What if they gave a riot and no one showed?

I reject outright the idea that every single Republican politician knows or understands that their agenda is immoral, just as I reject the idea that the Democrats understand the consequences of implementing more failed neo-liberal economic strategies are perilous. No matter where those policies are implemented. A reason given for rejecting the idea that the government and the media are conspiring, each for their own reasons, to force conflict between the Nazis and opposing strong arm groups is that Republicans intentionally commit evil acts and by implication, Democrats do not, is inherently false. The real issue is not memorial and statutes, or if a few hundred people show up in random cities proclaiming themselves Nazis. Energy is wasted and opportunities for real change is missed when people show up to counter-protest and encourage engagement. The Nazi numbers are small, but the media always goes with the sex story, followed by violence. Especially violence by people that the viewing audience hates, or has been trained to hate. Counter protest instead at another site. Instead of telling people that Nazis suck, tell people that we can guarantee jobs for everyone, explain that health care can be available to all, that public college can be free and all past debts to public colleges will be forgiven or repaid. Tell people that ancestral slavery victims will receive reparations along with reparations to those whose land was stolen by the United States as it conquered the native peoples. All this is not a pipe dream. It is economically feasible and socially desirable.  Does not solve all problems, but simultaneously insisting on truth and refusing to let lady liberty to even peek beneath her blindfold will move the needle ever closer to true justice.

Our problem is not that the President is an incompetent asshole and that by relieving him of duty will change anything. Nor will punching a Nazi in the nose, instead it will only escalate the anger and confusion seething through the country and the world. Our problem is that we have an economic crises, where unemployment is artificially deflated by not including those that have been discarded by our Capitalistic job market. Young people across the country are destroying themselves sometimes to death through opioid and meth addictions, because for just a bit the desperation to survive is subsumed by the high. Another problem is that we have a nation that claims to exercise democracy, yet the two parties that rule do a little dance with one party stopping people from voting and the other singing quietly from the sidelines “ooooo, you bad, and you naughty” but they don’t do a damn thing about it.

I don’t care if Nazis march. And you will not find me endorsing using their tactics against them. It is their tactics of violence and repression that make them strong, using them only strengthens them. I want to snuff out Nazis by refusing to feed them the attention and blood they crave. Destroy Nazis with the light of ideas that bring positive changes to our individual lives, opportunity to our economic system, justice to our justice systems, and peace  to our international positions.

 

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Venn

When trying to describe my political orientation I have morphed through many descriptions. Some have been decided by the state of my own beliefs, other times I have tried using terms that describe what political party I most associate with. I have toyed with using what is in vogue for most people that I politically agree with, and with using what most aptly describes my leanings.

My grandfather was involved with Boston city politics, becoming a campaign manager for a long time City Councillor. That meant he was a Democrat. It was from my mother’s side that I inherited the Democrat bent. My father was a cynic who rarely voted. He never subscribed to any party because he believed they were “all a bunch of crooks”. From my father, I inherited cynicism; which rested dormant in my mind until world events pushed me to recognize in an abstract way my father was right. All politicians are a bunch of crooks. Not because they necessarily stole from public coffers, but because most put the comfort of the wealthy before that of the voters. Oddly, as my own cynicism began to blossom during my later teen years and the Vietnam War through the Reagan administration, his lessened as he began to dutifully believe the President was justified to do whatever was needed because he knew things we didn’t. For a while I considered myself a Democrat.

In fact, I am still registered as a Democrat. But I cannot participate in their party activities. I’m still invited to their get-togethers, but I cannot find the space in my life to go. I am not #Demexit. I am #NoMorePoliticalParties.

My wife was brought up in an Italian Catholic home, but their religion was belonging to the Democratic Party. She has never wavered from that. She did try a few religions before settling on becoming a Jew. So a nice Italian Catholic Democrat girl, became a Jewish Democrat. Those are the Venn Diagram she individually lives in.

As I noted over the years I modeled my descriptions along more esoteric terms. Lately I have bundled them all together into a long stream such as “Progressive, Liberal, Left Wing, Bleeding heart, Social Democrat. I intentionally leave out the Liberal Libertarian part that was actually a moniker I used online for a while. Inevitably people would accuse me or tell me that if I used Libertarian in my self description that regardless of any modifier I use (such as Liberal!) then I am a Libertarian and are therefore required to follow the Libertarian agenda. I realized that thinking was true across the political spectrum when I stated opposition to early voting and was rebuked by someone telling me that “Democrats are in favor of early voting”. Perhaps I am not a Democrat? Is autonomy dead? Do most people actually look to political parties to tell them what to believe? Current events tell me this is so, more now, I think, than ever.

Watch the news, read the paper and everything is characterized into one single grouping for Liberals. Liberals believe Russia hacked the election, they tell us. Conservative voters believe that Trump will bring good business sense into managing US economic issues. None of that makes any sense. Russia did not hack the election, Trump has no business sense at all. I’m a Liberal and I know Conservatives that don’t believe Trump would know how to run a lemonade stand.

In reality, we are all defined by the Venn Diagrams that describe each of us. The media, in a day when there is time to tell the story that is real are supposed to be cynics, instead they are toadies of the lowest sort. I have noted some of the Venn circles that I find myself in, I bet almost every person that reads this shares at least one circle with me. That cannot be covered in today’s political party setup.

From here on I will call myself a #TrueLiberal. Anyone can use the nomenclature, it’s only purpose is to separate those of us that want to disassociate themselves from the any of the established Political parties.

What’s So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding

I just cannot believe how many people I am supposed to hate.

I’m a Progressive, proud Liberal, All American Bleeding Heart, a Socialist too albeit one that favors Free Enterprise Capitalism and disdains Free Market Capitalism, occasionally I can be a (Liberal) Libertarian. I also favor Democracy over any other form of governance, but I recognize it’s limitations.

I am supposed to hate all Republicans, except the Libertarians.  It would be presumed that I hate Donald Trump, perhaps John McCain but probably not until the next time he votes for another war. Some, perhaps many might believe that I adore Hillary Clinton, after all I am a member of the Democratic Party. That belief would be false, I’m a Berniecrat, but I don’t hate Hillary, I don’t hate John McCain, Donald Trump, or all Republicans.

Some of the harshest language that I hear comes from fellow Berniecrats. Many of them now hate Senator Sanders, along with Debbie Wasserman Shultz, John Podesta, Elizabeth Warren, and countless others that our Main Stream Media have dubbed Progressives. The online crowd I run with has a list a mile long and only a handful squeak by the tighter and tighter reins of the so-called alt-Left on who to love ad who to hate. And they are right, politicians like Senators Warren and Booker are not currently the aspirational Progressive voices this country desperately requires and is, in fact, yearning for.

Enough with hate. Because someone gave money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign means I should hate them. Because Hillary and company stole the primary from Bernie, is not reason enough to hate viscerally anyone.

Hate is a very strong and powerful word.

Using things or ideas of such power requires restraint. Hate the outcomes of their actions, not the actor. As an example lets look at John McCain. I “hate” that he advocates for policies of military aggression. I do not hate John McCain. I “hate” that John McCain is still in the Senate. I do not hate John McCain.  The same can be said for Hillary, Trump, the Koch Brothers, George Soros and countless, dizzying others.

A Rabbi taught that we should love others as we would love our brother or sister. That teaching of having goodwill toward each other, is not about any religion, instead it is about dispensing with personal vindictiveness, replacing it with a bias toward understanding. Think about ISIS, nearly all Progressives recognize their anger is fed by the actions of Western nations. We need to treat our political opponents the way we would like the US to treat ISIS. With respect.

I know and acknowledge that treating the DNC and Nancy Pelosi with respect is very hard when they are working so very hard at marginalizing the Progressives by using the name for themselves and otherwise ignoring us. We are being disappeared, like in Stalin’s Soviet Union and in Orwell’s 1984.

This is a callout to Progressives. Stop hating. It is making me nauseous.  Thank You.

Hello, Is there anybody in there?

I have had it with this Trump guy.  I am not amused at his juvenile tweets, his sleazy salesman phrases, and most of all the never ending articles friends and foes alike explaining to …  who?  Explaining that Trump is an asshole, Trump just said the worst thing a President ever said, Trump is insane, and so on and on it goes. Every hour of every day. But let me get back to that dangling sentence, who are these never ending articles explaining all of Trump’s faults aimed at?  Not me, I am certain. I lost interest in The Donald about one week after he announced he was running. Not that I was so certain that he couldn’t win, but I was much more concerned about who the Democrats would nominate. You see, I never gave voting for a Republican a moments thought, and there was not one person out of all 17 that were running that I would vote for. Also, in MA, where I live, if you are registered in any party then you can only vote for a candidate in that party, so why bother listening to Republicans openly fight among themselves about which one will harm more people when they became President.  If I paid attention to them, perhaps I would have tallied each one’s blood lust potential score; great sport!

