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Five important things I want you to consider as we approach the November election

Important Thing 1

Yes, voting is important. We all need to vote on November 6. This year, voting is not enough. We need to really engage and be active in this election. Find a candidate. Find a campaign. It could be a ballot proposition. Volunteer your time. Give some money. Do as much as you can to increase the turnout in this election.

After the 2016 election, a friend of mine confessed, “I wish I had done more than vote.” I had just finished putting in a number of hours in the Hillary Clinton campaign. Yes, we lost. Do I regret the time I spent making calls to Nevada and other states? Not one moment! In fact, we carried Nevada and held on to the Senate seat being vacated by Harry Reid. I like to think that I still made a difference. 

Get involved in the election. Then you won’t be waking up on November 7 saying, “I wish I had done more than vote.”

Important Thing 2

Don’t be discouraged and give up. This is especially important if you are not yet convinced that voting is important. There are people who will try to convince you that your vote is useless and that the candidates are all the same, corrupt and untrustworthy. They will use propaganda and misinformation to drive their message, just as they did in 2016. They will convince your family and friends to share and promote their message on social media, just as they did in 2016.

There is an old Twilight Zone episode, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. It is about an invasion of the Earth where the invaders from space hide themselves from the small neighborhood they are invading. The invaders create suspicion among the neighbors to convince them that each other is the enemy. The Earthlings end up violently attacking and destroying each other. At the end of the episode, the outer space invaders reveal themselves to the audience, pleased with their victory as they head off to invade another neighborhood using the same tactics. A common theme in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone stories, this one included, was McCarthyism, which threatened American democracy in the 1950s. That anti-McCarthyism message applies today in the age of Trump. Think of Putin and the Russian oligarchs as the invading force whose goal is getting us to fight and destroy each other. If they can destroy our country from within, they can diminish our standing in the world and replace us as a world power. Their eventual goal is to replace democracies with authoritarian regimes. Their tactics worked in 2016, and they are using them again in 2018.

Don’t give up. Get engaged in this election and stay engaged.

Important Thing 3

Stay focused on this election. There will be plenty of time to think about the 2020 presidential election starting in 2019. Governors, senators, house members, and state representatives are not as sexy as a presidential campaign, and the media would rather have our attention diverted to their stories on the latest celebrity who is considering throwing her or his hat into the ring. Don’t let that happen. That is how people end up not voting in so called off year elections. That includes this year, 2018. Remember Important Thing 1. As my friend, the late storyteller Orunamamu, once said, “PAY ATTENTION!” 

We can’t regain the White House until 2020. We don’t have to wait until then to take back our government. By taking back the House and Senate, we can stop the Trump agenda. If we had the Senate this year, our next Supreme Court justice would not be handpicked by the Federalist Society and the Religious Right. 

State elections are important, too. State governments draw district boundaries. If we want to end gerrymandering, we need to become engaged in the election of governors and state representatives.

Important Thing 4

We need to support and vote for Democrats. That is the only way to get the Trump enablers out of power. It is clear now that the Republican Party no longer exists. It has been replaced by the Party of Trump, which has nothing in common with traditional Republican values. A Republican Party would not start a trade war by placing tariffs on imports produced by our allies. 

Our Two Party System is flawed, and we should work to fix those flaws. Until then, this is the system we have, and we need to work within that system. If you feel that voting for a Democrat requires you to hold your nose, then hold your nose and vote for Democrats. If you voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or if you decided to not vote all in 2016, do you still believe there is no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? Are you willing to risk having Congress controlled by the Party of Trump in 2019 because the Democratic candidates did not meet your high standards of progressive perfection?

Yes, Putin and the Russian oligarchs are interfering in the 2018 election. Their goal is to dissuade us from voting for Democrats. They are especially targeting minority voters with hashtags like #JustWalkAway. Don’t let them fool you. Support and vote for Democrats.

Important Thing 5

Prepare to be disappointed. Yes, the candidates, like all human beings, are flawed. Once in office, they will disappoint us. That is why we need to continue to be engaged after the election and hold them accountable. When LGBTQ activists realized that Obama was dragging his feet on repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, they spoke up. They chained themselves to the gates of the White House. They interrupted the luncheons he hosted to celebrate LGBTQ Pride. They were criticized for being so “uncivil.” Sound familiar?

Get engaged. Stay engaged. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Got it? Thanks for listening.

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July 6, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Donald Trump have a learning disability?

