Imagine … Better?

One year into the Trump administration, and we have a lot to be thankful for. Yes, it’s true, it’s always good to warm up the crowd by opening with a joke. But seriously folks, is it possible to even look back and imagine a normal presidency at this point?

Everything has forever changed in the United States as a result of Trump, or more to the point everything is going to have to change. This should sound like good news to a nation that never looks back but it means there will be a lot of work ahead undoing the damage when the time comes. As we wait for that opportunity, this might be a good time to imagine how things can or should be different.

Let’s imagine a happy place for a moment with a functioning government and a universe of possibilities …

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No One is Indispensable

“Politics is not about power and money games, politics is about the improvement of people’s lives”
– Sen Paul Wellstone (D-MN), paraphrasing Eleanor Roosevelt

Sen Al Franken (D-MN) resigned today from the seat once held by Paul Wellstone. It came after many of his colleagues in the Senate expressed a lack of confidence in him from numerous allegations of inappropriate touching of women.

It is a sad day in Minnesota, but we move on. There are many lessons here, but what’s most important is that in a truly open system based on service to the people of the nation no one is indispensable. We are shaping the Democratic Party to be one which stands for principles first.

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No Time for Laughs

What is Trump’s plan to get the United States out of trillions in debt?
Up it to quadrillions of dollars, then declare bankruptcy. He’s a successful businessman.

All kidding aside, it was one Hell of a week. We found out that Mike Flynn did indeed “flip” to give evidence against Trump, although we have yet to learn exactly what he knows. And the Senate rushed through a tax bill scribbled in crayon at the last minute because they were not up against any deadline at all. Or is it because they see the end coming and know they needed to shove something through?

It’s not a time for a bunch of lame jokes, not at all. It’s a time for much better jokes than I have.

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Be Not Afraid

“Be not afraid.”
Saint John Paul II

It may be the start of the joyous holiday season, but it’s time realize a reckoning is upon us. Things are likely to get a whole lot worse.

It’s not about various predators being pushed into the light of day, although that can be unnerving as well. Politics is getting uglier and less predictable, especially with the increasingly crazy president. His eventual removal will bring a sense of relief, but the process is also going to increase tension and possibly even violence.

We are entering a time when we have to manage fear. The only way to manage it is to reject it.

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Taxing Times

If you believe that tax cuts create jobs and growth, you’re not alone. Almost, but not quite. Even those who would benefit the most from the proposed tax bill aren’t willing to go that far.

This puts the Republicans in the Senate in a terrible bind. They can pass the tax bill which came over from the House, potentially angering their constituents, or they can stop it, angering their donors. They also have the choice between raising the deficit or having a record of getting just about nothing accomplished.

How bad is it for Republicans, already worried about 2018? It’s so bad it’s worse than the Tax Bill itself.

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Casualties of War

“The first casualty when war comes is the truth.”
– Sen Hiram Johnson (R-CA) (1917)

As Barataria has noted before, the United States appears to be at war. This war, primarily with Putin’s Russia, is a new kind of war with weaponized disinformation and division.

It is important to note, however, that the US is far from the only target, nor is it entirely innocent. More critically there are actors within the US who are exploiting the war for their own benefit – a new kind of war profiteering for a new kind of war. It is easy to compare this to McCarthyism, but the implications are potentially more vast.

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Good People

A lot has been said about this off-year election and the incredible sweep in Virginia. It’s important, because something is in the works. But what, exactly? Can Democrats capitalize on it nationally and apply a formula for sure victory in 2018 and beyond?

The short answer is “No.” There is no formula. If you look at who won and why, at least in the key swing elections, there is only one thing which is consistent. Good, hard-working people who were genuine and decent won consistently. Politics? Whatever.

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