Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against “Mexican rapists” and other “criminal aliens,” pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens’ jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I’m not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.
Now, a week after Trump said that he would be the law and order president, had protesters violently cleared from Pennsylvania Avenue so he could get that photo op at St. John’s Church and vowed to send the military in to quell protests, we are seeing a remarkable shift in Americans attitudes about discriminatory policing and the suppression of dissent.
Most Americans disapproved of the protests following the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and believed those were isolated incidents rather than a reflection of systemic racism. Polls have also long found a consistent pro-police bias in public opinion, especially among White Americans.
That was before Trump embraced the issue.
Awful new polling for Trump:
Only 32% approve of handling of George Floyd aftermath
74% think Floyd killing shows broader problems in police treatment of blacks
57% say police more likely to use deadly force against blacks
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) June 5, 2020
Similarly, a Monmouth University poll found that 76 percent of Americans think racism and discrimination are “a big problem” in this country, up 26 points since 2015, and 57 percent said the protesters were right to be angry. Morning Consult found that support for using the military to “supplement” local cops had fallen by 13 points in a week, becoming a minority position, and 62 percent said they support the protests, up 8 points over that same period.
Meanwhile, Trump’s facing a revolt of the generals–including his own former Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense–and his current SecDef and Attorney General are furiously trying to distance themselves from his actions. And Republicans fear that his Mussolini act is putting their Senate majority in danger.
It takes a lot to screw up racial demagoguery in America, but Trump seems to have pulled it off. There’s a reason he now intends to shift his message to “a summer of recovery,” according to Politico: The law and order thing is backfiring in a big way.
Trump is touting a not-as-horrible-as-expected jobs report and promising that the economy will come roaring back. Meanwhile…
The Trump administration is doing by fiat what it has struggled to accomplish through lengthy rulemaking — dismantling federal regulations designed to protect workers, consumers, investors and the environment.
Invoking an economic “emergency” stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the administration has made it harder for people to challenge inaccuracies on credit reports, eased required breaks for commercial truckers and told factories and power plants that, while they should obey pollution limits, they do not have to monitor or report their emissions routinely — among other things. [WaPo]
Well, this slipped by: @fcc on Friday approved 100 percent foreign ownership of U.S. broadcast properties, overturning long-standing 25 percent limit. Means China, Russia or another foreign entity could theoretically buy U.S. stations (h/t: Jeffrey Yorke): https://t.co/eMYt7veT36
— Paul Farhi (@farhip) June 1, 2020
According to ProPublica, the guy running Treasury’s massive bailout is a 42-year-old deputy secretary named Justin Muzinich.
“A major beneficiary of that bailout so far: Muzinich & Co., the asset manager founded by his father where Justin served as president before joining the administration. He reported owning a stake worth at least $60 million when he entered government in 2017.”
That bailout’s costing us a pretty penny. We’ll have to get it from working people…
“The Internal Revenue Service is letting hundreds of thousands of high-income individuals duck their tax obligations,” according to Bloomberg.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that 879,415 high-income individuals who didn’t file returns cumulatively failed to pay $45.7 billion in taxes from 2014 to 2016 and that the agency hasn’t tried to collect from many of those taxpayers. The IRS didn’t put 326,579 of the cases into its enforcement system, and it closed 42,601 of the cases without ever working on them.
She seems nice.
My latest: New Trump Appointee to Foreign Aid Agency Has Denounced Liberal Democracy and “Our Homo-Empire” https://t.co/KEaD6cghsP
— Yeganeh Torbati (@yjtorbati) June 5, 2020
Finally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is offering ominous warnings that the regime will punish the International Criminal Court for investigating war crimes committed in Afghanistan.