Racing toward a different kind of world with apathy and elan… America descending

I’ve written about this before in other venues, been criticized for the analogy accordingly, but I truly never better understood until recently, if at all, how the German people allowed such a bizarre, motley crew of bigoted fanatics, political extremists, and the outright criminally insane… how they allowed such dangerous, posturing fools as those surrounding Hitler to march them so proudly into self-destructive trends with such obvious intent from the outset.  One need only read Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, which was published in two volumes in 1925 & 1926 to understand how he might respond in the 1930’s and 1940’s as a leader of the German Reich.  The predictability was stunning.

AFP_L72YNBy the same token, one need only observe the people surrounding Trump… to have listened to everything Trump was saying before he was elected to the office of the presidency of the United States in order to not only know how he would respond to the power given him, but to accurately predict that he would seek to abuse the office, broach the legal limits thereof, and to personally enrich himself from a position of authority in our government.

Nonetheless, early and numerous critics of his amoral and despotic style notwithstanding, who among the red-hatted throngs that followed him from the start could possibly predict that Trump would so easily discern the corruption around him and use the profound lack of integrity extant in American politics today to his advantage in dismantling the very government and its Constitution which he is theoretically sworn to uphold and protect?  Certainly they cannot still be blind to his character… or, more properly, his lack thereof. Do they even care?  And if not, why not?

So many American people, like the Germans before them, seem to need and to love a strong man who will soothe their fears concerning uneasy perceptions of threats from within and without.  For all their denial… for those, at least, who do not say such things aloud for fear of criticism… his message is unwavering and infinitely clear.  It’s a very dark message.  Is it now the message of America?

I’m reminded of the Bible verse, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

I have no doubt that the critics of Hitler, those who were not fooled by their fears, could easily discern the subliminal truth in the evil of his message.  Were they happy enough to shrug their objections aside when the German economy rebounded as it re-armed itself with a mad sort of pride in its growing invincibility?  Is that why they let him continue?

They did, you know… let Hitler continue.  He could never have done what he did if they’d truly opposed him when opposition was possible.  Is that what’s happening here?

 

Why you really should pay some attention and why Congress doesn’t take meaningful action….

It’s rather simple and it has been obvious from the beginning that the reason the GOP and many Democrats continue to act as though Trump cannot or should not be stopped is that he is doing exactly what they have wanted for decades, to dismantle the Federal government… agency by agency… and to stack the Federal courts with judges who will continue the process of deregulation of protections and safeguards established for consumers and average citizens… and to buttress the corporate-friendly policy of decentralization of government in the judiciary for decades to come.
I’ve re-iterated this point from the beginning and watched the maze of daily crises and programs of disinformation in the media continue to distract from that one issue that really matters, the dismantling of a Federal government which is the only guarantor of those concepts that have set us apart as a nation, justice and equality before the law. As corporate interests have gained control of local and state governments with untold millions in dark money and a concerted campaign to control the voting processes, with Trump in the White House, those same forces are now able to deliver the ultimate coup and establish the autocracy of wealth and privilege they’ve always wanted, essentially destroying even the illusion of representative democracy.
It’s past the point that they even try to conceal what they are doing…
Wake up, America. Just wake up !!

The real Trump agenda and why it will never be stopped (Click here)

What is this Green New Deal exactly? And why are Republicans….

…..and neo-liberal Democrats so dead set against it they are ready to dismiss it quite out of hand?

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) were joined by Democratic lawmakers from both the House and Senate on February 7, 2019, to introduce Green New Deal legislation. (Photo- Stefani Reynolds)

Chances are you’ve heard people both praise and vilify House Resolution 109, otherwise known as the Green New Deal, but it’s just as likely that you haven’t really been given a sense of what it is and what it contains.  A bold, expansive document, it is a comprehensive listing of priorities for the Congress and Senate to consider as it tackles issues that many Americans perceive as necessary for the survival of our basic institutions and the future well-being of all Americans… with the emphasis on the word “ALL…”   The document specifically outlines a series of problems that affect every American and provides solutions that benefit our collective interests, addressing not only the devastating and observable effects of man-made global warming, but advancing the perspective that the radical changes we must use to correct them should incorporate methods that benefit every American, such that no single group or segment of our population is forced to bear a disproportionate share of the necessary cost.  Indeed, if all the proposals are implemented, the plan could very well rebuild our infrastructure, strengthen our nation, and provide a more egalitarian economy simultaneously.

I’ll be writing about the Green New Deal in several posts over the coming weeks, but for now, I would like to give you a link to the House Resolution, so you can read it yourself.  Click on the link below for a .pdf file:

HR109 – The Green New Deal

The Resolution is presented in the usual legal format.  I’ve produced a file that presents the same text in a more readable outline form and will post it here soon.

Watch this space !! 

If you do?  You could become an expert on the Green New Deal… able to leap tall misperceptions with a single declarative sentence… able to deflect the speeding bullet-points of right-wing detractors… and you could become the envy of all your progressive friends, while standing for truth, justice, and the American way.

If I could be given a super power, that’s what I’d ask for.

“The only thing necessary…

…for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

So… with a false and thoroughly premature public dismissal of the Mueller report, before anyone beyond the Trump-friendly Attorney General, a man who was selected, one has to believe, for his recorded disdain for the investigation, has even had the chance to read its content, Trump declares himself vindicated and imagines himself free to pursue his campaign to flesh out the foundations of his autocratic political stronghold. And why wouldn’t he? Nancy Pelosi made it clear she is not interested in impeachment and the Senate? Trump territory, no spine to be seen therein to take a stand for democracy and justice. What’s good for corporations is good for the Senate and Trump has shown a willingness to play for pay and to dismantle those troubling regulatory agencies in the Federal government that corporations would like to have neutered and unable to inhibit their predatory practices in pursuit of profit.

Trump is free to act as though resistance is quite as it seems… futile. In a New York Times report by Robert Pear, also published on March 25th, we read, “The Trump administration broadened its attack on the Affordable Care Act on Monday, telling a federal appeals court that it now believed the entire law should be invalidated.” This sudden change in direction, a bold move by the Trump administration could entirely undermine and eventually destroy Obamacare, a move that is not only politically unsettling to his own party, but also threatens the stability of the insurance industry… to say nothing of the more than 100 million Americans who may lose their health insurance. But if Trump doesn’t want it? Consider it gone and to hell with the consequence.

In the Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey reported on the same day that, “… at an Oval Office meeting on Feb. 22, Trump asked top advisers for ways to limit federal support from going to Puerto Rico, believing it is taking money that should be going to the mainland, according to senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of the president’s private remarks.”  Trump has never been shy about expressing his disdain for the people of Puerto Rico, acting almost as if he is ignorant… or even contemptuous… of the fact that they are citizens of the United States and not foreigners in another poor and powerless “S***hole country” of the Third World as he has so scornfully described some African nations in the past.

Again in the Times, we read a report on Monday by Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos, “President Trump and his Republican allies went on the offensive on Monday, vowing to pursue and even punish those responsible for the Russia investigation now that the special counsel has wrapped up without implicating him or his campaign in a criminal conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.  Mr. Trump, grim faced and simmering with anger, denounced adversaries who have pounded him for two years over Russian election interference, calling them ‘treasonous’ people who are guilty of ‘evil’ deeds and should be investigated themselves. ‘Those people will certainly be looked at,’ he said.”  These chilling remarks are worthy of any dictator… but certainly not worthy of an American president, nor of any other leader in any nation of the free world.

By taking an unprecedented step in recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and receiving Netanyahu as friend and ally, Trump not only bolstered the strong man of Israel’s shaky political underpinnings, but sent a message to another strong man in Russia, his old friend Putin, concerning Russia’s annexation of Crimea that America no longer stands up for oppressed nations around the world.  This sort of unsettling unorthodoxy is never surprising when it is preceded by the name of Trump… and that in itself should be an alarm bell, in that any single event prompted by such dangerous perspectives would normally be enough to rally protest and ensure censure, but as each day passes, marking the bold, uncontested crossing of yet another Rubicon by Julius Trump, our Congress does nothing and the Senate seems obsequious in its silent assent.

All the signs are there… dire threats to his critics and the press, unwillingness to even consider political consequences for himself or his party, the negation of our nation’s treaties and longstanding international alliances, and the embrace of dictators, murderous strong men, and similarly corrupt individuals within the private and public spheres of influence in America.  All that is required of his enablers is that they give him unquestioned loyalty… for which he is willing to provide an open hand and an unfettered, unimpeachable license to steal.

The question, America, is this… what are you going to do about it?

It comes to this…

We expected too much from the Mueller report. It had already done much to expose rampant corruption within the Trump Presidential campaign, leading to the conviction of many prominent members of his campaign leadership, but the job is far from done. Trump’s Attorney General demonstrated reluctance to do his job in yesterday’s letter to Congress. Subsequently, Congress will have to do its job of oversight. And it’s obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to the abuse of power and the unprecedented levels of misconduct that it will take years for Congress to unravel the full extent of corruption within the Trump administration. Even when and if they do, a GOP Senate will continue to protect him because he gives them and their sponsors in the corporate world everything they ever dreamed of, such as a weak Federal government, unable to protect Americans from corporate crime… and tax breaks designed to make the wealthy few even more obscenely rich than they ever dared to hope.

Ultimately, it will take an unprecedented reformation of Congress and the Senate, drastic change that only an informed electorate and a clean sweep of our government through election can effect in order to finally fix the mess that we are in. Maybe, even more than Trump, America itself needs a full investigation. The whole nation, top down, bottom up…

In a democratic republic such as ours, what is the institution of justice if not an expression of our collective and prevalent morality? In any democratically elected government where a candidate for the highest office can publicly… and with confidence… declare, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters…” then why are we surprised when he corrupts that office he attains through election? Why would we expect such a man to respect the office to which he is elected when he does not respect the normal constraints of morality… when he does not even respect the character of the people who elected him? More importantly, when a corrupt leader upholds those institutions that maintain systemic and visible corruption within our nation’s body politic, why would anyone believe the institutions that administer justice would actually work against him?

Richard Nixon was one of the most corrupt politicians our nation has ever produced, but he managed to rise to the highest office a man or woman can hold… and he did it in spite of what should have been obvious to even the most casual observer, that he pandered to the worst elements of American society. Any man who must publicly declare, “I am not a crook…” deserves close scrutiny at best. Instead, the American people gave him a pass until even his enablers could no longer sustain his power, not even for their own benefit as they had so often in the past. So it is now with Trump. What is it about America that permits men of such a corrupt and cynical nature to become so powerful and virtually immune to prosecution when their crimes are so blatant and visible as to make the concept of justice seem impotent against them, even worthy of contempt?

Maybe it’s a good time to step back and consider where our nation is going. We need to take a long and critical self-appraisal, a serious moral inventory in order to learn exactly who we are as a people, what we have become in relation to those ideals we say that we hold precious and dear. We need to figure out how we managed to screw things up so badly. Then we need to find a way to fix it. It’s quite possible that Trump is not the problem, but merely the symptom… and we’re not going to fix the problem until we finally admit… that we are it.

It’s not over yet…

….not by any stretch of the facts. The President has not been exonerated. Just read the 4 page letter Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress, which has just been made public and is available online for download. I’ll be going over it tonight and will provide a commentary on what it means right here tomorrow…

Trump’s enablers and friends have begun to claim vindication directly from Mueller himself. They are wrong.

More tomorrow.

Is this really about free speech…

….or part of a plan to criminalize dissent and to foster a state-approved political perspective? It’s a reasonable question, since his signing ceremony linked to an executive order has given the dais in the White House to members of right wing organizations like Turning Point, USA, which pays college students to disrupt public meetings of organizations on the left like the Democratic Socialists of America and to spy upon and add professors with opinions they do not deem correct according to their skewed values to a national database which has led to intense public and private harassment of faculty members in colleges and universities across the nation.

In cloying terms during the ceremony, Trump introduced students, portraying them as victims of abuse for their politically conservative and religious views before giving them a national platform in the people’s White House. He then, in the manner of a third world strongman lacking only the iconically be-ribboned uniform affected by dictators, proceeded to threaten public universities with defunding.

Tomorrow, the headlines should read, “New Zealand bans military assault rifles, while in the US, Trump moves to criminalize dissent.” I personally believe our nation is on a very dark path. Please pay close attention. Incremental authoritarian trends are dangerous. Study the history of the Twentieth century and you will see how totalitarian states are born… not overnight, but by slow, inevitable, and unchallenged progression.

At the very least, please watch this unfortunate, purely partisan display and imagine where the rhetoric will take us…

When a new Chautauqua is launched for the present millenium…

…..this op ed/essay should be required reading for its participants. The last century brought us war, genocide, and quite to the brink of nuclear annhilition. Curiously, almost as though we have forgotten the cost and the horror of it all, right-wing authoritarianism is once again on the rise… with progressive opposition seemingly powerless to contain it and establishment forces unwilling to try.

You should read this thoughtful essay from Robert Kagan in yesterday’s Washington Post, titled The strongmen strike backhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2019/03/14/feature/the-strongmen-strike-back/?utm_term=.6bc0a296ec7f&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

The better question…

….is not “Who is running for President in 2020?” but rather, “Who is not running for President in 2020.” According to Ballotpedia, a total of 581 hopefuls have filed as a candidate for the White House job thus far:

  • 12 Greens
  • 20 Libertarians
  • 76 Republicans
  • 195 Democrats
  • 278 Others (Whatever that means… Independents, Whigs, Social Democrats, Democratic Socialists, Elvis Impersonating Quakers, Antidisestablishmentarians, Billionnaire Boys Clubbers, Friends of Harry Potter… I don’t really know.)

Feeling left behind? If you feel like America needs your particular and extraordinary skills in the White House, you’ll need to get started right away as the field is growing exponentially and you’ll want some time to be able to stiff-arm, browbeat and otherwise hinder the competition and position your candidacy at the top from day one. Go right now to the Federal Election Commission website at:

https://www.fec.gov/

If you really want to run, you will need both a campaign manager and speech writer eventually, so you may want to consider hiring me, in which case, I would be willing to fill both positions… two for the price of one. My qualifications? As follows:

  • I’m not a lawyer and I firmly believe that what happens in Toledo, stays in Toledo… if you get my drift.
  • I do not now, nor have I ever knowingly spoken to, worked for, consulted with, or even smiled at any Russians.
  • My speechwriting is guaranteed to elevate your candidacy to the highest level possible… or to appeal to the lowest common denominator, electorate-wise, according to your particular audience on any given day or venue.
  • I have absolutely no idea how to run a campaign… and having never done it, I can sincerely state… without hesitation and with the utmost confidence… that in the course of my career, I have never lost a single election.

Not interested? You should be… I mean, everyone else is running, why not you? As the great Athenian philosopher and teacher, Plato once said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” And isn’t that more true in America since 2016, than at any other time and place in history?