Sorry About Your Statue, Bobby Lee

Sorry About Your Statue, Bobby Lee

All across the South, statues to the South’s heroes of the Civil War are tumbling down in protest or quietly disappearing. We are living through the firestorm of Donald Trump’s thinly-disguised celebration of the moral crime and tragedy of white superiority. And we are being tested and challenged, once again – as individuals and a nation – fully and completely to live up to the liberating vision in whose light our nation was founded. The issue is complex for me. On my mother’s side, the first Thomas settled in Maryland in 1651. The Thomases, for many generations, were aristocratic planters. They owned slaves. My direct ancestors, from Decatur Georgia, all fought – and many died – for the South. I have the family’s records and collection of faded daguerreotypes of men in grey uniforms: “Killed at First Manassas, age 17.”    “Killed at Second Manassas, age 17 1/2.” “Killed Nov. 22, 1864, near Macin Georgia.”  “Died in the attack on Ft. Saunders, Tennessee.” My mother’s family moved to Plainfield, New Jersey, when  my grandfather became President of U.S. Steel Products in New York; that’s where my mother met my father and I was born and raised. I was raised a “Yankee,” but somehow, the old myths persisted.  Maybe I made the mistake of reading too much Faulkner at an early, impressionable age. It wasn’t the “Civil War,” but rather “the War Between the States” (or better ‘The War of Northern Aggression.”) I grew up with the stories of how the family home in Decatur had been spared by Devil Sherman on his bloody, burning swath through Georgia to the...
Killing American Healthcare:  We’re Failing to Solve the Wrong Problem

Killing American Healthcare: We’re Failing to Solve the Wrong Problem

The goal of reasonable, affordable health care for all American citizens, to borrow Susan Milligan’s metaphor[1], is on life support in the Republican-controlled Congress, kept alive by feeding tubes. What We’re Ignoring: A Healthy Patient The current Republican Health Care Act seeks to solve the challenge by radical, high risk amputation whose aim is to kill the disease, even if it costs the patient his life. (We should be calling the GOP plan “McConnellcare,” not “Trumpcare,” since President Trump has little interest in or mental capacity for actually making good on his promise “to have something that’s really good and that people are going to like.”)[2] The current treatment, the Democrats’ Affordable Care Act, by the same analogy, amounts to keeping the patient alive by an unsustainable-, expensive regimen of drugs with lots of damaging, unanticipated side effects. But the patient is dying. Conservative Congressional Republicans are, in effect, now saying “We’ll let the patient die, but preserve the brain.” The liberal Democrats’ response: “We’ll let the patient die, but preserve the heart.” Either way, the patient is dead. What’s wrong: neither the Affordable Care Act nor the latest GOP version of healthcare Mitch McConnell is desperately trying to get passed by the Senate actually deals with the illness. Even worse, neither has any ability to deliver what’s really needed: a patient capable of enjoying robust, sustainable health. We’re Just Making a Sick Patient Sicker The core of the problem: Constantly escalating, uncontrolled increases in the cost of drugs, unregulated discrepancies in the cost of medical services, and equal discrepancies in what insurance companies pay to compensate patients and...
GOP Wake-up Call #1

GOP Wake-up Call #1

To my many dear Republican friends. You’re great people, and I treasure our friendship.  You know that’s true because you know me. I’m not a: a) Democrat b) Liberal c) Socialist d) Communist e) Leftist f) Any other kind of “…ist.” (I do root for the New York Giants and Yankees…sorry about that.) But come on folks!  For a moment set aside the horror – and impending tragedy — of his foreign policy, environmental policy, healthcare policy, and budget for a moment. Overlook the fact that he’s an obsessive sexual predator whom no conscientious person would want to allow in the same room with a female family member  — unless she were your dead great-grandmother. Trump is nut case delusional and so desperate for approval, that  if he had a pussy he’d grope himself. Trump: “Never has there been a president….with few exceptions…who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than I have.” Then after making that astoundingly Alice in Wonderland claim in his recent televised cabinet meeting, Trump required each of his cabinet members to say “We love you, Donald. You’re the best.” For a sample: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said about Trump: “We thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda.” How do you keep from...
Trump, Pruitt, and the Radical GOP Extremists – Criminally Insane on Global Warming

Trump, Pruitt, and the Radical GOP Extremists – Criminally Insane on Global Warming

