Hot Button Issue: Women’s Reproductive Rights. Part 4: The Social Benefits of Abortion and Contraception.



Before the legalization of abortions in 1973, it was estimated that there were approximately 800,000 illegal abortions a year. (Guttmacher Institute Jan/Feb. 2004).

Abortion pre Roe


That’s proof right there that criminalizing abortion will not STOP abortion. It simply drives it underground. On the other hand, legalization has created many positive options for unwanted pregnancies:

1) The average gestation period for abortions has dropped. In 1970, 1 in 4 abortions were performed at 13 weeks or later. 10 years later, that number had dropped to 1 in 10. More than half of the women obtaining abortions after 1980 did so at 8 weeks gestation or earlier (Guttmacher – same report).   Abortions are a fact of life in every human society, regardless of their laws and customs.  So, can all the “Pro”-Groups, at the very least, agree on encouraging and supporting abortion as earlier in the pregnancy as possible?

Abortion gestation chart


Guttmacher Institute


2) Early legal abortions were typically done in a hospital. But since the 1980’s those procedures were more commonly offered at Woman’s Reproductive Health Clinics that in addition to abortion, also provide women with family planning services, support networks, contraceptive counseling, routine out-patient gynecological exams, sterilization procedures and infertility testing. Closing such health clinics robs women of access to all important reproductive health services.

3) Deaths and complications from illegal abortions dropped dramatically after Roe vs. Wade. Abortion today is one of the safest medical procedures performed. (stat here?). Remember, making abortions illegal again won’t stop abortions – it will just drive them underground where they will become more dangerous and fatal. Legalization has also encouraged extensive research to find better, safer and more affordable procedures and birth control methods.

Abortion mother fatality rate


Guttmacher Institute


A 1999 Harvard University study reported these additional long-term social benefits:

“The sharp rise in legal abortions from fewer than 750,000 in 1973 to a plateau of around 1.5 million a year since the early 1980’s fits with the timing of the drop in national crime rates since 1991. The cumulative effect from abortions 15 to 25 years earlier can also explain why the national crime rate continued to fall through 1998 and is projected to keep falling for a further 10 to 20 years.”

“….New York and California legalized abortion by 1970, three years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973. As the theory implies, the early legalizers experienced falling crime rates sooner than the rest of the country. Finally, abortion rates responded to the legalization differently across states, and those with the highest rates of abortion in the 1970’s experienced the sharpest drops in crime in the 1990’s.

Read the full article at:

Just a shout out to the Jeff Sessions and Rudy Giuliani-types: legal, safe, effective, affordable abortions seem to have had a much greater effect on lowering the crime rate than your “stop and frisk”, “three strikes”, and mandatory minimum sentencing programs. Something we should all be talking about.


If that’s not enough, there is one more big long-term social benefit. Overpopulation is one of human civilization’s greatest threats. At this current moment, we are failing to supply about 1/3 of the world’s population with the very basic necessities of life: adequate food, clean water, medical care and adequate shelter. By 2050, with an estimated world population approaching 10 billion, that shortfall will affect roughly 50% of all humans! (UN study, get specific reference). How can we maintain a stable society when half of all people don’t have access to the basic necessities of daily life? We simply cannot sustain our current quality of life without fundamentally changing the way we live.

Energy consumption by country

Americans are a huge part of the problem. Per capita, Americans consume 4 times as much of the world’s natural resources as British or French citizens. When compared to Chinese or Indians, average American consumption is 10-12 times higher. Americans devour 20 times more natural resources per capita than people in Brazil or Egypt or Pakistan. And compared to some of the poorest sub-Saharan African countries, American per capita consumption can range from 50 to 100 times higher.

Energy usage per capita

From a global perspective, we Americans are gluttonous, greedy pigs. Even though our birth rates are relatively low, it’s our massive appetite for Earth’s resources that makes  us such a danger to our species’ quality of life.

If we had any kind of conscience and compassion for our brothers and sisters around the world we would, and should, rethink, redesign and re-engineer all products, packaging, delivery systems and energy consumption currently in use. Unfortunately, that will likely take decades, if it happens at all.

In the meantime, the very last thing we should encourage is the gestation and birth of unwanted children. Such an attitude is bound in an ancient, outdated belief that humans have an obligation to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28, 9:7).  That seemed like a good idea thousands of years ago when there were under 50 million humans on this planet. Unfortunately, Western monotheisms continue to preach and defend this doctrine up to this very day.

Over Population be fruitful

We humans have been too fruitful and have multiplied into a ravenous swarm of billions that we cannot sustain. Like a virus that multiplies too successfully and kills its host. Earth is our host and out-of-control human population is killing our only habitat.

As urgently as we need this change of consciousness, it should be implemented voluntarily.  Smart governments will not impose mandatory sterilizations or one-child policies, nor should governments force women to remain pregnant and deliver children against their will. Instead we can dramatically reduce the number of abortions by providing women (and their spouses, baby-daddies and doctors) with the best possible health care and a broad range of prevention and pregnancy options which includes safe, effective abortion procedures.  Given those options, women will overwhelmingly make the right choices for their lives and future.  We must support that.

If we were to make abortions illegal again in this country (or with only an exception to save the mother’s life) we would join the company of the following nations:

Nicaragua                             Egypt
Venezuela                             Iran
El Salvador                           Lebanon
Haiti                                       Libya
Angola                                   Sudan
Chad                                       Syria
Nigeria                                  Yemen
Somalia                                 Indonesia
Uganda                                  Philippines
Afghanistan                          Ireland

Or, we can adopt sane and sensible abortion laws with viability restrictions, proper education, safe medical facilities and procedures like the following countries:

England                                 Italy
France                                   Spain
Germany                              Portugal
The Netherlands                 Israel
Belgium                                Greece
Norway                                 Japan
Sweden                                 Iceland
Finland                                 Canada
Denmark                              Switzerland

With whom shall we cast our lot? Countries run by tyrants, dictators, autocrats and religious fanatics (except Ireland where they will be voting on a constitutional referendum to liberalize abortion laws in May ‘18) or democratic countries that lead the world in per capita income and quality of life?

