Friday, December 23, 2016

Give Trump A Chance? You Don’t Need A Crystal Ball To See The Problem With That.

Someone on my Facebook page responded to a derogatory post about Trump by writing, “This is the most ridiculous thing ever. Give the man a chance. He hasn’t even been inaugurated.”

I generally refrain from responding to comments like this on FB, because it is an exercise in futility. Trumpites live in an alternate reality where logic and reason as we know it do not exist. Since this is my blog, however, I can write what I damn well please, so there.

Under many circumstances, I might agree with the commenter, but we’re talking about Donald Trump here, and that’s a whole different ballgame. It’s different because we already know Trump all too well after months and months of campaigning and debates. We know for certain he is a habitual liar, and seems a true believer in Hitler’s observation that, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

We know Trump has no interest in facts, science or the constitution. He has demonstrated this on numerous occasions by skipping important intelligence briefings, condemning the well-established fact of climate change as a hoax, and by harassing and, in some cases assaulting, people who openly disagree with him.

Based on recent comments and tweets, we know that Trump has no problem with starting a new arms race with Russia and trade war with China. What kind of a fool thinks those are good things to do or will help our country in any way?

With state electors abrogating their duty to be the last line of defense against a tyrannical leader in America, we have no choice but to give Donald a chance, so the FB commenter will get his wish, to everyone else’s detriment.

Bill Maher made the observation that watching Trump in action is like watching a three-year old play with a loaded gun. You already know things are not going to turn out well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

“Destroying America Is Hard Work,” Claims Trump

WASHINGTON, DC — President-elect Trump fired back at critics today who claim he is spending too much time Tweeting and meeting with rappers and too little time on his transition to the duties of the President.

“It’s just another mainstream press attack on me. They hate me. Listen, I am busting my butt here yelling at people, firing people and making very, very tough decisions,” said Trump, who seemed to be suffering from a cold as he was constantly rubbing his nose. “Do you think it’s easy to find the worst possible candidates to be a part of my administration? It is hard work, let me tell you.”

Trump pointed to an easel behind him with a lengthy appointee checklist. Categories included “unhinged,” “easy scapegoat,” “sycophant,” “poorly educated,” and “stinking rich.”

“You see that?” asked Trump. “Every candidate must meet all these criteria to serve in my administration. Obviously, there are only an elite few who can cut the mustard. It took like, three hundred years or something for this government to get where it is today, and it’s going to take some time to tear it all down.”

When asked why Trump wanted to tear down the very system that allowed he and his father to become wealthy, the President-elect laughed.

“You’re looking at it. Giving every redneck, low IQ individual the right to decide who will lead them simply because they’re of a certain age is a recipe for disaster. The morons made me President of the United States. Me! What more proof do you want that the system is broken beyond repair? I’m just going to speed things up a little bit.”

Before asking another question, Trump’s phone rang and he answered it.

“Vlad, good to hear from…. You’re angry? Why? No, that isn’t exactly true. I did precisely what you said, down to the letter. The transfer will be made today. Please, calm down. Listen, come to Washington after the inauguration and I’ll show you the time of your life. Don’t you want to see Romney squeal like a pig? I thought so. Da, da. So long.”

Trump smiled and put away his phone. “See? I’m working my ass off here."

Monday, December 12, 2016

America’s Conundrum: Trump Is Horrible And Should Go, But Does Anyone Want A President Pence?

Today’s Boston Globe includes an article titled, “Who will stand up to Donald Trump?” The author of the piece chronicles the many times Trump has bullied his critics on Twitter and in speeches in recent weeks, and notes the lack of backbone shown by the mainstream press, congressional Republicans and, of course, his inner circle of sycophants. Will anyone stand up to Trump, wonders the author?

This is actually a complex and subversive question. It chills me to the bone to read an article in one of America’s premier mainstream newspapers calling for someone, anyone, to give our bully President-elect a beat down. And yet here we are as a country, seemingly helpless against the dangerous loud-mouthed fraud who scammed the system to become President.

The question of who will stand up to Trump becomes subversive when you consider its scope. If all legal means of keeping Trump out of the White House are exhausted, who can stand up to Trump? Even if a large number of American people rise up en masse against his administration, Trump will always claim he was legitimately elected President, which is technically true (at this point), and he will never voluntarily step down.

The only scenarios I see for rescuing America from President Trump are that he’s convicted of a federal crime or impeached with the help of the less crazy Republicans in Congress. But neither of these storylines has a happy ending, because getting rid of Trump means helping religious lunatic Mike Pence become our Commander in Chief. So we’d be trading a narcissistic bully for a fanatical Christian. It’s a lose/lose situation.

I was always taught that nobody likes a bully, but that was obviously a fairy tale because a whole lot of Americans just voted for one. Thanks to our poorly educated, racist, reactionary friends and neighbors, we have boxed ourselves into a corner that will be almost impossible to get out of. Hard as it is to believe, standing up to Trump and forcing him from office might be worse than keeping him in.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

I Can’t Wake Up From This Trumpian Nightmare

I’ve been slapping myself in the face for the past 5 minutes desperately trying to wake up from my Trumpian nightmare. It’s not working and I need an ice pack.

