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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 | , , , , , , | 1 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

Trump’s Dog Whistle

Is Donald Trump a racist? Honestly, I don’t know. I can’t read what’s in his heart any better than others. I would ask in turn, was Lee Atwater a racist? Atwater created the Willie Horton ad for George H. W. Bush’s campaign. Meanwhile, Atwater enjoyed hanging out with black musicians and playing blues music. The Horton ad is one of example of how racism has been used by cynical politicians to get elected. Ian Haney Lopez’s Dog Whistle Politics examines how politicians can exploit voter bias without being blatant enough to get caught. It is called plausible deniability. In the case of Willie Horton, at no time is he identified as black. The ads don’t have to. His picture says it all; big, scary black man who looks means and angry. Flash the words “rape” and “murder” with his face and the picture is complete. If you call out Dog Whistlers on their race baiting, they will not only deny it, but accuse you of racism. Obviously, you are the one seeing something that they can pretend wasn’t intended.

The Trump Dog Whistle is no different or original. His appeals for “Law and Order” are taken directly from Richard Nixon and George Wallace. He even took “Make America Great Again” from Ronald Reagan. To Trump, America was great when it was controlled by white, heterosexual men.

Then there is Trump’s Birtherism. The goal of the Birthers is delegitimize Obama’s presidency by accusing him of being born in Africa. He is not a real American. He is an outsider, not one of us. He isn’t white. When Tea Party demonstrators say, “We want our country back,” they mean from the black man who does not have the legitimacy to run it. (BTW, Trump now blames the origins of the Birther movement on Hillary Clinton, when it as actually started by the right wingers.)

http://www.factcheck.org/2008/06/obamas-birth-certificate/

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2011/apr/27/obama-birth-certificate-timeline/

http://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-started-birther-movement/

ccroadblock

The use of the word “our” is interesting in this graphic from a Trump email. It is a photo of the Clinton’s embracing in the Oval office with the narrative “Don’t let Hillary move back into OUR White House.” The “our” is in all caps, bringing attention to the next word, which is “White.” This house is for whites. The Clintons, who associate with the black man Obama, lost their legitimacy to be there.

I blogged earlier this summer about Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow.” Again, I urge everyone to read it to understand how structural racism works in modern American society. Alexander and Lopez use the term “colorblindness” as the way Dog Whistlers shut down the discussion of racism and deny that their tactics are racist. With their bizarre logic, the Black Lives Matter movement is racist.

Trump has had trouble with disavowing support from white supremacists and has even shared their social media posts. When asked directly, he pleads ignorance. “I don’t know.” Historians have found how immigrant bashing is similar to the Know-Nothings just before the civil war.

When Trump gave his Wisconsin speech to a primarily white audience, he wanted us to believe he was appealing to black voters. In reality, he wants his prejudiced white supporters feel more comfortable with their prejudice.

Trump’s History Undermines New Outreach to Black Voters

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-s-history-undermines-new-outreach-black-voters-n635821

Trump West Bend, Wisconsin speech

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/full-text-donald-trumps-speech-on-227095

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/17/donald-trump-in-whitest-wisconsin-finally-makes-his-pitch-to-african-american-voters.html

While dying of brain cancer, Atwater came to regret his use of race to win an election. Let’s hope that something that drastic doesn’t happen to Trump before he realizes that his campaign for the presidency is a part of the problem, not the solution.

There are so many reasons why Trump should not be elected President, I have lost count. I am listing as many reasons as I can on why a Trump presidency will be a disaster. It will definitely be a setback for race relations in this country. That is why we need to defeat Donald Trump by double digits and prove that race baiting has no place in American politics.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Must be Fifty Ways/reasons I oppose electing Trump

Honestly, I have lost count of all the reasons why I don’t want to see Donald Trump elected as President of the United States. I can’t think of a worse candidate nominated by a major party in my lifetime. Last January, I was among the many who believed there was no way Trump would last through the early primaries. I expected a more mainstream Republican, such as Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, or Jeb Bush to eventually win the nomination. Surely Republicans will come to their senses, I thought. That didn’t happen. To me, that is the most troublesome part of this election; that many people actually think Donald Trump is a good idea. How bad would a Trump presidency be? Let me count the ways.

When Paul Simon performed at the Democratic convention, I think it is safe to say his contribution was among the lesser moments of that convention. He sang Bridge Over Troubled Water, which is a great song. In fact Simon and Garfunkel sang it at the Democratic convention in 1972. The trouble is that Garfunkel was the lead singer on that song, and, although Simon is not a bad singer, he certainly is not as good as Garfunkel. So, we connect that song with Garfunkel’s voice. Simon would have been better off singing one of the songs he wrote for his solo career. I started thinking of songs that would work. Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover comes to mind. With a few changes, it could become Fifty Ways to Leave Your Nominee, and he could sing it to the Republicans.

I don’t know if I can list 50 reasons to not elect Trump, but I thought I would give it a try. I would like to start with Trump’s candidacy against the “rigged system.”

Trump is warning his followers that he won’t win because the electoral process itself is rigged. It plays very well into his conspiracy theory thinking. The real forces in control will determine the outcome. They will orchestrate wide spread voter fraud that allows people to vote multiple times and stack the results against Trump. As a person who has worked as an election officer at my local polls over the years, I have one question for Trump. Has he even participated in the electoral process or paid much attention to how that process works? If he did, he would know that first time voters need to show some form of ID in federal elections. That has been happening since the passage of HAVA (Help America Vote Act) when George W. Bush was president. Every person needs to sign her or his name on the roster before receiving a ballot. The idea of someone coming in five or ten times on one day to vote is ludicrous. Even if someone wanted to register at different precincts under different names, she or he would have to get fake ID’s for each name before registering. And how much would that influence the final vote? Not enough to make it worth that much effort. In fact, if it was so easy, Trump could simply get his supporters to register multiple times to vote for him.

As President Obama has pointed out, each state runs its own elections and creates its own rules, as long as they don’t conflict with federal law. A number of states have enacted even stricter ID laws that are now being overturned by the federal courts for being too restrictive. Instead of ensuring fairness, they work to disenfranchise the minorities and the poor. If the system is rigged in anyone’s favor, it is in favor Trump’s supporters, who are upper income and more stable in their housing. They have no problem jumping through the hoops of restrictive Voter ID laws. The addresses on their driver licenses are more likely to match the addresses on the voting rosters.

So how can that system be rigged against Trump? Is he saying that election workers like me are rigging the system? OK, I admit it. I supported Hillary Clinton in the primary where I served as judge in my precinct. I didn’t say whom I was voting for to the other officers working with me, and they didn’t tell me who their candidates were either. To all of the people who came in to vote, none of us told them who our candidates were or whom to vote for. We couldn’t because it is against the law to campaign at a polling place. It looks like I didn’t have much influence anyway. While Clinton won Alameda County, Sanders beat her by over 100 votes in my precinct. Not surprisingly, our heavily Democratic precinct gave Trump only 3 votes.

Trump wants to send observers to polling locations to ensure the vote is fair. That’s fine and legal, just as long as they don’t interfere with the voting process or campaign while they are there. That means no signs, buttons, or shirts with the candidate’s name on them. They can’t interrupt election officials as they assist voters or intrude on voters’ privacy in the voting booths. Otherwise, there would be trouble. Would Trump followers cause trouble at the polls? Trump’s answer will probably be “I don’t know.” That brings me to a second reason why he should not be president. More to come.

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Earth Day. Tweet for the Climate

On Earth Day of 2012 I decided to tweet at least once per day on the issue of climate change. I committed myself to do that until the November election. I was able to keep that commitment, though I did include retweets in that count. My decision was based on the concern that climate change was again being ignored by the candidates and the media. Questions about the climate crisis were being left out of debates. I wanted to do something that would start that conversation on the climate and hoped that people who read my climate tweets would bring these questions directly to the candidates who were asking for their votes. I have no illusions that it made much of a difference, but it was still worth doing. At least, it was better than doing nothing. That is why I am doing it again.

It is Earth Day again on another election year. Activists are concerned about the potential turnout for the November election. The Democratic Party’s hopes for regaining the House are fading, and they face the real possibility of losing the Senate. For people concerned about the climate, this is very troubling. Democrats have been willing to address the issue, while Republicans have been in denial that humans are responsible for global warming. Republicans want to focus on repealing Obamacare and cutting government spending. Democrats are nervous about advocating anything that looks like a tax increase. The most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate are from conservative states that rely on fossil fuels for their economy, such as Alaska and Louisiana. The prospect of passing meaningful legislation does not look good for the near future.

Meanwhile, the media continues to focus who will be running for president in 2016. The speculation started as soon as the 2012 election was over. If stories on Benghazi and the closing of the George Washington Bridge have received so much press attention, it is because of their connection to potential presidential candidates. It becomes too easy to forget there is a national election this year with every House seat and one third of the Senate seats on the ballot. The winners of those races will be determining what legislation gets passed or doesn’t get passed during the next two years.

Climate legislation is caught up in the current polarization of our political parties. Once upon a time, we had liberal and moderate wings in both parties. Today, we are dependent on super majorities for one party to get any legislation passed, being unable to receive even one vote from the minority party. As we celebrate passage of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, we are reminded that it took both Democrats and Republicans to get that bill to Lyndon Johnson’s desk. Conservative Democrats in the South wouldn’t support it, so it passed with the support of liberal and moderate Republicans.

When Earth Day was created in 1970, it was celebrated by both Republicans and Democrats. Can we get that bipartisan support for climate legislation today? I believe we can if there is enough of us willing to do something, anything to focus the attention of both the candidates and the media. So starting today, I will be tweeting at least once per pay for the climate. I invite everyone reading this to tweet, as well. If you are really inspired, you can join a group of concerned activists on the Climate March. They started in Long Beach on March 1 and expect to reach Washington, DC in November. Along the way, they are talking to anyone they can about our need to reduce carbon emissions. Right now, they are in Arizona, headed to the New Mexico border. You can follow them on Twitter @ClimateMarch and visit them at climatemarch.org.

The most important part is getting people to vote. Find candidates who are willing to address the climate issue. Support those candidates with your dollars and your vote. Get the word out to everyone you know that their votes count and make sure they show up at the polls in November. I plan to use the hashtag #climatetweet. I don’t know if we can get that to trend on Twitter, but we can try.

Happy Earth Day

  

April 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment