Day 680 Saturday November 17, 2018 911 Days to Go
Ah, so sweet, the Republicans in Congress who have been ignoring and bullying their Democratic counterparts want to kiss and all be one. How cute.
Don’t be fooled. This is like those old Nazi movies where the good guys catch one and he whines and pules that it wasn’t his fault, that he was forced to do it, and please let him go. They let him go, only to run into him later in the movie when the bad guy is back in a position of power and he’s just as mean and cruel and dismissive of their needs as he was at the beginning of the movie. His mid movie appeal to their better nature was all a gambit to get out of being killed. He has learned nothing. He hasn’t changed. He’s the same deceitful, cruel, sadistic person he was all along.
One of the undercurrents of our political life is this dark side of human nature. One the current holder of the presidency has exploited. You need only look at what he and his sycophantic friends and media outlets were saying about the immigrants that are walking here through Mexico before the election and how they haven’t said a peep since.
There is, I hope, a new day coming that will appeal to our better nature and be inclusive and helpful to others in need. This is coming from neither parties’ higher ups, but from grass root efforts to elect new people to political office. Turn outs in the last election were huge. Hopefully, people have got the message that if they vote they can change things.
There are big structural issues in our political structure and election machinery. Many can be remedied if the right minded people are in place. Some are constitutional in nature and hard to fix.
The current Republican party has little or no interest in fixing any of these things because it would mean they, as currently constituted, would never see political office again. The Democratic party has an aging leadership problem. They have not done enough to engage and encourage new younger leadership, but their problems pale in comparison to the Republicans. The Democrats problems can be addressed by the people in the party. The Republican problems can not. They will have to die to be reborn. Either that or you’ll have to believe like the Nazi in the movie that they have learned their lessons and will change. To put that another way, when was the last time you saw or experienced an old man changing his ways?
( Answer for me is George Wallace when he realized that if he wanted to have a chance of winning political office he needed to chuck segregation, but he only did that when the raw power situation hit him in the face. Most people are to insulated to change. )
Let me take a moment to talk about structural problems in our current system. The biggest one is the uneven divide between rural and suburban areas. There was a graph going around recently that showed that six or eight western states equaled in population one county in California. I think the county picked was the one around L.A. However, this means that all those states have more say in what happens in this country than the people of California. Even though 94% of people in this country are in favor of some sort of gun control nothing can get done because the rural areas where few if any shooting occur don’t want it. Soon the overwhelming majority of our population will reside in 16 states, that means the 34 states with their 68 Senators will have an overwhelming influence on what goes on in this country.
The other bigger and more subtle problem is one of wealth and super wealth. Most of the tax relief has gone to corporations and to the super wealthy. By super wealthy I am referring to the 1% and within that group the top tenth get most of that wealth. To put this in perspective, if we were in a room of one hundred people one person would have most of the money. If we were in a room of one thousand people ten people would have most of the money and one person out of that ten would have substantially more that the other 999.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in “The Great Gatsby” that “The rich are different than us.” Indeed, they are. Many call them conservative, but that isn’t really true. They want to hang onto their wealth and in most cases pass it along to their children. They will employ any means at their discretion to do this. This includes finding off shore tax havens and artificial ways to keep money from being taxed. There is a mentality that being taxed is equivalent to being robbed by the mob. ( I like that – it rhymes. “Robbed by the mob.” ) They develop a sense that they should be allowed to keep all their money because “they earned it,” never mind if it is the case that they inherited it.
We can look to the revelations of The Panama Papers that many of the super wealthy, including the Queen of England, hide their money from authorities. We have now developed a group of rich people who are not tied to any one country, but seek havens around the world that are more tax free and willing to hold their wealth without question.
The most interesting thing to me is the large number of people who are hoodwinked, or should I say hoodwink themselves, into believing they are in the one percent or will be soon. That combined number, believing they are in the one percent or will be one day, is 39%. ( 19% believe they are currently in the one percent and 20% believe they will be one day. )
How this slight of hand was pulled off I can’t say. Just like I can’t fathom why anyone who likes coffee would go to Starbucks. However, the reality is that people line up to pay $4 to $5 for a crappy cup of coffee.
It’s hard to imagine how the rest of us can rein in these globe trotting money hoarding people.
We continue to get played. Partially, because a lot of us think we will ascend to their ranks. The rich are doing whatever they can to hold onto their wealth, which means they are making it harder for you to get a piece of it. We see this in statistics that show it has become harder to rise out of your station in life.
Then there is the cheating. Sorry, I mean the voter suppression, the kicking of people off voter roles, the erecting silly and constraining voter registration laws, and the eliminating and/or reducing polling places in areas that don’t vote for your party. We can look no further than Georgia where it appears the former Secretary of State for Georgia did everything he could to eliminate people from the voting roles, to close polling places in Democratic neighborhoods under any excuse, to not have enough ballots on hand and other egregious acts to eliminate the ability of people to vote. How can he stand before the people of Georgia and say he represents them? I’m guessing he won’t. He’ll do what most Republicans do, hide from their constituents.
There is some hope. I like what Maine has done with a rule that says if no one gets to 50% then they throw out the low percentage candidates and add in people’s “second choice” to see if they get to fifty percent.
There was a suggestion to double the number of reps in the House of Representatives. This would allow a state like Montana to keep their one Congressman but would allow states like California, Florida, Texas, and New York to double their representation. Why not do the same for the Senate, but allow the new one hundred to be allocated based on population in the state? Won’t happen, I know, but it points to a solution, or at least a better way.
Meanwhile it looks like Bobby Three Stick is getting closer and closer to The Donald. News breaking as I write that Roger Stone and “friends” knew of the Wikileaks Clinton email dump ahead of it happening. A bunch of folks are being hauled in front of the Grand Jury to testify.
It seems the pres has advanced knowledge of a lot of what is going on in the Mueller investigation now that his boy, Matt Whittaker is head of Justice. Just coincidence? Remember prosecutors don’t believe in coincidence.
And in a laughable first speech Matty-boy went back to his home state of Iowa to deliver a speech. He wanted everyone to be on the look out for fraudsters. Great! Let’s start with you and the invention scamming company you worked for.
By the way, Matt’s legal background? Ambulance chaser and the like. That’s it.
911 Days to Go
PS Sometimes the bear eats you; and sometimes you eat the bear.