The Delegitimization of the American Government

Remember back in 2016 when the election was really about a loss of faith in establishment politics and our government. Democrats foolishly ignored all the signs and picked a candidate that did not excite the general public as another establishment hack. Still she would have been far better than the disaster-in-charge we have today. When Bernie got submarine by the Democratic establishment, people either stupidly voted third-party (stupidly because your vote did not count) or super stupidly switch to Trump because they thought Trump represent real change, not a misogynist, lying, racist, ignorant fool, which he was and is.

But the point here is that America had lost their faith in American institutions and the political process. With President DFF, they are getting a double dose of that, at least for those who still have not had their brains fried by Sean Hannity and Fox News. The latest blunder with Jerusalem will undoubtably result in the death of many people, and quite possibly a terrorist attack on America. Just a drop in the bucket of his misdeeds and destruction of this country. But we can get through President DFF if and only if Congress remains a strong advocate for our Constitution. That is in question as Republicans cravenly defend President DFF and undermine the investigation into his Russian connections. Oh, and dare I mention supporting the election of a pedophile to Congress. What’s one more pervert if he votes Republican?

But don’t take my word for it. See the WaPo:

Republican activists and lawmakers are engaged in a multi-front attack on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of possible connections between associates of President Trump and Russian agents, trying to stop or curtail the investigation as it moves further into Trump’s inner circle….Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity, one of the president’s informal advisers as well as one of his most vociferous defenders, on Tuesday night called Mueller “a disgrace to the American justice system’’ and said his team is “corrupt, abusively biased and political.’’…Accusations of bias against Mueller from conservatives have become commonplace in the public debate about the president and the Russia probe, and Republicans are expected to grill FBI Director Christopher A. Wray about those matters when he testifies Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.

It is clear that instead of following the investigation, they are trying to delegitimize the FBI. It solves the short-term goal of protecting a sexual pervert in the highest office, but further destroys American’s faith in their government. And of course they are pushing false narratives which further erodes democracy.

Several conservative lawmakers held a news conference Wednesday demanding more details of how the FBI proceeded last year in its probes of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email and Russian election interference.

It is misdirection and bull shit. We know Hillary mishandled emails, but there was no criminal intent to aid and abet anyone. Not so with President DFF. If the massive evidence we have already seen of lies, changing stories, and interactions with Russians is a giant flashing light, nothing is. Consider if the shoe where on the other foot and Hillary was President and all this came out. She would have been impeached by now. But the hypocrisy and craven desire to expand their power and agenda, damn their moral responsibilities (See Roy Moore), t is the real danger.

People were, back in 2016, either revolting by voting for a moron, or not voting at all (that includes all you third-party fools*). But if the facts and the credibility of the FBI are politicized for the benefit of the Republicans, they may find that there could be more than just a revolt at the polls, which they are already engaged in trying to rig through voter suppression. We are entering dangerous times where the arrogance of power may be the seeds of real revolution and violence. Unless Republicans finally recognize their responsibility under the Constitution to find the facts, they may be sowing the seeds of a real revolution in America. The anger is palatable.

*Why are third party voters fools?  Afterall they were voting their conscience right?  It is quite simple.  One of two people was going to be President of the United States in the last election and to not make a choice was the ultimate in irresponsibility as a citizen.  It would be different if a third party candidate is polling 20-30%, but in this case, the choice was clear and by not making it, third party voters abrogatted their responsiblity as an American citizen.  We are living with that abrogation today.

Of Course it is About the Money

This has been the no brainer all along. While the press inappropriately goaded President DFF into a red line if the special counsel went after his finances, and now are trying to make news by asking if Mueller has crossed it (bad journalism at its worst), this was always where the investigation had to end up. While collusion has not been proven yet, at least in public, there is so much smoke the fire will break through shortly. But like any good detective story, you cannot understand the actions and really narrow down the suspects until you know the motive.

