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Do we live in a crazy country?

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | August 9th, 2017

The world has decided King Donald has made us irrelevant

Fareed Zakaria of the Washington Post and CNN while on assignment in London had a Nigerian man approach him and say with a mixture of outrage and amusement: “Your country has gone crazy. I’m from Africa. I know crazy, but I didn’t think I would say this in America.”

In Dublin, Ireland a young Irish woman told him:”I’ve come to realize that, as a European, I have very different values than America these days. I realized that I have to come back to Europe to live and raise a family.” Why? It’s King Donald the 1st and some of the Republican Party.

Even the nasty Karl Rove, Dubya’s brain, admits the king is “vindictive, impulsive, and shortsighted.” I suggest he forgot to mention he is also a pompous, pontificating, pathological, prevaricating ass of historical proportions.

Ken Starr, a religious conservative fanatic who turned himself into the Grand Inquisitor of Slick Willie and Nasty Crooked Hillary, describes the king as possessing “one of the most outrageous—and profoundly misguided—courses of conduct I have witnessed in five decades in and around the nation’s capital.”

The Pew Research Center surveyed 37 countries about our standing in the world where we have been leader for many years with only 5% of the world’s population. The president of the modern United States has been the leader of the free world since WW II.

Since King Donald was elected the world has declared that we are becoming irrelevant and that Trump has been replaced by three foreigners that take swirling turns at being #1: China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Germany’s Angela Merkel.

King Donald has the confidence of only 22% of the people in 37 countries. At the end of his second term, Barack Obama had managed to maintain a confidence level of 64% and was still the leader of the free world. Actually Trump has done the impossible: he has united Europe. It has brought many nations together because of his continuous bragging, lying, and instability.

Seven of the top ten European countries surveyed believe that China is the world’s leading economic power, not the United States.

Trump’s lowest approval rating of only 5% comes from Mexico, our neighbor who has emphatically said they “will not pay for his -------wall.” The foreign minister of Canada has determined that Trump has signaled he is not willing to bear the burden of global leadership.

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond summed up the European attitude about King Donald:”The Grand Canyon is a minor crevice compared to the vast chasm of ignorance that is Trump. He is a nincompoop.” He has had scuffles with King Donald over Scottish golf courses.

The mega rich and Congress don’t seem to care if America is great again

Maybe it was a sign of the times from the evangelical gods. A Texas man was awakened last week by scuffling in his Marietta backyard. Grabbing his trusty .38 revolver, he rushed outside and blasted three rounds at a pesky armadillo. One round ricocheted off the shell and struck the shooter in the jaw. He was airlifted to a hospital and had his jaw wired shut. The armadillo escaped. The man had a run of bad luck.

It looks like the bottom 80% are also in a bad run. The Best Congress Money Can Buy (BCMCB) has become the private property of the Mega Rich dominated by the Koch brothers, Wall Street investment bankers, hedge fund managers, and corporate CEOs.

Sure, the stock market just tipped over 22,000, but half of the country doesn’t have a dime in the market. The top 10% own 80% of the stock. This also means that half of the people have no money in pension funds, 401)k) retirement plans, IRAs, or mutual funds.

Eighty-nine percent of the families with incomes over $100,000 have a little money in the stock market. Many lost money in the market during the recession and have not reinvested. Stock ownership by middle-class families has dropped 12% since the Great Bush Recession.

Over 40% 0f households aged 55-64 have no retirement savings. Many retired Americans live on $16,320 a year of Social Security benefits, which is way below poverty levels.

In the 1970s, Republican neoconservative Irving Kristol came up with the idea of supply-side economics—which later became Reaganomics—which later became trickle-down economics—which now has become tax cuts for the rich. Trickle-down has never worked because it quickly becomes pissed-on economics.

The Mega Rich like to keep their money and seem to have no interest in saving the country from becoming “Third Worldian.” We still need consumers because we have a consumer economy, but the bottom 80% need money to consume.

The United States will see an estimated 6,300 retail stores close in 2017. Certainly Jeff Bezos and Amazon will pick up a lot of their sales, but how many retail workers will lose their jobs? Radio Shack is closing 1,430, Payless 808, Kmart 210, Sears 98, Macy’s 68, J.C. Penney 138—just for starters. Even Family Christian is closing 240 stores. What does that say about the status of religion in the minds of our citizens?

