Tuesday, September 18, 2018

By enforcing climate change denial, Trump puts us all in peril



Bob Richling carries Iris Darden as water from the Little River starts to seep into her home on Monday in Spring Lake, North Carolina. Flood waters from the cresting rivers inundated the area after the passing of Hurricane Florence. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
By  Jesse Jackson       09/17/2018 
North Carolina has been hit with a storm of biblical ferocity.

Florence has left at least 17 dead there, 500,000 without power, with flash flooding across the state from the coast to the western mountains. Landslides and infectious diseases are predicted to follow. North Carolina is not alone, of course.

We’ve witnessed the devastation wrought by Katrina in New Orleans, Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, Hurricane Harvey in Houston and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Maria is now estimated to have taken 2,975 lives, nearly as many as died on Sept. 11, 2001.

As economics historian J. Bradford DeLong summarizes, the four storms — all in the past 15 years — are among the most damaging in U.S. history. No one storm can be attributed to any one cause. But repeated storms of greater force are the “predictable result” of catastrophic climate change, and they are a mild augury of what is likely to follow.

President Donald Trump has enforced climate denial in Washington. He has systematically sought to repeal even the inadequate steps the U.S. had taken to begin to address the problem. Last year he announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

He’s geared up to repeal President Barack Obama’s executive orders on energy, climate and gas mileage. He’s opening up more public lands to mining and drilling and weakening environmental restrictions on coal, oil and natural gas, including most alarmingly, restrictions on the release of methane gas from natural gas pipes.

 Web pages with climate change information have been removed or buried at the EPA and the Interior and Energy departments. The rest of the world vows to continue to deal with climate change, but with the wealthiest nation in the world scorning the effort, it is certain to be more inadequate than it already is.

Catastrophic climate change is a clear and present threat to our national security. The Pentagon realizes this. It is developing contingency plans for bases around the globe that will be threatened by rising waters and raging storms. Its intelligence agencies warn that climate change will be more destabilizing than terrorism across the developing world.

DeLong offers one snapshot of the threat. Two billion poor farmers toil in the six great river valleys of Asia. Their existence is dependent on the snow melt from the region’s high plateaus arriving at the right moment and in the right volume to support the crops on which the billions rely. Another billion depend on the monsoon arriving at the right time each year.

Now as the planet heats up, the sea levels rise, the polar ice caps melt, so too the snow melt will change dramatically, as will the monsoons and cyclones. The disruption will wreak havoc on billions, forcing dramatic migrations to who knows where. The same is predicted as Africa gets hotter and drier, and desertification continues to uproot long settled peoples.

The effects are already here, visible in the scorching heat experienced across the country, the fires in the West, the drought in the South and the storms in the East. We are seeing climate change with our own eyes. Yes, no one storm or heat wave can be directly attributed to global warming. But global warming guarantees that catastrophic weather events will get more frequent and more ferocious.

Some suggest it is too late. The carbon already in the atmosphere will take us beyond the warming levels that the international community suggested were manageable. We are headed into the unmanageable.

But denial is no answer. Continuing to do more of the same is simple madness. It is not too late to make the wholesale cuts need in greenhouse gas emissions. Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University notes: “It is not going off a cliff; it is like walking out into a minefield. So the argument that it is too late to do something would be like saying: ‘I’m just going to keep walking.’ That would be absurd.”

Trump’s chaos presidency is corrosive and divisive. His impulsive and uninformed decision-making is terrifying. Now on what surely is becoming the greatest threat to our security — indeed human existence, if not addressed — he and the Republican Congress that aids and abets him, are adding fuel to the fire.

Without vision, the Bible says, the people perish. Trump’s blind denial of the reality around us seems intent on demonstrating how true that is.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Trump’s mutterings are stark contrast to Lincoln’s eloquence

 President Donald Trump speaks during a "Make America Great Again" rally in Billings, Montana on Sept. 6. | Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
        By Jesse Jackson                09/10/2018
Last week, President Trump, in a rambling stump speech in Montana, bizarrely compared his oratory to that of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, arguing (incorrectly) that Lincoln was “ridiculed” for the speech.

“He was excoriated by the fake news. … Fifty years after his death, they said it may have been the greatest speech ever made in America,” Trump noted. “I have a feeling that’s going to happen with us.”

