A Brief History of Dishonest Government
by Coast Watcher
by Coast Watcher
America has an honesty problem featured in its relationship between elected politicians and the ordinary people they purport to represent. The people generally do not trust elected officials. In many cases they don’t even believe they’re intelligent. “Selfish” is the adjective most often used to describe politicians' attitude, and the percentage of those who believe politicians are honest is in the single digits.
The modern distrust of government stems from the 1960s when Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and later Richard Nixon embroiled the United States in the Vietnam War. Most of the population opposed the country’s involvement. Protests against the war erupted, one of the most violent of which was during the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968. Such was the level of opposition the government resorted to the draft to feed the military's killing machine. The measure led to people tearing up their draft cards or fleeing abroad, some never to return. The courts even upheld these actions as they were held to be an expression of free speech.
Following brutal attacks by police and the National Guard on protesters exercising their right to free speech at Kent State and Jackson State, Americans further distrusted their government's motives. All the drama and outrage over the war obscured Johnson’s efforts to continue with implementing FDR’s New Deal to benefit ordinary citizens.
Time and again the US government has let down its citizens. The Watergate Scandal shocked the American people to the core. No ordinary robbery, the intruders were connected to President Nixon’s reelection campaign, and they had been caught wiretapping phones and stealing documents. Nixon took aggressive steps to cover up the crimes, but when Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein revealed his role in the conspiracy, Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974.
Watergate changed American politics forever. Americans were left feeling betrayed, especially by the Republican Party. The scandal led many Americans to question their leaders and think more critically about the presidency in general. Nixon’s Vice President, Gerald Ford, took his place in the White House and promptly pardoned Nixon, adding fuel to the fire. It appeared highly-placed politicians could carry out any illegal act they pleased and get away with it.
(Remember Trump’s boast during the 2016 campaign that he could walk down to Fifth Avenue in New York City, shoot anyone he pleased, and not be convicted? The more things change...)
During 1977 to 1981, America battled stagflation. Stagflation is a concatenation of rising prices and inflation combined with the decline of job availability—something the modern world may well see happen again thanks to the COVID-19 crisis. The price of a cup of coffee nearly tripled and the price of a burger doubled in those four years. Gas prices steadily rose making it impossible for some to afford fueling their vehicles while others lined up in long queues at the gas station. President Jimmy Carter tried and failed to grapple with this situation, the result of previous administrations’ ineptitude or sheer corruption, and as a result he served only one term.
Reagan in his inaugural address famously said of America’s then-troubled economy, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.” His words found a favorable reception in the American public, since the perception of government being inherently corrupt had taken hold. Alas, Reagan’s administration turned out to be spectacularly corrupt from the get-go, and following his inauguration Reagan announced that Iran had agreed to release the remaining American hostages captured in the Tehran Embassy several months before. The timing of Iran’s decision led to suspicions that the Reagan campaign had made a secret deal to prevent the Carter administration from unveiling a so-called “October surprise”—the release of the hostages before election day.
Reagan's policy known as “Reaganomics” led to tax cuts for the rich and Big Business. He also increased military spending to $1.5 trillion over a five-year period in an effort to outpace the Soviet Union, “the evil empire.” The military-industrial complex maintains this advantage to this day. In another echo of modern times, in 1983 Reagan set up the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a plan to develop space-based weapons to protect America from attacks by Soviet nuclear missiles. Trump’s much-trumpeted “Space Force” is nothing new. Reagan's “Star Wars” missile defense boondoggle came first.
To fund these policies there were reductions in social programs and measures passed to deregulate business. Reagan’s policies led to budget deficits that could never be reconciled, yet Reagan dubbed single mothers “welfare queens,” implying they were to blame for the drain on public funds. Reagan used this slur to cover his cuts in so-called discretionary spending on social welfare programs such as education, Food Stamps, low income housing, school lunches for poor children, Medicaid, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).
George Bush’s subsequent presidency failed to set the world alight. He continued most of Reagan’s policies, as did his successor Bill Clinton. Clinton’s implementation of just about every public-damaging policy the Republican Party offered made him appear Republican. Bush’s son George W. continued the theme of dishonesty. More suspicions fell upon government following the notorious attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Conspiracy theories concerning the true nature of the attacks and the level of George W.’s complicity in them continue to this day.
Obama’s presidency promised hope, but ultimately delivered so little. His Affordable Care Act helped a number of poor Americans who would not otherwise be able to afford healthcare, yet it didn’t go far enough and outlaw private health insurers and institute a single payer system. Obama allowed the Republicans to insert harmful clauses into the bill, such as fines for those who wouldn’t buy health insurance, rendering the act toxic.
And let’s not forget that his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, used her time in office to feather her nest. She oversaw the downfall of Muamar Quaddafi, the Haitian government’s cave-in over its proposed increase to their minimum wage so that American corporations could continue paying slave wages, and the deportation of thousands of vulnerable Central American immigrants to their home countries where many faced abuse and death.
