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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.

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November 7, 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

Donald Trump and LGBTQ Rights

I have so many reasons why Donald Trump should never be President of the United States that I long ago lost count. For now I am listing as many as I can before the election on why Donald Trump should not be president. This one is on Trump and LGBT rights.

A few mainstream papers have published stories of Trump’s past support for gay rights. It was considered a big deal that Trump even said “LGBTQ” in his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention. He even added the “Q” to the released prepared text, though a number of commentators said he sounded like he was reading an eye chart. Why, he even had Peter Thiel come on before him and announce that he is an openly gay man and that Republicans should get off this kick about “bathroom bills” and other distractions from real issues.

Yes, the convention cheered when Trump called the Orlando victims good people, and Trump duly acknowledged their cheers. However, did Trump really challenge his audience position on gay rights? He said he wanted to protect LGBTQ people from foreigners who wanted to kill them. Of course, he not say he wanted to protect us from Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., the American Family Association, or the other religious conservatives who want to take away the rights LGBTQ people have earned in the last couple of decades. He even let them write their bigotry into the party platform to make it the most anti-gay in the party’s history. On the victims of the Orlando shooting, Trump didn’t talk about those in the closet because they were afraid of being rejected by their Catholic families; families who would not know their children’s gayness until being notified of their deaths. He didn’t talk about the victims who may have been undocumented and subject to his deportation policies, but that is getting into a different issue. He just said that it was wrong to kill them. I guess that makes Trump a liberal.

If you had asked most people on that convention floor if they hate gays, they would answer no. In fact they would tell you they love gay people. It is called “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.” So it is OK to love and protect gay people as long as they don’t do any gay stuff. Then, in that case, they are going to hell. But that’s God’s business, not ours. Using that logic, it is OK to love LGBT people, while still denying them the right to marry, use the correct bathroom, etc.

Trump could have seconded Thiel condemnation of the culture wars, but he didn’t. Instead, Trump went on assure Republicans and the religious right that he would appointed more judges like Antonin Scalia. Then he spoke about the Johnson Amendment.

It wasn’t the first time Trump mentioned the Johnson Amendment, nor would it be the last. The fist time I heard him address it was during his introduction of his running mate Mike Pence. You remember that long, rambling speech that hardly mentioned Pence. It was during that speech that Trump went off track to a story of a meeting in his office with evangelical leaders. As typical with Trump’s stories, when credit is to be taken for the solution to a problem Trump takes it for himself and shares it with no one else. So Trump talks of this meeting where these leaders are telling him how frustrated they are that they can’t speak out in their churches about all of these important issues and are being forced to keep their mouths shut. Curious Trump, of course, starts thinking about this and finally gets to the bottom of their problem— the Johnson Amendment!

It was Senator Lyndon Johnson who, in 1954, added a rule in the federal tax code that affects charities and religious and organizations. It prevents them from using their nonprofit status from engaging in partisan politics. Simply, if you are a tax exempt organization, you can’t support or oppose a political candidate or political party. Do that and you lose your tax exemption.

During this meeting, Trump said he went to the window and pointed to the people walking on the sidewalks below. Those people have more power than you do, he told the ministers, and the ministers all agreed. The comparison is silly. The people on the sidewalk pay the taxes that created that sidewalk. They are not demanding a tax exemption in exchange for use of their first amendment rights as individuals. Nor do they have a pulpit to amplify their messages.

Of course, those church leaders were not being truthful when they told Trump that they are victims of government censorship. I suspect that Trump was not being truthful about his role in that meeting. It seems more plausible, that those church leaders came to Trump with a deal to win their political support. Part of that deal was removing any roadblocks to their tax exemptions. After the convention, Trump traveled to Orlando, the city where those good LGBTQ people got killed, and addressed 700 religious right leaders, again promising them to end the Johnson Amendment. He has taken his promise to the Tony Perkins’ Voter Values Summit in Washington, DC. (Perkins’ Family Research Council is an anti-gay organization identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/family-research-council)

While the tax rule has been rarely enforced, its removal could open up a floodgate of money to Republican candidates. Yes, the changes would apply to both liberal and conservative churches. However, I doubt my small Quaker congregation could match the resources of the mega churches, which are dominated by religious conservatism. Taken, for instance, those churches which preach the “prosperity gospel.” These con artists, masquerading as pastors, prey on vulnerable people with promises of great wealth. “Jesus wants you to be rich. Just give your money to me and my church. In turn, Jesus will be happy and make you rich.” With no fear of losing their tax status, I can imagine them telling their congregants, “Jesus wants you to vote for Donald Trump because Trump will make you rich, Jesus wants you to be rich. So now ,give generously as we pass the collection plate and re-elect Donald Trump.” Ending the Johnson Amendment is basically a Citizens United for the mega churches.

And speaking of the prosperity gospel, Trump also brought to the convention stage Pastor Mark Burns, proving that the religious right is not timid about delivering their politics, even with a Johnson Amendment.

Trump frequently credits his success with the support of evangelicals, and now is looking for support of anti-gay Catholics like Rick Santorum. He is promising to sign the “First Amendment Defense Act” and repeal Obama’s executive orders that extend rights to LGBT people.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/09/22/santorum-gets-top-billing-trumps-catholic-advisory-group/

If he wins the presidency, the religious right will expect him to deliver on what he has promised. Which brings us to another reason he should not be President, the myth of “unbought Trump.”

More on Johnson Amendment:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-vows-to-protect-pastors-from-non-existent-irs-threat-221954677.html

https://thinkprogress.org/trumps-top-pastor-delivers-what-may-be-the-most-partisan-prayer-in-convention-history-6dbfab3552dc#.vefbs99qg

September 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment