Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

2018…

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Georgia 6 showed the problems Dems have to face if they want to win the House in 2018. As Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local,” and congressional districts are more obsessed with local issues and less with state and national ones (or the national ones become local—here in my NJ district, our rep, Mr. Frelinghuysen, voted for the House healthcare bill, incurring the wrath of many in the district and endangering his re-election). That means a Dem or GOP House candidate has to appeal to a microcosm of the nation’s voters. The implication that follows is that the party that controls the House must offer the biggest tent—for Dems, the far left to center must be represented; for the GOP, the far right to center have to be.

To a lesser extent, the same goes for the Senate, where gerrymandered districts are mitigated a wee bit by entire states becoming involved—some huge, like CA, with a wide variety of voters, and some small, like Rhode Island (and still with a wide variety).

Congressional races serve as the foundation for presidential ones. But a presidential candidate must also construct that big tent to be successful. Obama did it; HRC did it too if you only consider the popular vote. Trump didn’t, but he managed to squeeze through with a victory using the Electoral College, an institution whose usefulness has long been questionable and existence from the beginning only due to an aristocratic-leaning bunch of Founding Fathers.

To win in 2018, the Dems must develop new leadership too, ones who tend to the needs of the people in their constituencies. This is a huge challenge, as Georgia 6 showed. While that special election is no omen for the future—indeed, in 2009, Dems won all their special elections too, and lost the House in the following year—Georgia 6 showed that no amount of money can sway voters who think the Dem candidate doesn’t pay attention to their needs. Ossoff failed to push their buttons when many voters were worried about the GOP’s plans for healthcare. He also followed the middle of the road, which matched his district, but he became a bland candidate in the process. And he made the big mistake of not even living in the 6th District.

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Irish Stew #63…

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

International

Trump’s Saudi policies. Saudi Arabia wasn’t on Trump’s list of countries whose Muslim immigrants, many escaping horrible situations in their home countries, are the targets of his bans in his executive orders, contradicting his belief that all Muslims are terrorists. And Mr. Trump negotiated a weapons deal with the duplicitous Saudis to make the military-industrial complex happy during his whirlwind tour in the Mideast.

The Saudis aren’t our friends. They’re not even the enemies of our enemies. They are the enemy. The majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia because the Saudi royal family’s state-sponsored religious schools have a continuing policy of brainwashing young boys and men to hate the West. And they have continuously attacked Yemen where they are responsible for mass murders of innocents. They probably support ISIS too, because ISIS hates Shi’ites, and they’re the Saudis’ enemies.

Sad! Trump is supporting duplicity and murder. Guess he believes in that.

National

Malthusian politics? The CBO hasn’t published its financial analysis yet, but the Senate’s proposed healthcare bill is meaner than the House’s. They’re both an attack on the middle class and poor, especially those who don’t have any financial means and depend on Medicaid as a life preserver—elderly in nursing homes, people with serious disabilities, and very sick children. Too many without any other coverage.

Not just sad but doing the Grim Reaper’s work so the GOP can give tax breaks to the rich elites. These aren’t healthcare bills—they’re thinly disguised tax breaks. And Rand Paul thinks they don’t go far enough? This guy has no compassion at all. No wonder he was a failed doctor! Next thing we’ll see from the GOP? Maybe death ovens for the sick and infirm with Dr. Death running them?

Is Obama to blame? Not as much as the GOP and American media are saying! They’re still supporting the attack on the ex-president for not divulging what he knew about Putin’s personally directed attack on our electoral system. Why? It’s not “fake news” if they hide the real truth that Obama’s desire to secure bipartisan support to inform the American public was rejected by the GOP members of congress Obama approached. OK, maybe Obama was stupid to believe that HRC was a shoo-in, but Trump had been yammering all during the campaign that the system was rigged. What if Obama had decided to divulge all he knew? They’d have said he was unfairly supporting HRC! Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

For eight years the GOP practiced obstructionism against the Obama administration. And Trump dares to accuse the Dems and Obama of being obstructionists? Of course, I’m waiting for HRC to say Obama was responsible for her losing. Sad! You can’t trust politicians or the media these days.

Wild weather. Last Saturday morning NJ received a taste of Midwest weather. I saw my first tornado in Kansas when I was thirteen visiting my grandfather—an awesome sight even if it was off in the distance. Now we had two in Howell, NJ. A smack across the face from Mother Nature to wake us up to the problems of climate change? She should concentrate on Trump who believes it’s all a hoax. Hey Mother Nature, why don’t you go after Mar al Lago or one of his many golf courses—Bedminster would be a good start? Just give the innocents a warning.

Sports etc.

Cosby and Hernandez. I never bought into the theory that the ex-Patriot tight end committed suicide. He had just won acquittal for one charge and was going to appeal the conviction that put him in jail. Why would he be suicidal?

MA law says a conviction that is being appealed must be vacated. Sleazebag prosecutors want to change that law. They must be related to the DA prosecuting Bill Cosby.

DAs who are running for office or have nefarious agendas shouldn’t be allowed to prosecute anyone because they are just trying to win points for being “tough on crime.” Political campaigns interfere with objectivity. So do many careers in general. Of course, most lawyers, prosecutors or defense attorneys, aren’t known for objectivity or a commitment to the truth—they’ve sold their souls to the Devil for their clients.

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There’s a big book Summer/Winter Smashwords sitewide promo from July 1 – 31. You have be a member to receive the email catalog. Join Smashwords—it’s free, and it provides a large universe of reading entertainment. Almost of my ebooks are sale with price reductions from 25 – 50 %. That includes the first six books in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series.” Load your e-reader up for summer (northern hemisphere) or winter (southern hemisphere). And for additional great reading, don’t forget my new novels, Gaia and the Goliaths (#7 in the detective series) and Rembrandt’s Angel, both mystery/thriller novels. Enjoy!

And so it goes…

China Inc….

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

[This is the second installment about our two main enemies, China and Russia. If you disagree, write a comment.]

Like many countries, China is one of contrasts. Chinese dynasties and empires predate most European history. Great Chinese fleets of mighty ship[s roamed the Pacific long before the Spanish Armada’s and Admiral Nelson’s tiny vessels were even imagined. Those Viking ships which conquered the seas and sowed destruction and fear in the North Atlantic are also gnats in comparison, although that’s a wee bit closer to China’s ancient domination of the Pacific.

From beautiful landscapes and grand bridges crossing mighty rivers, to slums and nauseous pollution, you now have a government that can best be described as fascist capitalism controlling things. It’s what capitalism can become when there are no controls exercised by the people (a warning to all in the U.S.). That government gives a wink and a nod to communism, but the very existence of this corrupt and despotic regime shows why communism is a debunked ideology with absolutely no relevance. Workers are exploited in China to enrich the lucky and often unscrupulous few. Human rights take a back seat to capitalistic profit and greed.

At the beginning of my sci-fi novel Survivors of the Chaos, the Chinese model has swept across the world. There’s no longer any pretense—corporations control the world, even in China. This change even reaches Mars where the first Chinese colony there succumbs. As in today’s China, corporate leaders wield all the power. Communism is no more, and the world has been reduced to small, feuding national tribes loosely stitched together by a UN controlled by the worldwide corporations. Is this the future awaiting all human beings?

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Putin’s Russia…

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

The case against Russia is growing. It’s now clear that they interfered in the 2016 election. Pursuing the possible collusion from Mr.Trump or his campaign staff and supporters, whether true of not, is detracting and liable to embolden Mr. Putin and his “patriotic” hackers to do it again in 2018 and 2020. They did it in France too. Not quite cyber warfare, it still distorts the democratic process. That’s Putin’s goal. He has no use for democracy.

Putin is a despot. His only positive quality, if it can be called that, is to remove the veneer that covered the Soviet mobsters in ideology. The latter and so-called “communist leaders” even today (Cuba and Venezuela are prime examples) have shown Communism to be a defunct ideology that exploits workers and champions human rights violations, including murder and torture. Removing that veneer has only exposed us all to the reality of Putin and his cronies, all despots who still run Russia like the mafia thugs they are.

Recent protests in Russia show that all is not well in the “worker’s paradise” that never was a paradise. Putin tries to maintain Russia’s image as a democracy, but the arrest of many protesters shows that he allows no opposition in Russia. Why is that different than Stalin and the mafia thugs who followed him?

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Irish Stew #62…

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

[Sometimes there are so many current events to comment on, I hit all of them a wee bit at one time.]

International

UK election. Prime Minister May gambled and lost big. Her Conservative Party will now be in the minority in Parliament. She will probably stay on, though, and create a minority government. Still a blow to Trump-like forces and her desire to have a strong voice in negotiating BREXIT strategy.

Paris Accord. Trump pulled out of it, causing condemnation from many Americans and the rest of the world. In the U.S., a recent poll asked whether the registered voter disapproved of this action. Among all regular voters, 69% disapproved, 13% were in favor (I guess the remainder don’t give a rat’s ass). Among GOP voters, 51% disapproved, 26% were in favor (same comment). And among voters who ID’d themselves as Trump supporters, 47% disapproved, 28% approved (same comment).

It’s clear that Trump is going against the rest of the country, even among his own party and avid supporters. His principal reason for this action was loss of jobs, but even now alt-energy employees outnumber those in coal mining, and alt-energy companies are trending up while old energy is trending down.

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Book review of Shattered…

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes have written the best book so far about Hillary Clinton’s doomed presidential campaign in 2016. In spite of obvious omissions and questionable opinions, they present their case that HRC faced the perfect storm of incompetent campaign advisers and bad luck. She was a flawed candidate to begin with, of course. Rejoicing in getting what she considered to be the weakest of the GOP candidates, she trounced Trump in the debates and popular vote, but she still lost. For those disappointed Dems who have to face four years of Trump and see the party disarray as they prepare for 2018 and 2020, there are lessons to be learned here.

Here’s a list of reasons why she lost, with MoND signifying “minimally or not discussed” in the book: (1) the arrogance and the entitlement felt by the candidate and her staff (MoND); (2) letting Bill be a loose cannon (e.g. the meeting with SoJ Lynch) and not listening to him when they should have (e.g. ignoring working-class whites, especially in those “rust belt” states, and using analytics instead of old-fashioned polling); (3) being the “establishment candidate” and not being sensitive to voters at each end of the political spectrum fed up with “politics as usual—the Wasserman Schultz dustup was also crucial); (4) the private email server, a particular but telling example of number one; (5) being a candidate from another era unable to confront new political realities (MoND)—if she or Biden are thinking about running in 2020, they’ll lose; (6) winning a primary on the basis of super-delegates and ones from southern states she would lose in the general election (MoND); (7) not unifying the party, and (8) a plethora of historical mistakes from Bill’s administration, to Benghazi, and beyond.

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California dreamin’…

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

The state of my birth is becoming a world leader and taking up the slack when Washington (AKA Trump, his minions, and the GOP) fails. San Francisco recently was the site of a meeting involving Canadian and Mexican environmental ministers who discussed maintaining the Paris Accord, among other things, with state leaders. The state’s legal team is getting ready to block any Washington attempt to push back on their tough laws for vehicle emissions. Gov. Jerry Brown (AKA Gov. Moonbeam) is traveling to China to discuss global warming with Chinese officials. And the state is moving toward single-payer healthcare for all—the Cal Senate just approved it.

Calling it “slack” on the part of Washington is a bit too nice, of course. Trump and his cronies are attacking the environment in any way they can. From supporting the coal industry, which has done more to hurt our climate than almost anything else (it’s ironic that even in coal states, they’re moving away from coal in power plants), to emasculating the EPA and rolling back provisions to protect the environment to favor their rich friends in other industries, Washington seems bent on ruining the planet for our children and grandchildren—maybe us too, if they keep up with the onslaught. Remember Trump is the candidate who declared global warming a hoax. Should we put him on that Antarctic ice shelf and see what happens when it breaks off? Maybe the lobby of Trump Tower will be the first to be flooded when the sea level rises by six feet, as predicted.

The U.S. as a whole is the world’s second worse polluter—only China is worse. California doesn’t accept this all-out attack on the environment by Washington. They have led the nation in positive environmental actions and have boldly stepped up their efforts to counter the evil dark lord in the White House and his GOP goblins. Other states—all blue, of course—try to follow along with the state’s defense-of-environment plans. As the most populous state in the union, the food provider for much of the nation, and estimated to be the sixth or seventh most powerful nation in the world if it ever separates from the union, the Golden Bear is a heavyweight. If Washington doesn’t listen, the rest of the world does. California doesn’t need Washington, but the United States does.

Saving the environment is a no-brainer. This means that Washington is now brainless and California is an Einstein. Even China is getting on board, while Trump backed out of the Paris Accord, incurring the wrath of the rest of the world. It’s hypocritical for states with so much at stake—tourism to national parks in many red states, for example—to become anti-environment. Most big game hunters are NRA members who are hypocritical too—wild animals are part of the environment. Aquifers are being damaged all over the country, but you can bet the anti-environment zombies will be the first to complain when their water turns bad. I can go on and on, but the truth is being insensible to what we’re doing to the environment and the flora and fauna of the world is idiocy. No. Anyone who does this is immoral and evil. There’s a reason that the Pope has an encyclical on the environment. He gave a copy to Trump; will he ever read it? He certainly took no heed of the Pope’s advice when he made his decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord. And his comment about Pittsburg v. Paris is the height of stupidity—Pittsburg went overwhelmingly for Clinton in 2016.

California has been leading environmental protection efforts for a long time. They did so out of necessity. If other American cities and states and countries in the world wait until necessity spurs them to action, it will be too late. If others don’t care, Earth will eventually end up like Mars. We all share this planet. Let’s be good tenants by keeping it clean and healthy. And letting the naysayers remain in power at the ballot box will make us accomplices of the thugs who would destroy the environment. Vote green today, not GOP-red. And work to get California rules to protect the environment adopted in your state.

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Rembrandt’s Angel. 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. Published by Penmore Press, this novel is available in ebook format at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, B&N, and Apple, and in print through Amazon or your local bookstore (if they don’t have it, ask them to order it). Great summer reading!

And so it goes…

Trump isn’t the problem; it’s the GOP…

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

I should qualify the premise in the title: I know many GOP members, and they view conservatism like I do—a check on exuberant progressives who are too emotional and don’t think about the consequences of their actions and how solutions to problems might cause other, even more serious, problems. I’m a progressive, but anytime emotions take precedence over logic and reason, trouble is likely.

That said, it’s the GOP leaders who aren’t true conservatives and are: (1) out of touch with popular opinion; (2) out to destroy the middle class in America and benefit the rich; and (3) determined to pander to bigots, haters, and one-percenters. (The Dem establishment also does a pretty good job of #2.)

Trump is too much a wild man and overt fascist (his attacks on the free press should be a clue to you—did he secretly approve of the choke-hold and body slam of the reporter by the GOP candidate for Congress in Montana?). He can’t be effective in carrying out the GOP establishment’s evil agenda that I’ve outlined and does pretty much what he wants to do, riling that same establishment, whereas McConnell, Ryan, many members of Il Duce’s cabinet, and the GOP establishment are the sycophants of lobbyists and special interests. (Again, the Dem establishment is guilty of the latter.) Hmm. That should be point four in the GOP’s evil agenda.

In fact, Trump AKA Narcissus le Grand (pushing aside the president of Montenegro was telling) has become a lightning rod attracting the bolts from critics away from the GOP’s evil agenda. That doesn’t excuse him, of course. In fact, he’s an ineffective leader who plays with fire (how long will we have to wait for that charge of obstructing justice?); he offers such a big target that some people forget that all those nefarious GOP leaders are working in the background to put their evil agenda into laws.

