Friday, September 21, 2018

The Abuser in Chief - abuses

Why didn’t she file charges earlier?  That is the endlessly predictable accusation offered by those who don't want to believe a sexual assault victim. The Abuser in Chief came out with that accusation today, of course.  The man that 13 women credibly accused of sexual assault is defending a man who is being credibly accused of sexual assault. 

The answer is obvious - fear.

The sexual assault victim is traumatized twice.  The first time when the assault happens - a rape, or in this case an attempted rape.  Make no mistake.  This is a traumatic event that the woman will never forget.  The assaulter may think it was no big deal, but the assaulted has been humiliated, wounded, damaged, and can't stop remembering.

The second time the sexual assault victim is traumatized is when she makes the assault public.  The reaction is inevitable, and terrible for the assault victim - why didn't you come out earlier?  what were you wearing?  had you been drinking?  wasn't it your fault? how many men have you had sex with? aren't you just a disgusting low life slut? and in this case, what political party do you belong to?

Actually, there are multiple other times the assault victim is traumatized, and that is every time she or he sees their assaulter lauded in society, or promoted, or honored as some kind of good person.  The assaulted knows better and has to relive the memories each time the assaulter shows up in his or her world.  Dr Ford had to endure watching her assaulter be glorified by - Christians? - for his high moral character as he climbed his way up the Republican and judicial ladders.  The Supreme Court was apparently a ladder too high for her to remain silent.

There are two things that make it clear to me that Christine Blasey Ford should be believed.  First, she has so much more to lose than gain by having her good name exposed.  She has already received death threats. She has had her home address published on line by the haters and had to move her family.  She will forever be known for one thing - being a victim of a rape attempt. She will be suspected as being sexually promiscuous and irresponsible. 

The second thing that makes me believe her is that she did not say that this happened to her, but she said it happened to her and there was a second person in the room.  A witness.  A witness who was Kavanagh's friend.  That is not just a she said he said. Naming a witness would be way too dangerous for her to say if it was just made up.

So, I believe Dr. Ford. 

Trump was given a list of about 20 hand selected judges known and trusted to be anti-abortion and pro-gun by his evangelical base supporters. He can pull the Kavanagh nomination and put in another trusted judge.  But he won't for two reasons. 

First, of course, the Abuser in Chief never admits a mistake and never backs down.

Second, and by far the most important thing, he sees Kavanaugh as his get out of jail free card.  Kavanaugh is on record as writing that a sitting president shouldn't be indicted.  This is by far the most important thing to the Criminal in Chief.

Trump will force the Reps to confirm Kavanaugh. The abused women of America are watching (and one of the surprising revelations of the MeToo Movement is that a vast majority of women in America can say ME TOO!) and they will vote.

We may be watching the Fat Old White Men driving the Grand Old Party off the cliff.  If so, good riddance to this amazing level of corruption that Trump has brought to our government with the full cooperation and approval of Trump voters and the frightened little men in the House and the Senate. Mustn't upset the Trumpsters, you know. The elected Reps just swallow any dignity they may have and go along with El Trumpe. 

They may think that eventually Trump will be gone and they can go back to being the amazingly courageous people they think themselves to be, but I think that once one has thrown one's dignity and character away, one may never get it back.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"You've got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women..." Trump

From "Fear" by Bob Woodward:

"Trump gave some private advice to a friend who had acknowledged some bad behavior toward women.  

"Real power is fear.  It's all about strength.  Never show weakness.  You've always got to be strong. Don't be bullied.  There is no choice.

"You've got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women," he said.  "if you admit to anything and any culpability, then you're dead.  That was the mistake you made.  You didn't come out guns blazing and just challenge them.  You showed weakness.  You've got to be strong.  You've got to be aggressive.  You've got to push back hard.  You've got to deny anything that's said about you.  Never admit." page 175 of 357, 41% into the book

That is clearly what Trump did with the dozen or so women that accused him of sexual harassment.   

Of course, truth is not something that ever enters the mind of the Republicans' president, just whatever is best for him.  

Et tu, Kavanaugh?  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

What socialism has brought to the U.S.

Socialism.  That one word is all conservatives need to hear to turn away and shout no, no, no!

As I've written before, I have been a left winger, then a right winger, and now on the left again.  When i was on the right it seemed blatantly obvious to me that any road toward socialism was a road to tyranny - Venezuella, Nicaragua, Cuba, and of course the worst of all the Soviet Union.

But, as I have also written before, it is now clear to me that capitalism without socialism is a tyrannical nightmare of Oligarchy and Fascism.  Just as socialism without capitalism is a tyrannical nightmare of Communism and scarcity.

