Hi there. Happy 2020, a year that promises to be filled with a great deal of change. For the better, I fervently hope.

I am back, very nearly a year after losing my mom (see prior post).

That isn’t necessarily what I came here to write about, though.

I have mentioned previously on this site that I have cultivated a slightly lazy habit of commenting on articles on newspaper and other websites. I get a brief hit of gratification from responding to news with my own unique and well-thought-out opinion. But, eventually, it scrolls into the ether, and probably no one else goes deep enough into the comment thread to ever read it again, five minutes after I’ve written it. (Except when I go back through the links in my commenter profile to see how many likes I got. Yep, I do that. Another penny dropped in the slot, another tiny dopamine gumball.)

What is the point of giving it away for free like that without building it into something else? Sure, for a moment other people feel like they’re part of a community, or maybe they feel like they have another enemy to despise. But if I were to only expand those thoughts a little bit into reasonably cogent blog entries and tweets, there’d be a lot more content on this site and maybe a few more readers.

Do I care about having readers? In a broad sense, sure. My original audience was 80% my mom and 20% the people I left behind when I abruptly decided to leave Madison in 1999. My new #1 fan (2011 to present) got a bit of a glimpse into who I was by reading the archives of this site and luckily wanted more.

Anyway, here’s what you’ve all been missing.

Comment on “‘There’s something terribly wrong’: Americans are dying young at alarming rates,” Washington Post, November 25, 2019

From the article:

“Despite spending more on health care than any other country”

The money is going to insurance companies and drug companies. The profits are distributed to stockholders and executives, preventing those health care dollars from being reinvested in health care. Our premiums, our hard-earned $400 or $800 or whatever a month, should be going toward making people healthier, not making the 1% richer. Big business is literally draining the life from America. Wake up!

Comment on ”Democrats fear a long primary slog could drag into summer,” Washington Post, November 17, 2019

Oh, gee, Democratic insiders are worried.

How about this, Democratic insiders:

  1. Stop criticizing Democratic candidates (that goes for you, too, President Obama).
  2. Stop criticizing your internal process.

The more time you spend on that, the less time there is to talk about the priorities all of us in the Democratic Party share, and share with the vast majority of the American people, including such things as actually knowing what is in the Constitution and taking it seriously. How about that? How about actually being committed to winning, no matter who the candidate is, and not being ashamed of being against greedy robber barons?

The more party “insiders” talk about how awful it would be to have an actual progressive in the White House for the first time in two or more generations, the more ammo they give to so-called “centrists” who can claim the parties are the same, and the more cover they give to foreign powers and their sneaky criminal associates to steal the thing. So just stop.

Comment on ”How a former senator and defense secretary explains Republican spinelessness,” Washington Post, November 7, 2019

[T]he greediest, most selfish opportunists, in an unabashed commercial and capital-first age, gravitate toward politics and specifically the Republican Party. The worst of them ooze up through the cracks at a time like this: Bill Barr, Ed Meese. These old crooks like McConnell and Giuliani are unfortunately running out the clock; will he and his ilk ever pay for their crimes?

Comment on “‘Lock him up’ chant highlights the debate we need about Trump’s lawlessness,” Washington Post, October 28, 2019

This argument [that “Lock him up” was inappropriate for fans to chant when President Trump showed up at the World Series] is a little tortured.

Obviously, the intent of the chant [was] to simultaneously reprimand Trump for encouraging this kind of discourse (if it can be called that) in a snarky way by throwing his words back in his face, and also to express the opinion that he is a criminal and actually deserves to be locked up.

I don’t have a problem with it. I actually felt relieved and normalized when I heard all those baseball fans (and people with money) heckling him. He brought the office of the President down. It wasn’t the fans at the World Series who did it.

Comment on ”This court ruling is a really big deal,” Washington Post, October 11, 2019

From the article:

“At the end of the day, one of Trump’s legacies will be a body of case law that will check future presidents from abusing power in the way that he has tried.”

I sure hope so. I worry that there will be one case at the end, adjudicated by his Supreme Court, that will set our democracy back for decades and potentially endanger its existence. Think Bush v. Gore, Korematsu, Plessy v. Ferguson, Dred Scott v. Sanford, and so on.

Comment on ”Trump may be [on] shaky ground. But his economy appears rock-solid.” Washington Post, October 4, 2019

From the article:

“The share of the population participating in the labor market stayed at a six-year high of 63.2 percent.”

So that sounds like a good percentage of the able-bodied working age population to you?

Remember that the unemployment rate is based on excluding the people who have given up on finding a job. This economy and what it’s built on has destroyed the income levels and wealth of entire generations. Except for the top 1%, of course. So the real unemployment rate is somewhere between 3.5% and 36.8%, and those who are working have less and less purchasing power. Not so rosy.

Comment on ”A day after blocking House demand for Trump’s tax returns, Mnuchin addressed gathering of his top fundraisers,” Washington Post, May 7, 2019

This “administration” is corrupt through and through.

The question is, do enough Americans 1. understand the effect it has on them personally or 2. much less understand the effects it will have worldwide, but at the very least have any awareness of anyone or anything outside of themselves?

Can we blame anything but the dismantling of our free education system for all, the massive effect corporations and the rich have on how people think and what they value, and the huge wealth and income gap between ordinary people and those at the top, not to mention groupthink facilitated by the tax shelters known as churches, for the fact that people can’t see beyond their next paycheck or their next hit of meth?

The Republican party is running roughshod over our democracy, after 50 years of putting the pieces in place that make them think they can get away with it. Every bit of the bull they’re spewing now is transparent, obvious projection.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short journey into my knee-jerk reactions to articles about the state of our democracy. I plan to say more about it in the future.