Nothing To Celebrate

The Pentagon is reported to be “weighing a request from the White House to support a July Fourth celebration on the National Mall that may include military aircraft flyovers, band performances and other displays.” 

I may be a minority of one here, but I think such a display would be in very poor taste.  We have had two black men murdered in the past month, simply for being black.  One of those men was murdered by the police, the very people we are supposed to trust with our lives.  We have more than a thousand people dying of a global pandemic every day, in large part because our nation was slow to respond and has put corporate profit over people’s lives.  We are more divided than we have ever been in our history, with political parties threatening to kill one another, religions attempting to force their views on others, a Congress that has become dysfunctional, Supreme Court Justices who have traded their integrity for a pat on the back from Donald Trump, and the list goes on.

This summer is almost certain to be a violent one, with a race war in the making and Donald Trump pouring fuel on the fire with his ignominious tweets.  The United States has failed miserably in its global role, leaving our allies hanging, trying to patch together agreements to make the world a safer place.  The United States is led by a cruel, evil dictator who would sooner see every one of us dead than to ever act on the behalf of the people who pay his salary.  The United States has denigrated many of those who live within its borders, given them reasons to fear for their very lives.  Immigrant children have been separated from their parents, some likely forever, simply because of their ethnicity.

Now, you tell me what there is to celebrate?  As today the ‘man’ in the Oval Office is threatening to fan the flames of the race war brewing in this country by threatening to send the National Guard to shoot protesters; as today the ‘man’ in the Oval Office and many of our elected legislators refuse to implement policies to protect the environment, to protect We the People. No, I don’t see a damn thing worth celebrating in this nation.

The sort of festivities Trump is asking of the Pentagon would be a slap in the face to most of us living here.  It would ignore the grief and horrors we are enduring, in favour of honouring a person who has no honour, of honouring a country that is being destroyed from within.  It would also have a hefty price tag.  The United States government is bankrupt, with more than $25 trillion in debt and very little revenue at this time.  HOW THE SAM HELL can we afford to spend millions on a damn circus show that benefits no one???  What about those who have been out of work for three months?  What about those who are about to lose their homes, or those who cannot afford food or medicine?  Would not that money, those millions of dollars, be better spent helping We the People survive the crisis that is happening in this country?

I do hope cooler heads in the Pentagon will prevail.  I hope that there are those who have the cojones to stand up to Donald Trump and say “No”.  Somehow, I have my doubts.  Friends, Donald Trump is proposing to use our hard-earned tax dollars for an ego trip, for a overblown display to attempt to send a message that all is well in the United States. All is not well in the U.S. today, and in fact nothing … NOTHING is right in this country today.  I, for one, will not be celebrating July 4th, aka Independence Day, this year.  I hope to celebrate our Independence Day on November 4th when Donald Trump has been told to pack his bags and get the heck out … that will be the day we regain our voices and begin to attempt to heal this nation.

Universal Basic Income-Let’s Have a Conversation-Part two

Last week, I shared Jeff’s post about UBI (Universal Basic Income). That post was Part I, and this week he has written Part II, which certainly provides us with some food for thought! Thanks Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

It was nice to see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admit in an interview yesterday that it might be time to start looking into a minimum basic salary for the American people. Her weighing in at this time tells us we might be ready for a real debate.

I began a discussion last week into what Universal Basic Income (UBI) is and what it could look like in the United States. Again, while there are many variations of such a plan, for the sake of our discussion here, I’d like to stick with the Andrew Yang version, which purports to give every American citizen a $1,000 per month stipend beginning at age 18, regardless of income.

Would such a plan work in America? It depends. UBI would represent a fundamental reshaping of how we deal with income inequality and the social welfare state. It would be a radical shift, and the…

View original post 1,432 more words

About That ‘Stimulus Bill’ …

Let me just start by saying one thing:  No, Donald Trump, you have not done a great job.  Thanks to your bungling and mismanagement, the U.S. is quite possibly in the worst shape it has ever been in.  Thanks.  It speaks volumes that a number of television networks are editing or refusing to air Trump’s daily bragging sessions, otherwise known as ‘updates’ or ‘press briefings’ because they say he is providing too much misinformation.

