Maybe forever the Republican Party has billed itself as the party of conservative fiscal policy. They always claim to opposed to government’s size and what government spends. Less government, less taxes is their age-old mantra.
At least in recent decades they have had a hard time keeping true with these basics. The Reagan administration tried to outspend the Soviet Union and ran up a huge deficit. George W. Bush spent money like an undisciplined teenager with his own credit card. And Donald Trump may think he behaving in a conservative fashion but the reality is much different.
I’ve said this many times and it’s true, you can’t cut taxes and spend lots of money and end up not deeper in debt. George W. Bush couldn’t have a major tax cut for the wealthiest and then create Part D of Medicare, deal with the nation’s needs during both 9/11 and Katrina, go to war in Afghanistan followed by Iraq. and deal with the collapse of the housing, banking, and automobile industries and avoid adding a ton of borrowed money to the national debt.
Came across this must read today and just felt I had to share it. The deans of Harvard and Yale law schools put their heads together and wrote an editorial in opposition to Trump’s anti-democratic attacks on the judicial branch. The following appeared February 13, 1017 on Law.Com.
“The deans of Yale Law School and Harvard Law School have joined the growing chorus of lawyers publicly condemning President Donald Trump’s attacks on the judiciary.
Nannygate took place in the 1990s during the Clinton administration. On two occasions president Clinton nominated people to federal positions only to be forced to withdraw their names because both were found to have hired illegal immigrants to work in their homes. The appointments were for Attorney General and the people were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood. The GOP went nuts when they learned during the confirmation hearings that Baird had employed an illegal from Peru to baby sit her children.
The reigning Commander in Chief just ordered his first military action in which a highly trained Navy Seal was killed along with possibly 20 Yemeni children, one a US citizen. The Trump administration, denying what many military people are saying, is claiming the missions goals were entirely reached and the effort a total success.
For the moment I’ll let people who know better than me to sort it all out. One thing that did catch my attention, however, was the cost of the V-22 Osprey that was lost. Years ago I took my history students to the Air Force Museum in Dayton and noticed that each example of military plane carried a notation about what the government paid for each of those planes. The Wright Flyer was the first and it may have cost $1.98 each. The last plane I recall was the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter which the government paid over $400 million each for the first ones it purchased. Walking through this history of escalating cost provided a number of lessons for my students.
Most people have heard that power corrupts and it isn’t just an old wives tale, power really does corrupt. Knowing that, the founding fathers drew up a Constitutional form of government that included several ways to attempt limiting power and the abuse that comes with it.
They established three branches giving each several ways to override the others. They depended on rivalry and jealousness to create a competition for power between the three branches. They created a bicameral or two house legislature as a means of making law more difficult. They created an independent judicial system that is free of political pressure and serves for life. That judicial system has the power to review law and decide what is or is not permitted by the Constitution. That means the courts can overturn actions by the president and the congress that it finds in violation. The president is the chief enforcer of law and can chose which laws to vigorously enforce or which to pay little attention to. And, of course, the president has the power of veto. All this together is referred to as America’s system of checks and balances and it’s pretty much kept us from autocratic tyranny for two-hundred and forty years.
The US Senate just made history for all the wrong reasons. For the first time ever the Vice President had to cast the deciding vote in a confirmation hearing. In this case Mike Pence broke the tie to award Betsy DeVos the position of Secretary of Education. A woman who has never attended a public school, whose children have never attended a public school, has no professional experience in education, and is highly opposed to public education. She and her family have donated over $200 million to Republican causes and guaranteed her success by heavily supporting the candidacy of a number of Republican US Senators. If any on the list below, or others, had broken ranks she would not have been confirmed. As an Ohioan I notice that our Senator Portman sold his vote for $51,000. Well, at least his vote cost more than Inhofe of Oklahoma.
FAT CATS: What do Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg have in common? Together with five other fat cats are wealthier than the bottom half of the world’s poorest people. Gates leads the pack with a net wealth of $75 billion.
A couple of years ago I became aware of an organization called the Internet Archive. It is a repository of just about everything that’s been posted to the Internet since www was just a w. It is a favorite research tool for political reporters in their quest to keep the politicians honest.
Yesterday I received a message about the IA making available a growing collection of all the things Donald Trump has said since he rode that escalator to the ground floor of the Trump Tower to announce that most Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers. That certainly wasn’t the first lie Trump told but it’s a good place to begin.
I’ll provide the link to the site but first I just want to say that each statement has been independently fact checked by one of the major fact checking sites that exist today.
NOTE: You may notice at the top of IA’s page they are halfway there to raise $5 million. The purpose is to create a mirror of their servers in Canada out of fear that Trump will attempt to shut their American site down.
THE GOOD CAPITALIST: A guy named Charles Feeney made about $8 billion during his working life. Then he decided to give it all away to various causes. It was just announced that Feeney had finished his mission. It’s all gone except for $2 million he kept so to continue his “modest retirement.” Just goes to show that not all capitalists are assholes and one can share and still live a good life.
I don’t know about you but I would like to be associated with people who will work to closely monitor the actions of the Trump presidency and bring pressure wherever pressure is warranted. But, I don’t want to drive to WDC and march in a Million Woman March. Last evening I learned of an alternative, organizing on a local level, with like-minded people, and truly resisting at the grassroots level.
An organization has been formed called Indivisible and its goal is to learn from what the Tea Party has shown us and adapt those lessons to fit progressive needs. To facilitate this a group of former Democratic congressional workers has written a small simple guide to help provide direction and ideas. To learn more about Indivisible and get your name on their email list go to their website.
And, to download a .pdf file of their printable guide just click on the link below.
One of the best things of a political nature I’ve seen lately was a town hall meeting from Kenosha, WI moderated by Chris Hayes and featuring Bernie Sanders. The room of around 300 people was composed of Democrats, Republicans, Sanders supporters, independents, Trump voters, literally the spectrum of Americans. Much of the conversation centered on why did people vote for Trump. The answers ranged from:
1. He’ll bring our jobs back.
2. He listened to us.
3. He wasn’t Hillary.
4. And so much more of what he often heard during the campaign.
I’ve been thinking about a statement being made by Trump, that he wants people in his cabinet who have made a fortune. It made me think of a man I knew in CA named Gene Feldman. Gene was the VP of the company I worked for and had made his fortune from the ground up. He began life at the bottom and through education and hard work became very wealthy.
About once every other month Gene would take whoever wanted to go to a local restaurant for beer and finger food. We’d all sit there as equals and do what people do, talk sports, jobs, family, etc. The “as equals” thing was at his request. For a couple of hours he wanted to be one of the crew and not the boss. He wanted us to know each other as people and not as boss/worker. We all knew and accepted that when the evening was over Gene became, Mr. Feldman again.
A friend posted concern that most of Trump’s nominees are very wealthy people from banking and Wall Street. Trump argues these are the people who understand the system and know how to fix it. I don’t have a problem with that. A guy who runs a 300 acre corn and bean farm probably doesn’t have what it takes to rewrite and correct the US income tax code.
But I do question whether the Wall Street insider who has the knowledge will also have the desire. It smacks of putting the mouse in charge of protecting the cheese.
Here’s a short version of a very long, complicated, and dangerous story. At the end of WWII a civil war broke out in China between the communist forces of Mao Tse-tung and the established forces of Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang wasn’t a good buy but he wasn’t a communist so we supported him. The eventual winner of this conflict was the communist dictator, Mao Tse-tung.
In order to save himself and what remained of his army, Chiang Kai-shek left mainland China and occupied the island of what we know as Taiwan, which had been a province of China. The mainland Chinese government still insists that Taiwan belongs to them.
In this dispute over Taiwan the US sided with Chiang and offered military and economic assistance. For may years the US officially considered the nation of China to be Taiwan and literally ignored the presence of the mainland. We used our power to seat Taiwan in the UN’s China seat. If you looked at a world map showing only those nations the US recognized, the entire mainland of China might have been colored blue, as if it were just ocean.