Category Archives: General Politics

Judge Roy Moore: I don’t generally commit rape.

 

 

 

 

Statutory rape is defined as an adult having sex with a person who is under the age of consent. When Sean Hannity asked Roy Moore in a radio interview if dating young women was ‘consistent’ with his past behavior, Moore replied “Not generally, no”. In other words, he doesn’t generally commit statutory rape.

Even two conservative pundits on Hannity’s television show said that the interview was damning for Roy Moore. Geraldo Rivera saying that the interview essentially ended Roy Moore’s political career. We’ll see.

Men are pigs: both on the left and on the right. But what happens when one of the ‘pigs’ gets caught? Look at Harvey Weinstein, Louis C K, and Donald Trump.

In what may turn out to be “the year of the woman” (see below) sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations are flying on the left and the right. Look at the recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Louis C K. As soon as the allegations on Weinstein came out, he resigned or was fired, and has now been completely ostracized by the liberals in Hollywood. He is persona non grata in all liberal circles.

Louis C K admitted that these allegations are true and took a retreat from public life to say he had some self-examination to do.

After the allegations concerning Donald Trump became known, the conservatives elected him president. As soon as President Obama left office the polls on vice and forgiveness in conservative circles flipped:

What about the allegations concerning Judge Roy Moore? While no one has yet ‘proved’ that the person who spent his whole life ‘judging’ others for their immoral behavior, which he thinks includes homosexual acts between two consenting adults—the picture that is emerging about his younger years are creepy, to say the least. It seems that all those rumors swirling around his hometown have a foundation. It is reported that he was banned from some shopping malls for cruising for young women—the very definition of a ‘predator’.

While, Moore of course denies the allegations (and he may deny them all the way to hell) the evidence is mounting to an overwhelming consensus. However, it seems that the majority of white evangelicals are all to ready to forgive other white evangelicals, while holding nothing but contempt for the rest of us.

Although many Republicans in the Senate have now distanced themselves from Judge Roy Moore, president Don the Con has refused to jump on the bandwagon—where he usually leads from, when he is not supporting Neo-Nazis or the KKK. I suppose that it may even be too much for president Con Man to distance himself from someone who is also accused of sexually predatory behavior.

In what, I hope, may turn out to be “The Year of The Woman” — which will turn into a decade, then again into a century– women are coming forward  to finally call an end to the sexual harassment and abuse of women, and the predatory behavior of way too many men. Women are also seeking political office in record numbers, which will hopefully produce drastic changes in our dysfunctional political system.

Everyone except sexual predators and their supporters welcomes this much needed change in American Culture.  Stay tuned to see what happens with Roy Moore.

Democrats in 2018: Divided We Fall

Image: Marc Nozell | CC BY 2.0

What part of “divided we fall” don’t we seem to understand?

Right now, the Republicans are trying to divide us, Fox ‘news’ is trying to divide us, Russian propaganda on Facebook is trying to divide us…they are all in bed together. If we stay divided, we lose!

As we are constantly told: elections have consequences. But so does staying home, as we sadly learned one year ago.

The sad truth is that Democrats vote every four years, Republicans vote every two. If we don’t change this, we will lose!

In 2008, we elected our first African-American president. And then in 2010 we stayed home. The consequences of the 2010 election will reverberate for years to come, especially because it was a census year. That election essentially gave the House of Representatives a veto power over anything that Obama wanted to accomplish, and for the next six years his presidency was hobbled by obstructionism.

In 2014, we stayed home, and that cost us the Senate and thus, a seat on the Supreme Court. The only exception was in 2006, when Americans were finally so disgusted with the failures of the Bush Administration that Democrats took back the House and Senate.

Look at us now: we are squabbling over what happened a year ago, and not focusing on next year. We are at the halfway point between elections and we are lucky that things are not worse. I thought Trump would be a horrible president, but even I didn’t think that he would be this bad. We are lucky that they haven’t been able to pass any major legislation, but behind the scenes they are reshaping the court system with record numbers of appointments, because we stayed home in 2014.

