Labor Day – A Reflection

Labor Day

Today is Labor Day, a great national holiday, a day set aside for the American worker and to celebrate the ordinary citizen.

This day is meant to honor laborers, it is a day to honor work. It is meant to be a day of rest, repose and respite, but this year it is a day that we must acknowledge our collective anxiety as there are twenty million Americans unemployed, out of work and uncertain of our future.

I spent most of my life working in the hospitality sector. Now I am self-employed but my clients are mostly restaurants, this year many of my friends and colleagues have had to shutter their businesses, close their doors, cut their hours, reduce their staff change their business model to account for the global pandemic COVID-19.  

There are millions of workers that have the day off this year who would rather be working. We have had too much time off, but the nation is not ready to reopen.

Our chief executive has abdicated the responsibility for managing this crises, preferring to pretend that it will go away on its own.

It will not.

Each of our fifty states has a different plan to handle the pandemic, some governors have followed the president’s example, abdicating their responsibility, putting it off on local governments at the county and municipality level. Some of these governors have taken even more draconian steps and signed orders that limit what local governments can do to protect their people and find a safe way to live, go to school, engage in commerce and move forward.

Today we count the number of dead at 190,000 and climbing.

On Memorial Day we were poised to cross the 100,000 threshold. Ninety thousand more Americans dies over the summer, and it did not have to be this way.

It does not have to be this way, but it will continue to be this way until we have leadership that acknowledges the scope of the emergency, and puts together a plan to manage the crises.

The economy will continue to struggle, the stock market notwithstanding, a million Americans will file new claims for unemployment every week, the unemployment rate will continue to hover around ten percent, Americans will not return to work for as long as the status quo remains the same.

The unemployed American worker needs relief. The House of representatives has passed a bill to provide. The Senate has opted not to address and the president is actively working against it.

We need the Hero’s act to pass to provide this relief, we need to keep those who are still working, working, we need it to help those who are not working return to work. We need it so that American families can keep a roof over their heads, keep the lights on, keep gas in the car, and keep food on the table

We need leadership, or we need a general strike!

Happy Labor Day my brothers and sisters, lets due the right thing!

Strike and Unite!

2020.09.07

Vote IV – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

08.08.2020

 

Vote     IV

 

So Donald Trump is going to sign executive orders today pretending to address the economic woes the working class who cannot work due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

 

Over the past weeks he himself has not participated in the negotiations with Congress. His Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows and the Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin were said to be “not on the same page.

 

The House of Representatives passed their bill months ago, but the republican majority in the Senate is said to not want to do anything at all to help the people by extending unemployment benefits, providing another stimulus to each citizen, providing aid to local governments, shoring up the post office and other critical services.

 

Republicans want to do nothing. Republican mayors, governors, representatives and senators and the orange menace himself. They want to do nothing.

 

They want to pretend like the virus will just disappear, they want to send workers into unsafe work environments, children into unsafe schools, they do not want to test and do contact tracing, they only seem interested in telling the American people lies.

 

Today Trump reveals the bad faith in which he has had his team “negotiating” on the relief package. He is signing an order which he has no lawful authority to sign, spending money that only the congress can allocate, in order to claim that he himself “came through” for the people.

 

It will not work. We cannot cede the power of the purse to the executive simply because the executive and his cronies in the Senate do not want to negotiate.

 

They have to strike a deal.

 

We cannot let this happen. It is another assault on the constitution and the lives of the American people are hanging in the balance.

 

Trump has created the impasse so he can make his false move strictly for political purposes, he thinks it will help him, we must ensure that it damns him, and every single one of the republican lackeys that are complicit in this fraud.

 

Vote, get your absentee ballot and vote. Vote as early as possible. Vote in overwhelming numbers. Check on your friends and family, make sure that everyone votes.

 

Vote as if the Republic is at stake, freedom and Democracy are on the line. The rule of law hangs in the balance.

 

Vote that little tyrant out of office.

Transform, Part I – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.16.2020

Transform, Part I
There is no going back to the way things used to be. We have to move forward and transform. The good old days were not that great to begin with, and there are better days ahead of us if we can muster the political will to make it happen.

