Do Black People Need Black Billionaires?

Remember the black preachers, politicians, and business people like Bob Johnson who tried to convince us Trump would be good for black people?

““Work is more precarious today than it was in the past, and in particular, black individuals are more likely to be in precarious employment scenarios with jobs that face greater wage and work-hour volatility,” Hamilton said. “Bob Johnson’s in the billionaire’s club with Donald Trump, so it’s not surprising that they align in their vision on labor.”

Johnson, who’s been friendly with Trump through the years, said he had met with Trump at his golf club in New Jersey shortly after his win when the president-elect offered Johnson a cabinet position.”

“America’s First Black Billionaire Says Trump Economy Has Been Good For African Americans” | The Washington Post | Tracy Jan | 04/07/2018

As culture warriors pro-Trump African Americans are finding it harder to make that case. Indeed, they’ve squandered what little cred we begrudgingly gave them. More spin, less fact is now the order of the day.

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What Arms Race?

Congratulating Putin was not the most important thing said on a call President Trump made to Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call.”

Trump’s National Security Advisers Warned Him Not To Congratulate Putin. He Did It Anyway” | The Washington Post | Carol D. Leonnig, David Nakamura, Josh Dawsey | 03/20/2018

Rather, it was mentioning that he and Putin would meet soon to “discuss the arms race”:

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May The Web Be Unbroken

Barack Obama was wrong or feckless on a number of important issues, but on that “You didn’t built that” remark from his re-election campaign he was sorta right:

The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

President Obama Campaign Rally in Roanoke” | Barack Obama | C-SPAN | 12/16/2015

Obama got a lot of flack for saying this—much of it from those captured by a shallow narrative of tech innovation driven by bold visionaries rather than sluggish bureaucracies. (How Silicon Valley pushed this narrative, known as The Californian Ideology, is an interesting story on it’s own. Wikipedia has an excellent summary of it. In The Century Of The Self, documentariam Adam Curtis draws connections between the Californian Ideology and Ayn Rand’s philosophy.)

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Culture War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning

Culture War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning

In the beginning war looks and feels like love. But unlike love it gives nothing in return but an ever-deepening dependence, like all narcotics, on the road to self-destruction. It does not affirm but places upon us greater and greater demands. It destroys the outside world until it is hard to live outside war’s grip. It takes a higher and higher dose to achieve any thrill. Finally, one ingests war only to remain numb.”

Chris Hedges, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

1. Love

Culture war is the crack cocaine of American politics.

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The DexFiles: Notes And Quotes On Trump’s White House Dysfunction

+ “Dear White House Aides: Save Yourselves. Save Us.” | Yahoo News | 5/18/2017

Leave the room as quietly as you can. Find a box. Go back to your office, pack up your things, leave the badge on the desk and go.”

Get out while you can is Matt Bai’s advice to White House staffers and aides who think working for President Trump is still worth it.

His response is quite devastating:

But maybe you’ve seen that terrific movie “Get Out,” about the dude who finds himself stuck in a house full of deranged predators he thought were his friends?

Yeah, I know this is hard to get your head around, but you’re the black guy.

Because every day you spend at the White House now, trying to keep this thing on the tracks, is a disservice to yourself, and ultimately to the rest of us.”

No way could a Trump White House have been a team of political, military, business, and academic all-stars brought together by a stable, visionary leader to address some of America’s most pressing problems.

Continue reading “The DexFiles: Notes And Quotes On Trump’s White House Dysfunction”

Trump’s Nixon Moment

A few hours after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey I Googled “Nixon” and found 80+ articles on the similarities between this action and the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre.”

Typical among so many breathlessly written articles was this:

On the evening of Saturday October 20, 1973, Federal Judge John Sirica sat in front of his television set watching FBI agents seal off the office of the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had just been fired at the command of the Nixon White House. The scene reminded him of a banana republic coup. “What the hell is this crowd doing?” he asked.

It’s far too early to say whether President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey will have the same dire consequences for his political future as Richard Nixon’s dismissal of Cox did for his. But not since that “Saturday Night Massacre” more than 40 years ago has a sitting president dared to fire an official in the middle of investigating potential misconduct by his own campaign. The risks of doing so are enormous.

Todd S. Purdum. “Trump Pulls From Nixon’s Playbook”. Politico. 9 May 2017

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“Black Privilege” And The Twilight Of The Negro Whisperer

At first I thought “black privilege” was some kind of joke, a Chapelle-esque riff on the absurdities of how we talk about race in America. Indeed, reading about it in articles by people who take the idea seriously is like stepping into a parallel universe where black is literally white and white is black.

But as soon as I dismissed the idea my Google Trends graph for “black privilege” blew up:

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“Ryan’s Choice” The Truth about Paul Ryan’s Phantom Majority

Trump_shaking_hands_with_Paul_Ryan_EDIT

In February, former House Speaker John Boehner spoke about Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

“They’ll fix Obamacare … I shouldn’t have called it repeal and replace because that’s not what’s going to happen. They’re basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it.”

Terence Burlij. “Boehner: Obamacare Repeal And Replace ‘Not What’s Going To Happen'”. CNN. 2017.

Fast-forward exactly one month. Boehner sounds more elder statesman than hardball politician. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that Trump championed as “tremendous” was dead last Friday before a single vote was cast:

“The most conservative members of the House didn’t think that the American Health Care Act would go far enough to eradicate Obamacare, and moderates were concerned about an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that 24 million Americans would be left without insurance.

Republican leaders bent to the will of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 30 hard-line members, agreeing to remove several federal mandates for minimum benefits, including mental health services and some maternity care. But this move still didn’t go far enough to appease members of the caucus. And the concessions alienated several moderates.”

Katie Rogers. “How The Health Care Vote Fell Apart, Step By Step”. New York Times. 2017.

After House Republicans spent years working on repealing the ACA without a clue of what a replacement would look like, Trump, Ryan, and the rest of their party are shifting what’s left of their congressional capital to massive tax cuts.

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