Don’t hold your breath, Donald. Nothing could be a farther remove from Lincoln’s austere, measured eloquence than Trump’s often incoherent mutterings. And nothing could be farther removed from the Republican Party of Lincoln than the right-wing politicians who today carry the Republican label.

The Republican Party emerged in 1854 in the fight against the extension of slavery to the new territories opening up in the West. Republicans opposed the extension, with its strategists arguing that slavery would die out if it were contained in the South.

Under Lincoln, the Republican Party stayed true to the nation in the civil war that ended with the abolition of slavery. Democrats were the party of Jefferson Davis, the leader of the rebelling states of the South.

As the party of the Union, Republicans dominated American politics from the Civil War to the 1930s. They believed in free labor, free soil, free men. They favored what Lincoln called “domestic improvements,” building the railroads, and investing in public infrastructure. They favored spending more money to improve public education, with Lincoln founding the land grant colleges across the country.

They believed in science, supporting sophisticated research in agricultural techniques and production. The party of business, they supported protective tariffs and liberal immigration policy. They passed the first income tax, the homestead laws that distributed lands to settlers, and the national banking system. Under Teddy Roosevelt, they pushed anti-trust laws, sought to clean up government and favored protective measures for workers — from the eight-hour day to environmental protection to worker safety laws.

In the 1960s, Republican senators helped pass the civil rights laws over the implacable opposition of Southern Democrats. As late as the 1970s under Gerald Ford, Republican leaders were pro-choice, pro-equal rights, pro-civil rights and leading environmentalists.

Just as Donald Trump is no Abraham Lincoln, today’s Republican Party stands in stark contradiction to the Republican Party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Gerald Ford. This Republican Party is now the party of Jefferson Davis, the party of states’ rights. It waves the Confederate flag and glorifies Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee.

When LBJ pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, he told Bill Moyers that he feared he had lost the South for a generation. Turns out he was too optimistic.

Adopting a cynical “Southern strategy,” Republicans turned themselves into a party grounded in white Southerners still resisting equal rights for all. Dixiecrats such as Strom Thurmond led Southern Democrats into the Republican Party. The party aligned with the conservative evangelical church movement that rose through the South. And, of course remained the party of big business and conservative money.

Today’s Republican Party tramples every principle of the party of Lincoln.

Under Trump, they are systematically rolling back enforcement of equal protection for minorities and women. Instead of tax increases and public investment, they tout tax cuts for the rich and privatization. Instead of environmental protection, they open the door to corporate polluters, while denying even the existence of catastrophic climate change.

Instead of investing in education, they seek to slash public education and privatize schools. They are anti-choice, anti-women’s rights, and anti-worker rights. Instead of offering the poor a hand up as Lincoln did with the homestead acts and the land grant public colleges, they seek to cut aid to the vulnerable, working to roll back Medicaid, food stamps, Pell grants for students and more.

Trump’s manic stump performances pose a stark contrast to Lincoln’s eloquence. But it’s the contrast in substance that is telling. Trump rails against immigrants, embraces neo-Nazis, assails the free press and seeks, with his Republican allies, to dismantle effective governance.

Lincoln understood the importance of the public sphere. As he put it in his message to Congress in 1861, it is important to maintain “in the world, that form and substance of government, whose leading object is to elevate the condition of man, to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life.”

For that fundamental principle, Lincoln would be vilified in Trump’s Republican Party.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Kitchener woman charged with slapping officer at U.S. border

A Kitchener woman has been arrested at the Rainbow Bridge crossing at Niagara Falls after allegedly slapping a U.S. customs official.
A Kitchener woman has been arrested at the Rainbow Bridge crossing at Niagara Falls after allegedly slapping a U.S. customs official. 

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont.—A Kitchener woman is in hot water after allegedly slapping a U.S. border officer during an ill-fated trip to Niagara Falls.
American officials said 40-year-old Tianna Natasha McPherson was arrested Sept. 2 at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing, where she had been dropped off by cab with the intention of visiting Niagara Falls State Park in New York.
A U.S. Attorney’s report states that due to “derogatory information” about McPherson’s past behaviour while crossing the border, she was taken aside for secondary inspection, denied admittance into the U.S. and told she would be returned to Canada.
At this point, officials say she became verbally combative and unco-operative. They said she insisted she was an American citizen and tried to leave. When a Customs and Border Protection officer blocked the exit and told her to sit down, the report says McPherson challenged the officer and “open-hand slapped the officer on the left side of her face.”
McPherson was arrested and charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer of the United States, and is being held in custody. The charge carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Her next detention hearing is set for Thursday.
That is a pretty steep penalty and fine for a wee slap. She didn't poke the guard's eye out or try to throttle her. Who is  this guard anyway?
I thought it was rather amusing, at first, but there is a more serious, underlying side to this incident, that reflects the times we live in.
 I think that because McPherson  was a previous trouble maker, they detained her and rather rudely sent her packing.  After that indignity, I might feel like slapping someone too.
 It seems everyone at border crossings, these days, guards and travellers alike, are tense, and defensive. I have crossed the border at the Rainbow Bridge a hundred times , conservatively, and the process used to be quick, very polite and relaxed. We often chatted and joked with the border guards. The guards on both sides treated Americans and Canadians alike and equally, like friends and neighbors. It changed a little after 9/11.   Neither country could believe what had happened and were saddened and confused by it. The border guards looked at us a bit more suspiciously and asked more questions. But these days they seem deadly serious, they can be rude, rougher, conduct body cavity searches and we are all looked upon as potential terrorists or criminals. The border guards perhaps reflect the attitudes of the present administration. Friends and allies are now suspicious strangers. I sincerely hope that after the next election we can return to friendlier times.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

mmmask a radical agenda that hurts everyday people

The Trump administration rolled back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's efforts to slow global warming, the Clean Power Plan that restricts greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. | AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
ByJesse Jackson
 Trump’s serial scandals — Stormy Daniels, the Russia investigation, the Paul Manafort verdict, the Cohen guilty plea, the juvenile tweets — fill the headlines. Beneath the noise, however, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are relentlessly pursuing a radical right-wing agenda that is gutting basic protections for workers, consumers and the environment.

This is often characterized as Trump’s fixation on erasing everything Obama, but it goes far beyond that.

Trump’s administration and Congress are not only rolling back President Obama’s policies, but weakening the advances of the Great Society, the Civil Rights Movement, and even pillars of the New Deal. Consider:

Eviscerating the Voting Rights Act
The Department of Justice has essentially abandoned enforcement of voting rights.  The signal was sent when DOJ lawyers withdrew from the Texas voter-ID case in which the Obama Justice Department was co-counsel, arguing that the Texas act was intentionally designed to discriminate against people of color. Combined with the Supreme Court’s right-wing gang of five weakening the act in Shelby County v. Holder, there is now a virtual vacuum of voting rights enforcement.

Savaging enforcement of civil rights
While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has dramatically weakened enforcement of basic civil rights in the Justice Department, the same is true across the government.  The Labor Department disbanded its civil rights division. The Department of Education gutted the budget of its Office of Civil Rights. The Environmental Protection Agency targeted the Environmental Justice program for elimination.

For immigrants, basic civil rights have been trampled — from the travel-ban orders affecting predominantly Muslim countries, upending the DACA program for the young people who were born here and know no other country, to the grotesque policy that separated children from their parents at the border.

Under Sessions, the Justice Department has also essentially abandoned what was a bipartisan effort to bring about criminal justice reform, with Sessions ordering a review of the consent decrees that were addressing systematic racial discrimination and police brutality.

Climate change denial
Trump famously has announced he will pull the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, while his appointees have sought to scrub any mention of climate change from government websites. EPA Director Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, replaced the Obama administration Clean Power Plan that limited the release of greenhouse gases from power plants.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has abandoned efforts to end the 30-year ripoff of government by fossil fuel companies mining public lands.  At a time when even the Pentagon recognizes climate change as real and present threat to national security, the Trump administration remains in denial.

Undermining public education
Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education has become the vessel of for-profit plunder. Her budgets seek to use public funds for private school vouchers.  Stunningly, the DOE is pushing plans to make it harder for students to repay their college debts, ending or weakening various plans to limit the burden.

