Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Trump Appoints ‘Foreclosure King’ As Treasury Secretary

December 2, 2016

Trump Appoints 'Foreclosure King' As Treasury Secretary

President-elect and self-proclaimed swamp-drainer Donald J. Trump has named Goldman Sachs alum and former hedge fund partner Steve Mnuchin as his Treasury Secretary. Mr. Mnuchin, who was finance chair of the Trump campaign and the producer of Suicide Squad, became infamous as the “Foreclosure King” when his OneWest Bank foreclosed on over 36,000 family homes during the financial crisis. OneWest specialized in “harsh, repugnant and repulsive” foreclosures on the homes of minority families and the elderly, and in one celebrated case foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman over a 27 cent error.

The Department of the Treasury controls mortgage guarantee agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and runs the MHA mortgage relief program and the Hardest Hit Fund, which helps homeowners most in danger of foreclosure due to the financial crisis. Oh, it also regulates banks.

More:

“Trump Treasury pick made millions after his bank foreclosed on homeowners,” Lorraine Woellert, Politico

“Steve Mnuchin: Evictor, Forecloser, and Our New Treasury Secretary,” Peter Dreier, American Prospect

“Trump Was Always Going to Be a Gift to Wall Street. His Pick for Treasury Secretary Proves It.,” Jordan Weissmann, Slate

“Donald Trump voter who lost her home to new Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin has ‘no faith in our government anymore,’” Josh Boak and Jeff Horowitz, AP via Salon

“Angus King: Trump’s not draining swamp, he’s adding alligators,” Mark Hensch, The Hill

Bonus:

“Before heading to the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin will grace the silver screen in ‘Rules Don’t Apply,'” Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

“The fiancée of Trump’s twice-married new Treasury Secretary, 53, is 35-year-old actress who sparked fury after she ‘invented parts of her memoir about nearly being killed in Africa,'” Jennifer Newton, Daily Mail

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Ben Carson at HUD: Pyramid Scheme?

November 30, 2016

Ben Carson at HUD: Pyramid Scheme?
Last we heard of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, he was proposed for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, presumably because he lives in a house and once lived in a city. We assume President-elect Trump will appoint a city planner as Surgeon General.

Dr. Carson’s fascination with Egyptian pyramids may influence U.S. cityscapes during the Trump administration. On the other hand, his spokesman told the press that Ben Carson thinks he’s unqualified to run a federal department. Any department. Oh, and the good doctor recently diagnosed the HUD-administered Fair Housing laws as “communist.”

More:

“Ben Carson Is Trump’s Pick for HUD Secretary, for Some Terrible Reason,” Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

“Ben Carson for HUD Secretary, Why?” Kriston Capps, CityLab

“Stop Treating HUD Like A Second-Tier Department,” Andrew Flowers, FiveThirtyEight

Update:

“Turns Out Ben Carson Didn’t Grow Up in Public Housing,” Adam K. Raymond, New York Magazine

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The Post-Truth Presidency

November 28, 2016

The Post-Truth Presidency

Editors of the Oxford English Dictionary has chosen the “2016 Word of the Year”: Post-truth.”

post-truth (adjective) — Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief:

‘in this era of post-truth politics, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’
‘some commentators have observed that we are living in a post-truth age’

That dictionary’s definition of “Truth”: “That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.” So what could negate that? George Orwell reflected on that in 1942:

“A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be that body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys.” — George Orwell, “Looking Back on the Spanish War.”

So we know what causes the phenomenon, this “War on Reality,” and now there’s a name for it.

h/t: Gideon Lichfield

More:

“Trump Team Explains They Were Campaigning Against Facts, Not Just Clinton,” Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

“The post-truth world of the Trump administration is scarier than you think,” Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post

Related:

“How Do You Avoid Sounding Elitist in a Post-Truth Era?” Nancy LeTourneau, Washington Monthly

“Merriam-Webster’s plea: There’s still time to prevent ‘fascism’ from becoming word of the year,” Ben Guarino, Washington Post

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Put a Pin In It

November 17, 2016

Put a Pin In It

You may have noticed people wearing safety pins on their shirts, blouses and lapels. People who object to the Trump election are using the fastener as a symbol of tolerance and solidarity with minorities. The symbol was borrowed from the UK where it was worn to show disapproval after the xenophobic Brexit vote. Like many British expressions, it doesn’t quite translate here:

“Dear White People, Your Safety Pins Are Embarrassing,” Christopher Keelty, Huffington Post

“Safety pins: Solidarity symbol or emblem of ‘white guilt’?” By Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

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If Goebbels and Rasputin Had a Baby ….

