Tag Archives: 1%

Clear Waters and 1% Mud: Social Division in America

 

I stated last week that I would provide the transcript link to Maxine Waters’ response to the State of the Union address, so here it is.  You can also see the video on the same site.

It was not a long speech, but it was right to the point and straightforward.  That’s not surprising, as Rep. Waters (D-CA) has never been one to mince words, nor has she ever backed down when others – mostly white men in Congress – have tried to shut her up.

 

She began by saying:

Yesterday, Donald Trump had the audacity to call upon people to set aside differences, when in reality, he has divided Americans in ways no other modern president has done. We must look at his State of the Union address in the context of all of the ways he defined himself during his campaign and throughout his first year as President. (“Maxine Waters Delivers Scathing SOTU Response: ‘Make No Mistake, Trump is a Dangerous Racist’ “, Tess Koman, Cosmopolitan website, 2/1/18)

She then listed how 45 has defined himself: his response to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville (“violence on many sides”), his travel bans targeting Muslims, his description of Mexicans as rapists, his mocking of a reporter who is other-abled, his tendency to blame people of color for the problems in the US, his attack on NFL players and their mothers, and his disrespect for women.

She went on to relate his policies that alienate our allies around the world: withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement, his refusal to certify the Iran nuclear agreement, and his tendency to insult other democracies while cozying up to Putin.

She mentioned 45’s refusal to acknowledge that he inherited many economic gains from the policies of our first Black president Barack Obama (for example, the unemployment rate drop to 4.7%).

She finished up with stating what the Democrats stand for:

We as Democrats are committed to a growing economy that leaves no one behind. We’re committed to an economy that protects consumers and provides good jobs with fair wages, quality health care, and affordable housing. These are the policies for which I have worked all of my life and on which I will continue to work despite the constant chaos and distractions of this administration. (Ibid)

You know what I wish?  I wish that the Democrats had made one televised response, featuring Joe Kennedy III, Bernie Sanders, and Maxine Waters.  I wish they had split it up and each taken a point or two to expound upon.  I think that would have shown how much unity there is in the party (yes, I know Bernie is not technically a Democrat).

Right now, the Democratic Party is feeling the heat from the (mostly) younger, more progressive members.  I think we progressives make up the majority of the base right now, and it would behoove the party to move along into the 21st century with us.

Considering how the hard right, and even the moderate right, are dwindling in numbers, it makes no sense for the Democrats to even entertain this ridiculous notion of “but what about the white men over 40” anymore.

Look at how society, in general, has moved in terms of how the majority of Americans think.  Most Americans support DACA, think racism is bad, think women should have equal pay and not be sexually harassed, aren’t afraid of people of other religions, support the Constitution (and not just some parts of it), and support legalization of marijuana – to name just a few.

Our society is generally liberal and tolerant.  Why should we cater to people who don’t like change, don’t like progress, and who hold onto disgusting and hateful ideas about their fellow human beings?

One big reason – ha, and you thought that was a hypothetical question, didn’t you? – is because it serves the 1% to keep the divisiveness and hatred going.  Stoking this fire of reactionary ideology is what 45 and the GOP do…and it serves them well, when they can pull it off.

The 1% funds candidates.  Divisiveness serves the interests of the 1% because it keeps people from focusing on understanding how wealth is generated, and keeps them from concluding that some form of redistribution of wealth is necessary for the good of all Americans – even under capitalism.

As long as the GOP, or any other politicians or parties (I’m looking at you, Libertarians and Greens), continue to turn Americans against one another, the 1% is safe.

Bear in mind, the 1% will not tolerate any redistribution of wealth, no matter how small.  They want all the wealth.  And the easiest way to get the populace to give it up is to convince each class that the other class “deserves” to lose income and benefits.

When you consider all the wealth that is generated in this country, really consider it, we could ensure no one lived in poverty, everyone had enough to eat, people had homes to live in, everyone had access to healthcare, and opportunities such as jobs and/or education were available to all.

We could do that, and there would still be rich people.  They just wouldn’t be the filthy, unnecessarily “I-have-10-cars-and-5-homes” kind of rich.

You know, they could still buy Gucci handbags and Tesla cars, they just wouldn’t be able to buy one for every day of the week.

Think about it.

Weird news of the week, speaking of Tesla’s…Elon Musk sent his red Tesla into space – yes, the actual car – with a dummy sitting in it.  Playing “Space Oddity” by Bowie as it travels, headed towards the asteroid belt.

Recommendation of the week: Here’s a site that lists things for cats and their humans, everything from “Da Bird” toy (string and feathers) for $10 to an $800 cat tree house.  They even list a how-to book for making your cat an internet star…hmm…might look into that myself!

Be good.  Be kind.  Think, and do it often.

 

Talk is No Longer Cheap, It’s Dangerous

“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.” – John Locke

Today, a Republican senator from Arizona – Jeff Flake – gave a speech on the Senate floor.  Oh, it was somewhat impassioned and seemed so, so sincere, criticizing the Idiot-in-Chief for trying to undermine the First Amendment of our Constitution by labeling every news item he (45) doesn’t like as “fake news”.

Pundits lauded this as “Senator Flake standing up to President Trump”.

Pffft.

A Google search quickly brought up Sen. Flake’s voting record on the site “Five Thirty Eight”, where we can see that this “courageous” politician voted in agreement 90% of the time with Not-My-President Trump (“Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump”, Aaron Bycoffe, FiveThirtyEight website, no date given).

What’s clear to me, after seeing how he votes, is Flake – who is retiring from his position this year – appears to be setting the stage for wresting control of the Republican Party away from 45.  And, of course, running for president in 2020.

He wants to be seen as taking the moral high ground, a “reasonable” and “moderate” Republican.

But he is just another dangerous politician.

For example, he voted for the horrendous tax bill just passed, that sets up the basis for curtailing or eliminating entitlement programs.

Aside #1: Kentucky was quick to start the ball rolling by making Medicaid recipients (up until age 64!) go to work if they want to keep their healthcare.  Never mind that 60% of Medicaid recipients already work, we gotta get Grandma and Grandpa out there too, the slackers!

That is just one example.  If you click on the link I provided you can see Flake’s record in all it’s disgustingness.

So we have one Republican pretending to spar with his leader.  I am not impressed, and you ought not to be, either.

It’s so tempting to cheer anyone appearing to stand up to the Bully-Elect, because things are so awful and most Republicans either don’t condemn anything 45 does/says or they flat-out lie for him (“Sens Cotton and Perdue are Outed for Lying on Trump’s Behalf”, Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post online, 1/16/18).

Also, I think that moderates, liberals, and other folks who lean left want to think the best of people, even Republicans.

That’s a mistake.  A dangerous mistake.

We have to judge people by what they do, not what they say, especially in this political climate where lying by the right-wing is as natural to them as breathing.

The Not-My-President lies, his press secretary lies, his Ass-Kisser-Assistant (Pence) lies, and, except for the people who are leaking information on what really goes on in the White House, everyone who works in this administration lies.

We can only judge them by what they do.  And hold them accountable, no matter how many times they insist we “misheard”, “misinterpreted”, “are making things up”, or “aren’t supposed to take the president literally”.  The reaction of Republicans to any criticism or confrontation is to gaslight the public.

I don’t think most people are falling for that now.

Before you yell, “But his base!” may I remind you of who 45’s base really is?

It’s the people who fund him.  The Russian SVR, and the 1%.  And wannabe 1%-ers.

So, while his base is small, even when you include who really is responsible for him, they are well-funded.  And you need to consider, part of the reason 45 goes on campaign tours still is to reinforce this idea that his base consists only of rural whites who come out to see him.

Because they’re just a bunch of dumb rednecks, right? Not particularly dangerous, and if they are…well…we have people on “our side” who will fight back.

As long as we continue to focus on this small section of the population, most of whom do not have two nickels to rub together, we are distracted.  Heck, most of us won’t even admit there are middle-class to upper-middle-class supporters who support 45 – that cuts too close to home.

Never mind, though, because our real opposition is the 1%.  We can never lose sight of that, we can never be manipulated into fighting each other.

Because as dangerous as their speech and actions can be, we’ve got to remember that they see our speech and actions as dangerous, too.  

The difference is, it’s much easier to shut us up or punish us for what we say and do.  And if we don’t get it together and unite, we might find ourselves unable to fight back.

Because they hold the power.

Remember Leonard Peltier, still in prison.  Think about Red Fawn Fallis, arrested for something she didn’t do – because she is a human rights advocate and a Lakota.

You want a window into the future about how the 1% and their servants will eventually come after us?  Look at how they have dealt with indigenous people since they landed here with their dreams of conquest right on up until today.  There’s your signpost.

Aside #2: That is not to diminish how other groups in American society are treated, such as the unjust imprisonment and/or murder of POC, or the violence against women and LGBTQ community, or…I’m sure you can think of others.

Focus.  On actions, not words.

Weird news of the week: Mind how you deal with sneezes…“Man’s Throat Ruptured After Holding His Nose During Forceful Sneeze”, Rebecca Taylor, Sky News website, 1/16/18.

Recommendation for this week: Website (GovTrack) listing all the committee meetings in Congress, for all you political junkies. I would bet you can see most of these on CSPAN.

Be good.  Be kind.  Watch what people do, not what they say.