Illustration by M. Daniels
Reading the news this week, my systemic nausea increases daily as I witness my country’s continued downward spiral into the depths of Trump’s golden crapper.
Starting on Sunday, the barrage of “knees taken” by NFL players during the national anthem in peaceful protest against race-inspired police brutality evoked a social media tsunami of phony-patriotic rebukes, all condemning the players for exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of speech. (WTF!) Trump gushed his righteous, right-wing rhetoric at the protesting players, inspiring some NFL fans to actually burn jerseys and other team memorabilia on YouTube. Then, Trump claimed that his comments had nothing to do with race. News flash, Mr. President: Players “taking a knee” during the national anthem has everything to do with race; racial profiling is what the players are protesting. You and your minions defend the symbols of democracy, anthem and flag, while condemning what these symbols represent –namely:
FREEDOM!!! LIBERTY!!! & JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!
Monday afternoon gave us the high point of the week: Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of a few present-day Republicans in possession of a conscience, became the third senator to commit to a “thumbs down” on the dread Graham Cassidy health care bill, along with John McCain and Rand Paul, thus putting another Republican repeal-and-replace travesty out of its misery–and ours. Now maybe cooler heads from both sides of the aisle can work together to improve the current system.
Thank you, Senator Collins!
Tuesday saw a flood of Alabama Republicans rush to the polls to select a candidate to fill Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions’ former senate seat. In a contest between worse (Senator Luther Strange) and “worser” (Judge Roy Moore), crazy cracker Roy Moore, that bible-thumping, pistol-packing rebel who wants to insert his equally crazy “god” into our beautifully secular Constitution, prevailed. “God” Help America if Moore defeats Democrat Doug Jones, an Alabama attorney general who has actually prosecuted KKK church burners, who might have a chance to win if Moore continues to flaunt his home-grown cray-cray in public.
Keep on thumpin’, Judge Roy!
On Wednesday, Trump and Congressional Republicans released their latest, reverse-Robinhood tax plan outline, one that the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center says will repeal the estate tax (1), thus shielding the wealth of our nation’s privileged ones. The plan outline also eliminates certain deductions, increasing the tax burden that We, the Sheeple of the “middle classes” dutifully pay each year. Standard deductions and child tax credit will increase but personal exemption will be eliminated. Those of us with no off spring will not fare very well, especially if we make between $50,000 and $150,000.
Uraquay looking better every day!
On Thursday, September 28, 2017, at the request of Governor Ricardo Rossello, the Trump administration finally got around to temporally waiving the century-old Merchant Marine Act of 1920, fondly known as the Jones Act, for storm-ravaged Puerto Rico. Eight days earlier, on September 20, Maria, a category 4 hurricane sustaining 150-mile-an-hour winds slammed into the Caribbean U.S. territory and wiped out power infrastructure, roads, homes, schools, businesses and much of what we call civilization for 3.4 million American citizens.
The Jones Act restricts the transportation of goods between U.S. ports to ships build by, owned by and piloted by Americans. (2) On Sept 8, after Hurricane Harvey (Aug. 25) devastated Texas and just before Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys, (Sept. 10) Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke authorized a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act for all affected ports, including Puerto Rico, and extended the waiver until Sept. 22, allowing it to run out just two days after Puerto Rico got slammed. For six more days only US ships were allowed to deliver goods. (3)
Finally, on Thursday, the Trump administration waived the Jones Act restrictions, again, allowing more supplies to be delivered by foreign vessels for another ten days. Meanwhile the Puerto Rican relief effort seems to lack some of the organization that characterized federal agency responses in Texas and Florida. Unfortunately tons of relief supplies still sit in shipping containers at the accessible Puerto Rican ports, distribution of supplies to the interior impossible without functioning roads. People in the interior are drinking water out of creeks and puddles, a recipe for epidemic. And POTUS Trump’s sage words to the survivors:
“Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble…”
And in response to San Juan Mayor Carmen Cruz’s pleas for help:
“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.” (4)
We, the Sheeple, of the United States of America, have elected the lowest among us to the highest office.
After Maria hit last Wednesday, I searched news outlets for detailed stories about Puerto Rico’s ground conditions but the coverage of events was limited by the level of devastation on the island and by the main stream media’s obsession with the Trump’ S NFL obsession. Not until Trump engaged Carmen Yulin Cruz in yet another jaw-dropping Twit war, did the US media circus turn its collective, gnat-like attention on the plight of Puerto Rico and the discombobulated federal response. Now because of this caustic back-and-forth between our golf club-wielding President and a woman mayor who has been seen slogging through waist-deep water to help her people, the press finally can’t get enough of the Puerto Rican crisis.
Now that our leadership realizes that Puerto Ricans are US citizens, maybe they’ll show a little of that ” red state” enthusiasm we saw in Houston and Miami.
On Friday, known as Black Friday in the Trumplandia, news of yet another Trump administration casualty dominated headlines– this time the exit of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Price, having racked up about a million of our money in frivolous travel expenses, tendered his resignation, which Trump accepted. Price had been an avid critic of wasteful spending when the Democrats held the purse strings:
“Governing is just so gosh-darn difficult for Democrats when the public demands a halt to reckless spending and trillion dollar deficits.” May 17, 2010, Tom Price@RepTomPrice-Twitter
“Americans are tired of Washington wasting their hard-earned tax dollars on wish list items at a time when our budget is nearing a crisis.” Dec. 13, 2010, Tom Price@RepTomPrice-Twitter
Hey Tom, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
And, oh yeah, I almost forgot—“The Juice is Loose” – again! Shortly after midnight Orenthal James Simpson was released from Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Institution where he spent his last nine “conflict-free” years. He wants to live in Florida to be near his children and family but Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi claims that in Florida, the state that taught the 911 hijackers to fly; the state where nearly 50 people were shot dead at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub; a state infested with organized crime, 70-year-old Simpson’s presence would be a burden to local law enforcement. (5). Clearly Ms. Bondi does not grasp “rule of law.” (5) Whether O.J. murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman or not, he was acquitted by a jury of his peers for that crime. He was subsequently imprisoned for another crime, the Vegas robbery, a separate crime for which he served about a third of his time and was granted parole.
Come on, Pam, do the right thing and let O. J. spend his remaining years near his kids. Whatever he did or didn’t do, he did his time for his 2008 armed robbery conviction, according to Nevada law. Continuing to punish him for an earlier crime for which he was acquitted, well, that’s just down right unconstitutional.
Don’t feel too sorry for O.J.; even though he lost the wrongful death civil suit and owes the estates of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman about sixty million dollars, he gets an unattachable $25,000 a month pension from the NFL– enough to keep him in golf shoes.
“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law more respectable.” — Louis D. Brandeis (6)
- Gleckman, Howard; Six Takeaways From The White House and Hill GOP’s “Big Six” Tax Plan, Urban Institute and Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, Sept. 27, 2017: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox/six-takeaways-white-house-and-hill-gops-big-six-tax-plan
- Carey, Teresa L.; The Jones Act, Explained (And What Waiving Means to Puerto Rico; PBS, The Rundown, September 29, 2017: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/jones-act-explained-waiving-means-puerto-rico/
- Hurricane Resources, Multi-State Waivers: Sigma.Org: https://www.sigma.org/hurricane-harvey
- Baker, Peter; Trump Lashes Out at Puerto Rico Mayor Who Criticized Storm Response; New York Times, Sept. 30, 2017: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/30/us/politics/trump-puertyo-rico-mayor.html
- Shapiro, Emily; O. J. Simpson Released From Prison After Serving Nine Years for Vegas Robbery; ABC News, Oct. 1, 2017: http://abcnews.go.com/US/oj-simpson-released-prison-serving-years-vegas-robbery/story?id=50180766
- Brandeis, Louis D.; Brainy Quotes: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/louisdbra106240.html?src=t_lawby