Hey, White Working Class, Donald Trump Is Already Screwing You Over

The Daily Beast-Wake Up

Hey, White Working Class, Donald Trump Is Already Screwing You Over

The Carrier deal was a sham. Ivanka’s moving her shoe production out of China—and into Ethiopia. Wake up, people. You’ve been played.

Joy Ann Reid

12.09.16 12:05 AM ET

Dear Working-Class White Trump Voter,

You’re probably going to read this as sour grapes, and I certainly am sour about a family of kleptocrats moving into the White House because 80,000 of your votes in states that get more federal tax dollars than they put in, trump 2.7 million of ours, even though we carry you financially, and California and New York could function just fine as our own countries, without you.

But the reality is, I do live in a blue state. My governor and mayor are Democrats. Undocumented immigrants are safe where I live. Two of my kids attend a private college, so they wouldn’t have gotten free tuition anyway, and the third goes to a really good public school, where they teach science. I have a job (actually, multiple jobs) that can’t be outsourced to Mexico. And I’ll probably get a tax cut. So I’ll be fine over the next four years, as long as I don’t encounter an angry cop who’s had a bad day. But allow me to be blunt, since I don’t have any desire to pander to you, and it wouldn’t work to pander to you anyway.

You voted for Donald Trump, thinking that he was on your side; that he will save your jobs and your way of life, whatever you imagine that is. Well, you got played.

Over the course of his decades in business, Donald Trump has never given a damn about people like you. When he tore down the old Bonwit Teller building—where my Jamaican godmother was one of the few black women allowed to work as a cashier in the 1960s (her big claim to fame was meeting Troy Donahue)—to build Trump Tower, Trump used undocumented white laborers, mostly polish to do it. When his company forced them to work in deplorable, dangerous conditions and even failed to pay them the meager wages they were promised and they complained, Trump threatened to have them deported.

Trump built Trump Tower using mob concrete, not Bethlehem steel. In fact, he has rarely used American steel in the few buildings he’s actually built; opting for Chinese steel instead. That includes two of his last three projects: the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. Then again, Nevada and Illinois voted with us in the anti-Trump majority, so the joke wasn’t exactly on them.

I wish to God the Clinton campaign had spent every waking month telling you guys about this stuff, instead of allowing the moving and cinematic “Man of Steel” TV ad by a pro-Trump super PAC probably funded by the same billionaires to whom he’s about to give massive top-rate and corporate tax cuts, to stand. But they didn’t. And here we are.

Now, your supposed hero of the working class, the “blue collar billionaire” who you insisted both during the campaign and afterward heard you, understood you, spoke to you, and cared about you, is attacking one of you. Trump used his Twitter account this week to savage United Steelworkers 1999 of Indiana and it’s president, Chuck Jones, an ordinary working man who dared to tell the truth about the phony Carrier deal that the media shamefully allowed Trump to ride to glowing headlines and boosted poll numbers.

To review, Trump used his Twitter feed to credit himself for saving 1,100 jobs at Indiana furnace and air conditioning manufacturer Carrier. In fact, it was still-governor Mike Pence, Trump’s soon-to-be vice president, who cut the deal to hand over $7 million in state tax abatements to Carrier in exchange for delaying the movement of 770 jobs to the company’s new plant in Monterrey, Mexico. That move, over the next three years, and the shutdown of the Indianapolis plant, is still planned. Another 300 white collar jobs Trump claimed credit for, meaning researchers and administrators, not steel workers, were not being moved to Mexico in the first place. And an additional 600 jobs at the plant, plus 700 at a plant in nearby Huntington, Indiana, plus 350 more at a ball bearing factory owned by Rexnord Corp., are still being shipped south of the border.

Meanwhile, despite the willingness of the incoming Trump-Pence administration to bribe a company with your tax dollars, there’s no guarantee that the small number of jobs saved are more than temporary. For all you know, Carrier only agreed to delay moving those 770 jobs until Christmas, to get the good press. And unlike President Obama’s deal to save literally millions of auto industry jobs in 2009, there’s no agreement for Carrier to pay taxpayers back with interest.

When Jones pointed out that Trump used Carrier employees as props and ” lied his as off” about the jobs he was supposedly saving, Trump got mad. He tweeted at Jones, blaming him, and US1999, for driving jobs out of Indiana and out of the United States. Think about that for a moment—your next president doesn’t think corporate greed and the pursuit of low wages are driving jobs out; he thinks unions are. That means he thinks your health care benefits and retirement package are the problem, not your CEO and the singular goal of “enhancing shareholder value” at your expense. Sounds like a proper plutocrat to me. Well, Trump went after Mr. Jones, and now Mr. Jones is getting death threats.

You see, Trump is “for” you, as long as you’re quiet and obedient. The moment you step out of line and stop praising him, it’s on. He’ll treat you no differently from how he treated the Gold Star family, the Khans, or former Miss Universe Alicia Machado for criticizing him during the campaign. You didn’t care much about them, since they belonged to groups you were voting to sideline—the Muslims and the Hispanics you think are taking over “your” country. But you might want to give a damn about Mr. Jones. Because what Trump is doing to him is a sign of things to come for you.

Meanwhile, Trump torched the stock of another American manufacturing company, Boeing, in retaliation for its CEO criticizing him; first inflating the size of their new contract to upgrade the Air Force One fleet, and then threatening to cancel the deal altogether, which would cost American jobs and help Boeing’s only competitor: Airbus, of France.

Trump is a big businessman. He’s your boss or CEO, not one of your brothers on the line.

He is on record saying that in his view, wages in the U.S. are too high. Trump’s pick for labor secretary, fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, is against raising the federal minimum wage too.

Trump the CEO manufacturers his tacky suits and ties in Mexico and his daughter manufactures her clothes and shoes in China. But neither of them plan to set the example for their fellow tycoons by moving those jobs to the U.S.A. Ivanka is moving some of her production to Ethiopia. And she just struck a new production deal in Japan, while on the phone with her dad and the Japanese prime minister. The Trumps have spent exactly zero percent of their lives caring about anyone other than themselves. Don’t expect that to change now, especially since they can now enrich themselves on international bribes, courtesy of daddy’s new job.

Trump’s threat (again via Twitter) of a 35 percent tax on companies who ship jobs overseas is complete bull. It’s never going to happen, and he knows it. It’s Congress, not the president, that moves legislation. And this Congress, which you voted for, is controlled by Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who don’t want to take the country back to the 1950s, where you want to go, but rather to the 1920s. You might want to Google “Calvin Coolidge” or order the collected works of Aldous Huxley for Christmas if you need a primer.

Many of you voted based on the fiction that Hillary Clinton was going to take your guns—the way Barack Obama sent fleets of black helicopters to take them, right? Just pause for a moment to think about how ridiculous that sounds; sending who, the military, door to door to collect your silly firearms? Wake up, people. That idea is as foolish as the notion that before Nov. 9 you weren’t allowed to say “Merry Christmas.”

So Merry Christmas, Trump voters. Your guns are safe. They always were. Instead, while Trump is entertaining you by hiring white generals named “Mad Dog” to make you feel powerful again, the Republicans in Congress fully intend to take away every program that saved your parents and grandparents from the Great Depression.

Sure, they’re coming for “Obamacare” first. And you’re happy about that because you think that’s just free insurance for black “Obama phone” users and so-called illegals. But it’s not. It’s the access to insurance covering 20 million people, including millions of people like you; including 400,000 of you in very-not-black Kentucky. It’s covering disabled kids and people with pre-existing conditions, many who are too sick to get insurance without it. And Ryan and his friends want to cancel it, and then take three years to replace it, probably with Ryan’s favorite thing: vouchers.

But that’s not all. Ryan is also coming for Medicare. He wants to privatize that, too, and not for your mom and dad—they vote in midterms. He’s going to privatize it for you. So when you retire, working stiff in your forties or fifties, you’re going to get a handful of vouchers, instead of Medicare. And he’s also coming for Medicaid, to turn it into a block grant. That’s not a problem for me, since my blue state will keep caring for our poor. Your state—with its Republican governor and legislature? Not so much. Your emergency rooms are going to fill up with the sick, and your bankruptcy courts will fill up with their cases when they can’t pay the bills. And your rural hospitals are going to close.

You’ve turned your country over the top tenth of 1 percent. Talk about “establishment.” Their interest is not in helping you. It’s in further enriching themselves, by privatizing every public program—Social Security can’t be far behind—dropping the corporate and top income tax brackets as close to zero as possible, and making you pay, for everything from privatized roads owned by multinational corporations to elementary school. They’re into taking land, including our public lands and parks, or using another Trump favorite—public domain—to drill and frack, endangering your water just as surely as they poisoned Flint’s. And when they can’t steal any more from the Native Americans—who have shown they still have some fight left—they’ll come for your farms.

In Michigan, Republicans have already gotten started. They voted to further gut unions’ ability to bargain for decent health care and retirement through the use of strikes. And congressional Republicans have already voted to strip the “buy American” clause out of a bill to repair the nation’s water infrastructure.

As for black Trump supporters, don’t be fooled. Remember when Trump said he didn’t want black people counting his money, only Jewish people? Well look at his appointments. He didn’t even respect neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson enough to insist that he take over Health and Human Services. Instead, he’s tossing the black guy in the “urban” chair.

So good luck, Trump voters. I hope at some point you realize what’s happening and fight back. Your choices, unfortunately, do affect us all, and they will until we wake up and junk the Electoral College, which puts rural states’ zeal for Christian rule ahead of blue states’ desire for good government.

Until then, all I can do is try to warn you, and then wish you good luck.

Thanksgiving 2016

November 24, 2016, John Hanno

Thanksgiving 2016

On Thanksgiving 2008, exactly eight years ago, I had an article published in a Chicago newspaper, where I described all the things I was thankful for. Although the war in Iraq was finally winding down, ours and most of the worlds economies were imploding, thanks to the risky and criminal financial schemes of the world’s banking giants. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month and markets were in free fall. America had just chosen Democrat Senator Barack Obama to be it’s next president and savior; and I truly believed he and Michelle understood why I was thankful for the 35 things listed in my article.

I was thankful the eight years of the Bush Administration were almost over and we didn’t elect John McCain because the world could not have survived another Republican term like that. I was thankful the world was welcoming President Obama with open arms and a deep sigh of relief because it showed they believed America could still lead us from despair. I was thankful Barack Obama realized we all had to work together to solve the enormous problems because being divided was what got us into the mess in the first place. I appreciated the important things; family, friends and community because we had to depend on each other. I was thankful and hopeful that 60 years from then, people would be glad they were born in 2009, because it was the beginning of another period of great hope and change, and not because they were sorry to have been born into another great depression.

Some of that hope was quickly dashed when the Republican leaders in Congress, led by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, met on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration, to hatch a plan to obstruct the President on everything he tried to do, just to make him a one term president. They didn’t care about the consequences to Americans reeling from an economy driven off a cliff by, too big to fail banks and neocon ideologue’s in the Bush Administration.

Every time the President held out a hand, the Republicans slapped it away. They refused to allow him to succeed at anything. Compromise to them meant total capitulation. But what they really accomplished was to make America even more polarized, and it showed during this election. Donald Trump took advantage of and widened that divide to Grand Canyon proportions.

As the votes continue to be counted, Hillary has received more than 2 million more votes than Donald Trump. The 64.5 million folks who voted for Hillary, the media and pollsters, most Republicans and even the Trump campaign, still can’t believe she lost. Computer experts have found evidence that the results in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin may have been manipulated or hacked; possibly by the Russians, who favored Trump. And if these shenanigans with electronic ballots are proved valid, Hillary’s supporters might yet be vindicated. The Jill Stein campaign has collected millions of dollars from concerned Americans, who like me, can’t believe America is still not able to guarantee a free and fair national election.

The OpenSecrets.org Center for Responsive Politics reports that the cost of this 2 year long election is approaching 7 billion dollars, thanks to Citizens United and dark money. Couple that with Republican legislatures throughout the country passing bills aimed at voter suppression, gerrymandering, a reality candidate who believes lying and deception are invaluable traits, debates where discussing critical issues are put on the back burners, a media more concerned with profits than truth in journalism, campaign hacking by the Russians, and the latest peril of Russian propaganda spreading fake news stories, is it a wonder that 53% of America’s eligible voters didn’t bother to vote.