So today’s episode of The Twilight Zone has the CIA releasing the results of an investigation that says Russia was definitely involved in hacking our election to help Donald Trump win. Trump has, of course, dismissed the allegation, as have some GOP members of Congress. Think about it. Reagan called the Soviet Union the “Evil Empire,” and who hated the Commies more than the GOP during the past sixty years? Now, Russia has meddled in our election and Republicans are rolling their eyes. “What’s the big deal?”

Jesus H. Christmas. There is no end to the epic hypocrisy and lies of Trump and his supporters. And what’s even worse is that they believe each other’s lies. For some masochistic reason I went to the comment section of an article on Trump, and a person wrote, “Donald Trump has done more in eight weeks than Obama has done in eight years.” That may be true on some other plane of existence, but on this one that is a laughable assertion. All Trump has done is lie his ass off and nominate a horde of ideological reactionaries with fascist leanings to sensitive government posts.

And that’s not all, folks. A report released yesterday by Public Policy Polling finds that Trump supporters have a voracious appetite for fake news, with 14 percent of them believing Hillary Clinton is part of a child sex ring run out of pizza parlors, and 73 percent believing that billionaire George Soros paid anti-Trump protesters. Neither story is even remotely true, but we live in a post-truth world now.

Filmmaker Michael Moore doesn’t think Trump will even make it to his inauguration before he’s arrested or forced to resign, and as bold an assertion as that is, he was right about Trump winning the election. We can hope. In the meantime, the nightmare continues.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A Modest Proposal: Pay Trump To Go Away

Why don’t we just pay Donald Trump and his minions to go away and let the adults take control? We all know that Trump and his family are only in the President business to line their own pockets, so I think Obama should make an offer: Donald, here is umpteen billion dollars. All you have to do is walk away from Washington and take your pack of racist Christian radicals with you. Deal?

It’s not like America can’t afford it. In 2015, the Department of Defense budget was nearly $600 billion. I’m sure we could find some billions somewhere for the immediate defense of this country from a President Trump. If we can pay $600 for a toilet seat or $900 for a hammer, there has to be some wiggle room for a substantial bribe.

Yes, it would be our tax money, but god knows it couldn’t go to a better cause. I don’t know how many of you remember this, but on September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference and announced that the Pentagon could not account for $2.3 trillion. $2.3 trillion! That’s taxpayer money, too. However, the Pentagon didn’t have to hold a bake sale to make up for the discrepancy and the entire military/industrial complex kept humming right along.

My point is, the U.S. government could pony up a ridiculous amount of cashola to get rid of Trump without causing institutions to crumble or Americans to go hungry. And I really don’t think the majority of citizens who voted for Clinton would mind.

Please President Obama. Get out your checkbook and save America.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Voter Regret Among Trump Supporters Is Wishful Thinking

Articles are popping up here and there about Trump supporters who now regret their vote. I’m skeptical that this is really a “thing” and believe that there’s more wishful thinking here than anything else. The majority of Trump voters are not introspective and, like Trump himself, view self doubt or second guessing as a sign of weakness.

No one who voted for Trump could seriously argue he or she was fooled by the man. The narcissism, bullying, lying and racism were all on full display during the campaign and were actually considered attributes by his loyal fans. The one thing you can say about Donald is that he didn’t try and “pretty up” his image as a presidential candidate. You got what you voted for.

The only group that might have any legitimate claim to feeling bamboozled are those people who voted for Trump as a joke, thinking he was playing a candidate (like comedian Pat Paulson in the 1970s) and that he had no chance to actually win. Their stupidity, however, should outweigh any sympathy.

This isn’t to say there won’t be regrets in the future. When Redneck Randall loses his healthcare or his food stamps or his job, it might finally occur to him that he pulled the wrong lever back in November. Yet the majority of The Donald’s supporters will find someone or something else to blame for their predicament, like immigrants or the Chinese, depending on who Trump is attacking on Twitter that particular day.

As I’ve said in numerous posts, Trump voters live in an alt-reality where facts are made up and the truth is what Trump says it is. They don’t have the intellectual capacity or critical thinking skills needed to comprehend their mistake.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Donald Trump: Insane or Possessed?

A madman will soon be sitting in the Oval Office, a man who I am seriously beginning to think could be actively trying to destroy America. There are only two very unpleasant realities: One, Donald Trump is perhaps the most ignorant, clueless, self-absorbed individual to ever inhale oxygen, or two, he is evil and is intentionally dragging America to the bathtub to drown it.

Yesterday Trump announced his choice of former neurosurgeon Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. As Robert Reich points out in a post today, Ben Carson:

- Has no experience in government whatsoever;
- Has no experience outside of government with housing or urban development;
- Does not believe in Fair Housing Laws;
- Disagrees with the Supreme Court decision banning housing discrimination;
- Was called a child molester with a pathological temperament by Donald Trump.

