Trump Is a Racist. Period. – by Charles Blow – NYT

“I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown.The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky.

So, let’s strip that away here. Let’s be honest and forthright.Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.”

David Lindsay: “Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.”
Yes, true, and this is a fine op-ed, but racism is also a complicated set of discriminatory ideas or practices, that infect even many of the most scrupulously moral people, because of attitudes thalt are in the society, or are molded by difficult encounters with poor and disturbed people, who are often people from a different skin color and culture. By this larger, more complex definition, all humans have some racism, but the most moral humans try to be aware of their racism, and using intellect, try not to be ruled by racist attitudes that were part of their upbringing or general culture.

Here is the top comment, which I endorsed and recommend:

Socrates

is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona. NJ 1 day ago

“I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” said LBJ to his young aide Bill Moyers in 1960.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

And four years later, after LBJ signed The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, LBJ was euphoric, but late that very night the same aide Moyers found him in a melancholy mood as he lay in bed reading the early edition of The Washington Post with headlines celebrating the day, and Moyers asked him what was troubling him.

“I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come,” said LBJ.

Here we sit 50-plus years later – certainly a much better and more evolved country – but still deeply cursed by LBJ’s prescience and the wretched fumes of white privilege, white supremacy and the radical rich right-wing that foments racism for political power and economic pillaging and plundering.

Trump perfectly personifies the conjoining of Republican evil – psychopathic greed hiding strategically behind the wall of psychopathic racism, fear and loathing that has served its 0.1% Randian overlords grotesquely well since 1968 to divide, conquer and shatter America into a shoddy, fake democracy of rural rubes cheering for 18th century coal as rest of the world ramps up on solar, wind, a better education and better job skills.

https://goo.gl/YpJ7pf

Grand Old Poison 2017

 

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Trump’s Threat to Democracy – by Nicholas Kristof- NYT

“Two political scientists specializing in how democracies decay and die have compiled four warning signs to determine if a political leader is a dangerous authoritarian:1. The leader shows only a weak commitment to democratic rules. 2. He or she denies the legitimacy of opponents. 3. He or she tolerates violence. 4. He or she shows some willingness to curb civil liberties or the media.“A politician who meets even one of these criteria is cause for concern,” Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, both professors at Harvard, write in their important new book, “How Democracies Die,” which will be released next week.

“With the exception of Richard Nixon, no major-party presidential candidate met even one of these four criteria over the last century,” they say, which sounds reassuring. Unfortunately, they have one update: “Donald Trump met them all.” ”

Yes. Here is the top comment I endorse:
Mike Roddy is a trusted commenter Alameda, Ca 2 hours ago
I spent a couple of years in Venezuela early in Chavez, reign, and saw the country’s decline up close. Included was utter corruption, even by South American standards, and a President who reflexively lied to the public during eight hour speeches on TV every Sunday.

The Venezuelans laughed at him and shrugged their shoulders, knowing that the elections were rigged and they were helpless. American left wingers didn’t do their homework, and somehow believed his schtick.

The lesson here is that we cannot underestimate the president, for many reasons.

1. Trump won’t decide to follow democratic norms, since he comes from a real estate background that included bribery, partnerships with criminals, and refusals to honor contracts.
2. Strengthening democratic norms is wise, but our attacks on the President must be blunt and relentless. This is not just another blowhard, but rather a dangerous, and murderous, potential dictator.
3. How can someone be expected to obey democratic norms when he doesn’t even know the words to the national anthem?
4. This is the most important: The oligarchs who back Trump- Mercer, Adelson, Koch, and the entire fossil fuel industry- also don’t care about democracy. They are waist deep in global bribery and environmental carnage. The press has been negligent in rarely making those connections. Many of Trump’s staffing decisions were dictated by them.

Your turn, New York Times. You’ve been OK so far (apart from ignoring #4), but without you we lose.

215 Recommended

Everyone in Trumpworld Knows He’s an Idiot – by Michelle Goldberg – NYT

DL: Michelle Goldberg is the newest young voice to join the NYT op-ed page as a regular. What a well written piece. I couldn’t recommend any of the top comments to this essay, since they refused to even acknowledge the gifted writer which provided the platform for their add ons, mostly a pile on.

I finally got to reading my new subscription to the Wall Street Journal the other day, and was disappointed at how hateful, scornful and arrogant the lead editorial was against the Democrats, using fake news to attack the Trump administration. The polarization between the parties is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime, and over the Vietnam war, it was ferocious.

“Trumpworld” might be misleading. It refers to his White house senior staff, cabinet and senior advisors.

“One of the more alarming anecdotes in “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s incendiary new book about Donald Trump’s White House, involves the firing of James Comey, former director of the F.B.I. It’s not Trump’s motives that are scary; Wolff reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were “increasingly panicked” and “frenzied” about what Comey would find if he looked into the family finances, which is incriminating but unsurprising. The terrifying part is how, in Wolff’s telling, Trump sneaked around his aides, some of whom thought they’d contained him.

“For most of the day, almost no one would know that he had decided to take matters into his own hands,” Wolff writes. “In presidential annals, the firing of F.B.I. director James Comey may be the most consequential move ever made by a modern president acting entirely on his own.” Now imagine Trump taking the same approach toward ordering the bombing of North Korea.

Wolff’s scabrous book comes out on Friday — the publication date was moved up amid a media furor — but I was able to get an advance copy. It’s already a consequential work, having precipitated a furious rift between the president and his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who told Wolff that the meeting Donald Trump Jr. brokered with Russians in the hope of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” On Thursday the president’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to Wolff’s publisher, Henry Holt, demanding that it stop publication, claiming, among other things, defamation and invasion of privacy. This move would be fascistic if it weren’t so farcical. (While some have raised questions about Wolff’s methods, Axios reports that he has many hours of interviews recorded.)”

Trump’s Attention Economy – by Charles Blow – NYT

“On Tuesday, Donald Trump unleashed yet another tweet storm from within his unceasing drought of competence.

In a series of 16 tweets, Trump lied, boasted, lashed out, bemoaned, provoked, belittled and prodded.In other words, Trump began this year the way he ended the last one: eroding and reducing the office of the presidency on a daily basis.His most consequential tweet was a boast about destructive power:“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

Sir, this is not a missile-measuring contest. No one wants to think about the size of your button. You seem to think that the effects of a nuclear strike would be the verification of your virility rather than the loss of innumerable lives.”

Good column and comments. Here is my favorite comment, of the 10 or 15 I read.

Cathy Hopewell junction ny 6 hours ago
We are watching Trump jettison the people who coached him into power, and to try to contain an investigation into the lives of the people he has not yet fired. He exposed his family to harm, by giving them roles they don’t understand in a game they don’t know how to play. And it looks like the Russians, who do know how to play the game, are winning.

And the rest of us suffer. I now understand how it feels to be the hero in a Greek tragedy, who suffers at the hands of capricious gods, for no real reason at all, except that they felt the hero got too uppity. Government is something inflicted upon us, and we can take the consequences, or turn ourselves into laurel trees.

And it is important to understand, if Greek tragedy is our model, not to depend on Mueller to be our Deus Ex Machina, Gods never descend to save the day until it is too late.

217 Recommended

Justice Shouldn’t Come With a $250 Fine – The New York Times

“Too often, this is the case. The fine for a misdemeanor is typically about $1,000, which can be unmanageable for a low-income person. This comes on top of many other costs. The application fee a defendant must pay to hire a public defender (appointed because a person charged with a crime cannot afford to pay for an attorney) can be as high as $400. Jail booking fees range from $10 to $100. In some states, defendants can be made to pay fees upward of $200 for the juries who hear their cases. After conviction, victim’s panel classes, where some defendants are mandated to hear about victims’ experiences and loss, can cost up to $75. Drug courts can and often do make people pay for their own assessment, treatment and frequent drug testing.”

DL: Yes. Jim Crow is alive and well, and for poor whites as well.
Here is the top comment, I endorse:

Mark Thomason is a trusted commenter Clawson, MI 14 hours ago
A family member was wrongly accused of shoplifting. There was video. It clearly showed no shoplifting. She won.

Then she got the bill from the court for the assigned public defender — four times more than the fine would have been, over a thousand dollars.

The fine print in Michigan says that the public defender “provided” as required by the US Supreme Court “if you can’t afford one” will bill you after the case, even if you win, and that becomes a court judgment against you.

You can be jailed for non-payment of the defense attorney bill for a case you won, or so the judge threatened her.

Flag Reply 117 Recommended

For Native Americans- a ‘Historic Moment’ on the Path to Power at the Ballot Box – The New York Times

“SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah — In this county of desert and sagebrush, Wilfred Jones has spent a lifetime angered by what his people are missing. Running water, for one. Electricity, for another. But worst of all, in his view, is that the Navajo people here lack adequate political representation.

So Mr. Jones sued, and in late December, after a federal judge ruled that San Juan County’s longtime practice of packing Navajo voters into one voting district violated the United States Constitution, the county was ordered to draw new district lines for local elections.The move could allow Navajo people to win two of three county commission seats for the first time, overturning more than a century of political domination by white residents. And the shift here is part of an escalating battle over Native American enfranchisement, one that comes amid a larger wave of voting rights movements spreading across the country.“It’s a historic moment for us,” said Mr. Jones, during a drive on the county’s roller coaster dirt roads. “We look at what happened with the Deep South,” he went on, “how they accomplished what they have. We can do the same thing.” ”

Bravo. Here is a comment I endorse:

DW In the shadow of Monticello 38 minutes ago
it’s about time that the Native American citizens have an equal opportunity to have a proportional vote and to equalize the use of government resources (i.e., tax income) for all – not just for those who control the boundaries of voting districts in their favor.