  IF YOU LIKE THIS POST , OR AT LEAST ARE TROUBLED BY THIS, AS YOU SHOULD BE, FORWARD IT TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE.  THEN ACT!  (Jump to end for next steps.) First to my many Republican friends. I still love you. You are, after all, in so many ways, decent, caring people. When we pretend politics – and the future of our country and our families − doesn’t matter, we still get along wonderfully.  BUT… If you continue to support a loathsome slug who openly boasts about groping and feeling up women (like your mom, wife, sister or daughter), that’s your business. If you’re OK with a pathological liar  as President, well OK. (He’s also a borderline psychotic − on the wrong side of the border – check out his handshakes!!!  ) If you’re OK with the Trump family of kleptocrats abusing the high office of President of the United States to pad their personal worth out of everyone else’s expense, well… it’s my money too, you know. If you’re OK with what is now a deep cloud of toxic smoke rising from the fire of Trump and his supporters colluding with Russia to dismantle American democracy, well, what actually DO you care about? If you can pretend it doesn’t matter that Trump and the Radical Republican Extremists in Congress are increasing the systematic impoverishment of  the Middle Class, the Blue Collar Class (aka the working poor),  and the real poor, remember that it will eventually wind up being your money, too. And mine. I can think of better ways to spend what I worked a...
Time to Fix a Broken Congress

Time to Fix a Broken Congress

Regardless of which party you support (in my case, it’s neither), it should be transparently clear that Congress as a governing body is hopelessly, incurably broken. What we have, instead, with too few exceptions, are self-serving ideologues fighting for political control while working a three-day week and selling out to lobbyists to keep themselves in power.  It’s time to throw the bums out.  But only the American electorate can do that – if we Americans wake up to our responsibility. The architect of our current government dysfunction is Newt Gingrich. (What else would you expect from someone named after a lizard?)  The Tea Party Republicans (aka the radical Freedom Caucus) just caused the cancer of big-money-supported partisan wars to metastasize.  But assigning blame for the mess we’re in to Republicans is beside the point – most congressional Democrats are just as culpable and dysfunctional now as Republicans.  http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2017/05/is_there_any_future_in_being_a_moderate_republican.html The Democrats suffered through eight years of nasty hypocritical attacks and legislative inertia by the Republicans against President Obama. Now that Republicans are in power, most Democrats are similarly obsessed by attacking President Trump instead of putting better solutions in front of the public. To be sure, Trump’s policies should be attacked. For starters, he has abandoned his campaign commitments to the working class Americans who provided him his victory. Forget the “Buy America, Hire America” rhetoric.  With the active support of congressional Republicans, he’s reneging on his promises to foster job growth, bring manufacturing back to the United States from abroad, increase wages, protect retirees against predatory investment schemes, protect workers from greed-driven occupational harm, and ensure that all Americans,...
Stop the Trump GOP Attack on our Environment

Stop the Trump GOP Attack on our Environment

I know of only one species of animal that deliberately chooses to shit in its own nest, foul its drinking water, contaminate its food supply and pollute the air it breathes:  man. And that’s exactly what Trump’s draconian budget, Pruitt’s  devastating attack on the EPA, and Bannon’s dismemberment of government will accomplish – unless the American people resolutely and repeatedly say “NO!” Imagine for a moment that you have been elected president and charged with ensuring the health, safety and well-being of ALL Americans – and not just the minority who supported you and your political agenda. Suppose as well that you had reasonable evidence that there might be even a 50/50% chance that America’s economic strength and the health of its people could be significantly harmed by the threat of global warming. Wouldn’t you want to investigate that threat as openly and factually as possible in order to decide if the government needed to take steps to protect the country and its people? By analogy, imagine that you discover there’s a reasonable 50% chance that your home could be destroyed by severe flooding. Would you ignore the threat and just hope you got lucky? The shrinking of the earth’s ice cover is a fact. (You can even look at the pictures from satellites yourself.) The effect on rising sea levels is a scientific fact. The harmful impact of carbon dioxide and methane on the atmosphere is a scientific fact. The harmful impact of a warming ocean on the world’s weather is a scientific fact. The threat of a warming ocean on the world’s food supply of fish is...
The Republican Health (sic) Care Act Crashed – Now What?

The Republican Health (sic) Care Act Crashed – Now What?