Our so called “way of life” left to many people on the fringes, outside the margins, it denying to many of us, the full franchise of citizenship.

We had the greatest economy in the world, with the largest consumer base, and we acted like we were in a perpetual state of scarcity.

We acted like we could not afford to educate our people, allow us all to vote, provide for everyone’s basic health care, and ensure that everyone is fed, housed and clothed.

It was ridiculous, and we have arrived at the most absurd outcome when COVID-19 broke down that fragile system.

We need a radical transformation of society, and the economic engine that drive it.

Listen to me now; if anyone says that we cannot afford the work that needs to happen, politely inform them that they are ignorant.

Let them know that we can pay for the emergency relief funds that were just passed simply by undoing the Trump tax cuts. We can pay for the next round by undoing the George W. Bush tax cuts, bringing us back to the rate of taxation that we had under Bill Clinton, when the economy was booming and we were paying down the National debt.

We can go deeper than that.

We need to put tens of millions of people back to work, rebuilding our roads and bridges and a network of High Speed rail.

We need to bring textiles and other manufacturing back to the United States that we will never be dependent on our strategic adversaries for the supplies we need in an emergency.

We need universal health care, public education through college, we need an army of engineers to reinvent America, and no one can be left behind.

We need to transform; and we can do it. We need to start now.

We need a standard of living that allows one parent to remain at home raising their kids, dad or mom, it does not matter but we need to reduce the number of bodies on the manufacturing floors, in the offices, in the bars and restaurants.

We need small classroom that allow teachers to teach and provide for their safety as well as their students, we need to put those teachers to work and raise a generation of Americans who are critical thinkers, problems solvers and forward looking.

We need that green new deal.

We need a new agronomy.

We need to transform; we can do it. If we stand up and exercise our rights as citizens, we can vote in the women and men that will make it happen.

Listen!

There is a division in America, there are people who do not want change. Those people are telling you straight to your face that you should be willing to die for their lifestyle, go to work, get sick and die. These people are so ignorant that they believe they should throw away their lives as well, and the lives of their parents, the lives of their children.

They have been conditioned to view their self worth as inextricably linked to their consumer habits. They think of themselves as disposable, garbage, trash, unworthy of an education, unworthy of being cared for, whose value is linked to how much gasoline they burn, and corn syrup they eat, how much meet they can throw on the grill.

This has to change, we have to make the change happen.

State of Emergency – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
03.14.2020

State of Emergency
I hope that in the days ahead people will settle down into their normal routine; none of our helped by panic shopping and hoarding.

This includes the panic shoppers and hoarders.

When we place the extra burden on the supply chain by stocking up, not for the days and weeks ahead but for months and months, we run the risk of putting everything out of balance. If everyone did as the panic shoppers are doing all of the stores would be empty everywhere, and no one would have the right supply of all the things they need in the normal course of their lives.

Following the advice of the CDC, means living your life with a relative degree of normality. We may not be going to events with large groups of people, we may be telecommuting if the work we do allows for it, but we can still go to the store.

We should practice good hygiene and “social-distancing.”

All of us should stop talking about COVID-19 like we know what it is, where it came from, how it spreads, or what the danger is.

Drop the conspiracy theories, and let the scientists speak.

Please stop listening to Donald Trump, any politician, pundit, or infotainment host who deviates from what the science is telling us.

Just stop listening to them and stop repeating the ridiculous things they are saying.

Everything will get sorted out, what COVID-19 is, how we can stop it, and what policy failures led us to the place that we are will all become clear in hindsight.

Momentum Shift – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
03.07.2020

Momentum Shift

And so it happened, the momentum in the race for the Democratic Party’s nominee for President has shifted.

It is important to note that the shift is not hypothetical, it is marked by the fact that primaries and caucuses have been held and the people have come out to vote. The field has winnowed and we are down to a two person race.

There are many people who cast this race in terms of so-called “progressive wing” and the so-called “corporate wing” of the Democratic Party. Please be aware that while Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have many different policy proscription for what ails America, they have much more in common with each other, and their values are far more closely aligned with the values of the average American than the vacuous and amoral menace, that confused and cowardly villain who is currently operating a criminal regime out of the oval office.

There are many of my friends who are upset about what took place in the primaries over the last week, suggesting that the elites in the democratic party rigged the vote against Bernie’ no they didn’t. The voters voted, and the votes that were cast came from a demographic sampling that represents America, and the Democratic Party.

One condescending friend of mine, a middle-aged, middle-class European American had the nerve to suggest that the Presidential race has come down to two white-racist-septugenarians, and he was angry about it. Never mind the fact that African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. My out-of-touch white friend thinks he knows a thing or two about racism, and about what is good for people of color, and he wants everyone else to think that people of color don’t know what is good for themselves, and thought hat person is a friend of mine, I think the sentiment is disgusting. He and all the other Bernie supporters need to just settle down and check their own implicit bias at the door.

Be mindful, the race is far from over. The momentum has shifted, but only enough to make it a contest. The next few weeks might show us that the shift in momentum represent ted a C change, but we are not there yet.

Both candidates, and everyone who follows them should stay positive, spend their time and energy articulating the values of the Democratic Party, move forward, and not succumb to the kind of internal feuding that the Trump campaign and Russia are fueling.

That should both stay in the race until it mathematically impossible for them to win, and then the certain loser should drop out, endorse the other, and work not just for their election, but work tirelessly for democratic candidates up and down the line, in both local and national races.

I have this last thing to say to my progressive friends.

The progressive platform they are dreaming of and working toward is a grass roots movement. Grass roots movements do not typically work through the implementation of executive action at the top. They work from the ground up, and if we want the Green New Deal, Single Payer Health Care, College Financing Reform etc…we are going to need Senators and Representatives in Congress to author and sponsor and pass that legislation.

If you want Constitutional Amendments, you need to have super majorities everywhere, not just in Federal Offices, but in State Houses and Governor’s Mansions all across the country.

If we refuse to stand together, then we will fall apart.

The Left is Not Extreme – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.22.2020

The Left is Not Extreme

If you listen to the right-wing politicians and pundits spout their invectives against the policies of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and their supporters who number in the tens of millions you would come away thinking that the progressive wing of the Democratic party are raving lunatics.

Even some of those people who are contending for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president from time to time slip into this irrational fervor.

Universal Healthcare, otherwise known as single-payer or Medicare for all, this is not a radical idea.

Free college or trade school tuition, this is not a radical idea.

Forgiving people their student debt this is not a radical idea.

We have to be careful not to get swept up into heated arguments with those who oppose these policies, because these are not radical positions, and we are not extremists for wanting to see them enacted. Democrats in particular need to hold the line against other democrats who are made nervous by these policy proscriptions, we have to normalize them, and this should not be too difficult because they are normal policies.

Universal Healthcare: There are eighteen countries that offer true universal health coverage: Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

These so-called “first world” countries are all our allies and our biggest trading partners, if they can do it so can we. They have figured out the problem. They all have different systems tailored to the individual needs of their societies. They are leading the way, and it is long past time we figured this out for ourselves.

What is extreme is to promote the belief that universal healthcare is not doable by the United States, that is the extreme position. The we can’t do it position is the position that flies in the face of so-called “American exceptionalism.”

We need to confront the naysayers with the truth, and just tell them to relax. We believe in America, we can do this.

Free universal college tuition is less common than universal healthcare but there are seven industrialized countries that offer this to their citizens: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and France, Ireland and Australia. If America is going to continue to promote itself as first among equals in the so-called free world, it is time that we move past the nay-sayers, and hold fast to the position that America can do, because America can do anything.

These countries have different ways of funding these programs, but here is how Australia does it.
If you are accepted to a college or university, and you complete your degree program, and you subsequently become employed in a job where you earn more than 50k per year, then you are subject to a tax that funds the entire program.

If you do not complete your degree, or do not become gainfully employed, or if your circumstances change and you lose your earning power due to some unforeseen circumstance than this tax does not apply to you.

If you go to college, and your degree pays off, if you are earning well then you pay in.

This is simple, it is not radical, this should be easy to normalize.

Some people balk at the idea of forgiving the current load of student debt, they get really incensed by it, as if this proposal involves some kind of crime.

The current load of student debt is 1.5 trillion dollars.

The 2017 Trump tax-cuts cost the country 1.9 trillion dollars.

The second round of proposed Trump tax-cuts are projected to cost the country another 1.4 trillion.

The difference between the tax-cuts proposed by the Republican party and the proposal to eliminate student debt is this.

The tax cuts benefit the wealthiest Americans, allowing them to keep more of their money, without requiring them to put it back into the economy, the stimulative effect to the economy is negligible.

The 1.5 trillion dollars in student debt, is held by Americans who are solidly in the middle class, from the working poor to the upper-middle range. Almost forty-five million Americans are carrying student debt. The average monthly student loan payment (which includes principle and interest) is $393 dollar.

Americans spend 17.5 billion dollars per month servicing their student loan debt. If those revenues were freed up to be used by middle class Americans, it would go directly into the economy. It would be the biggest single economic stimulus for our economy that you could possibly imagine.

This is not radical; it is sound economic policy.

The left is not extreme, we just make sense.

To Impeach or Not to Impeach – Editorial, The Week in Review

To Impeach or Not to Impeach
Not a week goes by that I do not hear this question being asked, with more and more lawmakers answering the question in the affirmative, Donald trump needs to be impeached.

This week alone the news revealed that the Attorney General, William Barr booked a $30,000 holiday party at a T-Rump property.

Donald Trump put forward the notion that he would schedule next year’s G7 Summit at his Doral golf course in Florida.

He continues to promote his private interests over and above the security of the country.

He made of fool of himself on the national stage, practically begging the other world leaders to allow Russia back into the G7, making it the G8 again. The rejected his appeals.

He told his agencies to move forward with the rapid seizure of land along the southern border to facilitate his vanity project, the T-Rump Wall. He encouraged them to break the law if they had to promising to pardon them afterward if they did.

He revealed classified photos of an Iranian missile site, and while as commander and chief he has the right to do so, he did it to grandstand and put our security at risk in the process.

The man is a menace.

Impeach him now.

Impeach him and let the Senate determine his fate, force Mitch McConnell and the republican party to deal with their collective shame.

Those who argue that we should wait, that we should let the election next year sort things out, those people are not taking seriously the harm this man can do on any given day that he occupies the oval office.

The Trump presidency represents an existential threat to our democracy and to the republic.

Impeach him.

Read below, the Congressional Oath of Office

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

The current occupant of the White House attacks the Constitution of the United States on a daily basis. Fulfill your oath, protect the Constitution.

We cannot wait for him to be voted out of office, we cannot wait for the damage he will undoubtedly do to the country between election day 2020, and inauguration day 2021. We are in a constitutional crises right ow people.

The fake president must go.

Stand Up – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
08.03.2019

Stand Up

Under Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell the United States Senate is broken.

Party over country has become the political reality for republicans. The Grand Old Party is no more.

America is looking for four members of the senate to stand-up, to be heroes, to exercise their conscience in a spirit of independence and reject the influence of Donald Trump, of Vladimir Putin, of the House of Saud, of Qanon and white supremacy.

It will only take four of you; Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, Mitt Romney, it will only take for you to reject the corrupt politics of Trumps fascism, to reject this criminal regime, to put a real check in place on this administration, to unseat the Senate Majority leader and restore sanity to United States government.

It is time for four of you, Joni Ernst, Lamar Alexander, Richard Burr, Tim Scott to stand-up and fulfill your oath of office, declare your independence and caucus with the democrats. The American people will think of you as heroes, history will reward you.

The future of our democracy is at stake.

Trump, Putin and the Ayatollah – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.18.2019

Trump, Putin and the Ayatollah

Difficult, the future is to see.

National Security Advisor, John Bolton has a long history of advocating for robust military intervention in Iran. He has a strong hand in shaping our military policy, if we are not careful a man like him can get us involved in a conflict that the majority of us do not want.

John Bolton believes that the United States should have an unfettered hand in exercising its military power; Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, Yemen, the Taiwan Straits, he advocates for an aggressive pursuit of what he perceives our interest to be.

When it comes to our military stance against Iran he echoes the interests of allies like the Netanyahu government of Israel, or the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These are relationships that Donald Trump is keenly interested in protecting, in advancing because of this you might think that the National Security Advisor would have a free hand in his efforts to get us engaged in conflict with Iran.

But for some reason he has been rebuked by Trump.

T-Rump has softened our approach with North Korea, against the recommendation of his National Security team. T-Rump has pulled us back from John Bolton’s more aggressive posture against the Maduro regime in Venezuela, and he has pulled us back from John Bolton’s adventurism in Iran.

I am not suggesting that the interference T-rump has been running against the National Security Advisor is based on any kind of firm policy position.

I am just noting that it has happened, and I am offering an explanation as to why.

The explanation is Vladimir Putin.

Putin supports the Maduro regime, and though the United States does not, T-Rump will not go head-on against Putin’s wishes.

Putin wanted us out of Syria, and so we left, leaving the Russians, who support the murderous Assad regime, and the Iranians, Assad’s long term allies, to fill the Vacuum.

In the same way T-Rump has bent over backwards to treat another ally of the Russian’s, North Korea, as if they were not the most wicked, most dangerous, most evil-totalitarian regime on the planet. T-Rump tell us that he and Kim Jong Un are in love.

Because of Putin’s long standing relationship with the Iranians you can be sure that T-Rump will not actually allow an invasion of that country to occur. The Russian’s don’t want that to happen, and so neither does he.

Now, I am not sure if I have this right. I think T-Rump would break any alliances, violate any treaty, subvert any pact, commit any crime to stay in power; as long as he sees something to be in his political interests he would even go against Putin, but right now that is a long way off.

Right now, Putin has no desire to see us invade Iran, and that explains why T-Rump rebuked John Bolton this week. Putin said no dice, let the ayatollah be.

Impeach Him II – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.20.2019

Impeach Him II
The Mueller report is in, but the work is not done. Congress must finish the job.

Impeach him!

Ordinary oversight of the Trump administration must continue, we must investigate his lies and crimes, both before he took office and after.

An impeachment inquiry must begin and the Mueller report is the guide to it.

There is a lot of ground to cover, and it makes no sense for the Democratic Party’s leadership in Congress to take impeachment off the table.

Impeach him, even if it does not mean he gets removed from office. The house of representatives has a duty to impeach this criminal, it does not matter if the senate will not vote to convict him.

Start the investigation in earnest and impeach the Fake President.

Clinton was impeached. He was not removed from office but he was impeached, and that is a permanent part of the record of his presidency.

Trump deserves no less.

Whatever the Democratic Party leadership fears, set it aside. The messaging on this is easy.

Trump deserves to be impeached: Impeachment is the ultimate censure, it is the ultimate rebuke, it can result in removing the President from office, but it does not have to. In fact it never has.

Impeachment without removal from office is still impeachment, and the things this man has done, mark him as the most corrupt president in the history of the United States. The house of representatives needs to impeach him, regardless of whether the senate will toss him out of office, or not.

Impeach him, get on with it.

The man has lied, suborned perjury, cheated, stolen, obstructed justice and abused power, and enriched himself from the offerings of foreign governments, princes and kings. He will not be indicted for his crimes while he occupies the oval office. Therefore he must be impeached.

Impeachment hearing must be held, Trump’s fitness for office must be debated on the floor.

Every congressperson must be forced to vote on it, and everyone in the senate has to be put on the record, stating unequivocally how much they value the principles of our democracy.

Speaker of the House Pelosi, and the rest of the leadership who are hedging on this question, they just need to learn how to tell the story. The narrative is easy, it makes sense.

Impeachment does not need to end with the Trump being expelled from office. Removing him from office is not the responsibility of the House of Representatives, impeaching him is.

The House should do its work, and then the Senate can do theirs.

Do it now.