#436.  Is Supporting Unethical Behavior the New Norm?

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #430 was the most recent “sense check.”

START ENTRY #436: Time to sit back and ask yourself a few questions. 

  • If a friend or family member repeatedly exhibited unethical behavior, would you still associate with that person?  
  • If someone repeatedly promised in public to do something and then did just the opposite, would you want to associate with that person? 
  • If that person used one logic stream to justify behavior for one event and then, for a second, almost identical event, used a different logic stream to justify completely opposite behavior, would you want to associate with that person? 
     

My guess is, if a friend or family member consistently exhibited one or more of these type behaviors, you wouldn’t want to maintain a relationship.  You’d likely walk away and sever the relationship. 

Then why, when politicians exhibit the same behaviors, do members of the political party and voters for that party reward them?  Why does unethical behavior in a politician get rewarded and the same behavior from one of your personal friends get punished? 

When I started to write this blog entry, I thought politicians were the problem. I’ve changed my mind. No, politicians are not the problem. The problem is the public. We the public, are acting like idiots. We are rewarding behavior that we despise in others. 

Let’s take voting rights as an example. If elections do not represent the will of the people, then there is no democracy. What are politicians doing to ensure democracy continues?  Republicans are on a rampage to restrict voting rights, primarily the rights of Democrats and mostly members of the black and brown communities. Republican tactics range from extreme gerrymandering to restricting physical voting locations to applying arbitrary limits on the number of absentee ballots. 
 
While Republican supporters might take glee in such actions, what do these Republicans supporters think will result? Yes, the House and Senate will become controlled by Republicans and then the president and can appoint more hard-right justices to SCOTUS. 
 
With such a majority, what is likely to happen? Past behavior is a great predictor of future behavior.  And past behavior of Republicans has been remarkably consistent.  There is no reason to expect a change.  

With such a Republican majority what will come out of Washington is a range of legislation, including:  

  1. Another tax cut justified as “trickle-down” economics to help the middle class.  Trickle-down economics is BS and no empirical evidence exists to support the theory.  The tax cut will be a wealth transfer to the already rich and super rich. 
  1. Likely cuts to “entitlements,” you know the “entitlements” titled Social Security, Medicare and some other benefits that you paid for.  
  1. Cut in funding or elimination of programs to address global warming.  The impact of these cutbacks won’t be evident for a few years so the politicians will have retired and won’t get blamed.  Now, think about who’s going to suffer from the cutbacks?  Your children and especially your grandchildren. 
  1. Cuts in funding for public education because all good Republicans know “public education is inefficient.”  The funds will be transferred to private schools, which most people can’t afford even with subsidies.   And, FYI, public education is efficient.  

So Republican voters and self-proclaimed patriots, what will these Republican legislators do for you? Nothing but make your life worse. 
 
I know you don’t believe me. So, why not decide for yourself.  A good first step would be to take a real hard look at how Republican legislation since Ronald Reagan has benefitted the vast majority of Americans.  Look at middle-class incomes adjusted for inflation and middle-class wealth as a percent of the total wealth.  Then compare the percentage of middle-class wealth to the wealth of the top 2-3% of US households.  

If the discrepancies are not obvious, take another look.  My friend you have been hoodwinked by the Republican Party. 
 
You have been fed buffalo chips for 40+ years. If you want a bigger pile of buffalo chips, then continue to cheer for the unethical behavior of Republicans, especially those in the Senate.  Those who refuse to support the right to vote for all Americans.  Those who claim to help the middle class when in fact they are hurting the middle-class economically.  Those who claim to be concerned about the well-being of Americans and take actions that do just the opposite. 
 
I agree that Republicans are not the only members who qualify for unethical behavior. Senators Manchin and Sinema qualify as well.  50 Republicans in the Senate along with Manchin and Sinema do not want a democracy.  By voting for the current slate of Republicans, you are enabling them to destroy the democracy.  And you are getting nothing in return. 
 
Seems like a good deal – give up a lot and get nothing in return. Hope you’re happy with the outcome when your Social Security and Medicare benefits get cut when Republicans claim “the deficit is too large and we can’t afford all those entitlements.”  The Republicans will forget to mention the reason the deficit is so high is because the wealthy are not remotely paying their fair share of taxes.  

I’ll state once again, maybe it is time to step back and ask yourself, “Are these the kind of people I want to associate with and to have such control over my life?” END #436

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#435. What Are Republican Seantors Getting in Return?

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #430 was the most recent “sense check.”

START ENTRY #435: The past few weeks seemed to have included more than the usual number of “pull-your-hair-out” days.  I know many people have asked the same question, but “what has happened to our country?“

Yes, Trump was a bad actor, who intentionally or not, tried to destroy our democracy. But the guy is gone, holed up in a few rooms at his joint in Palm Beach.

Yet, Republicans in the House and Senate continue to act as if he’s got a gun to their head. “Why?“ is what I’d like to know.

 Many House and Senate members are reasonably affluent, so a few dollars from Trump wouldn’t make a difference. Besides, he’s never shared money with anybody.

Whether Republican or Democrat, why would one discard all semblance of ethical behavior and bow down to some fat-ass serial liar who never cared about anyone other than himself?

I might be the one who’s naïve, but why would you throw away your reputation, or life’s work, for somebody like Trump?

Take Mitt Romney as an example. A Mormon supposedly in good standing, credible investment banker who made a lot of money, former presidential nominee of the Republican party, and currently senator from Utah. Yet Romney supports actions by Trump and the far-right Republicans.  Mitt in case you haven’t heard, “When you lie down with pigs, you come up smelling like a pig.”

Romney’s obit in the NY Times and in history books may well read, “Once a credible presidential candidate with a favorable reputation among most voters, who for some unknown reason, gave away his reputation for nothing in return.“

Change a few words in the description and a number of senators qualify. The key phrase, however, is “…gave away his/her reputation for nothing in return.“

Why?  Give away your reputation for a nice office in DC and a bunch of perks? There are lots of jobs with nice offices and a bunch of perks where you can help society and maintain your reputation.

Give away your reputation for money? If you’re going to sell your soul for cash, at least make sure you get lots of money for it. Selling it for a few million dollars is not worth it.

So, once again, I’ll ask, “Why are Republicans willing to lie down with the pigs and destroy democracy? What do they get in return?”  If you have some ideas, please let me know. Thanks. END ENTRY #435.

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#434. SCOTUS Justice Alito Challenged by 8th Grader

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #430 was the most recent “sense check.”

BEGIN ENTRY #344: At a restaurant in Washington, DC the night the case about the right of Federal government to issue vaccine mandates was argued before the Supreme Court, Justice Alito was challenged by an 8th grader about his line of questions.

The 8th grader went to the table where Justice Alito was eating and asked, ”Are you Justice Alito?” Following an affirmative response the 8th grader stated, “We listened to the Supreme Court arguments during our civics class today. You know the case about the right of government to issue a vaccine mandate.”

Alito, ”That’s very good. What did you learn?”

8th Grader, “Well, for one thing, we learned some of the justices aren’t very smart.”

Alito, “Why do you think that?”

8th Grader, “They don’t seem to understand what’s going on.”

Alito, “Not sure what you mean? Tell me more.”

8th Grader, “Do you have any idea how many kids and teachers in our school have COVID?”

Alito, “A lot I suppose.”

8th Grader, ”So many that in-person classes are going to be canceled, again.”

Alito, “Who’s getting sick?”

8th Grader, “People who aren’t vaccinated.”

Alito, “Are you vaccinated?”

8th Grader, “Yes. And you should be too. Tell me, Justice Alito, why are you so against people getting vaccinated?”

Alito, “I’m not opposed to vaccination. Just concerned about the risk of getting vaccinated.”

8th Grader, “Risk of what? People who were vaccinated don’t get sick. People who aren’t vaccinated get sick and some end up in the hospital, and some die.”

Alito, “My arguments today were about risk.”

8th Grader, “So, you want everyone in my school to get sick and some to go to the hospital because one person might have a reaction?”

Alito, “Like I said, the vaccine has a risk.”

8th Grader, “Like I said, some justices are stupid.” END ENTRY #344

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#433 Anti-Vaxxers, Meet Janis Joplin

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #430 was the most recent “sense check.” 

ENTRY #433 BEGINS: One thing I try to do is create a contact list that includes people with a range of opinions. Over the years, many people have asked, “Why do you remain friends or even talk to that person? “

Actually, for two reasons: (i) people of all ilk’s usually can be interesting if you dig around a bit for their interests, and then listen; (ii) understanding how different people view certain issues, as long as the views are not totally outlandish, can help identify what needs to be considered when trying to construct a solution to a societal problem.

One of my current projects that some readers are aware of is being part of an effort by a group of fellow MIT alumni to identify causes of climate change, and then recommend practical solutions.  The real challenge of the project is not selecting the technology to help reduce global warming. Ironically, the technology solutions are rather straightforward. The real problem is how to convince people to adopt and implement the recommended solutions.  Knowing how different people think about climate change and reaction to the recommended solutions is critical if climate change is ever to be addressed effectively.

For many people, the reaction to recommendations to address climate change is the same as their reaction to recommended solutions to address the COVID pandemic.  The reaction is some combination of denial and/or “your recommendations – masks and vaccines – are taking away my freedom! “

Some anti-vaxxers claim that others do not respect their opinion.  And the lack of respect is true.  But anti-vaxxers, let’s try to put your claim in the context of real world and not the context of the blabbering talking heads on Fox.

First, what is freedom?  Based on their rhetoric, anti-vaxxers claim to have some kind of freedom from complying with any kind of legal restriction they don’t like.  If you’re an anti-vaxxer and you missed civics class, or can’t remember, freedom for citizens is granted by the government. The type of government, unless a dictatorship or an autocracy, is chosen by the people. Yes, anti-vaxxers, citizens of the US elected representatives to decide among other things on what freedoms you could have as citizens.  The basic rights of citizens and situations where rights might be overridden are outlined in the US Constitution. 

The document of the government also outlines a legal system to enforce laws of the land. Your freedom is defined by various laws, not what you think freedom should be.

If you want to true freedom, then here’s the trade off.  You can have your complete freedom but you have to give up your citizenship, Passport, driver’s license, deeds to any property and all rights to be protected by the legal system, law enforcement and the courts that would normally be used to redress any wrongdoing against you. 

With your new-found freedom, you are now a non-citizen in no-man’s land with no protection.  If you really want freedom, then you should consider the words from a song made famous by Janis Joplin, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…“  With your freedom, you now have nothing left to lose.    

Now that you’ve been to civics class, time for history class.  The US and the Allies did not defeat the Axis in WWII relying on a bunch of whiny brats who insisted on being free from government restrictions. To win the war required significant sacrifice from all segments of society.  Many everyday items were rationed. Many other items were taken off the commercial market and resources diverted to the war effort.  Many people lost their lives defending democracy and how that democracy defines freedom.

So anti-vaxxers, quit acting like a bunch of two-year-olds. Instead, put on your big-boy pants and start doing what’s right for society. The restrictions you’re fighting that are designed to help address the pandemic will be like a penny waiting for change compared to the restrictions required to address the scourges of climate change.

RECAP: How does this entry relate to a possible 5th US Revolution?  In all likelihood, the anti-vaxxers will continue with their “me-first-at-any-cost” attitude and force the government to issue mandates for recommendations for climate change.  The anti-vaxxers will continue to rebel against those mandates, even though the consequences of not addressing climate change are catastrophic.  The anti-vaxxers could well join forces with the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on 01/06/2021 and repeat that type of attack in many other locations.   

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#432. Say It Ain’t So, Joe

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #430 was the most recent “sense check.” 

BEGIN ENTRY #432:  My computer is having an extremely bad hair day so while it’s attempting to get ready for work, I thought I might draft another blog entry.

Early Sunday, 12/19/21, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced on Fox that he could not support the “social components” of president Biden’s Build Back Better legislation. Excuse me, Joe, where have you been that it has taken so long to decide?

Were you out soliciting more funds from the coal industry? How about soliciting funds from some countries that want to see the US fail?

You don’t need to conduct a lot of in-depth analysis to decide whether to support legislation that expands infrastructure as well as eliminates some glaring social inequities.  I realize it’s hard to see over the transom of your yacht, but your constituents in West Virginia don’t have a yacht and need help.

Say what you want or maybe even pray what you want, but the coal industry is DOA for any climate-change plan designed to save the planet from self-destruction.  You might not want coal to die but everyone under age 30 is going to kill it.  Besides coal-mining jobs in West Virginia have been declining for decades.

The problem for your West Virginia constituents is how to migrate quickly to and become competitive in an ever-increasing digital economy. West Virginia currently ranks 44th among states in the level of education, #50 in infrastructure and #50 in healthcare. Pretty good ratings, huh?  Obviously, the current approach is not working and many of your constituents lack access to good health care and good Internet services.

Your logic is a bit different.  Rather than help your brethren in WV, I’ll make up some excuse why key parts of the Build Back Better legislation can’t be supported.  I’ll claim, “I can’t support because the legislation will add to the Federal deficit.”  BS, Joe.  The legislation pays for itself by simply rescinding the Trump tax legislation that transferred even more wealth to the already wealthy.  What world are you living in?

Did I hear you say, “You know, we can’t have those social programs that reshape society. The programs like childcare, more schooling, a cleaner environment. Not only do those kind of programs cost too much but the programs are un-American.  The same goes for welfare, Social Security and Medicare.  Oops, I wasn’t supposed to mention those last three.“

The world understands that Republicans, other than Liz Cheney and the guy from Michigan, have no balls. Well, you know what I mean.  But, don’t you claim to be a moderate Democrat, not some wimpy Republican?  

Here’s what you need to do. Go ask your constituents in WV whether they want expanded infrastructure, cleaner air, cleaner water and better healthcare. And, do they want a chance to get a job that won’t kill them so early in life?

If the majority of West Virginians say they don’t want those programs, then vote no on the social part of Build Back Better. If the majority of West Virginians want those programs, then vote to support the scial part of Build Back Better. Joe, deciding how to vote is not complicated. Besides, you already committed to vote support. Reneging on your promise negates whatever credibility you might have left.

It is Manchin’s kind of thinking, or lack thereof, that contributes to the likelihood of a 5th US Revolution, which seems aptly labeled as the “Revenge Revolution.” END OF #432.

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#431 Why Do Republicans Want to Kill the US Democracy?

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #430 was the most recent “sense check.” 

ENTRY 431: Why are many Republicans anti-democracy? In some ways, this entry is a supplement to #430 “Sense Check.” What has been striking to me this past few weeks is the extent of support within the Republican Party, especially from the far right and from many members of Congress, for actions that will usher in an autocracy and destroy democracy in the US.

The support for autocracy by Republicans seems a bit ironic since 80 years ago this month the US declared war on three autocracies — Germany, Italy and Japan.   Each of these countries was defeated and has since become a democracy.  According to a recent ranking of democracies, each of the countries has a more functioning democracy than the US.  Even Greece and Slovakia ranked higher than the US.

Also this month, Germany had a peaceful transition of power after 16 years of leadership by Angela Merkel. Merkel, who was born in East Germany and trained as a scientist, became the defacto lead voice for many key issues in the European Union and stabilizing force for strong economic growth in Germany. Republicans should take a lesson from Germany on how to nominate credible candidates for office.

What did Republicans do to remember the US efforts in World War II to defeat autocracies? In no particular order of importance, key Republicans:

  1. Claimed the attackers on the Capitol January 6, 2020 were really defending themselves from police aggression. Everyone knows how aggressive the Capitol police are.
  2. Filed suit against the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Such a suit likely will be dismissed in court but the suit convinces the Republican base that the Federal courts are biased against them.
  3. Refused to testify before the Select Committee.  Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, first started to cooperate and turned over several thousand pages of documents to the Committee without any claim of executive privilege.  Apparently Trump called and Meadows decided not to cooperate, claiming some or all of the documents were privileged.  Prior to the claim of privilege Meadows published a book with some of the documents. Let’s look at Mark bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball.  Meadows, Steve Bannon and a handful of other Trump associates could easily end up doing time in Federal prison.  Wonder if Jim Jordon prefers stripes or orange?
  4. Continued to harass election officials, including Republicans who certified Biden’s victory.  In some cases, low-level election volunteers have received death threats.  In addition to the investigation by the House Select Committee, at least one state – Georgia – is investigating whether Trump broke state election laws by trying to overturn a certified election.  To make sure the Georgia investigation gets squashed, Trump “convinced” David Purdue, who lost the 2020 senate race in Georgia, to run for governor.  Purdue has pledged loyalty to Trump and said he would overturn any election in Georgia where Trump was not victorious.   
  5. Remained silent about the need for any type of control or expanded background checks for gun purchases, despite another mass school shooting, this time in Oxford Township, a sleepy suburb of Detroit.  
  6. Supported a vaporware media company merged into a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC). The SPAC will seek additional capital from foreign sources, especially the Middle East, and guess where the money will go? Yes, to Trump, who created the media company that will be acquired by the SPAC.  In typical Trump business fashion, the SPAC is already under investigation for violating SEC regulations.
  7. Vowed to block any effort by the Biden administration to govern the country.

And this is just the short list of actions by Republicans.

What these actions by key Republicans mean is easy to understand. Trump, now king of the Republican Party, wants to become a permanent dictator and key Republicans are helping him.

An open question – who are the goons forcing changes in behavior by key Republicans?  Trump is about as threatening as a wet noodle.  His idea of a fight is hiring a crew of scummy lawyers and taking all involved to court.  Given Trump’s inherent weakness, who’s behind the threats? 

Why would Meadows turn so quickly, even after much of what he claimed was privileged was already published in his book?  Why on 01/02/2020 would the talking heads on Fox, notably Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, send texts to Meadows (still chief of staff), and possibly Trump, begging for Trump to call off the insurrectionists.  The same people later claimed the insurrectionists were patriots.  Even Don, Jr sent texts to Meadows asking him to convince the old man to call off the dogs.  Why the change in behavior?    

Some months or years might pass before the public finds out who the goons are – the Russians, the Chinese, the Saudis, the Proud Boys or some combination.  Whomever the source of the threats, none of the actions by key Republicans supporting Trump at any cost bodes well for a continuing democracy in the US.

As far as the likelihood of a 5th US revolution, the Revenge Revolution, there seems little doubt that a revolution will occur – and an armed one at that.  The only issue is how soon after the 2022 or 2024 election and how many public officials will be assassinated.  END ENTRY #431

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#430. Sense Check. When Will the 5th US Revolution Escalate?

Is a Revenge Revolution still likely?  The fall 2013 was the first entry in this blog. About every six or so months thereafter I’ve written a “sense check“ whether a 5th US revolution was possible, or just a statistical aberration.

One needs to be careful about believing everything one writes is somehow automatically true. Doing so might make one feel better, but a peer review and some objective measures are good guardrails.

The last sense-check was Entry #400, published January 1, 2021. The entry preceded the attack on the US Capitol January 6 and preceded numerous (and on-going) attempts by Trump to overturn the results of the presidential election. From a historical perspective, I think the attack on the Capitol will mark the beginning of the 5th US revolution, the Revenge Revolution.

While Trump has continued to make noise, file frivolous lawsuits, and bilk supporters out of hard-earned cash by claiming he’s going to run again (fat chance),  there have been other events recently that suggest the 5th US revolution is accelerating rather than slowing down as one might expect under a new, more rational Biden administration.

For example, in 2021 the Supreme Court seems to have decided to let the highly conservative Fifth Circuit do its dirty work by allowing the seemingly unconstitutional restrictive abortion law in Texas stand, thereby effectively overturning Roe v. Wade.

And yes, SCOTUS has decided that it supports those who question why the Federal government should have jurisdiction over states to protect its citizens against the pandemic.  Apparently the majority of SCOTUS thinks the current governors of such states as Florida and Texas are much more qualified than the world-class immunologist and virologist at CDC to make medical decisions.  Like SCOTUS, surely everyone knows that the Florida and Texas governors are the smartest people on the planet.

What may intensify the 5th Revolution, however, is the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Aside from a clearly biased judge, the verdict now allows someone to carry an assault weapon to an event, initiate trouble, kill people, and then claim he (or she) was being threatened by the people that he intimidated with the assault weapon.  As demonstrated in Kenosha, the killer in that situation can walk away without penalty.

Unfortunately, Republicans and the talking heads on Fox apparently are too stupid to understand the consequences of the Rittenhouse verdict. To demonstrate even more of their stupidity, Senators Cruz of Texas and Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida (under FBI investigation for sex trafficking) offered Rittenhouse an internship in their respective offices.  Doubtless Rittenhouse is as qualified for the position as Cruz and Gaetz are for Congress.

An equally large contributor to the 5th Revolution, although the effect will not be apparent until after the November 2022 mid-term election, is the effect of voter suppression, resulting from changes in state law and extensive gerrymandering. Once the Democrats and Independent voters realize how worthless their votes have become, they likely will become incensed.  But then it will be too late to change any outcome of the election.

How have Republicans been able to run roughshod over voting rights?  Again the US citizenry can thank Chief Justice John Roberts and, to a degree, Mitch McConnell for packing the Supreme Court with lackeys. Roberts led the charge to change the law when he wrote the majority opinion gutting the Voting Rights Act. 

Roberts’ method was subtle.  Rather than continuing to force proposed changes to voting rights in certain southern states to be approved by the Federal government before taking affect, Roberts allowed the states to make a law as restrictive as they wanted without Federal review.  Then, after the law took effect, aggrieved parties would need to sue and prove damages. 

While the voting-rights cases were slowly winding tgheir way through the courts, the restrictive laws would remain in effect and any elections would proceed.  Of course, if the restrictive laws were ever overturned, the plaintiffs had no method to rectify other laws implemented after the rigged elections. 

How will Roberts new “Rules of Order” for elections play out in 2022?  Republicans in such states North Carolina can gerrymander to their hearts content. North Carolina’s about evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. With recent changes to the redistricting maps, 10 of the 14 House seats are so gerrymandered as to guarantee a Republican victory.  Why wouldn’t anyone think that it’s fair for a state split about evenly between Republicans and Democrats, with Democrats holding a slight edge, to have 70% of the Federal House members guaranteed Republican?

One other event that is a positive for justice but may accelerate the Revenge Revolution is verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case in Brunswick, GA.  Three men were convicted of murdering Mr. Arbery, who was unarmed and posed no threat.  The unfortunate aspect of the investigation is nothing was done to investigate the murder until a video was released, likely accidentally, of the three men chasing Mr. Arbery and murdering him.  Only after a public outcry was an investigation started.

The defense in the Arbery case used a defense similar to Rittenhouse.  It is OK to kill someone else, even if they are unarmed and pose no real threat.  Just claim the other person poses a threat.  The far right loves this logic and many Republicans seem to support or at least condone it.  Few, if any top Republicans commented publicly about the Arbery verdict, which was announced the day before Thanksgiving.  Must have been Republicans were more concerned about cooking the Thanksgiving turkey.    

When the Revenge Revolution ratchets up remains a question. How does anyone predict the point when a bubbling revolution boils over?   

What does seem almost assured, however, is when it boils over, the revolution will include a significant use of firearms and the killings of numerous higher-profile people. I wish the conclusion of the “sense check” were less onerous but I need to be honest about my assessment.  Let’s hope I’m wrong.

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#429. Stupid Is as Stupid Does.

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

ENTRY #429: The past couple of entries I’ve tried to move beyond the irrationality of certain members of Congress and irrationality of certain voters. Why bang your head against the wall trying to understand their logic?

Well, I’ve been unable to move on so one more entry addressing irrationality. This time, however, it’s not just members of Congress. We pretty much know where they stand, other than Senator Krysten Sinema (D, AZ).

What has baffled me the past week or so has been the “rationale” of voters in the Virginia gubernatorial election.  According to a number of interviews published in different media, voters in Virginia were frustrated with the Biden administration because not all promised legislation has been passed, gas prices have increased and there are some supply chain hiccups that might affect Christmas shopping. 

OK, so you’re frustrated. What’s the solution? Elect a Republican governor who is a former investment banker and who is supported by Trump. Forget that the underlying causes of most of your frustrations were not the fault of the Biden administration but occurred under Trump and even under some earlier administrations. 

For example, the shortage of truckers can be traced to efforts beginning during the Nixon administration to deregulate the trucking industry.  The shortage of long-haul truckers can be linked, in part, to consumers ordering more on line rather than buying at the store.  If you’re a long-haul trucker, why go on the road sometimes for weeks at a time when you can work regular hours delivering packages locally, make probably the same amount of money and be home at night? And, you’re surprised there’s a shortage of long-haul truckers?

And, Virginia voters, what about your frustration with you just electedthose products being produced overseas rather than the US?  Forget that many investment bankers, like the incoming governor, have encouraged companies to relocate manufacturing overseas, which exacerbated the supply-chain problem.

Just for reference, the voters frustrated with Biden need to ask themselves exactly what did the Republicans and Trump do for you and most voters during the four years in office? Well, the Trump administration’s biggest piece of legislation, the tax cut, transferred substantially more wealth to the already wealthy and reduced the amount of income tax corporations pay.   The net result of Trump’s major legislation?  Reduced revenue to the Federal government so the federal deficit ballooned.  And the other result was the tax cut transferred the responsibility for paying that debt to you, the other 98% of the population.  Good deal, huh?

Then Trump implemented trade policies that helped create the foundation for inflation. Remember those tariffs that Trump promoted?  Trump made sure that tariffs were put on many products, including those from our neighbors with whom we trade the most – Canada and Mexico.  Virginia voters who do think pays those tariffs?  The tariffs are not paid by the exporting country.  The tariffs are paid by the importers and then passed on to you, the consumer.  I guess the Trump administration never mentioned that.

The icing on that piece of “illogical cake” the Virginia voters ate was Trump publicly and emphatically proclaiming that Covid was not a problem.  Hey, only 15 people got sick and it’s just like the flu.  The “ala mode” for the cake was Trump and his minions claiming that climate change was a hoax.

You say, “Aside from all you just said, Biden has been in office long enough to solve all those problems.  He’s been in the White House almost 10 months.”

Let’s put 10 months in perspective.  When those criticizing Biden as taking too long are asked about fixing problems in other organizations, say rebuilding a college football team, the time horizon is quite different.  According to the Biden criticizers, to turn the fortunes of a football team is incredibly complicated and the head coach needs a minimum two years and usually 3-4 years.  Fans need to be patient.”  Mmm, I guess a football team is more difficult to manage than the Federal government. 

Another example of Republican back-asswards thinking occurred during the recent vote on the legislation to upgrade and repair significant portions of the US infrastructure.  Every state and likely every Congressional district will benefit from this legislation.  The legislation will make the US more competitive and address many of the frustrations expressed by Virginia voters.

The legislation passed the Senate a couple of months ago with strong bipartisan support.  Even Mitch McConnell voted for it.

So what was the reaction of House Republicans to the infrastructure legislation?  Don’t vote to help constituents!  Don’t vote to help make America more competitive internationally!  Don’t vote to create jobs! The legislation passed with 13 Republicans voting in favor and all but a handful of Democrats, who opposed the legislation to show support for the Build Back Better legislation.  

What was the response from Republican leadership in the House? Threatening to yank any committee assignments from Republicans who supported their constituents. Some Republicans who voted for the legislation were labeled as traitors.

Traitors to whom?  All elected representatives whether Republican, Democrat or independent take an oath to uphold the US Constitution.  Republicans please explain to me why voting for legislation that directly benefits the people you represent is being a traitor.   The logic displayed by Virginians voting for a Trump-supported Republican and the Republican leadership in the House punishing members for helping their constituents confirms the saying, “stupid is as stupid does.” 

Next entry I’ll try to move on to a different topic.  

Other Topics. Interested in more info about climate change, what’s required to electrify a fleet of cars/trucks, what it was like to work day-to-day with Lee Iacocca and an array of other topics? Visit another page of this website, https://usrevolution5.com/jrd-thought-comments/

#428 I’m Digusted and Pulling My Hair Out!

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

ENTRY #428 STARTS: I’m disgusted. Well, OK, maybe I’ve turned into a curmudgeon, and may be a naïve curmudgeon at that.  But, I look at the behavior of a number of members of Congress and want to scream. What’s wrong with these folks?

What’s wrong has nothing to do with whether I agree or disagree with what used to be policy differences between the political parties.  What’s wrong has to do with why aren’t these Representatives and Senators focusing on governing and on upholding the Constitution?

Yes, Mitch McConnell may qualify as one of the biggest scumbags ever elected to Congress. Yes, he’s crazed with power, gives the finger to the Constitution and is horribly corrupt. He’s also very likely to be in the pocket of the Chinese government. 

I’ll save the detail for another entry but ask yourself some very basic questions about McConnell’s behavior.  What does McConnell have to gain by holding up all but two of President Biden’s nominations for ambassadorships?  Ambassadors are not involved in domestic policy.  Who or what country would benefit if the US did not have ambassadors in many countries of the world?  What country might benefit from gaining influence at America’s expense?  What is the country of origin of McConnell’s wife?  Give that some thought.  More in future entries.

Back to Congress, what’s disgusting is why no Republican, save Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the guy from Michigan, will stand up for the Constitution.  Many Republicans members of the House, starting with Kevin McCarthy, are making every effort to thwart an objective investigation of the January 6 Trump–instigated insurrection. Gee guys, did you have a hand in planning the insurrection and that’s why you’re opposed to any investigation? 

If you were involved, then you can rightfully be charged with treason.  And being convicted of treason will land you in prison at a minimum.  In addition, since you were planning to take out VP Pence, maybe you should be tried for attempted murder.

Republicans do not have a lock hold on maddening behavior.  On second thought, maybe they do. Let’s start with Joe Manchin III, senator from West Virginia.  Manchin claims to be a moderate Democrat. But like his coal-at-any-cost buddy from Kentucky, McConnell, Manchin goes out of his way to keep the coal industry afloat.

From Manchin’s perspective, any effort to accelerate cleaner generation of electricity should be blocked. In Joe’s world, having the air filled with CO2 must better for you than having air with just plain old O2.  Joe must think that the carbon is some sort of vitamin and that’s why CO2 is better.  If trees like CO2, humans should, too.

From all indications, including little Joey’s own words, he’s more a Republican than a Democrat. I don’t care what party you belong to Joe, but why do you constantly block legislation that will benefit your constituents? Why do you block legislation that will help avert climate change disasters for your grandchildren?  Joe’s such an honorable guy. Just glad he’s not my grandfather.

Senator Sinema (AZ), the other alleged Democrat holding up Biden’s legislation, acts more like some character in a B-movie.  She must think cinema is spelled Sinema.  Apparently she used to claim to be an environmentalist.  I guess her idea of being green went from helping the environment to taking greenbacks from lobbyists and special interest groups. Where her head is, no one knows. But we know what she’s doing is not helping constituents and not helping the US address climate change.

What happened to “Duty, honor, country?“  Policy debates are fine. Blocking votes on legitimate legislation that addresses a basic tenet on which the US was founded – the right to vote, for example – is antithetical.  The right to vote and the proper counting of those votes is a key to a functioning democracy.  Why are Republicans blocking even a debate on the legislation?

Republicans have been so Trump-like transactional that they have become unable to see the implications of their behavior.  One day Republicans will wake up and ask, “Why didn’t anyone warn us that climate change would ruin my vacation home on the coast?”  Or, “Why didn’t anyone warn us that those ultra-rightwing folks would threaten to take us out if we didn’t vote exactly as they wanted?”  And, many other seemingly obvious incredibly risky behaviors the Republicans are engaged in. 

Republicans loyalty to party over doing what’s right for constituents and doing what’s right for the country has me convinced more than ever that the US is headed for a 5th revolution. And, what’s going to surprise the Republicans in Congress and state legislators, the January 6-insurrectionsists might begin attacking Republicans first.

Other Topics. Interested in more info about climate change, what’s required to electrify a fleet of cars/trucks, what it was like to work day-to-day with Lee Iacocca and an array of other topics? Visit another page of this website, https://usrevolution5.com/jrd-thought-comments/

#427 Excuse Me Senator. Is Your Name Manchin or Manson?

Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1 Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

ENTRY #427:Senator Manchin has been in the news a lot the past couple of weeks. Late the week of 10/11/2021 he publicly stated he would not support taxpayer funding for the development of zero-carbon electricity generation. OK, Joe, what about billions and billions of taxpayer subsidies for coal extraction and oil-and-gas drilling? Tell me what’s the difference?

Not all readers believe that if CO2 emissions continue unchecked, the earth could begin to begin to become uninhabitable by 2100. There’s lots of science and data to support such a statement but some don’t believe in science.

Clean electricity had been a key element in president Biden’s Build Back Better program and a major step toward the US dramatically slowing the growth of CO2 emissions. The Biden administration’s plan would have given the US a good chance of doing its part to limit global warming to 2oC by 2100. Given the unfathomable level of denial of science by Republicans, Joe Manchin might be able to take credit for singularly causing the world to speed up the path to catastrophe.

For you climate-change deniers, remember how Trump claimed COVID-19 was under control? “We’re very, very ready for this,” Trump said, adding that only 15 people had contracted the virus in the U.S. and that all were expected to recover. A mere 700,000 deaths later and COVID-19 is still not under control. Deniers – who ya gonna blame?

Given the severity of the potential consequences of doing nothing to address climate change, I thought an open letter to Senator Manchin might be appropriate. Yes, the letter is sarcastic and a bit edgy but I think Senator Manchin deserves this type letter.

The salutation evolved from a comment made during a recent call about climate change. One person on the call accidentially referred to Senator Manchin as “Manson.” That led to a few chuckles. However morbid the circumstances that made Charles Manson famous, Senator Manchin’s decision to refuse to recognize the need to address global warming will have far worse consequences.

Dear Senator Charles Manson:

Thank you for taking a strong stand against generating clean electricity, thereby intensifying the effects of global warming. All the children in the neighborhood and in the family appreciate your efforts to make the earth uninhabitable and shorten their lives.

The children asked if you could share some of the payoff money you received from the fossil-fuel industry. They want to buy some candy before it’s too late.

We also appreciate your efforts to make the US look like a third-world country that has a non-functioning government. President Biden especially appreciates your efforts to diminish his credibility with other countries at the upcoming conference to address global warming.

Rarely in US history has a single senator had such a widespread negative impact on mankind. You should be proud of your accomplishments. (End of letter)

Where the negotiations in Congress go to try and save the provision to fund generation of clean electricity, I don’t know, although I do understand some progress has been made. When thinking about how to solve the problem with the holdout Senators, I was reminded of a scene from the movie, “Patton.” In the scene Patton’s troops are marching through Sicily toward Palermo. The terrain is hilly, the road narrow and the troops are strung out for probably a mile.

The journey is high risk because enemy aircraft can easily strafe the column and there is little protection along the road. Then the column stops. Patton drives to the front and finds a cart with two donkeys blocking a critical bridge. The farmer tries to get the donkeys to move but no luck. The solution was a bit inelegant but effective.

Patton shoots the donkeys, dumps them off the bridge and the march proceeds. When trying to persuade Senators Manchin and Sinema, president Biden might do well to take a lesson from General Patton. Too much is at stake for the US and the world to let a couple of people get in the way.

Other Topics. Interested in more info about climate change, what’s required to electrify a fleet of cars/trucks, what it was like to work day-to-day with Lee Iacocca and an array of other topics? Visit another page of this website, https://usrevolution5.com/jrd-thought-comments/