I am still curious though about the shares and posts, the tweets and MSM news and the wannabe MSM news talk endlessly about Trump. That reminds me, have you heard that most of the world leaders have decided to just ignore Trump?  Imagine that! Angela Merkel and I have something in common! Wonders certainly do never cease.  But in America there seems to be, especially among the large number of people who despise that Trump is President, a need to tell each other? just how awful Trump is. Certainly, they don’t think that Trump supporters will read one of these articles, or a MSM story  in the paper or on their telly and slap their forehead while shouting out, “damn I had no idea what an ignorant, incompetent, racist, buffoon Trump is”. No, they won’t.  That is why I rarely write about Trump, other than to note that the only good for America reason he should be impeached or removed from office is for gross incompetence.

Do you think if I wrote to Ms. Merkel we could be pen pals?

Keep Political Parties Away from our Elections

The evidence proves that Political Parties running elections is bad for Democracy.

Ideas for election reform have been flowing across my facebook screens nearly daily for the last month. Many of the ideas individually have a lot of merit, but there are some that are downright dangerous. The most common ideas are ranked choice voting, eliminating gerrymandering, open primaries, making election day a holiday, even more early voting, vote by mail, automatic voter registration, and mandating paper ballots. I am sure there are others that I missed listing and others that I have not heard about.

Why is election reform such a hot topic all of a sudden? A major driver was the recent election for president that did not turn out in any way how the experts all expected it would.  Their malfeasance has turned into a state of shock all across America. So the next question is, what went wrong that never went wrong before. As far as I can tell, nothing went wrong that hasn’t gone wrong before. That means that the problems that need fixing haven’t changed. Why all the fuss now? My thesis is that nobody wants to admit that anything was going wrong before. Especially the pundit class, that group of people who sit around tables that are near TV cameras and pontificate just as I am doing now, except my laptop camera is turned off and I don’t get paid. Also the pundit class keeps getting to talk into cameras and say stuff and two weeks later when they are all wrong, the same group gets brought back in front of the cameras and are asked to pontificate some more. Instead of looking back and asking what are we missing, they pretend that the real problems with our entire election are not consequential, and as the cognitive dissonance distance between what is broken and what the pundit class bases their predictions increases, the less reliable the predictions are, and the less the public believes them.

A reliable election process is where the best candidates are selected and those candidates should represent as much of the spectrum of ideas as possible. It also depends on all the votes being counted, and anytime the count is in doubt, a recount should be expected as a matter of course. Enforcement of election procedures along with the same level of audits used to validate that a bank is responsibly and honestly counting all the money individuals have handed to them for safe keeping is the minimum we should expect if protecting democracy is a true government objective. Are any of those standards happening in our election system? I don’t think so at all. In fact until we implement procedures to assure we have a process that brings forth candidates that advocate a broad spectrum of ideas, and elections whose results are trusted by the electorate, then any changes that do not directly address those problems will remain small band-aid patches on a deep wound. And if that is all we implement, then the band-aid will fall off and the wound will open even wider.

In order to bring forth multiple candidates with differing philosophies the two-party system has to be relegated to back of the line. It was obvious to the Founding Fathers that as odious as political parties are, they will form nonetheless. That should be accepted but in no way be legislated as a requirement for candidacy nor should parties be outlawed. People will do what they always do and form cliques, it is government’s role to make sure that parties do not make the rules.  Right now, our election system is so locked down as Democrat vs. Republican that around 98% of all elected officials in the US are members of one of those parties. That only two candidates are considered viable in at least 98% of our elections means that other ideas are literally stifled. Actual discussion is diminished and the voter finds nobody that truly represents their personal point of view, resulting in lower voter turnout. Counting ballots must take place on paper, but technology should not be eliminated. While scanner software is easy to manipulate, there is no reason that programming the machines cannot be done using open software, data entered (such as candidates names and their related printed information that appears on the ballot) should be in plain language. The program code should be written in an interpretative language so that any literate individual can read and understand how the program tabulates the votes .  Audits of at least 10% of the polling places must be mandatory and the audits must be a hand count of the scanned paper ballots.

There are two more critical issues that must be addressed since their impact on elections is profound. First, a law must be passed overturning the Supreme Court decision to release certain states and other jurisdictions from Justice Department oversight of changes to their election laws. It became obvious within days that the court had made a mistake since one state after another passed voter restriction laws as soon as the oversight was removed. Along with that, the law should provide tools for any polling places that are insufficiently supplied with voting machines or ballots to have those ballots printed at any nearby printing facility via a temporary eminent domain authority.

