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...