Today, 800,000 federal civilians are working without pay and 380,000 are furloughed. A small (about 2 percent ) pay raise was planned for all federal civilian workers, but this was frozen by President Trump.
But not to worry.
Senior political employees in the White House will get raises, including Vice-President (does that mean he’s president of vice?) Pence will be getting about a ten thousand dollar pay raise. No longer will Vice-President Pence have to struggle to make ends meet on $230,7000 (plus expenses), but will have his pay increased to $243,000 (plus expenses).
That’s the 21st century version of “taking one for the team.”
Today, pride and self-promotion are the primary driving forces; in other words, today’s philosophy is, “It’s all about me.” This cannot lead to good things for the nation in either the short term or the long term.
As the White House uses and discards people, there is no lack of others eager to step into those positions. These same people, last week, last month, or last year, were condemning the very administration to which they now bow and scrape for a piece of the action.
Power is that seductive; these glory seekers contradict their own statements without apology. John Adams told us that “Facts are stubborn things . . . ,” but many people are far more stubborn than facts.
The revolving door in Washington, DC will continue to spin. Ambitious people will step in—regardless of qualification or commitment—willing to do anything (and I mean ANYTHING) to wrap themselves in prestige, even if it’s only for a short while.
*“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
John Adams, ‘Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,’
December 1770, US diplomat & politician (1735 – 1826)
Since I lived quite a few centuries ago, I don’t have to worry about paying taxes any longer. Nevertheless, thrift being a virtue and because I have areputation for being obnoxious, here are a few suggestions.
The White House should start labeling offices for cabinet members with those yellow stickies; they also could be used for organization charts.
Even better, if the White House used a temporary employment agency for cabinet members, the taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for benefits and a replacement could be found in a matter of days.
Is it coincidence that given the current world situation there’s a trend for governments to make marijuana legal–or is it a survival mechanism?
In any case, being dead for hundreds of years has its advantages, at least for me
On December 8, 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt began with these words; he ended with his request for Congress to declare that a state of war existed with Japan, as is consistent with our Constitution.
Over sixteen million Americans served in the military in the Second World War, with 405,000 dying—292,000 killed in battle. Throughout the world, 1.9 billion people served in various armies, air forces, navies (including coast guards), and marines resulting in 72 million deaths.
The Japanese had not signed the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war, killing, torturing, or enslaving Americans and their allies.
Nazi Germany established a series of efficient death mechanisms, including death factories (camps) to systematically murder over 6 million Jews, along with the handicapped, Roma (calling them gypsies is like using the n****** word), Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other innocent people who the Nazis considered unworthy or inconvenient.
How times change. That was the last war in which Congress passed a Declaration of War.
We won, and to the victor belongs the spoils, so by tradition, we could take whatever we wanted from those we vanquished. Instead, America provided aid to our allies and many of our former enemies so they could survive, recover, and rebuild.
This was not a business decision, it was a moral decision and the right thing to do. This was a long-term investment, which would cost the “greatest generation,” but benefit the children and the grandchildren of those who took the moral high ground. Many of these countries have worked together, with America as a senior partner, toward common goals, for decades. Together we have grown morally, intellectually, and economically. There is competition, of course, and we don’t agree on everything, but for over 70 years we’ve been able to resolve disagreements with these nations in western European and with Japan without a single shot fired in anger.
Today, if you ask people about the Second World War, many cannot tell you when it was fought, who we fought, or why. As the last veterans of that war die, is the knowledge and wisdom dying with them?
Although the United States has had military troops in combat more often than not since 1945, Congress has not enacted a declaration of war since 1941. They’ve avoided making a decision, but as was said in the 1960s, “Not to decide is to decide.”
This great nation of ours that broke the bonds that held them to King George III has, over time, allowed each president to assume more unilateral powers; to make the executive order as powerful as law—and if they’re not careful—as powerful as the constitution.
So, where are we? Without our leadership, other countries who once “had our back” are following our example and more concerned about how their nation can prosper regardless of the consequences.
In 1775 it was “Give me liberty or give me death!” In 1836, “Remember the Alamo!” In 1864, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” In 1898, “Remember the Maine!” In 1918, “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?” In 1941, “Remember Pearl Harbor!”
Today, it’s “I want mine.”
Unfortunately, December 7th didn’t live in infamy and its lessons are barely remembered.
In the eighteenth century, 13 North American colonies of Great Britain decided to declare themselves independent. Simplistically, the colonists had gotten used to doing things their own way and hey were determined to continue to do so.
The official explanation, as found in the Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
The colonies traded a monarchy for a confederation, which evolved through various successes and painful challenges into a constitutional federal republic. Is it better? Many believe it is, but in any case, it is safe to say it is most definitely American.
A monarch rules while a president serves.
Throughout history, monarchs have claimed that their power was granted by God, gods, or another extraordinary source. People were convinced of this because the anointed monarch had a trained army with weapons, while the commoners only had farming tools.
On the other hand, Presidents derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, usually through the election process. A successful election process depends on a population that is educated and that makes rational decisions rather than ones that are responding to emotion. Compare the American Revolution, which had (and limited voting to) an educated and prosperous population with the French Revolution, where education was restricted.
So, where are we now? How will history judge the times in which we live?
*“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax– Of cabbages–and kings– And why the sea is boiling hot– And whether pigs have wings.” – Lewis Carroll
Often, as I waited in the checkout line at the grocery store I couldn’t help but notice the supermarket tabloids. They sort of look like newspapers—they seem to use the same type paper stock—but they consistently featured unbelievable, outrageous headlines about scandalous affairs, celebrity divorces, the latest news about the extraterrestrial aliens the government was hiding, Big Foot, and, of course, Elvis’s current whereabouts.
I used to feel a sense of superiority—I was certainly not going to read their tripe. In fact, I wondered what planet did the readers and writers live on?
I’m afraid it was this one. Today, legitimate newspapers are reporting scandalous affairs, celebrity divorces, and the latest news about what the government is hiding or ignoring. Unlike the tabloid articles, though, these stories are not figments of the writers’ imaginations; they are fact-checked descriptions of real-world events. The legitimate newspapers have not gotten worse, but reality has.
If you’re confused as to which is a tabloid and which is a newspaper–if the headlines include extraterrestrial aliens, Bigfoot, or what Elvis has been doing, it’s a tabloid.