Trump’s most bizarre spin on the train wreck of the Republican’s Health Care Act was to blame its failure on the Democrats “We had no Democratic support. They weren’t going to give us a single vote.” There’s a reason why both Democrats and moderate Republicans opposed the Republican health care act re-negotiated with the ultra-right wing extremists in the so-called “Freedom Caucus.”  It was a terribly cruel, cynical attack on everyday Americans that would have stripped out outpatient services, emergency care, maternity benefits, mental health and drug treatment (for example targeted at America’s opioid epidemic), rehabilitation, laboratory services, and preventative medicine. What the Freedom Caucus insists on getting isn’t health care; it’s wealth care – their wealth. The president added that the “best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let ObamaCare explode. It’s exploding right now… Almost all states have big problems.” And this is the President who repeatedly has said, “”If you can’t take care of your sick in the country, forget it, it’s all over. I mean, it’s no good. So I’m very liberal when it comes to health care. I believe in universal health care. I believe in whatever it takes to make people well and better.” Here’s a radical idea: we know there are flaws in ObamaCare – along with many positives. So now it’s time for moderate Republicans and Democrats to do what Trump actually proposed after the train wreck of the AHCA:  “Democrats will come to us and say, ‘Look, let’s get together and get a great health care bill or plan that’s really great for the people of our country.’” But...
The Crisis

The Crisis

Thomas Paine wrote this first volume of The Crisis in the winter of 1776 when the American Revolution, begun so bravely at Lexington and Concord the previous year, seemed lost. The remains of Washington’s army, humbled by the British and driven out of New York, were now starving and freezing to death at Valley Forge. As a nation, we face another crisis of tyranny today, in the form the sustained assault by Donald Trump on American Democracy – an assault manufactured by Stephen Bannon and Stephen Mitchell and abetted by a timorous, self-serving Congress. For starters, The American Constitution begins “We the people of the  United States,  in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility …”.   It does not begin “I the President, in order to satisfy my need for self-glorification and person gain….” What’s at stake? Again, begin with the First Amendment to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Add to that Article III of the Constitution providing for an independent judiciary as an essential check and balance against both the tyranny of the majority and the usurpation of power by the Executive Branch. Then you could also throw in the spirit, and at times the specific intent of the 13th, 14th, 19th, and 24th Amendments. Someone responded to one of my earlier posts by saying “Donald...
4 Ways to Handle “Trump Stress”

4 Ways to Handle “Trump Stress”

The 65,844,954 Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 (48.2% of the popular vote against Trump’s 46.1%) are suffering from dangerous levels of stress. I’m a registered Republican who, for decades, has actually been an Independent. I’ve voted for candidates at the local, state, and national level based on their qualities as human beings and potential leaders. So count me in among the large number of people who are still asking themselves in shock and disbelief, “How could the America I love actually have DONE this?” Unmanaged stress is unhealthy. Fortunately, we don’t need to just sit back and bewail the train wreck that’s happened to our country. We can do what Americans have always done in times of peril: stand up and fight for what we believe. Of course, the roughly 110 million voting age Americans who didn’t vote should be feeling stress now.( I except the millions who were prevented or discouraged from voting − see https://mic.com/articles/162275/voting-millennials-minorities-key-states-faced-election-day-2016-barriers-new-study#.iYfzChS9N).  Tragically,  a lot of Americans sat this one out. We’re all paying for that lack of responsibility and trust in American democracy.  But you can make up for your indifference – see below. I get the fact that Trump was running against a terribly flawed candidate – Hillary was part of the problem, not its solution. If you’re still questioning this, read Bernie Sanders’ s Our Revolution (available from Amazon for under $10.00). I don’t agree with all Bernie’s solutions, but he hits the problems dead on. Bernie’s just as right about the GOP’s contributions to the problems and the non-solutions they now trumpet. And Hillary was supported by...
Atlanta Won the Super Bowl

Atlanta Won the Super Bowl

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Giants fan. So the idea of beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl has a reassuring feel to it.  Plus my mom’s family is from Decatur, dating back generations before the War Between the States. Atlanta could use a break. Now Belichek (that’s not really an “American” name, is it?) and Brady get to join “Butcher Sherman.” I know you love conspiracies.  See http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2017/2/6/14523088/super-bowl-rigged-patriots-falcons-james-white-donald-trump    And certainly, the lying mainstream media all put out the “fake news” that New England won. That’s what they do, right? But Donald:  Lots of us actually watched the game. Yes, Edelman did an amazing David Tyree imitation. And Brady is, well, Brady, and Belichek is Belichek. Bottom line: championships are won when players make plays. The Patriots make the plays. That’s why they won. So it’s one thing to lie to the American people. You do that shamelessly.  You lost the popular vote because 3-5 million illegals (whom nobody, including Congressional Republicans) can find? The Mexicans are going to pay for a wall (that every national security expert with an iota of expertise and common sense says won’t stop illegal immigrants or drugs)?  Ooops. No. We taxpayers will foot the bill. Regulation needs to be eliminated? (A two-word answer – Wells Fargo). A “travel ban” isn’t a travel ban? (Your words) Our current vetting for admission takes 8 months to two years before entry with everybody including all the “alphabet agencies” getting their cut. That’s why there’s no more than 1 in 3-point something billion odds that any of us are in peril of getting attacked by a...