U.S. Politics

Seth Meyers Destroys Trump’s Meals on Wheels Cuts: ‘Your Heart Is So Small’

NBC screencap

THE DAILY BEAST

The ‘Late Night’ host took on President Trump’s budget cuts Thursday night. And this time, it was personal.

At the end of yet another terrible week for President Donald Trump, in which his new travel ban was blocked, his health-care bill is “collapsing” and even Republicans are turning against him on the whole “wiretapping” thing, Seth Meyers once again asked his supporters, “Are you sick of winning yet? Because if you are, you’d better get to the doctor before Trump takes away your health care.”

In response to the president’s claim that he has done more in his first 50 days than any other president, Meyers said, “Trump has done more in office the way a toddler helps out in the kitchen. He may be trying, but by the time he leaves there’s snot on the fridge and a shoe in the dishwasher.”

But nothing seemed to enrage the Late Night host more Thursday night than Trump’s new budget, which seeks massive cuts in numerous federal programs, including the EPA, the National Endowment for the Arts, and even Meals on Wheels.

While cuts to those first two programs were expected from Trump, Meyers made it clear he thought the third was beyond the pale.

“Meals on Wheels?!” the host asked, incredulously. “How dead inside do you have to be to not want old people to get food? Your heart is so small it makes your tiny hands look like catcher’s mitts.”

“Old people voted for you!” he continued. “Your key demographics were old people and older people. They believed you when you said you cared about them. There’s nothing more low-life than lying to the elderly. You should know that. You’re 70.”

While Meyers did not discuss his own connection to Meals on Wheels during his broadcast, he did reveal on Twitter that his mother is a volunteer for the program, writing, “My mom, who is also my hero, is a Meals on Wheels volunteer so I had some thoughts in tonight’s A CLOSER LOOK.”

Matt Wilstein

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: March 19, 2017

James A. Finley/Associated Press

THE WEEK

1. Rock legend Chuck Berry dies at 90
Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry died Saturday at his home in Missouri after lifesaving measures were unsuccessful, local police reported. He was 90 years old. Dubbed “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll” by Bob Dylan and the “alpha and omega of rock and roll” by former Rolling Stone editor Joe Levy, Berry ranks as perhaps the genre’s most influential trailblazer, a skilled songwriter and guitarist remembered for hits like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.” A black performer who came to fame during the Jim Crow era, Berry’s groundbreaking music was popular across racial lines. “He lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers,” said the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger in response to Berry’s death. “His lyrics shone above others and threw a strange light on the American dream.” A new album, Berry’s first in decades, is due in June.

Source: The New York Times, Reuters

2. Rex Tillerson and Xi Jinping promote cordial U.S.-China relations
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday held an apparently cordial meeting, emphasizing friendly relations between China and America. “You said that China-U.S. relations can only be friendly. I express my appreciation for this,” Xi said to Tillerson. “The joint interests of China and the United States far outweigh the differences, and cooperation is the only correct choice for us both.” The meeting in Beijing is the final stop of Tillerson’s diplomatic tour through Asia, and its amicable tone stood in noted contrast to President Trump’s Friday Twitter allegation that China “has done little to help” America deal with provocation from North Korea. Tillerson and Xi did not publicly address North Korea on Sunday even as Pyongyang tested a new rocket engine.

Source: The New York Times, Reuters

3. North Korea tests new rocket engine
North Korea successfully conducted a “high-thrust engine test” of “historic significance,” the totalitarian nation’s state media reported Sunday. The new engine will be a “great leap forward” for Pyongyang’s missile ambitions, the report said, noting that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed the world will “soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries.” Pyongyang’s announcement was timed to coincide with the meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Sunday. China is North Korea’s only major ally, but neither man mentioned the test publicly.

Source: CNN, BBC News

4. Homeland Security requests proposals for Trump’s border wall
The Department of Homeland Security on Friday evening released a request for prototype proposals for the planned U.S.-Mexico border wall, revealing further details of the Trump administration’s goals. The contract notices describe a “physically imposing wall” made of reinforced concrete and standing as tall as 30 feet. One document emphasizes the wall should look “good from the north side,” while being “difficult to climb or cut through.” Congressional Republicans have estimated the wall will cost as much as $15 billion.

Source: The Associated Press, The New York Times

5. Germany rejects Trump Twitter claim it owes ‘vast sums’ to NATO
President Trump tweeted Saturday morning that Germany “owes vast sums of money to NATO,” a post that came a day after his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, during which Trump said he stressed the importance of NATO allies paying their “fair share,” a reference to the alliance’s requirement that members spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. Germany pushed back on the allegation Sunday. “There is no debt account at NATO,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, noting that German military “spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against [Islamic State] terrorism.”

