Monday, January 2, 2017

Last Call For Remembering Who The Enemy Is

Leaders of the group told POLITICO they have already begun discussing strategies to deal with Trump and any policies they believe would disenfranchise African-Americans — from public school funding to low-income housing to voting restrictions. Though the president-elect’s supporters call the alarm unwarranted, black lawmakers say Trump’s campaign and his Cabinet picks more than justify their concern.

“The stakes are incredibly high and our community is counting on us as the last line of defense between Donald Trump and the worst of what America could offer,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said.

“This is not the normal incoming president,” added Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). “We had no plan for George Bush. I think Charlie Rangel and John Conyers would tell you they didn’t even have a plan for Richard Nixon. But this is not the norm.”

Incoming CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) is expected to outline his priorities for the new administration when he officially takes the reins of the caucus on Tuesday. Some members suggested challenging Trump on his home turf — Twitter — while others advocated nonviolent protests reminiscent of the civil rights movement.

Trump has tried at times to appeal to the African-American community. He talked about “a new deal for black America” on the campaign trail and predicted his plans to revive the economy would pay big dividends for minorities.

But Trump also often showed a deep misunderstanding of the socioeconomic makeup of black America and at times touted wildly inaccurate claims about African-American poverty and employment levels. His appeal to black voters for their support — “What the hell do you have to lose?” he said at one August rally in Michigan — was offensive to many.

Trump proposed blanket policies targeting ethnic and minority groups, like banning Muslims and building a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants. And he was at the forefront of the “birther movement," which CBC members viewed as a racially motivated attempt to delegitimize the nation's first African-American president.

"The campaign that we saw over the last 12 months is very frightening. And there’s been no effort on his part to even temper his comments since being elected,” said outgoing CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). "It’s going to be very contentious, I suspect, if Mr. Trump even follows through on half of his promises during the campaign."

As I've linked at the start of this post, the CBC has been among President Obama's loudest critics on the left, and have often served to only help the GOP in convincing voters that Obama simply wasn't good enough as the nation's first black president.  My personal opinion of most of these caucus members isn't very high at all. 

Yes, they are products of extremely gerrymandered GOP-drawn districts, but they've been safe districts, and they've done nothing but worry about staying in power rather than helping President Obama when times were tough.  It's precisely because their districts are mostly safe that they felt they could take potshots at the President.

Now however we're in the era of Trump and Cedric Richmond and the CBC have precisely one chance to convince me that they're ready to lead the fight against Trump.  We'll see how they do.

About Six Months Too Late

NPR's Michele Norris lit into Trump's campaign on Sunday, talking to David Frum on CBS's Face The Nation about Trump's screaming racial code speak.

During a Face the Nation panel discussion on resisting Trump’s agenda, conservative columnist David Frum offered a sobering assessment about how the new president would impact the country.

“I am hopeful that Americans will rise to this challenge,” Frum said. “I think the message that they do not need to hear is, ‘Don’t worry, your grandparents rose to the challenge and therefore you can stay on the couch.'”

“I don’t think we do people a service by saying, ‘You know, there have been bad things in the American past before,'” the former speechwriter for George W. Bush continued. “This is our bad thing and it’s about a bad a thing as has happened in any of our lifetimes.”

Norris argued that Trump’s “Make American Great Again” slogan misses the mark for addressing current reality in the United States.

In the phrase ‘Make America Great Again’ there’s one word that if you are a person of color, that you sort of stumble over, and it’s the word ‘again’.” Norris observed. “Because you’re talking about going back to a time that was not very comfortable for people of color. They did not have opportunities, they were relegated to the back of the line.”

And this was a country that — to be honest — was built on the promise of white prosperity above everything else,” she added. “And for a lot of people, when they hear that message, ‘Make America Great Again,’ deeply encoded in that message is a return to a time where white Americans can assume a certain amount of prosperity.”

According to Norris, Trump’s win was made possible by white people who feel like they are “not at the front of the line.”

“And Donald Trump was able to tap into a message where people felt a lot of discomfort,” she noted. “That is somewhat retrograde. I mean, fear is not our brand in America. And that is so much sort of the bright vein that ran though the campaign.”

Norris is absolutely right, but where was this revelation in October or July or last January?  The people who pointed this out were shouted down, being accused of everything from being "the real racists" to promoting "white genocide".  They were ignored then.

Now?  Now we have an incoming administration run by white nationalists and a press that seems stunned by this fact.

What did you think voting for Trump meant, folks?  What did you think "Make America Great Again" meant?  By excusing it away as class-based rather than race-based, and pretending that Clinton's platform simply didn't exist at all and that she didn't care about "working-class Americans" when Trump somehow did, people like Frum aided and abetted Trump.

And sixty million plus of your friends and neighbors helped him because they pretended it was about anything other than race too.

Grime And Punishment

If you have any doubts about what Trump intends in three weeks, incoming Mouth of Sauron Sean Spicer put those doubts to rest Sunday.

President-elect Donald Trump's incoming White House press secretary questioned whether President Obama’s actions against Russia for an alleged cyberattack on Democratic political organizations may be out of "proportion."

"I think one of the questions that we have is, 'Why the magnitude of this?' I mean you look at 35 people being expelled, two sites being closed down, the question is, is that response in proportion to the actions taken?" incoming White House press secretary and communications director Sean Spicer said in an exclusive interview on "This Week.”

We're being too hard on Putin apparently, so that will stop very shortly.

Spicer said that President-elect Trump is "going to sit down with the intelligence committee heads next week and get a full briefing on the situation."

He said Trump will determine "whether or not the Obama administration's response was in proportion to the actions taken. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. We need to have that briefing first."

The incoming White House press secretary added that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision not to retaliate against the U.S. for the Obama administration's actions shows that "foreign leaders are seeing what we're seeing here in this country -- which is that business as usual is over. President Trump is not only going to put the American worker first, but he's going to restore America's place in the globe."

Restoring America's place in the globe apparently starts with restoring Putin's place in America.  But it also means dealing with Trump's enemies, chief among them the American press itself.

Spicer also addressed Trump's use of Twitter, saying that he will "absolutely" continue to use the social media platform to make policy statements and engage with his followers after he takes office.

"I think it freaks the mainstream media out that he has this following of over 45-plus million people that follow him on social media, that he can have a direct conversation. He doesn't have to have it funnel through the media," Spicer said. "The fact of the matter is when he tweets, he gets results."

Spicer said the Trump administration will also continue the tradition of holding regular White House press briefings and presidential press conferences.

"Some of them will be on camera, some of them will be off," he said. "Absolutely, we'll sit down and make sure that on a daily basis the press is informed."

Spicer is promising the carrot and the stick approach to the media, and they'll play ball in order to keep access, especially off-camera.  When can you recall an administration publicly promising so much off-camera access to a president the way Trump's people have (or publicly promising any off-camera access at all for that matter)?

Ahh, but there's the little issue of dealing with the defeated in order to unite the country, right?

President-elect Donald Trump’s press secretary pick questioned Sunday whether Hillary Clinton will be “punished” for what he said were her attempts to influence the election.

When asked about the U.S. intelligence assessment that Russian hackers tried to influence the presidential election in favor of Trump during a Sunday segment on ABC’s “This Week," Sean Spicer turned the question around.

When are we going to start talking about the other side of this? Which is: What did Hillary Clinton do to influence the election? Is she being punished in any way?” Spicer asked, referencing the fact the Democratic nominee received debate questions ahead of time during the primary.

Forget sanctions on Putin. When do the sanctions on Clinton and the Democrats start? When do sanctions on people who voted for Clinton and the Democrats start?

Stay tuned!

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