantly given dog-whistles to white supremacists. He even said some were "very fine people".

He has worked in every way to remove science, punish the poor (for the sin of being poor), upended justice and created a nation in which the vulnerable are shredded like chaff.

He called athletes who dared to take a knee to acknowledge a broken system "sons of bitches". His followers and supporters saw nothing wrong with this.

She called out Sarah Huckabee out for lies. And did the same to Conway. Both of whom have created a smokescreen of ugly deceptions. Remember how Conway made up a story about a Bowling Green massacre?

Trump lacked the courage to attend. Something he called out with a joke about him being "the only pussy you can't grab". She used his own words against him.

His supporters seem to find this more offensive than him actually saying them in the first place. Yes. It was a biting commentary.

What is more biting? The fact, which she acknowledged, that Flint STILL does not have clean water.

She could have added Puerto Rico’s suffering, the wholesale selloff of public lands and constant, caustic flow of lies and corruption from this sewer of an administration.

I could list dozens and dozens (and sadly dozens more) of policy changes that are literally destroying our nation, wrecking the planet and probably going to cause a world-wide market crash at some point.

So yes, Wolf did say some nasty stuff. The fact that it is shockingly true concerns me more than her comedy. Maybe it is funny. Maybe it is not. But there sure as hell is nothing funny about this presidency."

- Victoria Cayce


How To Stop Trump


Why did working class voters choose a selfish, thin-skinned, petulant, lying, narcissistic, boastful, megalomaniac for president?

With the 2018 midterms around the corner, and prospective Democratic candidates already eyeing the 2020 race, the answer is important because it will influence how Democrats campaign.

One explanation focuses on economic hardship. The working class fell for Trump’s economic populism.

A competing explanation – which got a boost this week from a study published by the National Academy of Sciences – dismisses economic hardship, and blames it on whites’ fear of losing status to blacks and immigrants. They were attracted to Trump’s form of identity politics – bigotry.

If Democrats accept the bigotry explanation, they may be more inclined to foster their own identity politics of women, blacks, and Latinos. And they’ll be less inclined to come up with credible solutions to widening inequality and growing economic insecurity.

Yet the truth isn’t found in one explanation or the other. It’s in the interplay between the two. 

Certainly many white working class men and women were – and still are – receptive to Trump’s bigotry. 

But what made them receptive? Racism and xenophobia aren’t exactly new to American life. Fears of blacks and immigrants have been with us since the founding of the Republic.

What changed was the economy. Since the 1980s the wages and economic prospects of the typical American worker have stagnated. Two-thirds now live paycheck to paycheck, and those paychecks have grown less secure.

Good-paying jobs have disappeared from vast stretches of the land. Despite the official low unemployment rate, millions continue to work part-time who want steady jobs or they’re too discouraged to look for work.

When I was Secretary of Labor in the 1990s, I frequently visited the Rust Belt, Midwest, and South, where blue-collar workers told me they were working harder than ever but getting nowhere.

Meanwhile, all the economy’s gains have gone to the richest ten percent, mostly the top 1 percent. Wealthy individuals and big corporations have, in turn, invested some of those gains into politics.

As a result, big money now calls the shots in Washington – obtaining subsidies, tax breaks, tax loopholes (even Trump promised to close the “carried interest” loophole yet it remains), and bailouts.

The near meltdown of Wall Street in 2008 precipitated a recession that cost millions their jobs, homes, and savings. But the Street got bailed out and not a single Wall Street executive went to jail.

The experience traumatized America. In the two years leading up to the 2016 election, I revisited many of the places I had visited when I was labor secretary. People still complained of getting nowhere, but now they also told me the system was “rigged” against them.

A surprising number said they planned to vote for Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump – the two anti-establishment candidates who promised to “shake up” Washington.

This whole story might have been different had Democrats done more to remedy wage stagnation and widening inequality when they had the chance.

