The GOP and their NRA masters are in full panic mode

It was exactly one week ago that gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you no doubt know that seventeen students and teachers were killed and 14 more were taken to hospitals.

There are thousands of stories on the subject, of course. I don’t really have anything to add. I do, however, want to make an observation or two about some of the political fallout.

Students from M.S.D. High have been on a highly-visible crusade since the shooting stopped to get our elected officials to do something about our non-existent gun laws. And in the last three or four days, students from many other places have begun to join in.

That’s been very inconvenient for our Rethuglican legislators and Governors. And for their NRA masters who fund all those reelection campaigns.

High school students know that  politicians literally don’t care whether they live or die. They can see–it’s been crystal-clear for a very long time–that every last GOP elected official, whether in State houses or in Washington, will toe the NRA line to the last detail even if their own kids were cut down in the hallways at Hometown High.

The students see this and they don’t like it.

It should surprise no one that a tipping point has come, and the kids who have dodged bullets and watched friends bleed out are ready to do something about the whole sick situation. Even if the corrupt, uncaring people who are elected to represent them are not.

Poor Rethuglicans. They don’t know what to do. 

They’re just trying to mouth the right sentiments, vomit up the talking points handed to them by their PR consultants and hope it’s going to stop.

No, not the shootings. The protests.

They don’t get it. They don’t get it now. They’re not going to see the light after the next massacre, either.

They won’t get after they’re turned out of office by voters of all ages, backgrounds and party affiliations. But that’s how this chapter in the never-ending saga of gun violence in America will end.

This chapter. There will be many others, of course.

Kids know that their lives matter less to our decision makers than NRA dollars. Less than gun industry profits. Less than holding fast to this recent interpretation of the Second Amendment that any citizen can own and parade around with any weapon of their choosing. Even military-grade weapons that are designed for the express purpose of killing a lot of people in a short period of time.

I don’t expect them to do anything about it as a result of students’ protests.

I expect that we’re going to get a lot of new legislators. Soon.

Right after the mid-term elections coming up on the 6th of November.




“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Dreamers, the Federal Budget and the Goals of the GOP

A dear friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about how unfortunate it is that DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has not been renewed yet and how sad it is that families are continuing to be broken up as the result.

It got me to thinking about how the stalemate over renewing DACA relates to other larger issues and I wrote quite a tome about that. That is, about the larger issues and what’s really going on in Washington right now over DACA and passing a budget to keep the government operating. The budget part comes to a head on Friday. Yes, the day after tomorrow.

My piece is long. It’s strident. And it’s dead-on accurate. Bulldog is barking this afternoon. Here goes:

 

In response to my friend’s post about deportations of Dreamers, I wrote:

Sad to say, there is no resolution to be found. The #PoserPrez demands funding of his accursed and very expensive boarder wall before he’ll get on-board with a renewal of DACA. I’m proud to say that the leadership of the Democratic Party will not agree to this.

What you may not have known is that tRump and the Republicans are in perfect lock step that Democrats must agree to fund the border wall in order for them to negotiate about DACA but ALSO for them to talk about passing a budget.

So the government WILL shutdown on Friday because tRump demands everyone get on board with the border wall and authorize immediate funding to the tune of many billions of dollars before anything else can get done in Washington.

All of this is being done against the backdrop of our treasury being perpetually short of funds moving forward because of the just-passed tax cuts. (Well, it wasn’t actually just a matter of cutting taxes; the bill is a complete restructuring of America’s tax code. But I digress.)

Rethuglicans say we can’t renew CHIP and have health insurance for kids who otherwise would be going to America’s Emergency Rooms. We can’t afford Medicare and Medicaid as they exist now, because of the same tax cuts, so now they “have to” start cutting these vital programs but… wait for it… WE CAN AFFORD THIS ACCURSED WALL!

This is how the fight about renewing DACA fits into the larger picture. It’s NOT about any individual program, or passing a spending bill or any of that; it’s about conservatives finally having a chance to kill the Federal Government we’ve known since the New Deal was put in place after the Great Depression. They want to have a Federal government that can fund the military and pay the light bill for Federal buildings, a few salaries and other bare essentials and then let the rest of it, literally, just go away.

GOP thinker and shaker and mover Grover Norquist summed up this concept of how a government should function with his infamous remark that conservatives needed to cut the Federal government down to the size “where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub“. Maybe you guys missed that remark from many years ago or have forgotten it; I remember it very well. Republicans repeat it often.

This is NOT about fifty or sixty different issues or tasks that congress needs to get done in this session. It’s about Republicans and tRump enacting this extreme agenda and remaking the government in a way that makes Mr. Norquist and Steve Bannon smile. In a way that would make Ayn Rand proud.

This explains why tRump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan already have in place proposed legislation to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid even though all three of them said during the election that they’d NEVER TOUCH THOSE PROGRAMS! They were lying. They lie all the time. Drastic cuts to those programs have been a part of the conservative agenda for over 30 years and they’ve said so hundreds of times!

People who don’t understand the larger issues involved here can “both sides” this all day and all night, but this is really about the extreme tRump/Repug agenda to gut all programs that help individual Americans so rich people and corps can pay little or no taxes.

Trump and his trumper minions get an expanded military that was already way bigger and badder than what we actually need to defend us and our NATO allies, their fucking wall that’s mostly about symbolism, constant “incentives” and tax breaks (i.e. giveaways) for major corps that are already showing record profits, uber-low taxes for people in the upper brackets and NO FUNDING AT ALL for things that benefit ordinary Americans or people who are actually struggling.

So it’s about renewing DACA, funding the government and much, much more. If this wasn’t clear to you, you’ve bought all the Repug talking points and you have no idea what’s actually going on.

It’s urgent that Americans who care about the direction of our country see that each fight in Washington is not a separate “thing” but that there are big-picture reasons why these battles are going on right now in the age of tRump.

If you’d like to know more about DACA and why the Dreamers and so many other Americans want so urgently to have The Dream Act reauthorized, click here.

If Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going to be there for folks who’ll be needing them in the next 20 to 30 years, we’ve got to raise holy hell over Republican attempts to gut them. For more on how to safeguard these vital programs while the current regime is trying to drastically curtail or privatize them, follow this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

©2018 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Is It Mandatory for Democrats with Money to be Selfish Pricks?

Another post about politics! Two things triggered Ol’ Bulldog on this one. The first was the passing of the Repug tax scam, oh I mean tax reform, of course, and the second was a comment on social media about how rich lawmakers who are Democrats don’t care at all about poor people. So here I go:

 

It often amuses me at how conservatives talk out of both sides of their mouths on the issue of wealthy people, lawmakers particularly, who aren’t on-board with the usual drastic Republican economic policies of slashing taxes to the bone, demonizing working and poor people, and generally acting as though accumulating money is the real purpose of life.

If an elected official is progressive, quite possibly a democrat, and he/she is not wealthy, many conservative folk will say that they have no place in the discussion as they haven’t demonstrated that they know how to succeed, don’t know how America works, how free enterprise works, blah, blah, blah

Donald tRump has spouted this crap repeatedly.

If a progressive elected official does have wealth, conservatives will still attack him or her, it’s just a different strategy. Many Democratic or progressive public servants are well-off. So the line of attack in that case is that he/she is a hypocrite, as though people with money somehow have to be selfish assholes and hate working people or anyone who doesn’t have enough dinero to get into the club!

So it’s the usual Rethuglican approach of attack everyone with whom you disagree, but the strategy and the talking points are different depending on who or what they’re attacking.

Meanwhile, there is no inconsistency when people with wealth say our economic policies need to take into account all Americans, not just large corporations and the 1% who have the means to hire lobbyists and buy off elected officials with campaign contributions.

There are plenty of people who have gobs and gobs of wealth but know American economic policy needs to take into account all Americans and the common good: Warren Buffett, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, and many, many others.

It’s insane to believe that having wealth automatically makes you selfish and fills your head with hatred and contempt for working people, the chronically poor, disabled people, etc. There’s nothing hypocritical in the least about having shitloads of money and believing that that everyone’s situation and everyone’s needs matter.

There’s nothing hypocritical about being wealthy and thinking that really wealthy people, including yourself, need to pay substantial taxes, that revenue can get too low and that something’s very wrong when the secretary pays a higher effective tax rate than the CEO for whom she works. (Something which, by the way, actually happened with Mitt Romney and his secretary when the subject of effective tax rates for different income brackets came up for discussion in the 2012 Presidential debates.)

Conservatives are not going to get progressive people and Democrats to give in to their extreme, Ayn Rand-type of economic selfishness by suggesting that Democratic lawmakers who very often are wealthy are somehow disqualified from caring about ordinary (meaning not wealthy) people or advocating for policies that are designed to benefit the 98% of Americans who work for a living.

 

Working guy “Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2017 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Bulldog Had Nothing to Say About Our Election

Bulldog Had Nothing to Say About Our Election

I’ve placed a high priority on covering important events here on da bulldog blog. So it may seem just a bit strange that I had nothing to say about the result of the recent Presidential election. Yeah, that was exactly one month ago today.

I did have quite a bit to say about this train wreck of an election in the social media universe. A lot.

But for whatever reason or reasons, I was loathe to write about it here. I’m aware of what some of the reasons were. I’m not sure I fully understand all the reasons why I chose not to blog about what is, without a doubt, the biggest event in our public life in this country in a very, very long time.

But as I end my silence on the subject of this year’s Presidential election, let me just make two or three points which effectively lay out my bottom line on this subject.

The first is that the election of Donald Trump to the nation’s highest office is a tragedy for America. If you’re rolling your eyes at that statement, just know that early on in this con man’s presidency, you’ll understand — as will all of us who didn’t drink the Kool Aide — that his elevation to POTUS will usher in dark days for us all.

The second point is that the things conservatives have been saying about our corporate life in the aftermath of the election are really comical. What I mean specifically are the appeals to those of us who cannot accept and will never accept this scum bag as our President to just close ranks behind Fearless Leader so we can heal our divisions and move on from here. You know, leave behind that politics-as-usual stuff, unite for the good of the country and make America great again! After all, that would be the patriotic thing to do, right?

Not happening. There are plenty of reasons why that’s so. One being that Herr Drumpf is so thoroughly unfit to hold the office that opposing him is not only NOT a bad thing, it should be seen as a sacred duty for Americans who love their country.

But speaking for me, the main reason is that I remember well the events of the last eight years. Yes, I remember the way Republicans, Tea Baggers and folks who proudly wear the conservative label behaved after the country elected Barack Obama as President. And, of course, he won in 2008 with a much larger margin than tRump.

I remember the demonstrations where effigies of President Obama were hanging by a noose. Or were burned.

I well remember the Tea Party rallies where people who hated our President carried photo shopped posters depicting him as a Witch Doctor with a bone through his nose. Yeah, remember when Obama orchestrated that complete government takeover of healthcare?

I remember elected officials who have called the President and the First Lady apes or monkeys or have forwarded cartoons depicting them and their children as primates, as something less-than-human. Then there’s that Moochelle Obama thing. Yeah, that kind of shit is hard to forget.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. Recalling this kind of mindless hatred is taxing on me spiritually; when I descend into that putrid cesspool of right wing, racist malevolence, it drains me of all serenity and good will toward my fellows.

So how do we who see this hateful, deceitful and thoroughly unqualified cretin for who he is move forward after this election? Well, as strange as it may seem, I’m going to model my behavior after my dear right-wing brothers. That’s appropriate. Especially since many of them have this annoying habit of holding themselves out as true patriots and fabulous role models, while suggesting that naive lefties like me are stupid–and that we hate our country, to boot!

Yes, I’m going to model my behavior after patriots like Ted Cruz, Joe Wilson, Mitch McConnell and birther-in-chief Donald J. Trump. Even though this goes completely against my laid-back nature, I’m going to do what these guys taught me to do. I make a solemn pledge today to show our new President exactly — and I mean exactly — the respect the Republicans and Tea Folk showed Barack Obama after his election.

Don the Con is not worthy to even set foot in the White House, much less to be sitting in the Oval Office.

Buckle up, America. It’s going to be a wild ride.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Yes, There is an Org called Republican Women for Hillary!

Over the years I’ve found many timely and insightful features in Rolling Stone Magazine. Their work about politics has always been very solid. Great feature this time around about conservative and Republican women who are leaving the Trump camp in droves and backing Hillary with their voices and their pocketbooks.

When former HP and ebay exec Meg Whitman defected, the media was all over the story. But she’s got plenty of company among other conservative women who can no longer stomach their party’s nominee’s constant displays of contempt for women. Sally Bradshaw was an adviser to Jeb Bush’s campaign and she’s on-board; former Chris Christie staffer Maria Comella has also thrown her lot with the nascent org Republican Women for Hillary. And more defections are coming each day.

That this is happening surprises me not one bit. It’s been fascinating to glean a few details of this inevitable spectacle from Rolling Stone.

To read the whole piece, follow this link. Now pardon me, if you would; I’m gonna go make the popcorn.