Mar 16, 2024

Pence is a Very Sinful Man Who Faciliated Evil by Abetting Trump's Crimes

Better late than never? But most of those who have come out against Trump kept QUIET when they should have come out as soon as they realized how dangerous he was/is. Indeed many of them facilitated this madness we've been going through by empowering this malignant man.

Most of them didn't discover who he is after Jan. 6th 2021, unless they're idiots with the worst political judgment. They are now against him because he is a LOSER! I bet you if he was still president they'd still be kissing his ass.

Of course if someone is in a cult it's hard to appeal to them. So for them it doesn't matter that his faithful VP, Pence, (who survived Trump's mob who wanted to hang him) just said he won't be endorsing him.

There are dozens of Trump's inner circle (he chose the BEST as he often bragged) have now come out against their former boss. None of them spoke when it mattered, like during Trump's impeachment(s).

- Chief of Staff, and the Chief of Staff to the CoS.
- Two Defense Secretaries
- Two Homeland Security Secretaries
- Two National Security Advisors
- Three communications directors
- White House and personal lawyers
- Numerous state and local Republican elected officers
- And, 60 courts that threw out his false claims about stolen election
- And,....

Feb 12, 2024

When Image is More Important than Substance. Or, how to not evaluate politics

When president Roosevelt died a few months after his fourth inauguration, no one said they regretted voting for him. At age 63, on his last day alive, he was better than any Republican that ran against him. The true, essential job of a president is making decisions. FDR made many, most beneficial to the people (here and abroad), and steered the country in troubled times.
 
You never know all the crises that may arise during a president's term. Some are already known, like Putin's threats, but a pandemic like Covid may appear. What we knew about Trump's dangerous incompetence before the election was in full effect during Covid. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died because of it. But, "those emails"...
 

 
The NYT and other liberal media have been a lot more critical, with many more stories, about Biden's age and frequent faux pas than Trump's more frequent and much more ridiculous statements. It's a repeat of 2015-16 when far more stories appeared about Hilary Clinton's minor infraction with the emails than her adversary's dangerous incompetence.

Oct 20, 2023

The Most Courageous & Difficult Act: Peace!

 Please see this NYT piece:

Beautifully written. And this from a Palestinian doctor who's lost family members to this long conflict: "“The only real revenge for murder,” he said, “is achieving peace.” Cursed be they who cry out: Revenge. We choose life."  
 
All this violence serves those who want violence as a way of life & death.

Sep 29, 2023

A Butterfield Moment... [If only more Republicans had the decency of Butterfield and Hutchinson]

When I was a polisci student I remember my professors saying that our institutions would most probably protect us from authoritarian rule. Well, I now say it wasn't the institutions, not alone anyway. We've been lucky, so far, with the former president's attempts to destroy our democracy and any institution that stood it his way.
 
But, it was a few people who decided to do the right think, that is, have allegiance to the Office of the President and the Constitution, instead to ..Nero. But Nero is back and if elected it'll be revenge time and he won't allow anyone but a stooge and a lackey to be in positions of power--no guardrails for democracy.
 
We owe gratitude to Cass Hutchinson for testifying under oath (and more to come in the criminal cases agains the former guy). She also said that she has guilty for being COMPLICIT up to Jan. 6th. Many of the people in the previous admin. who are now revealing how malignant the Trump admin. was, had been part of the problem. They were enablers of the worst politics could produce and empower all the way to the White House. 
 
There is NOTHING new we've learned about Trump that we didn't know before. Yes, we have more details that he committed many more crimes, and he conspired to defraud the United States, the voters, and our democracy.
 
So, anyone who enabled this malignacy to spread far and wide in our society has to carry this guilt to their grave.
 

 
I appreciate Chris Christie, the only one on the debate stage among the Republican candidates the other day for saying Trump should be "voted off the island." But, Christie was an enabler too. I would like to ask him, when did he realize he was helping an arsonist and doing it for many years... Trump's character and actions were in display, at least when he entered the Republican politics by challenging the legitimacy of Barak Obama. Remember that? It's easier to go after someone when you (Christie) think he's a loser and will inflict another humiliating defeat to your party.

> By the way, I don't get what those Republican were debating on stage. If they thought that any of them is better for the presidency, they had to show or say so. But, other than Christie, they would support Trump for the presidency even if he is a convicted fellon! A fellon who conspired to overthrow democracy nontheless. Yeah, those Republicans... and their party, which still says that the Jan. 6th violent insurrection was "a legitimate politcal discourse."  In what universe?.... Tsk.

Sep 26, 2023

Choices, choice, Choices... Elections Have Consequences!

As I've debated countless times about the incredibly important decision of choosing a president, let's remember that life isn't only about 1 issue, generally speaking. A president and a party in power make a million decisions about policies, hire or appoint people in vital positions, promote certain values and steer the country into a certain direction.
 
For the last several years, we have one politically responsible party--yes, it's the Dems--and one anti-democracy, anti-science, anti-environment, religiously nutty parry--the Repubs.
 

 
Biden promotes workers' rights, and has passed pro-environment/science important bills. The Chinese are hoping Trump will win and kill anything that's "green" ecologically, including electric cars. He wants to get votes from the auto industry workers, and he'll get some as many people are known to vote against their economic interests.
 
Speaking of China and its leadership has been open about it: they'll keep building coal-fired plants until 2050. By 2030, they'll built 300 of them. OK, the Chinese poeple don't have a choice, but in the US we get what we deserve over all*. No?
 
 
*except when a state is gerrymandered to prevent the majority from being the ..majority, and when access to the ballot is restricted. Republican state governments now want to decide themselves--not the voters--who should win their state!

Sep 8, 2023

How Democracies Die

This is not just MAGA, it's the Republican Party's responsibility too

We all have our preferences, priorities and values. When it comes to public policy and electing representatives to lead the government, we can debate the issues. Reason and evidence should guide our important decisions. But before we have a conversation, we have to agree about the rules of logic, and evidence.

Likewise, if democracy is to survive, the major participants have to agree about the fundamentals of the game. One such rule is to accept the peaceful transition of government. The system has to have legitimacy, at least among those major players and teams that participate. There's no point having elections if the result is not respected by the participating major parties.

But, how about when there's cheating? Yeah, that would be very bad if it affected the end result of an election. The outcome of an election, wouldn't be legitimate then. However, false allegations, big lies, and unsubstantiated claims are equally harmful. There isn't a shred of evidence, for example, that the 2020 election was stolen, or fraud changed the outcome. 

When democracies die, there are many assassins, and most often among them are those established leaders that empower the murder of democracy. The Republican party [The RNC] has failed to condemn the Big Lie and the big liar. Actually, it has said that the Jan. 6th (2021) violent insurrection against the US Capitol was a "legitimate political discourse"!!!

That's why, in my view, anyone who agrees with this is dis-qualified from holding public office.

"During the first Republican debate of the 2024 presidential primary campaign last month, Donald Trump’s rivals were asked to raise their hands if they would support his candidacy, even if he were “convicted in a court of law.” Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election wasn’t just a potential criminal offense. It also violated the cardinal rule of democracy: Politicians must accept the results of elections, win or lose.

But that seemed to matter little on the debate stage..." [source: NYT 9/8/23]

How Democracies Die, by Levitsky and Zimblatt. A must-read book.

Sep 5, 2023

A Simple Approach to Education and Politics

As the new school year commences, education is under attack in our country. Who's attacking education? Isn't education a good thing? True education is learning HOW to think, not just absorb information. To learn history, what actually happened in the context of the time. To recognize that education is not a casual and superficial attempt to obtain a degree of some sort. It's about training your brain to obtain wisdom.

When students ask me what my political views are, I say that I support education, science, the environment, and, of course, the democratic principles that allow for free voting, free expression--which includes the individual pursuit of happiness--legitimacy of institutions, and peaceful transitions of power! 

 


Aug 1, 2023

Federal Indictment: Defendant Trump Conspired to Defraud the United States!

 "The Defendant, Donald J. Trump, did knowingly combine conspire, confederate, and agree with co-conspirators, known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to defraud the United States." From the indictment unsealed Aug. 1st, 2023.

This is one of the most important moments in our history (until the verdict is announced). The only president who conspired to overthrow a legitimate election (the most fair and open) and subvert our democracy. 




Jul 4, 2023

A Patriotic Message on the Fourth of July 2023

What's the meaning of the 4th of July nowadays? Love of the flag, bbq and the fireworks?... Or, the misguided and vile patriotism of the MAGA people? 
 
Back when, I learned about the Declaration of Independence and the new ideology of liberalism, the formation of a new nation with all its pitfalls and imperfections; and of the struggles to get to this point in history. I don't want to live in the fantasy of American exceptionalism and ideals of the Dark Ages--all of which are still very relevant, surprisingly in this 21st c. I don't want to see leaders who give permission to people to be free from the obligations of common decency!
 
Happy 4th! May you grow closer to independence and freedom--both start in your mind...
 

Jun 29, 2023

The Swamp Creature speaks...

Oh, yeah... (I posit sarcastically) Let's elect a young swamp man because the other guy is a dinosaur.

 The latest bright idea from the swamp (FLA) creature:


Question: Are you in favor of eliminating any agencies?

DeSantis: We would do education, commerce, energy, and the IRS. If Congress won’t go that far, I’m going to use those agencies to push back against woke ideology… pic.twitter.com/cAoZIXfESu
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 28, 2023

 

Most Republicans Exhibit Classic Cultist Behavior

 

It's one thing not to admit you were wrong because you lack integrity or courage, and another not to realize how foolish you've been. Everything we knew, suspected, reported, shown, exhibited, court-ruled, etc, about Trump has been verified, and most by people in his inner circle, and the courts--more of them to rule in the next couple years.
 
Every defense of this indefensible vile human being has collapsed other than the cultist devotion of Republicans. He's by far the front-runner in that anti-democracy party even after ALL the revelations about his actions.
 
The latest: we now have the recording in which he admits having top-secret docs and showing them to casual people (no security clearance) while laughing about handling national security docs. "Bring in some cokes".... He continues to cross the country on a campaign of blatant lies. Any legit news media should begin their coverage by saying... here's a dangerous liar who has been endangering our country. This must be acknowledged, over and over again--there's no middle ground between the sane and the insane.
 
He's "writing" a book and selling it to the gullible wingnuts. The title, "If I Did it".... 

 

Jan 6, 2021

We're Witnessing an Act of Sedition--A Fitting End to the Criminal Trump Administration

Too many Republicans, the base and elected leaders, are attempting to overthrow our democracy. They have been attacking the legitimacy of our institutions--the glue that keeps the country together. At least the visible ones, those who lead this cult, have earned a badge of shame disgrace (they're shameless) for the rest of their lives. Those in Congress, they should be remembered as usurpers, and plotters of a legislative coup d'etat. Today there's a firewall to stop this, but it may not be there in the future. Imagine in the House was controlled by the Repubs. Conceivably both Congressional chambers can reject the legitimate results of an election!


