Class Warfare Blog

September 16, 2020

So . . . Why?

A recent statement issued by the editors at Scientific American include this comment: “It wasn’t just a testing problem: if almost everyone in the U.S. wore masks in public, it could save about 66,000 lives by the beginning of December, according to projections from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Such a strategy would hurt no one. It would close no business. It would cost next to nothing. But Trump and his vice president flouted local mask rules, making it a point not to wear masks themselves in public appearances. Trump has openly supported people who ignored governors in Michigan and California and elsewhere as they tried to impose social distancing and restrict public activities to control the virus. He encouraged governors in Florida, Arizona and Texas who resisted these public health measures, saying in April—again, falsely—that ‘the worst days of the pandemic are behind us’ and ignoring infectious disease experts who warned at the time of a dangerous rebound if safety measures were loosened.”

So, my question is this: what did Mr. Trump have to gain by taking this path?

Letting a pandemic ravage the working class is certainly no aid to business and it stresses what’s left of our social safety net. What possible advantage to Mr. Trump could there be?

The only sensible interpretation I could come up with that takes into account Mr. Trump’s and his base’s characteristics is this: he is poking a finger in the eyes of the coastal elites. (Take that Libtards!) The oh-so-smart “experts” who always know what the right thing to do is, while at the same time looking down their noses at the people living in the “fly over states.”

Mr. Trump has said that he downplayed the pandemic because he didn’t want to create panic. Some have spun this by saying that he didn’t want to cause a panic in the stock market. This, of course, makes no sense whatsoever. By downplaying the problem, he in essence, gave over any control over the problem he had, leaving him a situation that would play out as it would rather than as he or anyone else would have it. And, having this disease wreak havoc on crowded workplaces in the various businesses represented on the stock markets surely is not a recipe to avoid panic in the stock market. So, this “explanation” holds no water.

But the so-called “coastal elites” are seen as the architects of the demise of the middle class and poor by many people. The economists, the politicians, the corporation executives, the “experts” who speak in gobbledygook while dressed in many thousand dollar suits, who claim to know what is best for the rest of us. These are the people who are scorned by the “deplorables” who voted Mr. Trump in, and honestly have really failed at their jobs economically, having sold their services to the very wealthy or to become one of the very wealthy. (The “new rich” are almost all corporate executives.)

But in a classic “throwing the baby out with the bath water” move, this disdain for the politicians and economists and scientists has been spread out over public health officials who have not failed in the same way. Painting with a broad brush is at the core of politics, but in this case, there are possibly 100,000 Americans now dead because of that attitude alone.

Mr. Trump is merely reinforcing a “see, they aren’t so smart” attitude that he and many of his followers hold. Some will pay for that attitude with their lives (some already have) and some will pay with their careers. It is hoped that our ship of state can be righted. I have little hope that the Democrats can do this if given power, but right now they are the only chance we have because they are the only ones who seem to want to do that. It is terribly hard to bail the water out of the boat when others are drilling holes in the bottom, chanting “Sink the ship! Sink the ship!”

I will vote for Biden and work to get a much better president to succeed him. The problem we have is the uber-wealthy are spending gobs of money to make sure that we do not have the chance of electing someone not already in their pocket. We have to learn how to counter the power of their money.

August 12, 2020

Hulk Smash Politics

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:52 am
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President Trump said of his opponent Joe Biden the other day “No religion. No anything. Hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He’s against God.”

As an Incredible Hulk aficionado in my youth I learned to translate Hulk speak into English. Why the President chose to use Hulk speak is beyond my ken, possibly he was dog whistling iconclasts.

In English, the President said, “Joe Biden is not a True Christian™, he’s no better than an atheist.” The evangelicals he was messaging believe that Catholics, and Joe Biden is a rosary-carrying Catholic who actually goes to church, are not real Christians, that they worship the anti-christ, etc., etc.

Mr. Trump is using a typical political tactic of accusing his opponent of being all of the things he is. Mr. Trump is definitely “not a True Christian™, he’s no better than an atheist.” But Mr. Trump has the support of evangelicals because he said, back in the last election, that if he were elected, then Christianity, e.g. evangelicals, would get true power and that is the basis of their relationship. It has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with power.

As to Mr. Trump’s tactics, if Mr. Biden falls for them, he will respond to those accusations. If he is smart, he will not. The claim will only resonate with evangelicals who get “the message,” people already voting for Mr. Trump. Other people will see Mr. Biden going to church, fingering his rosary, and being endorsed by many of the religious elites. They will think Mr. Trump’s attacks are, therefore, yet another example of him being bat-shit crazy.

If he did respond, Mr. Biden would be wasting time he could be using to address people who will actually vote for him. He will exhaust people’s attention span for the topic as defined by Mr. Trump, which is what Mr. Trump wants, as this effectively blunts any attack Mr. Biden might make on the fact that Mr. Trump is an atheist pandering to evangelicals. The only thing Mr. Trump worships is . . . Mr. Trump.

So, Mr. Biden’s response should be <cricket, cricket, . . .> This includes his surrogates.

August 17, 2019

Can You Pronounce Counterproductive, Boys and Girls?

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Reason — Steve Ruis @ 10:43 am
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Ole Steve King (R, Iowa) is in the news again, this time endorsing rape and incest as part of an anti-abortion crusade. This is yet another example of the incredibly counterproductive efforts of conservative politicians.

The gauze has been removed from our eyes, if indeed there were any left, to now clearly see the racist and misogynist roots of the American conservatives in general, and the GOP in particular. Possibly because they have become experts in getting voters to vote against their own interests, they have been working very, very hard against their own interests, too. Here are a couple of examples.

These knuckledraggers have been working feverishly to make abortion as impossible as they can make it. They have put restrictions on abortion clinics, thereby driving so many out of existence that in some states one cannot be found. They have been pushing more and more anti-abortion laws in the states and are angling to get the Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court expunged or severely amended. These efforts run counter to their racist roots, however. Anti-abortion efforts means that more black and brown babies will be born than white babies as black and brown people have higher birth rates. (I looked them up; I did not just assume this fact.) More black and brown people will mean more black and brown potential voters and eventually the end of white supremacist politicians. These idiots, were they true to their racist roots, should be falling all over themselves to provide government paid abortions for all black and brown citizens as their racism trumps their abortion objections (pun intended).

Conservatives were appalled when college age youths were running amok opposing the Vietnam War. How dare they! They were still wet behind their ears and were not paying deference to their elders. Abominable. Consequently, conservatives, using bogus arguments (nobody even fact checked them!), got federal bankruptcy law amended to disallow student debt to be discharged under bankruptcy. This combined with federal funding guarantees of student loans has led to an immense amount of student dept piling up . . . more than credit card debt in this country. In this manner college students and college graduates are chained to the status quo by their debt. They can’t afford to “stick it to the man” if that would mean losing their job. So, that settled their hash!

But, the student debt crisis has produced a decline in homeownership, marriage, and childbearing rates among the young. The mostly white college-educated young are having fewer children (because of economic insecurity) and avoiding homeownership as an unaffordable excess, and therefore don’t see marriage as having any advantage over shacking up. So much for encouraging “positive family values” that the GOP is so enamored with.

So, these racist idiots are encouraging more births of black and brown babies and discouraging the births of white babies, diminishing their own political futures thereby.

Is there no one in charge of the American conservatives? Oh, Trump. I guess that explains a great deal. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

Postscript For the younger generation, the title is a hearkening back to Mr. Rogers, a television personality focused on teaching children.

 

 

October 30, 2017

A Viable Way Out of this Mess

I have been reading and hearing a lot of wishful thinking surrounding Mr. Trump of late. Most of the thinking focuses on removing the president through impeachment and trial or via the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

President Midas … er, Trump

Neither of these paths are at all attractive to my mind.

Consider the 25th Amendment route to removal of the President. In order for the scheme to work, a two-thirds majority in Congress of both houses, have to assent and that is after the Vice President and “a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments” have attested to the president’s unfitness for office as I am fairly certain Mr. Trump won’t off himself. Lots of luck with that as the Republicans hold solid majorities in both houses of Congress and most of the members have enough intellectual energy to light a match, so will probably shy away from voting on anything controversial that doesn’t involve a tax cut for the rich or the striking of Mr. Obama’s name from a post office or other edifice.

The impeachment path is even scarier. Gee, make Mr. Trump the center of attention … for months. Oh, he will hate that … not. And who is to say he won’t win? And nothing, absolutely nothing will get done for months.

The only viable path I can see out of this mess is to make Mr. Trump irrelevant. He continues to be President, head of state, head tweeter, etc. He gets to pardon the turkey, light the Christmas tree, etc. But otherwise, Congress ignores him and the military ignores him.

You see, if Mr. Trump is overtly removed from office, his supporters will be permanently opposed to anything we wish to do for the foreseeable future. They will rightly see this action as “not giving him a chance” and a “witch hunt,” etc. Mr. Trump is an outsider to Washington politics (all politics for that matter). He was elected because of that. If he is politically lynched it will appear to be a classic “the Empire strikes back” move of the “insiders” and Mr. Trump’s supporters will feel thoroughly dissed (correctly so).

This is not something that “we the people” will get over easily. I have argued that not only should Mr. Trump’s votes be counted as a vote against the status quo but also all of Mr. Obama’s. Think about it. This deeply racist country elects a Black president? Is there any greater statement of displeasure with the status quo.

The status quo involves the rich getting richer at an alarming rate at the expense of the rest of us. This has been going on for the better part of 40 years and people are really, really (really!) feeling it and they want it to stop. Even if you think that Mr. Trump’s selection had a snowball’s chance in hell of actually reversing the disparity of wealth in this country, that was basically what was fueling his election.

Removing him directly would therefore be a big, big mistake.

The few sane Democrats and Republicans have to get together behind the scenes and get a few things done but mostly they need to sit on their hands with regard to major agenda items as little good will come from their pursuit. Allow Mr. Trump his platform and move beyond him in the next election.

The Republicans will have little problem putting up some other candidate for president in 2020. The accomplishments of Mr. Trump will be mostly destructive (people can’t sue their banks, businesses are free to pollute, etc.) and the claim can be made that Mr. Trump wasn’t a real Republican (by the other candidates, not the party). It is curious that Bernie Sanders got hit repeatedly for not being a real Democrat when Mr. Trump was less involved with Republican politics than Sen. Sanders was with the Dems (who caucused with the Dems), yet Mr. Trump was never attacked as not a true Repub.

Possibly when Mr. Trump’s tax plan goes down in flames, or worse actually gets passed (What will the Repubs say when people’s taxes go up?), the Repubs will be motivated to sideline Mr. Trump.

May 2, 2017

Please Stop with the “Trump This …” and the Trump That …”

Recent articles have crowed about the GOP cave-in on the budget by talking down Mr. Trump’s vaunted “negotiation skills,” as if the President actually negotiated budget agreements (none do). These headlines are part of a long series of headlines claiming the source of this or that activity by “Trump …” when clearly they are not Mr. Trump’s ideas or initiatives.

To wit: can you name one idea that is Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Trump’s alone? The Wall? Remember John McCain’s campaign stop in Arizona at “the Wall?” Heck, it was being built before Mr. Trump even mentioned it. How about tax reform? (Please, this is as common as there are people with tax axes to grind.) Money for the military? Get tough on NATO … the Chinese (currency manipulators?) … the Russians? All pre-existing ideas.

Can you name one initiative of the GOP that Mr. Trump has tried to husband through? (Hint: There is only one.) The GOP health care initiative? (Got it in one! Good job!). Mr. Trump actually picked up the phone and called some fence-sitting legislators about this one, but clearly this was not Mr. Trump’s plan, it was a mishmash of whatever the GOP thought it could get away with and call it “health insurance reform” or rather “The Repeal of Obamacare!” Mr. Trump did blurt out that he was releasing a tax reform plan within a week, which resulted in that bizarre one page memo that was anything but. Where is the vaunted organizational skills of the GOP on display. Can’t they enroll their usual allies in the Think Tank World to crank out some of these plans, on topics they know they want to address? How could they not come up with a decent tax reform plan? (I can understand the health care miasma (It’s complicated; who knew?), but tax reform is low hanging political fruit.)

I know it is traditional to put the president’s name on all initiatives of his administration, but this is giving our president too much of what he clearly craves: attention. If he deserves it, fire away. Otherwise direct your comments where they belong, at the people leading the charge.

I can’t wait for some foreign leader, when asked to respond to one of Mr. Trump’s tweets or one page memos, to say: “Mr. Trump says many things. We will wait until he actually does something to comment.”

What he has done so far can be described as “a number of things done in the last administration have been undone.”

February 3, 2017

Ignore Trump

Filed under: Politics,The News — Steve Ruis @ 12:37 pm
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Yes, I am advocating that we do just this, at a time when people are running around with their hair on fire screaming “Trump wants to do this … Trump wants to do that.”

Ignore him I say.

There are two good reason for doings this. The first is that Trump doesn’t have an ideological or policy-driven mind. He has no ideas. He takes other people’s ideas that seem to resonant and attract attention and runs with them himself, but the ideas are not his.

We need to be laser-focused on what members of Mr. Trump’s administration are doing, though. (How that term ever got promoted is beyond me, lasers can’t be focused.) Mr. Trump himself is the embodiment of distraction. If we watch him, we miss how the magic trick is done. Ever second we watch him, is a second things are done out of out sight.

Pay him no attention.

This is the second of my two points: Mr. Trump seems to need attention … more than anything else and that includes money. If we withhold our attention, then maybe … maybe … we can get him to do something for us, rather than his current work for his puppet masters.

It is a long shot, but it might work. If not, you will have the satisfaction of denying him his heart’s desire.

So, from now on, do not use his name. Talk about “this current administration,” or “this official” or “that agency,” do not use his name and pay no attention to his antics. If you do, we lose.

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