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STILL OUT ON A LIMB

What if

Elli has been binge watching old episodes of The Newsroom for the last few days. This has provided her with ample proof that American TV doesn’t have to be stupid. I’ve listened in occasionally without really watching. I had a realization while overhearing a Newsroom episode about their coverage on election night, 2012, of the race between Romney and Obama.

Many insist we must always vote for the Democrats because the Republicans are so much worse. Many castigated me for voting Green in 2012 because it would have been terrible if Romney won. I have no doubt that Romney would have been worse than Obama, but …

Guess what…. If Romney had won in 2012, I bet Trump wouldn’t be President now.  Read More 
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Trump and Putin

I’ve been leery of making a big deal about claims that Russian agents plotted with Trump operatives to engage in computer hacking to influence our election. Such investigations might weaken Trump, but I thought they were a bad idea for a number of reasons.

First, even if true, this is part of the corporate wing of the Democratic Party’s effort to blame Clinton’s loss on Russia. If Russia is to blame, corporate democrats will argue, there is no reason for Democrats to chart a more progressive course. This enables them to avoid confronting Wall Street’s dominance of the party, and keep its grassroots populist wing out of power.

Second, it appears to be part of the “deep state’s” strategy to re-start a new cold war. Confronting Russia, the world’s second biggest nuclear power, is a very dangerous gambit.

Third, by focusing on hacking such investigations will also be an attack on people like Snowden who have been revealing vital truths to the public.

Fourth, it is hypocritical to get apoplectic about Russia acting to influence our election, when we do this routinely to other countries. Left-wingers should reject such American exceptionalism even when it might serve our purposes. In other words, jumping on the blame Russia bandwagon is opportunistic.

But I’ve also heard Trump’s praise of Putin. I’ve watched Trump fill his cabinet with billionaires. And it is impossible to miss that Trump is using his office to increase the wealth of his family.

This has left me wondering. Does Trump see Putin’s Russia as a model for the United States? Does Trump dream of being the strongman of a crony capitalist oligarchy like Putin is? Is that what he seeks to accomplish while in office?

Trump is hardly a deep ideological thinker. As far as I can tell his objectives are making money, getting attention, and receiving adulation. His motivation seems more personal than class oriented. Perhaps this is why he makes many elements of the current American ruling elite so nervous.

If that is the case then exposing team-Trump’s Russian ties takes on a new dimension. A neoliberal, corporate-dominated state under Clinton would have been an environmental disaster the world could not afford. However, mimicking Putin’s corrupt extractionist-oriented, authoritarianism in the United States, would place all those organizing domestic resistance in immediate danger while locking in the same environmental devastation.

So, despite my misgivings, perhaps I should support efforts to expose Trump’s Russian ties. I am far from certain about this, however. Am I missing something with a shallow analysis?

I urge those who read this to weigh in with their comments. I read them all and respond to many. I suspect some who comment never check to see if they have been answered. I urge those who do recheck to rejoin the discussion if they wish. This is not an easy issue. It requires further analysis and it will be front and center for the foreseeable future.  Read More 
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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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