We’re fighting the wrong wars with Donald Trump in particular and with Republicans in general.
It’s not about refugees coming to America. Banning immigrants without documentation from 7 countries, while perhaps wrong in its method, is not the biggest of our problems. In fact, it is not even the biggest problem for them once they are established in this country.
And it’s not about Trump and Putin. To you, right now, they’re irrelevant. You have bigger problems.
Trump, the dolt, the clod, the playground bully, relegated by his father to a military school to control his impulses, has stumbled into something that has some merit. Not for you. Against you.
Think about it. Trump doesn’t want then here at all…any of them–any immigrants really. Because, as he sees it, they cost him money. And guess what? That goes for every American. He thinks we all cost him money. Not make him money–which he could not make at all without us, but…cost him….money. That is how he thinks.
So how does he try to distract us, just as he learned to do in military school and in business school and in his business life? He uses “fake news.” It isn’t an accident that he uses that term. His whole life is fake news. He uses it as a weapon against people in his personal life, his business life and now against you. Against the American people.
As Trump has you looking into Syria and Yemen, his henchman, Senator Mitch McConnell, married to one of the richest heiresses in the United States (her father gave the magic couple $25,000,000) is redrawing health care to remove the taxes, a 3.8% tax surcharge on the wealthiest .1% of Americans. President Obama added that tax, believing it was fair for those who will never have to worry about health care costs and who, in all likelihood, will literally never know what this tax cost them or if they paid it or not. In the meantime, 20 million poor American working families get at least somewhat affordable access to health care and those totally destitute get minimal health care free. That’s what a country like ours should do.
Let’s take the average refugee as an example. What if a refugee or a poor immigrant is allowed in and yet could get no health care, no public assistance, no food? (We always have food, you say. YOU always have food, I say. The number of people on food stamps has doubled and yet the number of people in food banks has also doubled.) So, then, what happens to those immigrants who come here late and have less in Social Security? Can we cut Social Security, as the Republicans want to do, or cut teacher pensions dramatically Teachers’ pensions are their Social Security. They get no separate Social Security, just their pension.
What happens to people in general without Social Security? What happens if you work for 40 years and you put $5,000 per year into a 401k? (Forty years, not 20 years as many of these people will have.) What happens then? Is $200,000 enough to retire on without anything else…because there won’t be Medicare either? And will interest rates of 1% per year, or a stock market that wipes out your entire savings in two days, at any time, before or after you retire, going to give you security?
Health care is about cutting taxes on the rich. The subsidies that Senator Marco Rubio cut from Obamacare, that caused the huge rises in health insurance premiums and caused others to stop offering health insurance were in the Affordable Health Care because billionaires don’t need subsidized health care. McConnell’s bill is all about cutting taxes for health care they don’t need on people who have enough money to live on one million a year (after their current tax rates) for 50 years without ever touching a penny of their principal. But wait. These people, the ones McConnell and Trump want to protect from a 3.8% surcharge on their taxes…they could do that again. And then again, and again, and again.
Betsy DeVos, by the way, is far richer than that which I just described! She could do that ten more times! But she objects to funding schools. She wants you to have $5,000 and then have the “choice” of spending another $5,000 a year (on grade school, mind you) even though you are paying taxes to the government, the state and, trust me, you will not avoid property taxes. In addition to helping schools in most states, property taxes will still be needed for local roads and cops and a million other little details of those nice little communities you live in. The Charter schools concept–at least as they want to do it–is a scam. It is one of those good ideas that we have covered already by something we call “honor classes” programs in regular schools. To her and her billionaire friends…her type of billionaire, mostly inherited wealth…it is their second religion. They have nothing better to do.
In Europe, they system–for different reasons–is different but very good, if harsh. Great public schools. Far better than here. But here is the catch. You go to school from age 6 to age ten and you are graded and watched all the way. Then you are tested. If you are in the top group of tests you go to what I’ll call an “A” school at the next level (prep school.) If you test in the second-best you go to another level school, and similarly in the third or fourth level. You are tested again in two more years. At that point you go into either university studies or mid-level studies, which could include, for example, studies leading to a law degree, or, today, technical studies, which could lead to engineering, or…at the very lowest level…you would be trained at an industry part time or by a skilled union part time…or one of many “choices” that would lead you over a similar number of years to college, to a highly skilled technical ability.
In Finland, with a population the size of Michigan, the students are the best in the world. Schools go on year round. Kids go to school, as in many other countries in Europe, only about a half a day. They have no homework. They speak, at a minimum, two languages and the majority speak three to at least some degree of complete proficiency. Their math levels are far beyond those of our children. The government funds everything and is happy to do it. And they are happy.
As Trump had you wondering about whether Putin was or was not involved with our elections, his secretary of education has removed restrictions on for-profit so-called “colleges” on selling ersatz educational programs that provide no real education and no jobs. And on top of that she has removed the ability of those cheated by these phony for-profit colleges from suing them to get their money back.
Worse than promoting fake-colleges and working for them and against cheated students, now out of their education money, in debt, and with no job prospects, is what she has done in Michigan. Michigan, the Republican, Neo-Fascist state, where state legislators have given the Governor dictatorial powers, resulting in his ability to replace elected municipal mayors or city managers. He did so in St. Joseph, where his man gave away part of the Lake Michigan shoreline that was a public park to a private country club and luxury condo developer backed by multi-millionaire Whirlpool heir, Fred Upton. He did so in Flint, where his new manager poisoned the citizens by trying to save money on water. Then he made them pay for the water they had to buy to replace the water poisoning them and then pay for the water that was poisoning them!
In Michigan, Betsy DeVos’s efforts have resulted in the kind of free “choice” that does only one thing. It sets up private schools that lead directly the bottom. Their charter schools have failed. Our school system, the idea that citizens pay for schools and schools are public, was an idea that we initiated…everyone would get an education in a public school system. Now, that idea is common throughout the world and our children, faced in so many states with “charter” schools, are the worst among all the major industrial nations, ranked 36th in achievement.
“Choice” in schools is merely a way for the wealthy, who…like the rest of us…hate paying taxes (no matter how much we know they are necessary) to break up the public school system, both to cut taxes and move their children ahead of yours. In other words, my private school may not be much better, but if it is better by a factor of one, my kids will be better off than your kids. That’s the idea of “choice.”
You do have choice. This is a free country. You could respond to the kinds of commercials that support a woman who has been part of every level of corruption in Republican politics but now claims to want to take a step down to go to Congress, as happened recently in Georgia. Or you could have voted for a young man who worked for the most idealistic and respected, even revered, Congressman of our time, John Lewis, and who shared his idealism. But if you lived in that district in Georgia, you responded to lies and hate-filled images of imaginary riots and guns (against a man who himself is strongly for control of handguns and automatic weapons) in commercials paid for by Right Wing billionaires like DeVos and McConnell’s father-in-law and the Koch brothers and Donald Trump himself.
Or you can get out in the streets and carry signs and show up at Congressmen’s offices to protest. You can show the weak and the timid that there is a large body of the population that does care for its fellow man and does want to protect the ideals of Populism…government arising from the will of the people…not from the rich and powerful.