Trump’s Veteran Hypocrisy

It’s actually quite amazing the times we’re living in when someone who has been a controversial, narcissistic, thrice married, bankrupt, tabloid attention grabbing greedhead for decades is this close to an actual bona fide presidential candidate.

Of America.

Skip Congress, skip Senate. Skip any sort of elected office or appointed public service gig, go directly to the White House to satisfy the most public self-love fetish we’ve ever seen.

If in “Back to the Future” in the 80’s they had predicted Donald Trump would be president in 2016 the gag would be so ridiculously improbable that it would be comical – like the Cubs ever winning a World Series.  Ha!

But here we are living in a gag where a man who has been considered an asshole since the last time a completely unthinkable dick became president, is making a run. At least Reagan had the balls to be a governor first, he did the honest work of ruining a state before having the temerity to ask for votes to send an entire country down the chute.

Trump’s supporters, and the pundits who try to explain them, would have you believe it’s a time for assholes. I will agree, that for some people it’s always time for an asshole. Just like it’s 5:00 o’clock somewhere is a great excuse for alcoholics to have a cocktail, there’s always groups of low information humans roaming the Earth, ready to casually anoint somebody with no qualifications except the requisite lack of humility enough to believe that they, above all else, should be running things.

But really, Trump? That’s a heavy lift. That gravity seems to have been waived for his delusional anointers, at least temporarily, is amazing enough. But the sheer weight of Trump’s head, as well as his long biography of douchedom will crash the gaseous Trump blimp before it reaches Pennsylvania Avenue.

On this Guy Fieri-like episode we’re rolling out to find Donald Trump’s Hypocrisies, Inconsistencies and Lies.  First stop we note that no matter what Trump says about supporting veterans now, he has a history of NIMBYism regarding them outside his buildings.

Donald Trump Wanted Vets Kicked Off Fifth Avenue

Never mind that for more than a decade Trump sought to deprive veterans in need of their meager livelihood because he found them unsightly nuisances who should not be allowed anywhere near his gleaming headquarters on Fifth Avenue.

The Trump who now extols veterans spent years clamoring for New York City’s politicians to take action and ban even those street vendors with special disabled veteran’s licenses from the environs of Trump Tower.

As was reported in the New York Daily News, Trump wrote in a letter to the New York State Assembly back in 1991, “While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?”

He went on, “Do we allow Fifth Avenue, one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?”

He was still at it in 2004, when he wrote a letter to Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

“Whether they are veterans or not, they [the vendors] should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street,” Trump declared.

He warned, “The image of New York City will suffer… I hope you can stop this very deplorable situation before it is too late.”

The veterans he’s been fighting against for decades on the streets of NY have some less than fawning words for Trump.

“Despicable,” he said. “He never served. And not his kids.”

“If he gets elected, I’ll die,” she said simply.

“Disgusting.”

The stories behind his numerous efforts to disregard real veterans who work near his buildings or struggling Americans who lived in his properties or poor people in other countries who just happens to live where he wants to build something, are legion.

Join us next time on Hypocrisies, Inconsistencies and Lies as we uncover the worst stories from the incredible career of professional asshole Donald Trump.

 

 

Do We Still Hate Susan B. Komen?

If not, we can hate on the Wounded Warrior Project.  Using only 60% of donations on veteran’s needs is not good.  Especially if the other 30% is going to $500 a night hotel rooms and $7000 business class flights.

It has spent millions a year on travel, dinners, hotels and conferences that often seemed more lavish than appropriate, more than four dozen current and former employees said in interviews. Former workers recounted buying business-class seats and regularly jetting around the country for minor meetings, or staying in $500-per-night hotel rooms.

I mean, if it was to help a wounded veterans spirit by getting him/her a hooker to snort cocaine off of, I suppose you could make a case.  Sure, that’s more of a Wall Street master of the universe thing than legitimate occupational therapy.  But as a patriot I will stand second to none in my support for veterans being able to snort coke off a hooker’s ass.

 

 

 

 

Why Democrats Are Doomed… Or Not

It’s all in one article in the Times today.  For House Democrats, Support for Obama Agenda Came at a Cost. Yes, Dems lost a lot of seats in 2010 and 2014 and it’s because they supported Obama, or so the article starts of stating. But oddly enough, there’s not one interview with a Democrat that says that.

Based on that headline you’d think they would have gotten some Blue Dog who lost their cushy, phony baloney, gold encrusted House gig to say it was his support for avoiding an economic depression that hurt him.

Some Democrats hold Mr. Obama responsible for that, saying their party’s lawmakers took the blame for the president’s aggressive and often unpopular agenda to revive the economy and adopt sweeping health care legislation during his first two years in office.

Ah, some Democrats say what?  Hm, whoooooo?  The ones who voted for saving the economy and expanding healthcare and then ran away from it and got creamed by Tea Party wackos?  Or the ones who voted against it and got creamed by Tea Party wackos anyway? Option A or Option B?

Nobody who vociferously defended doing the right thing lost. Which the article goes on to show.  If you’re going to blame Obama for the decline of the Dems in the House from 2009s 257 to the present 188, you can but not for his over aggressive agenda. For this:

“The main Democrat nationally, and the only one who could be heard, was silent on the huge structural issues that more and more Americans were facing,” said Stanley Greenberg, a veteran Democratic pollster who blames Mr. Obama for Democratic House losses in 2010 and 2014. “His silence on those things left the voters without much motivation to vote.”

And that I agree with.  What you can blame on Obama is his lack of effort to make sure that the people who voted for change in 2008 and 2012 got to the polls in 2010 and 2014. Maybe there was no way to stop the wave, but if there was a way, it was on the shoulders of the popularly elected President to make the full-throated, loud and clear appeal that all the change was going to stop dead if Democrats didn’t come out to keep the House and Senate. That you can pin on Obama. And I do.

You can’t blame him for not listening to the Republicans that would have let the banks and auto-industry fail and would never vote to provide economic stimulus even while 800,000 people a month were losing their jobs.

In a lunchtime speech here, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. told the Democratic lawmakers he believed that they could win back the House if they drew a sharper contrast with Republicans.

“I think we can win; I think the House we can win,” Mr. Biden said. “I think we have to focus — and we didn’t do it enough the last time in my view. The best way to win is to run on what we have done and what we stand for, and run on what more we are trying to do, making clear what we think we have to do to finish the agenda and then contrast that to what they are for and what they oppose.”

Exactly. Be loud and proud for responsible governing and a progressive agenda. It’s worth a try, no?

 

 

And What Hillary Gets Right

Once again Pierce is there on the hustings in Iowa and reports on Hillary’s mention of the proposed Johnson Controls tax Inversion (read: avoidance) scheme.

Hillary:  “Johnson Controls begged the administration and the government to bail out the auto industry,” she said. “And now, in the last few days, Johnson Controls has decided to pretend to sell itself to a company in Europe just to avoid paying taxes. They call this an IN-version. I’d call it a PER-version. “

Indeed, let’s hear Republicans defend a company that got bailed out with U.S. tax dollars in 2008 twisting itself into a legal pretzel to avoid paying taxes. It’s always time for “corporations are people my friends.”  Because we’re such a conservative country that the average folk appreciate solid corporate governance – while our infrastructure collapses around our feet.  Not fucking likely!

 

 

What the WaPo Gets Wrong About Sanders

What Pierce says.  1. What haven’t they gotten wrong?  2. It’s not about the details of healthcare system upgrades that aren’t going to pass a GOP House, it’s about leading. It’s about aspiration.

… there is no indication from recent history that President Hillary Rodham Clinton will be treated any differently than either President Bernie Sanders or the guy who has the job at the moment….

Why only Sanders is held to this Procrustean standard of aspirational politics is an interesting question…. Because of the way our politics is conducted these days, and because of the unprecedented use of the institutional choke-points in Washington, every presidential campaign is necessarily aspirational. The idea that this is a phenomenon unique to the Sanders campaign is an indication of a very large thumb on the scale.

The WaPo editorial page is the prime piece of opinion real estate that gives succor to the righties and centrists that want to dismiss progressives and claim this a center-right nation.  It was where David Broder acted as the original Village bergomeister, protecting the cocktail parties of official D.C. from dirty fucking hippies for decades.

Sanders wasted no time in piercing that inflated sense of centrist smugness that the WaPo wears like Buffalo Bill wore dead girls skins.

“Getting back to the Washington Post, check out where all the geniuses on the editorial page were with regard to the invasion of Iraq,” Sanders added.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Not Knowing History

“History is written by the victors” – Walter Benjamin

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

It’s maybe the biggest problem we have related to racism – Americans not knowing what they don’t know about our own history. Which can leave them susceptible to believing they know something that is just flat out wrong. In regards to the history of race relations in America, the brutality of the slavery period and Reconstruction, an alternative history has been promulgated for much of the intervening 150 years, and not just in the South.

