Saturday, April 1, 2017

WineDrunk SideWalk: Shipwrecked in TrumpLand week TEN weekly wrap-up

Week 10: Dispatches from the Ditch

            It’s incredibly funny to me that the republican party has managed to kibosh progress in this country for the last seven years. That of course has been ratcheted up to sheer hilarity now that a majority the republicans still can’t find a way to govern. I mean this is good for all us folks that believed we, as a country, were headed for the ditch as soon as the motherfucker (my preferred term for trump and how i'll refer to him) took office. That isn’t to say that his (re bannon, re koch, re putin) insidious agenda isn’t just that but after the failure to repeal the ACA last week he and the republicans look utterly ineffective.
            I’m watching CNN in a motel on a Monday morning and they’re commenting on how the motherfucker needs a win (we were all supposed to be tired of winning by now). Instead, fox news is calling for paul ryan’s head. ted poe, head of the freedom caucus, is resigning and the motherfucker instead of trying anything partisan or even trying to amend an utterly disastrous bill calls out/threatens the freedom caucus. Furthermore the motherfucker seems even more listless about the whole thing and is rolling to his next agenda point which may be taxes or trade or just general obstruction of whatever tatters of the American dream are left.
            I’ll never say the ACA is perfect, as a matter of fact as a man who makes less than twenty-five thousand a year I’ve found my experiences both frustrating and costly. You see I’m in the majority of people who have no health insurance and also are poor, but not poor enough to actually be subsidized. It remains to be seen at this moment whether the republicans will try for the 61st time to repeal the program, whether they actually try a bipartisan commission to actually fix the program, whether they defund or just move on to another unpopular decision, or whether anyone even acknowledges that Bernie Sanders introduced a single payer bill on the heels of this failure.
            Back when I assumed hilary would win, I expected the republican party to fracture shortly thereafter. I was wrong, or was i? The infighting inside that party may force that concept into action though. I’ve always wondered how a moderate party could accept being taken over by a fringe and allow that fringe to make more moderate elements of that party look like fools.
            Saying that, I must acknowledge that the democratic party has still offered no solutions. Populism and the American people are waiting, but as a party they’ve proven they don’t understand messaging or politics.
            I will say if there’s one thing the dems are doing something right its filibustering the nomination of gorsuch, who quite truthfully shouldn’t even be an option. I’ve listened to parts of his confirmation hearings and the utter arrogance of this guy is enough to make sure that I don’t want him anywhere near the supreme court. I guarantee his double speak, which this whole administration seems to excel at, will  hold this country back over and pull us deeper into the new dark ages. If the dems can hold out long enough maybe russiagate will finally blow wide open and we can pretend the last ten weeks have been a bad dream.
            Speaking of russiagate,  the scandal soon to overtake watergate, it still hasn’t broken wide open, its coming I swear. It seems devin nunes is doing his best treason two-step, cancelling this week’s hearings. Funny this was the week that paul manafort was to testify, as was sally yates, who was fired as acting attorney general for standing against muslim ban one. It seems that nunes has ties to the motherfucker and has been sharing info with the shite house. adam schiff, the republican party, the media are all calling for his recusal. Of course in the grand scheme of this administration he refuses to say a word, and gives the cheeky I don’t have to answer your question answers. Listen asshole, this is still theoretically a democracy and you still have to answer fucking questions especially when our national security (internal not external) is absolutely in bright neon fucking lights at risk!
            A late week arrival to russiagate scandal is that michael flynn, who resigned from the national security after allegedly lying to pence, is willing to testify against the motherfucker in exchange for immunity. The shite house is saying they hope he will testify, they say the same about sally yates, and are simultaneously already deflecting. I stand by my insinuation earlier that this will be the biggest scandal in American political history. All the pieces are moving into place and what it all means can only be imagined at this point. I knew that American democracy as we understand it died on November eighth, but when an entire administration is poised to be taken down for treason, that is unlike anything we’ve ever seen (including watergate).