What we saw this morning was to see a standing ovation for those objecting to the certification of the Electoral College results. Yeah, just like a banana republic, where the absurd, the anti-democratic assaults receive standing ovation by elected officials in the US Congress who have taken an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States!

Joe Biden will be the next president of the US, and Kamala Harris the next VP, but 160 Congressional Republicans are putting the country through a sh*t show, because they can. Remember, they place their cult above any allegiance to the constitution, and democracy. They want to overturn the legitimacy of the election. They don't believe Dems can win elections that's why they have been attacking the legitimacy of Dems since the Clinton years. The transformation of the Republican party began with the election of R. Reagan, with the religious right, the conspiracy advocates, the anti-science, anti education, anti-civil rights/democracy, people taking control of the party. It's been 40 years in the making. They created a monster they cannot control now.

How can you even engage someone in dialogue/debate when they are not rational, don't follow logic, and they have "facts" based on crazy conspiracy theories and a rabid belief the other party can't possible win elections or trusted in government? Well, you know the answer....

Yet, Trump and this election revealed some ugly truths about America, and about the weaknesses of our system. Both are endemic and won't be fixed soon. The first ugliness is embedded in our society. How could this happen that this caricature of a president, who until this moment is debasing our democracy and institutions, came to be given the light of day for far too long.

....

At this hour, 2pm EST, the US Capitol has been stormed by Trump protesters. We're witnessing another violent attack by the Trump cultists. He spoke earlier to them and egged them to take back their country, while many Republicans inside were attempting a legislative coup. This is insane, and disgusting, but entirely predictable since 2016.

 

 

Dec 16, 2020

We Have to Accept the Facts: The Republicans are Hostile to Reality, Reason, and the Foundational Ideals of American Democracy!

Lots has taken place in the last several months, most notably the election and seemingly the end of a national nightmare/embarrassment, though Trump and his minions are still attacking our institutions and our democracy. But, we did avoid greater damage by making him the biggest loser, and by exposing him for what he is--an immature, petulant, malignant, dangerous autocrat, and most indecent person.

Yet, we have a problem. Not only such a person was able to back into the presidency, but there are so many Americans who are so divorced from reality that think he's great, and that he's been cheated out of a second term! This is in the face of reason and evidence. But, this is the product of a long cultivation of the Republican party's base that has turned people into cultists. The party itself, since Ronald Reagan (1980s), has been hostile to science,the environment, education, and reason! There's no wonder why so many Americans openly wear their ignorance and prejudice as badges of honor!

A second attribute of the "GOP" is its disdain of democratic values--what the American experiment in government aspired to be: of, for, by the people! The main core, base and leadership, of the Republican party has turned into a fanatical cult, which holds that those who have opposite views are "un-American" traitors, and that the Democratic party is does not have legitimacy to hold power, even if voters actually prefer it. The Republicans have been challenging the legitimacy of every single Democratic president or presidential candidate starting with Bill Clinton

I hope that the Biden-Harris team realizes this, and that they fight fire with fire. They should not have to plead for acceptance; they must assert and exhibit it. I'm tired of hearing "we have to reach across the aisle"! I do want cooperation and exchange of ideas, where debate is based on reason and facts. But, how can you reason with people who have "alternative facts" and think you're not even legitimate to sit at the table with them? 

Here's a great NYT Op-Ed, Dec. 16th, 2020:

Reagan turned the GOP into a fanatical, religious, intollerant party. Newt Gingrich, Bush, and Trump completed it.
Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Republicans spent most of 2020 rejecting science in the face of a runaway pandemic; now they’re rejecting democracy in the face of a clear election loss.

What do these rejections have in common? In each case, one of America’s two major parties simply refused to accept facts it didn’t like.

I’m not sure it’s right to say Republicans “believe” that, say, wearing face masks is useless or that there was widespread voter fraud. Framing the issue as one of belief suggests that some kind of evidence might change party loyalists’ minds.

In reality, what Republicans say they believe flows from what they want to do, whether it’s ignore a deadly disease or stay in power despite the voters’ verdict.

In other words, the point isn’t that the G.O.P. believes untrue things. It is, rather, that the party has become hostile to the very idea that there’s an objective reality that might conflict with its political goals.

Notice, by the way, that I’m not including qualifiers, like saying “some” Republicans. We’re talking about most of the party here. The Texas lawsuit calling on the Supreme Court to overturn the election was both absurd and deeply un-American, but more than 60 percent of Republicans in the House signed a brief supporting it, and only a handful of elected Republicans denounced the suit.

At this point, you aren’t considered a proper Republican unless you hate facts.

But when and how did the G.O.P. get that way? If you think it started with Donald Trump and will end when he leaves the scene (if he ever does), you’re na├»ve.

Republicans have been heading in this direction for decades. I’m not sure whether we can pinpoint the moment when the party began its descent into malignant madness, but the trajectory that led to this moment probably became irreversible under Ronald Reagan.

Republicans have, of course, turned Reagan into an icon, portraying him as the savior of a desperate, declining nation. Mostly, however, this is just propaganda. You’d never know from the legend that economic growth under Reagan was only slightly faster than it had been under Jimmy Carter, and slower than it would be under Bill Clinton.

