Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Reasonable gun control…

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Too many of us interpret the Second Amendment incorrectly.  It states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.” Let’s ignore the incorrect English—the Constitution is full of illiteracy, at least in modern terms, which often gives rise to misinterpretation. But please note the emphasis on militias—the word is even capitalized. Gun fanatics focus on the last clause and take it out of context, thinking it says everyone has a right to have a gun, “keep…arms,” as well as carry them, “bear arms.” That’s crock, of course, but maybe understandable because gun fanatics often don’t know anything about American history.

The American Revolution was started by militias. Those ragtag groups of men armed themselves and fought the British. Let’s forget the point that they were terrorists terrorizing the Brits by any modern interpretation, and they were primarily driven by greed: Why should the Brits make all the money from trade? The writers of the Constitution are recognizing militias and their importance in “winning our freedoms” (they’d be aghast at the taxes we have to pay now, of course—they’d probably have fought the Brits even sooner).

In other words, my interpretation of that badly written Second Amendment is that men in t\]militias have a right to arm themselves and carry their weapons. Duh! But considering that our militias are now institutionalized as the states’ National Guards, which the federal government can send to fight and die overseas, no one else has the right to own and carry guns. Like driving a car, it’s a privilege, not a right. We can regulate drivers’ licenses so DUI assassins and incapacitated people, physical or mentally, can’t wreak havoc on our nation’s streets and highways. Because gun ownership is a privilege, why can’t we do the same with guns?

Moreover, we regulate the condition and type of vehicles people drive, in particular, keeping them from being killing machines—none of those James Bond cars where the hubcaps become claws, for example. Why can’t we regulate the types of guns people own and how they use them?

The answer to the last questions seems to be that the NRA and all the gun addicts are binary thinkers, but so are those who want to do away with guns entirely. Gun ownership isn’t a binary issue like many people think it is. It’s not 0 = no one can own a gun, versus 1 = anyone can own a gun. There are many shades of gray between 0 and 1 here, and people have to become smart about gun control. Idiots’ solutions don’t work! Moreover, the Constitution isn’t much help here and just leads to confusion.

What are some reasonable gun control options that the NRA and gun fanatics refuse to accept? Banning of all military-style weapons is one. Assault weapons, even semi-automatic ones, and, of course, all automatic weapons must be banned. You don’t need one of those for sport or hunting, and you don’t need one to protect your home either. Gun manufacturers should be allowed to sell them only to the military and law enforcement agencies. And those gizmos (“bump stocks” are the current words in vogue) that convert semi-automatic weapons into ones of mass destruction should also be outlawed, period. When you can buy such gizmos at Walmart, you know something is terribly wrong with America.

Many people who bow their heads to honor gun victims as Trump et al did after Las Vegas, and then go on to do nothing about reasonable gun control, are hypocrites. Bowing heads is a stupid PR moment—“See America, we care!”—and of no real comfort for the dead and wounded and their families and friends. That’s why survivors and others outraged by incidents of gun violence fervently protest for more gun control. America is doing nothing.

Or, should I say, politicos are doing nothing, because a majority of American voters want reasonable gun control but can’t seem to vote out the jerks in government who feed off the campaign funds provided the NRA and similar groups. Hypocritical devils, all of them. People bowed their heads for the victims of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, the Orlando nightclub shooting, and the Las Vegas massacre; people bowed their heads for many other incidents too numerous to name here. The NRA and the gun fanatics bow their heads too, but they’re hoping concerned people forget all about Las Vegas until the next time…and the next…and the next. By doing so, they and we encourage domestic terrorism. The NRA is the largest and richest organization that supports terrorism. They are at least as bad as Sinn Fein and probably  ISIS because they’re American terrorism’s lobbyist and political wing.

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More likely an ET attack?

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

I always had my doubts when it was announced that our U.S. diplomatic corps in Cuba had suffered a sonic attack that made them sick and even brain-damaged (never mind that politicians suffer brain damage to begin with). But I didn’t have any data to back up my doubts. While high intensity sound can lead to hearing losses—baby boomers like me who’ve done a few rock concerts are beginning to experience them—it seemed to be a stretch that sound waves were the culprits. I thought it was more likely that there were nests of ETs hiding in Cuba, and the renewal of diplomatic relations with that Communist paradise had interrupted their plans for world domination.

I know a bit about acoustic and electromagnetic radiation. I had a previous life in academia as a physicist, mostly in Colombia. Although I was more theoretical than experimental—that’s common in South America where fancy research labs are a luxury—we used sound and electromagnetic waves in our classroom demos to keep the students awake. And, of course, I understood the theory (past tense because now I’m a bit rusty).

Sound waves and electromagnetic waves are different. You can more easily beam the former upon transmission. While PIs and the FBI can use those listening devices, they rely more on sensitivity in the direction they’re pointing around. To go the other way is not easy, as any stereo addict knows. And they were talking about low frequency waves. Your stereo speaker probably has directional tweeters but omnidirectional woofers—it’s hard to aim low frequency waves, and harder for humans to detect any directionality for them, so manufacturers of stereo speakers just don’t bother.

Moreover, sound waves need a medium; electromagnetic waves don’t (that plagued physicists from a century ago, more or less, but that’s another story). Air is a fickle medium for both, but especially sound waves, which depend on that medium (“In space, now one hears you scream”). No, the “official diagnosis” of Trump’s state department seemed to be a red herring (or emanations from digesting black beans because we’re talking about Cuba).

While Russia might have a secret lab making James Bond-like sonic cannons for its assassins, I thought that wasn’t likely, so I latche onto the idea that some ET group’s technology was behind this, not nasty little Cubans doing the bidding of Mr. Putin. Of course, Mr. Putin could be an ET shapeshifter who delights in seeding discourse in free elections—you just never know. I mean, after all, he seems proud of that human body, so he might just be admiring his shapeshifting skills.

Carl Zimmer’s article in the October 6 NY Times confirms my doubts about sonic death rays, though. “Experts on Acoustics are Doubtful,” to quote part of the title. Those experts don’t know what the source of the malady is, but they’re also doubtful that it’s commie-directed sound waves.

I guess my ET theory is still a possibility. Maybe the Castro brothers are the ET shapeshifters who took a liking to fascism—in other words, Communism with a capital C. Maybe Putin isn’t guilty in this case, just guilty of narcissism. That would tie everything together for a conspiracy story, wouldn’t it? Who says that I don’t hand out ideas for sci-fi thrillers? I can’t write everything, you know. Get to work!

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Sci-fi book sale: More than Human: The Mensa Contagion and Rogue Planet are now on sale at Smashwords from October 1 through October 31. Their prices are reduced to $1.99—that’s one-third off. In the first novel, an ET virus changes the world, but in a good way, and leads to the colonization of Mars. In the second, there’s a wee bit of “Game of Thrones” fantasy mixed into the hard sci-fi as Prince Kaushal leads his Second Tribe in their fight against the First Tribe’s brutal theocracy. Both books are stand-alone, not part of a series. Use the Smashwords coupon numbers when you check out. Note that the second book is also available in paper format at Amazon. Lots of exciting fall entertainment for a reasonable price!

In libris libertas!

Real tax reform…

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

…won’t happen. It never does. Lobbyists and special interests vie for their special deals, the GOP hauls out its debunked trickle-down economics theory to make the rich richer and widen the income gap, the middle class gets the shaft yet again, and the poor just become poorer as always. We don’t need a Sheriff of Nottingham or Prince John when federal, state, and local taxes are much more egregious than Robin Hood’s foes’ and make the revolutionary mantra “No taxation without representation!” completely meaningless.

The average citizen is burdened with tiers of taxes. Local ones are usually in the form of property taxes. They are often the worst in the sense that they’re not progressive; the many fees charged locally are regressive too. You start asking yourself, “Why can’t renters and businesses also pay for schools?” and “What can I do that doesn’t have an associated fee?” (In our town, for example, you have to pay $250 to chop down a diseased tree on your property, but I suppose the pain would be much worse if it ever fell on the easement the town owns in front—they own ten yards or so, yet we’re responsible for maintaining THEIR sidewalks!)

What’s good about Trump’s plan? Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nil. Everything is bad, but some items are worse than others. The major evil is the institutionalization of trickle-down: corporate taxes go from 35% to 20%. That will make Corporate America happy, I suppose, and the rich even richer—a GOP mantra—but it won’t help the economy at all because ordinary people will have even less wherewithal to spend on industry’s products. If Trump and the GOP don’t use trickle-down as justification, they haul out something more stupid and hypocritical like “taxing Corporate America is communism!” because those rich SOBs riding in from Connecticut to Wall Street on the commuter rail or driving on Silicon Valley’s highways equate socialism and communism and yet using the government-provided transportation system. Etc. Etc.

