There’s No Disputing We Just Lost A True American Hero…We all know who this American hero is.  But amazingly, we did find a certain psychopath who actually dared to question his hero status about his time in brutal captivity.  See the details on that deranged comment at the bottom.  We also pay tribute to this American hero & found two beautiful songs we dedicate to him.
Deep State, Drain the Swamp, or whatever they want to call it
I agree as many conservatives have come to believe, that too many bureaucrats in Washington have been caught up in the power & privilege, turning into the elite establishment that are only there to enrich themselves, having lost touch with the American people.  So likewise I agree a renegade outsider with a dynamic personality should rightly come into DC & clean house, turning on its head the old ways of doing things, dismantling this crony capitalist culture & get political leadership back to serving the people.  But shaking up the old structure requires a leader of moral character & integrity, someone who can unite the nation because the people from all ideological & tribal factions can trust him.  That person must demonstrate a servant’s heart who always pursues the best interests of the people, not themselves.  Such a mission would be a big job, so someone not possessing those upstanding personal traits could never pull it off.

Pursuing Transformative Ideas
This first link is a very interesting article as politicians pat themselves on the back for low unemployment rates, as we here at The VORACS in our part 3 commentaries constantly harp about too many jobs that don’t pay a livable wage, since the menace of wage stagnation has befallen the working class for decades.  But resolving the issue may require much bigger thinking for creating brand new careers that are far more productive & meaningful: if-you-think-your-job-is-meaningless-you-arent-alone.  This next link offers perceptions & flaws of our modern capitalistic democracy, giving us something to think about: Five-things-to-keep-repeating-if-we-want-a-better-economy-for-everyone.  
Fix Capitalism to avoid Socialism
At The VORACS we also keep saying we far prefer capitalism to socialism, but with our capitalist system increasingly shortchanging workers, we either find a way to fix it or an angry populace will soon opt for the other: interview-with-gop-strategist-rick-wilson-a-huge-anti-trump-backlash-will-eventually-to-lead-towards-socialism.  The economy has become waaaaaay too tilted in favor of the top earners: savingandinvesting/brace-yourself-this-is-how-much-americas-1-percent-has-saved.  Freedom doesn’t come about from free markets when the major players use their influence/leverage to box employees into cookie-cutter, dead-end jobs that hardly cover the bills.  It’s going to take a major restructuring to unleash the overall workforce for maximizing their abilities, creativity, dedication, incentives & productivity.  Careers need to take on a whole new dimension & purpose.  The excerpts from capitalism-socialism-and-unfreedom display the dark side of what has become of capitalism, but it’s a discussion we must have in finding real solutions: 

What, after all, were and are the selling points for low taxes and minimal regulation? Partly, of course, the claim that small government is the key to great economic performance, a rising tide that raises all boats. This claim persists – because there are powerful interests that want it to persist — even though the era of neoliberal dominance has in fact been marked by so-so economic growth that hasn’t been shared with ordinary workers. The other claim, however, has been that free markets translate into personal freedom: that an unregulated market economy liberates ordinary people from the tyranny of bureaucracies. In a free market, the story goes, you don’t need to flatter your boss or the company selling you stuff, because they know you can always go to someone else. What Robin points out is that the reality of a market economy is nothing like that. In fact, the daily experience of tens of millions of Americans – especially but not only those who don’t make a lot of money – is one of constant dependence on the good will of employers and other more powerful economic players.


But the idea that free markets remove power relations from the equation is just naïve. And it’s even more naïve now than it was a few decades ago, because, as Irwin points out, large economic players are dominating more and more of the economy. It’s increasingly clear, for example, that monopsony power is depressing wages; but that’s not all it does. Concentration of hiring among a few firms, plus things like noncompete clauses and tacit collusion that reinforce their market power, don’t just reduce your wage if you’re hired. They also reduce or eliminate your options if you’re mistreated: quit because you have an abusive boss or have problems with company policy, and you may have real trouble getting a new job. But what can be done about it? Corey Robin says “socialism” – but as far as I can tell he really means social democracy: Denmark, not Venezuela. Government-mandated employee protections may restrict the ability of corporations to hire and fire, but they also shield workers from some very real forms of abuse. Unions do somewhat limit workers’ options, but they also offer an important counterweight against corporate monopsony power.


