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  • December 23rd, 2017


By Joel M. Vance

Here’s the good news, to brighten your holiday spirits. All the Congressional bastards have gone home, having done as much damage to the country as they could in 2017. They’re warming up to do even more to the country in 2018, unless we band together as voters to throw them out of office(and maybe impeach the arch enemy who defames the White House every day he abandons his golden tower and deigns to live in the country’s own home)
You all doubtless know that Congress has passed a massive tax cut which will screw you over and will benefit the wealthy donors of those who serve in the increasingly grimy halls of Congress. The president well, if he already hasn’t, will sign this present to himself with much glee and holiday cheer like Santa Claus gone totally insane— and in case no one has noticed, Donald Trump is certifiably nuts. He has so many things wrong with him psychologically; it would take a psychiatric casebook to list them.
Oh yeah the tax bill includes a provision opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, a kiss of death for any national natural resource. And the Environmental Protection Agency headed by an arch enemy of the Environmental Protection Agency, is poised to allow the spraying of deadly pesticides on many thousands of acres of farmland which should put an end to the Monarch butterfly and other pollinators of the very crops that the pesticides are alleged to protect. Think about that, for those of the future, when all of a sudden the agricultural products that come from the land, bereft of pollinating insects, are in short supply and everyone is wondering why.
The scene among the Republican leadership after the passage of the tax bill was nauseating, like watching the climactic scene of one of Caligula’s orgies. Looming above it all, like Jabba the Hutt, was Donald Trump who finally achieved one of his fondest aims, the screwing of the majority of middle income Americans. And the unfortunate thing is that most of them, conned as so many business people have been over the years by Trump, will think at least for the short haul as if they have gained something. It’s useful to remember the prophetic words of PT Barnum, himself a master con man (although not nearly as harmful to the general population as is Trump) who said, “you can fool all of the people some of the time but not all of the people all the time.”
Paul Ryan smarmy architect of disastrous economics and Mitch McConnell the chinless wonder from Kentucky, and Mike Pence all swarmed around Mount Trump like dung loving insects attracted to a manure pile. Nothing needs to be said about vice president Pence except that if Trump ever suddenly stops, Pence will break his nose.
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get into the spirit of Christmas, a time that should appeal to peace on earth and goodwill toward men, when we are so beset by a rapacious government, gone to the dark side. Where is a real-life Luke Skywalker when we need him? The Democrats can’t come up with anything better than Hillary Clinton who was marginally more popular than the man she ran against and the Republicans are dedicated to the philosophy that all men are created equal— except that they are more equal than the Democrats or anybody whose political inclinations are left of the Ku Klux Klan.
Meanwhile the chicken Congress populated mostly by white leghorn roosters of both parties, kicked all the important issues down the pike until next month. It passed a stop gap spending bill to avoid having to shut down the country, but left 800,000 people hanging (those children of illegal undocumented immigrants who have been in this country all their lives but who stand in danger of being deported to a country they have never known), and refused to fund the children’s insurance program (CHIP) leaving countless children in danger of losing not only their healthcare but their lives. It also likely will result in the loss of health care for 13 million Americans. The Republicans have set the stage for deep cuts if not elimination of Medicare, Social Security, and other programs that have saved Americans from poverty. In order to pay for their gift to the rich they will claim a necessity to lower the national debt by deep cuts in vital programs while their rich donors wallow in the filthy lucre that we get to pay for.
Our local congressional representative, Blaine Luetkemeyer (he is not my representative—I would no more claim him then I would pick up a venomous reptile) is among the wealthiest congressmen He certainly didn’t get any of it from me nor will he. All I pledge to him is a no vote against his name on the next ballot. Luetkemeyer’s wealth among Missouri congresspeople is exceeded only by that of Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. Luetkemeyer’s worth is almost $16 million.15 times more than the average member of Congress and 19 times more than the average representative. Money talks in Congress, but unless you have it, you are basically mute. Most of Luetkemeyer’s campaign money comes from banking and insurance company interests.