Does Donald Trump have a learning disability? I have been considering this as a blog post ever since Trump entered the White House. I am not the first to ask this question. Even his own staff have questioned Trump’s reading ability as described in this article in the Independent.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-mental-health-michael-wolff-learning-disabilities-dementia-adhd-read-semi-literate-fire-a8146176.html

I have been reluctant to write this post due to the stigma around learning disabilities. I know that stigma, having two daughters with diagnosed learning disabilities. I have wondered if I have an undiagnosed learning disability myself. Although I have come to enjoy reading, I struggled with reading and writing in school. After being held back in second grade, a summer school course in phonics helped a lot. I am still a slow reader, but I have gotten better. I am best with newspapers, magazines, and books with simple vocabulary, generally at an 8th grade level. Computers have helped me to write and organize my thoughts. I know that dyslexia and learning disabilities are different from intelligence. People still confuse the two. Trump has even responded to such concerns as an attack on his intelligence, tweeting he is “like, really smart.”

In addition to learning about his lack of interest in books, we learn more about Trump’s writing in his tweets. There are he misspellings and strange grammar. Most recently, he tweeted this: “James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order of generate a Special Council?” He uses the same spelling for counsel in the second half of the tweet.

Special Council

That led Yashar Ali of New York Magazine to tweet “Not a big fan of making fun of someone’s spelling issues or using it to determine how smart they are. All of my dyslexic friends and family members have a really hard time with spelling but also happen to be the smartest/most creative people I know. I’d say…focus on the content”. In response, John Aravosis of AMERICAblog wrote, “Yes, but that’s because they’re dyslexic. Trump isn’t.” And in response to my questioning, Aravosis wrote, “I’m not sure he isn’t dying of syphillis. But I”m certainly not going to start showing him pity for things we’re all just making up out of thin air.”

Aravosis

I admit I do not know, anymore than anyone else, if Trump is learning disabled, and I am not using that as an excuse to pity him. I will only refer to a bumpersticker I once saw in my Berkeley neighborhood. (BTW Berkeley, CA is considered the birthplace of the disability rights movement, going back to when Ed Roberts studied at the University of California.) The bumpersticker read, “Attitudes are the real disabilities.” If that is the case, then Trump’s real disability is not his struggle with reading, but his refusal to deal with it.

The State of New York has had two governors that were unable to read. The most recent was David Paterson, who is unable to read due to physical disability. Before him Nelson Rockefeller was not only a governor, but a vice president and presidential candidate. Rockefeller was dyslexic. About his struggle with reading, Rockefeller gave this advice:

Accept the fact that you have a problem—don’t just try to hide it.

Refuse to feel sorry for yourself.

Realize that you don’t have an excuse—you have a challenge.

Face the challenge.

Work harder and learn mental discipline—the capacity for total concentration—and

Never Quit.

http://www.memphisdyslexia.org/articles/rockefeller.html 

Trump has a lot of issues that I have previously posted to this blog. They are all reasons why Trump is completely unfit to hold the office of president. If he does have a disability and is unwilling to accept it, this is an indication of a bigger issue with Trump and his self image. Remember that Trump the candidate ridiculed a reporter with a physical disability. I am sure that Trump considers disability a weakness, and he does not want to appear weak. It is entirely consistent with how he projects himself to the world. He builds himself up by knocking others down. He can’t take a joke at his own expense and is unable to laugh at himself. He never apologizes or admits he is wrong. He seems obsessed with his masculinity. Trump considers any attack that reveals him to be weak to be an attack his masculinity.

Trump may be intelligent, but he has shown himself to be mentally lazy. Not only does Trump not read, he doesn’t listen either. Worse still, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t know, and he has no interest in learning.

I don’t want to sound ageist, but it is true that, as we get older, we become less likely to change. Trump is 71. If he is disabled and his real disability is his attitude, I doubt that is going to change.

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barbara Graves Memorial

The following minute was approved at Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting in Berkeley, CA for peace activist Barbara Graves who died in December at age 104. Though it is not mentioned in the memorial minute, Barbara was arrested a number of times at Lawrence Livermore Lab to protest the development of nuclear weapons. Her memorial will be held at Berkeley Friends Church, 1600 Sacramento Street in Berkeley, on Saturday, February 24, at 2:00 PM.

Memorial Minute for Barbara Graves

Barbara Graves, beloved member of Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting in Berkeley, died at her home at the Redwoods in Mill Valley, CA on December 22, 2017 at age 104, after a long life serving humanity in direct, humble, often remarkable ways.