Some of the 62.5 million folks who voted for Mr. Trump believe he will govern much different than he campaigned; that all the nativist, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, anti immigrant and violent dialog and conduct was just chalked up as campaign talk. But half of those who voted for Trump, who Hillary named the “Deplorables,” are in sympathy with the alt right tea party and obstructionist McConnell. They want to burn down the government. They want to “Make America Great Again,” which really means they want to take America back to the dark ages, when America was primarily male controlled,  white and Christian, before workers rights and women’s rights and civil rights for our black and brown brothers and sisters. Before regulations on banks and corporations and protections for workers and the environment.

But so far, based on the people he’s chosen for his cabinet, it’s clear he will govern exactly like he campaigned. He told his supporters that he knows, and would choose, the best and the brightest people for his cabinet. Then he turns around and picks rich, alt right ideologues; Rudolf Giuliani, who most people think has gone off the deep end, Steve Bannon, alt right white supremacist sympathizer, Mike Flynn for National Security Advisor, who has endorsed the use of torture and other war crimes that violate the Geneva Convention and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, who worked hard to gut the Voting Rights act and suppress minority voting. Fellow Republicans denied Sessions a federal judgeship because of his racist track record. Trump also nominated Koch Brothers aligned Billionaire charter school and voucher advocate and $9.5 million Trump campaign contributor Betsy DeVos, as his Secretary of Education, someone who American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten describes as “the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education.” Weingarten said, “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.” This coming on top of the 31 mostly red states that have already cut funding to public schools.

During the election, Mr. Trump told his supporters he would not touch Social Security or Medicare, two of the most successful government programs in our history. But the Republican House of Representatives, led by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, has the privatizing of those programs at the top of their to do list.

Trump repeatedly told supporters that he would repeal Obama-care (Affordable Care Act) on his first day in office but he’s already backpedaling on that promise. He might have discovered that the popular parts of the ACA, which he also favors, the preexisting conditions part and the ability to keep children on their parents policy thru age 26, must be paid for, by mandating that everyone sign up or pay a penalty. It’s mind-boggling to me that many of the folks who signed up for Obama-care, some who never before had medical insurance, voted for Trump. Thanks to Democratic Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, more than 60% of Kentuckians, most of them poor, had signed up for subsidized Obama-care. But they not only elected a new Republican governor who favors ending the ACA, but more than 70% of them voted for Mr. Trump in this election. And with Kentucky’s 2 Republican Senators and full cadre or Republican Congress persons, I’m sure the Republican Congress, who already tried to repeal the ACA more than 60 times, will finally succeed without President Obama to veto them. I believe some of the poorest of the poor, those left behind by the new economy, jumped on the Trump train because they were desperate for any type of change.

Mr. Trump said many times during the election, that if elected, he would build a wall on the border with Mexico and make them pay for it, ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., send 11 million illegal immigrants back to Mexico, cancel the nuclear peace treaty with Iran, cancel all of President Obama’s executive orders, bring all the jobs back from China, keep others from off shoring, bring back the coal industry, drop out of the Paris agreement, exit the TPP, renegotiate NAFTA and the China PNTR agreement, end the carried interest exemption, drain the Washington swamp of lobbyists, throw crooked Hillary in jail, destroy ISIS because he knows more than the generals, cut taxes for individuals and corporations, rebuild the depleted military and a whole list of other things. And that’s just in the first 100 days. I hope those who voted for him don’t hold their breaths waiting for most things on this list. It should soon be obvious that Donald Trump was feeding his supporters a monumental line of bull dung. And how these poor souls will react, when they wake up from their Kool-aid induced stupor, is anyone’s guess.

I suspect Mr. Trump will quickly reveal himself as a traditional billionaire zealot who champions, and will again try to implement, the neocons discredited trickle down economics. He despises paying any taxes even though the rich and corporations benefit from them more than anyone, so he will again place cutting taxes above all else, even though it will surely blow up the deficit. He will fall in line with fossil fuel interests and join with his Republican Congress to gut environmental regulations, and to support drill baby drill and heavy investment in pipeline infrastructure; and of course at the same time, they will dial back investments and subsidies for alternative energies. He will fully support charter schools and school vouchers because he simply hates free public education. He will go along with the Republican Congress to attack middle class entitlement and social safety net programs, while at the same time passing out favors to crony capitalists, fossil fuel companies and the prison and military industrial complexes. He will hire a long list of other billionaires, who like himself, have little regard for 99% of the rest of America.

There are some things the Democrats would be willing to work with Mr. Trump on, like an infrastructure bill, modifying trade agreements to make them fairer for America and the American worker and real tax reform that includes ending the carried interest tax dodge. But if the Republican juggernaut resumes efforts to steamroll America’s middle class, the poor and the environment, the Democrats will have to use every tool, including the Republican’s favorite filibuster, to minimize the damages.

America is starkly divided; there’s a pitched battle for America’s Democratic ethos:

Between those who believe a rising tide lifts all boats and that all of us should share in the profits and benefits of a free society and economy….. and those who believe in a plutocratic, corporatist, limited government with lax regulations, low or limited taxes to support our commons and consequently, diminished worker and middle class rights.

Between those who believe our diversity makes for a stronger America and a better future …..and those who long for a lily white, male dominated, Christian past.

Between those who embrace science, innovation and a green future based on sustainable alternative energy….. and those steeped and mired in fossil fuel’s dirty and unsustainable past.

In spite of the Republican’s unrelenting obstruction, the Obama Administration still accomplished a lot, primarily during the first 2 years, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. I think history will regard him as one of our best presidents.

With the help of the admittedly weak stimulus after the economic crash, they were able to apply a tourniquet to the bleeding economy. In spite of staunch opposition from the Republicans in Congress, they bailed out the auto industry, which has increase production each year since 2009 and reached a new record of 17.5 million last year. I wrote the president a letter in early 2009 advocating for the auto bailout and also saying I thought the three most important issues were Jobs, Jobs and living wage Jobs. But he concentrated on and expended a lot of capital and good will on the Affordable Care Act. I guessed that when he sat down with the corporate executives after the crash, he asked them about creating more jobs at home. I’m sure they told him the number one reason for exporting jobs was the escalating, enormous and unpredictable cost of health care. For auto manufacturing, that means between $2,300 and $2,700 per vehicle.

So the administration did what 5 presidents couldn’t do; they committed to finally providing healthcare for 40 million Americans, which caused more than 20,000 deaths a year simply because folks didn’t have insurance. They also slowed the double digit escalating health care costs. They not only had to tackle the number one cause of America’s long term fiscal problems but needed to level the playing field for companies that must compete with countries with much lower wages and much lower health care costs. It wasn’t pretty but it’s a start. America is finally on the path to universal health care. And on the path to healing and rebuilding the finances of the families where medical costs contributed to 65% of all personal bankruptcies.

As part of the ACA, the Obama Administration also took the banks out of the Federal Student Loan Program and expanded Pell Grants. Since 2010, students now get their loans directly from the federal government instead of from subsidized banks. This will save the Treasury almost $70 billion dollars over 10 years. And $36 billion of that will go into expanding Pell Grants for low income families. They also cracked down on predatory for profit colleges.

With the help of Michele Obama, they passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010, giving $4.5 billion for higher nutritional and health standards for school lunches. It doubled the amounts of fruits and vegetables and whole grains in foods served to school children.

They passed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

They repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

They helped make same sex marriage, the law of the land.

I believe the Obama Administration has done more for Veterans than any since Truman’s and Eisenhower’s. They increased the budget for the Veterans Administration by 16 percent in 2010 and 10 percent in 2011, passed a new G.I. Bill that provided $78 billion dollars in tuition assistance and gave tax credits to businesses who hire Vets.

And they still created more than 15 million jobs, including the biggest (800,000) growth in manufacturing jobs since the 1990’s. Unfortunately many of those are not living wage jobs. They’ve created an average of almost 200,000 jobs for 29 straight months between 2010 and 2016 and the unemployment rate dropped from more than 10% to 4.9%.

Medium household income has gone up $1,140 or 2 %.

The buying power of the average workers weekly paycheck is up 4.2%

Median sales prices of existing single family homes are up 23%

The murder rate is down 5%, despite an increase in 2015.

The number of unauthorized immigrants is also down.

Our national deficit has been cut by three-quarters, from the 2009 bail-out deficit of $1.4 trillion to the $439 billion 2015 deficit.

The stock markets have soared. The S&P 500 was up 220% over 2009. Nasdaq is up more than 320% and the Dow is up almost 200%, rising from about 8,000 after the crash to a new record of more than 19,000 now.

The Federal Reserve also played a big role in digging us out of the financial crisis and deep recession, by keeping interests low, which also helped the housing sector recover.

They passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 to regulate the practices that bank engaged in that crashed the economy and caused the Great Recession. Dodd-Frank improved the regulation of eight areas that led to the financial crisis. The “Volcker Rule” banned banks from being involved in hedge funds. The Financial Stability and Oversight Council regulated hedge funds and banks that became too big to fail. Dodd-Frank also directed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to regulate the riskiest derivatives, like the credit default swaps and commodities future that were the primary causes of the collapse.

They also created the Consumer Financial protection Bureau, which has returned billions of dollars back to victimized consumers and improved regulation of credit cards and mortgages.

They also passed the Credit Card Accountability Act in 2009.

And the first bill they passed in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act, which gave women who are paid less that men for the same work the ability to sue their employers after they finally discover the discrimination.

They passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in 2011, which increased the Food and Drug Administration’s budget by $1.4 billion dollars, so they can expand food inspections, issue direct food recalls and increase safety practices of countries importing products into America.

They Passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Which mandated that tobacco manufacturers disclose all ingredients and obtain FDA approval for any new tobacco product.

They passed the 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Program (Chip) to cover health care for an additional 4 million children, paid for by a tax on tobacco products.

In 2009, they got the EPA to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant and allowing them to regulate its production.

In 2009, they eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.

They engineered Federal Communications approval to transfer $8 billion in subsidies away from landlines and toward broadband Internet for lower-income rural families.

In 2009, they passed the Claims Resolution Act, which provided $4.6 billion funding for the legal settlement for black and Native American farmers who the government denied loans and natural resource royalties to in the past.

They passed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act in 2009, which designated more than 2 million acres of wilderness, created historic trails and protected more than 1,000 miles of rivers.

They invested $90 billion dollars in research for smart electric grids, energy efficiency, electric autos, renewable electric generation, clean coal and bio-fuels.

They issued an executive order in 2009 requiring all federal agencies to reduce their environmental impact. This includes 30% reduction in fleet gasoline use, 26% increase in water efficiency and sustainability requirements for all federal contracts.

They passed in 2011, over staunch objections from fossil fuel pandering Republicans, new fuel efficiency standards that will double fuel economy for cars, and for the first time trucks by 2025. Some auto manufacturers have already surpassed those standards.

Wind and solar power have quadrupled; coal production has dropped 36% and carbon emissions have gone down 12%.

Clean energy production (300 million megawatt hours) from solar, wind and biomass has doubled since (150 million megawatt hours) in 2009.

The Administration engineered an agreement with British Petroleum to set up a $20 billion dollar fund to quickly compensate victims of the Deep-water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after pointing out that it took almost 2 decades for the victims of the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill to receive $1.3 billion.

President Obama led global efforts for the International Climate Agreement in Paris in December 2015. Countries agreed to reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon trading and to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

He also enacted the Clean Power Plan in 2015. It reduces carbon emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. This is accomplished by reduction goals for the nations power plants. Power plants will create 30% more renewable energy generation by 2030.

They reduced military spending in 2011 by $450 billion dollars.

They stopped the $1 billion per launch Space Shuttle program boondoggle and the even more bloated Bush era Constellation program in 2011.

In 2009 they ended the Lockheed Martin single-seat, twin engine, fighter aircraft program, which cost $358 million dollars for each plane. The plane never flew a single combat mission, even though they already had 187 planes built. Eliminating the program saved $4 billion.

They also created Recovery.gov, an independent board of inspectors general directed to look for fraud and abuse in the stimulus program. It provided transparent information on every contract funded by the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

They ended the war in Iraq and wound down the war in Afghanistan.

They captured and killed Osama bin laden.

They joined with European and Arab governments to topple Moammar Gaddafi and helped unseat Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

After rescinding Bush Administration torture policies, President Obama began rebuilding the world’s opinion toward the U.S, which was severely damaged during the previous Republican administration.

President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in March 2010. The committee cited “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” He withdrew troops from Iraq in 2011 and reduced the U.S. nuclear warhead stockpile by 10%.

The Iran sanctions they helped get passed in 2010, with other countries, led to the Iran Nuclear weapons program agreement.

