Tomyamaguchi’s Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Revisiting AIDS during this time of COVID-19

People who follow me on Twitter (@tomyamaguchi) may notice that I love to tweet obituaries. The Obits page is a place where I have found the life stories of interesting and unusual people. Now that I get most of my news online, I usually go to the Recent Deaths page on Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia lists each person’s death in the following order: name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent nationality (if applicable), what subject was noted for, cause of death (if known), and reference. As I poured through the days of March, I noticed an increasing number of people who died of COVID-19. I decided to run a tally on a spreadsheet and have so far counted 144 deaths for that month. The average started at zero to one or two deaths per day. By mid March, the average was headed to five or six. By the end of the month, the average for all of March was about 4.5 per day.

Of course, a listing of such notables does not represent an accurate percentage of the entire population that has succumbed to COVID-19. As I counted out the number of deaths, it brought back to me memories of AIDS, which has also taken a number of notable people, including actors, writers, artists, scientists, and politicians. 

Forty years ago, just as AIDS was beginning to hit the gay community, my then wife and I decided to move with our 5-year-old daughter to the San Francisco Bay Area. For me, it was time for a change, and I had become weary of conservative San Diego. I was ready for a new community where progressive thinking represented the mainstream of the population. Yes, the community of Ocean Beach, where we last lived, was a very progressive place, but it was an island in a sea of rightwing politics. We lived in our little ghetto. If we wanted to see a movie, we walked to the Strand Theater. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was the midnight movie every Saturday. Food shopping was, of course, at OB Peoples Food. Couldn’t afford new clothes? The free box was behind the store, and the price was right. After several years, that was not enough.

Although I did not tell my family at the time, I had another consideration for moving to the Bay Area. The growing gay community in San Francisco was drawing me. Yes, there was a growing gay community in OB. However, San Francisco had so much more to offer. I was planning to eventually come out to my family and transition to a new life. I decided to wait until by daughter was a few years older. I did not want to leave my spouse alone to care for a small child.

In 1981, we bought a house. I was working in Point Richmond and commuting to work by bicycle. I had become a newspaper junkie and would stop in Albany (California, not New York) to pick up the morning papers; the Los Angeles Times that was flown up from LA earlier that morning and the national edition of the New York Times that was transmitted by satellite and printed by the Contra Costa Times. It was just a few weeks after moving into our house that I stopped at the newspaper racks was confronted by a disturbing headline. I am not sure which newspaper had the front page story, but it hit me like a brick. A strange cancer was spreading among gay men. No one could figured out why. It didn’t look good. It wasn’t long before the news became increasingly bleak. Instead of a few years, I ended up spending an entire decade in the closet. I was too afraid to come out for fear that I would catch this strange disease with a guaranteed death sentence.

Now those memories of four decades ago were returning with COVID-19. I found the need to process those feelings and memories. From my bookshelf, I pulled my hard bound copy of Randy Shilts’ And the Band Played On, the story of the first years of AIDS. Although I had picked it up from time to time as a reference work, it mostly sat on the shelf since the first time I read it three decades ago. I read it again, cover to cover.

There are obvious differences between the current COVID-19 and AIDS pandemics. AIDS is not spread by casual contact, although many people were panicking at the time over false stories that it could be. The lag time between infection and appearance of symptoms is much longer with AIDS. For COVID-19 that time is measured in days and weeks. The HIV virus hides in the bodies of its victims for years before becoming what we have come to call full blown AIDS. Unlike early years of AIDS, there was no mystery over what COVID-19 was or how it was spread. We have had corona viruses before. This is just a new type that our immune systems are not equipped to combat. 

However, there are a number of similarities between the two, which is why I decided to reread Shilts’ book.

Federal government fails to act

Both AIDS and COVIC-19 arrived during a period of fiscally conservative government. The Reagan administration arrived in 1981 with the philosophy that government was the problem and cutting the size of government was the solution. The budgets of the Center for Disease Control and other agencies devoted to the health and welfare of the general public were drastically slashed. Nothing was left to fight a mysterious, new disease that was first known as gay cancer and continued to be renamed until AIDS became the consensus designation. Even as medical researchers, members of Congress, and gay activists pleaded for more money and resources, the Reagan White House refused to budge. Any non military government spending was government waste, as far as they were concerned.

That small government philosophy is again at the center of the Trump administration, which has measured its success on the number of government regulations it has ripped up, especially those designed to protect our environment. Beyond the budget and regulation cutting, government failure has taken on a new dimension with the entry of Donald Trump into the White House. From the first day of his administration, Trump has proven himself to be completely unfit for the job of President. He entered the office with no previous experience in government. He boasted his ability to lead was based on his business experience, even though his failures in business are clearly documented, such as in Trump Nation by Timothy O’Brien. He has shown little interest in learning how government works and even asserted that Article II of the Constitution gives him the power to do anything he wants. Thanks to a complicit Republican controlled Senate, he has escaped removal by impeachment. Trump has operated like an organized crime boss, motivated only by self interest. His closest family members are now in charge of the White House, even though they are as inexperienced as he is. Turmoil and confusion have reigned with high staff turnovers and many positions being held by “acting” administrators. He is obsessed with undoing everything his predecessor Barack Obama has accomplished, starting with the Affordable Care Act that has provided medical insurance to millions of previously uninsured Americans. During the transition between the outgoing and incoming administrations, a training exercise involved how to respond to a global pandemic. Two thirds of the Trump team involved in that exercise have since left the administration. In addition, the Obama administration created a handbook on how to respond to a pandemic. That handbook has sat on the shelf, unread, since Trump took office. Trump fired Obama’s pandemic response team and later denied it, even though he is recorded on video admitting to the firing. He said he was doing it to save money. Even as the virus was spreading into the United States in February, Trump was calling it a hoax, just as he has called global warming a hoax. He would later deny saying that, even though that too is documented on video. He contradicts the advice of medical experts, bringing even more confusion and doubt among the public. Without a consistent and truthful message, Trump is only making the situation worse.

Stigmatizing, shame, and blame

During one of his press briefings on COVID-19, Trump admitting to a reporter that he takes no responsibility for his government’s failure to act. Just as with other crises, Trump would rather find others to blame. It is all China’s fault, he has asserted. He has accused China of failing to provide accurate information, even though Trump’s own intelligence agencies were giving him plenty of accurate information in early January. The Trump team insisted on calling it the Chinese virus and Wuhan virus. Blaming the Chinese has led to violent attacks on Asian Americans. Since then, Trump has pulled back on calling it a China virus. He has shifted his attack on New York City, which is getting hit especially hard as the pandemic grows across the country. Blame the liberal, Democratic, urban dwellers. Blame the poor who live in overcrowded apartments or on the street. Blame the immigrants from the South, even though there are fewer cases in Mexico than in the United States and borders walls won’t stop communicable diseases.

Gays took the blame for AIDS in the eighties, a well as the poor, the intravenous drug users, the sex workers, Africans, and other people with non-white skin. It was easier to blame the already stigmatized groups that face continual discrimination than find out how to treat or even prevent infections in the first place. As a result, many bright and talented people have been taken from us, just as the coronavirus has taken the notable people who fill the lists on Wikipedia. 

Public apathy and the failure of the media to report

Through the first years of AIDS, very few people cared. The media didn’t care and generally failed to report on the disease when only the stigmatized people in society were the victims. Ronald Reagan never mentioned AIDS during most of his two terms in the White House. That all changed with the death of Rock Hudson. Having a Hollywood star fall victim to the disease suddenly made it worth covering. By that time, it was too late for the thousands who had contracted HIV and were now dying of AIDS. Precious time was lost.

So it has been with the spread of the coronavirus. Not enough people took it seriously until after infections started popping up all over the country. By then, it was too late to contain. Now, we have to the price by basically shutting down the entire economy. If we had only demanded more preparation, more testing from the start, more ventilators in our hospitals, and more protective masks for our doctors and nurses. If only fewer of us had bought the Trump line that it was all a hoax.

Communities in denial

When we look back at the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, one persistent image will be the thousands of young people on Florida beaches during Spring Break, blatantly ignoring warnings to avoid close contact. Only old people were dying, they told reporters. They preferred taking the risk of getting sick than giving up their fun on the beach. However, COVID-19 kills young people, too. In addition, infected young people can spread the disease to family and friends when they return home, including the especially vulnerable elderly.

In spite of decades of warnings from health care professionals that the next pandemic was not a question of “if” but “when,” we failed to heed their warnings and failed to prepare. We now must pay that price.

When AIDS emerged among gay men in the early eighties, it wasn’t long before unsafe sexual practices were being identified as a chief source of transmission. Much of the unsafe behavior was taking place in San Francisco’s bathhouses. Those who called for the closing of the bathhouses were accused of being homophobic and enemies of gay rights. Local politicians were too timid to challenge the power of gay rights activists and the powerful bathhouse owners. Eventually, the bathhouses were shut down. By then, the disease was already out of control.

Bathhouses weren’t the only businesses in denial. Blood banks failed to screen blood donors early in the epidemic, even as evidence showed the virus was being spread through blood. Hemophiliacs were early victims when infected plasma donors spread the virus though Factor VIII, a treatment used for clotting blood. As with the politicians too timid to close the bathhouses, the blood and plasma industries were afraid of offending gay activists.

Look for the helpers

Many of us are familiar with this quote from Fred Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster;” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”

The bright spot in the similarities between COVID-19 and AIDS are the helpers who have stepped up to the challenge and responded with compassion and love. During this pandemic, they include the doctors, nurses, and other medical technicians who are treating patients while risking contracting the disease themselves. They are the essential workers that can’t stay home. They stock the shelves and bag the groceries at our supermarkets, as we cue up in long lines, keeping our physical distances, waiting to get inside and shop. They are the undocumented farmworkers who get those crops to market. They are the caretakers of the sick, elderly, and disabled. They are the neighbors entertaining each other from opposite sides of the street, singing from the balconies, and applauding en masse in the evening for the medical teams treating the disease.

In the time of AIDS, when no one else cared, the gay community learned they needed to care for each other. They created social service organizations and educational campaigns. The Shanti Project, a recently created organization for counseling those at the end of life, found new purpose, serving those dying of AIDS. In New York, writer and activist Larry Kramer cofounded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and wrote a play on AIDS, The Normal Heart. The gay community was not only caring for each other, but convincing heterosexuals to start caring, as well.

AIDS hit the Bay Area especially hard. I doubt there is any person here who does not know at least one person who has died of AIDS. My first knowledge of AIDS coming to my neighborhood was the death of a nurse who lived around the corner. I hardly knew him, and I didn’t know he was gay. Then, a former housemate died a few years after moving to another part of town. I shouldn’t have been surprised. She was an alcoholic and and a drug user. I don’t know if she was injecting drugs, but her immune system was surely compromised by her drug abuse. Ironically, her bisexual boyfriend remained HIV negative. He may even be alive today. I have not seen him in a couple of decades. When I decided to return to college in the early nineties and earn my bachelor’s degree, one of my classmates was a lovely man named Micah who was one of the cofounders of the Radical Faeries. I would visit him in his Haight Ashbury apartment and watch him treat his Kaposi’s Sarcoma lesions. He did not live to see the end of the spring semester. I returned to the Haight Ashbury apartment to attend his memorial. We sat in a circle, passing around the urn that held Micah’s ashes. Placing our fingers gently into the ashes, we said our goodbyes.

As I write this, there are over thirty cases of COVID-19 in Berkeley and no deaths. News of the first case came in an email from Berkeley’s mayor Jesse Arreguin. I was checking my phone as I was serving as a poll worker in the California primary election. A few acquaintances of mine across the country may have the virus. They don’t know because they can’t get tested. Will closer friends and family of mine become infected? That appears to be another question of not “if” but “when.”

Postscript 

As I was rereading And the Band Played On, I was struck by volume of AIDS history that has happened since the book was published. Randy Shilts died of AIDS in 1994 at age 42. His funeral was protested by the homophobic Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church. Like others on the Religious Right, Phelps and his followers believe AIDS is God’s punishment of gay people. The church would gain more attention when it started picketing the funerals and burials of soldiers who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The protests provoked a debate on the limits of the first amendment.

When the book ended, the virus was finally given the term HIV after months of fighting between French and American researchers over who actually discovered it. In the last pages, AZT is identified as a possible treatment. The famous AIDS cocktail drugs were yet to come. Those drugs are now allowing those who are HIV positive to live normal lives. It is now possible for those with HIV to die of old age and from an unrelated illness. In addition, we now have PrEP which reduces the risk of infection from HIV.

Another controversial drug that emerged to treat AIDS patients was marijuana. Advocates of medicinal marijuana had previously touted it as a treatment for glaucoma. Now AIDS patients were viewing marijuana as a pain reliever, including for the nausea caused by chemotherapy. Loss of appetite was a common symptom of AIDS, and marijuana was found to be an appetite stimulant. In San Francisco, Mary Jane Rathburn became an unlikely hero. Famously known as Brownie Mary, she served pot-laced brownies to AIDS patients. She was actually one of a number of pot bakers, including Sticky Fingers Brownies, recently featured on KQED’s California Report Magazine. https://www.kqed.org/news/11810441/home-baked-how-pot-brownies-brought-some-relief-during-the-aids-epidemic . Activists like Rathburn and Dennis Peron were instrumental in the campaign to get marijuana legalized for medicinal use. We now have legal pot for both medical and recreational use.

Larry Kramer, cofounder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and author of The Normal Heart would go on to found the activist group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash the Power.) Known for their In-Your-Face activism, ACT UP members staged protests, such as die-ins in public places. Their protest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, protesting the Catholic Church’s opposition to condoms, were among their most controversial activities. Kramer’s and ACT UP’s lobbying of the FDA resulted in the streamlining of the approval process for drugs to treat HIV/AIDS. Kramer’s play would be followed by more dramatic and artistic works on the subject of AIDS, including Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

Cleve Jones, who is a prominent figure through most of the book, would go on to national fame with his creation of the Names Project. The AIDS quilts created by the Names Project have been displayed all across the country, including on the National Mall.

After Shilts’ book, the struggle for gay and lesbian equality took on new dimensions as transgendered people demanded inclusion. The movement took on the letters LGBT. Shilts’ followup and last book, Conduct Unbecoming, chronicled the movement of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Bill Clinton campaigned for president on the issue, and the resulting compromise passed by Congress was called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Barack Obama would later campaign against that compromise, and, ultimately, LGBT people were able to serve openly in the military.

In 1989, the San Francisco Examiner ran a special edition on the twentieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. As part of that edition, the Examiner conducted an extensive opinion poll on the public’s attitudes on LGBT rights. They found a majority of the public was very supportive, except in one area, marriage. People were overwhelmingly opposed to legalizing same sex marriage. Conservative Republicans ran on the issue, enacting state laws and even a national law called the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA. Through much of the last century and into the current one, Democrats who even supported civil unions were on record opposed to same sex marriage. Gays and lesbians started fighting back. A movement that once asserted its right to have anonymous and promiscuous sex was now demanding legal recognition for monogamous relationships. President Obama “evolved” on marriage equality and won his reelection. The battle went to the Supreme Court, and DOMA was overturned thanks to another unlikely hero, an elderly, lesbian named Edith Windsor. Soon, full marriage equality would become the law of the land. 

A follow up to Shilts’ book would be a valuable contribution to not only the continuing history of HIV/AIDS, but to the change of attitudes leading to LGBTQ (yes, we have added “queer” to that alphabet) equality. Maybe an enterprising journalist will take up the project where Randy Shilts left off.

April 7, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I’m Staying Home

Why I’m Staying Home

3/17/2020

While I have been considering how I would need to respond the COVID-19 epidemic for a number of weeks now, it all became very real for me when I watched Governor Gavin Newsom’s press conference on Sunday, March 15. Right off the bat, he announced that everyone 65 years and older need to stay in their homes and not go anywhere; no work, no shopping, nothing. 

Yes, he was talking to me. I am a couple of weeks away from my 70th birthday. The day before, I was standing with the crowd at Berkeley Bowl West, buying milk and thinking that this may not have been a good idea. However, I needed milk, just like I needed to do my work as an in home care provider earlier that day. I just got on my bicycle and rode to the places I needed to go.

I didn’t need another job. However, Governor Newsom has given me a new job. I now have the job of staying home. That changes the other jobs I have.

Even though I don’t smoke or have any other health problems that put me at risk for serious complications from COVID-19, I do care for people who have those risks, such as diabetes. I have not been experiencing any of the symptoms, and the chances I have come in contact with a person with the virus are low. If people without symptoms are able to spread the virus to others, however, that justifies me staying away from others who are at risk.

