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Gender: Male
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,425

Journal Archives

Republican failure to pay tribute to those who died from COVID speaks volumes.

To me, the absence of Republican leadership and media paying tribute to the COVID-19 dead is the textbook definition of a glaring omission. Sometimes it's what you don't say that tells people something about you. Would it have hurt the Republicans (even Fred Trump's brat) to say a little something nice about all the people who have died?

They're saying nothing, but it seems to me we should all be hearing that silence as something. Are they telling everyone they feel guilty and want to hide from some truth? Maybe they don't want to eulogize people they have been (and continue to be) willing to let die? Maybe they don't want to own what they did and continue to do?

The 74 million "Against the Dems" (not "Trump") voters

We keep hearing how Trump got 74 million votes. He didn't. I think "Against the Dems" got 74 million votes, and Trump just happened to be in the "Against the Dems" ballot slot. If the slot had simply read "Against the Dems" instead of "Trump," who knows, "Against the Dems" might have gotten a few million more votes than Trump.

Respectfully, what I think some of us Dems need to learn is how to avoid helping Republicans persuade voters to vote for "Against the Dems." Demonizing and lying about Dems has become the Republicans' exclusive play, largely thanks to Trump, and we should be ready to counter it. We certainly shouldn't be helping them execute it.

Some of us talk too much, posture too much to try to look "more Dem than thou." Some offend for no reason, trading zero gained votes for a hundred lost votes on whims and triggers. Some blithely "sour grapes" the "Against the Dems" voters as bad people whom we'd rather have against us than for us. Some Dems seem to always forget to remind folks of all the dumb, crazy things we're not saying, allowing our opponents to lie and say we're saying them (and only saying them) instead of the smart, wise things we're actually saying. Or something.

The worst thing about inadvertent Dem support for "Against the Dems" is that that malignant orange gasbag just eats it up. Pundits keep reminding us how powerful he is. I'm really tired of that. I want about 24 million of those 74 million on our side, while keeping our 81 million. Is that asking too much?

Putin's gonna get his.

Rat face messed with the wrong people this time, the American people. We're gonna organize the world to confiscate everything he and his poison-administering, sneaky-ass, money-thieving, money-laundering oligarchs have and liquidate it. His helpers in all our countries are going to be exposed and tossed in the pokey. He's going down. His downfall is going to be like the Ceaucescus or Muammar al-Gaddafi. Hopefully worse. I look forward to the YouTube.

Defund "Republicanist" Police (specifically) by defunding the Republican Drug War

If you want to defund something, take the money out of the so-called Drug War. That would deal a death blow to bad policing (Republican-oriented officers) and mass incarceration (Republican-oriented for-profit prisons).

We have a legal drug in this country, alcohol. It does massive damage, but it clearly has a beneficial side when used responsibly. It has found its equilibrium. The culture has worked out a way of living with alcohol as a regulated recreational drug. We are doing the same with marijuana right now, and (as anyone could have predicted) it's working out fine. There is no reason to think we wouldn't find a way of living with decriminalized and regulated drugs of all categories. That's the way things were before criminalization. We survived.

The Republican "Drug War's" explicit goal was to inflict suffering and damage on minorities while benefiting Republican politics. It has been a massive "success" from that perspective. It's a race war by other means. As such, it attracts Republican-oriented lowlife to policing. It's a racism money tree, a recruiting tool for racist soldier wannabes, and the lifeblood of the dirtiest Republican politics and corruption.

Defund the Drug War if you want to defund bad policing and evil in general. Lift the curse. Decriminalize. That's the way to defund bad policing and a whole lot of bad everything else.

Trump failed, then made failure an official policy.

Back in the early days of the coronavirus, Trump was saying, "We think we have it very well under control." He didn't say, "the states have it very well under control." And Trump didn't wait for the governors to put travel restrictions on China. Why?

The idea that the federal government was a "backup" didn't start to show up in Trumpie lingo until they'd already blown it. The Trump response to failure was to declare that he, in effect, is supposed to fail at coordinating the federal response. It's not his ball.

He called the ball. He dropped it. He looked around for who to blame. And he now says it's not his ball anyway.

Terribly for our country, not only did Trump fail, but now he has to continue to fail (to keep up the pretense that he failed on purpose earlier). Trump and Republicans, solely to protect themselves, made failure of the federal government to coordinate an emergency into official government policy.

"Getting" more out of people instead of "giving" them more.

JFK said, "...ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."

I hear the plans to tax the wealthy and corporations, and I strongly agree with them. I hear "free health care for all." I hear "free education for all." I strongly agree with those too.

But it's not just out of empathy that I agree with our country "investing" in those things. I'm not merely a "bleeding heart liberal." I'm also partly a "bad person," like perhaps one or two others in the world. Therefore, one of the main reasons I want our government to ensure free health care, free education, high quality child care, guaranteed nutrition, etc., is not because it will make people happier. (That's great but...) one of the main reasons is that by our government efficiently supplying those things, I'm going to get something out of it for good old number one.

I'm going to "get," in other words, for my selfish, nasty self and my offspring a better, cleaner, friendlier, stronger, wealthier world than I have now. We'll all be bettering ourselves. I'll be a better person (there's quite a bit of room for improvement) and have better people to be among. (You other people have somewhat more room for improvement than I do.)

In the end, if we get the right amount of investment units to the human resources, I'll have better thing makers to make better things for precious me. I'll have better trained, better dispositioned, more enthusiastic people to take care of selfish old me in my rapidly approaching old age. That's pretty important to me.

I realize that makes me a churl, and that almost no one else in the world thinks that way, but, yeah, there it is. I'm only bringing this up in case someone wants to point out to voters that Dem ideas are actually good for the few selfish people in the world.

Repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act instead of banning assault weapons.

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 greatly restricts the rights of Americans to seek damages from gun manufacturers and dealers in court. I would say repealing that law might do a lot more to solve the gun problem than attempting to ban assault weapons.

For one thing, there would be no need to define what an assault weapon is. We wouldn't have this whack-a-mole game with the gun industry thinking up technicalities to get around the assault weapons ban. We wouldn't have all these subtle issues like magazine capacity to try to encode. The NRA, for its part, would not have a myriad of state and federal "restrictions" to exaggerate and use to stampede people to the polls for Republicans.

Second, repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act would expose other types of gun possession and ownership to proper levels of liability. Gun dealers and owners would no longer be able to sell just any gun, gun accessory, or ammunition to just anyone without managing financial risk.

What would happen if the law were repealed? Imo, guns would not completely go away, even "assault rifles," although ownership levels of weaponry of all kinds (assault weapons, perhaps much more than others) would drop dramatically. A huge "gun insurance industry" would likely spring up, and there would be a near-unanimous demand for a thorough system of dynamic, continuous background checking.

The gun industry, dealers, and owners would be at the front of the line clamoring for effective background checking to minimize insurance costs. It wouldn't be merely "point of sale," one-time background checking but would be more like a continuously updated "gun trustworthiness check" similar to our current financial credit checking systems.

If you want to sell even a single cartridge, your gun insurance policy would likely require you to run a background check on the buyer to ensure that the buyer were insured. The buyer's insurance company would either allow or prevent the sale, because they, not the seller's insurance company would be assuming liability for the buyer. Selling to an uninsured buyer would put the seller at risk of essentially unlimited lifelong financial liability. Even criminals would think twice.

Many gun owners right now are probably reluctant to sell or give away their guns and ammunition. They may not want the legal or moral responsibility of keeping weaponry in circulation. If gun purchases and sales, through the power of capitalism, were made far less risky, these gun owners could rid themselves of their weaponry without worrying they were circulating a future murder weapon. Or, better, the government, in the interest of public safety, could institute ongoing, permanent buyback or voluntary disposal programs.

Repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act might, imo, put ever forceful "money motivations" on the right side of the gun risk management argument for a change. It might be much more effective than an assault weapons ban at eliminating the proliferation of assault weapons. It might also help settle the "gun issue" that Republicans and the NRA now use to divide the American people.

My wall compromise

We should bargain away the wall. It's no more of a waste than a lot of our so-called defense spending boondoggles. At least it puts money into the economy and gives people something to do. More importantly, the wall (or a surviving piece of it after we end up stopping construction and destroying it later) can serve as a monument to and warning against Republican foolishness for the benefit of the ages.

Construction should be scheduled to commence in early 2020 on the land of a randomly selected Republican rancher in an environmentally responsible spot. Plaques to honor Republicans and Trump for the idea will be placed on both sides of the wall every thirty meters.

The plaques will read (in Spanish and English):

"This 'Great Wall of the United States' was the idea of the U.S. Republican Party and Republican President Donald J. Trump. At this time in our nation's history, the Republican Party is united in affirming that the wall is necessary to prevent people they currently refer to as 'illegals' from entering the country across the U.S. southern border.

"The Democratic Party opposed this wall, thinking it foolish, wasteful, and motivated in part by racism, but reluctantly agreed to build it as a compromise with our Republican colleagues. By agreeing to build this wall, Democrats were able to legislate action against climate change, a phenomenon our Republican colleagues and current Republican President Donald J. Trump consider a 'hoax.'

"The legislation allowed construction of the wall to begin. In the event that the nation changes its mind on the wall idea at a later time and legislates the end of construction and the destruction and removal of this wall, nevertheless, a designated fifty-meter section shall be left intact, bearing the plaque you are now reading. This way, the ages will be informed by the lesson."

"Let us all see who was right."

It's the Obama economy, stupid!

Why am I not seeing every single Dem giving credit to Obama and the American people on the economy every time it is brought up? I just saw on CNN that people are giving Trump 56% approval on his "handling of the economy." (Please. That's a push poll, most likely accidental, but a push poll. The question itself implies that Trump should get credit for the economy.)

We need to dispute that Trump deserves any credit–not question it, dispute it with complete self-assurance. We need to make it seem churlish, grasping, and arrogantly credit-grabbing for Trump to even suggest that he deserves any credit for Obama's economy. We shouldn't say, "Trump is 'forgetting' to credit Obama" or other forms of weak tea. We should say "It's Obama and the American people's economy. Trump can take credit for the weak-to-nonexistent gains in coal, steel, auto manufacturing, and the deep losses to rural communities thanks to his trade wars."

Currently, I'm seeing some of our folks trying to "pivot" on the question of the economy by saying un-useful things such as, "Americans are interested in issues other than the economy, like immigration, healthcare..." and so forth. That's not good; that's bad. Sure, by all means, pivot. But start with, "It's Obama's and the American People's economy, not Trump's. Trump's just putting his name on something he didn't have anything to do with again."

Hold Republican feet to the fire for Trump's behavior, not just Trump himself.

Trump thrives on word game fights. Formal legal or institutional attacks against Trump hurt him, but eloquent editorial blastings, fact checking, and so forth usually don't. For the most part, word game fights help Trump. They are oxygen to him. That's why he tries to start them with the pathetic tweets and rally rantings we see all the time now.

Even for formal, institutional fights such as legal system and lawsuit conflicts, Trump's strategy is not to fight them as legal system and lawsuit conflicts. Instead, he and his PR fixers (everyone who works for him plus the Republican Party and Fox News) turn these formal conflicts into word game fights too. That takes the proceedings out of the realm of the sober, rational, and just and gives Trump a chance to bend rules, pull strings and, above all, wail about unfair partisan treatment.

But what if we didn't always play Trump's word games directly with him? What if every time Trump spat on, say, the Constitution or adult norms of decency, we trained our political responses not on him but on someone else. Instead of taking up the argument with Trump, for example, we take it up with Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party or Fox News. We then treat Trump as if he were nothing more than an unaccountable, ill-behaved child, incapable of adult agency. "Trump's a nothing, people. He's a helpless child. Let's talk to the adults behind him."

Take this latest Robert E. Lee disgrace from Trump as an example. "Many generals... in the White House," per Trump, supposedly told him Lee was one of their favorite generals. It's just another nutso, crazy, lying thing to say (I hope and assume). Two possible approaches for our sane response are: 1) Ask Trump for proof that many generals in the White House told him that, or, 2) Point Trump to (or issue fact checks by) "history experts" who will educate everyone on how Lee was a bad general and a bad person.

Unfortunately, neither of those will work. The first, asking Trump for proof, won't work and never does. He's lying. Of course he's not going to furnish proof. He turns not furnishing proof into proof that those asking for proof are powerless.

The second, fact checking Trump and sneeringly pointing him to learned experts on how wrong he is, never works either. Again, he's lying, so he doesn't need to be educated; he needs to be shamed. We let that key fact slide when we try to educate or show he's ignorant. Also, there are no "experts" in Republican world. Trump's fixers (the Republican Party and Fox News) will simply point to some pseudo-history comic book and pretend that it refutes the anti-Lee experts. (And, adding intelligence insult to disappointment, much of the rest of the media will call the comic book a "refutation," not a "rebuttal," for no other reason than they don't know the difference between the two words.)

What if, in this case, we called on the Joint Chiefs of Staff to provide a list of generals willing to take responsibility for telling Trump what he says they told him? Go around Trump altogether. Treat the story not as "Trump says generals told him Lee is great" but as "U.S. generals tell Trump that Lee is their favorite general." Call Trump's bluff by calling the generals on the carpet. Don't ask Trump for a list of backers. Ask the people he says backed him why they backed him.

Likewise, whenever Trump says something stupid, lying, or crazy, why not immediately ask Mitch McConnell to explain it? Make Mitch McConnell Trump's keeper, whether he likes it or not. Just presume that McConnell and Senate Republicans are standing behind their illustrious leader every time that leader disgraces himself and ask them to account for him. Instead of saying, "Trump, we demand you prove U.S. generals told you Lee is their favorite general," we say, "Senator McConnell, why does the Republican Party stand behind Trump saying U.S. generals love Robert E. Lee?"

It might drive Trump crazy if he is casually and dismissively treated as unworthy to participate in adult conversation. It might drive Republicans crazy too, because they are used to Trump always being their lighting rod. Maybe we need to make them his lighting rod.
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