They helped the South Sudan declare Independence. They appointed envoys to the Sudan, and had U.S. United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice negotiate a peaceful split

And I think one of the most important issues, especially in light of the potential conflict of interest issues for the incoming Trump Administration, is that President Obama has served longer than any other president in decades without a scandal. When he came into office, he told the American public that he was demanding that everyone who worked in his administration would be held to a higher standard of ethics and he has faithfully delivered on that promise.

When the President came into office, he said he would be a president for all the American people, even those who didn’t vote for him. He said he made mistakes but got up every day determined to help improve the lives of all Americans. I think he was successful in spite of Republican refusal to compromise on anything. But looking at the list of achievements, we see that he has helped 100’s of millions of folks in countless ways.

President Obama’s administration has helped:

The banks and financial institutions who benefited from the bail-out,

The investors and pension funds harmed by the financial crash and then made whole,

The homeowners who lost equity in their homes and then recovered with TARP funds,

The entire auto industry and the millions of new workers in that industry,

The 40 million folks now eligible for Obamacare,

The 10’s of millions of who can’t be denied insurance because of preexisting conditions,

The millions of young folks who can stay on their parents policy through age 26,

The 10’s of millions of folks who won’t have to file bankruptcy because of medical costs,

The 10’s of millions who can now get preventative care at no cost,

The millions of students and their families who now pay reduced student loan interest,

The millions of students and their families who have benefited from more Pell Grants,

The 10’s of millions of children who now have healthier and more nutritious lunches,

Those less likely to be the victims of hate crimes,

The LGBTQ members of the military who can now openly serve their country,

The same sex partners who can now legally get married,

100’s of thousands of men and women of the military and vets who depend on the V.A.,

The 15,000,000 Americans who now have a job,

The 10’s of millions of taxpayers who will have to pay less interest on the deficit,

The millions who profited from the doubling and tripling of the stock markets,

The millions of homeowner families who have benefited from low home mortgage rates,

The 10’s of millions who are protected by Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Protection Act,

The 10’s of millions of women who are now protected by the Lilly Ledbetter Act,

The 10’s of millions of young people who will not start smoking, or will decide to quit,

The 4 million additional children in the expanded CHIPS health program,

The 10’s of millions who will benefit from reduced carbon dioxide emissions,

The millions who will benefit from embryonic stem cell research,

The millions of rural folks who can now use the Internet,

The black and Native American farmers who can now get farm loans and royalties,

The millions who use the 2 million acres of new wilderness and 1,000 miles of rivers,

The millions who benefit from a smart electric grid, energy efficiency and electric autos,

The millions of taxpayers who benefit from a more efficient environmental impact,

The 10’s of millions who will benefit from doubling the fuel economy standards,

The folks in the Gulf who will receive payouts from the Deep Water victims fund,

The billions of people around the world who will benefit from the Paris accord,

The 10’s of millions of American taxpayers who benefit from reduced military spending,

The 100 million folks in Iraq and Afghanistan who can now see the end of the tunnel,

The 100’s of millions around the world who are glad Osama bin laden is in hell,

The 100 million people of Libya and Egypt who have new leadership,

The 10’s of millions of Iranians who are no longer suffering sanctions and,

The 100’s of millions who no longer have to worry about Iran’s nuclear program,

The 100’s of millions who are just a little safer after we reduced our nuclear arsenal,

The many millions in the South Sudan who now have an independent country,

Add to this list the millions of folks helped by the presidents signing of executive orders, including undocumented children and young Latinos, and we can see why President Obama’s approval rating is 57%, the highest it’s been since 2009; and why folks in the U.S. and around the world are sad to see Barack and Michele leave the White House.

What amazes me, when honestly considering this list of accomplishments, is the 43% of American’s who don’t approve of the job the President has done. The alt right, the tea party and virtually every member of the far right media refuse to give the President any credit at all. Anyone who claims this isn’t racism is fooling themselves. And Trump, with his “birther” rants, was the main culprit in this racist campaign to diminish the first black America President.

I think if the Obama Administration would have tried to prosecute some of the evildoers who crashed the economy, had concentrated more on a legitimate jobs program and not just retraining for nonexistent jobs, and had done more about unfair trade agreements and practices or explained their efforts better, they could have dulled Trumps populist message to those who have been left behind in this new economy; and Hillary would have won the electoral college. I realize the administration tried to get a jobs bill, and countless other legislation they thought would help the middle class and the American worker, thru the filibuster happy Republicans in the Senate and past a Republican House unwilling to propose or compromise on any meaningful legislation that would have allowed the President to succeed; but I think the administration could have done a much better job of explaining their goals and the Republicans obstruction, to the voters. The Republicans were adept at framing their obstruction, as handcuffing an out of control socialist spendthrift and as being beneficial to the economy, where in reality, it just exacerbated America’s widening income inequality.

There are any number of mine fields ahead for Trump and the Republicans, including the 25 million dollar Trump University settlement. Neither the plaintiffs nor the courts have signed off on that agreement. Then there’s Trumps upcoming rape trial. Many experts also believe this Trump Administration will explore uncharted new frontiers of governing conflicts of interest. He honestly believes he can run his family business from the White House. And of course, the Republicans always tend to overreach, especially now that they have the White House, the Senate and the House. So strap on your seat belt because it looks like a rough 4 year ride for progressives, the middle class, the working poor, the environment and the economy. Between the cast of characters Trump has assembled for his administration and the temperament and apparent unfitness of the President elect himself, there’s a 50/50 chance this administration may not make it past the 2018 midterm elections intact.

A November 21st article in USA Today by Matt Krantz, highlighted the economic records under Republican and Democratic Presidents. “Recessions are much more common under Republican presidents.” In the last 63 years, since President Eisenhower at the beginning of 1953 until President Obama through 2016, there have been 111 months of recession. 105 of those months of recession have been under Republican presidents, with only 6 months under President Carter. And I think that was because of the oil embargo.

“Every Republican president since Teddy Roosevelt in 1901 has endured a recession in the first term, according to an analysis from Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at stock research firm CFRA.” Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton and Obama had no months of recession. Eisenhower had 28 months, Nixon/Ford had 27 months, Regan had 16, Bush senior had 8 and George W. Bush had 26 months. The average GDP in the last 65 years since President Truman was 3.33%, according to Princeton Professors Alan Blinder and Mark Watson. “With a Republican in the White House, the GDP slowed to 2.54% and with a Democrat jumped to 4.35%.

“A variety of other economic indicators, such as per capita GDP, stock market returns, real wages, and the change in the unemployment rate are also more robust under Democrats. Unemployment fell by .8% under the Democrats and rose 1.1%  with the Republicans.” “The U.S. Economy has performed better when the President of the United States is a Democrat rather than a Republican, regardless of how one measures the performance.” “The current economic expansion has been running for 89 months (under President Obama), 4th longest since 1902.”

Some experts believe this disparate performance may just be a matter of timing or bad luck. I think it’s simply about the economic philosophy of the Republican president and his cabinet and not due to random acts. Republican’s number one goal is cutting taxes, especially for folks who don’t need it (millionaires, billionaires and corporations, who like Mr. Trump,  already enjoy a very low or N/A effective tax rate). Number two is cutting programs started during the FDR New Deal era, especially for those who simply can’t afford it (attacking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid). And of course continuing the assault against organized labor (attacking teachers, mail-carriers, government workers, collective bargaining and promoting right to work legislation). But these zealots will never understand that these actions severely depress the economy. It’s been proven time and again that when lower and middle class folks have more discretionary income, they freely spend it and the economy flourishes. When rich folks get huge tax cuts and have more money than they know what to do with, they don’t invest it in the economy but engage in risky business practices (the 2008 financial crisis). These folks heading to the White House again are not true conservatives. They can’t wait to get their hands on Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Protection Agency (Overreaching). The richest of the rich always benefit from chaos and financial distress. Like Mr. Trump stated during the campaign, when the economy goes to crap, it’s a great opportunity for him and other billionaires to make a killing. You wonder, by looking at their record, if they actually try to crash the economy on purpose.

But all is not lost. This is after all Thanksgiving and while I don’t have 35 things like I did in 2008, I still have a few things I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for all the courageous and patriotic American’s in the streets, especially the young folks, who are protesting the election of Divider in Chief Donald Trump, as America’s leader, especially after eight years of President Obama, Michele, and Joe and Jill Biden attempting to unite us.

I’m thankful for all the Native American water protectors, our first environmentalists, standing up for the earth at Standing Rock, especially all the young people. And thankful for all the Native American tribes (more than 300) from all over the country and Canada who have gone to stand with them. I’m thankful for all the environmental activists like myself who have donated and spoken up and stood with them. I’m thankful for all the landowners and farmers like myself, from North and South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois who have stood in the way of the Dakota Access and other risky pipelines. I’m thankful for all the earth protectors who stood up in Canada against the Alberta Tar Sands. I’m thankful for the protectors who stood up in Minnesota and stopped the Sandpiper pipeline project. I’m thankful for all the Native Americans, activists, landowners, farmers and members of Bold Nebraska who stood up and stopped Keystone XL. And I’m thankful for all the Americans and Canadians and people around the world who have donated and wrote letters and signed letters and petitions and said prayers and commented on social media. I am thankful for all the celebrities and concerned media who refuse to ignore the plight of our Native American brothers and sisters. I’m thankful for all the environmental organizations around the country and the world who stand with Standing Rock and stand for the earth. I’m thankful for all the activist leaders who organized demonstrations supporting Standing Rock on November 15th across the country, in almost every state and around the world. I’m thankful for all the 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders, with their hand made signs, who were at the Standing Rock protest in downtown Chicago; and for their parents and teachers for showing them the right way to live sustainably. They will be the earth protectors taking over for their elders. And I will be thankful for all of my fellow Veterans who are going to standing Rock the first week in December to stand with Standing Rock, to show that they represent the true patriotic Americans defending their country and our earth.

I’m thankful for all of humanity who shuns greed in order to protect our blessings of clean air, fertile soil, clean precious water and wholesome food.

I’m thankful for those on the front lines, protesting exploitation of our wilderness, our public lands and our National Parks and Monuments.

I’m thankful for all the organic and sustainable farmers like myself, who feed their neighbors without spoiling the earth. And I’m thankful for the organizations like MOSES who promote and teach the next generation of protectors.

And in spite of how hard Mr. Trump, his exploitative cabinet, the fossil fuel pandering Republican controlled Congress and the evil doers in the fossil fuel industry work, to overturn progress made by the Obama Administration, to reverse climate change and global warming, they can’t stop the march to a cleaner more sustainable world. Alternative energy is cheaper than coal, oil and gas, it’s sustainable and 10’s of millions of people around the world are already enjoying it’s benefits. The world is using less coal, more wind, solar and alt energy, emitting less carbon dioxide and growing and farming more sustainably. More than 100 large corporations have pledged to become 100% renewable. Corporations, utilities, countries, states, cities and communities have promoted and invested in renewable energy. Even oil companies and insurance companies have woken up to the new sustainable world order. We are plodding forward. Trump, his fellow billionaires and the big banks who are heavily invested in fossil fuel assets will attempt to extract every ounce before America says, enough is enough. But they’re on the wrong side of preserving humanity.

Like probably 80% of Americans who did not vote for Mr. Trump, I’m worried for America’s children and grandchildren, the poor, our middle class, labor, the environment, our Democracy and half of the rest of the world. And I worry that Trump will try to undo  60 to 75% of what President Obama accomplished. President Obama set the bar high with his performance in repairing the economy after the Republicans drove it into a ditch, by repairing our reputation around the world and by his integrity and concern for all human beings. If the Trump Administration can do half as well, I will be surprised. I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong.

John Hanno

 

Thanksgiving 2008

November 27, 2008

 

Thanksgiving

I am thankful I was born the same year as Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, a period of great hope and change after World War II ended … because the last 25 years have not been favorable to the middle class.

I am thankful my grandmother was strong enough to raise 7 children alone during the great depression after her husband died…because many families would not have survived intact.

I am thankful my Grandmother had a green thumb and passed on her love of growing flowers and vegetables through my father to us…because not much beats the joy of eating fruits and vegetables fresh from my own garden.

I am thankful I grew up in a family with one sister and three brothers who were nurtured and loved… because I know there are children who are not.

I am thankful I grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a neighborhood still considered rural and where every joyous day was like living on a farm…because I know children grow up not understanding the blessings of a country of such enormous bounty.

