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115. Voting in Desperate Times

1 Jul

Our democracy ordinarily works in wonderful ways, but as the founding fathers anticipated, could be corrupted. It is now on a dangerous path. Republicans and their top leaders (Trump, McConnell, Ryan, etc.) are quite willing to sacrifice our ideals, integrity, and world leadership, to survive, and to support their wealthy patrons. The “desperate times” are caused by the factors described below.

In order for Republicans to survive, they feel that they must tell lies, create havoc, and engage in ruthless character assassination. An example is the many repetitions of the investigation of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, which NEVER resulted in significant findings. The basic reason why Republicans must lie is that they cannot say “vote for us, so that our extremely rich donors can be made even richer.” They fool people by saying that their financial programs will help the middle class, but history shows that they do not. The often used “trickle-down” concept is not supported by fact (even the Pope stated this).

Below I will discuss voting, but it is important to first really define the Republican problem so that the urgency will be apparent. Here is a list of current and future dangers:

1. Alienation of our long-standing and faithful allies (example: NATO and G7 members) in favor of Russian Putin and other ruthless dictators. Difficult international decisions are best made with the support of allies.
2. Encouragement of racism through lies and false data. On two occasions, Trump provided some support for Neo-Nazis, saying “some were very fine people.”
3. Creating an ultimately unfavorable world trade policy, that is not good for us and creates world leadership openings for China and Russia. All of Trump’s tariffs were countered by foreign equivalents. The final result was a loss of many USA jobs. 
4. Shattering our reputation for honesty. World leaders never know where we stand because Trump frequently and impulsively keeps changing his mind.
5. Judicial appointments are based primarily on loyalty to Trump rather than appropriate reputation and experience.
6. Failure to seriously deal with Russian attacks on our election system and also Republican gerrymandering, voter suppression, and other election scams.
7. Failure to separate politics from the functioning of the FBI and other agencies. Inane attacks on the FBI will have long-term effects on its important functioning.
8. Abolishing government regulations that protect us from various forms of pollution, and from financial scams that are often aimed at the elderly and those poorly educated.
9. Degrading government agencies that were established to improve international relations and decisions, such as the State Department.
10. Failure to fill important offices. We lack ambassadors, judges, agency leaders and experts, etc. Republicans want to blame the Democrats, but there is a failure to present nominations, and those nominated are often unqualified and simply Trump sycophants.
11. Disorganized border procedures keep worsening and are establishing rules that will negatively affect border policy for many years. Desperate decent people that are seeking asylum are locked up like criminals and have had their children taken away. It is well-known that certain Latin American countries have been essentially taken over by criminal gangs, and that decent people have needed to escape. Some of the money spent on their jailing could have been spent on helping these desperate countries.
12. Failure to support the problem of climate-change. This could be the most serious problem in the list. Eventually millions of people may die, and the mass migrations due to changes in rainfall patterns, could be horrendous.
13. Policies that negatively affect education and science can ultimately have serious harmful effects. Every nation needs educated people and will benefit from scientific research. Republicans fear education because knowledgeable voters will see through their schemes. Science is discouraged because some manufacturers may lose a little money in doing the right thing.
14. Future Supreme Court justices could be disreputable Trump loyalists that will create laws that a majority of Americans don’t want.
15. Corruption of the Census rules likely will eliminate non-citizens from being counted. This will have a negative political impact.
16. In general, current USA policies emerge from impulsive, simplistic decisions – often by Tweets. Frequently there is little study of all possible outcomes and all relevant factors when a decision is made. The traditional and effective process for making decisions based on hearings and the knowledge of experts is ignored. An example of poor judgment is the very biased tax-cut bill, which will affect infrastructure repair and other important programs. Trump’s advisors are mostly his friends, relatives, and yes-men rather than experienced leaders in relevant fields.

Now that the very real dangers have been described, we know that the most effective way (not the only way) to deal with all these long-term dangers is by voting Trump and Republicans out of office. Voting is critical.

Voting is so important now, that we must consider certain factors. It is sad to say that voting is often based on superficial subjective features like appearance, familiarity, religion, attractiveness, speaking voice, appearance of strength, etc.
We must choose candidates that will get maximum votes.
Of course, candidates must also be intelligent, well-educated, reliable, and supportive of the best policies.
What to avoid in getting maximum votes:
1. A certain number of people will not vote for those with foreign names and accents.
2. People that appear weak. Many voters require an appearance of physical strength.
3. People that lack charisma and a really fluent speaking ability.
4. I hate to say it, but a tall, white, Christian, articulate man is optimal. No one in the USA will reject someone like this, but someone lacking some or all of these features will definitely lose some votes.

A final thought:
I must admit that when the leading Democrat candidates for the presidency were Hillary and Barack, I was worried. Still, it was a great joy for me when Barack Obama emerged, and overcame these petty limitations. (I would also have been very happy with Hillary C.)
There are some really good trends now that hopefully will prevail. For example, women are more and more capable of getting votes. I see really good leadership ability in women like Elizabeth Warren. 

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108. Imminent Danger of POTUS

28 Aug

The investigation of Trump and his associates is going slowly (as expected), but the dangerous actions already taken, and worse decisions in the future, are so dire that we must think about quick action. Congress must consider the consequences of his continuing in office. Below, I have listed some of these grim possibilities:

Naive and blatant coercive interactions with certain countries, such as North Korea and Pakistan (and even China and Russia) can move us closer to disastrous situations and even horrible world wars.

Further reductions of government regulations, which could result in serious health factors due to air and water pollution.

Other losses of regulations affect the financial stability of major banks and investment houses. When there are failures, ordinary taxpayers lose money by bailing them out.

Failure to raise the debt ceiling will cause the USA to default on loans. The
consequence of this would be:
1. A lower credit rating will cause an increase in the interest the USA is paying on its loans, and the result is that we, the taxpayers will lose.
2. With less trust in the US dollar, we could lose our Reserve Currency status.
Reserve currency is the money used for international trade, which currently is the US dollar. There are numerous benefits to this status.
3. The US is a world leader in many ways. With a poor credit rating, world respect would diminish.

Trump has alienated many of our traditional allies by egocentric dealings and accidental insults. Allies are helpful for many kinds of international problems and conflicts.

Trump encourages alt-right groups, so that our world-wide reputation for the respect of human dignity is being diminished.

Our traditional system of free public education could be compromised and human resources would be diminished. He sets a bad example for children, by his support of violence and his aberrant actions.

Failure to support climate change remedies can lead to disastrous and costly human migrations, storms, floods, and the formation of new deserts.

Trump has allowed Russians to infiltrate our society and elections. He tends to ignore or even support Russia and has made little progress in fighting cyber-crime.

Trump re-writes history according to his own needs. He tells blatant lies and fails to coordinate with assistants, which causes confusion and distrust at home and abroad.

His attacks on the press undermine a system that is vital for any democracy.  This encourages ruthless leaders abroad to attack, jail, or even murder reporters.  It is telling that so many media organizations are critical of him.  He should be supporting traditional reliable sources like the NY Times, CNN, and the Washington Post.

106. Health Care for All

30 Jul

It is already a basic USA value to help everyone with at least some types of health problems. If a homeless person is lying in the street with severe injuries, he will at least get minimal care. Covertly, Republicans might not agree with this, but on the record they would have to support it or be castigated.

Given this premise, that in practice, everyone will get health care if needed, then it does make sense to require everyone pay for it. The simplest and most agreeable implementation is Medicare for all. Remember that our POTUS promised health care for all at good rates, in his campaign.

I suggest that we greatly increase taxes for rich folks by having higher rates and by closing tax loopholes. If you are extremely rich, then your taxes will be extremely high. If you have no income, then no tax. If you have a small regular income then you could have a very small increase. As income increases, then the percent allotted to health care expense also gradually increases. Lower and middle class people will pay a little more and wealthy people a lot more. Why should wealthy people pay a lot more: because they use a lot of resources and because much of their wealth has been gained by unfair influence on Congressional financial (tax, subsidies, IRA’s, etc.) legislation.

Note that I am not against people who become rich through hard work and intelligence. It is extreme wealth and wealth unfairly gained that bothers me; particularly when there is substantial poverty in our nation. Many very wealthy people have stated that they would not object to increased taxes.

Countries with universal health care include: Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom (see Wikipedia).

 

60. List of Blog Titles

6 Jul

The following is a list of all my Blog Titles:
————-  2012 ————
1. Some Major Principles (Mar
2. Voters Beware (Mar
3. Big Governmentfor Women (Mar
4. Consciousness (Apr
5. Social Dawinism (Apr
6. Self-defeating Votes (Apr
7. Voter Education (Apr
8. Psychotherapy and Science (Apr
9. Vote Democratic (Apr
10. Vitamin C and Colds (Apr
11. The “Private Sector” solution (May
12. Bain Capitalism (May
13. Health and Educaton: rising costs (Jun
———–  2013  ————
14. “Wealthyvolution:” A new word (Sep
15. Debacles: costly and ubiquitous (Oct
16. Political Morality (Nov
———— 2014 ———-
17. Mouthwash Blues (Jun
———— 2015 ———-
18. Energy, Food, Water, and our Survival (Apr
19. American Lazy Slackers? (Apr
20. Mr. Jones Saves Capitalism (Apr
21. Simple Political Re-wording with Dangerous Consequences (Apr
22. Back-pain and calf-tension (Jun
23. Treatment for common back-pain (Jul
24. Republican poll misinterpreted (Jul
25. Bernie Sanders Interpretation of “Socialism” (Aug
26. Approve the Iran Nuclear Agreement (Sep
27. Trump can’t be bought? (Sep
28. Bernie Sanders on the Mark (Oct
29. Hilary Clinton: outstanding (Oct
30. Stretching program for back pain (Nov
31. ISIS Hysteria (Nov
32. Who supports Trump? (Dec
33. Jihadist attacks vs auto accidents (Dec
———– 2016 —————                                                                                                        34. Climate change: Simplified (Jan
35. POTUS Proud (Jan
36. Capitalism corrupted (Jan
37. Careful Voting (Jan
38. Trump’s Wall (Jan
39. Dem Dual Debate (Feb
40. Hindu NASA astronaut (Feb
41. Politics of Fear (Feb
42. Questions for Trump? (Feb
43. GOP Tax Nonsense (Feb
44. Is Trump a spoiler? (Feb
45. Trump as “Statesman”? (Feb
46. The Candidates 2016 (Feb
47. A Republican Policy of Revenge (Mar
48. Morning Joe “Trickles up” (mar
49. Is Cruz better than Trump? (Mar
50. Trump, Torture, and Aging inhibition (Mar
51. Flint water and GOP Policy (Mar
52. Ingested Lead Detox (Mar
53. Global Dysfunction (Apr
54. Free Public College (Apr
55. Why do they hate us? (May
56. Why: Not-Trump? (May
57. Secret of Trump (May
58. Deranged Murderers who Happen to be Muslim (Jun
59. Email Issue vs Policy Disasters (Jul                                                                                60.  Title List                                                                                                                       61. “Extreme” FBI Attacks  (Hillary Emails)   (Jul

 

 

32. Who Supports Trump?

9 Dec

People describe Trump supporters in various ways, but I think I see something that most others overlook.  Here is my logic.  Above all, the supporters are conservatives, and of course, Republicans.  This identity is key to understanding them and the first thing to understand.  This rigid identification can be inherited, based on community sentiment, or simply results from a powerful fear of change.  “Liberals will take away my money, make me support poor people, take away my doctors, family life, debase my marriage, etc.  And I know all this because important people on TV (Fox) say this, and my friends believe this.”

I really did not understand this type of thinking until I moved to a very conservative neighborhood and made friends there.  I had many discussions with them but when talking about politics, I always bumped into a brick wall.

So, given this powerful conservative identity factor, the rest is easy.  These Trump supporters know that things are not going well in the Middle-East, home economics,  jobs, salaries, etc.  Even Republicans admit that the very rich are getting richer and the rest of us are stuck at a losing level.  So in order to improve things, they see the  need for new ideas and strong new leaders — and leaders that cannot be bought by the billionaires.   And who best fits the profile: Trump.  He is strong, bold, self-supporting and is willing to present ideas that satisfy at a very crude visceral level.  And given the inflexible and unshakable identity factor, it is almost impossible to change their thinking.

Meanwhile, Democrats and Independents are growing more confident as Trump continues his serious political errors.

29. Hilary Clinton: Outstanding

23 Oct

After watching the recent Democratic debate and the House hearing on Benghazi, I saw a person who is articulate, logical, reasonable and in great control.  As I listened to her answers I was reminded of our past President Clinton, who I thought was one of the best speakers I have ever heard.

I admit that for a while I was enchanted with Bernie Sanders because I loved his message.  At first I thought he became a candidate to emphasize a point, but as his popularity increased I began to take his candidacy seriously.  After the two events mentioned above, however, I tend to favor Hilary because she seems most competent, knowledgable and strong. Even her emotion was balanced and appropriate.  She laughed when Republican Martha Roby asked her if she slept alone (all night) on the night of the event.  She was slightly annoyed, angry, amused, tired, happy, ernest, patient, and mostly calm.  Her strength over the 11 hours of badgering during the House hearing, is amazing.

Bernie has provided a wonderful service in pushing the entire party more to the left, forging a path towards real economic equality.  I now have restored my original analysis of Bernie’s candidacy, someone who is trying to shift policy and emphasize his (great) ideas.  But I think that Clinton, if nominated, is more likely than Sanders to win the presidential election.

 

 

24. Republican Poll Misinterpreted

29 Jul

In several recent polls related to Republican presidential candidates, voters have given the most votes (around 20%) to Donald Trump.  It seems that many people interpret this as Trump being the “leader.”  However, this type of poll can be misinterpreted.  About 20% goes to Trump and the remaining 80% is spread out to the others.

But if there was only one other candidate, that other candidate might get the entire 80%. Since Trump seems to be in a category of his own (radical and provocative), a new type of poll should be considered.  Trump could be compared to each of the other candidates and this might show that Trump is actually less popular than some of the others. It is for this type of situation that some elections have run-offs, if no one reaches a majority.