Now, there are no perfect answers to the inevitable sacrifice of some freedom that comes with living in a complex society; utopia is not on the menu. But the advocates of unrestricted corporate power and minimal worker protection have been getting away for far too long with pretending that they’re the defenders of freedom – which is not, in fact, just another word for nothing left to lose.

It’s the same economy Trump disparaged before taking office
In comparing the Obama & Trump economies, this article explains they’ve basically been a draw: donald-trump-economy-jobs-growth-obama.  Overall the economy is on the same basic trajectory.  The main difference is the higher projected deficits from the recent tax cuts, which that article goes on to say this: The fact remains that a strong economy hasn’t led to proportionately bigger paychecks. This likely explains why the Trump administration’s tax cuts remain resolutely unpopular: The public heard about trillions of dollars coming down the pike, but they seem to be getting precious little of it. Wage increases haven’t come near to making up for the pain caused by the last recession.  But the real difference as explained in excerpts from cavuto-trump-is-so-focused-on-a-financial-boom-that-hes-created-a-moral-bust, regardless of the economy’s performance, is the “moral bust” he has brought on our nation:

Fox News host Neil Cavuto tore into President Trump on Thursday, saying Trump is so focused on generating a financial boom that he’s failing to see what a “moral bust” he’s created. Cavuto made the comments just hours after Trump said in an interview with “Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt that the market would crash and everybody would be “very poor” if he was impeached. “You don’t prevent a constitutional crisis by threatening a financial one,” Cavuto said in response. He added that Trump guarantees both crises when his “very actions and words create that crisis or make people think you’re hiding one.” “Like when you say you knew nothing about payments to a stripper and a former Playboy model until you did, then explain your former lawyer Michael Cohen made those decisions until we heard on tape that you did.” He went on to call out a series of false claims the president has made during his presidency, saying that “we can’t move” on from them because more “stuff like that keeps popping up.” “I know you’ll call this fake, but the implications of what you’re doing, Mr. President, are very real,” Cavuto concludes. “You are so darned focused on promoting a financial boom that you fail to see that you are the one creating this moral bust.”

Benefiting Himself over Country
It looks as though our American president has set a trend for leaders who strive for short-term solutions to boost their approval ratings, rather than doing what’s best the their countries in the long run: trump-south-africa-and-australia-failed-leadership-is-rampant.  Trump has a long history of bending the rules to benefit his businesses, which this next article shows he’s governing the same way with policies helping the rich & privileged: do-not-blame-the-mafia-american-capitalism-made-donald-trump.  Trump supporters & the far-right base are so quick to blame their agreed upon villains like immigrants & the social safety net, maybe they need to look in a totally different direction to find where the fault really lies.
Health Care
With this long-running charade of the GOP always claiming they wanted to repeal & replace Obamacare with something better, well, we’re still waiting.  A big problem with current GOP proposals is trying to cover preexisting conditions, as seen in these excerpts which start off the article gop-pre-existing-condition-promise-fraud:

Making sure people who have pre-existing health conditions don’t get screwed by health insurance companies is very popular. So popular that a bunch of Republican senators who are freaked out about the party’s electoral prospects have introduced legislation to guarantee that no Americans may be denied coverage because of their medical history. At least that’s what the senators say it will do. Here’s the thing, though: That’s bogus. The debut of this phony bill Friday is the latest installment in Republicans’ long-running campaign to make the health care system worse for anyone who has ever been sick while loudly proclaiming they are doing the opposite. Congressional Republicans spent a good chunk of last year trying to repeal all or most of the Affordable Care Act, for instance, which already dealt with the problems of people with pre-existing conditions being shut out of health coverage or charged exorbitant rates. Against all evidence, these lawmakers constantly denied what they were doing, so we’ve seen this before.

