Our Current Situation: Impunity

IMPUNITY: Exhausted from the villainy of the world. Some days there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop the bad guys. So what if Wilbur Ross is helping the Russian mob launder their money? At worst, he’ll be fined. So what if cops are killing people at an accelerated rate in 2017? No one will investigate.

And on, and on.

This post about fighting Trump Fatigue Syndrome came at the right time.

  • Understand this is a long-term fight that won’t be resolved immediately.
  • Don’t let Trump set the agenda anymore.
  • Be mindful about media consumption, especially social media.
  • Take some time off, and be okay with not always knowing the latest about everything that’s happening.
  • ***

    THIS RABBIT HOLE SEEMS NICE: I spent the last week trying to wrap my head around the Trump/Russia scandal. It got sort of obsessive there for a few days and led to the burn-out mentioned above.

    I created a comprehensive timeline. It’s 82 pages long. I was going to post it today, but I need to step away from it for a little bit to let the conspiracy madness fade away. There may be something to see there, but so far it seems mostly like opportunism, personal agendas, and coincidence. There’s no doubt there’s some unsavory business going on, but it’s not clear to me that it rises to an impeachable or incarcerable offense. These are amoral billionaires fiddling with the levers of power for their own benefit. Their army of attorneys allows them to act with impunity.

    ***

    TRUMPCARE: I guess we’ll call it Trumpcare now.

    “A White House spokesperson, however, was more emphatic. “It’s not Trumpcare,” the spokesperson said Wednesday. “We will be calling it by its official name,” the American Health Care Act.”

    Except the honest-to-God real name of the act is “World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017.” (thx to AW for the link.)

    The link take you to Congress.gov to see the official short title of HR1275 mentioned above. The act is officially titled: “To eliminate the individual and employer health coverage mandates under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to expand beyond that Act the choices in obtaining and financing affordable health insurance coverage, and for other purposes.”

    **

    WE STILL HAVE SLAVES: Slavery in the US did not end with the Civil War. People in the US are still enslaved today. In recent years the FBI has successfully prosecuted cases in Long Island, NY, Chicago, IL, Seattle, WA, Georgia, Arizona, Kansas City, MS, and El Paso, TX. Now accusations have surfaced that the ICE forced detainees to work for $1 a day.

    Note, however, that this is not a Trump thing (at least, not yet). This happened under Obama’s watch.

    “The lawsuit, filed in 2014 against one of the largest private prison companies in the country, reached class-action status this week after a federal judge’s ruling. That means the case could involve as many as 60,000 immigrants who have been detained.”

    Because of course it is, the private prison corporation at the center of the scandal is based in Florida.

    ***

    PUBLIC HEARINGS: Public hearing on the Trump-Russian ties start March 20.

    “Nunes also said Tuesday that his panel’s first public hearing on the issue would be held March 20 and that former members of the Obama administration had been asked to testify — including former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired by Trump in January after refusing to defend his travel ban executive order in court.”

    Senate questioning starts sooner and behind closed doors.

    ***

    THEY HAVE JOBS: And while all the attention is on wacky, inexplicable tweets the White House is hiring a slew of bigots and lunatics.

    “Much about the role of the beachhead teams at various federal agencies is unclear. But close observers of the early weeks of the Trump administration believe they have taken on considerable influence in the absence of high-level political appointees.”

    ***

    THEY DON’T HAVE JOBS: While at the State Department positions go unfilled.

    “With the State Department demonstratively shut out of meetings with foreign leaders, key State posts left unfilled, and the White House not soliciting many department staffers for their policy advice, there is little left to do.”

    ***

    EDITORIAL: Recently I shared Molly Ivins’ insight with a friend and I thought she was going to cry.

    Molly Ivins, I told her (paraphrasing), said the struggle was here before us and will be here after we’re gone, so it’s important to find a way to have fun while we’re fighting.

    “It lasts that long?” She looked so mournful. I thought I was saying something obvious and uncontroversial.

    “Sure. Civil rights, opposing wars, gay rights, transgender rights, freedom of speech battles, fighting against polluters, and white-collar criminals. You know, there’s always a fight.”

    She nodded and seemed somewhat relieved. I think her first response was thinking that Trump would be doing his shtick forever.

    Well, he may be. He might be front and center until he’s shuffled off this mortal coil, but he’s not the the biggest problem in the world.

    The biggest problem is, as it has always been, and always will be, the fight for human decency.

    In a recent essay I can’t recommend highly enough Rick Perlstein makes a case that ‘smartness’ has supplanted fundamental human decency as a moral barometer in the US. I couldn’t agree more. Being smart is no match for being good and decent and caring about other humans, no matter how different they seem.

    “I fear the plutocracy of wealth, I respect the aristocracy of learning, but I thank God for the democracy of the heart that makes it possible for every human being to do something to make life worth living while he lives and the world better for his existence in it.” — william Jennings Bryant

    Fighting the good fight is part of the human experience. And, since it was here before us, and will be here after us, it’s important to not let it exhaust us or to diminish our fundamental decency. Keep your head up.

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