From Our Future
Every day, the media feasts on Trump's lurid antics. Don't fall for it. He's a distraction, the clown show. And while he's barking outside the big top, the GOP is inside, cutting away at our economy and the very essentials of our public life.
The tax bill Republicans are trying to ramrod through the Congress provides a clear reminder that the real threat we face is a rabidly ideological GOP, now in full control of all branches of government, in Washington and in 26 states.
Now, virtually unified Republican caucuses in both Houses are on the verge of passing truly grotesque tax legislation that will give more than 60 percent of its benefits to the richest 1 percent in the nation, while raising taxes on nearly all working families.
Trump tweets out anti-Muslim videos from a far-right British hate group, earning condemnation from our closest ally. He turns a ceremony to honor Navaho code talkers into a disgrace, with his racist slur of Sen. Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas."
He reprises his infantile insults of North Korea's nuclear-armed leader, lies about not benefiting from the tax plan that will undeniably line his pockets, revives his bizarre birther claims about Obama, and risibly denies the authenticity of his now-infamous Access Hollywood bus tapes. And that's all before General Flynn's plea deal made Russian meddling round-the-clock news once again.
But this isn't just about Trump. He's the mountebank, a false populist betraying his base. He is an infantile narcissist, playing to the crowds -- or at least to talk media.
Only three Republican Senators stood in the way of the GOP's bid in July to deprive millions of Americans of health insurance, as a prelude to their tax cuts. Trump had no clue about that policy, and played little role in selling it.
GOP lawmakers are now ready to hand global corporations a $500 billion tax bonus for booking profits held in foreign tax havens. They claim to defend the middle class, yet are happy to protect the obscene "carried interest" tax deduction, which gives billionaire hedge fund managers a lower tax rate than their secretaries.
They've declared war on higher education, eliminating deductions for student loan interest, and adding taxes on to graduate students for tuition waivers. They'll double-tax American families on what they already pay to state and city governments, while they allow corporations to deduct theirs.
In the Senate, only one Republican -- Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee -- stood up to vote no on the tax giveaway, and he doesn't need to face voters again.
Then they have the gall to call this crap "reform."Trump's Contributions
Trump's major contribution to the tax bill has been to lie about its content while protecting measures -- elimination of the estate tax, elimination of the alternative minimum tax, lower taxes on "pass-through" income -- that will fill his own pockets.
Meanwhile, Trump's judicial appointments aim to pack the courts with young, pro-corporate ideologues, but he's not the one who finds them. They come from lists prepared for his administration by the right-wing Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation.
These vacancies result in part from Republican obstruction of Obama's appointments. Trump's nominees are being railroaded through the Senate by a unified Republican majority, which lines up behind a leadership willing to trample the Senate's normal procedures. Trump claims these victories as his own, but doesn't drive them.