And rapidly rising income inequality meant that a disproportionate share of the benefits from economic growth went to a small elite, with only a bit trickling down to most of the population. Poverty, measured properly, was higher in 1989 than it had been a decade earlier.

Anyway, gross domestic product isn’t the same thing as well-being. Other measures suggest that we were already veering off course.

For example, in 1980 life expectancy in America was similar to that in other wealthy nations; but the Reagan years mark the beginning of the great mortality divergence of the United States from the rest of the advanced world. Today, Americans can, on average, expect to live almost four fewer years than their counterparts in comparable countries.

The main point, however, is that under Reagan, irrationality and hatred for facts began to take over the G.O.P.

There has always been a conspiracy-theorizing, science-hating, anti-democratic faction in America. Before Reagan, however, mainstream conservatives and the Republican establishment refused to make alliance with that faction, keeping it on the political fringe.

Reagan, by contrast, brought the crazies inside the tent.

Many people are, I think, aware that Reagan embraced a crank economic doctrine — belief in the magical power of tax cuts. I’m not sure how many remember that the Reagan administration was also remarkably hostile to science.

Reagan’s ability to act on this hostility was limited by Democratic control of the House and the fact that the Senate still contained a number of genuinely moderate Republicans. Still, Reagan and his officials spent years denying the threat from acid rain while insisting that evolution was just a theory and promoting the teaching of creationism in schools.

This rejection of science partly reflected deference to special interests that didn’t want science-based regulation. Even more important, however, was the influence of the religious right, which first became a major political force under Reagan, has become ever more central to the Republican coalition and is now a major driver of the party’s rejection of facts — and democracy.

For rejecting facts comes naturally to people who insist that they’re acting on behalf of God. So does refusing to accept election results that don’t go their way. After all, if liberals are servants of Satan trying to destroy America’s soul, they shouldn’t be allowed to exercise power even if they should happen to win more votes.

Sure enough, a few days ago the televangelist Pat Robertson — who first became politically influential under Reagan — pronounced the Texas lawsuit a “miracle,” an intervention by God that would keep Trump in office.

The point is that the G.O.P. rejection of facts that has been so conspicuous this year wasn’t an aberration. What we’re seeing is the culmination of a degradation that began a long time ago and is almost surely irreversible.

Aug 14, 2020

The Relation Between Radicals, Moderates, and Conservatives

 NYT columnist David Brooks explains, in this OpEd,  that the "radicals" don't bring change; it's the moderates that do.

What is it that makes a person "conservative"? I think it's personality, it's the go-to, default, setting for the individual. Brooks has been a conservative, and as he says in his piece, over the years he moved right on certain issues that are more emotional (family, country, etc), and moved left on issues that can be rationally analyzed, like social programs, justice, etc.   For the same reason I don't like religion, I don't like conservatives..... and, I came to this by thinking and learning. The more I did the more ..radical I became in opposing conservatism and religion. They're both go hand in hand, most of the time, and they both want to hold progress back. By progress I mean positive change, not destructive radicalism.

B
rooks says, " The people who come in their wake and actually make change are conservative radicals. They believe in many of the radicals’ goals, but know how to work within the democratic framework to achieve them."  He calls "radicals" those who aren't really radicals but are more vocal advocating for a sensible, more just society--which is already in place elsewhere. That's not ..radicalism, unless you compare it to a big mass in the US that is very conservative.  In this sense it's the ..perceived moderates (like Biden) or the "conservative radicals" as Brooks labels them, that facilitate change, because of the big mass who's afraid of "socialism".  But, yes, the envelope has to be pushed by the radicals in order for the moderates to have a chance of implementing reform.

Voting by itself is not enough. Activism and movements are necessary to stir up the status quo and usher new choices. These assaults on the status quo may be seen inconvenient or even threatening to many Americans, but they're important in accelerating change.

Aug 9, 2020

Biden's VP Choice Won't Change the Dynamics of the 2020 Election. Any Sensible Adult is Preferrable to the Dangerous, Incompetent, Most-Indecent Current President

 

Biden will announce his VP choice this week, after months of speculation and "advice", which advice is mostly what the "adviser" wants but not based on any evidence that such choice is a "must" or "will bring more votes to the ticket." There's no evidence to suggest that VPs bring any significant boost. They're part of the narrative about the main actor, and even that it's mostly discussed among the elites.

I'm mostly annoyed by those people who proclaim they won't vote for Biden because their preference (Sanders, Warren, or whomever else) didn't get the nomination. Above all, if they are not sufficiently motivated to vote to remove the most dangerous and unqualified president, then they're part of the problem, every problem they want to solve through politics. I question the judgment of such people, especially when they want to talk politics or analyze a situation.

If you're not motivated enough to vote this vile president out of office, along with his kakistocracy regime, then I don't care about your concerns. This is not normal times, and we shouldn't normalize Trump's behavior as another flavor of politics; he's so far out. And, to those who argued, in 2016, the DJT and HRC were more or less the same, you should refrain from making important political decisions. Also, if you don't vote to throw this spoiled child out, then you are NOT a progressive, for you're setting the country to continue sliding backward.
 
Now, I don't think there are many people who will not vote because of a VP choice, as they aren't that many who do vote for a ticket because someone is the VP-designee. I'm talking about significant numbers who can swing a national election, or even a state. I'm not saying it's impossible, but there isn't evidence that this has happened in the last 100 years.