            One more thing before I move on. I was driving around central Pennsylvania Sunday and Monday, this is the famous red t, or Pennsyltucky if you’re from here. In a diner in Mifflinsburg (maybe a more liberal section of said t since there are several major universities within earshot) I was reading the paper waiting for my lunch and two front page articles exclaimed the duress of either farmers or the local public works under the motherfucker's latest budget proposal. Apparently, small farmers are subsidized by the government as are local public works and if they don’t receive federal funding the shortfall can be disastrous (this is one of the cornerstones of how the media fails in explaining why we have big government and why it’s necessary for that government to exist). In paying taxes you make sure small farmers can feed us and roads get paved. These are important people. I said after the election that the people who voted for the motherfucker would be the first to suffer under his regime, happy/not happy I was correct about that. Now the question is will those folks admit they’re wrong and join in fighting against this corrupt regime or for a return to the democracy (misnomer, we were never officially a democracy more a fluctuating oligarchy) that would actually serve the people, not just the rich.
            Growing up in Pittsburgh I heard my grandmother’s stories of not being able to wear white dresses because the soot from the mills would blacken them before midday. As a hiker in a region dominated by coal mining I still see the scars that industry left all through this state, not to mention the acid and runoff water that is still leaching into our creeks and soil generations later. I will say it's gotten better since my grandmother's day, it’s even gotten better in my lifetime. A friend let me know our air quality has improved by thirty percent in the last ten years. The Energy Independence exec order will do away with all of that though. Yeah, big coal is dead lets resurrect it. Yeah fracking destroyed parts of Greene County and pulled out leaving the area struggling worse than before. Who really needs fuel efficiency, clean air, or water? Oh right, Flint Michigan, Pittsburgh and more. I can’t think of a greater threat than this executive order to a population that is already seeing astronomical and rising cancer rates.
One last note about this, China has called the US selfish in trying to bring back coal. Lemme repeat that, China called us selfish. China has been the leader in greenhouse emissions for decades. If China is acknowledging climate change and trying to amend their reputation why in the bloody fuck would we choose to go backwards? I know there aren't many good-paying jobs out there nowadays but I don’t want coal mining back and even articles out of places like West Virginia suggest that they don’t want coal mining back. So they question remains why? The answer is simple and its capitalism. In this new gilded age it’s impossible to tell them apart.
            I would like to congratulate the motherfucker on graduating to mass murder. Before you give me shit, every president in American history has committed mass murder, including Obama. I think it’s high time we admit it and talk about it openly. The recent bombing attacks in Mosul have led to massive civilian casualties (not to mention the airstikes in Yemen last month). This may or may not be part of the motherfucker stepping up his rhetoric on the campaign trail, and now in the presidency. “We’ll bomb the shit out them!” That’s what he said right? We are. The only problem is by bombing the shit out of innocent people gives a perfect outlet for organization like the Islamic state to exist, hell you pretty much feed their rhetoric. Rhetoric, you know that thing religions do to prove they're right. Rhetoric, you know that thing demagogues use to prove their right. Rhetoric, that thing countries do when they want to ratchet up fear and paranoia proving the need for war or to throw out basic civil or human rights.
            Speaking of human rights, specifically women’s rights, the senate moved straight along party lines with a historic tie breaker from pence to defund Planned Parenthood. Title X, can we talk for a minute how fucked up that is that we have a women’s health bill titled x. Does that mean women are a secret organization that we can’t acknowledge? Can we not talk out loud about women any longer? Are we supposed to be afraid of women? Are women spies? I know these are absurd questions but it’s also absurd to think that women, especially poor women, still have to struggle to get the medical services they deserve. It’s also absurd that two (of the five or six) female republican senators didn’t vote. It’s also absurd that that many (mostly) white men should have an opinion about this fucking issue (which shouldn’t be an issue).
            I understand that the god you believe exists and that god tells you that all life is sacred and abortion is wrong, but your religion is based off a two thousand year old morality that doesn’t apply to this world (our media consistently chastises sharia law for this, yet we are barely less archaic in our treatment of women). The truth of the matter is that even without abortion on the table this funding ensures that poor women won’t get health service that they desperately need. Further truth is that young poor women die in greater numbers when their access to abortion/ womens health service is restricted. Further truth, nothing empowers a woman more than the ability to steer her life and her health. That’s what makes public funding of both contraceptives and or abortion ESSENTIAL! I guess that final concept is what truly terrifies white men christian republicans and that is something I still don’t understand (or I understand but refuse to accept).
            Maybe I spoke too soon about failure to govern, oh wait again this isn’t governing this is a rapid fire dismantling of  government. Either way, Wednesday’s big noose was that the senate, without pence’s help, voted again along party lines to allow internet service providers to sell your internet data. Previously you had to give permission for that data to be shared, but that is no longer. It seems funny that an entrepreneurial governing body would at least allow you to choose to sell and make money off your own data, but likely you won’t have a say. Privacy has been dead a long time, it’s an illusion to believe otherwise, but this legislation has just done away with whatever vestige you believe you had.
            The motherfucker also this week placed son in law jared kushner in charge of a new government agency which will attempt to teach government to run like a business. Since the founding of this country this has been the essential argument within government, this will be an oversimplification but it’s impossible to summarize this in a few sentences otherwise. George Washington believed it was the government’s job to provide services to the citizens of the country. Jefferson believed that government should be smaller with fewer services. This becomes one of the basic essential differences between our now completely malfunctioned two party system. The problem with jeffersons concept is that capitalism doesn’t believe in equality so it’s essential that a democratic system should allow a government to counteract the effect of big business by assisting smaller merchants, as well as individual to level the playing field. As I stated earlier with farmers and public works departments crying out about potential deficits so then smaller farmers go out of business and big agriculture takes over (we’ve seen this happening over the last forty years since reagan started to take away farm subsidies which made the small farmer nearly extinct). When it comes to public works, infrastructure crumbles if not supported by funding, unless privatized which means more toll roads and less regulation. That then means there is no accountability to actually repair infrastructure even if there is a toll since the corporation holding the lease can make money without fear of reprisal from a governing body or a public that relies on roads for travel. This then makes a terrible mess for the average joe, we all have less money and inequality grows. Simply Government is not a business, it serves constituency which means you and not corporations or fucking lobbyist etc. Please remember this as we move ahead.
            Friday brought about the motherfuckers trade edicts which come ahead of his first meeting with China. This is just happening as I type so I’ll be short here since there’s not a lot of info available. Basically, motherfucker believes we have a jobs problem created by trade, which isn’t necessarily the case. Our jobs problem is created by automation, a failure to recognize Americans should be working less for more and the lack of ability to allow universal basic income. Instead, motherfucker believes he can meddle in long standing trade deals country by country to bring manufacturing or prosperity back to America, no word yet on how were gonna remobilized our frozen manufacturing sector in the process, or what happens when motherfucker jeopardizes our import/export relationships with other counties.
            There is a moment; as russia gate expands, as motherfuckers rating continues to be sub thirty-five percent, as the suckers who fell for his charlatan politics wake up to difficult realities, as we don’t win, as America becomes more draconian than great. I want  to pretend none of this is happening. It amazes me how far gone it seems our democracy is from the people it was to serve. My only hope in these moments is that when this administration is wholesale impeached (I know that’s no small feat at this moment, but it feels inevitable) that all these executive orders and attempts to wholesale strip our democracy will be repealed as quickly as they were signed. I realize though that there are some terribly difficult situations and problems ahead of us no matter what. Ten weeks into this presidency, I’m as sure, if not more so that indeed democracy died on November eighth 2016.

I want to thank John for allowing me to do this! Before I leave y’all today’s poem is by Linda M. Crate, tomorrow is by Michael Grover. Look for those at noon and remember Art is Resistance!

--Jason Baldinger

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