We know what Russia’s motives are, that is fairly simple, but if (and I am sure they did) the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, why? Why all the lying on things that were not illegal? Why, why, why?

Well, I think it is about the money. It is always about the money. Going after Deutsche Bank was always going to happen and of course this is about money laundering and loans to Trump and sons. How do you explain when Trump was defaulting on everything he owned, Deutsche Bank kept lending to him? Here is who he owes money to.

I cannot help but think he has been running a giant Ponzi scheme and it became a big Russian money laundering scheme. Why else collude with the Russians. So it always had to go there. I wonder why it took so long to get here. Or maybe it didn’t. My guess is Mueller is now tying up the details. Tick, tick, tick.

Oh, and Deutsche Bank was being investigated and has paid fines for money laundering of Russian money, but the investigation wasn’t complete.  President DFF fired Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney who was conducting those investigations and the investigation has gone cold.  Hmm. What would they say if this were Hillary?

I am Just Without Words

Ever have a morning where you just are overcome by our stupidity and cruelty? That would be me this morning. There is no excuse for President Trump. He is a liar, sexual abuser, ignorant fool and he is the President who is doing untold damage to the country and democracy itself. The Republican Party has become a shill for him as long as they can destroy America with their misbegotten policies. Hey, lets throw money at the child abuser Roy Moore who thinks the Bible trumps the Constitution.

I listened to one Republican shill refuse to answers questions about the Russian collusion as the evidence mounts, but wants to go after Hillary for seeking information on Trump from a political consulting firm. Um, you can’t see the difference? One is tit for tat with a foreign government, illegal hacking and targeted use of that information to influence an election, and the other is buying negative information, and through a non-government source. They are not the same. So we have all this false outrage at Hillary clearly as an attempt to not get to the bottom of why in the Russia connection with Trump. How could all this happen? How can we be so blind and partisan on national defense?

In 2008 we elected a black man President and we thought the disastrous ways of the Republicans were behind us. The Republicans were thrown totally out of power. “Yes we can.” And then came Republican obstructionism in the form of the filibuster, a failure to recognize that they were never going to compromise with anything, and a failure to set an aggressive agenda and fight fire with fire. In 2010 they came roaring back and where we are today is because the Democrats let that happen. In 2017 in one short year, Trump has turned over everything Obama did in 8 years, on the climate, on immigration, even on healthcare.

But there was something else going on, and I believe now it played a bigger part than anything else. Oh, we can talk about the unfair representation of conservatives in our government (gerrymandering, 2-Senators from each state, the Electoral College, the use of the filibuster giving the minority control, or the elites in the Democratic Party not recognizing that middle America was being left behind and told them to get educated.

But the other thing was what we see in the support of Donald Trump today, bold racism and cultural wars. Having a black president terrified many Americans. They blamed everything on the upsetting of what they saw as cultural norms, and so out of ignorance and stupidity they voted for and stick with the man who is destroying the country and democracy as we know it.

Republican complicity in this is an astounding recognition that they have an ideology that has become a theology and they have no principles except to stay in power in order to advance their theology. The latest backing of the RNC for Roy Moore makes that point. The tax cut bill that balloons the deficit is just a rouse for increasing economic inequality and an excuse to then gut entitlements like social security and medicare.

We thought the election of Trump signaled the winning of a populist approach to politics where policies would be about helping the working man although most of Trumps policies had no meat and were based upon racism and nativism. You know, cancelling trade agreements (stupid) and bringing back coal jobs (he never said how). But the Saturday Morning Massacre (Passing the Tax Cut Bill) ended that decisively. It was Republican economics of old favoring the wealthy and further rigging the system in their favor.

