Showing posts with label Republicans Against the Poor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Republicans Against the Poor. Show all posts

August 8, 2017

The Two Faces of HomosexuaL, Trumpy Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel has said publicly that Trump’s administration is “off to a terrific start.” Privately, he’s told friends that there is a 50% chance the current presidency “ends in disaster.”
Donald Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporter has distanced himself from the president in multiple private conversations, describing at different points this year an “incompetent” administration, and one that may well end in “disaster.”
Peter Thiel’s unguarded remarks have surprised associates, some of whom are still reeling from his full-throated endorsement of Trump at the Republican National Convention. And while the investor stands by the president in public — “I support President Trump in his ongoing fight," he said in a statement to BuzzFeed News — his private doubts underscore the fragility of the president's backing from even his most public allies. Thiel’s comments may sting in particular in the White House as they come amid a series of hasty and embarrassed departures from the Trump train, as conservative voices from the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page to the floor of the US Senate have begun to distance themselves from the administration.
Thiel’s views remain private — but various disparaging comments were recounted to BuzzFeed News by three separate sources, and others who subsequently confirmed those accounts. These people requested anonymity for fear of damaging personal relationships and possible retribution.
While Thiel told Trump that he is off to a “terrific start” at a White House event in June, his previous statements to friends and associates did not reflect that sentiment. In half a dozen private conversations with friends that were described to BuzzFeed News dating from spring 2016 to as recently as May, Thiel, who served on the Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee, has criticized Trump and his administration and developed increasingly pessimistic feelings about the president.
The sources who talked with BuzzFeed News spent time with Thiel in private group settings before and after the election at his homes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Hawaii, engaging in candid discussions on the PayPal cofounder’s politics and his backing of Trump. At one event with friends in January 2017, Thiel said of Trump’s presidency that “there is a 50% chance this whole thing ends in disaster,” according to two people who were in attendance. In other conversations, he questioned the president’s ability to be reelected.
Thiel, through a spokesperson, did not deny any of the quotes attributed to him by his friends and associates when approached by BuzzFeed News.
"The night he won the election, I said President Trump would face an awesomely difficult task,” Thiel said in a statement. "Today it's clear that resistance to change in Washington, D.C. has been even fiercer than I anticipated. We still need change. I support President Trump in his ongoing fight to achieve it.”
Within the White House, Thiel has been one of the few outsiders to crack Trump’s inner circle, which values one characteristic above all else: loyalty. The investor, whose book Zero to Onereportedly became essential reading for Trump campaign staffers, gained that trust after a well-received Republican National Convention speech. Following Trump's election to the presidency, Thiel helped select political appointees for the new administration and as of August, was still advising the president on technology policy matters. During a December 2016 meeting of technology executives in New York City, Trump wrung Thiel’s hand and called him “a very special guy.”
“He got just about the biggest applause at the Republican National Convention,” Trump said as cameras snapped away in a room that included Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. “He’s ahead of the curve, and I want to thank him.”

President Donald Trump shakes the hand of billionaire venture capitalist and transition team member Peter Thiel during a meeting with technology executives at Trump Tower in December.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
President Donald Trump shakes the hand of billionaire venture capitalist and transition team member Peter Thiel during a meeting with technology executives at Trump Tower in December.
Thiel’s views on Trump began to evolve during spring 2016, according to people close to him. In one private event at his home in San Francisco, he was cautious not to fully endorse Trump, but positioned him as a better option than Bernie Sanders, who he considered far too extreme, and Hillary Clinton, who he thought would be disastrous for trade and tax policy. When someone asked about Trump, however, Thiel, who had previously given $2 million to a Super PAC for then–GOP candidate Carly Fiorina, said that the bombastic Republican populist had a much better shot at winning the presidency than most pundits suggested, according to one person in attendance.
By May of that year, the billionaire investor was ready to tie himself to Trump. He was named a California delegate for the RNC that month, and by July, he was announced as a speaker at the event on the same day as the Republican candidate and his daughter Ivanka Trump. The crowd cheered Thiel’s six-minute speech, in which he declared himself proud to be gay and proud to be a Republican, garnering plenty of applause from Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr.
“He saw an opportunity to help somebody, who was not a sure thing, and get in on the ground floor,” said a friend of Thiel’s on his decision to speak at the RNC.
The RNC would be the first time Thiel met with Trump and his family in person. In a private dinner that summer following the event, a person who attended described Thiel as “giddy” and excited about the crowd’s reaction to his speech. This person also told BuzzFeed News that Thiel freely offered his first impressions of the Republican candidate, characterizing him as having “narcissistic tendencies.” He also suggested, in a claim that would be reiterated later, that if Trump were to be elected, there was a half probability that his presidency would end in failure.
The billionaire venture capitalist remained relatively quiet through the summer of 2016, avoiding interviews about Trump and Gawker Media, after Forbes revealed in May that Thiel had been secretly footing former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan's legal bills against the New York news organization. Gawker, which lost a landmark invasion-of-privacy lawsuit in a Florida court and was forced to pay $140 million in damages to Hogan, filed for bankruptcy and sold its assets to Univision Communications in August. Thiel said little publicly about the case.
He spent part of the summer traveling, taking advantage of his American, German, and New Zealand passports, the last of which has garnered its own controversy. Thiel’s Kiwi citizenship, which he’s held since 2011, was not revealed until the New Zealand Herald discovered in January that the government had granted him a passport under an “extraordinary circumstances” exception after he had spent 12 days in the country. “I am happy to say categorically that I have found no other country that aligns more with my view of the future than New Zealand,” Thiel wrote in his 2011 citizenship application, which was later released by the Kiwi government earlier this year after media pressure. Thiel's US$3.5 million property in Queenstown — referred to by locals as "the Plasma Screen" because of its expansive glass facade — was severely damaged in a suspected gas leak fire in August 2016, according to construction documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.
"What Trump represents isn’t crazy and it’s not going away."
That September, Thiel penned an opinion piece for the Washington Post that highlighted Trump’s antiestablishment nature and “heretical denial of Republican dogma,” while largely ignoring the candidate’s policy initiatives. That was followed up by a $1.25 million donation — less than .05% of his $2.7 billion net worth, as estimated by Forbes — to Trump’s campaign in October. In dinners that fall in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Thiel was described by someone who attended both as “excited” and “positive” about Trump, emphasizing how good he would be for tax issues. Thiel’s boyfriend, Matt Danzeisen, also spoke about his support of Trump during at least one of these dinners, though was described as much more moderate, said that person.
Thiel’s only meaningful speaking appearance outside of the RNC came on Halloween day at Washington’s National Press Club, where he delivered a speech on Trump’s promise as a political outsider. "Trump’s agenda is about making America a normal country,” he said. Thiel also spent time addressing the candidate’s flaws, following the release of an Access Hollywoodtape where Trump discussed sexually assaulting a woman. He called the comments “clearly offensive and inappropriate” and later noted in the same speech that “nobody would suggest that Donald Trump is a humble man.”
“No matter what happens in this election, what Trump represents isn’t crazy and it’s not going away,” he said.
At a gathering at his home in Los Angeles the weekend before the election, a source in attendance said Thiel reiterated that point. But in at least one private conversation, Thiel admitted he didn’t have much confidence in either candidate. Whoever wins, he said, will likely be a one-term president, according to a person familiar with the discussion, with Thiel predicting that there would be a major financial catastrophe in the next four years. 
Trump’s victory was a marketing coup for Thiel. With a reputation as a renegade investor whose contrarian but prescient bets on companies like Facebook and SpaceX had paid off handsomely, Thiel — one of the few Silicon Valley elite to openly support Trump — now had a victory in the political sphere. The news media lauded his winning bet, with some speculating he might be named to the Supreme Court, a past dream of the Stanford University law degree holder.
While Thiel quickly shot down rumors of a Supreme Court appointment, he was named to Trump’s transition team. There he worked with two acolytes — Blake Masters, his Zero to Onecoauthor, and Trae Stephens, a former engineer at the Thiel-founded government contractor Palantir Technologies — to source and vet science and technology appointments.
One Trump campaign insider told BuzzFeed News that Thiel had his pick of cabinet positions, but never showed true interest in taking a permanent government job. Instead, he focused on adding his associates to positions of power. Thiel’s former chief of staff Michael Kratsios was named as deputy chief technology officer, while another former colleague, Kevin Harrington, joined the National Security Council as deputy assistant to the president. Justin Mikolay, an evangelist for Palantir — the Thiel-founded data-analysis company — was given a role in the Defense Department.
Thiel and his associates managed to steer clear of much of the infighting that troubled the Trump transition team in its early days. But they didn't escape unscathed. One source in a position to know told BuzzFeed News that when other transition members discovered that Stephens had not voted for Trump, he was summarily isolated from the group, souring some people’s perspectives on progress with the weeks-old administration.
"There is a 50% chance this whole thing ends in disaster."
A spokesperson at Founders Fund, the Thiel-led venture capital outfit where Stephens is now a partner, declined to comment.
After organizing a meeting with technology leaders at Manhattan’s Trump Tower in December, where he was thanked profusely by the president-elect, Thiel spent the New Year’s holiday in Maui with about a dozen friends. While he worked for some of the time, he engaged with his close friends at meals and events, debating Trump’s merits with some of his more liberal attendees. According to two people in attendance, Thiel described the administration as a work in progress and discounted the suggestion that progress on social issues like gay marriage might be rolled back in the next four years. But these same people said Thiel tempered his enthusiasm with a caveat during one meal, remarking that "there is a 50% chance this whole thing ends in disaster."
After about a week of relaxing in Maui, his guests, who included Y-Combinator President Sam Altman for part of the time, headed back to their jobs. Thiel readied himself to go back to New York, and later, the inauguration. 
Thiel was one of the few chosen for a seat at the inauguration morning service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and sat near the president during Trump's inauguration speech on January 20, BuzzFeed News has confirmed. In addition, on the night before the inauguration, he made an appearance at a Trump supporter event called the DeploraBall, but quickly left after being approached by reporters (including one from BuzzFeed News) inquiring about his role on Trump's transition team.
Later that month, he was back at his home in the Hollywood Hills, hosting a dinner in celebration for Hulk Hogan. While the two had never come into personal contact during the Gawker lawsuit, they met after the trial and became somewhat close. Thiel had even dressed up like the former WWE superstar during a December celebration at Trump donor Robert Mercer’s home.
The January dinner in Los Angeles was billed as a celebration of the former professional wrestler, and was also attended by Hogan’s attorney Charles Harder and other guests, who went home with goody bags of Hogan memorabilia. One guest in attendance recalled light political discussion, but nothing notable about Trump. Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, would also speak about his life at the San Francisco office of Thiel Capital, Thiel's private investment firm.
“There’s some resonances between Hogan beating Gawker and Trump beating the establishment in this country,” Thiel told the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd in a preinauguration conversation, perhaps the most revealing interview the billionaire has given in the last year.
“I always have very low expectations, so I’m rarely disappointed,” he said of his role in the administration.
Even with his low expectations and his views on possible failure, Thiel hasn’t completely hidden his disappointment. At an event in May in San Francisco, he was described by one guest who was in attendance as “annoyed” with the first months of Trump’s presidency. With little policy being established by the White House, Thiel worried that the the next four years would be defined by stagnation and stressed the notion that he didn’t think Trump would be reelected.
In describing the administration, Thiel used one defining word in front of his guests: “incompetent.”●

BuzzfeedRyan Mac
With reporting from Nicola Harvey in Sydney.

April 3, 2017

Texas Rep Quotes Bible: “if man won’t work, he shall not eat” No Snaps

Texas Rep. Jodney Arrington quoted 2 Thessalonians 3:10, which says “ f a man will not work, he shall not eat” No SNAPS or Food Coupons.
I am sure you are aware you can justify almost anything using the Bible. Anything,  from abandoning your family to throwing a man to the lions or stoning to death women and homosexuals. 
In the age of the Trump type of politics and by that I mean the anything goes rhetoric; One should not be surprised that some GOP government official, which has been voted into office,  would pick up a passage of the bible to say we should not have Snaps (Food) to help for the poor. They dropped Gay people from getting the wrath of the Bible to be replaced by the poor and the non Christians, particularly Muslims it seems. But like one of my niece’s would say “this is the word of god.” 
The god these people follow is damn hard but please read on. 

A GOP lawmaker quoted the New Testament earlier this week to question why the country does not have more stringent work requirements for those on government welfare like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

In a House Agriculture Committee hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, took the opportunity to read from the Bible after a witness in the hearing referenced a passage from Leviticus in his testimony.

“I think that’s a great reflection on the character of God and compassion of God’s heart and how we ought to reflect that compassion in our lives,” Arrington said, before turning to a different Bible chapter.

Citing 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Arrington implied that even Jesus himself thought that people should work for their food.

“The scripture tells us in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3:10, he says, ‘for even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat. And then he goes on to say ‘we hear that some among you are idle.’ . . . I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements,” Arrington said. 

“I think every American — Republican and Democrat — wants to help the neediest among us,” he continued. “And I think that it is a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements. I think that gives more credibility, quite frankly, to SNAP.”

The congressman then allowed the panel of witnesses to address his concerns.

Russell Sykes, a senior fellow at the Empire Center for Public Policy, who was a witness in the committee’s hearing, reminded Arrington that a lot of people on SNAP are not able bodied and therefore would not be able to meet a mandatory work requirement.

Able-bodied SNAP participants do have to work to receive the benefits under current rules. Children, seniors and those with disabilities comprise almost two-thirds of all SNAP participants.

Taylor Link is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_ or click on his name.

March 16, 2017

Trump Admin Said You Are Not being Served on Meals on Wheels

Fortune magazine said yesterday the popular program M onW wont be cut but today on a news conference with the WH pool of reporters today budget director Mick Mulvaney finally put this to rest. 

Fortune was wrong yesterday about saying this wont happen and so are people over 55  and people with disabilities that voted for a man that promised to cut all of these programs and give it to the military. People still refuse to believe that all the drastic things that Trump promised while running, He didn’t mean because that would be drastic and no president would do that. But if his imagining and tweeting he is being wired-tap by the exPresident or people are following him when is only his secret service detail, then you are thick. Be happy or be gone seems to be what some are saying you bought don’t play dumb now. 

The budget director on the Trump administration Mick Mulvany said that they see don’t see any good out of the Meals program. There should be something we are getting out of the Programs we fund He said. If “the administration has to tell a single poor mom why they are taking her money and spending on M on W  He said that would be irresponsible. He also stated they(admin) don’t administer or really fund wheels on meals but instead they give the money to the states in block grants and the states decide to fund meal on wheels.


Throughout his campaign for president and since his election, Donald Trump has promised to reduce the size of government, cut taxes, eliminate regulations and slash numerous social programs, even as he boosts defense spending by billions.

His recently released budget proposal makes it clear he’s going to follow through on those threats.

One popular program facing elimination is “Meals On Wheels,” which uses federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to mobilize volunteers, businesses and donors to provide nutrition to thousands of senior citizens on a daily basis. It supports over 5,000 community-based organizations across America, reaching people in both urban and rural areas. 
The money for Meals On Wheels is part of the Older American Act, first passed in 1965 as part of LBJ’s Great Society, and endorsed by every president until Trump. The total cost, which includes other programs, is about $2 billion a year, which is less than the government hands out in fossil fuel subsidies every year.

Meals On Wheels alone costs about $3 million a year, which is the cost of just one trip to Trump’s “winter White House.”

On top of that, Trump’s proposed budget would “drastically reduce” the budget of the Food For Peace program, a State Department program that distributes desperately needed food supplies to areas across the globe that have been hit by famine or natural disaster. Since its creation in 1954 by President Eisenhower, it has helped feed more than 3 billion people.

It too has a budget that barely scratches $2 billion dollars – a drop in the bucket compared to the $54 billion that Trump is planning to pour into the military budget. 
Overall, the entire State Department budget also faces the ax, with a proposal to cut the $50 billion budget by almost one-third. It could have been worse, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a plea to ease the cuts, which in an earlier version were at a staggering 37 percent.

The needless cuts to critically important programs like Meals on Wheels and Food For Peace are literally taking food out of the mouths of hungry people. The State Department’s work around the world helps millions of people and builds much-needed goodwill for America’s international reputation, which has been dragged through the mud by President Trump’s abrasive isolationism.

Luckily, there was immediately Republican opposition to many of the proposed cuts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says his party will not go along with the massive cuts to the State Department budget. Among the cuts, he said Republicans will oppose cuts in funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

Elderly people voted overwhelmingly for President Trump – and this is how he’s choosing to repay them. In 2014, 10.2 million American seniors faced the risk of hunger – a staggering 15% of all elder Americans. Trump needs to be pouring money into “Meals On Wheels,” not taking an axe to it.

It is absolutely appalling that in the richest nation in the world, our seniors cannot live their golden years without worrying where their next meal is coming from. Trump’s budget priorities tell you all you need to know about how he really feels about the struggles of the American people.

President Trump has made it clear once and for all that he cares nothing for the American people who are unlikely to ever dine with him at Mar-A-Lago and is willing to send millions of the most vulnerable into food insecurity and poverty just so that he can funnel the public’s money into the pockets of defense contractors and the ultra wealthy.

and adamfoxie blog intro.

April 4, 2015

Missouri Republicans Want People Not to Buy Steaks with SNAPS(food stamps)


In 2013, Fox News proudly broadcast an interview with a young food stamp recipient who claimed to be using the government benefit to purchase lobster and sushi.
"This is the way I want to live and I don’t really see anything changing," Jason Greenslate explained to Fox. “It’s free food; it’s awesome."
That story fit a longtime conservative suspicion that poor people use food stamps to purchase luxury items. Now, a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri is pushing for legislation that would stop people like Greenslate and severely limit what food stamp recipients can buy. The bill being proposed would ban the purchase with food stamps of "cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak."
"The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to it's original intent, which is nutrition assistance," said Rick Brattin, the representative who is sponsoring the proposed legislation.
Curbing food stamp purchases of cookies, chips, energy drinks, and soft drinks at least falls in line with the food stamp program's mission to provide nutrition. Nutrition experts are already discussing whether to remove unhealthy items from the list of foods participants can buy.
But seafood and steak? Seafood has been shown, time and again, to be a healthy part of any diet. And steak is such a broad category that it's essentially banning people from buying any flat cuts of beef, from porterhouse to flank.
"It just seems really repressive," said Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University and author of the book Living on the Edge: The Realities of Welfare in America. "I don't see how it makes any sense to ban some of these foods. Fish is something that should really be in your diet. And steak, what does that mean in this context?"
Brattin admits that the language might need some tweaking. "My intention wasn't to get rid of canned tuna and fish sticks," he said. But he also insists that people are abusing the system by purchasing luxury foods, and believes that that must be stopped, even if it ends up requiring the inclusion of other less luxurious items."I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards," he said. "When I can't afford it on my pay, I don't want people on the taxpayer's dime to afford those kinds of foods either."
Currently, a household of one can qualify for up to $194 dollars a month, or fewer than $7 dollars day, as part of SNAP, according to the Department of Agriculture. For a household of two, it's roughly twice that. For a household of three, it's about three times the amount.
It doesn't take too much math to figure out that foods like lobster aren't exactly within a recipient's budget. And it's also hard to draw conclusions based on a single purchase. What if that family that was purchasing a more expensive cut of meat had subsisted on cheaper canned goods for the past month in order to afford it?
Brattin's proposal is part of what Rank laments is a long history of stigmatizing food stamps and welfare programs in America. Ronald Reagan famously told the story of one "welfare queen" as though she were representative of the system at large. Rank says that today, the myth is perpetuated using similar anecdotes, like the Fox example, which he argued should be viewed as distortions of reality.
"There are some isolated cases of abuse, sure," said Rank. "But they are hardly representative of what the people struggling to get by on SNAP are actually buying... These people are spending their money extremely frugally."
Brattin says his bill is about making the food stamp program revolve around nutrition, but it also touches on more than that: whether poor people should be allowed to purchase foods that are deemed fancy. And Rank argues that this crosses a line.
"More than anything else, I think this is about controlling people," said Rank. "We should be treating people who are in poverty the same way we treat everyone else."
Roberto A. Ferdman is a reporter for Wonkblog covering food, economics, immigration and other things. He was previously a staff writer at Quartz.

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