Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
James Comey’s testimony is small potatoes. Progressives need to organize at the state and local levels.
With the mainstream media focused on James Comey’s testimony in front of Congress, and the Trump administration simultaneously running attack ads against Comey, progressives need to keep in mind that these hearings are nothing more than a distraction from more important issues. Big media, Congress, intelligence experts, lobbyists, career bureaucrats, consultants, and defense contractors, as well as international corporate interests who fund the whole charade, are out to destroy Trump not because he supports oppressive regimes, perpetual war, imprisonment of millions of Americans, wasting taxpayer money, corporate welfare, poisoning our water, demeaning women and minorities, destroying the earth, looting public education, and systematic lying to cover up these crimes. Instead they want to get him out of office because he is drawing too much attention to the oppressive system itself. His corruption is so obvious that it’s mobilizing Americans against the status quo. If you are an American oligarch and you see middle class white people marching in the streets disgusted by corruption, and popular comedians like Stephen Colbert and John Oliver making a very good living simply by reporting the news, and Democratic Party leaders like Hillary Clinton gaining applause by referring to themselves as ‘The Resistance,’ then you know you’ve got trouble.
In other words, Trump will be forced out of office not because he’s a war criminal, a climate denier, a rapist, a con man, and a traitor, he’ll be impeached because he’s become an embarrassment to the people who hold power behind the scenes. Trump attempting to co-opt the FBI chief into giving Michael Flynn a pass on his Russian connections was illegal and unethical, but it wasn’t the first time a US president has done such a thing. Remember Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre? Remember Reagan’s deal with the Iranians to hold onto the hostages until Carter left office? Remember George W. Bush trying to distract the American people from the Saudis’ role in 9/11 by having the US invade Iraq?
Go ahead and enjoy the Comey show, it’s a lot of fun to see Trump taken apart one idiotic tweet at a time, but make no mistake: when the Washington establishment gets rid of Trump, they will replace him with Mike Pence, a right-wing true believer, or with Paul Ryan, a pseudo-intellectual fascist apologist, or some other toady who will do their bidding while murmuring smarmy clichés about freedom and democracy.
And nothing will change.
So if progressives should not be concerned with the congressional investigations, and we can clearly see that Trump is on his way out of office… then what should we be doing?
First, we should pay attention to the ways that Trump is stealing from the defenseless and destroying the oppressed. He is so transparent in his corruption that we can become aware of what the right wing really wants to do. Second, we should look at what other progressives are doing in response, so we can learn what works and what doesn’t.
Below are a collection of recent articles that show how Trump’s administration is destroying our constitutional rights to assemble, to speak out, and to learn the truth about our government. Moreover, his cronies Scott Pruitt and Betsy Devos are systematically destroying the environment and looting public education. For these reasons, not because Trump tried to compromise the fictional independence of the FBI, we should continue fighting against him and his successors. The last two articles below outline a possible strategy for fighting the right-wing agenda: organize citizens to put pressure on local and state governments to provide funding for educational programs, relief for the poor, and enforcement of environmental regulations.
From The Washington Post:
The statements President Trump issued on Twitter in recent days lead to a chilling conclusion: The man is out of control. I know that is a radical thing to say about the elected leader of the United States, the most powerful individual in the world. And I know his unorthodox use of social media is thought by some, including the president himself, to be brilliant. But I don’t see political genius in the invective coming from Trump these days. I see an angry man lashing out at enemies real and imagined — a man dangerously overwhelmed….
From The Hill:
President Trump’s charity foundation funneled $100,000 in donations meant for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital into revenue for the Trump Organization by using his son’s charity, Forbes reported Tuesday. For 10 years Eric Trump hosted an annual golf tournament that raised millions of dollars in donations for the hospital. According to the Forbes report, $100,000 of the donations was funneled through the Eric Trump Foundation back into Trump’s golf courses for expenses incurred during the tournaments, despite donors being told that all their money would be used for charity….
From Vox Populi:
There’s no end to the maladies that ail American politics these days. It would, indeed, be far easier and quicker to identify what’s working than to itemize the travails that bedevil our pathetic polity in 2017. Altogether, if this country was a piece of art it would have to combine the orderliness of Pollock with the perceptual logic of Dali, all rooted in the joyful well-being of Hieronymous Bosch, in order to do justice to our times. For those of you who for some reason always wanted to know what it looks like when an empire cracks apart, I’ve got some lovely news for you…
Nearly six months after Donald Trump was sworn into office, more than 200 protesters who gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest his inauguration are facing felony charges that carry sentences of 70 to 80 years. According to Al Jazeera, the 212 protesters were arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department and initially charged with felony rioting, a crime that carries a 10-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine. On April 27, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia added additional charges that include urging to riot, conspiracy to riot and destruction of property. The possibility of long-term prison sentences for these protesters could have a chilling effect on participation in future rallies, particularly at a time of heightened levels of anti-Trump activism….
From The New York Review of Books:
Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos’s proposed budget for the US Department of Education is a boon for privatization and a disaster for public schools and low-income college students. They want to cut federal spending on education by 13.6 percent. Some programs would be eliminated completely; others would face deep reductions. They want to cut $10.6 billion from existing programs and divert $1.4 billion to charter schools and to vouchers for private and religious schools. This budget reflects Trump and DeVos’s deep hostility to public education and their desire to shrink the Department of Education, with the ultimate goal of getting rid of it entirely….
From Common Dreams:
Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has abruptly dismissed as many as half the members of a key scientific review board, and is seeking to replace them with representatives of the very industries the agency is tasked with policing….
From Common Dreams:
In order to confront what they consider a frontal attack on the Internet by the Republican Party and the powerful telecommunications industry, defenders of net neutrality joined with some of the web’s most influential companies on Tuesday in announcing a new campaign and global day of action designed to defend rules enshrined by the Federal Communications Commission just two years ago….
From The Nation:
Confronting the climate crisis shouldn’t be rocket science—to push society to decarbonize, just treat greenhouse gases the way governments treat liquor and cigarettes: Raise the price. With the climate-change movement at an impasse as the Paris climate treaty clashes with Trump’s anti-science agenda, the bottleneck around carbon policy today is more political than technological. And despite Trump’s rejection of the Paris Treaty, the global backlash shows that even the economics are coming around. A new state-by-state analysis by the Carbon Tax Center (CTC) shows that carbon taxation, while often dismissed as a political nonstarter, could actually be a common-sense policy measure for local communities. A carbon tax could build on global momentum toward de-carbonization while at the same time boosting public coffers, reducing inequality, and providing a democratic mechanism for a public reckoning with the true cost of pollution….
Copyright 2017 Michael Simms