Liar in Chief

Liar in Chief

OK. I understand why Congressional Republicans running for office won’t criticize Trump. They run the risk of getting kicked off the gravy train: a hefty salary, better health insurance than most of us can afford, a fat pension, a luxury lifestyle paid for by wealthy donors, and absolutely no accountability to have to DO anything. If, God forbid, they were voted out of office, they might actually have to work for a living (unless they got hired as million-dollar-a-year lobbyists). But I don’t understand why my Republican friends, who are decent, well-educated people, continue to support a president who is an incorrigible, pathological liar and narcissistic egomaniac. Set aside the factual whoppers:  more people attended his inauguration than the inauguration of any other president; the Trump Tower has 68 stories (it really has 58);  the U.S. has the highest tax rate in the world; the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years; The Art of the Deal is the best-selling business book in history; the number of illegal immigrants in the United States is 34 million; thousands and thousands of people were cheering in Jersey City, N.J. as the World Trade Center collapsed; the unemployment rate may be as high as 42 percent; Trump University received an “A” rating from the Better Business bureau…  the list goes on and on. Clearly he believes his own lies. As he described them in The Art of the Deal, they are just “truthful hyperbole.” But how can someone create sane public and foreign policy if he has so little awareness of factual reality (or history, for...
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,...
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...
Taking America Back to the Stone Age

Taking America Back to the Stone Age

Here’s a quick quiz: If you had a fireplace, would you keep a wood fire burning all day with the damper 50% closed so the air you and your children breathed was constantly polluted? Would you sprinkle pesticides into the water you and your children drank? Would you add chemicals whose toxic effect you couldn’t measure into the food you ate? When we talk about the “Environment” that needs to be “Protected,” we’re talking about the extraordinarily complex, incredibly interconnected web of life on which all of us depend in order to live.  Why in the world would any of us want to destroy that? The answer:  money. Trump has selected Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma to head the E.P.A. — at the same time Pruitt is vigorously pursuing lawsuits against the same agency. Who is backing those lawsuits?  Oklahoma’s oil and gas industries. Oklahoma? Oh yeah.  That’s the state that has experienced 907 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2015 and 585 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2014. 109 magnitude 3+ earthquakes were recorded in 2013. There is general consensus among scientists that the spike in Oklahoma’s earthquake activity has been triggered by disposal wells, used to dispose of waste from oil and gas drilling operations — including hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — a phenomenon known as “induced” seismicity. But wait. There’s more. Trump is vowing to put coal miners back to work by rolling back regulations, offering tax breaks to invest in infrastructure and ending a moratorium on mining on federal land enforced by President Barack Obama. He would also cancel Obama’s Clear Energy Plan, which obligates power plants...

The Victory of Fear and Hate Over Hope and Faith

  Trump’s supporters love to chant “Time to Drain the Swamp!”   They have, now, and what do we find rotting at the bottom? A festering mass of hate and fear. The catalyst was our fear and hatred of an utterly broken  political system. Bernie Sanders’ solutions may have been unworkable, but he was 100% right about how big money has corrupted American democracy. This election cost $7,000,000,000. Think how else that much money might have been invested for the good of this country. Hatred is the lie we tell ourselves repeatedly to hide from our own guilt. WE elected the thieves and political fanatics who cripple Congress — with the support of the mega rich and their lobbyists. But there is deeper hatred behind Trump’s victory:  hatred against black, brown, yellow, and red-skinned people, hatred of “foreigners,” hatred of assertive women who seek to rise above subservience, hatred of those with “sinful” sexual preferences and religious beliefs.  It’s a big list. At the root of hatred is fear: fear that America has lost its preeminent place in the world, fear that the American dream has died for us and our children, fear that we have lost the power to shape our own future, fear that “democracy” no longer works and can’t be trusted. And unrestrained fear turns us into mindless creatures trapped in a cycle of panicked fight or helpless flight.  We lose our minds. How could we: Elect a president who eagerly welcomed the support of a Russian dictator bent on conquering Europe and restoring Soviet tyranny? Elect a president who detests, mocks, and seeks to harm anyone...