Having a Juneteenth cookout? Eat the rich!
Saturday will be Juneteenth, the now-national holiday marking the arrival in Texas — two years late — of the news of the Emancipation Proclamation. The nice class traitors at Patriotic Millionaires, who have long called for the government to raise their taxes please, have some thoughts on Juneteenth. They'd like to remind you that the holiday is both an opportunity to celebrate how far this dumb country of ours has come from the Worst Old Days, and to note that there's a hell of a long way to go before we reach real equal opportunity for all Americans.
As any honest history class should teach the youngs, the legacy of enslavement didn't end with the Civil War, but was built into the social and economic fabric of post-Reconstruction America. And thanks to deliberately discriminatory policies, an economic version of Jim Crow, we still have a terrible racial wealth gap. Oh, look, here is a chart!
Wealth in the U.S. is disproportionately owned by White families; In 2019, the net worth of a typical White family was $189,100, over 7 times more than the $24,100 average of the median Black family. These extreme inequities are a result of generations of policies enacted solely to protect White wealth.
The U.S. government intentionally blocked Black families from wealth-building ventures and opportunities; whether that be through denying FHA loans and GI bill benefits, astronomical student loan debt with little forgiveness, or various other banking or business programs offered only to white Americans.
You see, first came the explicitly racist policies that prevented Black families from building wealth in the first place. On top of that, you can pile the tax code's favoritism when it comes to how rewarding wealth over work (see the recent ProPublica reporting on how the richest Americans avoid taxes) locks in the disparities caused by policies like redlining or federal housing loans. While you're at it, you can add in things like the GI Bill's nominally race-neutral mortgage subsidies, which relied on local banks that definitely did discriminate against nonwhite loan applicants.
What you end up with is a tax code that may not say one word about race, but which locks in the racial disparities in wealth that did result from open discrimination in the past. As the Millionaires point out, "Thanks to the significant wealth gap, any loopholes that give an advantage to pre-existing wealth puts Black families at a disadvantage."
And that's what systemic racism is all about, Charlie Brown.
For a case in point, consider
tax preferences like a substantially lower tax rate on capital gains, and loopholes like the stepped-up basis. The stepped-up basis allows inheritors of large fortunes or assets, to avoid paying taxes on their assets or inheritance while folks who earn their living through a paycheck (as many Black families do in the U.S.) end up paying a higher tax rate than the wealthy heirs. How are Black families ever supposed to catch up when the money they earn is taxed more harshly than the money that already wealthy white families accumulate?
Another example, as noted by Emory University tax law professor Dorothy Brown in a recent podcast interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes: When people sell their homes, the first $500,000 in profit is free from capital gains taxes. That seems perfectly race neutral until you remember that for most of the 20th century, Black families were structurally locked out of home ownership, AND that homes are the single biggest source of wealth (and equity) for most American families. And while you're at it, you can add in the fun fact that since most public schools are funded by local property taxes, the home-value inequities of the past have reinforced gaps in school funding and educational disparities right up to now.
Brown notes other ways in which the tax code, which is facially completely unconcerned with race, ends up reinforcing the racial wealth gap, like the assumption that the norm for American families is a single breadwinner and a stay-at-home mom. Historically, more Black families have had two breadwinners making roughly the same pay, so the "marriage penalty" has a larger effect on Black families as a group. (Brown realized this when she was a brand-new accountant and did her parents' taxes; she couldn't believe they owed roughly the same in tax as she did, although she made much more than both parents combined.)
Damn right I've bought Brown's book, The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans — and How We Can Fix It. Should we do a Wonket book club?
In any case, the Patriotic Millionaires have some suggestions, since they seem to have read Brown and other scholars on all this. Without getting too specific, they call for Congress to "prioritize ambitious changes to the tax code that has been rigged against poor Black families for decades," and have some advice for the Biden administration:
In order to combat the widening racial wealth gap, we must reconstruct our tax code. We need wealthy folks to pay their fair share in taxes, we need to eradicate unfair loopholes, and we need to get serious and really crack down on our enforcement of tax cheats.
Sounds good to us, and way more useful than censoring US history or banning protesters from burning the occasional flag.
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If it's Thursday, it's a good day for some shit-talking, and lucky for you, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen went on the Lincoln Project podcast, and oh my GOD, he talked some shit. You know, like how if Donald Trump had to pick one of his children to go to jail, he would pick Donald Trump Jr. and not Ivanka. We all knew that deep in our hearts, because we all know how Trump really feels about the unfortunate thing that happened the first time one of his moron sperms made a baby with a human egg.
They were talking about news that Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg just might get indicted sometime soon, and Cohen said this is the order of prison-going, if Trump were to let his children take the fall for him, which is a thing he would totally do. Apparently this was also in Cohen's book Disloyal, but we didn't read that:
COHEN: It's Don, Eric, then Ivanka. [...] It's Don Jr. first.
He then told that story about the Trump SoHo deal back in the day and how it looked at one point like Vanky and Junior were going to get indicted, and Cohen said Trump said, "If one of the two has to end up going [to prison], let it be Don. He can handle it."
Is it just because Trump would throw literally anyone under the bus, including his flesh and blood, to save himself, or is it that he just really particularly also hates Don Jr.? Sounds like it is both! Cohen allowed that Ivanka would go to prison before Trump let himself go. "Rest assured, she goes before he does. Melania would go before Donald would go."
But Cohen also talked about just how nasty Trump is to his firstborn idiot.
COHEN: Don makes a mistake, he was on top of him, and he would denigrate him in front of anyone. It didn't make a difference, to the doorman, to his driver, to the guy who's delivering soda, it made no difference.
We all know the "Diaper Don" stories about how Don Jr. allegedly spent college peeing on himself and getting hit by his dad in front of his friends, allegedly. Which is just very cruel and tells you a lot about why Junior is the way he is. Of course, we're pretty sure if most people reproduced and Don Jr. came out, they'd be horribly sad and disappointed and ashamed. That's the last sentence in this paragraph.
Cohen's point was that all these people who are still carrying water for Trump, lying for Trump, maybe committing crimes for Trump, all of them will get fucked if it means Trump escapes. Whatever they're doing for him, "Donald wouldn't do the same for you." He emphasized, "Donald wouldn't do the same for his children." In case it wasn't clear, he said, "Donald's not gonna save you, DUMBASS."
Reflecting on just how close Allen Weisselberg is to the organization, just how many buried bodies Weisselberg knows the locations of, Cohen said if Trump had to pick who got to stay at the company, Weisselberg or the kids, he'd say, "Hey kids, pack up." To any of those who find themselves within a "stone's throw from a complete indictment," Cohen said, "Fuckin' RUN. Just run. Go to Russia. Ask Vladimir for diplomatic immunity and get the hell out of here."
So that was fun.
This was also very hilarious. The hosts were curious if Trump even gets how much his hometown of New York despises him, and Cohen said yeah probably. Which led to this quote:
COHEN: The only one that I think is still left here is Eric, you know, nobody even knows where Melania and Barron are. I mean, for all you know, they're on Jeff Bezos's space shuttle now. So, nobody even knows. And truth be told, nobody even cares. But he knows that he's despised and that's one of the reasons he walks around Mar-a-Lago, right? Which is sort of an insane asylum for incredibly wealthy sycophants who want to sit there and pet the fat ass of Donald Trump.
Man, this guy knows how to talk some shit.
Cohen also shared his exact prescription for how you solve a problem like Donald Trump: "The only way for Donald Trump to be destroyed is he has to go to prison." His mouth to God's ears.
We don't have time to listen to the entire podcast appearance, but you do probably. RawStory reports that Cohen said Trump probably fucking LOVED the January 6 terrorist attack he incited, and probably thought it was "better than sex." He said Rudy Giuliani's about to fuck around and find out just how fast Trump is going to abandon him. He talked about how Trump "thinks he's a tough guy," but really he "waddles and he mumbles."
Oh yeah, and he said he's seen Trump in his underpants and that's why he can't sleep anymore.
Here's the video of the podcast!
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A group of Republican senators led by Steve Daines (R-Montana) marked Flag Day Monday by introducing yet another constitutional amendment to ban the "physical desecration of the American flag." In a possible nod to the First Amendment, the mental or verbal desecration of the flag would presumably remain legal. This is the third time Daines has introduced such an amendment.
Daines's amendment was co-sponsored by fellow Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Kevin Cramer (North Dakota), and Mike Crapo (Idaho). It's unclear whether any senators farther along in the alphabet than Daines would be joining in.
It's also not clear whether there's really much support for another go at banning flag burning; as culture war issues go, it feels like its day has passed. When we hear about amending the Constitution to protect the stars and stripes, we think of Michael Dukakis riding around in a tank and President Dana Carvey saying "Nah gunnah duuit."
But then, we thought Donald Trump would fail at igniting a fight over how American history should be taught, so we may not be the best judges of what shiny object the Right will fixate on next.
In a statement, Daines said the sacred piece of fabric must be protected, because the troops and also liberty:
The American flag is a symbol of liberty and a beacon of hope. It represents the ideals that our nation was built upon and for decades, brave men and women have carried its colors into battle to defend the United States of America. The Stars and Stripes are a representation of freedom. We must always protect and respect the American flag.
That's actually a good bit longer than the actual text of the proposed amendment, which simply reads, ''The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.''
When Daines first introduced his pet constitutional amendment in 2018, he also included a list of 50 incidents of flag burning or desecration that occurred since 2014, so there's your crisis. It includes at least two flags burned during Black Lives Matter protests, a number of flag burnings in protest of Donald Trump, and quite a few incidents where flags were anonymously taken down and burned/vandalized during the night.