Lurking always in the background is the disheveled Steve Bannon, infinitely more intelligent than Donald Trump and also infinitely more devious and frightening. He may seem bombastic and a somewhat cartoonish figure, but then so was Adolf Hitler when he started out and look where that led.
Bannon is ruthless and cruel and capable of and dedicated to any indignity committed on the fabric of our democracy. He calls himself a populist, a man of the people, but his people are more in the mode of the Hitler regime’s SS, the worst of the worst. It’s easy to compare Breitbart News, the Bannon voice, to the propaganda machine of Hitler’s Heinrich Himmler and see an alarming resemblance. Stirring up the populace to mass insanity, hysteria, and infinite cruelty is what Himmler did effectively and where Breitbart seems to be headed. Bannon recently told a reporter for Vanity Fair, noted for its political reporting, “I have power. I can actually drive things in a certain direction.”
It’s terrifying to think that where he might be driving things is right over a cliff, if Trump doesn’t beat him there first. Bannon professes to hate the Republican establishment, especially Mitch McConnell, but that doesn’t make him right, even though we share that distaste. It just makes him a different threat, but no less a dire threat to the future of the nation.
While I’m ranting about the dire prospects of what the nation seems to be becoming, let me comment on Sarah Huckabee Sanders who, in my mind, scarcely deserves to be described as a woman. It’s hard to believe she is a woman, considering the fact that she daily stoutly defends a man who violates every value that a woman—a real woman— cherishes. Not to mention one who violates the women themselves.
The Pulitzer prize-winning website Politifact has a scorecard on Sarah Sanders. It rates her statements in defense of the Groper-in-Chief as false 75% of the time and pants on fire false the other 25%. Rated true, mostly true, half true, or mostly false 0% of the time. The discouraging aspect of her press briefings is that she exhibits no shame in standing in front of the nation’s press corps and lying so obviously that even the densest Trump voter should be able to figure it out. Although perhaps that’s giving that “basket of deplorables” too much credit.
Not only does she defend Donald Trump the Groper in Chief, but she doesn’t, as an avowed evangelical Christian, daughter of a Baptist minister, and fervid believer in Biblical precepts, stand up for those principles and condemn the man and his allies who violate them with impunity, but she also trumpets his values as if they were her own. How’s that for hypocrisy? Where Sean Spicer lurked in the bushes like the comic German soldier from the old Laugh In show (“veddy intereshting”) and seemed ill at ease at the podium, Sarah Sanders embraces her rostrum as if she were delivering a hellfire and damnation sermon at the end of a church service. Maybe there’s a point there—hellfire and damnation loom closer all the time. She also is a mistress of passing the buck. Any uncomfortable subject which, these days, is almost anything gets booted along to somebody else with the promise that that source will be right in touch with all pertinent information. Somehow, those promises never get kept.
This country is within a very few years of being 250 years in existence. It endured two wars for independence from England. It endured a devastating civil war to ensure the integrity of one nation. It endured two world wars, a crippling depression that probably would have destroyed a nation with less resilience, the trauma of two largely useless wars in Korea and especially in Vietnam. We’ve had some great presidents and some real losers— although the one we are saddled with now is a horse’s ass of a different color, artificially and gruesomely yellow-orange. Still, likely, we will survive Donald Trump as we have survived other loser leaders and other outrages to the ideal of a democratic republic.
This is a nation that seems to endure and survive regardless of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that plague it. Perhaps that is what is meant by the American spirit— the ability to take what would be a knockout punch to any other nation and get off the floor to fight again.
So, in this time of unhappiness and possible peril try to see the world as joy filled and uncomplicated as are those of a puppy or a kitten. Celebrate the birth of Christ— or not. Up to you. Go to a church—or not. Up to you. But do give thanks for the miracle of life and for the wonder of the natural world. Take time out to contemplate a bird and wonder about it. And have a peaceful Christmas with those you love and make a vow to work toward the happiest new year ever in 2018.
Up to you.

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