The choice of Carson for this position is clear evidence that Trump is suffering from either the onset of dementia or demonic possession. I mean, I could throw a water balloon into a crowd at a Nickelback concert and hit someone who would be a better candidate for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development than Ben Carson.

Why does a man who lived the American Dream want to destroy the very country that helped make him and his father filthy rich? Does that make sense to you? How can anyone in America who is super wealthy criticize the very system that made them successful?

Every pick Donald makes for his administration is another nail in the coffin of democracy. Whether he is merely stupid or under the thumb of Satan may not even matter if the results are the same and we all go down in flames.

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Modern Conservative Movement’s Battle With Reality

The following quote is from one of Trump’s minions on an NPR show a few days ago. It is, of course, a classic example of alt-reality, the belief that reality is actually in the eye of the beholder.

“One thing that’s been interesting this entire campaign season to watch is that people that say facts are facts. They’re not really facts,” Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes said on “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR. “It’s kind of like looking at ratings or looking at a glass half-full of water. Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth or not true. There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.”

The other guests on the NPR show were understandably shocked by the assertion that facts don’t exist anymore, but it is coming from the Trump camp after all. When I first read it I thought something about the quote was familiar. Then I remembered what Karl Rove said shortly after George Bush stole the White House in 2001.

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

The modern conservative movement does not accept the concept of a shared reality. For people like Rove and Trump, and religious zealots and fascists around the globe, reality is what you say it is. The only facts that count are those that support your views. Hitler created his own reality and convinced a whole lot of people to join him. It only ended after horrific worldwide destruction and bloodshed.

Trump’s alt-reality and that of his supporters will end as well, the only question is how big a price will we all have to pay?

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Dangerous Consequences of Designer News

For all of the amazing, wonderful things the Internet brings us and allows us to accomplish, the election of Donald Trump lays bare a darker side of the digital world. I’m not talking about the Deep Web (although that is pretty dark), but the proliferation of what I call “designer news” outlets and the influential role they play in today’s political arena.

In the wake of Trump’s election victory, you can find numerous interviews with his supporters on Facebook and other sources. To no one’s surprise, they are cringe worthy revelations of just how poorly informed Trump voters are, but further, how lost they are in a parallel universe of false facts. How did they get so bamboozled and befuddled? Designer news.

As the Internet has grown, so has the number of so-called news outlets. You would think that having more news sources would be a good thing, but that really isn’t the case because I’m not talking about “objective” news programs, but designer news tailored to a viewers preconceived ideas of reality. To be fair, the “news” on the Internet runs the ideological gamut from socialism to fascism and every “ism” in between. However, one group has had a particularly powerful influence on the political landscape in American — the far right.

Trump’s surprise triumph in November brought to light just how pernicious and persuasive the conservative megaphone has become over the years. From Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” to Breitbart to the Drudge Report to FOX News, conservative voters have myriad sources for their daily news intake beyond the corporate media, and myriad opportunities to have their bigotry normalized and their worst fears justified.

Fake news is a hot topic right now, but for millions of Internet news consumers, there is no agreement on what is fake and what is actual news. Again, watch interviews with Trump supporters and you’ll discover that real news for them is whatever they read on a conservative site. Hillary Clinton is a cold-blooded murderer. Millions of illegal immigrants voted in the last election. Obama is a secret Muslim. This is the kind of “news” conservative sites offer, and loyal viewers accept as true, and that helped convince angry hordes of white voters to believe Donald Trump was their savior.

There is no easy answer to this problem. The Internet should remain a free and open source of opinions of all kinds, and I’m certainly not in favor of censorship, but when you have a sizable population under the thrall of liars and misinformers, the problem needs to be addressed. Yet it all comes back to one’s perception of reality. What will it take to change a person’s concept of reality when objective facts aren’t enough?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Destroying Democracy From The Inside Out

We do live in historically relevant times. You and I are unfortunate enough to have front row seats to the dismantling of the American experiment from the inside out. Angry, brainwashed, short-sighted white American voters managed to do what no military power could accomplish, and write the last chapter to the story of a country founded on democratic ideals that were eventually subverted by greed, racism and hubris. Everything the founding fathers had hoped for, everything countless Americans died for during the Civil War, everything civil rights protestors marched for, every great social advancement Americans ever struggled for, will be under attack over the next four years by Donald Trump. And with a Republican Congress, there is little hope of stemming the fascist onslaught.

Every new day brings the announcement of another unholy appointment by Trump. His administration will be a who’s who of democracy’s enemies, a cadre of conservative ideologues who live in a reality of their own making ripe with Aryan fantasies, internment camps and public executions. Trump and his cohorts are convinced they can do the impossible and turn back the clock of human progress to an imagined pre-Civil War era of bucolic mansions and happy slaves.

