In today’s hyper-partisan echo chamber any serious effort to become a well informed citizen requires a willingness to traverse a historically daunting gauntlet of misinformation and contrived partisan nonsense. What is commonly known as “fake news.” Today we take a moment to set politics aside and look at the incontrovertible facts surrounding some of our nation’s most important issues.
TAX CUTS – The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the proposed tax reform legislation today. The Senate will take up the measure later this evening; tomorrow at the latest. The bill is expected to pass both chambers and move its way to the president’s desk to be signed into law before Christmas. It will be the largest piece of tax legislation to become law in 30 years. A law crafted by Republican leadership behind closed doors and passed by congress without benefit of any congressional hearings or debate. It is because of this lack of discussion that very few of those members voting for the bill have any real knowledge of what is actually in the bill. The rule of “regular order” being trampled for the sake of obtaining a desperately needed political victory for the party in power.
According to every single independent economic analysis, the bill will result in the largest transference of wealth from the middle class and working poor to the highest earners in the history of our country. What the framers of this bill refer to as “tax reform” is really nothing more than a mammoth tax cut for the very rich. 83% of the benefits of this legislation will go to the top 1% wage earners in the form of lower taxes while 60% of the middle class and working poor will actually see their tax burden increase.
“Fiscal conservatives” who have railed against increasing our long term debt are supportive of this bill even though according to independent economic analysis it will increase the long term debt by $1.5 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. Supporters of the bill, citing economic results after similar tax reform legislation under Kennedy and Reagan, argue that the expected increase in economic growth will allow result in the bill paying for itself. That may be true. But this is not the 1960’s or the 1980’s. We now live in a global economy with international competition. Ten years of the Bush 43 tax cuts were followed by the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. The fact is we simply cannot predict the economic results with any degree of certainty. What we DO know is that regardless of the country’s economic growth, 60% of the middle class and working poor will see their taxes INCREASE. That was not what they were promised when they elected the current administration into office.
“THERE IS A COUP TO OVERTHROW THE PRESIDENT” – According to the folks at Fox News, the Mueller investigation is part of an FBI conspiracy to remove Donald Trump from office. A coup to overthrow the sitting head of state. In truth the Mueller investigation is a legally appointed ongoing effort to discover the facts surrounding what we know to be Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 general election and determine if members of the Trump campaign/transition colluded with the Russians in that endeavor.
What we know as fact is that in spite of the Trump administration’s assertions to the contrary, members of the Trump campaign/transition teams had conversations and meetings with 19 individuals with ties to the Russian government. We know that these conversations and meetings were discovered through the normal intelligence surveillance of Russian operatives. We know that members of the Trump campaign/transition teams either failed to disclose these conversations and meetings on their security clearance applications or lied about them ever occurring.
Yesterday we learned that upon receiving their respective party’s nominations for the office of president, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were given their first full security briefings by the intelligence community. Both candidates were warned that foreign operatives, including Russia, would try to infiltrate their campaigns. These briefings were given as a matter of normal security protocols. What we now know is that at the time of these briefings, the intelligence community was aware that members of the Trump campaign/transition teams has been in contact with 12 individuals with ties to the Russian government. It is reasonable to assume that having been warned of attempts by foreign operatives to infiltrate their campaign, the Trump team would have divulged their meetings with the 12 individuals with ties to the Russian government. They did not. In fact, not only did the Trump team withhold this information from the law enforcement authorities, Trump team members continued to have conversations with Russians in the weeks and months that followed without divulging any of them to the appropriate authorities. All of which were being surveilled by the intelligence community. When questioned about these meetings by authorities the Trump campaign/transition team members continued to lie deny there existence. As a result, four members of the Trump campaign/transition team have been charged with breaking the law; including the president’s former Campaign Manager and his former National Security Advisor. Two of have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the authorities.
THIS IS WHAT A COUP LOOKS LIKE – The Mueller investigation is not part of a coup to overthrow a duly elected president. However the current occupant of the White House has displayed all of the characteristics of an anarchist hell bent on destroying the government in power. Trump and his closest advisors have stated publically that one of their goals is to “destroy the administrative state.” That is what an autocrat sounds like. Consider…
Anarchy starts with a denigration of the existing government institutions and a promise to improve the lives of the masses who have been ignored by those in power. (REF. Trump’s anti-establishment remarks at any campaign rally, “Make American Great Again”).
It involves demonizing those who may not share the autocrat’s political or ideological beliefs along with a promise to remove anyone seen as a threat to those views. Racism, religious bigotry, provably false assertions inciting violence and inflammatory rhetoric are common themes as the anarchist moves to incite the masses. (Ref. Muslim ban, the Wall, queue video tape of any Trump campaign speech.)
There is a concerted effort to denigrate and disassemble long standing laws and institutions that are alleged to have failed the people along with a promise to bring justice to those who have used their power and privilege at the expense of the masses. (Ref. Trump’s declaring the Justice Department unfair, calling the intelligence community “Nazis”, gutting the State Department, denigrating the FBI, firing the FBI director, “Make American Great Again”, “Lock her up.”) Political opponents are often incarcerated or killed. (Ref. “Lock her up.”)
A key component to overthrowing an existing government is controlling the message on the ground. Anarchists do that by calling into question the honesty of the media. (Ref. Trump’s “Fake News”).
Once in power the anarchist will want control the message by exercising control over the media. The masses hear only what the government wants them to hear. (Ref. Fox News).
Controlling the masses will require the support of the military and law enforcement. (Ref. Trump courts Blackwater, Inc. to form a private military force that reports directly to him. Praises local law enforcement while denigrating the efforts of the FBI. Takes steps to influence and subvert ongoing FBI investigations.)
Once in power the anarchist will curry favor with like minded leaders in foreign lands while turning his back on long time allies perceived as threats to his power. (Ref. Trump’s relationship with Putin, Erdogan and Sisi versus his treatment of long standing NATO allies.)
The sycophants serving the anarchist blindly repeat the bosses message…even when that message withers in the face of facts and truth. (Ref. Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kelly Anne Conway’s “alternate facts” and Steve Miller’s “the president’s authority is absolute and shall not be questioned”)
Fact…Given the conduct and machinations of the current White House, it is clear any effort to overthrow the existing federal government finds its genesis emanating from within the White House walls…not without.
SUBSTANTIVE RESUME’ – The Trump administration has been widely viewed as ineffective because at this writing it has not passed one substantive piece of legislation into law. Bloomberg News makes the point that if congress passes tax reform into law, the Trump administration will have: passed tax reform, repealed the Obamacare mandate, filled a dozen vacant federal benches, repealed hundreds of federal regulations and placed Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. One may not like the tone, tenor or result of Trump’s first year but the substance is above reproach.