There are a hell of a lot of people in this country who are working full-time and STILL financially worse off than I am.
And THAT is fucked up.
There are a hell of a lot of people in this country who are working full-time and STILL financially worse off than I am.
And THAT is fucked up.
I’m not saying I’m making plans to move to Norway, just that I’ve bookmarked Emigrate Me. You know, it’s nice to have some options available. I learned the Albanian language in my 20s, I think I can handle Norwegian in my 30s.
Instead of calling them billionaires, we should call them money-hoarders, and yes, that is meant as an insult. Yes, that does include the billionaires we like. They may have many fine qualities, but having accumulated that much money is not a point in anyone’s favor.
Rather than congratulating people for having money in the 10-figure range, we should instead praise them for how much they’ve given away. For example, JK Rowling gave money to charity until she was no longer a billionaire and no longer on the list of wealthiest people. This is a good thing! I’ll bet she still has much more dough than she’ll ever be able to use, but the point is, her having given a lot to charity reflects better on her than ranking on a Forbes list ever will. Another example is Bill Gates. He’d be richer than Jeff Bezos if not for his charitable donations? Cool! Let’s talk about how much money he’s put into making the world a better place!
Here’s a simple reality that capitalism would like us to forget: money is a means to an end. Money is not an end unto itself. You’re hungry, so you use money to get food, and you eat the food. You don’t eat the money itself. You use money to pay for housing and utilities, but money all by itself does not keep you warm and dry. You use money to see a movie, but money itself is not entertainment.
Up to a point, saving money is constructive. You build up wealth so you can have nice things, or in my case, to budget for a spell of unemployment. You might want to have some to pass on to your children so they can have some nice things. They should still pay estate taxes, though.
Beyond a certain threshold of accumulation, money stops being useful. Once you have more money than you will ever be able to spend on nice things for your family, what’s the point? That amount of money under the control of one person doesn’t achieve anything except to make sure that money isn’t available to other people. Having allowed that much dough to pile up in your liquid assets is nothing to be proud of. If the tax structure makes it impossible for anyone to become a billionaire, that’s a good thing.
Show off your wealth by spreading it around.
If there’s a single issue we should be voting on for the foreseeable future of US politics, it’s voting rights. This goes for conservatives as well as liberals. Do you care about democracy? Then you should care about voting rights. If you care about voting rights, whether liberal or conservative, then you should be voting for Democrats. Not forever! But for the next several years. Hear me out.
When voter turnout is high, Democrats do better in elections. When voter turnout is low, Republicans do better. This is because the demographics that favor Republicans are more reliable about voting. BUT ALSO the demographics that favor Democrats are more vulnerable to voter suppression.
I’m not saying the Democratic party is perfect. I’m just saying they’re the party that is actually interested in governing. It doesn’t have to be that way forever. That’s how it is now. Furthermore, since their candidates have better outcomes when voter turnout is higher, the Democrats are the party with a built-in incentive to maximize voter turnout and abolish voter suppression.
For the foreseeable future, the US democratic process depends on Democratic politicians.
There’s a reason why Trumpty Numpty recently disbanded his Voter Fraud Commission. It’s because even when they were utterly determined to find evidence of voter fraud, they couldn’t find it. The US does not have a problem of people voting fraudulently. It simply isn’t happening. We do, however, have a problem of people being unfairly kept from voting, and it will continue to be a problem as long as Republicans are in power. This is not a moral judgment, it’s a question of incentives. When more people are kept from voting, Republicans have an easier time winning. Thus, Republicans have no reason to address voter suppression.
