Bittersweet

For only the second time in my life, today I was reduced to actual sobbing after it was announced that Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States. Unlike 2016, however, today my tears were those of relief that the era of Trump as president is almost over, that soon I will no longer be under a constant level of anxiety and stress worrying about what awful thing the president was going to do to the country and the planet in order to enrich himself. I actually felt lighter after I heard the news, as though a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

My tears were tinged with a not insignificant amount of sadness because more than 70 million of my fellow citizens (7 million more than voted for him in 2016!), despite the unending disaster that has been the Trump administration, were still fully supportive of him and the Republican enablers down ballot. There will be many in the media who will tap dance around the reasons for that support, especially given the votes of Cuban-Americans and Venezuelan-Americans in Miami Dade County, but there are two underlying conditions that provide all the proof I need to know that a combination of misogyny and racism is what draws them to him like moths to a flame.

The Republican Party (which many insist on referring to as ‘Trumpism’) long ago gave up any pretext that it was interested in the legislating or debating of anything beyond the appointment of right-wing judges, deregulating their donors’ industries, and maintaining their hold on power by any means necessary. Right now, the future of the Senate remains in flux pending the results of two run-off elections in the state of Georgia for the seats currently occupied by David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Trump toadies who have no business in government.

My 38 year old daughter, who with her boyfriend recently moved 1,500 miles away to Florida and just announced that they’re pregnant with my first grandbaby to replace the theoretical one whose future I’ve been so freaked out over. The texts, postcards and letters I sent to people all over the country were written with all the grandchildren in mind, the ones whose future the Republicans have continued to trash in their wanton destruction of anything that remotely resembles the democracy as we were told it was designed. We are now at a place where we cannot afford to sit back and savor the Biden/Harris victory because we have another election that is nearly as important as the one we have just won.

Georgia was in the unique position of having both Senatorial seats on the ballot this year, and both of those elections are now going to a run-off in January. With Trump off the ticket and no longer there to boost the base, both Democratic candidates, John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, have a higher likelihood of success on January 5, 2021. Our volunteer and financial efforts should be focused on these two races between now and then in order to gain the majority in the Senate (with the addition of the Vice-President’s vote) and castrate Moscow Mitch. When the only strategy the Republicans have is to obstruct every piece of legislation the Democrats create, there is only one party that benefits, and that’s the Republican and its donor class. The rest of us – all Americans, and all equally deserving of a government that puts the needs of the people over and above their own – must step up and do whatever we can to ensure that the Democrats take Senate in January and bring the awful era of McConnell as the arbiter of legislation comes to an end.

I’m going to enjoy this win today; tomorrow is the first day of the fight for the Senate. After that, we have to address the right-wing media bubble, because that’s where those 70 million who still support Trump get all their information. It’s not ever going to be possible to have any kind of discussion if only one side of the argument uses facts while the other side spews disinformation and conspiracy theories. Republicans and their media conflate freedom of speech and of the press with saying whatever you want on media platforms regardless of the facts.

We all know one or more of those 70 million people; my nephew is one of them. I love him, but I don’t know if there’s anything we have in common anymore except our surname. What I find most disturbing is that I never would have expected my nephew, with a huge circle of diverse friends, would be so easily sucked in by the Trump cult. It makes me sad for the future of his children.

My family is fractured, something that started long before Trump ran for office in 2015. When my dad was on hospice before he died in 2008, my brother and sister-in-law brought him to live with them in their house for the last two months of his life. During that time, I made sure to go over there every week, and always took him to any appointments if they were scheduled on my days off. Never during those months did either my brother or his wife ever tell me that they needed me to do more, so it was a shock to me when I found out after my dad’s death (when I couldn’t do anything to change things) how they felt. Before Dad died, the whole family spent Thanksgiving at my house and Easter at my brother’s. Since then, we spend no holidays together and it’s unusual if we even speak to each other on holidays now. My brother will tell me how important it is for us to stay in touch since our family is so small, but I don’t feel like he means it anymore. I suppose anything is possible as long as we’re all still here.

Let’s keep our eyes on the prize.

Why Do The Republicans Hate Us?

Pat Roberts

It’s apparent to most of us that the Republicans feel nothing but disdain towards anyone in the country other than their donors and corporate overlords. Their refusal to address the ongoing and catastrophic hair-on-fire financial and healthcare emergencies raging through the country because they’ve suddenly remembered that deficit spending creates a deficit in the federal budget – something that only matters to the Republicans when there is a Democratic President (or the likelihood of one in the near future) – is the latest affront. They were mum in 2017 as they passed that $3 trillion dollar tax cut that not only gives the majority of the benefits to the top 1% over the next ten years, it also serves to enrich those who passed the legislation.

Ron Johnson

The Republicans enacted tax breaks on seven classes of assets held by many of the wealthier members at the time, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes while their corporate holdings value increased because of the corporate tax breaks. The ten richest Republicans in Congress who voted for the tax bill held more than $731 million in assets, almost 2/3 in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other instruments, assets they included in their tax cut. In fact, only one of the Republicans on the three committees that wrote the tax bill did not own stocks and mutual funds. Those Republicans also benefited by the ‘repatriation’ of corporate funds from outside the country, since the result was to increase the value of their stocks and dividends from companies like Apple.

John N. Kennedy

All these Republicans reaped the rewards of their tax legislation, increasing their wealth along with the federal deficit. This deficit increase was just fine and dandy, since the benefits from their legislation lined their own and their corporate handlers’ pockets. Besides, later they can use the deficit they created with their self-enriching tax cuts to further erode the social safety net programs of Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, Welfare and Social Security that benefits those of us who were not fortunate enough to be in millionaires in Congress.

Rob Portman

Now, we are in the throes of these converging disasters caused by the Republicans abdication of legislating and governing for anyone other than themselves. Led by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, the Republicans in both chambers have dropped any pretext of giving a damn about their own constituents, let alone those whose votes they know they have no chance of getting. In Texas, they are fighting tooth and nail to make it neigh on impossible for people to register to vote, and those who are registered are limited in their ability to vote by mail (unless they are over the age of 64, a demographic that is historically slanted towards Republicans), because they are fully aware that they have a choice to make – either become more inclusive or limit the ability of Democrats to cast votes against them. Of course, they have chosen to impede free and fair elections, including by Trump naming a Republican donor with $75 million invested in shipping companies and postal service contractors as Postmaster General, where he has already worked to slow down the mail, gut management, and try to raise the rates municipalities may have to pay to bulk mail ballots to voters (from $0.20 to $0.55). The rate increase may not be enacted, but the threat of it may be enough for some municipalities to not even try to send out ballots, which may be all it takes to give Trump the electoral college win he so needs to avoid all sorts of legal repercussions if he leaves the White House in January 2021 instead of 2025.

David Perdue

Those Republicans who have used their ability to legislate to remain in power in order to enrich themselves continue to reveal that they care only about doing more of the same. How ironic that they can say out loud that the $600 weekly unemployment enhancement has led to the unemployed bringing home more than they were paid to do actual work while it doesn’t occur to them that the problem with this is that those workers are not being paid a living wage in the first place, not that finally they’re able to buy food and pay rent without having to choose one over the other. Their assertion that the additional unemployment payment is what is keeping people from returning to work is ludicrous – people aren’t returning to work because businesses aren’t reopening with the virus running rampant throughout the country. The fact that many of those who are making this ridiculous statement are millionaires makes it even more infuriating.

Moscow Mitch

They refuse to do anything to benefit the citizens of this country who have been systemically and systematically stripped of what little they may have managed to squirrel away for a rainy day with regressive taxes, onerous regulations for safety net programs that punish those most in need for bogus offenses and withholding desperately needed financial and nutritional assistance that actually serves to prop up the economy at large by providing a lifeline that will be redistributed by those who cannot otherwise remain fed and housed in these perilous times. The refuse to address this because it isn’t a factor in their own lives, or the lives of those around them. Few if any have ever needed to apply for any kind of assistance from the government, and they refuse to consider what that really feels like to those of us who have been required by circumstances out of our control to do so.

Chuck Grassley

Citizens have for decades fallen for the Republican’s lies and voted against their own best interests by putting them into office, in large part because they believed that the ‘other’ (the ‘welfare queen’, for example) was robbing them of benefits rightly theirs. The right-wing media bubble has successfully stuffed their heads with the bullshit Republicans have spewed for decades, and without taking any time to consider whether those things were actually true, they let their own prejudices and pain drive them to re-elect these scumbags who then use their elected positions to continue their assault on our democracy and our ability to make an actual living wage.

How many more must die, whether by Covid-19 or despair, before those still willing to vote for Trump realize they’ve been duped for generations? How many must be made homeless by the Republicans refusal to authorize real financial support required because their leader and his administration have so incompetently refused to deal with the pandemic before the 38% who still believe that Trump is doing a good job at anything other than enriching himself see how wrong they’ve been?

Sadly, I think that the answer is going to prove to be all 38% of them.

Trump is the Tyrant the Republicans Always Wanted

It’s hard to believe that it’s been under four years since Donald Trump, the least-qualified of all the candidates who ran for President in 2016, took over the office from Barack Obama; it feels more like forty because of the amount of constant, unrelenting stress his presidency has caused us all. Trump continues to use his reality show platform, trying to always leave us hanging with a “we’ll have to see” or “I can’t say yet”, as though he isn’t holding the highest office in the country, making his words matter exponentially more than they ever would have had he not been elected.

Trump and Barr appear to have decided that they can do anything they want until the election, aware that even the Democrats in the House cannot take the time to impeach Trump again; between now and November 3rd it’s more appropriate for the House to perform investigations that can provide further information about the criminality of this lawless administration. The entire electorate needs to be spurred to vote them all out by outrage, and that’s only going to happen by forcing this out into the media every day until then.

Why would anyone be surprised to find out that there was an appropriation inserted into the Senate Republicans HEALS Act to provide $1.75 billion to rebuild The J. Edgar Hoover FBI building in downtown Washington. In a bill purported to be providing desperately needed financial help to Americans being pummeled by the dysfunctional Trump administration, Trump’s own financial future of course had to rear it’s ugly head. Trump scuttled a plan ten years in the making to relocate the FBI headquarters to the suburbs outside the city a year into his tenure, because he knew that the current location, a block from his own hotel, would likely provide a competitor with a location that would negatively affect his own bottom line. Since everything Trump does from the Oval Office is intentionally designed to benefit him and his wallet, his attempt to push this project forward is just another of his schemes to see how much money he can make from the Presidency.

This is banana republic, tin pot dictatorship shit. Everything is paid for by the taxpayers, while the benefits go into the dear leader’s bank account. The family members of the dear leader get to run stuff they have no experience or knowledge to run, making a salary paid by taxpayers, for a job they are unable to perform under the best of circumstances. The only thing Jared Kushner is qualified to do is being Mr. Ivanka Trump.

The closer we get to the election, the more desperate and despotic Trump becomes. It seems that even his ‘positive thinking’ isn’t doing enough to convince him that all the polls showing Biden ahead by double digits in a majority of states and actually competitive in formerly reliable red states. Now, it seems Trump has decided that his next best option is to use the office of the president and its bully pulpit to trash talk mail-in ballots as significantly flawed and likely to be fraudulent. He continues to use diversion to deflect the media from bad news, and there’s so much bad news and diversions flying through the diaspora that it’s impossible to remember what we were outraged over just a few weeks ago.

Remember the leaked report from the intelligence agencies that Russia was paying bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan for dead coalition fighters? What about the children still being detained in Covid-19 infested privately-run detention facilities? Or the ‘very fine people on both sides’ in Charlottesville? It’s impossible to maintain the level of outrage that each individual outrageous act by the Republican Party and this administration without it negatively affecting ourselves and those around us, but that doesn’t mean we can just brush it aside and move on. We have only one chance to try to get this thing under control before this entire experiment in our democratic republic comes crashing down around us.

The Republican Party has for decades been looking for someone to use for their own nefarious purposes, and Trump, who lacks the insight, intelligence, comprehension, compassion and a decency to see what a tool he’s been for the Republicans. They, on the other hand, so craven in their greed for money and power, didn’t mind at all that they were pushing this malignant narcissist into the most powerful position in the world (at least in was in 2016) because they somehow thought they could control him and tamp down his worst tendencies. They thought that Trump would become ‘presidential’ once in office; magical thinking of the highest order. They still think that their own political narrative is the ‘true way’ for the country to be run, and continue to do everything in their power to force their religious beliefs down the throats of the rest of us, despite the “freedom of religion” (or freedom FROM religion) written into the Constitution.

Now that the Republicans have the tyrant they always wanted, they’ve discovered to their chagrin that this puppy has been shitting in their closets the entire time he’s been in office. Trump has been so ‘positive in the negative direction’ that he is now dragging down the reelection chances of Senators who thought their future political careers were assured. Susan Collins, so ‘concerned’ and certain that Trump ‘learned his lesson’ after being impeached and is now the least liked person in the Senate, Lindsay Graham, Corey Gardner, David Perdue, Joni Ernst, Steve Daines and Thom Tillis, all of them Trump sycophants and bootlickers, now finds their seats jeopardized by their attachment to Trump. It’s sad that those are the only ones, but the 34% of those polled who still live in the right-wing media bubble and believe Trump is doing a good job with Covid-19 live somewhere, and I guess they live where the other Senate Republican seats are safe.

Change can only happen if we vote them all out, up and down the ballot. The Republican Party must be crushed out of existence, never to get their greedy hands on the reins of power again. We have to reform elections (requiring presidential candidates to release ten years of taxes in order to be on the ballot), election financing (to level the playing field remove the influence of the wealthy and corporations), norms previously honored by those in power that have been shown by Trump to be easily ignored by the unscrupulous and so many other things I can’t even think anymore. The only way any of those things will get done is to remove Republicans from the picture.

We have no time left to waste.