Source: The Week, Reuters

6. Driver in custody after reportedly claiming to have a bomb near the White House
A man was detained by the Secret Service late Saturday night after approaching a White House gate in a “suspicious” vehicle and, per CNN’s report, claiming to have a bomb. No bomb has been discovered, and President Trump was not in the White House at the time of the incident. This comes after a different man was detained for jumping a pedestrian barrier near the White House earlier on Saturday, and a week after a man was arrested inside White House grounds having scaled the fence of the property.

Source: Reuters, The Hill

7. Kellyanne Conway’s husband reportedly tapped for key DOJ post
George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, has reportedly been picked to lead the Justice Department’s civil division, a prominent role that would see him responsible for defending President Trump’s immigration executive order in court. George Conway is a corporate lawyer with financial litigation expertise. He is a partner at his firm and has argued before the Supreme Court. Conway was previously reported to be under consideration for the role of U.S. solicitor general. The DOJ has yet to confirm reports of his selection for this civil role.

Source: CNN, Los Angeles Times

8. Tax reform coming in ‘late spring to summer,’ Spicer says
Expect the Trump administration’s tax reform plan a little later this year, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told Ireland’s Independent in an interview published in the paper’s Sunday edition. “We are going to have tax reform after we get healthcare completed,” Spicer said. “I think we are looking at late spring to summer.” Trump is expected to propose three simplified tax brackets and a higher standard deduction. Critics argue his proposal will mostly help the very wealthiest Americans, like Trump himself.

Source: Reuters, Forbes

9. Iraqi forces close on strategic mosque in Mosul fight
U.S.-supported Iraqi forces on Sunday are closing in on a strategic building, the al-Nuri Mosque, as they continue the fight to retake Mosul from the Islamic State. The eastern half of the city, which is the last major ISIS stronghold in Iraq, has already been liberated; ISIS terrorists in the western half control a shrinking territory. The mosque is important because it is where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014. An estimate 2,000 ISIS fighters remain in Mosul after a six-month siege by Iraqi troops.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters

10. Top seed Villanova ousted by Wisconsin in upset game
The Villanova Wildcats, the No. 1 team in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, unexpectedly lost to the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers 65-62 in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday. The upset win means Wisconsin will now advance to its fourth consecutive Sweet 16 round. For March Madness brackets, the game meant widespread chaos, as 47 percent of brackets had Villanova in the final four; 31 percent put the team in the championship game; and 18 percent said Villanova would be the tournament victor. As CBS Sports tweeted, “Uhhh…nobody saw this coming.”

Source: Bleacher Report, NPR

U.S. Politics

Competition-winning 4th grade robotics team told to “go back to Mexico”

Competition-winning 4th grade robotics team told to

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

IDENTITIES.MIC

A group of black and Latino fourth graders from Pleasant Run Elementary in Indianapolis won a regional robotics challenge — and were in turn taunted by lesser-ranked competitors and their parents with cries of “go back to Mexico!”

The five-person Pleasant Run PantherBots, three of whom are Latino and two of whom were black, became the target of the racist bullying at both a school auditorium and parking lot at the Plainfield, Indiana, competition, the Indianapolis Star reported.

The team consists of Elijah Goodwin, 10; Angel Herrera-Sanchez, 9; Jose Verastegui, 10; Manuel Mendez, 9; and Devilyn Bolyard, 9.

“They were pointing at us and saying that ‘oh my god, they are champions of the city all because they are Mexican. They are Mexican, and they are ruining our country,'” Diocelina Herrera, mother of Herrera-Sanchez, told the Indianapolis Star.

“It’s not going to affect us at all,” Goodwin, the team’s leader, said. “I’m not surprised because I’m used to this kind of behavior … When you have a really good team, people will treat you this way. And we do have a pretty good team.”

In a statement, Plainfield Community Schools Superintendent Scott Olinger condemned the racist behavior and singled out parents who participated for particular dismay.

“The Plainfield Community School Corp. does not condone or tolerate language or behaviors that degrade others,” Olinger wrote, according to the Star. “Had our organizing team been made aware of the alleged behaviors by unknown adults on Feb. 2, we would have taken immediate action.”

The statement continued:

“We were pleased to host such an impressive array of young students, and we were equally proud of the teamwork, camaraderie, knowledge and fun that these children displayed. To learn now that adults may have acted in a way that distracted from the success of the day is disheartening. In the Plainfield schools, such behavior is unacceptable, regardless of whether it comes from adults or students.”

While it’s not clear what motivated this particular hateful attack, similar stories of racism in schools have been cropping up in recent months. According to a survey by the Southern Poverty Law Center, The bigoted campaign rhetoric of President Donald Trump and his hardline policies in office has negatively affected the K-12 school environment.

While it’s not exactly clear what spurred this specific racist incident, similar events have been on the upswing in recent years. The bigoted campaign rhetoric of President Donald Trump and his hardline policies in office has negatively affected the K-12 school environment.

Of the more than 10,000 teachers, counselors, administrators and other school employees who responded to the poll, 90% said the election had negatively affected the environment at their school.

Eight in 10 reported fears for marginalized students including “immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans and LGBT people,” while four in 10 reported “derogatory language” directed at minority students.

“More than 2,500 described instances of bigotry and harassment directly related to election rhetoric,” the SPLC added.

Tom McKay

U.S. Politics

Jake Tapper Burns Trump With Bill Maher: He Is ‘Empirically Indecent’

CAMBRIDGE, MA - DECEMBER 01:  Jake Tapper, of CNN's State of the Union, speaks to a crowd at the Harvard Institute of Politics Forum before Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway and Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook enter the room for an event titled "War Stories: Inside Campaign 2016" on December 1, 2016 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

CNN Screenshot

ADDICTING INFO

A lot about America has changed since the rise of Donald Trump. People thought that his coarse language, his clear racism and misogyny, and just generally appalling behavior would render him unacceptable to the American public. Yet, here we are. Donald Trump is president, and his young administration has fundamentally changed how the world views America, its citizens, and its government. One thing that hasn’t changed though is the way some strident and brave media personalities continue to speak truth to power and insist on making sure that Trump’s disgusting ways, his incompetence, and his lies don’t fundamentally change who we are as a people. Perhaps the breakout star in that regard is CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Tapper hosts The Lead during the week, and State of the Union on Sunday mornings. On Friday night, the fiery host stopped by HBO’s Real Time to have a chat with host Bill Maher. Of course, Maher had to ask about the changes Tapper has had to make now that there’s the biggest liar on earth occupying the Oval Office. Tapper responded:

“You’ve been covering politicians for a long time. Politicians lie. It wasn’t invented on Jan. 20.”

“I’ve never seen this level of falsehood, quantitatively.”

Tapper went on to distinguish between what happens with say, falsehoods that happened with the Obama Administration such as, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” He says of the lies coming out of the Trump White House:

“It’s conspiracy theories based on nothing that have members of his own party distancing themselves from him.”

Then the conversation turns to Trump’s vulgarity and other fundamental affronts to basic human decency in public discourse. Tapper says of the way Trump behaved on the campaign trail and how he continues to behave:

“The truth of the matter is that there is no bias when it comes to facts and there’s no bias when it comes to decency. It’s empirically indecent to make fun of the disabled. That’s just indecent. My children know better than that.”

The two hosts then went on to reference what we all know – which is that most of the fundamental things that make Trump so awful, we all learn not to do in grade school. Maher says:

I always think about that book ‘Everything I Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten.’ He violates every rule. Don’t lie, don’t accuse people of things they’re not guilty of. Don’t boast. Pay your taxes. Serve your country. Don’t be a racist, don’t insult – like you say – the handicapped people or other people who are not as lucky to be as great looking as you are, Donald.”

And yet, in spite of all of these things, people still voted for this fundamentally indecent, sorry excuse for a human being. That says things about this nation that we really need to examine, should we survive this nightmare of a “presidency.”

Watch the video below:

Shannon Barber

U.S. Politics

Sunday Talk: Let Them Eat FAKE News

obama_tapps_trump.jpg

attribution: NONE

DAILY KOS

Two weeks ago, President @realDonaldTrump—who was vacationing at Mar-a-Lago at the time—ignited a political and legal firestorm when he libelously accused former President Obama of wiretapping him.

Trump’s unfounded allegation—which was apparently inspired by some bullshit that he read at Breitbartdrew immediate condemnation, and was vehemently denied by everyone in a position to know.

Nevertheless, he persisted.

Trump demanded that Congress investigate the charge, and the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees were happy to oblige.

Meanwhile, Trump’s White House spin doctors continued to press his case—making outlandish claims, and alienating some of America’s closest allies in the process.

When all was said and done, no evidence had emerged to support Trump’s (original) allegation—because none exists.

God only knows how many people Meals on Wheels could’ve served with all of the money wasted on this “witch hunt.”

 ___________

Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); Roundtable: George Will (Washington Post), Joy Ann Reid (MSNBC), Katty Kay (BBC), & Robert Costa (Washington Post).

Face The Nation: White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).; House Minoeity Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Roundtable: Ed O’Keefe (Washington Post), Kimberly Strassel (Wall Street Journal), Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic) & Ruth Marcus (Washington Post).

This Week: Secretary of Health & Human Services Tom Price; Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX); Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX); Christopher Ruddy (Newsmax); Roundtable: Republican Strategist Sara Fagen, Maggie Haberman (New York Times), Roland Martin (TV One) & Terry Moran (ABC News).

Fox News Sunday: White House Economic Adviser Gary Cohn; Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH); Roundtable: Jason Riley (Wall Street Journal), Julie Pace (Associated Press), Michael Needham (Heritage Action for America) & Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Secretary of Health & Human Services Tom Price; Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR); Roundtable: Former South Carolina State Rep. Bakari Sellers (D), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Democratic Strategist Jen Psaki & Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a report on the H-1B visa program (preview); a report on the famine in South Sudan (preview); and, a visit to “Sesame Street” (preview).

Late night shows:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Monday: Actor Will Forte; Basketball Analyst Jay Bilas; Chris Hayes (MSNBC); Musician Charlie Benante.

Tuesday: Actor Dax Shepard; Actress Hannah Simone; Band Hey Violet; Musician Nicko McBrain.

Wednesday: Actress Kristen Bell; Actor Bill Nighy; Musical Duo Aquilo; Musician Nicko McBrain.

Thursday: Actor Jake Gyllenhaal; Comedian Whitney Cummings; Rapper Post Malone featuring Quavo of Migos & Metro Boomin; Musician Nicko McBrain.

Friday: TBA.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Monday: Egyptian Satirist Bassem Youssef & Trump’s African-American Omarosa Manigault;  Tuesday: Dahlia Lithwick (Slate);  Wednesday: Actor Michael Pena;  Thursday: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Elsewhere…

We learned that Paul Ryan’s dream of destroying Medicaid dates back to his time in college.

Speaking to National Review editor Rich Lowry at an event hosted by the conservative magazine, House Speaker Paul Ryan made the case for the American Health Care Act by presenting it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cut Medicaid spending.

“We’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around,” Ryan says, before interrupting himself to clarify exactly how big of an opportunity this is, “since you and I were drinking out of kegs.”

AHCA’s Medicaid rollbacks would cost 14 million people their health insurance coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But those 14 million people are people who only got Medicaid coverage relatively recently. Ryan’s youthful dream refers to provisions of the law that will cap per capita spending for the millions of other lower-income Americans who get Medicaid coverage.

We also discovered that…

Sean Hannity tried to teach Juan Williams about gun safety (or something) by pointing a gun at him.

Last year, after ending one of his many spirited on-air arguments with liberal contributor Juan Williams, Hannity pulled out a gun and pointed it directly at Williams, according to three sources with knowledge of the incident. He even turned on the laser sight, causing a red dot to bob around on Williams’ body. (Hannity was just showing off, the sources said, but the unforeseen off-camera antic clearly disturbed Williams and others on set.)

“Sean Hannity has been trained in firearm safety since he was 11 years old and has a license to carry a gun in five states, including New York,” Fox News said in a statement to CNNMoney. “The situation was thoroughly investigated and it was found that no one was put in any danger.” (The spokesperson said the incident took place in October 2016.)

The Fox News spokesperson also provided the following statements from Hannity and Williams.

“While discussing the issue of firearms, I showed my good friend Juan Williams my unloaded firearm in a professional and safe manner for educational purposes only,” Hannity’s statement read. “Every precautionary procedure that I have been trained in since the age of 11 was followed. I’ve had a conceal carry permit in five states for all of my adult life. Any other interpretation of this is outright false reporting.”

“This incident is being sensationalized — everything was under total control throughout and I never felt like I was put in harm’s way,” Williams’ statement read. “It was clear that Sean put my safety and security above all else and we continue to be great friends.”

Meanwhile…

The braintrust at “Fox & Friends” determined that being pro-journalism is anti-Trump.

“Fox & Friends” did a pretty convincing impression of the White House spin factory Tuesday with the following report by Heather Childers:

Media bias on full display. Newspapers now cashing in on t-shirts splashed with anti-President Trump rhetoric. The Washington Post offering this shirt, which says “democracy dies in darkness.” The L.A. Times selling shirts that say “journalism matters,” and the Chicago Tribune’s featured the line “speaking truth to power since 1847.” The shirts being sold for around 20 bucks.

Apparently touting the importance of journalism in a democratic society makes these news outlets opponents of President Trump. That’s the kind of twisted logic presented by the likes of counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway — except it came from Fox News.

Media companies are trying to convince Americans that the press is, in fact, vitally important. Being pro-journalism does not make the press anti-Trump.

I report, you decide.

– Trix