FlagReply 9 Recommended

Conservative Groups Seeking Support for Tax Cuts Find It a Hard Sell – The New York Times

” “The American people have waited 31 long years to see our broken tax code overhauled,” the leaders of the Koch’s political network insisted in a letter to members of Congress on Monday, urging swift approval of final legislation. They added that the time had come to put “more money in the pockets of American families.”

The problem, as Republicans are learning, is that most Americans do not believe that is what the tax plan will do.

Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist, said that amid all the talk about the need to score an important victory for their party, “it bears mentioning that the ‘win’ is something that is extraordinarily unpopular with 75 percent of the American people.” ”

David Linday: Republicans in red states, call your congressmen and women, and stop this tax bill from impoverishing the middle class, to make the top 5% even more wealthy.

Tax reform could be a great morvement for the majority of Americans, if it were bi-partisan, and carefully crafted with hearings and external reviews.

David Lindsay Jr is the author of The Tay Son Rebellion, and blogs at TheTaysonRebllion.com, and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Tax Plan Crowns a Big Winner: Trump’s Industry – The New York Times

“After a frenzy of congressional action to rewrite the tax code, salesclerks and chief executives are calculating their gains. Business was treated with the everyone’s-a-winner approach that ensures no summer camper goes home without a trophy.Some got special prizes. Cruise lines, craft beer and wine producers (even foreign ones), car dealers, private equity, and oil and gas pipeline managers did particularly well. And perhaps the biggest winner is the industry where President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, made their millions: commercial real estate.

House and Senate Republicans, in their divergent bills, both offered steeply reduced rates to corporate giants, partnerships and family-owned firms across the board. But when it came time to eliminate special breaks or impose tighter standards, real estate was generally excused from the room.

Most businesses were hit with new limits on deductions for interest payments, but not real estate. Most industries lost the ability to defer taxes on the exchange of similar kinds of property, but not real estate. Domestic manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies lost some industry-specific breaks, like the tax credit for so-called orphan drugs, in exchange for lower rates.”

Let me vomit. Here are the current two top comments, I approve:
Elizabeth Cincinnati 2 hours ago
Under current IRS tax code, all real estate investments are considered passive investment and treated as ordinary income, and income received from REITS are tax at the ordinary tax rate. Under the current tax proposal, small real estate investors ( those small landlords) still face the new constraints on borrowing, but not the large commercial real estate investors like Trump, the hedge funds.
Congress should just restore mortgage interest, SALT and property tax deduction for the masses with limitation imposed by AMT, and eliminate the special treatment for commercial real estates and REITS as a way to off set revenue reduction. After all, why should the Trumps of the World get a special break when the rest of us do not.

Reply 32 Recommended

Marie Boston 2 hours ago
When will the rank and file Trump supporters admit, at least to themselves, that when Trump said “we” he didn’t mean them, and when Trump said he’s going to make America great again he meant for him, not them?

Everything that Trump has done has been done for elites like him and for corporations, nothing for us. And worse, it’s not as if he is ignoring or neglecting the people, Trump and his party are actually taking directly aim directly at and are taking from them. While some of the rank and file may applaud the ideas of less regulation and a pro-business stance in principle as practiced it is coming directly from their hide in terms of less money, less opportunities, and more harm.

1. A tax plan absolutely skewed to the corporations and wealthy, and more specifically his corporations and his wealthy family.
2. A plan that also eliminates the breaks on education that the Republican elite tell the rank and file they need for a better paying job rather than raising the minimum wage. And speaking of the minimum wage…..
3. Eliminating regulations the protect people from physical and financial harm
4. Eliminating the ability to use class actions pitting corporate giants against the little guy in court or arbitration boards paid for by the corporations
5. Turning over land that was intended for all so that a few can profit
6. Eliminating opportunities for reasonably priced decent health care
7. Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block

FlagReply 33 Recommended

Republicans Are Coming for Your Benefits – Paul Krugman – NYT

“Republicans don’t care about budget deficits, and never did. They only pretend to care about deficits when one of two things is true: a Democrat is in the White House, and deficit rhetoric can be used to block his agenda, or they see an opportunity to slash social programs that help needy Americans, and can invoke deficits as an excuse. All of this has been obvious for years to anyone paying attention.

So it’s not at all surprising that they were willing to enact a huge tax cut for corporations and the wealthy even though all independent estimates said this would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt. And it was also predictable that they would return to deficit posturing as soon as the deed was done, citing the red ink they themselves produced as a reason to cut social spending.

Yet even the most cynical among us are startled both by how quickly the bait-and-switch is proceeding and by the contempt Republicans are showing for the public’s intelligence.In fact, the switch began even before the marks swallowed the bait.

During the Senate debate over the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Senator Orrin Hatch was challenged over support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nine million U.S. children — but whose funding lapsed two months ago, and has not been renewed. Hatch declared his support for the program, but insisted that “the reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore” — just before voting for a trillion-and-a-half-dollar tax cut that will deliver the bulk of its benefits to the richest few percent of the population.He then went on to say, “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.” “