Amash, (I) Mich. Interview with Jake Tapper on CNN

Justin Amash: Independent Man

Justin Amash has left the GOP and all his committee assignments. Scandalously (note to new readers, that’s sarcasm), he’s chosen to be an Independent in D.C., which of course I’m not going to disguise my pleasure about (not sarcasm). I honestly think this two-party dog and pony show has got to go, and wish Amash well. Perhaps more will follow.

Then again, I’ll hold my tongue. If too many Senators start going rogue and declaring Independent status it wouldn’t be long before being Independent would be as corrupted and meaningless as being a Republican or Democrat is. My condolences to those of you who still believe in party alignment. You’ll probably hate my POV in general – it’s best you just stop reading now and save yourself the aggravation.

My registered Independent status is dear precisely because it is not an organized party, not in the establishment sense. Actually, as far as the DNC is concerned it might as well be Anarchism, for heaven’s sake. I guess we’re considered liberal (or the dreaded “Liberal” with a capital L) but I notice most Independents have unique views that crossover into many ideologies and are not easily categorized, though many try. I am liberal, but most Liberals do not share my political views which is fine by me. It takes all kinds to make the world go around, right?

The GOP is not wasting the Amash departure opportunity to get in line with the President, and although their public position is something akin to “you’re dead to me”, I have a feeling they’re secretly jealous. No grown-up can maintain dignity when they’re terrified of the repercussions of defying their Commander in Tweet. That’s all right Senators, you can pass notes in the Congressional bathroom.

I admit: I have never heard of Amash before. I follow politics pretty closely but I’m a long way from having the entire Senate memorized. In any case, better late than never. So far I am impressed with the way he carries himself in this brief interview and believed him when he spoke of his commitment to his constituents being his primary concern. Tapper was flummoxed of course, the poor dear. What’s better than holding partisan power on deadlocked Congressional committees?? NOTHING screams Tapper’s soul but he maintained control, God bless him.

Amash has some interesting things to say about the way power works (or doesn’t) in D.C. and I found his candor brave and refreshing. I would love to hear what readers think about his move, so please comment away (whether you like him or not). (FYI – Because of spam and for your protection from hackers I monitor comments before they go live, at least for now.)

During the interview, Amash framed his choice to leave the party as the only way he can get some legislative work done or at least openly try. He is confident in the support from his district and I’m not surprised there.

Amash goes on to discuss how proposing Amendments to legislation has become a closed process under both previous Speaker Ryan and the current Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He has some strong feelings regarding Pelosi’s stance on impeachment and he rightly called out her hypocrisy to that end. I will let you discover that tea for yourself – do enjoy. Key Republicans have already taken to Twitter to speak out against Amash but again, I think it is a show for Trump.

A lot of American people are fed up with the BS partisanship, or at least a large portion of us are. Being a woman of a certain age I do remember a time when the parties would appear to somewhat cooperate and speak respectfully to one another. Maybe a little shade got thrown here and there but absolutely nothing like what we’ve seen since the last Bush term.

The lack of decorum has continued to spiral downward, and with each passing year discourse amongst the political vanguard reaches a new low. Maybe we do need Maryanne Williamson to come in and teach some basic spiritual principles of cause and effect. You don’t pour oil all over fires and expect them to extinguish, but our executive branch has not gotten the “Rule With Love” memo.

Justin Amash is from Michigan, the state which brought us the Flint water crisis and the DeVos family. I don’t know if Amash represents Flint but they could certainly use someone like him in their corner. I hope readers are aware that the water continues to poison people there, and though there have been some indictments of city employees I find it irritating that the news outlets haven’t been at least speculating about the role of Nestle in this matter. I found one article from 2017 in The Guardian that mentions it and have added that link to this post’s footnotes.

Nestle has been siphoning off water from several locations in Michigan for only $200/year, pumping between 150,000 and 450,000 gallons of water per minute. Residents of Flint are outraged that the company is profiting off selling water back to them and depleting their natural resources at a time when Michigan hasn’t directed financial resources to fix the residential water supply . Nestle gets to make their bottled water and drinks by using an obscure interpretation of a Michigan law regarding usage and water access, thereby virtually privatizing what ought to be a public asset.

This is a practice Nestle used when they tried to take over the water supply in San Bernadino, CA and other cities in the last decade, a practice halted after a 2015 investigation by the California water board and subsequent lawsuit concluded it didn’t have the rights. Fun fact: residents of San Bernadino were helped by Bernie Sanders back then with a grassroots campaign that saved their water supply, a fact I’ve never heard Sanders brag about. Then again, I don’t think he does very strong self-promotion at all, which is part of what makes him appealing I suppose. Watch C-Span and you will see a lot of his activism within the Congress that he also doesn’t boast about and should, but I digress.

To add a little salt in the wound, the Guardian piece I read stated that many residents of Flint had their water shut off for delinquent bill payment. Ah, the hypocrisy of capitalism at work when it comes to the poor is brutally efficient.

Amash’s declaration of Independence couldn’t have come at a better time, and he seemed unruffled and had a poised response to Trump’s grade-school Twitter ire.

Mainstream news coverage lost its mask of respectability when Gary Webb got killed, assassin-style, two bullets to the head. (He was the journalist who broke the Iran-Contra scandal and was marginalized and ridiculed by his peers for years before being conveniently “suicided”, because shooting yourself twice is like, so possible…I know, I’m digressing again…) Long story short, I’m surprised CNN chose to do this interview at all.

Let me know your thoughts either here in the comment section of this blog, on my Twitter or Facebook page, Jennifer Psallidas/Writer, where I’ll be cross-posting.

A little housekeeping here before I leave you and return to my whiskey. You may have noticed it already but if not I want to call to your attention to the domain name change for this website, in case you get email when I post. I’ve chosen the more succinct but the old site address should still be working too.

And a final note, because I wrote this post off the top of my head. Though I’m signing off for the evening, in the spirit of open-source journalism I promise to finish adding links throughout the body of this post and below (look to **extras for additional context). I seriously encourage readers to always question anything I’ve stated, and to dig into informing yourselves on these and ALL matters.

I don’t know who said it but the quote “Freedom is not free” seems apropos these days, and I truly hope folks are motivated to learn as much as possible about what is happening behind the scenes of the government and the mainstream press as well. We as citizens must do the work of educating ourselves at a time of public fatigue with the plethora of information available, most of very little substance.

The fear of outrage and retribution from our peers and neighbors is the same thing those in Congress are facing, though it plays out on a different stage. One thing we citizens can do to empower ourselves is to accept responsibility for our role in creating the situations we find ourselves in. We can do this by not tuning out, and also recognize our own cognitive biases that confirm false narratives. A greater tolerance for frustration is a definite plus.

Let’s avoid the herd mentality of shaming and marginalizing people who ask questions as “fringe”, conspiracy theorists, racists, Russian trolls, or stupid. If you only make one alteration to your current mindset, may I suggest calling the TV “news” “infotainment” instead? It’s a term that more adequately describes media’s current function.

I have been Left-leaning all my life but I have been listening to the so-called Right a lot over the past year and they do have a good point about many issues. So do Independents and Libertarians. Shaming and censorship of ideas only makes the worst of those ideas proliferate and gain credibility.

It’s late; my whiskey awaits. Good night and Goddess bless.

Links in order of appearance plus some extras marked with an **:

The Atlantic: How American Politics Went Insane

The Guardian: Flint water crisis: Michigan’s top health official to face trial over deaths

**Michigan Live: Find out how much your county uses water with this database.

Michigan Residents Deplore Plan to Allow Nestle to Pump Water for Next to Nothing

** The Story of Stuff Project: Nestle Takes on the Tap

** Hilarious clip: Bill Burr riffs on Nestle (at 2:18) on Conan.

**Nestle’s website responds to questions about legality of taking water from San Bernadino forest.

EcoWatch: Settlement Ends Nestlé’s Expired ‘Zombie’ Permit to Siphon Water From San Bernardino National Forest

Nestlé Spring Water Extractions in San Bernardino National Forest

Justin Amash: Independent Man

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