Saturday, August 25, 2018

Ask a "Conservative" just exactly what is it that they are trying to "conserve?"



I've lived in Georgia for a while now, and it always confounds me that every single Republican running for office in this State desperately seeks the mantle of being a "Conservative," while no one running against them ever seems to want to own the label of "Liberal." As anyone who owns a dictionary or has access to the internet knows, being a liberal should not just be a good thing- it should be a remarkable, commendable appellation. Here's just a few of the definitions:

"marked by generosity: openhanded a liberal giver"

"broad-minded; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms"

"the freedom of the individual and governmental guarantees of individual rights and liberties."

"favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs."

"a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom,"

So what's wrong with any of that? Answer: nothing.

By contrast, self described Conservatives in the 21st century don't appear to want to "conserve" anything except political power and monetary wealth among self selected elites- typically white, Christian, already wealthy, descended from western European ancestors.

They don't want to conserve the environment- they want to open up public lands for mining, drilling, clear cutting, and use by the wealthy and large corporations. They want to allow air pollution and water pollution by fossil fuel energy companies.

They want to gut social programs that provide sustenance to the poor, the sick, the elderly. They want to gut public education and transfer taxpayer dollars to private schools attended by the wealthy. They want to increase abortions by killing Planned Parenthood while pretending to oppose abortion rights-- that's one battle they never want to win- they want the issue to rouse their supporters to the polls, because if they ever manage to ban abortion throughout the country, that will leave them exactly one single issue block of voters- the gun rights fanatics.

So in 2018 the word "conservative" no longer means resisting change. Instead, it typically means instituting radical changes to our government and our culture- and only changes that will hurt the maximum number of people who don't look like them, talk like them, and worship like them. It means subscribing to a leader whose style includes nothing but gross insults and personally disgusting behavior, coupled with a spectacular amount of ignorance of science, history, geography, spelling, and grammar.

I propose we rename "Conservatives" and call them what they are in actuality: "Radical Christian Jihadists bent on destroying American values and weakening this country." Or "RCJ's" for short. Or just "Trumpers."

Saturday, August 11, 2018

SNATCHING VICTORY FROM THE JAWS OF DEFEAT- REVERSING A TREND



What do these two eastern U.S. governors have in common? Republican John Kasich of Ohio and Democrat Andrew Cuomo of New York have both observed in national broadcasts (Kasich on ABC with George Stephanopoulos and Cuomo on MSNBC with Chris Hayes) that the Democratic party has no positive agenda and no message. Here's my solution- if only someone running for office will pay attention. Otherwise, Democrats may well once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as they so often have before.

THIS LETTER, addressed to both House and Senate Candidates, including incumbents, is being mailed out to every Democrat running for Congress this year:

The Honorable &&&
Member, House of Representatives/ United States Senate

Washington, DC 20515

RE: The Democratic Party, the 2018 midterm elections

Dear Congressman/Senator/candidate/Committee &&&:

I am writing this letter in the hopes that some of the suggestions contained in it will assist the Democratic Party in retaking the House and Senate in the 2018 mid term elections. I very much realize I have no “cachet,” but I would also hope that you would recognize good ideas on their merits and take advantage of them. I’ll start with this observation: It's an ugly truth that is also no secret, and I heard it most recently from the Governor of Ohio, Republican John Kasich, on ABC's This Week on February 25, 2018:

"Let me tell you something about Democrats: I have no clue what they stand for."

If you have any doubt that his statement is true of the general population, then the next time you go home, stop 10 random strangers and ask them one simple question: "Putting aside for the moment what the Democratic Party opposes, what does the Party stand for?"

In the 2018 mid term elections, we can not allow the opposition to define us as we have in prior losing campaigns when we refused to come forward with a positive platform that was effectively communicated to the voters. That is one of the main reasons why, in spite of every numerical, ideological, and moral advantage the Party has, it has managed too often managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. In 2010, it was running away from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) instead of running on the most popular parts in it, such as the prohibitions on insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, the ban on life time caps, and extending coverage of children through age 26. Democrats then lost both houses of Congress.

Seven years later when repeal of the ACA was on the table in Congress, that same Act proved to be more popular- once voters knew what was actually in it and what it did- than Democratic incumbents themselves had ever believed. In 2016 the lack of information about a simple platform that Democrats would try to legislate if elected cost the presidency and both houses of Congress, as too many voters felt they knew what they were getting with Donald Trump or else believed the lies about what they would be getting with Hillary Clinton. Ms. Clinton, unlike Bernie Sanders who stood for health care as a right and free college tuition, never made positive points the centerpiece of her campaign. She let the opponent define her and her positions, and suffered accordingly.

So here is my challenge to the Party: come up with a platform. It needs to be short, simple, effective, and based on proposals that Republicans will automatically oppose or else risk alienating their base. This agenda should be a list of things that every Democrat running for office or in office stands for and promises to do his or her best to enact into legislation if the party regains control of any or all branches of the government. And every voter should know what they are.

We have to come up with three (that's the magic number, as every accomplished public speaker knows) simple, large, doable ideas, each of which has the following characteristics: they are popular; they are easy to understand; they can be quickly and easily accomplished (so putting a colony on Mars isn't going to be on the list); they will make this a better country and help people; they can be put in a 15 second campaign commercial. And they all have to be things that will put Republican opponents in a straitjacket: damned by their rabid base if they accept them, and damned by voters in a general election if they oppose them.

Here are my best ideas. Feel free to borrow, modify, or ignore them- but if you ignore them, you've got to come up with something just as good:

(1) FULL EMPLOYMENT:

Democrats need only propose a Full Employment for all Americans Act. This law would guarantee (see the 1993 Kevin Kline movie "Dave") that any person who wants to work, can work, at a livable hourly wage rate which would be significantly higher than the current minimum wage. The jobs would be public works or public service type jobs. This Act would also include provisions for retraining and re-educating people who have lost jobs due to off shoring, robotics, downsizing, and environmental policies, and paying them a living wage while they are in school. It would include separate provisions that would provide a job for any person who lost his or her position to an illegal immigrant- but at twice the annual salary or wage (this would come from a fund from employers' fines who have illegally employed illegal immigrants). In one fell swoop, the current batch of xenophobic, nationalist oriented Americans (the flyover people, or Trump's base) would be converted from hostility and irrational fear of illegal immigrants to feeling like they've won the lottery if they can point to a job they lost to an illegal immigrant. Providing a cash bounty (say $10,000 or more to any American displaced by an illegal immigrant) would increase the lottery winner feeling.

This is a two for one. The Republicans manage to say the word "jobs" in connection with every proposal that they endorse (tax cuts for billionaires and corporations!) or everything they opposed that Democrats support (remember the phrase "the job killing Obamacare?") If they oppose DACA, illegal immigration, or legal immigration, they pound on two things: public safety and jobs. If they claim that tax cuts for the super wealthy are a good thing, it's because they claim some of the money will "trickle down" in the form of job creation by corporations ever so grateful that they are saving billions in taxes.

I say this is a "two for one" because full employment would make this a better country, improve the lives of the unemployed, and rip away the biggest reason that Trump won the middle American states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia) that he did in 2016. Actually, this proposal is a three for one, as full employment would decrease crime as well.


(2) COMPLETE ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE: Three words: "Medicare for All." We don't have to start out by subsidizing Medicare for everyone under 65, but we can certainly have a revenue neutral law that allows any person under 65 to buy into Medicare at the incremental cost. Immediately this does away with numerous faux arguments of Republicans, including how Obamacare (the ACA) is "failing" because premiums are going up, or that health insurance is unavailable in many rural areas. Another plus: with this proposal, there will be no reason to reinstitute the mandate which was repealed in the 2017 tax bill. That mandate existed for one reason- to make the law palatable to insurance companies by providing them with a profit motive to continuing selling health insurance. Allowing Medicare for All (the public option) means that private companies can continue selling insurance if they want to, and it will also mean that they will have to compete with the lower cost (much lower administrative overhead) of Medicare. Eventually, Americans under 65 will be subsidized as are Americans over 65, but this can be done gradually over time.

Coupled with this will be some medical cost cutting measures- my favorite is a complete elimination of the need for medical providers to have malpractice insurance by creating a no-fault program to compensate any person injured in any medical procedure or by any legally taken drug If nothing else, this proposal would turn a heretofore rock solid Republican constituency (physicians, pharmaceutical companies, major hospital holding corporations) into fans of the Democratic Party. More importantly, this is one of the major pieces of low hanging fruit to knock down overall medical costs. (I've written extensively on this idea before; one article appeared in Atlanta's Fulton County Daily Report in 2004. The physicians who heard me speak about it during a 2004 Senate campaign were very enthusiastic.)

(3) TIE A TAX THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO GET RID OF TO A PROGRAM THEIR SUPPORTERS WOULD LOVE

TAKE THE ESTATE TAX AND USE 100% OF THE PROCEEDS FOR WOUNDED VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES: The act will be "DISABLED VETERANS' FAMILIES COLLEGE AND HEALTH CARE BENEFITS ACT." I'd love to see any Republican candidate argue against taxing money from dead billionaires- the operative words being "dead" and “billionaires”- and giving it to help support wounded veterans and their families. Put every child and spouse of every disabled veteran through college for free. Provide free health insurance for every child and every spouse of every disabled veteran, for life. This is one so obvious that it needs no further explanation. Every time the Republicans use their euphemism "death tax" the Democrats need only counter with "dead billionaires" helping children and spouses of disabled veterans. The picture paints itself.

*****
CAMPAIGN ADS:

There needs to be a nationally coordinated ad campaign that makes clear that this election is about one thing: putting into place elected officials who will be a check on Donald Trump, and not his cheerleaders and enablers. A smart ad campaign- feel free to borrow writers from Colbert's Late Night show and The Daily Show- can pack far more emotional punch than any number of brilliant and effective policy initiatives. Make Trump's own words the anchor around Republican candidates' campaigns. Use video of the worst of Trump (the pussy grabbing comments, the mocking of disabled person, encouraging violence at his rallies, his overt and easily disprovable lies) and juxtapose persons who are inherently likable and trustworthy. Every state, every community has at least one or two very notable, well liked, persons. Michael Jordan in Chicago. Lebron James in Cleveland. Tom Hanks everywhere. Have an athlete appear alongside of video of Trump saying that "grabbing women by the pussy" is "locker room talk" and have that athlete- a Dwayne Johnson (former Miami football player), a Derek Jeter, and so forth, simply say: "that language was never used in any locker room I've ever been in, and if anybody had talked that way, we would have shut that person down in an instant. We're talking about women- my mother, my sisters, my daughters- and we don't allow anyone to talk about them that way."

I'm not an ad man or a professional campaign adviser. But I know what works for me and for most people: ads that feature real human beings, obviously sincere, and real anecdotal stories. There's no limit to the possibilities, and have a nationally coordinated ad campaign that links every local Republican to Donald Trump (they'll either have to repudiate him or explain how they can possibly support him). And tailor every ad to local races by using people that constituency knows and trusts, even if it's local high school or college athletes or celebrities (like country music singer Luke Bryan from Leesburg, Georgia, or Herschel Walker, Georgia's all time favorite football player).


Thank you for your time and your attention. If anyone desires to contact me, I’m available pretty much anytime (when I’m not in a courtroom) if you want to discuss this further....

If you want to know who I am or why I do what I do, you can go to a blog my campaign manager suggested I create in the Fall of 2004 (after a losing but spirited campaign) at http://buildabettermousetrap.blogspot.com/, or you can ask Georgia Congressman Sanford Bishop. I'm sure Sanford will be happy to share.

Thank you for your time and your attention.

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.