Yesterday, the House passed and Trump signed the “Coronavirus Aid Package”, aka bailout bill, aka emergency stimulus package.  The U.S. government doesn’t actually … have … $2 trillion … to spend, being $23 trillion in debt (this works out to approximately $69,696,969.69 worth of debt for every man, woman and child in the U.S.), but Donald Trump has always used other people’s money to do what he wants, so that’s nothing new.  But, let’s take a look at that ‘stimulus package’ and what’s actually in it:stimulus-pkgYou’ll notice that big corporations are getting almost as much as individuals.  Funny that, for the CEOs of the big corporations have plenty of money … in fact, they should be giving us money instead of the other way around.  And you’ll also notice that education was just an afterthought.  Close all the schools with no advance planning, no guidance or direction, and then throw them a biscuit.

But the thing I want to talk about today is that $339.8 billion for state and local governments.  Or rather, the strings attached to that money.

  • Trump demanded that governors show deference to the administration during the coronavirus crisis, saying, “I want them to be appreciative. I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true. I want them to be appreciative. We’ve done a great job.”

  • Trump has sparred with a handful of Democratic governors who are asking for aid and medical equipment to help combat their coronavirus outbreaks, most notably Jay Inslee of Washington and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. On Friday, he called Whitmer “the woman from Michigan” and said “she has no idea what’s going on.”

  • Trump implied that he believed Vice President Mike Pence shouldn’t call them if they did not show the proper appreciation. “You know what I say? If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said.

I ask you, friends, is this the sort of person you really want leading the nation in a crisis (or at any other time, for that matter)?  It isn’t Trump’s money … it is our money!

I remember a time when my children were little, and my son wanted something at the store that I couldn’t afford.  I explained to him that I did not have enough money to buy it for him, and he responded, “But mommy … you gots a checkbook!”  He was probably 3 or 4 at the time, so it was understandable that he did not understand the concept of banking and money.  Donald Trump is 73 years of age and doesn’t it just seem like he should have figured this all out by now?

Another aspect of this ‘stimulus bill’ is that democrats insisted on a newly appointed Inspector General who would provide oversight in the disbursement of funds, especially the loans to businesses.  The democrats intent was to ensure that Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could not abuse the bailout fund. They feared that Mr. Trump, who has previously stonewalled congressional oversight, would do the same when it came to the corporate aid program.

Now, however, Trump is claiming that he can and will ignore the oversight provision.  Two hours after signing the bill, Trump issued a statement saying that as president, he can gag the special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., and keep information from Congress.

“I do not understand, and my administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the S.I.G.P.R. to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required.”

Checks and balances???  Congressional oversight???  Not for Donald Trump.  This, folks, is the behaviour of a dictator.  This is a Putin or an Erdoğan.  This is not in any way, shape or form, in accordance with the foundation of law in the United States, the Constitution.

In light of his authoritarian ways, his unconscionable lust for power, and his complete disregard for the laws of the land, it is more imperative today than ever before that this ‘man’ be removed from office.  It is more crucial than ever that we have a fair and honest election on November 3rd no matter what.

This Speaks Volumes …

Last night I came across this editorial from the Editorial Board at the Orlando Sentinel.  It speaks for itself …

Orlando-Sentinel.jpgOur Orlando Sentinel endorsement for president in 2020: Not Donald Trump | Editorial

By ORLANDO SENTINEL EDITORIAL BOARD

| ORLANDO SENTINEL |

JUN 18, 2019 | 5:30 AM

Donald Trump is in Orlando to announce the kickoff of his re-election campaign.

We’re here to announce our endorsement for president in 2020, or, at least, who we’re not endorsing: Donald Trump.

Some readers will wonder how we could possibly eliminate a candidate so far before an election, and before knowing the identity of his opponent.

Because there’s no point pretending we would ever recommend that readers vote for Trump.

After 2½ years we’ve seen enough.

Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies.

So many lies — from white lies to whoppers — told out of ignorance, laziness, recklessness, expediency or opportunity.

Trump’s capacity for lying isn’t the surprise here, though the frequency is.

It’s the tolerance so many Americans have for it.

There was a time when even a single lie — a phony college degree, a bogus work history — would doom a politician’s career.

Not so for Trump, who claimed in 2017 that he lost the popular vote because millions of people voted illegally (they didn’t). In 2018 he said North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat (it is). And in 2019 he said windmills cause cancer (they don’t). Just last week he claimed the media fabricated unfavorable results from his campaign’s internal polling (it didn’t).

According to a Washington Post database, the president has tallied more than 10,000 lies since he took office.

Trump’s successful assault on truth is the great casualty of this presidency, followed closely by his war on decency.

Trump insults political opponents and national heroes alike with middle-school taunts. He demonstrates no capacity for empathy or remorse. He misuses his office to punish opponents, as when he recently called for a boycott of AT&T to get even with his least favorite media outlet, CNN. He tears down institutions, once airily suggesting the U.S. should try having a leader for life as China now allows. He seems incapable of learning a lesson, telling an ABC interviewer last week — just two months after Robert Mueller’s report on election interference was released — that he would accept dirt on an opponent from Russia or China.

Trump has diminished our standing in the world. He reneges on deals, attacks allies and embraces enemies.

This nation must never forget that humiliating public moment in Helsinki in 2018 when the president of the United States chose to accept Vladimir Putin’s denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election over the unanimous assessment of the American intelligence community.

Such a betrayal by a U.S. president would have been the unforgivable political sin in normal times.

As if that’s not enough, Trump declares his love for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, a genuine villain who starves and enslaves his people and executes his enemies with antiaircraft guns and flamethrowers.

But he wrote the president a “beautiful letter.” Flattery will get you everywhere with this president, and that’s dangerous.

Domestically, the president’s signature issue — immigration — has moved in fits and starts. Happily, he abandoned pursuing an outright — and unconstitutional — ban on Muslims entering the U.S., opting instead to restrict travel for people from a handful of nations, most of them majority Muslim.

He’s tried separating families, sending troops to the border and declaring a national emergency. For all of that, illegal border crossings are, as the president himself calls it, at crisis levels.

He blames House Democrats because casting blame is Trump’s forte. But Republicans controlled the House and the Senate for two full years. That seemed like an ideal time to fix what the president believes ails our immigration laws.

Even with Democrats now controlling the House, where is Trump’s much-touted deal-making mojo, an attribute he campaigned on?

“But the economy!”

Yes, the market has done well since Trump’s election.

The S&P 500 was up about 21% between Trump’s inauguration and May 31 of his third year in office. Under President Obama, it was up about 56% in that same period.

Unemployment is headed down, as it was during seven straight years under Obama.

Wages are up, and that’s a welcome change. But GDP increases so far are no better than some periods under Obama. Deficit spending under Obama was far too high, in part because of the stimulus needed to dig out of the Great Recession. Under Trump, it’s still headed in the wrong direction, once again pushing $1 trillion even though the economy is healthy.

Trump seems to care nothing about the deficit and the national debt, which once breathed life into the Tea Party.

Through all of this, Trump’s base remains loyal. Sadly, the truest words Trump might ever have spoken was when he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose his supporters.

This non-endorsement isn’t defaulting to whomever the Democrats choose. This newspaper has a history of presidential appointments favoring Republicans starting in the mid-20th century. Except for Lyndon Johnson in 1964, the Sentinel backed Republican presidential nominees from 1952 through 2004, when we recommended John Kerry over another four years of George W. Bush.

As recently as 2012 we recommended Republican Mitt Romney because of what seemed at the time to be Obama’s failure to adequately manage the nation’s finances.

If — however unlikely — a Republican like Romney, now a senator from Utah, or former Ohio Gov. John Kasich successfully primaried the president, we would eagerly give them a look. Same if an independent candidate mounted a legitimate campaign.

We’d even consider backing Trump if, say, he found the proverbial cure for cancer or — about as likely — changed the essence of who he is (he won’t).

The nation must endure another 1½ years of Trump. But it needn’t suffer another four beyond that.

We can do better. We have to do better.


The comments ran about 2-1 in agreement with the Sentinel, praising its high standards and integrity in taking this stand.  I think it speaks volumes when a newspaper that has consistently endorsed republican candidates for more than half a century refuses to endorse this republican incumbent, Donald Trump.

King of Debt …

The Commerce Department announced Wednesday that the overall U.S. trade deficit in goods last year soared to an all-time high of $891 billion.  That’s an all-time high … of $891,000,000,000.  That’s the second record Trump has broken in as many months … he must be mighty proud of himself.  But wait … it seems that I recall something he said …

  • “I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN” – 04 December 2018
  • “We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S. Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!” – 04 April 2018

Now, frankly, although concerning, the trade deficit does not worry me nearly as much as the national debt that rose to a staggering all-time high of $22 trillion last month.  That was the first record he broke.  Between the two, the national debt and the trade deficit, it would appear that Trump’s real goal is to bankrupt the United States of America.  Is this what he meant by “Make America Great Again”?  And worse yet, his blind-faith followers, both in the Congress and among the voters, are still busily applauding him, chanting “Lock her up”, and still waiting for Mexico to pay for the wall that will never be built.tax-cuts-debt.jpgCare to know some of what happens when a nation becomes ‘bankrupt’ and cannot pay its debt?  In part, domestic savers and investors, anticipating a fall in the value of the local currency, will scramble to withdraw their money from bank accounts and move it out of the country. To avoid bank-runs and precipitous currency depreciation, the government may shut down banks and impose capital controls. As punishment for default, capital markets will either impose punitive borrowing rates or refuse to lend at all. And credit-rating agencies will no doubt warn against investing in the country.

mnuchin

Mnuchin … a seedy-looking character

That Donald Trump does not understand economics is obvious, but what’s worse, what is unconscionable, is that he refuses to listen to and learn from those who do understand.  To add insult to injury, Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury is Steve Mnuchin, an investment banker and former hedge-fund manager.  Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house!!!

Trump’s ignorance is quite frankly costing us … we the taxpayers, We the People.  Farmers are filing for bankruptcy because Trump’s tariffs have virtually closed the Chinese market for soybeans and damaged exports of milk and pork.  And still, the people are applauding him with their eyes closed and cotton stuffed into their ears.Farm-bankruptcyAnd while our debt increases, while our trade deficits are skyrocketing, while farmers are losing their life savings, Donald Trump wants to spend billions more dollars to build a useless, unneeded wall on our southern border.  As I said … it would seem his goal is to take what he, his family, and his rich cronies can get during his four-year term and destroy the rest.

The biggest cause of the national debt increase is the tax cuts for the very wealthy that were voted into law in December 2017.  If you think of your household budget, it is as if you took a large pay cut, yet still have the same obligations such as mortgage/rent, electricity/gas, car payment, water bill, fuel, food, clothing, etc.  You can see where this just doesn’t work.  Obviously, Trump cannot see, for apparently he either missed out or slept through Econ 101, and has never had to prepare or maintain a household budget.  After all, this is the ‘man’ who thought you had to present identification to buy groceries!

Way back in 2016, when he was campaigning for the office he now holds, he said this:

“People said I want to go and buy debt and default on debt, and I mean, these people are crazy. This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money, I hate to tell you, OK?”

That is reminiscent of the time, when my children were small, and I couldn’t afford to buy my son a toy he wanted.  He said, “But mommy, you have lots of checks!”  Sigh.  It simply doesn’t work that way, as most of us who are thinking individuals realize.  I could understand that lack of comprehension from my 6-year-old son, but not from a ‘man’ aged 72 who is the leader of a nation of some 300 million people!

Perhaps most telling is an incident from 2017 when economic advisors (ones who actually understood economics) were trying to explain to Trump that his policies would ultimately lead to a severe spike in the national debt, and Trump’s response was …

“Yeah, but I won’t be here.”

As long as he can milk it for what it’s worth to him, personally, while he’s in office, he does not care what happens to our economy, our nation, our lives, once he leaves office.  I fear that by the time somebody manages to awaken the republicans, remove their blinders and pull the cotton from their ears, it will be too late to avert a full-fledged depression such as  the one that began in 1929 and lasted for ten years.  milton-friedman

A Batch of Mini-Snarkies

Mind bounce has returned and I cannot seem to stay focused long enough to finish the post I was working on tonight, so instead I give you a few very short snippets.  But don’t worry … they are not short on snark!


The George & Kelly show …george-kellyanne-conwayI have to admit that I take great pleasure in the anti-Trumpian comments I see from time-to-time by none other than George Conway, Kellyanne’s husband!  Here’s his latest tweet …

“Even the modern tyrants whom the president … praises demonstrate more facility with language and more attention to governing detail than does he. To borrow from popular culture, Trump looks less like the sinister Emperor Palpatine and more like the hapless Jar Jar Binks.”

One commenter praised George, saying …

“Your bi- partisan honesty is making you an American hero.   You are amongst some of society’s opinion leaders who stepped up to the plate after Senator McCain could no longer do so….Thank You.”

I repeat what I’ve often said … I wonder what their home life is like?


Ann Coulter makes sense???

coulterThe very name makes me see red, for she is the most radical, foul-mouthed, utterly stupid woman on the face of the earth.  However, on Friday she miraculously said something that was actually true and made sense …

“The goal of a national emergency is for Trump to scam the stupidest people in his base for 2 more years.”

A change of heart?  No, she just happens to be feuding with Trump and was likely trying to get his goat.  Either that, or it was an accident.  Even the stupidest of people will sometimes accidentally say something sensible.  Nonetheless, she got it right … this time.


A tweet is worth a thousand words …

Trump tweet


They turn on their own

A pair of Fox ‘News’ hosts have called for Florida Senator Marco Rubio to step down because he spoke out against Trump’s declaration of a state of emergency.  You may remember last April (or, if you’re like me, you may not even remember yesterday) when I wrote a piece about Fox hosts Diamond and Silk?  Well, it was they who took umbrage at Rubio’s statement:

“We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution.  Today’s national emergency is border security. But a future president may use this exact same tactic to impose the Green New Deal.”

And Diamond & Silk’s response …

Brilliant … simply brilliant and so typical of the republicans today!


Oopsie!

Last December, Trump announced his choice of former Fox ‘News’ reporter Heather Nauert to replace Nikki Haley as United States Ambassador to the United Nations.  Of course, Ms. Nauert is highly qualified … she worked for Fox and she praises Trump – the only two qualifications necessary for any position in today’s federal government.  But yesterday Ms. Nauert suddenly removed herself from consideration for this prestigious position.  Why?

heather-nauertWhat Ms. Nauert said was that “it is in the best interests of my family”.  But it seems there is just a little bit more to it than that.  You see, about 10 years ago, she hired a foreign-born nanny who didn’t have the proper work visa and Nauert didn’t pay proper taxes on time.  Yep, she fits right in with the Trump bunch.  I wonder if this means she will have to step down from her current position as Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs?


Who’s guarding the henhouse?

As I mentioned earlier this week, the national debt has now reached an all-time high of $22 trillion … that’s t-r-i-l-l-i-o-n.  But Trump & Company seem to be shrugging their shoulders and saying, “So what?”mick-mulvaneyI find it interesting, and more than a little bit disturbing, that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has no apparent interest in the ever-growing national debt.  Mulvaney was one of the founding members of the House Freedom Caucus and a deficit hawk.  But last week, when asked if Trump would mention the debt in his State of the Union address, Mick said that he would not, because “nobody cares”.

And Trump himself, who was highly critical of the debt under President Obama …

“Our debt is about to top $17T. ObamaCare and China (& others) are killing American business.” – 24 June 2013

“So many problems in the U.S. and leadership that is hopeless…and now, on top of everything else, we just hit $18 trillion in debt!” – 13 October 2014

“With America’s debt topping $21T by the end of his presidency, Obama will have effectively bankrupted our country.” – 10 February 2015

The same man who tweeted those tweets now shrugs his shoulders after adding nearly another $3 trillion to the debt and bringing it to its highest level in the history of the nation.  And when financial advisors attempted to explain the severity of the situation in 2017, he reportedly said, “Yeah, but I won’t be here”.


And on that note, I bid you a happy Sunday!

The United States of Chaos

I don’t know about you folks, but personally I am beginning to feel very irrelevant, inconsequential when it comes to the current administration and the republicans in Congress.  You will notice, those of you who are employed, that during the 35-day shutdown, federal income taxes continued to be withheld from your paycheck.  Every pay, like clockwork, we pay our taxes, and most of us don’t grumble about it, for we understand that it is our taxes that are used to build roads, maintain the military, provide food and shelter for those less fortunate, and pay the salaries of those who serve in our government.  It is as it should be.  BUT …

I don’t think there is a single person reading this blog who appreciates Donald Trump spending $50,000 for a toy to keep him entertained on rainy afternoons, during his 60% “Executive Time”.  What, you ask, am I prattling on about?  This …

Trump plays a lot of golf, as we all know.  When he was on the campaign trail in 2016, he criticized President Obama for the amount of time he spent playing golf, and said this …

“I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.” – Donald J. Trump, August 2016

And yet, absorb this:  President Obama played 306 rounds of golf during the entire 8 years he was in office, which averages to approximately 38 rounds of golf per year.  But Donald Trump, the ‘man’ who said he would be working so hard that he wouldn’t have time for golf, has averaged 70 rounds of golf per year for his first two years!  Where’s all that hard work, eh?  But back to his latest toy …

During the 35-day government shutdown when nearly a million federal workers were either furloughed sans pay, or were expected to work without being paid, Trump’s advisors were apparently able to convince him that it would look really bad if he were out playing golf instead of working to come to an agreement to re-open the government and pay our people.  And thus, he went … wait for it … 69 days without playing golf!  And thus, the above toy … a room-sized golf simulator game at the cost of what, for most of us, is an entire year’s salary or more.  It is said by an anonymous White House staffer that Trump paid for the toy with his own money, but frankly, until I see a canceled check drawn on his personal checking account, I am skeptical.

It was recently reported that Trump spends 60% of his time doing ‘executive time’ … time that he spends watching television, tweeting and talking on the phone, and that he doesn’t leave his residence to begin work until around 11:00 a.m.  Now, you can add another hour to his ‘executive time’, for that is the time it takes to play a round of golf on the new toy.  I wonder … will he get all hot & sweaty and have to take another 20 minutes for a shower after he plays?

trump-golfing


And in other news … again on the campaign trail, Trump promised this …

  • In his official campaign launch address, Trump promised to “reduce our $18 trillion in debt,” which will not happen if annual deficits hit $1 trillion in two years.
  • On the campaign trail, Trump said he would “freeze the budget,” which has certainly not happened.
  • Shortly before his inauguration, he told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he would “balance the budget very quickly… I think over a five-year period. And I don’t know, maybe I could even surprise you.”
  • Previous to that, in March 2016, he told Bob Woodward that he could get rid of the debt “fairly quickly.” When pressed, he said, “Well, I would say over a period of eight years.” Since Trump took office, his own budget director called that promise “hyperbole.”
  • Trump asserted during the second presidential debate that he would bring back energy companies, which would make so much money that they could pay off the national debt. This has not happened.

None of those things have happened but guess what DID happen.  On Tuesday, 12 February 2019, the national debt hit a record high of $22 trillion, nearly $3 trillion higher than when he took office just over two years ago.  Never before in our history has it topped $21 trillion.  For perspective, that is $22,000,000,000.  And climbing.  Why?  While there is no single reason, the biggest reason is the reduction in revenue as a result of the tax cuts for the wealthy that Congress passed, and Trump signed in December 2017.  As tax filers are finding out this month, those tax cuts were truly for the wealthy, and the average taxpayer got shafted.  And still, he presses on for his unnecessary, useless border wall.

Over the course of the last two years, we have gone from a democratic-republic to a plutocracy, a government by the wealthy.  We have ceased to matter to the current administration.  And while Trump’s supporters may crow about the low unemployment rate and the stable economy … a change is coming.  We cannot continue to exist on high deficit spending and an increasing national debt without paying the consequences which I believe are waiting just around the corner.  A rising national debt has been compared to driving your car with the emergency brake on.  Trump’s house of cards may well be about to come tumbling down around us, but he’s having fun playing with his new golf toy, so … no worries, right?

Meanwhile, the Trumptanic keeps chugging toward the iceberg …iceberg

The State of DISunion

I did not watch Donald Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) address last night, for three very good reasons.

  1. I was already not feeling well and knew that having to see his face, hear his voice, and see all those strange contortions he does with his face would make me unbearably ill.
  2. I feared that my strong reaction to having to listen to him would cause me to irreparably damage my laptop, and frankly I cannot afford a new computer at the moment.
  3. The most important reason of all is that the speech was sure to be filled with lies, or as Keith would prefer I say, ‘untruths’. Why bother?  I have better things to do with my time.

I have worked my way through most of the transcript this morning, have read a few analyses, read The Washington Post’s fact check, and concluded that I was correct in my assessment – it would have been a colossal waste of my valuable time.  That said, I do have some things to say (surprised, aren’t you?) about it all.

First of all, one has to wonder why we even have a State of the Union address every year.

Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution states that the president shall ”from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

Somehow, I think that goal could be accomplished without all the pomp and circumstance that surround the event these days.  And, with today’s instantaneous communication, the speech seems really to have outlived its usefulness.  In fact, of what use is it to waste the time of Congress, the Supreme Court, other guests and the home viewing audience, just to listen to fairy tales?  Why couldn’t he just tweet it, as he does everything else? I won’t bother to bore you with the fact-checking … you can get that from any of the major media outlets.

The speech is most notable for what was not addressed.

Climate Change.  How can a speech that is intended to inform us about the state of the country, completely ignore the thing that, by most measures, is the single most important issue facing this, and every other nation?  Under Trump, the U.S. has pulled out of major agreements to work toward reducing carbon emissions and has rolled back the regulations that were intended to help protect the environment.  We have seen the results with our own eyes in the past year, even the past week, yet he says not one word?

Renewable Energy.  The future is not in the coal, gas and oil that Trump has so adamantly vowed to protect, but the future is in renewable energy such as solar, wind and water.  Under Trump, there is no major push by the federal government to explore and expand on renewable energy, but a number of states and corporations are participating.  This could have been a genuine feather in Trump’s cap, had he opted to do the right thing, to take seriously the need to distance ourselves from fossil fuels.  Instead, he chose the most destructive path.

Relations with Allies.  Our relationships with our allies are crumbling, thanks to Trump’s policies that have, in many cases, left our allies scrambling to try to make up for the failure of the U.S. to pull its weight, such as in the Paris Accord, NATO, the Iran nuclear agreement, and NAFTA, and the latest threat to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria and Afghanistan.  Add to that the disdain he has shown for the leaders of allied nations, such as Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Theresa May and others.  We are no longer a good and trusted friend, to put it quite simply.

Poverty.  Despite Trump’s claims that wages have risen, jobs have been created, 13.4% of people in this nation are living below the poverty level.  As the population increases, and some jobs are replaced by technology, the number of people who struggle just to put food on the table has risen and will continue to rise.

Education.  We are falling behind in our education system, as I have mentioned more than a few times, and this is the key to almost everything I have listed so far.  The new trend seems to be moving away from developing minds and more toward job training.  This is a mistake … a huge mistake … and to add insult to injury, this nation has made it nearly impossible for a young person from a lower-income family to go to college.

National Debt.  With the December 2017 tax cuts that benefit almost exclusively the wealthy in the nation, we severely reduced the nation’s revenue.  To maintain a balanced budget, thereby keeping the national debt at current levels, would require spending cuts equal to the revenue reduction.  But those cuts, under Trump’s plan, would come from programs that help disadvantaged people.  Trump’s fiscal plan is rather a reverse Robin Hood – rob from the poor to give to the rich.

Gun Regulation.  The U.S. is the only nation on the globe with almost no regulations on firearms.  Those who claim the 2nd Amendment gives them the right to own an arsenal that includes assault-type weapons that can mow down a crowd inside of a minute are fools.  On this, the 37th day of 2019, there have already been 510 gun deaths in the U.S.  An average of 14 per day.  And yet, this topic was not considered important enough to be addressed in the State of the Union.

There is more I could add, but you get the picture.  The address was a public relations event, nothing more.  I found it strange that he would call for unity, when he has, in fact, been the most divisive president in the history of the nation.  “We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution …” he said, when he is the very source of revenge and retribution, he has pursued a divisive political strategy very much focused on his base.  Last night’s speech, like most everything he does, was intended only for his base … he told them what they wanted to hear and left the rest of us with the clear knowledge that nothing is changed, that the state of the nation is _____________________. (Fill in the blank)