Saturday, July 07, 2018

How to play Chicken with a Blowhard Bully

The modern Democratic Party is a lot like the lovable high school doofus nerd who gets pantsed by the school bully in Back to the Future. Wanting desperately to respond, the doofus can only clench his fist in frustration, as Crispin Glover does in the role of Michael J. Fox's dad when faced with Biff the overbearing (and orange haired!) bully.

So as a public service, I am here to help. The other night, the inimitable and utterly predictable bully Donald Trump attempted to Mock Elizabeth Warren. Incapable of self consciousness or irony, Trump challenged a potential lie by Warren, who had allegedly claimed Native American heritage in a Harvard faculty application years earlier. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/elizabeth-warren-wealthy-native-american/ Trump, a fabulist (that means serial liar) like no one before in the history of American politics, is incapable of going a day- or even 5 minutes- without telling a whopper. Whether it was claiming that he had the largest crowds in history at his inauguration (pictures showed the lie) or contending that millions of illegals voted in the 2016 election, explaining Hillary Clinton's popular vote margin, he just can't help himself. So when he appears at a Montana Senate campaign rally and goes off script like this:

"In a freewheeling speech in Montana, Trump cycled through many of his favorite themes but repeatedly returned to vigorous campaign-year attacks on Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

He again referred to Warren of Massachusetts as “Pocahontas” to ridicule her claims of Native American ancestry. Warren is among the Democrats considered a potential 2020 candidate.

Trump said Thursday that he would give her a DNA test in the middle of a debate and say: “I’ll give you a million dollars for your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian.”

“We will take that little kit and say – but we have to do it gently. Because we’re in the #MeToo generation so we have to be very gentle – and we will very gently take that kit, and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn’t hit her and injure her arm,” Trump said.

Here was Warren's actual response, on Twitter:


"Elizabeth Warren
@elizabethforma

Hey, @realDonaldTrump: While you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order. Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you're destroying."

But she missed a great opportunity, although it's still there for the taking if she wants it. Here is how she should have responded:

"Mr. Trump, you are challenging me to take a DNA test to prove that I have Native American ancestry. I accept your challenge..... but only if you will agree to take a polygraph (lie detector) on live television to prove your claim that you never sexually harassed or attacked any of the 19 women who have accused you so far, and your claim that you never had sex with a porn star, Stormy Daniels, or a Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal, while your wife Melania was home taking care of your infant son. We'll have each woman appear, tell her story, while you are hooked up to a lie detector. After each one tells her story, you will be asked a few yes or no questions, such as "did you ever attempt to have sex with this woman," and "is she telling the truth." If I fail the DNA test, I will resign my Senate seat.... if, and only if, you fail any one of the lie detector exams for any of the women's accusations, you will resign the presidency. Deal? Oh yeah, and just for good measure, we'll throw in a question or two about whether your presidential campaign committed a felony by receiving stolen e-mails that you used to attack Hillary Clinton."



The beauty of this response is that it attacks the serial liar where it hurts the most: with his base. By challenging the bully straight up, Warren can show that he is all hot air, and that he'll collapse and retreat when challenged on his own turf. To really spice it up, Warren should deliver this speech in Montana at a campaign rally for incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester. Imagine the ratings for the rally- and imagine the ratings for a live television appearance by Trump hooked up to a lie detector.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

IT'S NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK...

One of the pluses of being a student of history is that it's easier not to suffer undue anxiety over the current state of affairs of the United States of America. Having recently finished biographies and historical novels covering the period of the founding of our country (Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, c. 2004) and of the Civil War and aftermath (Grant, by Jean Edward Smith, c. 2001), I have a better perspective on how dire our straits are right now and how important the next two elections (2018 midterms and 2020 presidential) are to the continuation of this democracy.

My response to people who think if we don't impeach Donald Trump that we will sink into Fascism is that we need to look at the reverse: where would we be with a president just as awful on policy grounds but who is not so vulgar, narcissistic, abusive, and offensive- say, a Mike Pence. Or worse, a president just as cruel and abusive as Trump, but who was cunning and intelligent and who had an actual agenda (say, a Ted Cruz, whom I thought in early 2016 was the worse of the two remaining candidates).