So here we are, living out a nightmare in a world that is insane. For President we have quite possibly a mentally ill president spewing hate, and distrust of the very institutions that make democracy possible. His America First is really isolationism and a rejection of the ideals of democracy and freedom projected outward in the world. He lies incessantly and displays sheer ignorance on most topics. His speech patterns suggest a brain that is not firing on all cylinders (Billy Bush described it best when he said he continually repeats himself in hopes that his brain can catch up with his mouth), and his provocative style could get us in a nuclear war.

We have a Russian interference scandal where we have seen the White House repeatedly lie about and change their story so many times, that there clearly is something they are hiding. For Congress we have a party so craven to power that they are all throwing their support behind this dangerously flawed president and a candidate whose sexual perversions and history of violating the Constitution make him as unfit as the President, much less as a human being. Then they just pasted the most anti-populist tax bill probably ever passed in a procedure that was so cloaked in secrecy we still don’t know what is in the bill. In one short year they have erased President Obama.

Clearly the only hope for the country is for the people to rise up in 2018. I am not sanguine on this. The level of ignorance and denial in the general population is astounding. People don’t read, and they don’t do the hard thinking required to be citizens of a democracy. When I have discussions (rare) with people on policy, they are ignorant of what is going on and of the basic facts around the issue. You have nowhere to even start.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day on how to fix the unfairness of the system we are now in favoring conservatives. He had a solution that was good if we had a rational system, but he missed the root cause, Republicans. The evidence is all laid out before us that until we remove them completely from power, nothing will change. There are not two sides here and we just need them to talk. That failed a long time ago. Now we need to sweep Republicans out of power so the way is clear to start fixing things. No, we don’t need a balance because unless you have been asleep, balance doesn’t exist anymore. See Mitch McConnell. Will we wake up and save this country and its Constitution by ridding ourselves of these modern day Republicans? Only time will tell, but so far I haven’t seen it. It may take a failure of our economy which is coming my friends. Hold on to your hat (and ass).

Two Senior Republicans Tell Us What They Think of the Bob Cratchits of the World

In my last blog I made a point that Ebenezer Scrooge was a Republican in that he really did not give a wit about anything but money. Well a couple of Republicans accidentally made my point. “Over the weekend, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) hashed over the plan [tax cut] with his home state’s largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register. Turning to the party’s idea of doing away with the estate tax, Grassley framed the current law as a hindrance to responsible saving.”

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley told the Register in a story published Saturday. “As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

So see, people with money to invest, investors are the right people and the rest of us are up to eyeballs in booze, women, or movies. Now just to raise an interesting point, say hard working people really were spending every penny on whatever the hell they want? Isn’t that the point? Instead of giving money to people who bank it, wouldn’t you want them to spend every cent to stimulate the economy? But it shows as I have argued over and over, Republicans think you are poor because you deserve it. The same guys who are now turning to support Roy Moore, a pervert, see value in him, but not a hard working middle class family. That is not hyperbole, Google it and watch the video on Grassley. Watch Trump now endorse Roy Moore. Watch how Mitch McConnell is stepping back from his tough talk and talking about letting Alabama decide. If morality is what Alabama decides, we are all fucked.

Oh and the other walking scum, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch:

On the Senate floor Thursday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) responded to a question from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) about the future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a low-cost health insurance plan for children from low-income families that Congress has yet to review since it expired Oct. 1.

The question came during a debate on the Republican tax bill, which Hatch presided over as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

In response, Hatch claimed the health insurance program had not yet been renewed due to a lack of funds.

“The reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore,” Hatch said.

And then explained why, despite his support of a bill offering trillions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, we absolutely must start slashing the social safety net immediately:

“I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger, and expect the federal government to do everything.”

See millionaires need tax cuts, poor kids deserve to die, lazy bastards. Oh, and the RNC has decided to back Roy Moore. This is who we put in power in this country and if you don’t think they are evil, there is something wrong with you.

Mitt Romney stood up with this sadly out of touch tweet:

Here is the problem, your party lost its honor years ago and the GOP he is talking about does not exist any more. When Mitt and his fellow fools finally wake up they will find they have no party any more. Again, the Republican Party has become a party of no values but power, and that is the very definition of evil. There is no going back.

