Re: The Republican Tax Scam. Excerpts from my “The American Pluto-Kleptocracy” post 4/17/17

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With the Republican Tax Scam progressing through Congress, I felt compelled to republish excerpts from my April ’17 blog post below.

If the Tax Scam succeeds, it is clear that a majority of Trump voters will be amongst the country’s biggest losers.  Republicans have already tried to take your health care away, now they are going to stick you with a bigger tax bill so corporations and the richest 1% can pay millions less.

If you know a Trump voter, please forward this article.  They need to try to understand the consequences of their actions.

And please Trump voters, remember this when you go to the polls, from now on.

To read the entire post go to:  https://wordpress.com/post/laresistanceamerican.wordpress.com/434

Income Inequality Cartoon

America’s biggest problem is not illegal immigrants, or radical Islamic terrorists.  It’s not Planned Parenthood, it’s not guns, it’s not even religion.  These are issues that powerful special interests use to divide us and pit us against one another so they can further tilt the economic and legal playing field to their advantage.

Our biggest problem?  The political structure of the United States has become (once again) a plutocracy and most recently has devolved into a kleptocracy.

A plutocracy?  A government by the wealthy (Meriam Webster).  Ploutos is Greek for “wealth”.

A kleptocracy?  A government or state in which those in power exploit natural resources or steal; rule by a thief or thieves (Dictionary.com).  Klepto is Greek for “thief”.

Most of the significant problems that exist in American society today are at least in part attributable to the Plutocracy:  income inequality; excessive money dominating our elections; voter suppression; social inequality; criminal injustice; corporate welfare over human welfare; environmental pollution; our contribution to carbon dioxide waste and climate change; lack of a comprehensive immigration plan; the suppression of women’s reproductive freedom; a ridiculously expensive and horribly inadequate health care system; reductions in essential social services; our outrageous level of military spending; and war.

We haven’t always been a plutocracy but it has happened many times before.  It could be argued that our country started out as a plutocracy — after all only white, male landowners could vote and run for office.  During the Industrial Age of the late 1800’s , the “Robber Barons” (powerful and wealthy corporate monopolists) controlled and manipulated many essential U.S. markets and exploited cheap labor.  J.P. Morgan was so wealthy that he famously rescued the U.S. economy in the Panic of 1907 when asked by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt.

The Roaring 20’s were a time of unprecedented monetary gains for the wealthy.  They were also a time of high anti-immigrant sentiments, alcohol prohibition (that went over well!), low taxes rates (see chart below) and rampant stock speculation. It was the Great Gatsby decade — our most recent fling with a plutocracy.

And how did things end?  With the Great Depression of 1929 that brought this country to it’s knees.

The really scary part is the similarities between the ’20’s and the 00’s. (See the chart Figure 1 below. )

Middle America, wake up.  When the plutocrats start talking about cutting taxes; what they really mean is they give us a little “teaser” cut and their tax savings will be HUGE.  Significant reductions in income tax rates, creates an even bigger and wealthier plutocratic class.  The chart below (Figure 1) shows who benefited most from the 1920’s tax cuts (represented by the  column on the left).

Income Distribution 1920's70% of income growth went to the top 1%.  The bottom 90% split up 17%.

Notice too that after the Great Depression and well into the 60’s and 70’s, we were able to neutralize the plutocracy and produce income gains amongst the 90% that well out-stripped gains for the upper 1%.  Income tax rates went back up too;  in the 1950’s & 1960’s the highest income tax bracket was 80-90%.  In the 1970’s, it had dropped a little to 70%.

Then came the so-called Reagan Revolution.  The top tax rate, paid by the fattest of cats, fell from 70% in 1980 to 31% in 1992 (see chart below) after 12 years of Republicans in the White House.  The fat cats were keeping over 2 times as much income!

 It was a revolution all right, a wealth windfall for the richest and most powerful people and corporations in the country.  They called it  “Trickle down” economics.  And that’s exactly what it did, wealth gushed in for the top income earners and everyone else had to live on a “trickle“.  The Plutocrats had returned to power!

Once the economic playing field becomes tilted to the rich and powerful, it’s very hard to level it out again.  Power and money generate more laws favorable to the wealthy:  caps on interest rates are lifted; restrictions on financial institutions are dropped; corporate tax loopholes multiply; tax rates are cut; politicians are bribed with dark money; lobbyists and lawyers run amok; safety net programs are defunded;  environmental consequences are ignored in favor of profits; huge advertising and PR budgets are used to mask corporate and political crimes and lies;  CEO’s of receive huge bonuses even while crashing the economy.  Plutocrats rarely go to prison

* * * * * * * * * * *

Unfortunately the attention span of the average American voter is very short — a fact upon which Plutocrats rely.  In the 2016 Presidential elections the Republicans ran the biggest, baddest Plutocrat in recent memory.  He easily bamboozled the Republican middle class by convincing them he was a “populist” and using rough, tough language and a 4th grade vocabulary.  He distracted these voters with bullshit, knee jerk slogans such as  “Make America Great Again“, “Build The Wall”, “Ban Muslims”, “Drain The Swamp”, Fake News Media”, “Only I Can Solve It”  to cover up the fact he was a snake-oil salesman, pathological liar, provocateur, predatory scum-bag named Donald Trump.  Those voters drank his Kool-Aid.

The Trump Administration has not only brought back the bad-old-days of Plutocracy, they have, with the help of the Republican Party, devolved our political system in to an outright Kleptocracy.  The simple act of refusing to release his income taxes defines Trump as a kleptocrat.  He does not want us to know how much he makes, how much he owes and to whom, where he has his investments, nor who his partners might be.   This has already raised conflict of interest questions in regards to his ties with other kleptocracies such as Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan to name a few. He refuses to completely divest himself from his various companies and investments that are making more money now that he’s the Predator In Chief.

Instead of “Draining the Swamp”, he has brought in super-sized Alligators and Snakes in the form of the wealthiest cabinet in American history.  But wealth isn’t necessarily the worst of it.  As Brooke Harrington points out in a 1/19/17 Washington Post article titled “Yes, Trump’s Cabinet is super rich.  That’s not why we should be worried.”:

“On the whole, Trump’s picks are more renowned for enriching themselves than for giving to needy causes or serving others. For secretary of labor, we find the chief executive of a fast-food company who opposes a higher minimum wage and other labor regulations that cost him money (he has since resigned). For leader of the Department of Health and Human Services, the nominee is an orthopedic surgeon who as a member of Congress built a track record of opposing policies that cut into physicians’ profits — including programs such as Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, which limit reimbursements for medical services.”

Trump has now been in office for almost a year.  Now we can judge the man-child by his actions not just his bombast.  He’s making money off of being President: higher membership fees at Mira Lago; higher prices at Trump Tower; and countless businesses and financial entanglements that he refuses to reveal; his sons, Uday and Qusay (Bill Maher’s nicknames for them) are travelling the world, making deals with oligarchs and kleptocrats alike because the Trump brand is now worth even more — and we, the taxpayers are picking up the tab, so far $100,000’s, for their Secret Service contingent while the family enriches itself.  If this isn’t illegal it sure as hell should be.

Back on the home front,  Trump and his fellow Republican Plutocrat lovers are passing legislation to aid and abet his wealthy friends and donors:  removing environmental regulations so energy companies can pollute more and profit from it;  attempting, but failing, to pass a health care bill that would strip health care from some of the neediest 24 million people, while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy; defunding and neutralizing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau whose one and only goal is to protect us, the consumers, from predatory lending practices, payday loans and risky investment schemes;  Defunding Planned Parenthood that offers a variety of women’s health services and tests to an estimated 4,000,000 mostly middle and lower class, women.  And coming soon a income tax overhaul that will include big tax cuts (remember the real meaning of that word when it comes from a Plutocrat).

The 90% is getting completely shut out of the big wealth transfer planned by the Republicans.  We can’t take this sitting down.  Stop making excuses for these pricks.  Don’t let them distract you with wedge issues while they pick your pockets, toxify your air and water and steal our future.

There are two ways to stop a Plutocracy/Kleptocracy:

1) In the 1920’s the Plutocracy came to a screeching halt because of the Great Depression.  After the collapse, government policies, laws and programs (like the New Deal) were created to aid the real victims and the neediest and most vulnerable in society.  Thanks to these measures, it took 50 years before the Plutocrats could gain the upper hand again.  So, one way to end the Plutocracy is total economic collapse.  This is not the preferred solution because while the Great Depression hurt rich and poor alike, middle and lower income earners always suffer more and endure economic hard times longer.

2)  The second way to end a plutocracy can be done without an economic meltdown — it requires a massive shift of voter consciousness.  The 99% of us must suspend our ideological war against one another over zero-sum wedge issues and vote as the cohesive economic block that we are.  Economic conditions that deny minorities decent wages, health care and wealth accumulation also deny white Americans from similar economic status the same opportunities.  Remove consumer protection regulations from the financial/insurance industry and it won’t be long before they are raiding and pillaging the middle class again.  Cut funding and enforcement for clean air and water and the 90% gets it the worst.  The recent Michigan water crisis happened in Flint, a prototypical middle class city, not in well-to-do Bloomfield Hills.  Deport undocumented workers and prices on many staple goods and services will go up.  That hurts the 99%, not the 1% that pass the laws.

We are the 99% and despite Citizens United, unlimited contributions, dark money to political entities and a Kleptocrat in the White House, we can absolutely overwhelm the Plutocrats with voting power.  This is exactly why the Republicans (the more pro-plutocratic party) depend upon spreading unsubstantiated fear, exploiting racial issues and using wedge issues to divide the 99% and dupe roughly half of us into voting against our own economic self-interests.  See my previous posts “The Successful Republican Election Strategy Parts 1 & 2” — 1/23/17 and 3/14/17 for a more detailed report on this phenomenon.

A prophetic quote from the movie “The Big Short” (2015):  “I have a feeling, in a few years people are going to be doing what they always do when the economy tanks. They will be blaming immigrants and poor people.”

The Republican Plutocracy

I encourage all voters earning under $250,000 to set aside their never-ending battles over social issues and in 2018 (or before if there are special or local elections) and 2020, VOTE TO END THE KLEPTOCRACY!.  Hold elected officials and candidates accountable for their positions on vital issues such as health care, reasonable environmental regulations, tax cuts and budgeting that hurts us and aids the wealthy, full disclosure of their financial entanglements and tax returns, their stance on reasonable Consumer Protection Laws, ethics laws, Citizens United and dark money in politics and the power and influence of lobbyists and foreign governments.

We have tried “Trickle Down” economics and it has been a complete failure for everyone except the super rich.   A Plutocracy is not a stable way to run our country.  Sooner or later it will produce a catastrophe of greed and avarice.  It weakens America, not make it stronger.  A Kleptocracy is even worse.  We, the 90-99%, are allowing thieves, swindlers and sociopaths to run roughshod over us, manipulating markets, bilking tax payers, destroying our environment, and selling us hot steaming shit and telling us it’s caviar.

We can stop them.  And all we have to do is vote.  Vote smart, vote your pocketbook, vote for the 90-99%.  The way America becomes stronger and ‘greater’ economically is from the middle class out — the exact opposite of “Trickle Down”.   The tax laws, economic opportunites, job growth, health care, educational decisions must be designed to help the middle class first and foremost.  Should we be successful, the fat cats won’t suffer too much.  But just remember, the Plutocrats will always be lurking, waiting and watching for us to drop our guard, become too apathetic or easily distracted.   For a better, more prosperous America, we can’t let that happen.

 

WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPERSON TODAY!  TELL THEM “NO” TO THE REPUBLICAN TAX SCAM.  “NO” TO TAX FAVORITISM FOR THE WEALTHY.  “NO” TO CORPORATE TAX RATE CUTS — THEY DON’T NEED IT!  IF THERE ARE GOING TO BE ANY TAX CUTS, THEY MUST BE DIRECTED EXCLUSIVELY TO MIDDLE AND LOWER ECONOMIC GROUPS.

IF THAT REPRESENTATIVE VOTES FOR THIS CRUEL AND UNJUST BILL ANYWAY……….VOTE THEM OUT AT THE NEXT OPPORTUNITY.

 

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Pro-Life and Pro Gun??

