When anarchy is loosed upon the world
A poem by William Butler Yeats perfectly catches the divisiveness of American politics in the Age of Trump. From the Second Coming:
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
This column will appear a few days before the midterm elections. Unless there are a number of recounts and challenges, a quick decision will be made about the future of the country. Will we continue to be led by the Trump Party, or will we have divided government with a split Congress? Will we be taking a steam locomotive back to the Middle Ages—or boarding a rocket for Mars?
The Trump Party has had the following goals since the 2016 election: (1) Make America white again, (2) Make abortion illegal again, (3) Make health care a permanent privilege, not a right, by repealing ObamaCare, (4) Prove climate change is a hoax, (5) Eliminate all private and public unions, (6) Strip the LBGTQ community of all rights associated with housing, employment, and public accommodations by passing “religious freedom” laws, (7) Make America first and above all other countries, (8) Make America a Christian nation, (9) Repeal the Voting Rights Act, and (10) Ensure that men will continue to dominate women according to the Christian Old and New Testaments. There are many other goals that apply to Christian and Western cultures such as stacking the federal judiciary with Trump Party judges.
The evolution of the Trump cult
I don’t believe a word of what my psychopathic lying president says, but I watch Trump rallies to see how the white crowd behind him reacts to his words. When he mentions Hillary’s name and the disgusting things she does in the bathroom the white crowd cries “lock her up!” cheers loudly--and claps. When he talks about the mainstream press and attending reporters as the “enemy of the people,” they cheer, clap, and threaten nearby press. When he imitates a Montana politician pronounced guilty of assaulting and body-slamming a reporter for asking him about health care, the crowd cheers--and claps. When he calls women “lowlifes, fat, ugly, crazy crying dogs, pigs, low IQs, and horse faces” the crowd cheers--and claps. They ignore that he admits grabbing women by the pussies and other body parts, and is disgusted when women leak blood. He attacks Muslim Gold Star parents and calls Mexicans rapists. The crowd cheers--and claps.
What does he mean when he says he will pay off his $1 million bet only if he can “personally” test Senator Warren’s DNA containing Indian blood? He charged Mika Brzezinske of the TV show “Morning Joe” with having a low IQ. His crowd claps--and cheers.
What is happening here? Remember when Trump said in a rally that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” There are periods when people act without any rationality. It’s called mass delusions or mass hysteria. Sometimes people defend false beliefs and refuse to accept any evidence that goes against those beliefs. Think of all the science supporting global warming and climate change that is rejected by the Trump Party.
Donald Trump, meet Lonesome Rhodes
I examine the faces in Trump rallies because of a movie written by Budd Schulberg and directed by Elia Kazan titled “A Face in the Crowd.” It’s about an Arkansas guitar-playing character named Lonesome Rhodes who starts the movie as a drunk in a filthy jail cell who eventually rises to the pinnacle of American celebrity and political power—like Trump did in 2016. The movie is 61 years old now but it fits our culture today. Lonesome is a drunken rogue, coarse and blunt, who goes through women, as Shulberg writes, like “cheap snacks.” He calls minorities derogatory names and fails to keep any of his big promises. He calls politicians dumb and phony, but later gets close to a senator running for president of the United States. But Rhodes can be charming and he ends up in New York City with his own TV show watched by millions of people. He admits: “All them millions of people doing what I tell them to—scares me.” But he can’t resist celebrity.
At the height of his power over people he exclaims: “This whole country, just like my flock of sheep. They’re mine. I own them, they think like I do. Only they’re more stupid than I am, so I got to think for them.” Does that remind you of anyone shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue?
Rhodes has his flings with many women, even an underage baton-twirling teenager he later marries. Trump wrote: “If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller.” That must have been before he had sex with “Horse Face.”
Rhodes later sums up his attitudes about people with these remarkable prescient lines—on an open mike: “Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies haufraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers—everybody that’s got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle….They’re mine! I own them! …I’m going to be the power behind the president! Those morons out there! Shucks, I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar. I could make them eat dog food and think it was steak….Good Night, you stupid idiots. Good Night, miserable slobs. They’re a lot like trained seals. I toss them a dead fish and they’ll flap their flippers.”
Donald Trump, meet your blood brother Lonesome Rhodes---and all those faces in the crowds. By the way, Mr. President, how are those coal miners doin’ today?
If the Trump economy is so great…
Why do the New York City Public Schools have a record 114,659 homeless students-- ten percent of the total number—in one of the richest cities in the world? At 144 of the 1,800 schools in the system one-third of the children are homeless. As an example, Kingsbridge International High School has averaged 44% homeless over the last four years. For every 1,660 homeless students there is one social worker. One wonders while the Wall Street CEOs and investors fly over the schools in their helicopters whether they ever think of the children under those school roofs that leak only when it rains.
On the West Coast, Los Angeles County has 53,195 homeless and the school district doesn’t even bother to count homeless students. In our lifetime we have owned several RVs and currently have a Winnebago Brave. Forty years ago the Winnebago Company advertised its new models as “a condominium that goes places at about half the going price.” Last year when The Greater Los Angeles Homeless count was accomplished, it discovered 4,545 campers and RVs, many in disrepair, parked on the streets housing thousands of homeless. The most popular homeless RVs were very old Winnebagoes from many states in the union. Scattered among the rusting RVs are homes selling for $500 million or less. The Los Angeles City Hall grounds and sidewalks are covered with the homeless in sleeping bags and tents. Parks are filled with tents and sleeping homeless. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti calls the homeless situation “the greatest moral and humanitarian crisis of our time.”
San Francisco also has a major homeless problem. Anne Berglund, a resident, adds her perspective: “The sad fact is San Francisco is a beautiful city marred by pure human misery. It’s hard to ignore when you step over heroin needles and human feces every day on the way to work. I don’t believe anyone ‘wants’ to live on the street—they need help.” What will happen if the economy tanks?
If students are to succeed they must have access to the internet
We currently have 1.3 million homeless public school students and over 400,000 in some kind of foster care. The lack of technology and the lack of in-home internet access has become an insurmountable education problem in 50 states, but is particularly damaging in cities with thousands of homeless students. Pew Research states that nearly 18% of U.S. school children in grades 6 to 12 have great difficulty completing school work because of lack of internet access. Some homeless high school students spend many hours in Wi-Fi-equipped coffee shops and restaurants trying to complete assignments. Broadband access is now essential for all students. We still have five million homes in the U.S. without internet service. Why is Finland considered to have the best education system in the world? The government furnishes and maintains a computer and internet in every home. That’s a worthwhile smart investment.
Silicon Valley billionaires have so polluted San Francisco with money the federal government now classifies a family of four living in the Bay Area earning $117,400 as low-income. Fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is now at $3,121 and the median home price is way above $1 million.
A study by the Urban Institute states that income inequality is now so pervasive that 40% of Americans in this era of so-called “full employment” and the “best economy in half a century” can’t meet one of the four basic needs—food, healthcare, housing, or utilities. It found that 55% who have an unmet medical need also experience food insecurity. Translated, that means they are too poor to pay for medical care and eating at the same time. 35% have medical problems they cannot afford to treat. The question: If unemployment is so low and the stock market is at an all-time high, where is all the money going? That’s easy. It’s going to the top ten percent.
A complex society like ours requires sufficient revenue to function
The government of a country of 326 million people requires revenue for everything from health care to national security. A Star Tribune editorial “Don’t Starve The IRS” on October 12 was rather shocking. In the last eight years the budget for the Internal Revenue Service has been reduced 23% by Congress, resulting in a hollowing out of this most essential taxing department. This is what has happened since 2011: (1) personal audits are down 37%, (2) 40% of telephone calls for help will not be answered because of a lack of personnel, (3) audits of millionaires have dropped to 5.8% from 13% over eight years ago, (4) audits for large corporations have dropped to 7.9% from 17.8% eight years ago, (5) over 75% of IRS personnel cuts in the last decade have come from the tax enforcement branch, (6) investigations into delinquent taxpayers have gone down 85% in the last five years, and (7) fines and asset seizures because of tax evasion schemes have almost disappeared.
The IRS is still using computer technology that has as its mainframe a system dating back to the 1960’s! Because of this antiquated equipment the IRS is cyber-attacked 2.3 million times a day! This in a day when many taxpayers have the capability to file electronically—and have their refund checks deposited electronically. And what is the result of all these cuts? The Internal Revenue Service estimates that taxes owed vs. what is actually paid is well over $450 billion.
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