Monday, February 20, 2017

It's the Republican Party not President Trump that must be defeated

Dear Friends,

As I have said before (here), we, liberals, are fighting to defeat the Republican Party not just President Trump.  All of the attention is on President Trump and how incredibly incompetent he is.  While he is an incredible embarrassment, he is simply executing on the Republican Party platform.  Here is a letter I submitted to The New York Times which, odds are, will not be published.
David Leonhart in his column entitled "Liberals and the Trump Blame Game" says, "Liberals are not responsible for Trump. But they should be reflective about the fact that they haven’t yet come up with an effective strategy for beating him."  Unfortunately, liberals and the mainstream media are focused on President Trump.  He is a sideshow.  He is implementing the Republican Party platform, and the Republican Party and all of its Representatives and Senators are falling in line with everything that President Trump is doing.  It is true that from time to time a Senator or two or a Representative or two will dissent, e.g. Senators Collins and McCain, but they are meaningless because the Republican Party supports everything that President Trump is doing or trying to do.
From a policy perspective, we, liberals, are not fighting against President Trump; we are fighting against the Republican Party and their platform.  To focus on President Trump and not the Republican Party is to focus on the sideshow and miss the main attraction.  The Democratic Party needs to always link President Trump with the Republican Party and be clear that we are fighting against the policies of the Republican Party.  At the same time, the Democrats need to put forward a truly progressive vision for justice - racial, religious, economic and environmental.  In this way, the liberals can defeat the Republicans and their leader President Trump.
 We cannot afford to focus on President Trump, as enticing as that may be, we need to be clear to the world that he is executing the Republican Party platform.  We need to not only fight against the implementation of that platform, we need to constantly and widely promulgate our own progressive vision for our country and our world.  For two and half decades, the Democratic Party has lost sight of its progressive roots and has failed the people of this country who lack the wealth and power to improve their own lives.  Those people who we, as Democrats, have failed are the ones who elected President Trump, Congressional Republicans, and Republicans in state and local governments.  We can only win them back and with them the control of our country if we put forward positive plans for how to help them.  The Democratic establishment needs to move aside for new faces who are truly progressive and who truly support the core Democratic ideals.

We can win and take back our government and country if we truly believe in and fight for justice - racial, religious, environmental and economic.  In the days ahead, I will write about what I think it means to be a progressive.  The American people overwhelmingly support the policies that make up a progressive platform, they just are tired of the establishment never actually doing anything to give them a real chance for a better life.

Thanks for reading and please comment,
The Unabashed Liberal

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Villefranche-sur-mer 2017-4 (the dinner party)

Dear Friends,

It seems strange to be writing about such a frivolous thing as a dinner party when Donald Trump is trying to ban Muslims from the United States, but it was a wonderful break for us from the terrible news of what President Trump is doing to the United States and the world.

Last night we had our French tutor and family as well as our landlords for dinner.  Our tutor and her family are French and our landlords are American but have lived here for the last decade.  Our day started out with a trip to the Saturday market to see exactly what ingredients we would have for the dinner.  As it turned out, we had great luck.

Then we had to make the dinner.  Here is Jane making the homemade chocolate sauce from some wonderful organic chocolate.

Of course we also needed to set the table and clean up the apartment.

Then the people arrived.  

And a great time was had by all in English and French and baby talk.  Much of the adult talk was of politics.  The conclusion that I drew from our political discussions is that the establishment parties in England, France and the United States (and probably other places as well) are all in a state of disarray and need to be replaced or taken over by new leaders and be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

Thanks for reading and please comment,
The Unabashed Liberal

Thursday, January 26, 2017

President Trump and the Republican Agenda

Dear Friends,

During the first several days of President Trump's Administration, all of the focus has been on the things that President Trump has said and done.  I would like to focus not on all the lies that he has told or all the exaggerations or his narcissism, but on the fact that he is implementing the Republican agenda.  Unfortunately, it is too easy to focus on President Trump and what an incredibly incompetent and egocentric person he is.  That misplaced focus is permitting him to implement the Republican agenda without any blame for it being placed on the Republicans.

The only action that he has taken so far that is not part of the Republican agenda is the cancellation of the Trans Pacific Partnership, also the only action he has taken so far with which I agree.  Let's look first at his cabinet nominees.  By the way one of my favorite signs from the Women's March was "Ikea has better cabinets".

State - Rex Tillerson former CEO of ExonMobil -  His connections to Russia may have raised some concerns among Republicans, but they got over them because he will push fossil fuels around the world.  If you thought as I did that Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State pushed fracking around the world, that will be nothing compared to Rex Tillerson, the epitome of Republican's love of big business and fossil fuels.

Attorney General - Jeff Sessions - the perfect Republican attorney general because he is against the voting rights bill and all attempts to provide free and fair elections and encourage voter turnout, because he opposes gay and minority rights legislation and because he is a racist.

Education - Betsy DeVos - a perfect reflection of the Republican rejection of public education.  There is no better way for the Republicans to maintain power than to keep the electorate ignorant.  Her views of charter schools are those of the Republicans and are designed to destroy public education.

Health and Human Services - Tom Price -  What could be more Republican than a member of the House of Representative who invests in medical companies then pushes legislation that will increase the value of the stock he just purchased?  He is the perfect blend of crony capitalism and greed which is the Republican way.

Transportation - Elaine Chao - She is the only person who has any qualifications at all for the position for which she has been nominated.  But how perfect that she is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  The Republicans are all in favor of keeping all the power in the oligarchy.

Treasury - Steve Mnuchin - The Republican love the powerful investment bankers of Wall Street and Goldman Sachs is certainly among if not the most powerful of them.  He makes money foreclosing on people during a Wall Street caused recession.  The perfect Republican strategy to make money off those less powerful.

Commerce - Wilbur Ross  -  A billionaire who made his money on bankruptcy reorganizations where the little people don't get paid and lose their jobs and the wealthy and powerful gain financial advantage.  If that is not the Republican way, I don't know what is.

Defense - James "Mad Dog" Mattis - Probably the most sane member of President Trump's defense and national security team which is saying something since his nickname is "Mad Dog".  The Republicans are delighted to put control of the Defense Department in the hands of the military not civilian control as has been the case until now.

Housing and Urban Development - Ben Carson -  He said that he is not qualified, and he is right.  But from a Republican point of view he is perfect because he does not believe in what his department is supposed to do.  Under his leadership, it will be clear that at least this government agency is incompetent.

Homeland Security - John Kelly - Another case of putting the military in charge of what should be controlled by civilians, but the Republicans just want to use fear to maintain control.

Interior - Ryan Zinke - He is a representative from Montana who is a friend of the Trump boys.  I really do not need to say more.  The Republicans love to turn federal lands over to their friends so they can make money off of them.

Energy - Rick Perry -  He had no idea what the job was.  He thought all he had to do was push fossil fuels which he has done well historically and which the Republicans love.  Now he finds out he needs to worry about nuclear material and weapons, and he has no idea what he will do.  The two prior Energy Secretaries were a Nobel prize winning physicist and a nuclear physicist.  The Republicans are not big on science.

Veterans Affairs - David Shulkin - the first person to serve in this position who has never been in the military.

Agriculture - Sonny Perdue - A former governor of Georgia who was an early supporter of President Trump.  His qualification is that he claims to have grown up as a farm boy.  He is likely to do what the big agriculture supporters of the Republican party tell him to do.

In addition to his cabinet, President Trump has signed many Presidential Memoranda and Executive Orders.  The substance of these orders is to permit the XL and Dakota Access pipelines, limit immigration of all kind but particularly of Muslims, tear families apart who are living here because one or more members are undocumented, reinstate black sites and the use of torture, prevent family planning agencies around the world from providing women with information about all of their options, stop government agencies from using science to help determine public policy and prevent government employees from disseminating information and real facts (not alternative ones) to the public.  All of these are right out of the Republican agenda.

We are not fighting President Trump.  We are fighting the Republican Party and its backward moving agenda.  Do not be fooled into focusing on President Trump.  The blame for all these actual policies must be placed squarely on the Republicans.  While other Republican Presidents may have been less obnoxious, they all would have done the same things.  If we focus on President Trump and not the Republican Party, we will lose the battle for the soul of this country.

Thanks for reading and please comment,
The Unabashed Liberal