Trump is the great white hope. His life of privilege and excess mean nothing to his followers because it’s his mission that counts, making America white again. In the process that is now underway, we clearly see his list of priorities for America: Destroy public education, eliminate environmental protections, give Wall Street the keys to the White House, revive the drug war, stack the Supreme Court with conservatives, crush dissent, undo the welfare safety net, privatize Social Security and Medicare, substitute news with propaganda and, perhaps of utmost importance, fill his personal coffers to overflowing.

There were a few people who saw this coming, but their message reached a small minority of citizens who bother to look beyond the corporate media for information. The prophets were never taken seriously and had now power. No one in Trump’s America wants to hear from any smarty pants know-it-all.

We are stepping into a new world thanks to our president-elect, where the messiness of democracy will simply be dismissed in favor of one man’s blind faith in his own decision-making capabilities. Who needs a constitution when you have Donald Trump?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Forget Alt-Right, it’s Alt-Reality We Need To Worry About

There’s a lot of discussion on various political sites about the term “alt-right.” Many see it as a clever euphemism for “white nationalists,” and as an attempt to obscure the odious nature of those who claim the title. I would agree with that on the surface, but the fact is there is a much larger “alt” universe at work within the conservative world movement, and is it has been there since the very beginning. I call it “alt-reality.”

At its very core, conservatism (nationalism, fascism) is built on alt-reality, a myth, or many myths, that run counter to the historical, scientific and moral progress most of us understand to be true. The alt-reality of fascism is the myth of Aryan superiority among races, that the white race is God’s chosen people and all others must kneel in obedience and servitude. The white nationalists who now populate the Trump administration hold very similar views, but do a better job of hiding their true beliefs behind euphemisms, code words and the complacent media.

The alt-reality of today’s far-right conservatives is an ideological construct, an imagined world that never actually existed in the past and has crashed and burned in failure during every historical incarnation. Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is a perfect example of using an Orwellian phrase to construct a history that never existed. What is the definition of “great?” Was it the 1950s when the tax rate on America’s wealthiest individuals was near 90 percent, and millions of African Americans lived under Jim Crow laws completely at odds with the American Constitution? Was it the 1940s when, at the same time the U.S. military was fighting the Nazi war machine, American industrialists were doing business with Hitler? Or the 1930s when a cabal of multi-millionaires (including George W. Bush’s grandfather) was plotting the overthrow of the American government to install a fascist regime?

“Make America Great Again” is nothing more than a product slogan designed to inspire blind nationalism and knee-jerk hostility toward all of the imaginary enemies who have conspired to bring this country down. Trump is the product that has been sold to white Americans who have been convinced they are victims of immigrants, African Americans, liberals and the elites who look down on them. The fact that Trump is a card-carrying member of this list doesn’t seem to register. Alt-reality lives outside the boundaries of what the rest of us consider known facts and rational thought and because of this, there can be no constructive debate, let alone agreement, on the issues.

Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and many others were, like Trump, initially successful in selling the nationalist fairy tale to a desperate, vulnerable populace who were more than receptive to the idea that they were the master race destined to regain their lost power and prestige. The problem is like every fairy tale, there has to be an ending, Alt-reality cannot sustain itself indefinitely against real human progress. At every point in history, our forward momentum has been attacked, challenged and ridiculed, and every time it ultimately triumphs, although the price paid is often high.

History assures us that the reality of human progress will ultimately prevail over Trump and his minions, but we will have to endure some very difficult times ahead thanks to those who succumbed to the allure of a distorted, perverted fairy tale. There will be a price to pay, and unfortunately, all of us, regardless of what you believe, will end up paying it.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Playing the Blame Game

The political blame game is in full swing across the country. What happened to Hillary? How was this sure win squandered? Was the FBI director to blame? From Michael Moore to John Stewart to Barack Obama, everyone is weighing in on the biggest question of the year: How did Democrats lose the 2016 presidential election? Of course, I have my own thoughts on who is to blame for this devastating loss, so why not toss those into the mix?

I don’t believe there is any “one thing” that can be blamed for Hillary’s loss on election day. Clinton and even some Republicans are claiming FBI Director Comey’s announcement of a reopened investigation into Hillary’s emails turned the tide, but I really don’t believe that. It didn’t help her, that’s for sure, but the vote count would have been too close for comfort either way. I think the mainstream corporate media played a roll in this debacle, giving Trump thousands of hours of free air time simply because he was an entertaining buffoon throughout what could have been a Cruz/Clinton snore fest. However, this is only a part of the story.

My feeling is that the true story goes back more than thirty years to the 1980s. It was during the Reagan era when the weather vane of political momentum was swinging strongly to the right and conservatives were enjoying their “Morning in America” with the Gipper at the helm. Democrats of the era began to panic. Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale came off as weak, wishy washy candidates compared to the simple-minded yet resolute Reagan, and Dems started rethinking the party’s overall message. Unfortunately for the party in the long run, they decided that if they couldn’t beat conservatives, they would join them, and the Democratic bus veered right, giving us the neoliberals of the last three decades.