For an example of how this happens: voter ID laws. Ostensibly, the purpose of a voter ID law is to make sure nobody votes more than once, or in the wrong district, or without the legal right to vote. However. If the voter ID law were actually intended to make sure every vote is valid, then the same jurisdictions instituting voter ID laws would also be making it much easier for all citizens to get state-issued IDs. The demographics that are mostly likely not to have state-issued IDs are also some of the demographics that most reliably vote Democratic. Not limited to, but especially including African-Americans. Many don’t have state-issued ID, but they do have the legal right to vote. Realistically, the way these laws work out is that a state says everyone needs to show ID at the polling place, and then the same politicians in the same jurisdictions also start cutting DMV hours in the areas with the highest concentration of African-Americans. Shorter DMV hours means it’s much harder for someone who doesn’t already have an ID to get one. That’s because the real purpose of these laws is not to prevent fraud, it’s to make it harder for certain populations to vote.
Again, this cannot be overstated: the US does not have a voting fraud problem. You could round up every single person in the US who votes fraudulently per election cycle, and you could bus them all to my house, and I could take them out to lunch at one of our local restaurants. They’d fit. I could afford to pay the bill.
So, again, we have one party that is actually interested in governing and which benefits from higher voter turnout. And we have another party which is more interested in fucking everything up, which benefits from voter suppression, and which paved the way for Trumpty Numpty to squat in the White House. At this point, a one-party system would be better.
So here’s the plan I propose for fixing the democratic process:
There’s an excerpt at NY Mag from Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire & Fury: Inside the Trump White House.
So…this is what happens when we let a reality-TV star go straight to a Presidential nomination with no prior political experience. I feel like we’re living in a satirical dystopian novel.
Even though the numbers in a few key states had appeared to be changing to Trump’s advantage, neither Conway nor Trump himself nor his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — the effective head of the campaign — wavered in their certainty: Their unexpected adventure would soon be over. Not only would Trump not be president, almost everyone in the campaign agreed, he should probably not be. Conveniently, the former conviction meant nobody had to deal with the latter issue.
As the campaign came to an end, Trump himself was sanguine. His ultimate goal, after all, had never been to win. “I can be the most famous man in the world,” he had told his aide Sam Nunberg at the outset of the race. His longtime friend Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News, liked to say that if you want a career in television, first run for president. Now Trump, encouraged by Ailes, was floating rumors about a Trump network. It was a great future. He would come out of this campaign, Trump assured Ailes, with a far more powerful brand and untold opportunities.
“This is bigger than I ever dreamed of,” he told Ailes a week before the election. “I don’t think about losing, because it isn’t losing. We’ve totally won.”
And then as soon as the electoral victory actually went to him, Trumpty Numpty started thinking he totally deserved to be President. Not that he became any more interested in doing the work of running the country. Just thinking he’s entitled to have that power.
I think “political malpractice” should be a working concept. I think the Congressional GOP is continuing to perpetrate malpractice on us by giving Trumpty Numpty what he wants.
The way I see this administration is, we don’t really have a President. Trumpty Numpty is squatting in the White House. The Executive Branch is basically treading water now.
While I still can’t say for sure that impeachment would be a good thing, I must admit that I’m making my calculations differently since reading this excerpt. I’m open to discussion of whether letting Mike Pence be President until 2020 would be better than letting Trumpty Numpty keep on squatting until then.
Either way: vote more Democrats into Congress in 2018. Vote even more Democrats into the Senate in 2020. Vote the entire cast of this goddamn reality show to oblivion in 2020. Vote those sorry choads out.
The Republicans are the party that says the system doesn’t work, and they get elected and prove it.
The system works if we want it to work.
More specifically, the system works if it’s under control of people who want it to work.
Those who insist on telling us government is inherently toxic and dysfunctional, should not be elected to positions of power within the government.
The Zookeeper’s Wife is an excellent movie, but daaaaaaamn is it ever begging for a trigger warning. I do not like seeing zoo animals get shot. You leave those elephants alone, rotten soldiers! While it does not show the act of violence directly, there is an incident early in the movie in which a pair of German soldiers rape a very young girl. (Jessica Chastain later gives her a sweet little bunny rabbit to cuddle.) Little kids getting loaded onto a train headed for a concentration camp, etc. Well-done, but you better have your stomach strapped in tight.
All that said, I think “Trump ist kaput!” would be very handy as a protesting slogan.
I decided to look around the Hermes website earlier today for fun. And browsing through their products, I was actually more surprised when I saw some items that were sort-of-reasonably priced.
It’s not that I expect upscale design-house merch to be affordable to plebes like me. I expect some relationship between what the item costs and what it has to offer the consumer. And when I see an office wastebasket—doesn’t even have solid sides!—costing $8200, I just want to know: why does this shit even exist?
The question should not be: “Why does this apparently not-rich person want to buy a $395 belt?” A better question would be: “Why does a rich person want to buy a $395 belt?” Why does the $395 belt even exist? Why is anyone making a product that costs so much to do so little?
I don’t think it’s morally wrong to have lots of money. (Up to a point. There’s no good reason to be a billionaire in any currency approaching the value of USD.) I don’t think the emphasis should be on making sure no one is allowed to accumulate wealth. I just think, if it seems like a good idea to spend thousands of dollars on a thing of which the cheaper version works at least as well, and even the best version of the thing doesn’t do all that much? Then you’re doing something wrong. Pay your employees (especially including domestic help) more, or give more to charity, or your tax rate should be raised.
Come the revolution, the people in possession of $4500 desk blotters will be first against the wall.
For the wealthy people who were not in favor of the GOP tax bill AND who will get more money from the new tax structure, one way to protest the fiscal fuckery is to send lots of money downward.
If I had a few million dollars under my control, I’d use it to make my friends’ lives easier: pay off a mortgage, settle someone’s student debt, someone else’s credit card debt, pay someone’s legal fees, someone’s old medical bills, and on and on until all my peeps don’t have to spend valuable energy on trying to have enough money for the month.
For our “please raise my taxes” fellow citizens, I suggest doing something similar. Buy houses for low-income families. Pay off younger folks’ student loans. Set up a fund for medical coverage for poor children. Set up another fund to provide housing, meals, health care, incidentals, and counseling to homeless people. Keep on buying vacant houses and keep on giving it to the poorest people until there’s no one begging on your city’s streets anymore. Not because they’ve all been forced out to the suburbs, but because they’re not homeless anymore and they don’t need to beg.
And then in 2018, donate tons of money to the campaigns of Democratic challengers to current GOP legislators’ seats in Congress. Lest the pigs in charge say your generosity vindicates the myth of trickle-down economics, pull the financial rug out from under those fuckers. Donate every election cycle until every single shithead who voted Yes on the tax bill is out of office.
It looks like pretty soon, the rest of us won’t have as much money to spread around.
I haven’t done a full accounting of the fuckery that’s about to start raining down on us from the new tax bill, but it sounds like a hell of a lot of GOP congressfuckers either don’t want to be re-elected or they assume they’ll keep getting re-elected no matter how hard they fuck their constituents with a chainsaw.
Those who voted Yes on the tax bill because they don’t want to get re-elected, should get their wish. Vote them out of office in 2018. Vote for Democrats or, where applicable, Independents for their seats. Those who voted Yes because they assume their districts will keep on electing them no matter how reprehensible they are, should be proven wrong. Vote for Democrats or viable Independents for their seats in 2018.
I mean, we’ll still have Bitch McConnell stinking up the joint until 2020, but if the Senate becomes majority-Dem, then he can’t be Senate Majority Leader.
Same thing with SCROTUS Cheeto Hitler. We still have his sorry ass squatting in the White House until 2020*, but if there’s a majority-Dem legislative branch, then there’s a lot less damage he can do with those two years.
*I actually don’t want him to resign, and I don’t want him to be impeached. At least, I don’t want anything to happen that gets us President Mike Pence. If we can get Cheeto Hitler out of the way at the same time as Pence and all the rest of their rogue’s gallery of fried dog assholes in the line of succession, good. Otherwise, just keep that toxic gas cloud contained until the next election cycle.