“Are you done with that dumpling?”
– Words Trump is said to have whispered in Obama’s ear about Angela Merkel, during the presidential transition period of 2016
Now that polls have closed and the votes have been counted and the only thing left to do is wait for Donald J. Trump to concede defeat, and maybe work out a deal to resign ASAP in exchange for Mike Pence’s pardon — just to get rid of him. (Fuck off, DJ, the MeSMers are taunting.) Of course, the pardon would only cover his federal crimes, not the shit New York wants to hang on him (ouch). The good news is that with a pardon for felonious excesses he will be able to vote in future presidential elections, because he’s not Black or a felon (and if he moves back to wall-driven Mara-a-lago, it won’t matter if he’s a felon anyway, because the ban doesn’t include Whites, it seems: see 2000: Charles Colson, nNixon’s “hatchet man.”).
However, some people believe Trump may do a runner, seek refuge in a country without an extradition treaty with the US. Scotland’s out: They almost had an angus burger last time he was there. Maybe Turkey, Erdogan’d be willing; DJ could find a nice studio apartment, with views, near the Istanbul Red Light district and continue his pre-presidential pursuits. Or maybe he could slip into Papua New Guinea, start a cargo cult, blow a dogma whistle. There’s a South Pacific island what loves American militarism there and Spam has been a staple, ever since. And Trumpism is a kind of Spam.
Meanwhile, there are practical, sane things we can do in America to save the Republic, before it degenerates into chaos and a previously unfelt ineffectuality brought on by a serious loss of face on the global stage. On that note, the ex-Singaporean ambassador to the UN recently put out a compelling scenario — Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy — that sees China taking advantage of the “chaos” in America, brought on by the Trump era, to seriously undermine the dollar as the global exchange currency. This would do some serious damage to the American economy and right-cross the glass-steagall jaw of the middle class, already reeling.
Here. presented in the order that it occurs to me now, and for whatever it’s worth, is my List of Tweaks for our Democracy:
+ They need to be fixed. All recent post-election MSM attention has been paid to Trump’s silly charges of Voter Fraud distracted us, like a card sharp trick, from the somber reality that had it not been for Corona forcing more white voters to mail in their ballots, little attention would have been paid to those voters. There has never been more scrutiny put on such ballots, since such a predominance of the mail-ins were Democrats. Earlier in the year, investigative journalist Greg Palast warned in his book, How Trump Stole the 2020 Election, that in 2016 Trump stole it by having his Repugnican collaborators in swing states, toss away millions of valid votes for specious reasons. Palast expected the same this year, and no doubt, though not credited, because not mainstream, sharp scrutiny was put on such votes. Note that in the four states where recounts were done, it was the tallying of African-American voters that made the counting process so long this time around. For instance, the last counties to be counted in Pennsylvania included Philadelphia and Allegheny (Pittsburgh), mostly Democrat, mostly Black, where Trump’s 500,000 vote led with 90% counted disappeared up in smoke as Blacks were counted. After the election, Palast was giving away his book for free, as well as a humorous but accurate Ted Rall comic book — call it Black voter disenfranchisement for white dummies — and the reader is well-advised to procure these downloads at Palast’s site to be up to snuff when we return to it next time now that the populist is toast.
+ Gerrymandering needs to be eliminated or regulated by the Election Commission.
+ Post-election reports continue to tell us, albeit with little fanfare by the MSM, that our electronic voting issues are not solved, and potential wide-spread abuse is rife. Touch Screen machines that change votes were especially prone to failure or manipulation.
+ Force the Democrat Party to rename itself the Corporate Party (no I’m not kidding) to provide the voter a more accurate description of who they represent. It’s not the people. And thus, populism rises up. The Democrats are as responsible for Trump’s ascendancy as any other factor.
+ The Lesser of Two Evils (the so-called “two potty” system) is getting worse all the time.
+ Institute a Third and/or Fourth Party — Greens and Independents.
+ To make the last one work, introduce a preferential voting system. You choose a backup candidate in case your party loses. This would eliminate all the whingeing about the Naders and Styeins and Sanders candidates — the ones with real progressive ideas — for being blamed when a Third Party bleeds votes away from the Two Evil system, usually affecting the Democratic candidate negatively. Instead, if a Green candidate doesn’t win her or his vote goes to their second choice. In addition, if the Democratic candidate lost anyway, their votes would go to secondary candidates — let’s say Greens or Independents — thus, strengthening the Third Party and making it a more viable choice in the future.
+ Across the board on the national front. No more lifetime Supreme Court appointments. Make it say 20 years max or no later than the common national retirement age (currently 67). Definitely limit how long we need to suffer from dead wood legislators in Congress. Same age limitations, plus no more than 4 terms as a Congressperson. So many of these legislators are lawyers and doctors: Let’s make sure that they take advantage of a career they can fall back on. Screw: we don’t need you. The Democracy lover Abbie Hoffman said Revolution for the Hell of It. Term Limits is the next best thing.
+ Change the impeachment process. The retards in the House so fucked up the impeachment that we were all sick of it by the Super Bowl rolled around in the first week of February, when the process conveniently ended. Pelosi, known for gathering the numbers, must have known that there wasn’t any chance to convict Trump in the Senate, making the whole procedure a farce. Plus, they went after something stupid — a quid pro quo Ukraine phine call, which if it hadn’t included the name “Biden” there’d have been nothing. But more importantly there are lines of attack — taxes, emoluments, and, as James Risen was quick to point out over at The Intercept, murder, when he unilaterally killed Iranian general Sulaimon.
+ The timing was horrible, coming when first word of the pandemic was spreading. The first American infectees came in late January, while the hearings were still distracting us. (The Super Bowl, held on Feb 5, was a super-spreader event that even the Florida governor admitted that he suspected that Corona spread in the crowd aand went nationally after the game as people returned home.
+ Pass a constitutional amendment that forces impeachment procedures to go through an independent review process. Make it less of a political game. (Repugnicans vowed that they would treat the next Democrat to the same treatment.)
HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE (HEW)
+ Let’s stop the nonsense and give everybody Medicare. That’s it. It’s a program that has been around for a long time and is familiar to most people. It’s tweaking, but it runs smoothly. when legislators aren’t bending over for insurance companies and Big Pharrma, usually for hidden personal gain. Pass a constitutional amendment making full medical coverage for all Americans FREE. That’s the way it is in Australia, where I currently live as an expat. Low priced pharmaceuticals are available. It’s true that long waits for specialty appointments are common, but eventually it gets done; even dentistry is covered for poor people. Socialized medicine has not adversely affected a robust capitalist system here.
+ Immediately forgive all student debt in America. $2 Trillion (and interest counting) is destroying young poor people who needed to take out loans to support their education. Most importantly, perhaps, the fear of not being able to find a job on graduation is forcing many young people to follow something other than bliss — just to be able to get a job to pay back the loan. Paying begins within a year of graduation and immediately impacts one’s over-regarded Credit Report, an adverse one can affect the ability to get a phone, car, apartment, and other loans.
+ Provide free tertiary education or repayments of loans tied to future earnings. In Australia, you can follow your bliss in the humanities — being an artist, musician, etc — and pay back what you can afford. If you remain a hungry artist, you don;t have the additional burden of having your life trashed by credit agencies when you can afford to repay. Level the playing field for needy students going up against students whose parents can foot the bill. If nothing else, it takes away the class stigma associated with such available wealth.
+ It makes sense to give out free money. In Australia, there is a New Start program that helps people out of work get through until they obtain another job. The needs-tested program can keep people afloat, as they look for new work. In America, only unemployment compensation dries up, you can just just drown in debt and despair without a bottom. Although it may happen here in Australia, I have yet to see an Australian citizen living out of their car.
+ Homelessness in America is appalling.
+ Domestic abuse is bad enough — the way we treat the ones we love at home: see homelessness, no med insurance, poverty up the yinyang, kids in cages, cops up to the knee in George Floyds every 10 days or so, followed by vigils and riots — that we don’t to export our ‘tough love’ to other places, because, as Obama once said, they can do stuff too.
+ Re-ignite the power of the UN while it’s still a body collective capable of tackling global supra-sovereign issues together: Climate Change, pandemics, world currency not controlled by any one government, AI and the Singularity ahead (or already in the rear view mirror).
+ The “effete snobs” and “nattering nabobs” of the “lefty” upperclass, as the late Greek Spiro Agnew put it, mock the NY Post, confusing the conservative tabloid with the former the former check-out counter paper, the National Enquirer (newspaper of record for Trump’s deplorables, now defunct, like Trump himself). NYT, NYPost, NatEnq — the class divisions of America right there.
+ For years, the MSM has been called a Mouthpiece for power — doesn’t matter much who is in office. Unless Trump is in office, no sign of real adversarial journalism will be seen. We’ll never read much deep diving into the corrupt electoral system that allows disenfranchisement to continue without pause.
+ We need a union of non-partisan, adversarial, fact-oriented alternate news sites not afraid of telling the people about shenanigans their government is up to in the name of money-making.
MINIMUM WAGE $20 PER HOUR
At least $20 per hour, about the rate Australians are paid. And constitutionally guaranteed to rise with COLAs. It is a sign of crisis when people have to take on second and third jobs due to the erosion of value of their prime wage. Come January, if he makes it, we’ll have Joe Middle Class in office, who never did a single identifiable good thing for the middle class. This shit’s gotta stop. We need to stop asking for a rise in the minimum but taking it to the Congress with massive sit-ins in the chambers, sitting right on their laps, if necessary, and picking their pockets on the way shown out.
LONG TERM AGRO WORKERS
+ California used to belong to the forbears of those who now pick our lettuce, tomatoes and grapes. Yanquis stole their land (California) and pushed them down to “Mexico.” We need to give these people immediate, retroactive US citizenship, with full voting rights, and constitutional protections, such as union-creation. Half the people coming up from Latino countries south are lettuce, tomato, and grape pickers from countries we fostered coups in or helped make so violent with drug rages that they seek a better life in the azure picking fields in el norte. We’re so full of shit about Mexican doings that the embarrassing border nonsense may qualify as a form of Montezuma’s revenge.
ANYBODY TALKS SOUTHERN WALL AGAIN WE PUT EM UP AGAINST ONE, AND AS GROUCH WOULD SAY, POP GOES THE WEASEL
Okay, just a snark.
+ Bring ‘em back. And let’s have voter block unions. Have women live up to their Seneca Falls promise of true equality and the suffragette hope that women would vote as one solid block. Had that happened we’d have had a totally different (and maybe better) political landscape today. 100 years later in America the age-old war over who owns a woman’s body continues. (Don’t even ask about the legacy of slavery.) Speaking of ex-slaves, Blacks should unite as a voting bloc — oh, wait! they already do; it’s just that, until this year, they’re votes were tossed and nobody cared, not even Democrats who would have benefited from full counts (Hi Hills!) As we saw during the Viet Nam era, when an 18 year old could be drafted to go fight in a war even against their principles but not vote, American university-aged students are still being disenfranchised, their votes, too, according to Greg Palast, tossed by Repugs and Dems because they often reject the Lesser of Two Evils system and vote Green or Independent, and thus take votes away form…
RETURN THE CANON
+ It’s back anyway. The new canon is multicultural, diverse in many ways, re-energized and empowering all around, etc. Beauteous in so many ways. All chiefs, no indians, happy disarray everywhere. But we need people studying the motherfuckin ancient Greeks and Romans again, and Shakespeare, too. Da Classics is the soul of our culture, as Ali G would say — our infrastructure, architectural models, language, our iambs, form and functions of government, etc., and even future studies depend on ancient wisdom to see properly — all of this was tossed in the 70s at great expense to our human depth. So absurd and reactionary was this move that seem hep even Jimmy Carter decided ‘apropos of the wet snow’ (Dostoyevsky) to reveal his lust for other women in the pages of Playboy magazine, becoming his own October Surprise before the presidential erection of 1976. I mean, election. His re-election. Which flopped. Thanks to Ted Koppel (where was he for the Trump hostage-taking?) and the hostages. Expand the canon of great literature and knowledge, bring old and new together. There’s no reason why Toni Morrison and Aeschylus can’t rumba together. Lewis Lapham makes it work at Lapham’s Quarterly.
+ And for fuck’s sake, bring back my beloved Latin Mass. I couldn’t utter mea culpa enough times, leading up to my confirmation. I enjoyed its pulchritude. You don’t have to be Catholic to attend. Think of it as opera. Pay what you can when the basket comes around (I know a guy who put in a button; he’s probably dead and paying now.). And be sure to confess on Saturday before you go and transubstantiate on Sunday (bad medicine, if you do). You don’t want the Anti-Christ to have your number when he steps off the elevator, having come or down — we really don’t know.
+ Cough it up by the trillions. We could helicopter cash into the barrios and cardboard places we’d rather not go, which would provide jobs for whoever wanted one, raking up marked cash, which would then be brought to exchange centers for laundered cash, which could then be used to buy groceries and make purchase that don’t require looting. (When Trump was encouraging badged thugs to be-bop Black heads with batons after the George Floyd upsetting, the first thing Trump did, after erecting a black chain-link wall around the white house, was run to his “operations” room and secure his widescreen TV. Steal that, you might as well be stealing his widescreen grin.)
+ The legacy of slavery will never get wiped clean, nor the genocidal slaughter of Elizabeth Warren’s forbears, who never got a shot at entering Harvard and reading the white guy Narrative of what happened to them. Hell, the Mighty Whitey (MW) doesn’t even try to clean it up. They’ve just gone all pig sloughy with lust and greed, pearl-eating swine high on fizzle shizzle. Nope, if we don’t want reparations to turn into payback, we bess cash up. Time’s running out. Money, sure, but, beyond that, first world housing (no mo pro jos) or forced trading places: let the MWs live in the projects, see how their effete graffiti (effitti?) holds up against the pure rage of ages, featuring the smell of urine, vomit and cheap industrial disinfectant. Free healthcare. Free education, all the way through tertiary. Get a Black man’s face on a dega dollar bill — Frederick Douglass, sure; Richard Pryor; but maybe Malcolm X would be best, as his mission statement best aligns with American foreign policy: By Any Means Necessary (scrub out In God We Trust), plus, Malcolm features in an assassination. How American.
NADER’S SENSIBLE AGENDA
+ For those who want more immediate do-able action, please refer to St. Nader’s excellent list of places for Republicans and Democrats to converge and get things done over mutual concerns about government integrity and the future of our country. A round table; no more head-of-the-table twattage. In his book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance To Dismantle The Corporate State, Ralph lists “Twenty-Five Proposed Redirections and Reforms Through Convergent Action,” that he sees as do-able right now if we put our will to people power to the task now. That book and list are available for free at archive.org. Here.
+ Also, you might want to consider buying his latest cookbook, which is filled with homey basic recipes of family warmth and good-ol-willed American spirit, Arab-cuisine style. O say can you see. An excellent idea for a Christmas gift! Wot?
In the meantime, as John Lennon would say, wake me when the revolution is over.