As most of you know, Donna Brazile is trying to sell her book. And nothing sells books like a little controversy. Given her fall from grace in the Democratic Party, she doesn’t seem to care that the controversy that she is sowing will further divide us. Yes, I used to love Donna Brazile, but if she is willing to stir up controversy in order to sell books, then to hell with her. We should only look backward in order to learn how to better move forward.

I am a leftist. I am on the left of the Democratic Party. If there was a viable Democratic Socialist party in this country, I would surely vote for it. But I am also an avowed Pragmatist. There is a big difference between Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton, but there is a huge chasm between any Democrat and any Republican right now. Any Democrat is infinitely better than any Republican.

America has never had a working-class party. We have never had a viable Social Democratic Party. The closest thing we have are the Democrats. If we don’t vote for them, we are stuck with the Republicans. In the 1990s Bill Clinton moved the party to the right, in order to accomplish anything. Democrats elected Clinton in 1992, and then stayed home in 1994. The Republican wave that year brought Newt Gingrich the House and obstructionism over the next six years—sound familiar?

The Tea Party was formed by the Koch Brothers and big tobacco as a reaction to Barack Obama. They were the extreme wing of the Republican Party. They pushed the Party so far to the right that we got Trumped. They vote Republican—they don’t stay home and sulk that their party is not far enough in their direction, they got involved and pushed the party further in their direction. Take a lesson from the Tea Party—only on the left.

We oscillate between hope and despair. Don’t let despair keep you from voting. There is great wisdom in William James’s “The Will to Believe” –where he says that “believe in a fact can help bring about the fact”. If we don’t believe that we can make a difference, we are unlikely to try. William James was the godfather of Pragmatism.

As I said, I am very much on the left. So, let me provide you leftists with my favorite Marx quote: “each generation makes its own history, but not as it chooses.” Marx was above all a realist, and in this sense, he was a pragmatist. You have to work with what you have, not with what you want to have. Wanting things to change will not change them, working toward change with the most viable option is the only thing that is likely to work.

If we don’t act soon it may be too late.  The Republicans will be able to pass legislation over the next three years, if we don’t stop them. The only way to stop them is to take back Congress. From voting rights, to civil rights, from the environment to health care, they will destroy everything that liberals have worked for over the last few decades.

They don’t care about democracy, they care about power. And they will use any means to keep it, especially rolling back voting rights. If it is not too late for democracy in America, it may soon be too late.

The Democrats have one mission over the next year: come together and get out the vote. It may sound like hyperbole to say that this may be the most important election in your lifetime, but if you are paying attention to what is happening, you know that is true. Especially given the fact that we cannot go back and change the last election.

Three Reasons Why The Republican Tax Plan is a Hoax

 

Republicans are at it again. More accurately, they have never stopped. The hoax was first perpetrated on the middle class in the 1980s. We were told that if we let the Republicans cut taxes on the ‘job creators’ (the Rich) that this would make us all better off. It never happened. If you look at the data since 1980 all that has happened is that inequality has grown exponentially, and so has the national debt. Those are the facts.

 

 

And yet, they have regurgitated these old arguments in new language. Corporations are making record profits, and still we are told that if we cut corporate tax from 35 to 20% they will create jobs. Why are they not creating them now? Again, they have record profits. The reason we don’t have more economic growth in this country is that the middle class and working poor don’t have enough discretionary spending power. Seventy percent of the American economy is based on consumer spending. If we don’t have enough money left over at the end of the month, from paying rent, bills, food, and health care then we cannot afford to grow the economy.

The Republicans will tell you that their tax ‘reform’ package will generate growth. And that it will save the average family $1000 a year—we are too smart for this. The word “average” means that if I cut taxes on ten percent of the people by $10,000 and the rest by zero—then the average is $1000 per person.

There is one more reason why this whole plan is a hoax, and it goes all the way back to Reagan. In the 1980s they cut everyone’s taxes. But then bit-by-bit they raised taxes back on the middle class, but taxes on the wealthy never went back up to where they were.

