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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.

 

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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

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

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

Rejecting Trump is the best way to save the Republican Party

I have been blogging whenever I can on the reasons why I believe Donald Trump is completely unfit to be president and why he should be rejected by the voters on November 8. I suggested there may be 50 reasons, probably more. I doubt I will come even close to listing 50 before election day. I think I can do a few more. Today, I want to explain why I believe rejecting Trump is the best way to save the Republican Party.

In my last post, I shared my response to a fundraising letter from the Trump campaign that included a postage paid envelope. (BTW I received a second letter and envelope several weeks after the first. I’m still thinking about what to send back.) In that response I wrote, “I have voted for Republicans in the past. Would I vote for Republicans in the future? When I find a Republican who takes global warming seriously and listens to scientists. When I find one who doesn’t engage in immigrant bashing or appeals to white supremacists. When I find one who really supports LGBTQ rights. Until then, you’ve lost me.” 

It is true that I have previously voted for Republicans. I voted for John McCain in the 2000 primary and Arnold Schwarzenegger in his re-election as California governor . Being a Republican on the right side of the climate issue was a major factor in my selections. I want to support Republicans who share my concerns on issues that are important to me.

My Irish Catholic parents were lifelong Democrats. Growing up in the depression, they idolized FDR. Electing an Irish Catholic president in 1960 was a dream come true for them. While I maintained my liberal bent in adulthood, I drifted away from the Democratic Party and viewed myself more as an independent. I came to reject the two-party system that has defined American politics since the early nineteenth century. There has to be a better way to select candidates. My late housemate Bob Berry also believed in a multi party system. His efforts to revive the Whig Party was mostly a joke that reflected his own frustration with the system that has come to be known as choosing between the lesser of two evils. For a number of years I was registered as a Whig.

When I have changed my registration to Democratic or Republican, it has been to be eligible to vote in that party’s presidential primary. in 2012, I registered Republican to vote for Jon Huntsman, another Republican who understands climate change. Obama was running unopposed as a Democrat, so no contest there. Unfortunately, Huntsman dropped out before the California primary. I ended up voting for Fred Karger, the first openly gay presidential candidate for either party. Since then, I have been on a number of Republican email lists. The emails keep coming, even though I have not given a penny.

This year, there was no question which party I would be selecting for the primary election. I could not find a single Republican that I could vote for in good conscience. I found several good candidates running as Democrats and finally selected Clinton as the best fit for that office with the best chance to win.

Then Trump became the Republican nominee. That is when they lost me. I can no longer go back to the Republican Party in its present form. Thanks to Donald Trump, I am for now a committed Democrat.

If the Republicans lose control of the Senate, they can blame Trump for their loss. In all of those fundraising emails I receive from Republican candidates, Trump’s name has not appeared even once. Democratic emails proudly align themselves with their presidential ticket.

In addition, to being unfit for the office of president, Trump has shown himself to be an incompetent campaigner. The California primary is a good example. We now have two Democrats running to replace Barbara Boxer, who is retiring from the Senate. That is because Harris and Sanchez received more votes than any of their Republican challengers. In California, the top two vote getters move onto the general election, regardless of their party affiliation. Meanwhile, Trump had sewn up the nomination before the primary. He came to the state and campaigned anyway, for himself. A seasoned candidate in Trump’s position would have looked at the field of Republican candidates and selected one that would have the best chance of coming in second and going to the general. Then campaigning across the state with that Senate candidate would have made sense. Even if the Democrat has the overwhelming advantage, the Democratic Party would still need to divert resources to prevent an upset. Guaranteed that the next senator will be a Democrat, the party is free to spend more in battleground states. Then again, the Republican candidates may have found Trump so toxic that none of them wanted his support. Trump ended up with less primary votes than Bernie Sanders, anyway. His time in California was a complete waste.

I feel for the conservatives’ dilemma. For them, Clinton is too liberal and Trump is completely unfit. I once suggested that they vote for Gary Johnson. He did, at one time, have the opportunity to gain the 15% of the polling numbers he needed to get into the debates. Since then, he has been fading with a series of “Aleppo moments.” Even before that, conservatives where jumping ship to the Clinton camp, including newspapers that have never endorsed a Democrat in their entire publishing histories. They know that a vote for a third party candidate only improves the chances of a Trump win. For them, that is reason enough to support Clinton.

As a Californian, I know I could easily vote for a third party candidate without fear of losing the state to Trump. I would certainly do that if I felt the Democratic candidate was as equally unfit for office. On the contrary, Clinton has shown herself to be quite fit and worthy of my vote. More importantly, I want to make sure that Trump is soundly defeated by double percentage digits. Then Trump would have less of an argument that the election was rigged against him, though I am sure he will argue that anyway. More importantly, I want the Republican Party to reassess its direction and return to the mainstream with candidates who could earn my vote.

I am still dissatisfied by our current to two-party system. A one-party system would be even worse. If Trump succeeds at destroying the Republican Party, we will need to create a better party or parties to take its place.

October 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Donation to Donald Trump

A few weeks ago, I received a fundraising letter from Donald Trump. I decided to send him a donation in the postage paid envelope that came with the letter.

trump-contribution-envelope

trump-contribution-front

trump-contribution-back

My message on the back of the letter:

I have voted for Republicans in the past. Would I vote for Republicans in the future? When I find a Republican who takes global warming seriously and listens to scientists. When I find one who doesn’t engage in immigrant bashing or appeals to white supremacists. When I find one who really supports LGBTQ rights. Until then, you’ve lost me. 

khizr-kahn-with-constitution

Khizr Kahn lends his pocket constitution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z7lN7nQjG0

October 3, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s Gettysburg Address

Imagine it is Thursday, November 19, 1863. A terrible, bloody battle has been fought during a brutal civil war. Now the leader of our country has come to address the gathering on the former battlefield where many of the fallen combatants are now buried. The assembled focus attention on him, awaiting his words of inspiration and solace.

In 1776, the founders of this great country, and it is a really great country. Honestly, the greatest country in history, folks. The greatest in the world. Nobody second to us. Nobody. And this great country founded in 1776 (that was 87 years ago, friends) by our great forefathers, and they really were so great. Really the greatest. And they founded this great country 87 years ago, and so we don’t want to lose it. No way are we losing it. We’re not gonna screw this up.

So now we’re in the middle of this civil war, and we need to win it, and I mean we need to win it bigly. We can’t lose this war. Now, when it started, I really didn’t want this war. I said, “Hey, if those folks in the South want to split, I say let ‘em split. Just let ‘em go. Who needs ‘em. Just let them go, and they’ll come back to us begging. They’ll be begging to come back to us.” That’s what I said when the war started.Just let ‘em go. But we’re in this civil war now so we gotta finish it. And I’m the only one who can finish this war, folks. I’m the only one who can win it. We just gotta finish it. And when it’s finished, I’m sure those folks in the South will come back. Many people say they will be coming back, and they’ll be happy to come back, and we can get some good ideas from them. Those negro workers they got do amazing work. We should have them working for us. I can make some great deals to get those negroes working for us.

Let me tell you what an honor it is for me to be speaking to you on this battlefield today. It’s a lot easier being here today than it was a few months ago ‘cause there was a lot fighting going on then. It is so much easier to be here today than last July. And there were a lot of good soldiers here then, and a lot of them got shot. I like soldiers. I prefer the ones that don’t get shot. Seriously. You can’t do much fighting after you’ve been shot. But a bunch of soldiers got shot, and now we have to bury them. So we’ll just bury them here where they got shot. It makes things so much easier.

Some folks say nobody will remember what we did here today, but I don’t know, folks. I don’t know. I think people will remember. They’ll certainly remember me, the greatest president in the history of this greatest country.

And this will be great place for a cemetery. I hear many people say it will be a great place to visit. I may even build a few hotels here. People will have a nice place to stay when they visit.

