If Donald Trump says all those racist things when he’s putting on his best face for the cameras, what must he be like when the cameras are off? We don’t have to speculate. In June of 2017, this was Trump in front of his staff:
- He said Afghanistan was a terrorist haven.
- He said of legal Haitian immigrants, they “all have AIDS.”
- He said of legal Nigerian immigrants, that once they had seen the United States, they would never “go back to their huts.”
That’s right. The President of the United States said that people from the most populous country in Africa live in huts. About what you’d expect from the guy who thought there were “fine people” among those making Nazi salutes in Charlottesville.
Yes, you may be thinking, but it’s a long way from being a racist to being a fascist dictator. Not so long, perhaps. Trump has just asserted, with regard to the Russia investigations, that he has the “absolute right to do what I want with the Justice Department,” a claim that Richard Nixon would have been embarrassed to make. I’d like to see a comment on this article, from a Republican who has one of those little copies of the Constitution in his pocket, explaining why this shouldn’t alarm the rest of us.
An internal State Department memo explicitly confirms what we already knew about the Trump administration’s foreign policy priorities.
Apparently, a deputy named Brian Hook, a former Bush administration official, wrote up a memo for Tillerson explaining how the U.S. looks at human rights. And guess what? After nearly half a century we’re back to Henry Kissinger’s foreign policy from the 1970s. According to Politico, which got a peek at the memo, Hook explained to the neophyte diplomat that “the U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.” As Tom Malinowski, former assistant secretary of state under Obama, told Politico, this “tells Tillerson that we should do exactly what Russian and Chinese propaganda says we do — use human rights as a weapon to beat up our adversaries while letting ourselves and our allies off the hook.”
Apparently Secretary of State Tillerson read and agrees with the memo.
Of the many unsurprising things about the tax bill, here are some of the least surprising.
- Republicans are united. You may have heard there was a civil war happening within the Republican Party, but it must be the kind of civil war in which the two factions agree with each other. Every single Republican in the Senate, and virtually all Republicans in the House, voted for cutting taxes on the rich. It’s what Republicans do. There’s no daylight between Trump and the Republican Party on this, the only major legislation they’ve been able to pass.
- Big donors have been bribing Republicans for decades, and today their investment paid off. This will be huge for banks like Wells Fargo, already notorious for ripping off their own customers.
- Republican lawmakers will also be benefitting personally. None have exhibited any shame, and we can expect none.
- The destruction of the social safety net for the rest of us, using the excuse of “we can’t afford it, now that we’ve cut taxes” is already underway. Because of the sequestration deal that Democrats foolishly agreed to, cuts in Medicare will be automatic. This has been the Republican plan all along.
- This is the kind of government that defines fascism. Anyone who denies that we now have a fascist government, also has the burden of proof.
Nothing says you’re innocent like openly talking about pardoning the guy who’s singing to the prosecutor.
Asked whether he planned to pardon former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump said “I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We’ll see what happens.”
Yet. Because he would see nothing wrong with pardoning Flynn later? Because he hasn’t decided whether to fire the special prosecutor? Because someone is going to be disappeared before the investigation is done?
Roy Moore had the backing of damn near every Republican, including Donald Trump, the Republican National Committee, most evangelical Christians, and Sean Hannity, despite being twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for misconduct, despite being disbarred, despite numerous credible allegations that he is a child molester, despite his support for getting rid of all the Constitutional amendments after the Tenth (including the ones that banned slavery and gave women the right to vote), despite his anti-Semitism.
Credit is due to the tiny minority of Republicans who didn’t go along, including the 1.7% of Alabama voters who wrote in someone else (giving the 1.5% margin of victory to Doug Jones), and the Nebraskan who quit the RNC over its support of Moore. One wonders what it would take to get those people to quit the Republican Party.
Can the Republican Party ever live down their support of such a candidate? It’s up to us to give a resounding “hell no” in answer to that question. No forgiveness, no normalizing of a party that is openly racist, no legitimacy. The Republican Party is permanently beyond the pale of democracy.
This is not how the Democratic Party is going to fix itself.
All things being equal, a Democrat in a safe seat is likely to swing to the right, because doing so allows them to hoover up massive campaign contributions from rich people and corporate lobbyists and secure themselves cozy sinecures for themselves once they leave office — all without risking their seat, because incumbents automatically get re-nominated and incumbents in safe seats always get re-elected.
So long-term incumbency in Democratic seats is a strong predictor of being a useless sellout Republican-in-Democrat-clothing.
This is why it’s especially grave that the DNC is refusing to allow primary challengers to access Votebuilder, the party’s central database, “housing years of information on just about every contact the party has ever made with every voter.” Denying a modern candidate this database is a hamstringing move, virtually guaranteeing their failure.
It’s a move that’s being weaponized against Sanders Democrats, who, running as “Justice Democrats,” are challenging the worst of the worst of Democratic Party politicians, fronting progressive, bold policies that poll well with voters and bode well for the nation.
Congressional Republicans have long argued without evidence that tax cuts for the rich and for corporations will pay for themselves. Now they have to hope you will ignore their own experts, who have officially said no, they won’t pay for themselves.
The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation said Wednesday afternoon that the Senate tax bill would add $1 trillion to federal budget deficits over the next decade, even after accounting for additional economic growth, a major blow to Republicans’ contention that the $1.5 trillion tax cuts in the bill will pay for themselves through growth.
Donald Trump retweeting a right-wing nutjob is not unusual, but it should always be news. And when he retweeted racist videos from Britain First, it seems that was going too far, even for Britain’s Conservative government. The President is officially unwelcome in London, and his state visit to Britain has been canceled.
Trump supporters may argue that retweeting is not endorsement. But Trump himself says they are. Asked in 2015 whether his retweets were endorsements, Trump said yes:
I think that’s right. Do you want me to say no? You know, I retweet, I retweet for a reason.
Stephen Doughty, member of Parliament with the Labour Party, did not mince words:
This is the President of the United States sharing with millions inflammatory and divisive content deliberately posted to sow hatred and division by — as the Home Secretary says — a convicted criminal who is facing further charges who represents a vile fascist organization seeking to spread hatred and violence in person and online. By sharing it he is either a racist, incompetent, or unthinking, or all three.
That the President is a racist is obvious to anyone who knows what racism is, but I think Doughty actually may have understated the problem. The President isn’t just a racist, he’s a fascist who considers fascist organizations and their criminal leaders his allies.