MY GOD! Charles Dickens’ Scrooge Was a Modern Day Republican

Last night we were looking for anything to watch on TV and came across A Christmas Carol or called these days, Scrooge. After watching the Saturday Morning Massacre, the Tax Bill Vote in the Senate, how wealth was being transferred to the wealthy, and the add-ons just made it worse for the poor working slob, I was in a mood for some holiday distraction. So this seemed like the perfect distraction.  It was the Patrick Stewart Version (1999).  Just as an aside, I think my favorites are George C. Scott in 1984 and Albert Finney in 1970 (Musical), but I get distracted.

Here we have Ebenezer Scrooge who has turned his back on everything except wealth accumulation. Sound familiar?  Remember in the story where the two portly gentlemen are trying to get a donation from Scrooge?

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

…“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.” “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.” “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

Now think about it.  Republican ideology is that if you are poor you only have yourself to blame because you are either undisciplined or lazy and helping the poor and desperate just encourages them (hammocks anyone?).  The Saturday Morning Massacre was about just that, taking money and benefits the poor need desperately so the rich can get richer.  And now they want to go after Medicare and Social Security (See yesterday’s blog). Screw the poor and those who are in need.  It is Scrooge at his worst.

But Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s deceased business partner said it best and it was how we should hold Republicans accountable:

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

  “Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

So let’s build a wall to keep people who want a better life out.  Let’s cut their healthcare and old age pensions because the wealthy have worked hard for theirs.  Let’s kill the inheritance tax so wealthy children get even wealthier. Let’s sow hate and division throughout the nation so we can hold on to power and increase economic inequality. Let’s ignore evil in the white house for our agenda of making the wealthy wealthier.   Let’s kill democracy by attacking the free press and our judicial system.  Let’s cast doubt about our institutions so that only what we tell the rabble can be believed.  And all in the interest of business and wealth accumulation.  Bah Humbug. Scrooge at his worst.

So who is Bob Cratchit in this tale?  He is the American middle class, at the mercy of flow down and since the aim of Scrooge (and corporations) is to maximize profits, how do you think he fairs?  Without healthcare for Tim, he is going to die.  What do you think is going to happen to the 14 million or so that are going to get pushed off their healthcare as unaffordable after the Saturday Morning Massacre?  “And the Union workhouses!” demanded Scrooge, “Are they still in operation?”

The three ghosts that come to visit Scrooge are reality.  They take Scrooge out of his bubble to see the world as it really is.  Oh, but we would have three ghosts for Republicans, but they stay in their bubble of flow down, undeserving poor, denying climate change, or the reality that as Marley said so well, ““Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.”  But their business is business and what is good for business, not humans, and they actually believe all the rest will take care of itself.  Do not notice the bodies in the doorway, the people dying of opioids, starving children in America, or our kids burden by the debt of loans for higher education.

The two portly gentlemen who were asking for a contribution to try to help the poor are the Democrats.  They are still begging from Republicans instead of challenging them as the ghosts did.  At the end of this tale, Dickens gives us a happy ending where Scrooge re-recognizes his humanity and connection to the rest of humanity around him.  Not so with the Republicans.

Who knew Dickens’ politics of the 19th century would be the politics of the 21st Century?  You cannot watch this tale and not notice the parallels.  And we have learned nothing. Right now ”Bah Humbug” is winning out over, “and God bless every one”.  Maybe the Three Ghosts will show in 2018.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

For a change of pace, I want to write about the movie Three Billboards starring Francis McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell among others as the cast was a mile deep. My daughter Serena had seen the opening in London and gone to the cast party afterwards and met Ms. McDormand who told her to call her Fran. So I knew I was going to like it.