I am thankful I earned money cutting grass and doing gardening for neighbors and learned to appreciate our environment and my relationship and responsibility to the earth…because hopefully, there are enough of us who cherish this earth, to keep it from being destroyed.

I am thankful I grew up in an economically diverse neighborhood; with doctors, dentists, engineers, teachers, business owners, firemen, policeman, factory workers, construction workers and labors living in the same community…because with the stark separation of classes today, some can’t appreciate the struggles some families endure just to survive.

I am thankful my parents and neighbors would not hesitate to help someone in need and I learned a community is as strong as its weakest link…because too many people believe no one needs or deserves a hand up.

I am thankful my father, an engineer in the steel mills who worked with people of all races, taught us by example to respect people of all colors…because I realize discrimination and bigotry is passed on from generation to generation.

I am thankful I went to a great Chicago public grammar school with wonderful teachers…because I know some people believe we should not have free public education.

I am thankful I went to a great public high school with wonderful teachers, when I did…because I realize the drop out rate at Chicago public high schools, is now much too high.I am thankful I lived in Alaska long enough to appreciate what a remarkable place it is…because if the oil interests get their way, future generations will not get the same privilege.

I am thankful that I finished my 3 years in the Army before the Viet Nam war escalated and without having to shoot anyone…because there are many Viet Nam and Iraq veterans who can never forget they killed another human being and live every day with that burden.

 I am thankful the army taught me communications and electronics…because my family could not afford to send all of us to college.

I am thankful when I got out of the Army, there were many good paying jobs available for people willing to work hard but with only a high school education …because now all those jobs are gone to countries with low wages, no benefits and no protection for workers or the environment.

I am thankful for the many labor unions I was part of for more than 40 years…because unions gave the American worker a middle-class standard of living that was the envy of the entire world.

 I am thankful to be called blue collar and proudly wear that blue uniform…because for me, the uniform pays tribute to the sacrifices of the organizers and founding members of the American labor movement.

I am thankful there were vast numbers of excellent manufacturing companies in Chicago, companies like Campbell’s Soup and Johnson & Johnson, where I worked for many years… because whole communities prospered around those economic engines.

I am thankful these companies offered apprenticeship and training programs and were willing to give a hand up to veterans like myself…because I became an electrician and was able to support my family, attend community college and buy a home with help from the G.I. bill.

I am thankful that, after being the victim of a predatory mortgage lender and losing that home, and having to live in my van for months, I had loyal friends and family who helped us through some really tough times…because some families suffering through this current mortgage foreclosure crisis, may not have anyone to turn to for help.

I am thankful I was strong enough to survive foreclosure and bankruptcy…because many families do not, and end up homeless and living on the street.

I am thankful for the social security checks I receive, after contributing for more than 40 years…because without them, I might be living on the streets with some of my fellow veterans.

I am thankful for the “Together We Cope” food bank where I try to contribute food every week…because those who have lost jobs and homes and pensions and who need help may not survive without it.

I am thankful I have medical insurance through my former employer and the Veterans Administration Clinic…because almost 50 million Americans have no health insurance and our economy cannot survive and prosper under those circumstances.

I am thankful there were many volunteers and churches that helped and are still helping the victims of Katrina and the people of New Orleans and other cities…because our government failed them miserably.

I am thankful we have a government however…because without it, we would not have a civil society.

I am thankful the troop serge has helped stabilize Iraq…because the poor souls there deserve better.

I am thankful for the servicemen and women and their families who have sacrificed greatly by serving in Iraq and Afghanistan…because without their dedication, this unnecessary war would be an even greater disaster.

 I am thankful the last eight years are almost over and we did not elect John McCain…because the world could not survive another term like the last.

I am thankful the world is welcoming President Obama with open arms and a sigh of relief…because it shows they believe America can still lead us from this despair.

 I am thankful Barack Obama realizes we all have to work together to solve these enormous problems… because being divided is what got us into this mess.

I am thankful that, although I am not financially wealthy, I appreciate the important things, family, friends and community…because we must depend on each other.

 I am thankful America has chosen Barack Obama to be our next president…because I believe he and Michelle understand why and for what I am thankful.

I am hopefully thankful that 60 years from now, people will be glad they were born in 2009 because it was the beginning of another period of great hope and change… and not because they’re sorry to have been born into another great depression.

I am thankful I live in a country where everyone can express their opinions and there still are newspapers where we can offer those opinion… because one of the joys of my childhood was getting the Sunday papers after our parents were finished reading them.

John A. Hanno

The “Winuts”

 

The “Winuts”

Lessons (not) Learned From Aesop or Uncle Remus

John Hanno    October 31, 2016

Whether employing Aesop, the Bible, Big Bird and Sesame Street or Uncle Remus, most parents attempt to plant the seeds of morality into their children, soon after the age of reasoning. I believe you can relate each and every one of these lessons to the 2016 Republican primary and general election. Its clear that many neo-con politicos and corporate types, either failed to heed those formative lessons, or were tutored from the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, while they’re little brains were developing. Can we even guess what stories Donald Trump was reading or listening to from his parents when he was growing up? He obviously didn’t even read the Journal because from all accounts, he’s just not a very good businessman.

Many rich people like Trump, #324 on Forbes world’s list of billionaires (who by the way is opposed to raising the minimum wage for the working poor), and the Koch brothers, 7th and 8th richest billionaires in the U.S and tied for 9th in the world with $42 billion each, (who support ALEC legislative efforts throughout the country, opposing labor and union rights, living wages for teachers and others in the middle class, and supporting right to work campaigns), must have been reading books like, “The Art of the Deal” when they were very young. Each of the Koch brothers wealth ($42 billion each) is the equivalent of the yearly income of 840,000 average American families, or 1,680,000 families between the 2 brothers. How can they possibly begrudge middle class folks like teachers, mail carriers and union employees, a living wage or collective bargaining. How much wealth is enough for these people?  If they would have read the “Boys and the Frogs” maybe they wouldn’t try so hard to undermine the American worker. Its the story of boys throwing stones and killing frogs swimming in a pond. One of the frogs lifted his head out of the water and cried out: “Pray stop, my boys; what is sport to you, is death to us.” And the moral of the story is: “One man’s pleasure may be another’s pain.”

Charles and David Koch, pledged to spend $889 million on the 2016 election to promote an alt right agenda detrimental to working men and women, organized labor and the environment. The Donald and the Koch’s represent people who place winning above everything; who would do absolutely anything to win. I call them ‘Winuts’. They say America isn’t winning any more and our current leaders don’t know how to win, as if the only thing that matters is how much money or how many toys you’re able to accumulate. We all had friends like them when we were growing up; children who wouldn’t share. Their parents should have read them “Brer Rabbit and the Tarbaby.” Brer Rabbit wanted no part of working with his neighbors to provide water or food but just took what he wanted. Or read “The Miser and His Gold,” the fable about a miser who reduced all his riches to a lump of gold, which he buried. He came back every day just to look at it, but was spied on and his treasure was stolen. As the miser was crying about his loss, he was consoled by a neighbor, who told him that he might as well just bury a stone (or had returned each day to look at a big empty hole) because it would serve the same purpose for all the good his money had done him or had done to help others.

These folks also should have read: “The Dog and it’s Reflection.” A story about a dog carrying a stolen bone in it’s mouth. The dog is looking down as it’s crossing a stream and sees its own reflection in the water. Taking it for another dog carrying something better, the dog opens its mouth to bark at the other dog and drops the bone into the stream and loses it. For years, the Koch brothers have supported efforts by PERC and others to privatize our National Park System and public lands. They believe America should exploit public lands and our national parks for oil drilling, hydraulic fracking and the mining of minerals. They’re also big supporters of Governor Scott Walker and behind efforts to make the state of Wisconsin a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, in order to exploit the states silica sand deposits used by the Koch’s for fracking of natural gas. Aesop’s Fable “The Old Women and the Doctor” involves a women who asks a surgeon to cure her worsening blindness but would not pay for his services unless she was cured. While the surgeon applied salves to her eyes, he was stealing her valuables during each visit. Once she was cured, the women refused to pay his fees because she claimed her sight was worse than ever since she couldn’t see any of her valuable belongings.

The Donald, mimicking all Republicans and many businessmen, trumpets that America’s GDP is anemic. And he screams daily that China and Mexico are stealing our jobs. But China and Mexico aren’t stealing our manufacturing plants and jobs, multinationals have and will continue to chase the cheapest labor, the least amount of safety and environmental regulations and international partners who will turn a blind eye to their exploitation of labor. These companies have off-shored about 60,000 manufacturing facilities. China and Mexico are just the latest destinations. And if TPP is passed, there will be another half dozen of these cheap labor pools to chose from. We used to have a vibrant manufacturing sector that balanced out the rough times for our economy; but thanks to unpatriotic multinationals, our economy now depends on a retail sector representing 71% of America’s economy. And since America’s middle class is struggling, so is our economy. Business titan Henry Ford realized this many decades ago. If his own workers couldn’t afford the autos he was making, his company wouldn’t prosper. So he raised his workers wages substantially. Donald constantly claims he will bring back American jobs but then buys steel and aluminum for his buildings from foreign manufacturers even though it’s readily available from American workers.

In reality, our GDP growth is anemic because America’s middle class has been under siege, since the Regan administration declared war on organized labor. Boomers like myself don’t really buy much of the cheap crap coming from low wage countries. Our homes are mostly furnished and most of our income goes for necessities like food, transportation and healthcare. Millennials, 40% of which still must live at home, can’t spend much because they’re saddled with a student debt albatross around their necks. They can’t buy a home, get married, start a family or can’t even afford rent and expenses while paying down these student loans. This should trouble the family values diehards who support Trump, but it clearly doesn’t. Many Millennials who live in urban areas don’t even drive a car. Low growth will therefore be the new normal for the foreseeable future. And there’s not much a president can do without cooperation from congress. Republicans in congress pander to corporations and the super rich, who want still more tax cuts, so there’s slim to no chance of getting any legislation passed to help the middle class, unless the Democrats take control of the Senate and make strong gains in the House. The fact is, most of us who don’t have investment funds or wealth, couldn’t care less about GDP growth. 75% of America’s workers live paycheck to paycheck. Probably 80% of American’s wages have been stagnant, adjusted for inflation, over the last 25 years. All the benefits from steady increases in productivity over the last 3 decades, has gone to the upper 10%. And unless Citizens United is overturned, nothing much will change.

As always, when it comes to the Republican controlled Congress proposing or opposing legislation to help America’s middle class, they trot out the discredited trickle down economic ideology that hasn’t worked in the last 30 years and has only contributed to worsening income inequality. The first thing that comes out of their mouths is, tax cuts for the rich and cuts to entitlement and social safety net programs. Empathy is not their strong suit. These new tea party controlled Republicans continually bash social programs for poor folks, mostly women and children. They demonize food stamps, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, and even Social Security, which is the most successful government program in our history and a program that has raised 10’s of millions of seniors citizens out of poverty. And by the way, a program that is fully funded as long as tax cutting Republi-cons keep their hands off the $2.8 Trillion Social Security Trust Fund surplus. They also opposed every single jobs bill, proposed by the Obama administration after the financial collapse, to help put our middle class back to work. Mr. Trump brags about not paying federal taxes, and after he loses (on paper, thanks to favorable tax dodges) one billion dollars in a single year, experts surmise that because of that write off, he probably hasn’t paid federal taxes in the last 18 years. He says that’s being smart. He doesn’t contribute to our military, which he routinely denigrates, doesn’t contribute to the crumbling infrastructure he bashes daily and doesn’t contribute to our veterans, even though they made it possible for The Trump Brand to flourish. He and many1% er’s and some successful corporations refuse to pay their fair share of supporting our governments and society even though they have prospered the most from them. This reminds me of the fable “The Horse and the Donkey” a variant of the story of the overburdened ass who asks it’s companion the horse to help him carry his load. The horse refuses and the ass dies. The horse is then forced to carry not only the original load but also the dead donkeys skin as well. But the burden here is placed on the American taxpayer. Again the moral comes from La Fontaine’s Fables in poetic form: “Neighbours here should each other aid, For if one dies, it’s on your back, His burden surely shall be laid”.

I realize many people have a jaundiced opinion, when it comes to the ability of politicians to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but Mr. Trump is clearly in a class by himself when it comes to lying. When he repeatedly stands before the American public and lies to their faces, sometimes twice in the same sentence, how can true Republicans still support him? How can they tell their children to tell the truth and then vote for a pathological liar? How can family values type evangelicals continue to support him in spite of his lying, bigotry, deceitful and vulgar conduct and revelations concerning sexual abuse toward women? These evangelical family value ‘Winuts’ place winning the presidential election above absolutely everything, even moral integrity. And you must blame the Trump supporters even more than Trump himself. He said he could shoot someone in times square and they would still vote for him. That’s actually one of the few times he’s told the truth.

I read an article last week in Politico about fact checking the Donald. Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent from Canada’s Toronto Star, thestar.com, said there’s multiple media, CNN, Politifact, Washington Post and others, taking on the monumental task of fact checking Mr. Trump, but he wanted to compile the actual total number of falsehoods. He found that in a 33 day period, Mr. Trump made 253 false statements. He also made 67 false statements (34 and 33) in the first 2 debates. Politifact’s Truth O Meter revealed that 204 of Hillary’s statements were true, mostly true or half true; the Donald had 87. And that 75 of Hillary’s statements were mostly false, false or pants on fire; the Donald had 219. During the final debate they found that 100% of Hillary’s statements were true, mostly true or half true, and 72% of Trump’s statements were mostly false, false or pants on fire. Many people have rightfully labeled Trump a pathological liar.

It’s obvious Mr. Trump never heard the “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” or “The Honest Woodcutter,” which tells of a woodcutter who accidentally drops his axe into a river; and because it was his only means of livelihood, sat down on the river bank and wept. The God Hermes (Mercury) saw him and took pity on the woodcutter. The god dove into the river and brought up a golden axe instead. Is this your axe, asked Hermes? No it wasn’t said the woodcutter, and said the same thing when Hermes brought up a silver axe. But Hermes then brought up the real woodcutters axe and the woodcutter said that was his. Hermes was so impressed by his honesty, the god let him keep all three. Hearing of the woodcutters good fortune, his neighbor threw his axe into the river and sat down and began crying. When Hermes appeared and offered him a golden axe the greedy man said yes it was, but was then denied that and his own axe because he was not truthful. The moral is obviously, Honesty is the Best Policy.

Donald Trump has consistently tried to divide America into two basic groups; those who have always been in power and are reluctant to give that up, even if it means dragging us back to the dark ages; “To Make America Great Again.” And in the second group, “the others;” women, people of color, immigrants and others who just want their share of the American Dream. He denigrates Mexicans, Muslims, women, gays and even disabled folks. He should have studied “The Four Oxen and the Lion.” A lion visited a field where four oxen lived. He repeatedly tried to attack them but the oxen turned their tails to each other so that their horns always faced the attacking lion. But when the oxen fought with each other and went off on their own, the lion attacked them one by one and killed them all. The moral: United we stand, divided we fall.

Donald, like many rich folks and corporate executives, lives in a world where no one ever tells them they’re wrong. They’re surrounded by yes men, revered and constantly praised. Mr. Trump’s ego is bigger than Mt Rushmore; he obviously failed to learn the meaning of humility. He should have read “The Fox and the Crow,” a story about a crow that found a piece of cheese and flew up to a branch to eat it. The Fox, wanting the cheese for himself, flatters the crow, telling him he’s beautiful and asks if his voice is as pretty. When the crow lets out a caw, he drops the cheese and it’s eaten by the fox. The moral, in the form of prose from the La Fontaine’s Fables taught to French and Creole children:

Flatters thrive on fools’ credulity. The lesson’s worth a cheese, don’t you agree.

The crow shamefaced and flustered swore. Too late, however, “Nevermore!”

Everything that comes out of Donald’s mouth is beyond exaggeration. “Only I can make America great again, he says; in spite of the fact America is still great.” “I’m the greatest businessman,” even though he lost a billion dollars in one year, filed bankruptcy 6 times and refuses to produce his tax returns to prove it. “I build the greatest buildings,” even though he merely puts his name in really big letters on someone else’s buildings and then promotes it for his own benefit. “I know more than the generals” or “I alone will destroy ISIS”, even though he hasn’t put forth one single sentence of a creditable foreign police plan in the last 2 years. Donald frequently refers to best selling book, “The Art of the Deal”, as the second best book of all time behind the bible and brags about it as his own work, even though Tony Schwartz actually wrote the entire book. He says he’ll build a wall (the biggest and best wall ever seen) and make Mexico pay for it, even though anyone with half a brain knows it’s a pipe dream. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines demagoguery as the “use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.” Aesop warned against these promises of politicians (“Great cry and Little Wool”) in the fable “The Mountain in Labour.” He also might have read “The Ass In the Lion’s Skin,” the fable about a donkey who puts on a lion’s skin to intimidate and terrify all the foolish animals, but as soon as the fox heard the donkeys voice he said: “I might possibly have been frightened myself, if I had not heard your bray.” The moral is of course: clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away.

Donald Trump  regularly brags about his charitable trust and all the charities he donates to but it’s been proven that he never gave what he claimed to schools, veterans, 9-11 victims and others. He took credit for the donations made to his trust by others. In contrast, the Clintons give 11% of their income to charity and their foundation has collected $2 billion for charities around the world, 90% of which goes directly to the various charities. Sen. Bernie Sanders gives about 5% of his income to charity. Mr. Trump should have read: “The Fir and the Bramble” It tells of a fir tree that boasts to a bramble. “You are useful for nothing at all; while I am everywhere used to build roofs and houses.” The bramble answered: “You poor creature, if you would only call to mind the axes and saws which are about to hew you down, you would have reason to wish that you had grown up a bramble, not a fir tree.” The brambles and scrub trees are small but strong and are used in the making of saw and axe handles. The moral: “renown is accompanied by risks of which the humble are free.

And of course Mr. Trump denigrates everyone just to pump himself up. I think he hides an inferiority problem. Mr. Trump led the campaign and propagated lies about President Obama’s birthplace even before he decided to run for office. The Donald hasn’t said one single positive thing about President Obama’s eight years in office. That, in spite of this administration’s success in turning around an economy in free fall, one that was losing 800,000 jobs a month and heading into a depression. They bailed out the American auto industry, which is again making a record numbers of autos. Job creation has averaged more than 200,000 jobs a month and the total is more than 15 million since 2009. The unemployment rate has been cut in half to 4.9%. And the President has cut the deficit by two thirds; you would think he could have at least gotten an at-a-boy from businessman Trump for that.

The New York Times used two full pages of their paper to print out every person and organization insulted by Donald Trump on Twitter since his presidential campaign launched more than a year ago. The list contains 281 “people, places, and things,” including each and every one of his fellow Republican competitors. When I first saw the supremely effective Hillary Clinton campaign video, depicting children watching Donald Trump repeating all the extremely vile and derogatory things he’s said about women, people of color, immigrants and disabled folks, it reminded me of the fable, “The Eagle and the Arrow.” The parable of the soaring eagle who was mortally wounded by an archers arrow. As the eagle fell to earth bleeding to death, he looked at the arrow that pierced his body and discovered the arrow had been made with his own feathers. The moral of the story is: “We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.”

It also reminds me of the “The Bee and Jupiter.” A queen bee ascended Mt. Olympus to present Jupiter with her fresh honey. As a reward, he granted her whatever she wished for. She said ” Give me, I pray thee, a sting that if any mortal shall approach to take my honey, I may kill him. Jupiter loved the human race, but had to grant his promise to the queen bee. So he told her “You shall have your request, but it will be at the peril of your own life. For if you use your sting, it shall remain in the wound you make and then you will die from the loss of it.” The moral: Evil wishes, like chickens, come home to roost.

“Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” a story originating in a sermon by Jesus from the New Testament and later told as an Aesop fable, told of a wolf who disguises himself in a sheep’s skin in order to get close to the sheep he wanted to eat. The moral is that: one’s basic nature eventually betrays itself. There’s a variant story that tells us the shepherd was fooled by the wolf’s disguise and he locked up the wolf with his sheep at night, but when the shepherd wanted to eat a sheep for supper, he mistakenly killed the wolf. The moral: Doing bad things can have unintended consequences.

Mr. Trump says over and over that he alone can save the Republican party, that he’s brought millions of new followers into the party. But who are these converts? They’re the voters who Hillary correctly labeled the “Deplorables.” These Folks (The Winuts) will stand by Trump no matter what he does, who he hurts, who he disparages, how deplorable his conduct is, how much he lies, how many folks he cheats, no matter his ties to Russia and their oligarchs and even if he were to shoot someone dead in Times Square. And the media has been fully complicit; giving him as much free rope and coverage as he’s was willing to take. And then Mr. Trump has the nerve to say the election is rigged against him. An apt Aesop fable here would be “The Mischievous Dog” a story about a dog that keeps biting people on the leg. It’s owner ties a bell around his neck to warn people. The dog thinks the bell is a reward so he prances around the town showing off his bell until an older dog tells him it’s really a sign of disgrace. The moral is: notoriety is often mistaken for fame.

This new collection of voters is well; you can’t really call them Republicans because they’re nothing like the Grand Old Party. Those moderates were all drummed out long ago. And you can’t call them conservatives because they’re the least conservative folks I know. Spending $4 or 5 trillion on an unnecessary war is not being conservative. You can’t call them a party because they’re as divided as any group can be. It’s an organization cleaved together basically to oppose, beyond all reason, the first black President in our history. And if Hillary is elected, they will continue to oppose, without rhyme or reason, the first female President in our history. These ‘Winuts’ will work against the “others” no matter the consequences to the country because compromising to them means total capitulation.

The Republican leadership created the environment for this (NTP) Neo Tea Party group to flourish when they got together on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration and hatched a plan to obstruct everything the President attempted to do. They wanted him to fail and become a one term president. They couldn’t care less if America and it’s middle class failed in the process. As long as America’s first black President failed, it was a “win.” Eighteen months ago, no one would have thought Donald Trump would be the standard bearer of the GOP. No one took his candidacy seriously and when they still could have stopped him, they didn’t because he was useful in bringing excitement to a moribund party. Then when he was exposed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, its was too late.  Reminds one of the fable “Belling the Cat” or “The Mice in Council,” a story about a group of mice who crafted a plan to put a bell around the neck of a dangerous cat, so they were warned when the cat was near. But none of the mice would volunteer to put the bell around the cats neck. The moral: The story was used to teach the wisdom of devising a plan not only on how effective it was but also on how to execute the plan, the fundamental difference between an idea and its feasibility.

Or he should have read “The Blind Man and the Lame.”

A blind man was carrying a lame man on his back,
And everything was going well, everything’s on track,
When the blind man decides to take it into his head
That he needn’t listen to all that the lame man said.
“This stick I have will guide the two of us safe,” said he,
And though warned by the lame man, he plowed into a tree.
On they proceeded; the lame man now warned of a brook,
The two survived, but their possessions a soaking took.
At last the blind man ignored the warning of a drop,
And that was to turn out their final and fatal stop.

And in the end, the Donald should have read “The Fox and The Grapes,” about the fox in a vineyard trying to get at the grapes hanging from the vines. Hard as he tried, he couldn’t reach the grapes. He took solace in that they were probably sour anyway. The moral of that story is: people sometimes belittle things they can’t have. This fable brought about the popular expression, “sour grapes.” If he loses to Hillary, he’ll probably say that he really didn’t want to be president after all, that the job would have crimped his style. He wouldn’t have been able to speak his mind (what there is of it) or do exactly what he wants because, well “quite frankly” he would have had to sit down and compromise with the Democrats and even with those in his own party in Congress who disagree with him, and with the FBI and the CIA and the EPA and the IRS and the Pentagon and with NATO and Mexico and Canada and with our other neighbors like Cuba and with Arabs and Muslims and of course would have had to work with black folks and Latinos and with women (who now make up a majority of the work force) without grabbing them by the private parts. And “quite frankly,” he just can’t fire everyone who would disagree with him. And of course he’s said he won’t respect the results of the election “unless he wins.” If that’s not sour grapes, what is?

The simple fact is, 10’s of millions of American’s still haven’t recovered from the great recession of 2008. 100’s of thousands of innocent families, including mine, lost their homes and life savings. None of the culprits who perpetrated that calamity and crisis have gone to jail. Most of us can no longer say that our children and grandchildren will have a better life than we had. Many of the young people today are saddled with a 30 year mortgage of student debt and can’t find the living wage jobs necessary to get over that hump or shed that albatross. State after state is broke and on the road to bankruptcy because unpatriotic multinational corporations fled the country and abandoned the tax paying American worker for cheap labor and lax regulations.

America faces enormous problems. A large national debt that threatens necessary investments in social services and crumbling infrastructure, low tax revenue from low wage jobs, ballooning student debt, rich folks and prosperous corporations that aren’t paying their fair share and the angry taxpayers who resent having to pick up the slack for them and for the lowest 47% who can’t pay anything at all. We face the catastrophic threat of global warming and climate change and a congress half full of deniers. Because of gridlock and obstruction by the Republicans who wanted the President to fail, our congress has an approval rating in the single digits. That gridlock won’t allow constructive debate and compromise, on comprehensive energy reform that emphasizes alternative sustainable energy over destructive fossil fuel interests, on comprehensive tax reform that closes the loop holes that allowed Mr. Trump and others to shirk their responsibilities, on comprehensive immigration reform that takes into account fair treatment of families who took advantage of the welcome mat held out for workers who took the dirty jobs American’s really didn’t want, or cooperation from the Republicans to fix and improve the Affordable Care Act, instead of demonizing and repeated efforts (60) to repeal help for 20 million or more deserving Americans (20,000 of which die every year simply because they don’t have insurance) and on a whole host of other legislation, including real budget reform.

 Before you cast your vote on November 8th, ask yourself the tough questions, void of political bias. Who held out their hand for compromise, like the President did; instead of slapping it away, like the Republican leadership? Who’s not afraid to talk about immigrants without being derogatory? Who’s willing to face head-on the growing threat of climate change? Who will make the tough decisions on the national debt, tax reform and a budget with a line item veto? Who’s willing to compromise on these issues without holding them hostage to special interests or to political pressure from contributors? If you answer these questions truthfully, your choice on who to vote for will be apparent.

Some might be tempted to vote for a snake oil salesman barking miracle cures, but There’s an Italian proverb sometimes attributed to Aesop: “Jumping from the Frying Pan into the Fire” a story about some live fish thrown into a frying pan of hot grease. One of the fish talked the others into jumping out of the pan but of course they ended up on the hot coals. The moral: The fable warns us that when we’re trying to avoid present dangers, we should not fall into even worse peril. John Hanno,  www.tarbabys.com

Enbridge Oil Spill in Michigan

John Bolenbaugh WhistleBlower

October 23, 2016

SICK ENBRIDGE RESIDENTS PART 1

A few small clips of the hundred sick residents I’ve interviewed. Almost a dozen kids now have lukemia, in our small area. A must see. I am part cherokee and Blackfoot and I have always felt a deep love for the environment, animals and a need to protect our water. When the Enbridge spill happened in my back yard. I knew what Gods purpose for me was, it was to protect mother Earth against companies like Enbridge. Enbridgelies.com

SICK ENBRIDGE RESIDENTS PART 1A few small clips of the hundred sick residents I've interviewed. Almost a dozen kids now have lukemia, in our small area. A must see. I am part cherokee and Blackfoot and I have always felt a deep love for the environment, animals and a need to protect our water. When the Enbridge spill happened in my back yard. I knew what Gods purpose for me was, it was to protect mother Earth against companies like Enbridge. Enbridgelies.comWatch part 2

Posted by John Bolenbaugh WhistleBlower on Sunday, October 23, 2016

Proof ENBRIDGE lied. Please share all of these short clips. Many more on my facebook. They can help save future lives. I am part cherokee and Blackfoot and I have always felt a deep love for the environment, animals and a need to protect our water. When the Enbridge spill happened in my back yard. I knew what Gods purpose for me was, it was to protect mother Earth against companies like Enbridge. Enbridgelies.com

Posted by John Bolenbaugh WhistleBlower on Monday, June 20, 2016

Watch part 2

“True Blue Collar”

Response to AFL CIO President Richard Trumka’s CBS News interview talking about why Trump falls like a house of cards with union members.

“True Blue Collar”

John Hanno    October 7, 2016

I’m blue collar, thru and thru. I wear blue shirts, blue pants, blue socks, blue hats and if I could afford designer underwear, I’d wear blue underwear too. I’m proud of my lifetime (50 years) of working with my hands, as an electrician/electrical tech and carpenter. I belonged to 4 different locals of the IBEW and was a member of a dozen other unions; steel, textile, auto, teamsters, nuclear workers, furniture workers and other industrial unions. Having been through 4 manufacturing plant closings, I can understand folks who need a job, any good living wage job. But there are issues more important than strictly looking out for one’s own welfare. There were many of our brothers and sisters who sacrificed life and limb in the early days of America’s labor struggles.

I know some union workers are thinking about voting for Trump, especially in those rust belt states most impacted by off shoring. Trump will say anything to anyone in order to hoodwink voters. It’s pure bull. Every other sentence that come out of his mouth is a lie. If you think for one minute that you can trust Trump or any other Republi-con in Congress to support programs vital to labor and particularly union labor, you’re kidding yourselves. Even before the Regan administration’s war on unions, corporations (now multinationals) and their Republican enablers have mounted an unrelenting decades long assault on labor, and consequently America’s middle class. Walker in Wisconsin is nothing new, he’s just the latest version. These crony capitalists have an inbred hatred for unions and labor in general. And Trump has proven that, time and again, by stiffing workers who labored for him. Just check out the unrelenting legislative attacks in every single state controlled by Republican Governors and or legislatures.

And if you think Trump or any other alt right republi-con is capable of bringing back manufacturing plants or keeping others from leaving, you’re delusional. China and Mexico are not stealing our manufacturing plants and jobs as Trump screams daily, multinationals have and will continue to chase the cheapest labor, the least amount of safety and environmental regulations and international partners who will turn a blind eye to their exploitation of labor. China and Mexico are just the latest destinations. And if TPP is passed, there will be another half dozen of these cheap labor pools to chose from.

Study the history of the labor movement. It’s no accident that labor has unfailingly supported progressive Democrats. Google these Republi-con pretenders voting records in Congress. They’ve voted for every single bill that enabled these companies to flee the country with lucrative accompanying tax incentives and against any legislation that would protect workers or retrain those impacted by off shoring. They’ve voted against any and all minimum wage increases and unemployment benefits. They’ve voted against any and all jobs bills proposed by the Obama or any other Democratic congress or administration. And if you think Trump would be any different, just read a list of the folks he’s intended to hire if he’s elected. He wants to take America back yes but back to the Robber Baron days.

These folks despise and devalue those of us who work with our hands or undertake the dangerous and dirty jobs. They demonize government workers (especially mail carriers for some strange reason), public school teachers and those who labor long and hard to supply us with cheap food. They can’t help themselves, it in their DNA.

It’s been a rough few decades for labor but I think the pendulum is swinging back our way. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month in the last Republican administration but are now creating 200,000 or more per month now. And because of The Affordable Care Act, all those older workers, who were hanging onto jobs just for medical insurance, have left the work force; ergo the low employment participation rate. That’s why the Republi-cons tried to overturn the ACA more than 54 times. They want desperate workers beholden to employers. But President Obama quickly realized that to tackle the jobs debacle he inherited, he had to try to appease the corporate titans who pleaded the high cost of health care as the number one reason for off shoring jobs, ($2,300 per American made auto). That’s the primary reason he invested so much capital, trying to get at least a marginal health care bill passed. It wasn’t pretty but it’s a start.

To continue the rebirth of labor and the American middle class started by this administration, we must support progressive Democratic candidates who respect labor and their contribution to a vibrant middle class. Our job on November 8th is to vote only for candidates who fight for, living wage jobs for all, the clean technology jobs of the future, infrastructure beneficial for all of us, not just corporations and fossil fuel, free public education and affordable single payer health care. And most importantly, overturning Citizens United so that oligarchs like the Koch brothers can’t buy our politicians. Stay strong brothers and sisters, don’t sell your soul to these anti labor devils.

Alton    Very well said brother

John Hanno,   Thank you.

Patrick    If the “GOLD STANDARD” TPP is passed, you can thank your blue sweatered friends in DC…

John Hanno,   Patrick, Do your homework. 100% of progressive and at least 75% of the rest of Democrats in congress are against TPP.

Elizabeth   HRC is NOT a progressive and she IS for TPP

Marie,    Unions are automatic votes for Democrats. How about Unions stay out of politics and just worry about your members well being. Stop telling them how to vote. Btw, proud Union home here.

John Hanno,  Marie,  You can’t separate union and politics any more than you can separate living and politics. They’re intertwined. There’s been a coordinated war on labor and unions since Regan. It’s corporations and oligarchs like the Koch Brothers in coordination with their Republi-con lapdogs waging this war. Its a political war waged in legislatures in red states, (and some in blue states with Republi-con governors like Rauner in Illinois) and labor must stand up and defend themselves in the political arena. I was a union member for 50 years in a dozen different unions. I was never told who to vote for. I had enough brains to know who was and was not supporting labor. Most if not all the Republican who even thought about supporting labor interests have been drummed out of the party long ago.

Un “Till’….The Trayvon Martin Case

July 17, 2013   John Hanno

                                                        Un ‘Till’

Following the decision in the George Zimmerman trial, John Lewis, Congressman from Georgia since 1987, said: “I am deeply disappointed by the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. It seems to justify the stalking and killing of innocent black boys and deny them any avenue of self-defense. … I hope this verdict will serve to open some kind of meaningful dialogue on the issues of race and justice in America.”

Of course Congressman Lewis is correct, but under Florida’s dangerous stand your ground laws, its not just unarmed young black males that are in jeopardy of being blown to kingdom come; its everyone who might end up in the gun sites of these wacko vigilantes. All teenagers, white, black or Latino, 90% of who wear hoodies, should not venture out at night. And, based on the outcome of the Zimmerman trial, anyone is now free to arm themselves, approach and pick a fight with someone or provoke someone they have a beef with or don’t approve of; and as soon as that prey offers some resistance, you’re able to put a bullet through their heart. I see similar stories like this on WE-TV, in reruns of “Gunsmoke” and “The Rifleman”. Who said the Wild West is dead?

As we know, Congressman Lewis was one of the leaders in the civil rights movement and helped lead the March 7, 1965 Bloody Sunday march for voting rights, from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery. He was one of the marchers who were confronted and then clubbed, whipped and tear-gassed by more than 150 State Troopers, Sheriff’s police and posse men (vigilantes) on the Edmund Pettis Bridge and then had his skull fractured. I think Mr. Lewis can recognize a vigilante when he sees one.

Mr. Lewis also stated he believes the shooting of Trayvon Martin resembled the Emmett Till case of August 1955, where a 14 year old South Side Chicago boy visiting his cousins for the summer, was dragged from his great uncles home at gun point in the middle of the night for talking to a white women 3 days earlier in Money, Mississippi. Emmett was found 4 days later in the Tallahatchie River, beaten, shot in the head and lashed to a large metal fan with barbed wire. He was so unrecognizable, the only way he was identified was by his fathers initials L.T. on the signet ring given to Emmett by his mother before he left Chicago. Till’s alleged killers, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, were arrested and charged with his murder. Despite the overwhelming evidence and even though Till’s great uncle Moses courageously put his life in jeopardy by testifying and identifying the two as Till’s kidnappers and killers. both were acquitted of all charges by an all white, all male jury.

The deliberations lasted only 67 minutes. A few months later, the defendants then sold the story of how they kidnapped and murdered Till to Look Magazine for $4,000.  Emmett’s body was shipped back to Chicago. His mother, Mamie Till, decided to display his body at Roberts Temple Church of God in an open casket. Although she said it was very painful seeing her dead son’s body on display, she said: “let the world see what has happened, because there is no way I could describe this. And I needed somebody to help me tell what it was like.”  I remember seeing pictures of thousands of mourners parading by his casket and the graphic pictures of Till in his casket in Jet magazine. It didn’t look like a human body. He’s buried in a nearby South Chicago suburb. He was only about 6 years older than me so we grew up on the South Side of Chicago at the same time. We were both born in July, 2 days apart.

Emmett Till’s death and his mothers efforts to publicize his tragedy, for all the world to see, served as an impetus for the Civil Rights movement. Three months after his death, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and go to the back of the bus. Her actions sparked the yearlong Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott. Mamie Till believed her son’s death, and stories, pictures and films of other beatings and lynchings in the south, including those of nonviolent protestors being attacked by police and State troopers with dogs and fire hoses, helped America come to grips with racial inequality and injustice. She said that before her sons murder: “people really didn’t know that things this horrible could take place. And the fact that it happened to a child, that makes all the difference in the world.”

The case that the Zimmerman prosecution team presented leaves a lot of room for criticism. Legal media experts across the country have picked apart their ineffective case. I too, was shouting at my TV during much of the trial, imploring the prosecutors to either ask this question or why in the world would they have asked that question or why not follow up with that question. The biggest mistakes allowed the inclusion of Zimmerman’s many self-serving statements and video’s, without somehow assuring he would have to testify under oath and be subject to cross examination in order to counter the prosecution’s presumed fact based theory of events.

I believe the prosecutors gave the jury too much credit for being able to analyze the evidence and fill in the blanks. Instead of laying out a clear scenario they wholeheartedly believed flowed from the known facts and from Zimmerman’s proven lies and false statements, they somehow believed the jury would base their decision simply on the fact that Zimmerman lied about what really occurred and then refused to testify and face rebuttal.

I would be willing to bet these jurors were not analytical people. They are probably intuitive people of faith and not reason, and consequently swayed more by their biases than by facts and reasoned argument. Defense attorney Don West unfortunately had it right with his knock, knock joke about picking a jury reliably void of knowledge about the case. Unfortunately those usually chosen as jurors are often void of any knowledge or analytical talent concerning anything. The prosecution proffered a timeline without filling in the blanks. The prosecution then helped Zimmerman prove his own case by fully accepting Zimmerman and his defense’s claims that assumed, and consequently established for the jury that Trayvon was clearly the aggressor. I screamed at my TV, all my teachers taught me that: when you assume something, “you make an ass out of u and me.” They allowed the defense to put Trayvon on trial. And he was reliably found guilty.

We don’t know exactly what happened in the dark that night because (1) Trayvon is dead, (2) Zimmerman refused to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, (3) it was too dark for neighbors to see what really transpired, or video what happened (4) no one had the courage to venture out to help someone crying out for help. (5) The police department failed to initially charge or take serious the allegations against Zimmerman.

If young black Trayvon had been the one pulling the trigger, he would have been in a maximum security prison before they served him his first baloney sandwich, and (6) lets face it, Sanford P.D. did not have “The Closer’s” Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson to interrogate Mr. Zimmerman. If they had, she would have wrapped up the case within the hour; and  Zimmerman would have confessed to killing Trayvon, been placed in cuffs and headed to prison for 30 to life.

But I would be willing to bet my check on a few plausible certainties. Trayvon was simply on his way back home to his 12 year old step brother with skittles and a bottle of ice tea, to play video games and to watch the NBA All-star game on TV. He was unarmed. He was not on drugs or acting suspicious as Zimmerman claimed. We saw him on video inside the Convenience Store and he looked like any other merely confused teenager trying to make a decision about what he wanted to buy and how much he had to spend. The store clerk, as he testified to at trial, was obviously not suspicious or threatened.

I’m pretty sure Trayvon was not sticking his hands in his waistband as Zimmerman claimed. He was talking to a friend on his phone with one hand and holding his bag of goodies with the other. Trayvon really believed he was being followed by some crazy ass cracker. And was probably scared shitless. Zimmerman was clearly profiling Trayvon as a suspicious f—ing asshole, a punk that was probably on drugs and some thug about to get away with something.

Zimmerman refused to stay in his vehicle, as he was told to do, until the police arrived a few minutes later. And I firmly believe Zimmerman, who his MMA type trainer testified at trial as soft and a wuss, was not afraid to take off after a suspicious hooded young black man because he probably drew his gun from the holster as soon as he left his vehicle. And finally, Trayvon was intercepted from going home by a vigilante aiming a gun at him.

This is where its gets complicated. Did uncoordinated Zimmerman trip and fall while he was running after Trayvon; did Zimmerman slip and fall in the damp grass or onto the hard sidewalk and hurt himself; did Zimmerman trip or slip and fall, and did the gun then accidentally fire a bullet through Trayvon’s heart; did Zimmerman just get excited and stick a gun into Trayvon’s chest and accidentally or on purpose shoot Trayvon through the heart?

After possibly accidentally shooting Trayvon, did Zimmerman then injure himself on purpose and concoct an unbelievable story so that it would appear that he had to defend himself against an unarmed skinny boy armed with a cell phone and a bag of skittles? We don’t know if there even was a struggle or fight and if there was, who started it. Was Trayvon desperately trying to defend himself against someone (not a police officer) aiming a gun at him? The prosecution proposed none of these possibilities to the jury.

Because I spent my entire life building and repairing things, I necessarily had to be analytical and logical and could not assume anything. So after shaving with a razor for more than 60 years, I realize that all blood vessels in the head and face are numerous and very close to the surface. I know that any little mishap while shaving makes you bleed like a stuck pig, extracts about a half pint of blood from ones facial capillaries and causes you to stick a half roll of toilet paper on the cuts.

I once blew my nose during a cold while I was in the Army, ruptured a blood vessel, lost about a quart of blood, which I spit into a butt can and had to have an Army specialist cauterize the vessel while I passed out. The supposed injuries to Zimmerman were at best, extremely minimal. He could have scratched his own head with a fingernail, a car key or with one of his flashlights; and it would have extracted more blood than was displayed in the photos of his injuries.

If Trayvon had violently slammed Zimmerman’s head onto the sidewalk as Zimmerman’s attorney did to the dummy during trial over and over, Zimmerman would have been knocked out and then rushed to the hospital with a severe concussion and a severe brain injury that would have swelled his brain and forced a neurosurgeon to cut open his scull so that his brain could swell without causing irreparable brain damage.

But most important, if Zimmerman had just waited as directed for 2 or 3 minutes, the police would have shown up, walked up to Trayvon, as uniformed police officers, (something I’m sure Trayvon or any other young black man has experienced multiple times), and simply asked Trayvon what he was doing. Trayvon would have shown the cops his bag of goodies and his receipt from the store. The officers would have patted Trayvon on top of his hoodied head and either sent him or driven him home to his waiting brother. As they dropped him off, they would have told him to be careful because there are some dangerous armed people driving through his neighborhood.

And if heaven forbid, in the extremely unlikely case a cop would have shot an unarmed boy, that officer would have his badge and firearm taken away immediately and would have been subjected to not only an automatic internal investigation, but probably a state or federal use of force investigation. I just can’t believe there is any conceivable way, Trayvon would not be alive today, if only the police had confronted him instead of Zimmerman.

Interesting and informative was Sean Hannity’s interview of Zimmerman. Hannity asked him why he thought Trayvon was on drugs. Zimmerman said because it was raining, Trayvon was walking between houses, cutting through houses and walking very leisurely. That sounded like nonsense, as did much of Zimmerman’s answers during the whole interview. When I was a teen walking through my South Side Chicago neighborhood, we often flipped fences and cut through backyards and alleys. It simply appeared Zimmerman was attempting to keep from tripping himself up on previous lies.

But I think most interesting part of the interview, besides the fact that he claimed he didn’t know anything about or ever heard about Stand Your Ground Laws (Obviously pure bullcrap), was when Hannity asked Zimmerman if he regretted anything that night, regretted getting out of the car to follow Trayvon that night. Zimmerman said no sir. Hannity then said do you regret that you had a gun that night. Zimmerman said no sir. Hannity then asked Zimmerman if he felt that he would not be there tonight if he didn’t have the gun. Zimmerman said no sir. Hannity asked him if he would do anything differently in retrospect, time having passed a bit. Zimmerman said he felt it was all Gods plan and for him to second guess it or judge it…umm and then shakes his head no. Hannity then asks, is there anything you would do differently in retrospect, now that a little bit of time has passed. Zimmerman again said no sir. I think even Hannity was clearly incredulous, but Zimmerman failed to relent.

If I was the prosecutor in the case, I would have played that part of the Hannity interview and then while looking directly at Trayvon’s parents and then at the 6 women jurors, I would say, I believe Trayvon’s parents and family surely believe in God but I know they also don’t believe it was “Gods Will” that some reckless individual should shoot and kill their unarmed boy.

The prosecutors in this case could have presented all these arguments in a more coherent way. If they did, I believe Zimmerman may have had to testify in order to not be convicted of 2nd degree murder and at worse, may have been convicted of manslaughter. Yet if the prosecutors had put on a much more competent case and done everything right, would it have made a difference to this 6 person non representative jury; maybe not?

I’ve seen enough jury trials to believe the idea of a jury of ones peers may have outlived its benefits. Most civilized countries, if not all, don’t rely on that system. I think its time we have jurors trained and paid as professionals. They can still be chosen as representative to a particular case. But Trayvon was in actuality tried, convicted and found guilty, yet he did not have a jury of his peers. How about a 12 person jury, six of which were people of color and who may have been profiled at one time or another. It would also be interesting to hear what Judge Debra Nelson felt about the jury’s decision. We will probably never know. What I do know for sure is that:

If I had felt it necessary to inject myself into community policing, like Zimmerman did and which I definitely wouldn’t, and;

If I had felt it necessary to stick my nose into someone else’s (Trayvon’s) business, like Zimmerman did and which I would never do, and;

If I had owned a gun designed primarily for killing fellow human beings, like Zimmerman did and which I have refused to do for more than 6 decades while living on the South Side of Chicago and South Suburbs, and;

If I had routinely carried a concealed weapon, like Zimmerman does (he told Hannity that he carries his gun everywhere except work) and which I don’t and which I believe is antithetical to a civilized society and unbelievably reckless, and;

If I had routinely targeted young black males in my community, like Zimmerman did time and time again when calling police (he always reported only black males) and which I have never done in more than 60 years, and;

If I routinely profiled young black men by referring to them as “those F—ing assholes”        and “punks that always get away”, like Zimmerman did and which I think is obscene, and proves Zimmerman harbored ill will and malice of forethought, and;

If I decided to get out of my vehicle and follow Trayvon, even thought the police dispatcher told him not to and to stay in his vehicle, like Zimmerman did and which I would never even consider doing, and;

If I decided to un-holster my loaded gun and chase after a young boy who did nothing to me or anyone else, as Zimmerman probably did, and which I would never, ever even consider doing, and;

If for some inconceivable reason, I engaged in such outrageous conduct, like Zimmerman did in this case, I guess I wouldn’t have the guts to testify before a jury of my peers either.

But I just can’t believe a jury would not find a person guilty of manslaughter after refusing to explain or justify the reasons he found it necessary to shoot and kill an unarmed boy. How can juror B37 “reasonably” believe “Zimmerman’s heart was in the right place.”

And how can Juror B29 “reasonably” vote to acquit Zimmerman. She initially voted to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder. After the trial, she told Robin Roberts, during an interview on “Good Morning America” that she believed Zimmerman “got away with murder.” She said “George Zimmerman got away with murder, but you can’t get away from God. And at the end of the day, he’s going to have a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with,” “[But] the law couldn’t prove it.” “You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty,” “But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence.” “I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury. I fought to the end.” She also stated she thought the case was a “publicity stunt” and should not have been brought to trial. “The truth is that there was nothing that we could do about it.” “I feel the verdict was already told.”

She blamed the lack of evidence and Florida’s laws to somehow justify acquitting Zimmerman. She now second guesses her decision to acquit; but of course its too late. She said she owes Trayvon’s parents an apology and believes “like I let them down.” I think she let Trayvon Martin and our jury system down.

I guess it’s too much to ask one 6 person jury to put a dent in America’s race relations problems but I was hoping for just a little common sense. I guess I was waiting for Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) or “Elementary’s” Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu (Sherlock Holmes and Watson) to step in and figure out ‘who done it.’

Conservative media and Bloggers view Zimmerman as a hero. He is not a hero. He’s a “wantabe” cop who was repeatedly determined unfit for police work. He profiled a young person innocently walking through his neighborhood. He refused to stay in his vehicle when told to by the police dispatcher. He refused to wait for just a couple of minutes more for the dispatched trained police officers to arrive. He shot Trayvon, as he told Hannity, 15 or 30 seconds before the police arrived.

He is at best a reckless buffoon who was probably chasing after Trayvon with his finger on the trigger of a loaded high powered weapon that didn’t have a safety (“never run while carrying a scissors”). He either stumbled or otherwise accidentally, or on purpose, shot Trayvon through his heart. He then concocted a story only a mother could believe. I believe Zimmerman then told us a lot about his intensions and state of mind by not trying to save Trayvon’s life by initiating any efforts to help him or perform CPR.

George Zimmerman got away with murder because of (1) a tardy and mediocre investigation of his conduct and the facts of the case by the Sanford P.D.; (2) because of ineffective prosecution; (3) because of Florida’s nonsensical and dangerous Stand Your Ground Laws, and the consequential confusing jury instructions; and (4) because of a 6 person jury that was not representative of both the defendant and the victim, and a jury that was probably not capable of using their common sense to render a just decision.

