Jeb, Flint, the White Middle Class, American Muslims, and Marco Rubio

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DDThe media treats them as separate, but they are all a part of the same malaise. Tie them together; they are one story. Together, they catalogue the Republicans’ demand that we overturn democracy and give their candidates power to scrimp not only our national safety nets but our private citizen rights. They seek to thrush anger deeper into our lives and spread political control over what we breathe and eat and earn, how we pray, who we love, and where our society builds.

Dig deeper: begin with Jeb.


The snapshot Jeb Bush represents of American politics is compelling: $100 million banked, $30 million spent on failed ads, his endorsement of every vicious, life killing act by GOP elected officials, from MI’s Governor Snyder (Jeb blames the shibboleth of “regulation” for the deliberate choice of the Governor’s men to disregard the dangers of lead’s toxicity and put an entire city and its children at risk, even after GM was given clean water because what Flint drank corroded its engine parts) to his brother’s Presidency (blithely, he dismissed his brother war with 4500 lives lost, thousands more wounded and disabled as “peace”). Bush is unable to quit even when it is obvious he has lost.

He has no path to victory. His only saving grace is that he is the poster child for the country’s political pathology. His campaign consisted of being a foil for Donald Trump, an apologist for every GOP failure, a believer in Big Money, a regular at the Red Queen’s tea parties, with peeks in the “looking glass” to ensure he was properly groomed.

It is fitting his last effort was a campaign plea by his 90+ year old mother, telling us he was always a great boy–made months after she told him not to run!

May we ask his millions go to charities? To feed starving children and families, displaced by his brother’s war of peace–in the aftermath of the “mission accomplished”?


Now, Michigan.

Take note, twice: Michigan’s governor and legislature thwarted the will of the people to set forth the most severe, draconian anti-democratic measure in the history of American democracy. A law allowed a governor to upsurp the powers of duly elected public officials, taking away their authority without due process or accountability.

Michigan voters statewide then overturned Public Act 4 of 2011 by a state wide petition and ballot initiative, the Michigan’s Emergency Manager Referendum, in one of those strange votes in which voters had to vote no to defeat the law! Against the will of the people, the Governor reintroduced legislation and added a clause that prevents the new act from being overturned by petition–which the Republican legislature passed in a straight party vote!

The party of “small government” twice expanded the powers of government and against the will of the people, put absolute power into the single hands of governor without oversight, leaving 100,000s vulnerable to a legal dictatorship disguised as help for the balance sheet. This thin disguise does not hide that the actions repeated and inured against the people’s will are anti-democratic.

No matter how justified or explained, the Michigan law suborns democracy. It is anti-democratic! It consolidates absolute authority, it removes review; it eliminates due process, it overrides checks and balances or accountability, it obstructs and restraints the people’s will. It is slowly killing a city.


The white middle class is at a crossroads, in 2016.

The white middle class is no longer willing to commit economic suicide, and while a large portion perhaps has not shorn itself of xenophobia and racial bias, 8 years under President Obama has left it realizing it is not race or the welfare state that is a drag on wages; it is not race or the “nanny state” that is closing producing, profitable plants, shipping jobs to China’s Pearl River zone; it is not their worst fears of blacks and minorities in power (witness 2 Hispanics topping the Republican charts!) that resulted in the loss of family net worth: they have felt the long arm of capitalism and know it has no velvet hand.

Blaming Obamacare for hours cut is a sham. No matter how often repeated, they see with their eyes: their college educated children drown in debt and work at Starbucks; in too many stores, shifts are never set; a glimpse at “Undercover Boss” tells how hard America works even as the corporations fail to keep up.

What is up are profits: year over year, they are at record highs. But Apple, Samsung, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Toyota and Pfizer–top 20 global companies–have small labor footprints, smaller in the US. Apple alone holds more cash than all but the top 50 nations’ GDPs, their total national production.

Blamed, Obama didn’t “divide” the country. Instead, he has been the object of its activation and the instrument of its recognition in our national dialogue. The stone rejected is being used.


Muslim America hears the President speak.

Starting from the idea that good people are not to be blamed for the bad acts of others, speaking in Baltimore at the Islamic Society, the city’s largest mosque, the President addressed the nation and rejected the idea of collective guilt for those whose religion is Islam. The President’s remarks really addressed the inner threat–the threat is which the heart’s inner truth begins to assign blame to the undeserving, overlooking values shared within differences, the common humanity, the good will that does no harm out of the temptations of hate and fear.

This practice of fear with its elements of irrational hate, its strident blame, its anger hinged to violence has long been embedded in America’s psyche. From the lynching of African-Americans, and later their random killings across the South with markings of vicious indifference, this desire for blood coup has moved to center on new targets: Muslims, their mosques, their faith; their place among us; their freedom.

It is a fear that rejects any examination; a fear above questioning. To those whose hearts hold it dear, it is a absolute right to hate. It is without grief or love. It refuses to share. Its hate to its holders feels strong. It blames others undeserving for wrongs.

(The video feed begins at 1: 18 on the tape. /wr)


And the programmable, new Rubio emerges as a Republican hope.

Republicans, their media pundits, columnists, and scribes, have a Diogenes problem: they are in search of an honest man or woman (really, a man). But what if that honesty reveals no depth?

That’s the Rubio problem: handsome, great voice, but his center is void of essence, even as his politics are brimming over with political conventions. He’s assembled, programmable, and comes in too many shapes and sizes. His strategy has always been to hold hands with his benefactors and make deals. Voters don’t see him as having the strength or sense to be president.

Watch the programmable Rubio sometimes: a word outside of his stump speech shows he is out of his league. He running on the fact that he has opposition, which he claims makes him qualified; he never ties it to the support of any of his policy positions (education? health care? corporate tax breaks? income inequality?) except his flip-flop on immigration.

Rubio is a factory part, cut, stamped, connected to systems and ideology from the days of monopolies and carriage making. He tries to combine history with down line marketing and wants America to elect a ruby who bought into the Presidential package–a man who has publicly said he will reverse every vestige of progress America has made simply because it was achieved by another President from another party. He’s a company politician who can’t make fighting weight. He wants us to forget all the silver spoons that feed him (and never the least of us!).