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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Something Is Very Rotten At Big Meat, Inc.

Upton Sinclair's landmark 1905 book, "The Jungle," exposed the food contamination and worker exploitation hidden in the fetid stockyards and meatpacking plants of Chicago and other major American cities. The muckraking journalist dubbed the nasty and brutish meat factories "a monster ... the Great Butcher ... the spirit of capitalism made flesh."

The nauseating details of worker and consumer abuses that Sinclair exposed were so horrific that the ensuing public revulsion and outrage were transformative. Congress quickly passed a food purity law (the 1906 Federal Meat Inspection Act), and union organizing drives sparked nationwide contract bargaining that eventually gave long-oppressed meatpacking workers the clout to improve factory conditions and pay. Indeed, by 1970, the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and the United Packinghouse Union had won enforceable safety rules and solid middle-class wages — about $25 an hour in today's dollars. Now the median wage for hourly workers in meatpacking plants is down to about half that — $13.23 per hour — some 30 percent less than production workers in other manufacturing jobs.

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We’re All In This Together (Unless You’re A Corporate CEO)

Wow, how about that Dow?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, I mean, Wall Street's up-to-the-minute report on whether corporate stock prices are going up, down or sideways. It's the one economic indicator that our nation's media and political establishment watch religiously, claiming it tells them how our national economy is performing.

Recently, the stock market has been zooming up, up and away. So, like ancient priests watching burbling, hissing volcanos to determine if the gods are pleased or angry, the believers in the infallibility of the Dow are hailing today's economy as boom times! No need for another big round of pandemic relief payments or any other urgent actions by government, exclaim the Trumpeteers, because — Boom, Boom, Boom, look at that Dow! — shareholder wealth is pouring down on us like manna from heaven.

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Why Don’t The Republicans Have A 2020 Platform?

Wow, what a surprise! Have you seen the Republican Party's official platform?

Perhaps, like me, you would have expected it to be a mishmash of Trumpian miasma, laissezfairyland corporate economics, QAnon lunacy, police state authoritarianism and all the other wackiness that today's GOP has been embracing. But, no. Astonishingly, this 18-page policy statement flat-out rejects the elitism, knownothingism and nutballism coming out of the White House and the mouths of nearly every Republican Congress critter.

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Trump’s Bass-Ackward Government Is Rule By Corporate Lobbyists

Gosh, President Donald Trump has really been busy lately: busy assailing Sen. Kamala Harris as "nasty;" busy choosing a new pandemic adviser, whose only qualification is that he praises Trump on Fox News; and busy dissing and dismantling our post offices.

But, instead of all this Trumpian political stuff, shouldn't a president be, you know, running the government? Nah ... that bores him. Besides, that's why he packed his Cabinet with all those corporate lobbyists and ideologues who've spent their lives trying to rig our government to serve the moneyed elites. Now, empowered by Trump, these special interests are our government, literally setting and running America's economic, environmental, labor, health, education, financial and other public policies. And what a job they're doing — on us!

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Trump Is Willing To Destroy A Prized National Asset To Maintain His Power

Every now and then, an enormously beneficial soul comes along — someone whose work is so productive, honest and inspirational that he or she ought not be allowed to die. That's how I felt last month when I heard that John Lewis had slipped away from us.

Since the late 1980s, it had been my good fortune to have known, admired and learned from this civil rights icon and U.S. representative from Georgia. Throughout his exemplary life of progressive activism, Lewis hurled his heart, soul, and head (literally!) into fighting the Powers That Be to gain and protect the voting rights of all Americans. As a young movement leader in 1965, he was with Martin Luther King Jr. among the marchers on the front line in Selma, Alabama, who had their heads busted by state troopers for daring to insist that African Americans be allowed to vote.