So we come, at last, to Trump. This is the man who makes the corrupt administrations of the past look like choir boys by comparison. This is the man who makes money out of shares in a pharmaceutical company by promoting a drug as a cure for COVID-19 that is useless for the purpose at best, harmful at worst. This is the man who sells copies of the Presidential Seal in his various properties, which is illegal. This is a man who breaks the law time and again, yet he gets away with it. His followers yell “That was cool! Do another!” He praises them, calling them “fine people” even when they launch armed invasions of the Michigan State House in an effort to force a reopening of businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
All the while the so-called Democratic Party makes every effort to muzzle and contain the efforts of Senator Bernie Sanders and his followers, instead of choosing Sanders as the nominee. They know full well that he’d gut their party and cleanse it of the corrupting Clinton influence. Their anointed nominee is Joe Biden, a man who never met a war he didn’t like; who drew-up the Patriot Act, a dangerous law that abrades civil liberties; and whose record of sexual assault is still relevant to this day.
Dishonesty in government is nothing new. It’s as old as the concept of government itself. It remains to be seen if the American public will respond to the age old goads to revolution which we see in this COVID-19 world—dramatically increased unemployment, increasing crime born of desperation, restricted supplies of necessities, and a feeling that the government, the so-called representatives of the people, really don’t give a sh*t about the ordinary person.
Perhaps it really is time to build those guillotines and sharpen those pitchforks... Why should dishonesty be rewarded? Dishonest governments should be afraid of their people, not the other way around.
BIO: Coast Watcher has been observing various world governments for years, wondering when we'll see a glimpse of honesty in any of them. This current pandemic is not the time to give up hope--it's the time to expose all dishonest leadership for what it is and sweep it into the dustbin of history. Pitchforks will work much better than brooms, too.
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Friday morning -- the same day Jim Bakker attacked us on-air again -- Pat Robertson's 700 Club aired a misleading hit piece against Faithful America.
According to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), "Faithful America does not have anywhere near the grassroots support it claims." The piece says we're "just another half-fake, left-wing nest of operatives" "using faith as a cover to silence conservatives."
CBN's goal was obviously to dismiss social-justice Christians like us as just "a few thousand grumpy left-wingers." To listen to the narrator ominously describe our campaign victories, you'd think we couldn't possibly be Christian (we are) or could never actually have 160,000 grassroots members like you (we do).
Please join us in wearing these attacks as a badge of "grumpy" honor! Our campaigns are clearly getting to Robertson and Bakker -- and they're afraid. The religious right needs its supporters to believe you don't exist, or their entire Christian-nationalist narrative would come crashing down. If ever there was a time to keep things up, this is it.
Sign our open letter: #SorryPat! We exist, and we're not going anywhere!
After you sign, please be sure to share so that we can get the hashtag #SorryPat trending, and spread the message to reporters and voters everywhere that being Christian doesn't have to mean supporting Donald Trump or the religious right.
Thank you for everything you do to love your neighbor and reclaim the Gospel from the religious right.
Rev. Nathan and the Faithful America team
***From JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace) Action:
If you’re like me you can’t think of a single reason why children should be in prison. PERIOD. To stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent unnecessary tragedy, governments worldwide need to release prisoners—but Israel’s armed forces are arresting and detaining even more Palestinian children. 194 Palestinian children were detained in Israeli prisons at the end of March, an increase of 6% from January. Over 60 percent of these children are being held pre-trial, not even serving sentences.
Israel is the ONLY country that systematically detains children in a military court system, and these children – some as young as 12 – are frequently abused and tortured. It is heartbreaking that Palestinian parents must face this reality.
So during a global pandemic, where social distancing is impossible in jails, you would think that Israeli prison officials would AT THE VERY LEAST free those being held without charge and the most vulnerable: the elderly, the ill, the CHILDREN. Instead, they’re making the crisis worse.
Take action here.
Can you pitch in to help us keep campaigning for Palestinian rights?
Each day under COVID-19, we see acts of humanity – and the opposite. Israeli officials land on the side of the extremely inhumane with their choice to continue arresting children and putting them at risk of contracting and spreading the virus through their jails.
Among the first cases of documented coronavirus was 19 year-old Nour Eddin Sarsour, who was held for two weeks in Ofer Prison and exposed to COVID-19 by a guard.
We’re teaming up with Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) as part of the No Way to Treat a Child campaign to raise the alarm about child prisoners and call for their release. Israel won’t take action unless we can bring real pressure to make them.
Will you take 20 seconds and sign our petition? Together we can bring about the change we need to happen. So many things need our attention right now, but I know that, like me, you are not forgetting Palestine and the need to keep working for justice, dignity and equality for all in the region.
Thank you for all you do.
From Public Citizen:
I want to talk about one especially heartbreaking way the coronavirus can ambush families.
The crisis is obviously causing unprecedented financial hardship for millions of Americans — indeed, for our entire economy. This can affect us even if nobody we know gets sick.
Then there are the tens of thousands of families who lose a loved one to the disease.
Many families simply don’t have the money to cover the basic cost of burying someone they’ve lost to the pandemic.
This is tragedy on top of tragedy.
And the federal government could be helping.
There is already a program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help struggling families with burial costs when disaster strikes.
But Donald Trump has so far refused to authorize FEMA to release that funding for victims of this national emergency.
By simply signing a piece of paper, Donald Trump could help families whose livelihoods and loved ones have been lost to the coronavirus.
Tell Donald Trump:
Immediately authorize FEMA to help American families with burial expenses for loved ones lost to the coronavirus.
Add your name now.
Thanks for taking action.
- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen