Starting today, Dec.1, 2017, I’m keeping this blog post up so I can add to it on a daily, even hourly, basis. So often, I hear something discussed and see it as an entry point to an important issue and then forget it. NO MORE! I will rush to my computer and spew forth. Be prepared!
Later today: Big breaking news with Flynn’s guilty plea. One of the hosts declared he had some experts on the issues coming in for the show. I thought to myself: those are the very people Trump voters hate, experts. They see them as nerds and pointy-heads who are just not normal but think they have the right to push normal people around with the facts and figures and statistics and algorithms. When they want to do something stupid and harmful, some expert is brought in to tell them it should not be done. Two examples: a guy in Louisiana complained about the experts from the EPA who closed down his fishing hole because of the carcinogens from the nearby oil companies. Just because a lot of people around him are dying of cancer is no reason to shut down his fishing hole.
Another example: my buddy drove multi-billion dollar corporate types and individual VIPs nuts when they wanted to build on the California cost. He was the chief scientist for the California Coastal Commission and the legislature passed laws that gave the commission some power to make sure the coast wasn’t destroyed and the public had access to it. The Trump supporter thinks rich people are all-powerful and thwarting them is some sort of sin against the natural order.
Dec. 3 The tax bill is going to reconciliation. We’ll hear more about it but this is the Holy Grail of Republicans, to roll back the New Deal and all social supports. That way, CEOs don’t have to worry about labor laws, OSHA, child labor, over-time pay, unfair labor practices nor unfair corporate practices. All will be fair game for the most powerful which, right now, is Walmart et al. b/c they drive out small business and wield massive power over city councils, state legislatures, etc. Trump may go down and wind up in prison, but the damage will linger on like a fart.
Then, Democrats will come along to clean up the mess and the Republicans get to shout, “They’re raising your taxes to give money to the undeserving poor and all those minorities and immigrants!” I don’t see the right-wing media going away. Read Charlie Sykes for a good outline of the history of right-wing media. I recall a guy I worked with about 1960 who had been a right-wing shock jock in Florida in the 50s. He regaled us young’uns with tales of duping the suckers. His craft was in knowing how to appeal to the prejudices and fears of his audience. He was an alcoholic.
Dec. 4 Monday
A good many of our citizens do not understand the limits placed on the Executive in our system of checks and balances. They might understand laws but not other limits. These other limits are called norms. Most politicians do things in an underhanded way to gain an advantage, but they know that when they violate norms, they are setting themselves up for scrutiny, scrutiny which often leads to prosecution for violation of norms or a loss of power due to a kind of ostracism of those who violate norms.
Those same citizens scorn norms b/c they do not have punitive power, the fasces of the state. What they fail to grasp is how pervasive norms are, how without them we have nothing standing between us and the powerful other than clearly defined laws. Those laws are not easily enforced. For an example of what a state without norms is like, we can look to Russia. There, the powerful, the rich, the connected are immune from norms and laws unless they, like a mafia member, cross the Big Boss.
Dec. 5, 2017 Origins of the divide: From Ken Burns series on Viet-Nam, 58% of Americans thought the dead Kent State protesters got what they deserved. No more to say.
Dec. 7, Thirty-five Democrats pushed Al Franken out of the Senate for doing things inappropriate in the choir room but pretty normal for the entertainment industry while voting in a child molester. Which of the 35 Dems have the balls – figuratively speaking – of Al Franken? Are they going to reach across the aisle to Louie Gomert, the gnome from Texas who wants to issue loyalty oaths to FBI agents like a McCarthy risen from the ashes of our national shame? We need a new set of Democrats, Dems who will sink their teeth into Republicans like a pit bull and never let go until the Republican is cold and still.
Dec. 29 Today I started more blog items, several of which get to the issues raised here. The Trump defense team strategy evolves: from “nothing going on here” to “what went on is not illegal” to “let’s look at shiny objects” to “Mueller is a fraud” to “the FBI stinks” to whatever is next. The Media has always been the villain and Trump started off attacking the intelligence services (afraid they might release his IQ score). All of this in the service of a cover-up. Sound familiar? He’s wasting his time. His followers would never have believed anything but what he and his sycophants mouthed and two-thirds of the country thought he was an abject failure in every way that only a fool would vote for.
What I propose is looking for the cause of this phenomenon. Poor education? Crises of various kinds? A Black man in the White House? Poverty? Lack of health care – especially mental? Fear? Ignorance? Cowardice? Treason? I am running out. Help me here.