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Fly The Flag! True Patriotism In A Time Of Chaos

I'm flying a flag these days. The Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, America's flag, OUR flag! I've strapped it to my 2011 made-in the-USA Ford Fiesta, and I'm zipping around town as proudly as anyone else in the red, white and blue Bubbaland of South Austin, like some modern-day Patrick Henry on wheels. As with so many others, I'm flying our flag out of an assertive, perhaps defiant pride. For I am proud, damned proud, to be an American citizen. And in this time of true woe and deep national divide, I'll be damned to hell before I meekly sit by and allow this symbol of our nation's founding ideals ... liberty and justice for all ... to be captured and defiled by reactionary autocrats, theocrats, xenophobic haters, warmongers, America Firsters, corporatists, militarists, fearmongers, political weasels and other rank opportunists.

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Crime Is Going Up — Not In The Streets But In Corporate Suites

There's a crime wave underway in America, but the Powers That Be are getting sore necks from looking the other way. I'm talking about corporate crime. When it comes to robbing us blind, the Armani-clad criminals in corporate boardrooms have it all over the hoods on the street. The FBI reckons that property crime cost U.S. taxpayers $16 billion in 2018. Securities traders alone cream four times that amount from their clients in fraudulent deals every year. And as far as white-collar crime goes, securities fraud is small potatoes. From oil spills to price fixing to peddling defective or dangerous products, corporations are responsible for the costliest and deadliest crimes in this country.

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Corporate Lobbyists Run Amok In Trump’s White House

The Donald is in a funk. He's been outsmarted by an inert virus. His poll numbers are tanking, and even his demagogic pep rallies are falling flat.

So, who to turn to for political comfort? Why, of course, Trump's true loyalists: his diehard cadre of Washington's corporate lobbyists. I don't merely mean those elites of K-Street and Wall Street who dominate his Cabinet, constituting the official Trump government of, by, and for corporate greed. He also has a "kitchen cabinet." Operating out of public view, it's an unofficial collection of highly paid influence peddlers who're still practicing the dark art of bending government power to the wishes of selfish corporate interests. Each of them is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by brand-name clients — from Amazon to Walgreens — to get favors from Trump. In turn, these little-known lobbyists have now adopted The Donald as their chief client, funneling millions of special-interest dollars into his reelection campaign with the understanding that he'll keep channeling tax breaks, regulatory exemptions and public dollars to the corporate donors. It's the Washington money-go-round, merrily corrupting our government.

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Lone Star State’s ‘Goober’ Governor Botches Pandemic Response

Harking back to the embarrassing days of Gov. Rick "Oops" Perry, my state of Texas is once again saddled with a Republican gubernatorial goober. Greg Abbott is this guy's name, and he's another incompetent right-wing ideologue whose botched handling of our state's COVID-19 crisis makes President Donald Trump look like a master administrator of public health.

Unfortunately for you non-Texans, Gov. Abbott's extreme gooberness is now surging across our borders to afflict people in your state. Before we go there, though, ponder his slapstick performance here, where he's been swatting futilely at the fast-moving coronavirus.

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The Plutocrats’ Knees Are On Your Neck, Too

Viewing the video of George Floyd's gruesome murder, one word in particular from him stuck in my head, one painful human utterance that conveys the horror of it all. "Mama," Floyd cried out in desperation and disbelief as his life was cruelly and senselessly suffocated in yet another brutal white-on-black slaying by so-called officers of the law.

This can't be America. Can it?

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Exploiting The Pandemic, Betsy DeVos Epitomizes Kakistocracy

Charles Dickens, writing about the inequality and social turmoil leading to the French Revolution, noted, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

So it is today, with the horrific COVID-19 killer both ravaging the globe and intensifying the inequality that was already rending social unity. Consider the experiences of one especially hard-hit group in our country: Native Americans. The Navajo Nation alone has become one of the worst of America's COVID hotspots, with a higher death rate than all but four states. Yet, in an example of the worst of times, Trump & Co. delayed disbursement of $8 billion in coronavirus relief funds that Congress had set aside for tribal governments. The disease raged through Indian Country for six crucial weeks while Trump officials sat on the money. People died.

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How Republicans Helped A Corporate Crony Rip Off PPP Millions

Monty Bennett was just another faceless right-wing millionaire on the long list of high-dollar donors to Donald Trump — until he suddenly surfaced in April as the nation's biggest bagger of government cash in the emergency Paycheck Protection Program.

