Abortion, Don Trump, & Me vs. the Right

   I need to clarify something.  I frequently tell right-wingers that they cannot escape responsibility for supporting Donald Trump by saying they voted for him for this reason or that reason, but don’t agree with every awful thing he does. This brings me to abortion, and my views on it.
   Abortion, and to a lesser degree birth control, are two very key reasons a lot of religious conservatives voted against Hillary Clinton and not actually ‘for’ Donald Trump, they say. I tell them “When you vote for a person, you vote to accept all that they are, and all that they represent. You have responsibility for their actions whether you want to accept it or not.” I stand by that. So I feel the need to be clear about my stance on abortion vis-à-vis my vote for progressive candidates..
  I believe that a woman’s body is her own, but that she has certain responsibilities in how she uses it in regard to her amazing facility to create life. I believe the same about men. Clearly, it’s much more complicated for women, because men cannot conceive. They do, however, provide half of the conception formula.  Sadly, a man who doesn’t care about his responsibility can walk away from the consequences of his actions.
   It’s a much heavier responsibility for women because they can’t just walk away. I understand that. Here are my core beliefs.
   1.  I do not believe in abortion for convenience. Abortion is
not acceptable to me as an alternative to exercising responsibility. Don’t tell me you forgot, you were just so overwhelmed by passion you (male & female both) couldn’t control yourself. If you have that little self-control, perhaps you shouldn’t live around other people.
   1a  I understand there is now, or soon will be, an effective ‘morning after’ pill for such situations. By all means, use it.
   2.  I believe in birth control, birth control, birth control. Don’t even try to preach to me against abortion and birth control at the same time. Sexual attraction is one of the most intense connections between people. If you deny both abortion and birth control, you are irresponsible and naïve. And don’t get me started, here, about how important birth control is world-wide, as humans continue to multiply and multiply. Guppies beware.
   3.  I believe in abortion in instances of rape, incest, and when the mother’s live is in danger. In these cases, the final decision MUST rest with the woman.
   3a  I confess I have no clear thoughts of how to proceed re cases in which the child is going to be born severely deformed and/or disabled. I can say this. This decision, again, must be made by the woman, and I hope with much loving, compassionate counseling.
   4.  I believe in Planned Parenthood. Every statistic shows that abortion, and deaths from abortion, are much lower thanks to Planned Parenthood.
   5.  Keep religion out of it. If you can’t make a good moral, responsible, constructive decision on your own, without looking at what some local community “prophet” claimed was “God’s law” two thousand years ago, I’m not sure I trust you to go for pizza. I believe in God (Goddess, Creator, the Force, however we refer to it). But I do not ascribe to neatly packaged ‘religions’ that love, above all, to proclaim that ‘their’ view of God is the only one. I think we are supposed to learn, to be responsible toward each other, the other life with which we share this incredible planet, and the planet itself, without passing the buck to page 71, or chapter 28, or verse 8 in paragraph 16 of section 49, etc. If we can’t practice decent morality and responsible and stewardship and kindness because it is in our heart, we are already lost.
   Summary:  Abortion for convenience, no, I don’t like that.
   Birth control, and Planned Parenthood, yes and yes and yes and yes again. Abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, or the child may be born severely disabled, has to be totally up to the woman. Competent, compassionate (as opposed to brow beating and bullying and religious book thumping) is vital.
   If you disagree, fine. That is your prerogative. But if you think your feeling on this particular issue justifies your support of a criminal, corrupt, authoritarian, anti-Constitution fascist Hitler wanna-be, of neo-Nazism, anti-immigration white supremacy racists, of a sick “nationalism” that spawned both World Wars, of treating women as second class citizens and virtual serfs,  of total disregard for the very air we breathe and water we drink and animal life with which we share this place, I probably wasted my time here, starting with “I need to clarify…”
   I think I can justify my feelings about abortion in the framework of how I vote, and still hold you responsible for your support of a man who is all of the above.

Our World’s Environment is in Peril!

