Sunday, January 21, 2018

MAYBE KIDS WOULD BE BETTER AT GOVERNING

Let's face it, listening to members of the US Congress and spokespersons for the President - and the President himself - leading up to and after the government shutdown, is like listening to kids in a school yard. There is a lot of name calling, and a lot of blaming, and a lot of blustering, and a lot of not backing down.

The difference between Congress and a school yard full of kids is that the kids will argue and fight for awhile, and then they will get back to the business of playing, which is usually characterized by cooperation, inclusiveness, and friendship. (Yes, there are bullies, and this is where Congress, the present Whitehouse and school yards are most similar.)

So maybe we should fire the members of Congress and replace them with kids. Then the remaining problem we will have is what to do with the 6-year old in the Whitehouse!

—-

Saturday, January 20, 2018

IT WAS A SCARY NIGHT AFTER THE SHUTDOWN



The spotlight today shines on Whitehouse Press Secretary Scary Huckleberry Sandbagger (1), who is attributed with the schoolyard taunt issued moments after the government shutdown began. This is Trump politics at its finest. The puerility of the statement is staggering, as is the sophomorishness.
In case you missed it, here is the statement issued by the office of the President of the United States of America. (We should all be totally embarassed.)

“Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown. Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans. We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform. During this politically manufactured Schumer Shutdown, the President and his Administration will fight for and protect the American people.”


(1) Sandbagger: someone who deliberately misleads you to get what they want.
—-

Saturday, January 13, 2018

DONALD J. TRUMP: BIGOT-IN-CHIEF

Words fail me. I know, as we all do, that Donald J. Trump, President of the United States (POTUS), is a bizarre man with faults almost too numerous to list (I won't even try in this post). Every day he tweets or says or does something that makes us think: "OK, this one is truly the worst so far, and something will finally be done about him." But it always turns out that he does even more horrendous things in subsequent days.

And now there is Shitholegate. The media have had a grand time with this one, and we now hear the word "shithole" on radio and television. Hopefully, the vast majority of us understand the underlying reality of the remarks that included that now-famous expletive - pure, unadulterated bigotry. The POTUS wondered aloud why we (the United States) accept so many people from Haiti and Africa - those "shithole countries" - instead of more people from, say, Norway. Translation: why are we accepting so many black people instead of blond-haired, blue-eyed Scandinavians?

I have written before about Trump's white supremacy (Make America Great White Again). The media has written about his many bigoted speeches and utterances during the campaign and as POTUS, leaving no room for any other interpretation than deep-rooted bigotry. He has demonstrated time after time that he does not like "Mexicans" (i.e. anyone from south of the US border), Muslims, immigrants and refugees who are not white, and black people from the crime-ridden cities he talks about. There is no question about it; Donald J. Trump is a bigot.

And there is more we need to understand, and that is the complicity of all the Republican members of Congress - House and Senate - in this bigotry. Where is the outrage from Republicans about Trump's bigoted statements? Where are the leaders of the Republican Party, you know, the Mitch McConnells and the Paul Ryans, when the Trump opens his bigoted mouth? Oh, they are sometimes a bit concerned, but we need to understand, President Trump is not like other Presidents, he has his own style and his own ways. We can't take what he says literally; he doesn't mean it the way it sounds.

And so they pooh-pooh our outrage, and the official Whitehouse mouthpiece, Scary Huckleberry Sandbagger, tells us that: a) the President didn't really say what it is said he said; and b) fake news - fake news - fake news. Ask any Republican in the room at the time, and they will tell you that he didn't say what he said. In other words, the Democrats in the room at the time are a big bunch of liars!

Donald J. Trump, Bigot-in-Chief. He is a bigot. Every Republican in Congress, by not challenging the President, by not calling out the President's bigotry for what it is, is therefore also a bigot, if only by association and silence. THIS is now the United States of America, land of the free (white folks), home of the brave (white folks), with liberty and justice for all (white folks).

I...will...not...rest...until...Donald J. Trump...is...driven...out...of...our...government! 

And neither should you.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

IT’S NATIONAL SHITHOLE DAY!!

Memo to all on-air radio and television personnel from corporate management: It is now acceptable to use the term “shithole” on the air because the Asshole-in-Chief used it in a meeting. Remember to put quotation marks around the word whenever it is used.

Travel Department: The Tourism Bureau of Norway has a new slogan to boost tourism: “Visit NORWAY - it’s not a shithole!

Whitehouse Spokesdroid, Scary Huckleberry Sandbagger, issued a statement to the press: “The President would never use, and did not use such language. This is, once again, Fake News. And that is the official position, straight from the horse’s shithole!”

In a 3AM tweet, President Trump declared: “In addition to being very, very stable, and very, very smart, I am also very talented. I can tweet and toot from my shithole!” MASA!! Make America a Shithole Again!!

And finally, this just in: The Administration has announced that they are renaming the official residence and office building from “The Whitehouse” to “The Shithouse.”

COVFEFE!!!

—-

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

THE RESULTS OF MY FACEBOOK/BLOG SURVEY, AT LAST

In August, 2017, I posted a survey on my blog and Facebook. The survey got 18 responses - thank you. The main question was whether or not people would see my blog if I didn’t link to it on Facebook. The results were a bit confusing; on one hand, most people said that they only go to the blog from Facebook when I post a link there; on the other hand, 10 people said they would go to my blog if it was not linked from Facebook (7 said they would not), and 14 people said they would subscribe to my blog, and get an email notice for new posts (2 said they would not).
Truth is, I rarely look at Facebook these days. I post a cartoon or blog link occasionally, and my wife tells me about things she thinks I might want to look at or know about.

I know there are a few people who read my blog regularly and who are not on Facebook. There are also people who follow me on Twitter (another "social media" place I am on, but don't use regularly). So when I write a new post, I copy the URL for it and post that on both Facebook and Twitter. This seems like a bit of overkill. This discussion leads to the baseline reason I blog, and whether or not I want people to readmyopinion. 

I started blogging on November 5, 2004, have published 417 posts, received 22,367 hits, and have 11 followers. Not very impressive, really, if my goal is to be a popular blogger. The reason I blog is stated in the very first post 13 years ago: Welcome to my blog! I've been composing editorials in my head for quite some time - perhaps since the Bush, Jr. team took office - and wished that I could publish all of these things that clutter my brain. Well, thanks to blogger, I now have my very own blog site. I hope to write often, and maybe, if anyone actually visits, have some conversations. so let the blogging begin... 

The conversations didn't happen on the blog site; few people leave comments there. Once I joined Facebook, I started putting links to my blog every time I posted. This generated some comments and "likes" from Facebook friends, and once in awhile some comments that tended towards conversation. This is all terrific; there is no reason my writing should be anything more than it is.

So the bottom line for me is this: I like to write, and this blog is a place I can put certain types of my writing and have it all in one place. If people read it, great, If people appreciate it, greater. If it occasionally stimulates some discussion, even better. But the main thing is, I write, I put it online, and it is in one place. 

I'm torn about Facebook and Twitter (I actually don't understand how some people can spend so much time on Twitter). Something about what they have become bothers me in my radical, anti-capitalist core (see footnote). Sure, the blogspot platform is Google, and that also bothers me. So I don't have a conclusion yet about staying or leaving Facebook and Twitter. I'll probably continue to be signed up, but not look very often. 

So thanks to the 18 folks who responded to my survey. The survey questions, responses and comments are pasted below. 

---
Footnote: by "anti-capitalist" I don't mean pro-something else. I don't like the way capitalism works in most of the world, but I think there could be different forms of it that are more equitable. This is a future discussion. 

A request to my Facebook friends.

Dear FB friends, please do me a favor and take a short survey, below, about my blog (readmyopinion). The traffic stats tell me that most readers get to it from Facebook, and this is because I post the links here. I am trying to reduce the ties between my life and the big internet entities, and I would prefer not to post links to my blog on Facebook. My blog is hosted on Google's blogspot, and I am looking at how to move to a hosting site that will not collect data from my blog.
So, if you would, the survey (you can answer in a comment by the question numbers):

1. Do you read my blog:
a) never, (0)
b) sometimes, (17)
c) often. (2)

2. If b or c above, do you go to it from:
a) Facebook, (17)
b) directly to the blog, (1)
c) both. (1)

3. Have you commented on a blog post of mine:
a) never, (1)
b) once in awhile, (15)
c) often. (0)

4. If b or c above, do you comment:
a) on Facebook, (12)
b) on the blog site. (4)

5. Would you ever go to my blog if it was not linked on Facebook? (Y or N)
(Y 10). (N 7)

6. Would you subscribe to my blog (RSS notification to your email) if it were easy to do and FREE? (Y or N)
((Y 14) (N 2) (? 1)

Any other comments appreciated. Many thanks.

Comments:
- Ultimately, since I believe you write as the inspiration hits (versus like... "I write on Mondays", I tend to look to FB for you to share, and I go from there.
- I know in advance that i'm going to agree with what you write 99.98% of the time. no offense, same w/many nytimes, new yorker, atlantic opinion writers!
- I am overwhelmed with emails
- Ionly think of it when I see the link on FB.
- Facebook is definitely more likely to lure me than an email. I, too am overwhelmed with emails.
- But in truth, I think, knowing my online habits, that I'd be less likely to see the blog without the Facebook link.
- Link in an email might be best.
- (Facebook) For me fb is the primary portal to other things, the aggregating nature of it is what keeps me there and connected to many other things.
- The only places I read anything is from Twitter or FB. Submit to your social media overlords.
- Sometimes your blog helps me peel away the layers of nonsense on an issue. Always insightful and definitely appreciated!
- Yes I would to read your blog regularly.
- Agree with you on FB move. Keep blogging.

MY CONSERVATIVE PATRIOT SECRET IDENTITY

I recently received a package in the mail from the Heritage Foundation containing a calculator, a 4-color pen, and a note pad. It addressed me by name, and was from the President of the foundation, Dr. Edwin J. Feulner. He stated that he was writing to me because I am a "true conservative." Hmmm. I wrote back to him (more on that later), and a couple of weeks later I received another package from the Heritage Foundation, with another letter from the foundation President addressing me as a "true patriot." This package contained a nifty Heritage Foundation lapel pin!  I didn't know that I am a true conservative and patriot;. have I been moonlighting in my sleep?

The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank that gained prominence in the 1980's, and whose 3,000 page "Mandate for Leadership" became the Reagan administrations game plan. Read interesting things about the Heritage Foundation here.

I often read stuff by and from groups on the right so I understand their points of view. I generally don't agree with their points of view. I read the 2 letters from Dr. Feulner, and really got a good chuckle from them, as well as some insights into the other side. I decided to write a reply to Dr. Feulner, and sent it to his attention in the postage-paid donation envelope they so conveniently provided to me. I'm sure the Dr. never saw my letter. I did have fun writing it.

Here is my letter - and it was fun to wrote:

Dear Dr. Feulner: 

I received yesterday an unsolicited package from you containing: a 4-page letter, a Membership/donation form and envelope, a calculator, a pen and a notepad. 

In your letter, you said “What if they keep the calculator and you don’t hear back from them?” Well Ed, you are hearing back from me. And no, you are not getting any money from me. 

You see Ed, I am a proud member and supporter of the “radical special interests” you talk about in your letter; the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. These are organizations that you say “spread hate and fear and lies.” This is ironic, Ed, because your letter itself spreads hate and fear and lies. 

I almost agreed with your letter when you talked about “the spineless GOP leadership in Congress;” however, they are not spineless Ed, they are among the most reprehensible people on Earth, based on their goals and aspirations, but mostly on their continual kissing of the royal Trump butt cheeks.  

You tout that the Heritage Foundation has provided policy solutions to President Trump since day one…at last we know who to blame for the Trump Shit Storm!! 

And Ed, what is “gender of circumstances?” I probably would not like your answer.

Finally Ed, about those gifts you included. The calculator does not work. I looked at the back to see if it needed a battery - and there was a screw missing! Of course. The pen works; however, like the calculator, it is cheap crap made in China. This is how the Heritage Foundation supports American workers and the Trump slogan “America First.” The packaging is foam made from petroleum hydrocarbons, and this, as well as the energy and emissions costs associated with shipping these cheap items from China and then mailing them to me is a clear statement of the Heritage Foundation position on environmental issues. I wonder what the Foundation position is on human-induced climate change? Probably another question I don’t want to hear the answer for. 

Ed, I doubt that you will see this letter. But I had fun writing it. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to write more checks to the radical special interests I support, including those that provide support and services to the millions of people you conservatives are screwing. 

Yours truly,

Paul Fishman 





Monday, December 18, 2017

THE BIG, BEAUTIFUL GOP TAX PLAN - MORE TRUMPERY

(Large audible sigh) It’s not easy to know where to begin or how to talk about the GOP tax plan that will probably pass this week and go to the Trump desk for his scrawl. But I have to try.

The GOP tax reform law is a very huge con. Ah yes, according to the Orangeman, it will simplify filing our taxes (a postcard-size tax return!); it will reduce everyone’s taxes; and best of all, it will stimulate the economy. So let’s start there, with that list.

Simplification. No, it will not. In fact, it will probably make the tax code more complex than it is now. This is true sausage; every special interest group unleashed their lobbyist hordes on the Capitol, and so much was kept in and then added to. When I asked our tax accountant a few days ago what he thought, he simply rolled his eyes, curled up into a fetal position, and groaned.

Tax reduction. Well, as far as I can tell, it will reduce taxes for a lot of people, at least for a few years. Many of the deductions the Trumpkins (tip of the hat to Max Boot for the term) wanted to eliminate were kept in as a result of the previously mentioned hordes of lobbyists. While some deductions or exemptions are reduced or eliminated, higher limits on others will make up for those losses. The real winners are (spoiler alert) the very wealthy and the corporations. The real losers will probably be the rest of us, once the tax reducing parts of the bill expire in a few years. Note - the tax saving measures expire for everyone except the very wealthy and corporations; theirs go on forever.

Economic stimulation. I think these GOP creeps are stimulating themselves in the back room, because there is no evidence, none, nada, that tax cuts stimulate the economy. This “trickle down” BS has been tried and failed a number of times, most recently in the State of Kansas, where the result is economic shambles. The wealthy and corporations will have more money in their money bags, and they will keep it, or, in the case of corporations, use it to reward their investors with dividends, or buy back a lot of their stock. So if you have shares in big corporations, maybe you will benefit.

Bottom Line. The new GOP tax bill is a big solution to a non-existent problem. Yes, the tax code is big and complex and needs to be reformed; however, this doesn’t do that. This GOP tax bill has two purposes, and only two:
1. Demonstrate that the GOP can acomplish something Trump promised - anything!
2. Reward the big donors to the GOP with lower taxes = cash in pocket.

Oh wait, there is one other purpose - another nail in the coffin of the Affordable Care Act (you know, one of the things that black guy accomplished that the Trumpkins are systematically erasing). The GOP tax bill has a provision that eliminates the mandate to have health insurance (or pay a fine), that will result in millions fewer people (mostly the young and healthy) opting out of health insurance, which will make it more dificult for insurance companies to offer lower premiums, which will make it more difficult for people to afford health care, and etc.

But wait, there’s more. Oh right, the deficit. You see, the GOP couldn’t figure out how to make the tax bill pay for itself. Originally, they wanted to eliminate a lot of tax deductions - for people who need them most, like families, students, poor people; the usual suspects. But they couldn’t get enough votes from their own to pass the thing, so they had to buy off the holdouts with gratuitous keep-ins. As a result, this GOP tax bill will cost us, you and me and our kids and grandkids, over one trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) over the next decade. Ah, but worry not, tax payers, the Grand Old Party has an idea - reduce those damn entitlements! You know, social security, medicare and medicaid. Cut the funds from those and bingo, the trillion dollar deficit is gone. What great governing.
I will be chucking up my lunch when I see the yellow-coifed Orangeman scrawling a seismic line on the bill, surrounded by the grinning despicables of the GOP.

May they all rot in Hell!

—-

THE BIG, BEAUTIFUL GOP TAX PLAN - MORE TRUMPERY

(Large audible sigh) It’s not easy to know where to begin or how to talk about the GOP tax plan that will probably pass this week and go to the Trump desk for his scrawl. But I have to try.

The GOP tax reform law is a very huge con. Ah yes, according to the Orangeman, it will simplify filing our taxes (a postcard-size tax return!); it will reduce everyone’s taxes; and best of all, it will stimulate the economy. So let’s start there, with that list.

Simplification. No, it will not. In fact, it will probably make the tax code more complex than it is now. This is true sausage; every special interest group unleashed their lobbyist hordes on the Capitol, and so much was kept in and then added to. When I asked our tax accountant a few days ago what he thought, he simply rolled his eyes, curled up into a fetal position, and groaned.

Tax reduction. Well, as far as I can tell, it will reduce taxes for a lot of people, at least for a few years. Many of the deductions the Trumpkins (tip of the hat to Max Boot for the term) wanted to eliminate were kept in as a result of the previously mentioned hordes of lobbyists. While some deductions or exemptions are reduced or eliminated, higher limits on others will make up for those losses. The real winners are (spoiler alert) the very wealthy and the corporations. The real losers will probably be the rest of us, once the tax reducing parts of the bill expire in a few years. Note - the tax saving measures expire for everyone except the very wealthy and corporations; theirs go on forever.

Economic stimulation. I think these GOP creeps are stimulating themselves in the back room, because there is no evidence, none, nada, that tax cuts stimulate the economy. This “trickle down” BS has been tried and failed a number of times, most recently in the State of Kansas, where the result is economic shambles. The wealthy and corporations will have more money in their money bags, and they will keep it, or, in the case of corporations, use it to reward their investors with dividends, or buy back a lot of their stock. So if you have shares in big corporations, maybe you will benefit.

Bottom Line. The new GOP tax bill is a big solution to a non-existent problem. Yes, the tax code is big and complex and needs to be reformed; however, this doesn’t do that. This GOP tax bill has two purposes, and only two:
1. Demonstrate that the GOP can acomplish something Trump promised - anything!
2. Reward the big donors to the GOP with lower taxes = cash in pocket.

Oh wait, there is one other purpose - another nail in the coffin of the Affordable Care Act (you know, one of the things that black guy accomplished that the Trumpkins are systematically erasing). The GOP tax bill has a provision that eliminates the mandate to have health insurance (or pay a fine), that will result in millions fewer people (mostly the young and healthy) opting out of health insurance, which will make it more dificult for insurance companies to offer lower premiums, which will make it more difficult for people to afford health care, and etc.

But wait, there’s more. Oh right, the deficit. You see, the GOP couldn’t figure out how to make the tax bill pay for itself. Originally, they wanted to eliminate a lot of tax deductions - for people who need them most, like families, students, poor people; the usual suspects. But they couldn’t get enough votes from their own to pass the thing, so they had to buy off the holdouts with gratuitous keep-ins. As a result, this GOP tax bill will cost us, you and me and our kids and grandkids, over one trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) over the next decade. Ah, but worry not, tax payers, the Grand Old Party has an idea - reduce those damn entitlements! You know, social security, medicare and medicaid. Cut the funds from those and bingo, the trillion dollar deficit is gone. What great governing.
I will be chucking up my lunch when I see the yellow-coifed Orangeman scrawling a seismic line on the bill, surrounded by the grinning despicables of the GOP.

May they all rot in Hell! —-

Monday, December 04, 2017

IT'S NOT JUST A TAX BILL; IT'S A VICTORY IN THE CULTURE WAR, AND WE LIBS/DEMS LOST

The GOP Tax Bill will certainly come out of reconciliation quickly and be signed into law by a grinning clown surrounded by a bevy of buttcheek smoochers. And the tax system in America will be changed.

But this bill is not really about taxes. Sure, it will benefit the wealthy and corporations by lowering their tax rates. It will benefit some percentage of the proverbial middle class, at least for a few years until those benefits expire. It will not, in the opinion of most honest economists, do a lot for wages and the economy; the high estimates of economic boost I've seen are in the tenths of a percent. The goal of this tax bill is to give a big gift to wealthy donors, including corporations, and break the social contract of the past few decades between government and citizens. 

What this bill really represents is a major victory in the decades-old culture war in the United States of America, the political and economic struggle between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, haves and have nots. We on the liberal/progressive side of the war have to understand that we have lost a major and prolonged struggle. And we have to understand that this pendulum won't swing back our way very soon.

There is a lot of reporting coming out about the new tax bill. I have read and listened to some, and have a few take-aways. 
  • The rich will get richer, and corporate profits will get larger. The corporate tax rate will drop from 35% to somewhere between 20 - 25%. Corporations will have an incentive to bring profits they've stashed offshore back to the US. This will not result in what the GOP claims will be more jobs and increased wages, with perhaps a few exceptions. Mostly this will result in big dividends to shareholders, and big buy-backs of stock from shareholders, both benefiting people who own corporate stocks. 
    • People like me will benefit, because our retirement investments includes shares of stock in various corporations. People like the Clintons, the Obamas, and all the other people of wealth in this country, no matter their political affiliations, will benefit from lower taxes and larger returns on their investments. This does not make us happy.
  • The corporate tax reductions have no expiration date; the tax rate reductions for people with lower incomes will expire in 2025. 
  • Numerous income tax deductions available now will be gone. I don't have a complete list yet, but many people will end up paying more.  
  • A very key change, in the category of lost deductions, will be the end of the deduction for local and state taxes. This is huge. Some states have been able to increase their tax rates because of the federal deduction for these payments. This is how those states have funded increased government services. Once that deduction is gone, people in those states will start to clamor for lower taxes, smaller government, fewer services - sound familiar? And by the way, these higher-tax states are mostly those that vote Democratic. The GOP goal of smaller government at all levels will be supported. 
There are many non-tax related items in the new tax bill, of course. Pork has flowed freely on Capitol Hill. 
  • The Affordable Care Act - of course! The mandate that everyone needs to buy insurance is eliminated. This will mean that millions of people, mostly younger ones, will choose not to have health insurance, leaving the older people in our society left holding the bag. Rates will go up, services covered will go down in order for insurance companies to remain profitable, and Medicare to remain viable. 
  • The Johnson Amendment is repealed. This has kept religious organizations from being political by threatening to eliminate their tax-exempt status if they are politically active. Once the amendment is gone, we can expect to see churches jumping into politics in a big way, especially on issues like abortion, birth control and others. 
  • New taxes will be levied on private college endowments, tax deductions for the interest on student loans will be eliminated, and tuition waivers for graduate students will be taxed (waivers will be considered income). This all will hurt students, and make college even less affordable for young people from middle- and working class families.
  • The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be opened to oil and gas development. This very large piece of pork was the price for the vote of Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who has been working hard to reverse the Obama protections of the ANWR. 
There are many more items in the new massive tax bill that we will learn about in the weeks ahead. Some things might not survive intact through the reconciliation process (getting the House and Senate versions jammed together into one bill), and new things could be slipped in. But one thing is certain, the bill will be put on Trump's desk and he will gleefully sign it, before Christmas. (Hey, just say "Merry Christmas" everyone!)

AND...the new tax bill will paint a larger target on government programs, the ill-named "entitlements" social security, medicare/medicaid, and others. The tax bill will increase the federal deficit by more than one trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) over the next ten years. In other words, the tax reductions are not paid for in the bill. To address this deficit, the GOP will step up the attacks on the programs that assist the poor, the elderly, children - you know, those who do not have any political power in America, in order to replace the money lost by lower taxes. 

Let me be clear here; this is not happening because Donald Trump is President. This has been the trajectory of the GOP for a few decades. What happened in 2016 was a grand coming together of a number of critical trends, including: widespread discontent with government; an incredible increase in the gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us; increasing power and control of government by corporations and their henchpeople; loss of jobs and stagnation of wages; permission to let prejudice out from the dark corners and into the light of day (particularly as a reaction to the first black President of the United States); a drastic widening of the gap between the perceived liberal urban elites and those good folks in the heartland; the "war on religion (Christianity)" exemplified by "happy holidays," same-sex marriage, abortion and birth control; seemingly uncontrolled "invasion" by immigrants who take jobs away from Americans (and rape and murder us!); and little green men hiding under every bed. OK, that last one is a joke. 

As I see the state of politics in America today, the conservative side, albeit a very different and radical type of conservatism, has won a series of political battles. This is the same as saying that the liberal side has lost these battles, and suffered very serious blows. Some data:
  • Republicans control 67 (68%) of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers, Democrats control 31 (the lowest number since the Civil War);
  • Republicans control both legislative chambers in 32 states, Democrats control 13;
  • 33 Governors are Republicans, the most since 1922. 
In other words, it is not just at the federal level that Democrats are in the minority. 

What went wrong for the Democrats? What went right for the Republicans? There are books on this topic, and I'll leave it for a future post, maybe, to get into these questions. I will say, however, that in hindsight I think the Democratic Party, and Democratic voters, have made a series of major blunders in strategy and choice of candidates. The Dems largely ignored the rising tide of populism, and at the last moments threw Bernie Sanders populism at the voters. Hillary Clinton was a bad choice to carry the standard of liberalism into battle, no matter how qualified she is, no matter how thick her resumé, no matter that she is a woman. Neither Clinton nor Sanders could have beaten the tide that lifted Trump to the White House. What Democrat would have had a chance? Maybe nobody. Maybe the battle had already been won. Think about it - Donald J. Trump - a foul-mouthed, buffoonish, ignorant, combative, bigoted man with zero political experience became President of the United States. And no, it wasn't Russia, it wasn't Comey, it wasn't Jill effing Stein - stop being delusional already - that lost Clinton the election, it was the people who voted for Trump, the better Electoral College algorithm, and a shit strategy by the Clinton campaign and the DNC

The pendulum of politics swings back and forth. It has swung very far from where I am, and I am not hopeful that it will get back to me before I'm just a memory. So in the meantime, I will continue to study, I will continue to comment, I will try to understand that Trump tweets and toots are mostly hot air and methane used as cover for the dirty work that is going on in every corner of the federal government. I will support liberal causes, but only those that I conclude are realistic. I will continue to support those people in my community that need a hand to keep them above water and safe. 

And I will hope that things turn out OK for my grandkids. 

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