Also, since March of last year, 600,000 Americans died of COVID-19, so we really need to make sure their memory is honored by preventing the symbolic desecration of a symbol.
Also, let's not forget that the Right loves America's flag so much that they consider it the perfect thing to bludgeon police with while trying to overturn a democratic election.
No telling whether Daines's amendment will catch fire. Earlier this year, Matt Gaetz got nowhere when he tried stirring up patriotic fervor by demanding that each meeting of the House Judiciary Committee begin with the Pledge of Allegiance, particularly since everyone pointed out that the full House says the pledge every morning.
There are so many other objects of "patriotic" backlash these days, stoking paranoia about cancel culture, attempts to cancel the teaching of accurate American history, the burning need to cancel appropriate medical care for trans teens, and moves to cancel the wrong sort of Americans from voting. A lot will depend on whether the rightwing mediasphere decides to push it. If Tucker Carlson starts crying about the dangerous antifa and Black Lives Matter flag burners, then you'd better bet the amendment will become an issue in the 2022 midterm elections.
Or maybe by then the Right will have found some glorious new fuckery to lose its shit over.
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May their names be a stain.
Wonderful news, America. All of Congress has voted, and for the first time in a very long time, we have a new federal holiday, and it is Juneteenth, commemorating the day — over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation — when the last enslaved people, in Galveston, Texas, found out they were free. (Okay, there was peonage slavery until 1963, but it was illegal too.) As Juneteenth falls on June 19, that means it's Saturday. President Joe Biden will sign the bill later this afternoon.
In the Senate, the vote was unanimous. (Yes, really. It was the absolute least some of those Republicans could do.) And in the House, the vote yesterday afternoon was ... not unanimous. But it was close to unanimous, at 415 to 14.
Wonkette believes in writing things down for history's sake, so here are the 14 absolute garbage piece of shit white men in the House who couldn't bring themselves to vote to recognize a celebration of the end of slavery. May their names be a stain on their history books. When you read this list, you'll see that most of these men's names were already a stain before this vote. This just adds to it.
- Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.
- Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.
- Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.
- Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Wis.
- Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif.
- Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.
- Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C.
- Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas
- Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.
- Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.
- Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont.
- Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas
- Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.
- Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga.
If your rep is on there, congratulations, that's what you have representing you in Congress. There's Mo Brooks, the seditionist rep who's currently trying to have a process server arrested for doing their job and serving him with a lawsuit. There's Paul Gosar, who took a break from treating Capitol cops like shit to treat Black people like shit. (Indeed, there's some overlap between this list and the list of 21 who just couldn't bring themselves to vote for Congressional Gold Medals for the officers who defended them on January 6.)
There's Andrew Clyde, who called the January 6 attack a "tourist visit." Yesterday, he refused to shake the hand of one of the Capitol cops injured that day. There's that batshit former Trump doctor Ronny Jackson, who just ... we don't know what's wrong with that guy. We seriously don't.
USA Today shares some of these slave state throwbacks' reasons for voting against Juneteenth. Here's Doctor Ronny!
"We have enough federal holidays right now. I just don't see the reason in doing it," he said. "I don't think it rises to the level I'm going to support it."
It just doesn't "rise to the level" for him, commemorating the end of slavery.
Thomas Massie, a true goddamned idiot, is just really worried people are going to get Juneteenth confused with the Fourth of July:
"I fully support creating a day to celebrate the abolition of slavery, a dark portion of our nation's history. However, naming this day 'national independence day' will create confusion and push Americans to pick one of those two days as their independence day based on their racial identity," Massie said on the House floor. "Why can't we name this 'emancipation day' and come together as Americans and celebrate that day together as Americans?"
That's right, MASS CONFUSIONS! How will people be able to tell the two holidays apart when the dates the respective holidays are held are either mostly or fully in the name of the holidays? Also, has anybody told Rep. Massie that Black people have been celebrating Juneteenth since fucking forever?
Rep. Chip Roy similarly said calling it "Juneteenth National Independence Day" was just too confusing and divisive. You know, for racist white people.
The most insane and racist and lie-filled ignorant bullshit we've seen came from Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale. It's truly breathtaking.
"Let's call an ace an ace. This is an effort by the Left to create a day out of whole cloth to celebrate identity politics as part of its larger efforts to make Critical Race Theory the reigning ideology of our country. Since I believe in treating everyone equally, regardless of race, and that we should be focused on what unites us rather than our differences, I will vote no."
Don't even try to factcheck it, because the glue-sniffing moron is so far outside of reality as to render factchecking a futile act. He thinks the Left just "made up" Juneteenth five minutes ago. He barks racist rabies words about "Critical Race Theory." He, of course, makes it about how Juneteenth makes white racists FEEEEEEEEL. Fucking snowflakes.
As Matt Rosendale is Editrix Rebecca's personal congressman, we have a feeling she just might write a letter to her congressman today, right here on Wonkette.
As for the rest of us, Juneteenth is Saturday, and that is something worth celebrating.
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