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Thoughts on Events the Week of January 22

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on January 30, 2018

Davos: It has been reported that President Trump attended World Economic Forum. This is an exaggeration. He was there, but as a surrogate, reading a speech written by someone else, and of which he didn’t believe a word. He knew his base wouldn’t be paying attention, or for that matter couldn’t find Davos on a map.

Other weekly news: There has been a depressing, demoralizing sameness to the news for quite a while now. Malfeasance, misfeasance, corruption and mendacity on display every day. Any one of my Sunday blogs could be copied, pasted and reprinted without my thinking, or your reading, anything really new from me.

Our participation in world events has been fitful when it hasn’t been downright counterproductive. The world has cast its eyes down in disappointment and embarrassment for us, and is moving on. Its judgment in our judgement has been lost after watching us elect President Bush and Trump and seeing how we opposed and obstructed President Obama.

Domestically, our own institutions are under stress. The Executive Branch has shed world worthy professional talent like dandruff and filled cabinet positions with high functioning morons unqualified and/or downright hostile to the functioning of their own departments. Rick Perry. Really? Beverly De Voss. Really? Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions? You have got to be kidding!

The Executive staff is comprised of as many military generals as a third world junta. Our president is clearly a self-aggrandizing wannabe authoritarian dictator.

Our Legislative Branch ceased functioning in 2003, if not before, and there are fewer backbones in both chambers combined than in a water droplet of amoebae. Rather than perform its functions, it hesitates, stalls, avoids and even abets the overreaching, nefarious and even criminal actions of the Executive.

Legislators are so venal and so addicted to mana from rich plutocrats and large corporations that they bend to their greedy whims until our laws are tilted to funnel all the money to the donors, in hopes the donors will return enough shekels to the addicts to get re-elected. As if the very rich aren’t very rich enough, the legislators and Trump just gave another $1.4 Trillion dollars to them, which we and future citizens will have to pay for. No wonder the stock market is soaring, while economic growth and wages are still on the steady upward slope Obama worked for eight years to create.

The House is run by a malevolent numbskull who despises the people he represents and wants only to punish rather than serve them. The Senate is run by a faux institutionalist who has as much respect for the rules of his chamber as the president does for the Executive.

The Judicial Branch is being repurposed to consider the issues of the 19th Century.

Religious leaders have shed every fiber of principles for which they are supposed to stand. They have renounced moral leadership for I don’t know what, and may the Devil turn on them.

The Fourth Estate, awaking from a slumber of fecklessness, is trying to do its job well for a change, but it is struggling against constant attack on its very charter.

Now for the good news…wait, there isn’t any, with the possible exception of Meghan Markle.

Status of the States: Kansas gets the cup this week, with an assist from the Trump Administration. You remember Kansas Governor Sam Brownback? The worst and least popular governor in the union, and evangelical religious wingnut.

Brownback sold gullible, irrationally conservative Kansans the Kool-Aid that lowering taxes drastically would stimulate amazing economic growth, and promised to make Kansas the “Red State Model” for this theory of voodoo economics.

He slashed taxes to the bone, with the predictable result that the state’s revenues plummeted, deficits soared and the state was in the economic toilet. Kansans, naturally, elected him to a second term.

Finally, things got so bad that even Kansans had enough. The legislator restored the taxes, Brownback vetoed the bill, and the legislator overrode his veto. The ignominious end to the red state model’s utter failure.

Brownback will resign before the end of his term, on January 31, because he was named Ambassador-at-Large for the Office of International Religious Freedom by the Trump Administration, effective January 24. It was a close call. The Senate vote was 49-49, with Vice President Mike Pence, an equally wacko religious wingnut, casting the tying vote. A real vote of confidence for Brownback.

You are doubtless wondering, “What does the Office of International Religious Freedom do?” “Is this even a thing?” It was created by another religious wing nut, President George W. Bush in 1995. It’s part of the State Department. So, while we have many vacant ambassadorships to major foreign countries, we do have Ambassador-at-Large Brownback. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson must be so proud.

The ORIF webpage says its mission is “promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy.” Is that really a core objective of our foreign policy? Is this office even Constitutional? It seems like a conservative attempt to nudge church and state together, which the Constitution forbids.

But, if we are going to have such an office, Brownback is the guy to run it. He is a religious extremist, and he is very likely to run it into the ground.

 

 

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