Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Id's Of March

Random Barking

JFK In Berlin, June 1963 (AFP / Esquire)
At Amherst College in late October, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave a short speech in honor of  Robert Frost, but in a broader context of the Arts, and Artists (you can listen to it here). Roughly five weeks later, JFK was dead.

When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.

In the same speech, Kennedy also observed that A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.

(Kennedy made another, longer and more formal speech -- this time about science and the environment -- in October, 1963; read a transcript here. Then compare it with this.)

So, just a question: Whom do we honor, as a nation and a culture? What kind of persons are held up (and, by whom?) in America as examples of right choices and right action -- those who we hope our children will emulate and become? The values and behaviors we promote as the "content of our character"?

Insane Murderous Clowns :  ©2016, Victor Juhasz / Rolling Stone
The failure to bring Trumpcare to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote was a blow to Wonderboy and the Clown Car government. Nearly every media organization (beyond Fox, the Washington Times, and Breitbart, now the White House's propaganda mouthpiece) used headlines  with some variation on "Republicans Pull Healthcare Bill; Sharp Rebuke To Trump".

Make no mistake: the Ryan/Trump plan would have created chaotic disaster. It would have thrown 16 million people, at a minimum, under a Trump In 2020 campaign bus, and directly caused physical pain and real misery. The healthcare industry would have gone into a competitive frenzy -- an inconvenience for the wealthy, but a catastrophe for the sick, the chronically ill, and the poor.

But, make no mistake about this, either: The largest factor leading to the bill's being pulled was not an overwhelming rejection of it in the Congress -- but because a key number of House Republicans, the self-styled 'Freedom Caucus' (whose Kangaroo Court-membership is secret) believed Ryan/Trump's legislation was insufficient. That the cuts and changes weren't severe enough.

Media organizations and any number of liberal pundits can crow about how terrible a blow this all is to Wonderboy, and Little Paulie Ryan. If it were due to a concerted and organized resistance to Trump and his cabal, we should be celebrating.  But it isn't: Trumpcare never made it to the floor because of the continuing struggle between traditional Beltway insider Republicans, and Alt-Right teabag, Evangelical crazies, for control of the Republican party.

That internecine war is far from over.  But no matter what your political analysis of all this is, once one side or the other in that conflict is dominant, or both sides make a truce in order to save the GOP from possible Midterm election losses -- the next time, there will be nothing (let me repeat that; there will be nothing) standing in their way.

After the bill was pulled, Schumer and Pelosi crowed about 'victory' -- but the Democrats had little to do with it. There is no organized Resistance. Paris is occupied and the Germans are free to go anywhere, say anything, take anything. They will lock down your borders -- no one can get in, but (depending on what happens in future) it's also harder to get out. Their judges will sit in your courtrooms. Their teachers in for-profit schools will build a curriculum around 'Alternative Facts'. They will pump chemicals in your rivers, CFC's into the air. And one day, they will come in trucks for your Communists and Jews -- they've already come for Latinos and Muslims.

And there will be nothing to stand in their way, until the Resistance is real, and not simply a pretty graphic or soundbite used to sell trendy clothing or music or tickets to an event -- and not until there is a real alternative to a political structure which benefits so few and takes from so many.

MEHR, MIT EIN SCHLAG IM GESICHT:  Will Marshall is president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute, which (according to SourceWatch) was founded before Bill Clinton's run for the to become the Democratic candidate for President, "and after the 1992 election gained notoriety as [his] 'idea mill'."  

The PPI is the think-tank for the Democratic Leadership Council, a group founded by primarily conservative southern Democrats, which essentially believes Republicans are people, too also, and that we should learn to compromise with them in order to, you know -- get stuff. Some things.  A few. One?  

Okay -- we'll let them take things from us, but they have to promise to think very, very seriously about giving us some things, too. How about maybe just 'lend' us stuff? 

Will Marshall contributed an op-ed piece for yesterday's The Paper Of Record, titled "Why Democrats Should Work With Trump".  The title says it all.  

This little crayon-written missive attracted 1,288 replies; no I did not read them all, but those which said, in essence Are you fucking kidding me? What planet are you living on, dude? were overwhelmingly in the majority.  My favorite:
[Peter, In Connecticut]
If someone is punching you in the face, try to get them to slow down, or maybe not hit so hard. Compromise is a wonderful thing.
(100 Recommend)

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