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All cruelty springs from weakness

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | April 19th, 2017

Would a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican kill baited bears?

Since King Donald ascended to the throne of a political party that doesn’t give a damn about anything except cutting taxes and filling their own wallets, he has been busy signing destructive executive orders.

Shortly after entering the White House oval office on the first day of his reign he signed a vague order on Obamacare that basically announced the Republicans were going to repeal and replace it at the earliest opportunity. We all know now what happened in the Republican House.

He signed an order to immediately start building a 1,900-mile “beautiful wall with doors” along the Mexican border and requested 5,000 more border guards. No one seems to know where that construction money is coming from. It appears it won’t be paid by Mexico. What happens if a Mexican company is the low bidder? We will certainly provide a lot of jobs for Mexican construction workers.

On Day Seven of his reign he signed an order keeping Muslims from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia from entering the United States for 120 days. Several judges, including a couple of Republican appointees, threw that one back in his face.

On Day Nine he signed a “drain-the-swamp” order by imposing a lifetime ban on administrative officials lobbying for foreign governments, and a five-year ban for domestic lobbying.

If you want to believe this one, on Day Eleven he signed an order requiring two old regulations to be removed if one new one was adopted. He didn’t demand that the regulations be in the same area of interest.

On Day Fifteen he signed an order to begin the rollback of Dodd-Frank, the law that inhibits greedy Wall Street and bankers from taking us down the primrose path to another recession. Since his inauguration he has signed 12 executive orders in front of reporters and rolling and snapping cameras. Makes for great political photo ops and lousy governing.

Corporations and personhood

Now that the Republicans and the Supreme Court have determined that corporations are people, I wonder when Wells Fargo Bank will be handcuffed, endure the “perp” walk out of all of its offices, be booked and photographed, go to trial, and be sentenced for up to 20 years for defrauding the American people out of many millions of dollars. The feds figure that “person” signed up over two million unsuspecting people for credit cards and other bank “benefits.”

A number of mainstream publications have recently carried stories about the cruelty of the Republican Party, most of them saying they have never seen a political party “less caring.”

Lindy West writes: “Since Trump took office, Republicans have proposed legislation to destroy unions, the healthcare system, the education system and the Environmental Protection Agency; to defund the reproductive health charity Planned Parenthood and restrict abortion; to stifle public protest and decimate arts funding; to increase the risk of violence against trans people and roll back anti-discrimination laws, and to funnel more and more wealth from the poorest to the richest. Every executive order and piece of legislation is destructive, aimed at dismantling something else, never creating anything new, never in in the service of improving the care of the nation.”

Florida Republican Representative Tom Rooney has observed: “I’ve been in this job for eight years and I’m racking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening. We need to start having victories as a party.”

The White House and the House of Representatives have a new guru

A person once called the goddess of the free market has once again captured many politicians in the world. Ayn Rand called her philosophy Objectivism which says “man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.”

There’s none of this “common good” garbage in Objectivism, nor does government ensure equality. (I wonder why Rand received Social Security and was on Medicare. Tsk, tsk)

Governments are given too much power according to Rand. To her, government’s role should be limited to providing a national defense, police forces, and a court system. That’s it.

King Donald’s money man Robert Mercer was entranced by the character John Galt in Rand’s 1,184-page epic “Atlas Shrugged.” So naturally Trump is entranced by Mercer but he doesn’t read books, so the book is just a doorstop. Galt is a capitalist genius in the book who lives the life like many of our billionaires -- like Mercer -- live today, in huge mansions and yachts, served by dozens of servants.

It now appears that Ayn Rand’s philosophy is gradually replacing “the-shining-city-on-the- hill” philosophy of the old Republican guru Ronald Reagan. King Donald’s cabinet is loaded with objectivists such as Secretary of State Rex Till Tillerson, who has lived the life of John Galt. He says “Atlas Shrugged” is his favorite book.

Remember King Donald’s first choice as Labor Secretary, Andy Puzler? Andy is CEO of Roark Capital Group that owns thousands of restaurants. His company is named after Howard Roark, the lead character in Rand’s “The Fountainhead,” which is about an architect who plans and builds “perfect” buildings and refuses to accept anything less.

Gary Cooper played Roark in a famous 1949 movie. The theme of the book and movie is that Roark is surrounded by incompetent “mediocrities,” by meddlesome bureaucrats, and corporate parasites who profit from the hard work of others. Puzler admired Roark and Galt so much as capitalists that he told Trump he wanted to continue his rich life instead of being confined as Labor Secretary.

CIA director Mike Pompeo says “Atlas Shrugged” “really had an impact on me.” There are other Rand adherents in the cabinet too numerous to mention.

Rand’s thinking dominates many Silicon Valley CEOs—and House members

Rand’s inner circle in the New York City of the 1950’s was known as the Collective, with the most significant member being Alan Greenspan, who later became chairman of the Federal Reserve, appointed by Reagan in 1987.

Greenspan believed that market forces, unimpeded by government, were the “best mechanism for the management and distribution of a society’s resources.” This is pure Objectivism, in that economic leaders always act in their own self-interest.

After the George W. Bush recession in 2008, Greenspan said he couldn’t believe bankers could be so crooked.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has been a Rand believer for many years. He still distributes Rand’s books to fellow politicians. In an old video interview Ryan proudly says: “We’re not going to give up on destroying the healthcare system for the American people.” He believes the Randian idea that healthcare is a privilege of the rich who can afford it, not a right of every citizen.

Ryan has certainly upheld the idea of privilege in the latest Republican debacle about repealing and replacing Obamacare. Senators Ron and Rand Paul, father and son, are both Randians, with Ron actually naming his son Rand after the Objectivist. Rand Paul is an idiosyncratic, gadfly-type libertarian politician who only occasionally makes sense.

Many Silicon Valley billionaires say they owe a great deal to Ayn Rand. Steve Jobs, the nutty genius of Apple who was a tightly wrapped bundle of nervous energy and thirsts for power, and co-founder Steve Wozniak used “Atlas Shrugged” as a guide for their lives.

Uber founder Travis Kalanick used the cover of “The Fountainhead” as the symbol of his tweet. Facebook investor and billionaire Peter Thiel, an early backer of King Donald, is another Randian. Although Ayn Rand has been dead for 35 years, she seems to have replaced Reagan as the Republican guru, serving as a chairperson of the rulers in both Washington and Silicon Valley.

Liberals and conservatives no longer read the same science books

Research by Yale, Cornell, and the University of Chicago has found that liberals read science books about life, physics, astronomy, and basic sciences. Conservatives read books about commercial sciences that deal with medicine and profit-oriented and economic applications. This seems to support the platforms of our two major political parties. Democrats are interested in the common good and Republicans in business and profits.

We are beginning to see more books and articles about the cruelty of Republicans. Paul Ryan’s father died of alcoholism when he was 15 and his family then lived on Social Security survivor benefits. He attended college on these government benefits. However, in college he dreamed of cutting Medicaid!

As a politician he exhibits a particular callousness toward the poor he once was. Ryan has still not accepted the idea that King Donald is a real conservative—but he accepts Trump because he thinks he can be used to pass right-wing legislation such as limiting regulations on financial institutions and business.

Cutting food stamps and other programs that aid the poor are a high priority. Benefits for 16 million children were cut in 2014 by a Republican Congress. They even used the Bible to justify the cuts. In 2017 they want to eliminate all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Why kill Big Bird? Because he was created by liberals. Everyone should read Army General Stanley McCrystal’s defense of the Public Broadcasting System. He says: “It’s a small public investment that pays huge dividends for Americans. It pushes people by elevating them and their rights. It brings them into more thinking and understanding, and it brings us together.”

The culture of cruelty in politics

There is a culture of cruelty in Trump’s America as stated in a Truthout article. It affects both humans and animals.

The Trump administration wants to cut a recent Obama administration safety regulation regarding the amounts of silica dust a worker should be exposed to. About 2.2 million workers are exposed to cancer-causing dust and unions have been working for forty years to regulate the silica workplace.

One of the first bills signed by King Donald canceled regulations protecting wolves and bears in Alaskan national wildlife refuges. It would restore the killing of wolf pups in dens and the killing of bears and cubs while they are hibernating.

According to a lawyer for the Center of Biological Diversity, the Trump legislation “allows wolves and bears will be subject to cruel, unsportsmanlike killings, in violation of the very purpose of the wildlife system. These rules were repealed for one reason to give the state of Alaska freedom to kill predators on wildlife refuges.”

The regulations repealed included killing brown bears over bait; trapping and killing bears with steel-jawed traps or wire snares; killing wolves and coyotes during denning season; and killing bears from aircraft.

Shooting bears by using a large sweet bait of old Krispy Kremes or trapping them with steel jaws just doesn’t seem a very sporting end for the king of the woods.

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