Here’s the biggest thing we can do, along with recycling, to help save it.
The time for transitioning to electric vehicles is upon us.
DID YOU KNOW???
That if you buy an all-electric vehicle (EV), you will be eligible for a Federal tax credit of up to $7,500, plus a California credit of up to $2,500????
That’s $10,000 off the top of your new EV’s price tag.
Now, these credits/rebates will start phasing out for each manufacturer, after that manufacturer has sold 200,000 EV’s. So far, Toyota is the only manufacturer even close to that.
Now we all know:
1- our vehicles are the worst enemies of the environment.
2- We only have one environment, and our children, grandchildren and forward depend on it.
3- Yes, there are two issues about EV’s. A- range (think mileage), and B- availability of charging stations.
4- BUT BUT BUT…these are rapidly improving, and newer model EV’s are approaching & exceeding 200 miles in range at the same time that charging stations are expanding rapidly!
5- AND EV’s are cheaper to run.
I thought I was going to drive my beautiful little 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse the rest of my life. But the environment, which we all (and those children of ours) depend on for our very lives, is seriously at risk.
So I am now looking for an EV.  I URGE YOU SERIOUSLY TO CONSIDER IT TOO. NO ONE IS GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD FOR OUR CHILDREN IF IT’S NOT US.  RIGHT?  RIGHT!
Look at it this way. Our grandfathers saved the world from Nazism. It’s our generation’s turn to save it from our own pollution. Let’s do it!
I’m continuing to research, and will share all that I find, as soon as I find it.

8 Points: Free Market Capitalism

Donald Trump has doubled down on his statement that American wages are too high. Here are 8 points about free market capitalism that I think you need to understand.
 
This view of Donald Trump’s actually represents the corporate view and Republican philosophy of economy. Some points, as briefly as I can phrase them.
The job of a teacher is to inform, explain, and clarify. That’s what I’m doing here. I have to believe that there are vast numbers of Americans who voted for Trump, who have for years voted for Republicans, who, if they understand how all of this really works, would cross the street,
instead of continuing to elect the very people who hold them down and
think no more of them than the cost of the office coffee maker.
 
1. Trickle down economics are INTENDED to benefit the wealthy, the
     largest investors because they “create jobs.” Any benefit to the
     average worker is purely incidental.
2. The amount that trickles down is left to the discretion of these
     wealthy, large investors.
3.  One of the most fundamental business philosophies since, well,
     since there has been business, is that LABOR is a COST, to be
     controlled and held to the lowest level possible in order to maximize
     profit. In fact, it’s generally regarded as one of the MOST controllable
     costs.
4.  As competition from other countries rose during the 1990’s and the
    21st century, these large, wealthy investors and the companies they
    control saw that their only way to compete with countries whose labor
    forces made much less than American workers, WITHOUT
     LOWERING THEIR PROFIT, was to pay American  workers less as
    well. If they could pay a dollar an hour, they’d happily do so.
5. Republican philosophy has ALWAYS been based on points 1-4. It has
    also ALWAYS been based on pay your own way without assistance,
    and the government should have no part in helping you. Theirs is a
    fully Darwinian philosophy. Only those who can keep up, on their own
    without assistance, DESERVE to continue. Those who can’t,
    regardless of whatever may prevent them from doing so—loss of their
    income due to technology or shifting markets, health emergencies,
    business downsizing, etc., are not the problem or responsibility of the
    society or the government. If they starve, they starve. If they die of
    illness because they can’t afford treatment, they die.
6. It all boils down to one thing and one thing only: Provide profits. It’s
    ALL about feeding the profits. It has ALWAYS BEEN about feeding
    the profits of the wealthiest. If you don’t believe me, you have not
    been paying attention.
7. Donald Trump’s belief that wages are too high is an expression of
    common corporate—and REPUBLICAN— belief that American
    workers at the employee level have no right to any wage other than
    what businesses wish to pay them.
8. It is the full expectation of the corporate, and Republican mind, that
    the employee class should be satisfied and happy with whatever they
    are given, and no matter how small the wage or how high the costs
    living, provide for their family and education and retirement.
 