My hope is that Trump can manage to stay in office at least through the first Tuesday in November to continue to motivate people to go to the polls, because there are more of us (the decent people who don't want to use power to abuse minority groups) then there are of them (the bad guys- although they don't see themselves that way when they look in the mirror- right, Jay Brimberry?). So, just to lend a bit of historical perspective, on this 155th anniversary of the battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, between Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and George Meade's Army of the Potomac, a brief look back at true dire straits is helpful. This was the battle that decided the war, and the greatest speech by an American president, now written in stone at his memorial in Washington, might give us some hope:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Saturday, February 03, 2018

A Tale Told by an Idiot, Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying........ Nothing.


At some point, the whole nation will suffer from Trump fatigue and boot the guy out of office. I would prefer impeachment, because that would signify that there is some behavior so repugnant that even Congress can not stomach. But I'll settle for a resignation in the face of criminal indictment.

In any event, on a not unrelated note, I'm a proud graduate of an institution that boasts among it's alumni and faculty 28 Nobel prize winners. https://en.wikipedia.org/…/List_of_Nobel_laureates_affiliat…. And at least one 9 time Grammy winner among many other notables. https://news.upenn.edu/…/award-winning-musician-humanitaria…

And two presidents, neither of whom were (or will be) on the list of top 43 presidents (we've only had 46- I'm counting Bush-Cheney as two). One, William Henry Harrison, has the dubious distinction of the shortest lived presidency in history (31 days). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Henry_Harrison.

The other? Well, sad to say, it's the current occupant of the White House. A moron. A douchebag. An idiot. But I'm only quoting the FBI agent who helped author the infamous Comey memo regarding Hillary Clinton that effectively sabotaged her 2016 campaign at the last minute. http://www.foxnews.com/…/fbi-agent-strzok-co-wrote-initial-…


https://nypost.com/…/fbi-agent-kicked-off-mueller-probe-ca…/

So, my alumni magazine, the Pennsylvania Gazette (which is truly an awesome magazine- no irony, here) had a raging controversy in the letters section about whether or not The Gazette should put the Dumpster Fire on the cover and appropriately "honor" him. Here was my contribution to the debate:

I note that some of my fellow Penn alumni are grousing that the Pennsylvania Gazette and the University of Pennsylvania have insufficiently honored the current occupant of the Oval Office who graduated from Wharton in 1968 (they want a cover photo and top story, at the very least). This is my second go round of being a graduate of an institution with an alumnus who is the current President of the United States. My first experience, in 1973-1974, was at a university where I was then a first year law student in the school, Duke University School of Law, which had a portrait of the then current president, Richard M. Nixon, Duke Law 1937, prominently hanging in our Moot Court room while the Watergate impeachment hearings were ongoing in Congress.

This time the current president went to a different school at my university- Trump was a Wharton grad, my degree was from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (although I did take courses in Economics and Accounting at Wharton). So I'd like to bring my perspective to the debate. When then President Nixon was being revealed as a criminal who, among his multitude of crimes, authorized burglaries at Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office and the Watergate offices of the National Democratic Party, followed by his authorizing the payment of hush money to cover up those and other crimes, my classmates and I petitioned the dean of the law school to take down Nixon's portrait from where it was hung in his honor after he became president. The dean didn't want to cave to student pressure, but he wasn't happy with the revelations about Duke Law's most (in)famous alumnus. In the midst of this furor, the portrait was apparently stolen, which made national news. Days later we found out that the portrait never left the law school- it was hidden above the false ceiling in a nearby classroom. Once it was found, the dean used the fig leaf of "security" to avoid rehanging it in any public place, thus solving our mini crisis. Nixon resigned a few months later and the portrait was never displayed again.

My modest proposal to appropriately honor the 45th president, rather than putting him on a cover on the Gazette, is that a large statue of him be erected in the most public place possible (in front of the main library, perhaps), funded by donations from the president's most fervent supporters among Penn's alumni. At the bottom of the statue a permanent bronze plaque will contain some of his most famous quotes. And underneath that, also in permanent bronze, will be a list of the supporters who subscribed to put up the statue, in order of the amounts of their donations, along with their school and year of degree. Here's some samples for the plaque:

"I moved on her and I failed. I'll admit it. I did try and fuck her. She was married. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn't get there. And she was married."

"I've gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful - I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

"You have to treat 'em [women] like shit."

"Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, (Carly Fiorina's) a woman, and I'm not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?"

"You know, it really doesn't matter what they (the media) write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass."

"I don't think Ivanka (his daughter) would do that [pose for Playboy], although she does have a very nice figure. I've said if Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her."