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Two ships passing in the night…

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

…and sometimes colliding. This is a metaphor about the Dems and GOP. The passing and the colliding, though, refer to what these traditional parties promise. Neil Postman, writing in Amusing Ourselves to Death—and quoted in Brooke Gladstone’ little jewel, The Trouble with Reality–said: “In 1984…people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us, Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us….” 1984 shows us what the far-right’s end game is, where Trump and his cronies are trying to lead us. Equally damning, where everyone is happy, happy, happy is Brave New World’s message and also the message of the far-left. People swallowing either message will need to invest heavily in antacids.

Ms. Gladstone probably wouldn’t want me react to this quote in this way, but I’ve always lumped 1984 and Brave New World together; I just couldn’t pin down the subtle difference. I now can. Conservatives emphasize the differences between human beings, parroting Orwell’s other book, Animal Farm: “All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.” Progressives naively stop at “…created equal….” In neither Orwell’s dystopia nor Huxley’s utopia is there room for individual differences. Both extremes lead to the loss of individualism and the creation of demagogues who turn us into lemmings surrounded by cliffs.

Ms. Gladstone’s book did make me come to a reckoning, though: a logical and reasonable person shouldn’t be political, at least not in the sense of our two major parties that would like to play the pied piper and lead us down roads reasonable and logical people should never travel. But emotions are important too because they make us human. We just can’t let our emotions drive us into culs-de-sac like those depicted in 1984 and Brave New World.

Now I understand why my new post-apocalyptic thriller novel The Last Humans is more apolitical than political. It is about one human being, Penny Castro, and her fight for survival. She is logical, reasonable, and, yes, she’s emotional, as she beats all odds and forges a new life. This is what makes us human, not some corrupt credo, debunked and discredited ideology, or inane political platitudes. After the apocalypse, there’s no dystopia nor utopia, only survival and confronting her own reality. In all of this, Penny never loses her humanity.

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The monuments men…

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

…and women—to all those misguided individuals jumping on the careening bandwagon of indiscriminately tearing down monuments, I understand the sentiments. After all, people like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were traitors to this nation while defending an ugly, racist economy based on slavery. Slavery and human trafficking are despicable crimes that aren’t justified by the nefarious concept that some humans aren’t humans at all but possessions.

That said, I’d rather place monuments to Confederate traitors in museums where the tale of their terrible deeds is completely displayed for all to see. My reason is simple: I’m not sure people know about Lee’s or Jackson’s life stories and how they came to be traitors. Lee was a graduate of West Point, after all, but the U.S. military was racist right into the 20th century. Germany turned some famous concentration camps into historical sites so that Germans and the world would never forget the Nazi atrocities. We need to do the same with slavery and those who tried to tear the Union apart in support of it.

But let’s be reasonable about this. Historical figures like Washington and Jefferson and other Founding Fathers did a lot to jumpstart this nation. Their peccadilloes aren’t excusable, of course, but they were so much more than slave owners, and they weren’t traitors to the U.S. In fact, our country wouldn’t have existed without them!

What’s more worrisome are the sneaky politicians and power-grabbers jumping on the anti-monuments bandwagon and encouraging crowds to tear the monuments down. An egregious example is Bill DeBlasio’s desire to tear down the Columbus statue at NYC’s Columbus Circle, home to Lincoln Center. Guess what? He’s the mayor of NYC and—surprise, surprise!—he’s running for reelection. Just as Trump panders to his base of alt-right, KKK, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi crazies, DeBlasio panders to his base too. And he stokes the fires of division by doing so.

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Identity politics…

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

If one thing can be singled out to be the cause of America’s problems right now, it’s “identity politics.” Consider this the antithesis of “melting pot,” or the idea expressed in the Constitution that “all men are created equal.” (Unfortunately, back in those days, the word “men” didn’t refer to blacks or women; today we’d be more politically correct and simply write “persons.”) “Identity politics” is more like adding the famous “…but some animals are more equal than others” from Orwell’s Animal Farm. “Melting pot” expresses togetherness or synthesis in the abstract; “identity politics” expresses just the opposite, and it’s often all too real, not abstract. People crying out to be heard, equating that to seeking and expressing their own identities, form tribes of similarly thinking people. These tribes can become violently fascistic because those who want to blend in and live in peace and good will with their fellow human beings far outnumber them.

The goal of pulling together has been morphed by some into the goal of tearing apart at all levels—national, state, and local—and even worldwide. Since the sixties,the U.S. mostly used to be the champion of the first goal, at least inside the country (our actions outside are often questionable). While my novel Survivors of the Chaos expressed my fear that these divisive attitudes could destroy the country, the cause of this destruction in the novel could now be called “identity politics.” The world will become Balkanized into homogeneous identity groups we might as well call tribes.

Radical fanatics are a dime-a-dozen—I saw them in a New Jersey diner on CNN, in Charlottesville, and in Barcelona—but there are clever, power-hungry, and warped people who manipulate the fanatics. One subgroup can be found in Breitbart’s current and ex-staff members, some of them still among the White House staff like Julia Hahn, Stephen Miller, and Ben Shapiro. Another subgroup of fanatics is AntiFa; their credo of meeting KKK, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi violence with more violence goes against the credos of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. And the violence can be found just in the words of fanatics too.

Fanaticism is a mental aberration. Sometimes the lines between it and simply having a political, sexual, or religious preference become blurred, especially when those preferences become so strong that those holding them want to attack anyone who doesn’t. It also feeds off superstition and ignorance. I’d prefer that people understand history by not toppling monuments, simply adding plaques explaining the pros and cons of that person’s life. Or placing them in museums like the Holocaust Museums where we can encourage people not to forget the sins of human history on this planet when human beings do violence to other human beings.

Fanaticism creates icons of history but does little to promote understanding of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Surrendering to fanaticism is often touted as free speech. BS. If everyone in the 1940s had surrendered to it, the Nazis would have won the Second World War.

Recall Rodney King’s famous words: “Can we all get along? Can we, can we get along?” Identity politics can become the fanatical way of saying, “No, we can’t.” But it’s self-destructive to say that. Let’s answer his questions in the positive. We’ll have a better world that way.

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Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War. Their efforts lead to much more, as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and at Smashwords and its affiliate retailers. It’s also available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it). See the review and interview at Feathered Quill.

And so it goes….

 

White House cleaning?

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

It’s amazing that many were demanding that only Steve Bannon be fired. Julia Halin, Stephen Miller, Ben Shapiro, and other alt-right sympathizers (if not card-carrying members) on the White House staff should be fired along with Bannon, but his would be like Hitler firing his staff—Goebbels, Goering, Heydrich, Himmler, and others. Until we’re rid of the two guys at the top, Pence and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, order won’t be restored.

I don’t envy Kelly. He looked like he was in existential agony as he listened to his boss’ rants a week ago about equating the counter-protesters at Charlottesville with the thugs from the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other violent racists and bigots. Peacefully protesting the plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee? I’ll admit that some people went to Charlottesville without violence on their minds among those right-wing hordes, but the moment they heard chants of thate and saw confederate flags and swastikas, they should have walked away. Those words and iconic symbols of bigotry and hatred automatically implied violence would ensue.

The far-left is somewhat at fault. Antifa meets violence with violence, and even the ACLU enables it by calling this demonstration of hatred and bigotry violence free speech. Any permit given to these groups is a permit to do violence.

Are there any real differences between the car-attack on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas and the one in Charlottesville? Names for hate groups are arbitrary. You call them ISIS or neo-Nazis or whatever, but these are just names for rabid dogs that must be put down, not by more violence, but by enlightened leaders and smart laws.

The president and some members of his staff and cabinet are neither enlightened nor promotors of smart laws. They’re just the opposite. While the president can throw close staff members under the bus (five so far) to satisfy those demanding he fire them (he did it mostly to eliminate those who were stealing his thunder, of course), those actions don’t really clean up the White House. Catain Hook, the president, and his Mr. Smee, the VP, will still be there.

No, the only democratic solution possible is to cut off the two heads of the snake in 2018 and 2020. The first blow in 2018 will give control of the House and Senate back to responsible people. The second blow will eliminate a wannabe dictator and all his cronies who have been rendered impotent by a hostile congress.

The new president campaigned on draining the swamp in DC. Instead he and his cronies have poisoned the waters of the swamp even more by enabling and promoting bigotry, hate, and domestic terrorism. The electorate should take on the role of a political vacuum cleaner and sweep out this dirt that’s stinking up the White House and return it to the people.

***

Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis in World War Two. Their efforts lead to much more, as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. See the review and interview at Feathered Quill. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and at Smashwords and its affiliate retailers. It’s available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it).

And so it goes….

Creeping capitalism…

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Let’s get one thing straight: while I’m a progressive, I still believe we need to strike a balance between capitalism and socialism. We need to offer equal opportunity in this modern world, and we also need to recognize individual abilities and reward those with the new ideas. These are NOT antithetical goals and any political activist who tries to paint them that way immediately loses my respect. The world isn’t black and white, and it isn’t even just fifty shades of gray. It’s a technicolored world of great diversity that we should celebrate and make the most of in our daily lives. The key word here is balance maintained through logic and reason.

That said, let me justify the title of this article. Governor Cuomo’s newly announced partnership between the MTA and private enterprise is an example of “creeping capitalism.” (Did you think this article was about President Trump? Tsk, tsk.) Cuomo’s proposal: For $250k, a company can participate, and for $600k, it can “adopt” a subway station. Nowhere have I seen what the companies will get out of this participation (naming, plastering its ads on subway walls—how far will they go?), and I refuse to research it because the whole thing’s a bad idea. Knowing Mr. Cuomo, it will be yet another loss in the public’s battle against capitalistic intrusions into public services and spaces.

Some services just need to be government controlled and not in the hands of private enterprise to eliminate the often occurring abuses of corruption and price gouging. Private enterprise’s goal IS ALWAYS to make money; public services should only charge enough to cover their costs (which shouldn’t include bloated salaries for fat-cat administrators—do they think they’re more worthy than a NASA climatological scientist?). This is a fundamental and necessary bifurcation that is indeed black and white. Mixed systems do NOT work, and even private enterprise’s offering of essential services—natural gas and electricity, telephone, cable, ISPs, water and sewer are good examples—must be heavily controlled by governments if not actually owned by them.

NYC isn’t the only city and NY isn’t the only state where capitalism is increasingly intruding into the public service sector. Essential services were often run by local, county, state and natural governments to eliminate the abuses of private enterprise, but now these same entities are outsourcing to private enterprise to reduce costs because budget cuts make it attractive to shirk their civic responsibilities. This is a horrendous mistake because the human element is all too often ignored and the for-profit element is emphasized by these outsourcing firms. Privatization hurts their employees and takes the power away from the people by placing a barrier between essential services and the people they serve.

Conservatives often complain about the cost of government services. It’s always amusing for me to see well-dressed business people riding on public transportation and complaining about them. That’s hypocrisy in action. There’s no guarantee that costs to the user will be lower when the service is outsourced. And, if they aren’t, the private company will cut costs by minimizing workers’ salaries and benefits or skimp on maintenance. We see this in the airline industry, for example. This often leads to strikes, work stoppages, and inferior maintenance, a further burden for the user of the service.

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Monday Words of Wisdom: Special Edition…

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Domestic terrorism in Charlottesville is on my mind. Alt-right, neo-fascists, white supremacists—call them what you will, but the vehicular homicide committed in a narrow street in this beautiful college town is no different than what occurred in Nice or elsewhere as terrorists use vehicles as weapons to maim and murder.

The U.S. president doesn’t have the moral spine to call it what it is and denounce these groups because he panders to those criminal elements in our society. He needed these fanatics to vote for him and encourages them at every turn, and still does, from his birther nonsense to his racist and anti-immigrant policies His son-in-law claims to be an orthodox Jew—how can he support a father-in-law who won’t speak out against torchbearers marching through the UVA campus, the university created by Jefferson, chanting anti-Semitic, racist, and Nazi slogans like “blood and soil”?

His own party’s members have stated the obvious and said what a sitting president who really cares about the country should have said. Ted Cruz, Orrin Hatch, John McCain, and Marco Rubio are GOP leaders who said the right thing. Terry McCauliffe, governor of Virginia, though, probably made the best statement against far-right instigated domestic terrorism, but he echoed the sentiments of these GOP leaders made before and after the incidents.

