KAKISTOCRACY

Date March 17, 2018

I learned a new word the other night “KAKISTOCRACY”. 

KAKISTOCRACY means a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, most unscrupulous citizens.

Wikipedia said that word was coined as early as the 17th Century. “It was also used by English author Thomas Love Peacock in 1929.”

Fascism

What concerns me is that we should be using it to great purpose to describe the current administration.

I have been using the term “fascist” frequently which describes the political bent of this administration.

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce.

Fascists believe that a liberal democracy is obsolete and believe the one-party state is necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to have the ability to respond effectively to economic difficulties.

Fascism rejects the assertion that violence is automatically negative in nature and views political violence as a means that can rejuvenate a nation.

A common definition focuses on three concepts: anti-liberalism, anti-communism, and anti-conservatism.

I think we can use Kakistocracy to describe the functioning of the fascist government. What do you think?

I think that the term can be used to describe the current administration since every day elicits another example of its failures: lack of coherent policy, encumbrances to wealthy political donors and the seeking personal aggrandizement.

This is every day, not just an occasional occurrence. From the TV reality series of Trump’s mistress (s) to the abysmal grasp of her job by the Education Secretary Betsy de Vos.

What is devastating is that the Republican Congress has abdicated completely its moral responsibility let alone its constitutional responsibility to put an end to the crimes and misdemeanors of this administration.

Just after the election of Trump I wrote a blog about the Republican Party and how it was abandoning its principles, its morals, its responsibilities.

I will revisit it in the near future now that we have a good sense of what the next years will be like.

Years?

I think at least two and one half at least.

I do not believe that Trump will be impeached. Indeed I believe that Trump’s next moves will be to fire Sessions and Rothenstein and replace them with people who will end the Mueller Investigations.

Trump Innocent?

The House Intelligence Committee just pronounced that Trump is innocent of any collusion and whitewashed him completely.

I do not believe that the full House has the guts to even start impeachment proceedings.

I do not believe that the Senate will do anything other than follow suit – duck and cover is the rule now.

I do not know how any of the evidence that Mueller has compiled will be able to be used.

Which is unfortunate.

Given that one of Trump’s least favorite presidents suffered impeachment.

Wouldn’t it be justice well served if Trump met the same fate as that of  Bill Clinton? I think that would be the height of irony.

The Republican Party exists no more. It is now the Party of Trump. Google Images
The Republican Party exists no more. It is now the Party of Trump.

Trump indeed has remade the Republican Party in his image.

From the largest tax heist in history as a gift to the wealthy to the new tax cut proposal that he is currently framing, Republicans cannot say no to a tax cut in whatever form.

They have proved that with Reagan, with George W. Bush, and with Trump.

The real problem is that so many special elections have been won by Democrats against the Republicans, the party has been put on notice of things to come.

Their solution? Grab all that they can now before the elections.

I believe that this is one of the reasons Trump is looking at another tax cut.

If he keeps them in line with another tax cut he thinks he is home free until 2020. When all this nonsense of impeachment will have blown over, just like all of his other moral failings.

The gun control he was going to implement, the Dreamers that he was going to save, and on and on.

So many current Republican Congresspeople are leaving the government the people that will be put up to run for office as Republicans will be those in Trump’s image.

They won’t be moderate and willing to work across the aisle.

They won’t be ethical because they know they won’t have to be. They just have to follow what the current incumbents are doing.

Sigh! This administration will go down as the most corrupt, most incompetent that has ever been elected. If women and the young and the progressives are not able to catch the imagination of the voters, we will have this government for another 6+ years!

As I mentioned in a previous blog the Democratic Party has an enormous hill to climb to unseat the current, unethical Republican House of Representatives.

A net of 24 seats must change hands against monumental odds. But I digress.

I really want to focus on how and why the Republican Party that I knew and grew up with doesn’t exist anymore and never will again.

While the full discussion will have to wait for a future post I believe that we are seeing the full collapse of the old ‘Grand Old Party’. The fire has been kindled and the flames licking up the sides of the tent. We have only to wait for the conflagration to explode.

Governance to get Worse

As of today, March 18, 2018, we know that governance by this White House is only going to get worse.

How do we know that?

We are seeing that given the opportunity Trump will sink to new, lower depths rather than rising to the occasion and play the game above his head.

Trump swinging on a wrecking ball ala Miley Cyrus. Google images
Trump swinging on a wrecking ball ala Miley Cyrus.

When threatened he draws into himself and cuddles up with favorite people he sees on television specifically Fox News.

In this case, he wants to surround himself with sycophants 24 hours a day so he is bringing Fox News into the White House.

Party up! In addition to the firm offers of employment that he has extended he is rumored to be extending the job of Director of the Veterans Administration to Pete Hegseth. Hegseth is a Fox and Friends weekend anchor.

Larry Kudlow

Gary Cohen Trump’s first Economic Advisor has left and is being replaced by Larry Kudlow.

Among this cable guy’s claims to fame is his famous line in December 2007: “There’s no recession coming. The pessimists were wrong. It’s not going to happen. At a bare minimum, we are looking at Goldilocks 2.0”.

Of course, the Great Recession was fully underway by the end of that month. In February 2008 he claimed that the economy was going to rebound by that summer,”if not sooner”.

He stated flatly in July 2008, “the housing market is as healthy as a horse” and it was “a pity that the mainstream media was just searching for more and more pessimism” to sell newspapers.

He is also known for getting the Clinton tax hikes and the Bush tax cuts all wrong.

His best and the most stupid claim made in December 2016 was that Trump’s cabinet, the wealthiest in history, “Wealthy folks have no need to steal or engage in corruption.” How’s that working out?

Larry Kudlow, Trump's new Economic Advisor. Google Images
Larry Kudlow, Trump’s new Economic Advisor.

>Jared Kushner encourage a blockade of Qatar just weeks after that country’s finance minister told Jared’s father ‘no’ when he was trying to drum up money for the family’s cursed Midtown Tower, 666 Fifth Avenue.

Jared and Ivanka secured over one half billion dollars in loans after hosting the heads of Appollo Global Management and Citigroup at the White House.

>Wilbur Ross Commerce Secretary forgot to mention the stake he has in a Russian shipping company. The one that has ties to V. Putin.

>Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, a special buddy (ear to lean on) of Trump just happened to sell his $30 million stakes in Manitowac just days before Trump publicly announced his tariffs on steel which sent the share price of Manitowoc plummeting

>Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy thought he was going to globe hop extolling the virtues of coal and oil when he accepted Trump’s offer. As recently as 2012 he advocated dismantling that Department. He was surprised when he found he was responsible for this country’s nuclear arsenal. Surprise!

>Tom Price lasted for only a short time as Secretary of Health and Human Services until he was caught bilking taxpayers for extravagant airline costs.

>Andrew Pudzer, Secretary of Labor absolutely abhors worker’s rights, minimum wage increases and laws mandating break time and overtime pay. Oh, and his fast-food company has been repeatedly cited for wage theft.

>Ben Carson Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This former neurosurgeon has zero experience or interest in housing, or urban, or development. His claim to fame is he is one of the few black men Trump has met.

>Mick Mulvaney Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Mulvaney once remarked that diabetics didn’t deserve insurance. He did not pay the payroll taxes for his nanny to the tune of $15,000.

>Ryan Zinke Secretary of the Interior Mr. Zinke is a former Navy Seal. He had been repeatedly caught billing the government for personal trips.

>Scott Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency has fervently opposed this agency on every front as Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma. Most recently claiming that the agency didn’t need scientists.

>Michael Flynn first National Security Advisor Islamophobe, lunatic conspiracy theory follower. He was fired by President Obama and has now pleaded guilty to working as an agent of a foreign government without letting know.

>Rex Tillerson Secretary of State until two days ago. Head of Exxon Oil but he had traveled to many of the countries he would be representing the US. Also a good buddy of V. Putin

>Nikki Haley, UN Ambassador, did go on a few trade missions as governor of South Carolina

>Betsy DeVos, let’s not forget this lady.

Last week she was pilloried by Leslie Stahl in a TV interview.

She did not have the least bit of understanding of the education department she oversees and could not even defend the abysmal record of her home state of Michigan.

She espoused the charter school plan as the best model for public education.

Now those schools have an abysmal record as everyone predicted.

But charter schools are a good way for wealthy individuals to milk the federal government for all manner of funds.

The Washington Post stated that past Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush made failed appointments.

No president has assembled such a remarkable collection of people either unqualified for their jobs or they are devoted to subverting their agencies. This does not take into the failed ethics that continue to ankle wrap Trump every week.

Mike Pompeo

When Trump fired Tillerson with a tweet, he nominated a twit to replace him. CIA Director Mike Pompeo is going to fill the role of Secretary of State. Mike’s current claim to fame is that he has been sending assassination squads around the world to kill suspected terrorists. I would imagine that he will be met with open arms by the country’s that, at the very least, are being entered illegally by US hit squads. I can just feel the warm fuzzies!

Nominated to be Secretary of State. Current head of the CIA and know for sending assassintation squads around the world. Google Images
Nominated to be Secretary of State. The current head of the CIA and know for sending assassination squads around the world.

Trump will be ‘preparing’ for the very first meeting of a US President with the head of North Korea. Kim Jun Un leads a nuclear power that Trump has challenged to destroy with ‘fire and fury’.

John Bolton

Trump is upping his game by appointing a former UN Ambassador to the UN to be National Security Advisor. John Bolton is one of America’s all-time great hawks. He was an architect of the Iraq War and a foe of the United Nations. He is a harsh critic of the Iran nuclear deal which means that he will surely be a perfect counterbalance to Trump in that area.

Mr. Bolton’s temperament is ill-suited to the position. He will rank below the worst NSA of all time – namely Mike Flynn. His claim to fame is that he is a host on Fox News. He will be a terrific echo chamber for Trump.

John Bolton nominated to be Trumps National Security Advisor Google Images
John Bolton nominated to be Trump’s National Security Advisor

Trump has thrown the whole security apparatus of the USA into disarray.

He removed the Secretary of State, the Head of the NSA and the Director of the CIA all at the same time.

The elections of 2018 are only a few months away and the state department did not spend the $120 million it was allocated to stop Russian’s tampering in our elections.

Indeed Trump is utterly resistant to stopping any such nonsense.

How could the United States be in any worse shape to combat external monsters? By being even weaker at controlling internal monsters.

With Trump’s glow for anything white nationalist, white supremacist or backed by the NRA, what does this country have to worry about?

The treasury coffers are already bare and running a deficit due to the unconscionable tax break that was given to the 1% and large corporations.

Andrew McCabe

I believe the most egregious crime committed by the Trump White House has been committed by Trump himself.

While the firing of FBI Director James Comey rates near the top of the most outstandingly bad actions by Trump, the worst action and the one that may lead to his downfall was the harassment of Andrew McCabe and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Andrew McCabe, fired hours before his retirement. Google Images
Andrew McCabe fired hours before his retirement.

I believe the Attorney General fired Mr. McCabe to demonstrate that he was again worthy of working side by side to Trump. Mr. Sessions has been brutalized by Trump ever since he recused himself from overseeing the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 Election.

I believe that the three new banditos will put their heads together with Mr. Trump and find a stupid ass way to fire Mueller, which will blow up in their faces.

I could go on for pages about the foibles and crimes of the current administration.

But I will let John Brennan, CIA Director under President Obama who had brave words of support for Andrew McCabe wrap up this post.

John Brennan’s Parting Shot

Mr. Brennan’s tweet was a moral lampoon thrown at Trump: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America. America will triumph over you.”

I could not have said it as well.

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

Trump on his throne. Whining as usual. "Obama Did it!" Google Images
Trump on his throne. Whining as usual. “Obama Did it!”
A 'snowflake' for Trump. Google Images
A ‘snowflake’ for Trump.

 

 

 

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Overwhelmed and Out of Sorts

aka Divisiveness and Feeble Optimism

March 1, 2018

I started writing many articles for February. I wanted to write about the major failing of Facebook in the election of 2016.

I wanted to write about the Republican Party especially in light of the annual gathering of conservatives at CPAC recently.

Mainly I had to write because I am concerned down to my toes about the future.

The cause of my foreboding is best described by one word – divisiveness.

Its action continues to erode the balance and attitudes in this country.

Indeed, dividedness is ratcheting up several notches due to whichever side of any issue you are on from the NRA to Russia.

Every day brings new crises from political (think Jared Kushner), to international (think Jared Kushner) to the military (think North Korea but we have to keep in mind the Mideast Iran, Israel, Saudia Arabia. But let us not forget the firecracker – Syria).

However, as I was plummeting deeper into my malaise I found a few articles that shed a ray of hope.

The determination of a few people gave rise to feeble optimism. This ship of state can be turned around. Grassroots movements are energizing people. Democratic Senators are disavowing money from the rich, grassroots Black Power and Black Lives Matter movements are now succeeding in the political realm.

The Moral Compass. Good Evil Wrong Right Google Images
The Moral Compass.      Good Evil Wrong Right

PART ONE

The Game:

The scariest new game in town is the one from researchers at the University of Washington. They figured out how to synthesize photorealistic lip synching using completely unrelated audio.

To demonstrate the power of their project they transformed the lip movements and gestures of former President Barack Obama in various speeches throughout his political career.

This ability to alter what you think you are seeing drives to the core of what divisiveness will be able to cause.

The old saying “believe only 25% of what you hear and 50% of what you see” has flown out the window.

In addition to bots destroying reality or making up a ‘fake reality’, we now must question what we see just as severely. The above information by Aric Jenkins, July 2017, in Time.com “Future Tech” section.

The Numbers: 

In the US:

The top 1% Control 35% of the Wealth

The top 10% Control 75% of the Wealth

The top 29% Control 87% of the Wealth

When I look at the $1.5 trillion given to the already rich I see that all Americans are funding the GOP campaign coffers for the next 10 years! (Please tuck this away for just a few minutes.)

The “Trickle Down Theory” invented by Ronald Reagan and copied to a lesser extent by George W. Bush does not increase the spending by the wealthy nor does it improve the health or wealth of those that support the wealthy by paying our taxes.

The greatest heist perpetrated on the American people occurred in 2018.

The Political Odds

While so much is currently being made of the statehouse seats being wrested from the Republican ledger by Democrats the fact remains that so many seats will have to be won in order to overturn the Republican control of the House of Representatives.

Primaries start as early as May 1st.

Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats. With so many seasoned Republicans leaving or retiring I bet that more Trump leaning candidates will be nominated for these seats rather than moderate Republicans who would pledge to work ‘across the aisle’ to promote a bipartisan agenda.

While Democrats have been making headlines with their fundraising efforts the fact remains that the rich and wealthy corporations control the elections.

The top 100 donors to political campaigns give almost as much as 4.75 MILLION  of all the other donors combined (those who give $200 or less). If the non-profits were included the mega-donors would tip the scale even further (non-profits don’t have to indicate who the recipients of their donations are).

The campaign finance landscape has slid so far to the ultra-rich as to make the efforts of all the rest an exercise in futility. ‘Big Money Breaks Out’, by Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico.

I have included two links that you might find interesting.

The first is to an organization that tracks who is giving to your campaign (if you are an office seeker).

The second is to an organization that anyone can use to pinpoint where the money is coming from.

aristotle.com   

follow the money

This last link is a blow by blow account of companies that donated to Trump’s inauguration and 63 federal contractors who received ‘rewards’ in return.

open secrets.org

An article in Fault Lines titled “The Places That Will Decide the 2018 Midterm Elections” by Ronal Brownstein, CNN is a stunning eye-opener. He spells out the analysis that shows just how difficult it will be for Democrats to wrest control of the House from the Republicans.

I did not delve into the gory details of these topics or I would become so depressed I would not be able to get to the uplifting part of this article.

I have provided links to each site I used to glean information.

INTERMISSION: ROCK MY WORLD

I found an interview with Steve Bannon that is extremely interesting. THE Steve Bannon? The same. I have railed against him in numerous posts (I suspect that most of them have disappeared.)

Yes indeed, he made two major points that I am in agreement with him.

First is the rising power and threat of China. I will spend more time on this in another post but it is one of Trump’s biggest, if not the biggest blunder. When he canceled TPP he gave that part of the world to China. Now he has to start clawing it back.

The bigger issue for this post is Bannon’s acknowledgment of the power of the women’s movement.

He has gone so far as to travel to New York to witness in person the Second Women’s March. What started out as #MeToo has grown in #TimesUp movement.

In an interview with Ben Schreckinger of GQ, he said “The TimesUp Movement is much more fundamental and actually many steps above #MeToo.

“It’s basically going against 10,000 years of recorded history.

That’s the power of it.

You see here something that’s in a very early raw stage, but I’ve never seen such potential power in something.”

The Aurora Borealis as seen from space. NASA
The Aurora Borealis as seen from space. NASA

PART TWO

The Upside

The arrogance and attitude of Trump will be a cause of his downfall.

While his antics cannot be part of a campaign plan, the instances he creates can certainly be used to create daily headlines for comparison of leadership and moral standards.

Trump is still Trump.

He will continue to aggravate those people who don’t subscribe to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.

Hopefully, this will be an ever-increasing number as the midterms elections close in.

Women

I was astonished at the number of college-educated white women that voted for Trump in 2016. That same demographic also voted for Roy Moore in his Senate race. Interesting but ancient history.

The #MeToo movement has dethroned a large and growing number of white men in positions of power that abused their power and privilege.

They have been called to task.

That movement has matured into #TimesUp. A movement that provides support and legal fees for women that have been assaulted.

This groundswell must continue to grow and assert the power that Steve Bannon knows it possesses.

The Young

The young people came alive after the Parkland Valentine’s Day Massacre.

It can continue its disruption of the status quo and bring fresh, committed voters to its cause.

It can grow beyond gun control and control of the election process by the 1% and corporations. Blood Money must be taken out of circulation.  

Across this country, so many young people have decided to make their opinions known. March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018, will be the clarion call for this movement to demonstrate the strength of their resolve.

In Texas, a school superintendent threatened to suspend students protesting for stricter gun laws.   

Just this morning, Representative John Lewis stated that he has great hopes for these movements of women and young people who can regenerate a movement. They can regenerate the landscape as after a forest fire. The new shoots begin to develop as soon as the heat dissipates. The heat is on, what happens next will decide the future.

Usually, the changes demanded by people following gun violence or sexual assault tend to dissolve the more time elapses. This year portends to be different.

Populist Movement

The last key to this regeneration is the populist movement that is reigniting the winds of change throughout the south. Due to the maturing of Black Lives Matter and the Black Power movements, strong black mayors were elected. An example is Chokwe Antar Lumumba who is mayor of Jackson Mississippi. He was elected mayor by 93 percent of the vote and pledged to make Jackson the “most radical city on the planet.”

Another example is the incumbent mayor of Birmingham Alabama, 36-year-old Randall Woodfin. He was a city prosecutor and school board member who defeated an old-style politico by winning 58 percent of the vote.

These and other progressive leaders are pushing corporate money out of politics, backing a $15 per hour minimum wage and Medicare for All programs that will benefit all Americans. Progressive Populism by Jim Hightower

Women on the move, youth up in arms and populist movements to unseat stagnation of the current political parties, they will rise up to overcome the retrograde policies and actions of the current administration.

If these grassroots movements find effective national leaders such as Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Maria Cantwell and Bernie Sanders there is hope of the movements coalescing and maturing into a force to unseat Republican strangleholds.

If they can stir into action the voices of a disaffected public and be the counterpoint to massive corporations and the 1% sea change will come. A true and lasting movement will be formed.

“American’s faith in government is at an all-time low with 90 percent believing the government is working for the benefit of a special few interests” according to Jake Johson staff writer for Common DreamsMore in-depth views of the progressive movement.

The progressive movement I am discussing has been defined by Mike Lux author of “The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be“. Wiley, 2009

The Progressives that ended slavery, gave women and minorities and the poor their rights, created the National Park system, made dramatic improvements to clean water and air, brought about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Head Start.”

In short the programs that made America a beacon on a hill for other countries to emulate and a country where all citizens have the hope of a better future.

America did not become great because of pollution, denying civil rights, demeaning segments of the population and erecting barriers to stop people from coming in.

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

The featured image above was made by Andrew Krueger a Duluth MN photographer. I have reached out to Andrew to ask if he will permit me to use his images on my blogs. His work is AMAZING. He made the image on Brighton Beach, Duluth MN on February 27, 2018.

Happiness is an inside job. Don't assign anyone else that much powerover your life. Post to Facebook March 2018

ice fishing with the Duluth MN skyline as backgroup Image by Rick Rice Duluth MN
What better way to spend a winter in Duluth MN that ice fishing with the Duluth skyline as a backdrop. You can even see the High Bridge connecting Duluth MN and Superior WI. Image by Rick Rice Duluth MN