Un “Till” young black men, especially those wearing hoodies, are not automatically viewed by half of American’s as troublemakers and thugs;

Un “Till” America stops incarcerating young black men at ever increasing rates;

Un “Till” more young black men refuse to join gangs when looking for some semblance of family;

Un “Till” America is able to offer young men of all colors, including and especially Veterans, living wage jobs, instead of a life of fending for themselves on the streets;

Un “Till” more young black men end up graduating from college, than from being released from prison;

Un “Till” we reach a point where the innocent young black victim of a hate crime can’t be proven guilty of his own murder;

Un “Till” all those, including jurors, who say they are not prejudiced, but harbor many subtle and toxic biases, can see themselves for what they are;

Un “Till” Police departments throughout America, view all young men the same regardless of how they walk or talk or what they wear or the hue of their skin;

Un “Till” Legislatures everywhere, including the United States Congress, find some balls, and stand up to the NRA, ALEC and these extreme wacko 2nd Amendment zealots;

Un “Till” America “Stand’s It’s Ground”, and refuses to turn its back on responsible gun laws;

Un “Till” this all happens, we will continue to see, especially on the streets of our South Chicago neighborhoods, innocent children placed in caskets and carried to the cemeteries.

If there are any positives in this case and reason for hope, its that:

A recent Poll said that 62% of American’s believe George Zimmerman unnecessarily killed Trayvon Martin.

At least 450,000 people, and probably much more now, and including myself, signed a petition asking the Department of Justice to go forward with their suspended civil rights investigation of Zimmerman’s conduct.

Peaceful demonstrators across the country were not just African Americans but from every group. Black, white, Latino and Asian; men, women and children, old and young. I would say the demonstrators I saw were an overwhelming white majority.

And, a large majority of Florida’s prosecutors are now asking the legislators to change and correct the flaws in Florida’s current Stand Your Ground Laws.

And, most experts believe a Civil Trial against George Zimmerman probably will be undertaken; a trial where Zimmerman will be forced to testify. At least he may not be able to profit from Trayvon’s murder.

Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture, said he would like Trayvon’s hoodie for its permanent collection. “It became the symbolic way to talk about the Trayvon Martin case.” “It’s rare that you get one artifact that really becomes the symbol.”

Maybe the pictures of Trayvon Martin lying on a slab in the morgue will, like the pictures of Emmett Till lying in his coffin did in 1955 for civil rights, spark change; and in this case, some sensible modification of these egregious and dangerous Stand Your Ground Laws, in at least some of those 24 states. Our own Illinois concealed weapons ban was recently struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Illinois was the last of the States to have a reasonable ban on concealed weapons. Our legislature is still wrestling with a revision of those laws that would conform with the Constitutions 2nd Amendment. Gentlemen and women, please pay attention.

And as Congressman Lewis implored: “I hope this verdict will serve to open some kind of meaningful dialogue on the issues of race and justice in America.”    John Hanno

Happy Independence Day America “Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”

July 4, 2012     John Hanno

Happy Independence Day America  “Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act (or Obama Care to the tea-party and free market zealots) are apoplectic that someone, especially “the Government,” should force them to do anything. They believe it violates their constitutional rights if the “Government” should require them to purchase health insurance, ignoring the fact that for generations, we’ve required individuals, businesses and institutions to purchase automobile liability, workers compensation and other forms of insurances.

Our founding fathers and the framers of our constitution could not possibly have foreseen the complexity of our society today, the 50 million Americans without health care or the hundreds of hospitals on the verge of bankruptcy because they must treat for free, millions of sick folks who flood their emergency rooms 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Nor could they have contemplated the burden on the taxpayers who must ultimately pay the interest on those unpaid costs.

The Republican’s demonized the President for wasting too much time and effort on getting the Affordable Care Act signed into law, instead of dealing early on with unemployment and the national debt; again conveniently ignoring the fact that a large portion of that debt is caused by our dysfunctional health care system and also that a cornerstone of the Act is it’s provisions designed to help control runaway health care costs and enhance preventative medical care. The Republican’s have had no plan of their own, other than their business as usual doctrine of tacking closely with the insurance industry; but that approach was thoroughly indefensible.

And of course for the last 30 plus years, corporate leaders joined at the hip by Republican apologists throughout the country, have disowned our working class and preached from the mountain tops that the reason they were closing almost 50,000 factories and exporting those good paying manufacturing jobs was because of the generous and untenable benefits paid to our middle class working men and women. We’ve heard for decades that the American auto industry can’t compete when the average legacy costs for each American made auto was more than $1,500 (now between $2,300 and $2,700), compared to a small fraction of what it is in Mexico, Korea or China. But is that what America has become; a society that will build things but only as long as the workers are willing to forsake the benefits the American worker has fought and died for over the last century?

So in order to level the playing field a bit, President Obama and critical thinking Democratic Congressmen and women realized early on that if we’re going to create living wage jobs for hardworking Americans, they would have to first tackle our health care crisis. They believed that if American manufacturers were not burdened with unpredictable and ballooning health care costs, they could more easily compete with the rest of the industrialized world and consequently bring back those good paying manufacturing jobs.

But the Republican’s pledged, soon after President Obama was sworn in, to do everything they could to keep him from being reelected. They obstructed each and every one of his and the Democrats efforts to pull us out of the depression era financial collapse and debt crisis, which the Republicans created, by disregarding and dismantling financial industry regulations, giving unnecessary and unneeded tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and by waging two unnecessary and unfunded wars.

Their single minded campaign to overturn the Affordable Care Act and obstruct the President at every opportunity during the last three and a half years, has stymied America’s fiscal recovery and brought us to the edge of the cliff, wondering whether a majority of our Supreme Court Justices would cling to their ultra conservative ideology or side with the 50 million Americans without health care and the 36 to 112 million Americans with pre-existing conditions who couldn’t afford or even find any form of health care if insurance companies had their way.

Would the Supreme Court side with the special interests that have funded these attacks on the Act and the President and his party’s attempts to begin removing the albatross around the neck of America’s recovery and prosperity or with the 13.7 million young American’s between 18 and 25 who are now able to remain on their parent’s insurance policies until they’re 26 years of age.

Would the Court side with the tea party crowd that has commandeered the Grand Old Party or with a large number of the 65% of America’s prison population who have some mental health issue and who might not have even been institutionalized (at $50,000 per year) had they had medical insurance and the specialized care they desperately needed. Our prisons are not equipped and their employees are not trained to care properly for these mentally ill inmates. And taxpayers should not have to pay for their expensive incarceration because even the best of the mental health care provisions of health insurance policies cover only 65% or less of the costs of mental health care, if at all. The Affordable Care Act strengthens mental health coverage for all.

Would the Court side with the libertarians who firmly believe they are not their brothers or sisters keeper or with the tens of millions of working poor who can’t afford health care insurance even if it were available.

Would they side with the insurance companies who skim more than 30% off the top of America’s astronomical health care expenditures (which is 50% more per person than virtually all industrialized nations) or with the 86 million people who have already received free preventive care, the 105 million people who no longer face a lifetime cap on benefits and the 17 million children who already cannot be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions.

The new tea-party controlled Republican members of Congress were adamant that no part of President Obama’s health care act should survive the Supreme Court’s decision. Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa outlined their ideology when he stated the previous month that “I don’t want any vestige of Obamacare left in law,” “Not one particle of DNA.” Could the Affordable Care Act survive if the individual mandate were to be struck down or would it be in jeopardy of collapsing, as the Republican’s prayed, because the mandate is what makes the law affordable? In fact we already have a mandate, one that requires taxpayers to pay the unreimbursed medical costs for those who can’t afford, can’t find or refuse to purchase health insurance. The irony is that this mandate was proposed by Republicans who, at one time believed in personal responsibility; that is before they flip flopped on the issue just so they could oppose President Obama and the Democrats. Would the Supreme Court side with these uncompromising neo-con’s or with the tens of millions of hard working American’s who have fallen out of the middle class.

Should our Supreme Court have even choose, or be allowed to rule on, such a consequential law; a law written by an elected legislature, which had struggled for decades to reach a hard fought, acceptable compromise that finally passed through both houses of Congress and then signed into law. Would these privileged deciders, none of which ever held elected office, have an inkling of what it took for President Obama and the Democrats to accomplish this feat over the monumental obstruction from special interests and their congressional minions?

Do you think any of the Justices ever had to worry about paying for health care for themselves or a sick family member? Thanks to the American taxpayer and our socially democratic form of government, they have one of, if not the best, health care insurance in the world and will have that insurance until the day they die.

Do you think any of the justices have had to sit with a gravely ill or injured family member or child at the emergency room hoping and praying that they will be taken care of instead of just being patched up and shunted off to fend for themselves, by a hospital struggling to keep its doors open?

Do you think any of the Justices or their loved ones have ever been denied hospital care and admission for mental health issues because they had no health insurance and the hospital claimed they had no available room at the inn and just shipped them off to a state run mental institution?

Would all of the justices be able to sympathize with the parents of chronically sick children that kneeled on the steps of the Supreme Court during oral arguments praying for divine intervention?

European and many other countries believe it’s obscene that we allow Americans to be forced into bankruptcy and lose their homes and wealth because of catastrophic health care expenses. Here in Illinois, our governor had recently signed a bill booting 25,000 poor working Americans off of Medicaid. And many other states had or were contemplating similar belt tightening legislation. The Affordable Care Act was not perfect but it’s a start on the road to the universal health care system America needs in order to remain a world leader. A healthy America is a vibrant and prosperous America.

I don’t have an ax to grind when it comes to health care or medical insurance. Fortunately I’m (knock wood) very healthy. I don’t take any medications and I’m old enough to qualify for Medicare. I worked hard in the trades for more than forty years and earned supplemental insurance from my past employer, for which I pay affordable subsidized premiums. And because I spent three years in the Army serving my country, I can go to our local V.A. clinic and hospital if I need routine exams or prescriptions. But not all Americans are so blessed.

I believe health care for all human beings is a right, not a luxury only the rich can afford. I believe health care for all is essential to the “Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” principal embodied in our Declaration of Independence. That Declaration was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and passed by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, exactly 236 years ago. After the Court announced that the Affordable Care Act decision would be issued before Independence Day on June 28th , I wished that our Supreme Court would ask themselves, what Thomas Jefferson would do if he were here today and then decide do what’s best for America for our nation’s upcoming anniversary by upholding the law.

I believe we should have long ago implemented a universal, single payer health care system like much of the civilized world. But there were more than a hundred million Americans who desperately needed that mediocre token of what America really needs and deserves. Considering the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, I didn’t hold much hope for a “just” decision that would be in the best interests of all Americans; but hope springs eternal. A week before the ruling, Sen. John McCain, one of the architects, together with Sen. Russ Feingold, of the 2002 campaign finance law limiting donations to candidates, commented on that Citizens United decision. “I wish one of them had run for County Sheriff” he said of the Justices. Well I think many American’s wished the 4 or 5 most conservative Justices had, at one time or another, lost their health care insurance, been at the mercy of an uncaring and unbending insurance company or had been on the verge of loosing everything they owned because of a catastrophic illness. They wished those Justices had found it necessary to go to a banker, hat in hand, asking for financing to get back on their feet after their credit was destroyed by overwhelming medical expenses. They wished the Justices would try to put themselves in their shoes, as the highest court in the land routinely used to do.      John Hanno

 

Post Script: After the oral arguments were completed, a poll of constitutional lawyers and experts believed, almost unanimously, that the Act would be upheld. But after months of intense ranting by the right wing noise machine, the odds had changed and were almost 75%, that the law would be overturned.

But miracle of miracles happened, the four more progressive Justices joined with Chief Justice Roberts to uphold most of the act

The ink was barely dry on the court ruling when the cacophony of  Republican congressmen and women, past and present presidential candidates, vice presidential wantabes and most conservative pundits were tripping over themselves to demonize the act and Justice Roberts.

It’s now the job of the President and his surrogates to convince a substantial majority of Americans, that his administration’s courage and determination against the rights scorched earth opposition, and even his own party’s indifference, was worth splitting the union into a medically induced civil war.  Portraying the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as (1) vital to creating living wage jobs, (2) helping to reduce the deficit and (3) bringing America’s health care system into the 21st century, will eventually convince most of America, that this is an important step on the path to universal, single payer health care.        John  Hanno