November 15, 2016

If Goebbels and Rasputin Had a Baby ....

President-elect Donald J. Trump has named noted misogynist and anti-semitic racist propagandist Stephen K. Bannon as his Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. Mr. Bannon’s role will be stalking the corridors of power and whispering in the president’s ear. If Goebbels and Rasputin had a baby, it would grow up to be Steve Bannon.

Not everyone is pleased with this key appointment:

Fear rises that Bannon could bring the ‘alt-right’ into White House,” Katie Glueck, Politico

“White nationalists’ ‘man in the White House’? Bannon appointment provokes angry rebukes,” Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times

“Critics See Stephen Bannon, Trump’s Pick for Strategist, as Voice of Racism,” Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times

“After Bannon Appointment, Southern Poverty Law Center Steps Up Fight Against Hate,” Marisa Fox-Bevilacqua, Haaretz

“Trump appointment of Bannon raises ‘white nationalist’ fears,” Demetri Sevastopulo and Sam Fleming, Financial Times

“Glenn Beck: Bannon has ‘clear tie’ to white nationalism,” Mark Hensch, The Hill

“Warren: Steve Bannon’s Appointment Shows Trump ‘Embraces Bigotry,'” Kristin Salaky, TPM Livewire

“Anti-Hate Groups Erupt Over Trump’s Latest Hire,” Rob Garver, The Fiscal Times

“Democrats Condemn ‘White Nationalist’ Bannon’s Appointment,” Christina Flom, Roll Call

Others, on the other hand …

“KKK, American Nazi Party praise Trump’s hiring of Bannon,” Tim Devaney, The Hill

“White Nationalists Rejoice at Trump’s Appointment of Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon,” Stephen Piggott, Southern Poverty Law Center

“White nationalists see advocate in Steve Bannon who will hold Trump to his campaign promises,” Andrew Kaczynski and Chris Massie, CNN

“White Nationalists Are Thrilled With Donald Trump’s Pick Of Steve Bannon As Chief Strategist,” Matt Ferner, Huffington Post

“Giddy white nationalists hail Trump choosing Steve Bannon as his ‘minister of propaganda,'” Brad Reed, Raw Story

Related:

“Watchdog Group Alleges Illegal Super PAC Payments To Steve Bannon,” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

“What Is The ‘Alt-Right’? A Guide To The White Nationalist Movement Now Leading Conservative Media,” Oliver Willis, Media Matters

“Donald Trump Building Team of Racists,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

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Trump Has An Enemies List. Are You On It?

November 14, 2016

Trump Has An Enemies List. Are You On It?
While President-elect Donald Trump has sounded gracious, magnanimous and conciliatory after his election victory, his advisors have not. At the Trump election night party, African-American Outreach Director Omarosa Manigault, Mr. Trump’s fellow reality TV star (Fear Factor, Girls Behaving Badly, The Apprentice, The Surreal Life, Celebrity Apprentice) told the Independent Journal Review:

“It’s so great our enemies are making themselves clear so that when we get in to the White House, we know where we stand …. But let me just tell you, Mr. Trump has a long memory and we’re keeping a list.”

In a campaign not noted for consistency, Ms. Manigault told PBS Frontline the same thing back in September:

(more…)

Chris Christie: Unindicted Co-Conspirator?

November 10, 2016

Chris Christie: Unindicted Co-Conspirator?

With the conviction of two former aides in the “Bridgegate” trial last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been cast in an “unflattering light,” to quote the Wall Street Journal. The governor denies prior knowledge of the politically motivated plan that tied up traffic on the George Washington Bridge for four days, but the conviction of his former aides validates the existence of a conspiracy, and another aide took a plea deal. Gov. Christie cancelled weekend campaign appearances with GOP candidate Donald Trump after the verdict.