You’re gonna be so happy when I win this war. You won’t believe how happy you’ll be after I win this war. You’ll be thanking me every day for being so happy after winning this war. Believe me. Then America will be great again. The people will be great again. And I will be great, as always.

Now imagine it is noon in Washington, DC on January 20, 2017. He has just taken his hand off the Bible after taking the oath of office. He strolls to the podium, and stands before a bank of microphones. The whole world is listening, and President Donald J. Trump is about to speak.

September 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump on Climate and Science

I have been listing as many reasons as I can why we cannot permit Donald Trump to be President of the United States. I would like to focus on the issue on climate change, which has been one of my biggest concerns as a voter. We do not have much time left to get this right, and, unfortunately, too little attention has been paid to it. When it comes to selecting our next president, the choice is clear, even if you are choosing between four candidates.

One way the issue has figuratively come home to me was just before the California primary. I came home to turn on the local TV news and found that Bernie Sanders was on my street! OK, so he was two miles away, but he was still on my street. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich was hosting him at the Center for Labor Research and Education. Afterward, Sanders came out to speak to the press. He told them of how he has observed climate change in his state of Vermont and how Lake Champlain no longer freezes over every winter. When I heard that, I was shocked. It was Christmas of 1989 that I saw the lake frozen solid. I was visiting my adoptive mother Alice Wiser in Burlington. That following summer, I stayed again at the house, where BTW Bernie Sanders had previously celebrated his 40th birthday (Alice, was not at the party which was hosted by her housemates. She was off on one of her travels around the world.) It was weird to swim in such a big body of water that did not taste of salt. In the winter, I saw the ice fishers. They drove their SUVs on the solid ice, set up their tents, built their camp fires, and drilled holes in order to drop their lines. Now Bernie was telling me that, in recent winters, the lake has not been freezing over.

https://www.lakechamplaincommittee.org/lcc-at-work/global-warming-lake-champlain/

As evidence builds that humans are warming the planet and time runs out to do something about it, both Trump and his running mate Mike Pence deny that global warming is even happening. Trump has promised to pull our country out of the COP21 agreement on climate made in Paris last year. Now, 375 scientists have signed a letter opposed to a Trump presidency.

http://mashable.com/2016/09/20/scientists-letter-against-trump-climate-plan/#xEMvDTf.ePqf

Last May, Trump gave his formal policy address on energy to a petroleum conference in North Dakota. As I listened I was amazed at how little he was saying made sense. Now I know very little about energy, but it was clear to me that I knew more than Donald Trump, who boasted how we would save the fossil fuel industry with more mining and drilling. The problem is that the fossil fuel industry is suffering from over supply. Drilling more will only lead to lower prices and fewer jobs for oil, gas, and coal workers. In fact, coal companies are going bankrupt as fracking makes cleaner natural gas cheaper and more preferable. There were a couple of points where Trump was somewhat correct. Yes, solar and wind have environmental impacts, too, and we need to reduce bird deaths from wind generators. Trump also supports nuclear, though it would still have to compete with the cheaper fossil fuels that Trump would make even cheaper.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqRkv9VTaMQ

Hillary Clinton wants to continue the progress on climate and build on the work of President Obama. She has chosen a running mate, Tim Kaine, who shares her commitment to climate action. The Democratic Party platform advocates a price on carbon emissions. The Republican platform flatly rejects a carbon tax. For a short time, Gary Johnson suggested he would support a revenue neutral carbon tax, something I support as a member Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Unfortunately, Johnson backed down when his supporters accused him of being a liberal sellout.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/09/gary-johnson-climate-change

http://citizensclimatelobby.org/

I am pleased to read that Clinton has joined Obama in support of nuclear power. In 2008, she said during a debate that she was neutral (“agnostic”) about nuclear, while Obama gave his support and John Edwards said he was opposed. Bernie Sanders had campaigned on shutting down nuclear plants. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is also opposed to nuclear. Most scientists agree that we need to include nuclear in our energy mix to seriously reduce our carbon emissions.

If you want to see how the candidates stand on climate, energy, and other science issues, you can read their responses to questions posed by Scientific American. Of the four candidates, only Gary Johnson had not responded by press time. Notice how, detailed and thoughtful Clinton’s responses are. Contrast that with Trump’s short and shallow answers. Trump’s answers look like they were written in the back of the limousine, along with that clean bill of health letter from Trump’s doctor.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-do-the-presidential-candidates-know-about-science/#

And if 375 scientists won’t convince you that we can’t afford a Trump presidency, maybe 150 technology executives will.

https://shift.newco.co/an-open-letter-from-technology-sector-leaders-on-donald-trumps-candidacy-for-president-5bf734c159e4#.ha1ohlvxr

Of course, whoever is president, we won’t get any progress on climate without Congress. The chances of flipping both the House and Senate from Republican to Democrat change with each poll that is released. A Clinton White House may have the same success with a Republican Congress as Obama has had. Then again, Clinton may have better success working with Republicans, given the respect she earned from them when she was in the Senate. Even with a Democratic Congress, It won’t happen without a broad based grassroots movement on climate action. Compare that to the prospects of a Trump/Pence White House and Republican Congress. Trump is wrong on climate, and we need to keep him out of the White House.

September 26, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Myth of Trump as an Outsider

When I listen to his supporters, a familiar theme is Trump’s status as an outsider. He is outside the system, therefore he is uncorrupted by that system. This seems to make him uniquely qualified for public office. Of course, it could also make him totally unequipped to change a system he neither understands or has any experience with how it works.

Trump boasts that his great personal wealth makes him incorruptible. His primary campaign was mostly self-financed, and he was able to get a lot of free media on the cable news networks. Trump is not the first to argue that he is too rich to bribe. Nelson Rockefeller argued the same to the Senate when he was nominated by Gerald Ford to be Vice President. Of course, Trump has a history of donating to political candidates, which contradicts the image of being an outsider to the political process. Trump boasts of his ability to make great deals, which includes political deals. Trump has boasted of receiving political favors in exchange for campaign donations. Is Trump’s contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is the reason she dropped an investigation of Trump University? And was that donation paid illegally from the nonprofit Trump Foundation?

http://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2016/sep/21/donald-trump-pam-bondi-and-25k-was-it-pay-play/

There is another question raised about self funded campaigns. Is Trump arguing that only those wealthy enough to fund their campaigns can be trusted to hold public office, uninfluenced by powerful interests? Isn’t his wealth a corrupting interest that can bias him against the needs of the poor? Trump has never been poor a day in his life. How can he argue that he shares the interests of the common man?

Bernie Sanders also argued that he was unbought by the special interests. He proved that by taking mostly small donations. He also has a voting record on issues of concern to the poor. Trump does not.

In fact, Trump has already acknowledged a debt with a powerful special interest, the religious right. Trump continually thanks evangelicals for his support. In turn, he has already made promises, including appointing conservative judges, pushing for more laws allowing discrimination against gay people, and removing restrictions on their tax exempt status. Is there any doubt that Trump will make good on his promises to the religious right? They will certainly hold him to those promises.

And who else owns Trump? Is that why he doesn’t want us to see his taxes? There is a lot of speculation about his ties to Vladimir Putin. Are his dealings with Putin in his taxes?

Another possible reason why Trump is not showing his taxes is that he may not be as rich as he wants us to believe. That would negate the argument that he is too rich to be corrupted. How much of his wealth comes from being on someone else’s payroll? We won’t know for sure until we see his taxes.

How The Trump Organization’s Foreign Business Ties Could Upend U.S. National Security

by Kurt Eichenwald on 9/14/16 at 5:30 AM

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/23/donald-trump-foreign-business-deals-national-security-498081.html

Politifact comparison of Clinton and Trump Foundations

http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/sep/23/politifact-sheet-comparing-clinton-and-trump-found/

September 25, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment