MEMORIAL DAY is set aside to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives in the service of this country. We all know they were not defending the president, any one individual, or even a piece of real estate, but the principles enshrined in our Constitution. Now is the time for all truly patriotic Americans to stand up to a Republican Party, which watches complacently as Donald Trump shreds our Constitution. Alexander Hamilton cautioned us to be on guard against such a scenario in Federalist Papers #68. He said it was to be expected that the “….most deadly adversaries of republican government might… make their approaches from… foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?” our “… most deadly adversaries of republican government…” And isn’t this exactly what has occurred? Donald Trump, “a creature” of a foreign adversary has been raised up to destroy us from within.
On this sacred day when we give thanks and remembrance to those who gave their lives to protect our Constitution and with it We the People let’s all take the pledge to save our nation by doing two things:
First, each of us must take one action a week to push back against the anti-democratic forces working full-time to destroy our precious Constitution and with that our democracy; and
Two, help in any way you can to get your friends and neighbors to Vote Local to reclaim our local governments as well as our Congress. Take the EQUAL pledge: https://www.facebook.com/votelocaltaketheequalpledge2017/
It’s true: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Today’s New York Times shines a light on the sheer rapaciousness of the Kushner real estate empire. It is marked by a dogged cruelty and sheer lack of humanity that, well, frankly made my skin crawl. Anyone who has read the numerous books and articles on the Trump real estate empire will see the same strain running through it- squeezing every dime from the vulnerable, failing to pay the little guy and using the legal system to victimize those without the resources to stand against the Trump (or Kushner) machine. Anyone who believes that the Trumps or Kushners were or are Democrats (other than for NYC political expediency) orthat Jared Kushner will exercise a restraining hand on Trump’s bullying and autocratic approach to governance (or as Trump calls it: “ruling”) is sadly misguided. Whether in business, in the Trump/Kushner Executive orders, or the proposed budget, both men display the same heartlessness and authoritarianism in their approach to “ruling” America as they have in the real estate realm.
Ethnic and religious differences aside, both Trump and Kushner share something in common that has cemented their relationship (and no it’s not Ivanka): each are scions to a New York real estate fortune built on the backs of the poor and powerless and both men who have never had to struggle a day in their lives, are willing to travel any path in pursuit of the G-d they worship: the almighty dollar.
Yesterday The Guardian’s reporter, Ben Jacobs was “body slammed” by Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana’s only congressional seat when the reporter tried to ask a question about the Republican health care plan.
That incident set off a firestorm of comments, not the least of which have suggested that President Trump’s continual invectives against a free press has encouraged an environment in which such an assault could occur. Since his candidacy began continuing through to the present, Trump has constantly demonized the press. “Liars” and the “enemy of the people” are but a few Trumpian characterizations of the press. His chief strategist Steve Bannon has gone so far as to label the media as “the opposition party” and suggest the “media should keep its mouth shut.” And least we think the violent shutting down of a reporter in Montana was an isolated aberration earlier this month a reporter in West Virginia was arrested for simply asking Heath and Human Services secretary Tom Price a question about the Republicans’ plan for health care. Do we see a pattern emerging here?
The breakdown in tolerance for free speech may be a bellwether indicating we are headed for a serious national breakdown. On May 22, 1856, almost 161 years to the day of the Montana incident, a South Carolinian Congressman Preston Brooks almost beat to death on the floor of the Senate Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in retaliation for an anti-slavery speech.
When what has typically been lawful speech becomes an excuse for violence or the arrest of reporters or average citizens for questioning the powerful, our democracy is in peril.
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I was struck today by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s response to the Manchester bombing. He said, in part, “…. to deliberately target innocent children is cowardice in its most heinous form.” So true Mr. Speaker. Yet, as he uttered these words I asked myself, how could an individual who speaks so passionately about the victims of the Manchester bombing so callously advocate depriving millions of Americans of health care? Particularly, the Ryan health care plan, in all its iterations, will deprive and/or severely limit American children’s access to health care under the very successful CHIPs program. At minimum it will cause undue pain and suffering, at its worst countless children will die from lack of healthcare.
Ask Speaker Ryan: how do you not equate such violent acts like the Manchester bombing that you rightly and so vehemently condemn, with the violence your health care policies would inflict on Americans? Is needless death and suffering any more acceptable simply because it is caused by an elected official? Speaker Ryan, why is “deliberately targeting innocent children” in your so-called health care plan not an act of “cowardice in its most heinous form” ?
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