Ta-Nehisi Coates noted something Hillary Clinton said last night in the CNN town hall that reflects an unfortunate, but all too common misunderstanding of that Civil War and Reconstruction period.

Hillary Clinton Goes Back to the Dunning School

Clinton, whether she knows it or not, is retelling a racist—though popular—version of American history which held sway in this country until relatively recently.  Sometimes going under the handle of “The Dunning School,” and other times going under the “Lost Cause” label, the basic idea is that Reconstruction was a mistake brought about by vengeful Northern radicals. The result was a savage and corrupt government which in turn left former Confederates, as Clinton puts, it “discouraged and defiant.”

The truth in short was that after the war was over there was a broad understanding that the newly freed would need a lot of help to be integrated into society. It was also just as understood that the vanquished powers that be in the South that prosecuted the war were the last people you wanted to allow back into government.  The overwhelming attitude in the South was to return immediately back to the state of affairs pre-war, as if it hadn’t happened at all.  If blacks couldn’t be legally held as slaves, they could be de facto slaves by law.

For a short time the federal government undertook to protect the freed and allow them to have a voice in the newly constituted state governments, keeping Jim Crow at bay for a time. But such interest in the North was quite short lived before the hated Northern radicals (the successors to the even more hated abolitionists) had their voices sidelined by louder voices that were content to have relations between the states get back to normal and, of course, let the newly freed sink or swim.  At which point Jim Crow became the law and all that remained of the ideals of the war was the Southern victimhood and propaganda.

It’s not a small point to say that the idea that “it might have been a little less rancorous, a little more forgiving” if Lincoln had survived or that Reconstruction was some unfortunate “instead” of something, are extremely misinformed, if common, views of history.  It’s disappointing to hear from a Yale educated presidential candidate. More disappointing even than Bernie Sanders’ dismissal of the idea of reparations.

These are options for a party of amnesiacs, for people whose politics are premised on forgetting. This is not a brief for staying home, because such a thing doesn’t actually exist. In the American system of government, refusing to vote for the less-than-ideal is a vote for something much worse. Even when you don’t choose, you choose. But you can choose with your skepticism fully intact. You can choose in full awareness of the insufficiency of your options, without elevating those who would have us forget into prophets. You can choose and still push, demanding more. It really isn’t too much to say, if you’re going to govern a country, you should know its history.

To fix the gaps in the memory hole, I can’t recommend strongly enough two books:

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist

and

Reconstruction Updated Edition: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner

Update:  I think I was remiss in not mentioning the final, and not proverbial nail in Reconstruction’s coffin, which was the violence, intimidation and brutality of the Klan in its determination to cleanse the post-war South of any African American influence on Southern society. Without Northern troops in the South to act as any counterweight, gangs of white militants, with the support of the general population, ruled the countryside creating a reign of terror that effectively ended whatever vestiges of Reconstruction still existed by 1875.  They murdered blacks who dared to try to vote (no less hold office), and whites who dared support them, including Northern carpetbaggers who had moved down there to seek fortune in the rebuilding.  The reality was that the Confederate Army never really disbanded after the war, they just melted into the population for a bit and then traded their gray uniforms for the sheets and hoods.

Damaged Goods Christie Keeps Damaging

Christie held the moral high ground, returning to NJ and making TV appearances all day long pooh poohing any idea that this blizzard was anything like Sandy, even as coastal towns had seawater running down the streets instead of plows (which is pissing off town mayors). He was able to deftly deflate the callow and stupid Marco Rubio when he made a really stupid joke:

Marco Rubio made a tasteless joke on Saturday, and Chris Christie is calling him out for it. At a town hall meeting, Rubio said Winter Storm Jonas was “one of the best things to happen to the republic in quite a while,” as it prevented the federal government from issuing new regulations. It was a remarkably insensitive comment, given the 25 people who’ve died in the storm, and Christie rightly criticized Rubio for the joke.

“[It] shows a real immaturity from Senator Rubio to be joking as families were freezing in the cold, losing power, and some of them losing their loved ones,” Christie said in an interview on CNN.

And then yesterday, back on the trail of tears in New Hampshire, Christie gave that moral high ground back and threw in a bridge as well…

“Do you want me to go down there with a mop?” Christie asked an attendee at a town hall in Hooksett, New Hampshire, according to ABC News. The questioner said she went to school in New Jersey and had friends who told her about the flooding.

They can’t help themselves.