My IHSS work mostly involves housekeeping and shopping. While another person could fill in for me and do my jobs, finding a person to work in my place will not be easy. I am hoping for guidance from my union, SEIU 2015. Governor Newsom said at his press conference that he was talking with the union.

If I get COVID-19 and do recover, there is still the chance that I would become seriously ill, possibly needing a hospital bed and a respirator, I would become a part of the overload that our hospitals are facing right now. By keeping myself away from the virus, I would be part of the solution and not be an additional burden on our healthcare system.

So this is my new job. I am letting the world know I am taking this crisis seriously by complying with the Governor’s directive. That directive came one day before the counties in the entire Bay Area decided that everyone, regardless of age, need to limit their activities and stay home as much as possible. I am working at home, doing the jobs I don’t get paid for. I have been spending more time on Zoom, including two Quaker meetings for worship on Sunday, a Quaker  clerks’ meeting before that, and a meeting of the Alameda County chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby last night. I am not hurting financially. I do have 8 hours in sick pay through my union contract. I will be getting my social security check by direct deposit next week. On my birthday, I will get a nice, new present from New York Life, as I start drawing down on my 403b retirement account. in addition to Social Security, I am on Medicare. My main concern is that I have a health plan through my work, Alameda Alliance, that is my supplemental insurance for what Medicare does not pay for, such as dental care and prescription drugs. For that benefit I need to work 80 hours per month. I know I will fall short this month. I am hoping for some guidance from my union.

I am optimistic that I will be celebrating my 70th birthday, even if it is at home. After that my goal is to be alive on Tuesday, November 3, when I cast my ballot in the presidential election. I will vote to remove the incompetent and corrupt Donald Trump from office. Join me in voting for the Democratic Party nominee for President and replacing the cowardly Republican senators who failed to do their duties to remove Trump from office by impeachment. 

March 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

July 6, 2018 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

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

Tired of money influencing politics? You don’t want Trump.

If you are in the least bit politically active, you are probably tired of looking at your email inbox. The messages are urgent and straight to the point:

  • Send money or we will lose.
  • We are down in the polls.
  • Our opponents are outspending us.
  • It all depends on you whether we win or lose.

In 2012, I registered Republican in order to vote in the presidential primary. I have been receiving Republican fundraising emails ever since, even though I have not given them a penny. (Well, I did respond to a Trump fundraising letter, as I blogged earlier.) Regardless of party, the messages are all the same. Send us more and more money. Many people agree there is too much money in politics. How we get it out is the issue.

In the 2008 primary, I was registered Democratic and about to mark my vote-by-mail ballot. I was choosing between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, two good candidates who had strengths and weaknesses. For me, Obama’s biggest weakness was his lack of experience in elective office, mostly in the Illinois legislature and a couple of years in the US Senate. On the other hand, Obama came with a lot of life experience, growing up outside the US and understanding what life is like for people who are not like us. He also had a lot of campaigning experience as a grassroots, community organizer. If you don’t have the skills to run for office, you will never get the chance to use your skills for holding office. Clinton had more experience than Obama, but I was concerned about the strong animosity against her, which I believe is rooted in misogyny.The right wing has been organizing since she was elected to the Senate, sensing that the White House would be her eventual goal. On the other hand, Obama would have racism to contend with as the first black nominee.

As I looked over my ballot, my housemate Bob came to my room to tell me the latest news he had heard.of a 527 political group calling itself Citizens United Not Timid. Yes, the initials spell out CUNT, and the man who organized the group is Roger Stone, who now works for Donald Trump. http://www.salon.com/2008/01/24/roger_stone/. As soon as I heard that, I was angry enough to mark my ballot for Clinton. I would go on to vote for Obama in the general election, but I am still proud of my vote for Clinton as a blow against such blatant misogyny.

The Citizens United that created the anti-Hillary movie and took its case to the Supreme Court was a different group, and that is a strange story. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/time-trump-aide-sued-trump-adviser-over-anti-hillary-group-called-cunt. Both are examples of how big money has been used to create negative images of Clinton and her trustworthiness that are devoid of any evidence of wrong doing.

In her current run for the presidency, Clinton does rely on Super PAC money. She realizes she needs to use that money to combat the Super PACs that have been organizing against her for years. One that has been sending me emails calls itself the Stop Hillary PAC. It spent much of last year boosting Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi investigation. This year, they are supporting Donald Trump.

stop-hillary-pac

If elected, Trump promises more judges on the Supreme Court like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Scalia and Thomas ruled in favor of Citizens United. He promised that to the religious right. In addition, he promised them to end the IRS rule that prevents churches from using their tax-free money to fund partisan political campaigns. I call it Citizens United for the Mega Churches.

Donald Trump bills himself as an outsider who is unbought by special interests. I blogged earlier how that is a myth. Trump is in the pocket of the religious right and, possibly, the Russians. He uses his wealth for lobbying and promoting his own business interests.

That is another reason I urge voters to reject Trump. We need to overturn Citizens United and get Supreme Court justices who recognize the corrupting influence of money in our democracy. I have heard some argue that money does not influence elections, using examples where the candidate who spent the most had lost. I have my own theory of how the current system hurts democracy, though I don’t have evidence to back it. I have been observing how the percentage of voter participation continues to decline as the money spent on campaigns continue to grow. Much of that money has been spent on negative ads. Even though people say they don’t like the negative ads, the sad fact is that those commercials are effective. They are effective at suppressing the vote. They are designed to get supporters of the attacked candidate to give up and not bothering to vote. (Trump is relying on voter suppression to get elected. During the primaries he told those who were not supporting him to not vote. Not voting in this election is giving Trump exactly what he wants.)

If you want to stop the obscene amount of money going into our elections, you are better off with Clinton, not Trump.

November 3, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If you think there is no difference between the two candidates, I ask you consider this.

What’s the difference?

In my last post, I expressed my own dissatisfaction with the current two-party system. At the same time, I have a problem with the concept of “voting for the lesser of two evils.” For one thing, I do not believe that people are inherently evil. Candidates can be flawed, inexperienced, or unfit for office. Evil, no.

I don’t believe Donald Trump is evil. My arguments against Trump are that his personality is deeply flawed, he lacks the needed experience, and he has shown himself to be unfit to hold public office. All candidates have flaws and come to the job with various levels of skills and experience. It is impossible to find a candidate without flaws. Candidates, like all humans are imperfect. No matter whom we vote for, in one way or another, we will be disappointed.

That is why, when I go to the polls, I choose candidates I believe would be the least disappointing. If I find that the major candidates running for a particular office to be completely unacceptable, I have no problem registering a protest vote, such as a write-in candidate or another listed candidate who has no chance of getting elected. That is not the case in this election. I have no problem casting my vote for Hillary Clinton.

I know there are many on the left who dislike and mistrust Clinton. They supported Bernie Sanders and are angry with a primary process and Democratic Party establishment that clearly favored Clinton. The Wikileaks email dumps have been designed to further feed the anger of Sanders supporters. Even before Sanders jumped into the race, Democrats on the left were showing their dissatisfaction with Clinton. Groups such as Move On and Democracy for America were actively campaigning to draft Elizabeth Warren. I am actually thankful to Sanders for taking that heat off of Warren, who clearly wants to stay in the Senate and continues to be effective there. Sanders also made Clinton a better candidate in the general elections, as Clinton did for Obama in 2008.

I find it incredible for liberals to hold the belief that there is little or no difference between the two major presidential candidates. Did we not learn from the 2000 election? Does anyone still believe there was little or no difference between Gore and Bush?

Think of the Supreme Court. I keep wondering why liberals seem so unconcerned about the selection of future Supreme Court justices. Conservatives are certainly concerned. That is why many of them are falling in line to vote for Trump. They are willing to look beyond his flaws because he has promised them justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The court majority that ruled in favor of Citizens United included Scalia, Thomas, and the appointments of George W. Bush. And one more question: do you think that if Mitt Romney had been elected president in 2012 we would only have 8 judges on the court today?

When I think of anyone considering Trump, I imagine a scene from one of the old Warner Brothers cartoons where a man lost in the desert comes upon a pond of water. Next to it is a crudely painted sign with a skull and crossbones and the word DANGER.. The dried skull of a Texas Longhorn rests disembodied by the bank. As the man goes to drink the water, the skull open its jaws and moans out, “You’ll be sorry.”

Given the increasing impact of climate change and the window for corrective action steadily closing, the election of two science deniers, Trump and Pence, will be more than a disappointment. They will take this country on a dangerous course that will be very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.

November 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment