One Way A Thing Could Be…

I hear a lot of talk, these days, about impeachment.  From the left, the conversation is “What are they waiting for?”  On the right, the conversations is, “Move along.  Nothing to see, here”.  (Okay, actually on the right the conversation is, “What about Hillary?”  Tell you what, we’ll investigate her Presidential crimes just as soon as she’s the President committing crimes…)  In truth, the Democrats may not be “waiting” at all.  These things take time.  One of a lawyer’s prime jobs is to delay.  One never knows how a thing may play out over time so the more time one can stuff into the process, the better.  But the natural process of legal proceedings could well work to the advantage of the Democrats (and, of course, the country as a whole…) for two reasons.  One, the order of succession and two, the rules regarding terms of office.

Do you know the order of succession?  If the President can’t serve, in comes the Vice-President.  If both the President and Vice-President are unable to serve, here comes the Speaker of the House.  Trump, Pence, Ryan – in short, there’s no escape…at least for now.  Besides, with conservative control of Congress, there’s not going to be an impeachment, anyway.  Period.  Sure, it’s a flagrant disregard of the Rule of Law but Trump said, flatly, he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and it wouldn’t affect his base.  He’s right, too.

One possible assessment (presumption? guess? hope? dream?) is that the Democrats intend to take advantage of the glacial movement of legal proceedings, hoping to benefit from the 2018 “elections.”  IF they can recapture Congress – or even one chamber – the madness stops – or, at least, slows.  IF they can recapture Congress, impeachment might proceed.  And, just for fun, IF the Democrats can recapture the House, impeachment proceedings might be possible against both Trump and Pence…and the new Speaker would be a Democrat!  That last possibility, there, is mostly wishful thinking.  It’s true, Mueller and I aren’t talking but I haven’t seen anything against Pence so far.  (That doesn’t mean much, either.  I’d never even heard of Popadopoulos until his plea deal was announced…)

Here’s the other piece: if the President is ousted for any reason, the amount of time remaining on his current term defines whether the incoming replacement can run for one more term or two.  If the replacement serves more than half of the ousted President’s term, the replacement is considered to have served one term.  If the replacement serves less than half, they can run twice.  That means one President could serve as many as 10 years…

So, to recap: the order of operations for Democrats is; win back the House, seat a new Speaker, THEN impeach the national embarrassment.  It’s that first one, though, “win back the House”, that’s going to be the hardest.  You see, whether Gerrymandering, voter suppression, or outright manipulation – conservatives cheat.  They cheat bigly.  If an “election” is close, conservatives “win” (search “Goo Goo Syndrome”) because conservatives have a finger on the scale.  These days, it’s more like they’re actually standing on the scale…

They have to, really.  You see, those who dwell inside the conservative bubble think they “win” because their positions are the most popular but as it happens there are far more thinking people than conservatives.  The thing is, lefties don’t enjoy the group-think and obedience of the right.  “Herding cats” is the phrase people commonly use.  Lefties commonly don’t turn out, particularly for mid-terms.  But the fact is, when liberals DO turn out, we win.  We CAN overwhelm the right with sheer numbers but we HAVE to overwhelm the right with sheer numbers.

I’ll tell you this: we’d better.  This whole thing is going to come down to 2018.  Conservatives just think it’s about “their team.”  Everyone else – by now – knows it’s about saving what’s left of this once-great nation…

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Apparently, I haven’t settle on “a day” when I’ll be posting, yet.  It would be BEST if you’d just come over to http://www.MyBaconPress.com and follow the blog.  (There’s a little button in the bottom right corner.  You’ll be asked for an email address, then the next awesome – or awful, depending – piece will be delivered right to your inbox.  How convenient is that?)

Stop This Tax Assault (If We Can…)

My conservative brethren are not out in force these days defending the GOP tax proposal.  I’ve seen a few – true believers, I guess – trying to defend the proposal with comparisons to the Obama administration.  One will not be surprised to learn the numbers they’re using are faulty.  I saw one “chart” – well, I guess it doesn’t need the quotes – it WAS an actual chart.  Anyway, I saw one chart produced by conservatives that showed the the debt had increased $13 trillion dollars under Obama.  That’s a HUGE number!  I’m glad it isn’t true…

Under the MOST simplistic, LEAST accurate way of measuring, one simply takes the debt at the end of an administration and subtracts the debt at the beginning of that administration and – voila! – some number.  But even if one does that with Obama, the difference is only 9.3 trillion.  The rest is just…add on…for effect, I guess.

The BEST way to do it is to track only the debt created by policy of the administration.  So…for starters, one must exclude the first year of an administration – ANY administration – as THAT budget is set by the previous, outgoing administration.  This is just a fact.  That means that Obama isn’t responsible for the first year of his administration.  It ALSO means Trump doesn’t get “credit” for the first year of his administration, either.  THIS coming budget, this one that promises to do so much damage to so many people?  THIS is Trump’s first budget…

Obama shouldn’t be “blamed” for spending associated with efforts to save the country after the GOP economic collapse.  THAT spending wasn’t “his” idea.  Yes, the debt increased but not because of Obama choices.  For the record, the same is true of 43 and Katrina.  Bush didn’t choose a hurricane.  That just…happened.  Bush still had to spend, though.  THOSE costs don’t “belong” to Bush, see?

George’s Wars, though…well, those costs DO belong to Bush.  I say so because 43 chose those wars.  (What?  Don’t I remember 9/11?  Of course I remember 9/11.  But 43 didn’t invade the country that attacked us, Saudi Arabia.  NOR did he invade the country harboring the “mastermind”, Pakistan.  Even though 9/11 and George’s Wars happened at near times in history, the events were unrelated…)  The wars didn’t end, of course, when 43 left office.  The continuing costs for his wars had to be paid.  Not Obama’s choice, not Obama’s debt.  In fairness, the ongoing costs of those debacles will continue under Trump’s administration, too.  THOSE costs WILL add to Trump’s total debt but STILL “belong” to Bush.  (I know, it’s confusing…)

When one considers only debt incurred as the result of specific administration policy choices, Obama is on the hook for $983 billion over the course of his administration.  By comparison, the GOP tax proposal will “only” add $1.5 trillion dollars over the course of ten years (assuming amazing growth and nothing else going wrong).  But it might be the cruelest trillion dollars in the history of the United States and every dime of it – every penny – will “belong” to the GOP.  The whole thing is being done by choice.

Now, I assume the conservative media bubble is working overtime to convince the rank-and-file that this budget will be AWESOME for them.  But, as I’ve indicated, I haven’t seen that many loyalists out there defending the indefensible.  I’m not sure the bubble has succeeded in deceiving enough adherents.  It’s not the first time something like this has happened.  When the GOP tried to take away people’s health care in outright fashion, the conservative rank-and-file pushed back.  They were all too happy to get rid of that boondoggle “Obamacare” but they weren’t about to give up their “Affordable Care Act” care…

I imagine the true fight in our country has been revealed by this budget proposal.  This is not a fight between left and right and it never has been that fight.  It’s a fight between the one percent and the ninety-nine percent and the one percent have dropped all pretense, at this point.  “Fuck you, we’re taking all the money” is a pretty clear message.  So…will the conservative rank-and-file stick an ice pick in their own eye because rich people told them they should?  I hope not and I don’t think so.

I also hope my non-Trump supporting peeps won’t finger-waggle at conservatives.  (“Oh, what do you think of your choice NOW?”)  This is not the opportunity for ‘I-told-you-so.’  I suspect conservatives see what’s happening TO them – right along with everyone else – because they’re not out yelling that “libtards” are stupid and we should all take a course in economics.  I suspect they realize it’s happening to them because they put their faith in people who misled and lied to them.  I’d like to take a page out of the snowflake playbook and give them the space to have been mistaken with dignity.  Even though conservatives, themselves, might reject the notion, we need to give them a “safe space” to come out into.

As it happens, we’re going to NEED our conservative brethren to stand with us.  When liberals call Congress to complain, some conservative lawmakers actually get happy.  If they piss off a liberal, well, they’ve done their good deed for the day.  It makes them feel as though they’re on the right track.  But if conservatives start calling, they’ll know they’ve got a problem.  If they lose the “base”, they might lose their jobs and the only thing GOP lawmakers love more than a shiny penny is themselves.

I’ll tell you this: Conservative or Progressive, if you’re in the 99%, you NEED to start calling your Congress critter and tell them to vote ‘No’ on this looming monstrosity…or suffer the consequences…

Anticipation…

The Fed hiked the rate by a quarter point this month.  It’s the second jump this year.  Traditionally, the Fed boosts rates to cool inflation but economists seem to agree that inflation isn’t a problem right now, so why the hike?  I have an informed, well-considered hypothesis – in short, a wild guess – but if I was to put a single word to the why, that word would be “anticipation”.

While everybody is fixated on the latest antics of our national embarrassment, Congress critters are doing their thing, which means serving the specialized interests of the privileged elite.  Hey, another round of tax cuts for the wealthy!  Maybe it will work this time!  (Spoilers: it works EVERY time, assuming one’s goal is to make a few rich people richer at the expense of everyone else…)

The American Health Care Act is moving forward.  (It’s perfectly named, too.  “Health care?!?  Screw you, we’re Americans!”)  No, I haven’t read it.  Apparently, neither has anybody else.  The Republicans aren’t letting anyone near it.  But the speculation based on what’s floating around out there right now is that it cuts 24 million Americans (or more) off from health insurance in order to give a few rich people a tax cut.  And THAT’S before they get to work on “tax reform” so they can give a few rich people a tax cut!

“Crazy Paul’s Tax Cut Emporium” (Nee: Congress) is hard at work cutting, cutting, cutting.  “C’mon down to Crazy Paul’s Tax Cut Emporium where our slogan is: ‘No tax rate is too low if you’ve got the dough!”  I get it.  The evidence is in and it’s pretty clear – indisputable, even.  The more the taxes are cut for the wealthy, the more money the rich people hoard.  The more money the rich people hoard, the less money there is flowing through the economy.  The less money there is flowing through the economy, the harder day-to-day living is for everybody who ISN’T rich…so why wouldn’t one cut taxes?

It’s like that kids game ‘Duck, Duck, Goose!’ except this is ‘Cut, Cut, Crash!’  Cut.  Rich people don’t spend because they’ve long-since acquired everything they might possibly want/need.  Cut.  Poor people don’t spend because, well, they’re poor and they don’t have anything TO spend.  Cut.  The middle class?  Well, the middle class has been gutted to the point where they’re not economically strong enough to carry the weight of the nation any longer but THEY stop spending because they fear for their positions.  Businesses stop spending because everybody else stopped spending.  CRASH!  …and it’s pandemonium!

That’s when the Fed steps in.  One of the tools in the Fed bag of tricks is to lower interest rates in an effort to stimulate the economy.  But the Fed has been lending at or near zero interest for a long time, now – all in response to the weakened economy brought about by previous games of Cut, Cut, Crash!  So where do you go when you’re already AT zero?  (Yes, they CAN drop to “negative interest” but that literally means paying people to borrow and it’s not solid economic policy…)

So rates are rising.  Slowly, to be sure, but pretty much as quickly as the Fed thinks they can do so without harming the economy themselves.  And what was that word?  Oh, that’s right: “anticipation”, as in, the Fed is anticipating a crash in the near future and working to position itself to respond.

I’ll tell you this: if the Fed sees it coming and is moving to protect its position, you might want to take a cue and do the same…

When Rome Looked Like the US…

Fortunately, I’m good at depression.  I mean, I’ve been practicing for years.  After awhile, you don’t really expect to feel…anymore.  You work out ways to get through another day without spewing – to the extent possible – your internal darkness around everywhere.  People prefer jokes and smiles.  I can do that, normally.  But it’s got me today.

I spend a lot of time with history.  I spend a lot of time paying attention to the “doings” of politics.  I’ve been watching a war play out daily in this once great nation for something like 35 years and I pretty much see the end-game in progress.  It’s the war between the “haves” and the “have-nots” – a class war the “haves” initiated with the “election” of Ronald Reagan and the “have-nots” didn’t even know they were – or should have been – fighting.

One can see the parallels in this once-great nation to two different periods in time: France, just before their revolution and Rome, just as the Republic failed and shifted to empire.  Neither period proved beneficial to the increasingly impoverished masses.  In BOTH cases, the rich were doing just fine.  Too fine, some might say.

Today, I’m more focused on Rome.  Most people know about the Roman Empire.  Many people don’t realize the empire was born a Republic.  They even had a Senate.  Today, history understands Julius Caesar as Rome’s first Emperor but nobody called Caesar the Emperor at the time.  The people of Rome, the work-a-day folks going about their business, didn’t even realize a change had occurred.

Caesar maintained the Senate.  He even allowed for the presence of dissenters, so long as there weren’t so many as to create actual dissent.  The creep of empire was relatively slow.  Romans didn’t go to sleep in a Republic one night and wake up in an empire the next morning.  That’s not how it works.  It’s a slow but steady movement away from the norms of Republic to new “norms”.  Things that aren’t supposed to be…but are anyway.

Things like enriching oneself and family by not only accepting but openly requesting emoluments from people who have business with the ruler; “tributes”, let’s call them.  Systematically replacing people trying to do the Republic’s work with toadies who will do as they’re told and NEVER counter the ruler is another step in the parade to authoritarianism.  A larger governing body – in Caesar’s case, a Senate – that refuses to stand up to the abuses of the ruler in order to protect their own positions, or in the belief that they’re doing so, until it’s far too late.

Yes, the Roman Senate eventually stood up to Caesar but the damage was done.  Rome maintained the trappings of a republic but was never a true republic again.

As it stands right now, it seems like the American Congress is going to support Trump regardless of how outrageous his or his family’s behavior becomes.  It appears, to me, like the transition is pretty much complete.  It all LOOKS the same.  We still have a Congress but they’re clearly not going to challenge Trump.  We still have a “Supreme Court” but they’ll keep making decisions that serve the privileged elite at the expense of the masses.  For many of us, the day-to-day realities of just getting through will seem unchanged.

In France, once the aristocracy had just gone too far for the masses to tolerate, the people rose up in one national riot and began lopping off heads – some deserving, some…not so much.  Maybe the same thing will happen here so the US won’t get hundreds of years as the dominant empire of the day.  But a Reign of Terror as the “hopeful” offset to brutal empire?

I’ll tell you this: I find it all pretty depressing…

 

Republican “Ethics”…

Republicans silenced Elizabeth Warren because #ShePersisted in trying to tell the truth about Jeff Sessions.  What is it about the truth conservatives have such a difficult time with accepting?

It’s a disturbing pattern.  The White House has tried to shut off information by shutting down government websites and issuing orders to various agencies not to make comments (or, more likely, corrections).  Now Republicans in Congress invoke an unusual maneuver to force her to sit down when she tries to repeat an unpleasant truth about an unpleasant Senator.  Rule 19.  So, he should be protected from his own history by an obscure rule that indicates, basically, that if one speaks truthfully about him it impugns his character?  The truth impugns his character?

If speaking the truth about a person impugns the character of that person, neither the  speaker nor the speech is the problem: it’s the person.

But this is the Republican way.  If the truth makes one’s position less defensible attack the truth.  But the truth doesn’t go away just because Republicans are willing to try to manipulate reality.

We need a new rule.  If a person who currently works for government is nominated for a Cabinet position and accepts the nomination, they must resign their current position before their confirmation hearing begins.  Sessions’ confirmation was scheduled AFTER De Vos’ confirmation so he could vote for her as Senator, THEN sit for his own – apparently carefully scripted – confirmation “hearing”.

What honest and honorable things are the Republicans doing that they dare not allow to be seen?

I’ll tell you this; it’s cowardly.  If they have to lie about their nominee, how are they NOT confessing knowledge that their nominee can’t bear up under scrutiny?