When will the United States take responsibility for consuming the lion’s share of the world’s resources? If we are going to be respected as the “Leaders of the Free World” then we must act like leaders and LEAD. We must be the role models. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard.

That means not emulating dictatorships and theocracies. That means having the best health care systems in the world that includes contraception, prenatal education and care, lowering our infant mortality rates, and as a last resort option, providing safe, effective and inexpensive abortions. It also means having the best adoption and foster care system in the world; ending child homelessness, malnutrition and providing health care for all children.

We cannot randomly, carelessly or thoughtlessly bring unwanted children into a country where they will consume 4 to 100 times more resources than children in other countries. Nor should we bring them into a country with a woefully under-funded, under-staffed adoption and foster care system.

Our priority must be for living children – for the 400,000 in foster care, the 20,000 a year that age out of foster care without a permanent family, the 2.5 million homeless children, the countless millions more without health care, and the untold number of children that are abused. Let us put all of our energies into solving their problems first instead of shaming, scaring and obstructing pregnant women.

Can we temporarily drop these unwinnable Abortion Wars and instead try working together to make our world healthier, safer, happier and more caring for our living children?  Politicians won’t like us working together — because they can manipulate us much more easily by dividing us and making us fear one another.   But together we can reduce the number of abortions, reduce infant mortality, give mothers and their children better healthcare and improve conditions for parentless children.

Let’s drop the polarizing rhetoric of “Life” and “Choice” and find the common ground. We’re all Pro-Child and Pro-Mother right?







Hot Button Issue: Women’s Reproductive Rights. Part 3: The Anti-Choice Arguments and A Response.


The Anti-Choice Movement has three fundamental objections to contraceptives and abortion:

1) Abortion and some contraceptives are murder. And using preventative contraception (like birth control pills/patch, diaphragms, and IUD’s) are violations of God’s law because they permit sex for recreational purposes, not child-bearing. The unwanted “babies” are then murdered in the womb.

2) Abortion and contraception allows people (women mostly) to avoid personal responsibility. This is the “It’s A Child, Not A Choice” argument. If you had unprotected sex (or even if your contraception failed) and you become pregnant, then it’s your (the woman’s) responsibility to carry that child to term, raise it if you have the means or put it up for adoption. Abortion is “the easy way out” and allows a woman to avoid taking responsibility for her actions.

Abortion -- its a child not a choice

3) At the very least, abortions and contraception should in no way be funded by federal tax dollars because that would violate the religious beliefs of Anti-Choice taxpayers.

All three are poignant arguments and therefore they should be addressed individually.

Response to #1):  Abortion and contraception are NOT murder (*see list of countries below where it is illegal – not exactly an “A” list of advanced democracies). Nowhere in our legal code does it say otherwise. Anti-Choicers may want it to be legally classified as murder, but as of the last time I checked, it’s not. Calling it murder is simply imposing your personal beliefs on a matter that has already been legally and frankly, politically decided. Your Anti-Choice position however clearly violates the private, individual rights of all women. We are not moved by your arguments about Scripture, God’s word or religious belief.  That may define who you are, but for the rest of us, it has no bearing on the issue whatsoever.

More generally, in what society or culture has a fetus ever been legally regarded as a separate, individual member? None that I’m aware of. (With the exception of a criminal act upon a pregnant women resulting in the death of the fetus.  But the death of a fetus without the mother’s consent is an entirely separate issue.)

Infant mortality rates US

In fact, many ancient cultures, where infant mortality rates where 2000-5000 times higher than today, had a completely opposite view: they didn’t even name a child until it reached 2-3 years old! Why jinx a name on a child that has a 20-50% chance of dying before it reached a certain age? In America today, where in the census are unborn children counted? When are most children named? When are children given a birth certificate and a Social Security number? Regardless of what it is called in the womb up to viability (blastocyst, zygote, fetus or baby) only after birth, does it become an independent person in the eyes of law.

If we were to make abortions illegal again in this country (or with only an exception to save the mother’s life) we would join the company of the following nations:

Nicaragua                        Egypt
Venezuela                        Iran
El Salvador                      Lebanon
Haiti                                  Libya
Angola                              Sudan
Chad                                 Syria
Nigeria                             Yemen
Somalia                            Indonesia
Uganda                            Philippines
Afghanistan                    Ireland*

*Ireland is currently working on liberalizing their abortion laws.  Stay tuned.

Response to #2):  Automatically saying that a woman is avoiding ‘personal responsibility’ by using contraception or having an abortion is not only a cheap shot and grotesquely ignorant but sexist as well. Anti-Choicers have no clue why any individual woman chooses to use contraception or have an abortion. Nor do most of them (men) have any idea of the emotional stress and trauma of carrying a child to term and then giving it away. And frankly it’s none of their f…ing business. Might some women use abortion as de facto birth control? Yes, but I have seen no statistics that suggest this is a common practice. Even in such rare cases, many of those women may lack access to health facilities and contraception.

What is to be done in the case of rape, incest or medical conditions that effect the life of the pregnant mother? Do you honestly believe in forcing a rape victim to carry the fetus to term? What does that have to do with ‘personal responsibility’? Same with forcing a woman to deliver a child that may result in the mother’s death or disability? These are the most highly personal decisions anyone can make. And you believe the Government should make that decision for the pregnant mother? Sorry, not in a free society.

But even in more normal, healthy pregnancies, how can we possibly justify allowing the Government (largely controlled I might add, by older white men) to take away the very right a woman has to her own body, to her own life, to her own future?

Abortion and men

Anti-Choicers tend to lean Conservative on many other voting issues. One of the hallmarks of Conservatism is limited government interference in people’s lives. EXCEPT WHEN IT PERTAINS TO WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS! Oh no, when it comes to that, Anti-Choice Conservatives want MORE GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE. In fact, many of them want the government to make abortion and contraception ILLEGAL, period, no exceptions.  Hypocrisy anyone?  “Don’t touch my money, my land or my gun but the government can go ahead and take control of all ovaries and uteruses”.

For a moment let’s consider what would happen if abortion and contraception became illegal in the U.S. The first thing you must understand is that ABORTIONS WON’T STOP. Sure, the number of abortions will appear to drop, in part because if they’re illegal, then no one will report them. But I guarantee you there will still be hundreds of thousands of abortions every year.

What would we do with women and doctors that have participated in an abortion? Arrest them? Put them in prison? “Yes”, you say? “Should have thought about that before you got knocked-up”, you retort? What if those women have other young children? What if they are single moms? And what’s the punishment? If you say terminating a pregnancy is murder, then these women and doctors should get life in prison? The death penalty? How can you justify putting hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding, tax-paying, child-rearing women in prison or to death for making an extremely difficult decision concerning their own bodies? Prison populations will explode.  Our foster care and adoption systems will be completely overwhelmed.  Rates of abandon, homeless and malnourished children will sky-rocket.   Crime rates will go up.  You will have a revolution on your hands. There will be blood in the streets.  And abortions will still continue.  This is not a sane, pragmatic solution.

Abortion for men

Response to #3):  I understand the religious objection to having tax dollars pay for abortions and contraception. I had moral objections to the Iraq War. I didn’t want my tax dollars going to fund that fiasco. Did I get an exemption or have a law passed saying my taxes won’t go to pay for the War? No. Second, funding women’s health programs and pre-natal care, encouraging healthy lifestyles, educating and empowering women, especially for financially struggling women, has a positive long-term effect on our entire society.  We should willingly allow a reasonable amount of our taxes go to funding such programs.  But Religionists are constantly claiming that all sorts of activities and beliefs violate their “religious liberties”: gay marriage, legal marijuana, inter-racial marriage, pornography, nudity, video games, transgenderism, science textbooks, evolution, not being able to put your Creche in the town square. We understand you disapprove of many of these issues, but their existence in no way prevents you from worshipping your God or practicing your religion! So please, can you let the rest of us exercise our non-religious liberties?

Abortion -- dont like abortions, dont have one

If abortion and contraception remain legal no individual* has to give up any existing rights. Anti-Choicers are not required or mandated to have an abortion or use contraception.

(*And no, I don’t consider a blastocyst, zygote or a pre-viable fetus to be an “individual”. Neither do our laws or the laws of most advanced democracies.)

If abortion and contraception become illegal, hundreds of millions of current and future women lose the obvious right to make their own decisions about their body, their life and their future.  Denying  those rights is autocratic and authoritarian.  It smacks of the kind of heavy-handed theocracy that most Conservatives find so distasteful about certain Islamic countries.   How ironic, those are the very nations we would emulate by making abortion and contraception illegal.

We can compromise on reasonable restrictions and even exemptions, but abortions and contraception must be remain legal. As a free and democratic nation we cannot severely restrict or deny the entire female population of our country the rights of reproductive freedom, regardless of what anyone’s religious or moral beliefs may be. If we do, we are no longer free or democratic. Your definitions of “life”, “murder”, “viability”, “child”, “individual rights” and “privacy” are simply different than ours. That’s why we have laws to sort these things out. It simply comes down to how we, as a society, protect the rights of the largest number of people possible. Living, breathing, out-of-the-womb people.

Abortion my uterus






Abortion -- the debate

The abortion/contraceptive/reproduction rights issue has raged for 45 years. It’s time to put down our torches and pitchforks, establish a sane, pragmatic approach to this problem and focus our attentions, money and energy on more pressing problems facing our country.

The abortion question comes down to this: Should it be legal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy, within certain time constraints, or not? Or phrased another way, should federal or state governments be able to restrict a woman’s pregnancy options, and if so, how much?

First let’s establish one crucial point. Abortion, pregnancy termination and contraception is as ageless as sex itself. Every piece of historical evidence reveals that women have been trying to control their pregnancy options for as long as they have been getting pregnant.

References to abortion and contraception methods date back as far as 1550 BCE in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus (Wikipedia) and those references continue consistently through history such as an 8th century Sanskrit text to “sit over a pot of steam or stewed onions” or to use massage/pressure techniques to induce abortions found on bas reliefs at Angor Wat in Cambodia from 1150 CE.

Midwives from past eras have prescribed herbal remedies as contraceptives and abortifacients (drugs that cause abortions): silphium, rue, birthwort, pennyroyal, hellebore, Italian catnip, savory, sage, soapwort, cyperus, brewer’s yeast, tansy, rubia tinctorum (madder), savin, Spanish fly, opium, watercress, iron sulfate, iron chloride, worm fern, the saliva of camels and crushed ants have been tried to varying degrees of success and danger.

In more desperate situations, women have been forced to undergo primitive surgical procedures involving bloodletting, perforation of the uterus with sharp objects such as annular blades, copper spikes and blunted or covered hooks for extraction. Another prescribed method was having pregnant women jump up and down while kicking themselves in the vaginal area each time.

Abortions -- ancient tools

Even the Bible describes an abortion procedure in Numbers 5:19-21 as a test for a pregnant married woman’s fidelity:

“Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the LORD cause you to become a curse[d] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

From this Biblical verse, one could reasonably imply that the LORD permits abortions (or intentional miscarriages) for a woman who becomes pregnant by an adulterous act. If so, that legitimizes about 80-90% of all abortions today! Author Sam Harris writes in “Letter to a Christian Nation”: “It has been estimated that 50 per cent of all human conceptions end in spontaneous abortion, usually without a woman even realizing that she was pregnant. In fact, 20 percent of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. There is an obvious truth here that cries out for acknowledgment: if God exists, He is the most prolific abortionist of all.”

The truth is, through modern science (not God) we have made birthing babies infinitely safer and more successful today than ever before. A much higher percentage of babies and mothers are surviving birth. The number of abortions performed every year is only a fraction of babies that died from natural causes or complications at birth than they did less than 100 years ago.

Human history clearly indicates that where there is sex, there will be abortions. In a perfect world, where every pregnancy is between two loving, married parents and where every new baby is brought into a caring, nurturing, financially secure household, there would be no need for abortion. But unfortunately we don’t live in that kind of world.



Don The Destroyer — Because destruction is easy and leaves more time for golf!


Trump the Destroyer                                                   (Picture credit:

It’s so much easier to destroy than construct. It’s easier to rescind than create. It’s easier to repeal than replace. Criticism and ridicule is simple compared to governing or managing with efficiency, effectiveness and fairness.

Donald Trump is just the kind of lazy, vengeful fuck whose main mission as President has been to destroy shit, no matter what its merit. He doesn’t care. If it pleases him or his billionaire boys club or his base, it doesn’t matter who gets hurt or what the consequences are. And if it originated with Obama or the Democrats, it is automatically bad and needs to be destroyed.

Trump has been in office for over a year. He has built or created nothing new. Instead he has destroyed lives, beneficial government programs and protections for needy Americans. All Hail the Destroyer!


Coal Mining Pollution

He made it legal again to dump toxic coal waste in nearby steams and ponds (left).

He rescinded Obama-era regulations on oil companies that protect against another BP/Gulf of Mexico type oil spill and required oil companies to establish a fund to help clean up future spills.

Under Trump the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has eliminated the Clean Power Act which was designed to force coal and natural gas fired power plants to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions 32% by 2032 (NY Times 10/17).

Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement which was the product of years of work by people around the globe, and agreed to by 193 nations in 2015. It is unquestionably the most important climate agreement in history and we Americans are now officially outliers.

Don the Destroyer (“climate change is a Chinese hoax”), said he would negotiate a ‘much better’ deal”. He hasn’t. In fact, he hasn’t said a word about a new deal since the withdrawal. Because withdrawing is much easier than leading.


The Affordable Care Act has provided health insurance coverage to 20 million previously uninsured Americans. The percentage of uninsured Americans which hovered between 16-18% for decades has since dropped to below 10%. That’s a good policy that could have been improved upon by a willing Administration.

But Republicans ran on “Repeal and Replace”. And when it came time to replace, their plan was infinitely worse than the ACA. So Don the Destroyer could only weaken the program by reducing funding, limiting sign up periods and dropping the individual mandate.

As a result, during Trump’s first year in office, 3.2 million previously insured Americans have lost their health insurance ( Jan. ’18) — proving that repealing a working, viable healthcare system is much easier than replacing it (with “something better”).


The recession of 2008 was brought upon us by the reckless and illegal practices of a financial industry gone amok. They destroyed the wealth of tens of millions of Americans. As a result, Congress and Obama passed the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPB) to provide oversight for the predatory financial industry and prevent the abuses that caused the financial meltdown.

As of Oct. ’16 the CFPB had shown the following results in its first 5 years:
        $11.7 billion: Approximate amount of relief to consumers from CFPB supervisory and enforcement work.
$27 million: Consumers who will receive relief as a result of CFPB supervisory and enforcement work.
$573 million: Money ordered to be paid in civil penalties as a result of CFPB enforcement work.
1,000,000: Complaints CFPB has handled as of September 1, 2016

Smart, sensible and necessary. Many economists said the regulations didn’t go far enough to prevent another crash. But because it was legislation from Obama and a Democratic Congress, Trump had to destroy it. His administration has cut the budget, stopped prosecutions against violators, defanged the law and put one of his own henchman (Office of Budget Director Mick Mulvaney) in as interim director to make sure the Agency remains neutered.

Middle America should rest better at night knowing that Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Citi Bank and the usurious Pay Day lenders of this country can go back to manipulating markets and fucking us any way they please just like 2008.

How short are our collective attention spans?!


No President since Richard Nixon has so egregiously interfered with the operations and policy direction at the Department of Justice.

Trump has meddled deeply into the Russia investigation and ranted furiously that his Attorney General recused himself, which he was legally mandated to do. He has fired the FBI director because of the Russia investigation and he recently pressured the Acting Director to resign (same reason).

Trump has also taken the GOP mantra of “activist judges” (judges that make decisions that Conservatives don’t like) and doubled down to attack judges and denigrate the judicial system that block his imperial decrees.

Image:Trump and his evil elf Attorney General Jeff Sessions have reversed a 20 year policy of protecting citizens from police abuse and civil rights violations. They have frozen many of the lawsuits and consent decrees left over from the Obama administration and even suggested to police that they “not be too nice” to suspects when they are being arrested. With a wink of the eye Trump has let police know that this he is willing to turn a blind eye to abuses and civil rights violations. (Picture credit:

And in another ridiculously destructive campaign, Trump and Sessions have threatened to fight the ‘budding’ legal marijuana industry, currently in 29 states. Legal marijuana is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, which has produced a rare win-win in legislative history: huge tax revenue increases and huge savings from law enforcement, judicial and incarceration costs. (See my blog  Americans Need More Marijuana for a full discussion).

But ‘liberals’ smoke pot, so Trump wants to destroy it.


The Destroyer is not just going after undocumented aliens with criminal records, he’s ordered ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to arrest any undocumented person: fathers arrested driving their children to school; successful and established business owners being arrested; and one story of ICE in a hospital waiting room to arrest an undocumented child after she was released from medical treatment. None of these people had criminal records. Most of them were law abiding tax payers who had been in the country for many years.

DACA deportations

But nothing has been as heinous and destructive as rescinding the DACA program. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established by Obama in 2012 protected the young children of undocumented adult aliens who entered the U.S. illegally. Those children have grown up in the United States and a statistically impressive group of young people, highly educated, strong work ethic, law abiding and optimistic. These kids are American in every sense of the word. Deporting these kids to a strange country, without their families, without anything would be the cruelest act by a President since Andrew Jackson sent Native Americans on the “Trail of Tears” in 1830. Only a true Destroyer would even contemplate such a thing. Now the lives of 700,000 DACA kids hang in the balance. Cruel, barbaric and absolutely senseless.


Free Speech quote Jefferson

Trump shows his autocratic side when he persistently degrades the American free press. No President has gone to such lengths to delegitimize the media. Every story that portrays Trump negatively is pronounced “fake news” by the Destroyer. A dangerous precedent that is common practice among aspiring dictators. In a government controlled by Republicans in every branch, mainstream media may be the only independent check on the abuses of this Presidency. And those come almost daily.

It’s particularly easy for the Destroyer to claim “fake news”. He doesn’t read anything anyway!


The ethics violations of this Administration are unprecedented. Trump created more ethics controversies in his first month as President than Obama did in eight years.

Trump corrupt

Trump’s refusal to publicize his tax returns, to put unqualified, close family members in top administrative positions, his refusal to put his business assets (and Jared’s and Ivanka’s) in blind trusts, and to have key advisors who do not qualify for security clearances — are unlike the ethical standards every other modern day President. Unfortunately, our ethics rules are toothless and Trump knows it.

We will also have to beef-up enforcement of the ‘emoluments’ clause in Article 1 of the Constitution:

Emoluments Clause

The fact that the Emolument Clause has never been tested is itself a testimony to the general trustworthiness and ethical consistency of 44 past Presidents. Up until now, there has been no need to test this clause. But thanks to Don the Destroyer, there will be, and needs to be, a greater scrutiny of the law and hopefully some new legislation to clarify and fortify the Emoluments Clause.

In the future, we also may want to consider a thorough psychological exam and a CAT-scan for all presidential nominees. Oh yeah, maybe a literacy test too.

He has tarnished the very dignity of the office of the President with his incredulous support for White Supremacists in Charlotte; his false claims of felony wiretapping against the former President; his insulting attempt to comfort a war widow; his obvious fondness for thugs and dictators over our democratic allies; and his denigrations of women who have accused him of sexual predation. The list goes on endlessly. Trump is beneath the dignity of any other American President. He is a scum-bag, a scoundrel, a thug, a liar and a criminal.


Without question, his most horrific behavior is his purposeful intent to divide this nation through outright lies and false accusations – solely for the purpose of getting himself and keeping himself elected. The path to American Greatness will never pass through a divided country. But Trump neither understands nor cares. The Republicans have been using the “Divide and Conquer” strategy for 20 years (see my blog The Successful Republican Election Strategy …..Divide And Conquer!”   Part 1 — Wedge Issues.). It has brought them political success, but it has done great harm to the fabric and foundation of our great country.

Like destruction, segregating Americans into “us and them”, “red and blue”, “good and evil”, “patriots and snowflakes” is much easier than working to build a more unified, more tolerant, more compassionate society.

Trump the babyThe Destroyer’s childish, divisive, insulting, denigrating and abusive behavior and speech have made his Presidency the most adversarial and least popular in modern history. Worse now I believe than Richard Nixon’s. Trump is a cancer upon the American Presidency. He is not a builder, a uniter, a healer, a constructor, or a mediator. He is a destroyer for two simple reasons:

1) Destruction is easier than Construction. And Trump is inherently a lazy fuck. He can get in more rounds of golf by being a Destroyer. With a short tweet, he can send the whole political world into a shitstorm.

2) The ashes of destruction are fertile ground for the birth of autocratic tyrants. Just look at the rise of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Castro, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Khomeini, to name a few examples.

Trump clearly does not want “Checks and Balances” on his power. He neither knows nor cares what’s in the U.S. Constitution. The free press is an enemy to be defeated. He has no regard for American values of equality, fairness, decency or tolerance.

Don the Destroyer MUST BE STOPPED. And for the continuity of American Greatness, it needs to happen sooner rather than later. Every day he remains in the White House he destroys a little bit more of our American institutions, values and dignity.

Tuesday, November 8 must be the day of The Great Blue Wave. Every citizen hurt or sickened by the actions and policies of the Destroyer must show up at the polls. Trump is not on the ballot, but by voting OUT the obstructionist Republicans and voting IN Democrats and Independents, we can neutralize the power of the Destroyer, allow the Mueller investigation to run its course and one way or another, clear the way to remove the Destroyer from office.

In the meantime, resist, speak out, write your Congresspersons, register to vote, run for office, march, activate. Viva La Resistance American!

Vote Tues Nov 8

Nov. 8, 2016 Part One: What If Hillary Clinton Had Won Like She Should Have?


NOVEMBER 8, 2016 PART 1:

First, the good news:

— Donald Trump would not be President.

— First woman President. After electing Barack Obama, America demonstrates that it will continue to embrace diversity and greater gender equality by electing the first ever woman President.

President Hillary

— The Supreme Court has a 5–4 Liberal majority for the first time since the very early 1970’s. That, in itself, should have been reason for Democrats/Liberals to turnout in record numbers. If only.

Supreme Court Ideology (2)

— The “McConnell Gambit” would have failed. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, blocked dozens of Obama’s judicial nominations and, most importantly, his Supreme Court nomination on the slim hope that a Republican would win the November 2016 election. If Hillary had won, McConnell’s gambit would have failed and eventually he would have had to allow at least some of Hillary’s judicial nominations.
Sen. Mitch McConnell R-KY

Mitch McConnell

— The Paris Climate Change Agreement, environmental regulations against polluters and offshore drilling protections would all still be in full effect. The official position of the Federal Government would be that Climate Change is serious business and a threat to our National Security, not a Hoax.


— Millions of law abiding undocumented immigrants would be living, working and paying taxes in this country without fear of arrest and deportation. However, with a Republican controlled Congress, no headway would be made toward a comprehensive immigration policy.

— There would be a sane and sensible Attorney General who would reinforce Justice Department decrees against police departments that had abused power and used illegal and discriminatory tactics. There would be no waste-of-time threats and intimidations against states with legal recreational marijuana programs.

Eric Holder

— America would remain a world leader thru the Paris accords, NATO, Southeast Asia and in democratic loving countries all over the world. Russia would have suffered intensive sanctions and suffered possible retaliation for its interference in our election.

— Congressional investigations into Russian meddling and conspiracy to collude with the Trump campaign would be moving forward a bit more rapidly. Clinton would have insisted on an aggressive, all-out effort to protect the security of American elections from cyberattacks and infiltrations.

— — Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea would probably not be quite as intense as they are today. There is a much higher probability that Clinton would have had capable State Department negotiators taking a much more active role to try to diffuse the situation.

— The Affordable Care Act health care system would have been improved and expanded as much as a Republican Congress would have permitted. But we would not be dealing with the losses of health care for millions of Americans.


— Taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans would not have been slashed at the expense of the other 98%. And the economy would have been just fine.
Now for the bad news about a Hillary Clinton Presidency:

— With a Republican controlled Congress, much of Hillary’s agenda would have been stymied. On most issues we would be suffering through a similar kind of gridlock that we had under Obama.

— Republicans would have been relentless in their ongoing pursuit of finding Hillary Clinton guilty of something, no matter how trivial. Congressional inquiries of the Clinton email controversy, the Clinton Foundation, the Uranium One deal, hell, probably Bill Clinton’s infidelities would have continued endlessly. How they would ended is anyone’s guess. Ironically, Congress today is investigating some of those red herrings anyway.

— A Clinton Presidency would have further incensed Republicans and they would have pilloried Clinton at every step. The resulting chaos would make the Democrats more susceptible to mid-term (2018) defeats, allowing Congressional Republicans more power to block the Clinton agenda and possibly even impeach her. If still President in 2020, and if she sought a second term, winning would have been very difficult. Clinton would likely have been a one-term President and Republicans may have recaptured the White House in 2020.

In sum, a Clinton victory in 2016 would not have brought about an atmosphere of change in America politics. A reason in fact why many independents and Republicans voted against her. But sometimes “change” isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be — especially if it’s change directed by a madman. I never understood why in 2016 so many Americans were eager to vote for change. After all, under Democratic leadership, America had recovered from the Great Recession of 2008; job growth had been steadily increasing, the housing market was coming back, the stock market was back above pre-Recession levels, more Americans had health care than ever before, gasoline prices were low, taxes had been raised slightly on wealthy individuals with no ill effects. America’s recovery from the Great Recession was more robust than any other economically advanced democracy. Why then was such radical Trump-style change so attractive?

The American political attention-span is dangerously short. How quickly Republicans, independents and some Democrats forgot how god-awful things were under the Dubya Bush administration. We were attacked on 9/11, started 2 failed wars, we tortured and illegally renditioned POW’s, we dismally failed to help the people of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and the economy collapsed all in 8 short years. And for his achievements? Uhhhh………. No Child Left Behind? Good Job Brownie? I’m the Decider? And it wasn’t just Bush. He had a Republican led Congress that aided and abetted his failures.

Bush funny face

But just 8 years later, after things were starting to turn around, 61 million voters thought it was a great idea to elect a Republican majority again! This time, led not by a simple minded, ne’er-do-well who had failed at most things in life; but by a scoundrel, a charlatan, a snake-oil salesman, a narcissistic thug, a pussy — grabber, a money-launderer, a conspiracy theorist who was simultaneously mentally deranged!

America did not need this kind of change. But there may be a silver lining to all the ensuing chaos and tumult. Nov. 8 2016 was a day of great surprises and shocks but there are reasons why Democrats, Liberals, Independents and other clear-thinking Americans can have hope for our future; and may even see a day when, in the longer run, Hillary’s defeat was perhaps the best outcome.

Coming soon on this blog: “Nov. 8 2016 Part 2: Little Donnie’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

Americans Need More Marijuana


Americans Need More Marijuana

On January 1, 2018 California officially legalized recreational marijuana and became the largest state yet to do so. Previously 7 states offered legal recreational marijuana (WA, OR, NV, CO, AK, MA, ME and the District of Columbia) with a combined population of 29.5 million people. Adding California raises the number of people living in legal marijuana states to 69.25 million or approx. 21% of all Americans.
Marijuana Laws by State 2017
In addition there are 19 other states that provide a medical marijuana program for their residents. Some have more restrictive regulations than others but in total they encompass another 133 million Americans.

Thus the number of Americans living in states with at least some access to legal marijuana is now 202.25 million or 62.6% of our population. It’s safe to say that no matter what Jeff Sessions says, legal pot is here to stay.

Federal laws are woefully behind the times. Marijuana is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug, the most dangerous with the least medical benefit. Here’s what the DEA website says (

Schedule I
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:
heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

Heroin, LSD, Ecstasy and Peyote = Marijuana. Really?

Here’s the real kicker. The following drugs are considered Schedule 2 because, while still dangerous, they are supposedly less dangerous or addictive than Schedule 1 drugs:

Schedule II
Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are:
Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin

Our government, in its infinite wisdom, is still using 1930’s/40’s mentality and ignorance to classify our drugs. And worse, since then, our country’s drug policy has been controlled by very straight white men who have no experience with these drugs, their effects and consequences.

They actually believe that marijuana is more dangerous than cocaine or OxyContin, each of which have launched hundreds of thousands of addictions. How about fentanyl — currently on top of the leaderboard for overdose deaths in the U.S.? Just a little bit will kill ya. But pot is worse?

In these early days of legality it is more appropriate for us to compare marijuana to other over-the-counter drugs like nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. Marijuana is not physically addicting like any of the above. It doesn’t cause lung cancer, mouth cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems like nicotine. It doesn’t cause cirrhosis of the liver, heart arrhythmias, high and low blood pressure, diabetes or obesity like alcohol, caffeine or sugar. No one gets violent on marijuana, no one overdoses.

Marijuana is not harmless but compared to the other drugs it is safer, gentler and just as much fun. For the uninitiated, marijuana is a mild relaxant that produces a slightly euphoric, light-headed feeling. Using marijuana before the age of 18 and heavy, long term usage is not recommended.

Legalizing marijuana is a win-win-win situation. According to the Drug Policy Alliance (2013) we spend $51 billion a year on drug arrests, judicial proceedings and incarcerations. The Bureau of Prisons (2015) estimates that just about half of all inmates in federal prisons are in for drug offenses. On a state level, drug offenders make up 16% of inmates. An even worse statistic is that over three-quarters of all drug prisoners are non-White. That says all we need to know about our national War on Drugs — it’s also a war on non-Whites and the economically disadvantaged.

Colorado, the largest state with the longest running legal marijuana program, is projected to generate $230 million dollars in tax revenue from pot sales in 2017 ( In Washington, they expect $750 million in new taxes from marijuana sales in the next two years (’18 & ’19) ( California is projecting a $1 billion in marijuana taxes in the first year (

These are huge numbers and other governors and state legislatures are taking notice. Expect to see a number of other states join the Legal Marijuana Coalition.

To summarize the cost benefits, legal marijuana means big tax revenues; a huge reduction in law enforcement, legal fees, court and incarceration costs; and adult Americans can use a mildly relaxing, naturally growing herb for their recreational and medical purposes without worrying about getting arrested. Win-win-win.

Let’s face it, Americans love their drugs. We are the top pill-popping country in the world. No one else comes close.

Marijuana Prescription Expenses by country

For many decades, Big Pharma has been the only government approved drug dealer in America. This cartel of companies spends $10’s of billions on advertising to keep us on the hook and sees revenues of almost a trillion dollars a year! (OECD Health at a Glance 2015). Here’s an abbreviated list of the side effects of one of Big Pharma’s products call Invokana, a popular prescription drug for Type 2 diabetes:

Vaginal yeast infection, yeast infection of the penis, changes in urination including urgent need to urinate, may increase risk of lower limb amputations, dehydration, ketoacidosis, kidney problems, high amounts of potassium in the blood, hypoglycemia, allergic reactions and increase risk of broken bones. (

Holy shit! That stuff should be Schedule 1 not marijuana.

That’s partially because the Marijuana market isn’t under Big Pharma’s control. At least not for the foreseeable future. Once it’s legal on the Federal level, watch out. They have lots of cash and could move into the Pot Biz very quickly. In the meantime, they consider marijuana to be a threat. They can’t control the market and they know marijuana’s medicinal value will hurt sales of their less-effective, worse side effects and more expensive prescription drugs. The Big Pharma cartel is the money behind anti-marijuana campaigns and massive donations to legislators. ( Otherwise, it would be legal in 20+ states because the public understands the issue and a majority supports legalization.

In our uptight, vitriolic world where American life is running at full throttle, what is needed is not more caffeine or sugar. In our violent and intolerant country, alcohol is just like adding fuel to the fire (pardon the pun). With so much of our population obese, out of shape and sedentary, nicotine, as delivered through cigarettes, becomes an even greater killer.

As Huey Lewis once wrote,
“I want a new drug, one that won’t make me sick
One that won’t make me crash my car
Or make me feel feet, feet, feet thick
I want a new drug, one that won’t hurt my head
One that won’t make my mouth too dry
Or make my eyes too red

One that won’t make me nervous
Wonderin’ what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
When I’m alone with you

I want a new drug, one that won’t spill
One that don’t cost too much
Or come in a pill
I want a new drug, one that won’t go away
One that won’t keep me up all night
One that won’t make me sleep all day
One that won’t make me nervous
Wonderin’ what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
I’m alone with you
I’m alone with you, baby

I want a new drug, one that does what it should
One that won’t make me feel too bad
One that won’t make me feel too good
I want a new drug, one with no doubt
One that won’t make me talk to much
Or make my face break out”

Except for the red eyes and making you a little sleepy (sometimes), marijuana is the New Drug. In addition to it’s mellow high, frequent onset of the giggles, and general “chill out” effect, add it’s medicinal benefits. It has been shown to reduce anxiety, aid sleeplessness and pain management, calm restless leg, help in recovery from eating disorders, phobias, opiate withdrawal, depression, alleviate unpleasant symptoms of ALS, cancer, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s just to name a few. (

Marijuana nugs

What other drug does all that? Certainly not alcohol, tobacco, caffeine or any other single prescription drug. And they have dangerous side effects, behavioral effects and higher probabilities of addiction and overdose. Either we re-classify all other drugs, or we drop weed from the ‘dangerous and medically useless’ list. Legality is the right and most sensible thing to do.

Finally, Marijuana is an all-American made product and we grow some of the best weed in the world! It creates jobs, increases tax revenues and it’s already a $10 billion a year industry with almost unlimited potential.

America is uptight, violent and intolerant. We are a country of pill-poppers, caffeine junkies and nicotine addicts. We could actually use more marijuana not less. Take a toke and chill America. You need it.

Marijuana legalize sticker


The Evangelical/Republican Marriage is a Sham. Jesus would be a Liberal.


Dubya Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, Roy Moore — are not people that Jesus would have voted for.  More precisely, Jesus vehemently opposed rich, greedy, intolerant, disrespectful, divisive, lying, scumbags like these people.   These people would never had been found in Jesus’ company.

Jesus was a champion for the weak, the poor, the down-trodden, dispossessed, powerless and sick:

Matthew 19

Jesus would mostly likely be FOR:  Universal health care, food stamps, unemployment, social security, taxes on wealthy people, and he wouldn’t discriminate against people who were ‘different’, like Samaritans, white people and Gentiles.  These are issues today more championed by Democrats rather than Republicans.  That makes Jesus a liberal except for that pesky little abortion issue.

I know Evangelicals could send me dozens of verses that they believe condemn abortion and this is one of the main reasons they will not vote for more liberal, progressive or independent candidates.   I would argue that the Bible does not specifically prohibit abortion nor does it offer any punishment — for the simple and obvious reason that  abortion in the modern sense, didn’t exist prior to the 1960’s.   We are at a national stalemate on this issue.   The only workable solution is for Pro-Choice and Pro-Life America to agree to disagree, that is, each side recognize that there is a large ‘other’ side which cannot be shamed, argued or legislated completely away.   We need to reestablish a reasonable compromise where abortions remain safe, legal and affordable because that’s what most women want, but we apply certain restrictions and guidelines to appease the Pro-Lifers.  Take the abortion issue out of the mix and Liberalism is a Jesus-y as you can get.

Good Christians need to re-evaluate their predisposition to vote Republican.  Republicans quote scripture and throw in magic words like “Merry Christmas”, “birth control”, “abortion” and “feminism” and they hook you!  They’ve had you believing that they were on YOUR side.  Well, it’s time to snap out of it because judging from the candidates you’ve elected, y’all are starting to look pretty damn foolish.  To the rest of us, it seems like your devout, evangelical Christian values are twisted, hypocritical and phony.

It wasn’t long ago that Religious Republicans claimed to be the Moral Majority, the Family Values Voters, the Law & Order Party, the Strict Constitutionists.   It’s really hard to see those kind of values in the Republican Party today.  These slogans serve as a lot of lip service against your opponents but they are quickly ignored for your own candidates.

Just look at what the Republicans have done in the year since they took charge and ask yourself HWJV?:  How Would Jesus Vote?

–They passed laws which removed safety regulations preventing environment damage and pollution.  Why?  So corporations and the wealthiest Americans can make more MONEY.  Jesus would not approve.

— They passed laws removing regulations and safeguards for consumers (‘the masses’ to Jesus) which makes it easier for powerful financial companies and lenders to repeat their crimes of 2008: ripping-off their customers and playing fast and loose with high risk securities at the tax-payers expense.  Republicans also eliminated the consumers right to sue financial companies that fucked them over.  Jesus went berserk inside the Jerusalem Temple at the mere sight of ‘money-changers’ conducting business there.  Don’t think he would have liked these laws either.

— The leader of the their party, is a confessed sexual predator, pathological liar, racist, woman degrader, and the most divisive man to ever hold the office of President.  He has also amassed a large fortune through shady, possibly criminal real estate deals, notoriously screwed over customers and contractors alike, and lied about making donations to charity.   Jesus would be turning the other cheek (and vomiting).

— They just passed a new tax scam that is going to divert over a TRILLION dollars from the needier people in our society in favor of giving HUGE tax breaks to corporations and los ricos.  It is the most inhumane, cruel, outrageous piece of legislation in modern history.  Jesus would vote “NO”.

How then do Christian Conservatives justify voting Republican?  The hypocrisy is so ripe you can smell it in Blue States!  Let’s just go to the Good Book to see what Jesus had to say about several pertinent issues of our time:


There are hundreds of passages in the Bible that speak ill of excesses with money.  For a more complete list go to:  The main themes of these verses is as follows.

  • Jesus taught that hoarding money is evil.
  • Having riches beyond what you needed to live comfortably is wrong.
  • Jesus taught that material possessions and money were meaningless.  It is only spiritual wealth that is important.
  • He encouraged rich people to give away their possessions to those less fortunate and their souls would be cleansed of greed and avarice.
  • The monies and donations that Jesus received were used to distribute food, clothing and medical care to his followers and the needy.

Jesus was more than a liberal on financial matters.  He was pretty much a Socialist!


There are many passages in the Bible that speak ill intolerance, being too judgmental and divisive.  Here’s a sampling at the following website:   An example:

Romans 14

  • Only Republicans want to take away legal rights that over half the population or more now enjoy:  women’s rights to equal pay and access to safe, legal and affordable contraception and abortion.
  • Only Republicans have an organized strategy of voter suppression that denies poor and elderly people the right to vote.
  • Only Republicans believe it right to openly discriminate against people of the LBGTQ community.
  • Only Republicans wish to deport hard-working, law-abiding undocumented immigrants back to their home countries — even if they’ve been here for decades or it means that parents are separated from their children.

While Jesus did not have to face these specific issues, it is clear he objected to intolerant views and discriminations, particularly against weaker, needier and more vulnerable members of society.   For them, he was a champion.   A true liberal.


Here is a brief sampling of Biblical verses about humility and respect:  An example:

Proverbs 11

The main themes here are:

  • Pride and arrogance are weaknesses of character.
  • Be humble, gentle and patient.
  • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Politically speaking,  ALL of us are guilty here but when it comes to arrogance, selfishness and conceit — Republicans take it to another level.  Point in fact are their attempts at eliminating health care for 30 million people and cutting taxes on the wealthy while offering the middle classes bupkus.  They know no humility or true compassion.

Liberals are far from perfect but they are, in general, infinitely more humble, gentle and compassionate.   Jesus was one of us.

And finally, what really sent Jesus into a rage was corruption.  He railed against the High Priests of Judaism who, he felt, were mere tools of the Romans, more interested in protecting their positions of power and privilege than practicing and preserving their faith.


Timothy 3

Can you honestly convince yourself that Jesus would have voted for Trump??  I don’t think so.  Or would he have supported a political party engaged in obstruction of justice in the Trump/Russia investigations?  No, he would have opposed this conduct in every way he could.

And so should the followers of Christ.  98% (more or less) of all Evangelicals are being hurt by the Republican tax scam;  98% have been left more exposed to the predations of America’s largest financial companies; all Evangelicals are being adversely effected by Republican environmental/climate policies; and a large majority are being denied of adequate health care.  On top of it all, this blindness of faith has lead Evangelicals to help elect a United States President with the lowest moral character in modern history.

Jesus would not approve.  If you insist on believing in a guy born to a virgin, who could raise the dead and walk on water;  if you really think he was crucified and returned to life 3 days later and ended up the Son of God; then the least you could do is understand and respect what the man stood for and died for.

Evangelicals, join us liberals in making the world a healthier, safer, more tolerant, caring world.  Our world leadership needs great vision at this time of global challenges.  Help us insure that we as a society give priority to the needs of the less fortunate.  By lifting up their lives everybody’s lives are lifted.  Our elected officials should reflect these priorities.  The current administration clearly does not.

We need a much higher standard for all of our elected officials.  Let’s start with no thugs, no pathological liars, no sexual predators, no racists, can we at least agree on that?  We should also expect our leaders to possess some reasonable level of compassion and empathy.  And would it be too much to ask if our leaders could complete sentences, use grammar above a fourth-grade level,  and have some basic understanding of American history and the contents of the U.S. Constitution?  Oh yeah, and show us your tax returns as soon as you enter the primaries!

That’s my wish for the Holidays and the New Year.  May you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa and the same for whatever it is that Muslims are celebrating this time of year.  For everyone else, Happy Holidays.  May 2018 be a better year for America than the last one.