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.

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.

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.

Surviving the Trump Threat and Moving Forward

There is a question we no longer need to ask. You know what it is. It’s that question we asked Germans for decades after WWII. How did Germany allow themselves to succumb to Adolf Hitler?

We don’t need to ask any longer because we are seeing how it happened, as it happens right here. In America. In the 21st century. Trump is taking America down that same road, and all we do is watch.

Trump has a rabid core of supporters formed of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and fake ‘Christians’ who call themselves evangelicals. He has the support of a Republican party that has lost all sense of either ethics or morality. They are dismantling the core values of the Constitution. They have already made America a laughing stock on the world stage. Now Trump and his National Socialists are taking America from laughing stock to world terror.

And all we do is watch. Because, you see, we depend on our democratic underpinnings to save the day. First the mid-terms, then the ouster of Trump in 2020. Hopefully.

*Hopefully*

Just like all those Germans in the 1930’s who were sure reason would triumph before Hitler and his Nazis took over completely. Oh, and the hopeful ones were in the majority, too. Because, you see, their democracy had two fatal flaws. It was too democratic. It really had no built-in safeguards against a takeover by a charismatic psychopath. And there were insufficient restraints on the power of a single man.

Our own forefathers made exactly the same mistakes. There are no provisions in our Constitution to keep an immoral tyrant from seeking control. And there are roadblocks sufficient to stop a determined Hitler persona from doing whatever he (or she) wants, once in office? The Congress can serve that purpose only if the President’s own party doesn’t also control both houses. The Supreme Court holds no enforcement powers. The nation’s top law enforcement officials serve at the pleasure of the President and his party. The emoluments clause has as much real substance as a Marvel comic book hero. There is no Superman.

IF the United States does manage to survive Donald Trump, these failings need to corrected by Congressional action up to and including Constitutional amendment. It needs to be done with a sense of immediacy. Yes, I have suggestions. They may need to be refined, of course.

1. Psychiatric testing for all Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidate. This can be done by a panel made up of an equal number of psychiatrists from each party. They should also all be teaching level psychiatrists at respected Universities and medical schools, not just anybody with a shingle.

2. No party shall be allowed to control both houses of Congress. The easy fix is for the Supreme Court to allot ‘extra’ votes to the minority party in one of the houses. This is not unfair. Having a single group viewpoint in charge of both houses of Congress is unfair, and dangerous.

3. Abolish the Electoral College.

4. Give the Supreme Court enforcement powers.

5 Reduce the power of the President to make war. He/she should not be able to initiate military action alone except as a direct act of defense/retaliation against a specifically identified hostile force/country in response to a clear act of hostility against America itself. This must be limited to defensive action not to include American forces invading foreign nations. Anything other than this must be authorized by Congress.

6. Once justice department officials have been appointed, the President must not be able to fire them without the concurrence of both houses of Congress.

7. The emoluments clause must be re-written and given teeth. A majority of either house of Congress should be able to instigate the opening of an evaluation. The President’s cabinet, since they have been appointed by the President, can have no part in the process, other than opening an evaluation process by simple majority.

8. No individual who has ever lobbied for industry can be placed in charge of a government agency.

9. The Vice-President cannot serve as the tie breaker in a tied Senate vote. A tied vote must send the questionable legislation to a select committee made up of an equal number of Senators from each party to reach an equitable solution.

10. The President must not have the ability to single-handedly push the nuclear button. He/she must have the concurrence of the Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs. To this end, That individual’s office must be located in the White House instead of the Pentagon.

11. Congress must take immediate action on legislation which spells out clearly that the government shall have no connection whatsoever to any religion or religious body or group.

12. Citizens United must be revisited and overturned. Congress. must take corporate and lobbyist donations completely out of American elections.

13. Congress must review every area of Presidential executive authority and determine legislation to limit it.

Do NOT Call Donald Trump Stupid

Do NOT mistake or underestimate Donald Trump. He realizes damned well that informed Americans know this kind of tweet, and all the ones like it are bullshit. They are not intended for informed Americans. They are intended to keep his core supporters engaged and enraged. This is exactly what Trump’s angry,  poorly informed and analytically challenged supporters call “..talking like us.” He knows that the secret to his success is holding onto that rabid base, including racists, white supremacists, and the uneducated poor, then getting just enough others to cross the line because of various personal dissatisfactions, whether it be closet racism of Barack Obama, hatred of Hillary Clinton, or economic dissatisfaction. 
 
   Donald Trump is woefully ignorant in most of the ways that we judge as genuine intelligence and intellectual capacity. He is clearly narcissistic and psychotic, a veritable textbook sociopath. He is a serial liar, but one that can sell those lies like few in history.
   He is the granite statue of the con man who can sell ice in the Arctic and sand in the Sahara. He is the role model for ministers who live in million dollar mansions by taking the last dollars from already poor worshipers. If he had lived in the old west in the 1800’s, he would have lived in luxury while selling snake oil for fifty cents a bottle. If you believe in the antichrist, he will look and sound like Donald Trump.
   Donald Trump is brilliant in his understanding of how to manipulate the most vulnerable people around him in order to build and maintain a power base. His expertise is in doing this while preventing the people upon whom he preys (and depends) from seeing behind his curtain. He is then ruthless in ridding his personal power circle of anyone who disagrees with him.
  
   Calling Donald Trump stupid dismisses him without truly understanding the danger he represents. It creates a false sense of security. a comfortable sense of safety from him. It provides an illusion that he is mentally incompetent and therefore not really dangerous. It weakens resistance. It helps us to think it will all be okay because after all, he’s stupid.
 
That is the worst mistake we can make. Donald Trump is the most dangerous individual to surface since the end of WWII.
 
   Donald Trump is Adolf Hitler, right down the line, all the way to the last point of comparison. All that remains to be seen is if he has the same kind of world domination psychosis as did Hitler. He cannot be allowed to answer that question.

NRA ad is Disgusting, Frightening, Reprehensible

The new NRA ad is both disgusting and frightening. Language like this is an invitation to the next civil war. The content of the ad is a virtual manifesto for war.  

The term “violence of lies” attempts to deliver the message that the legitimacy of freedom and equal rights for all Americans, including women, including those who are LGBT and people of color, is a lie. Really? The call for health care for all Americans is a lie. Really? The charge that white supremacy and white nationalism is Hitleresque is a lie. Really? And again, really?  

Just what is the NRA legitimizing and promoting here? An all white America? An America where only whites have rights and power? An America where only extremist evangelical Christians are legitimate? An America where it’s every man for himself and the poor, the less able, the disabled, the mentally ill, the “not ambitious enough,” are pushed to the side and left to die? An America in which women, and those who are the wrong color or wrong religion, know their place and follow orders and take what they are given and act happy about it? An America ruled by the richest and biggest and strongest and meanest, instead of the rule of law for all people?  Are we to be, according to the NRA, a country where “All men are created equal” means all men who are white and Baptist and straight? 

George H.W. Bush once said, “This will not stand.”  He was referring to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. I submit that it is time for those who believe in an inclusive, free America, an America which is truly based on all men and women being created equal, to echo that former Republican President’s words. Let all men and women of freedom and tolerance and love respond to the hatred of the alt-right agenda the NRA promotes with that ad by declaring, “This will not stand.”  

America will NOT be a nation of hate. America will NOT be a nation in which only the “right” people rule with their guns and viciousness and threats against those who are the wrong color, or the wrong gender, or who do not behave or worship the “right” way.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war ever since Barack Obama was elected. Not because of him, as he has consistently shown himself to be a moral, caring, intellectual, thoughtful individual. But because of the tide of racism and bigotry and white supremacy advocates that raised their malevolent, violent tentacles of hate against the election of a black man as President.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war because the majority of our people, and our courts have finally ruled that one’s humanity, and rights, are not determined by one’s sexual orientation. 

We have been edging toward a new civil war because our President and our courts and the majority of our people refuse to condemn an entire religion because of the acts of a few.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war because of the incredible concept that women may have some control over their own bodies. 

We have been edging toward a new civil war because of the fear and hate and resentment of fringe groups, the extreme white supremacist right wing nationalists and evangelical, fundamentalist extremist Christian right. They are supported by big business, because big business knows that as long as those groups’ white supremacy egoism is maintained, they will largely be quiet, do as they are told, accept what big business cares to pay them and the working conditions big business determines for them. Just as long as they are assured that they are dominant because they are white and the right kind of Christian. 

The NRA is big business personified. It feeds off of this ultra conservative sector that stands for everything an enlightened society, a truly free, democratic society, must put behind us. The NRA is virtually endorsing another civil war, because it, and the arms industry, feed off of the blood thirst they encourage, the phobic fear of those who are ‘different’ they encourage.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war for all of the above reasons, and for much longer than eight years. Now, with Donald Trump’s ascension, the forces in favor of such an unthinkable event are more rabid than ever. The NRA ad  is abetting the idea of one. When it comes, (the chances of avoiding it just shrank immensely) there will be blood. It will run as freely on one side as on the other. The right seems to think for some reason that the left doesn’t believe in having guns. They are more wrong than they can imagine. The right seems to think that all of the police, and military, will be on their side. They are woefully ignorant on that count. They apparently believe that because they talk more violently, swagger bigger, and act meaner, they really are those things. They are very mistaken. War brings out the inner ruthlessness in all men. Count on it. 

The only questions left to answer, if the next civil war that the right seems to want, that the NRA seems to condone, arrives, are how many gallons of blood will be spilled (it will be by the barrel full), and what kind of country will emerge from the darkest time in American history, bar none.  

If and when the next civil war comes, I am sure that one side will have the bulk of the world’s support, both moral and material in every way possible. And it will not be the side of this country’s burgeoning and threatening neo-Nazis and evangelical extremists.  This is still America, not 1930’s Germany. I believe that most of the world, including America’s allies abroad who watch this awfulness with horror and alertness, stand ready to help our country to right itself. 

The next civil war has been edging closer to us for a long time. The only question before us in the immediate future is, can we find a path of reason that will lead us away from it. This path must include all Americans, not a privileged few. Yet the NRA ad suggests just the opposite, a blood filled road right through the middle of it. 

That is reprehensible with a capital R.