Malnutrition and poverty in the ‘richest country in the world’

The BCMCB sits idling in place while one in six U.S. children face hunger according to the Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. The report titled “Hunger In Our Schools” emphasizes how food insecurity affects school performance.

Sixty-two percent of low-income parents worry about having enough money to buy food while 35% of their kids share that fear. The report indicated that 23% of low-income parents have reduced the size of their children’s meals while 34% said they cannot purchase nutritious balanced meals. Two-thirds of the parents said if they had an unexpected expense such as a car repair or a $1,500 medical bill they would be unable to buy sufficient food for the family.

The average cost of an emergency room visit in the U.S. is now $1,233.

How does hunger affect learning? The report indicated that 59% of kids from low-income families say they often come to school hungry, 46% say hunger affects their school performance, and 12% say they are so distracted by hunger that often fail to do their homework at night.

Incidentally, 59% of teachers say they regularly buy food for students who don’t get enough food at home. They add they spend about $300 of their own money each year buying food for students. Over 75% of teachers say they’ve seen hunger affect academic performance.

And what is the Republican Congress saying about federal programs that provide some assistance to parents in preventing hunger? They are trying to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-food stamps) by $193 million and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Republican Bill Bennett once said: “Republicans will cut their own throat just so they can bleed on somebody.” Republican Representative Adrian Smith of Nebraska earned 15 minutes of fame on TV for refusing to agree that every American is entitled to eat!

Director Brian Minter of the special report has come to this conclusion: “Hunger exists in nearly every community in America today. It’s an urban problem, it’s a rural problem, and it has come to our suburbs. It is also a solvable problem. We also hope this report helps more people spread the word about the direct connection between feeding kids and building a strong America. Consistent access to good nutrition means stronger, smarter, healthier kids. And that means a stronger, smarter, healthier nation.”

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the billionaire appointed by the king who lives in that white “dump,” said recently “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” As if poor parents shopping in the grocery stores don’t know that. Evidently she isn’t interested in making poor kids “stronger, smarter, and healthier.” She is interested only in profit-making private schools, charter schools, and school vouchers. By the way, of the families surveyed for this report, 92% were working families.

We are currently spending about $80 billion a year on food stamps. Just one of our current billionaires, whether Bill Gates of Microsoft, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and the Washington Post, or the Koch brothers of big oil and pipeline fame and fortune, if they liquidated their assets, could each pay the entire $80 billion bill for a year. It is a crazy country.

We also have hundreds of libraries and another 50,000 sites that serve noon lunches to kids in the summer who have qualified for free lunch. Macaroni with ground beef is the summer favorite. Enid Costley of the Library for Virginia summed up the rationale for providing summer lunches: “For kids to be well-read, they need to be well-fed.” That makes a great bumper sticker to put on the Rolls Royces, Bentleys, and Maseratis that cruise Silicon Valley and New York City.

Should communities like Moorhead be forced to sponsor fundraisers in order to pay for school lunches for poor kids? Why are Oklahoma teachers begging for funds on street corners so they can buy school supplies for poor kids in the richest country in the world?

Why is a woman in Texas ten times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth than one In Spain or Sweden?

Why isn’t health care considered a public utility like water, sewer, electric power, roads, bridges, and postal service? The Republicans say we have the best health care in the world. The World Health Organization says we are 35th from the top—below Cuba.

If you believe King Donald and the Repubs, please go and revise more history. Ever since Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Tricky Dick Nixon tried to pass health care legislation, the Republicans have been screaming “SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!” When are they going to face real facts instead of alternative facts? Republicans have always been pro-life only from conception to birth to get the evangelical Christian white vote. Then they say you’re on your own.

A Texas woman is five times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth than a British woman. TrumpCare would have made it worse. The rate of death is ten times worse if you compare Texas with Sweden and Spain. Because of nutty ideas about teaching about “horrible” sex to teenagers, almost half of pregnancies in America are unintended because of ignorance and stupidity.

In the Netherlands abortion is free on demand. They also have the lowest abortion rate in the world, about 6 per 1,000 per year. Holland has extensive public education about contraception, family planning, and—my God—about sex. Contraception is covered by Holland’s universal health care plan. Actually Dutch teenagers have less frequent sex than American teenagers and the teenage pregnancy rate is nine times lower than in the U.S.

I can’t figure out why Republicans are so against sex for other people. Is it jealousy? Is it religion? Is it ignorance?

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