This is a movie you can’t put away. I saw it Thursday and I am still thinking about it. You all remember Ms. McDormand from Fargo if nothing else. In this one she plays a steely eyed woman bent on getting revenge for her daughters rape and murder by goading the police by erecting three billboards to remind them that nothing has happened. I won’t give you much more of the plot than that, because you have to experience it yourself. There are so many twist and turns, but the one constant is violence, anger, and hate on a certain level. If you think this is going to be a revenge flick, think again.

The first thing you think of as you get into it is police brutality and racism. There is a level of ignorance, and ignorant meanness. But instead of making you want to get even (although you will in parts), it makes you want to stop and think about what is going on and most importantly, does the anger, hatred, and violence just beget more anger, hatred, and violence? In today’s world does that not really ring close to home.?

Woody Harrelson, is absolutely stunning in the part he plays. I think the one thing you can say for his character is that he has accepted the reality around him and he makes accommodations. He really is connected to his reality and seems to embrace it. When you get right down to it, but you don’t think about it at the time, Sheriff Willoughby is probably more grounded in life than all the rest around him. Deputy Dixon is a son of a bitch and yet in the end, you may find him redeemable. It is a wonderful performance by Sam Rockwell. Throughout Francis McDormand as Mildred is tough as nails, but in the end, well, you will see. There are academy award performances from all of them but forgetting the awards, I got lost in their characters which is the highest compliment I can give an actor.

In the end you are left to work out the ending yourself. As a red blooded American, I like tidy endings with all things tied up. But it wasn’t and now I think I understand that that was the point. Hello reality, there are not tidy endings in life. Things are messy and some things are never going to get resolved. Are you going to go around angry begetting anger or are you going to accept the reality around you, and maybe forgive. There may be more return on your investment in that latter path than any other. I think that is what the movie was about, but like all good art, I am still thinking about it. You ought to also.

Econ 101 for Republicans

Republican economic theory (theology?) relies on two beliefs or tenants. The first is that if you cut taxes there will be new investment by businesses and corporations, and with that, jobs and wage growth. The second is that this increased economic activity will actually grow the treasury’s coffers, paying for themselves. This effect when applied to the impacts of a tax cut is called dynamic scoring. See, the tax cut will cost x, but the result will be y additional income to the treasury or so the theory goes. The first one could be true in certain circumstances and the second one is demonstrably false. But that is what their whole approach to the economy is made up of. Oh sure fewer regulations, but that is really a subset of the first tenant and when you add the secondary costs, like damage to environment, death and dismemberment, and loss of rights for workers, the cost are usually more than the benefits.

Let’s go after the first tenant, cutting taxes creates jobs and stimulates the economy. Well there are times when that actually helps, not as much as actual increases in government spending (a tax cut has the same effect on balance sheet of the Treasury as increased government spending), but it helps and it can be faster than government spending. Economic theory and practice have shown us that after a recession or even during one, with high unemployment, making money available to corporations and businesses in the form of a tax cut does stimulate growth. It is a tool Republicans favor because they don’t believe in direct government spending in things we need like infrastructure and R&D, and want to give it to corporations and businesses (and people) to decide for themselves.

Two things you need to ask yourself here. First are we coming out of a recession, and how high is unemployment? The answer which conservative economist Bruce Bartlett gave us the other day was neither apply as corporations are already awash in record profits, and the unemployment numbers tell us we are almost at full employment. Second, one thing we know for sure is money given to the middle and lower classes is generally spent, while money given to wealthy is much less effective. Where was the emphasis in the current tax bill? Oh, the wealthy. There are great debates about whether direct spending by government is far more effective in these times to create real demand through jobs and wages. But we have some empirical data from Governor Brownback and the Kansas experience where they slashed taxes, little change in jobs or wages, and the state went into massive debt, defunding education to help balance the books.

