Where is the Red Line for Republicans?
Where is their moral sense? Where is their love of country? Where is their thought of legacy—how will History judge them? Where is their Red Line for criticizing (or impeaching or invoking the 25th Amendment) President Donald J. Trump?
The trashing of immigrants as murderers and rapists?
The Hollywood Access tape, where he admits sexual assault of women?
The criticism of John McCain as a soldier who was captured?
The complete disregard of the rule of law?
The lack of any empathy or sadness for the Gold Star parents who lost their child in Afghanistan?
The ban on Muslims from entering this nation?
The complete denial of climate change and withdrawal from the Paris climate accord?
The trashing of the Voting Rights Act?
The threatening of nuclear war over Korea?
The overt defense and enabling of Nazis and white supremacists?
REPUBLICANS, WHERE IS YOUR RED LINE?
Irony, Irony, Irony
Leave it to Donald Trump to create situations of profound irony—for both parties. He’s led the Republican Party to abandon free trade, support Vladimir Putin, and allow a President to abandon the principles of Party founder, Abraham Lincoln.
And what about the Democrats? The protection of the Republic requires us to also abandon long-held positions and values.
First, we are forced to rely on military generals to be the “adults in the room” to contain an erratic, delusional “Commander-in-Chief”. The country is hanging on the rationality of Kelly, McMaster, and Mad Dog. In our supposedly civilian government, it’s the military that has to clean up the messes: NATO, Korea, Mexico, and God knows where else. And it was the Joint Chiefs of Staff that publicly acted to ignore the tweeted ban on transgender soldiers—and forcefully defended the anti-Nazi and anti-white supremacist needs of today’s military.
Second, we were forced to rely on the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to defend the rule of law challenged by the White House. Poor J. Edgar Hoover! An agency originally trained to stifle political dissent and support racist officials throughout the country is NOW our best hope for a fair investigation that could topple a lawless President.
Third, we have to demonize the leader of Russia, in language reminiscent of the worst Cold Warriors of our past. Liberals, who for decades argued for a more rational relationship with Russia, now have to use the evil of Putin to contain the evil of Trump. For whatever reason (money? blackmail?), besides white supremacists, the only individual exempt from an enraged tweet-storm is Putin. Surely there is fire behind all the Trump, Jr., Manafort, and Flynn Russian smoke. And Mueller (another former Director of the FBI!) knows how to “follow the money”.
Let’s hope we never have to seriously confront the implications of irony, irony, irony.
A Goodbye Smooch to the Mooch
A few days ago, I had started this blog with the title “Who did the Mooch Smooch”, referring to Anthony Scaramucci’s farewell kiss as he left his introductory press conference (only ten days ago?). I think it was aimed at his lover, President Trump, rather to the press corps or the American people. And why did Trump deserve such adoration? His incredibly insulting speech to the Boy Scouts? His edict on kicking out transgender service members from the military? His threats to Congress? To the Senator from Alaska? To the Senator from Nevada? His humiliation of his Attorney General? Of the Special Counsel? His firing of his press secretary and chief-of-staff? His encouraging of increased police brutality? Or his criminal intention to let Obamacare “implode”?
Personally, I was much more offended by a little-noticed statement in that same press conference than Mooch’s vulgar interview with The New Yorker. In his cynical expression of good wishes to the resigned Sean Spicer, what was his fondest hope? That he would “make alot of money”. Not that he could use his experience to help the American people better understand the political system—but that he could do the only thing that matters to Trumpeteers, cash in. What a crew!
So the Mooch barely outlasted his nemeses (I had to look up the plural of nemesis!) Spicer and Priebus. Live by the sword, die by the sword, Anthony. You accomplished your suicide mission.
And, once again, the pundits are predicting: The White House chaos will NOW be reined in by the military disciplined Marine Corps general, John Kelly. No one else could: Lewandowski, Manafort, Bannon, Priebus, Jared, Ivanka, Melania. But NOW, the domestic agenda would be orderly, the foreign policy would be rational, normality would return.
There were NO meetings—ever–honest—cross my heart—with the Russians. Oh yeah, there was that one meeting with some lawyer about adoptions. Oh—and I invited Jared and Manafort. I almost forgot—it was a Russian government attorney who promised dirt on Hillary dug up by a government effort to help elect Donald Trump. But Jared left early, it only lasted 20 minutes, it was a “nothing burger”. That’s everything, EVERYTHING—honest. Holy mackerel, I just realized that another Russian was there, someone who had vague connections with Russian intelligence. But he didn’t say anything. Wow, I must have early Alzheimer’s—there was this other Russian guy, some representative of the guys we worked with in Moscow on a Trump Tower. But that’s everything, EVERYTHING!
Any meetings or calls before this meeting? Any information obtained at the meeting (did you forget the envelope left by the attorney)? Any explicit or implicit quid pro quo? Any follow-up calls, meetings, actions? Did you ever tell the President anything about any of this? No, no, no—of course not! How can you ever ask these questions? Don’t you believe us?
My son is a quality person—and always transparent (you can see right through him). Anyone would have taken that meeting. And besides, nothing happened. (Sean: tell them that adoption story again.)
And, if you want to learn more about the tree from which the apple fell so closely to Jr., you must get the July 13 issue of the New Republic. There you will find Craig Unger’s “Trump’s Russian Laundromat: How to use Trump Tower and other luxury high-rises to clean dirty money, run an international crime syndicate, and propel a failed real estate developer into the White House.”
The very definition of “thuggery”.
Whatever happens to Trumpcare, tax “reform” seems to be next on the Trump and Ryan/McConnell agenda. Are the Democrats doing anything to prepare for the upcoming national debate?
First and foremost: We CANNOT let this continue to be labeled “reform”. Newt Gingrich carried out a political revolution based on language. The Republicans succeeded in getting everyone, including Obama himself, to turn the Affordable Care Act into Obamacare. We know that they want a Massive Tax Subsidy For the Already Rich…and By the Way, Severe Cuts in Public Services. Surely, our Democratic wordsmiths can come up with a suitable name or acronym. And then get the pundits and public to constantly use our terminology.
We CAN have an alternative vision. The easiest element is elimination of outrageous tax subsidies to very special interests. The oil industry—which has had historical profits in recent years. Other elements of the fossil fuel industry—which has damaged our move to an alternative energy and climate friendly policy. Pharmaceutical companies—which have greatly increased medical costs. Insurance companies, the sugar industry, and on and on and on.
Of course, there are other elements we have supported in the past. A truly progressive system. Surtaxes on the !%. Earned income tax credits. But we should have a new, innovative, and attention-grabbing set of ideas—ideas which might change the very conception of the Democratic Party.
In my recent book, Trumping Trump: Making Democrats Progressive Again, I argue for making the “Tobin Tax” the central idea for the Democratic alternative. Put forward by a late, Nobel Laureate in economics, it argues for a rather miniscule tax (1% or less) on financial transactions not based on a real asset, like a mortgage. There is an incredibly massive (trillions of dollars per DAY) casino economy involving currency bets, commodity prices, derivatives and other arcane financial schemes which helped cause the financial disaster of 2008. Depending on the tax rate, we can supplant the total income tax (and possibly a part of sales and property taxes). Democrats can become the Party of NO taxes!
Clearly, much legislative and political work needs to be done on such proposals. So let’s get to work—and have a Democratic ALTERNATIVE. Let’s SEE you, Democrats!
Number 1 in a Series
Trump, Trump, Jr., Kushner, healthcare, deregulation, travel bans, tax “reform”, Trump, Trump, Trump. Where are the Democrats???
Are we watching the assumed self-destruction of Trump with glee–and waiting to win in 2018 and 2020? Are we watching the assumed self-destruction of Trumpcare with glee—and waiting to win in 2018 and 2020? Are we watching the loss of American prestige in the world—and waiting for what? Are we trying to figure out the path to win the Trump voters in 2018 and 2020? What ARE we doing?
Let’s remember: we were watching the assumed self-destruction of Trump in the Presidential campaign with glee—and waiting for Hillary to win in 2016. Have we already forgotten?
We cannot win waiting for them to lose. We have to win with an agenda, a program, a vision for the future. Yes, a multi-racial, inclusive agenda—but one with which the white working class can identify. Yes, a program to deal with the reality of climate change—but one in which those trained and educated for the 20th century can realistically see a role for themselves. Yes, healthcare for all—but presented in a way which does not scare those who worship the “market”. Yes, an end to economic and political inequalities—but with a truly convincing argument, path, and role for the white working and middle class. Yes, a world with less crime—with the police viewed honorably as true community protectors.
We’ve only got a little time left—let’s SEE you, Democrats!
Russian meddling? Fake news. A Nothing Burger. 17 intelligence agencies agreeing that it happened is NOT a smoking gun?
Russian collusion? Denials by everyone. Fake news. A Nothing Burger. Michael Flynn lying about conversations with the Russian Ambassador, denials of meetings with Russians by Jared Kushner and Jeff Sessions, e-mails released by Donald Trump, Jr. making it clear that information OBTAINED BY THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT had dirt on Hillary Clinton that would help the election of Donald Trump and that Trump campaign officials attended a meeting to get information from a foreign agent do NOT constitute a smoking gun?
Obstruction of Justice? Presidential prerogatives. “Hope” is not command. Recommendations from the Justice Department. Firing of the head of the investigation that might lead directly to the White House, threats to fire the Special Counsel, admission in a national interview what was REALLY behind the firing of Comey, lying, lying, lying do NOT constitute a smoking gun?
Fitness for office? He’s new at this. He represents a whole new paradigm. Don’t take him literally. The lying, the bullying, the attacks on the press—and the whole Bill of Rights, the paranoia, the living in a fantasy world denying reality, the misogyny, the racism, the bragging about sexual assault, the narcissism, the lying, the lying, the lying do NOT constitute a smoking gun?
When is a smoking gun NOT a smoking gun?
Number 1 in a Series: Medicaid
“We as a country should stop and realize the number of children whose lives are at stake,” said the chief executive of a rural children’s hospital. “I don’t think people understand how all this affects kids,” a country doctor said of Medicaid. These quotes from an excellent article in today’s L.A. Times on how cuts in Medicaid would affect white working-class Trump voters.
Forty-five million American children rely on Medicaid—accounting for 43% of all recipients. In a typical Trump state, West Virginia, 53% of children are covered by Medicaid. Of course, immunizations and regular check-ups greatly improves regular health. But a healthy kid, research shows, has better test scores, a much better chance of graduating, and greater lifetime earnings! Pay me now or pay me later!
Debate in Washington generally focuses on TrumpCare as a giant tax cut—taking hundreds of billions from the poor to give to the rich. But the Democrats might want to change the focus to taking away the health of millions of children for the wealthiest 1%. No shots. No discovery of the early stages of heart murmur or asthma that comes from regular doctor visits. And the vast majority of these kids come from Trump counties!
Let’s take the battle to these communities! Pay me now or pay me later!
Happy birthday America! And what do we do as we unwrap our present of President Donald Trump? As a nation, are we merely “incoherent”—or heading relentlessly towards a world crisis? North Korea? Syria? Russia? Climate change? Terrorism? Is life copying art—or at least TV—with the Underwoods of “House of Cards” using terrorism to scare the populace, declare martial law, and establish autocratic rule?
The increasing frantic nature of tweets against the media. The flip flops on everything, like healthcare. The complete ignorance of history and diplomacy. The fatuousness of Jared, who, I learned today, has more personal staff than Rex Tillerson! The complete fecklessness of Congressional Republicans. The still solid support of his “base”. And all the pundits still proclaiming that all is normal, with the system—the Courts, the press, civil protest—actually working!
Secretary Price destroying Obamacare. Secretary DeVos destroying public education. Administrator Pruitt destroying 50 years of environmental protection. Secretary Perry destroying all the gains of renewable energy—and making the world, again, “safe” for fossil fuel rape. Attorney General Sessions destroying 60 years of civil rights and criminal justice gains. Secretary Acosta destroying all hopes of workplace safety and equality—and an increased minimum wage. Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis destroying any expectation of “adults” in the room. No ambassadors, no U.S. Attorneys, no high level diplomats—but a plethora of regulations destroying Bannon’s “deep state”, of budget proposals that will build a wall and rip apart the safety net for poor Americans, and tax ideas that will make even greater the already record economic inequality in America.
Happy Birthday America!