The PPP is the $660 billion rescue package for America's thousands of small businesses, helping them keep people employed during today's shutdown of the U.S. economy due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bennett was among the first in line for payroll relief, applying for $126 million and immediately getting about 55 percent of that. But wait. There's nothing mom-and-popish about Monty's business. Operating through a maze of tightly interwoven financial trusts and corporate subsidiaries, he runs a sprawling Dallas-based conglomerate named Ashford Inc. that owns and operates 130 hotels and luxury resorts across the country including the Marriott Beverly Hills and the Ritz-Carlton in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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We’re (Almost) All In This Together

In this horrible time of economic collapse, it is truly touching to see so many corporate chieftains reaching out in solidarity to the hard-hit working class.

We know they're doing this, because they keep telling us they are — practically every brand-name giant has been spending millions of dollars on PR campaigns in recent weeks asserting that they're standing with us, declaring over and over, "We're all in this together."

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Pandemic Profiteers Overrun The Capitol

Wartime profiteering is an especially vile form of corporate greed, yet it has been as common in our country as war itself.

Indeed, during the American Revolution, assorted corrupt merchants and traders lined their pockets by controlling the supply and jacking up the prices of various goods they sold to the Continental Army and the general public. Often, though, feisty colonials struck back at the gougers. In 1777, for example, when a Boston merchant was found to be hoarding imports of coffee and sugar to create an artificial shortage so he could charge the area’s families exorbitant prices, a band of enraged Beantown women took matters into their own hands. They beat up the guy and confiscated his stock!

We could use a roving gang of indignant citizens today to confront the shameful greed of such corporate scammers as Boeing, American Airlines and Marriott, as well as such billionaire hucksters as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. They are among a new breed of pandemic profiteers that have rushed to Washington, shoving aside millions of workers, small businesses, poor people, students, nonprofits, farmers, cities and all other devastated victims of the COVID-19 crisis, demanding that corporations be first in line for a massive government rescue.

Take Boeing. Please! Already disgraced as a death-plane producer, its lobbyists brazenly swarmed into the White House and Congress, pleading for $60 billion from taxpayers to protect its profits. Rather than booting Boeing and other uber-rich panhandlers out the public door, President Donald Trump and GOP Congress critters obsequiously soothed the fevered brows of these champions of socialist capitalism with a half-trillion-dollar handout of the people’s money.

Which corporations would be favored? No telling. How much would each get? We’ll tell you later, maybe. What’s the criteria? Don’t ask. What about the workers and suppliers? Let them apply for food stamps. Aren’t you cutting food stamps? Shhhhh.

Luckily, enough Democrats had enough moral fortitude to block some of the grossest giveaways in the Republicans’ $500 billion corporate boondoggle, but the greedy, profiteering giants should not be given a single dime until the real and urgent needs of the people are met. Profiteers should be last in line … or turned over to descendants of those Boston women from 1777.

Meanwhile, glorious news about the coronavirus crisis itself! The renowned professor of pandemicology, Dr. Donald Trump, has found a magical medical antidote for the disease that had eluded lesser scientists: The Peter Cottontail Solution.

While sitting in the Rose Garden for a virtual Fox News town hall, the resident White House pandemicologist said that it suddenly dawned on him that, hippity-hoppity, Easter’s on its way! So, he went on to declare that he was ready to lift all those pesky health restrictions and “have the country opened up” by Easter, just two and a half weeks away.

Would our public health crisis be over then? Dr. Trump said he didn’t worry about such factual details. He explained to the Fox audience, “I just thought it was a beautiful time,” noting that all of the nation’s churches could fill up on that Sunday, bringing people together in celebration of his reawakening of the moribund economy.

But wouldn’t such a holy mass gathering actually reinvigorate the diabolical COVID-19 pathogen, spreading its destruction further, deeper and longer? Sure, said the good doctor. “You are going to lose a number of people,” he said. But Wall Street and Corporate America are crippled by employees’ staying home, so “We have to get back to work.” This rallying cry for workers to pump up the sagging stock market by promptly returning to their offices and factories amounts to a crass “Die for the Dow” ethic espoused by Wall Street barons and billionaires.

