This morning’s “Breaking News” headlines:   "20 people killed at gay night club in Orlando." Already the online commentators are blaming Muslim jihadists and Obama (of course) for this horrific crime.  Me?  So far I’ve seen three television reports – ABC, CBS and CNN and read five or so online articles – and none have said that it was done by a Muslim.  Now, perhaps it will turn out that indeed it was a Muslim terrorist but these folks who are so quick to blame Obama and Muslims are precisely the kind of “Americans” who don’t deserve to call themselves Americans. 

I’m awaiting Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s mouthings on the deadly shootings.  It will be interesting to see if he is able to maintain his less strident “Presidential” posture as the Republican establishment has been urging him to do, or if he will simply ignore their advice as he did when he “took down” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) one more time to the thrill of his followers.  I’m betting on the former.  The way I see it, there is no way The Donald is going to let such a potent opportunity to rail against Muslims, the Obama Administration, and our “totally lacking” domestic security apparatus to prevent terrorist attacks.  Why?  Because this is exactly what his info-lacking, conspiracy believing and low IQ supporters think. 

As it happens, I attended D.C.’s Gay Pride parade yesterday which went off without a hitch despite our sweltering 97 degree temperature.   As I surveyed the crowd, I couldn’t help noting that the average age of the tens of thousands of folks lining 17th Street were young – say mid twenties – as were most of the parade participants.  And this is as one would expect here in the gayest city in America and one that has been gay-friendly for decades.  I was disappointed that corporate sponsors – Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, and Northrup Grumman – got more applause and  “Happy Pride Day” shoutouts than the Whitman-Walker Clinic folks.   Funded by the largess of actress and AIDS activist, Elizabeth Taylor, Whitman-Walker was at the very forefront of the 1980’s fight against the Reagan Administration’s willful silence when 4,000 – 8,000 men, women and children were dying from this deadly virus every year.

But time moves on.  I cannot re-create for those folks attending our Gay Pride Parade the terror that the scourge of AIDS caused across the nation back in the day just as I cannot re-create for these same folks the insidious thirty year campaign of conservative Free Market Capitalist economic policies that have plunged them into the black hole of student debt and diminished opportunities.   No question, given their contribution to Bernie Sanders’ successful campaign, they understand their present situation but I often see a lack of historical knowledge about just how we all wound up where we are today.   If they did, there is no way that they would threaten to sit out November’s Presidential election much less actually do so.

Why?  Because their plight did not begin with the Crash of 2008.  Their plight is not the result of some economic anomaly.  Their plight is the result of a coordinated, long and willful effort to implement “conservative economic policies” from top to bottom.  And it has been successful.  For decades politicians decried the rise of the deficit while cutting taxes, allowing individuals and corporations to avoid paying taxes by condoning secret off-shore banks  thus depriving the U.S. Treasury of income.  For decades we were told by Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, that “the markets [Wall Street] were “self-regulating.”  Perhaps as an economic theory this works but the reality of the Crash of 2008 proved decisively that it works only in theory. 

Decades old calls – particularly by elected Republicans – for the “reform” of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security masked the real intent of such “ reformist policies”- the privatization of all three.  Imagine the plight of the elderly and the disabled, if you will, to say nothing of the FICA monies contributed by Millennials and everyone else, had all those funds been invested in Wall Street in 2008 as the “privatizers” desired and still do? 

Our collective long road to downfall began with the election of Ronald Reagan.  That’s when catchy slogans (“cutting taxes creates jobs” & “government isn’t the solution, government is the problem”) began to be substituted for actual policy.  Sure, during presidential campaigns, the airwaves are shimmering with promises, propaganda and crowd pleasing pronouncements (See: Donald Trump) but once in office those meaningless mouthings are tossed aside when the practical reality of actually governing kicks in.  This shift from promises that will never be kept to the actual work of passing laws is the anticipated path of The Donald should he become President.

But a crystal clear demonstration of how reality intrudes on campaign promises, wildly popular Regan provides a shining example.  He was the original “cut taxes to create prosperity for all” President yet he raised taxes as a result of a recession that could not be ignored.  He was elected on the premise that he would increase defense spending, challenge the Soviet Union (Russia) directly with a super power America, that he would eradicate Communism from the face of the earth.  What he actually did was to withdraw American troops from Lebanon after a terrorist attack killed 240 Americans and invaded Grenada, a small Caribbean tourist spot to rid the world of evil socialism. 

This is precisely the same themes – updated – that Trump is spouting to the delight of his followers.  But here’s the difference between Trump and Reagan (who, by the way, is ignored by Republicans since he no longer symbolizes the radical policies that conservatives spout today), Ronald Reagan had been Governor of California for two terms, then, as today, the largest state in the Union with a population of 23,000,000 in 1980.  Donald Trump has no such experience to temper his blatherings with the reality of what it actually means to govern.   Thus, Trump’s populist campaign is fraught with danger since he has no concept of what it actually means to implement foreign and domestic policy, achieve legislative success, and navigate the minefields of attempting to please not only a narrow band of cheering supporters but the American public at large.

NOTE:  It seems as if the attack on the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando was undertaken but an ISIS sympathizer.  And so it goes.  Let’s see what Trump proposes as preventing such terrorist attacks.  I can guarantee you that it will be nothing practical, nothing that actually addresses the problem, nothing that has the least possibility of being implemented.  But his Trumpettes will love him.   And, as sad as it may be, we will be subjected to more such attacks.  If you want a blueprint, check out the three decades of "The Troubles" in the UK when Irish separatists engaged in a campaign of bombings, shootings and terror.  

Sad Day.   

 LATEST:  Parents of shooter Omar Mateen indicate that their son was angered by two men he saw kissing in Miami recently.  

And so it goes.  


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