Category Archives: Trump

Would You Save the Drowning Child? The GOP on Tax Cuts and Health Care.

The first thing you learn in law school is that you make a lot more money defending the rich than you do defending the poor. This is the Republican Politicians approach to government. They know that if they cut the taxes of the rich, their donor class will reward them handsomely for it. This is how people like Mitch McConnel and Paul Ryan have become millionaires on a government salary.

Peter Singer sketches a moral lesson in a parable: The Parable of the Drowning Child.

Let’s say that you were walking past a muddy pool of water, wearing a brand new $2000 suit. You saw a child drowning in the pool, and you didn’t have time to take off your suit in order to jump in and save her. The dilemma is this: you ruin your suit and save the child’s life, or you save the child’s life and it costs you a brand-new suit. Would you save the drowning child?

Most of us would. Millionaires would not. And this is the Republican politicians approach to government, as opposed to the Democrats. (I want everyone to keep in mind that I make a distinction between Republican politicians and Republican voters—because I think that most of the voters have been duped). Everything that Republican politicians do in Washington is meant to take from the poor and give to the rich.

Democrats are trying to ‘save the drowning child’—Republicans are out ‘buying new suits’.

And their latest attempt at repealing Obamacare smuggled into their tax cut for the rich, proves this to be true. Even though this attempt at cutting taxes for the rich, while cutting health care for the poor will still add to the government debt, they are trying to make it palatable to some of their politicians. While they hope to fool enough of us into believing that those tax cuts for the rich are actually good for the rest of us. Trickle-down economics: will we get fooled again?

Don the Con ran for president on a nationalistic working-class platform. Even though he has never shown anything but disdain for the working-class his whole life, a great many of the working-class helped put him in office (given the undemocratic Electoral College). Since he has taken office, he has not even proposed one thing to help the working-class. But what he is most excited about is the new tax cut proposal. So his is daughter.

Ivanka the Con, who was going to campaign for women’s rights (yea right!) is now out campaigning for these tax cuts. Why? it is simple—it will make her millions of dollars, given the repeal of the Estate Tax. This tax only affects the richest of the rich, and there are a few billionaire families pushing their minion Republican politicians in Washington to ensure that it gets done—by any means necessary. The two main tax cuts in this new GOP bill: the estate tax and the corporate tax. How will this help working families? It won’t. But they will say that it will. Who does this bill hurt? People on Medicaid, Medicare, and anyone else who needs a little assistance to afford health care.

How many more ‘drowning children’ is it going to take before the Republican Voters admit that they have been conned?

Democrats in 2018: Divided We Fall

Image: Marc Nozell | CC BY 2.0

What part of “divided we fall” don’t we seem to understand?

Right now, the Republicans are trying to divide us, Fox ‘news’ is trying to divide us, Russian propaganda on Facebook is trying to divide us…they are all in bed together. If we stay divided, we lose!

As we are constantly told: elections have consequences. But so does staying home, as we sadly learned one year ago.

The sad truth is that Democrats vote every four years, Republicans vote every two. If we don’t change this, we will lose!

In 2008, we elected our first African-American president. And then in 2010 we stayed home. The consequences of the 2010 election will reverberate for years to come, especially because it was a census year. That election essentially gave the House of Representatives a veto power over anything that Obama wanted to accomplish, and for the next six years his presidency was hobbled by obstructionism.

In 2014, we stayed home, and that cost us the Senate and thus, a seat on the Supreme Court. The only exception was in 2006, when Americans were finally so disgusted with the failures of the Bush Administration that Democrats took back the House and Senate.

Look at us now: we are squabbling over what happened a year ago, and not focusing on next year. We are at the halfway point between elections and we are lucky that things are not worse. I thought Trump would be a horrible president, but even I didn’t think that he would be this bad. We are lucky that they haven’t been able to pass any major legislation, but behind the scenes they are reshaping the court system with record numbers of appointments, because we stayed home in 2014.

As most of you know, Donna Brazile is trying to sell her book. And nothing sells books like a little controversy. Given her fall from grace in the Democratic Party, she doesn’t seem to care that the controversy that she is sowing will further divide us. Yes, I used to love Donna Brazile, but if she is willing to stir up controversy in order to sell books, then to hell with her. We should only look backward in order to learn how to better move forward.

I am a leftist. I am on the left of the Democratic Party. If there was a viable Democratic Socialist party in this country, I would surely vote for it. But I am also an avowed Pragmatist. There is a big difference between Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton, but there is a huge chasm between any Democrat and any Republican right now. Any Democrat is infinitely better than any Republican.

America has never had a working-class party. We have never had a viable Social Democratic Party. The closest thing we have are the Democrats. If we don’t vote for them, we are stuck with the Republicans. In the 1990s Bill Clinton moved the party to the right, in order to accomplish anything. Democrats elected Clinton in 1992, and then stayed home in 1994. The Republican wave that year brought Newt Gingrich the House and obstructionism over the next six years—sound familiar?

The Tea Party was formed by the Koch Brothers and big tobacco as a reaction to Barack Obama. They were the extreme wing of the Republican Party. They pushed the Party so far to the right that we got Trumped. They vote Republican—they don’t stay home and sulk that their party is not far enough in their direction, they got involved and pushed the party further in their direction. Take a lesson from the Tea Party—only on the left.

We oscillate between hope and despair. Don’t let despair keep you from voting. There is great wisdom in William James’s “The Will to Believe” –where he says that “believe in a fact can help bring about the fact”. If we don’t believe that we can make a difference, we are unlikely to try. William James was the godfather of Pragmatism.

As I said, I am very much on the left. So, let me provide you leftists with my favorite Marx quote: “each generation makes its own history, but not as it chooses.” Marx was above all a realist, and in this sense, he was a pragmatist. You have to work with what you have, not with what you want to have. Wanting things to change will not change them, working toward change with the most viable option is the only thing that is likely to work.

If we don’t act soon it may be too late.  The Republicans will be able to pass legislation over the next three years, if we don’t stop them. The only way to stop them is to take back Congress. From voting rights, to civil rights, from the environment to health care, they will destroy everything that liberals have worked for over the last few decades.

They don’t care about democracy, they care about power. And they will use any means to keep it, especially rolling back voting rights. If it is not too late for democracy in America, it may soon be too late.

The Democrats have one mission over the next year: come together and get out the vote. It may sound like hyperbole to say that this may be the most important election in your lifetime, but if you are paying attention to what is happening, you know that is true. Especially given the fact that we cannot go back and change the last election.

Three Reasons Why The Republican Tax Plan is a Hoax

 

Republicans are at it again. More accurately, they have never stopped. The hoax was first perpetrated on the middle class in the 1980s. We were told that if we let the Republicans cut taxes on the ‘job creators’ (the Rich) that this would make us all better off. It never happened. If you look at the data since 1980 all that has happened is that inequality has grown exponentially, and so has the national debt. Those are the facts.

 

 

And yet, they have regurgitated these old arguments in new language. Corporations are making record profits, and still we are told that if we cut corporate tax from 35 to 20% they will create jobs. Why are they not creating them now? Again, they have record profits. The reason we don’t have more economic growth in this country is that the middle class and working poor don’t have enough discretionary spending power. Seventy percent of the American economy is based on consumer spending. If we don’t have enough money left over at the end of the month, from paying rent, bills, food, and health care then we cannot afford to grow the economy.

The Republicans will tell you that their tax ‘reform’ package will generate growth. And that it will save the average family $1000 a year—we are too smart for this. The word “average” means that if I cut taxes on ten percent of the people by $10,000 and the rest by zero—then the average is $1000 per person.

There is one more reason why this whole plan is a hoax, and it goes all the way back to Reagan. In the 1980s they cut everyone’s taxes. But then bit-by-bit they raised taxes back on the middle class, but taxes on the wealthy never went back up to where they were.

The reason why Trump loves this tax cut bill is that it will eliminate estate taxes. It will also eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, both of which only affect the richest one-percent.  Billionaires will profit greatly from this tax cut and the middle class and working poor will get screwed once again. The ironic tragedy in all of this is that the working-class Trump supporters will support this bill simply because Trump supports it. They will get screwed, but so will a great many other people.

The Small Business Association* doesn’t support this bill because it really does nothing for small businesses. But the Republicans will push it through with their “small business” battle cry. Once again, their rhetoric doesn’t match the reality.

And the Republicans who screamed about the national debt during the Obama administration? They are ominously silent. They only care about the debt when it is helping the poor. When it comes to cutting taxes for the rich, to hell with the debt–blame the Democrats.

How to fight back against this? The same way we fought back against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act—bring demonstrators into the Capitol and shame enough Senators into backing off. Flood your Congressman and Senator with calls and letters. Resist.

The Failure of Our Founding Fathers

Given the indictments yesterday, it may look like justice will be served in the Trump-Russian investigation. However, there is a lot going on in American politics today that our Founding Fathers did not count on. In the first place, they did not count on the fact that America may have elected an entire crime family to occupy the White House. They also did not count on a media conglomerate dictating what an entire political party does.

It seems that the Framers of our Constitution believed that the President would be a person of upright moral integrity, thus they gave him the power of the pardon. Keep in mind that even Richard Nixon did not pardon his co-conspirators. But Donald Trump can and will pardon everybody involved in this Russian scandal. Even though lying to the FBI is a federal offense, Trump can pardon anyone for it. Even treason against the United States can be pardoned by the President.

Trump can and will pardon everyone involved in order to keep this investigation from touching him. And if Trump is found guilty of treason, Mike Pence can pardon him. If Mike Pence is also found guilty of collusion, President Paul Ryan can pardon him also—and get on with his main agenda of cutting taxes for the rich.

It seems that we are going to need a few more Constitutional Amendments after the Trump administration, but we are not going to get them. The Framers of our Constitution most likely believed that a political party would put country over party, but that is not today’s Republican Party. We may never get the laws and amendments that we need to guard against this happening again. We are going to have to hope that America will never be stupid enough to again elect a crime boss to the oval office.

It is already clear that Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, taking foreign money while in office, but the Republicans are looking the other way. At some point, we may have to consider that the entire Republican Party is in collusion with Trump—allowing him to commit treason, so they can get their agenda passed.

There is currently no law requiring a President, or presidential candidate, from releasing his (or her) tax returns, but all presidents and candidates in the modern age have done so. Until Trump. What is he hiding? We may never know. Hopefully, Mueller knows though.

But keep in mind, that Trump can still have Mueller fired. Fox ‘news’ is already laying the groundwork for such firing. Given that Trump supporters only watch Fox ‘news’—they will think that the firing is entirely justified.

Sorry about the bad news, especially on a day where it looks hopeful that Robert Mueller will get to the bottom of this. But the fact remains that eventually no one will be punished, even if we know that they are guilty.  The only good news may be that some of these crimes can be prosecuted at the state level, where the presidential pardon cannot reach.

By the way, the media conglomerate who is dictating the agenda of one political party? If you didn’t already guess—Fox ‘news’. But that is fodder for an upcoming blog.

 

What Kind of a F#&*ing Person Does This?!

 

Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the Puerto Rico recovery effort. He has also signed legislation to completely undermine The Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). At the same time, he is threatening North Korea, and is going to decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal.

To say that Trump is unhinged would be an understatement.

On Tuesday night, General Barry McCaffrey told Brian Williams that he thinks we are headed unavoidably toward war with North Korea. Yesterday Nicholas Kristof, who just returned from North Korea thinks that they, too, are gearing up for an inevitable war with the United States. How can ‘cooler heads’ prevail when the biggest hot-head is in the Oval Office? For years, we have had a stand-off with North Korea. But we have had presidents, of both parties, who understood that we must remain calm. Trump could start a nuclear war with the same emotional storm in which he starts his Twitter-tantrums.

This is a man who is willing to hold 800,000 young people hostage (the DACA program) in order to build his “wall”—which even Republicans know is a cost-benefit disaster.

Everything about Trump can be understood as “undo everything that Obama accomplished”. Obama wanted better health care for millions—undo that. Obama wanted a nuclear treaty with Iran—undo that. Obama is a humanitarian—Trump is the opposite. Obama wanted peace…this is getting scary. From clean energy, environmental protection, affordable health care, treaties with other countries… Trump will do the opposite. We can use child psychology to understand Trump, but we cannot control him. He is unhinged and is leading us inevitably toward war, and even some in his own party now recognize this.

He has done nothing about the opioid crisis, except to appoint Invisible Jared to head up something (nobody knows). This has gone nowhere while America is in a drug crisis manufactured by our own pharmaceutical companies.

What, if anything, is it going to take for his supporters to admit that they have been conned?  His tax plan focuses on the Estate Tax, which benefits him and his billionaire friends. He has not even proposed an infrastructure plan, except as a surreptitious tax-cut for corporations which will supposedly ‘stimulate’ private spending.

He, and his minion Betsy DeVos, are trying to destroy public education. But for his Chief Strategize Steve Bannon, who now works for him outside the White House, even this isn’t far enough. Bannon wants to destroy even more, threatening to push the Republican Party even further to the right.

If America is lucky we will avoid a disaster for the next 18 months. But if the Democrats don’t get their shit together and turn out the vote, if we cannot take back the House and Senate in next year’s election, then we are going to pay the price for decades.

Democrats have one main job for the next year—get out the vote!

Today’s GOP: Heartless and Cruel

Today Trump gave the white supremacists something to cheer about. He has spent the last month showing America who he is. First, he cheered on the KKK and Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville Virginia, declaring “there are very fine people on both sides.”  He then pardoned the racist sheriff Joe Arpaio, who puts immigrants into “concentration camps” (his own words). And now, through his racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he announces that he will end the DACA program. Sessions was giddy, practically jumping up and down in his pants, when he made the announcement. (happy that he was the one to make the announcement).

For those of you who don’t know: President Obama authorized DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in June of 2012, because the Republican controlled congress would not act—holding true to their vow to block everything President Obama proposed. So Obama did the right thing.

Many of these children were brought here by their parents when they were quite young, this is the only home they have even known. And Trump wants to deport them—to where? This is their home.

In the latest opinion poll 76% of Americans want to keep the DACA program. But 15% of Americans want to end it. This is right in line with Trump’s own 35% approval rating. Who does he care about?  His base. Who is he governing for? His base.

His whole campaign, and now presidency has been to appease the racists in this country. From the moment he came down his golden elevator in Trump Tower and announced his bid for presidency, by denouncing Mexicans as drug-dealers and rapists—he shot to the top of the Republican polls. When he announced a ban on Muslim immigrants, he went even higher in Republican polling. Now, it is true that not all Republicans are racist, but it is obviously true that some are—this is his base.  Them, and the rich. This is how they plan to “make America great again”—and it is now becoming clear what this means to them.

We were warned by people who knew Don the Con, when he was cheating his contractors and workers out of money. He told us that he was going to make health care better and cheaper—that was a con. Only 17% of Americans approved of his health care plan, and he almost succeeded in shoving it through congress. This plan would have thrown 30 million people off health care in order to slash taxes for the richest Americans.

Right in sync with his ‘reality-show presidency’—he gave congress six months to act, as long as they attach it to a bill that he wants. In other words, he wants to hold these children hostage, because this is the only way he can force his agenda.

Last week one dreamer, Alonso Guillen,  lost his life in Houston saving the lives of others. We will need undocumented immigrants to help rebuild Houston. In fact, we will need these workers to rebuild the American economy—we cannot grow the economy with a shrinking population.

These people should keep this in mind next Sunday morning when they mouth the words “Forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Any one who would deport these kids are simply heartless and cruel.

What will the rest of Americans do? “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” Edmund Burke.

By The Way: these dreamers pay a lot more in taxes than Trump’s entire family.