The reason why Trump loves this tax cut bill is that it will eliminate estate taxes. It will also eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, both of which only affect the richest one-percent.  Billionaires will profit greatly from this tax cut and the middle class and working poor will get screwed once again. The ironic tragedy in all of this is that the working-class Trump supporters will support this bill simply because Trump supports it. They will get screwed, but so will a great many other people.

The Small Business Association* doesn’t support this bill because it really does nothing for small businesses. But the Republicans will push it through with their “small business” battle cry. Once again, their rhetoric doesn’t match the reality.

And the Republicans who screamed about the national debt during the Obama administration? They are ominously silent. They only care about the debt when it is helping the poor. When it comes to cutting taxes for the rich, to hell with the debt–blame the Democrats.

How to fight back against this? The same way we fought back against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act—bring demonstrators into the Capitol and shame enough Senators into backing off. Flood your Congressman and Senator with calls and letters. Resist.

The Failure of Our Founding Fathers

Given the indictments yesterday, it may look like justice will be served in the Trump-Russian investigation. However, there is a lot going on in American politics today that our Founding Fathers did not count on. In the first place, they did not count on the fact that America may have elected an entire crime family to occupy the White House. They also did not count on a media conglomerate dictating what an entire political party does.

It seems that the Framers of our Constitution believed that the President would be a person of upright moral integrity, thus they gave him the power of the pardon. Keep in mind that even Richard Nixon did not pardon his co-conspirators. But Donald Trump can and will pardon everybody involved in this Russian scandal. Even though lying to the FBI is a federal offense, Trump can pardon anyone for it. Even treason against the United States can be pardoned by the President.

Trump can and will pardon everyone involved in order to keep this investigation from touching him. And if Trump is found guilty of treason, Mike Pence can pardon him. If Mike Pence is also found guilty of collusion, President Paul Ryan can pardon him also—and get on with his main agenda of cutting taxes for the rich.

It seems that we are going to need a few more Constitutional Amendments after the Trump administration, but we are not going to get them. The Framers of our Constitution most likely believed that a political party would put country over party, but that is not today’s Republican Party. We may never get the laws and amendments that we need to guard against this happening again. We are going to have to hope that America will never be stupid enough to again elect a crime boss to the oval office.

It is already clear that Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, taking foreign money while in office, but the Republicans are looking the other way. At some point, we may have to consider that the entire Republican Party is in collusion with Trump—allowing him to commit treason, so they can get their agenda passed.

There is currently no law requiring a President, or presidential candidate, from releasing his (or her) tax returns, but all presidents and candidates in the modern age have done so. Until Trump. What is he hiding? We may never know. Hopefully, Mueller knows though.

But keep in mind, that Trump can still have Mueller fired. Fox ‘news’ is already laying the groundwork for such firing. Given that Trump supporters only watch Fox ‘news’—they will think that the firing is entirely justified.

Sorry about the bad news, especially on a day where it looks hopeful that Robert Mueller will get to the bottom of this. But the fact remains that eventually no one will be punished, even if we know that they are guilty.  The only good news may be that some of these crimes can be prosecuted at the state level, where the presidential pardon cannot reach.

By the way, the media conglomerate who is dictating the agenda of one political party? If you didn’t already guess—Fox ‘news’. But that is fodder for an upcoming blog.

 

Trying to Make Sense of the Senseless

“He doesn’t fit the profile.” This is what is being said about last weekend’s mass murderer. He is a white male with a lot of guns. Just because he was 64 years old with a lot of money, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t fit the ‘profile’. Just what is the profile of a psychopath?

It doesn’t make sense that he owned 47 weapons, many of them assault rifles, converted to make them fully automatic. It doesn’t make sense that he planned this out, carrying those weapons to that room, overlooking that venue at that time. It doesn’t make sense that someone needs 47 assault rifles: but hey, this is America: land of the free and home of the brave.  It doesn’t make sense that we don’t have any way of tracking these weapons, which might call attention to someone amassing his own personal arsenal.