The second critical point is to remove any political party restrictions for Primary elections. This has become a frequent point made by many, but most do not go far enough since they only require that anyone can pick which party’s ballot they want. But consistent with my earlier point that parties must be relegated to the back of the line, each person showing up to vote in a Primary gets only 1 ballot with all the candidates on it. This becomes more critical when there is more than one office on the ballot. A person can then vote for the person they want in the primary no matter what parties their choice of candidates aligns with.

Thanks, Russia!

All over the press, mainstream media, social media, water coolers, and barstools the talk is about President Trump’s relationship with Russia. Every person he knows that ever spoke to a Russian is being presented as further evidence of collusion with Russia between his campaign and even President Trump himself in order to alter the results of the vote last November. A serious charge that if proven true should mean more than the removal of just Donald Trump as President. Since the accusations extend to numerous individuals within his campaign, a legitimate case could be made that the election itself is invalid. However calling telephone conversations that have been documented as not having been found to have any evidence of collusion along with the total lack of any hard forensic evidence means that the charges, if true would be hard to prove. In fact, there are significant reasons to discount every justification being made by the press and the government to take the idea of Russian meddling in the US Presidential election seriously.

But there was election tampering and it all occurred by US interests without any foreign assistance. Hillary Clinton actively rigged both sides of the primary. She manipulated the media with the assistance of the “unbiased” DNC, laundered contributions that were intended for other Democratic candidates in other races. There was also money used by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to create a hidden stash that was used to create social media propaganda and outright attacks on Sanders and his supporters. Additionally there are questions outstanding as to the validity of the actual votes counted in the Primaries due to red flag discrepancies between the count and exit polls. On the Republican side, the Clinton campaign enlisted assistance from various media outlets to minimize their coverage of Sanders and fill in that void with an overdose of coverage of the two most extreme Republicans, Trump and Cruz.

During the general election, Republicans had already proactively rigged the vote by engaging in wholesale voter suppression of targeted likely Democratic voters. There was minimal, exit polling which is the international standard in which to gauge the validity of the vote. Additionally when challenges did arise, recounts were either impossible due to all electronic votes tabulated without a verifiable audit trail, or both parties conspired to raise the costs of funding recounts as to make them all but impossible to achieve.

And after all that known improprieties by US interests we are supposed to get all worked up because the Director of the FBI stated that Vladimir Putin hates Hillary Clinton? That was an actual reason provided at one point by then FBI Director Comey.

But still, when I mention these issues, people tell me to ‘get over it’. Why? The supposed two party system was manipulated so that the choice would be between a person whose only accomplishment in life was marrying a guy who later become President, while she garnered an incredible resume, but little else and a man who rose to fame and fortune by the grace of his father’s business acumen backing him up. Ever since his father’s death, his career has been a string failures punctuated with a few get rich quick schemes. In other words, this election was not between two people who have been proven capable, but between two corrupt and incapable individuals. Whether the Russians had any influence in the outcome, the damage was done before they ever got involved. Maybe, the Russians did us a favor, or more likely we are just giving them another reason to make a toast and down a shot of vodka.

Propose Don’t Oppose

BRADFROMSALEM

Republicans, free of any serious opposition, have revealed their unverified template to reinvigorate the American economy, dissolve government’s role in any matter not connected to protecting the US from foreign entities real or imagined, and enhance government’s role in enforcing moral choices connected in any manner to sexual or other personal activities.

That’s a large agenda, and to be fair, not all Republicans are on board with every line item in the two major proposals, Mr. Ryan’s Health Care bill and Mr. Trump’s Budget proposal. The party as a whole, however, will define these two critical items with next to no alternatives coming from the Democrats in office. Democrats will pushback against the Republican plans and instead of responding to criticisms of the ACA, most elected Democrats respond entirely by defending the ACA, when all the solutions to the problems with the ACA can be corrected. It is called Medicare for All. The Republican idea that a budget and any legislative proposals reduce annual deficits is universally accepted as the “gold standard” of economic virtue and that guarantee to growing the American economy is never opposed by elected Democrats. This leaves little room for proposed legislation such as infrastructure growth, free higher education and expanded Social Security, all items that will grow the economy organically based on historically verifiable precedent.

The Republican assumptions cannot be accepted by anyone that is opposed to their vision of America. The debate can no longer be about presumed truths, presumed enmities (that include both Russia and China), who talks to who or any metric that is not measured against doing what is moral and right. Amorality has become America’s real enemy and both party’s establishment fully endorses and legislates on amoral standards. Changing the paradigm will break down the political monopoly trust that is stagnating the US. Yes, Trump has got to go, because doing so will start to establish that the American people are ready for the change to a moral standard; a goal much, much larger than firing a single incompetent President.