For me, Biden's VP will be the next president, and therefore I want to see a competent person, who has political experience, preferably executive, someone who has won a serious election. My first choice would be Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, and, secondly, Kamala Harris.  But, the bottom line is that I'd vote for Biden, even if he was in a comma, and his VP choice was any sensible adult.

Aug 6, 2020

When Credulity, Uncritical Mind, and Perverted Love are Desirable Qualities

 

It's a sad day when Biden has to put out a statement re-affirming his faith (credulity, uncritical mind, ignorance on display), because some moron (DJT) made a gibberish statement that Biden has " no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt guns, hurt God..."

So, in a village where so many people are infected with a virus of the mind, proclaiming blindness, ignorance, and love for someone whom you fear, is considered an obligatory statement and positive attribute for any politician who wants to lead.... tsk. We're still so backward and primitive.

Jun 4, 2020

If Only We Had a Clue that Trump Would be so Bad.... (just kidding). Fortunately, We Have a Choice What to Do

How much more do you need to see in order to reject Trump as unfit to hold public office, that he doesn't have the temperament, maturity, sense of duty, expertise, leadership qualities, and just about everything a president of the US should have? And, how much more do you need to see to realize how unkind, uncaring, obtuse, vindictive, megalomaniac, egotistical, and destructive Trump is?

Even though it's good to see more and more Republicans denounce him, but with a few exceptions--those conservatives or Republicans who opposed him when he was a candidate and after he won the GOP nomination (indeed, very few)--everyone who voted and became an apologists for him shares part of the blame for this awful situation we're in today as a country. These supporters and apologists did not want to see; they were willfully ignorant, because the signs, the facts were there well before the election.

Yes, we need all the votes and voices in opposition to Trump and his cohorts, but we have to examine why this childish malevolent actor became president of the US. It's a systemic problem, especially with the Republican party, which also gave us another worst president, GW Bush in recent years.  Trump's political trajectory was made possible by a party that supported the worst kind of populism, myths, vile leaders, and has an ideology fit for the Dark Ages.

I'd like to think that the majority of Republicans aren't racists, but if someone is a racist, his party is the Republican party. There is a reason why the tea parties appeared after the first black president was elected. There is a reason why many white voters left the Democratic party after Obama was elected. There is a reason why Trump's racist rhetoric has agitated and mobilized individuals and groups who are white supremacists, xenophobes, and bigots of all stripes.

So, we have some systemic problems in our society. From the way we elect the president (Electoral College, not the majority of the voters), to the racial and economic divisions within our country, to the way the law and its instruments of power operates.  Some myths die hard--like the American dream--even if there's proof that many are illusions, or mass delusions.

Understandably many Americans are stressed, and have various degrees of financial insecurity. Our democracy, and most of our institutions--the glue that keeps our society together--have been losing legitimacy. Our social safety net needs to be expanded and strengthened. Perhaps COVID19 exposed the holes and weaknesses of our system and there will demands (and actual policies) to improve on the quality of life for the average American. We were, still are pioneers in many ways, but we've fallen behind other western democracies in terms of quality of life.

Only ideal candidates need apply, or, how some people help bring bad outcomes

The output of a very disturbed mind
Meanwhile on the progressive side of the political spectrum, there are those who are exhibiting Trump-like petulance: my way or the ..highway. These persons fail to understand--as they did in 2016--progress in life doesn't exist in an ideal form.

There are many forces, actors, and ideas that oppose progress. There always have been. These forces also vote, hold public offices, and have financial interests. It's prudent that we realize this, be realistic about it.


We have to examine the practical, and how close it is to our values. Of course I realize that sometimes there are only awful choices. Yet, this is not the case this year, nor it was in 2016, in my opinion.  Remember, that the ideal shouldn't be the enemy of the practical. I will vote for Joe Biden because it'll be good for the country--far better than the alternative.

There are those, like some "Bernie or bust" people, who are contemplating sitting out this election or waste their votes, again, on a minor party. The fact is that the next president will either be a Dem or a Repub. Likewise, our representatives in the Congress (House and Senate) will be Dems or Repubs. No minor parties are represented in Congress; same for state legislatures. This is the system we have, at least for now.

He may not have been my first choice among those who ran, but Joe Biden will probably be one of the most progressive presidents we've ever had. The party and key constituents have moved to further to the left and will influence his policies. He will restore dignity in the presidency. He will be a leader working with other heads of state not praise dictators while trying to emulate them.

He will have competent people in his administration. Science and the scientific approach/methodology will be officially supported and advanced. There will be no crime family at the White House to use the country as an emolument platform. The Attorney General will not be the president's personal lawyer, and there will be progressive judges appointed. I could go on and on, but the point is, don't reject someone because he is not perfect, or he has not attained perfection like you... especially when the choice is between your non-ideal but far better candidate and four more years of Trump along with the withering of our republic/democracy.

Mar 16, 2020

It Shouldn't Have Taken COVID19 to Show Presidential Leadership it's about Life and Death Matters

Unless there's a divine plan with lots of death and suffering
Most Americans don't understand the meaning of labels like social democracy, but, surprise-surprise, they like "social" policies. Nowadays in this pandemic they are more ..socialistic! They want the government to protect them from something real that affects their lives. They're asking about health tests, treatment, sick pay leave, etc. 