Now DeVos is jettisoning rules that require for-profit colleges to provide an education that actually prepares graduates for decent jobs, opening the door for rip-offs like Trump’s own notorious university.

Savaging worker rights
In one of his first votes, Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch provided the determining vote in the Janus decision that weakened the ability of public employees to organize and bargain collectively.

Trump’s Labor Department repealed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Rule that required companies with federal contracts to disclose and correct labor and safety violations. It also announced it would not defend Obama’s order that increased the number of employees eligible for overtime pay, effectively depriving tens of thousands of workers of a raise.

Tax cuts for the rich, cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for the rest

Trump’s one main legislative victory — the Republican tax cut — lavishes its benefits on the rich and the corporations. Trump and Republicans are using the deficits they created to push for deep cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and — watch for it if they survive the November election — Social Security.

Trump’s budgets call for deep cuts in virtually every program for the vulnerable, including food stamps, affordable housing and more.

We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by the circus which is the Trump presidency. Under the chaos, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are pursuing a radical and very destructive agenda. These measures are incredibly unpopular, or would be if Americans knew about them.

They are done by executive order, by administrative rulings, by judicial decisions, by budget cuts. Their effect is masked by the good economy. But they are incredibly destructive, systematically making America more unequal, undermining equal justice under law and elevating corporate rights over worker rights.

They must be exposed and stopped. The elections this fall will be the first chance to curb this misrule.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Remembering John McCain

 
The amazing life of John McCain has been well-documented and well-publicized. But there was so much more to this incredible man than his career in politics.


John Sidney McCain III was born on Aug. 29, 1936, in Panama at Coco Solo Naval Air Station. He was born into a prominent military family. His father, John McCain Jr., and grandfather, John McCain Sr., were the first father-son admiral pair in U.S. naval history.


 
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In high school, he was a wrestler and was given the nicknames “Punk” and "McNasty." Later in life, he was nicknamed "the white tornado" because of his prematurely gray hair.

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After high school, he attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 1958. McCain’s two siblings, Jean “Sandy” and Joseph, also chose careers within the military.

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He was married twice and had seven children, including one adopted daughter. Two of McCain's sons are continuing the family’s military tradition: the youngest son, Jimmy, is a Marine, while another son, Jack, is in the Navy.

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 McCain served in the military from 1958 until 1981. His 1999 autobiography, “Faith of My Fathers,” tells about his early life and capture as a POW while serving in Vietnam. The book was made into a television movie in 2005; a first-person account was published in U.S. News & World Report.

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Wounded McCain was dragged from the sea by hostile Vietnamese when his bomber was shot down.
He had a broken leg and shattered arm.  The Vietnamese beat him and stabbed him as they dragged him ashore.
 
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He was routinely beaten and tortured for five and a half years
 
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 His long awaited release. He was particularly targeted for torture  because his father and grandfather were simultaneously admirals in the US navy during the Vietnam war.
 
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He received several military decorations and awards, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy Commendation, and Prisoner of War. He received the Liberty Medal in October 2017.
 
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McCain began a career in politics in 1977, serving as the Navy’s liaison to the U.S. Senate. From 1983 to 1986, McCain served in Congress as the U.S. representative for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. His career as a U.S. senator for Arizona began in 1987.
 
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SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Pictured: (l-r) Senator John McCain plays stoned, hippie art teacher "Pete Van Vliet" opposite SNL cast members Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch as middle school talk show host "Megan" and sidekick "Sheldon" in the recurring sketch "Wake Up Wakefield."
 
He appeared on NBC's “Saturday Night Live” in 2002 in a mock edition of “Meet the Press” and twice more....once with Sarah Palin, his chosen running mate.
 
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Image result for images from life of John Mccain
 
McCain ran for president twice. In his first campaign, in 2000, he withdrew from the race against Republican rival George W. Bush. In his second campaign, in 2008, he lost the election against Democratic rival Barack Obama.

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After his cancer diagnosis and exploratory brain surgery last year, he immediately returned to work on the floor of the senate, knowing his time was very short. He tried to restore the integrity and courage of that body of public servants by reminding them that they worked for the American people, not Mr Trump. He added, they were not subordinate to the president but were his equals. I believe he was greatly disappointed in the change of attitude among his colleagues.
 
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Senator John McCain died at the age of 81 on Aug. 25, 2018. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, in July 2017 and decided to discontinue treatment on Aug. 24, 2018. His remains will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, a honor presented to less than three dozen people in U.S. history, including former presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
 
 
 Please remember John McCain. He was a hero and a true patriot with that strong sense of justice and fairness that we all admire Americans for. He represented the best America has to offer. He earned his place in history. He wrote seven books and many treatises and the following is one of  his quotes:
 
 
Rest with the angels
Witchy and Shadow

Friday, August 31, 2018

Russian intelligence revealed it has Trump 'over a barrel'

In this Aug. 28, 2018, file photo, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr arrives for a closed hearing of the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this Aug. 28, 2018, file photo, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr arrives for a closed hearing of the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees on Capitol Hill in Washington.

WASHINGTON — A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump “over a barrel,” according to multiple people familiar with the encounter.
The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said.
 
The previously unreported details of the July 30, 2016, breakfast with Christopher Steele, which Ohr described to lawmakers this week in a private interview, reveal an exchange of potentially explosive information about Trump between two men the president has relentlessly sought to discredit.
They add to the public understanding of those pivotal summer months as the FBI and intelligence community scrambled to untangle possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. And they reflect the concern of Steele, a longtime FBI informant whose Democratic-funded research into Trump ties to Russia was compiled into a dossier, that the Republican presidential candidate was possibly compromised and his urgent efforts to convey that anxiety to contacts at the FBI and Justice Department.

The people who discussed Ohr’s interview were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the closed session and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during the breakfast was that an unnamed former Russian intelligence official had said that Russian intelligence believed “they had Trump over a barrel,” according to people familiar with the meeting. It was not clear from Ohr’s interview whether Steele had been directly told that or had picked that up through his contacts, but the broader sentiment is echoed in Steele’s research dossier.

Steele and Ohr, at the time of the election a senior official in the deputy attorney general’s office, had first met a decade earlier and bonded over a shared interest in international organized crime. They met several times during the presidential campaign, a relationship that exposed both men and federal law enforcement more generally to partisan criticism, including from Trump.
Republicans contend the FBI relied excessively on the dossier during its investigation and to obtain a secret wiretap application on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

That breakfast took place amid ongoing FBI concerns about Russian election interference and possible communication with Trump associates. By that point, Russian hackers had penetrated Democratic email accounts, including that of the Clinton campaign chairman, and Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign associate, was said to have revealed that Russians had “dirt” on Democrat Hillary Clinton in the form of emails, according to court papers. That revelation prompted the FBI to open the counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016, one day after the breakfast but based on entirely different information.

Ohr told lawmakers he could not vouch for the accuracy of Steele’s information but has said he considered him a reliable FBI informant who delivered credible and actionable intelligence, including his investigation into corruption at FIFA, soccer’s global governing body.
In the interview, Ohr acknowledged that he had not told superiors in his office, including Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, about his meetings with Steele because he considered the information inflammatory raw source material. He also provided new details about the department’s move to reassign him once his Steele ties were brought to light.

Ohr said he met in late December 2017 with two senior Justice Department officials, Scott Schools and James Crowell, who told him they were unhappy he had not proactively disclosed his meetings with Steele. They said he was being stripped of his associate deputy attorney post as part of a planned internal reorganization, people familiar with Ohr’s account say.

He met again soon after with one of the officials, who told him Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not believe he could continue in his current position as director of a drug grant-distribution program — known as the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force because he had overstepped his job description and chain of command by meeting with Steele, including after his termination as a FBI source, and then relaying information to the FBI.

Trump this month proposed stripping Ohr, who until this year had been largely anonymous during his decades-long Justice Department career, of his security clearance and has asked “how the hell” he remains employed.
Trump has called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt” and has denied any collusion between his campaign and Moscow.
Trump and some of his supporters in Congress have also accused the FBI of launching the entire Russia counterintelligence investigation based on the dossier. But memos authored by Republicans and Democrats and declassified this year show the probe was triggered by information the U.S. government received earlier about the Russian contacts of then-Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The FBI’s investigation was already under way by the time it received Steele’s dossier, and Ohr was not the original source of information from it.

We would all love to know what kind of information puts Trump over a barrel. What is Putin holding over his head that makes Trump dance to his tune. Whatever it is, it is more explosive and damning than pee pee tapes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Trump’s ongoing scandals mask a radical agenda that hurts everyday people

 The Trump administration rolled back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's efforts to slow global warming, the Clean Power Plan that restricts greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. | AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
ByJesse Jackson
 Trump’s serial scandals — Stormy Daniels, the Russia investigation, the Paul Manafort verdict, the Cohen guilty plea, the juvenile tweets — fill the headlines. Beneath the noise, however, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are relentlessly pursuing a radical right-wing agenda that is gutting basic protections for workers, consumers and the environment.

This is often characterized as Trump’s fixation on erasing everything Obama, but it goes far beyond that.

Trump’s administration and Congress are not only rolling back President Obama’s policies, but weakening the advances of the Great Society, the Civil Rights Movement, and even pillars of the New Deal. Consider:

Eviscerating the Voting Rights Act
The Department of Justice has essentially abandoned enforcement of voting rights.  The signal was sent when DOJ lawyers withdrew from the Texas voter-ID case in which the Obama Justice Department was co-counsel, arguing that the Texas act was intentionally designed to discriminate against people of color. Combined with the Supreme Court’s right-wing gang of five weakening the act in Shelby County v. Holder, there is now a virtual vacuum of voting rights enforcement.

Savaging enforcement of civil rights
While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has dramatically weakened enforcement of basic civil rights in the Justice Department, the same is true across the government.  The Labor Department disbanded its civil rights division. The Department of Education gutted the budget of its Office of Civil Rights. The Environmental Protection Agency targeted the Environmental Justice program for elimination.

For immigrants, basic civil rights have been trampled — from the travel-ban orders affecting predominantly Muslim countries, upending the DACA program for the young people who were born here and know no other country, to the grotesque policy that separated children from their parents at the border.

Under Sessions, the Justice Department has also essentially abandoned what was a bipartisan effort to bring about criminal justice reform, with Sessions ordering a review of the consent decrees that were addressing systematic racial discrimination and police brutality.

Climate change denial
Trump famously has announced he will pull the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, while his appointees have sought to scrub any mention of climate change from government websites. EPA Director Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, replaced the Obama administration Clean Power Plan that limited the release of greenhouse gases from power plants.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has abandoned efforts to end the 30-year ripoff of government by fossil fuel companies mining public lands.  At a time when even the Pentagon recognizes climate change as real and present threat to national security, the Trump administration remains in denial.

Undermining public education
Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education has become the vessel of for-profit plunder. Her budgets seek to use public funds for private school vouchers.  Stunningly, the DOE is pushing plans to make it harder for students to repay their college debts, ending or weakening various plans to limit the burden.

Now DeVos is jettisoning rules that require for-profit colleges to provide an education that actually prepares graduates for decent jobs, opening the door for rip-offs like Trump’s own notorious university.

Savaging worker rights
In one of his first votes, Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch provided the determining vote in the Janus decision that weakened the ability of public employees to organize and bargain collectively.

Trump’s Labor Department repealed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Rule that required companies with federal contracts to disclose and correct labor and safety violations. It also announced it would not defend Obama’s order that increased the number of employees eligible for overtime pay, effectively depriving tens of thousands of workers of a raise.

Tax cuts for the rich, cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for the rest
Trump’s one main legislative victory — the Republican tax cut — lavishes its benefits on the rich and the corporations. Trump and Republicans are using the deficits they created to push for deep cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and — watch for it if they survive the November election — Social Security.

Trump’s budgets call for deep cuts in virtually every program for the vulnerable, including food stamps, affordable housing and more.

We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by the circus which is the Trump presidency. Under the chaos, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are pursuing a radical and very destructive agenda. These measures are incredibly unpopular, or would be if Americans knew about them.

They are done by executive order, by administrative rulings, by judicial decisions, by budget cuts. Their effect is masked by the good economy. But they are incredibly destructive, systematically making America more unequal, undermining equal justice under law and elevating corporate rights over worker rights.

They must be exposed and stopped. The elections this fall will be the first chance to curb this misrule.