Polls & Midterms
The polling seen inside ap-norc-poll-low-marks-for-trump-except-on-the-economy, it looks like without the economy Trump’s ratings would really tank.  There’s word of a 3-judge panel has just ruled North Carolina’s gerrymandered congressional districts are unconstitutional (very good news).  In these excerpts below, Rubin points out that not only do the Dems have a big advantage in the midterms, but reasons why that is so are inside republicans-flipped-the-script-to-their-detriment:

The latest George Washington University Politics poll finds that “Democrats continue to have an advantage in the generic ballot for House elections, 45-38, and more Democrats reported being politically active — including sharing political opinions on social media, signing a petition, making donations and attending political rallies. These activism indicators are similar to the results from the May 2018 poll.” On substantive issues: “Most of those surveyed (84 percent) said it’s important to maintain a prohibition on charging sick people more for insurance. A large majority (86 percent) also said it’s important to keep the ban on denying coverage because of preexisting conditions.” In addition, the poll found that “most people (62 percent) continue to favor allowing children brought into the U.S. illegally to stay in the country. Roughly the same proportion of the public disapproves of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents (58 percent disapprove, 34 approve), and the opposition is intense (47 percent of the public disagrees strongly with child separation; only 19 percent agrees strongly).”


Let’s stop right there. The GOP has attached itself to positions that are grossly unpopular with voters — separating kids, refusing to defend the Affordable Care Act’s protection for preexisting conditions and throwing out dreamers. They demonize the positions that most voters hold as “open borders” or “socialized medicine.” Democrats have in essence won the political debate on key aspects of health care and immigration, no matter how Trump rants and raves, no matter how hysterical Sean Hannity becomes. Democrats might want to remind voters again and again that the GOP has become the party of extreme, hated policy positions. Democrats used to have to justify plans to raise taxes; now Republicans are busy trying to explain why the rich got so much tax relief while their own wages are stagnant. This has come about not because Democrats are so brilliant but because Republicans blindly followed an irrational, cruel and racist president. The voters will decide whether Republicans pay for their spinelessness.

