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The State of Our Disunion

The State of Our Disunion

Robert Reich
Donald Trump says his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening will be about “unification”. But Trump discussing the state of the union is like pyromaniac discussing lighter fluids. His goal is, and has always been, disunion.

The man thrives on divisiveness.

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“Be not the slave of your own past - plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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The fifth paragraph in this article sums up the Murkin experience ever since Saint Ron ascended the throne in 1981. After buying up enough US politicians to control the US gubmit by the dawn of the 21st century, the divide and conquer, purchase politicians model started spreading across the globe.

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Strange “state of” experience this morning. I streamed the headlines read by Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow!, but instead of taking them in as current events, I did a little thought experiment. I said to myself, “Self? Imagine it’s 1977 and you’re 20 years-old again, living in the Detroit area. You’ve put in some time at the sunroof factory, cutting T-bar roofs into Chrysler Cordobas for a union wage of $6.35/hour. It’s the 6:00 PM to 2:30 AM shift, and drug use is occasional up and down the assembly line. Hell, at the 10:00 PM ‘lunch’ break, half the line hauls ass down to the tavern to chug as much beer as they can in 30 minutes before racing back to pick up tools. Two cars just came down the line without being spot-welded because the welders were snorting something behind a wall of crates. The shop steward just got in a fist fight. The American auto industry is being schooled in quality by Japan, and rightly so. It’s no contest. You don’t know it yet, but you’re about to be laid off, hired back, and laid off again. It wasn’t the plan, but you’re a couple months from heading to Kenai, Alaska to work the salmon season. You don’t know it yet, but the second oil shock is coming, and Carter–the first presidential candidate for whom you voted, is going down. You don’t know it yet, but Reagan is coming, and 40-plus years of rapacious, neoliberal economic backlash against unions, the New Deal, civil rights, and any concept of ‘public treasure’ or ‘the public good.’ Your entire working life lies ahead of you, and by the end you will be worth less than you are now. You don’t know it yet…”

“But for now, Self, it’s 1977, and you’re young and fit and will soon go back to college. For now, maybe public TV–one of six channels available–has an old movie on. Maybe some dystopian sci-fi, like Soylent Green. That’s it! For now, imagine it’s 1977, and DemocracyNow! is a fictional newscast from 42 years in the future, and all the backstories behind the headlines are mere fiction.”

I did that this morning, and as I said, it was strange. As I watched Amy read the headlines, I laughed out loud again and again! My partner thought I’d gone 'round the bend, and I can’t say I haven’t. But today’s news, considered anachronistically, could have been dark farce 40 years ago, like a strange amalgam of Monty Python and Black Mirror. It’s all there: an idiot President who watches TV and tweets all day; a rubber-stamp political oligarchy disguised as a two-party democracy trying to maintain a shame-faced dignity while enabling the tantrums of a child-tyrant; politicians in black-face; the Superbowl; screen-time as addiction; social media and data mining; post-factualism; wars on drugs and immigrants and all the other others; the homeless dispossessed; pedophile clergy; Jesus-loving evangelists supporting sexual predators, racists, cheaters, and criminals against humanity; bombs and beheadings; the floods, droughts and fires; the foxes in the henhouses and the lunatics running the asylum…

Note to Self: It’s a bitter laughter that stands in for crying.

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But Democratic leaders and candidates appear to understand that the largest threat to the state of the union – one that trumps all others, rendering it all but impossible to address anything else – is the deepening divide of wealth and power between the many and the few.

While I fully agree that inequality is a major issue and one that needs immediate attention, it’s but one of a number of such issues that have reached emergency status, all of which are interconnected to some extent. We’re past the point in this country of having the luxury to focus on only one issue at a time. Dumping Trump and returning to the corporate friendly status quo of the Obama years won’t solve any of them, though, including inequality. The scale of the problem(s) now requires an overhaul of our political system that goes beyond the voting D or R that got us into this mess.

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Expectations for tonight’s Bullshit session are understandably low.

Take solace in knowing that the number of those of us who intend to work together to expose the Liar-in-Chief and all of his felonious friends, far exceeds the miniscule number of those who are blind to his crimes.

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You were making $6.35 AN HOUR!!! I was in my 3rd year of teaching and hoping (in vain as it turned out) to break through to $8000/ year.

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Yes! That was a damned fine Teamsters wage back then, and way up from the $1.80/hour I made as a lifeguard around the same time.

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They should put “Democracy” on the New York Stock exchange. It seems like a commodity to be bought and sold. Better yet - why not put politicians like McConnell on the stock exchange. It will make it much more efficient as he is bought and sold over and over again.

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I have no plans to waste my time watching this idiotic creature spout his bull. It might be worthwhile watching for comedy but we are talking about our nation and the world - it is more of a tragedy. The democratic side of the aisle should refuse to show up. We are not paying them to waste time and that is basically what this is - a big waste of time. Republicans can clap and hee-haw at all of the ignorant phrases coming out of Trump’s mouth.

How do people not understand that voting for a progressive independent means the near certain victory of a republican?

How do people not understand that voting for a moderate or centrist Democrat is, economically speaking, the same thing as voting for a Republican? The same thing as voting for the neoliberal status quo? The duopoly tears us apart over religion, the environment, and civil rights while both “parties” continue the forty-year quest to redistribute all the wealth to the already wealthy.

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I’d like it if the entire Democratic side stood up, either all together or maybe one after another, and yelled, “You lie!” after every statement (remember Joe Wilson yelling at Obummer in '09?). But, since I know they won’t, I won’t be watching, either.

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And where did integrity and honesty end up? Should we look under Bush’s sofa? Maybe Trump’s tax returns.

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As I say in my post on the Medicare for all thread, sometimes the moderate democrats actually understand what is possible and what is not in the current situation. Republicans are nearly always the real problem. I don’t see how a sentient human can not understand this.

Bloomberg and Schultz are social democrats and economic Randians.

Both belong in the Republican party. Both are on the wrong side of the most important moral and economic issue of our time : wealth inequality.

The 2020 nomination should belong to a true working class Democrat, someone like Elizabeth Warren or Bill DeBlasio. Most of the others are imposters.

Bloomberg and Schultz can run as what they are: independents.

No working class voter should ever again vote for a billionaire who defends their right to take everything from their workers.

How many times does Jeff Bezos need to speak before the public sees and rejects his grotesque and immoral greed?

Romney had it right and wrong. The takers are the problem and the makers are being exploited.

Only the real takers are the rich.

The ellipses does not do your omissions justice.

That sentence has a long way to go before it runs dry.

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You’re a little late. Has been for sale for a long while. Fewer buyers now but on sale as ever.

Ed,

I want to say, your blow-by-blow of how 1977 unfolded for you was priceless.

Your transition to the present day madness too was perfect.

At least it was for me.

Many of us here have fond memories of the 70’s.

For years, I have been saying, “We lived through some of the best years on Earth.”

In no way am I forgetting the unforgettable and unforgivable blunders the parties of the Duopoly put us all through.

Thanks again. Good job.

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Ever since I came to this country 50 years ago, I have been fascinated by the fact that Americans view their country as a “union”. How can, I would ask myself, an educated person in Silicon Valley think of a white trash addict in West Virginia as his equal?
The obvious answer is that Americans have been successfully indoctrinated into believing they are “one nation”. Nothing can be further from reality. My next door lily-white neighbors have more in common with a black upper-class family in Nairobi than with any of the 60 million Trump-adoring blue-collar trash in the Red States.
If the union degenerates into disunion everybody will benefit. The red trash will have their own heroic archetypes (Trump among them) in their history books, and the civilized coastal states won’t need to feel ashamed of the “union” they are part of.
The Union was born out of a mistake. The sooner that mistake is corrected, the better for everyone.