Primary season is coming up in some states. For example, here in NJ there will be a primary for governor and other state-wide offices. My hope is that voters slap around the GOP establishment, once led by Chris Christie. Unfortunately the Dem establishment dominates the ballot too. The current Dem candidate in the lead is Phil Murphy, an ex-Wall Street banker and confirmed one-percenter; he’s a symbol of what’s wrong with the entire Dem establishment that was really responsible for losing the 2016 presidential election (read the excellent book Shattered, now on the NY Times bestseller list). Jim Johnson is the only progressive candidate on the ballot for the Dems. The rest of the Dems running for governor and all those running for those other state-wide offices are not only establishment types but representatives of the oppressive statewide Dem political machine.

NJ shows why voters need to be vigilant. If you’re a conservative, vote for a true conservative, not a GOP establishment type. If you’re progressive, vote for a true progressive. Voting for the stooges who represent either establishment, GOP or Dem, is to vote against your own interests. These stooges of the establishment and powerful interests in this country aren’t interested in making our lives better. Let’s purify American politics and install some logic and reason to the political process.

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Rembrandt’s Angel. 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. Published by Penmore Press, this novel is available in ebook format at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, B&N, and Apple, and in print through Amazon or your local bookstore (if they don’t have it, ask them to order it). Great summer reading!

And so it goes…

Thank you, Mr. President!

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Thanks to Donald Trump, AKA Narcissus le Grand AKA Il Duce, the clown currently residing (sometimes) in the White House, we have a plethora of scandals. In this era where SNL has become the Nuedexta for all sane observers of national politics, there’s such a wealth of scandals that I don’t know what to write about. Firing the one person investigating him and his cronies for collusion with Russia to affect the U.S. elections sounds an awful like Nixon v. Cox—another Watergate could be coming. What’s he covering up? Was the FBI getting too close? Maybe ex-FBI Director Mueller, as special counsel, will bring the perp to justice. Will his son-in-law Kushner be named FBI director? He’s in charge of everything else, and puts business over country every day. A recent case in point: trying to get tax breaks for some property in Jersey City.

But I’ll take us back to another scandal playing out: healthcare. Trump’s collusion with Ryan (and presumably McConnell in the future) is real, and they’re bent on killing Americans. Some people who were covered by the ACA will simply die.  That first A in ACA is for “affordable,” not “accessible”—I have access to buying a yacht, but I could never afford one. People with pre-existing conditions will have access to healthcare—but they won’t be able to afford it because the U.S. House’s bill allows them to be placed in special pools of high-risk patients. And the conspiracy against ACA continues—the GOP, especially those old men in the Senate, is using the distraction of the Comey firing and Mueller appointment to work behind the scenes for the complete destruction of ACA.

This leads me to recall Il Duce’s comments about Australia’s healthcare system. They can be interpreted in three ways: (1) he’s such an ignoramus that he doesn’t understand the Australian system is single-payer like most systems in the civilized world; (2) he wanted to insult Australia’s system by comparing it to the travesty just passed by the U.S. House and now being considered by the U.S. Senate; or (3) he doesn’t understand what the provisions of that travesty really are because, like many GOP representatives, he never bothered to read it.

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Free speech…

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

…doesn’t mean that Ann Coulter or anyone else has a right to speak at UC Berkeley. For the conservative commentator and writer, she’s had ample opportunity to spew her venom publicly around the country. Those who support her (or the Berkeley group who invited her to speak) don’t understand what “free speech” means, constitutionally or in practice.

Free speech always has to be measured against the safety of the general public. Sure, that’s a balancing act, but you can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is none, creating panic. Similarly, Ann Coulter cannot be allowed to endanger innocents in Berkeley. The group backing her, and her followers nationwide, are wrong in making this a free speech issue. As alt-right supporters, they have the right to think and even to say what they believe—I support that, and it’s why the Bill of Rights protect Bill O’Reilly’s rants as much as those of Rachel Maddow. (O’Reilly’s fall from grace was caused by his alleged abusive treatment of women, an entirely different issue.)

This isn’t about political correctness either. Both the extreme left and the extreme right get their hackles up about some of the things their opponents say. Hell, if we enforced PC, our president would be impeached by now and maybe in jail! People say (or tweet) outlandish things all the time. If it doesn’t go beyond that—yelling “Fire!” in a theater, for example—an educated and reasonable person shrugs it off and simply considers the speaker a crazy idiot.

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