The bottom line on the first tenant, is that if used judiciously at the appropriate time in the economy (not now) it might help. But considering the infrastructures needs across the country, the money would have a much higher multiplication factor (return on investment; every $1 spent creates say $1.5 of increased activity in the economy), and we would create jobs, higher wages, and invest in our future. The money they are going to spend paying off their wealthy donors, in other words, is going into a big hole.

Okay, tenant number two, that cutting taxes pays for itself (dynamic scoring) is fairly straight forward, it has never worked. Oh sure there might me some increased revenue if the tax cuts were properly targeted to the middle class, but nowhere near the income to make up for the spending. “Assessing the House version of the plan and accounting for the economic growth its tax cuts would induce, the analysts found that growth would offset only about 12 percent of the plan’s cost over the first decade. After an initial economic boost, bigger deficits and rising interest rates would drag on the economy.” Here is another well research source that can find no pay for itself effect in Vanity Fair. But hey, get it from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation and note they still used very optimistic growth rates.

So there you have it. Or as conservative economist Bruce Bartlett said, “…virtually everything Republicans say about taxes today is hogwash.” So we are going to take a big hit. Get ready. And what is next? This from Paul Ryan in the NYT this morning:

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and other Republicans are beginning to express their big dreams publicly, vowing that next year they will move on to changes in Medicare and Social Security. President Trump told a Missouri rally last week, “We’re going to go into welfare reform.”

That’s right. When the numbers don’t add up and the Treasury starts going in the red, they will all of a sudden care about the deficit again and go after the programs that we need most. Maybe that was their game all along. We are in for hard times ahead, but as I told my son who works in the school district in San Diego and is afraid the new tax bill that eliminated his tax deduction for interest on loans and cut the deduction for state and local taxes that school districts depend on could bankrupt him, Conservatism is like cancer. The treatment to cure it if it can be cured almost kills us. That is where we are at. The great Kansas Experiment has moved to the national stage, and we will see the same results. Think you might get out and vote in 2018?

Watching the Republicans Rape America

The Republicans were in a feeding frenzy last night. All of a sudden they found themselves at an all night buffet where they could gorge themselves on all the goodies they ever wanted. I am talking about the Senate passage of the Tax Bill last night. I watched it on CSPAN and I am still sick this morning. Even if you did not know what was in it, and most Republicans or anybody else does not because they were writing it on the fly, it was a scene of pure chaos and bad government. One could not even read the hand written mark ups. And Republicans were adding their favorite pet project to a bill that will change everyone’s lives and not one hearing, not one real examination of the results. And make no mistake. It was a mass transfer of wealth to wealthy while gutting government.

But a feeding frenzy it was. I watch as Ted Cruz entered an amendment to expand tax free savings plans for college to a tax free savings plan for private schools. How is that paid for? By cutting money for public schools. Who benefits? Rich kids who go to private schools. Who suffers? Kids who can’t afford those schools. It took Mike Pence to come in and break a tie vote on the amendment (50-50) (even some Republicans could not stomach this one) to pass it. I watched as Democrats entered amendments to try to bring some sanity to the process by trying to take out the free pass to drill in the arctic wildlife refuge, reduce the reduction in corporate tax cuts to make it not cost $1.5 trillion, make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent, all to fail at the hands of the Republicans.

And now what they have nobody knows except it is dreadful. It rapes America. Republicans have been dying for years to cut Medicare and Medicaid and in this bill they got the tools to do just that, “Pay as you go” which when all the magic asterisks do not add up (and they won’t), they can gut the programs that help the old and poor to pay for their massive tax cuts. It was a brutal rape of everything America stands for and there is so much in this bill that has nothing to do with tax reform/cuts that nobody even knows is there yet. Now you can bet they will be in a rush for a reconciliation bill with the House Republicans so people don’t find out how bad it is until it is signed by the Moron in Chief. Gotta hurry because his days are numbered.

It was a sad, sad day for America. Republicans, except Bob Corker, showed they are nothing but bought fools. Don’t give me John McCain and his regular order. If he stood for anything, last night was a time for a no vote. Don’t give me Lindsey Graham, he is a kook to he is normal (comments about the President right after the election and now) or Susan Collins, who “cares about the sick” and then let them gut Obamacare (Yep that is in it too). They all voted to rape America and steal from the poor to pay off the wealthy. The party has no morals and what we saw was the very worst of America bought by capitalism. Government does not control capitalism, capitalism controls America. That is what Republican government now represent.

Democrats fought a noble battle, offering amendment after amendment to show the hypocrisy and depravity of the Republicans and those Republicans rose to the bait voting each one down. They now have the sledge hammer they need to bring down the Republicans. They need to wield it. I am sure I am one of the few who watched the debacle last night. People in America have forgotten that freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is hard work. But I can guarantee you one thing. This one will hurt and hurt badly. There is no flow down, and as the fools that voted this Republican nightmare into office start to suffer (it will be a slow burn), maybe for once, they will see the problem. Voting third party when they don’t have a chance, has consequences.

Last night I watched the verification of what I have been saying for years. The Republican Party of “old” does not exist and the one we have left is evil. I watched the failure of democracy as the majority of Americans are against this bill. I watch the greed of capitalism at its very worst where government became its tool. And now there is no doubt in my mind any more, Republicans and those who vote for them are evil. We must root this evil out of our country if we have any hope for the future.

Impeachment and the Failure of Our Constitution

Ezra Klein wrote a piece yesterday that everyone should read on impeaching the President.  At this point most sane people have arrived at the conclusion that having a racist, misogynistic, pathological liar, who is unstable and may be losing his grip on reality for President is a very dangerous situation.  Ezra argues that impeachment should be used more frequently to protect America from temporary moments of insanity. Then he chronicles why it hasn’t.  I will just summarize here.

First the Founders put high crimes and misdemeanors as the justification, and then rejected defining those terms.  To make a long story short, it is up Congress.  We seem to be locked into the idea that it must be an actual crime or mental incapacity (25th Amendment) when in fact, it can be anything they want.  Ezra makes a good case that utilizing the 25th Amendment could cause a civil war as the deplorables who have their own reality, would see this as usurping power by the Republican elites.  It is a good point.

He also points out that the Founders put into place many checks and balances to ensure we would not be found in the situation we re in today, starting with the electoral college where the political elites were suppose to assert their better judgement when the rabble got it dangerously wrong.  Today we have a rubber stamp electoral college that overrides the popular vote.

He also points out that the Founders did not foresee the two Party system we have today that basically protects their own no matter how bad.  He noted that the impeachment process only happens when the opposing party to the President occupies Congress.  Today we see that in operation as a man who even many Republicans are calling unstable, protect him to protect an agenda.  But as Ezra pointed out, the Presidency is not what the Founders envisioned and the amount of power it has today is unparalleled.  In a moment he can destroy the modern world.

Yes, we should use impeachment more often, but as Ezra pointed out, not likely.  I think we are reaching a point where our Constitution does not work anymore.  On the tax cut debate, I listened to Bruce Bartlett, economist, historian, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan, and Treasury official under George H. W, Bush, ask if we had lost our brains.  He is a traditional Republican who believes in controlling our debt.  He points out that the Republican Congress is in an alternate reality,  tax cuts have never paid for themselves, we are almost at full employment, and business are awash in money. A tax cut is not even called for, but tax reform is.

Further he makes a really insightful observation, the majority of the country is against this tax cut, and Republicans don’t care.  He points out that it is possible under our Constitution for 40% of the population to elect a super majority.  In other words we have a system where our representatives are not responsive to the electorate, but only to their donors with no fear of retribution.  In other words, our system doesn’t work any more, from the electoral college and gerrymandering, to unfair representation by rural states.

I really wonder as Ezra did if we have the wrong system for today’s world and we need a system similar to a parliamentary system where a vote of no confidence would force an election where the people can speak again and not wait 4 years.  We have a lot to fix and it is becoming clear that under our system, we can’t fix it.

There is one bright side, assuming with the latest with Flynn going for a plea bargain doesn’t send the President over the edge and start launching missiles, the Republicans may get their way on tax cuts and other policies, but the result will be a slow crash and burn because these policies don’t work.  See Republican Bruce Bartlett above.  As the nation is wrecked, Americans just might come out to the polls in 2018 and 2020 and turn this around.

I will add this caution. It is clear looking at the contacts with Russians, that there was collusion, they had a hold on Trump, probably through money laundering.  It is no coincidence that Mueller interviewed Kushner just before we find out Flynn pleaded guilty.  He was going to catch him in a lie and probably did.  Our unstable President will get more unstable and hopefully the generals in the White House will have a 24/7 watch on him.  The noose is around the neck and tightening and he could do anything.  We live in very dangerous times. If we get through this, we have a lot to fix.

 

Let’s Not Talk Politics on Facebook While the Country Slip Slides Away

If yesterday did not convince you we are losing our country and what made America great, nothing will. We have a psychopath as a president as Harvard psychiatrist Lance Dodes told us last night on Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, who slips in and out of his psychopathy based upon the stress he is under. As E.J. Dionne told us this morning:

We are so inured to the chaos and the lying that characterize Trump’s presidency that we see each outrage as little more than another passing episode on an ongoing cable news drama…We’d like to think that the United States is also a nation of decency, tolerance and respect. We can’t make this claim while Trump is president…At the moment, political power in our elected branches (and, in effect, in the Supreme Court) is held by Republicans and conservatives. They are using Trump to push through outlandish policies on taxes and health care. They are lauding Trump’s executive orders that scuttle regulations safeguarding consumers, workers and the environment. They are ecstatic about his filling the judiciary with his, and their, allies. Progressives cannot be asked to pretend this isn’t happening. We’re a long way from a “truce.”

Yeah, we should just listen and both sides get along, except one side is destroying the country they claim to so love. Let’s just review. The President promoted a Muslim phobic and racist video, unsubstantiated and quite probably violated the privacy of a minor, and it is quite clear at this point the President is a racist. See “good people on both sides”. He is accused by 14 women of sexual assault/rape and is supporting a child molester from Alabama for the Senate. He is fantasizing that he did not utter the “Grab her …..” words and seems to forget he owned up to it on TV and apologized.  He wants to revisit Obama’s birthplace, invent the war on Christmas, lies pathologically about the tax cut plan, and as E.J. noted above, is destroying the agencies that protect us under the guise of removing regulations that hinder business.  THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO SO WE AREN’T SLAVES!

Democracy itself is at stake here along with our fundamental principles.  The man is despicable, pathological, and the Republican have become his parrot.  As E.J. pointed out:

Great nations and proud democracies fall when their systems become so corrupted that the decay is not even noticed — or the rot is written off as a normal part of politics.

President Trump has created exactly such a crisis. He has not done it alone. The corrosion of norms and values began long before he propelled the nation past the edge, and his own party is broadly complicit in enabling his attacks on truth, decency and democratic values.

So the next time you decide to tolerate that friend or relative that sides with a psychotic lunatic, or tells both sides are the problem, GET IN THEIR FACE! The nation is going down the drain as we watch and if you think trying to “see both sides” is helping, well you are part of the problem.  Republicans have become a cancer on Democracy in their ideological zeal to enact and agenda that favors only the rich, and they hit bottom with President DFF.  Now we have to take it back and tolerating ignorance and stupidity only aids and abets them.

Oh, and they are going to pass the Tax Cut Bill and when you find out all the stuff that is in there, you wonder why Americans continue to support the Republican Party or how they could justify electing the Moron in Chief.  It is time to take them on, whether they are family or friend.  The stakes have just gotten to high.