As I go to press, the visible takeover—call it a coup if you want—by agents of the 1%is in full bloom. Just as Occupy Wall Street warned. The writing was on the wall when the Senate confirmed the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. His vetting by and recommendation to Trump by the ultraconservative Federalist Society and his subsequent appointment, made clear that right wing religious activists and the economic terrorists funded by the ruling class had won. American democracy as we know it is being transformed into a plutocracy, or if you prefer, a fascist takeover lubricated by the lies and false news promulgated by the Roger Ailes-built propaganda machine called FOX NEWS. In the last few months, despite the Mueller investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections and into the money laundering crimes of Trump and the gang of thieves, lawbreakers and racists he has appointed to his cabinet, these Trump appointees, under the guise of “shrinking the government,” have passed and instituted policies that the economic terrorists salivate for. We can hear each one muttering and justifying the dismantling of 70 years of progressive policies and the institutions that protect American citizens from exploitation, and make real the Constitutional promise of equal protectionunder the law.
They are willing to bribe/influence elected officials with enough lobby money/rewards so that principles are put aside and the only criteria that remain are self-interest and financial gain.
This is the reality of what has happened in the less than 550 days that Trump has been in office.
The most recent rulings of the Supreme Court make it very clear that even at the very highest levels of government, the judicial separation of Church and State built into the Constitution is being ignored and trampled on. Religion has trumped civil rights in very different Court rulings. In the CAKE case, the court ruled that an individual’s religious beliefs took precedence over the civil rights of citizens. It was not about CAKE.
It was a dangerous decision because it opened the door to endorsing the legal right of a citizen to discriminate based on religious belief, effectively stripping the civil rights of another person. Hence, this could also be the justification for discriminating against an entire group of people based on their Muslim religion. Don’t be fooled by the language of the Court’s justification: Here we have the other side of religion trumping civil rights. Freedom of religion is tossed out because of the fear tactics used by Trump to manipulate the public’s desire to feel safe.
Of course, radical political jihadists need to be found and arrested. But Trump, following the role modeling of former VP Cheney (who outed a CIA agent because her husband did not agree with the Cheney agenda), justifies his bullying foreign policy and his petulant tantrums that undermine an alliance of co-operation with Western government leaders. His disruptive manner has our allies mistrusting the US government. He even attacked Canadian and French leaders with his crude bullying tactics. His recent tariff regulations under the leadership of his Secretary of the Treasury, right wing billionaire Steven Mnuchin, is not about improving the quality of life for American workers but about helping billionaires like the Koch brothers. It is clear that is who Trump seeks to please.
Don’t be fooled by mainstream media who dance around the real truth, afraid to say this crisis in Democracy is being undermined by capitalism running wild in the streets and the offices of corporate America.
Note my sources: I watch Democracy Now with Amy Goodman at 8 a.m. on channel 34 and Rachel Maddow most nights at midnight on MSNBC (channel 203). I also read the Guardian, Pro Publica, The Intercept, all online, and subscribe to the NY Times, LA Times and The Washington Post and watch RT for people like Chris Hedges and Al Jazeera online as well as the BBC and Brian Lehrer on WNYC.
Trump’s policies are negatively impacting the daily life of the average American citizen. Don’t be fooled by the so called job explosion. Yes there is an explosion of low paying jobs. Even if the minimum wage is raised it will not be in sync with the cost of living in most urban cities. The middle class has been the target of a campaign by Ayn Rand libertarians like Paul Ryan, legitimizing her call for selfishness and “survival of the fittest.”
Yes, there are some segments of the middle class best represented by Silicon Valley (not today a specific geographical location) that has invaded and disrupted the economies of the cities it has inhabited. One only has to look at the cost of living effect of the explosion of highly paid skilled workers this industry employs on the infrastructure of San Francisco, California or Austin, Texas.
The press often fixates on the tweets of Trump or the machinations around Russian manipulation (important, of course), but do not report on the impact on ordnary citizens of the almost daily destruction of government policies that date back to Roosevelt, to encourage equal opportunities for each citizen. I am referring to policies and regulations that have focused on the environment, education and protection of children and seniors.
Let’s talk about what can be done.
Locally, I was not not surprised when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes defeated US Congressman Joseph Crowley, a DC insider, power player and political boss of the Queens Democratic Party. While Crowley outspent Ocasio-Cortes, her campaign videos, print ads, posters and face to face encounters with residents sizzled authenticity. She looks like the people that now make up the majority of the District. She was articulate and in touch with the needs and desires of the immigrant community that had, in the last 20 years, settled in the Bronx. Ocasio-Cortes is an intelligent, friendly, willing-to-listen community organizer turned politician. Ocasio-Cortes also is a brown-skinned young Latina who looks like the young women in the neighborhood who ride the subway to work. That is why she won.
The Democratic machine in the State and the City has fallen asleep at their majority wheel. Hospitals were lost not only in Greenwich Village but in other boroughs. Rent control tenants old and living on fixed incomes were being priced out of their apartments. Vacancy-decontrol had landlords let loose their “wild dogs”, using them and any means necessary to scare seniors (that is who the majority of rent regulated tenants are) to sometimes death or to just make their lives constantly miserable with the relentless, most times frivolous legal moves to drive people out of their homes. We have a bully Governor who yes, did legalize medical marijuana, make legal same-sex marriage (he wasn’t the first) and created a facade that he was anti-fracking. He also refused to really back campaign-finance reform, loosen voting registration, and clean up corruption in Albany. His deceitful support of the Independent Democratic Caucus (rogue members who vote with the Republicans) whom and he used to block the so-called progressive bills, thus making it appear he supported them while knowing full well they would not pass because of the IDC. Slick is too nice a word to describe Cuomo.
What did the Democratic machine do, just when two-time elected Mayor of Schenectady, progressive Democrat Stephanie A. Miner, was about to announce she would run for Governor, a race she felt she could win because she had proven she was not afraid of Cuomo as she had stood up to him when she was in office (something most NYs and City elected officials refused to do because they knew Andy would punish them if they did)? De Blasio pulled the rug out from under her and pushed award winning actress Cynthia Nixon with no, that’s right NO, political experience in elected office into the race for Governor. Miner was throw under the bus in a frenzy of TMZ celebrity-driven media coverage of Nixon’s latest role in a reality based political thriller. Nixon may be committed, but does anyone think she is actually capable of cleaning up Albany? Remember it is on the record that Albany is the most corrupt State legislature in the US. I believe De Blasio actually handed the victory to Cuomo when Nixon announced. One hopes he scored some points for the City in the fierce competition, based on ambition the Governor and the Mayor share. We the people have got caught holding the stringof the balloon for political change in Albany that has now floated away. And then there is Jumaane Williams, nominated for Lt. Governor. He is a good city Councilperson. It was interesting to see him have a change of heart and principle on his long held and loudly spoken opposition to same sex marriage. One likes to think it was a conscious realization that he was wrong and not just a politically expedient choice.
Update: Stephanie A. Miner has announced she IS running against Cuomo on the SAM ticket. Good news for voters. Bad news for Andy.