My New Kentucky Home
The Washington Post had a major story yesterday which Rachel Maddow devoted most of her show to last night, about Russian influence in the United States, mostly focusing on a $200 million deal in Kentucky to build an aluminum factory the day after which Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked sanctions against the Russian oligarch -- and Putin's close ally -- who owns the company.
At the heart of one issue is that if the factory wasn't built, then a great many people in Kentucky who are desperate for jobs would lose theirs at the new, upcoming plant. It's a deeply understandable concern. On the one hand, jobs for those in need. On the other hand, Russian influence over the Senate Majority Leader to direct policy of the entire United States. Including, for instance, McConnell blocking any efforts to protect the country against Russian cyber-attacks in the 2020 election.
Much as its a deeply understandable concern and there are two sides to the issue, that doesn't mean the two sides are equal. Losing the jobs would be devastating to those workers. But then, the deal shouldn't have been made in the first place if it meant giving Russian control in U.S. policy. The "greater good" is seems to me far, far greater. And that means the deal should be stopped, in order to protect the United States.
It should be noted, to keep full perspective, that this same Russian oligarch, Sergei Deripaskov -- who worked with convicted felon Paul Manafort and, again, was on the sanction list for serious reasons -- has already contacted governors in eight other states about building factories in their states, as well. No doubt to have further Russian influence there.
To be very clear, having said that I don't think the aluminum factory deal should go forward, I feel terrible about the people in Kentucky who don’t have jobs. But we shouldn’t have this factory there in the first place for those jobs to be able to “taken away.” And maybe if so many people are out of work in Kentucky, maybe Republicans shouldn’t have tricked people into thinking coal was coming back, but instead train people for new green environmental industries. Or…or maybe we should increase unemployment insurance rather than lower taxes and then cut back the unemployment benefits program. Or maybe we should create a federal jobs program like FDR did in the New Deal. Yes, yes, I know that conservatives hate liberalism and hate FDR and hate social welfare programs. But when you don’t have those programs, one of the results is destitute people who are willing to sell their country out to the devil who offers them a way to do so.
Just because I don’t think they should have jobs from a Russian company trying to subvert the United States doesn’t mean I think we should ignore their plight. After all, I’m not a conservative -- I don't believe in only “What’s in it for me?” and "I got mine, you're on your own." I believe in helping those in need. Just not by selling out the rest of the United States. So I think there are things we as a country could do for them. And if those people out of work find “liberal” solutions distasteful, they don’t have to take advantage of them. They can stay out of work without some form of government assistance or government jobs programs trying to help them if they want, it's a free country. They can rely on churches and private business to set up shelters and food programs -- though clearly that hasn't been working which is why they're out of work and desperate. But if they really do want to pass up on liberal assistance, it would their choice. Personally, I don't they would pass up on the opportunities to help their lives if offered them. Just like people didn't during the Depression, and just like they don't pass up on Social Security and Medicare when then become available to them, no matter how "liberal" the programs are. Personally, I think liberal solutions to give you help for a better life are much better than selling out your country – or starving. But that's me.
Apparently Republicans, and Mitch McConnell as their Senate leader, feel differently.
And Mitch McConnell is SO upset that he has been given the nickname of "Moscow Mitch." The heart just bleeds for him. But then, apparently that's what we bleeding-heart liberals do...
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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