Of course, for the cold inhumanity of such a dreadful policy idea to be made clear, it needs to be officially embraced as “Texas Stupid.” Sure enough, one of my state’s right-wing politicos, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, lunged into the national spotlight of Fox News Tuesday night to one-up Trump. He blathered that returning America to full economic throttle pronto is worth sacrificing the lives of “those of us who are 70-plus” years old. “Let’s be smart about it,” Lt. Dan added, thus demonstrating to millions that he and this idea are even dumber than a dust bunny.

Populist author, public speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes “The Hightower Lowdown,” a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America’s ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.

What Does “Small Government” Buy Us?

Suddenly, America is a nation of socialists, asking in dismay, “Where’s the government?”

These are not born-again Bernie Sanders activists but everyday people of all political stripes (including previously apolitical multitudes) who’re now clamoring for big-government intervention in their lives. Nothing like a coronavirus pandemic to bring home the need that all of us have — both as individuals and as a society — for an adequately funded, fully functioning, competent government capable of serving all. Alas, as everyone can see in our present moment of critical national need, government today has been reduced to a rickety medicine show run by an inept, small-minded flimflammer peddling laissez-fairyland snake oil.

“We have it totally under control,” President Donald Trump pompously declared after the first U.S. case was confirmed in January. As it began rapidly spreading out of control in February, he tweeted nonchalantly, “It will all work out well,” adding, “We’re doing a great job.” But an increasingly anxious public found that reliable test kits couldn’t even be purchased from Trump’s hollowed-out government health agencies. Still, he shrugged off all concern and responsibility: “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” Not exactly a can-do Rooseveltian response to a national crisis, but he stayed blase, denying scientific reality and assuring us, “One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

Of course, it hasn’t, and by March, the inconvenient fact of a rising death toll exposed this imposter of a president as incompetent, uncaring … and silly. So, after weeks of the complete absence of White House leadership, a deadly pathogen is raging practically everywhere across our land; unknown millions of us are being infected; a “closed indefinitely” sign has been hung on the American economy; and even our people’s social and civic interactions — the essence of community life — have been halted.

Right-wing politico Grover Norquist once said he wanted a government so small he could “drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” Trump is now showing us what such a small-minded government looks like. And what it costs us.

Suddenly, social distancing has become the official ethical standard for human relationships, abruptly supplanting eons of ingrained communal behavior by us humanoids (handshakes, hugs, pub life, ceremonial gatherings, etc.). Awkward. Disconcerting. Isolating.

Yet, as we frantically scramble to deter the health ravages of COVID-19 and grapple with the global economic devastation it’s causing, we might benefit by pondering how social distancing is a self-inflicted cause of the contagion’s disastrous spread. For some 40 years, American corporations and governments have colluded to push economic, political and social policies that have intentionally distanced the financial fortunes of the wealthy from the well-being of the workaday majority.

Consider the interrelationship of multimillionaires with the unseen kitchen staff of restaurants where they dine. To further enrich themselves, such multimillionaires have forced low-wage policies on food preparers, denied health coverage for them and lobbied to kill proposals to provide paid sick leave. So, one kitchen worker sneezes. He or she is infected with coronavirus but doesn’t know it due to having no health care coverage for testing. Even though running a fever, the staffer must come to work so as not to lose the job. Later, somewhere a multimillionaire sneezes. After all, COVID-19 doesn’t distinguish between rich and poor.

The very proposals that plutocrats have been blocking for years (living wages, “Medicare for All,” paid sick leave, family medical leave, free college and trade school tuition, home health care and others) are exactly what a sane government and egalitarian economy would adopt to fend off the wholly destructive inequality that now confronts every American.

While we’re now forced to temporarily distance ourselves from one anther, the lethal disease our country has is the widening separation of rich elites from the rest of us. And the cure is a national push for renewed social cohesiveness . As a friend and fellow writer recently put it, COVID-19 “puts into focus a biological, psychological, economic, and socio-political fact we too often deny: We are a species of completely interdependent beings.”

Populist author, public speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes “The Hightower Lowdown,” a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America’s ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.

Trump Flees Afghanistan, But America Is Still There

It's over. Donald the Dealmaker says that he has ended America's long nightmare in Afghanistan, finally terminating 18-plus years of grinding war (the longest in U.S. history). After more than 2,400 Americans killed (another 20,000 wounded), more than 100,000 Afghan citizens killed (countless more maimed) and roughly $2 trillion wasted, Trump is crowing that he's negotiated an end to the ridiculously expensive and pointless military adventure.

Only … he hasn't. His flimsy four-page document, signed with a group of Taliban officials on Feb. 29, is not an end to hostilities and does not require disarmament or even a cease-fire. It's just a cynical, face-saving device so Trump can withdraw a few troops and then claim in his reelection campaign that he's fulfilling his 2016 promise to end "endless wars." This so-called Afghan peace accord merely asks Taliban warlords to agree to — get this — a seven-day "reduction in violence." There's not even a clear statement on what constitutes a reduction or violence, much less any agreement on steps toward achieving real peace.

The deal is so weak that Trump's secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, could muster nothing but weasel words to describe it. "We are now on the cusp of having an opportunity which may not succeed," he mumbled. Taliban leaders, however, were not at all wishy-washy about signing, boldly staging a victory parade just before the ceremony and hailing the event as "a day of pride" for their win over "invader Americans." Few U.S. military leaders think the deal will stick, privately saying they doubt it'll even survive until our November election. Even as it was being signed, Pentagon chief Mark Esper emphasized that the U.S. "would not hesitate to nullify the agreement" and resume the war if the regional warlords act up, which some almost certainly will.

Oops … some already have. The seven-day hiatus in hostilities promised by Trump's peace ploy was violated just three days after it was signed! On March 3, the Taliban mounted 43 attacks on security checkpoints run by the U.S.-backed Afghan military, killing at least 25 of our allied soldiers. This was followed the next day by our own drone attack on the Taliban fighters. Embarrassingly, this sudden re-eruption of outright war came only a few hours after Trump bragged to reporters that he had telephoned the Taliban's chief peace negotiator, who had assured him that Taliban leaders "don't want violence." Our wheeler-dealer-in-chief called it "a very good talk."

Talk aside, war is real, and it's not ended by a presidential PR job. Far from withdrawing from Afghanistan, Trump's hoked-up agreement actually creates conditions for more U.S. involvement, including his concession to release 5,000 Taliban fighters from Afghan prisons, summarily reversing military gains that Americans and allies died to make. Moreover, the deal extends U.S. entanglement by specifically committing our troops and taxpayers to continue backing and financing the weak Afghan military indefinitely — while also pledging to continue paying for and propping up this wobbly nation's notoriously corrupt, deeply divided and hopelessly incompetent government.

In short, as usual in a Trump deal, this one is all about him — far from extricating the U.S., it's an escape clause written for his political advantage.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Taliban is an inordinately complex and perplexing collection of regional warlords who resist all central governmental authorities. Not for nothing is this violent, inhospitable land of rural mountain wilderness known as the "graveyard of empires." While its tribalism and religious fundamentalism are repressive and primitive, its people have repeatedly outfoxed and outlasted such "conquering" powers as imperial England and the Soviet Union.

In dealing with them, poor Donald is simply in over his head, and as we know, he doesn't listen to advisors who might be smarter than he is about the treacherous nature of fighting the Taliban. Indeed, while Trump referred to the guy he telephoned on March 3 as "the leader of the Taliban," he's not. He's Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who's not an honored warrior but a career Taliban politician. As pointed out by the CIA's former chief of counterterrorism for Afghanistan, the mullah's contingent of dealmakers "are largely disconnected from and disrespected by the Taliban's senior leadership." Perhaps that's why our president's negotiated peace deal lasted three days.

The larger lesson, though, is that brute military force by an outside power — whether in Afghanistan, Vietnam or wherever next — is not a path to victory, much less peace. For years, even as former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Trump and their political enablers (generals, Congress and the media) were bragging that they were bringing democracy to Afghanistan, they were jiving and outright lying. As one strategic planner, Army Gen. Douglas Lute, admitted in 2015, "We didn't know what we were doing."

