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STILL OUT ON A LIMB

Trumpophobia?

I’m not as worried about the possibility of a Trump Presidency as many of my friends.

This could be because I tend to look on the bright side. Often, my initial reaction to bad news is to think that it can’t be that bad. But this is about more than denial.

I don’t take the possibility of armed Trumpomaniacs patroling the streets lightly. I had family members killed in the holocaust. Roy Cohn, one of the principal engineers of my parents’ frame-up and execution, was Trump’s mentor. I understand the danger of his potential Supreme Court appointments and his racist, misogynist policies. I know a Trump victory could hurt a lot of people and would never advocate voting for him.

But I’m more concerned with the underlying anti-Trump message. Supporting the “lesser evil,” because we can’t live with a Trump victory, is a tacit admission that the status quo is tolerable. It isn’t. While Trump could be deadly for more of us domestically, our current system already is toxic for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and is in the process of destroying the productive capacity of the planet. Both Trump’s and Clinton’s environmental policies would be disastrous for most of the world’s population.

A willingness to vote for the status quo because Trump is worse is also a subtle form of cognitive dissonance. It is a refusal to acknowledge, or to act on the knowledge, that we are about to run out of time and so must make climate change the number one priority. Instead of confronting a longer-term, but qualitatively deadier, environmental impact, some progressives propose we vote for Clinton, a candidate whose policies make that end result more likely, in order to avoid the more immediate sociopolitical threat of Trump. I admit this is not an easy choice, but choosing the latter over the former could be our worst mistake.

Some progressive people say it isn’t that bad. We can adjust capitalism to make it greener, a new technological breakthrough will save us or a mass movement could push a Clinton Presidency to change course. Clinton’s history of support for war, global, neo-liberal corporate control, and the fossil fuel industry, indicates the last is extremely unlikely. Science suggests that four or eight more years of Obama-style energy policies, plus incremental greening, will not save us. Capitalism, with its grow or die imperative, is not sustainable.

Other progressives reject capitalism, but insist there is no viable alternative. That’s admitting defeat. We might not succeed, but if radical change is needed, then, by definition, we must step outside of the current political framework to bring it about. We must take to heart Naomi Klein’s brilliant insight that everything has changed and act on it.

Our civilization, even our survival as a species, is at stake. Like so many who have researched this issue, I live every day with that understanding. My fear of Trump pales in comparison.  Read More 
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You Can’t Have Your Own Facts

I’ve heard liberals on TV tell Republicans that, while they are entitled to their opinions, they can’t have their own facts. They can’t claim it’s a fact that, contrary to all the evidence, Obama was born in Kenya, that Hillary Clinton engaged in a Benghazi cover-up, or that global warming induced climate change is a hoax perpetrated by scientists to get grant money.

But Republicans are not alone in this practice.

Recently, I’ve read online vitriol from Clinton backers attacking Sanders’ supporters who say they will not vote for Clinton if she is the Democratic Party nominee. People like me (I’ve explained in other blogs why I won’t vote for Clinton) have been called, stupid, self righteous, selfish, or idiotic, to name a few. We’ve been told that Trump is so bad (and I agree he is) that we’d be crazy not to vote for Clinton in November. I’ve been told to ignore my opinions, hold my nose, and vote for Clinton.

I’ve responded that every national poll taken throughout this primary season has shown Sanders beating Trump by greater margins than Clinton. The most recent poll shows Clinton barely ahead of Trump, but Sanders still has a double digit lead. This is true in the critical swing states. State polls demonstrate, that unlike Clinton, Sanders is comfortably ahead of Trump in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These same polls report that the majority of voters view both Trump and Clinton negatively, while a majority view Sanders positively. I also note that Sanders wins the “open” primaries because he is more popular among the independents needed to secure a national victory.

Those I’ve argued with refuse to accept these facts. They say they don’t trust the polls. Come on… all of them? Over six months? Really? Or they argue “wait until Trump starts red-baiting Sanders,” as if Sanders hasn’t called himself a democratic socialist so many times that it has gotten boring, and as if Trump’s attacks on Clinton won’t be just as disgusting. Clinton backers are in denial about this. But they can’t have their own facts.

Come November, if Trump wins a close race against Clinton, I expect Clinton’s voters will blame voters like me for Trump’s victory. That doesn’t make sense. If beating Trump is their primary concern, they should look to themselves if they voted for Clinton, along with all the others who voted for her, in their state’s primary. Those voters ignored facts, chose the weaker Democratic candidate, and in doing so left the White House door ajar for Trump.

It is not too late to change. If fear of a Trump presidency drives them, they should start contributing to Sanders’ campaign. They should be calling on the super delegates to back Sanders, and if they live in the few states with remaining primaries they should switch their votes to Sanders.  Read More 
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You can’t make everyone happy

At one point in the Democratic Party debate Saturday night, Sanders and Clinton were asked if corporations would be happy if they were elected. Sanders bluntly answered “no,” but Clinton said her goal was to make everyone happy.

Clinton’s desire to please everyone is like countering BLACK LIVES MATTER with ALL LIVES MATTER. With replacing WE’RE THE 99% with WE’RE FOR THE 100%.

At first these responses may sound reasonable. Of course the President should work on behalf of everyone. Of course all people’s lives are important. However, they fail to recognize the divisions in our society along race and class lines, and that our laws, police, courts, educational system, tax code, zoning regulations and so much more are designed to keep it that way. At best these broadening statements are meaningless platitudes that miss the point. At worst they are evidence of racism, class bias and acceptance of corporate criminality.

Those who respond ALL LIVES MATTER either don’t get, or refuse to accept, what the slogan really means: black lives should matter as much as white lives. BLACK LIVES MATTER attacks the systematic devaluation of African-American lives; the ALL LIVES MATTER position refuses to admit that the United States is racist. It refuses to acknowledge how our society forces African-Americans into ghettos, denies them meaningful education and employment, and imprisons an alarmingly high percentage. ALL LIVES MATTER doesn’t view the police as an occupying militarized force that shoots and kills hundreds of African-Americans every year. The WE’RE FOR THE 100% position argues that singling out the 1% is divisive and destructive. This position ignores the fact that our economic/political system is owned by and run by the 1%, and those who serve them, for their exclusive benefit. This position ignores how the rich and powerful have rigged our system.

Sanders doesn’t go far enough, but his response indicates that he understands that giant corporations are at the core of our problems, fattening their own wallets while sucking the rest of us dry and destroying the environment. Clinton, on the other hand, is a corporate democrat. She will never accept that it is necessary to attack corporate power in order to drag a hundred million Americans out of debt and poverty, as well as prevent globe-spanning climate-related catastrophes.

Clinton ignores the corporate rot in our system, dismissing the need for basic change. Whatever she says about change or improvement, at the heart of her program is an acceptance of the status quo. If, like me, you find the status quo unacceptable, you will reject candidates who and the slogans that espouse it.  Read More 
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