Is This the Beginning of the End? The warning signs are everywhere. Many have noted the similarities of the rise of Fascism in the 1930s to what is happening today in the U.S. (and elsewhere in the world). Parallels have also been made to the fall of the Roman Empire. Can our democracy protect us against tyranny of the powerful when they defy laws and trash institutions from the inside while maintaining a façade of normalcy? See what Paul Krugman has written about this in his recent piece called “How Republics End.”
More on Flip Flops. The SOCP December invitation satirized 45 Flip Flops that Donald Trump has gotten away with (so far). NBC News has now published a list of 141 Trump campaign promises. They helped get him elected, but now it appears that he has flip flopped on many of them or lied about what he promised.
The Electoral College and the Myth of American Democracy. How did Hillary Clinton win the election by 2.9 million votes yet not get elected? Trump is now the biggest loser in history to gain the White House. Remember when the Constitution of the United States stated that slaves would be considered only 3/5 of a person when it comes to voting (or that women were not allowed to vote at all)? With the electoral college, it remains something like that today. If you live in Alaska, you essentially get to vote twice compared to someone who votes in California. UCI Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky wrote a nice piece about this for the OCR (after which the OCR Letter Editor chose to publish endless personal attacks on him).
How Trump Supports American Workers. Simple. He doesn’t. He siphons American jobs off to China and other countries and then brags that he does the opposite. See the front page NYT piece Dec. 28 about how he avoids “Made in USA.” Almost all of the Ivanka Trump line of clothes and shoes is made with cheap labor in places like Vietnam, Indonesia, and China. Trump hats are made in Pakistan. Read all about it.
Trump vs American Women. Trump’s war on women continues, especially after the nomination of Tom Pierce as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Allison Hoffman writes “The Coming War on Women’s Health” PS: Why did only 51% of educated women and 39% of non-college degree women vote for Hillary? Women could have carried Hillary to the White House but they did not. And if there was such a nationwide hunger for a change in Washington, why not elect a woman? That would change things in Washington faster than electing someone whose claim to fame is operating gambling casinos and beauty pageants.
The Trump Foundation Scam. Remember how Trump attacked the Clinton Foundation? Turns out that the Clinton Foundation (unlike the Trump Foundation) does lots of charitable work. Trump now wants to dissolve the Trump Foundation not because of conflict of interest but because it has been charged with illegal activities by NY State attorney general Eric Schneiderman. Trump lied about his contributions to his foundation (he contributed nothing) and instead used other people’s money to benefit himself. For example, Trump withdrew $258,000 of foundation funds to pay his legal expenses in a lawsuit. He withdrew $20,000 to commission a 6 foot portrait of himself, $12,000 for an autographed Tim Tebow football helmet, $25,000 to fund a political action committee, etc. Here is delicate question: If Trump becomes a convicted criminal will he go to the White House or to jail? Will his attorney general argue that criminal activity is allowable if you are President?
Trump Appointee Diminishes Hope for Middle East Peace. Trump continues his disastrous appointments to key government posts. We get an unhinged Dr. Strangelove as National Security Advisor, a climate change denier as head of environmental protection, and attorney general who views the Voting Rights Act as “intrusive” (he was previously rejected by other administrations because of his history of racism). Who did Trump pick as ambassador to Israel? David Friedman, and orthodox Jewish lawyer who is deeply involved in funding settlements such as Beit El. (So is the Trump Foundation). Departing Secretary of State Kerry recently stated that Israel’s determination to build more settlements is the number one cause of the failure to achieve a peace agreement. NYT headline: “Kerry says Israel keeps sabotaging peace prospects.” Subhead: “Two-state plan nears the end of its shelf life.” Trump has taken a bad situation and made it worse. More commentary.
Worried about Obamacare? Republicans also want to Trash Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. It is no secret that Republicans are smacking their lips over finally getting a chance to gut, dismantle, and privatize all of these programs. Read about the war on Medicaid.
FOX News Continues its Fake News. FOX News has a long history of lying about news and creating fake news. During the election, CEO Roger Ailes ordered all news anchors to repeat 4 times in every program (A) Benghazi; (B) Hillary emails. It worked, and gullible FOX News viewers concluded that Hillary was even more dishonest than Donald Trump. Of course Ailes is now gone because his 20 years of sexual molestation of female workers was finally exposed (but FOX gave him $40 million as a reward when he left). The latest fake news from FOX is its big splash claiming that food stamps for the poor waste $70 million. FOX has no evidence to back up this claim. The USDA which administers the program states that fraud is about 1%, an all-time low. This attack on the poor is a continuation of a long standing Republican code language racist strategy. Remember them calling Obama the “Food Stamp President?” FOX is doing the same thing that Trump does: use anecdotes and ignore facts. What FOX doesn’t do is investigative reporting on the real news about fraud: the Pentagon’s attempt to suppress a report about $125 billion in military waste. Trumps plans to greatly increase military spending so we can be sure that the concern about government wasteful spending is phony. See what Crooks and Liars has to say about the food stamp embarrassment at FOX.
Bad Guys in Brief. Gleaned from recent pages in the NYT there is not much good news. Turns out that the sugar industry pays academics to publish journal articles discrediting health guidelines about the dangers of sugar consumption….Princess Cruise Lines admits dumping waste into the ocean….The Saudi royal family imposes austerity on public spending but continues lavish spending on palaces and Lambourghinis….When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she was a champion of world-wide efforts to promote gender equality. The new Trump transition team recently demanded that the State Dept. provide a list of all efforts about “gender-related staffing, programming, and funding.” Officials at the State Dept. are “freaked out” at this request which they fear means that Trump wants to reverse these efforts for women. The Trump team also requested a list of names of anyone in the energy department who worked on climate change, presumably an effort to silence or punish them….Many American towns are extracting private profit from public works. In Bayonne, NJ, for example, Wall Street financiers made a deal for new underground water pipes that resulted in residents getting $500 water bills. The Wall Street investment company replied that they have to provide their investors with nice healthy profits….Airlines are shrinking the size of bathrooms in order to cram in more seats (and more profit)….Drug companies continue to enrich themselves at public expense with price gouging. Example: Acthar Gel has risen from $40 per vial to $38,000 per vial. Thankyou Mallinckrodt PLC of St. Louis. About a third of its $3.4 billion in sales comes from Acthar….Students in Taiwan dress up as Nazi storm troopers and stage a parade with swastika banners….A North Korean official told reporters that because Trump was escalating nuclear threats against China, 2017 promises to be a great year for advancing its nuclear missile program…. Meanwhile, China responded to Trump threats and raised the stakes by moving an aircraft carrier into the South China Sea….Worst and most reckless act of the year: Donald Trump wants to undo decades of arms reduction agreements. He just announced that he wants to start a new arms race and expand nuclear weapons.