Deal with Mexico
We constantly expose the flaws with the Trump tax cuts, while going relatively easy on the prez about his tariffs & trade wars.  The trade deal with Mexico yesterday could hopefully signal Trump’s hard bargaining is leading to more equitable trade deals.  Let’s hope it also works with China.  This is one area I firmly disagreed with McCain during his presidential run, when he said he was the biggest free trader you’ll ever see.  He just didn’t seem to understand the devastation caused in our manufacturing sector around these parts from unfair trade deals.  So Trump is trying to level the playing field, although we should caution this restructuring of NAFTA still leaves Canada out of the equation, & the Mexican deal is for now more a framework agreement limited to the auto sector.  Wasn’t that paper signed in Singapore to denuclearize North Korea also a framework deal?: once-again-trump-declares-victory-long-before-getting-the-job-done.  
On another topic, were there really millions of illegal voters?  (It was one of President Trump’s original lies.)  Well, maybe the actual number was less than a couple dozen: doj-finds-19-illegal-voters-not-millions.  And this video of a 3-year-old who didn’t recognize his mom when reuniting after nearly 4 months apart, it’s as sad as it is infuriating.  There was no ethical excuse for abducting these small kids from their families.  Click on family-reunification-heartbreaking-video & scroll down to find the video.
American Hero
Don’t believe what some knucklehead said, John McCain is without question a true American hero!  In these next two Business Insider articles, contrast what McCain went through as a POW in Vietnam compared to how Trump would later portray McCain’s service.  Click on this link where despite brutal conditions, McCain refused early release based on sticking to the POW code of conduct in which soldiers accept release in the order in which they are captured: john-mccain-refused-early-release-as-a-pow-in-vietnam.  By refusing to go home, his Vietnamese captors ratcheted up the torture on him.  How many of us would have voluntarily stayed behind in that hellhole to be nearly beaten to death?  Fast-forward to June 2016 shortly after announcing his presidential candidacy, Trump said this about McCain’s time in captivity as seen from trump-mccain-not-a-war-hero-comment-no-regrets“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
What other presidential candidate could ever survive such a statement, except for one where he & his supporters were supernaturally inspired by a cult? I just don’t get how the vast majority of the GOP base was so adamant about siding with Trump while increasingly viewing McCain with such animosity.  As far as I’m concerned, that one statement alone is reason enough not to respect our president.  I always say respect the office, but the occupant needs to earn our respect.  Trump never has since he keeps lying to us & making insulting statements, with those hero/captured comments being a prime example.  I said it at the time & I still say it more than two years after candidate Trump made those remarks, I still regard it as the words of an evil-minded, mentally-deranged jackass.  And since that time, Trump’s continuing words & deeds keep proving me right.
With McCain being a maverick & independent thinker, a cult leader couldn’t control him as Trump demands total loyalty, so he managed to turn his cult followers against McCain.  In the Senator’s last few years, he became more popular with the Dems than the GOP, as much of the Republican Party apparently descended into that demented cult madness.  Our petty president wouldn’t even mention McCain’s name during a recent dedication to a new defense bill named after McCain, nixed the message prepared by White House staff praising McCain right after he died, & raised the flag at the White House to full-staff on Monday morning (until pressure prevailed to put it back to half-staff in the afternoon).  Trump looks very small despite his position.  We just lost an American icon, which the president’s lack of acknowledgment is a huge moral failing.  The prez remains spiteful even when someone passes.  But we’re no longer shocked by Trump. 
McCain was not a puppet ideologue like most political leaders these days since he always put country over party.  He knew how to reach across the aisle to get things done.  With most in Congress not displaying the courage of independent thought, meekly adhering to the party line, it emphasizes the need for electing more congresspeople with a bipartisan streak like McCain: tom-brokaw-says-both-parties-should-take-a-lesson-from-john-mccain-everyones-tired-of-being-trapped-in-ideological-box.  And we have yet to learn the lesson of McCain’s speech last October: john-mccain-nationalism-constitution.  I was also struck by his speech on the floor of the Senate last year after the healthcare vote, as this link john-mccain-health-care-vote-speech contained these words: Throughout his speech, McCain urged lawmakers to come together and make progress on policy rather than engage in partisan squabbles influenced by the “bombastic loudmouths on the radio, television and the internet.” “To hell with them,” he said. “They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood. Let’s trust each other.”  But for the man himself, he was one of a kind & there’ll never be another like him.  R.I.P.
In McCain’s final statement read by his spokesperson yesterday, he offers us more wise words we should heed:

We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been. We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.

We should use this moment in our history to follow McCain’s example, that America’s greatness stems from we’re all in this together as a nation, so we must again learn to work together in pursuing the common good.  Between McCain & Trump, the two men couldn’t be more different: mccain-gets-the-last-word-on-trump & also mccain-vs-trump-a-tale-of-two-americans.  As for John McCain & his legacy, he is an American hero & these excerpts come from john-mccain-republican-party-trump:

The absolutism and radicalism of today’s Republican Party is the biggest threat to the country that McCain served and loved. It has left the United States impotent to deal with our greatest challenges — inequality, alienation, climate change and a global drift toward autocracy. Congress, as McCain said last year, is “getting nothing done.” Meanwhile, threats to American power and interests grow. I expect the Trump presidency to end poorly for Republicans, in some combination of disgrace, unpopularity and defeat. If it does, at least some Republicans will be looking for ways to reinvent their party. They will want an antidote to Trumpism, a set of ideas that manage to be conservative and anti-Trump.


They could do a lot worse than a version of McCainism. I’m well aware that McCain could be maddeningly inconsistent and flawed. He equivocated about the Confederate flag in 2000. He too often acquiesced to Mitch McConnell’s torching of Senate norms. For goodness sake, McCain decided Sarah Palin should be vice president. As he himself admitted, he should have done much more to fight Republican extremism. But the sum total of his career still represents a meaningful alternative to Trump, McConnell and the rest of today’s Republican leadership. At McCain’s best, as Barack Obama said this weekend, he displayed “a fidelity to something higher — the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed.”


What would a Republican Party more in the mold of John McCain look like? It would, for starters, stop cowing to Trump and stand up for American national security. It would investigate Russian cyberattacks and the possibility, as McCain put it, “that the president of the United States might be vulnerable to Russian extortion.” Many of McCain’s colleagues remembering him as a brave patriot are proving themselves to be neither. Second, a more McCain-like Republican Party would understand that racism is both immoral and, in the long term, politically ruinous. McCain had a multiracial family — the kind that is increasingly America’s future. Rather than scapegoat immigrants, he took risks to pass immigration reform. After Charlottesville, he declared, “White supremacists aren’t patriots, they’re traitors.”


Third, McCain believed in democracy and its vital, fragile institutions. He accepted his two haunting presidential defeats honorably. He has reportedly chosen the victors in those campaigns — Obama and George W. Bush — to deliver eulogies at his funeral. Most significantly, McCain fought for campaign-finance laws to reduce the influence of plutocrats. Fourth, McCain understood that democracy sometimes means moving on. He voted against Obamacare — a reflection of his small-government conservatism. But he also voted, crucially, against its repeal — a reflection of his small-c conservatism. In doing so, he acted as a modern-day Eisenhower, a Republican willing to accept an expansion of the safety net for the good of the country.


Finally, McCain recognized that the military wasn’t the only way that Washington could use its awesome power for good. When I interviewed him during the 2008 presidential campaign, he described his economic hero as Theodore Roosevelt — a “free-enterprise, capitalist, full-bore guy” who realized that prosperity depended on government agencies “that need to do their job as well.” The outlook led him to favor policies (albeit too sporadically) to fight climate change and expand community colleges. Imagine how different our politics could be if even some Republicans — à la T.R. — occasionally took the side of the little guy against corporate behemoths. And even if you disagreed with McCain on as many issues as I did, imagine if the Republican Party ultimately came to resemble him more than Trump.


Above all, McCain believed in American greatness — as a reality, not a slogan. He knew that the United States could play a unique role in the world, as a defender of freedom and human dignity. He also knew that the role was anything but assured. It required hard work, good choices, compromise and sacrifice. McCain’s final message for his country was a warning: Our greatness is in peril.

Inside the link mccain-leaves-the-stage-when-we-need-him-most, here is Boot’s conclusion:

McCain’s passing, tragic at any time, is all the sadder now. His dedication to America’s global leadership, advocacy for human rights, steadfast opposition to despots, devotion to bipartisanship, willingness to break with his own party, insistence on putting the nation’s interest above self-interest, and, above all, his unwavering sense of right and wrong — all are desperately needed at a time when his party has embraced an amoral, narcissistic demagogue who fawns over tyrants and flirts with isolationism and protectionism and white nationalism. Trump hated McCain and insulted him at every turn because McCain was everything Trump is not — and everything that we need in our politics today but tragically lack.

And here is Rubin’s conclusion from john-mccain-embodied-time-honored-virtues:

There was not in my lifetime a character in politics whom I admired more than McCain. His self-effacing humor, his intolerance of partisan nonsense, his courage and his puckish delight in infuriating hacks made him a unique figure in the Senate and in the country as a whole. If people wanted to know why I was a Republican (before I left the party) I told them, “I’m a John McCain Republican.” There is no such thing any more with the passing of McCain and the descent of the GOP into right-wing populism. To say the Senate will be diminished without his presence is like saying a car is diminished by lack of an engine. We live in a time of moral dolts and intellectual frauds but also in the America that McCain so loved and strived to improve. We can grieve his absence and bemoan our loss of leadership but ultimately to honor him we must defend our magnificent democracy, insist on its goodness and guarantee it remains the planet’s last, best hope.

A True American Hero
Bob Dole considered John McCain a hero: bob-dole-john-mccain-hero-america.  Most of us do likewise.  We had a song about a hero in our message from Friday in honor of John McCain.  Today we pay tribute to him with not just one, but two songs about heroes.  These are 2 great songs which we can listen to in honor of this truly great patriot, The Maverick:
(Click on image for full video)
(Click on image for full video)