Trump loves to kill coal miners

At a time when coal mining deaths are on the rise, the Trump administration has decided to allow that dreadful trend to continue, all the while bragging about his love for the underground workers.

“We’re going to fight for you like I promised I would in the campaign,” President Trump told a group of hopeful miners in February 2017. Whether he forgot he made that promise or he never intended on fulfilling it, he recently revealed where his true commitment lies.

By rolling back several important safety regulations and by appointing a mining CEO who has repeatedly been charged with safety violations to be the nation’s mining safety overseer, Trump’s loyalty to corporations was spelled out loud and clear.

On Wednesday, November 15, the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed the president’s pick, David Zatezalo, to run MSHA (the Mining Safety and Health Administration) along party lines even though the nominee once ran a company that consistently violated mine safety laws.

Zatezalo served as CEO of Rhino Resources, a mining company in Kentucky that MSHA sent two “pattern of violations” notices to for running afoul of federal health and safety standards. The notices are serious citations that MSHA issues only to companies “that pose the greatest risk to the health and safety of miners,” according to the agency.

In 2011, a miner was killed at the Rhino Resource Partners Eagle No. 1 Mine because the mine walls were not adequately supported. Zatezalo paid a fine for that violation. Unfortunately, this was not the first or last death to occur at one of the CEO’s mines.

“Instead of nominating an advocate for workers’ health and safety, President Trump nominated one of the industry’s worst offenders,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said.


Trump worships the world’s most brutal dictators . . . wants to be just like them

The editorial board of The New York Times blasted President Trump amid his trip abroad, saying he “turns to mush” in the presence of “strongmen.”

In a column published Monday, the editorial board wrote that authoritarian leaders have a “strange and powerful attraction” for Trump.

“As his trip to Asia reminds us, a man who loves to bully people turns to mush — fawning smiles, effusive rhetoric — in the company of strongmen like Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines,” the board wrote.

“Perhaps he sees in them a reflection of the person he would like to be.” The board said Trump’s “obsessive investment in personal relations” might work for a real estate dealmaker. “But the degree to which he has chosen to curry favor with some of the world’s most unsavory leaders, while lavishing far less attention on America’s democratic allies, hurts America’s credibility and, in the long run, may have dangerous repercussions,” the board wrote.

Trump will not meet with American Nobel laureates

In a White House as radically anti-science as this one, it’s no surprise that scientists are being denied the usual honors.

President Trump, breaking a tradition that stretches back nearly two decades, will not personally greet the eight American Nobel laureates this year before they travel to Sweden in December to receive their prizes.

Considering that the Trump regime has censored scientists studying health effects of coal mining, removed vital scientific data from public sites, purged scientists from its scientific advisory boards, selected an anti-science nominee to head NASA, and that Republicans in Congress have joined them in blocking research into climate change, it’s not surprising that there would be a reluctance to welcome American scientists into the White House.

But then, several of those scientists weren’t exactly thrilled about the prospect of meeting such a science-hostile group in the first place.

Two American Nobel Prize winners, when contacted by STAT, indicated they would not have attended a White House event even if invited. Columbia biophysicist Joachim Frank, awarded a Nobel in chemistry for his work in microscopy, said in an email he was “very relieved” when he learned there was no chance of an encounter with the president.

Any Nobel Winners who wander up to Washington will be thrilled to find that Michael Kratsios— assistant to Trump supporter, Silicon Valley money man, and vampire Peter Thiel—will be there to greet them. Because nothing says “we value science” like sending the deputy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology to show what this crew thinks a Nobel is worth. But then, Kratsios does have a BS in science. Political science.


Trump’s constituency is NOT “white working-class”

The focus on President Trump’s political strength among white working-class voters distracts from a truth that may be more important: His rise depended on support from rich conservatives, and his program serves the interests of those who have accumulated enormous wealth.

This explains why so few congressional Republicans denounce him, no matter how close he edges toward autocracy, how much bigotry he spreads — or how often he panders to Vladimir Putin and denounces our own intelligence officials, as he did again this weekend.

The GOP leadership knows Trump is tilting our economy toward people just like him, the objective they care about most.

To borrow from the president, he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and still not lose House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) as long as they have a reactionary tax bill to push into law.

Last Tuesday’s elections demonstrated how fed up large parts of the nation are with Trump and how mobilized his opponents have become. The returns ratified polls showing the overwhelming majority of Americans rejecting his stewardship.

Rather than just celebrate the good news, Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans should move next to undermine Trump’s key asset. He needs to be exposed as a fraud whenever he says he has the backs of the “forgotten men and women” whose living standards have been shattered in the new economy.

Admittedly, doing this will be harder for conservatives than for progressives. After all, many conservatives have defended trickle-down economics for decades. But there is a wing of conservatism that has criticized the GOP for exploiting the votes of working-class Americans for years, even before Trump, while delivering them a whole lot of nothing.

This was the argument of the 2008 book “Grand New Party” by Ross Douthat, now a New York Times columnist, and Reihan Salam, an independent-minded conservative policy analyst. They proposed that Republicans become “the party of Sam’s Club.” But the existing party’s tax proposals confirm that the GOP is the party of Prada. And Prada may be a trifle downscale to capture the radical redistribution upward that these tax cuts would bring about. It is Exhibit A for how far Trump and his party will go to entrench an economic oligarchy.

Trump’s willingness to help Republican leaders pay off their largest contributors is the clearest explanation for why they debase themselves through their complicity with him. If you think this is harsh, consider the words of Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.): “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get this done or don’t ever call me again.’ ”

I bet they are.

As Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, told CNBC’s John Harwood: “The most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan.”

They should be. The bills now before the House and Senate don’t simply favor the well-off over the middle class and the poor. They advantage certain kinds of extremely rich people over Americans who work for salaries and wages, including some rather affluent people who draw those old-fashioned things called paychecks. Even Karl Marx would be astonished at how far Republicans are willing to go to benefit capital over labor.

All sorts of deductions used by the middle and upper-middle classes are being thrown over the side to pay for a cut in the nominal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, which is especially helpful to the biggest stockholders — and, in the House version, to relieve those struggling millionaire and billionaire heirs and heiresses from the horrible burdens of the estate tax. (The Senate version would reduce but not eliminate the tax.)

Repealing various tax breaks might be justified if these proposals actually simplified the tax code to make it fairer. But in many ways, this concoction makes the code even more complex with all its special provisions for “pass-through” income and the like. That’s another big lie in this deal: The GOP never cared about simplification. It just wants to further the interests of its flushest friends.

Oh, yes, and Republicans, who would demand that Hillary Clinton disclose every penny of her high school earnings from lawn mowing or babysitting, won’t think of asking Trump to release his tax returns so we can know how many benefits he might sign into law for himself.

The Trump regime is not all that innovative. It hides its policies behind divisive rhetoric about kneeling National Football League players — NFL owners would profit from the bill, by the way — and immigrants. This is the sort of thing right-wing authoritarians have done for decades. It never turns out well.