Yes, we’ve had two Democratic presidents elected during that time, but from my perspective, Clinton and Obama are neoliberals who conned the left into believing they were far more liberal than they actually were, and that they governed much closer to the center. And Clinton was one of the founding members of the Democratic Leadership Council, a group of centrist Democrats whose goal was to make the party more palatable to corporate America and fiscally conservative voters.

In its misguided attempt to try and beat Republicans at their own game, Democrats ran from the legacy of the New Deal, retreated from its traditionally strong support for farmers and rural America, pulled back support for unions, cracked down on welfare recipients, amped up the war on drugs, and adopted a distinctly more militarily aggressive approach to foreign affairs. In other words, they distanced themselves from the very ideals that truly distinguished them from Republicans.

The big problem with the Democrats strategy was that they forgot to consider why poor, rural and lower-middle class whites keep voting against their best interests and electing Republicans. Values. Republicans have two things going for them as a national party. One is the money they receive as unabashed government proxies for corporate America. They are the bought and sold minions of the military/industrial/media complex, shamelessly selling votes to the highest bidder. On the other side of the economic tracks, Republicans attract voters with their veil of values. Successful conservative politicians are those who are able to exploit the values of poor, less educated constituents and convince them that they are victims of the big, bad government who wants to take away their churches, guns and money.

The victimization of poor and poorly educated whites has proven tremendously successful, and it is what propelled Trump to the presidency (along with appeals to racism, sexism, etc.) Democrats had nothing to counter Trumps claims. Had they been championing the needs of the poor and unemployed over the past thirty years? Not really. Had they done anything to help revitalize small-town America with decent jobs? Uh, no. Democrats were too busy trying to be Republicans to care about people on the fringes of America’s cities or on welfare or in prison or living on the streets. We Democrats don’t do that New Deal stuff anymore. Then along came Bernie Sanders.

An old-school New Dealer with the unfortunate label Democratic Socialist, Sanders espoused many traditional Democratic positions and low and behold he began gaining support in his bid for the presidency. His views seemed fresh and hopeful to more idealistic younger voters, although they were historically what Democrats had stood for since FDR was in office. The Democratic Party, however, still under the control of neoliberals, saw Sanders as a threat, and even though poll after poll showed he had the best chance of beating Trump, they threw him under the bus and anointed Hillary their candidate.

The lesson is simple. If Democrats want to win in the future, they need to re-embrace the views espoused by Sanders and Warren and other truly progressive members that clearly distinguish them from Republicans. If the Party chooses candidates who can energize voters with hope and an optimistic vision for a better America, only then will Democrats find themselves on the winning side.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Threat is Real

Many good folks are doing their best to deal with the horrendous results of Tuesday’s election, and there is a lot of rationalization going on. “We survived two Bush Presidencies, we’ll survive this one,” “What Trump said during the campaign isn’t necessarily what he’ll do in office.” “Trump won and we need to get over it and move on. It won’t be as bad as you think.” We all need to deal with this tragedy in a way that works for us, but in my heart of hearts I do believe this election is different. It’s for that reason I’ve pulled back from commenting on social media and responding to the rationalizers. Based on his campaign speeches, his past, and the people he associates with, I believe Trump is a true threat to this country’s future.

As a senior less than two years from retirement, Trump’s attacks on Social Security and Medicare have me very worried. Millions of America’s elderly will be adversely affected by toying with two programs that have truly been success stories, but Trumpites see them as socialist experiments which means it doesn’t matter if they work or not, they have to either go or be privatized. And these are only two of numerous government programs that could be on the chopping block during the next administration.

Yes, we will survive Trump, but that line of thought isn’t very comforting. Europe “survived” World War II. Japan “survived” two nuclear bombs. A Trump administration will not be “business as usual,” and to pretend that is so is to bury one’s head in the sand. Trump has no respect for the Constitution of the United States or democracy, for that matter. As his campaign clearly demonstrated, he is an authoritarian at heart who will not allow tradition or the rule of law stand in his way.

The rationalizers will call me Chicken Little, running around blubbering about the sky falling. That isn’t so. My purpose here is to make two simple observations: The Trump Administration will be a real and present threat to American democracy, and because of that, we the people must be prepared to step out of our comfort zones, to make sacrifices, to push back against those who will attempt to deny our guaranteed constitutional rights and turn this once great nation into a third-world Banana Republic.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What We Have To Look Forward To Over The Next Four Years

To those Democrats who are trying to get through the week by believing Trump will tone back the craziness once he is actually in office, you need to pay closer attention to who the Donald is picking for various cabinet posts. Besides loyal lapdogs like Giuliani, Christie and Gingrich, initial indications are he’s going to pack his administration with right-wing, anti-science, Christian ideologues. Based on his campaign rhetoric and his cabinet appointees, here is what we can look forward to during the next four years under Trump. His administration, along with a Republican controlled House and Senate, will:
  • fight any climate change initiatives,
  • attack women’s reproductive rights,
  • try to close down Planned Parenthood,
  • undo environmental protection laws,
  • roll back existing financial regulations,
  • end the Affordable Care Act,
  • attack Social Security and Medicare and attempt to privatize them,
  • inject Christianity into governmental affairs,
  • give corporate America more say than ever over government policy,
  • use military actions instead of diplomacy,
  • allow police to continue militarizing their departments,
  • reduce public school funding,
  • promote racially divisive policies,
  • antagonize and alienate our allies around the world,
  • suppress and defund federally supported research that contradicts conservative beliefs,
  • and cut existing safety nets for the poor. 
And folks, that’s just the beginning. We do need to organize and fight Tump's agenda tooth and nail.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Trump’s Victory Is Only One Battle In A Much Bigger War