Tell that to the thousands who've died from the ignorance and lies of our so-called leaders.

Populist author, public speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes "The Hightower Lowdown," a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.

The Amazing Fall Of Donald Trump’s Wall

Big, high walls can be troublesome. Ask Humpty Dumpty. Or consider the Canaanite city of Jericho: According to a Biblical tale, its walls came tumbling down when Joshua and the Israelites encircled it and blew their horns.

However, for a real-life, epic story about wall troubles, ponder the trials and tribulations of our very own president. He trumpets that he is the most bodacious barrier builder of all, yet he can’t seem to get his one “big, beautiful wall” funded or even taken seriously, much less built. Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has continuously stamped his tiny feet and demanded that Congress shell out more than 10 billion of our taxpayers’ dollars to erect a monster of a wall across some 2,000 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico. Like a flimflamming snake-oil peddler, he rants that his magnificent edifice would magically keep “aliens,” “rapists,” “murderers,” “terrorists,” “drugs” and “cartels” from entering the U.S. from the south. But even when his own party controlled both houses of Congress, the presidency and the courts, his grand scheme went unloved, unfunded and unbuilt.

Still, he kept insisting … and persisting. In January, he directed his Customs and Border Control officials to put up a short section of his 30-foot-tall wall on the border at Calexico, California, to show the world how effective the Trump bulwark would be. Alas, though, the thing blew over! Not from a hurricane-force storm but from moderate winds topping out at only 37 miles an hour. The metal panels flung over into Mexico. Embarrassing.

More embarrassing was a personal visit Trump made to San Diego last September for a media event hailing a new supertech model of a wall that the master builder declared to be “virtually impossible” for violators to climb. Calling the design “amazing,” he used a Sharpie to sign his name on the structure, declaring to the media: “I tell you this strongly: No more people can come in.”

A month later, a climbing group in Kentucky built a replica of that wall and held an up-and-over competition. Winning time was 13.1 seconds! Sixty-five competitors easily topped it, including an 8-year-old girl and a guy who climbed it one-handed while juggling various items with his other hand.

Trump has, however, proved that one thing truly is impenetrable: his head. Absolutely no embarrassment, logic or factual evidence can enter his locked mind and deter his extravagant folly.

Remember when candidate Trump promised repeatedly that not only would he wall out all migrants crossing our Mexican border but — by gollies — he would also see to it that Mexico would pay the tab for his xenophobic wall?

Mexico hasn’t paid a peso … and won’t. So, just as he did in building many of his luxury condos and resorts, Donald Dealmaker ran to the government, demanding that it pony up the unlimited billions of dollars for his pet political project. Aside from a token appropriation in 2018, however, Congress has said, “Ummmm … no.”

But that’s no hill for a narcissistic climber. Unable to get tax money legitimately, Trump has simply stolen it, reaching into the Pentagon’s budget for military funding. Ignoring the constitutional mandate that only Congress is empowered to direct the flow of money from the people’s purse, Trump filched $6.1 billion from our military last year, snatched another $3.8 billion this month and intends to swipe at least another $3.4 billion before the year is out.

This executive “reprogramming,” as the White House euphemistically calls its daylight robbery, is being pulled off by masking Trump’s wall obsession as a “national emergency.” To fulfill the president’s whimsical political desires, Pentagon brass has been yanking funds for military equipment and construction projects from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, National Guard … and, ultimately, from our fighting forces.

Presidential autocracy aside, Trump’s massive larceny raises three other interesting issues of public morality. One: His trickery sets a precedent not only for future presidents but also for our young people’s behavior. Two: Our Congress critters, especially Trump Republicans, set a new standard of craven meekness in the face of this direct assault on their authority and our democracy. Three: The Pentagon, by simply kissing off a budget loss of more than $13 billion, saying it’s in excess of the military’s needs, is admitting that the war machine is routinely taking away too much of the public’s money.

Populist author, public speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes “The Hightower Lowdown,” a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America’s ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.