When the people in charge are guided by incompetence, egoism, delusions, and pettiness, things get worse, people die. Trump may have been able to bullshit through many crisis but this is very real and he can't get out of it by lying or relying on his moronic base. It's not a Dem hoax when the whole world is taking this very seriously. 

Sure, it's political. It's political when we see an incompetent gov hurting us. It's political when the president's incompetence and malice are on full display because he was elected to that position. We all have to take stock in what the political process gave us. Those "damn emails" and strong dislike of HRC--the most qualified candidate--seemed more important than electing a kakistocracy regime--rule by the worst of the worst! And, please don't tell me, that this is a surprise! We all knew who Trump, his cohorts, and the Republican party were...

Jul 25, 2019

Time to Impeach DTrump--If Only Democrats in Congress Grew a Spine by Projecting Strength & Leadership

After much anticipation, Mueller testified in Congress, and unless you lived under a rock in the last year, he didn't say anything that we didn't already know. The impact of his testimony is yet to be determined, but this show was below mediocre in my opinion. The Dems need to find some new facts, like Trump's tax returns, and get Trump's lawyer and others who witnessed the obstruction of justice by Trump to testify.

As far as the impeachment goes, I admit I've been going back and forth, calculating the political angle. I'm now in the corner of: impeach the motherfucker!  Here's the rationale...
  
It'll suck the oxygen out of the room, but it's not like Congress is really using it to pass legislation with the House and Senate under different party control. They better start as soon as after the Summer recess. Trump and the Republicans will continue to say it's a "witch hunt" and basically the president is above the law. It won't matter. It doesn't matter whether Congress does much anyway. There's nothing the Dems could do to please Trump and the Repubs.

Most voters behave like tribal members, which means they vote their party no matter who's in charge. More so the Repubs. Dems stay home. The few centrists, who can decide a close election, may be persuaded by other impressions, like how the economy is performing. They don't understand how our political system is structured and the limitations of divided government. So, Pelosi is probably trying to appeal to them--pass legislation (well, the House passes it, the Senate rejects it), instead of impeaching the prez.

I believe you win majorities in order to do something big. Squabbling with the Senate for who's responsible for the mess, is lost in the minds of the public. Obama wasted a great opportunity in his first 2 years when the Dems had control of whole Congress by being too soft and trying to appeal to the Repubs--which of course was an utter failure. He delegated to Congress his health care and immigration reforms. OK, the ACA gave millions needed health insurance but failed to deliver universal coverage and what Obama & the Dems had campaigned on. Immigration reform? Hahaaaa...argh.

The only reason for not proceeding with impeaching the orange buffoon is that Pelosi can't get 218 votes through the House. But this is because she's been wavering on the issue. The Repubs would have already started impeachment against a Dem prez. They did it to Clinton for what we think today to be a laughable reason. We now have Trump who has obstructed justice over 10 times, lied under oath, and other crimes and misdemeanors.  It's a moral obligation to impeach even if he won't be removed before 1/20/21 when the new prez will take over.


The Dems should show some spine. They're already too late in exposing Trump's tax returns. The country needs to know whether he has followed the law, and whether he may be subject to blackmail by foreign powers. Who's financing Trump's frauds and business failures?  Mueller gave Congress more than it needs to proceed and hold Trump accountable.

I understand that 34 Dems came from districts Trump won but I hardly think they won in 2018 because any Repubs voted for them. Maybe a few centrists, but it was Dem voter turnout that did it. Which brings us to the question about the best Dem strategy for 2020...   About 9% of Obama voters went for Trump, and another 7% didn't vote at all in 2016 because they didn't find HRC appealing enough.  Had Dems scored the same turnout in 2016 as they did in 2012, the election would have been different. 

The most sensible strategy to me will be strong Dem campaigns in PA, WI, and MI, and excite the base to come out and vote. Yes, it should be about Trump and how unqualified and dangerous and vile he is. Campaign on health care, and sensible immigration reform--strong borders, humanitarian, but also an efficient way for imms who have been here long enough to establish roots to apply for citizenship. You will never get the racists, xenophobes, conservatives, and uneducated to change their perceptions about walls, immigrant crimes, job stealing, etc.

In a different universe where citizens are well-informed and engaged, you may be able to have rational discussions, based on facts, evidence and reason. We are in a universe where there's no time to change people's minds about their important beliefs and perceptions during an election campaign. Therefore the game is to get your base out to vote! Simple, not easily done, but it will work.

Jun 27, 2019

The Dems Need to Do a Better Job.....[Some Observations After the First Debate in 2019]

The first Democratic debate with the first batch of 10 candidates took place last night; the second one is tonight. At this point everyone is forming impressions and weighing whether a candidate is presidential material. Electability is number one concern for most Dems right now. From my unscientific, and limited observation among friends and colleagues, people begin to lean toward a candidate based based on such impressions even if that candidate's policies, say on health care, aren't 100% of what someone might prefer. 

Also, those who didn't have a strong preference before, these preliminary leanings aren't strong, in the sense, that if a stronger candidate emerges people's preferences may change. I think this is the case with Biden's supporters right now--most have a soft commitment to his candidacy. I don't think Biden will be the nominee, but, again, this is way too early to say anything with strong conviction. I'd maybe wage $10 on it. 

As for the actual event in Miami last night...
They needed a professor on that stage last night.... They all spoke too much and too quickly for the students in the audience...  At this point, most people create impressions not knowledge... You, may have liked Warren, even though someone else had policies closer to your ideas, for example.

There needed to be that prof there who would, yes, say fewer words, but more slowly... and repeat themselves in clear statements.

I'd start with the importance of temperament, knowledge, and qualifications of a president. And, keep hammering at it.  Like, how one exercises the duties of the office, is more important than what they say in campaign mode. I'd say, all and any on this stage is way more appropriate prez than DJT.  Emphasize integrity, and responsibility.  
I'd include, something like, folks if you want to know the truth, the president in order to pass laws, raise money, and tax the wealthy, he/she needs both the House and Senate to go along. And that we have to defeat the intransigent Republicans who have been catering to extreme groups and policies. Imagine how much better most Americans, the world indeed, would have been if president Obama hadn't been subverted by McConnell and GOP Senators. I'd keep reminding people that they must vote and be actively engaged; and,why elections make a huge difference.
I'd remind them about the civil rights we all love, and that we brag about the greatness of our democracy, our freedom...  yet, we forget that many of those goodies came from Supreme Court rulings... and those judges came from presidential nominations with the senate's confirmation! Of course, I'd slip in there that the cons have been opposing such rights and freedoms!


As for the performance, Warren came out well, nobody attacked her, and she kept her lead over the others (more well-known).  The most impressive, given where he started, was DeBlassio, who reminded everyone that he has executive experience, he passed important programs Dems care about, and how progressive he truly is. If he keeps this up, he'll go far. He has the right mix too, a black wife and son. He and Kamala or Warren or Klobuchar would be a powerful ticket against Trump.

Jun 25, 2019

Pride, Luck, Dark Ages, Shame, Choices and Democracy

June is pride month, and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall--when the gay rights movement took off, pushing back against systematic discrimination, and establishing dozens of, what in essence were, new civil rights action organizations. 

It was also this month only four years ago, in 2015, that the Supreme Court recognized that marrying a person of your choice (among consenting adults) is a constitutional right! But, did you know this decision was by a 5-4 slim majority? 

  UPDATE:  This just came in: R. Muller will answer his subpoena and will testify in an open hearing on July 17th, 9am.  It's very important that the American public hear again, and directly, under careful questioning, what Muller meant by obstruction of justice and why he didn't charge the president when Muller found more than 10 instances of conspiracy to obstruct and actually obstructed justice....

Why do you think this is happening? It's because the Dems won control of the House in the last election. The Repubs would be advocating for Trump and act like the US Atty General Barr, as Trump lawyer(s).  

The Republican party has created a monster--an activist base that's extremely conservative and crazy. Take for example Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) who had called candidate Trump "crazy" totally unqualified for the highest office, but when Trump got elected and popular in SC, Graham changed his tune entirely. No matter what the reason is, this Republican party owns what Trump has done and will do until he's no longer president.

The conservatives have always been against progress, even if they have to trample over rights and decency, and human dignity.  This country has been held back because of the conservatives. This Republican party--an anachronism among modern western liberal-conservative parties--actually wants to take our country back to the dark ages.... 

I hate when self-righteous people--usually generally uniformed or misinformed (and misguided) by inane religious dogma--want to impose their morality on the rest of us. 

Recently another woman came out to accuse the self-admitted perp of sexual assault; over 15 women have done so already. But the malignant, self-absorbed, man-child denies any of this, on the basis, get this, that those women aren't pretty enough for him! What??!!  Only a maladjusted, immature miscreant would respond like this.  But, as I've been saying all along, Trump's actions make sense if you see him as a spoiled mid-teens brat who never grew up. This is how bully and an imbecile would call others, "losers", and other diminutive nicknames.  Tsk...

Politics, elections, voting, public opinion and mobilization, all matter. But, often the important issues aren't really debated or even mentioned during campaigns. For example, in the 2016 election, the balance on the supreme court and its effect was not discussed. GOP senate leader, McConnell disgracefully denied president Obama a nomination to the supreme court. Guess what? No political penalty for such a gross violation of our institutional traditions and ethics.

On Wednesday night, 6/26, the first Democratic debate for the presidential nomination will take place, and tomorrow the second one. They couldn't fit 20 candidates on stage, so they split them up. I'm for democracy, but there can't be any serious conversation with that many people. Also, not all these candidates can be serious contenders, so I'd like to hear more from the serious ones. On the other hand, this is a problem with an uniformed public, and I think this is why Biden, Sanders, and Warren get the higher numbers--name recognition.

Anyway, summer is in full swing. Enjoy it, and enjoy life because it goes by very quickly.

Peace. 
 

Jun 18, 2019

Pleasure in Taking Advantage of People Who Trusted Him.... [Can You Guess Who?]

In a recent Fox poll, only 5% of white Americans with no college degree agree that Trump's economic policies benefit them. It'd be shocking to associate this with voting behavior, but we already knew that many Americans consistently vote against their economic interests, especially the ones who can least afford it.

So, it has to be something else of value these people think they're getting from Trump and the Republican party. Perceived value is something subjective, and I won't pretend to argue that having healthcare, or better wages, or a cleaner environment should be preferable to you than building a border wall or establishing a theocracy in the US. For example, many Russians have opted for a rebuilding of an empire like the old Soviet Union instead of building democracy, and a strong social safety net.

But, what I find appalling is the fact that a con man, a bullshit artist, keeps taking advantage of those who trust him, and that he's applying his trade on a much larger scale since the Republican party has enabled him to get the presidency and constantly eroding our institutions.


Paul Krugman has written another gem regarding this.

Here's an excerpt. [if you're a NYT subscriber, you can find the whole article, here]

"In 2016, on the campaign trail, Trump sounded as if he might be a European-style populist, blending racism with support for social programs that benefit white people. He even promised to raise taxes on the rich, himself included.
Since taking office, however, he has relentlessly favored the wealthy over members of the working class, whatever their skin color. His only major legislative success, the 2017 tax cut, was a huge break for corporations and business owners; the handful of crumbs thrown at ordinary families was so small that most people believe they got nothing at all.
At the same time, he keeps trying to destroy key provisions of Obamacare — protection for pre-existing conditions, premium subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid — even though these provisions are highly popular and have been of enormous benefit to states like Kentucky and West Virginia that favored him by huge margins.
As if to symbolize who he’s really working for, on Wednesday Trump will give a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Art Laffer, best known for insisting that tax cuts for the wealthy pay for themselves. This is a classic zombie idea, one that has been repeatedly killed by evidence, but keeps shambling along, eating our brains, basically because it’s in plutocrats’ interest to keep the idea in circulation.
And here’s the thing: White working-class voters seem to have noticed that Trump isn’t working for them. A new Fox News poll finds that only 5 percent of whites without a college degree believe that Trump’s economic policies benefit “people like me,” compared with 45 percent who believe that the benefits go to “people with more money.”

Trump may believe that he can make up for his pro-plutocrat tax and health policies with tariffs, his one significant deviation from G.O.P. orthodoxy. But despite Trump’s insistence that foreigners will pay the tariffs, an overwhelming majority of noncollege whites believe that they will end up paying more for the things they buy.

Oh, and remember Trump’s promises to bring back coal? His own Energy Department projects that coal production next year will be 17 percent lower than in 2017. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that there will necessarily be large-scale defections on the part of Trump’s beloved “poorly educated.” On the other hand, health care — where his betrayal of past promises was especially obvious — seems to have played a big role in Democrats’ midterm victory. And he is certainly more vulnerable than he would be if he engaged in even a smidgen of actual populism. Why won’t he?

Part of the answer may be personal: Trump’s whole career shows him to be the kind of man who, if anything, takes pleasure in taking advantage of people who trusted him.
Beyond that, however, for all the talk about how “it’s Trump’s party now,” he still needs the support of the G.O.P.’s big-money interests. For now, the party establishment is happy to provide cover for the administration’s corruption, closeness to Putin, and all that.
But that could change. If Trump ever did anything that might hurt the rich or help the poor, many Republicans might suddenly discover that self-dealing and accepting help from hostile foreign powers are actually bad.

Whatever the reasons, the simple fact is that Trump isn’t a populist, unless we redefine populism as nothing but a synonym for racism. At least some in the white working class seem to have realized that he’s not on their side. And Democrats would be foolish not to make the most of this opening."

May 30, 2019

How the Least Politically Informed Can Have a Huge Impact

Are we appealing to the least informed among us? It appears so. In a close election, like the one in 2016, a 2.5% can have a huge impact. This country has a 2-party system, like it or not, when only the two major parties have a chance of winning. You may not want to vote strategically, I get it. But, I can't do that. If I vote for one candidate or party that has no chance of winning, I'm in effect helping the other. Often this is totally unacceptable, because of start differences between the two viable options.

In a system of winner-take-all, when you vote for a third party you have to be aware that your candidate/party will get nothing if they have low public support... 

I think it's a disservice to our polity for anyone to argue, vote me for because all the others are the same! Even if you're a dumb Republican, you knew there were meaningful differences among the contenders in the party's primaries. 
Similarly, do the Jill Stein (Green Party) voters really believed that HRC's environmental policies would've been the same as what we've seen from DJT?..

I personally don't find any front runner to be progressive enough. But, I couldn't possibly not have voted for HRC on the grounds she and Donnie were the same! I never liked the Clintons, but had she been elected, responsible and competent people would be in charge--you know, persons who accept science. Most probably she'd be raising her own taxes to pay for something, and the Supreme Court would have had 2 liberal judges instead of 2 cons. Yeah, that supreme court that gave us civil rights, same sex marriage, and protected Roe, etc. Most reasonable people expected exactly what we're getting in terms of policy, government officials, leadership , economics, etc, from the buffoon in the White House. It was so obvious before the election.
 
Appropriately here's lots of discussion about "wasted votes", but attention should be given to the least informed voters---the self described "independents" 


First, there are very few truly independents, because most consistently would vote only for one party. There some other "independents" who know almost nothing about politics and can't tell the difference in policies between the Ds and Rs. But, these people are also too apathetic to vote. So, the truly independents are about 7%, that vote either D or R. But of those only 1/3 voted in 2018! That's 2.3%. In a presidential year election, usually the numbers go up as more voters participate, but still...

In my opinion, and not only, what wins close elections is turnout. So, doing a better job getting you're base out to vote is better than anything else. Obviously, it doesn't have to be 'either or'. But, had the Dems had a slightly greater turnout in those three states in 2016, the outcome would have been the opposite.

Here's the Pew Research findings:Six Facts About Political Independents


 _______

Another instance of the man-child in the White House. The Wall Street Journal broke the story that the White House wanted our navy ship USS John McCain out of sight during Drumpf's visit to Japan! CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 has the story, here. I haven't checked lately, but I'd imagine hundreds of Republicans in Congress are speaking out and condemning Trump... right?...