Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Three or more ways to stymie Trump…

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Resisting Mr. Trump and his policies on a case by case basis—proving the connection with Russia, fighting the immigration executive order (the new one now), defeating the SCOTUS nominee, preventing the end of ACA, and so forth— makes Trump happy. Why? Because he’s spreading the progressive opposition so thin that we can’t really get organized. Along the way, he’s pandering to all the bigots, haters, and one-percenters in the country, a large crowd of anti-progressive people who return the favors shown by encouraging him—a run-away positive-feedback mechanism that is likely to destroy American democracy. He and his cronies work hard on their agendas as a result; they’ve become obsessed with sticking it to the American public. They will succeed if some strong and organized counterattack isn’t carefully planned and implemented.

Because the Dems are in disarray—too many faux-liberals are still pointing fingers at everyone except themselves with respect to the 2016 electoral loss—they can’t mount a good counterattack in the present circumstances. And it’s not just here but also abroad. Right-wing “populist movements,” like the one led by Le Pen in France, or BREXIT, have plagued Europe for some time—populist only in the sense that fascist-thinking leaders can bamboozle an ignorant public into thinking that demagoguery and isolationism will make the world better for them. That’s what happened in Germany, Italy, and Spain in the 1930’s. Maybe it’s just a cycle we have to go through. If so, that cycle becomes more dangerous each time it happens. Now human lemmings can jump over the atomic cliff to their death—remember they didn’t have the A-bomb until the end of World War Two. Even starving North Korea has about ten nukes or more by now, Pakistan and India have them, and, although they deny it, so does Israel, and Iran is on its way there, especially with Mr. Trump in office.

The least extreme measure we can take to stymie the Donald is to ensure that he has Congress against him after the 2018 congressional elections, if that’s not too late (remember he has those missile launch codes with him at all times); clear majorities in the House and Senate are needed not only to stymie future onslaughts by the GOP and the Trump administration, but to roll back everything he and McConnell and Ryan will do to con the American public in his first two years. Even if Trump’s successful with Gorsuch, the courts might continue to stymie him, but true progressives (and not faux-liberals!) need to take back the House and Senate so that nothing more can get passed that doesn’t serve the needs of the country and its citizens. That’s going to be difficult, especially in the House where districts have been gerrymandered by both the Dems (many faux-liberals contributing to that) and the GOP (many extreme right-wingers making their anti-democratic deals there) to guarantee perpetual re-electability.

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Waging war against Gaia…

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

I’m expecting a bloodbath in the EPA, NASA, NOAA and possibly other agencies as Mr. Trump wages war on the environment. Many employees there are civil service, but that might not stop Il Duce AKA Narcissus le Grand—he’ll just close down the agencies if he wants to get rid of them. The EPA, NASA, and NOAA are where many of those “bad scientists” can be found who disagree with the GOP claim that climate control and taking care of the environment have low priority. Narcissus le Grand even believes global warming is a hoax.

What’s driving all this is Trump’s desire to end all environmental regulations so that companies, his included, can pollute and destroy the environment as much as they want, a particularly virulent and dangerous example of capitalism without controls. Even now, they ship high-tech toxic waste and other crap to places like Bangladesh. Il Duce and his minions probably think it would be cheaper just to dump it somewhere in the U.S. How ‘bout not doing it at all?!

Disasters like that BP oil well in the Gulf, destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, poisoning wells and water supplies—those kinds of things are just part of doing business, according to Trump and his cronies. He names Pruitt to head the EPA and one of the gnome’s first public acts is to deny the role of CO2 in global warming. C’mon!

Many scientists are worried. A week before Il Duce’s inauguration, more than 250 volunteers met at UPenn for a two-day binge of downloading climate data and storing it on independent servers. “If you don’t want to do anything about climate change,” said Texas A&M atmospheric scientist Andrew Dessler, “you are in a stronger position if you get rid of the data.” Gretchen Goldman, research director for the Center of Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists said, “With a president who doesn’t respect scientific information, one abuse could be data mysteriously disappearing from websites, or government scientific websites may suddenly have misinformation.” Most of the data that was saved was from NOAA, EPA, DoE, and NASA.

One of those infamous executive orders from Narcissus le Grand could restrict data access from outside the U.S. Trump’s evil minions are already talking about clamping down on the internet and allowing service providers to have multi-tier systems—that’s been on the GOP hit list for some time. And shortly after the inauguration, Trump ordered the EPA to delete climate change pages from the EPA’s website, but he then backtracked on that order when the roars of protest became deafening. The order for EPA scientists and other agencies’ scientists not to post on social media or communicate with reporters still stands, though. Inside the agencies that do climate-related research, Goldman says “morale is low. People are scared.” Scared for their jobs, because Il Duce likes to fire people who disagree with him!

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Post-mortem of a speech to Congress…

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

In some dilating time machine or Mr. Trump’s parallel universe, ages have passed since he gave that speech to Congress. In real life, it was only a week ago—can you believe it? Everything he said is meaningless now, so dissecting that rambling rhetoric of a delusional man is anti-climactic. But let’s do it anyway because the president left the Twitter-sphere long enough to sound presidential and hide his narcissistic psychosis.

It’s curious that the media, after the president declared them to be the “enemy of the American people,” fell all over themselves to state that his “state of the union” (read: state of Trump’s parellel universe, that one that circulates among the dark energy and matter of his mind) set a new tone. Il Duce was even called presidential because he sounded presidential. But not for me—he’s not my president! He never will be my president, and isn’t the president of a majority of the American people.

What I heard was empty rhetoric reminiscent of Goebbels’s 1930’s propaganda in Germany—in other words, fascistic spin and appeal to populism playing on the fears of good Americans. His handlers, Bannon, Conway, and Miller, who take turns at the puppet strings—yes, he’s a marionette, even stringing himself along—carefully planned this atrocious display. If it was some crazy attempt to reach across the aisle, Dems won’t buy the snake oil from this charlatan, and didn’t—the thumbs-down from the Dem women in white were refreshing and evidence for their general mood—Trump the misogynist is women’s rights worst enemy. Narcissus the Wonderful shows no concern about women’s issues—we know he sees them only as objects—and on abortion, he’s as much a right-wing bigot as they come.

Let’s consider a few points. On trade, Trump might have sounded a wee bit like Sanders. There’s a huuuuge difference, though. Both men were born in Brooklyn, but the two are light years apart—Trump might actually live in one of those other multiverses where his marionette strings are tangled with those of general string theory. In particular, where Bernie was an earnest and honest champion for the working class, Il Duce doesn’t really give a rat’s ass about their plight—it’s all just show. He follows the time-tested fascist strategy of pretending to do so, of course—that’s how Franco, Hitler, and Mussolini came to power in the 1930s! U.S. workers should be wary about buying anything from this snake-oil salesman. Pay attention to his false promises at your own risk!

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Apocalypse redux…

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Redux = brought back, revived. We’re talking about the apocalypse again. Apocalypse is the event. While a dystopian society can cause it or be its aftermath, post-apocalyptic is reserved for the aftermath. There is a resurgence in these themes now. Everyone knows the reason: what’s happening in the U.S. right now as well as across the world has frightening parallels with 1930’s Germany, Italy, and Spain as well as with the darkest days of the Cold War. There’s nothing religious about this apocalypse.

Most dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic tales in the past were associated with the two world wars or the Communist threat. Brave New World was dystopian; Ape and Essence was post-apocalyptic. Even The Time Machine was post-apocalyptic. 1984 and Animal Farm were dystopian. Later sci-fi novels like Not This August were post-apocalyptic. Many classics can be found in these subgenres. Many soon-to-be classics like Wool are too. They all are warnings about what could happen. It’s common that interest in books and movies in these subgenres reflect troubled times in the world.

The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the world. As that hand on the Doomsday Clock inches toward midnight, these sci-fi subgenres become more popular. Some readers ignore them, burying their heads in the sand by reading schmaltzy romances and fluffy adventures that avoid most serious themes of any type. Which group is right? Beats me. I just tell stories. If one of them comes out apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic, so be it. Almost all my stories have serious themes, though, but not all of them are in the aforementioned subgenres.

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Does Trump have a human side?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Or his cronies and supporters, for that matter? Compassion and human kindness seem to be absent as the ogres lash out at all their perceived enemies. During the long campaign, I guessed he and like-minded individuals were lacking in these qualities, but I never guessed it could be so bad, and there’s every indication that it will become worse as parallels with 1930’s Germany continue to increase. One Facebook friend likened his takeover of the government to this generation’s Pearl Harbor. That attack was about war, so maybe my friend has a point: we’re in a social war as we fight to save the soul of America. Right now he’s taking us straight to a hell of his own creation. Let’s consider the evidence for answering the question of the title in the negative.

A pig farmer in a town hall meeting with Sen. Charles Grassley, who like many has been in the Senate far too long, pointed out that old Chuck had spoken of death panels in his criticism of Obamacare. The farmer went on to say that the GOP was going to create death panels AKA Congress and insurance VIPs denying coverage to millions, all across the entire country, and not just for the elderly, if Trump gets his way and kills Obamacare. Indictment number one: Trump, Grassley, and others of their ilk don’t care who dies, as long as the healthcare industry is a money maker for insurance companies and Big Pharma. Although at times Trump almost sounds like a fan of Medicare for all—hence his lies to Florida retirees about preserving Medicare and Social Security in order to gain their votes—all evidence indicates that he’d just as soon not waste money on sick people. Maybe he wouldn’t pull the plug on his own family members, but I suspect that complete strangers who are sick are just hunks of rotting meat to him.

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Is China or Russia more dangerous?

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

When considering Russia’s brutal oligarchy v. China’s fascist capitalism, it’s hard to decide which one is worse. Trump seems to have a bromance with Putin and has long attacked China, but lately he seems to be waffling on both (although the bromance might get him or his administration in trouble). The split personality of his waffling is baffling too because some in his administration are talking about more sanctions against Russia. Moreover, the original tirade against the one-China policy has become a recognition of it. If, after this waffling, will he still keep his campaign promises: Be a friend of Russia and an enemy of China? The former seems in doubt after firing Flynn.

The waffling is strange because up until now Trump seems to checking off items on a list of campaign promises, even if they’re completely crazy, harmful to the country, and insulting to millions of people. Immigration? California farmers, even those who voted for Trump, are wondering where they’ll find the cheap labor needed to harvest their crops. The Muslim ban seems stymied, and his only response so far is to blast the judicial system like any tin-horn dictator would do. And many ICE cases not related to his unconscionable and unconstitutional Muslim ban are still ripping apart families.

Trump is a family man who doesn’t seem to care about any family except his own. He’ll stoop to blasting Nordstrom for daughter Ivanka when she’s in the White House and supposedly not working in her business anymore. He’ll also support Kellyanne Conway who should be brought up on charges for hawking Ivanka’s products. One son-in-law is in the White House (nepotism), while the other wants to buy the Marlins. Maybe Trump will send his family out to harvest the crops for the California farmers. Might be good for them to see what real work entails!

But back to China v. Russia. Which one is more dangerous? I can’t choose—I find the leadership and power structure of both countries despicable. The Chinese have adopted the most polluting, ruthless, and oppressive form of capitalism imaginable. They’re no longer communists but extreme fascist capitalists, willing to silence or murder anyone who goes against China Inc. The Russians can’t make anything worthwhile, but that doesn’t bother the oligarchy. Putin, the mafia don, makes sure that only the anointed (AKA sycophants to the Russian mob boss) get rich and any opposition is killed, from people running against him in their fake democracy to members of the press.

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The ugly stench of censorship…

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

One parallel with 1930’s Germany that jumps out for any sane observer of today’s toxic political environment is censorship. This runs the gamut of a mob shouting down a speaker (they should have let the guy in Berkeley speak his mind so everyone could see what a bigot, hater, and idiot he is), to the statement from Stephen Bannon AKA Goebbels’s spawn that the media is the opposition. The latter, and Kellyanne Conway’s statement about “alternative facts” and blast that everyone in the media who criticizes Trump should be fired are only a step away from fascist censorship in this country.

Another example was Fox forcing the lumber company to edit their Super Bowl ad, something that company paid to produce. Why not run it instead of silencing debate? Let people express and discuss the merits of the ad. I suspect that Trump or his cronies pressured Fox to apply censorship. I’ve seen right-wing and insulting ads in the NY Times. They make money off them whether controversial or not, and Fox just made the real ad go viral on YouTube anyway. What did they accomplish?

The Fox example doesn’t even make sense. With respect to Trump’s Putin comment, which basically equated Russia to the U.S. for oppressive actions, Bill O’Reilly called Putin a murderer. Why didn’t Fox censor O’Reilly if Trump is such a friend of the despotic Putin? When censorship isn’t applied evenly, you have to question its application at least. Some censorship is justified, of course—the movie rankings X, R, PG-13, and so forth are a type of censorship, and it’s justified so that parents can make their own determination about whether their kids should see the movie. Excluding erotica and porn from public libraries might be justified too, but I’d hate to be on a panel that determines whether a book falls into one of those categories. I remember the case of some nut in Lexington, MA objecting to his children reading about modern families—maybe he’s moved out of the state by now to Texas.

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The progressive imperative, part two…

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

In a previous post I outlined some things progressives need to work on. How do we do that? Many Dems are still in denial about the 2017 presidential election—pointing the finger of blame at the wrong persons for the most part—but the losses two years after Mr. Obama became president, the Gingrich Revolution, have become insignificant compared to 2017. Hundreds of Dem legislative positions were lost to the GOP at all levels—national, state, and local. The presidency, two houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court are now controlled by the Republicans. Either true progressives have to take over the Democratic Party, or they’ll have to establish a viable third party. Either one will take time, motivation, and considerable energy. Now that the ABC’s of the new American Reich (“Adolph” Trump, Stephen Bannon, and Kellyanne Conway) have shown their true fascist proclivities in Il Duce’s first weeks in office, this progressive imperative has become all the more important.

Faux-liberals have to and will be denounced—their numbers are legion in national, state, and local governments (some current Dem members of Congress should be shaking in their boots). These are people who cozy up to the rich, make false promises to get elected, and become sycophants of the elites. We don’t need more politicians who are beholding to Wall Street and multinationals. We need politicians who truly care about ordinary people and work hard for them. Becoming part of the national oligarchy should never be the goal of the true progressive. All goals can be summarized in one statement: make things better for all citizens, not just the privileged few.

To follow that one mantra, progressives need to elect progressives—true progressives. More grassroots efforts like those that characterized the Sanders campaign are needed. These will be difficult because progressive voters are discouraged, and rightly so. They have had to do battle with conservatives, Trumpers, faux-liberals, and the rich elites. It’s hard to run the marathon corresponding to years and years of political activism, but that staying power is required now to turn things around. I challenge all true progressives to do what they can. Do-nothing attitudes and non-productive actions will only make things worse, especially if the latter are just non-productive whining and wringing hands about losing the 2017 election.

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Irish Stew #60…

Monday, January 30th, 2017

[Note from Steve: Lots of mini-comments, mostly related to Mr. Trump. Don’t worry—I’m not responding to every tweet!]

International

Welcome to fascist America! That’s what needs to be on the Statue of Liberty now, thanks to Il Duce Trump’s most recent executive order which led to the detainment of Muslim travelers in the nation’s airports. This decree from a small-minded and arrogant SOB is as unconstitutional as it is unconscionable and represents a blatant pandering to his bigoted and hateful followers.

In the dragnet, Muslims who have helped the U.S. military, CIA, and state department in their fight against terrorism, Muslims who are war refugees who have legal visas after 2+ years of extreme vetting, parents visiting their children in the U.S. who have visited them many times before, and others were detained, some forced to sign papers allowing DHS to return them to their place of origin, action which mostly likely puts their lives in danger at the hands of the true terrorists. Others are left in limbo with no place to call home. Still others who have already immigrated and are contributing here in America shouldn’t leave the country, even to Canada, for fear of not being able to return. The stay granted by a federal judge in Brooklyn seems to affect only green card holders. That’s not enough!

What’s next? Muslim-Americans being required to wear crescent patches? Internment camps? Goose-stepping troops marching down Pennsylvania Avenue and in front of Trump Tower? The parallels with 1930’s Germany are scary!

“Build the Wall!” Trump’s campaign slogan is a sophism. Most claims coming out of his big mouth are sophisms. His executive orders are sophisms and carefully worded to hide his administrations racism and bigotry. American taxpayers will have to build the wall, not Mexico. Illegal immigrants will tunnel around it or come in on temporary visas, as the majority already do, most staying as good workers who do jobs Americans won’t do, raise their children to be responsible members of immigrant America, and stay out of trouble. The wall will do nothing more than another pandering to Trump’s bigoted and hateful supporters.

America’s greatness lies in its immigrant tradition. Building the wall is the least intelligent thing we can do for immigration reform. And intelligent people know that. The president of Mexico knows that, which is why he blew Mr. Trump off, among other reasons. Why waste time talking to a psycho?

Europe’s turn to the right. French and German progressives and many others are feeling the heat. Mr. Trump was the first, but he might not be the last as the world turns to right-wing demagogues. now called “populists” in the new doublespeak (see the next item). I’m the first to acknowledge that conservatism has its place—change for change’s sake can never be a sound governmental policy. Every action has at least one reaction and careful consideration must be given to whether a policy change will create unintended consequences and have negative impacts—that requires logic and reason driving careful analysis, not ideological and illogical rants.

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The progressive imperative…

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

I imagine many people are yearning for Bernie Sanders right now—yearn for the Bern! If you were a Clinton supporter, admit it: she failed you. If you were a Trump supporter, you might have considered Sanders because his message about trade agreements hurting America’s working classes was similar to Trump’s, although his alternative had its genesis in his genuine concern for people and not Il Duce’s faux-concern just to get votes (HRC’s was false too, but she would have made a better president than Il Duce, but Sanders would have made a great president).

Sanders warned HRC about those battleground states—he knew the anger and frustration their citizens had with the status quo, a political establishment that continually failed them—but HRC didn’t listen. Apparently Il Duce and his goose-stepping minions did. Past history now. The question now is: how do progressives stand up to President Trump and move forward with a progressive agenda?

First, progressives have to realize that they weren’t well represented by establishment liberals in the Dem party. Part of that realization has to be that being liberal can mean not being progressive. HRC and her supporters liked the status quo—that’s not being progressive! HRC was also a one-percenter; so were many of her backers like George Soros, who claims to support progressive causes but should even be considered a faux-liberal. Most of Clinton’s rich backers have nothing in common with people in the struggling middle class and poor—they’re completely out of touch with our reality. Like Soros, they have no idea what it means to be a salaried worker dependent on a job (or jobs) to continue their daily struggle that often leaves them in retrograde motion. The income gap between one-percenters and the rest of us increases day by day, month by month, and year by year. Sanders understands that; the Clintons no longer do; and the Trumps, Bushes, and other GOP VIPs never will.

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