Trump dystopia becomes a cancer. Where are the Democrat leaders??

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Bill Maher once said “The Republicans have no brains and the Democrats have no balls!”  He couldn’t have been more accurate.

I have written many articles bashing the Republican party and much of Conservative ideology because it is all rightfully deserved.  But it takes two to tango, ying and yang; id and ego and all that rot.  The Republicans have become dangerously unhinged and yet no Democrat has stepped forward with a loud and clear counter-message.  Where are the voices of reason, rationality and reality?  Which Democrats are thinking about 2020?  Who is going lead the opposition party?

Sure, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Congressional Minority Leader (?) Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosihave done a decent job of keeping Democrats united and minimizing the damage the Republicans can do.  But they are not the Democratic voice of tomorrow.

Individual Senators, Congresspersons and other elected Democrats have spoken out against this Republican Regime on specific issues:  Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (below, upper left) on economic issues,

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) (above, lower left) – Senate Judiciary Committee;  Adam Schiff (D-CA) (above, upper middle) – Congressional Intelligence Committee; Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) (above, lower middle) – Congressional Judiciary Committee on the Russia scandal; Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA )  (above, right) who took the bold step to introduce a bill of impeachment against Trump; and let’s add the persistent Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (left).  Bernie Sanders  Sanders clearly has the broadest vision for America’s future – unfortunately it’s more of a future goal rather than a 2020 path to victory.

While I recognize the work that each of these officials are doing, none of them are the young, dynamic, charismatic leader who can mobilize voters and project the image of America’s future.  Warren, Sanders and Joe Biden  will all be over 70 years old and nominating any of them will perpetuate the failed “who’s next in line” selection process.  Of the others mentioned above, none of them have expressed the slightest interest in running for President, nor have they shown an ability to set a broader agenda.

The most vocal and inspiring Democrats so far have been Congresswoman Sheila Lee Sheila Lee (D-TX) (left) “I refuse to accept (Trump’s comments re: the NFL/anthem controversy) as a standard of leadership for the highest office in the world” and who “took a knee” in Congress to support the NFL protesters’ First Amendment rights; and Maxine Waters (D-NY) (right) Maxine Waters  “Trump is the most deplorable person I have ever met” and “He is someone I am committed to getting impeached!  He’s a liar!  He’s a cheat!  He’s a con man….”.

I applaud these bold women and wish there were more Democrats with balls.  Alas, neither Representative Lee or Waters has expressed any Presidential ambitions (Waters is 79 but obviously still feisty!).

In the absence of a party leader the chairman of the DNC is supposed to speak up and fill Tom Perezthat vacuum.   Tom Perez (left), where are you?   Perhaps you’re doing great work behind the scenes building a 50-state grass roots voting majority like the Republicans but I’m not holding my breath.  But either way, it’s time to step out and step up.

Democrats were asleep at the wheel when Republicans ran the tables in 2010.  That put the GOP in the driver’s seat on redistricting and electioneering.  That in turn allowed them to pass a host of voter suppression laws such as Voter ID’s for non-existent voter fraud; reducing or eliminating early voting and same day registration; aggressive voter roll purging; and providing insufficient numbers of voting machines to lower income neighborhoods.

We can (and do) cry “Shame on the Republicans” but the fact is they did all of this right under the Democrat’s noses.   Shame on the Democrats.   The Democrats got manhandled, outmaneuvered and out-smarted.  And what have they learned since then?  Not much apparently.   Seven years after that humiliation, and the Democrats are still running around with no testicles.

2020 is a big election because the party in power will have the greatest influence on redistricting for the next decade.  The Republicans will be there with their A-game and they’ll have the advantage of holding a majority of elected positions and further assistance from the Russians.  The Democrats have to GO BIG and I see no reason why, in this political climate, they shouldn’t start RIGHT NOW.

Cory Booker (D-NY Senator) (above, upper left), Kamala Harris (D-CA Congresswoman) (above, upper middle), Gavin Newsom (D-CA Lt. Governor) (above, upper right), Julian Castro (former HUD Secretary under Obama) (above lower left), Kristen Gilibrand (D-NY Senator) (above lower right), or some charismatic dark horse:  WHERE ARE YOU?  Democrats need someone speaking out NOW.   Trump should be impeached and the 2018 elections are 1 year away; yet the Democrat outrage is nothing more than a whimper.  Leadership of the Democratic party is completely in limbo, someone, besides Sanders and Warren, MAKE A FUCKING MOVE!  SHOW SOME BALLS!

A new generation of Democrat leaders must loudly declare a new vision for America:

1)  A new economy based upon better educational opportunities, fairer tax laws that benefit all middle-income Americans, job creation in developing markets such as green energy, next-gen transportation, technology and distribution.

2)  A continued fight against racism, fascism, ethnicism, sexism etc.  America WILL NEVER BE GREAT as long as we insist on dividing and segregating ourselves from one another.  Discrimination, chauvinism and bigotry are symptoms of a scared and insular society with very low self-confidence.  That type of country can only make it’s mark with totalitarianism or fascism — where the “other-looking” and “other-thinking” people are enemies of the state and are dealt with or disposed of accordingly.  In the last 100 years Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Russia (among others) have tried it.  They have all failed.  The only mark those countries have left is death, destruction, war, hatred  and ruin.

3)  Health care for all Americans;  Rebuilding our infrastructure for the 22nd century; Equal pay for equal work;  Increasing the minimum wage;  Proactive measures to deal with the effects of Climate Change;  a Comprehensive Immigration Policy that is pragmatic, forward-thinking and does not violate the human rights of millions of U.S. residents;  and broad-based laws and regulations protecting Consumers from predatory corporate practices and market manipulations.

These are the solutions for a Greater American Future.  Not the senseless, divisive drivel we hear coming from the White House and Congress.  These solutions will create real jobs for all Americans; help balance income distribution; make America a cleaner, healthier, safer and more successful country for the next several generations.

Where are our next generation of leaders who can articulate this vision with strength, pride and inspiration?  You are needed on the front line of American politics RIGHT NOW.   Both our democracy and our future are in great peril.

 

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HOT BUTTON ISSUE: Climate Change

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During the last two months the word, “UNPRECEDENTED” was used a record number of times in American media and general conversations — and none of it had to do with Trump.

Rather, it had to do with unprecedented climatic events that unfolded around country.  No sooner had ‘unprecedented’ Hurricane Harvey (Category 5)  inundated SE Texas and SW Louisiana with up to 50 inches of rain, meteorologists showed three more hurricanes or tropical storms churning in the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico.  They said it was ‘unprecedented’.

Hurricanes 9-17 Katia, Irma, JoseBoth Irma and Jose became Category 5 hurricanes — giving us three back-to-back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes — “unprecedented”.   Between Harvey and Irma the following major American cities experienced ‘unprecedented’ flooding:  Houston, Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville.

Meanwhile back in July the big weather story was in the Pacific Ocean.  The story was underreported in the U.S. because Pacific hurricanes, known as cyclones, travel west, away from the U.S. and pose the greatest threat to the Philippines, Vietnam and Southern Cyclones in Pacific - 8 at once 7-17China.  In July of this year there were 8 cyclones or tropical storms (at right, highlighted with yellow arrows) in the Pacific at one time!  Not quite ‘unprecedented’, but it was the first time such an event had occurred since 1974.

Simultaneous to these massive rain events is what is shaping up to be a record breaking year of wildfires in the western U.S.  The U.S. Forest Service has estimated over 8 million acres have burned so far this summer, compared to a recent summer average of approximately 6 million.  Below (left) is a current map of fires in the West.

Western Wildfires 2017           Wildfires in the West

Above (right) is a chart showing the ‘unprecedented’ increase in large wildfires over the last 40 years.

As a student of science I feel compelled to give the following disclaimer:  “The cause of individual weather events cannot be directly linked to climate change”.  Having said that, after what we have witnessed the past 2 months, how can anyone in their right minds continue to deny that Mother Earth is acting especially bi-polar these days?   Can we at least agree that this shit isn’t normal and we need to take this more seriously?

Climate scientists since the 1990’s have predicted, quite accurately it turns out, that the climate is changing at an abnormally fast rate; the main cause is from human activity;  it will continue for many decades or more; it will cause sea levels to rise and global temperature averages to increase;  which will result in more frequent and more intense weather events.  (Top chart from the EPA).

Global temperature chartHottest Years on record

Turns out that scientists are pretty smart.  This is exactly what’s been happening.  Not only that, but with a few days notice they are able to predict the general path, speed, wind velocity and rainfall for those hurricanes too.  Just last month they predicted with perfect precision the exact time and locations for a total solar eclipse across the U.S.  We should probably pay closer attention to what these guys are saying.

Unfortunately the U.S. leads the developed world in climate change DENIAL.   Our federal government is currently controlled by science skeptics and climate change deniers and so are a majority of states.  Our own President ran on a campaign platform of “climate change is a Chinese hoax!” and he WON.  The U.S. is quickly becoming the “climate change pariah” of the world.  How did this happen?

Climate change denial is, at it’s heart, part religious conservatism, part anti-government conservatism and part wealth-hoarding conservatism.  The religious part holds that only God has the power to change Earth’s climate.  The anti-government part claims that climate change is just a big government power grab.  And the wealth-hoarders don’t want to give up their profitable monopolies on energy, mining and distribution.

Political climate denier’s have cranked out 3 best-selling rebuttals to climate change science.  1)  “The planet’s climate is changing all the time.  There’s been both hotter and colder times in the past.  It’s part of a natural cycle, not man-made.”
2)  “I’m not a scientist and the science on this issue is far from settled.”
3)  “It’s another attempt by liberal government to expand its powers and control our lives.”

I am tired of tippy-toeing around climate skeptics.  You know the ones I mean — who continually confuse ‘weather’ with ‘climate’ and on an unusually cool day in July they say shit like:  “So much for global warming!” Or “If this is climate change, I’m all for it!”  How many deniers evacuated their homes or stocked up on supplies before Harvey or Irma hit?  Why didn’t they deny the science then?  How many science skeptics bought eclipse glasses and watched the solar eclipse on Aug. 21?  That science was spot on!  But the science behind climate change is “unsettled”??  No, that’s called denial.

First, let’s debunk their ignorant rebuttals (above).  1) is partially true — the Earth’s climate does change, all on its own.  That’s exactly why current climate change is so abnormal.  In the past when Earth temperatures have heated up to current levels or beyond, it was caused by natural (non-human) conditions.  For example, the last time it was this hot, 125,000 years ago, it was caused by a change in Earth’s orbit and axial tilt.  Or, 55-56 million years ago, one of the hottest periods on Earth since its formation (see Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum), scientists have speculated that the potential causes were natural — solar maximums, volcanic activity, melting of permafrost, changes in ocean currents due to continental drift, an intense period of mountain building, possibly a comet strike or some combination thereof.  But even then, rapid climate change happened over thousands of years, possibly more.  Our global temperatures have increased an average of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 140 years.  And the rate of  temperature change has accelerated.  So calling the changes in our climate “part of a natural cycle” is completely unsubstantiated.  There are no known natural causes at work this time. The engine behind current warming is human activity.

2)  This excuse is pure ignorance.  You’ve heard this stat before and it’s true:  97% of all published, pier-reviewed scientific work has confirmed that A) Climate change is a real phenomenon and global temperatures are increasing and B) the cause of these changes are directly attributable to human activities, especially the burning of carbon-based fuels and increased emissions of methane and CO2.  If you think that 97% agreement still gives you the right to say “the science isn’t settled” then, as Neil DeGrasse Tyson has said, “Anyone who thinks scientists like agreeing with one another has never attended a scientific conference.”  To get 97% agreement on anything is remarkable and  it means the issue must then be very cut and dry.  It is our job as humans to use the best science available to make decisions about our future.  We ignore the best science at our own peril.

If a politician says “I’m not a scientist…” thereby implying they can’t make a judgment call on science, then please ask them how they can pass health care legislation without being a doctor, nurse or health care professional.?  Or how can they pass military appropriations with being in the military?  Or how can they weigh in on public education funding if they’re uneducated?  My god, this is the biggest wussy-assed cop-out I’ve ever heard.  That politician is absolutely worthless and should resign.

3)  There are certain challenges that face us which have national and global implications.  Some challenges need a common directive and purpose that can only come from the federal government.  In less acrimonious times,  our federal government led the way to building the greatest military in the world; an interstate highway system that was second to none; a space program that was (and is) the envy of the world; a system of Social Security and Medicare that has benefitted generations of citizens.

Climate change is that kind of challenge.  Private industry (especially in the Age of Trump) has made great contributions.  But I believe that America’s future greatness will hinge on how we work together to solve the problems that climate change will create.  To accomplish this we need a fully engaged federal government committed to protecting its citizens and infrastructure.  The federal government can provide funding, grants, research, tax breaks and credits, resources, manpower and a common direction.  Without full government engagement, I fear that the U.S. will lag behind innovators and visionaries in Europe, China, Japan, Korea and India just to name a few.  American efforts will be second-rate and ultimately we’ll be paying or dependent upon foreign governments and corporations for the privilege of using their technologies.  At worst, we will become both an energy and climate change pariah.

Yes, this means we will have to make major changes in how we live, consume, produce food, produce and distribute energy, transport ourselves and so much more.  Sure, it’s quite scary and it means that government will have to enforce these changes to some degree.  It is up to us to remain vigilant and informed about our elected officials and hold them accountable for their deeds in office.  It would be most helpful if we had more than 50% of the voting population participate in elections.

There were times in decades past when America rose to the challenge of making the world a better place.  Now is one of those times.  It has been a long time since the U.S. government has lead the way with a long-term vision (that didn’t involve war) and actually saw it through.  We must lead or we will falter.  We shouldn’t view this as party politics or an ideological divide.  This is an OPPORTUNITY to create a better, cleaner, more livable world.  New industries will arise from the coal ashes.  New technologies will replace internal combustion.  There will be new jobs to build the new infrastructures and energy grids of tomorrow.  But we must start now.

Solar Energy panels   OR THIS     ocean-pollution-tire-on-ocean-floor

In the spirit of bi-partisanship, let us suppose for a moment that climate change is not man-made and therefore there is little or nothing we can do to stop it.  We still live on an increasingly toxic planet.  How do we provide adequate food, fresh water, energy (any kind), medical supplies and care, and shelter from harsh weather to 7+ billion people without raping and destroying our habitat?  What price do we pay once our rain forests have been logged and developed?  Can we continue to extract carbon-based fuels from our soils and oceans without polluting them beyond recovery?  What happens when our oceans cease to yield sustaining quantities of fish and seafood?  What happens when our precious aquifers no longer provide fresh water?  All of these things can and will happen, maybe within the next century,  whether or not we lift a finger to change the climate.

We are facing a crisis of our human habitat.  It is here, it is real and it is now.   If you insist on denying climate change, can we at least agree that we cannot continue to live in our present manner without creating profound repercussions that will effect the lives of hundreds of millions, conceivably a billion or more people?

I present our choice in simple terms:  We can join, encourage and lead a global effort to fundamentally change the way we live that will open new opportunities, industries and technologies and is our best chance to sustain a reasonable quality of life for our children, grandchildren and generations to come OR we can shove our heads up our bums, go on selfishly and ignorantly living amongst waste, pollution, toxicity and frivolity until the balance of Nature culls potentially billions from the human herd without care, pity or remorse.  What’s our best move?  Bold, dynamic and visionary or head up your ass?

And by the way, just in case the upcoming showdown with Mother Nature sounds like the oft-forecast biblical End of Days, listen again.  It won’t be a divine Apocalypse.  It will not matter if you’re Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Atheist.  There will be no rapture, no Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.  Nor will it matter (for most) whether you are rich or poor, dark or light-skinned, American or Malaysian.  Because Nature doesn’t give a fuck.

At this moment in time the best science we have says that climate change is real and man-made.  It also shows that we are destroying our habitat (and habitat of millions of other species) at alarming rates.  The ‘Sixth Extinction” (read The Sixth Extinction — An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert) some experts call it.  If your legislator, governor or candidate for President denies climate science and/or disbelieves the dangers of continued reliance on carbon-based energy; or deregulating the pollution of our air, soil and water; then that politician does not have your best interests, your children’s best interests or the country’s best interests at heart.  If instead they offer some version of the those pathetic excuses discussed above then they are either living delusively in the past or they are protecting the best interests of wealthy donors.  In either case, they do not belong in a leadership position.  They do not deserve your vote.  November 6, 2018:  VOTE THEM OUT.  Or sooner it the opportunity arises.

 

 

Follow this blog for related upcoming articles on the Climate Deniers in our Government and Climate Change is just a Symptom, the real problem is Overpopulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster

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Mary Shelley Percy’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus” began the wonderful and rich Frankenstein tradition.  The 1931 James Whale film “Frankenstein”, a more loose adaptation of the novel, with Boris Karloff as “The Monster” (below, left), became the modern visual image for Dr. Frankenstein, his monster and their socioethical implications.   Perhaps the 1972 comedic/satirical version, “Young Frankenstein” by Mel Brooks, starring Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle may be the most memorable of all Frankenstein films (below, right).

It is the basic storyline of the book and films that makes them relevant for social commentary of our current times:  that is, in an experiment of radical social engineering, a madman creates a living being from a dead corpse and body parts.  The experiment is successful in that the new living being can talk, walk, think and feel.  But things go terribly wrong when the “monster” escapes from his creator and unleashes a reign of terror, mayhem and ultimately murder before being destroyed.

Moral of the story?  We (as individuals and as a society) can create goodness and we can also create evil — it is simply a mirror of our values and priorities.  While it’s hard to imagine creating too much goodness; creating or perpetuating even the smallest amount of evil can have devastating effects.  Because once that evil breaks out of its cage and escapes into society at large, it becomes very hard to control and destroy.

I make this horror story reference because I see, in our beloved United States today, that a monster has been created, it has broken free from all of its constraints and it is rampaging through the very fabric of American society.  It must be identified, it must be stopped and it must happen swiftly in order to avoid permanent and irreversible damage.

In our contemporary horror story, the character of Dr. Frankenstein is being played by the Republican Party.  They have methodically and deliberately created a whole generation of monsters.  It began in 1992 after Bill Clinton ended the Reagan-Bush presidential dynasty (1980-1992).  The Republicans decided on an aggressive, no-holds-barred strategy to win back the White House, Congress, governorships and state legislatures.  To their credit, the strategy has worked.  Unfortunately for the country, they did it by doubling down on fear mongering, racial and gender divisions, anti-immigrant sentiments and voter suppression.  These tactics were like blood in the water for the Religious Right, the NRA and even White Supremacists.  The devout belief in God, devout gun ownership and devout belief in a pure, White race are largely fear-based ideologies.  And the Republican party is damn good at spreading fear.  In order to sell the fear, it was imperative to stifle or discredit intellectualism, science and facts.  Many Republicans now seem to believe such ideas are practically un-American.

