These Revolutionary Times, July 8, 2018: Progressive Patriots

First: True patriotism isn’t simply about waving the American flag, and it’s not mostly about securing our borders, putting up walls, keeping others out; it’s about coming together for the common good. 

*rump has tweeted the false dichotomy that Dems want open borders. We do not. ICE has been ripping babies from their mothers’ arms and caging them.

Separating Children and Parents at the Border Causes Lifelong Damage, by Claire McCarthy, M.D.: Fair use keeps me from quoting adequately. Please click on the link, every US citizen should understand the damage *rump does in our name. 

The opposite of this terrible damage is not open borders. There are vast arrays of possible policies that would create appropriately regulated borders. 

What We Mean When We Say Abolish ICE 

According to Sarah Lazare writing at In These Times, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was only set up in 2003 in response to 9/11. They are not a traditional part of US immigration enforcement. Their reason for existence is to deport immigrants, often regardless of the consequences to families and communities. They are under the direction of the President of the United States. As such, their policies have become a political pawn, more benign under President Obama, clearly destructive under *rump. They are not border patrol. That is under the US Customs and Border Protection division under the Department of Homeland Security. We do not need ICE, any necessary functions can be transferred to other agencies that do not have deportations as their reason for existence. ICE is clearly doing more harm than good. According to immigration activists, they were even harmful under previous presidents, but they are worse now. It is time to abolish ICE. 

Note that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was enacted “to limit the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States.” In 2007, Congress under Bush the Younger created exceptions for emergencies and insurrections, and the military may function as an advisor. However, the domestic law enforcement actions of ICE, acting as an armed force controlled by the President, appear to be illegal. 

Why Abolishing ICE is Good Climate Policy 

“Immigration policies will determine how the U.S. government navigates the climate crisis. For now, policymakers’ playbook is the war on terror, and its tools are the hapless, barbaric institutions created to wage it.” (emphases mine)

“The real horror of climate change isn’t that there’s something inherently monstrous… but that the ways governments respond to them (or don’t) could be totally disastrous for a supermajority of the world’s population.” 

”Of particular concern to climate activists should be the fact that FEMA, housed under DHS, is notoriously incompetent at handling catastrophic events.” 

”Let’s dismantle DHS instead of giving it license to deploy its trademark mix of incompetence and cruelty on a warming world.” 

House United Movement: Coming Together for the Common Good 

I’m always a little leery of faith-based initiatives, but these folks talk a good game. 

“We will invite church people, college students, rotary clubs, corporate leaders – anyone who is fed up with American incivility and animus — to come together across differences.” 

The leader of the movement has a labradoodle. He can’t be all bad! Many more details at the link. 

What a kind face! 

Second: Real patriotism isn’t cheap. It requires taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going, being willing to pay taxes in full rather than seeking tax loopholes and squirreling away money abroad. Not just voting, but becoming politically active, volunteering time and energy to improving this country.

US Tax Reform: Raising Rates on the Rich is an Easy Way to Pay for Corporate Tax Cuts 

“A provocative analysis (pdf) by a researcher at Uppsala University concluded that the US could raise its top income tax rate above 70% on the very rich without a significant negative impact on the economy.” 

Nick Hanauer: “Tax the Rich” Like Me and Expand the Economy 

”The con works like this: If we can get you to believe these three things—that if you raise taxes on the rich, we’ll refuse to invest; that if you regulate corporations, they’ll be less competitive; and that if you raise the minimum wage, we’ll hire fewer workers—then you will accede, to some degree or another, to a 1 percent–enriching trickle-down agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation of the powerful, and wage suppression for everyone else.” 

We need to reverse new tax cuts ASAP: 

Cutting Taxes on Profits Earned Abroad Would Be a Pointless Giveaway 

”Getting firms to bring more money home has been tried before. In 2004 Congress enacted a tax holiday to that end. Firms were charged a bargain rate of 5.25%, instead of the usual 35%, on repatriated profits… According to the best available study, repatriations did not increase domestic investment or employment. Instead, each of the $312bn brought back to America was associated with a payout to shareholders of 60-92 cents. Regulations designed to stop such payouts were ineffective.” 

”A higher charge would help… spark new investment. It would also avoid rewarding tax-avoidance strategies.” 

How a New Generation of Progressive Activists is Leading the Trump Resistance — Rolling Stone, 2017: 

“The Indivisible movement… is the centerpiece of a robust new grassroots machinery… Rivaling anything accomplished by the Tea Party, the passionate activism of hundreds of thousands of progressives has already achieved the impossible.” 

”The current Democratic Party appears less a vehicle for change than an obstacle to it. ‘The party is utterly irrelevant,’ says Markos Moulitsas, the 45-year-old founder of Daily Kos.” 

”Moulitsas adds, ‘If we get 10,000 people volunteering… that changes the equation and empowers the dominant liberal majority that actually exists in this country. But the party has nothing to do with it.’” 

“Our Revolution is waging a fight for the heart of the Democratic Party’s platform. ‘Resistance is good,’ says Nina Turner, the group’s new president. ‘But we have to go further than that. We have to plan for when power is back in the hands of progressives.’” 

Apparently neither Nina Turner nor Kos have pets, so we bring you a Pallas cat to break things up a bit. 

Also an adorable face! 