"Yeah, she's [daughter Ivanka] really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren't happily married ..."

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

"I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering."

"There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good."

"(John McCain is) not a war hero.. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured."

"So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of 'em, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell - I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise."

`You know what I wanted to. I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard. I would have hit them. No, no. I was going to hit them, I was all set and then I got a call from a highly respected governor... I was gonna hit one guy in particular, a very little guy. I was gonna hit this guy so hard his head would spin and he wouldn't know what the hell happened... I was going to hit a number of those speakers so hard their heads would spin, they'd never recover. And that's what I did with a lot - that's why I still don't have certain people endorsing me: they still haven't recovered." (reacting to the Democratic National Convention, July 29, 2016).

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

"Don't tell me it doesn't work - torture works. Half these guys [say]: `Torture doesn't work.' Believe me, it works."

"The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families,"

"Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault."

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay? It's, like, incredible,"

And finally, the quote that should make the University of Pennsylvania and all of its alumni very proud:

"I went to an Ivy League school. I'm very highly educated. I know words, I have the best words."

The list is almost literally endless, and gets longer every day he is in office. I'm sure the complaining alumni will be thrilled to put up the statue (with hair blowing in the wind and a tie about a foot longer than his shirt to partially cover up the overhanging belly). And with the inclusion of the plaque below listing the contributors, they can rest easy knowing that in future years their heirs and legacies will have the opportunity to visit and see what made their ancestors proud.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

WHEN THE PRESIDENT IS INSANE...

We've never had a presidency like this before. We have what appears to be a clinically insane president, who, because of the office he holds and the deference and enabling he receives from his staff (not least of which have been his press secretaries), has apparently lost all concept of boundaries or norms of behavior.

Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke, and his wife Edith pretty much ran the country- but that was in 1919 and 1920, and there was no such thing as electronic media, and the print press of the day apparently didn't think it was worth mentioning. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/woodrow-wilson-stroke

Then we had the Nixon White House until his resignation in the face of impeachment in 1974, when the president appeared to be in the grips of raging paranoia. http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/41698. Among others, he blamed Jews, intellectuals, and graduates of elite colleges in the Ivy League or Berkeley (of course many individuals- like Daniel Elllsburg of Pentagon Papers fame whose psychiatrist's office was burglarized by the Watergate plumbers, were all three).

Finally, in the 1980's, you had a president with early Alzheimers, Ronald Reagan, whose supporters somehow claim he was one of the greatest in history, when all of the facts reveal that he had little concept of what was going on in the world or around him (possibly partially related to the injuries he suffered in the 1981 assassination attempt). http://abcnews.go.com/…/ronald-reagan-alzheimers-pre…/story….

In the mid 1960's, the country, through Congress, decided that in a world where with the push of a button tens of millions of lives could be extinguished and the world plunged into chaos, we needed a better "fail safe" to protect us from an incapacitated president. Of course, the reverse was also true: we needed someone in the White House who could respond in moments to an emergency- such as Soviet missiles launched against us. Thus, the 25th Amendment was proposed in Congress and later ratified by the States. https://www.vox.com/…/2/9/144889…/25th-amendment-trump-pence.

And right now, it's not impeachment which is the country's -- and the world's- line of defense against a mad man in the White House. It's the power bestowed on the President's cabinet by the 25th amendment. But my betting is that it will be Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller who will be- when history is written- given credit for saving the country and the world. I predict resignation of Trump in the face of overwhelming evidence of criminal violations, in exchange for a promise of immunity from prosecution for himself and his family. And it will happen prior to November of 2018. You read it here first.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Djeat yet? No. Jew?


"Djeat yet? No. Jew?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaPBhxXhprg

So yesterday a guy I'd never met, never heard of, knew nothing about, decided to try to end a Facebook argument (discussion) on politics with the following: "Fuck you Jew." He also called me a "queer faggot," (My response was to suggest, in a very subtle fashion, that might have been a tad redundant). Amazingly, later on, he apologized. I accepted it.

My point is that as much as some Americans (mostly Republicans) want to pretend that we are beyond racism and bigotry, i.e. there is no "Muslim ban", it's just for security reasons (even though the Dumpster managed to leave off the two countries that provided about 17 of the 19 9-11-01 hijackers, Saudi Arabia and UAE- coincidentally, the Trump company has major investments and co-development deals in both countries), or "we're not biased against Hispanics" but because one Hispanic guy killed one person, we need to spend billions of dollars building a wall.... anyway, I digress.

We are not beyond racism, intolerance, or bigotry. Or xenophobia. Which is why the Meet the Press "special edition" this morning on the political divide between the parties and the country missed the single biggest reasons for the differences between Republicans and Democrats. Much as the right wing likes to posture in favor of the military, the flag, the "home of the brave," they are cowards. Fearful. Seeing monsters in every shadow. Democrats are braver, less fearful. You can't whip up a Democratic rally by trying to scare the attendees by creating fictional monsters- the "they" or "them." Whether "they" are Muslims, Mexicans, gays, transgender people, immigrants (legal or not), liberals, college professors, African Americans, imaginary illegal voters with fake ID's pretending to be real voters... or whomever the whipping boy or straw man of the moment is, Democrats aren't scared. We want to make this a better world for everybody. We want environmental regulations to protect the future- earth, air, water. We want to expand the franchise, make voting easier to get more people to the polls. We're not afraid of immigrants. We're not afraid of people who speak a different language, have a different culture, a different (or no) religion.

We don't feel the need to use the powers of government to impose our religious beliefs on others. We don't need to use the powers of government to imprison and torture people who are different from us. We don't need to use the government to spy on everybody, read all of their e-mails and text messages, because somewhere, somehow, someone might be plotting to attack us. We didn't need to pretend that Iraq was an existential threat to the United States in 2003 with imaginary "weapons of mass destruction," and we don't need to gin up one of the most impoverished nations in the world- North Korea- to try to make out that they are (or will be, ever) a military threat to the United States.

We don't need to use our military to feel brave or powerful. We believe in science and are not afraid of knowledge or new inventions. That's what makes us Democrats.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

HOW TO EXPLAIN HEALTHCARE INSURANCE TO A REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN OR SENATOR

If you are friends or acquaintances with a Republican Congressman or Senator who appears to be intellectually challenged and is unable to differentiate between concepts of "socialism" and "free enterprise" (sometimes misnomered as "capitalism") try showing him or her this Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins) comic strip.

After reading the Tom Tomorrow strip, they might be able to understand the difference between different systems: a 100% socialist healthcare system-- where the government employs the doctors and owns the hospitals and drug companies (i.e. our Veterans Administration hospitals); or a modified socialist system of government payments (with price controls) to pay private medical providers such as doctors and hospitals and pharmacies (i.e. Medicare or Medicaid), or a quasi government regulated private enterprise system with some aspects of socialism-- (those being the government subsidies to the poor and lower middle class to help pay premiums) to pay for private insurance and an expansion of Medicaid- i.e. Romney Care, also known as The Affordable Care Act, a/k/a "Obamacare"; or a totally private free enterprise system (Paul Ryan's, Rand Paul's and Ted Cruz's wet dream, where millions will die without access to health care) where insurance companies can pick or choose their policy holders with no government regulation whatsoever, and everybody has the "freedom" to not be able to get any insurance or to pay $10,000 a month in premiums if they can get it....

However, even if they are too diimwitted or ideologically blinded to understand those concepts-- concepts that any moderately intelligent junior high school student should be able to grasp-- well, at least they might like the pretty colors in the pictures.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

A DEMOCRAT'S SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NATIONAL PARTY- 2017 EDITION


A citizen making his pitch to a school board for an idea to help kids- something we all should do on a local and national level to elected officials and candidates for public office

So, I did this once before in 2004. And again in 2009. Oh, if only they'd listened (!) (you can find the posts on this blog. And here we go again....)

March 5, 2017

To: Democratic members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the Democratic National Committee

Re: remaking the Democratic Party, providing a simple, effective, platform which will be good for America, will also allow the Democratic Party to retake the national legislature and the executive branch, and will put the Republican Party in a bind

Dear Democratic Congresspersons and Senators and members of the Democratic National Committee- and Senators Bernie Sanders and Angus King:

Odds are you don't know me and have never heard of me, so I'll give you some quick background before I get into the meat of this letter: I'm in my mid 60's, father of one son (in the Marine Corps reserves), a lawyer who has worked in poverty law and Civil Rights, and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University School of Law. I've taught Constitutional law to college students. And I've run (unsuccessfully, or you would have heard of me) for political office, always as a Democrat. I'm writing this letter as a citizen who is a lifelong Democrat from the Will Rogers wing of the party. I'm more of a fiscal conservative and social liberal, but my abiding consideration is to identify problems and come up with practical solutions that are consistent with our Constitution and our moral values as compassionate human beings.

The current problem facing the Democratic Party is that there is no coherent identifiable platform that the Party has agreed upon and which every candidate, incumbent or challenger, subscribes to, and of which the public is well aware. My solution is to home in on the problems facing the country and come up with solutions that Democrats can agree upon, which are politically popular with all groups, and which will paint the Republicans in a corner whichever way they respond. Here are four areas, my brief summaries of the solutions that the Party should agree upon and make the lynchpin of every campaign and all national and local advertising, followed by in depth elaboration on each.

1. JOBS: The primary reason for the 2016 loss by the Democratic candidate for President in the swing states of Pennysyvlania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan, is jobs. Had the voters in those states been presented with a simple workable solution to the problems of unemployment and underemployment, a Democrat would be in the White House and the Senate would be controlled by Democrats.

The solution is simple and obvious: the Democratic platform should contain a promise that every willing American adult who wants a job will be able to get a job, either through free retraining or, in the last, a public service job at a living wage. Republicans will argue that this is an impossible promise due to funding and deficit issues, but Democrats should counter that Republicans have had no trouble finding money when it came to unfunded wars, including the very unnecessary war in Iraq, or when it comes to fighting terrorism. Nor do they have any problem giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy, even when those tax cuts have historically destabilized the budget.

The advantage of this promise- every willing American gets a job- is that it's simple, easy to understand, it is doable, and no matter what, any Republican opponent will be in the position of either arguing against it or else alienating his or her base by agreeing with it. The jobs provided to those who can't succeed through free retraining or re-education will be public service jobs to help rebuild and repair America's infrastructure, as well as jobs in public works projects, child care and education.

The moral advantages of this proposal are that it will remove the odious xenophobia towards immigrants (legal or illegal) because this program will only be available to American citizens, and it will also be a crime reduction program in areas where unemployment, underemployment, poverty, and despair help foster the conditions to create criminal activity.

The political advantage is that it's easy to understand (just re-watch the 1993 Kevin Kline movie, "Dave"), and it takes away the appeal of a demagogue like the current occupant of the White House who wants to pit American citizens against each other or against foreign nationals who come to this country.

2. HEALTH CARE INSURANCE: The problem is uninsured Americans, followed by the secondary problem of insurance premiums too high and rising for many Americans. Each can be dealt with in three words: "Medicare for all." Or a different three words, same thing: "Single Payer Plan."

The proposal is that Medicare remains free for all over 65 and all others who currently qualify. One modification is for all persons on Medicaid, currently funneled through the States with Federal regulations, who will be transferred to the Medicare program. So far, that is effectively not much of a change. The big addition is to allow all persons not otherwise eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, whether or not they currently have other coverage, to purchase Medicare at a price equal to the incremental costs for adding one person to the program. Anyone who can afford it pays full price; all others will be subsidized in part or in full depending on their assets and income.

In one fell swoop, this eliminates the mandate for all persons which was included in the ACA to get insurance companies to participate in the insurance exchanges, and it streamlines administrative costs for all medical providers while allowing the incredible leverage of the Medicare program over health care costs to be applied to all of the new enrollees.

This proposal in effect keeps all of the popular aspects of the ACA- children being able to stay on parents' plans through age 26, no ban on enrolling persons with pre-existing conditions, no life time cap on benefits- while eliminating every unpopular aspect of the program (the mandate being #1, followed by the push back by some employers, such as religious institutions and the Hobby Lobby crowd, against providing certain aspects of coverage for their female employees).

Some of the benefits of this proposed change are obvious: employers will love it, because in one step all of their employee health care expenses is removed from their overhead, making them more competitive with foreign manufacturers (which might actually increase wages and also add jobs!) Citizens will appreciate it because it's simple to sign up, they get one card to carry that is good everywhere. States will appreciate having this huge budget issue off their plates. And Republicans will hate it because it effectively addresses all of their issues- fake and semi-real (job killing, religious freedom, increasing premium costs, physician choice) and leaves them in a bind if they oppose it.

Along with this proposal I suggest that the bill include a complete revamp of the medical malpractice industry- the insurance cost aspect and the tort reform aspect. Remove all medical malpractice insurance costs from physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and other medical providers by changing the current at fault tort model to a no fault model patterned on Workers Compensation programs. Fund it with a modest sales tax (about 1% or 2 % should do it) on all medical services and all non-prescription pharmaceuticals (I would also put that sales tax on any pharmaceutical which is controlled by prescription but which the manufacturer, inexplicably, advertises in print or broadcast). Including this in the reform bill should get the medical profession and hospitals, previously solidly in the Republican camp, to wake up and realize that supporting Democrats makes huge economic sense.

3. ABORTION: Most people can't see a compromise on this issue. You are either pro-life (anti-abortion) or pro choice (pro death to the other side). I disagree. Democrats should have a platform with a proposal for a law called THE REDUCTION OF ABORTIONS IN AMERICA ACT. The proposal is simple, yet effective (and it is going to be opposed by some pro choice advocates): the act will allow any father of an unborn fetus who is willing to bear the entire cost and responsibility of raising the child to veto an elective abortion (by "elective," it means an abortion that is not performed to save the life or avoid serious injury to the mother or to terminate a fetus that would almost certainly be non-viable). It will also allow any willing person or couple who can post a large enough bond and who is approved by the local social services agency (under guidelines already existing for adoptions following termination of parental rights cases) to agree to adopt an unborn child, and thereby veto an elective abortion.

This bill will also provide funding to Planned Parenthood and similar non-religious organizations for minors and adults to obtain contraception, including devices or injections such as Norplant, in order to reduce the total number of abortions in the United States. This bill may well be opposed by women's rights organizations, but that may be a plus politically, as every "pro life" person who has heretofore been a single issue voter on that one issue has had only one political party to address his or her sincerely held beliefs- and that has been the Republican Party. (Republicans' unstated motto: "our concern for life ends at birth.")

The government will no longer be telling a woman she has to bear a child- the "veto" power over an abortion by the putative father (excluding rapists, of course) can't be labeled as government intrusion on a woman's right to choose because she chose that male to be the possible father of a child. Veto by a couple willing to adopt is a bit different, but still, the woman volunteered to have sexual relations that might produce a child without using effective birth control (again, excluding cases of rape- but even there, we don't sanction the murder of a one minute- or one year old- baby because the father was a rapist).

Republicans will hate this because they don't want a solution- they only want the political issue because they have no original ideas but depend in large part on the single issue voter- pro life, anti-gun control (who should logically be opposed to each other). Democrats will be seen as showing courage by standing up to some of the pro choice advocates who want to give women the unfettered freedom to make every decision concerning the unborn child- a right we don't give any person once a child is born.

4. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: Most Americans (including most elected officials) are really, really tired of politicians continually asking them for money and of election campaigns which now are interminable. The rest are paid political consultants who make a living off this process. The Democratic Platform should call for a law which does no damage to Citizens United or The First Amendment, but which addresses the root issue: false or misleading television advertising, much of it purchased with so called "dark money" or political PAC's, which have a single goal of demonizing Democratic candidates. The solution? The air waves are owned by the public, and should be treated as such. Even cable includes satellite transmissions (it's not really cable anymore). The law will state that no station or network shall air any ad which promotes one candidate or attacks another candidate in the same race (or for the same office if the ad runs against an incumbent before the primaries) until that ad is first previewed by the incumbent (if he or she is not the one running the ad) or every opponent who has qualified to run (if the incumbent runs the ad or it is run on his or her behalf by an independent entity). Any person attacked in the ad shall be permitted to create a response ad twice as long as the attacking ad, which will include only the candidate attacked in the responding ad (no anonymous voice overs), which will air immediately following every airing of the attacking ad. Any ad that simply promotes a candidate without obviously attacking an opponent will be followed by one or more free ads of the same length by every other candidate in the race.

Along with this requirement will come public financing of all federal elections, with the funds coming from a national sales tax on every ad running on every network, cable or not. And finally, no candidate for any federal office will be permitted to solicit money for any reason, campaign related or not, from any person, or to accept money from any person, while a candidate or while holding a federal office. That will be a criminal act of solicitation of bribery.

And no person or corporation will be allowed to offer or pay money to any candidate or any close family member (spouse, children, parents) of a candidate or holder of any federal office, including appointed judicial offices. The only exception will be bona fide employment offers that come from an entity which can not in any way benefit from any act of the federal office holder.

Thanks for reading this far. That should do it for starters.