Independence Day is my favorite holiday. This is the last article I will write or publish before it this year. There will be a lag of less than 24 hours between it being written and publishing and one of several days between now and the holiday. Today’s is one of my “catch up” articles. I expect there to be many more negative events between writing and Saturday. Let’s explore.
Follow The Money
Like in the Reagan administration, federal money is being used to extort local action. A case in point is Nebraska. A tiny county in its northeast corner is experiencing a huge coronavirus outbreak. The local county officials issued a directive that anyone entering the county building must wear a mask. Nebraska’s Republican Governor, Pete Ricketts, issued an ultimatum that they rescind that order with the threat that if they didn’t the county would receive zero federal dollars to combat the pandemic.
A little background is in order. Ricketts is from an extremely wealthy family that is a major Trump financier. Trump has made mask wearing into a partisan political issue. In his mind people who wear masks are not his supporters.
Where is this similar to Reagan’s actions? Reagan wanted the drinking age raised to 21 in all states. The legal age in New York was 18 at the time. (I lived there at the time but was well over 21.) Reagan threatened to take highway money away from any state that did not move its legal drinking age up to 21. What happened is that after the age was raised more young people turned to street drugs. Bartenders ask for proof of age; drug dealers don’t.
Trump and his minions have been close to silent on the pandemic in recent weeks while the situation worsens on a daily basis. It appears they are taking a strategy similar to the one the right wing prefers on sex education: If you don’t talk about it, it won’t happen. That didn’t work for preventing unwanted pregnancies and it is certainly not working to keep Americans healthy.
Burn It Down
Steve Bannon is famous for saying he wants to effectively destroy government and reinvent it. Could Trump’s true mission be to destroy the American economy and kill a large number of its inhabitants in the process? If so he appears to be well on his way to success. We have depression level economic numbers and an out of control disease ravaging the country for which there is no know treatment, cure or vaccine.
In a sort of Wizard of Oz move Trump is asking Americans to pay no attention to the numbers and just accept the administration’s statement that they have prevailed in a great victory over the coronavirus. His media mouthpieces are spewing the same line often complete with the meant to be reinforcing lies. While media organizations often have partisan leanings raw numbers taken in context don’t. Pay attention to the “scoreboard”; it will tell you Trump is both losing and lying.
Donald Trump’s niece is attempting to come out with a book that will depict him in an unflattering light. Using other people, (something he is skilled and experienced in), Trump is trying to censor it. While I have absolutely no intention of either buying or reading the book, unlike Trump I believe in the First Amendment – all of it. We have seen this act before from Trump and many autocrats throughout history before him.
Hope In Poland
Right wing extremist Polish President Andrzej Duda failed to get the required 50% of the vote in last Sunday’s Polish election and will be forced into a runoff election on Sunday July 12 against current Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. I will not hazard a prediction but at least there is a chance Poland will turn away from its current extremist government that is based on lies and xenophobia.
Not surprisingly, Trump is a Duda fan and even had him over to the White House days before the initial election. He also unilaterally announced he was removing troops from Germany and transferring some of them to Poland. He did so without ever consulting the Pentagon or the government of German Chancellor Angel Merkel.
This was a triple strategy move: an attempt to help Duda, please Russian President Vladimir Putin and hurt Merkel who Trump doesn’t like.
In recent weeks Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee have been skipping the committee’s meetings. Well, at least they are not drumming on their desks while other people are trying to testify. Perhaps since they do no good and, let’s face it, are pretty much out of place in a meeting concerning intelligence, we should be please by their absence.
TAKE THE COP OFF THE BLOCK
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is effectively the cop on the block when it comes to federal election laws and elections. It is a six member commission and it needs to have four members to reach the quorum required to launch investigations or make rulings. It has never had six members during the Trump administration, (with some restrictions, the sitting President fills FEC vacancies). Republican appointee Matthew S. Peterson recently resigned leaving Committee membership at three.
In case you have been off the planet recently, we have a major election coming up in November with every reason to believe there will be issues.
BACK TO TULSA
Tulsa was a fiasco for Trump and it just keeps getting worse. A few days ago we discussed that Tom Petty’s surviving family had issued a cease and desist order for Trump to stop using the late star’s songs. Now the Rolling Stones have renewed their call for Trump to stop using their music with the threat of litigation. I am among the many who consider the Stones to be the greatest rock and roll band in history. Are we correct? This much I know there are a lot more of us than there are of people who think Trump is the greatest leader in world history.
But it gets worse! It was revealed, including with video evidence, that Trump workers removed social distancing signs from seats in the Tulsa venue in advance of his appearance. I renew my call for the warning label on ballots reading: Caution: Voting for a Republican may be hazardous to your health.
I could go on but I think I’ve said enough for now. Enjoy the holiday but for the sake of your fellow man please stay away from crowds. Better yet stay home. The life you save may literally be your own; you certainly can’t rely on Trump or his minions for help in that regard.
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