This week I have three videos and two stories to share.
I begin with Kenneth Clarke's argument on behalf of his right to think for himself on behalf of his constituents. I thought the most important passage and relevant directly to the US elections was where Clarke defended that members should follow their conscience, and not automatically obey what was the winning choice in a referendum. He parsed the mantra about the necessity absolutely to follow a vote: following that logic he said he should each time the Tories lost an election, immediately vote for all labor measures. He described the absurdity of an up-or-down vote for the complex situation voters were asked to decide
He referred to his decades of experience in these areas. The situation in the US is the vote is the result of gerrymandering, and the decision the undemocratic electoral college re-skewing so millions of votes are nullified -- in the recent election we also had the interference from anothe country, and the FBI castigating Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server (a commonplace among politicians today, including Trump and republicans).
Every politician should vote according to the interest of the majority of the people. If he no longer gives his constituents his judgement and simply follows ilke an automaton (succumbs to bullying) he is not serving, he is betraying the people in his district. For decades the UK has been part of the EU and profited mightily from it. For a century the US has had a number of sound social programs and for a couple of centuries principles of freedom, assembly, protest in place. Why reverse them for the advantage of whom?
The first article is about the rump who have the power to remove Trump through impeachment but are not going to do this until they destroy every social program that redistributes any income in any way, from health care to social security, to schools, to public transportation. We have to remember that Trump could not get away with what he's doing with the Republicans in charge. They are there after years of gerrymandering, politicizing the courts. They are enabling him. This is what the principle of voting your conscience is so important. Here is a good instance of their ruthless doings after 40 years of making the American republic undemocratic, rotten at the core links.
The Republicans in congress are no longer ashamed to force the District of Columbia to their will and against the desires of the people of that city and their local elected representatives end all attempts at helping the city's poor using the poor leftovers of the welfare program ended by the Clintons. It appeared in the Washington Post for February 4th, "The DC local gov't in a fight for its life," by Aaron D. Davis and Peter Jamison. DC has been commiting the mortal sin of trying to prevent people from starving to death. The Republicans can't stand this.
Of course Trump matters. He enabled this win. He thrives on a constituency that is narrow but potentially violent and is treated with credibility and certainly not criticized in media: that there was a possible massacre at Bowling Green was never admitted in mainstream newspapers: a white supremacist planned to kill African-Americans and Muslims. They represent the left-out, jobless, people without hope such that he can appearl to them; the core is miseducated and misinformed, and has for years been found outlets in racism, bigotry, sexism. What American culture in general admires he has been presented as on TV for years:: the ruthless businessman, utter selfishness. Taxation now seen as socialistic. This second article on Trump's character and the way he behaves appeared in the New York Times for January 29, 2017, "Up is Down: unreality show echoes a history of false claims," by David Barstow. Here you will learn how throughout his business career and TV "reality" show, Trump succeeded -- or floated along on money he made and inflated through lawsuits and cheating everyone he encountered, through not paying and manipulating the tax system, through mystifying himself by an image he created which deluded masses of people, and that the techniques he used outside the oval office he is now using far more openly and ruthlessly. He has now behind him such fearful firepower, law and offices, he figures he can punish anyone anywhere to the hilt who attempts to stop him. So much for the leader of this rump cabal -- remember half the American population voted, and of that half less than half voted for Trump.
As in previous weeks a few new thoughts: Trump is not liar about all things. His anti-immigrant stance is not political expedience. He is deeply prejudiced against anyone not white and born in the US. He proposes to have surveillance of all immigrants for all the time they live in the US; if they go on welfare or do anything he doesn't like, green cards or no (permanent residence this used to be call) throw them out. Long time green card holders too. He talks of how those succeeding in business in the US (ie. making money) will be kept, but if their business ejected. He is deeply violent. The woman he put in charge of his renewal ofblack sites is known for cruelty in torturing. In a book Speaking about Torture, edd. Julie A Carlson and Elisabeth Weber it's demonstrated the purpose and work of torture is to "drive the victim 'beyond the borders of death into [a state of speechless] nothingness" Korea has nuclear bombs and says it can deliver them on California. California is a blue state so Trump may truly not care about. He is starting two wars and maybe really thinks he can steal Iran's oil from them. His tweets are spiteful, paranoid, if in doubt violence and punishments are the solutions. His I'll send in the feds on Chicago means I'll put martial law on that place. No respect for law means abusing his power over legal violence. Protesters on inaugural day are charged with felonies and threatened with 10 years in prison. Trump uses the word nuclear over and over. Quite apart from killing us all he will ruin the earth and atmosphere, the sky, plant life, animals. He may believe that climate change is a hoax. He doesn't read anything. He shows ignorance in his executive orders, in his ordinary talk (he apparently did not know anything about Frederick Douglass including that he died in the last century), in important negotations: He has to ask an aide what are the provisions of the test ban treaty while he finds what has been done "stupid." He does not want the congress to be a debating, advising body but obedient to him so 52 republicans in congress should simply ignore 48 -- go for the jugular, the "nuclear' option of stopping all filibuster. Govern by fiat; executive order.
Last one of Robert Reich's resistance reports:
Here is what he suggests you can try to do:
I have begun to phone, to email, have joined a group, I will boycott all stores that carry Trump merchandise, contribute to social media, to ACLU, Common Cause, Southern Poverty Law Center. I'm going to try to find a sticker for my car. I'm going to vote for all the principles he lays out.