Since then, the Republican party has taken a hard right turn.  They treated Barack Obama like the anti-Christ and didn’t just refuse to work with him but obstructed legislation (like health care, jobs bills, infrastructure, consumer protection and immigration reform) from which their constituents did and would have benefited.  They put party over country time and time again.   In my recent post,  Dear Trump Voters, I used as an example an ABC/Washington Post poll comparing the support for Obama and Trump in using missile strikes to punish Syria.  When Obama considered it, Democrat support was at 38% and Republican was 22%.  When Trump did it, Democrat support was 37% and Republican was 86%!!  The party membership of the President had virtually no effect on Democrats, but to 66% of Republicans it made all the difference.

The Republican backlash to the Obama’s presidency gave rise to the Tea Party — an almost entirely white, mostly older sect of hard core Republican voters.  They covered their white and Christian privilege agenda by wrapping themselves in the flag and protesting that Government was too big,  too expensive and generally bad at everything.  Meanwhile, over half of them were probably enjoying Social Security, Medicare and/or Veteran’s Benefits.  Tea Party politicians came to Congress in 2010 and 2012 with an “our way or the highway” attitude and not only paralyzed the legislative process but quickly created rifts with more traditional Republicans for their uncompromising and destructive nature.

Republican state legislatures began aggressively reshaping voting districts that in two states already (NC & Texas) have been declared illegal because of blatant racial discrimination.  More states are being sued for similar tactics.  Since 2006 they have pushed voter photo ID laws in 15 states on the grounds of “preventing voter fraud”.  But the actual number of cases of in-person voting fraud is statistically near zero.  Their real purpose is to place greater burdens on people who typically do not have a Driver’s License; urban dwellers, older people, poorer people and students (demographic groups that tend to vote Democratic).  Republicans have also moved to shorten voting and registration times in their states, once again to make it harder for people to vote.  These policies are racially and socio-economically motivated.  See my previous post:  The Successful Republican Election Strategy…..Divide and Conquer! Part 2: Voter Suppression.

On a Federal level Republicans have tried to protect predatory lending practices by numerous U.S. banks and financial firms.  Who have been among the biggest victims?  African-Americans, Latino and Hispanic Americans, the elderly and students.

Republicans have pushed for tougher criminal sentencing, particularly for drug related charges.  Over all,  African Americans are incarcerated at a rate of 5 times the rate of White Americans.  For drug crimes, even though drug-use rates are relatively similar, African Americans are jailed at 6 times the rate of Whites (NAACP).

Republicans have fought against increases in the minimum wage.  They have passed, encouraged or supported policies that would reduce health care benefits to millions (mostly younger and poorer) of Americans.

Republicans have demonized legal immigrants and obstructed any attempts at comprehensive immigration policies in favor of whipping up fear and vastly over-inflating the illegal immigrant crime rate.

On other social issues Republicans have denigrated women by denying them the right to determine their own reproductive choices.  Republicans have denied tens of millions of women access to even basic pre-pregnancy and pre-natal health screenings, check-ups, medications and consultations.  And what hypocrisy from the party that is so consumed with privacy rights and fears of government intrusion, except when it involves a woman’s reproductive system.

Republicans have also obstructed a national discussion about a woman’s right to equal pay for equal work.

They fought tooth and nail and spent billions of dollars to defeat state-wide referendums on non-heterosexual marriages and rights for LBGTQ Americans.  Even though they finally lost at the Supreme Court, the Republican party continues to fight for the right to discriminate against certain groups of Americans based on sexual orientation.

And finally, to secure these votes, the Republican party has pronounced intellectualism, science and facts to be signs of either weakness or some sort of liberal conspiracy.  They  have instead fostered fear, intolerance, hatred, divisiveness, conspiracy theories, lies and misinformation because these tools are much more effective at manipulating people.

These are the “body parts” and “corpses” that the modern Dr. Frankenstein (aka The Republican Party) has used to build it’s new generation of monsters.  For their 1st generation monster, Republicans played the “dumb-it-down” card when they chose an affable, yet clumsy simpleton who could be easily manipulated. Bush funny face W Bush (left) was wholly unqualified to be President and barely able to complete sentences but by teaming him up with a neo-con puppet-master, “Dr. Evil” Dick Cheney(below), they managed to preside over the 911 attacks, started two never-ending and failed wars, and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.

Cheney as Dr. Evil

After the Bush catastrophe, John McCain didn’t have a chance, especially against the dynamic newcomer, Barak Obama.  But in McCain’s desperation to “change the game” of the 2008 election, he nominated the even more recklessly stupid Sarah Palin (below with Frankentrump) who was among the first to openly promote the themes of anti-intellectualism, liberal elites and dividing the country along racial and geographic differences.

Trump and Palin as Frankenstein monsters

In 2012, Mitt Romney secured the Republican nomination, which appeared to reverse the “stupid is better” trend until he made his biggest campaign gaffe by saying “47% of the voters are dependent on the government….and feel they are entitled to health care, food, housing, you name it…47% of the people pay no income tax.”  Though Romney would probably have lost either way, these comments exposed Romney as the whiny, privileged, out-of-touch rich guy that opponents said he was.

Then came 2016.  The worst qualities of past Republican monsters found their home in a sleazy, reality TV buffoon, who was willing to say or do anything to rile people up, piss people off (both for and against him) and divide this country like no candidate in modern history.  Two decades of policies and rhetoric supporting anti-intellectualism, racism, unjust fiscal policies, distrust of the press, unfounded anti-immigrant fear, overblown Muslim fear, denigration of women, promoting LGBTQ discrimination, anti-science and anti-regulation finally produced the Republican super-monster named Donald Trump.

Trump as Frankenstein cartoon

Dr. Frankenstein’s actual monster, while terrifying, was strictly a local phenomenon.  But the modern Republican monster is now President of the United States!  There were some Republicans voices during the campaign that cautioned Trump could do irreparable damage to the party.  But those voices were quickly drowned out by the noise of Trump supporters beating up protestors, calling for the imprisonment of his political opponent, and cheering wildly for the dismantling of the free press.

Now that the monster has been President for 7+ months, more Republicans are finally speaking out against him.  Charlottesville may have been somewhat of a turning point.  Moderate Republicans were “shocked” and “upset” that Trump failed to distinguish between anti-Fascist protesters and White Supremacists and Neo-Nazi’s?  Really?  When during his campaign had he disavowed hate groups before?  Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller were his top campaign and administration advisors for fuck’s sake.  But Charlottesville crossed the line?

Republicans shouldn’t be shocked.  It is the policies that they support that created this monster and made it possible for him to become President.  Trump couldn’t win the Democratic nomination, even if he pretended to be pro-choice (like he used to be), more LBGTQ tolerant (like he might have been once upon a time), or more liberal on financial issues (which he’s never been).  No, the Republican party has spent 20 years laying the groundwork for a candidate like Trump, and now he’s uncaged, running amok and  creating terror and mayhem wherever he goes or opens his mouth.

The cruel irony of Trump is that he is terrorizing everyone, including Republicans.  He has created just as much discord among Republicans as he has the whole country.  But most Republicans are still walking on eggshells when it comes to Trump — all on the fading hopes that their precious agenda of hate, fear, more income inequality, less health care benefits, fewer civil and voting rights, more freedom for polluters and carbon emitters, more predatory power for financial institutions, more restrictions on women’s reproductive choices and a deep suspicion of anyone who isn’t “American” can be crammed down our throats under the cynical guise of “Make American Great Again”.

Please Moderate/Traditional Republicans, spare us your Op-Ed pieces about how Trump has hijacked the party.  Or that President Numb Nuts isn’t a “true” Republican.  Or that Republicans are better than this.  No, they’re not.  Where were your voices over the last 20 years?  I didn’t hear you shouting down Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Riley, Shawn Hannity, Ann Coulter or Fox News.  I didn’t hear you standing up against voter suppression laws,  illegal redistricting, the unbalanced proclivities toward incarcerating darker-skinned Americans, the debasing of women, or the irrational fear of Sharia law.  Your Tea Party was so quick to blame Obama for everything but where was the protest against the Bush Administration’s role in two failed wars and the 2008 recession?

You stood by when seven different Congressional investigations were launched to witch hunt Hillary Clinton’s supposed Bengazi crimes or her private server emails.  But no Republicans called for Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld to be investigated for lying about going to war in Iraq or for committing war crimes during the conflicts.

There’s only one thing Republicans can do if they are genuinely appalled by the words and deeds of Donald Trump.  Obstruct him at every conceivable opportunity, tie his hands, refuse to cede him any additional power….and at the same time cooperate to the fullest with all investigations currently ongoing into his Russia connections and the possible collusion with his campaign, insist upon the full release of his tax returns and the divestiture of all of his assets into blind trusts.

Republicans have loosed this monster, he is your creation.  Since your party also controls Congress it falls upon you, first and foremost, to take the lead in reigning this monster in and removing him from office so this black stain on the Presidency can end.  For the good of the country this monster should be safely strapped to the operating table and neutralized, along with all of the formulas and ingredients that went into his creation.

We can create good and we can create evil.  Which we choose to create is simply a mirror of our values and priorities.

*** UNITE *** ACTIVATE *** PROTEST ***

*** COMMUNICATE *** ORGANIZE ***

 JOIN LA RESISTANCE AMERICAN!

Follow this blog on WordPress. Like us. Post your comments.

LET US HOPE FOR THE BEST BUT PREPARE FOR THE WORST.

VIVA LA RESISTANCE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOT BUTTON ISSUE: Religious Liberties

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Religions as businesses poster

From time to time I want to address some of the key Hot Button issues that both political parties use to divide us and distract us from their real agendas.

The king of all Hot Button topics is Religion, and more specifically, what special liberties, exemptions and exclusions should our laws allow for religious worship and institutions?

The U.S. Constitution boldly states:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise thereof…”. (Amendment 1).  Seems simple enough…..until you dig under the surface.

The “Establishment Clause” seems (to me) to imply that our Government should neither establish a religion (like England had done in the 1530’s under Henry VIII) nor favor one religion over any other.

The “Free Exercise Clause” seems (to me) to imply that our Government should not pass any laws that restrict individuals or religious institutions from exercising their right to follow their beliefs and doctrines.

Beautiful words, but they haven’t always been applied fairly.  While our government has never taken the drastic steps to establish or impose a state religion; the de facto religion of America is Protestant Christianity.  Christians immigrated to this country and took over.  Native Americans were certainly not given free exercise of their religion.  Nor were Catholics, or Jews, or African-Americans, or Chinese or Mormons.  Or even today, Muslims aren’t as free to exercise their religious beliefs as Christians.  And what about the fastest growing segment of the American religious scene:  Non-believers (unaffiliateds, secularists, humanists, agnostics or atheists)?  Are our rights not-to-believe just as free as theists?   Not even close.

Protestant Christians have pretty much run the show in this country since colonial times.  In fact, Christians are unabashed about claiming America as a “Christian nation”.   They contend that Christians built this country and we are a great nation because of Christian leadership, ingenuity and work ethic.

Some of that last sentence is true.  Most of the Founding Fathers were Christian of some sort or another, but not all.  George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Madison and Thomas Payne all tended more towards Deism than orthodox Christianity.  This included a healthy dose of skepticism about the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity and even much of the Bible.  Thomas Jefferson wrote his own version of the Bible, in which he removed all references to miracles, talk of Jesus’ divinity and the Resurrection.  No way he could win the Republican nomination these days.

Christians were clearly the driving energy behind America’s modern transformation.  But to see them as nothing but God’s Force for Good, is just plain bat-shit crazy.   Christians enslaved at least 10,000,000 innocent Africans.  Once here Christians separated family members, beat and whipped them, lynched them, worked them to death, imprisoned, murdered and raped them on a level the world had never seen.  They exterminated Native Americans, enslaved Chinese immigrants and interred Japanese Americans.  They committed unspeakable crimes against others just because they were Catholic or Jewish.  These unfortunate people were given little to no freedom to exercise their religion beliefs.
Religious LIberty cartoon
Christians, you own your whole legacy….the good, the bad and the ugly.  But to a larger point,  in America, freedom to exercise one’s beliefs has primarily meant freedom for Christians, at every one else’s expense.

Let me give some examples:  Can Christians determine school curriculum and book choices in public schools?  Apparently so, it’s been going on for a 100+ years.  Can Christians require Bible reading and reciting Christian prayers in public schools?  Absolutely, it’s been going on just as long.    Can Christians use public spaces upon which to place their religious symbols and celebrate their religious holidays — at the exclusion of any other religion.  Sure they can!  And boy, they get really pissed when you tell them they can’t.

Are Christians immune to our laws about discrimination?  Sometimes I think they are.  They want a religious exemption from our most important cherished notion:  that all men (and women) are created equal.  They claim their religious freedoms are violated if they can’t discriminate against the LBGT community.  They also claim their precious religious liberties are threatened if they have to provide coverage for women’s reproductive health care services on their corporate insurance policies.

Name one other non-religious group that is allowed such powers of discrimination or ability to deny people legal services or health care benefits.  You can’t, there aren’t any.  Christians are one of the most over-privileged groups in America.
Religion and fascisim Sinclair Lewis
This recent (last two decades +/-) push to further immune Christian religious beliefs from laws of our government has come at a time when those same Christians believe that there is a “war” against them by secularists in this country.  But it’s not a “war”,  it is simply push-back from the unmistakable fact that America is becoming less religious than it ever has in its past.  It’s about equality and fairness under the law.

There was a legal case that made big headlines in 2015.  After the Supreme Court decision that paved the way for legal, LBGTQ marriages, a county clerk in Kentucky continued to refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone but heterosexual applicants because doing so would violate her religious beliefs.   She was an elected public official and she was the only person in that county with the legal authority to issue marriage licenses.   But as an off-the-deep-end Christian, she felt entitled to pick and choose who got licenses and who didn’t.  A classic case of Christian entitlement.

Two years later and the clerk is still on the job!  Instead of firing her for discriminatory behavior and failure to perform her sworn duty, Kentucky resolved the matter by passing a law that the County Clerk’s signature was no longer required on the marriage certificate for it to be legal.   A civil suit against the clerk is still working its way through the courts.

What incredible and outrageous lengths we go through in this country to guarantee religious privilege.  The most disgusting example is a legal case known as Burwell v Hobby Lobby — a Supreme Court decision from June of 2014.  A brief background:

A previous, seemingly innocuous, legal case known as Employment Division v Smith (1990) started the uproar.  Smith, two Native American plaintiffs, sued the Employment Division of the State of Oregon, for denying them unemployment benefits when they were fired for testing positive for mescaline (the psychotropic ingredient of the peyote cactus) while working at a rehab clinic.  The men claimed that they used mescaline for religious purposes and therefore this violated their religious liberties.

The court ruled against the plaintiffs.  Somehow this case got the attention of politicians, and being good religious men, they saw a grave inequity here.  Their response was the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Congress by an overwhelming bi-partisan vote and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

The RFRA significantly increased protection for religious groups from Federal legislation.  Now such legislation is subjected to a higher level of scrutiny:  “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”[5]   Specifically, 1)  any burden upon religions must be for the “furtherance of a compelling government interest” and 2) it must be the least restrictive way in which to further the government interest.

Translated:  Federal legislation intended for “general applicability” (i.e. applies to everyone) can potentially be disregarded by the religious community if it places a burden on their right to exercise their religion.  Talk about establishing a privileged class!  And exactly what creates a burden??

Well the Supreme Court answered that question in 2014 and the RFRA was at the heart of it.  The case is called Burwell vs Hobby Lobby.  The case involved a lawsuit by the Hobby Lobby corporation (and others) against the Federal government (namely Sylvia Burwell the Secretary of Health and Human Services, whose department oversees the Affordable Care Act (ACA also known as Obamacare)) over a provision in the law which mandated for-profit corporations employing more than 50 people to provide health care to their employees including contraceptives.

The owner of Hobby Lobby Inc. is David Green and his family from Oklahoma City, devout Evangelical Christians who believe that life begins at conception.  Hobby Lobby is a for-profit corporation that employed approximately 21,000 people at the time.  The crux of the suit was that Hobby Lobby claimed that having to provide contraception coverage for its employees imposed a religious burden on the company and its owners that violated their religious rights under the RFRA and the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Now the ACA had already allowed for exemptions on providing contraceptives to religious organizations, non-profits, and companies with no more than 50 employees.  But never before had a for-profit corporation been granted such religious privileges.

                                                               Religious hypocrisy poster
A 5-4 Conservative majority ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby citing  that a) due to Hobby Lobby being a “closely held corporation” with strong religious (Christian) beliefs, providing contraception in the employee health care plan was an undue burden upon the exercise of the owners religious beliefs and b) per the RFRA, the ACA law was not the least restrictive way to further the government interest (the majority suggested that it would be less restrictive if the Government provided and paid for contraceptive coverage instead).

Judge Ruth Ginsburg wrote in her dissent:  “”In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”  And also, “”Until this litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA. The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities…[60“.  She ended by saying:  “The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield …”[63]
Indeed, how far can this go?  Can a “closely-held Muslim corporation” force female employees to wear burkas to avoid violating the corporation’s religious beliefs?  Can a “closely-held Jewish corporation” fire an employee who brings a pork sandwich for lunch?  Where does this stop?

On a separate case, a judge in St. Louis has helped us define one boundary.   A St. Louis man arrested on heroin distribution charges claimed that he was “a student of Esoteric and Mysticism studies” saying he had created a religious non-profit that aims to get the powerful narcotic to “the sick, lost, blind, lame, deaf and dead members of God’s Kingdom.”  He further claimed that his indictment violated federal protections of religious rights because his heroin peddling was an exercise of his “sincerely held religious belief.” (Associated Press).  This judge decided the defendant’s claims were illegitimate and he was found guilty.  It seems mescaline is acceptable for religious ceremonies, heroin is not.

I predict the “Hobby Lobby” defense will be used hundreds or maybe thousands of times in attempts to push the limits of what does and what doesn’t qualify as restrictions upon religious liberties.  How absurd!  Either laws apply to everyone, equally or get rid of the law entirely.  In a society where special interests can use power, money and influence to usurp our laws, lawlessness will reign.  This is the “minefield” cited by Justice Ginsburg.

Same goes for taxes.   IRS rules pertaining to churches allow exemptions from paying property taxes, sales taxes and ability to deduct certain “expenses” that businesses and individuals cannot .   In exchange, churches are supposed to refrain from endorsing/opposing political candidates and referendums (Johnson Amendment — 1954).  But not only have many churches violated this “agreement” but worse, the IRS almost never enforces the rule.  Recently, the Trump administration has pushed to repeal this amendment but without requiring churches to pay their share taxes!

The solution isn’t more laws and special classes, it’s less.  In my opinion churches are businesses, they are selling a product and often making a profit.  And while there are thousands of churches that operate on shoe-string budgets, many churches generate huge wealth for their founders, owners or administrators.  Let’s stop the charade.  Tax churches like the businesses that they are.  Pay your income, sales and property taxes and you can speak freely about political issues if you wish.  According to a 2013 study(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/08/22/you-give-religions-more-than-82-5-billion-a-year/?utm_term=.5e0d78c0a36e) religions in the U.S. receive at the very minimum over $80 billion dollars a year in Federal tax subsidies and own at the very minimum $600 billion dollars worth of real estate.
subsidies_table
“When people donate to religious groups, it’s tax-deductible. Churches don’t pay property taxes on their land or buildings. When they buy stuff, they don’t pay sales taxes. When they sell stuff at a profit, they don’t pay capital gains tax. If they spend less than they take in, they don’t pay corporate income taxes. Priests, ministers, rabbis and the like get “parsonage exemptions” that let them deduct mortgage payments, rent and other living expenses when they’re doing their income taxes. They also are the only group allowed to opt out of Social Security taxes (and benefits).”

Talk about special treatment under the law!  What this means is that all Federal income taxpayers heavily subsidize U.S. religions.  That violates my non-religious rights!  This tax-free custom originated in medieval Europe because the Church was the wealthiest and most powerful landowner.  The tradition has continued to this very day.  It is time to end these religious “liberties”

Religious Liberties Martin Luther King quote
The RFRA legislation and the Hobby Lobby decision represent yet another religious grab for even more extra-judicial rights and liberties, that the rest of us don’t enjoy.  In the majority opinion of the Hobby Lobby case it was determined that for-profit companies could be considered persons under the RFRA.   Which means that there is no separation between religious beliefs of owners and the corporation itself, even though the corporation is a separate legal entity.

I agree with Justice Ginsburg, “How can a corporation have religious rights?”   A corporation is strictly a legal entity formed by completing and filing proper paperwork with the state and the Fed.   How can filed paperwork have religious beliefs?  Owners voluntarily form corporations to benefit from an extra layer of legal protection and to allow them to qualify for lower income tax rates.

How is it possible for a corporation to act as an entirely separate entity from the owners in the event of legal malfeasance while the religious beliefs of the owners are allowed to flow freely back and forth between the two entities?  Either they are separate on all accounts or they are not.  Apparently religious (read Christian) people once again get a big and exclusive exemption from the law.

The chart below does a much better job than the Supreme Court or even the First Amendment of determining when religious rights have been infringed:
Religious Liberties chart
In the Employment Division vs Smith case the most equitable and fair solution would have been to simply legalize mescaline and peyote.  That way there would be no religious privilege — all adults could use the drug without fear of prosecution or discrimination.  In the Hobby Lobby case, the Justices should have laughed that case right out of court.  The Hobby Lobby corporation has legal rights but shouldn’t have religious (or political affililation) rights — it’s a piece of fucking paper for Christ’s sake.

And how exactly does providing health insurance that might include contraception a burden on the owner’s religious beliefs?  No one is forcing them to take contraceptives and the health care decisions of their employees are private.  The owners remain unrestricted in practicing their faith and the corporate entity should not be allowed to impose any religious or political beliefs on its employees.  Otherwise the rights of the employees are being burdened.

This horrible, narrow-minded, religiously motivated decision must be overturned as soon as possible.  It allows religious people special privileges under the law that NO ONE ELSE may claim.  Do we as Americans stand for equality, justice and freedom for all?  If so, then creating a special class of people, whether it be by religion, wealth, race or gender, is (or should be) unconstitutional and it undermines American democracy.   Our greatness will not last long as a nation divided by classes with unequal rights.

We, as Americans of all denominations and beliefs, must fight against the perpetuation of special privileged classes.  Religion, in my opinion, is a particularly undeserving candidate for special exemptions.  It is, after all, a belief in invisible magical beings for whom there is no physical evidence or proof.  If you wish to believe in fairy tales, angels, demons, or elves in the forest that’s your prerogative but at the very least, that type of belief should not entitle you to extra rewards from our government.

Religious liberties should not be a Hot Button issue with which politicians are able to  divide us.  We already have generous religious protections in the First Amendment.  Adding more causes deep rifts in our society.   All religions, as well as non-belief,  should enjoy equal standing under the law.  I will defend your right to believe in whatever you wish, no matter how absurd, as long as it doesn’t interfere with my rights.   Will you, religious believers, in kind, defend my rights to believe (or not believe) whatever I wish, as long as it doesn’t interfere with yours?  If so, then neither you, nor I, should be able to use our personal beliefs to be exempted from laws of general applicability.

  • REGISTER AND VOTE — 2018 ELECTIONS ARE ONLY 14 MONTHS AWAY.
  • VOTE AGAINST CANDIDATES THAT INSIST UPON USING RELIGION TO DIVIDE US.
  • VOTE AGAINST CANDIDATES THAT BELIEVE THAT RELIGIOUS GROUPS DESERVE MORE SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND EXEMPTIONS UNDER THE LAW.
  • AMERICAN GREATNESS IS DEPENDENT UPON FAIRNESS AND EQUALITY.

 

Dear Trump Voters,

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I recently read a Letter to the Editor in my local paper.  It was from a woman who was defending her vote for Trump.  Her defense was very succinct and well written.  But then I realized, it was in essence, the same tired crap I had heard many times before.

I was compelled to respond because her defense spelled out the very reasons why Non-Trump voters (i.e. the clear majority of American voters) are both baffled and horrified  by the election of Donald Trump and the people who voted for him.

In context, her letter was written in response to a previous letter which I did not read   That previous letter was obviously supportive of Hillary Clinton and perhaps denigrated Trump and his voters.  After referencing that previous article she continued:

“I am one of the 53 percent of white women who voted for Donald Trump, and I take offense at being called an “ignorant voter” who cannot discern my own self-interests.  I chose Trump because in my opinion, Hillary Clinton was a disastrous secretary of state.”

Let’s pause right there.  Here is the “I Hate Hillary Clinton” argument .  A pretty popular theme among Trumpians.  She doesn’t actually say she hates Hillary, instead it was carefully couched in the put-down about her as Secretary of State.

Hillary for Prison sign

Admittedly, people disliked Hillary almost as much is as they did Trump.  It is also unfortunate that after an 18 month campaign costing billions of dollars, we ended up with two candidates that most people hate.  That’s a sad reflection on the state of American elections — something we all should be concerned about and work actively to change.

But Clinton’s term as secretary of state was not disastrous.  Maybe not stellar, but certainly not a disaster.  This talking-point is straight from the Republican spin room.   Mistakes were made, for example the outcomes of the Libya and Syria strategies were mixed at best.  But no one could rightfully accuse Clinton of not being a highly engaged, hard working Secretary.  She put in grueling hours and logged more miles and visited more countries than any previous Secretary of State.  And then there was Bengazi.  Republicans tried very hard to pin that tragedy on Clinton — conducting 8 separate Republican-lead Congressional investigations.   If they had found even the slightest illegality, Republicans would have nailed her to the cross with it.  But there was nothing.  Begazi was a horrible tragedy and mistakes were made, but, sorry Trump voters, Hillary Clinton neither broke any laws nor acted with any negligence.   Not even rabid Republicans could make a case.

All that digging revealed that Clinton had been using an email account on a personal server at her residence instead of the one provided by the government.  While using a government server was “policy”, both Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice (Secretaries of State under W Bush) used private servers during their tenures and no one raised an eyebrow.  But with Clinton, the Republicans cried “Eureka” and launched even more investigations.  The FBI even got involved.  Despite Clinton’s poor handling of her own defense, by July of 2016, it was concluded that Clinton’s actions did not warrant criminal prosecution.

But Hillary was running for President and,  despite all of the above, was still favored to win.  So Republicans continued to batter Clinton with unfounded Bengazi and Email accusations.  By repeating a non-truth often enough, Republican voters seem to be much more likely to accept it as fact.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign I routinely compared the two candidates by pointing out a simple fact:  Hillary Clinton had spent most of her adult life devoted to public service.  As a lawyer, she could have exclusively taken cases from wealthy litigants, but she always found time to do pro bono work and support causes for people unable to afford legal council, especially women and children.  She continued her public service as the First Lady of Arkansas for two terms, First Lady of the U.S. for two terms (and an active policy advisor), U.S. Senator from New York for 1 term and Secretary of State for 5 years.  Pretty impressive resume.  The point is, like her or not, she has been a dedicated, hard working public servant and advocate devoted to making America a better place.

Let’s contrast that with Trump.   He had no political resume whatsoever.  Not a clue about how government works, not to mention the Presidency.  He doesn’t read books, doesn’t have the slightest inkling about American history and knows absolutely nothing about our Constitution (which used to be as sacred as the Bible to Republicans) and worse, doesn’t care.  Republicans voters decided these were good (or at least acceptable) attributes.  Trump had spent his entire adult life thinking of no one but himself.  He parlayed a silver spoon upbringing into a sizable real estate empire heavily funded by Russian oligarchs and mobsters.  He succeeded by bullying, suing, and slandering anyone who stood in his way.  He screwed contractors, customers and banks over and over again, was forced to pay damages in numerous civil suits, but was able to avoid criminal conviction in others by hiring teams of aggressive lawyers that would drag out litigation and intimidate plaintiffs.  A true, quality individual.

His record alone on the Trump University scandal should have disqualified him.  His admission of being a sexual predator alone should have disqualified him.  His refusal to turn over his tax returns should have disqualified him.  His refusal to divest himself of his business and real estate holdings should have immediately disqualified him.

But it didn’t.  Instead Republicans rewarded him with the nomination!

Back to the Letter to the Editor.  My local Trump supporter went on:

“I am also opposed to abortion on demand, and I wanted more conservative judges appointed to the Supreme Court.  Neither the media nor the Russians had any influence on my decision.”

This was another popular reason for voting for Trump:  A Conservative, Anti-Abortion court.  I’ll do an entire article on abortion sometime in the near future, so for now I’ll just say this to Pro-Life Trumpers:

Polling on Abortion in this country has remained relatively steady over 40+ years.  Here is a historical Gallup Poll overview:

Abortion Poll Gallup

Legal Under Any Circumstances:  42 year range – 22-34%.  Currently 29%

Legal Under Certain Circumstances:  42 year range – 48-61%.  Currently 50%.

Illegal In All Circumstances:  42 year range – 15-21%.  Currently 18%

Consistently over the years, OVER 50% of Americans believe abortions should be legal in some or all circumstances.  Despite all the political wars, the scare tactics, the screaming and the shootings, opinions have changed very little.

Your “Pro-Life” agenda selfishly ignores the will, wishes and beliefs of well over half of adult Americans.  The legal and social ramifications of a Pro Life American would be volatile, divisive and authoritarian.  For what?  So you can impose your will on the majority who see it differently?

Well Mrs. Trump voter, you got your pivotal Supreme Court pick.  Congratulations.  But you sold the soul of this country to get it!  To preserve a Conservative majority, you were willing to elect a man-child of the lowest imaginable character, thoroughly unqualified, a pathological liar, with the temperament and maturity of a 3 year old,  who has a long history of scam artistry and subterfuge, and no respect whatsoever for American political, judicial or media institutions or separations of power.

Since he walked into the White House six months ago, our country has been in a constant state of Constitutional Crisis.  Practically no meaningful legislation has been produced because President Treason has everyone in Chaos Mode.  There are expanding criminal investigations into key members of Trump’s campaign, senior Administration advisors and the President himself!  In just six months, there is already talk of pardons, obstruction of justice, perjury and yes, even possible treason.  WTF?

Trump Russia Connections

Non-Trumpians were able see thru Trump in seconds.  He is a shyster, a snake-oil salesman, a con artist, a compulsive liar.  He has dangerous autocratic tendencies, a racist streak and had no respect for women.  And oh by the way, Trump is the least religious man that has ever been President.  The only God Trump worships is himself.

Why didn’t you see thru him?  Or did you feel perfectly comfortable ignoring his mental and behavioral instability?  You drank the Trump brand Kool-Aid and your still drinking it.  America will NEVER be greater with the likes of Donald Trump as President.

You want change?  Elect a responsible, thoughtful, experienced candidate who will bring sensible constructive change.  Not this sociopathic imbecile who has put our entire country and system of government in danger.

The Letter To The Editor writer concluded by saying:

“The arrogance of Democrats is staggering.  If they could just accept that many of us have a different opinion of the direction we would like the country to take,  and that doesn’t make us ignorant, uninformed, misogynists or racist.

Message to Democrats:  Tone down the arrogance, and maybe you’ll have better luck in future elections.”

Well, she’s sort of right about that.  Democrats were arrogant — after all, we expected to win!  We simply could not imagine a scenario in which enough people in this country would vote for a mentally deranged scum-bag like Trump to make him President.  We were horribly overconfident and I’m sure, to our opponents that came across as arrogance.

We Non-Trumpians are painfully aware that Americans have different opinions about the direction of our country.  We truly welcome a robust, bi-partisan debate on any of those issues.  It is that very ideal that has, over 2 1/2 centuries, made our country great.  The problem today is that one party in particular (yes, yours) has, over the last 20 years, shifted even further to the right and adopted a “Take No Prisoners”, “No Compromise”, “Win At All Costs” strategy that has, at least on many major issues, ended any chance of meaningful dialogue, debate or bi-partisanship.

I sense that you’re probably shaking your head in disagreement right now.  Let me make two quick points to support my position.

When Obama became President he IMMEDIATELY reached out to Republicans and offered to include them on policy discussion and legislation.  The Republican response was essentially: “Go Fuck Yourself.  We’re going to block almost EVERYTHING you want to do (despite the needs of the American people) and do everything in our power to prevent you from winning a second term.”  Despite this, Obama continued to attempt to play nice for many months, way too long in my opinion.

Compare Obama’s approach that to Donald Trump and today’s Republican Congress.  Not only have they deliberately shunned any bi-partisan debate (on the pitifully few bills they have put forward so far) but, in the health care debacle, only a handful of exclusively white, male legislators were invited to craft the legislation.  They didn’t even ask any of their minority or female members much less hold public hearings.   There has been almost no effort to reach out to Democrats for anything, even though Democrats have openly offered to participate.

As to the second point, there was a very telling poll taken a few months ago after Trump launched the Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian airfield.   From the Washington Post April 11, 2017:

“In 2013, when Barack Obama was president, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that only 22 percent of Republicans supported the U.S. launching missile strikes against Syria in response to Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons against civilians.

A new Post-ABC poll finds that 86 percent of Republicans support Donald Trump’s decision to launch strikes on Syria for the same reason. Only 11 percent are opposed.

— Overall, a bare 51 percent majority of U.S. adults support the president’s action in our new poll. In 2013, just 30 percent supported strikes. That swing is driven primarily by GOP partisans. For context, 37 percent of Democrats back Trump’s missile strikes. In 2013, 38 percent of Democrats supported Obama’s plan. That is well within the margin of error.”

Syrian missile strike poll

The Democratic numbers barely moved, even though Trump is a highly unpopular President among Democrats.  What this says is that on issues of this magnitude, Democratic support is not conditional on partisanship.  On the other hand, Republicans had a 64% swing, solely because it was their guy doing it.

Republicans have put party before country time and time again .  And it is their seismic shift to the right that has created a dangerous ideological war within the American electorate.  Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Alt-Right media have fueled the flames.  Extreme redistricting and gerrymandering have insured too many Republicans have relatively safe seats and can pursue scorched-earth conservative policies without voter retribution.  It has been a remarkably effective strategy, I grudgingly admit.  But it has made America more divisive, more intolerant, more insular and it has dispossessed a lot more of our struggling citizens.

Our enemies, foreign and domestic, are cheering at the polarization of American politics; at the inaction and fecklessness of the American Congress; at the threat that our democratic institutions; such as the sanctity and fairness of our voting process, an independent judiciary, a free and independent press, the collapse of bi-partisanship; are under attack.  Donald Trump’s campaign and administration has fed these monsters and encouraged  divisiveness and distrust among us.  This is YOUR doing Trump supporters.  For your Conservative agenda, you have sold the soul of our country.

The party that not long ago promoted “Law and Order” has just chosen a criminal as President.  The party that claimed the mantle of “Strict Constitutionalists” has elected a man who has zero understanding or respect for our Constitution.  The “Anti-Communist party now has a President who is neck deep in collusion and debt obligations with Russia?  Perhaps, Letter To The Editor writer,  you may not consider yourself  “ignorant, uninformed, misogynist or racist”.  But you support a party whose platform and legislative agenda are, in many instances, racist, misogynistic, discriminatory, and favor wealthy and corporate interests over the rest of us.  If you need further proof of this accusation, please read any article on this blog.

Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have already committed the most grievous dereliction of duty:  Russia attacked our country in the summer of 2016.  There is no doubt of this even though Trump supporters have conveniently looked the other way.  The Russians meddled with the sanctity of our elections and voting processes.  They promoted a candidate who was beholden to them and that they could, in some ways, control or at least manipulate.

And what exactly has this Administration or Republican Congress done about it?  They have slow-walked and even at times obstructed investigations into the causes, the principals, and most negligently, the ways to protect ourselves and prevent this from happening again.  Trump has railed against fake news, in-person voter fraud, Obama wire-tapping Trump Tower — all of which is unproven bullshit.  What has he done to protect America from another foreign attack?  Absolutely nothing — he doesn’t even discuss the issue.  This is as gross a dereliction of duty and disregard for his oath of office as I have ever seen in my lifetime.  This should disqualify him as President of the United States right now.  We will hopefully learn in the next few months whether or not our President has committed treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors and just how deep his financial involvements are with Russian oligarchs and mobsters.

Non-Trumpians knew this man was bad news from Day One.  There was no doubt.  His character and actions screamed RED FLAG.  But Trump supporters were willing to lie with the Devil so they could have their Conservative majority on the Supreme Court.  Party before Country.  Win at all costs.  Turn the clocks back to the ’50’s or the 80’s.  That’s the way to make America Great? What a crock of shit.

The Democrats biggest problem is not arrogance.  Republicans have demonstrated, over the last 20 years, that extreme arrogance can be a winning strategy.  The Democrats biggest problem is complacency and apathy.  There are more of us, than there are of you (Democrats have won the popular vote in 5 out of the last 6 elections).  If we can motivate an additional 5% (or more) of eligible voters to turn out on Election Day, despite Republican attempts to suppress the vote, your governmental majorities will disappear like ice in July.  We don’t need luck in future elections.  We need dynamic candidates and a big turnout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Don’t Applaud Or Encourage The Master of Distraction!

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Trump has demonstrated that, as a politician, he is good at three things:

  1.  He is very good at whipping up fear and hate.
  2. He is even better at lying.  He does it so naturally because it’s pathological.
  3. He is a master of distraction.

I’ve written extensively about his first two talents (see The Successful Republican Election Strategy …..Divide And Conquer!”   Part 1 — Wedge Issues. and The American Pluto-Kleptocracy).  So, this article is about Trump’s Art of The Distraction.

Chapter 1.  Whatever I Call You,  I Am Times Infinity.

Trump gives his opponents nicknames that are a manifestation of some of his own worst qualities.  During the campaign he called Marco Rubio “Little Marco”, specifically referencing the size of Rubio’s hands – and thereby implying Rubio had a little dick.  Now that we all unfortunately know Trump better,  he sure acts like a guy trying to overcome multiple insecurities — one of which probably involves his unusually small penis.

Marco Rubio Little

Trump’s nickname for Jeb Bush was “Low Energy Jeb”.  During the campaign, Trump didn’t come across as a low energy guy.  But since becoming President, Trump has been the laziest bastard to ever inhabit the White House.   Trump doesn’t read policy papers, daily briefings or books, instead he watches Fox News.  Trump didn’t vet Circuit or Supreme Court nominees, he used the list that the Heritage Foundation handed him.  He hasn’t invested any measurable time into healthcare, a more comprehensive immigration plan, infrastructure or really even JOBS.

Trump fat

Clearly his greatest priority is his own self-interests followed by those of his family and a small fraternity of ruthless billionaires.  He really has no macro, long-term vision for a greater America; instead he tweets his morning brain farts. He has played golf 15 times in 16 weekends on the job (politifact.com) and has spent 10 weekends at his Mir a Lago Resort in Florida.  That’s a lot for a man who said, “I would rarely leave the White House because there is so much work to be done.  I would not be a President that takes time off”  (June ’15, thehill.com).  Trump is a fat lazy fuck.

 

Which brings me to Ted Cruz, better known as “Lyin’ Ted”, his chief primary opponent and the only man I wanted to become President less than Trump.  The fact that Cruz received the second most primary votes says as much about the state of the Republican party as nominating the Orange Buffoon.  But no one trumps Trump on telling lies.  He doesn’t lie like a normal politician, making promises that he can’t keep and selling his soul to Big Donors for $$$.  Trump lies pathologically, about EVERYTHING:  little things, like the size of his inauguration crowd to huge things, like “Obama wiretapped Trump Tower”.  His lying is so pervasive that it may well be, in the end, the very flaw that sends his Presidency crashing down.  No one is a more accomplished liar than Trump, not even Cruz.  See How To Spot A Pathological Liar

And “Crooked Hillary”.  Trump knows crooked — he’s made a career out of it.

Trump liar

From contractors he stiffed, to landowners he bullied and intimidated, to banks he defaulted on, to the Trump Foundation’s funds he illegally misused, to Trump University students he scammed.  In retrospect, Hillary’s email issue seems petty and partisan compared to Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors.  He is a criminal that has, until now, escaped prosecution.  He makes Richard Nixon look like a Boy Scout.  See It’s Time to Revisit the Watergate Scandal.

Finally, the “Fake News”, “Alternative Facts” mainstream media.  Trump’s attacks on the independent media have sent the chills of Fascism down millions of spines.   And true to form, no one is a bigger phony than Trump — from his lies, his conspiracy theories,  his contentions about his wealth, his hair, his whole campaign shtick of bullshit and snake oil that 60 million gullible Americans consumed as a magic elixir.  Trump has no conscience, no real policies, no substance, he was surprised how “hard” it is to be President and was shocked that issues like healthcare and tax reform were so “complicated”.  “Who knew?” he tweeted.  Everything that doesn’t directly serve or benefit Trump is either “fake” or “false” until his deluded, addled brain decides otherwise.

By using nicknames in this fashion, he deflects his own worst flaws onto someone else.  He uses simple, 4th grade level, derogatory name-calling as a distraction.  And for many Republicans voters, it was quite effective!

Chapter 2:   If You’re Going to Distract…..Distract Bigly!

Trump’s campaign chants, “Lock Her Up”, “Build The Wall”,  “America First”, “Fake News” were simple, yet whopper distractions to overcome the fact that Trump had no policies, no real practical knowledge of governance or no long term goals.

He just couldn’t let go of the fact that he lost the popular vote by roughly 3,000,000; so he invented a distraction that “3-4 million” votes were cast fraudulently in the 2016.

Trump illegal voting

He doubled down and said proof would be coming in 2 weeks.  It’s now been 2 months and not a shred of evidence has been produced; secretaries of states from all 50 states have certified their election results and found virtually zero cases of in-person voting fraud.  Not dissuaded, Trump has recently appointed an advisory panel to investigate the non-existent fraud.

After being “forced” to fire Michael Flynn and in the wake of snowballing news on the Russia/Trump controversy and Jeff Sessions recusal, Trump tried to avert the firestorm by claiming “Obama Wiretapped Trump Tower” and demanding an investigation.

Trump Flynn

And once again he claimed that supporting evidence would be “released very soon”.  Days later he even went so far as to ask the Congressional Intelligence Committees to begin an investigation into the wiretapping — without releasing one whiff of evidence to back up his claim.  That was 2 months ago.  The FBI has said they have seen no proof nor have the Congressional Committees received anything upon which to launch an investigation.  In this author’s opinion, this claim is more than a fabricated distraction; it is liable and slander of the highest order and proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that Trump is mentally unfit to continue in the office of President of the United States.

In early April the heat in Trump’s hellkitchen was becoming uncomfortable.  Michael Flynn offered to testify before Congress; leaks were popping up everywhere; and the FBI was not corroborating Trump’s claims that “he wasn’t under investigation”.  At this sensitive moment, U.S. intelligence reported that Bashar Al-Assad had used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Syria.  This gave Trump the opportunity to pull off one of his biggest distractions yet — he ordered a missile strike on the Syrian air base from which the chemical attack had originated.

To my horror, many people, even some who had been very skeptical of Trump, applauded the move and publically praised Trump.  Brian Williams, the MSNBC anchor, described the event:

Brian Williams syrian missle strike

“We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” Williams said. “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.’”

“They are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them what is a brief flight over to this airfield,” he added.

Shame on you Brian Williams.  I thought you were better than that….

Why are people cheering this mental patient for potentially committing an act of war?  Trump really doesn’t give a damn about Syrian children caught in hell-on-Earth.  We know this because he hasn’t said “boo” about it since then, hasn’t promoted any plan to change the children’s plight, has proposed a budget that significantly reduces foreign humanitarian aid and is in neck-deep with the Russians who are propping up the thug Assad.  This was just an excuse for Trump to try out his very dangerous new toys and redirect people’s attention from his Russia scandal.  Stop cheering!  This isn’t a good thing.

Chapter 3 (and Moral To The Story):  Don’t Encourage The Master Distractor.

The absolute LAST THING we should be doing is giving Trump praise and adulation when he carelessly and without proper notification/authorization uses American military power.  I almost hesitate to print this but military strikes, military build-ups and war have traditionally been the most effective distractions for an otherwise, unpopular President.  Most recently, “W” Bush (with the help of Darth Cheney) used 9/11 to pass the Patriot Act curtailing individual freedoms and to justify torture and illegal rendition against enemy combatants in direct violation of the Geneva Convention.  And clearly the on-going Afghan and Iraq wars helped Bush win a second term.

WE CANNOT NOR SHOULD NOT APPLAUD PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR LASHING OUT MILITARILY AGAINST ANYONE AT THIS JUNCTURE OF HIS PRESIDENCY.  He is a reckless and disturbed man who has become increasingly isolated and desperate as scandals of his own making are threatening to undo everything he has accomplished.  INSTEAD, WE SHOULD REACT IN HORROR AND PROTEST WITH OUR LOUDEST VOICES AGAINST THIS MANIAC.

Resist

More recently Trump has provoked North Korea using tough talk and sending an “armada” to Australia instead of Korea.  This has done nothing but fueled talk of retaliation from North Korea, followed by an aggressive series of missile tests.

Most recently, Trump attempted another massive distraction by firing the director of the FBI and gave a series of conflicting and nonsensical reasons for doing so.  The real reason behind Director Comey’s firing is all too obvious.  Comey was leading a growing, and potentially very damaging investigation into the President and his campaign aides over their involvement in the Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.  In Trump’s deluded mind he thought this would side-track or maybe end the investigation.  Instead, he may have just added ‘obstruction of justice’ to the list of crimes he has committed.

As Trump becomes more deeply mired in scandal and possible treason, his attempts at distraction could become increasingly ominous.

drumpf-crazy-face4

I would not put it past this deranged man to do something genuinely terrifying.  Trump is unfit to remain as President and he MUST BE REMOVED either by impeachment or by invoking the 25th Amendment (Sec. 4) to the Constitution.  Unfortunately, Republicans are recklessly slow-walking the Trump/Russia investigations and have yet to stand up to this spreading cancer.  For a party that ran on the slogan “America First”, it’s time they set aside their real agenda, “Party First”, and commit to the constitutional rule of law.

In the meantime, We The People must remain vigilant and encourage our Representatives to keep Trump in check over the next few weeks and months — especially our Republican Representatives, until he can be legally and permanently removed from the office of the Presidency.

Trump impeachWrite your Congressmen and Senators today.  Demand that they hold Trump accountable and allow these investigations to move forward post-haste, and if they don’t, we will not-so-kindly show them the exit door come 2018.  Leaving Trump in power one extra day might be too long.  What other acts of desperation is Trump capable of before he is removed from office?

To Contact Members of the House Of Representatives:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/

To Contact Members of the Senate:

https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

 

“The Power Of The People Is Greater Than The People In Power”   Wael Ghonim

 

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Life Under A Republican Regime

1
  • Now that Republicans control all the major branches of government as well as a majority of statehouses, their governing priorities are becoming clear.  Here’s what we know so far:

CORPORATIONS AND BUSINESS INTERESTS TAKE PRIORITY OVER THE ENVIRONMENT AND PROTECTION OF OUR HUMAN HABITAT.  One of the very first pieces of legislation passed by the Republican Congress abolishes the Office of Surface Mining Streams Protection Rule — reversing an Obama era regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste.  Republicans are in favor of more toxic coal ash in our streams!  Brilliant!  Profits are now more important than pollution.  Republicans are willing to sacrifice the quality of our water, air and soil in order to supposedly “create jobs” which, if it happens at all, will likely be temporary.  Corporations may see a short term increase in profits, but again, for how long?  And at what long term cost to all of us?

Coal Mining Pollution

 

This is a coal waste pond.  I’d like to fill the water coolers at the House of Representatives and the White House with this sludge.  Would they reverse their decision then?

 

MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN/MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN.  Unlimited money pouring into political campaigns and their surrogate organizations have made elections infinitely more divisive and given them a nastier and uglier tone.  This alone spells danger for American greatness.  But the U.S. has never seen an election like this last one.  The Republican candidate for President ran a campaign of open and naked contempt for people of color, women, minority religions, the poor, the disabled, our judicial system, our free press, and voices of dissent in general.  As disgusting and embarrassing as that was, he also tragically won.  Trump’s first executive order was a poorly thought out, completely unconstitutional ban on people coming to the U.S. based solely on their religious affiliation.  He has since ordered mass deportations of Latino/Hispanic immigrants, many whose only crime is being here without full documentation — even children brought here by their parents.  Trump is an admitted sexual predator who views women purely as objects for his manipulation and pleasure.  As President he has moved to block reproductive health care for American women who need it the most.  He has signed an executive order making it easier for businesses and “Christians” (my choice of word) to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.  His Attorney General, a previously avowed racist, wants to bring back the failed “law and order” tactics of the Reagan/Bush/Clinton era, such as abandoning consent decrees already in place with numerous metropolitan police forces who have a long, sordid history of abusing, intimidating and persecuting citizens, especially citizens of color.  And the Republican party has largely supported and encouraged these barbaric and primitive practices.  They have spawned a new level of hate in this country unseen since the Civil Rights victories in the 60’s and 70’s.  Hate crimes, hate speech, intolerance, discrimination, politically motivated violence are rising to the highest levels in decades.   This is life under the Republican Regime.

White Supremacists overwhelmingly endorse Republican candidates.  But never before have they endorsed a candidate so openly, so loudly and with such vigor as they have Trump.  Steve Bannon is Trump’s Chief Strategist.  Vote Republican and help enable the extreme right wing agenda.

THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF THE WEALTHIEST, MOST FORTUNATE AMERICANS VASTLY EXCEEDS THOSE OF THE REST OF US AND REPUBLICANS ARE INTENT TO SEE THOSE ADVANTAGES EXPAND.  On the political front Republicans have pushed an aggressive campaign of voter suppression targeting people who typically vote Democratic  (minorities, college students, elderly).  They have supported unlimited campaign donations and worse, dark (anonymous) contributions to Political Action Committees (PAC’s) and “527” groups (the tax code ID) enabling rich Americans to have an oversized and unequal voice in elections.  Republicans have quickly moved to roll back citizen protections against Corporate market manipulation, production of unsafe or dangerous products, predatory lending and sales practices, high-risk security trading, and capping monetary compensation for corporate malfeasance.  See my post The Successful Republican Election Strategy…..Divide and Conquer! Part 2: Voter Suppression.  for the full indictment.

The recent Trump tax code proposal spells out the Republican priorities in black and white — a “Trickle Down” tax cut where billionaires like Trump (if he actually is one) will save $10’s of millions on their taxes while the other 90% of us get a pittance.  Read my recent post,  The American Pluto-Kleptocracy  (dated 4/17) for an in-depth report.  Republican tax cuts have been the greatest driving force in creating income inequality in this country.  Mad about stagnating wages?  Pissed off that CEO’s and Financial company VIP’s make more money in a day that you make in a year?  Feel like you can’t get ahead?  Keep voting Republican and you are insuring it will get worse.

Income Inequality Cartoon

The only problem with this cartoon is that the “90%” don’t disappear, they just get angry and desperate.   That leads to civil unrest and possibly revolt.  If our path to a comfortable life is blocked or unattainable then one day, we’ll rise and overthrow the wealth hoarders.   Not a good thing if you want a stable society.

 

CAN’T AFFORD HEALTH CARE?  HAVE PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS?  WORRIED ABOUT A LIFETIME CAP ON BENEFITS?  REPUBLICANS DON’T GIVE A SHIT.  They proved it this week by passing what could only be described as the cruelest, most draconian, and worst health care bill that the House of Representatives has ever dreamed up.  They passed this nightmare bill so quickly, most of the Republicans that voted for it NEVER READ IT AND HAVE NO CLUE what the real consequences are.  They purposely chose not to allow time for an in-depth review or to wait until the Congressional Budget Office “scored” the bill (the non-partisan CBO evaluates a projected cost and effect of each major piece of legislation).  The previous Republican failed attempt at a health care bill was “scored” by the CBO to increase deficits by $337 billion and 24 million people would lose health care by 2026.  This recent bill will, by most estimates, be WORSE.  Are these legislators human?  Do they have any compassion or empathy for people?  Didn’t Candidate Trump promise “Everybody’s going to be covered….and it’s going to be GREAT!”  Well that’s more Trump bullshit.  Fewer people will be covered, more people will go bankrupt, Americans will be sicker and it’s going to cost us all more money.   That’s not great.  That plain sucks.  How do these people get elected?

My, my, aren’t all of those states above RED states??

ANTI-SCIENCE, ANTI-INTELLECTUAL, ANTI-FACT, ANTI-EDUCATION IS THE WAY TO AMERICAN GREATNESS.  Republicans scoff at book-learning, science and intelligent people.  They call them “Elites” who are not to be trusted.  If you don’t read books, you couldn’t know that this is EXACTLY the strategy used when Fascists take over a government.  Authoritarians perceive that educated, critical-thinking people are their biggest threat.  Same with a free press.  It starts with the press being vilified and labeled as enemies of the state because they are criticizing the government.  That’s where we are now.  Only selected and sympathetic media outlets are given full access to the White House.  Republicans are slashing higher education funding in many red states.  They are proposing school voucher programs that will defund public schools in favor of private, less regulated and often for-profit schools.  They are breaking up teacher’s unions and freezing teacher’s pay.  Republicans know they will perform better if the electorate is less educated, more ideological and fearful.  They deny the very real, measurable, observable facts about Climate Change .  Trump has called Climate Change a “Chinese hoax” and threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement ratified by 197 countries in a rare moment of global unity.  Instead, he wants to ramp up production of coal and oil.  This could lead to the U.S. becoming the “Energy Pariah” of the world, not unlike N. Korea is the “Nuclear Pariah”.  Trump has filled his lower Cabinet positions with completely unqualified appointees:  Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (for which he has zero qualifications);  Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy (he had no idea what the Energy Department did); Scott Pruitt as Director of the EPA (because as OK Attorney General he literally tried to sue the EPA out of existence).  Scott, like his boss, is a Climate Change denier.  Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education — despite the fact that she had never stepped foot in a public school in her life and she and her husband donated large sums of money to the Trump campaign.  And most dangerously, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General – an evil and bigoted little elf who is a throwback to the “Stop & Frisk” days of the 80’s and who has chosen as one of his first law & order campaigns to prosecute, intimidate, harass and threaten states that allow legal recreational and medical marijuana.  What about States Rights you fucking hypocrites!  29 states currently have legal medical marijuana,  8 states have legal recreational marijuana.  These programs are heavily regulated and taxed by the State and as such become a rare win-win opportunity:  increasing tax revenues (Colorado generated $200 million in tax dollars in ’16 on $1 billion in sales) and reducing law enforcement, judicial and incarceration expenses at the same time.  Hard to see the rationale here — could it be that marijuana is legal in mostly blue states that didn’t vote for Trump?  Trump promised that he would hire the best and the brightest.  If this is the best the Republicans have, we’re all in deep shit.  And these bozos shouldn’t be governing this country.

Ignorance

 

If that is so, then nothing is more dangerous than Donald Trump and the Republican agenda.

 

 

Let’s recap, these are the principles of our new Republican Regime:

Corporations over Individuals.

Profits over Habitat.

Hate, Fear, Bigotry and Divisiveness over Unity, Compassion and Tolerance.

Wealthy Privilege and Income Inequality over Middle Class Opportunity.

Sickness and Suffering over Health and Vitality

Ignorance and Ideology over Education, Critical Thinking and Innovation.

Over 90% of Americans should be disgusted and embarrassed by these unfair, discriminatory, suppressive practices.  So why is Trump’s approval rating still around 40%?  (Historically one of the lowest ratings for a new President after 100 days, but still 30% too high!).  Wake up Republican voters — You’re Being Conned and Manipulated!

I can’t see how any of these policies keep America great.  Not a one.  In fact, the longer Republicans control our government and pursue this ideology, the more damage they will do.  Divisive, ignorant, fearful and delusional is not a path to greatness.

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LET US HOPE FOR THE BEST BUT PREPARE FOR THE WORST.

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