Thursday, November 30, 2017

Donald J. Trump: Abomination-- Moral And Otherwise


Yesterday's NY Daily News editorial was a doozy: Donald Trump is a madman: The President's Wednesday Twitter spasm confirms what many Americans have long suspected. "After his latest spasm of deranged tweets," wrote the editors, "only those completely under his spell can deny what growing numbers of Americans have long suspected: The President of the United States is profoundly unstable. He is mad. He is, by any honest layman’s definition, mentally unwell and viciously lashing out." The British Parliament was debating Trump's crackpot tweets yesterday too! But the Daily News hit the Trumpanzee nail right on the head:
Some might say we are just suffering through the umpteenth canny, calculated presidential eruption designed to distract the nation from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, or perhaps from unpopular legislation working its way through Congress.

Quite possible. But Occam’s razor, and the sheer strangeness of Trump’s behavior, leads us to conclude that we are witnessing signs of mania.

Early Wednesday morning, Donald Trump or whomever was manning his Twitter account retweeted, seemingly at random, three videos of supposed violence against Christians by Muslims.

At least one of those was long ago debunked. The words of the tweet spread to Trump’s 43.6 million followers referred to a violent young man pictured in a video as a “Muslim migrant.” The perpetrator appears to have been neither a Muslim nor a migrant.

Trump is broadcasting discredited hate videos even as he now tells multiple people in his inner circle that the real, verified Access Hollywood video in which he boasted of grabbing women “by the pussy”-- words for which he has already publicly apologized-- was falsified.

By engaging in the little Islamophobia-fest, Trump amplified the handiwork of a leader of Britain First, a fringe, far-right political movement that is the rough equivalent of America’s white nationalist alt-right.

Trump wasn’t done. Just before 7 a.m., he urged the nation to “boycott Fake News CNN”-- the nation’s most powerful person targeting a media company that happens to be locked in a legal fight with his own Justice Department over a merger.

Then, upon learning of the firing of NBC’s Matt Lauer for workplace sexual harassment, came the real unraveling.

“When will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past!” he tweeted, aiming unhinged ire at the network’s news boss.

This is a day after North Korea fired what was, by all accounts, an ICBM. During a week when Congress is in the throes of delicate negotiations on taxes and the budget.

And before our eyes, the President is spinning in a Tasmanian devil’s rage about American news networks.

There was more.

The President of the United States just casually accused a congressman-turned-TV-host of murder because an intern died in his Florida office in 2001.
And about that tax bill... it looks like serial Trump enablers Bob Corker, Ben Sasse, Jerry Moran, Jeff Flake, probably Susan Collins and John McCain as well, are all, once again, buckling under to the man each of them has called a dangerous madman and giving him his deranged tax legislation that is completely based on a tissue of lies. Also buckling: Ron Johnson (R-WI), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). All that trickle down nonsense Trump, Ryan and McConnell have been spouting was horrible enough on its face, but now that lies are becoming more and more apparent.
Major companies including Cisco Systems Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. say they’ll turn over most gains from proposed corporate tax cuts to their shareholders, undercutting President Donald Trump’s promise that his plan will create jobs and boost wages for the middle class.

The president has held fast to his pledge even as top executives’ comments have run counter to it for months. Instead of hiring more workers or raising their pay, many companies say they’ll first increase dividends or buy back their own shares.

Robert Bradway, chief executive of Amgen Inc., said in an Oct. 25 earnings call that the company has been “actively returning capital in the form of growing dividend and buyback and I’d expect us to continue that.” Executives including Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey, Pfizer Chief Financial Officer Frank D’Amelio and Cisco CFO Kelly Kramer have recently made similar statements.

“We’ll be able to get much more aggressive on the share buyback” after a tax cut, Kramer said in a Nov. 16 interview.

U.S. voters disapprove of the Republican tax legislation by a two-to-one margin, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Nov. 15, and corporate promises to return any windfall to investors aren’t helping the White House sales effort. The Trump administration has appeared flummoxed. At a Nov. 14 speech to the Wall Street Journal CEO Council by Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, the moderator asked business leaders in the audience for a show of hands if they planned to reinvest tax cut proceeds. Few people responded.

“Why aren’t the other hands up?” Cohn asked.

...The White House released a paper last month predicting that cutting the corporate tax rate to 20 percent would would increase average household income by $4,000 to $9,000. Other economists have questioned that claim.

But CEOs more often tout the benefits of the legislation for shareholders. Corporations are most likely to pay down debt and repurchase shares with the proceeds from a “tax holiday,” according to Shin’s Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research survey of companies, conducted in July. Only 35 percent of companies said they would use the money for capital expenditures.

...[T]here is also outright opposition by some corporate leaders, who cite concerns including increased economic inequality and the bill’s impact on the national debt.

Starbucks Corp. Chairman Howard Schultz, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett and BlackRock Financial Management Inc. Chairman and CEO Larry Fink have all publicly criticized the legislation. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein said this month that with the economy at nearly full employment and growing at 3 percent, now isn’t the best time for tax cuts.

And John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group, said Tuesday that the Republican tax plan is a “moral abomination” in part because companies will hand over the proceeds to shareholders.

“One of the flaws is that corporations are putting their shareholders ahead of the people that built the corporation,” he said at an event in New York sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Bernie used the idea of "moral abomination" yesterday too-- and with good reason:
For the past 40 years, the financial and political elite of this country have rigged the tax code to redistribute wealth and income to some of the richest and most powerful people in this country. The result: we are moving rapidly toward an oligarchic form of society in which the top 1 percent is doing phenomenally well, the middle class continues to decline and 40 million Americans are living in poverty. And it will probably not surprise you to learn that just as our tax code benefits the wealthiest people in this country, it also benefits some of the largest and most profitable corporations in the world with a myriad of tax breaks, deductions, credits and other loopholes. As a result, one out of five large profitable corporations today pays nothing in federal taxes.

The current Republican “tax cut” bill, paid for by the Koch brothers and other billionaire campaign contributors, continues the push to make the rich richer at the expense of everyone else. It would raise taxes on middle class families making $75,000 a year or less and would throw 13 million Americans off of health insurance. And it would do all of these things to provide permanent tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and profitable corporations that ship American jobs to China while moving their American profits to the Cayman Islands.

But let's be clear. This legislation goes well beyond taxes. Its ultimate goal is to radically transform American society and the role that government plays in the lives of the working families of our country. This legislation will increase the deficit by at least $1.5 trillion over ten years. Mark my words. If passed, the Republicans will then rediscover the "deficit crisis," and push aggressively for massive cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education – higher education in particular-- nutrition, affordable housing and more. They will seek to undo every major piece of legislation passed in the last 80 years designed to help working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.

This is the Republican plan. Huge tax breaks for the rich and powerful. Massive cuts to life and death programs for the middle class and working families of our country.

This is not moral. This is not what the American people want. This is not what our country and our pledge for "liberty and justice for all" is supposed to be about.

That is why I am going on the road this week to talk directly to working people in Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania about this disastrous piece of legislation. If we stand together-- black, white, Latino, Asian American, Native American, male and female, young and old, gay and straight-- we can defeat this horrific bill. But I need you to make your voice heard as well. We need to stand together.

...Today in America, more than 40 million Americans, including 20 percent of all children, live in poverty. Many in extreme poverty. Almost 28 million Americans have no health insurance. Millions of bright kids can’t afford to go to college without facing a lifetime of debt. Seniors and disabled veterans are struggling to stay alive on inadequate Social Security checks.

Despite all of that pain, the greed of the billionaire class in this country knows no limits. No. We will not allow them to take away from those in need in order to give a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the very rich. Here’s a radical idea for my colleagues in the Republican Party: instead of just listening to the rich and powerful few in this country, maybe just maybe Congress should listen to the majority of the American people who want a fair tax system.

Maybe just maybe corporate tax reform should start by preventing profitable companies from sheltering profits in tax haven countries like the Cayman Islands.

Here is something you may not know:

A 2008 Government Accountability Office report found that 83 of the Fortune 100 companies use at least one offshore tax scheme to lower their taxes. A 2016 study found that one of every five large, profitable corporations paid no federal income taxes at all in 2012.

The practice of stashing profits in places like the Cayman Islands has become so absurd that one single, five-story office building there is now the official legal “home” to more than 18,000 corporations! Our tax code has essentially legalized tax dodging for large corporations.

We must stop this bill. We must stop the Republicans from moving this country into an oligarchy.

And that starts with all of us standing up, fighting back and making our voices heard. Three weeks ago progressives from coast to coast ran for office at the local and state level-- and they won. We have to continue that progress and build on that momentum.
Trump, he says, "wants to divide us up by the color of our skin, our gender, our religion, our sexual orientation or our country of origin. He wants us fighting with each other while Wall Street and the billionaire class laugh all the way to the bank. Our job is to bring our people together around an agenda that creates an economy and government that works for all, not just the 1 percent. Defeating this terrible piece of legislation will be an important step forward. This bill is a moral abomination."



At 4:16 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

The possibility that this tax bill will fail is minimal at best. The entire Republican Party should be sunk into the swamp. There appears to be not one decent Republican among the majority party - Senators and Congressmen current running this country do not have the country's best interests in mind.

How the hell did we get to this point? Many factors. One is the complacency of the American people. We have had it pretty damned good and people had too much faith in our institutions and have been disconnected in politics, thinking it is not that important. A rude awakening is coming. . Who knew how quickly the bulwarks of our government could be dismantled? Who knew how fragile our democracy really is? Frightening all.

The Dems had better get their act together. Leaning towards Blue Dogs to attract votes is CRAZY and has nor worked ever, and Nancy Pelosi should go. We need a strong progressive Democratic Party that stands for something. We need to take back our government in 2018.

One reason I have hope is that our country has faced horrible situations in the past and survived. Take for example the McCarthy period in the '50's and the '60's with Vietnam. Watching the Kevin Burns Vietnam documentary series, I was reminded of how awful the 60's were, how stressful and frightening.

Perhaps we will get through this terribly dark period and come out the better for it. The bulk of the American people need to do the right thing - keep resisting and VOTE in 2018.

At 6:25 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Well said Hone time to hit the reset button start fresh vote out the money status quo candidates & elect progressives in 2018.

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, so tell me under what circumstances your democrat party can ever magically morph into that "strong progressive... party that stands for something"??? If the 2007 crash didn't do it, what could? Would we need another great depression and world war? would anyone survive that to enjoy the new democrat renaissance?

Do you fantasize that electing a few good people like Bryce can somehow multiply and disinfect the corruption from the bottom up? If that were even possible (it's not), how long would it take to get the good people with enough tenure to displace the big money raising hundreds at the top? 30 years?

Think about all this rationally. Tell me how it could even BE done, much less done in time for it to save this sinking titanic.

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The republican party, from newest racist 18-year-old voter with an IQ in the single digits to trump... every single one of them... has been an abomination since Goldwater ran for prez on a platform of nuking all the commies everywhere and letting capitalism run wild on principle.

I take it back. There might have been 3 decent ones in congress in '64. That's about all.

trump has been a vulgar abomination his whole useless life.

He's lucky he lived in 2016. He could never have been elected anything anywhere north of Alabama until last year. It is a confluence of electoral suppression, evil and stupidity, opposition ineptitude and corruption, fraud and foreign influence via social media libertarianism.

That he's still there making a fool of himself after 10 months says all you need to know about the Rs and the state of the electorate (sitting in a stupor with both thumbs buried in it's ass all the way to the wrists).


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