Donald Trump has just been elected the next President of the United States. No one took his candidacy seriously, not the press, not the pollsters, not the pundits. Yet the reality is that a wealthy white guy with the temperament of a toddler, the intelligence of a nine-year old, and the maturity of Biff Tannen, is now America’s Commander-in-Chief. What the hell happened?

On the micro-level, there is plenty of blame to go around, from an inept corporate media to the cowardly Democratic Party leadership to a general failure to accurately read the mood of the nation by just about everyone, yet I am looking at this from a macro-level here, and at that level it becomes easier to understand Trump and his followers.

I think humanity is in the midst of global change, a tectonic shift in thinking that will dramatically altar our future as a species. It is the birth of a new paradigm (or, some might argue, the rebirth of a very old one) and, like all births, it is and will be painful.  My sense is that we are experiencing the dying stages of patriarchal society, and the very early moments of egalitarianism on planet earth.

We look around us today, watch the news, and see a planet boiling over with war, violence, hate, fear and intolerance. Rebellion, terrorism and ideological battles are being fought everywhere you turn, from the Middle East to Western Europe to North and South America. Yes, every fight has a particular story behind it, but on the macro scale, we are witnessing a battle for survival between the old and new worlds, the system of patriarchy dating back many thousands of years, and egalitarianism, a new model where, as Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned, a person will not be judged by the color of their skin (or sex or sexual orientation) but by the content of their character.

As an American, I don’t have to look far to find evidence of humanity’s war with itself in this year’s presidential election. Donald Trump (and other conservative leaders around the world) represents a last gasp of the dying patriarchy, a final attempt to hold back progress, to stick one’s finger in the failing dam’s crack, before progress sweeps us all into the future. White men, who have held the reins of power for centuries, know their time is coming to an end, and they are doing everything in their power to prolong their station at the top of the ladder.

As dismal as this day is, I do believe we humans are moving forward and that our consciousness is maturing and moving in a positive direction, but we will continue to meet resistance. From the American Revolution to the French Revolution to Russia and beyond, the world struggled mightily to end monarchy and rule by birthright and replace it with rule by the people. It’s been messy and filled with failed efforts, but the trajectory has always been the same. We will experience those  same fits and starts on a global scale as we move to a more egalitarian society. It is always a process. There will be no single victory to signal success, but the momentum cannot be stopped.

It’s little comfort on this day to think of Trump’s win as merely one more obstacle on the road to a better world, but I think that is exactly what it is. We will experience more pain and lost battles in the future, but war is still humanity’s to win.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


Don't let your crazy uncle choose our next president.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

President Donald Trump’s First Seven Days in Office

Day 1

Throw really yuuuuge party for major donors. Putin guest of honor. Issue arrest warrants for Clintons, Sanders, Stewart, Moore, Ryan, Cruz, entire RNC, Obama, etc. Schedule fight with Biden (order sedatives to ensure victory). Have someone locate Pense.

Day 2

Start choosing cabinet (delegate). Assemble closest advisors (delegate). Prioritize policy agenda (delegate). Free by nine a.m. to golf with Christie and Comey. Send Melania to Paris to shop. Welcome Miss America contestants for personal tour of the White House. Party that night with Roman theme.

Day 3

Sign some paperwork, listen to a few boring briefings. Find out where the CIA is keeping the aliens, nuke button. Oversee beginning of construction of outdoor hot tub, party pavilion and driving range. Initiate martial law.

Day 4

Annex Dubai, will be 51st state. Meet with NSA and CIA to discuss progress on my enemies list. Start privatizing everything (delegate). Attend kick-off party for Melinia’s new “First Lady” line of lingerie. Discuss feasibility of turning South Lawn into game preserve with Eric and Don Jr.

Day 5

Sign order to construct 500 reeducation camps across the country. Quarantine Hollywood, San Francisco, Portland, and other blue cities to prevent the spread of dangerous, un-American ideas. Appoint Ivanka “Roving American Ambassador of Hotness.” Discuss with sculpture the pose for my first statue.

Day 6

Meetings with African diplomats (keep the hand sanitizer close by). Attend ceremony to officially rename Pennsylvania Avenue Donald Trump Drive. Golf and mud bath. Sign Executive Order #34472, “The President of the United States has Immunity from Everything.” Find out who has the keys to Fort Knox.

Day 7

Update enemies list. Give first Presidential Press Conference on FOX News. Appoint Giuliani Ambassador to Kazakhstan as reward for his loyalty. Fly to Arizona to kick-off ceremony for new wall across our southern border (tell contractors to keep all receipts for Mexican bill). Give myself a raise because I absolutely deserve it.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Campaign 2016: The Awful Truths We’ve Learned So Far

Although election day is still ahead of us, this nightmare of a presidential campaign has already revealed some very serious flaws in the American experiment that will require our attention in the future if we are to survive as a country. If Trump wins, of course, all bets are off and every ounce of energy we the people have will need to be focused on keeping him from blowing up the world. If Clinton prevails, and all indications are that she will, perhaps, just perhaps, there may be some shred of hope for us, although I won’t hold my breath waiting for her to tackle the deep systemic problems we face as a nation.

Public education
Once the hallmark of our democracy, public education has been under attack from conservatives for the past 40 years, and the resulting wounds are deep and potentially life threatening. The grand culmination of their efforts is presidential candidate Donald Trump, a racist, sexist, anti-intellectual billionaire who lies, bullies and promotes violence with every breath he takes, a fascist strongman who, if elected, would use the Constitution as toilet paper. The most frightening aspect of all of this is his popularity in red state America. In the Mountain States, Midwest and South, conservative school board members have worked tirelessly to eliminate science, the arts and critical thinking from school curricula and replace it with thinly disguised religious propaganda and pseudo-science, pushing for “traditional values” over intellectual inquiry and independent thinking skills. What we’ve all reaped for their efforts is a large swath of citizens who lack basic analytical abilities and are thus easily manipulated by appeals to their darkest fears and cries of victimization. Con-men (and women) in their churches, schools, and the corporate media have stoked a burning anger within these people and then directed that anger at all the wrong targets, immigrants, minorities, scientists, college professors, none of whom have any direct influence on the policies that influence the everyday lives of Americans. That would be the politicians who actually make policy in Washington and state houses around the country. We need a national effort to revitalize America’s public education system to provide children with an authentic education that focuses not merely on tests and rote knowledge, but critical thinking and analytical skills that encourage lifelong learning.

Campaign finance reform
I know I tend to harp on this subject, but with the ascension of Donald Trump, we have the poster child for everything that is wrong with our election process. Trump has zero qualifications for being President of the United States. There are two reasons why Trump has reached the position he is now in: He’s wealthy and he is highly skillful at tapping into the darkest regions of people’s psyche to manipulate them. That’s it. Supporters claim he is a successful businessman, but that is simply not true. He’s filed for bankruptcy four times, he’s lost billions of dollars over the years on failed deals, he’s being sued by just about everyone except me, and no one really knows how much he’s worth. The way we elect people to the highest offices in America needs to change drastically. The influence of money in our elections is criminal and must be undone if we are to survive as a democracy. Americans need to demand that this issue be addressed by candidates running for office and that it be part of our national debate.

The Republican Party
As part of the 2016 election cycle, we have the truly bizarre situation of lifelong Republicans who are so horrified by their candidate for president that they are publicly announcing they will not vote for him. Trump is, of course, the monster they helped create. From the days of Jim Crow to the Vietnam War “America, love it or leave it” era to the drug war to the Southern Strategy to welfare queens to attacks on abortion rights to welfare reform to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to voter intimidation tactics to the Tea Party, Republicans have veered farther and farther to the right over the years, providing comfort and support to the looniest candidates and conspiracy theories, resulting in a party offering up a presidential candidate that their own leaders can’t stomach. The question is, what will the party do about this situation after Trump? Will they continue their descent into a religious/fascist party of violent “revolutionaries,” or will some group or individual within the party have the strength to pull it back from the mouth of madness? Some of this may depend on how Trump supporters respond after The Donald loses his presidential bid. It’s hard to imagine people like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan condoning violence, but these are very strange times and we’ll have to wait and see. We can be sure, however, that they will continue not doing their jobs and fight Clinton’s agenda every step of the way.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

America’s Elections Are Rigged, But Not In The Way Trump Thinks

Trump is right to say that American elections are rigged, but they are rigged in completely different ways than he asserts. The very fact that a racist, misogynistic, lying, fascist like Trump could make it as far as he has in a supposedly democratic election lays bare the lie that there is some kind of conspiracy against him. Wall Street and the military/industrial/media complex would have no ideological problem with a Trump presidency, except for the little fact that the man is crazy enough to blow up the world.

Our elections are rigged, but the victims of this reality are not white billionaires, as abhorrent as they may be. The true victims are leftists, minorities, the poor, the middle class…well, basically 99 percent of all Americans. Elections are rigged to support the agenda of the .01 percent, the wealthiest of the wealthy. A recent study that came out of Princeton University found that policies and laws enacted by Congress overwhelming benefit the richest individuals and organizations. In the summary they conclude, “Despite seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analysis suggests that majorities of the American public have little influence over the policies our government adopts.”

Unlike the vague assertions of Trump, there is plenty of concrete evidence to show that the deck is stacked against most Americans when it comes to who gets into office and who doesn’t. Here are a few examples.

Money. Money is the lifeblood of politics in America. If you have it, you get a place at the table, if you don’t have it, you don’t exist. Feeble attempts have been made in the past to try and curb the influence of money in our elections, but they have been ignored, repealed or subverted, and the buying power of the wealthiest few remains intact. Nothing has done more to corrupt the democratic process than the power wielded by the .01 percent to buy politicians and influence policies. Of course, it is a Catch 22 situation. Politicians who have benefited from the current system feel no obligation to change the status quo, despite its disastrous ramifications for democracy.

Gerrymandering: States have been gerrymandering voting districts for a very long time to favor a particular party’s chances, but things have taken a turn for the worse over the past twenty years as ultra-conservative Tea Party members have won governorships and state houses around the country. From Rick Scott in Florida to Scott Walker in Wisconsin to John Kasich in Ohio, Republican governors and state senators have been working overtime to disenfranchise minority voters who traditionally vote Democratic. Courts are now starting to fight back, but the practice continues and serves to distort the balance of power, and will of the people, around the country.

The Two-Party System: It’s no conspiracy theory to say the Republican and Democratic parties have a stranglehold on politics in America. The problems with this are obvious and numerous. As we’ve seen, third party attempts to gain legitimacy have gone down in flames time and time again. The two major parties are elaborate, firmly established machines that no upstart party can begin to compete with financially or in any other way. The result is a field of candidates who are more closely tied to party ideology and mega-donors than the American people. New voices and new ideas are discouraged and the big winner is always the status quo. Even within the two parties, there is little room for dissent, and a candidate as popular as Bernie Sanders is quickly dismissed to the sidelines by the party’s power brokers.

Electronic voting machines. This is a controversial one, but we do know a few things for sure: It has been demonstrated more than once that it is relatively easy to hack these machines and flip votes. There is also strong evidence that this has in fact happened at polling places around the country in elections since these machines were introduced. Voters have seen their votes change before their eyes and results from electronic machines have differed wildly from exit polls, most often helping Republican candidates. What many people don’t realized is that these voting machines are privately owned by corporations that keep their proprietary software secret and away from public scrutiny, so there is no way to verify the accuracy of the vote after the fact.

So yes, Donald, you’re right, America’s elections are rigged, but you are not the victim. The American people are the big losers here.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Lack Of Competition In America’s Major Industries Is A Serious Problem, Yet No One Wants To Talk About It

What could be more dangerous and threatening to democracy than having a mere handful of companies controlling our money, our news and entertainment and our food? Yet this is exactly the situation we find ourselves in today, and there has been little to nothing said about this situation from either Presidential candidate. The reason why is obvious. Industry giants contribute and control candidates running for office. They help set the national agenda and pad the bank accounts of elected officials who do their bidding.

Some will characterize this claim as a conspiracy theory, but in this case, the facts say otherwise. Here are a few:

- The American economy, and to a large extent the global economy, is controlled by four banking behemoths: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup (joining them from abroad are BNP, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and a few other older large banks). Eighty percent of the New York Federal Reserve Bank is owned by eight families: Goldman Sachs, Rockefellers, Lehmans and Kuhn Loebs of New York, the Rothschilds of Paris and London, the Lazards of Paris, and the Israel Moses Seifs of Rome.

- Six companies own 90 percent of the media in America: Comcast, The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, CBS Corporation and Viacom. In 1983 there were 50 companies in this category. A mere 232 media executives control the information and entertainment diet of 277 million Americans.

- Ten companies control almost everything we eat and drink: Nestle, Pepsico, General Mills, Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, Associated British Foods, Mondelez, Mars, Unilever, Danone and Mars. From granola bars to frozen foods to your morning glass of orange juice, ten companies determine the diets of most Americans.

Although today’s situation may not conform to the strict definition of a monopoly, the result is basically the same. What makes this so undemocratic and anti-capitalist?

Competition. One of the basic tenets of capitalism is the supposed benefits of competition. If I build a good mousetrap, but you build a better one, you, and supposedly the consumer, benefit. When you have only a handful of giant corporations controlling an industry, competition and innovation are stifled and, in some cases, bought up and incorporated into the mother company. Consumer choices are artificially limited.

Workers’ rights. The less competition, the easier it is to control prices and wages. Workers are the big losers when they have so few choices of companies for which to work, and the companies are more than happy to take advantage of this situation by keeping wages and benefits as low as possible, despite making huge profits.

Market control. The media monopoly is a good example of how a small group can control an entire industry. There have been numerous examples in recent years showing clips of local and national newscasters from different networks not only airing the same stories during the same news cycle, but reading from the exact same script. News is no longer news, but corporate propaganda designed to not only sell things, but to keep the masses docile and uninformed.

It’s really a crime that this very serious situation is receiving absolutely no attention during this campaign. A few notable politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders understand the problem, but they have been excluded from the race to the White House by the Goliaths they are fighting against. When you have two candidates who benefit financially from the very companies we need to break up, there’s little hope change will come anytime soon.