Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in retrospect, 2018 in prospect

Robert Reich has a New Year’s Update for Trump Voters, AZ Blue Meanie (Blog for Arizona) reviews the horrors of 2017 and sees 2018 as the year of The Reckoning – Resistance and Renewal, and Joe Scarborough foresees A storm is gathering in 2018 as “the most consequential political year of our lives.”

Trump’s legacy of broken promises

I’ll feature a few of Reich’s listing of 20 promises Trump made to his supporters and how he broke every single one. “Almost one year in, it’s time for another update for Trump voters on his election promises:”

He told you he’d cut your taxes, and that the super-rich like him would pay more. You bought it. But his new tax law does the opposite. By 2027, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the richest 1 percent will have got 83 percent of the tax cut and the richest 0.1 percent, 60 percent of it. But more than half of all Americans — 53 percent — will pay more in taxes. As Trump told his wealthy friends at Mar-a-Lago just days after the tax bill became law, “You all just got a lot richer.”

He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “beautiful.” You bought it. But he didn’t repeal and he didn’t replace. (Just as well: His plan would have knocked at least 23 million off health insurance, including many of you.) Instead, he’s doing what he can to cut it back and replace it with nothing. The new tax law will result in 13 million people losing health coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

He said he’d clean the Washington swamp. You bought it. But he’s brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses, and he’s filled departments and agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they recently worked for.

He said he’d release his taxes. “I’m under a routine audit and it’ll be released, and as soon as the audit is finished it will be released,“ he promised during the campaign. He hasn’t released his taxes.

All this and more is what Trump promised and did not deliver. But it got worse - a lot worse - for American democracy.

A year of reckoning

The Blue Meanie looks back at 2017 as the year of “not normal” and ahead to 2018 as the “year of reckoning.”

2017 will be remembered as the year of “This is not normal.”

A minority of Americans, thanks to the antiquated relic of an electoral college system that remains in our Constitution as a vestige of slavery more than 150 years after the end of the Civil War, elected an insecure man-child conspiracy theorist, reality TV actor, Twitter troll, grifter and con man president of the United States. A man who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder and delusions of grandeur, and who is a pathological liar … In a 30-minute interview, President Trump made 24 false or misleading claims. More ominously, he exhibits dangerous authoritarian tendencies. Donald Trump is a demagogue who aspires to be an autocratic strongman like the man he most admires, Vladimir Putin of Russia.

The Trump era represents an existential threat to our democratic Republic and all that we hold dear as Americans. It is time for American patriots to rise up and to come to the aid and defense of our country, and of our Constitution.

2018 must be a year of reckoning, a coming to terms with what Americans have inflicted upon themselves in recent years through their own indifference and neglect of our democratic institutions, political norms and values. Too many Americans have failed their basic civic duty as a citizen to participate in our democratic system of governance. Too many Americans have failed to do the bare minimum required of a citizen by failing to vote. Democracy is not a spectator sport, it requires your active participation.

Donald Trump will not be on the ballot in 2018, but “Trumpism,” an authoritarian cult of personality, will be on the ballot, represented by those who support and defend Donald Trump. 2018 is a referendum on “Trumpism” and Trump’s enablers. They must be removed from elected positions of power at every level of government, from local school boards and city councils to the halls of Congress.

The gathering storm

Joe Scarborough in the Dec. 28th Washington Post concurs that 2018 will be a year of reckoning for what was unleashed on America in 2016.

A storm is gathering, and there is every reason to believe that 2018 will be the most consequential political year of our lives.

The reckoning upon us follows a year mercifully drawing to a close this weekend. Over that horrid year, President Trump has questioned the legitimacy of federal judges, used Stalinist barbs to attack the free press and cast contempt on the rule of law, while his campaign manager, his national security adviser and a foreign policy aide have been marched into federal courts. Those anti-democratic instincts were made all the more ominous by his praising of autocrats across the world as they were ruthlessly consolidating power in countries such as Russia, China and the Philippines.

“The Gathering Storm” is on my holiday reading list because of Republican strategist Steve Schmidt’s insistence to me that Churchill’s ominous warnings to future generations will be more relevant to 2018 than at any time since it was written in the years after World War II. While Trump’s eroding of U.S. prestige across the globe is disturbing, it is his administration’s undermining of democratic values that poses an even greater threat to our Constitution and country. Borrowing again from Churchill, America’s constitutional norms tremble in the balance as Trump unleashes furious attacks on First Amendment protections, independent counsels and law enforcement officers who refuse to be bullied. While the framers of the Constitution foresaw the possibility of a tyrannical president, they never let their imaginations be darkened by the possibility of a compliant Congress.

Again, Churchill: “The malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous . . . They lived from hand to mouth and from day to day, and from one election to another . . . The cheers of weak, well-meaning assemblies soon cease to echo, and their votes soon cease to count. Doom marches on.”

Schmidt is right. The storm is gathering. And how we respond in the months ahead may determine our fate for years to come.

What true patriots must do

AZBlueMeanie again:

Americans have a stark choice to make in 2018 of what kind of country we want to be: the vibrant democratic Republic that our Founding Fathers left to us, or surrender to despair and the creeping fascism of “Trumpism,” and replace our democratic Republic with an authoritarian autocracy.

For true American patriots, this stark choice is an easy choice to make. We will defend our democratic Republic and our Constitution.

Turn your anger into action. Run for an elective office. Do not allow a Tea-Publican in elective office to run unopposed for election. Make your case to the voters and give the voters a clear choice on election day.

Volunteer your time and energy on the campaign of your choice. If you have no time available, then give financially what you can afford to the campaign of your choice.

Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers, call into talk radio programs, and engage your contacts on social media. Take to the streets and march for a cause you support. Speak up and make yourself heard.

It is time for American patriots to rise up and to come to the aid and defense of our country, and of our Constitution.

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