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THESE ARE OUR SAVIORS? SPARE US!

THESE ARE OUR SAVIORS? SPARE US!

It is interesting that people who hate government are so desperate to be involved in its epicenter. Thus we have Bennett of Utah and now Lugar of Indiana who are insufficiently right wing to cut the mustard, and must go – and have gone.

 Apparently the rationale of the far right wing is to get into government so that they can destroy it. There seems to be an attitude that government is inherently bad and that we must follow the constitution in order to defray its excesses, real or imagined. This view is the opposite of the view of the Founders who wrote the constitution and considered government to be a noble exercise of representative democracy, the central thread/rationale for having a government in the first place.

I am of the opinion that a lot of the line we hear from the right is false by design; that they care little of the real issues of the day (unemployment, international trade issues, the environment etc.), but use them very cynically for the purpose of effectuating their real design, which is to make the rich and corporate class richer with a view toward a form of a latter day feudalist state in which we are the vassals and corporations are (effectively) the state. I have blogged on this topic a couple of times to this effect.

Methodologies to make this happen include privatization efforts (designed to make profits and remove public control over public matters such as education, social security and other now government programs where lots of money is there for the taking). It is important in such a scheme of things that all such programs subject to privatization be trashed by pre-takeover propaganda about how  cost ineffective and un-American they are, how government cannot do anything right, and how private enterprise can come in on the white horse and save the day.

There are those of us who disagree with this cozy assessment; we have seen the bankrupt prone Trumps, Gilded Age trusts, the Enrons, Madoffs et al. and have witnessed firsthand the performances of those on the white horses in our recent bailouts of these intrepid horsemen, who never met an asset that could not be securitized.

These are our saviors? Spare us!

It appears that the role of government should properly be to bail out the rich but leave the poor and the veterans under the bridge in the far right wing’s philosophy of government. It seems to me that if the only real purpose of government is to serve as a blocking back for the rich ball carrier to make money, whatever the pretense and propaganda, then it is time to cancel the game. I, for one do not wish to participate in such a phony excuse for government, where money capital writes and enforces the rules ranging from sexual mores to the air we breathe. There are numerous and better options, and all involve an active engagement of the citizenry and a refusal to sell our public wealth and our futures as serfs serving a corporate culture.

 We should show corporate privatizers the gate and proceed to flesh out our own futures (financed in part by more equitable taxation rates – the latest outrage being that GE has paid an annualized rate of only 2.3% on its billions in profits over the last decade, a far less rate than many pay who are on food stamps)! Such disparities in financing America (among other things) must cease – now!  GERALD E

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LIBERTARIANS AND CIVIC EDUCATION

LIBERTARIANS AND CIVIC EDUCATION

Professor Sheila S. Kennedy in a recent blog again decried the loss of civic education in our schools and how such a failure to teach the meaning of the Constitution and the democratic principles and institutions upon which this nation is founded ill equip such students to make well-considered choices when they achieve voting age. I commented as follows.

We used to have an old saying that “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Thus I think we have the same problem with students where constitutional history is taught as well as in some jurisdictions (notably Texas) where such courses are not offered at all courtesy of the Texas Board of Education, apparently with the design of keeping the masses ignorant of their rights and those of others as well and, of course, to deprive such future voters of their own country’s history from Bunker Hill, the Preamble, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights etc., which makes them open to propaganda from Fox News, Trump and others who profit politically from such ignorance.

The readin, writin and rithmetic crowd of those who insist that the basics must be taught should have civic literacy added to their list, especially with infiltrating libertarian views of government and economics which are already being taught in school these days at the higher education level. Witness the naming of business schools and worse, the teaching of nihilism in government, courtesy of such hard right zillionaires as the Mercers and Kochs, whose contributions to colleges and universities are (to top off this insult to Peter Abelard’s classic view of the role of education at the university level) tax deductible, thus making all of us who have to make up, however indirectly, what these libertarians don’t pay to support a system we detest.

I am told that in addition to content, some of such business schools only appoint new faculty after approval from such libertarian contributors, and I presume grants of tenure are subject to the whim of such libertarian moneybags as well. Can anyone imagine that the Kochs and Mercers and their greedy ilk would support curricular requirements of constitutional history and critical thinking K through PhD in public schools and universities? I can’t.     GERALD          E

DECONSTRUCTION GOES ABROAD

DECONSTRUCTION GOES ABROAD

Professor Kennedy in her blog today voiced concern that a so called Madrid Group whose right wing tenets mirror those of Trump are set to sew havoc in the upcoming European Parliamentary and Spanish elections and are spreading their policial venom throughout Europe, notably in Hungary and Germany. I responded as follows.

Adolph would be delighted were he among us, and Putin’s attempts to destroy Western democracies are on track with the unexpected assistance of international financing of local elections (which we already have here thanks to Citizens United with a mix of domestic libertarian dollars, foreign rubles, and a president who apparently agrees with Putin that American democracy has to go). It now appears per Professor Kennedy that the Bannon/Trump “deconstruction of the administrative state” has gone international and that, though we will probably be ridding ourselves of Trump next year, the right wing explosion he and Bannon have initiated may spread far and wide giving us several mini-Adolphs elsewhere which, among other things, could destroy NATO and literally invite Putin to a new round of annexations to the west of his present borders. The net result is that not only is our democracy at stake, but the democracies of the various states in Europe are at stake as well.

I am not surprised by Professor Kennedy’s report today because I have been following Bannon on his trips around Europe meeting with right wing groups where he has been spreading the admittedly pro-Leninist gospel of “deconstruction of the administrative state” (aka destruction of democracy). He is doing a good job in fomenting uproar with his racist banter, especially in Europe where many are opposed to the millions of immigrants fleeing Syrian and North African countries seeking refuge and coming into countries comprising the EU, vestiges of which Trump has exploited with his racist declaration of a “border emergency” in this country.

Current evidence of the move to deconstruction in our country range from Trump’s weekend phone call to Putin in which they joked about our current state of affairs and discussed the Mueller report but did not discuss Russian meddling in our elections both past, current and future, to his sending a battle fleet to the Persian Gulf to intimidate Iran and his threat of an increase in tariffs on Chinese imports of $200 billion which, I can guarantee you, will have a negative effect on the stock markets both here and abroad, all cof such shenanigans geared toward enhancing chaos and uncertainty among us and diversion of our attention from prospective testimony of Mueller and Trump’s and Bannon’s plan to end our democracy via “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

We dissidents  on this side of the Atlantic can do little about the antics of the Madrid Group but there is much we can do here to save our democracy. What to do while awaiting impeachment proceedings? Relentlessly call Trump out on each and every one of his initiatives (immigration, tax, lack of regulation etc.), demand that Mueller testify before the House, that the DOJ de-politize etc., and do it today since, as one of my fellow contributors notes, tomorrow may be too late, and that if we merely stand by as spectators while watching our values and institutions trashed, there may be nothing left to defend.

Democracy is fragile, and make no mistake, it is under attack both here and elsewhere by Big and Little Brothers world-wide. There is no shortage of wannabe authoritarians like Trump who peddle hate everywhere, and we are well advised to nip his deconstruction antics in the bud today on this side of the pond. History is watching.     GERALD          E

LORDS AND SERFS TODAY

LORDS AND SERFS TODAY

Professor Kennedy in her blog today quotes from a paper submitted by one of her students at the end of the spring semester just concluded which treats our present disarray in government and in our economy with the clarity one would expect from a Woodrow Wilson scholar, and were I her professor I would give her an A. The student ended her scholarly description of people, policies and events with a call for a system that works for all rather than the one we have now, where the system works for the few. Professor Kennedy noted that she (the professor) has no fear of tomorrow if this student’s views are representative of  those in tomorrow’s governing class. I agree, and responded to her contributors, slightly edited, as follows.

Professor Kennedy has opened up one of my favorite topics today – governing philosophy – so brace yourself for my philosophical take, as follows.  One could argue that Citizens United brought us nothing new but merely affirmed the existing order of things, i.e., made it official, which suggests that we dissidents should spend our time and energy on changing the undergirding realities that brought us Citizens United in a judicial affirmation of a political order that already enabled libertarian Kochs and Mercers and other dark money zillionaires to buy elections. The ultimate remedy, of course, is called voting for change from Citizens’ impact, assuming Putin allows such process to proceed and Republicans end or at least slow their voter suppression tactics.

How did we get to where we are, and what are we doing to identify and rid ourselves of governing philosophies that harken back to East India Tea days of royal monopoly one step removed from today’s financiers on Wall Street (the new royalty)? Are we still operating as an East India Tea monopoly under cover of weak and unenforced Sherman and Clayton Acts which were thrown to the masses during the Gilded Age as a bone to avoid civil commotion and the wrath of Teddy Roosevelt?

Who these days is enforcing Sherman? Trump, or even recent Democratic presidents, or are they too beholden to libertarian and PAC cash to honestly advocate for the 99% (except when they are on the stump with their MAGAs and other meaningless mantras)? Perhaps it is time to attack underlying causes as well as the symptoms of our current economic and political malaise in this lord v. serf brawl (1% vs. 99%), as in, by what right do the few totally control the distribution of the wealth and income from our economy? How could anyone in the 99% of whatever political stripe as a stakeholder in our economy vote for that when you consider that this is our economy, not that of mere investors in our markets, who are stakeholders but not owners of our economy. We are.

Given all of the above, what is it going to take to see real reform in allocation of power and resources between these metaphorical lords and serfs I have described? Will even a Putin-less election do the trick, or are we merely changing faces of the mantra-elected lords while the East India Tea design continues? When will the serfs be welcome in the castle they financed by their labor, built and still maintain, and when will the lords who inhabit it pay rent to the serfs who by all rights own the castle. Ever?

I have more questions than answers today about how to cobble together a just society from the current chaos induced by a real estate investor masquerading as president sitting in the Oval Office, so you be the judge. What now?       GERALD         E

TRUMP AND IMPEACHMENT

TRUMP AND IMPEACHMENT

Greed and corruption are nothing new in the human experience, but this package is usually foisted off on us by more subtle means than via a sick man and tweetstorms. Perhaps our problem as recipients of such social, economic and political insults is that Trump does his emolument and obstruction and other crimes in broad daylight while attacking his attackers and we are so caught up by his daily grab of media attention that we are left in fuming rather than impeachment mode.

Our response can be changed, and I propose that we the insulted go full bore after his impeachment as well as that of his AG (and I use the term “his” and not “our”advisedly), refuse to fund his border initiatives, and in general frustrate his plans one by one to give away the store to Putin and Kim and subvert our democracy in the process.

To the argument that such a response would amount to shutting down the government, take a look. It’s shut down anyway except for agency momentum now led by former lobbyists and with an incoherent president who doesn’t agree with his own advisers and policymakers, where even John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, themselves showing signs of incoherency, are at odds with their boss, a boss who tells Putin more about the Mueller report than our congressional representatives know, and where the several bills the House has passed and sent over to the Senate are not brought up for a vote by McConnell, whose chief job these days is apparently not to steer bills through the Senate maw but rather to ensure that Trump morphs into a Big Brother figure.

So while we fume our democracy teeters and I for one have reached my tipping point. I did not spend time in the South Pacific during WW II in defense of our democracy from fascism to come home and find it under attack from within by a man lusting for all power, whatever his ism. It is time for us to end our shock and fuming at this masquerader in the Oval Office and instead apply our time and energy to excision of this cancer on our democracy. The Constitution has handed us the scalpel for such surgery, so let’s use it. Now.    GERALD         E

WAGE INEQUALITY AND THE SUPERRICH

WAGE INEQUALITY AND THE SUPERRICH
If I may brag a bit, I have been harping on wage inequality for many years, warning the rich who are hogging a hugely disproportionate share of the wealth and income of our economy for their own that their day is coming, and writing recently that the superrich are directly responsible for the rise of a socialistic impulse among the young today (as can be seen with the rise of AOC).
Milken, the rich ex-con, has brought notice of that gathering storm to his mini-Davos meeting in Beverly Hills, and the assorted zillionaires  who attended talked about the problem but did not develop a consensus in what to do about it. That is unfortunate, but I suppose they want to make every last dime they can while they can and leave the solution to their successors (if their successors have that option).
Unlike me, the superrich don’t seem to see a reactionary socialist state in the immediate offing and want to keep our current Second Gilded Age on track for as long as possible, and in this connection I often mount my white horse and write that I am trying to save capitalism, if the capitalists will let me. It appears they won’t.
I also often write that wage inequality (other than Trump) is our biggest domestic issue, and I hereby reiterate that proposition. The rich and corporate class would be well advised to back off their oblivious and greedy pursuit of assets in favor of a more equitable sharing of the wealth and income with other stakeholders in our economy who helped produce such trove lest under a new regime they find their asset-gathering is strictly controlled and/or ended – and the clock is ticking.    GERALD         E

BARR, FOX AND TRUMP

BARR, FOX AND TRUMP

Professor Kennedy in her blog today correctly writes that Fox is a propaganda outlet for Trump, his Tass, as it were. She cites instances of where Fox News pumps out “news” that is racially slanted. approves of White Nationalism etc., and decries its influence on a gullible audience. I responded, somewhat off topic and slightly edited, as follows.

Big Businesses and their mute libertarian lackeys in Congress (the Republican Party has vanished) are supporting Fox’s propaganda for the same reason (diverting our attention) that Trump is. Trump does a good job at diverting issues, as in, for instance, (babies are dying in cages reports overwhelmed by I’m thinking of invading Venezuela babble), but with a different objective in mind, to wit: Wall Street contributes to the public chaos and confusion as cover for their control of our markets, their plunder of our treasury, and (thanks to Citizens United) their takeover of our electoral process (or what is left of it after Putin’s cyber invasion). Trump’s monomania is two-fold: to make money and become a dictator.

Barr’s performance yesterday in which he testified that a president could constitutionally shut down any proceedings against himself if he deemed the process unfair was rightly defined as “the road to tyranny” by Hillary Clinton. Consider that the impeachment process is a “proceeding” and one Trump would, of course, find unfair under Barr’s bizarre definition. He would shut it down and the rule of law would be totally subverted to his dictatorial whim. Hillary’s observation is right to a fault – and chilling. With Big Money supplying the grease and Fox supplying the Goebbelspeak and an AG who openly advocates crowning of this real estate investor as der fuehrer, we have an existential problem, Houston.

So what to do? Take every available means of ridding ourselves of OUR (?) lawyer, who is running interference for Trump’s dictatorial ambitions, including but not limited to his impeachment, citation for contempt, indictment, or any other available remedy while also filing articles of impeachment against der wannabe fuehrer. To the argument that we cannot do legislative business and conduct such constitutionally required remedies (if we are to save our democracy) at the same time, I note that if we play the Good Germans and allow der fuehrer to become Big Brother, there won’t be any legislative or judicial business to transact. Big Brothers don’t have legislatures or judges; all power resides in Big Brother, so let’s ignore the Barrs and Trumps of this world and make our move to save our most precious asset held in common – our democracy. History is watching.       GERALD           E

BIG BROTHER, TRUMP AND NEW IDEAS

BIG BROTHER, TRUMP AND NEW IDEAS

Professor Kennedy  in her blog today tells us that a Muslim professional (and permanent resident of Israel) was denied entry to the United States due to new Trump regulations though he had been here before, had been invited to give a speech (which Professor Kennedy had planned to attend and interview him afterwards), and had planned to attend his daughter’s wedding in Texas while here. Trump the racist apparently did not want to have him in the country though this man preached non-violence in lectures here and elsewhere. She discussed First Amendment rights that are being assailed by right wing politicians and the need for new ideas in dealing with those who may say things we don’t like but which they nevertheless have a right to say, citing Justice Holmes (and I here on my own cite Voltaire, who famously intoned that “I do not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it).” I responded to her effort, slightly edited, as follows.

Though predating the Constitution, it was “new ideas” our colonialist forefathers had that gave us our nation. Those throwing tea into the Boston harbor had new ideas. Those who were victims of taxation but not representation had new ideas. Madison, Jefferson, Adams and others of the post-Enlightenment era had new ideas.

I thought a key observation of Professor Kennedy’s offering today was to note that those who would remove others’ constitutional rights risk similar treatment. Thus while freedom of speech does not include the right to yell fire in a crowded theater, it does include the right to advise the fire marshal that the theater is overcrowded, drawing a bright line in the application of selective freedom of speech depending upon its effect on the common good. Thus the courts have held that one is entitled to privately be a racist but cannot participate in lynching those one hates.

Trump’s racist policies amount to a figurative lynching of Muslims (and everyone else irrespective of race and/or religion whether Democrat or Republican who is a perceived roadblock to his drive to authoritarianism). He is on the wrong side of history, has no sense of constitutional limitations, and must be impeached and removed from office while we still have (if fleeting) the power to do so. We are in the midst of a constitutional Article 1 versus an Article 2 war of words, one we dare not lose since it is plain as day that our democracy is at stake if Article 2 emerges the winner.

Impeachment is a constitutional and (fortunately, given Trump’s and McConnell’s packing of the courts) extrajudicial means of ridding ourselves of this wannabe dictator. Yes, it will be disruptive and loud, but necessary if we are to escape a Big Brother regime, so let’s get on with it by, figuratively speaking, climbing the ramparts.     GERALD          E