So much outrage, so little time. Here’s what I read about over coffee this morning:
One. Does anybody remember when Republicans got mad at Barack Obama for not wearing a tie in the Oval Office? The current President thinks the White House is a “dump,” and the silence of his sheeples is deafening.
Two. Donald J. Trump is President of the United States of America, and we’re really supposed to believe mediocre white people aren’t getting a fair shake. The New York Times reported on a Justice Department scheme to begin “investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”
Three. If you think the administration’s plan for health care reform was a sadistic attack on regular working people, wait until you see Trump’s tax plan.
The President sat down for an interview to be published in the August 7 edition of Sports Illustrated.
In “First Golfer: Donald Trump’s relationship with golf has never been more complicated,” we learn the President is a good golfer (“He has clubhead speed,” says Phil Mickelson) who’s been known to forget a duffed shot or two (per game, according to 18 witnesses interviewed for the story).
His comments comparing his Bedminster property to the White House is the part of the story getting the most notice:
Chatting with some members before a recent round of golf, he explained his frequent appearances: “That White House is a real dump.” (A White House spokesperson denies this occurred.) Trump is often at his most unguarded among the people who pay for their proximity to him. Last November, the President-elect hosted a cocktail reception and dinner at Bedminster on the same weekend that he was holding interviews at the club with candidates for his Cabinet. At the dinner, Trump addressed the members of the club by saying, “This is my real group. You are the special people. I see all of you. I recognize, like, 100% of you, just about.” Then he issued an open invitation to drop in on his Cabinet interviews the next day.
This statement somehow struck a more emotional chord with me than many of his other profane proclamations. Lots of other folks agreed with my sentiment.
If @realDonaldTrump truly thinks the White House is a “dump,” many of us would chip in to pay for the Uhaul to take him back to Trump Tower.
— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) August 1, 2017
The abject racism of the Trump administration continues to be more evident every day.
Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’ Justice Department has already said it would no longer pursue a case against Texas’s voter-ID law, since discrimination isn’t real in the Lone Star State. Also, the AG isn’t sure whether racist police departments should really have to reform under consent decrees.
But there is one cause the Justice Department will be pursuing, according to the New York Times, “investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”
Philip Bump at the Washington Post called this story “one of the least surprising scoops from inside the Trump administration::
Anyone with even a passing awareness of the focus of conservative media over the past eight years or so will understand that this was inevitable. Trump, an eager consumer of conservative news, has no doubt seen scores of Fox News segments focused on the effects of affirmative action, a subset of a broader focus on how Democrats — usually meaning people of color — undeservedly get things free: phones, education, housing, etc…
…There’s a difference between affirmative action and free college educations, obviously, but for some conservatives, they overlap in the same place: Someone, usually a nonwhite person, is getting something that isn’t deserved. And, moreover, those conservatives think the beneficiaries are doing so at the expense of someone else — in this case, whites who are denied admission or whites having to pay for it with their taxes.
It’s worth noting, first of all, that black and Hispanic college students are more likely to have to borrow to pay for a college education and that they end up having to borrow more money to cover college costs. A study from Demos analyzing federal data found that 86 percent of black students and 87 percent of Hispanic students got loans to attend private universities, compared to 72 percent of whites. (At public universities, 81 percent of black students got loans to 61 percent of whites.) A 2016 study found that low- and middle-income black students ended up accruing $7,721 more in education debt than whites from the same income brackets.
This group of current WH interns pretty much sums up the urgency of ending discrimination against white achievers. pic.twitter.com/zeSp1s9rKh
— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) August 2, 2017
One would hope we’ll see more stories in the coming weeks about White House son-in-law Jared Kushner’s incredible trek from mediocre high school student to Harvard University. Oh, the agony! It only took a $2.5 million bribe to get him past all those ne’er-do-wells.
The go-to civil rights authority responding to this story in various media accounts was Vanita Gupta, president, and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
She issued a statement saying the Justice Department’s move to “challenge efforts that colleges and universities have undertaken to expand educational opportunity is an affront to our values as a country.”
“Longstanding Supreme Court precedent has upheld the constitutionality and compelling state interest of these policies,” Gutpta noted, “and generations of Americans have benefited from richer, more inclusive institutions of higher education.”
The extra-white icing on this racist cake being baked up by the Trumpian set is the immigration legislation highlighted at the White House earlier today, with appearances by xenophobes Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Georgia Sen. David Perdue.
It’s designed to significantly reduce the level of legal immigration into the United States, bringing it in line with what the sponsors call the “historic” average.
President Trump’s comments included a reference to his long-standing and oft-refuted claims about immigrants living on the dole:
“This competitive application process will favor applicants who speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that contribute to our economy.”
The good news about this bill is that it’s only got the support of perhaps 30 U.S. Senators. The bad news is Trump & company got to stand in front of the media and spew false claims about immigrants, which we all should know by now is really just code for skin color.
Shifting the focus away from Washington DC for a second, I’d like to call attention to the Sacramento Bee’s reporting on the threats and racism being directed at California State Legislators.
While hate being directed at elected officials is hardly a new phenomenon, the incidence of derogatory racial references has seen a sharp increase in recent months.
A stranger accosted Sen. Ricardo Lara outside Ella, a restaurant on K Street, earlier this month and screamed profanities and racial epithets in his face, he said. Sen. Holly Mitchell’s Los Angeles district office representatives report getting a call once a month from someone who uses the n-word to describe her or her staff members – something they said didn’t happen before the election.
A fervent group of Trump supporters, who disrupt Democratic town halls and other political forums in Southern California, called de León an “anchor baby” and “illegal alien scumbag” at a Latino summit in May at UC Riverside, where academics and community leaders gathered to strategize ways to fight Trump’s agenda. The protesters continue to post YouTube videos of themselves heckling politicians.
“In my mind there’s no doubt that Donald Trump has opened up this Pandora’s box,” de León said. “There’s no question about it because he’s done nothing as president of the United States to temper it down or heal the nation.”
Finally, a note about what’s next in Congress after labor day.
The New York Times reports Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers astroturfing political action group, will be active in 36 states in the coming weeks promoting the Republican plan for ‘tax reform.’
They’ll be joined by the center-right American Action Network in launching the Middle-Class Growth Initiative. The group will spend $5 million during August recess (TV, digital, radio, and mail), beginning with a $1 million radio ad campaign in 34 House districts.
Sound familiar? Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have already decided on a fast-track “reconciliation” process to enact a tax bill without any Democratic votes.
The main selling point for this legislation will be a special, lower top rate for pass-through income (business income that’s taxed at the owner’s individual tax rates rather than the corporate rate).
As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, this break for ‘small business’ isn’t what it seems:
Contrary to claims that “small businesses” would benefit, most small businesses are actually small and pay relatively low tax rates, so they’d see no benefit from the proposals. Rather, cutting taxes on pass-through income is a back-door way to cut the top individual tax rate for wealthy investors, including Wall Street hedge funds, real estate partnerships, consultants, and other professionals. It would also create new opportunities for large-scale tax avoidance by high earners, who could reclassify their salaries and wages as pass-through income. The increase in tax complexity and large revenue losses would move the tax code in the opposite direction from true tax reform.
Get your hip boots on folks, the lies on this will be piled higher and deeper in no time.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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