Maurice woke up the world

Ed Raymond

H.L. Mencken

Joe: Use these points to tell us what you are going to do

First, a little story of how my French brothers and sisters run a civilized country. Maurice was a happy rooster in his backyard on the island of Oleron off the French coast. He guarded three hens, even if he was getting a bit cantankerous and doddering in his sixth year. He still woke everybody up in his neighborhood with a puffed-up chest early in the morning, crowing his trills. But the rich Parisians who fled from coronavirus to the island wanted to sleep in. So they sued Maurice’s owner and him for crowing too early.

Ah, a great French cultural war fight. More than 140,000 signed a petition to allow Maurice to continue crowing his morning wakeup. After all, the crowing Gallic rooster is the eternal symbol of France. When the case got to court the French judge decided in favor of Maurice and fined the rich 1,000 euros for bringing the case. The judge declared: “This rooster was not being unbearable. He was just being himself.” The money was to be used to make Maurice and his hens more comfortable. Alas, Maurice died of old age shortly after the judgment, but the money will be used to support another rooster and the hens. That’s called justice in France.

Cicero warned us about the Trumps of the world

Andrew Bacevich is an international historian, an expert in the field of foreign policy, and a retired colonel in the U.S. Army who served in Vietnam and lost a son there. As a professor at Boston University he has specialized in military history and foreign policy. I have been following his work for years.

Recently he wrote an article in TomDispatch recommending Joe Biden execute many policies in his first month in office. I have edited his and thrown in a few ideas of my own. Actually, they follow the platform of Bernie Sanders more than they do of Joe’s. We are living in an unfortunate time in history because we have one candidate who is a narcissistic psychopath and psychologically incapable of presiding over anybody.

Evidently we have had Trumps around for thousands of years. More than 2,000 years ago Roman statesman Cicero warned us: “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. For the traitor appears not a traitor – he speaks the accents familiar to his victims, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation – he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city – he infests the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.”

The other option is Joe Biden, a 77-year-old living example of the Peter Principle, a pweson who has reached his level of competence serving in the Senate.  It is not a time to “return to normal” as he has proposed. Joe, “normal” ain’t good enough. The American people, particularly the young, have had enough of “normal.”

Joe, returning to “normal” could be your most dangerous choice. You are too much like H.L. Mencken’s definition of a politician: “If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.”

It’s time for a revolution in politics in the Divided States of America. Democrats have to live with what we have – and we have dozens of bright, competent humane politicians. Most of them are women. Put them in your cabinet to help you run the country.

A partial list of issues to be resolved

1. Income Inequality: Before COVID-19, 80% of American families lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Now they are in worse shape with more than 50 million unemployed, with millions on the eviction lists, and others wait-ing in food bank lines miles long.

Meanwhile, during the pandemic, American billionaires got $637 billion richer. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth increased 59% and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos increased his world-leading wealth by 39%.

The richest family in the world, the Walton’s of Walmart fame, added $25 billion to their savings accounts.

Why did a headline in the Wall Street Journal proclaim: “As Harris Joins Biden’s Ticket, Wall Street Exhales In Relief?” You need to appoint Elizabeth Warren as Secretary of the Treasury to supervise and tax those bandits.

2. Health Care: Why does the average childbirth cost $10,808 and $30,000 (pre-natal through post-natal) for overall costs? Even those with employer-provided insurance average $4,569 out-of-pocket fees. New French parents don’t even get a bill while receiving maternity leave and all kinds of assistance for new mothers. It seems the French care about families.

3. Gun Control: The National Rifle Association, the gun manufacturers, and the Republican Party have been complicit in creating a gun culture that kills 100 and wounds 350 Americans a day, some still in the womb and some a century old. And it’s going to get worse. We have had a tremendous increase in firearm sales since the pandemic started. In the 1930s Hitler had his SA (Storm Detachment), called the Brownshirts, that conducted the “blood purge” of the Jews in 1936 in what is called Kristallnacht or Night of the Broken Glass, that destroyed Jewish businesses. Then the SA morphed to the dreaded SS that supervised the Holocaust, killing  six million Jews, gays, and the mentally and physically handicapped. Now we have Trump’s militia called Boogaloos wearing Hawaiian shirts strutting around threatening protesters and invading state capitols to intimidate legislators with AR-15s loaded with 30 and 100-round magazines, and wearing body armor and cammy pants. More murders are inevitable.

4. COVID-19 Control: If you are elected, immediately announce a concrete national strategy to defeat the spread of the virus. Come up with a universal mask policy with teeth that will help defeat the virus.

5. Social Media: Joe: If you are elected, immediately close down your Twitter account and all other social media. Bacevich has a good sentence about social media: “Your predecessor transformed a presidency that had acquired pretensions into an office best described as a cesspool of grotesque demagoguery.”

6. World Health Organization: Rejoin it on the first day of your presidency. Pay our annual fees.

7. Inauguration: Take the oath of office in the White House before immediate family only. Cancel all celebrations, parades, speeches, and festivities. Have lunch with Vice-President Kamala Harris and get to work.

8. Climate Change: By executive order rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and agree to make a down payment on the $2 trillion New Green Deal developed by the young. The latest report indicates that the melting of the Greenland ice cap may be irreversible. Goodbye Miami, Houston, and Washington, D.C. What is this crap about the Democratic National Committee secretly removing a platform statement calling for the removal of subsidies for the oil companies? Are they short of money?

9. Border Wall: Issue an executive order on January 20 closing down all construction on border walls. The Chinese Wall and the Berlin Wall did not work either.

10. Nuclear Weapons: Instruct the Pentagon to stop spending $2 trillion “modernizing” nuclear weapons. Transfer the money to the State Department so it can improve relationships around the world. Start negotiations with the other nuclear powers to eliminate nuclear weapons.

11. Student Debt: More than 44 million Americans from Gen X to the elderly have $1.6 trillion is student debt. Pay it off now – and make college free – by increasing the taxes on the One Percent who own 50% of all stocks and on the Ten Percent who own 92%. The Ten Percent are playing the Monopoly game on Wall Street.  Sixteen other developed countries have succeeded in having a higher ratio of their citizens earn degrees. Remember: the rich got a $1.9 tax cut from King Donald. Let’s get it back so college graduates can buy homes, cars, and get married.

12. High Speed Internet: K-12 schools and universities trying to teach virtual courses during the pandemic are failing to do so because we have not made high speed Internet a public utility. Finland supplies a computer and high-speed Internet and maintains it in every home. Other countries make it a public utility. We have 17 million children living in homes without high-speed Internet and seven million who do not have a computer in the home. Disgraceful. In Mississippi and Arkansas 40% of the children do not have high-speed Internet. In Los Angeles 250,000 homes with school-aged children do not have computers. Educators have long believed high-speed Internet is absolutely essential at every level of education. Zombies on the Trump Federal Communications Commission do not agree.

13. State Department: Revitalize the State Department by reserving all senior diplomatic appointments, including ambassadorships, to senior Foreign Service officers. Ban the practice of selling ambassadorships to big campaign contributors.

14. Supreme Court: Remember in 2013 when Chief Justice John Roberts decimated the voter rights law and wrote that the election of Barack Obama indicated we no longer had a race problem? He was a Republican at work, not a judge. Immediately restore the original law to control Republican voter suppression. Further, discuss retirement with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and promise her you will appoint a liberal woman jurist of color to the Court. Roberts also said gerrymandering was not a problem the courts should handle. Push Congress to ban the practice.

15. Environmental Regulations: Restore all pollution, drilling, and environmental regulations dropped by the Trump Administration. Cancel all changes made by Trump to national monuments.

16. NATO: Restore relationships with NATO member countries, but inform them the U.S. will pull all forces out of Europe over a ten-year span so they should prepare to provide their own security instead of depending upon the U.S.

17. China: Invite China to cooperate with us in lowering greenhouse gases and to gradually decrease the use of fossil fuels, particularly coal.

18. Rest and Relaxation: After a busy month behind the Oval Office desk, take a day off to recharge your 77-year-old batteries. Remember you are getting quite long in the tooth in a job that would destroy younger men.

19. Crime and Punishment: Appoint a national commission to study American racism, crime and punishment, police departments and unions, sentence guidelines, and rehabilitation.

20. Iran Nuclear Agreement: Rejoin the agreement engineered by Barack Obama signed by the U.S., Germany, Great Britain, China, France, and Russia to restrict the timeline of Iran’s threat to build nuclear weapons.

21. Taxes: In 2018 the 400 richest families paid a lower tax rate than average middle-class workers.  About six months ago the CEOs of the 181 companies of the Business Roundtable stated that capitalism must be based on stakeholders instead of shareholders. In other words, companies need to share profits with workers. Joe, why are 70% of those 181 companies registered in Delaware? Because it is a tax haven like South Dakota is for credit card companies and rich families. Your job is to get corporations to pay their fair share of taxes instead of dumping money in Panama, Monaco, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Ireland, and the other tax havens in the world.

 Joe, I see the Democratic National Committee and you pulled a real stupid when you gave AOC, the most exciting bright young politician we have seen since Barack Obama, a whole 60 seconds to talk to the convention. She wouldn’t have been there at all except Bernie invited her to nominate him under the rules. That was a grievous error. She is now Joan of Arc of the party. She demolished her last political opponent by 50 points! You had better take good care of her or she and her millennials will bury you.