Governor Christie now heads President-elect Trump’s transition team. Maybe he’ll be named Secretary of Transportation since he knows so much about bridgesbuses, highways, rail transit, and tunnels.

More:

“After the Bridgegate Verdict, Chris Christie Comes Off As the Guiltiest of All,” Andrew Rice, New York Magazine

“Reminder: Trump Believes Own Transition Chairman Was Involved in Bridgegate, Which Is Now Officially a Felony Conspiracy,” Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate

Update:

“Pence Replaces Christie as Head of Trump Transition Team,” Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg Politics

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On the bright side….

November 9, 2016

Things in America may seem a bit scary right now, but it’s not all bad:

In California, Kamala Harris has been elected to the U.S. Senate

Catherine Cortez Masto was elected to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Harry Reid

Tammy Duckworth was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating incumbent Mark Kirk, in Illinois

Ilhan Omar won a seat in the Minnesota statehouse

Florida’s Stephanie Murphy unseated 12-term Congressman John Mica

Former Orlando police chief Val Demings was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives

Paul Penzone defeated Arizona’s racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio

San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany, California, and Boulder, Colorado voted to tax sugary drinks

California, Nevada and Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational marijuana use

Updates:

Maggie Hassan defeated incumbent New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte

California voters passed Proposition 63, requiring background checks for ammunition-buyers and instructing police to collect guns from newly convicted felons

Nevada’s Question 1 initiative passed, expanding in-person background checks on private gun sales and transfers, including online and gun show transactions

Washington State voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 1491, permitting courts to temporarily suspend access to firearms for people at risk of harming themselves or others through “ex parte extreme risk protection orders,”and allowing family members, roommates, significant others and law enforcement to petition for “extreme risk protection orders” temporarily revoking access to firearms for persons accused of domestic abuse

Voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington state approved measures raising the minimum wage

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Trumpismo Grabs America By the … Throat

November 9, 2016

Trumpismo Grabs America By the ... Throat
American voters have elected the honorable demagogue Donald J. Trump as the next president of the of the United States, and the news has been greeted with glee by strongmen, dictators, authoritarian leaders and far-right politicians across then globe:

“Russia’s Putin pleased as Trump win shocks world,” Nicole Gaouette, Elise Labott, CNN

“Philippines’ President Duterte says his country can enhance relations with the US and congratulates Trump, a month after telling Obama to ‘go to Hell,'” Jay Akbar, Daily Mail

“China Just Won The U.S. Election,” James Palmer, Foreign Policy

“Prime Minister Viktor Orban congratulated Donald Trump on his victory,” Jay Akbar, Daily Mail

“French far-right leader Le Pen hails Trump victory,” RFI

“Dutch extremist Geert Wilders expects Trump win to boost Europe’s racist right,” Reuters via Raw Story

“Nigel Farage and other far-right leaders hail Trump’s ‘historic’ US election win,” Toby Meyjes, Metro

“Why authoritarian leaders worldwide may be thrilled with Trump’s win,” Patrick Winn, GlobalPost

“The world’s demagogues offer simple solutions and a strong hand. Trump’s victory has been the latest reminder of this.” David Motadel, History Today

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Editorial Endorsements

November 8, 2016

Editorial endorsements

Not that anybody reads newspapers* anymore, but almost all major U.S. newspapers have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, even the Arizona Republic, which had never endorsed a Democrat in its 120-year history. The Miami Herald editorial is just 5 words long:

“Her. Not him. Enough said.”

Only 2 major papers endorsed Donald Trump: Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Okay, 3 newspapers if you count the National Enquirer.

Conservative moneybags Sheldon Adelson bought the Review Journal back in December, so it’s unsurprising the paper backs Trump.

More:

“The very cozy relationship between Donald Trump and the National Enquirer,” Callum Borchers, Washington Post

*Kids: “Newspapers” are kinda like blogs printed on paper. What do you mean “What are blogs?”

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