It’s worth noting that this philosophy has always been the #1 feature of free market capitalism. It is also the #1 NEGATIVE feature . Why did the Republicans, starting with Reagan, start embark on a campaign to destroy unions? Because unions benefit the common worker, and in doing so, reduce profits. Minimum wages, livable wages, health care benefits (which are necessary because of the “pay as little as possible” rule of business), pensions…all of these things lower profit. In a free
market capitalist society, there is NO bigger sin.
 
 
Final note: This isn’t Marxist stuff. This isn’t dreaded Socialistic ravings. It is, simply and factually, a description of how free markets and capitalism work. This is also why it is the responsibility and necessity of a democratic, capitalistic, free market government like ours, to step in and ensure that the working class, which makes up the VAST majority of American citizens, and not victimized by the richest (the 2%) as they expand their own wealth. This isn’t Socialism. This is Socially
Responsible Government.

The Diseased Ignorance of Trump’s Base

The fact that Donald Trump’s core supporters—and maybe some mainstream ones as well—actually believe this, is a sickening and alarming statement about the level of intelligence and the prevalence of psychosis across a third of America. It may also be our swan song, the trumpet forlornly playing TAPS to our Republic.
 
Think about it. CNN, NBC, CBS, Reuters, Al Jezeera, the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, MSNBC, the BBC, PBS, the British, Canadian, German, French, and virtually every other news source in the world, are ALL liars.  ONLY TRUMP is honest. ONLY TRUMP knows what he’s talking about.
 
EVERY PERSON who has sued Trump for illegal practices, EVERY WOMAN he has sexually assaulted, EVERY LIE of his that has been recorded on paper, tape and video, ALL FAKE NEWS. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Intelligence Agency, the National Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, British Intelligence, ALL LIARS.
 
97% of the world’s scientists, ALL DUMB, because ONLY TRUMP has an instinct for science and global warming. ONLY TRUMP knows what’s right for the environment. ONLY TRUMP knows what kind of air our grandchildren should breathe, what kind of water they must drink.
 
ONLY TRUMP has any brains, despite the overwhelming evidence to the exact contrary. ONLY TRUMP is telling the truth about Russian interference in our country’s election process. Everyone else is out to get him.
 
POOR TRUMP!   TRUMP THE CHOSEN ONE!   TRUMP THE EMPEROR!  TRUMP THE CHAMPION OF NATIONALISM!  TRUMP THE CHAMPION OF WHITE SUPREMACY!   TRUMP THE MESSIAH! TRUMP ALMIGHTY!  ALL KNEEL TO TRUMP…or his supporters will punch you, knock the hell out of you, shoot you dead, blow you up for daring not to kiss his robes.
 
THIS is the disease which infects a full third of America. THIS will destroy us. THIS ridiculous, unreasoning, unimaginable worship of a documented cheat, double dealer, serial liar and sexual assaulter, this man who wears his ignorance as comfortably and proudly as his bigotry and white supremacist nationalism, this man who knows one, and only one, loyalty. ONLY TRUMP! PRAISE BE TO TRUMP. ALL KNEEL TO TRUMP.
America has always had this undercurrent, this third that thrives on racism and bigotry, this third that denies the very core values written into the Constitution by our forefathers. This is the third that now runs rampant with the approval and encouragement of Donald Trump. This is the third that would as soon kick you in the teeth as listen to criticisms of white supremacy and racism. This is the third that is so fervent in its anger over perceived mistreatment, it is blind to where the enemies of middle America truly lie. This is the third for whom violence is first or second option, not the last resort.  This is the third for whom patriotism is wrapped in a Confederate flag and festooned with swastikas. This is the third for whom reason doesn’t mean to think and analyze, but is an excuse for punching your lights out.
 
This disease has already destroyed what was left of a once honorable Republican party. It has turned them into sniveling courtiers and court buffoons, eager to have their particular desires met at any cost no matter how egregious, frightened to their core of displeasing the Emperor. In unison they throw their hands in the air, deny every obvious truth, and proclaim in chorus ONLY TRUMP. They praise the Emperor’s fine new clothes.
 
America may well not survive the ONLY TRUMP insanity. The epitaph on the gravestone of American Democracy will be aptly phrased in two words. HAIL TRUMP.
 
Pardon me now, while I go pour a stiff drink. If ONLY TRUMP cannot be defeated, it may soon be one of the last free actions left to us.

The Terrible Truth About Ants

Yeah, we all hate ’em. I’ve used so many of those little ant traps this year I should be a stock holder. But just yesterday I discovered the little creatures are more dangerous, more deadly than I thought.
 
After months of battling their invasions, I decided that reasoning with them might work better than just waging constant war. I trapped one and told it to tell the Queen I wanted to parlay. The Queen, as it happened, was too busy doing Queenly things, but she did send an emissary, a top assistant associate advisor on human affairs, I believe was his title.
 
I began by expressing to this fellow that I really didn’t want to hurt any of them. Outside, I told him, I always go out of my way to avoid hurting, or even bothering them. He seemed very optimistic at hearing this, and I was encouraged that we might work out some sort of agreement on respecting our respective inside and outside territories.
 
We set about hammering out details of the agreement. The little insect was quite erudite, and exhibited a keen sense of humor, though to be honest I didn’t get some of his jokes. I was charmed by his urbanity and quite engrossed in our discussion. That was when I made my awful discovery.
 
We had been negotiating, very successfully I thought, for an hour or so when something— a sixth sense perhaps— prompted me to turn around. I recoiled in shock and horror.
 
While the little creature had held my attention, his villainous compatriots had been busily emptying my cupboards. Not only that, they had swarmed over the cat dishes and completely removed them. As I turned, I saw a horde of them swarming over a small chair, trying to get it out the door.
 
The heinous evil little pirates were literally endeavoring to steal everything of value under the deceit of a fake diplomacy. Worse, an even greater number was fashioning some kind of net that could only be intended to capture me and drag me away to an awful fate.
 
It was only through quick, cat-like reflexes that I managed to get to the ant spray and fight my way out of the situation, leaving piles of tiny black bodies strewn everywhere my eye looked. As I stood, shaken, and gazed upon the carnage and reflected upon the gleeful, lying, treachery that had almost done me in, I realized the true evil that lies within the hearts of these creatures.
 
They are Republicans.

Thanks Donald Trump – Now It’s Official

Thanks Donald Trump. Wow. Those are words I thought I would never utter. And yet here I am, saying, thanks to the Donald. In fact, Trumpsey old boy, I thank you from almost as deep in my heart as the depths from which I despise you. With five little words, you gave today’s Republican party its official mantra.

  It doesn’t matter. We won.

Crooked Presidential elections? Don’t worry about it.  White supremacists and neo-Nazis running for office?  Hey, no big deal. Suppressing minority (especially black and brown minority) voters? Forgetaboutit. It doesn’t matter. We won.

Exploding the national debt with massive tax cuts for the wealthy, then saying it’s the fault of those dare to receive Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? Come on, it’s what we do. Continuing depression of the middle class? Please. Move along, there’s nothing to see here. It doesn’t matter. We won.

Vilifying the free press because it exposes what Republicans are doing? Attacking one of the Constitution’s most fundamental guaranteed freedoms, that of free speech and the right to protest? Promoting violence against the press and peaceful protestors? Well of course. You should expect nothing less. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter. We won.

  Working to make this a nation run by a specific religion in violation of the Founders’ specific intent that church and state must be separate? Well, why not? We like it that way. It doesn’t matter. We won.

Sexual assault of women? Come on, boys will be boys. Women should just submit and enjoy it.   Conniving to subjugate women to the subservience of men and 2nd class citizenry? You expected maybe something else from us? It doesn’t matter. We won.

Why should you expect Republicans to exhibit any modicum of morality, ethics, or honesty? That just isn’t who twenty-first century Republicans are. And you know what?   It doesn’t matter. We won.

Collusion with a hostile foreign power? to win that crooked Presidential election? That was necessary, of course. Otherwise, how would we be able to say It doesn’t matter. We won.

Promotion of a con man, serial liar, racist, sexist supporter of white supremacy (there were some fine folks in that neo-Nazi crowd at Charlottesville), morally and ethically vacant Donald Trump? Sure.  Nomination of Nazis and white supremacists, sex abusers, and violent bullies? Sounds good to us. It doesn’t matter. We won.

Yes, indeed. The corrupt and often criminal state of today’s Republican party is the reason so many long-time party stalwarts are embarrassed and infuriated by what the GOP has become. It’s why author, scholar, and policy expert Max Boot, who worked on the presidential campaigns of John McCain, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, voted for a Democrat for the very first time in 2016. He voted for Hillary Clinton. In a recent interview, Mr. Boot said that the Republican party needs to be burned down, with the hope that something positive might possibly rise from the ashes.

Corrupt. Crooked. Unethical in the extreme. Morally bereft. White supremacist. Religious cultists. Regressive. Racist & anti-civil rights. Anti-immigration. Pro 1% and anti-everyone else. Enemy to the average American worker. It’s all okay.   It doesn’t matter. We won.

I suppose there still exist, somewhere out there, a Republican or two or three like the ones I once knew during the days I frequently voted GOP myself. Maybe they’re hiding in a bunker somewhere. In the hope they may occasionally stick their heads out, or surf the Internet and stumble on this blog, I give them this message. They can take a step in the direction of disenabling the current GOP by voting Democrat in two weeks. Straight Democrat. Perhaps, if these deranged Republicans currently driving the country hellbent toward full-fledged Fascism and economic ruin, if these unethical, immoral, white-supremacist, mean-spirited Republicans now in power can have that power taken from them, these midterm elections might be the start of slowing down our descent into a darkness from which we might never recover. 

Because it doesn’t matter. We won, is no excuse at all for what Republicans are doing to this country.

Human Beings- the Monster Species

I dare you to visit the URL above. I double dare you. I triple dare you. I dare you to have the courage to look at what humans do to animals, at where your milk and meat and cheese and eggs come from. If you can’t look at it, don’t ever again describe yourself as brave.
We are so damned fond of saying that “Most people are generally good.” But isn’t’ true. Not even close. Humans are monsters.
This is where your dairy milk comes from. It is just one part of the gigantic mass torture and slaughter mechanism that is America’s cattle-for-food industry. This kind of cruelty is what we don’t like to think about when we pour our glass of milk, crack open an egg or throw that steak on the bbq.
This is what and who we are. Yes. All of us. Because we all allow it.
I’m not going to argue the right or wrong of eating meat, milking cows. But I’m going to say this to you, and if you don’t like it, I invite you to unfriend me.
The animals that provide the food so many of us love, as I did until I opened my eyes and had the courage to look at the real cost of that food, deserve to be treated with kindness and respect and then, if they are to be killed, to have it happen unexpectedly and as painlessly as possible.
If you think that your Bible gives humans free reign, dominion, to treat other animals in this manner, don’t tell me you’re a Christian. Anyone who thinks this is “okay” is a monster. If your God tells you it’s okay to treat other sentient life forms like this, your God is nothing more than the monster that raised you.
Yes, a monster. It makes us monsters, like I was, and like you still are if you think this is acceptable. And here’s the thing that makes us monsters. As a “higher” intelligence, we can see that this is so wrong, and monstrous. We can see it, understand it, and change it. And we don’t.
Know this: these animals may not be able to build sky scrapers, or cruise ships, or send a man to the moon, but they are intelligent. They feel happiness, and comfort, and fear, and pain, and terror just as keenly as we do. They love their young and each other.
They are at our mercy. They cannot fight back. We have complete power over them .
And this is how we use that power.
We can do better. And knowing that we can, every day that we accept this kind of torture makes us willing accomplices. It makes us monsters. I want you to remember that. I want you to think about it every time you pour a glass of milk or stab your fork into a sausage or take a bite out of your Big Mac. I want you to remember it when you go to bed.
I want it to haunt you.
Only then can you, and I become  ex-monsters. Until then, don’t even think about calling ourselves civilized. We are the enemy of every other living thing.