Monday, February 12, 2018

Nunes Declares War

I really couldn't pass up gentleman farmer Devin Nunes taking time out from his busy schedule fabricating plots by the FBI, the Democratic Party, the retired journalists of the Wall Street Journal and the retired spies of MI6, and I believe the Order of the Templars, to spy on the totally innocent businessman Carter Page in the hope that this would somehow stop Donald Trump from getting elected sometime after he got elected (good cooking takes time!)...

... using his appearance on Fox News to invoke the specter of class war:
Really. I didn't expect to agree with Devin Nunes about anything, but he's got a point, when you think about it. I think about Speaker Paul Ryan and his famous account of who he thinks are the people who make this country work:

“Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes,” Ryan said. “So we’re going to a majority of takers versus makers in America and that will be tough to come back from that. They’ll be dependent on the government for their livelihoods [rather] than themselves.”
And moving on from the cold war of Ryan and Willard Mitt Romney whining about this imaginary problem in 2012 to the hot war of the Republican leadership in the White House and Congress right now, ramming through a tax cut aimed overwhelmingly at the people in the Beltway, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and in gated communities all over the country who "make the country work" according to the Ryan theory:

Via Vox.
Via NPR.
And hearing this morning some of the details about Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney (when he can take time out from his duties as Director of the Office of Management and Budget):
Within weeks of coming on board, Mulvaney has worked to make the watchdog agency less aggressive. Under his leadership, the CFPB delayed a new payday lending regulation from going into effect and dropped an investigation into one payday lender who contributed to Mulvaney's campaign. In another move that particularly upset some staffers, the new boss also dropped a lawsuit against an alleged online loan shark called Golden Valley Lending. The suit says the lender illegally charges people up to 950 percent interest rates. It took CFPB staffers years to build the case.
"People are devastated and angry — just imagine how you would feel if years of your life had been dedicated to pursuing justice and you lose everything," says Christopher Peterson, a former Office of Enforcement attorney at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who worked on this particular case early on.
And then, Trump-style, trying to lie about it:
Mulvaney declined requests for an interview. In an email, his press representative first said the decision to drop the Golden Valley lawsuit was made by "professional career staff" and not Mulvaney.
But several CFPB staffers that NPR spoke to say that's not true. The staffers, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs, say Mulvaney decided to drop the lawsuit even though the entire career enforcement staff wanted to press ahead with it.
After repeated questioning from NPR, Mulvaney's press person acknowledged that Mulvaney was indeed involved in the decision to drop the lawsuit.
As a careful Germanist, I would never translate Marx's famous expression Klassenkampf as "class war", as opposed to the more familiar and appropriate "class struggle", and as a good social democrat, I would insist that the concept of class struggle is kind of like the Muslim concept of jihad, neither necessarily violent nor unresolvable. But what's been going on around here is aptly described in those unexpected words from Nunes: an open attack by rent collectors to do real harm to people who build things.

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