This is America; The Koch Brothers Have The Right To Pursue Their Agenda

This is America!  And although I disagree with almost everything that the Koch brothers stand for, I still firmly believe that they have the right to pursue their agenda.  They have the right to work to protect their business interests although it appears to be strongly opposed to most middle class Americans’ interests!  For some reason unknown to me and something that I cannot put my finger on, my gut tells me that they are not like Mr. Donald Trump.  Something tells me that they are not – among many other things, racist and white supremacists like Mr. Donald Trump is but they are decent Americans with a different point of view from my own as a middle class American.  My gut tells me that they simply want to protect their business interests and are, instead, primarily money grubbing capitalist (in this particular instance, this is meant neither to be perceived as a pejorative nor a compliment – a way in which it is not impossible that they might take it coming from someone whom they would likely label a staunch liberal – aimed at the Koch brothers) who simply believe that they can never have enough money.

I do not know whether or not it might also be because they believe that they must play by the same rules that all of the other money grubbing capitalists play by if they are to effectively compete (only God knows how many times that, right or wrong, I have loathe the Democrats for not playing by the same rules as their Republican colleagues in order to accomplish Democratic goals since Republicans seem to give no thought to screwing Democrats) or if it is because they are the lead dogs among those who are simply money hungry and a part of the infamous American greed.  Perhaps which reason it is does not matter to them but I believe that it deeply matters to the American people.  I know that it matters to me!  It matters because of who I really believe that we are as Americans!  It matters because of how I believe most patriotic Americans feel!

The Koch brothers obviously have a strong team in place throughout the country that is working to push their agenda forward and that team is obviously very successful.  But what they do not have on their team is ‘someone‘ who represents the opposition.  They do not have anyone on that team who is telling them how the other side feels, why they feel the way that they do and that what they and their team are doing is bull**** (whether they agree with that person or not, which they likely wouldn’t).  My gut tells me that the Koch brothers do not want to destroy the federal government and democracy as we now know it as does Mr. Trump and his minions in the Republican-led congress.  They do not appear to want to destroy the free press and our intelligence agencies and establish an authoritarian government as does Mr. Trump.

The Koch brothers do not need to include this aforementioned ‘someone‘ in their strategy sessions but they still need them on their team because they truly need to know and understand how the other side feels.  My gut tells me that they want to understand the other side’s perspective even though they are very likely not to agree with their rationale.  Notwithstanding, that input could still be a meaningful part of their overall rationale.   If I were that ‘someone‘ I would grit my teeth, put up with all of their bull****, and tell them exactly how the other side feels.  I would tell them that they could compromise, win the other side over to – at least- some part of their cause – and use it to their advantage to gain the advantage over their competing money grubbers and use that leverage to better the system.  And I would tell them that they could do all of this without hurting their cause.  It would be a win, win for them!

Foreign leaders are talking about how America is losing stature around the world and how China, Russia and other countries are filling that void.  I cannot say for sure which side of the ledger that the Koch brothers would come down on when it comes to Mr. Trump and Russia but I believe that it would be on the side of patriotism and, therefore, America.  That means that they would not side with Mr. Trump.  Russia has been and still is – for whatever reason, quite successful at using Mr. Trump as their puppet and manipulating him to their advantage.  Unfortunately, congress is continuing to enable Mr. Trump in order to further their own personal political ambitions, protect the Republican party, and further the Republican political agenda instead of putting America first and exercising their sworn responsibility to protect the constitution.

These congressmen, unfortunately, include elected officials like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.  These were senators who were recently touted as statesmen for standing up to their party in favor of supporting the will of the American people.  What a shame that they so quickly changed their tune under pressure from Senate Majority Leader Mitch (Whack-A-Mole) McConnell and voted for a tax bill loaded with partisan amendments unfavorable to Democrats and blue states and which also included an amendment that was specifically structured to destabilize Obamacare even though the majority of Americans had just rejected an attempt by Republicans to repeal Obamacare!

Congressional Republicans have been so completely blinded by their personal political ambitions and desire to protect Mr. Trump and the Republican party and its agenda that they have totally forgotten about the American people.  They have forgotten about who put them in office and why they were put there and instead have chosen to bow down to big money.  They have chosen their big money donors over the rest of the American people and their will.  Only the American people can correct this problem and we should do exactly that.  We should do it immediately!  We must show the billionaires and millionaires that they alone do not run this country but that the American people overall do.  They must be made to realize that billionaires and millionaires have a right to their vote but that their vote counts no more than that of the very poorest American.  All decent, patriotic Americans know that this is how it should be.

Let’s begin right now to put people into office who feel this way; people who will be decent and patriotic Americans who will put country first.  Obviously, those Republicans who are there now do not feel this way.  But I cannot over emphasize the fact that we, the American people can fix this.  We must stop selling ourselves short.  We must realize that we have been doing this for a long time now and are continuing to do it because people with money, rich and powerful people, have convinced us that in order to count – in order to be worth anything – we must have money!  That is not the case.

Instead, this is a myth that has been perpetuated over the years and for so long that far too many middle class and poor Americans have accepted it.  We must accept, realize and always emphasize that everyone’s vote is equal.  A rich person’s vote does not count any more than does that of the poorest person in America!  And that is what actually makes America great!  Do not let Mr. Trump mislead you, his vote carries no more weight than does yours!  Our vote is the quintessential equalizer no matter who we are or how rich or poor we are!  So always remember, whether you are a Democrat, Republican or independent; your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!  Be sure that you use yours.  Do not stand by idly and be ripped off by Mr. Trump and the rich and powerful!  Always vote!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Rule of law? Um… Bully tactics? For sure, let’s do it!

Remember when President Obama was in office and the Republican congress was constantly whining, complaining and tossing the phrase ‘rule of law’ around?  Remember how they were always saying “this president is a lawless president” and then suddenly went silent after inauguration day?  Doesn’t not talking about ‘a lawless president’ seem even more weird and that silence even an eerie quiet now that Trumpology has been introduced into the American political system, the virus has begun to spread and now has gotten hold to BLM (Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell)?  Speaker Paul Ryan probably should be included among these men (PBLM?) but, although he has been diagnosed with this virus, he does not appear to have become delusional yet like these other men have.

He has not yet said things like “I will not vote for [the tax bill] if it adds a penny to the deficit” and immediately turned around (without reading the final bill) and voted for an almost 1.5 trillion dollar addition to it.  Or, he hasn’t said things like “…the man is crazy; he’s a kook” and then a few days later asked the press “why is the press constantly trying to label this man [Mr. Trump] as a kook?” Or…, what can’t I say about the ‘M’ factor in BLM (PBLM?); the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mitch (Whack-A-Mole) McConnell?  He came out of his hole to work to help produce a Mr. Trump win and if successful, take a victory lap.

But right now, he has remained above ground for an extraordinarily long period of time.  Instead of, while sporting his patented Cheshire cat grin, basking in this Republican tax cut win along with Mr. Trump and then immediately going back underground and occasionally popping up out of a different hole each time to take a peek to assess the surroundings before disappearing back into his hole if they are not favorable, he has remained above ground…  Anyone who is familiar with Senator McConnell knows that he certainly is not at all opposed to avoiding the press when things are not favorable or to saying one thing about a situation when Democrats are in charge and then saying something about that same situation when Republicans are in charge that is diametrically opposed to what he said previously.  What is he up to?  Enough said, I hope that I have made my point.

This whole thing with the way that the Republican-led congress is conducting itself might actually be funny if the situation was not so dire, if we were not putting our democracy in grave danger.    But America is already in serious trouble and Americans cannot afford to wait a minute longer before we begin to work to rectify this problem.  Mr. Trump is attacking the very things that our democracy is built on and congressional Republicans are supporting him in those attacks.  They are standing by silently and refusing to perform the ‘checks-and-balances’ function of their sworn duties.  Instead of doing that part of their job, which they were elected to do, they went to the White House after the tax bill was passed and showered him with lackey-induced accolades that included telling him what a great leader he is and how filled with pride they were to have the privilege to stand on the same podium with him.  Some among them even appeared to be on the verge of tears.  It was shameful!  Why are they so afraid of this man?!  Fear is among the few things that I can think of that would cause them to conduct themselves this way under such dire circumstances!

In the meantime, Nikki Haley did her part in providing Mr. Trump with the warm-and-fuzzies by threatening to withhold money from members of the United Nations (UN) who might dare to vote in favor of denouncing Mr. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol.  Despite her threats, the UN voted overwhelmingly to denounce Mr. Trump’s decision anyway.  After the vote, Mr. Trump responded with the comment “it will save us a lot of money; we don’t care.”  Ms. Haley responded by inviting those who voted with the United States to a party.  Is this what US diplomacy has come down to; threats and a snubbing for those who do not agree with us and a party for those who do?  Are we really now going to be willing to resort to mob style and street gang style tactics to get our way in all things?  Is Rex Tillerson a non-factor?

When a spokesperson for the State Department was asked about Ambassador Haley’s comments she demurred.  The State Department did not appear to be in line with her comments.  With past presidents, the White House, UN, and State Department have remained in constant communication to make sure that they were in lockstep with any statements that the UN Ambassador made.  Ambassador Nikki Haley took some tough positions and did some courageous things while she was the governor of South Carolina and I mentioned that in previous posts to this site.  Accordingly, I am compelled to mention that what she did at the UN in threatening to withhold money from those who disagree with us was at best the act of a dedicated lieutenant following the orders of her superior or, in an effort to empathize and be polite and as kind as possible to someone who is likely a dedicated civil servant, a naive act that should not be associated with her name.

Congress and Ambassador Haley appear to be operating based on the same premise; Trumpology.  The Republican-led congress has proven time-and-again that they are not going to apply any form of pressure on Mr. Trump to force him to change his behavior.  On the contrary, they are now constructing roadblock after roadblock to protect him, shut down any congressional investigations regarding him and shut down special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of him involving meddling by Russia in our 2016 election and possible collusion with Russia by Mr. Trump and/or his campaign.  It appears that congress does not want Mr. Mueller to get to the bottom of Russia’s meddling in our election and they are willing to allow Mr. Trump to fire him to assure that he does not get to the bottom of it.

Most Americans do not closely follow politics so they are not aware of its nuances and usually do not know the details surrounding many of the things which occur that affect us as citizens.  Therefore, they can be easily fooled by politicians who are masters at spinning almost anything so that it appears in a favorable light.  Normally this approach to politics by citizens would be okay because there would be a strong congress in place that would be doing its part in protecting and serving its constituents by applying any required checks-and-balances in the checks-and-balances process.  Obviously, that is not the case in Trump’s America so American citizens must determine that they are going to get engaged and remain engaged in order to guard our democracy.  All of us should always remain engaged but since this is not likely, we must all determine to remain engaged at least until there is no longer a clear and present danger to our democracy.

So, as responsible Americans, let’s stop taking democracy for granted and get engaged in American politics now.  Let’s do our part to guard our democracy and assure that it remains safe.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Donald Trump, Bob Corker, Susan Collins, Virginia, Alabama And Hope For Future

Our country has suffered and continues to suffer a great loss of statesmen that has devastated the American people and I am among those devastated.  How naive I have been and what a fool I have been in my way of thinking.  All of those things that I have thought were so sacred to the politicians of our country – and to me, are being flushed down the toilet by our so called statesmen without even the slightest thought as to what impact that it is having on their constituents and the rest of the American people.  How sad!  The election of Donald J. Trump has exposed to the American people the view that many people around the world have had of us for centuries; Americans are hypocrites!

I, personally, do not believe that all Americans are hypocrites – I certainly do not consider myself to be one, but our politicians are certainly presenting us in that light.  The people that we have elected to represent us and speak for us are showing their true colors.  Statesmanship is a foreign word to them and the words that have replaced it are Donald J. Trump and big money political donors.  And whether or not we agree with what they are doing and saying, the world sees them as our representatives and those whom we have put in place to speak for America.  A prime example of what our elected officials are doing is reflected in the recent so called tax cut for the middle class that the Republican-led congress is attempting to railroad, if they have not already railroaded, through congress without a single Democratic vote.  Senators Bob Corker and Susan Collins are among those senators who have chosen to dance with the devil for personal political gain.  They figure that they can mortgage their souls to the devil now and pay off their debts before the American people can figure out that they were betrayed.

Party before country!  That is the clarion call of Republicans since Mr. Trump was elected.  Even if that was the Republican mantra before Mr. Trump was elected, it was never more clear than it is right now.  Perhaps neither Senator Bob Corker nor Senator Susan Collins is really a bad person and is someone who just really wants to be loyal to their party and believe that they can do this and at the same time still be loyal to their country and constituents.  Although they know that this is not the case in this particular situation, they are torn between loyalty to party (and in the case of at least one of them, lining their own pockets) – which includes a staunch allegiance to big money donors – or loyalty to country and constituents; alas, if only the word statesmanship was still a part of the English language!

Apparently, statesmanship is not a part of the English language where senators Bob Corker and Susan Collins are concerned.  The thought that this might be the case resounded in my mind while  I watched the Rachel Maddow show Tuesday night as she interviewed a woman from Maine who had spoken to Senator Collins.  This woman – who as the representative of many of Senator Collins’ constituents – spoke to Senator Collins and asked her to vote against the tax cut bill, seemed to be totally devastated after her meeting with her.  She appeared to be extremely emotional and struggled to talk to Ms. Maddow about the fact that Senator Collins said that even though she knew that the bill would hurt her constituents she would vote ‘yes’ on it.

According to polls, this bill is extremely unpopular with the American people.  What are senators Bob Corker, Susan Collins and the Republican congress thinking?!  We all likely have a pretty good idea about what Senator Corker is thinking (MONEY), but what is Senator Collins thinking?  Certainly she can’t be rolling the dice on a promise from Senator Mitch (Whack-A-Mole) McConnell and Mr. Donald (Let Me Count The Number of Lies That He Has Told) Trump.  She has been in the trenches too long for that.  So what is in it for her to make her risk her legacy?

Whatever is going on with the current Republican-led congress, the election of Mr. Donald J. Trump has suddenly exposed the soft underbelly of America to many naive Americans, such as me, who have been so focused on how great that America is that we have blinded ourselves to her flaws.  Until recently, I always became angry when I thought about how many other people in the world looked at America, criticized us and put us down when, here we were, the leader of the free world and the standard bearers of democracy.  How could they possibly call us hypocrites and criticize us when we were sending, and continue to send, our troops to their countries to fight and die so that they too can experience that same kind of democracy that we have here in America?!  How dare they criticize us and call us hypocrites?!

Although I now have a clearer picture of how that is possible, I still believe that, despite our flaws, America is the greatest country in the world!  And I still feel that our destiny is to continue to be the leader of the free world.  Based on the recent election results in Virginia and Alabama, despite our flaws, it seems that a lot of other Americans believe this as well.  I also know now, even more so, that as Americans, we need to accept our flaws and that we must work harder to address those flaws.  The way that Mr. Trump and the Republican-led congress are addressing the situation seems to be doing more harm than good to America and her reputation and stripping America of all of the ‘good will’ and its irreplaceable value that is associated with her name.

All concerned Americans, regardless of political affiliation, should be concerned about this and should do their part to change what is happening in America and to correct the direction in which she is traveling.  What Mr. Trump is doing with the tacit and sometimes explicit help of the Republican-led congress is frustrating and disillusioning the entire rainbow of humanity that forms the tapestry of America.  He is pitting each against the other.  That is not good! Think about that.  And then do your part to put America back on track to return to the greatness that is already ours; the greatness that existed, and still exist, before Mr. Donald J. Trump was elected and began to divide us rather than pull us even closer together and dubbed it “Make America Great Again.”

We need someone who will work to pull us closer together than we ever were before.  Although we know that that closeness will never be perfect, we must always work toward making it perfect.  That offers us the faith that we need for our hope for continually fostering a better future for a better America.  And what is faith?  It is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  That someone that we need to work to pull us closer together is not Mr. Donald J. Trump.  Therefore, we must vote him and those who support his agenda to pull Americans apart rather than pull us together out of office.  So whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!  In the event that you do not believe me, just look at what just happened in Virginia; a Democrat won by one (1) vote.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

The Alabama Phenomenon; Dare To Dream

For those of us who have suffered through Mr. Donald Trump’s almost first full year in office and struggled to not become discouraged, be of good cheer; there appears to be light at the end of the first year’s tunnel.  Right now, it is only a point of light.  It is about the size of a pin head but it is a start.  And it has come via a win by a Democrat in, of all places, solid red Alabama.  It is not likely that it is the beginning of the end for the Trump administration and Trump’s America but hopefully it is, at least, the end of the beginning.  Therefore, do not be afraid to dare to dream!  Dare to dream that the end of the beginning, the beginning of the end and the end itself are all possible!

Doug Jones, the Democrat who won the victory over Republican Roy Moore, probably won’t always vote the way that many Democrats would like for him to and that is okay and the way that things should be.  He is on moral high ground and based on what I know about his record, I believe that he will place country first and always vote for what is in the overall best interest of America and his constituents (Democrats and Republicans).  He will work across the aisle and seek to compromise with Republicans; but he will not compromise our country or his oath to the constitution.  This is what we need to see more of in Washington if we are to rid ourselves of our current dysfunctional, stagnant government and get America back on track.

Although senator-elect Jones should work with Republicans to make this happen and if possible grease the skids for his fellow Democrats in Washington to do the same, the electorate should not forget how the Republican-led congress has enabled Mr. Trump and winked at the great, and in some cases, irreparable damage that he has already done to America.  They must be held to account!  Voters can and should punish them for allowing Mr. Trump to go unchecked in dismantling America and her stalwart reputation and for enabling him publicly while privately criticizing him and saying that he is unfit to hold the office.  Political calculus is no excuse for them to place their personal political ambitions and party above country; especially when that political calculus obviously takes into consideration that our democracy has been attacked by and continues to be threatened by a foreign entity that is our enemy!

The fact that Doug Jones won this election in a state where a Democrat has not won for decades is a sign that Americans want to be fair and do the right thing.  Though it is a well worn-out cliché it is still worth quoting because it remains true; “we have far more in common than that which divides us.”  If our current elected officials do not realize and accept this and instead choose to divide us rather than pull us together then it is time to replace them.  As the electorate, just like we want our elected officials to do the right thing once they are elected, we must do the right thing and fulfill our civic responsibilities, which includes voting.  After all, voting is what brought about the miracle (well kind of a miracle) that occurred in Alabama.  So always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Trump’s ‘Big Beautiful’ Tax Cut Christmas Gift For America’s Middle Class

Mr. Trump says that he wants to give middle class Americans a ‘big, beautiful’ tax cut benefit for Christmas.  Yay!  He has been touting this gift for a while now and is confident that he can either dupe or pressure congressional Republicans into passing his tax bill immediately and putting it on his desk so that he can sign it.  However, there is one minor problem – a small hurdle that he and his Republican minions in congress expect to easily clear along party lines, and that problem is that neither he nor the majority of the congressional Republicans really know what is in the bill.  And those that do have no real idea of the impact that it will have on the economy.  They just know that they have to pass something that at least resembles major legislation before the end of Mr. Trump’s first complete year in office or face  disaster.

It does not matter that if this bill passes – based on the apparent thinking of many congressional Republicans, that the law itself could become a disaster for America; what matters to them is that Republicans while in control of the House, Senate, and the White House, will be able to avoid being confronted with the fact that they did not pass a single piece of major legislation during Mr. Trump’s first year in office.  Just as important, this will increase their chances of being able to avoid the ire of their deep-pocket donors and hopefully prevent them from closing their wallets to the Republican party.

So wait, let me think…  Okay, HELLO, where do those of us who are supposed to be the recipients of this ‘big, beautiful’ tax cut gift come in?!  I’m starting to think that this whole ‘big, beautiful’ tax cut gift for the middle class is a farce!  Why do the ‘big beautiful’ tax cuts for the middle class sunset and those for the corporations continue in perpetuity?!  And why is it that almost half of the benefits of this ‘big, beautiful tax cut gift go to Americans who are in the top 1 percent?!  Wait, something doesn’t smell right here.  Actually, it’s starting to stink.  Aha!  Now I see clearly.  This ‘big, beautiful’ tax cut gift is really for big corporations and the wealthy.  And in the long run, the middle class will end up paying for this ‘big, beautiful’ tax cut gift to those corporations and the wealthy.  Give me a break!

Let me tell you what I’m getting for Christmas from my AARP MedicareComplete folks.  They recently sent me a letter that said that the dental coverage I had in 2017 is no longer offered under my 2018 plan.  They said that there is a new optional dental coverage called the ‘Dental Platinum Rider’ instead.  They further said that it would cost $39 per month versus the $13 per month that I am currently paying and that I can either switch to this new plan by letting them know by December 31, 2017; or, they said, if they don’t hear from me by December 31, 2017, my plan will not include dental coverage starting January 1, 2018.  Finally, they said that I will receive a new member ID card in the mail that doesn’t include dental coverage and that I can destroy the card that I recently received from them.  Whoa!  It’s the gift that keeps on giving…one day at a time less of my current cheaper coverage; and like the situation in the ‘big, beautiful tax cut for the middle class in Mr. Trump’s tax bill, even it sunsets on December 31, 2017 and I will have to either pay the higher rate (a 300% increase) or go without dental insurance.

What does this have to do with Mr. Trump’s ‘big, beautiful’ tax cut gift?  While I cannot guarantee you that it is directly related to Mr. Trump’s ‘big beautiful’ tax cut gift to the middle class, I do know that he has been working hard to destabilize Obamacare, that the elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate is a part of his ‘big beautiful’ tax cut package, that this ‘big, beautiful’ tax cut gift – if it is passed – will greatly increase the deficit (somewhere between 1.4 and 2 trillion dollars), and that   – ultimately – this increase will likely be addressed by taking the money from Medicare and Medicaid.  Whether directly or indirectly, this has an impact on the rates charged by insurance companies affiliated in any way with Medicare or Medicaid.  I will leave it to you to decide whether this ‘big, beautiful’ tax cut gift directly or indirectly impacts on my situation or has no impact at all.  I know what I think!

In light of the bizarre way that Mr. Trump is conducting himself and the meteoric pace at which America is losing political capital at home and abroad, why should anyone not question where the loyalty of congressional Republicans lies?  Further, why should Americans continue to have any degree of confidence in the current Republican controlled congress or believe any word that comes out of Mr. Trump’s mouth?  This is a question worth asking.  I hope that all Americans, whether or not they agree with me, will get engaged and take a real close look at what is happening in and to America.  Then, I hope that you will remain engaged and help to assure and secure the future of America by fulfilling your responsibility as citizens and exercising your right to vote.  And always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line