Life Under A Republican Regime

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

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

Coal Mining Pollution

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Income Inequality Cartoon

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

 

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

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

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

Ignorance

 

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

 

 

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

Corporations over Individuals.

Profits over Habitat.

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

Wealthy Privilege and Income Inequality over Middle Class Opportunity.

Sickness and Suffering over Health and Vitality

Ignorance and Ideology over Education, Critical Thinking and Innovation.

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

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

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

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  JOIN LA RESISTANCE AMERICAN!

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Why I Marched For Science — 4/22/17

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March for Science1

My sign was apparently a little too edgy.  It said:

WITHOUT SCIENCE

there would only be

IGNORANCE

& RELIGION

I think the “religion” part was the cause of the sideways glances I got.  But many people responded affirmatively anyway.  It may be a little harsh, but it is true.

I haven’t written much about religion yet on this blog, but it’s one of my favorite subjects so, stay tuned, I promise I will.

This was my favorite sign — but it has nothing to do with science:

March for Science2

I marched for SCIENCE last Saturday because Science is hard work.  Being simple-minded, superstitious and ignorant is EASY — any one can join that club.   Understanding science, science history and the application and consequences of science involves a true dedication and hunger for knowledge.  Being a critical, profound thinker, with a healthy skepticism and real facts to defend your position is MUCH HARDER.

More importantly in today’s times, science is NON-PARTISAN.  Science doesn’t care about your political or religious affiliation.  The facts and evidence are revealed — they may confirm your affiliations and beliefs or they may prove something entirely different.  I saw several signs Saturday that read a version of:  “Facts are real, whether you believe them or not”.

The March For Science is necessary because in the last several election cycles it has become apparent that roughly half of American voters are willing to reject science that conflicts with a particular ideology (mostly Conservative and Religious).  One political party has shown a strong preference for simple-minded ideologues over experienced and more intelligent candidates.  Republicans elected W. Bush (whose own father called his brother Jeb, “the smart one”) over Al Gore.  Those same voters were less enthusiastic about John McCain (much smarter and more experienced than Bush) and Mitt Romney (ditto) and now have elected Donald Trump.

What is most disturbing (and ironic) is that science deniers, anti-intellectualists and simpletons use and depend on science every single day — heating and cooling their home, much of the food they eat, their car, bus, plane or train, their computer, their cellphone, all other electronics, their hospital visit, their bank account…and the list goes on and on.  So they really don’t deny all of science, only the science which conflicts with or threatens their personal belief system.  That’s where the hypocrisy comes in.

Not all science is correct, not all science is “good”.  We need that healthy skepticism that is often forged through good education and parenting.  The beautiful thing about science is that, over time, it is self-correcting (or maybe I should say “self-improving”).  Somewhere back in grade school and again in high school or college most of us were taught about the Scientific Method — how scientific evidence is generated, analyzed and how hypotheses are transformed into useable, provable and reliable science.

The Method works like this:

  1. Make an observation.
  2. Ask questions about that observation.
  3. Look for evidence that supports or refutes that observation.
  4. Generate a hypothesis from that information and develop testable predictions.
  5. Test the hypothesis and predictions.
  6. If hypothesis appears correct, the data is often published for peer-review.
  7. If those reviewers and further testing demonstrate the hypothesis is accurate and consistent, a general theory is developed which can withstand any scrutiny.
  8. If not, the hypothesis is altered, reanalyzed, retested or rejected.

There are no short-cuts.  Knee-jerk, unsubstantiated claims or observations are quickly dismissed.  Deliberate fraud will eventually be exposed and rejected.  Ideology has no place in the equation.  This is precisely why Religion cannot be taught as science — it simply doesn’t hold up to these standards.  Use of the Scientific Method has propelled humanity to unprecedented achievement and wisdom.  If we as a species have a salvation, it is in science.  We reject sound, proven science at our peril.

This leads me to ask this question in all sincerity:  “Why do a majority of Republican voters seem to prefer less intelligent, simple-minded, ideologically driven candidates?”  Or this one:  “Why has the Republican party fostered and encouraged anti-intellectualism (which they call “elitism”), or promoted science denial, or defunding public education?  Admittedly, simple sounding solutions such as, “Build The Wall”, “Drill Baby Drill”, “Make America Great Again” are catchy and easy for people to digest.

As a result we now have a conspiracy theorist President, a climate change denier, an anti-intellectual who eschews books and is proud of his 4th grade vocabulary.  The Director of the Environmental Protection Agency is also a climate change denier, a promoter of fossil fuel use and development and a deregulator of corporate pollution.  Our Secretary of the Interior, a complete boob, once campaigned to get rid of the EPA, the Department of Education and the very department he now heads!  And let’s not forget our Secretary of Education, who until she took office, had never stepped foot in a public school and had been a leading voice to defund public education in favor of voucher programs for private and religious schools.  Make America Great Again my ass!

Science Education by country

This chart says it all.  Our academic performance is pathetic.

In this complex world in which we live, the easy, black vs. white, us vs. them, good vs. evil mentality will NEVER serve to keep America great.  The most effective solutions to the world’s problems require an intelligent, nuanced approach using the best information we have available and dynamic, innovative thinking.  That is our best hope.  To accomplish this we need a public and private education system that is second to none which produces smart people:  scientists, engineers, medical professionals, mathematicians, visionaries as well as both public and private sources of funding to make it work.  We should be striving to make America the world’s leader in these fields — that is how America remains great.

This is why I and tens of thousands of people marched for SCIENCE this weekend.  Please join us next time and fight with us for a better America for generations to come.

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

*** COMMUNICATE *** ORGANIZE ***

  JOIN LA RESISTANCE AMERICAN!

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

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

VIVA LA RESISTANCE!