It's a long long time since a news item had me so incandescent with rage, but CNN did it with their live coverage of the impeachment hearing. Yes. I knew politics was fractured in the US, but just how fractured, was obviously as clear as mud. It provided a real insight into just how much Trump has poisoned the political well. Disagreement is the bread and butter of day to day politics in every developed democracy, but outright denial of the facts is not OK. I rarely become so agitated as to drop everything and visualise my thoughts, but I could just not avoid it, so the result was the clip below..
Jim Jordan is an interesting character,. I can hear you already screaming, that's an understatement, but bear with me if you would. I am reluctant to discuss his turning a blind eye to historical child abuse, because I really don't have time to look at the evidence. I'll leave that for others to debate. However, the way he operates, is textbook sycophancy. If he stopped to think for a moment, he might realise that he is almost impossible to listen to. Not because of what he's saying, but because of how he says it. He's like the radio advert where the terms and conditions are read at warp speed, so as to avoid any danger of scrutiny. He's a leading expert in twisting words and events, reimagining them and spewing out the result, as a right wing rallying cry. I don't deny it's a skill, but his adding of the right wing hot sauce, just makes it too hot for anyone with any sense to consider consuming. He'll grab a real quote, giving his response a grain of truth, then deliver it out of context, into a far right propaganda soundbite. If you are a cult of Trump loyalist, you will love it and it will fuel your anger. That's why Trump gave him the Medal of Sycophancy, or whatever you call it, now that it has been devalued to the level of a cheap political trinket Clever, but sinister.and highly divisive.
Reporting indicates that enormous pressure was applied to Republicans, to persuade them to oppose voting for impeachment.
This included death threats to members and their families, from Trump supporters, no doubt seeded from the criminal enterprise that now operates from the Oval Office. I would like to think were I a Republican member, I could have put those threats aside in the interest of serving my country, but until one is put in that position, we don't know how we would react.
What stunned me most about the hearing as it unfolded, was the enthusiasm with which many Republicans defended Trump's actions. Matt Gaetz stood out for all the wrong reasons. It was like a bunker defence speech for Adolf Hitler. All was lost, but there he was, batting for his boss, whilst at the same time committing crimes against fashion, with the most absurd jacket I've ever seen. Who on earth told him, 'Matt you look great, go get 'em champ'? Whoever it was, they're in deep trouble today. He had to ring the White House this morning to post bail, following his arrest outside the Capitol Building by the fashion police. He was detained, not for being in possession of a black face, but rather for being caught in possession of an offensive jacket. Joking aside, his oratory is little league and that's probably an insult to little league. In his search for Fox News soundbites, he's inarticulate and intellectually deficient.
Another member that stood out, was Lauren Boebert. A poor imitation of Sarah Palin, who’s amateur delivery was truly cringeworthy. Proof that a gun does little to cover up lamentable oratory skills. Add to that, the fact that she should have been arrested for telegraphing the whereabouts of the Speaker of the House during the events of 6 January, she's not that credible. The key takeaway, besides Trump now having been impeached twice, lost the White House, the Congress and now the Senate, was fear of the base and the money it brings to the party. With corporate donors running for the hills, this must have induced panic, as the party looks towards the post Trump era. The American people should note, that the main concern of these sycophants, is not the welfare of those they serve, it’s their political ass. McConnell now has to dance on the head of a pin to try and eliminate Trump as a threat to the future of the party. Shrewd though he is, this challenge could seriously damage his party. Traditional Republican values are now dead and no amount of political CPR, will bring it back anytime soon. Dems MUST take every step to further weaken the Republican position. They must prove to the American people, that this nightmare the nation has endured, can with the right governance, lead to a more equitable society, where people aren’t left behind and everyone is given a chance to succeed, whilst providing affordable healthcare and housing, as well as a safety net for those who stumble on hard times.
This brings me nicely to policy and where the challenges are for the incoming administration. Let me begin on a positive note. When Barack Obama entered the White House in 2008, he faced a truly horrible situation left to him by, yes you guessed it, an outgoing Republican president.
History has repeated itself so many times it's almost the definition of insanity. George W Bush had presided over the most rampant period of a rampaging finance sector that was at best, a criminal enterprise. Sound familiar? Republicans had spent two terms drunk at the wheel of the Capitalism Express. The banking sector had ben deregulated under the laughable term 'light touch regulation'. There are two very apt words in that statement, light and touch. Just add paper to the word touch and you have what they did. They lit touch-paper, and ran away, like an errant teenager. It literally exploded in the faces of low income American families who had been encouraged to buy property they could not afford, on deals that sounded and were, too good to be true.
The banks had calculated that all they had to do, was to combine these mortgages they knew would turn toxic. Then, just like cutting heroin, they combined the toxicity of these mis-sold mortgages with some good mortgages, to improve the rating of these now bundled assets. The key was to sell these bundles on, before they became radioactive. The results, left bankers obscenely wealthy, as they literally gorged on the profits derived from families they knew would be evicted not too far down the road. It resulted in a societal catastrophe, from which America has still not fully recovered. NOBODY was made to pay, other than the poor families who were unwitting victims of a state encouraged grift. The synergy with today is frightening.
I mention this, only to demonstrate the track record of the Republican Party. Each time they lose, they leave a mess of biblical proportion. The incoming administration, effectively inherits the anger of those shafted by the GOP. They know that they can just take a break in their comfortable homes and lavish lifestyles, while the other side, puts some money in the bank for them to raid in their next grift. I simplify this, only because time is short. However, never forget those left like grains of sand on a beach of despair as the the Republicans walk out of the door laughing.
If ever insult was added to injury, Mitch McConnell, then embarked on years of obstructing everything Obama attempted to achieve. As a measure of Obama's dedication to the office he held and to his eternal credit, he passed the ACA. He effectively sacrificed any second term progress to provide affordable healthcare for millions of Americans. If ever you needed a hero for those struggling to get by, he was the living embodiment. Many criticise Obama for excessive use of executive orders. The reality is, without them, McConnell had him in political handcuffs. Some people of colour, still see Obama as an under achiever. Well you try achieving, walking through the political quagmire created by McConnell and the GOP, then come back and we'll talk again. Obama remains a giant on the world political stage and he'll be just a phone call a way from his friend Joe. Do not underestimate the value of that relationship.
Capitalism is like a fish out of water if you expose it to a world event that hits markets. The Covid pandemic was just that. Any government of empathy, awareness of global events and good governance, stands a fighting chance of navigating such a crisis.
The problem America had, was that it was an addict. It was addicted to ever increasing stock values and suppressing the aspirations of those at the bottom that fuelled that addition, with low paid jobs, no benefits and nowhere to go. It is no exaggeration, that the wealthy rise to the top, stood on the shoulders and the corpses of those they exploit to get there. Now before you call me a radical Marxist or a socialist, or for that matter a communist, this deflection doesn't work with me. I understand macro economics and I'm more than aware that I'm a prime target for the AOC vilification brigade. The harsh reality is, that truth hurts. The short sighted nature of the Republican outdated fiscal outlook is an embarrassment to any American that takes a step back and observes who they are. Greed is at the heart of everything they do and that greed blinkers them to the potential wealth that's out there, if you invest in a more equitable society. Which dog will serve you better, the one tied up in the back yard, starving, or the dog that sits with you, watches TV and enjoys daily walks?
A $15 minimum wage does NOT hinder profit or success, after a short correction, it pays for itself and then some. However, they just can't handle the short term pain, it's too much for them, so they simply promote more of the same. Give a man or woman the ability to feed, educate and provide healthcare for their family and I'll give you a loyal hard working employee, that will go the extra mile in service of your business. These people are the foundation on which this nation was built. They quite literally, build your infrastructure, put food on your table, deliver food when you can't be bothered to cook. How dare you dismiss them as irrelevant to your wealth and prosperity?
The fossil fuel obsession really is quite embarrassing. It represents a lack of vision induced by huge PAC donations and vested interests in government. A green economic revolution and infrastructure investment, is the golden ticket to create a better future, maybe even creating a sovereign wealth fund. I haven't got time to go into the benefits here right now, but take a look at Norway and how it used oil wealth to create a fund that provides huge societal benefit. I hate to say it, but the US economy is Dickensian and only a shadow of what it could be. It has the biggest tech players in the world and yet government, has some of the most backward thinking political policy makers. What excites me right now, is that the Biden administration has attracted some of the greatest minds in the world and gathered them under the umbrella of his administration. The challenge ahead, is to let them grow, indulging in some new progressive thinking. There's a wealth of dynamic opportunities ahead. By bringing these talented people together, it presents a chance to truly bring back America bigger and better.
I had expected to be covering healthcare today, but following the impeachment hearing I got sidetracked. So I promise we will cover healthcare and Covid tomorrow as a supplement the release of my tribute to healthcare workers tonight. I hope you're enjoying these posts as much as I'm enjoying writing them. Stay safe and I'll see you tomorrow.