Saturday, August 24, 2019

Hurricane Trump Heads For France

This weekend's G-7 summit of the leaders of the world's most powerful economies in France has, as it continues to be in the era of Trump, an endurance test to see if the other six nations can get any work done before the orange moron takes a big crap in the punchbowl.

President Trump arrived at a meeting of the world’s major powers here Saturday amid signs that the economic and political head winds gathering across the globe would be stirred rather than tempered at this year’s Group of Seven summit.

Hours before the meetings officially began, European Council President Donald Tusk warned that Trump’s trade wars could tip the world into a global recession. French President Emmanuel Macron surprised Trump with an impromptu lunch and began discussing “a lot of crises” as Trump sat stone-faced. And some Trump administration officials privately griped about the unscheduled meal and the French government’s decision to focus the G-7 on issues such as climate change and inequality instead of trade.

While Trump struck positive tones upon his arrival in Biarritz — tweeting “Big weekend with other world leaders!” — the tension surrounding the meeting was held barely below the surface as anxious diplomats kept close watch on the president’s Twitter account. Some Trump administration officials hinted that the president was prepared to disrupt the meeting’s carefully planned script with his trademark bombast.

The American president, who now has a track record of crashing into global forums with a torrent of tweets, complaints and bluster, came to Biarritz after spending days airing more grievances than guidance for global powers facing myriad challenges, including intensifying trade wars and a potential global recession.

During a special meeting on Sunday about the state of the global economy, requested by the White House, Trump will have an opportunity to set the tone for the gathering. While Macron has sought to organize the G-7 around issues such as global inequality and development in Africa, Trump plans to use the gathering to press his “America First” agenda on trade and economic growth, officials said.

On Saturday, Trump used his brief public remarks to praise the “perfect” weather and predict that Macron and other world leaders “will accomplish a lot.” But privately, some of his advisers were grumbling over the direction the summit was taking before it even officially began. Other U.S. officials, however, tried to tamp down the idea tensions were rising, saying that talks so far had been going well.

Once again, it's a case of the White House freely telling reporters they can probably manage the marmalade man-baby before he causes yet another international incident that will hurt America both in the respect department and financially.

In the days leading up to the summit, Trump escalated his trade war with China, blasted Denmark for not selling Greenland to the United States, declared the world to be in recession, harassed his central bank chairman, threatened tariffs against several of the G-7 nations, and called for G-7 outcast Russia to be readmitted to the group.

Trump’s continued embrace of “America First” — even in the face of growing signs of global economic turmoil — offers an indication that the various world powers will not be able to rely on the United States for steady leadership amid crisis, said Jon B. Alterman, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“There has been a complete realization on the world stage that the U.S. is not playing its traditional role, and may never again play the role it’s played for 75 years,” he said. “But it’s unclear what role the United States will play, and what the consequences of that might be.

Donald Trump has effectively destroyed the current world order.  America is now a dangerous rogue nuclear nation that freely sides with North Korea and Russia.  Even if Trump resigned tomorrow along with Mike Pence and the entire GOP leadership in Congress, it will be years, if not decades before anyone trusts the United States ever again.

And why should any foreign leader do so?  An America that can elect Trump and remains capable of re-electing him is also capable of anything in the autocratic villainy department.

It may well take the rest of my lifetime before we get back to, say, 2008 diplomatically.

Mitch Gets The Coal-ed Shoulder From Amy McGrath

This ad is up in Kentucky this week from Democratic US Senate candidate Amy McGrath, and yeah, this one's going to leave a mark.

Understand coal mining still happens in Kentucky and it will for the foreseeable future. Even if coal mining stopped across the state tomorrow, the issue of miners needing health benefits from a lifetime of work in dangerous conditions would still be important to people here and across coal states. This meeting happened at the end of last month.

About 12,000 former miners nationwide rely on the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund to cover costs and make ends meet, but a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office showed that the fund is $4.3 billion in debt, and a tax on coal which funded the trust fund was cut in half in January. Many advocates for the fund worry it may soon become insolvent.

There is no cure for black lung disease, which is caused by the inhalation of dust particles in mines leading to severe lung damage. Cases of the deadly disease have surged in recent years in Eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia.

The Kentucky Republican, who the miners and their advocates see as key to passing any sort of Congressional assistance, told the group of miners in a brief statement “that they were going to be taken care of,” said Kenny Fleming, a former Pike County miner who suffers from black lung.

“We just have to take him at his word and then we also have to keep him at his word, which I think that’s what we’re after,” Fleming said. “Hopefully he will come through.”

Fleming said McConnell was “kind of vague” and didn’t provide much detail on how the miners would be assisted.

Jimmy Moore, the head of the Letcher County Black Lung Association, said he found McConnell’s conduct “rude.” After the meeting, he said McConnell wouldn’t do anything to reinstate the tax which funded the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

“He might’ve stayed a minute,” Moore said, referring to McConnell’s quick exit from the meeting. “...It was a worthless trip, that’s the way I feel.”

Robert Steurer, a spokesperson for McConnell, said the senator was “glad to welcome his constituents to the Capitol,” and that members of McConnell’s staff spoke with the miners for about an hour.

Mitch's staff was there for about an hour.  Mitch wasn't. Too busy being the Grim Reaper of the Senate, making sure nothing passes.

For Mitch McConnell to show up for literally all of 60 seconds to "talk" to coal miners with black lung and then vanish is going to hurt him.

And it should.

The Trump Regime's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Yesterday I pointed out how BuzzFeed News caught the Justice Department sending out an article from known white supremacist site VDare.  The Justice Department said the articles came from a third-party internet service that scanned the internet based on keywords and automatically delivered articles from "various sources".  Yesterday, they canceled the service, blaming the third-party.

To their credit, BuzzFeed news followed up on the third-party service and found out that the Trump regime has been regularly sending out articles from some pretty terrible right-wing and white supremacist sites, and they've been doing it for months now.

An arm of the Justice Department regularly sent summaries and links to articles from an online white nationalist publication over the last year, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found. In addition, similar newsletters sent to the Labor Department, ICE, HUD, and the Department of Homeland Security included links and content from hyperpartisan and conspiracy-oriented publishers.

In daily bulletins about media coverage for the department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, which runs the nation’s immigration courts, a government contractor sometimes included links to VDare, an anti-Semitic and racist site whose editor who has claimed that American culture is under threat from nonwhite peoples. That contractor, a Dade City, Florida–based company called TechMIS, also compiles newsletters for other agencies, including the Department of Labor, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Office of Housing and Urban Development.

While these newsletters typically shared articles from local and mainstream national news outlets — including BuzzFeed News — they also regularly delivered content from partisan publications touting anti-immigration rhetoric and conspiracy theories. Among these publications: the Western Journal, a hyperpartisan publisher whose founder once questioned if then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was Muslim, and the Epoch Times, a newspaper associated with the Chinese Falun Gong movement and whose related media properties have backed QAnon, a conspiracy theory claiming a group of high-ranking officials known as the “Deep State” is subverting President Donald Trump’s goals.

On Thursday, BuzzFeed News reported that an immigration judges union sent a letter of complaint to EOIR for its inclusion in an August newsletter of a VDare blog post that attacked its members with anti-Semitic slurs. After publication of that story, an EOIR press secretary said that the Department of Justice “condemns Anti-Semitism in the strongest terms” and that the post should not have been included. A former senior DOJ official said that the email in question was “generated by a third-party vendor that utilizes keyword searches to produce news clippings for staff. It is not reviewed or approved by staff before it is transmitted.”

“That’s absolutely incorrect,” said TechMIS CEO Steven Mains, adding that EOIR was the most specific and particular of the company’s clients. The agency’s staff would review its work “down to misspellings” if there was anything wrong before sending, he said.

A cursory review of EOIR newsletters by BuzzFeed News found two more mentions of VDare articles; Mains confirmed those and noted there were four others, saying that VDare had been included on seven occasions out of about 20,000 links and articles sent from September 2018, when TechMIS’s relationship with the organization began.

“These discoveries are deeply disturbing,” said Becca Lewis, a research affiliate at Data & Society, who studies online radicalization. “Unfortunately, they mark a continuation of a long history in which government agencies, and particularly law enforcement agencies, have promoted and enforced white supremacist and racist agendas. This also unfortunately shows that many white supremacist and far-right publications that seem to be on the ‘fringes’ of society actually have huge mainstream influence and impact.

White supremacists are running the government, and sharing crazy, racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and radical conspiracy nonsense links across the federal bureaucracy.   And if you don't think each of these links is being approved by someone high up in the various Trump regime cabinet departments, well, you've not been paying attention to Trump.

This is absolutely being done on purpose to radicalize the government against those people.

It's not just the federal government either.  White supremacy is now acceptable at the state and local level too.

A city council candidate in Michigan said Friday she has no plans to end her campaign after shocking a public forum when she said she wants to keep her community white “as much as possible.” 
Jean Cramer made the comment Thursday in response to a question about diversity in Marysville, a city in St. Clair County, 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Detroit. The Times Herald in Port Huron said she’s one of five candidates running for three council seats in November. 
More than 90% of Marysville’s 9,700-person population is white. 
During a follow-up interview Friday outside her Marysville home, Cramer doubled down on her statements. She said if there is a biracial marriage in their family, she could understand why her stance might upset her neighbors. 
“Because those people don’t know the other side of it,” she said. “For whatever reason, I’ve heard, they love each other, whatever, but there’s also such a thing as remaining single. People don’t necessarily have to get married, and, if they love somebody, love them single. There’s nothing wrong with that.” 
Cramer, 67, contends the bible backs her beliefs and asserts she doesn’t believe she is a racist, despite the condemnation of her views. 
“As far as I know, as long as we’ve been here, Marysville has been a white community, a white city,” she said. ”. If we have seen a black person here and there, whatever, we’re not bothered by it. I’m not bothered by it."

I still stand by the theory that much of white America turned on Barack Obama after Trayvon Martin.  For people older than myself, that was the last straw.  "We elected a black president and he dares to say there's still racism in America?  We'll make sure that never happens again."

The direct result of that was viewing Hillary Clinton as a traitor to her race, a white person who wanted to enact and expand on Obama's policies and that was just too much.  So now we have exactly what older Gen X and Boomers wanted: Reagan 2.0, the revenge, to burn down everything because they know as bad as things might get, it'll never be "I'm black or brown in America in 2019" bad for them.

Trump freed them to be able to say it out loud, and they'll never go back.  Never.
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