There are over 300 million guns in America. They are owned by 36% of the population. Most of these people own only one gun, but there are many who obviously stockpile weapons—waiting for some apocalypse. One that they themselves may carry out. It makes no sense, but hey, this is America.

This is America, where Republican politicians stand by and allow this to happen—offering only a prayer and continued silence. It makes no sense.

Ghosts of Charles Wittman

In August of 1966, Charles Wittman killed 13 people and wounded 39 others from the top of a tower in Austin, Texas. He did not have assault rifles, let alone automatic ones, so he only managed to kill 13. Last weekend’s murderer killed 59 and wounded over 500.

Wittman knew that something was wrong with him, his suicide note requested an autopsy be performed, where they found a brain tumor.  This doesn’t mean that all mass murderers have brain tumors. But there is something wrong with their brains, or they wouldn’t do such things.

Republican politicians and their propaganda machine Fox ‘news’ want to write it off as “pure evil”. Which is about the same as saying they were possessed by demons (and not in a metaphorical sense). This is no answer. It is just their way of trying to make sense of the senseless. It doesn’t solve anything, but they don’t intend to. They will continue to let this happen, calling it the price of freedom (as though Europeans are not free). They are not free to own 47 assault weapons, but they are relatively free of gun violence.

This does not mean that we outlaw and confiscate all assault weapons in this country. That is the other extreme. But working together, we may find some sane approach.  Right now Republican politicians are working to make gun silencers legal. This way you can gun down hundreds of people and they can’t even hear that there are bullets flying. Does this make sense? Trying to make sense of the senseless.

After the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school, ninety percent of Americans wanted stronger background checks for gun sales. Republican politicians did nothing. Does this make sense? In a democracy?

Actually, this does make sense. Follow the money.  Republican politicians are not beholden to the citizens of this country, they are beholden to their donors, which include the gun lobby. Their only aim here (no pun intended) is to increase gun sales, which will help line their own pockets. Ah, for kickbacks: Now it is beginning to make sense.

Or, is now not the time to talk about it. For the GOP, it is never the time to talk about it.  Just another excuse for moments of silence.

Gun Violence and Health Care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As everyone in America knows by now, this last weekend we had the worst mass killing in modern history (the slaughter of women and children by US soldiers at Wounded Knee was the worst). Was this an act of ‘terrorism’?  We are all a little more terrorized right now. And while we may be in shock, we are not surprised. We are not surprised because we have become all too used to this happening in our country. We are not surprised by the lack of empathy on the part of Republican politicians. And we are not surprised by their lack of response: “now is not the time to talk about guns in this country”—is their only response. Followed by silence and prayer.

There are two things that we know for certain about this weekend’s mass murder: it will happen again, and Republican politicians will do nothing about it. They did nothing after Sandy Hook, when 26 children and their teachers were murdered. They do nothing every day in America when an average of 42 people are gunned down.  They will do nothing now. They are beholden to the gun lobby, in the same way they are beholden to Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Banks, Big Tobacco, and other corporate donors who line their pockets with blood money.

But here is my question: do these Republican politicians think that those 500 people wounded by a hail of bullets from the sky have a right to health care? This is important. Because they all showed up at the emergency rooms, where they weren’t turned away. Who is going to pay for their health care? The gun lobby? Are these innocent victims going to get stuck with thousands of dollars of medical bills? Or, is now not the time to talk about this either?

Here is my point: innocent victims should have their medical expenses covered—by a national insurance program. These people did not choose to be shot. But, nor do people choose to get cancer. Millions of people suffer from diseases, traffic accidents, and other health care related issues through no fault of their own. Some of them can afford insurance, some of them cannot.

Imagine the callousness of a politician saying to those wounded in the massacre last weekend: “we are sorry that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but here is a bill for tens of thousands of dollars for your medical expenses”.  But this is the same callousness which is implied every day. Take the logic of this massacre of innocent people, and apply it to what is happening every day in America.

Innocent people are dying, or declaring bankruptcy, because they cannot afford health insurance—through no fault of their own.