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.

Capitalism, Greed & Social Democracy

Bear with me. This is fairly long, but I think it’s important. More than that, I believe it is an accurate explanation, in lay terms, of what America is facing. I hope you will have the patience to read it all. Thanks.
   Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot, is suggesting that people unhappy with the economic state of America should fly to Venezuela. He wants you to see how socialism works there. Hint. Not very well.
   Mister Langone is a happy recipient of all the benefits of a democratic, capitalistic society, perhaps the most notable such society in the history of the modern world. It is the “Great Experiment,” testing literally whether such a society such as ours can long survive. Mister Langone undoubtedly worked and still works hard. Just as hundreds of millions of other Americans. In addition to hard work, he has been extremely fortunate, and now he absolutely feels that people such as himself are entitled to all they can take, in both money and power. Notice how he throws around the word ‘socialism,’ in a grossly generalized slur. I think some things need to be cleared up.
*First note* Remember that it is the job of the government in a capitalist/ free market society to stand up for the people, ALL of the people; to use reasonable regulation to ensure that the ever more greedy rich at the top don’t become Kings while the working population is relegated to the level of serfs. The process that the government uses is often described NOT as socialism, but as DEMOCRATIC socialism.
   The question that needs answering is, what then IS ‘democratic socialism?’ What’s the difference between that, and simply “socialism? In as few words as possible, it is this: SOCIALISM, in concept is a society in which everyone’s efforts, big and small, are placed into a central pot, from which everyone draws the fruits of those efforts equally. It is a concept that has never worked in the modern world. I’m not sure if it ever worked in the pre-modern world. I think it probably didn’t. The obvious inequity is that those who produce the most get the same amount of fruits as those who produce the least.
   Socialism has also been smeared by monsters such as Hitler, Mussolini, and others who have used the term as a thin disguise of their hateful dictatorships. Socialism is at the core of Communism, which has also not worked well for one simple reason. Power has always become centralized in the hands of one, of a handful of powerful people.
*Second note* The destructive force within socialism is, and always has been, the rise to power of ultra-ambitious and greedy people who believe that their ambition and personal “vision” gives them the right to dictate what is good for everyone, based on what is good for themselves.
   So then, what is capitalism? Here is a good, succinct description of the theory of capitalism from Wikipedia: Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets.
   All of the things described there are in themselves good, and on the surface, as fair is it is possible to get.  But there is a built-in danger, a very severe danger, in that description. Did you find it? Can you see it? The Achilles heel within capitalism is what you do NOT see in that description. There is no mention of limits, or regulation.
*Third Note* The ultimate destructive force in capitalism is the same, EXACTLY THE SAME, as in socialism.  There will always be those who are ambitious far above the norm, greedy in their desire for accumulation of riches far above the norm, and who will inevitably draw as much power as possible to themselves in their quest to have, consolidate and grow ever greater levels of riches and power. Moreover, these people will always, like the man you see here, will always feel ENTITLED to more.
*Fourth Note* Such people will always feel it is their right to keep as much of the accumulated fruit for themselves, and to share of it as possible with the very people whose labors actually produce the fruits. They march forward with grossly exaggerated rewards for their own efforts while denying an equitable level of reward for the “working people,” without whose daily toil their own reward be either severely limited or non-existent.
THE IRONY, then, is that such people, when faced with any effort to create a more fair share of the fruits for the people who actually produce the goods and create the fruits, will shout SOCIALISM and warn of its evils, when in fact they are practicing the same kind of central power and greed that they rail against. Every time they moan about big government and regulation, what they really mean is “You’re getting in the way of me getting richer”
*Fifth Note* Unfettered, unregulated capitalism is, then, is doomed to end as badly for the masses of population we call “working people,” as the dreaded socialism they throw about as the boogey man. Awareness of this is not a new thing. It’s been known about since the very inception of the term going back at least two centuries.
Remember this. The power and unscrupulous will always seek to gather all riches and all power to themselves. It is a simple fact of humanity.
So now, what IS a Social Democracy? It is actually what our founding fathers envisioned when they established this “Great Experiment.” The experiment is actually a test of whether a society can be as free and capitalistic as possible, with just the right amount of control exerted by a government of the people in order to maintain the freedom and rewards for all in reasonable balance. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are part of a democratic socialism. Tax structures represent democratic socialism. Regulation to protect and distribute food and water supplies, and to provide a safe environment for working and living are part of democratic socialism.
*Next to Last Note* The Great Experiment then is make it possible through capitalism, for ambition and hard work to be rewarded in kind, while using regulation and taxation to ensure that everyone who works hard, who labors with dedication, is also reward in kind. THAT is what is called democratic socialism. My preferred term is socially responsible governance.
*Last Note* America is currently far along the last branch of the road to collapse as a democracy. Every book and movie that has portrayed a dystopian society, one in which the mass, the working class, lives in misery while the rich and power few live and rule in outsized luxury, has pictured a society not very far down the path we are following. Consider: **- the working class faces ever shrinking affordable housing due to rising prices in both rents and houses; **- the working class goes without necessary health care due to drug and care prices that rise astronomically; **- working class youth is subject to inferior education due to poor funding and priorities for our education system; **- Higher education is outlandishly expensive; ** working class Americans can no longer plan or save adequately for retirement due to prices that rise much faster than wages; **- 1% of America has more wealth than the remaining 99%.
*Conclusion* American capitalism is broken. It is out of control. The only way to fix it is through governmental intervention and regulation to restore some level of equity. The 1% who have accumulated their power and wealth will not agree to a more equitable society of their own accord. Remember, they believe it is their right. They think their extreme ambition and ruthlessness make them better than the other 99%. Their wealth and power, and adding to both, is more important to them than the greater economy, the environment, or anybody they don’t perceive to be on their level. They have control of America, and I don’t know if it is even possible to fix America at this point. The 1% has insinuated its power and its control to within the very core of America’s governance. I believe their very being is wrapped around a singular belief which they will never say in public, but which I describe thus: “If you can’t keep up with me, then live the way I allow you to live. If you can’t handle that, then perhaps you had best just die.”
I don’t think Vlad the Impaler could have said it better.

Butch and Sundance Were More Ethical Than the GOP

It’s going to happen. You know that as well as I do. They are going to do it. The Republican majority is going to push Kavanaugh through and right down our throats. Because they can. By the time you read this, they will probably already have done it. But even if by some miracle they should fail, the mere fact that they are attempting it is unethical, immoral, unjust, and a shot right through the Constitution.
It has nothing to do with right vs. wrong, with morality or ethics or justice. None of that matters. The Republican party has stopped even pretending to care about any of that.
It is about power. It is about taking advantage, by hook or crook, and there are plenty of crooks in the GOP, of the opportunity to control the country for the next 20-30 years through manipulation of the Supreme Court, which ultimately has more power domestically than the President.
It is about grabbing the power for 1/3 of America, the conservative to the point of regression third, the ultra religious cultists third, the racist and sexist third, the third of toxic masculinity and a yearning for the return of the 1850’s.
Make no mistake. The manner in which the Republican party has abandoned all ethics and all sense of morality in its ruthless manipulation of the SCOTUS selection process, is best described by one word. Coup. That’s C.O.U.P.
We can only hope that this is the very last straw, the final bullet through the Constitution needed to move independent and undecided voters to the left side of the line in the midterms. Only by retaking not just the House but the Senate as well can sanity be restored. Even then, it will be necessary for a new Congress to impeach at least one unfit SCOTUS judge as ruthlessly as he was shoved onto the court. Then Trump needs to replaced by a landslide in 2020, and a new, rational President should seriously consider adding judges to the court. Steps should also be taken to establish inviolate rules by which SCOTUS justices are nominated, vetted, and seated in the future.
Or the racist, sexist, economically ignorant and societally regressive one third of the country will continue to govern all of us. This is simply unacceptable.

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.

Why the Democrats Keep Losing -or- It’s time to be mad as hell and say so in plain language

I submit that the Democratic party’s biggest problem is the same one Strother Martin had, a failure to communicate. Hillary Clinton was one of the most qualified individuals for the Presidency in recent history. She was not guilty of any of the lying claims the Republicans and Donald Trump threw at her. She was also without a doubt the worst Dem candidate in the 20th and 21st centuries when it came to communicating effectively with the average American. Or just about anybody with less than a college degree.
It’s hard to fathom why people like my own family, whom I’v always thought of as smart, would continue to vote Republican, when it is so obvious to me that Democrats represent everything the Trump voters say they want, while at the same time voting for a party that has been depriving them of those same things, and is now doing its damndest to literally cut the floor out from under them.
Hillary refused to fight in the trenches with Trump. She ‘stayed above it all.’ She refused to refute the lies told about her directly and show evidence. You see, the law may say that we are innocent until proven guilty, but the election wasn’t a courtroom, and the average person where I come from believes that if someone accuses you and you don’t refute it, then you must be guilty of it. It’s the John Wayne syndrome. If somebody takes a punch at you, you’d better punch them back, or you’re a coward, or guilty, or both.
The whole election might have gone differently if She had responded to each lie the Republicans tossed out by saying something like, “You lying dog (or son of a bitch), that’s a lie, and everything you’ve said for the last month is a lie, and here’s the proof,” then laid it out, point by point.
But Hillary usually lost most of the average American right, two sentences into a conversation. Because she always gave the impression she was talking down to them. And sometimes I had to listen very closely to make sure that I, with my multiple degrees, understood her.
I moved from being a right leaning middle of the road independent, to a full fledged liberal Democrat, because of what I saw the Republican party doing to Americans beginning with Reagan. What Reagan and the Bushes have done to this country makes Richard Nixon look like a saint. Now Trump, a lying, stealing, ignorant and mentally unstable con man is their hero. So why does the average American Republican continue to vote for the very people who are destroying them?
Because the McConnells and the Ryans and yes, the Trumps, KNOW HOW TO TALK TO THEM IN A PLAIN, NON-UPPITY FASHION. And they use that awareness to sell them lie after lie after lie, beginning with the trickle down economy garbage and extending through the idiotic “The poor and the downtrodden are stealing from you and the Bible says so” blasphemy. And on that last part, trust me, when you’re talking to middle and southern American, you had damn well better address that latter issue when it’s thrown at you, or you’re dead before you leave the house.
The Republican party has built an entire system of campaign rhetoric based on lying blatantly, calling names, making false accusations, and all the while smooth talking huge sections of the country into liking it, by pretending to be one of them. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are the best examples America has to offer in the 21st century, of classic Shakespearean villains.
If the Democrats, and the left, are going to break the mesmerizing hold these people hold on the “average American,” they are going to have to learn to communicate. To say it like it is in plain no nonsense terms.
Plain talk. In the trenches. There is no such thing as staying above it all. When punched, punch back harder, or you lose credibility. A cow is a cow, not a bovine. When Republicans tell their lies about Social Security being broke, roll up your sleeves and point right at the liar and tell them, on camera, “You’re lying to the American people.” When they bullshit America, shake your head and say, “I don’t believe you’re saying something so stupid. Do you think Americans are stupid enough to buy that line of bull?” TALK PLAIN AND GET ‘ER DONE, PILGRIM!
Oh, and would someone please tell Hillary Clinton that when Trump stalked the stage behind her, glaring at her while she was talking, she should have IMMEDIATELY walked back, right up to him and told him, on mic, “I’m right here if you want to look at me, you SOB. Don’t do it to my back, you sniveling coward.”
Democrats have to learn how to communicate on a grass roots basis. This high falutin’ intellectual superiority crap is destroying them.  And it’s destroying America.