On a stage where Trump couldn’t change his B&B ways (that’s “bully and braggard”), his statement was an anemic prattle about violence from all sides without mentioning which far-right wingnuts started the violence or the domestic terrorism perpetrated by one particular fanatic by smashing through a crowd, sending people flying and one woman to her death. And he ignored the media’s questions about whether he supported those hate groups, an attitude perhaps implying that he does—or does he hate the media so much that he can’t bring himself to answer such questions. At a time of crisis when a president should denounce these fanatics and try to bring the country together as MaCauliffe, the mayor of Charlottesville, and others tried to do, Trump completely failed.

We have had hatred and bigotry in America ever since the birth of this nation and before, but never have we had a president who enables it and panders to those who spew their vitriolic slogans. No, he more than panders to it: Bannon, Miller, and others in the White House are part of the government now—a legion of fanatics on the president’s staff! If Narcissus le Grand really wanted to show he doesn’t condone this hate, racism, bigotry, and violence, he would fire every one of them! For one who’s so good at firing, why doesn’t he kick the fanatics out of his White House staff? But he won’t. They all form part of his political base.

Il Duce dares to compare himself favorably to Lincoln. The GOP has shunned Lincoln for a long time, but this president is the worst of them all. The great presidents of American history wouldn’t condone any of these fanatics’ actions. And they would be wondering how insane the American electorate has become to have put this B&B president with dictatorial ambitions in charge of our lives.

Of course, the majority of Americans didn’t vote for the nativist, divisionist, and despotic Trump who calls himself a populist. Does 33% support, many with sympathies for the alt-right as a CNN interview with Trump supporters in Clifton, NJ’s Tick Tock Diner showed, deserve to be called populism?

Hitler was a “populist.” German industrialists loved him, anti-Semites loved him, and almost all Germans at the time supported him because he was going to make Germany great again. It’s no wonder that Germany no longer tolerates the kind of hate speech heard in Charlottesville. “Seig heil” can land you in jail there! Perhaps we should learn from their mistakes; better still, we should learn from their cures.

The far-right Nazi-style rhetoric and violence in Charlottesville and elsewhere in the U.S. wouldn’t be allowed in Germany today. Bannon, Miller, and the organizers of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally would probably all be in jail. This isn’t a question of free speech. It’s a national need to put neo-fascists inciting people to commit murder in jail. How could we have sunk so low to allow these people to get away with this? Perhaps we should start calling our country “Amerika” and play the “Ride of the Valkyries” instead of the national anthem?

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And so it goes….

The curse of the opposition…

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

The GOP had eight years of opposition to come up with an alternative to the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare. They dominate Congress and the presidency but have completely failed to garner sufficient votes for a change! What’s the problem?  The roots of it can be found in those years of opposition. They were so concentrated on opposing everything Obama and the Dems proposed that they forgot how to govern…if the current GOP pols ever knew! (Three do remember: Senators Collins, McCain, and Murkowski.)

Dems might have the same problem in four years or eight. A new ABC/Washington Post poll shows that a majority of Americans don’t believe the Dems have any real agenda, though—they only oppose Trump and the GOP. If true, they’re traveling down the same cul de sac the GOP did.

The curse of the opposition isn’t a new phenomenon. Years ago communists came to power in Italy. They were inept and didn’t know what to do with the power because they’d been in the opposition since World War Two and before. Being in the opposition too long often leads to complacency and ineptitude. It might also happen to Labour in Britain eventually. All the “comrades” in America should take note—be careful what you wish for. Lenin might have had good intentions—Marxists often do. If they’re not deposed like the prime minister of Iran or the president of Chile (both victims of the CIA), they can fumble the football of power and crash. And, worse for the citizens, the “reactionary forces” might be worse (Stalin in Russia, the Shah in Iran, and Pinochet in Chile).

An organized opposition can be a good thing if alternate agendas are proposed. That’s the whole meaning of democracy. But opposition parties get carried away and become myopic, and the media often makes it seem worse than it is. Conservatives and moderates in the GOP both have their agendas; they just couldn’t (and can’t!) reconcile them. The GOP is really at least two parties, not one. The same goes for the Dems.

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