Veterans, Soldiers and We the People

From a Google Image Search – Military.com

There are many important stories in the world. Today is Memorial Day for example and where would America be without our soldiers. I hate war but I admire the men and women who fight for our country. Even some of our soldiers may agree that saving our own Democracy from a Party that seems intent on destroying it is worth concentrating on, even on this sacred day. Our soldiers have always fought and even died for Democracy. Democracy needs them for a different kind of war now.

Michael Flynn, addressing a QAnon crowd, called for a Myanmar-style coup in America. Many Republicans are convinced that Democrats are an existential threat to our nation because of their progressive ideas. They don’t want to see America invest in America’s social structure along with other critical infrastructure. They don’t want to set a minimum wage that offers solvency for American families. They don’t want to see a government health insurance program that allows even the poorest Americans to have health care. 

They don’t like workers banding together in unions to keep employers from abusing our workers. They don’t like consumer protections. They don’t want to pay for young people to go to a community college, even given the gauntlet of poverty, violence and drugs young people must make it through to have successful lives. 

They don’t want to pay for child care so women can work. In fact, they think women should stay home with the children and have babies because our population is getting too old. They would get rid of contraception if they could. They don’t even want social security for those who have no other pension. They do want to tax people but only people who make less than $400,000 a year. No wonder they want ‘small government.’ The taxes of Americans who make less than that won’t pay for much. Since the party insists that only a big armed force and plenty of killer weapons can keep America safe from our enemies abroad that doesn’t leave much money for social matters. 

They say that forcing all Americans to pay for social programs is undemocratic. Well, in a sense, since each individual cannot choose whether to contribute to a federal program, or to not allow their tax dollars to go towards that priority, this does constitute a kind of mandate. 

Societies do not necessarily guarantee absolute individual freedom. In fact, some societies offer little individual freedom at all. This week the leader of Belarus pretended a plane had a bomb on board so they could get the pilot to land in Belarus so that a young journalist on the plane could be arrested for trying to speak freely. There is a certain authoritarian strain in American politics on the right that wants to use fascist means to insist that America do things their way. And we are back to Michael Flynn (and Donald Trump).

Societies do have social contracts with their members. Since FDR, social programs have been part of American governance and American life. Now Republicans tell us that this was a huge mistake and that they are absolutely certain that including social programs in federal governance will kill America. So they are trying to kill democracy because they are so certain that they are right.  They are trying to kill the Democratic Party because they insist that America only spend to encourage “makers” to come back and rescue the American economy. And that is clearly not what happens when you help corporations these day. Corporations plough the money back into their own operations and shower their stockholders with dividends because they own a lot of stock, and this increases their profits without expanding their operations or hiring more expensive workers. Our corporations, grown in America, could now care less if America continues to thrive. They are not actually Americans anymore; they are citizens of the world.

Republicans who still see themselves as Conservatives have decided that they and only they hold all the answers to how America can remain first among the nations of the world. They have made sure that Democrats are unable to help the middle classes and the poor through federal government programs. They have used creative voter strategies to keep power in Congress and they have used obstruction to have their way.

Republicans point to LBJ’s War on Poverty and argue that it was largely ineffective at solving stubborn poverty or prejudice. They deliberately undermined those programs and attached a stigma or set up tough requirements to make the programs unattractive. There is proof in the data, that although such programs did not end poverty, they were helping to make changes in the poorest neighborhoods and towns. That LBJ, and indeed, the Republicans did not foresee the ravages of opioids is a burden that rests on the pharmaceutical industry and, with the enormous profits they have made, they should tackle the addiction problem and end our sorrows at this waste of human lives. Even knowing the dangers of opioid addiction these meds are being used to treat our veterans today.

For one party to ‘take the wheel’ and decide that they know best how to steer the nation so that it will be successful in having the world’s best economy and be the dominant power on the globe is not the democracy/republic we all signed on for. 

There have always been factions in American politics. That is how political parties were formed. There has always been contention. We fought a Civil War because slave owners wanted to force America to accept slavery. That was a war, not a coup. 

But Republicans are apparently tired of contention. They want a government that doesn’t have to negotiate every issue. Of course, Democrats would like that too. But Republicans have used a set of strategies to change the dynamics of American politics and to prevent a two party system from operating as it should. They have interpreted constitutional powers in ways that allow them to use these powers against compromise and they have learned the power of fixing elections in seemingly legal ways, although, desperation seems to be driving them into more unseemly election practices such as the Big Lie, recounting settled votes, passing laws in red states that allow officials to overturn elections, along with what is happening in states like Florida, Texas, and Georgia right now. 

Republicans have learned how to hold onto the majority in Congress, or at least in the Senate, and they have learned the power of simply stubbornly saying no and not even allowing legislation to come to the floor. Even though Republicans have lost the majority in the Senate, the Democratic advantage is extremely slim. With the Republican Party so insistent that it knows what is best for America, and the filibuster still in place it may look like Democrats won in 2020, but the reality is that unless the Dems do some things they find unsavory, like passing bills with single party votes or getting rid of the filibuster, the Democrats are still being held at bay by a cult-like Republican party. 

Meanwhile America sinks further into a morass of poverty and violence, fueled by a belief that all will be well if we just bring manufacturing back home and build up an arsenal of ever more super weapons. When the factories come home all will turn around and America will be an engine of progress once more. But that is just another ‘big lie.’ You can’t recreate the past. 

You can move on into a future that deals with the economic realities we have now and builds on those strengths. Learning how to live in new and lighter ways on the planet offers the economic gains of the future and puts us on a path to sustainability rather than extinction. The Republican Party is wrong for these times. They made a deal with a devil but they had already sold their soul to hang on to imagined past glories. 

On this Memorial Day when Republicans offer themselves up as the true patriots who honor our soldiers far more than the ‘sorry’ Democrats, it is important to remember that warmongering is not a good future for our world’s continued existence and that promises to our soldiers have not been kept. We must remember which party is the one that is saying no to the needs of the people and that includes the needs of veterans. In the midterms please give the Democrats a chance to change the focus of the American government from the wealthy to ‘we the people’.

On Tuesday, June 1, 2021 Max Boot wrote this article in The Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/06/01/republican-plot-steal-2024-election/

Never Put a Narcissist in Lockdown

From a Google image Search – salon.com

EyyyyieE. Watching Donald Trump handle the times of the novel coronavirus has never been easy. Maybe the virus would have gotten away from him even if he did heed the wisdom of past virus protocols, but we will never know because we are all operating on “the wisdom of Trump’s gut” which was created in 1950 and is connected to a brain that was created in the Reagan era in a cauldron of sycophancy and toadyism and Daddy’s largesse. So his gut tells him what is best and then his brain says, “you’re a genius,” and then our brains say “we are screwed.”

When Ebola appeared on the global scene the US health apparatus, the CDC and local public health agencies immediately isolated people and tracked who they had been in contact with. These are the tools we eventually came to use for slowing this virus, self-quarantine and contact tracing. To that we have added, much later, social distancing and masks. Donald Trump fought against every one of these policies. Perhaps he thought he could halt the virus and save the economy by sheer force of will. He fought against it all because doing these things meant admitting the virus was real and that people would die on his watch. Two months were lost with only some isolation – those cruise-ship 14-day quarantines. There was very little contract tracing or none, and then once the virus reached the community spread stage it basically got so big that contact tracing was impossible. But that was true only on the West Coast and in NYC. Other communities could have used these tools, but the President of the United States kept lying to them. 

The President made an enormous number of deaths sound like nothing. He kept excusing himself from any blame. He kept flailing around to place blame anywhere but on him. However, he does bear some blame for the dimensions of this disaster, if not the cause of it. He will not – he refused – to consult the wisdom of past administrations, in fact he despises Obama so much that he erases him piece by piece, legislation by legislation, executive action by executive action. Had Trump not folded the Pandemic agency into the military and had he allowed the CDC to act with their usual strength Trump may well have been able to go out in public in the Rose Garden each day and give us good news. He is a vengeful man who could not stand to walk in the footsteps of Obama, even if they were footsteps many Presidents helped make, a well-trodden path.

Instead we got his gut, his bile-filled gut that refused to help blue states get the medical supplies they needed. He told the states they would have to fend for themselves. He even sold essential PPE’s to other countries while the states were scrambling. Why? It’s the crooked businessman who lives in the head. Every day is just about protecting himself from imagined attacks by counterpunching wildly at whoever or whatever. And about wheeling and dealing. Eventually he was persuaded to use his emergency powers to order factories to switch over to produce the medical equipment the states needed but it was not done in a spirit of national unity and it made us feel even more like a divided nation.

He was far more concerned about the stock market and he only agreed to an economic pause to keep the stock market from bottoming out. He agreed to bail out the economy but he still wanted to only send money up the chain. He and his Republican cohorts have a deep disdain for people down the economic chain. In order to keep control over where the stimulus went he fired the IG who was supposed to have oversight and, of course, the neediest companies went without while the largest corporations took in goo-gobs of bucks. Now the Democrats would like to do another stimulus that would help those on the bottom, the ones who can’t put food on their tables, who are losing their small businesses. But the Republicans and Trump do not understand Capitalism. They do not understand that without small business and consumers those at the top will eventually starve. They still see the middle class and the poor as drags on the American economy, as the Takers. And they say, “you won’t take anymore from big taxpayers (us).”

Trump wants the country to reopen. He wants it so badly that he speaks out of both sides of his face. One side says that we should heed the public health wisdom, and the other side allows his ersatz militia to threaten states that won’t reopen. It is clear from the data that the disease has not struck equally everywhere. It is a matter of population density, which was already becoming a big divider in America. Rural states resent metropolitan centers and they are tired of having city folks call the shots. So they don’t need to follow the same health guidelines as those idiots who live in cities. They agree with Trump’s gut. As long as you stay out of a meat plant, or an nursing home, or a prison and stay away from minority neighborhoods you can do whatever you like. It is, after all, every state for itself. We want our NASCAR, our concerts, our summer fun and we will take it at gunpoint.

Trump has some other concerns these days. His tax case is before the Supreme Court. He cannot allow his lawyers to handle his defense without some personal oversight and behind-the-scenes manipulations. He pulls out of his bilious gut the magic words, “Obamagate,” ohhh it’s bad but I can’t tell you the details right now. It seems to go back to the Steele documents. Somehow the Dems exchanged money for this ‘oppo’ research and Trump insists that this document did, what, lost him the election – no it didn’t. Trump contends that the Steele documents started the whole Russia investigation. The Steele documents were not all vetted and they were not such a stable base for the Russia investigation, but they were not the only evidence either. Trump uses the rocky base of the Steele documents to argue that the entire investigation was flawed. It’s a distraction. Hear Russia, say Steele. Perhaps Trump has twisted the facts to blame the Dems for the hacking of the DNC although Trump got the info dump via Wikileaks. Or perhaps Dems feel the Russia investigation dates to  when Trump (as a joke – a bad joke perhaps) asked Russia to find Hillary’s 30k emails. So when he begins to erase the Mueller Report last week, and the DOJ releases Michael Flynn, drops all charges, how does this lead to the cry of Obamagate? Just to distract? There is also the optic that “I lose I wreak vengeance; I win I wreak vengeance. It will take an awful lot of distraction to get us to overlook this travesty of justice. Paul Manafort is also out of jail because of the virus.

Today I see an article in the NYT’s which states that Jared Kushner is looking into changing the date of the 2020 election and alarm bells go off all over the place. Kushner says that it is almost impossible to do because the Constitution speaks to this directly. But I say that the Constitution has been turned into face masks to provide PPE’s to essential workers and what is left of it is in such tatters that it will not stop Trump from doing whatever he pleases. Given four more years our founding documents will be nothing but memories treasured by a few over-the-hill generations of Americans.

So the President does not want an actual account of how many Americans have or had the virus. He does not care to count the actual deaths that can be attributed to the virus. Tests give data and data is the enemy of a man who lives only by his gut and his twisted brain and his vengeful spirit. But now the virus has entered the President’s castle and, because he has such superior genes, he has no expectation of actually contracting the novel coronavirus, but he is angry, angrier than he has ever been. And he is lashing out in every direction. His cluster of allies in Washington is getting ever smaller and half of them are quarantining themselves and he just can’t sign that new stimulus bill that the libtards want him to sign, and someone will pay. Guess who?