But, is socialism bad?  Really?  How about socialism in America?  Do we have some?  Is it bad?

Here are things that we have in America that are either socialist or were brought about by people others denounced as socialist.  A good definition of socialism is it is "taxpayer funds being used collectively to benefit society as a whole, despite income, contribution, or ability."

  • The Military/Defense - paid for entirely by taxpayer dollars to benefit everyone regardless of who they are
  • Highways/Roads -paid for entirely by taxpayer dollars to benefit everyone.
  • Police - paid for by taxpayer dollars as a public service for all
  • Fire Dept. - taxpayer dollars pays for it all for the benefit of all
  • Bridges - taxpayer dollars gets your across the rivers
  • War - the biggest socialist projects in history are taxpayer funded wars
  • Farm Subsidies - taxpayers support farms to keep them going, which is good, but unfortunately corporate farming probably gets most of the benefits
  • CIA - taxpayer funded to keep us all safe
  • FBI - totally taxpayer funded benefit for society
  • Polio Vaccine -Dr Salk gave the vaccine to the government which vaccinated America and ended the terrible polio scourge.
  • EPA - necessary socialist intervention to keep air and water healthy
  • Social Security - we pay taxes to support the elderly (we are investing in our own retirement but the money the government collects gets paid out now to care for the elderly - our time will come soon enough)
  • Museums - many museums exist because of government, i.e. taxpayer, money
  • Public Schools - public schools largely funded by taxpayer dollars for the benefit of all (except the wealthy who get private schools and some Christians  and others who home school).
  • Jail/Prison System - mostly publicly funded, but some are private prisons, which is probably a bad idea to have profit connected to arrests and imprisonment.
  • Food Stamps -taxpayers help pay for food for those that can't properly feed themselves, and I don't believe the typical conservative rant about fat people of color getting steaks in front of them at the grocery while the poor white conservative is buying peanut butter.
  • Medicare - taxpayer funded health care for those who are mostly beyond their earning years
  • Court System -taxpayer funded justice system which is the necessary heart of capitalism, as well as personal justice and protections.
  • G.I. Bill - taxpayer money that says thank you for your service
  • Hoover Dam - one of the many very productive Great Depression public works projects.
  • IRS - taxpayer funded collection of taxpayer dollars necessary to run the government that is the necessary force that allows and provides a civilized world.

  • Medicaid - taxpayer dollars for those poor enough to be unable to provide their own health care.
  • FDA - taxpayer dollars gives us food and drugs that don't kill us
  • State Construction - potholes, piping, bridge and road repairs etc, all from taxpayer dollars.
  • State Snow Removal - taxpayers pay to keep the roads and thus commerce and education open
  • Welfare - taxpayer dollars help the poor who spend all of it to stay alive, which is a 100% payback into the stimulation of the economy
  • FEMA - taxpayer dollars respond to the terrible disasters that seem to be multiplying every year
  • Public Defenders - taxpayer dollars help provide some semblance of justice for the poor.
  • S-CHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) - taxpayer dollars for uncovered children
  • Amtrak - taxpayer dollars transport millions
  • NPR - taxpayer dollars pay for some of the news to a nation that needs it.
  • OSHA - taxpayer dollars to protect workers
  • Census Bureau  - taxpayer dollars to try to ensure proper head count to allocate voting apportionment as well as needed info for governmental programs (too bad one party is trying to fudge the count!)
  • Department of Energy - taxpayer dollars to oversee nuclear weapons, nuclear reactors, energy conservation, radioactive waste disposal, and energy production.
  •  Government - an essentially socialist enterprise which is created in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...
  • Law - is a socialist enterprise that makes democracy possible, makes capitalism competitive and thus possible, makes life in the world livable.
  • Civilization - without taxation that is used to provide the above "socialist" benefits, we have no civilization, we revert to savages.

All paid for by funds from the taxpayer for the social good - socialism.

So, maybe everyone isn't going to like everything on this list, but one thing I can say, it is an American list, not a Venezuelan list or Cuban list or Soviet list.  So, maybe it is time to stop being scared into not thinking when someone throws the word socialist at us.  Maybe some socialism is actually pretty darned good.

I used an article from the liberal blog to put together the above list.

Humiating obedience to please the tyrant

How do tyrants force those in their cabinet and staff to bend to their will? By demanding humiliating obedience - publicly.  So, when Trump's cabinet goes around the room filled with high praise for the Grand Leader, they are demonstrating that their spirit has been crushed.  They are his. They are lost. 

Upon the death of Arizona Senator, John McCain, his long time ally in the Senate and frequent Trump critic, Lindsey Graham, abjectly humiliated himself by saying what El Trumpe demanded of him - total abject capitulation to Trump's desires by saying that Trump has the right to an Attorney General he has faith in.  This, after having said earlier that firing Sessions would trigger an impeachment.  

Humiliating obeisance to his new master.  

Maybe he wants to be Attorney General after Trump fires Sessions.  Whoever Trump replaces Sessions with will be forced to fire Mueller.  That used to be an impeachable offense in the mind of Senator Graham.  Apparently, that is no longer the case.

Very sad day for America.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Captain Queeg presidency

Early in Donald Trump's presidency, Richard Cohen wrote an editorial predicting that Donald Trump was Captain Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny" (a wonderful book by Herman Wouk written in 1951 and a wonderful movie staring Humphrey Bogart in 1954).  The story was of a captain of the USS Caine who suffered a psychological meltdown during WWII and had his ship taken away from him by his officers in a mutiny.  The officers were tried for mutiny on the high seas during a time of war, and they were acquitted once Captain Queeg was placed on the witness stand and unraveled into paranoia and incoherence on the stand.

We are witnessing just this story today, but frighteningly for all of America and the world, the incompetent leader who is unraveling is the President of the United States.  We need to see him on the witness stand and see for ourselves what those closest to him in the White House see everyday - a man who is not psychologically or mentally sound, who is unraveling, who is in the words of a his former protege, Omarosa, "Unhinged".  Omarosa herself is a pretty unreliable witness given her long history of poor character, but book after book using White House sources tell the same story of a person way out of his depth who is wildly and dangerously ignorant, impetuous, childish, narcissistic and stupid.

Bob Woodward is just releasing his book on the White House, "Fear: Trump in the White House" and he reports source after source who all tell that story in sickening detail.  One episode apparently describes Trump's then lead lawyer, John Dowd, doing a practice session with Trump and peppering him with the questions that Mueller would ask.  Trump lasted a half hour, wildly veering off topic, contradicting himself, committing purjuries and finally exploding and ending the exercise.  Dowd apparently told Trump he couldn't let him testify before Mueller and Trump didn't understand because he had thought he would be a great witness.  Dowd told him "Don't testify.  It's either that or a orange jump suit. "  The next day, Dowd quit.

An anonymous senior official of the administration just published an op-ed in the New York Times saying that he or she and others in the administration do all they can to derail some of Trump's crazier impulses, and that they have had discussions about starting proceedings on having him removed via the 25th Amendment - declaring him mentally incapable of handling his duties.  They have chosen internal resistance instead of throwing the country into a constitutional crisis.  Realize that this is from a person who supports some of his agenda including deregulation and tax cuts.  

Another way we can think of Trump is King George III, the Madness of King George, who was literally insane and who managed to severely damage the British Empire during his reign - he lost the American Colonies in the late 1700s.  Trump is in the process of destroying America's leadership in the world by attacking our allies and embracing authoritarians and enemies like Russia.  

It is time to put him on the stand and let him unravel like Captain Queeg.  The country needs to see what those working for him see daily.  He is coming apart.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Caring and compassion

In my post yesterday about what liberals stand for (or at least what I believe in) I left out the heart of liberalism - caring and compassion.  

I believe in having the government helping people create lives worth living.  Such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, low cost governmental student loans, food stamps for the poor, job training, access to health care, etc. - the social safety net.  I suppose these can be labeled "socialist" and perhaps they are, but as I wrote, capitalism without an accompanying force of socialism becomes little more than piracy - to the victor go the spoils, and everybody else is just collateral damage. 

It is what might be called "I don't really care, do you?" capitalism.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

What do liberals stand for?

An old friend of mine who is a conservative said she knew that I am against Trump, but she wondered what I am for.  I am glad to answer.  What I am for?  I can't speak for all liberals, but I can say what I believe in (this is a longer than normal post) - I believe in:

Balance and government.

I have a deep and passionate love for America.  Patriotism is the love of America and what America stands for.  Here are some of my deeply held beliefs.

I believe in capitalism.  But you can't have capitalism without some Socialism.  What I mean by that is that if you have capitalism without socialism you end up with fascism, which is where we are heading very fast today.  That is, free markets without regulations and laws becomes crony capitalism, which becomes monopolies, which becomes Oligarchy and Plutocracy, which becomes fascism - right wing authoritarian dictatorship.  Free markets without socialism ends up with child labor, jobs and products that kill workers and users, toxic deadly pollution, and an endless dis-empowering of the labor force into more and more subservience and helplessness.

On the flip side, socialism without capitalism becomes communism, becomes Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Soviet Union etc. - left wing authoritarian dictatorship. The 20th Century was littered with the crushed peoples under Communist monstrosities.

Without the balance of both capitalistic free markets and socialistic regulations and oversight you end up with an aristocracy of either the Left or the Right and the people become crushed.  Today's Trumpsters are way out of balance and see no role for government other than the military (an exaggeration but it makes the point). 

I believe in environmental purity and protection. Today's corporate culture is so dependent on short term quarterly results and thinking that without the force of government regulation and enforceable law the environmental concerns are never considered.

I believe in diversity and opportunity for all races and genders.  JFK and LBJ enforced the Civil Rights laws in the '60s against the fierce opposition of Southern Democrats and with the help of northern Republicans.  LBJ said he would lose the South for the Democrats for generations.  He lost more than that since Richard Nixon implemented his infamous Southern Strategy in 1968 and switched the South from the white supremacist Democratic South to the white supremacist Republican South.

I believe in women's empowerment.  America is moving out of the centuries of Male Chauvinism into a new era of feminine empowerment, and the Democrats are leading the way, especially by empowering women to take control over their reproductive lives and make their own choices about if and when to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and raise children.

I believe in diplomacy.  That means not gutting the State Department and driving nearly the entire experienced and knowledgeable diplomats out of the State Department.

I believe in Public Schools, especially for the middle and lower classes. I have no problem with selected and qualified charter schools, but I have a very big problem with unregulated private schools - the iconic symbol of which was the Donald Trump scam of Trump University.  We don't need Trump University type scams showing up in our K - 12 education system.

I believe in an America that leads the world in human rights and the spread of democracy. We used to be an imperfect "Shining Light on a Hill" as extolled by Reagan and W.  We have become a screw you, we're out for Number One only (Number One is supposedly America, but is actually only Trump himself, but I don't expect the Trumpsters to see that)

I believe in free trade.  I can't think of any one stupider thing, economically, that any uninformed and willfully ignorant president can do than initiate and accelerate a trade war with our trading partners.

I believe in the Free Press, and by that I mean the actual press, the imperfect press that makes mistakes and corrects itself, the press that practices actual journalism with checked and cross-checked sources - in other words, the mainstream media.

I believe in the professional intelligence services like the FBI and CIA and NSA.  I believe when all 17 intelligence agencies in America say that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election for the purpose of destroying Americans' belief in democracy and put Trump into the White House they were telling the truth - making conclusions based upon the evidence of their investigations.  I believe that the notion that the intelligence services are stacked with Socialist or Democratic operatives is total nonsense. It disturbs me greatly that all Trump has to do is repeat his nonsensical propaganda over and over (that there is a liberal cabal out to get him) and there are way too many Americans that believe the target of the investigations rather than believe in the integrity of the investigators - the investigations are ongoing and not yet concluded, but isn't it telling that Trump and his Trumpsters are becoming ever more agitated in their attempts to shut down the investigations?

I believe in the beneficial role of taxation and government. The government is absolutely vital to the preservation of civilization in America.  Without government there is no rule of law, only the rule of billionaires, which is why I am so appalled by Trump's efforts to gut the government, gut the rule of law, gut legal system, gut the regulations, and put the foxes in charge of the hen-house.

By the way, I do not believe that America is some kind of church. God bless my Christian friends and I wish them great success in converting others into joining their Churches, but I do not want America to become their Church - that is a violation of the first amendment which gives each American the freedom of Religion and freedom from Religion - both.

In other words, since Trump and his Trumpster extremists are against almost all that I believe in, I have stopped being a Republican, stopped being a conservative, and am adamantly opposed to Trump and the extremist Right Wing that put him in power (with a little help from their good friends in Russia)

By the way, if you are not familiar with Nixon's Southern strategy, Nixon's Southern Strategy was explicitly laid out at the end of Republican consultant Lee Atwater's life when he unburdened his soul and said:

"You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

(Please forgive me for using the N-word, but the above quote needs to be very shocking because the racism itself is very shocking and the direct appeal of the Republican Party to racists is also very shocking) 

One final thought, apparently the right wing echo chamber must be promoting the notion of liberal corruption.  I am sure anyone can find anecdotal evidence of liberals who are corrupt, but given that the Obama administration went eight years without a scandal, indictment, or conviction speaks pretty loudly.  Whereas the Trump organization has about numerous corruption scandals and actual indictments from the Mueller investigation alone so far - hard to keep track there are so many.