She was born in Geneva, New York in 1913, the youngest of seven.  Following college in North Carolina, she worked in New York City for the 1939 World’s Fair, then with the British War Relief Society, from which she learned about the involvement of the American Red Cross.  In 1942 she was hired by the Red Cross and sent to England.

She was appointed Director of Red Cross Rest and Convalescent Homes Division in Britain, providing recovery furloughs for Allied airmen from 1943-45.  For this group’s service she was awarded a military Bronze Star, unusual for a civilian.  After returning to the U.S., she began to explore pacifism and Quakers.  She was hired by the American Friends Service Committee in 1948 as administrator for AFSC relief work in Occupied Germany, working and living with local Germans for five years, establishing neighborhood centers to address severe conditions of inadequate food, shelter, and social community.

In 1953 she obtained her Master of Science degree in Social Work at Columbia Univ. and became a psychiatric social worker in Philadelphia. In1962 she was recruited by AFSC as director of the VISA program (Voluntary International Service Assignment) in Tanzania, Haiti, Guatemala and India for six years.

During 1969 Barbara consulted and taught at Atlanta University’s School of Social Work, a time when the black social work environment was developing strength and influence despite the background of segregation.  In 1971 she was appointed Associate Professor of Social Work at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she could continue professional connections with Atlanta.  She moved to U.C. Berkeley in 1972 as Director of Field Studies in Social Work.

She retired officially from U.C.. in 1978 but continued both staff and volunteer work for

U.C. as well as for Alameda County and the City of Berkeley.  Barbara served as a leader in the Northern California AFSC, often as a consultant to solve organizational problems.  She volunteered weekly in San Francisco’s Tenderloin with residents on the margins of society.

She deeply opposed U.S. military activities in Nicaragua and traveled with a delegation of religious activists to learn conditions and to protest.  She risked arrest many times in opposition to U.S. wars in Central America and the Middle East.  In 1986 she returned her Bronze Star in a ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial to protest the U.S. role in the conflict in Nicaragua.

Barbara was appointed Brinton Visitor for Pacific, North Pacific and IntermountainYearly Meetings of Friends in 1989.  She was able to visit widely and contribute her energetic, inquiring spirit and experience.

In 1993 Barbara and her close friend and housemate, Glendora Patterson, decided together to co-parent infant Nia, who later became Glendora’s adopted daughter and Barbara’s goddaughter.  Nia Marie Patterson brought great love and joy into their lives.  Together they attended Nia’s college graduation when Barbara was 100.

Barbara made her home at The Redwoods Retirement Community during her last years, as did three other women who had remained steadfast friends since their Red Cross service in England.

One of Barbara’s personal notes quoted Abraham Lincoln: “I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it.”

Barbara’s irrepressible wit and joy of life was expressed not only through serious work, but through singing, dancing, generosity and exuberant appreciation of people of all sorts and conditions. She will be greatly missed by her home Meeting, Strawberry Creek, where she provided great spiritual and practical service for decades.

Barbara Graves 100

Barbara Graves at her 100th birthday celebration at Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting in Berkeley, CA

 

February 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Citizens United for the Mega Churches

During the presidential campaign, I listed all the reasons why we should reject candidate Donald Trump. One was his cozying up to the religious right. In a private meeting, candidate Trump promised a group of religious right leaders he would change the rules that prevent them from engaging with partisan political activity and keeping their tax-exempt status.

If you want to read that post, the link is here.

https://tomyamaguchi.blog/2016/09/23/donald-trump-and-lgbtq-rights/

It appears the latest attempt to repeal the so-called Johnson Amendment is coming in the form of the Republican’s tax cut bill.This is the message I sent to my members of Congress. If you agree, please contact your representatives now.

I continue to have concerns about the current tax revision bills being offered by Republicans in the House and Senate. I have learned the plan is to include the repeal of the so-called Johnson Amendment. This would allow religious organizations to engage in partisan political campaigns without losing their tax-exempt status. As a candidate, Donald Trump promised a small group religious conservatives that he would repeal that amendment if elected, along with the promise to nominate judges that meet their approval. At a meeting with those religious right leaders, Trump falsely asserted that the law prevents churches from using their free speech rights. In fact, the current rules allow religious organizations to speak and take positions on issues that concern them. As a Quaker, I am able to state my concerns on issues such as peace, the environment, civil rights, and social justice. I donate to the Friends Committee on National Legislation. FCNL works with both Republicans and Democrats to find bipartisan solutions to create a more just and peaceful world. My donations are not tax deductible, and I do not want a tax deduction. Nor do I want my small Quaker meeting making donations with tax-free money to candidates or parties. I know that these few dollars would have little influence compared to the resources of the mega churches.

I call the Trump plan Citizens United for the mega churches. There is already too much money influencing our elections. Allowing churches to launder money into the pockets of political candidates would further harm our democracy. Please reject this scheme to repeal the so-called Johnson Amendment.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Trump has lived up to my expectations

Funny to realize, I haven’t posted to this blog for all of 2017. I have been doing more reading than writing, mostly on Twitter. Like Hillary Clinton, I have been trying to figure out “What Happened.” I have not read Clinton’s book yet. Interviews have focused on Russian interference in the election, which is important. I’m still trying to figure out why people vote for candidates like Trump, and it involves how our brains work. That is the post that I have been trying to get uploaded, and I plan to do that soon. For now, I want to look at where we are now and how my previous year’s posts successfully predicted Trump would make a terrible president.

Undercutting his Secretary of State is one example of how Trump’s mental instability makes him a national security risk. As Senator Corker has alerted us, Trump’s outbursts are putting us on a path to nuclear war with North Korea. It shows that presidents, unlike reality show hosts, have to be careful with their words, especially when it contradicts the efforts of their own staff. It is why we have a White House in such disarray. It leads many, including Secretary Tillerson, to come to the conclusion that Trump is stupid. Trump has shown himself be ignorant and arrogant. He believes he knows more that everyone else and doesn’t need to listen to them, including members of his own cabinet. He has boasted that he will alone will fix everything that is wrong in Washington and that he will know more than all of the experts once he starts reading the classified briefing papers in the Oval Office. I believe that Trump is smart. Unfortunately, the rational part of his brain is not in control of his speech and actions. It is the emotional part of Trump’s brain that directed him through the campaign and now influences his actions in office. It is that same part of the brain that Trump activates in his supporters who are willing to overlook his failings because he is telling them what they want to hear. I will have more on that in another post. For now, you can read Political Animals by Richard Shenkman.

Charlottesville is another example of Trump’s dog whistle to white supremacists. His “both sides” argument is totally absurd. Video recordings showed torch-holding marchers defending a statue of General Lee by yelling anti Semitic and homophobic chants. If I had been a “good person” who may have disagreed with the decision to remove a statute, I would have quickly realized these were not “good people” I was marching with and would have exited quite quickly. Thanks to the protesters calling for the removal of statues celebrating the Confederacy, we have learned that the statues were erected decades after the end of the civil war and were designed to promote segregation and Jim Crow. That is why white supremacists have taken a strong interest in defending those statues. Trump gives them cover by framing it as an argument over preserving history. He blamed the protestors of the statues for the resulting violence, ignoring that the statue defenders were there to provoke violence. Since then, Trump has been stronger in his condemnations of NFL athletes protesting police killings of unarmed black men than he has of Nazis and Klansmen.

Klansmen, Nazis, and other white supremacists fill that “basket of deplorables” that Hillary Clinton described in the campaign. Add to them, the religious right who are happy that Trump is delivering the Supreme Court to them as he promised. They are not afraid to jump in to jump into that basket with Steve Bannon and other white nationalists. These groups remain the bulk of Trump’s supporters, while others who voted for him have become disillusioned, making Trump the most unpopular president in history. On January 20, Trump had the chance to put the campaign behind him and be a president for all of the people. Instead, he has done nothing to reach out to those who did not vote for him, even though 3 million more people voted for Clinton. Instead, he wants us to believe that all those votes were illegitimate and can therefore dismiss the opinions of everyone but his hardcore followers. That leaves behind the other half of Trump supporters that Clinton described; the voters who are anxious about their economic futures. They put their hopes in a businessman with business experience who they believed would run the government like a business. Unfortunately, Trump is a terrible businessman and many of his business deals have failed. He is, however, a very good con man, as the enrollees of Trump University have learned. More voters are now realizing how badly they were conned as Trump demonstrates his ineptness for holding public office. Trump doesn’t understand how government works. He only knows how to campaign, and that is what he continues to do. Much of his time is spent holding political rallies, tweeting, and playing golf. That is why I refuse to call him President. I won’t until he starts to act like one.

I call him Know-Nothing Donald. I try to avoid the practice of name calling in political debates. For Donald Trump, I can justify my exception. First, Trump has no problem with name calling to describe his opponents. In the campaign, Trump constantly referred to his opponents as Crooked Hillary, Lying Ted, Little Marco, etc. Now he calls the leader of North Korea “Little Rocket Man” with potentially disastrous consequences. Again, Trump shows he has no interest in doing anything differently now than he did in the campaign and demeans the position of President. Secondly, calling Trump a Know-Nothing has historical context. During the 1850s, the United States was headed to the violent disunion of the Civil War. Racism and slavery were the most serious issues our country faced then. Meanwhile, the political debate was dominated by the demonization of immigrants as the cause of the nation’s problems. Know-Nothing politicians gained power with anti-immigrant rhetoric, much of it aimed at Irish Catholics. Today, climate change, racism in our criminal justice system, and economic inequality endanger our country’s and planet’s future. Meanwhile, Trump calls global warming a hoax. He attacks NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to call attention to the killing of unarmed black men by police. His economic policies amount to big giveaways to the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. He would rather bash immigrants, like his Know-Nothing ancestors. That bashing started on the day he announced his candidacy. Since the election, he has been still trying to build the wall, even though he has given up on having Mexico pay for it. His Muslim bans keep getting knocked down by the courts. He has ended Obama’s popular DACA program. He even wants to drastically cut legal immigration, angering businesses who are having trouble filling positions in this tight job market. As with the days of the original Know-Nothings, his political base supports the immigrant bashing and loves the distraction.

Notice how Trump is obsessed with numbers and popularity. When Trump doesn’t like how he is being treated by a TV show or network, he responds on Twitter that the program or network has low ratings. Magazines and newspapers printing news he doesn’t like are failing or losing circulation, according to Trump. Reports coming out of the White House indicate Trump is not happy with his continued low ratings and is responding with temper tantrums directed at any one in his vicinity.

Governments depend upon the commitment of the many who serve at all levels. Much of the staff of the various branches of government, including the White House, serve through the decades as Democratic and Republican administrations come and go. That is until now. While Trump demands loyalty from his staff, he has created a toxic workplace in the White House, according to reports that have leaked out. Those who were able to leave have left. Those who remain have joined the resistance, tweeting from unauthorized Twitter accounts, sounding the alarm on the damage being done by Trump and the cronies he has put in charge of the EPA, Interior Department, and other government agencies. When the entire Arts Commission resigned, they sent Trump a detailed letter with a coded message. The first letter of each paragraph spell RESIST. Science advisor Dan Kammen followed with his resignation letter in response to Trump’s reversing Obama’s progress on climate change and failing to condemn racism in Charlottesville. The first letter of each paragraph of Kammen’s letter spell IMPEACH.

More people are waking up and getting organized politically. The Women’s March was organized within days after the election with masses of people showing up across the country on the day after the inauguration. More marches and demonstrations followed through the spring. March themes included climate change, support for science, Trump’s taxes, and impeachment. Impromptu demonstrations were held at the nation’s airports when Trump signed his first Muslim ban. Disabled activists held sit-ins in their wheelchairs in the halls of the Capitol to stop the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Newly empowered citizens began downloading the Indivisible Guide and using it to make calls to their representatives, arrange office visits, and participate in town halls.

Our free society is dependent on a strong first amendment. Trump attacks the press because a free press is the biggest threat to his authoritarian rule. That is why he admires Putin, who has no problems with silencing reporters who dare challenge his authority. As more stories come to light over Russian involvement in the election and the Trump campaign, the cloud over the White House continues to grow. In response, Trump lashes out even more on Twitter and at the White House staff. He calls the stories fake news. No one can control his rage, not even Chief of Staff Kelly. So the leaks to the press continue, and Trump doesn’t understand that everything he does only makes things worse.

Republicans are in control of the White House and Congress. They have failed to pass any major piece of legislation. They have failed to repeal Obamacare as they have promised to do for years. Much of this failure rests with Trump himself who has done very little, if anything, to advance his agenda. Trump blames the Republican leadership for the lack of action. Unlike Obama, he doesn’t read or understand the legislation being debated. He can only speak in generalities. Not having governmental or political experience is bad enough. Not having any interest in learning how to do his job is even worse.

Our country is in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Even with Republicans in control of Congress, there is still a chance for impeachment. Various scholars have cited actions taken by Trump that could be considered impeachable offenses. One is the threat by Trump to revoke the licenses of unfriendly broadcasters. Meanwhile, the Russian investigation advances, much to Trump’s dismay. There may be a chance to invoke the 25th amendment. Trump has provided plenty of evidence he is mentally unstable and unfit to hold office. Yes, with Trump gone, we would still be stuck with Mike Pence. Given that we are at great risk of getting into a nuclear war, I think I will take my chances with Pence.

Nevertheless, we persist. If we can get rid of Trump now, we can deal with replacing Pence in 2020. Of course, we need to remove Trump by only legal means. I wish Donald Trump no harm. I want him to realize that he is completely incapable of doing the job. I want Trump to just go away. Then he can play all of the golf he wants.

 

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Many Happy Returns

Returns Department

December 27, 2016

Returns: Next customer in line; may I help you?

Voter: Yes, I want to return this Trump I voted for last month.

Returns: And what day did you vote for Trump?

Voter: November 8

Returns: Hmmm, that’s a ways before our 30 day refund policy.

Voter: I am sorry. It was during one of your pre-Black Friday offers, and I got so excited with all the hoopla that I couldn’t wait.

Returns: I see. Do you have a receipt?

Voter: No. All I have is this I Voted sticker.

Returns: I guess that will have to do. Now, why are you returning your Trump?

Voter: Well, he was all exciting before the election. He wasn’t politically correct like the other candidates. He spoke his mind.

Returns: So, what is your problem?

Voter: Well, after the election, I realized he isn’t just politically incorrect. Actually, he’s crazy. He wants to start a new arms race. His tweets may get us in a nuclear war. He’s saying a bunch of stuff that will destroy the environment and the economy.

Returns: So you are saying your Trump is defective? Did you try turning him off and back on again? You know, a reboot?

Voter: Yes, I have tried that a bunch times, and each time he says even nuttier stuff.

Returns: And he didn’t say nutty stuff before the election?

Voter: Well, I guess he did, but I didn’t take it seriously. I mean the stuff Trump says about global warming! I’ve got beachfront property in Miami! A Trump presidency will ruin me!

Returns: And you didn’t consider this before the election?

Voter: No, I guess it didn’t.

Returns: And you didn’t read any of the product reviews?

Voter: No, and I guess I should have been suspicious when I went to vote and the Trump voters around me were wearing white sheets and hoods. The man behind the counter was covered with swastika tattoos.

Returns: So what do you want now?

Voter: Can I get my vote back?

Returns: Sorry, all votes are final. All I can do is substitute a different candidate.

Voter: OK, I’ll take the Hillary. I was going to go for Hillary before, but people told me I needed a Bernie instead. Then, I couldn’t have a Bernie so I took the Trump. Now, I want the Hillary.

Returns: Sorry, the Hillary is no longer available.

Voter: Are you sure? She really was a good candidate. She had reasonable policies. She was actually a lot like Obama. In fact, I really like Obama. Can I have an Obama instead?

Returns: Sorry, that selection is being termed out in January. You can’t have an Obama. All I can give you now is a Pence.

Voter: Isn’t that the one who thinks gay people can be cured and agrees with Trump that global warming is a hoax?

Returns: Yes, that’s the one. Do you want the Pence?

Voter: Is that all? Isn’t there another candidate I can have?

Returns: Well, if you really don’t want the Trump or the Pence, we might be able to get you a Paul Ryan. We would have to remove him from the speakership first. That’s the best we can do right now under the Constitution.

Voter: Paul Ryan wants to repeal Obamacare and Medicare and wants to privatize Social Security. No, I don’t want the Ryan either.

Returns: So what do you want?

Voter: I guess I’ll just keep the Trump.

Returns: But you said the Trump is crazy and would ruin the environment and the economy.

Voter: Yes, but at least he’s entertaining.

Have an entertaining new year, voters, a lots of luck.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I don’t like (Cyber) Mondays

I just spent another Thanksgiving weekend manually deleting emails that contain “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.” Each year I consider configuring my junk mail filter to delete them all automatically. Maybe, next year.

While many head to the malls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I am one of those who celebrate Buy Nothing Day. Again, this year, I did not spend a cent that day.

And Cyber Monday? I can’t understand why this still exists. It may have had a purpose back in the early days of the Internet when people only had dialup modems at home and had to wait to get back to work in order to shop via a high-speed connection. Now, the only thing special is that online retailers use this day to offer big discounts. There is nothing to stop a few renegade retailers from proclaiming a Cyber Sunday and offering their discounts then. They can even have a Cyber Thanksgiving, so people can eat and shop at the same time.

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving weekend offered US voters another chance to experience buyer’s remorse. It came in the form of tweets from Donald Trump. Now he tweets that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote through election fraud. That’s a first for American politics; we now have a sore winner.

George W. Bush was quite conciliatory when he lost the popular vote to Al Gore by a narrower margin. He even put a Democrat on his cabinet. If Trump wants to heal the country and bring us back together, this is not the way to do it. In the short term, I expect his handlers to take his Twitter account away from him again. Over the longer term, I am expecting a rather short Trump administration. He may not even make it to the mid term elections before getting impeached or being forced to resign. Settling the Trump University lawsuit and admitting his Trump Foundation was a fraud is just the start. His refusal to sell his international businesses will continue to raise questions of conflict of interest. Then wait until his followers discover he is either unable or unwilling to deliver on his promises. Putting Hillary Clinton in jail? He has more or less acknowledged he has no legal case against her. Building a wall along the Mexican border and having Mexico pay for it? Yeah, right.

That’s why I am against any attempts to keep Trump from taking office. If he is denied his votes in the Electoral College, his supporters will have good reason to believe the system is rigged against them. If he actually becomes President, they will soon enough discover that they have been conned by a Reality Show TV star who became our biggest political con man. Let his own supporters hound him out of office. Of course, then we’ll be left with President Mike Pence. Good grief.

November 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, they really want to put Hillary Clinton in jail.

I have just sent the following email to President Obama:

I would like to share to the text of a email I just received from a group called Stop Hillary PAC. I have pasted it below. In short, they are looking for support to make good on Donald Trump’s pledge to put his opponent in jail. I have been reading suggestions that you pardon Secretary Clinton to prevent such a horrendous trial from taking place. I can understand people’s desires to spare Ms. Clinton from a grueling trial. However, I must say emphatically, do not pardon a person who has committed no crime. She has been cleared twice by the FBI. A pardon would give be interpreted as “proof” of wrongdoing.
Personally, I believe that the Trump administration would prefer to drop it as quickly as Trump dropped his birtherism. On the other hand, if the next president decides to make good on that promise, I say, “Bring it on.” I will do everything I can to stop such a miscarriage of justice. I hope we will have your support.

breaking-president-elect-trump-new-poll

Breaking: Urgent Poll – Immediate Response Required

We are conducting an exclusive survey of specially selected citizens. You have been selected. The following survey for tomyamaguchi@mac.com should be completed by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 15th, 2016.

—————-

Participant: tomyamaguchi@mac.com

Polling ID: #5837593

Polling Completion Status: Not Complete

—————-

Thank you for your immediate participation.

Official Poll Question: Should President-Elect Trump pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton?

President Elect Trump has repeatedly charged that Hillary Clinton is “guilty” of numerous crimes: Revealing classified emails, deleting official emails, obstruction of justice, lying to Congress, pay-to-play criminal activity with the Clinton Foundation, criminal neglect and lying that led to four dead Americans in Benghazi. Crimes that every other American citizens would already be in jail for.

Official Poll Question: Should President-Elect Trump pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton?

 Yes, Pursue Criminal Charges → 

 No, Let Hillary Off The Hook → 

 Undecided → 

(Click one)

http://support.stophillarypac.org/criminal-charges

November 14, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Trump Wins-one last post on this election

This will be my last blog entry before the election. I have been stating my reasons why Donald Trump should not be President. While Trump has shown himself to be uniquely unfit for that office, Hillary Clinton has shown herself to be quite fit and prepared to take on the job of President.

I know a lot of people intensely hate both candidates. 60 Minutes just did a piece on how no one is voting for their candidate, but against the opposing candidate. Their report featured Republican pollster Frank Luntz who believes this is a new phenomenon, going back to the Gore/Bush race in 2000. I’m afraid it goes back much longer than that. It started when political consultants like Luntz discovered that mudslinging works and you can manipulate people with language that invokes fear and anger. If you reinforce a negative image of a candidate, you can discourage potential supporters from coming out and voting for the candidate. So as more cash flows into negative ads, voting turnout keeps going down. Now, Citizens United has unleashed even more money into the campaigns, generating more negative ads. Don’t like the crop of candidates we have in these elections? It is amazing how many good people subject themselves to the humiliating process of running for public office. Hillary Clinton has received two decades of such vilification. Clinton continues to stand up to such vile attacks, giving me more reason to support her.

I understand that all the work I have done can result in failure. Trump can win this election. He can do that because, not only does the right wing hate Clinton more than they hate Trump, they see how important the Supreme Court is in this election. We have one vacancy already and will probably have one or more in the next four years.

No matter who wins, two things will be certain for me. One is that I will wake up on Wednesday morning knowing I did all I could in this election. I spent more hours working on this presidential campaign than any other in my life. I knew that if I did not, I would regret it. On this last day of one more shift of contacting voters in battleground states, I have no regrets with that work.

The second thing I will be certain is that my work will not be over. A Trump win would make that work much more difficult, but I will still not be discouraged and give up, especially on the issue of climate change. Having two climate deniers in the White House will be a be setback in our attempts to put a price on carbon.

If Clinton wins, that work will still be difficult, especially if the Republicans still control the Senate and the House. That makes my work with Citizens Climate Lobby even more important. The only way to get a price on carbon is with a bill that has the support of both Democrats and Republicans.

If Clinton wins, the sad truth is that over 40% of the voters will wake up believing the election was stolen and the system is rigged against them The work to heal this nation will probably be the most difficult of all. For the sake of our democracy, we have no other choice than to try.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Woman in the Arena: another reason to reject Trump

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Teddy Roosevelt

The actual title of the speech was “Citizenship In A Republic” when it was delivered by Teddy Roosevelt in Paris in 1910. It has become known by the phrase that appears in one paragraph of that lengthy speech. It is no surprise that both US Representative Joe Crowley and President Barack Obama referred to it when they spoke at the Democratic Convention last summer in Philadelphia. They were both contrasting the experience of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and their fitness to be elected as our next president.

I have been blogging as many reasons as I can why Donald Trump is unfit for the office of President. Crowley and Obama make good cases for Clinton, and the links to the texts are below if you want to read their speeches.

Trump has consistently lied about or distorted his record. Let’s start with his position on the Iraq War in 2003. He now says he always opposed the war before it started, and he has better judgment than Clinton because she voted to authorize President Bush’s use of military force. There is no evidence that he opposed the war before the invasion, and there is a recording of an interview with Howard Stern in which he expressed support for going to war. I have viewed lists of celebrities who publicly stated their opposition in 2002. Donald Trump’s name is on none of those lists. Martin Sheen spoke at rallies organized against the war. In that case, Sheen has better judgment than Trump and, by playing the role of President on TV, has more experience.

I remember marching in those demonstrations in San Francisco, in February, and then March, before the invasion began. I went to an all-faiths religious service in the Mission District. I was praying for President Bush, as he had asked us to do. (At the rally, Sheen told KPFA, “I pray because I don’t know what else to do. Praying is all I can do.”) As I prayed, I considered the question that I always find myself asking as a challenge my own positions; could I be wrong?

Was Saddam Hussein the next Hitler, as Bush wanted us to believe? What if Bush is right and I am wrong? Was war the only way to save the world from a madman?

When the war started, I knew that there was nothing else to do than pray that it would be short and that Iraq would be become stable and democratic. Unfortunately, that would not come to be. As a result, I am more committed to non-violence and against war than I ever have been. Iraq shows that war is never the answer for achieving peace.

I remember the political climate after 9/11. I understand the pressure put on Democrats in Congress to back President Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. To oppose Bush was considered to be unpatriotic. Whether you are willing to give Clinton and the Democrats a pass on their vote or not, the truth is that they were in the arena where the political battle was being waged. It is easy for Donald Trump to stand on the outside of the ring and criticize the decision. He was never in a position to be accountable by casting a vote. (To be fair, neither was Obama who did not enter the Senate until 2005. He did speak against the war while in the Illinois Senate.) In fact, Trump has never been held accountable for a vote because he has never held a public office.

Trump has never been a senator, a member of congress, or a governor. He has not even been a city council member or county supervisor. He has been a lobbyist, so he knows how that part of government works. He has given campaign contributions in exchange for political favors, showing he is not the solution but a big part of the problem.

If he has served on any civic commissions or provided policy advice to government agencies, I have yet to find it. He is mostly known for giving money to charity, and that amount has been called into question. Otherwise, he has been mostly concerned with advancing his own business interests.

Trump does have one loose connection to Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy used to say, “Bully!” Trump, on the other hand, is a bully. He is unfit to be president.

https://www.demconvention.com/blog/new-york-representative-joe-crowley/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/27/president-obamas-speech-at-the-democratic-convention/

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment