Trump’s Sadist-in-Chief: Mick Mulvaney by Ralph Nader + Congress Finds Another Way To Punish Children

Capitalism Kills

Image by Infinite Ache via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
June 28, 2018

Mr. Mulvaney’s title seems uninterestingly bureaucratic—director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). But as Trump’s chief hatchet man extraordinaire, Mugger Mick Mulvaney is easily one of the cruelest, most vicious presidential henchman in modern American history. From his powerful perch next door to the White House, he is carving a bloody trail against tens of millions of Americans who are poor, disabled, frail, and elderly. He has gone after defenseless children and injured or sick patients with little or no access to health care.

It is difficult to exaggerate the relentless, savage delight that this former Congressman from South Carolina—handpicked for Trump by the brutish, oil funded Heritage Foundation—takes in attacking the most vulnerable members of our society.

A human wrecking ball, Mugger Mick has pushed to eliminate the Meals-on-Wheels assistance for isolated elderly, to increase rents for poor tenants, to severely gut SNAP (food stamps) and nutritious food standards, and to diminish Medicaid. In addition the Trump administration wants to impose work requirements in Medicaid as a condition of eligibility. Many adult Medicaid recipients are already working. Where will the new jobs come from? Those who want to work but can’t find jobs are not Mr. Mulvaney’s concern.

His hellish agenda, undertaken on behalf of his plutocratic rulers, is comprehensive. He wants to smash consumer, environmental, and workplace health and safety standards. To Mugger Mick, killing and disabling Americans doesn’t even qualify as collateral damage. To Mulvaney’s fevered, psychopathic mind, eliminating Americans’ health and safety protections is worth it if it means “efficiency” and less spending of tax dollars (more on that lie later).

He even would plunge a dagger into Social Security and Medicare. President Trump has the political sense to restrain Mugger Mick from this attack on the elderly. However, biding his time, Mulvaney has led the campaign for the enacted corporate and wealthy tax cuts that are already swelling the forthcoming massive deficits. Mulvaney wants to use the deficit to persuade Trump eventually to butcher these two pillars of our society’s foresight and compassion for seniors.

The New York Times reports that Mulvaney is at the core of the Trump regime’s “rollback in the enforcement of fair housing, educational equity, payday lending and civil rights cases pursued aggressively under the Obama administration intended to protect vulnerable populations from discrimination and abusive business practices.”

Nowhere has Mugger Mick been more blatant about his ugly mission than in his efforts to freeze and dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was created after the Wall Street collapse of the economy, which displaced millions of workers and drained trillions of dollars from pension and mutual funds. Remember Wall Street then had to be bailed out by America’s taxpayers.

Mulvaney has jettisoned ongoing enforcement actions, driven or reassigned personnel, zeroed out the CFPB’s first quarter budget, and prioritized the protection of Wall Street in the CFPB mission statement. How grotesque a response to the corporate crime wave in this country that has been stealing trillions of dollars from defenseless consumers, workers, and investors!

There is, of course, more to this colossal bully. Mulvaney is also a colossal coward and a greasy hypocrite at that. He shuts his foul mouth when it comes to the bloated defense budget and the corporate contractors profiting from endless Pentagon golden handshakes. He shuts his mouth when confronted with thousands of corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways, and bailouts. In these crony capitalistic binge arenas, he demands no corporate self-reliance or worries about taxpayer losses. Why would he argue with his future paymasters and the corporate donors who funded his prior Congressional campaigns?

Mugger Mick is a walking candidate for impeachment, a poster boy for high crimes and misdemeanors, as well as a lawsuit by members of Congress for the deliberate dereliction of duties that aids and abets corporate criminality. Every day he has been systematically defying and violating existing Congressional mandates, called federal statutes.

So where are the Democrats? Aside a few members such as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown pummeling Mugger Mick at Congressional hearings that go nowhere, action by the Democratic Party on Capitol Hill is largely AWOL. Mulvaney just laughs at the Democrats’ verbal darts.

Forget about their own pride, these lawmakers have little fortitude in preserving the best work of their forbears in Congress and in the White House. They’re too busy having fun ridiculing Trump’s foibles, fibs, and fantasies. Such distractions may well cause them not to urgently focus on what is happening to the American peoples’ freedom, urgent necessities and livelihoods emanating from the Trumpsters and their media ditto heads.

November is coming fast.


Congress Finds Another Way To Punish Children

by Samantha Wyman
Socialist Worker, June 27, 2018
June 28, 2018

IN YET another display of federal government cruelty toward poor families, the House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would impose devastating rules on those receiving food stamps.

Under the House farm bill (H.R. 2), the one in eight people who currently receive food stamps — officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — would face harsh work requirements, increased monitoring and loss of benefits over the long term.

The Senate is expected to vote this week on its own farm bill, which doesn’t include the harsh restrictions on food stamps. If it passes, that would set up a battle between the two chambers over the annual farm bill — with the Trump administration siding with the House reactionaries.

Trump snidely celebrated the House’s cruel food stamp provisions as good for farmers, tweeting, “Farm Bill just passed in the House. So happy to see work requirements included. Big win for the farmers!”

The levels of hunger and poverty in the richest country in the world are despicable. Fully 41 million people — including 13 million children — live in households categorized as “food insecure.” One-quarter of these households have incomes of 185 percent or more of the absurdly low poverty line, so they are ineligible for federal hunger-relief programs.

The impact on children is particularly destructive. Just over half of school-aged children receive free or reduced-price school lunches, but only a small number have access to lunch during the summer. No national program exists to close the gap for kids experiencing hunger when school is out.

The food stamp provisions of the House farm bill would make these already harsh conditions even worse.

As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) explained, the House legislation would require any adults who are not disabled or raising a child under 6 to work a job or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours a week to receive benefits.

Recipients would be required to document their work each month, raising the burden of necessary paperwork to maintain benefits, according to the CBPP. Caregivers would face steep requirements to prove that the person needing care is “incapacitated.”

Sanctions for violations are extremely harsh, leading to a loss of benefits for up to three years at a time. Plus, the legislation requires single parents to enroll in a federal child support enforcement program.

CBPP researchers conclude anticipated cuts to SNAP benefits could reach as high as $20 billion over 10 years. All told, the House legislation would eliminate benefits for more than 1 million households, including more than 2 million people.

AS WITH the Trump administration’s inhumane “zero tolerance” policy directed at migrant families at the border, these proposals reveal the utter contempt that those in power have for the millions of poor people in America today.

Just as detentions and deportations underscore the criminalization of people who are only seeking a better life for themselves and their families, the House’s food stamp proposals would punish people who are desperately trying to navigate onerous rules to survive.

That was the conclusion reached by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, which in May issued a sharp indictment of U.S. policies that condemn millions to hunger:

The United States is alone among developed countries in insisting that, while human rights are of fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable health care or growing up in a context of total deprivation.

The UN report lays out the underlying realities that guarantees the work requirements for food stamp recipients would be devastating if they become law.

[T]he job market for such people is extraordinarily limited, and even more so for those without basic forms of social protection and support. The case of Walmart, the largest employer in the United States, is instructive. Many of its workers cannot survive on a full-time wage in the absence of food stamps.

This fits in a broader trend: the share of households that, while having earnings, also receive nutrition assistance rose from 19.6 percent in 1989 to 31.8 percent in 2015. Up to $6 billion annually goes from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other public assistance programs to support workers in firms like Walmart, providing a huge indirect subsidy to the relevant corporations.

Walmart lobbied heavily for tax reform, from which it will save billions, and then announced it would spend an additional $700 million in increasing employee wages and benefits for its workers. But the resulting rise in the debt of the United States, due in part to the tax reform, has then been used to justify a proposed 30 percent cut in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding over a decade.

The Trump administration’s response to the UN report is equally revealing: U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the report as “misleading and politically motivated,” saying that it was “patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America.”

Just two days before the report was delivered to the UN Human Rights Council, Haley announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from that body.

Haley’s protests to the contrary, the U.S. government’s treatment of its poor — and especially its poor children — is appalling. Among the world’s wealthiest countries, the U.S. is, by any number of measures, one of the worst offenders in terms of consigning families to poverty and misery.

And now the Republican reactionaries of the U.S. House of Representatives — with Donald Trump cheering them on — want to make the misery even worse.

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US withdraws from UN Rights Council, citing alleged ‘bias’ against Israel

with Caleb Maupin

Caleb Maupin on June 20, 2018

The US has announced it’s leaving the UN Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials castigated the international body, accusing it of hypocrisy and political bias. READ MORE:

from the archives:

Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader: Liberals Are Not Progressives–They Are Into Empire and Corporate Welfare

Inequality, Social Dysfunction and Misery by Graham Peebles

Socialism: Our Alternative To The Madness Of The Market by Eric Ruder

Chris Hedges and John Kiriakou: The CIA Torture Program Was One of the Best Recruiting Tools for Al Qaeda

The Injustice and Crime of Extreme Inequality by Graham Peebles

Make No Mistake: The Rule Of The Rich Has Been A Deadly Epoch For Humanity

Chris Hedges and David North: The Working Class Has the Most Fundamental Interest in Ending the Capitalist System

Michael Hudson: Trumponomics + Dad’s Many Proverbs by Michael Hudson

US “Feeds” Israeli War Machine Instead of Feeding Its People by Finian Cunningham

Food Stamps Cut As Hunger Rises by Kathy Durkin

Three Myths About Food Stamps