Then They Came For Me

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


You’ve all heard and read this poem, written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, more than a few times.  Niemöller penned this in 1946, at the end of WWII, the end of the Holocaust that took more than 6 million lives.  It is engraved on a plaque at the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston, Massachusetts, and is known worldwide.  The poem speaks volumes and should serve as a warning to people all around the world today.

Here in the United States, they are coming for our voting rights, for our right to have a voice in our government.  They are coming for our right to peacefully protest those things we see happening, such as police brutally killing unarmed Black men.  What will they come for next?

“They” who are coming for our rights are not necessarily who you might think.  Most of us, if asked who ‘they’ are, would likely say “Republicans”.  Understandably, for they are the ones writing the voter suppression bills, the ones writing the bills that now allow people to run down and kill even peaceful protestors.  But the truth of the matter is that the Republicans are but pawns in a much bigger game.  They are puppets being moved like pieces on a chess board by the likes of Charles Koch and other uber-wealthy men who want to ensure their pawns stay in power, to ensure that We the People have only a very limited voice, or preferably in their eyes, no voice in how our government operates.

They work hand-in-hand with the likes of Vladimir Putin to buy politicians such as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Ted Cruz and more.  They don’t choose the brightest bulbs in the pack to do their dirty work, but the weakest, those who have the most to lose if elections going forward are fair and honest, if every person over the age of 18 in this country has a vote, a voice.

HR1, now S1, For the People Act, would expand voter’s rights, end partisan gerrymandering, increase access to ballot boxes, postal ballots, and the polls.  But, what frightens the shadowy cabals pulling the puppet strings the most is that it would limit secret campaign spending and provide more transparency about political donors, effectively stemming the flow of ‘dark money’ in politics.  None other than the ignoble billionaire Charles Koch has said that congressional republicans would do better to ignore the will of the people and simply kill the bill in Congress.  To whatever extent possible, that is what they will do, and we will never know quite what hit us.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative organization that consistently ‘advised’ the former guy on his staff picks, recognized that the For the People Act is tremendously popular almost equally among democrats and republicans, so they have encouraged members of Congress to subject the bill to the filibuster and shut it down before it ever sees the light of day.  That is precisely what they are planning to do, and with the help of two Democrats, Joe Manchin from West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The clock is ticking

Our voting rights are on the auction block … or rather, the chopping block. Why? Because billionaires like Charles Koch, funding organizations like the Heritage Foundation, are using Republicans in Congress as their puppets to impose their will on the people of this country. Right now, their will is to take as many off the voting rolls as possible, by hook or by crook. Blogging friend Brosephus has written this post to show us the lengths to which these people are willing to go to curtail our Constitutional rights. Thanks, Bro.

The Mind of Brosephus

I’m guessing that you’ve seen this video by now. If not, take a few minutes to listen or you can read the article about it that was posted on Mother Jones. Here’s a snippet to digest.

The leaked video reveals the extent to which Heritage is leading a massive campaign to draft and pass model legislation restricting voting access, which has been swiftly adopted this year in the battleground states of Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Iowa. It’s no coincidence that so many GOP-controlled states are rushing to pass similar pieces of legislation in such a short period of time. 

Republican legislators claim they’re tightening up election procedures to address (unfounded) concerns about fraud in the 2020 election. But what’s really behind this effort is a group of conservative Washington insiders who have been pushing these same kinds of voting restrictions for decades, with the explicit aim of helping Republicans…

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Another Really, Really Rotten Choice …

Some days you have to ask yourself if somehow, in some way, you have slipped into a dystopian universe.  Up is down, inside is outside, big is little, and wrong has suddenly become right.  Point in case …

There are two vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and Trump has nominated a man named Stephen Moore to fill one of those vacancies.  Now, before I get into Mr. Moore and his qualifications, or lack thereof, remember that the purpose of the Federal Reserve in a nutshell is to ensure a stable economy. *

Federal Reserve board members (there are seven, which includes the Chairman and Vice Chairman) serve a term of fourteen years, and are paid an annual salary of $179,700, with the two at the top receiving $199,700.  It is a position of high trust, controlling such things as interest rates, banking regulations, managing inflation and more. Stephen MooreNow on to Stephen Moore.  First off, he is a great supporter of “supply-side” or “trickle down” economics.  Sigh.  HOW MANY TIMES do we have to prove that it does not work??? I made this point back in September 2017 with my post It Trickles Up … Not Down! In fact, Trump has proven it himself by giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy, stating that the money they saved in taxes would ‘trickle down’ to the consumer, to the working class.  It didn’t.  It never has. It never will.  In a 2012 paper, Moore wrote …

“Cutting taxes can have a near immediate and permanent impact, which is why we have advised Oklahoma, Kansas and other states to cut their income tax rates if they want the most effective immediate and lasting boost to their states’ economies.”

But wait … there is more NOT to love about Stephen Moore.

For starters, just looking at his affiliations sends up red flags. He is a member of the Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal, owned by none other than the owner of state television network Fox News, Rupert Murdoch.  And Mr. Moore is the Chief Economist at the Heritage Foundation.  For those who may not be aware, the Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. and geared towards public policy. The foundation took a leading role in the conservative movement during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, whose policies were taken from Heritage’s policy study Mandate for Leadership. The foundation had a powerful say in the staffing of the Trump misfit administration, being largely responsible for the nominations of Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos, Mick Mulvaney, Rick Perry, and Jeff Sessions.

In 2011, Mr. Moore divorced his wife, Allison.  In 2013, he was found in contempt of court for failing to pay more than $330,000 in spousal support, child support, attorney’s fees and a one-time fee to his ex-wife.  Moore had failed to pay six consecutive months of child support — and only a small fraction of the nearly $19,000 a month he had agreed to pay his ex-wife in the divorce settlement. Moore failed to respond to repeated requests from the Virginia court to make payments and did not show up for a deposition in the case. The court ordered him to sell his home to raise money to pay the debt and forced him to set up an automatic bank transfer each month.  Ever hear the term “deadbeat dad”?  Moore is one.

Mr. Moore currently owes $75,000 in unpaid federal taxes, interest and penalties, according to court documents filed last year. A lien for $75,328.80 from the 2014 tax year was entered against Mr. Moore at the request of the federal government in January 2018.  What he owes in back taxes for a single year is more than most of us make in a single year!  And he is too sorry to pay the government, when we would be in jail if we fell behind by a tenth that much?

Now, here we have a man who cannot manage his own personal finances, and yet Trump would elevate him to one of the most important positions in the overall economic health of the nation???  You might think that Mr. Moore would hang his head in shame and walk away from the nomination, but think again.

Two days ago, he stated emphatically that he has no intention of stepping aside.  “It’s full speed ahead.” And Trump & Co have no intention of withdrawing the nomination, according to Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, who said both he and Trump continue to support Mr. Moore for the Fed’s board of governors.

“I think he’ll make a great governor. We are standing fully behind his candidacy.”

beating head in disgustJust as with Trump’s cabinet picks, this one is among the worst possible choices.  We have people leading the Departments of Energy, Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who are climate change deniers and have ties to the fossil fuel industry.  We have a Secretary of Education who does not believe in public schools.  Then there’s Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, who is the subject of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit claiming he stole from a former partner.  And let us not forget Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), who claims that poverty is “a state of mind”.  I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Trump cabinet.pngSadly for our nation, Mr. Moore’s nomination, just like all those above, and like Brett Kavanaugh who now sits on the Supreme Court despite many disqualifications, will be confirmed by the republican-majority Senate.  And We the People have no voice in this.  Unless there are actually some republican senators who have a bit of decency left, a bit of honour and integrity, and the cojones to defy Trump, then this misfit, just like all those before him, will be confirmed.


*For an easy-to-understand summation of the Federal Reserve, I recommend this article, The Federal Reserve and What It Does