Putting a coat of varnish on an old beat-up piece is one way of making it look shinier and maybe younger than its years and wear. Like “fake news,” the ever-so-popular-with-the-conservative-base meme, varnish gives an illusion of things being other than they are. Let me explain what I mean about “fake news”– for the most part this is a term used to denigrate the factual. Varnish, in its way, denigrates a reality as well; it alters –or attempts to alter–the age and condition of the furniture to which it is applied. In this way, varnish is truly a fakery, while “fake news” is a slur against truth.
Steve Bannon left the White House and his official role in the administration to become an off-campus Field Marshall. He baits the bear, goading a man who needs no invitation to act the fool and to violate the Constitution he swore to uphold into ever more outrageous claims of tyranny. Bannon, like many other advisors in this administration, encourages the illegal and the heinous.
John Kelly, for instance, has redefined “patriotism” to mean “treason for a cause you believe.” He defends Robert E. Lee in these terms and calls the Civil War, in effect, a misunderstanding.
As for Bannon– to all my friends who saw his departure from inside the WH as diminishing his influence– I wish it were so.
The tom-foolery Bannon espouses is dangerous. It flaunts the values the Founding Fathers of the United States enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Unlike Jefferson, Hamilton, Eisenhower, the Roosevelts, John McCain, and Obama (to name a few patriots in our history), he is an unprincipled man. He loves disruption. Like the devil, he looks to sow trouble and division. Like his former boss, he spreads harmful fictions and calls the truth false.
November 15th addendum, out of the blue, or perhaps it’s the red, I should be saying.
Tax cuts, Spkr McCarthy of the House, was saying are about creating jobs and “making America competitive again.” What a cute rephrasing of the MAGA motto! The idea that giving tax cuts to the rich will somehow help the poor is an alt-reality view of the GOP.
Money in the pockets of the well-heeled has never trickled down to the worker. Once it’s theirs, they tend to keep hold of it.
Are tax havens, like Delaware or Singapore, benefitted by the policies that allow corporations to park their businesses without having to fork over revenue to the state? They do so by imposing registration fees in their districts, for example. They do impose unfairly on other countries which would benefit from levying taxes on the corporate entity.
Turning the USA into one big tax break for American corporations and businessmen exposes us to so many other financial problems. Who pays to maintain the infrastructure? How do we keep a police force or a national guard if money is not coming in to the treasury?
There is a sense of the dire which envelops many liberals these days. I am grateful to the New Yorker for its quotes on democracy. Archibald Macleish’s perspective as quoted in the June 5-12 issue by Jill Lepore brightened my day: “Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing.”
We are a nation in crisis, scratch that– crises, yet we choose to look inward and at local issues. The trains don’t run on time and we are vexed. This is not minor but a problem many years in the making– infrastructure neglected, and the subway system allowed to become a sweltering and sometimes frightening mess. It’s natural to want to lead our lives and not worry about the big picture. We do need to see that by ignoring the big stuff we let everything go out of control.
The big picture is trouble brewing. It will and does affect us all.
Who needs civil liberties? The rights of our citizens were hard-won. Freedom did not just emerge from the blood and sweat of the Revolutionary War in documents of federation and constitutional laws. Some Americans had many more years to struggle to see their rights recognized. Many of our privileges evolved in the amendments to our Bill of Rights over the 3 centuries since that war established a United States.
The simple single answer is we all do. Remembering, as always, that with rights come responsibilities.
Sometimes it is not possible to quell the anger, fear and hatred of a policeman who stops a citizen for a tail-light violation. Situations get out of hand. The driver is arrested.
Many of the folks incarcerated have committed only the crime of “driving while black.” Responsible parents in the Afro-American community teach their children how to mitigate the outcomes of this very serious circumstance. It is one which affects the statistic in which 14% of a county’s population are prosecuted or jailed for more than 50% of the crimes committed there.
When 14% of a county’s population in places like Mississippi, for instance, are prosecuted for more than half the crimes committed in that county, it looks like that 14% are the bad seed. Looks can be deceiving. Statistics like these are clearly skewed. They are also deceiving.
Reconstruction was the period in American history when the country sought to heal the wounds of a civil war. “Civil” war is such a deceptive phrase, really. Really? It is probably the very definition of an oxymoron.
Our Pledge of Allegiance was one of the products of reconstruction. It was used as a symbol of the nation’s unity.
During that war from 1860 to 1864, the country was divided, fighting under two separate flags, not for liberty or justice, but for the sovereign right of one part of this nation to earn its living by enslaving human beings. Since that project, slavery, slipped away, Americans turned to “taming” the west, which turned out to be a project in which it was necessary to kill off as many Indians as possible. Native American tribes stood in the way of our country’s westward progress. We couldn’t have that, and fighting them off their lands became an all-American enterprise.
The wild west was so called not because of all the nightclubbing and disco parties, but because of the untempered vunityiolence it allowed, even encouraged.
Trickle down economics has the people of Kansas suffering major cuts to rudimentary services, and the state in devastation. If the Republican budget makers have their way, similar dissolutions will effect the middle class and working poor as they attempt to cut taxes for the very rich in order to have them, the rich, that is, create wealth for the rest of us.
“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” But we may soon be….
The theory, not unfamiliar to anyone who has listened to conservatives explain it, is that when the wealthy have extra– aka, even more than they now have– money, they will use it to fund businesses. The reality is that most of the 1%ers already have money to finance an economic boom. The money never really travels downward, not even in slow drips, to the benefit of those in need of it. Instead, we are flung, as it shot from a cannon into a dyfunctional and unsustainable reality. The theory, in fact, could be called “alternative economics,” and fits in with the alt-reality and fake news into which we plunged over the past year.
Trickle down? Wha?
In fact, this kind of budget will give our administration what it seems to have wanted all along, the opportunity to shut down government institutions. Health and Human Services and the department of Housing and Urban Development, like the agency overseeing education in the United States will no longer be necessary. Some rich dude will fill in the gaps, and presumably fix the potholes.
It is not surprising that the well-to-do are enamored of this kind of economic necomancy.
It is incredible that the poor would also fall prey to its mysterious appeal.
Under such plans for our nation’s financial future, we will see an America catapulted into the dark ages. Isolated because it is isolationist when we espouse America First, this great country will lose services, safety nets and the security it enjoyed under less regressive leadership.
Let’s imagine a world of peace and harmony. Now imagine who (or what) would want to disrupt such a calm prospect.
Are we in the garden of Eden? Does it require a devil (or THE DEVIL) to tear it all apart?
Who would not want to live a life of quiet tranquility? Would you want to trade in complete serenity for disorder and chaos?