Instead, Bill Clinton was a pro-growth “New Democrat” who opened trade with China, deregulated Wall Street, and balanced the budget. (I still have some painful scars from that time.)

Obama bailed out the banks but not homeowners. Obamacare, while important to the poor, didn’t alleviate the financial stresses on the working class, particularly in states refused to expand Medicaid.

In the 2016 election Hillary Clinton offered a plethora of small-bore policy proposals – all sensible but none big enough to make a difference. 

Into this expanding void came Trump’s racism and xenophobia – focusing the cumulative economic rage on scapegoats that had nothing to do with its causes. It was hardly the first time in history a demagogue has used this playbook.

If America doesn’t respond to the calamity that’s befallen the working class, we’ll have Trumps as far as the eye can see.

A few Democrats are getting the message – pushing ambitious ideas like government-guaranteed full employment, single-payer health care, industry-wide collective bargaining, and a universal basic income.

But none has yet offered a way to finance these things, such as a progressive tax on wealth.

Nor have they offered a credible way to get big money out of politics. Even if “Citizens United” isn’t overruled, big money’s influence could be limited with generous public financing of elections, full disclosure of the source of all campaign contributions, and a clampdown on the revolving door between business and government.

Trump isn’t the cause of what’s happened to America. He’s the consequence – the product of years of stagnant wages and big money’s corruption of our democracy.

If they really want to stop Trump and prevent future Trumps, Democrats will need to address these causes of Trump’s rise. 


Paul Ryan fires House chaplain, reportedly for being way too Christian

Joan McCarter 
Daily Kos Staff
Thursday April 26, 2018 · 2:59 PM EDT

"Devout" Catholic Speaker Paul Ryan has apparently fired House Chaplain Patrick Conroy, whose resignation explicitly says Ryan forced him out.

"As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives." the April 15 letter to Ryan, obtained by The Hill, states. […]
The thinking among Democrats is that Ryan pushed Conroy out "because Republicans thought he was aligned with Democrats," according to a senior Democratic aide familiar with the discussion.

Conroy has served as chaplain since 2011, where he has been what he's supposed to be. A Christian. Like in the prayer he gave back in November on the first day of the mark-up of the tax scam bill and gently nudged members to think about the meek.

"May all Members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great Nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle," Conroy said at the time. "May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans."
So apparently Conroy was too aligned with Democrats. Maybe because Jesus would be aligned with the Democrats. That's how much of a sociopath Paul Ryan is.


Trump officials went on a taxpayer-funded shopping spree. Here’s the bill.

Well over $3 million and counting.

APR 24, 2018, 8:29 AM

Last week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer joined the cabal of cabinet-level officials from the Trump White House who have to defend themselves against charges of misusing taxpayer dollars for his own benefit.

The New York Post discovered that Lighthizer had authorized nearly $1,000,000 in spending to renovate two of his Washington, DC offices on the taxpayer’s dime. That figure included a 30-inch, $859 plaque emblazoned with the words “Executive Office of the President,” 90 office chairs billed at $600 apiece, and a $3,500 antique desk for himself.

Lighthizer, Donald Trump’s top general in his Great Trade War of 2018, defended the exorbitant spending in the most Republican way imaginable: he blamed President Obama.

“The furniture purchases are the culmination of a longtime, planned project that began under the Obama Administration to replace two-decade-old furniture,” read a statement issued by Lighthizer’s office. “Laughable,” was what one former Obama administration official said in response. Combined, the past two Trade Representatives spent less than half of what Lighthizer’s office spent during the same period of time.

But Lighthizer’s spending got us thinking. Donald Trump filled his cabinet with a who’s who of multi-millionaires (and the occasional billionaire) and yet several of them have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for private flights overseas, lavish furniture for their offices and residences, and the occasional soundproof phone booth.

Read more

Religiously speaking

Good old American Gun Laws Fail

News, opinions, tweets and more 4.30.2018 #2

News, opinions, tweets and more 4.30.2018 #1