Third: Patriotism is about preserving, fortifying, and protecting our democracy. Not inundating it with big money and buying off politicians. It means defending the right to vote and ensuring more Americans are heard, not fewer.

Wolf-PAC fights to get money out of politics: 

“For the first year ever in the state of Massachusetts, we have passed in two different committees… ‘The corrupting influence of the overwhelming amount of money in American politics has… rendered the average voter almost insignificant in comparison to large corporations and those willing to sell out’… Get involved if you’re in Massachusetts… If you’re not in Massachusetts… in your own state… find out how you can get involved.” 

Voting by Mail is Fair, Safe, and Easy. Why Don’t More States Use It? — Vox: 

“The advantages of universal voting by mail (UVBM) are legion. This long piece on the subject by Phil Keisling, the former Oregon secretary of state who introduced the system, lays out the case in detail.

“States save millions of dollars because they don’t need to establish polling places or pay polling staff …. Voter turnout is higher, especially among younger, older, poorer, and minority voters… Voter rolls are much easier to maintain and verify. Every vote leaves a paper trail. There are no issues with forms of ID, difficulties with access, or opportunities for voter intimidation.” 

Need more wolves. 

Fourth: True patriots don’t hate the government of the United States, they’re proud of their country. They know the government is a tool to help us solve our problems together. They may not like everything it does, and they justifiably worry when special interests gain too much power. But true patriots work to improve our government, not destroy it.

Government can support us in disability and retirement, just like we planned whilst paying SS taxes all our working years: 

Bernie: Expand Social Security by Raising the Cap 

“[Lift] this cap so that everyone who makes over $250,000 a year pays the same percentage of their income into Social Security as the middle class and working families.

“This would not only extend the solvency of Social Security for the next 50 years, but also bring in enough revenue to expand benefits by an average of $65 a month; increase cost-of-living-adjustments; and lift more seniors out of poverty by increasing the minimum benefits paid to low-income seniors.” 

Our government can make health care for all a human right, and make it affordable by providing benefits efficiently and compassionately, with the full weight of the government behind reining in costs: 

The “Pleasant Ambiguity” of Medicare-for-All in 2018, Explained 

“Historically, Medicare-for-all has meant single-payer health insurance, a national government-run program that covered every American and replaced private coverage entirely, similar to the government-run health care programs in Canada and some European countries…”

“But these days, other plans are falling under the Medicare-for-all umbrella.” 

Health care is a universal right! 

Finally: Patriots don’t pander to divisiveness, they don’t fuel racist or religious or ethnic divisions, they aren’t homophobic or sexist or racist. To the contrary, true patriots seek to confirm and strengthen and celebrate the “we” in We the People of the United States.

We had a program to provide an expedited path to citizenship whilst strengthening the military. Whilst today we might think of this as a progressive program — the program was ordered by Bush the Younger. How rightward we have swung. 

U.S. discharging immigrant military recruits without explanation 

Joy Reid, standing in for Rachel Maddow, has a very nice lead-in, telling the story of Frederick von Steuben, a Prussian military officer in the late 1700s…and an out gay man…who, after long service, was let go from the Prussian military for being gay.  He came to the US as the Revolutionary War was starting…when our side was losing…and offered his services to General Washington.  Appears he taught our soldiers how to be an army.  When asked why he was helping, he said he hoped someday to be a citizen.

BREAKING: Army Silently Discharging Immigrant Recruits.

“The service members affected by the recent discharges all enlisted in recent years under a special program aimed at bringing medical specialists and fluent speakers of 44 sought-after languages into the military.” 

We believe that when America succeeds, it does so because of the vitality of new blood and diverse ideas. We need to say so loudly and often. 

This Speech About American History Will Change the Way You Think About Identity Politics

“We have yet to triumph over the most narrow sense, the most zero-sum understanding of who we are. We have yet to permanently enshrine a concept of democracy that sees itself as enriched by the presence and success of others.” 

The Economic Benefits of Immigration, from the Center for Latin American Studies, UC-Berkley, 2013: 

“Immigration has always been a formidable engine of economic and demographic growth for the United States.” 

”First, as a consequence of the availability of more workers, firms invest: they expand their productive capacity and build more establishments.” 

“By hiring immigrants for manual jobs, companies create new jobs for natives as production expands overall and complementary workers are needed.” 

”One-quarter of the U.S.-based Nobel laureates of the last 50 years were foreign-born, and highly educated immigrants account for about one-third of U.S. innovation.” 

”Their innovations, entrepreneurship, and discoveries will be a powerful engine of economic productivity and wage growth.” 

Diversity is beautiful!

PLEASE NOTE: This is not an invitation to a pie fight. You can certainly post a diary detailing how centrist Dem policies are patriotic, and I encourage anyone interested to do so. We highlight left-wing progressive policies here because we are The Political Revolution. These are in vast contrast to right-wing Trumper policies. 

These Revolutionary Times is a project of The Political Revolution. Each Sunday, we focus on a small selection of papers, articles, and essays published in various publicly available sources that reflect political change already happening or that we think ought to happen or ought not to happen in 21st Century America. Our goal is to spur people to read these pieces with an open-minded but critical focus and engage here in an interchange of ideas about the issues raised in them. 

If you are interested in previous editions of These Revolutionary Times, they can be found here. 

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