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Pro Life Pro Gun sticker (2)_LI

Yeah, I know the picture sucks.  I was driving and photo-shooting at the same time.  I had seen a similar bumper sticker before and had vowed that if I saw another, I would take the pic.  Best I could do.  In case you can’t read it, it says:

SAVE FREEDOM    NRA     PRO-
TRUMP/PENCE                    LIFE

I have long been tempted to print up a bunch of bumper stickers that simply say:

…..AND I’M A MORON.

And stick them on cars like this.  I would also target the bumper sticker that says:

AREN’T YOU GLAD YOUR MOTHER IS PRO-LIFE?

As is so happens, my mother is Pro-Choice you brainless twit!  Does this car owner actually believe that only Pro-Life Mothers give birth?  It really only makes sense if it continues with ….AND I’M A MORON.

But back to the sticker in the photo above.  Please, someone explain to me how you can be simultaneously Pro-Life and Pro-Gun?  Even if you only shoot deer or ducks, using a gun for anything other than target practice, generally means that something is likely to DIE.  So where does the Pro-Life shit come in?

And if you’re Pro-Life/Gun how exactly do you square your beliefs with the fact that last year, in the U.S. alone, there were over 33,000 gun deaths and another 75,000 gun injuries (CDC)?  It appears that firing a gun is actually more of a Pro-Death activity.  And because Pro-Life is specifically a cause against the so-called “murder” of “children” via abortion, what do you think the owner of this car would say about the fact that 2800 children and teens die by gun EVERY YEAR?  Or that in 2010, the American Journal of Medicine reported that of  23 high-income countries, 91% of children killed by firearms were in the U.S.?

If you’re Pro-Gun, you can only be Pro-Life in the narrowest and most hypocritical sense of the word (i.e. Pro-Life for fetuses).  Or as the comedian George Carlin famously said about Pro-Lifers, they believe:  “If you’re Pre-Born you’re Protected.  If you’re Pre-School, you’re Fucked!”

I suggest a law that if you have both a Pro-Life and Pro-Gun bumper sticker on your car, you are hereby required by law, to add my ….AND I’M A MORON sticker along side it.

Hard to believe that in the second decade of the 21st century, an entire major U.S. political party is rallying around the ignorant hypocrisy of being both Pro-Life and Pro-Gun.  Go figure.  And what’s worse, they don’t even see the irony.

 

 

 

The Lesson From Virginia

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A CLEAN SWEEP FOR DEMOCRATS OF TOP OFFICE HOLDERS IN VIRGINIA!

GOV.-ELECT NORTHAM WINS BY 9 POINTS!

Virginia just showed us the way forward.  The way to destroy Trumpism and everything it’s stands for.   ENERGY, SOLID CANDIDATES AND MASSIVE TURNOUT.

When Democrats have these three ingredients we win, not everywhere or every time, but we can begin to reverse stranglehold Republicans have had in recent elections.  We create energy about EVERY election, no matter how small.  We put forward well-vetted candidates who have no fear of promoting and supporting issues that will benefit the lives of the majority of people.  And we turn out to vote in massive numbers.

More importantly, Democrats flipped at least 15 seats in the Virginia House, with 3 contests still undecided.  Republicans had held a 28 seat advantage (66-34).  If the Dems win 2 or more of the remaining races, the balance of in the legislature is even.  All this DESPITE intensive Republican gerrymandering in the state since 2000.

I completely underestimated the number of votes needed to win the Virginia Governorship.  In 2013, current Governor Terry McAuliffe won with just over 1,069,000 votes to his opponent’s 1,011,000.  That was only a 2.5% difference.  I figured if Democrats could turn out 1.1 million voters, Northam would win BIG.  Turns out that the loser, Ed Gillespie, received 1,173,000 votes!  Fortunately there was a “Blue Wave” of Democrats, 1,405,000 votes for Northam.  A 9% margin.  One of the biggest margins of victory in any Virginia governorship in modern memory.

In the Democrat’s giddiness we must remember that Gillespie received 162,000 more votes than the Republican candidate in 2013.  That’s a 16% increase!  We must not forget that Republican voters are much more disciplined and consistent in participating in off-year elections.  With the built-in advantage they already have in a majority Republican controlled states PLUS all of the phony voter suppression laws (i.e. Voter ID’s) and the illegal use of gerrymandering (redistricting) to alienate voters by race and ethnicity; Democrats must turn out in HUGE numbers if we are going to flip the Senate and to flip the House we will need another Blue Wave.

MAKE 2018 A BEAUTIFUL BLUE YEAR!!

Let us celebrate for sure.  Thank you Virginia and New Jersey in particular!  But we must never again be as complacent as we were in 2016.  Never again!  Follow this blog and your regular news outlets:  STAY INFORMED, REGISTER AND VOTE.  ELECTION 2018 is exactly ONE YEAR AWAY.

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

VIVA LA RESISTANCE!

 

 

 

 

The Battle for Virginia continues…

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Democrats, Liberals, Progressive and Independents in Virginia.  IT’S TIME TO VOTE!!

On Tuesday, November 7 there is an important state-wide election in Virginia to elect your next Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.

For Governor the candidates are Ralph Northam (D) and Ed Gillespie (R).

Ralph Northam  Ralph Northam.

Northam is currently the Lieutenant Governor of the State and has been since 2014.  Northam has staked out a centrist Democrat position.

Gillespie is the former Republican National Committee chairman under Dubya Bush and was later in the Bush White House as an advisor.  Gillespie had always associated himself with more center-right Republicans.

But he has been running behind in the polls and in order to boost his numbers, Gillespie recently became ‘Trumpatized’, that is, using negative and misleading ads to promote fear, hate and divisiveness into the campaign.  These are Trump tactics 101 and are a complete departure for Gillespie who had previously spoken out against such strategies.  For more on Gillespie’s message read:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/11/01/daily-202-negative-ads-are-helping-ed-gillespie-win-over-trump-supporters-in-the-virginia-governor-s-race/59f9276930fb0468e7653ff4/?utm_term=.41ebab34baff

We cannot allow these tactics to be successful.  We must fight against this naked attempt by Republicans to further divide this country for the self-interests of greedy bizillionaires, corporations as well as white and Christian supremacists.

If you have been disgusted by Trump Republicans, if you wish to take a stand against the weakening and exploitation of American democracy — we can send a loud and clear message by defeating such candidates everywhere possible.  The formula for success is simple:

VIRGINIANS — YOU MUST VOTE TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7.  A huge turnout will smother the Republican candidate.  WE ARE THE MAJORITY!  But we can only succeed with massive voter turnout.

Encourage your friends, family and neighbors to vote.  If you can’t make it to the polls, complete an absentee ballot and send it in right away.  YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT!

Complaining about government and politics is an EMPTY GESTURE unless you are willing to show up at the polls.  PLEASE VOTE NOV. 7 for the following Democrat candidates:

RALPH NORTHAM for Governor

JUSTIN FAIRFAX for Lieutenant Governor

MARK HERRING for Attorney General

In 2013, the current Governor, Terry McAuliffe (D), received 1,069,789 votes and won by a small margin of 2.6%.

Let’s give NORTHAM over 1.1 million votes and insure a victory.

VOTE OUT REPUBLICANS –they have enabled and supported Donald Trump who is mentally unstable, clearly unfit for office and who, after the Charlottesville protests, praised Neo-Nazi’s and White Supremacists as “some fine people” and cast blame “on both sides”.  Republicans have already cut healthcare to millions of Americans; they have removed many Environmental protections including the Clean Water Act, vital to the protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and have threatened to cut significant amounts of funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program.  And finally, as we speak, Republicans are preparing to pass a large tax cut, 80% of which will benefit wealthy individuals and corporations.  And the crumbs will be spread amongst the 90+% of us.

WE MUST DRAW THE LINE HERE.  VOTE VIRGINIA!  NOV. 7

 

 

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 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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ode to Dubya.

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George Dubya Bush throws down the crayons and enters the fray.

Bush leaves office

He left the White House in quiet shame.   The finale of a dismal presidency.  The 9/11 attacks.  The Afghan quagmire.  The Iraq clusterfuck.   Lies and cherry-picking intelligence to meet pre-determined ideological desires .  Torture, illegal rendition, war crimes.  No Child Left Behind (ha!).  Quickly blowing a rare budget surplus.  Sound Presidential advice like “Go shopping”.  Dick Cheney & Don Rumsfeld.   All culminating in the Great Recession.

Dubya Bush (George W) left office as the least popular President since Richard Nixon resigned.  Bush has been scorned even by his own party.  Past Presidents are generally guest speakers at their Party’s Nominating convention.  Bush hasn’t even been invited to the past 3 Republican conventions much less as a guest speaker.

He made a brief appearance on behalf of his brother Jeb during the 2016 Republican primary campaign in South Carolina.   Dubya proved he still had no mojo, Jeb came in a distant fourth with 7.84% of the vote and dropped out of the Presidential race that night.

Dubya has thankfully lived a very low-profile life since leaving office.

Bush the artist

But Laura let Dubya go out Thursday night to give a speech to one of the few organizations that are actually interested in what he has to say, the George W. Bush Institute.  And Dubya made, what in my opinion, was the best speech of his political career.

Bush speech

I know, that’s not saying much.  Dubya could mangle a speech better than anyone.  I have often joked that Bush had trouble completing sentences.  A few famous Bushisms:  (from Slate.com 1/12/09 “25 Top Bushisms of All Time”– read them all, they’re hilarious!)

  1. “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful and so are we.  They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
  2. “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”
  3. “Rarely is the question asked, “Is our children learning?”
  4. “There’s an old saying in Tennessee, I know it’s in Texas — probably in Tennessee, that says, ‘Fool me once, shame on — shame on you.  Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”
  5. “One of the great things about books is sometimes there are fantastic pictures.”
  6. “Well, I think if you say you are going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness.”

You get the idea.  I spent all those years despising Bush for stealing the 2000 election (The Day America Lost It’s Shit).  I was humiliated that someone that simple-minded and uninformed could become President of the U.S.  The rest of the world must, in turn, assume we Americans are just as ignorant, just as clueless.   I couldn’t turn the television off fast enough when I saw his twitchy, dumbfounded face with it’s nervous lip-less smirk.

Bush was always seemed uncomfortable in his own skin (above right).

 

Perhaps there is still hope that Dubya can be a better former-President than he was a President.  In the era of Trump dystopia and madness, watching clips of Bush’s recent speech actually had me thinking “You know, Dubya Bush doesn’t seem so bad anymore.”  With Bush flawlessly reading a well-written speech, I found myself just a little nostalgic.  If Donald Trump has done anything, for anybody, he’s made Dubya Bush look a whole lot better.  For one thing, Bush isn’t the worst President in modern history any more.

Not only did Bush complete his speech without screwing it up, but he actually said something of import:

“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.  We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade, forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.  We’ve seen the return of isolation sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places.”

Dubya Bush actually said this, even with all the big words and stuff.

“We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty.  Bigotry seems emboldened.  Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication   We need to recall and recover our own identity.  To renew our country, we only need to remember our values.”

Pretty good for Dubya.  The last two sentences were empty bullshit, but pretty good over all.  It would have been a great speech if he had specifically called out the name of the commander-in-chief of cruelty and bigotry;  the ringleader of conspiracy theories and fabrications; the executive of chaos and despair; Donald Trump.

He also failed to mention that Trump is the Frankensteinian product of Bush’s own Republican Party.

Trump as Frankenstein

I’ll give some credit to Republicans, in and out of office, who are publically condeming the actions, policies and temperment of Trump — even though it’s too little and way too late.  But they’re still far from owning up to the fact that for two decades Republicans have tilled, seeded and nurtured the field of fear-mongering, divisiveness, cruelty and bigotry.  Trump is the harvest.

Bush’s speech does seem to be another gauntlet thrown down in the battle for the Republican Party.  For a party that has already made a quantum shift to the right in the last  20 years, the Trump/Bannon zealots want to take it all the way, bat-shit crazy right.  Destroy and rebuild.  Can you imagine the horrors of a world trying to deal with an Alt-Right America?

Can semi-sane and partially rationale Republicans reclaim their party?  Or have they already made the Faustian bargain and sold their soul?  Bush, McCain, Flake, Corker, Gerson, Fromm and to some degree, a few others are finally trying to draw the line.  Dubya, this was one of your finer moments.

Bush giving finger

 

 

 

 

 

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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