Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Biggest Flaw in the Constitution -OR- Here's How They Do It


In the last four years, I've posted this piece twice before the posting below.  It has been edited just a tiny bit .  I believe this essay is crucial in understanding how the Constitutional Republic of the USA essentially has been overthrown.  It all started as far back as Alexander Hamilton...and it's not any kind of "conspiracy".  It was (and still is) an in-plain-sight battle between those who believe in genuine democracy and those who believe in Rule by Oligarchs and Plutocrats.  The latter (who are not constrained by political Parties or labels) always have referred to the rest of us as "the little people".

"They" (in the title above) are the Neoliberals, NeoConservatives, and other Oligarchs who over decades and by sheer, disorganized, dumb luck have brought about a coup in our Government.  For years I wondered how so many unconstitutional laws could come into being in this Land with barely a peep of protest from anyone.  I think perhaps finally I've figured it out.  Over the years, now and again, I heard this-or-that politician mention the "necessary and proper" clause of the Constitution; but I never paid much attention to it until recently.

"The Congress shall have Power ... To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."  [All emphasis added.]
~ Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, United States Constitution

The Powers mentioned in that clause, "...the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers...", are those delegated by We the People to our Federal Government.  They are the Enumerated Powers that we have given to the Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch.  The Government has only those Powers.  Unfortunately, going all the way back to our Founding Fathers, some have claimed that Article I Section 8 Clause 18 gives other, implied Powers to the Government.  Hamilton and Jefferson debated that very point.

Alexander Hamilton was the Founder who proposed that our Gov't should be that of a Monarchy; he wanted a King as our leader.  Luckily, that idea quickly was scrapped.  Nonetheless, Hamilton kept fighting for a central government bordering on dictatorial.  He wanted a central bank, and he claimed that Article I Section 8 Clause 18 gave the Gov't implied Powers.  Hamilton argued that the "sovereign" duties of a government implied the right to use means adequate to its ends, regardless of specific Enumerated Powers.  Jefferson opposed him at every turn until Hamilton was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel, July, 1804.  Nevertheless, the seed had been planted.  Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall and others promoted the idea that the Government had implied powers.  At times, the "necessary and proper" clause was referred to as the "elastic clause".

The idea eventually lost favor in the late 1800's up until the 1930's.  With the Roosevelt Administration, the "elastic clause" was back in favor... and as the Fed Gov't expanded, the idea became more and more the flavor of the day.  As that happened, "Legislative Absolutism" took hold more and more.  In 1901, Supreme Court Justice Harlan coined that term, warning of a time when unconstitutional laws would be passed as a matter of course.  He was right.

Any examination of the "necessary and proper" clause with a view toward common sense tells us that no additional Powers are implied by it.  Furthermore, it makes ZERO sense that so-called "implied" powers would be able to result in a law which would essentially nullify any specific written clause in the Supreme Law of the Land.  Finally, the use of "implied" powers apparently is virtually without limits.  It's whatever an indoctrinated, propagandized public will tolerate.

EXAMPLE---  The so-called PATRIOT Act essentially nullifies the Fourth Amendment.  Gathering of bulk data is permitted... without the people being intruded upon having to be suspects of any kind.  In addition, FBI Agents can write their own Search Warrants (called "National Security Letters")... the Fourth Amendment makes it clear that judges must issue those.  Finally, other portions of the Act violate the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.  [So do portions of the National Defense Authorization Act, the NDAA.]

All the "necessary and proper" clause is saying is this:  Congress can pass Laws in order to implement the specific Enumerated Powers that were delegated to them by We the People.  Nowhere does it say or imply that Laws contravening the Constitution also may be passed.  Only an attorney with no common sense would infer such a thing from that clause.  Both Hamilton and Marshall were attorneys.  [My admittedly limited experience with attorneys tells me that very few of them have any common sense whatsoever.  They appear to live in a very esoteric world; as with everything, I'm sure there are exceptions.]

In the "necessary and proper" clause, the "foregoing Powers" refers to the Enumerated Powers in clauses 1-17 of Article I Section 8.  "All other Powers" refers to Enumerated Powers in other parts of the Constitution...or, as the 18th clause puts it, "...vested by this Constitution...".  Nothing in this clause implies Powers that are not Enumerated.  That was Jefferson's position, and he was right on the mark.  The Monarchy-loving Hamilton thought otherwise.

So, here's the biggest flaw in our Constitution---
The following, or something similar, should have been added at the tail end of the "necessary and proper" clause and both the "commerce" and "general welfare" clauses:  "Nothing in this section should be construed to mean that the federal government has any powers other than those enumerated in the Constitution.".

My conclusion is that certain people in our political history wanted a way around the constraints of the Constitution.  It appears they desired a central government so strong that it bordered on dictatorial.  To achieve that objective, they inferred from primarily the "necessary and proper" clause, but also from the "commerce" and "general welfare" clauses, so-called implied powers.  I see that as pure BS.  I sincerely doubt that it was the intention of almost all our Founders to give the Government unknown, virtually unlimited Powers that could, in fact, contravene any of the listed or Enumerated Powers delegated by We the People.  That makes no sense... and more importantly, it makes the Constitution worthless.  The primary purpose of the Constitution is to restrain/constrain government; that's not possible if we accept the concept of "implied powers"... which can be almost anything.  

Unfortunately, "implied powers" has been the flavor of the day for decades & decades.  As well as some other people, Trump loves that flavor.  Most Presidents do.  Most people in both Houses of Congress do, too.  That's why we have so many unconstitutional Laws.  The Powers-That-Be have convinced themselves (and most Americans, it seems) that the bedrock of our Gov't, the Constitution of the United States of America, contains unknown, virtually unlimited, implied Powers.  There's no common sense in that view.

None of this bodes well for what is supposed to be a Free Society.  We are marching voluntarily straight into George Orwell's dystopian world.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Fed, JFK, the "United States Note", and the Upper Crust


The Fed Reserve has been ruining this country for over a hundred years.  Very few know about it, or if they do, understand it...so very few care anything about it.  That's understandable.  The Fed's sole job is to transfer wealth to the Upper Crust...even Bernie Sanders, a guy who's all for "government", has said that.

Just before he was killed, JFK started by-passing the Fed by having Treasury & the U.S. Mint issue the "United States Note" directly...without the Fed as Middle Man.  [Notice the top of the bill.]
I had several of those "Kennedy bills" (in smaller denominations:) back in the '60s; wish I would have kept them.  I'll bet they're worth much more than face value today.  ☺

The Fed was royally pissed.  The U.S. Note was in direct competition with the Fed Reserve Note.  Had he lived, JFK would have dried up the Fed; they would have become obsolete, & their guaranteed-by-law 6% annual dividend would have evaporated.  All that has caused a conspiracy theory (of the assassination) involving Bankers & the Administration of the Fed Reserve.  It's possible, I suppose, but how likely I don't know.  We'll never know the truth about JFK's death.

p.s.  The 6% dividend goes to the 12 Fed Branch Banks AND the 25 Fed Sub-Branch Banks---37 in all, & all privately owned.  The only thing governmental about the Fed is the Admin Office in DC...and as Greenspan said on PBS yrs ago, "No one has authority over us."...that includes the President.  The Congress conducts oversight Hearings, but if you've watched the clips of them on YouTube, you know they aren't worth much.  On critical questions, the Fed usually beats around the bush, never actually answering any significant question.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, May 26, 2019

What the Next USA President Should Do


Use the Office and/or its Bully Pulpit for---
1.  promoting laws to break up the Mega Banks & Mega Tech Companies (clearly they are monopolies);
2.  the cessation of all Trade Wars;
3.  the withdrawal of combat troops from the Middle East & Central Asia, as well as cutting the number of our military bases on foreign soil by half---that number is now about 800-900 or so---and the military budget by half (currently that budget is more than the next seven largest military budgets in the world combined);
4.  the reinstatement of Nuke Treaties;
5.  ending of our Central Bank, as JFK started to do (we don't need a Middle Man to produce Gov't currency... especially one who charges interest);
6.  a return to some version of the Gold Standard (the amount of gold in the world doesn't prohibit that...only the artificially depressed price of gold does);
7.  the end of blanket surveillance by the NSA, CIA, FBI, and any other Agency;
8.  a return to the Constitutional requirement of Congress having to declare war before troops are sent to war;
9.  a repeal of the "Real ID Act";
10.  a reinstatement of EPA Rules trashed by Trump & Crew;
11.  policies/laws addressing the threat of Climate Change;
12.  promoting the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Banking Act;
13.  the reinstatement of "Net Neutrality";
14.  promoting the establishment of Banking as a Public Utility;
15.  the establishment of the Internet as a Public Utility;
16.  the complete revision of the IRS, or maybe, the elimination of it;
17.  promoting laws that require Congress to read legislative bills before voting on them, and to vote only on one subject/bill at a time (instead of attaching unpopular bills as riders to bills that are guaranteed to pass);
18.  making pot completely legal, and codeine an OTC drug (as it was earlier in my life);
19.  reducing our nuclear arsenal;
20.  promoting laws that prohibit Usury (laws we once had);
21.  prohibiting Gov't interference in foreign elections, prohibiting coups, & prohibiting assassinations by the Executive Branch (according to the Constitution, only Congress legally can order assassinations);
22.  promoting laws that establish Term Limits for all elected officials in the Fed Gov't;
23.  promoting laws that prohibit electronic, black box voting... use paper ballots only;
24.  limiting Executive Orders by Presidents to only the two described in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution:  the Pres can require written reports by his Dept Heads, and can grant pardons to those convicted of Fed crimes (those are the only two described in the Constitution);
25.  policies which abide by International Law, and in particular, recognize the authority of the International Criminal Court (we didn't mind doing that when we set up the Nuremberg Trials).

Those are only some of the things the next President should do, but they would be a great start toward returning this country to sanity.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Sanctions Are Acts of War


Modern-day "sanctions" should be thought of as essentially the same as laying siege to a major city in the distant past.  They are acts of war.  Our Fed Government's sanctions relative to Venezuela and Iran are nothing but Empire Building...egregious interference for the purpose of maintaining "American Primacy" in the world.

When a government interferes with another country's economy and finance, and even threatens allies who might not agree with that approach, the whole thing becomes a de facto declaration of war.  In the cases cited above, it's interventionism of the worst kind--- strictly to advance "American Primacy and its geostrategic imperatives".  It's the main reason our Gov't keeps sticking its big nose into the affairs of the Middle East, Central Asia, South America, and Central America.

It appears that both Neoconservatives and Neoliberals look upon Brzezinski's book, The Grand Chessboard (1997), as the Bible in terms of geopolitics and our Neocolonial Empire.  In this Neocolonial Age, our Gov't doesn't have to directly control a country via politics or military force (as in the old colonial times).  Now it can do so indirectly by means of economics, finance, and propaganda.  No matter who is in power in DC, that's the game.  It's wrong, and except for a fairly brief time around the turn of the Twentieth Century (1898-1906 or thereabouts), it's un-American.  [Perhaps I should, but I'm not counting our very early history of so-called "Manifest Destiny", when the Powers-That-Be simply assumed that this whole continent belonged to us...because "God" was on "our side".]

Sanctions can lead to a shooting war.  Here's a message for our Warmongers; it's taken from the Bobby Darin song, "Simple Song of Freedom".
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We the People here don't want a war

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Thursday, May 9, 2019

896 Million Dollars PER DAY


That's how much our Fed Gov't pays in interest on the National Debt...every day.  And yet, DC politicians of both major Parties say the Debt doesn't matter.

By the way, the overwhelming bulk of Personal Income Taxes goes to pay that Interest.  That's the main purpose of Personal Income Taxes.  Central Banks, other Mega Banks, and other Mega Corporations are the primary recipients of those monies.  They hold the vast majority of Bonds & Treasury Notes.  ["Bonds" have maturities greater than 10 years, while "Treasury Notes" have maturities from 2-10 years.]

Gov't Services are paid for by Corporate Taxes (such as they are...Amazon paid zero Income Tax in 2018), excise taxes (highway/gas, liquor, tobacco, firearms, etc.), fees, imposts, duties, and more borrowed money...on which you pay the interest...$896 million per day this year.

Alan Greenspan once made these statements (paraphrased): the USA will never default on its Debt because when we need money, we simply print it; we can guarantee no default, but we cannot guarantee the purchasing power of those dollars.  [Right, Alan, and that's the catch or rub, isn't it?]

Every fiat (or debased) currency in history eventually failed.  The "money" became essentially worthless because the issuing government wound up printing too much of it.  That's currency inflation; price inflation is the result of too much currency inflation.  The more dollars there are, the less each dollar is worth.  Prices then go up in order for producers just to keep even, never mind get ahead.  Compared to the 1913 Dollar, today's Dollar is worth about three cents.  That's why the pair of Levi's jeans I bought in 1961 cost me $3.95, and the Levi's jeans I bought a few days ago were $49.95.  The cost of production (per unit produced) didn't go up; that cost has gone down over the years due to automation, essentially flat wages, foreign factories, etc.  Prices on everything have gone up because the Dollar becomes worth less & less every year.  That's how fiat currency operates.

Currently, we're at the tail end of today's world fiat currency system.  The whole thing (worldwide) is based on so much Debt that's it's unsustainable.  All fiat currencies in circulation today are becoming more & more worthless... because each year they are worth less.  Hello.  Global Debt is now close to $250 trillion; the entire world's GDP is about $84 trillion.  Do the math.  Such a system will fail.  DEBT will kill it.  Governments cannot simply "print" currency to get out of horrendous Debt because the result would be hyperinflation of prices; purchasing power would drop to within a micron of zero.  That's the rub.

Some sort of Great Re-Set is coming, and with it, most likely a worldwide Depression.  Can't say exactly when, but it's virtually guaranteed...all because of the massive Debt Bubble caused by fiat currency and reckless Powers-That-Be.

Not only my opinion.  Be prepared.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"War is a Racket" Redux


I posted this essay about a year & a half ago.  It's still brutally relevant today, especially with the NeoCons in the current Administration--- Bolton, Pompeo, Pence and the like ---up to their usual Warmongering.
..............................
"As I look back on my 33 years of service in the Marines---from Second Lieutenant to Major-General---I realize that I've been nothing but a thug for Bankers and Big Corporations."  ~ General Smedley Butler
See brainyquote.com for more quotes by General Butler.

Only people who don't know what's going on still believe that our brave & well-meaning military folks are fighting for freedom, democracy, etc.  In actual fact, they are the unwitting enforcement arm of our Fed Reserve Bank and other Western World Mega Banks, as well as other major Corporations whose leaders believe they are the real rulers of the world.  Butler clearly pointed that out in his book, War is a Racket.

Now (& for some time) that both Repubs & Dems in DC pretty much ignore and/or violate key parts of the U.S. Constitution, the Corporatists are free to complete their establishment of Global Private Rule.  Public Governments still will exist, but only as window dressing.  By the way, none of this is a "grand conspiracy"; to the Powers-That-Be, it's simply "good business practice" and "the best thing for the world".  It's also important to grasp the fact that Corporatists are NOT Free Market Capitalists; instead, they are Fascists.  The very last thing they want is a Free Market.  They prefer a series of Monopolies supported by their puppet governments.

To those who believe Trump is fighting all this, and is the champion of the Common Man, you are sadly mistaken.  Trump is the quintessential elitist, Corporatist, Establishment, Crony Capitalist...the worst kind of capitalist.  He's a serial liar, a Super-Rich snob, a gaslighter, and doesn't care at all about the bottom 90-99% of the USA's citizens.  He's just telling you what he thinks you want to hear.  His whole history proves all the above.  Study it, and then you'll see.  A good start is the documentary, "Meet the Trumps:  from Immigrant to President"; it can be found online.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  I'm an Army Vet and a gun owner.  Not only Vets, but ALL of us need to wake up to the fact that War (especially the current & recent ones) is not about "spreading democracy".  Instead, it's about economics and finance.  The main beneficiaries of it are Mega Corporations, especially Mega Banks.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Assange, the Feds, Russia, Tom Drake, Politics, Elections, and Hypocrisy


Below is an email I sent to a few of my family & a few friends, and my response to a friend's reply...edited a bit.  In particular, the last full paragraph of this Post was not in my email response at all.
........................
The War on Whistleblowers---
After saying during his first Pres campaign for election that they should be protected, Obama prosecuted more of them than anyone in our history.  Imagine what Trump's Crew will do to Assange.  While the Right & Left squabble, Plutocrats/Oligarchs win again.  Their war crimes will continue to go unpunished...all in the name of "safety".  Meanwhile, those who expose violations of the Constitution and outright crimes by the Gov't will be persecuted and prosecuted.  

Do a Search for: Tom Drake whistleblower.  Bush, Obama & Holder destroyed the career & much of the life of this American hero, a Vet, and an honorable Gov't servant who spent months trying to expose NSA wrongdoing by doing so "within the system".  The Powers-That-Be ignored & denigrated him, so he finally went outside the system to expose Gov't crimes.  They essentially kneecapped him.  Later, Hillary had the gall to state that Manning should have worked within the system, thus gaining the protection of whistleblower status.  What a tragic joke.  In her youth, Hillary was a Populist, but for some time now, she's been nothing but a multi-millionaire Plutocrat.  [Hopefully, she's washed up in politics.]
...............................................
A friend responded with a somewhat biting critique of Assange... especially relative to the last few years.  My reply is below.
........................................
No one's perfect.  Despite his flaws, I think Assange is a hero.  After being cooped up in a building for 7 years, and denied safe passage to a hospital for needed medical diagnosis & treatment, who knows what anyone might do after realizing you're going to be arrested... and most likely extradited to the USA's totally broken Fed Justice System.

As to Russia, their misdeeds re the election merely are payback for all the crap our Gov't heaps on them... we've interfered in their affairs (including elections) for decades.  Sanctions, elections, Ukraine, NATO encroachment right up to their border (after it was agreed not to do that), & who knows what else.  As to the Dem email leaks, GOOD.  I think those were in the public interest--- exposure of the two-faced Hillary, and the manipulation of Primaries by the Dem Upper Crust.  The truth was exposed; too bad that the truth did not favor Democrats.  That's the fault of Dems, not Russians.

I really am sick & tired of hearing Dems whine about Russians "interfering in our elections".  What hypocrisy...and they're still complaining.  They should focus on the fact that two Plutocrats were running for President...correct that.  The Dems are just as bad as the Repubs when it comes to being self-righteous in terms of election behavior.  But the Dems gerrymander, too; the Dems manipulate Primaries, too.  Just because the Repubs are worse about it does not excuse Dem behavior... including their self-righteousness.

The article you sent implied that the charge against Assange was not really much...& not related to publishing.  Please.  He could get 45 years in prison according to a previous lawyer of his.  Plus, I don't see how aiding a whistleblower in getting info is not related to publishing that info.

As to Assange (an Australian) favoring Russia, maybe so; but unfortunately, our Gov't is a much bigger threat to the world than the Ruskies ever could be.  Not just militarily, but all across the board.  There's no doubt whatsoever about that.  I don't at all believe their Gov't Plutocrats are the "good guys"; but our Gov't Plutocrats (at the highest levels) are a gazillion times worse, and a monstrous threat to this planet...militarily, economically, financially, environmentally, politically (even though our NeoFeudalism is more subtle than Russia's), & in every other way I can imagine.

Conclusion:  all this braying about Russia is, to me, blatant HYPOCRISY... and way overblown... and finally,  a distraction from much more important things.  As to Assange, our Government's wrongdoings need to be exposed.  History shows that the State almost always tries to cover up its crimes by criminalizing those who expose them.

I love this Land; but we need to wake up to the fact that our Fed Gov't is led by a bunch of screwed-up, dangerous, plutocratic oligarchs...and that's no matter whether Republicans or Democrats hold majority power.  Another option is to keep drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid, bury our heads in the sand, and hope everything turns out okay.  Another option is to continue to believe (as the True Believers do) that only the Republicans or the Democrats have the right solution to our problems... in other words, to continue to believe the Propaganda coming from one or the other of those two camps.
.............................
Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Monday, April 8, 2019

Two Differences Between the Last Crash and the Coming Crash


1.  Because of only window-dressing laws/regs (supposedly to prevent another Crash) instituted during the Obama Era, and deregulation during two years of Trump & Crew,
2.  the metrics for the coming Crash now are worse than were those for the last Crash; thus, the next Bust most likely also will be worse.
...........................
https://youtu.be/9F_sxkSHmCo ...
a very poignant & informative video.
...........................
For those who believe there is no imminent Crash coming, all you have to do is look at the time intervals between the Booms & Busts from the 1973-75 severe Recession up to Present Day, and you'll see that we're overdue for the next Bust.  No one has suspended the Boom-Bust Cycle.  If anything, Busts have become more numerous since the establishment of the Fed Reserve in 1913...and the "Nixon Shock" (abandonment of the Gold Standard) in 1971.  

The DC politicians plus the Corporate Media either are lying or they're significantly ignorant when they tell us everything is rosy.  [Very few in the Corp Media have sounded any warning bells at all.]  The Asset Bubbles now are worse than they were just before the 1929 Crash...& those numbers are proportionate, i.e., inflation is taken into account.  Prediction:  the Big Bust will be no later than the end of 2020.  It possibly could be later, but I really doubt it.

Plan accordingly.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Points For and Against the Current Oval Office Occupier


For---
1.  He kept us out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  I've covered the disastrous downside of that Trade Pact elsewhere on this venue, so won't go into it again in this piece.  Talks related to joining the TPP were started under Dubya Bush, and accelerated under Obama.  Trump killed it his first day in office.

If interested in why the TPP is the worst Trade Treaty in history, use this blog's Search function to locate my assessment of it.  Or even better, Google/Bing/etc. :  Lori Wallach and the TPP.

2.  There is no number 2.  I was tempted to list his meetings with North Korea, but decided against it because he's the one who provoked that country with virtually insane threats of nuclear annihilation.  The person really responsible for averting (for now, at least) catastrophe is the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in.

Against---
1.  He's a serial liar; he, himself, has proven that over, and over, and over.  In terms of frequency of lying, Trump beats out both Dubya Bush and Obama... which I didn't think was possible by anyone.

2.  He's mentally unstable, and thus emotionally unfit to be in any political office, much less the Presidency.  He, himself, has proven that over, and over, and over.  Now admittedly, I've had only a couple university pysch courses; however, you don't have to be a master carpenter to recognize a shack.  😊  Plus, there's a long list of psychologists and psychiatrists who have stated that he needs to be professionally examined.

3.  Based on his words and actions, he doesn't have a broad understanding of anything that a President should know.  His understanding of key issues, world affairs, diplomacy, statesmanship, war, the economy, the environment, fiscal and monetary matters, cultural matters, science, genuine capitalism, the Law, health matters, etc. is so limited as to be nothing short of comical.

4.  He promotes divisiveness in our country and in the world.  Plus, such promotion is not inadvertent.  He does it on purpose.

5.  While in office (never mind previous to that), he has violated Laws of the Land.  Here's only one example---
https://individualsovereignty.blogspot.com/2017/07/trumps-violation-of-nepa-sepa-laws-rules.html
Read it carefully.  The acronyms and other abbreviations used are not as confusing as they first appear.

6.  He doesn't have even a rudimentary understanding of the United States Constitution.  Many times, he has violated his Oath of Office by failing to "preserve, protect, and defend" the Constitution.  For example, he (like many other Presidents) has violated the War Clause of Article I, Section 8.  Another example--- the Executive Branch (of which he's in charge) violates the Fourth Amendment on an almost daily basis.  Another example--- it's crystal clear that Trump is violating the Emoluments portion of Article I, Section 9 (the Nobility Clause).

7.  As President, his conflicts of interest truly are beyond the pale.

8.  Similar to numbers 1 & 2 above, Trump is the King of Public Gaslighters.  Nothing he says can be trusted.

9.  He cares not at all for the common people of this country.  He's merely manipulating & using some of us in order to further enrich himself.  This is so obvious that it's painful.  Some of his supporters finally have realized it.

10.  He is both an embarrassment and a danger to this country.  I've detailed all that in previous posts, so enough said.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  For any new readers, I'm not a Republican or a Democrat.  Ironically, neither is The Don.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Tragic State of Affairs in the USA

Preface
As a wizened old man who has had (& continues to have) a most interesting life, I find my thoughts below to be not only tragic, but comical as well.  I first developed a keen interest in American politics with the election of Ike in 1956.  So, point being:  I've lived through quite a variety of Presidents and members of Congress.  Compared to those of the past, most of the current national office holders in DC don't seem to be at all interested in representing the will of the People...all the People, not just 25% of the population.  The politicos of today are beyond the pale in a way that's darkly hilarious.  For whatever reasons, they see little to no cause to hide the fact that they are Plutocrats/Oligarchs leading us down the path to NeoFeudalism.  It's astounding...and comical.
...........................................
Here's why the USA is in dire straits, in no order of importance---

1.  The Powers-That-Be apparently have convinced the population that Debt doesn't matter...especially Gov't Debt.  The Repubs (& some Dems) plus the current Oval Office Occupier have increased our National Debt by about two trillion dollars in only two years.  And I thought Dubya Bush and Obama were bad in that regard.  Ha!  Public and private debt here is at record levels.  Corporate debt is beyond incredible.  The Debt Bubble is the mother of all bubbles, and all bubbles burst.

2.  Despite what the Gaslighter in the Oval Office claims, our GDP is decreasing.

3.  Trump continues his childish, ridiculous Gaslighting.  Most of us simply are bored with it, but many (maybe most) of his supporters still take him at his word, or worse, if he's proven wrong beyond any doubt (which happens often) about something, they don't care.  Not only is that potentially dangerous, I find it to be hilarious.  They don't care that (as the old joke goes) the lunatics are running the asylum.  Go figure.

4.  Whether inadvertently or purposely, the White House Crew and The Don are encouraging both lawlessness and racism in our Land.

5.  Encouraged by the Fed Gov't and deregulation, as well as by Propaganda, our Bubble Economy is bubbling on.  If you look at the time intervals between the Booms & Busts from the severe Recession of 1973-1975 up to present day, you'll see that we're overdue for the next Bust.  Unfortunately, the public and private Powers-That-Be seem to have convinced most Americans that's not true, that it's all under control now, that the economy "is booming"...no worries they say.  The Gaslighter-in-Chief is especially adamant about that.  Please, are you kidding us, or simply lying to us?  I find it comical that anyone believes it's all under control, and the economy is doing great.

6.  The median income of workers here is now $32,791.  So, half the workers in the USA make less than that...HALF.  That doesn't sound like the richest country in the world to me.

7.  Trump has alienated all of our Allies in the world except for the few who essentially are dictators, such as the Leaders of Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, the UAE, & Brazil...maybe another one or two, can't recall.  This is not good for us or the world.

8.  Our Two-Party System in politics is rotten to the core.  It's oligarchical in nature, and its practices rarely represent the will of the People.  Not long ago, a Princeton study found that politicians ignore that will 70% of the time.

9.  Our Gov't has managed to institute a State of Perpetual War.  The crazy idea that we are the police of the world is now taken as a given by most Americans.  Never mind that most of those actions are utterly unconstitutional, and many violate International Law.

10.  In most cases, the protections of the Fourth Amendment are totally ignored by Gov't in this day & age...all in the name of "safety".  Who's keeping us safe from those who violate the Constitution?

11.  Too many Americans no longer seem to understand the difference between nationalism and patriotism.  The former engenders arrogance and superiority; the latter engenders responsibility.  Trump and Crew promulgate nationalism.

12.  For this next point, I'll exaggerate a bit.  Exaggeration often drives home a valid point.  More and more, Americans appear to be dividing up into "tribes", so to speak.  Whether political, or religious, or economic, or cultural, or something else, these tribes often are less & less tolerant of each other than in much of the past... and more & more self-righteous.  For example, in politics the Left-leaning folks accuse the Right-leaning people of being intolerant, self-righteous, etc.  In fact, though, the Left side of the spectrum also is intolerant---of the Right side---and, self-righteous about it.  What's tragic and comical about that whole situation is that neither side thinks it's that way.  It's only the "other side" who demonstrates those failings.

13.  Finally, all across the political spectrum here in the USA, people are gulping down the Edward Bernays style Propaganda Kool Aid coming from Corporatists and Plutocrats as if there will be no tomorrow.  Certainly not everyone is, but most are.  That's the primary reason that we are in today's tragic situation.  It's not only a tragedy; it's a cosmic comedy.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Following Applies to the Top Tiers of Both Major Political Parties in the USA


"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies."
~ Groucho Marx


"An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought."
~ Simon Cameron, one of the USA's first political "bosses".  He died in 1889 at the age of 90.


"Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other."
~ Oscar Ameringer, known as the Mark Twain of American Socialism.  He lived from 1870 through most of 1943.


"I have the most reliable friend you can have in American politics, and that is ready money."
~ Phil Gramm, a national politician who began as a Democrat and then switched to the Republican Party in 1983.  He sponsored many legislative bills favoring financial deregulation.


"There’s a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any overlarge concentration of like-thinking individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause."  [Amen, amen, and amen to that.]
~ P. J. O'Rourke, an American political satirist.
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It isn't that all politicians are rotten and despicable; rather, it's that the Two-Party System within which they operate is such.  That system is not required by the U.S. Constitution; neither are political Parties.  Early political bosses invented both.  Perhaps it's time to re-think the entire set-up.  Any unbiased examination of history reveals that set-up has not served us well.  Plus, despite popular opinion to the contrary, the Two-Party System (including "winner-takes-all") is not set in stone.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Politicians Are a Lot Like Diapers


They need to be changed often, and for the same reason.  😄

The above is from the movie, Man of the Year, with the late, great Robin Williams...

and it's so true.

In 1975, the "liberal" Think Tank, the Trilateral Commission (founded by David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski) published its first book-length report,  The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies.  The Report was written by Left-leaning/Liberal authors.  Their conclusion was this:  the crisis is that democracies have too much democracy, and that's what makes it difficult to govern them.  According to the authors, that had to change.

Since 1975, in the USA we've had an increase in the pace of the fairly steady march toward total Oligarchy and Plutocracy, and a fairly steady retreat from genuine, participatory democracy.  One, and only one, of the reasons for that is:  voters don't vote out politicians often enough.  People such as McConnell, Cornyn, Pelosi, Schumer, and the like all should be returned to private life.

Politicians are a lot like diapers.  They need to be changed often...

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, March 1, 2019

Behavior Modification by Surveillance Capitalists

At the link below, a Harvard Professor Emeritus brilliantly explains how we are being "herded", and why SMART technology & outfits like Facebook are an egregious threat to individual sovereignty.
https://www.democracynow.org/2019/3/1/age_of_surveillance_capitalism_we_thought

Perhaps in their young adulthood (or maybe mid-life), our toddler grandchildren are going to wonder:  how could our grandparents have been so dense?  How could they have allowed this Brave New World of ours to develop?  Didn't they understand the dangers of ubiquitous surveillance?  Did they really believe the argument "I have nothing to hide" meant that they wouldn't be affected?  How could they have not seen how the State-Corporate-Financial Complex most likely would use the gathered data to manipulate and control us?  Were they asleep at the wheel, or too propagandized, or too stressed by trying to make ends meet in a declining worldwide economy?  Were they too worried about, and distracted by, advancing Neofeudalism?

Kudos to Professor Zuboff for a well-spoken, insightful, and much needed interview... and for her seven years of research for the book, The Age of  Surveillance Capitalism.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Saturday, February 23, 2019

It's Not Fake News - It's Incomplete News


Anyone who has followed this blog for the last twelve years knows that I'm no fan of the Corporate Media, aka, the Mainstream Media.  Unlike the Trumpistas, however, my reasons for that dislike are grounded in reality rather than the psychological gaslighting of the current Oval Office Occupier.

A "free press" is known as the Fourth Estate, and it serves a valuable function in our society:  making sure that government is accountable and transparent.  In many/most democratic countries (including the USA), the Corporate Media comprise the Fourth Estate.  Over many decades, their failure has given rise to the Fifth Estate:  "acceptable" critics of the Fourth Estate.  Examples here would be:  PBS, NPR, The Intercept, Democracy Now, Reason.com, BillMoyers.com, David Stockman, Jim Rickards, Paul Craig Roberts, and many, many others.

Fake News does exist, but it's very rare and put out by pretty much unknown nutcakes.  One exception:  probably 99.999% of all Fake News (originating in the USA) comes from a well-known person--- our Fake President.  It's not a practice of the Corporate Media.  Their sin is putting out Incomplete News, and being mouthpieces for the Crony Capitalists and Corporatists in government.  Examples follow.

I'll exaggerate for effect.  When the Jobs Report comes out, it is reported something like this:  "The Labor Dept. reports that a gazillion jobs were added last month.  That will boost our current booming economy.  Blah-blah-blah.".  What's left out is the following.  How many of those jobs are temporary, or part-time, or both?  How many are low-paying?  How many have any associated benefits to speak of?  How many people still are grossly underemployed?  Another example:  "The economy is booming this year...blah-blah-blah.".  What's left out is---booming for whom?  In fact, there are two economies in the USA:  the one that's booming encompasses only the top 15-20% or so of income earners.  The rest of us are either barely hanging on, or in poverty, or both.  Another example:  violations of the Constitution of the United States are rarely ever reported.  I easily could cite dozens & dozens more examples, but time and energy constraints prohibit that.

Sure, once in a blue moon, someone in the Corporate Media puts out a factually incorrect piece of news...inadvertently.  Once in maybe twelve blue moons, the same thing happens...but on purpose.  That person becomes thoroughly disgraced by the News industry.  So, the current Fourth Estate rarely ever creates Fake News; but there's a serial liar in DC who does so on an almost regular basis.  That's a common characteristic of gaslighters:  whatever they falsely accuse others of doing is precisely what they are doing...knowingly.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well


Friday, February 22, 2019

Finally - It's About Time!


A day or two ago, there was a unanimous SCOTUS decision against excessive fines, fees, & civil asset forfeiture imposed by State, County, & City authorities.  Texas, in particular, is infamous for such practices, plus "Debtor's Prison" if you can't afford the freight.  Example:  a fine of $569 (if I recall correctly) for grass too high in a vacant lot (the back lot of a residential double lot).  The "court fees" are added to that...hundreds of dollars more.  If you can't pay immediately, chances are great that you go to jail.  In California, if you run a red light, the fine is $100; but $390 is added to that in the form of "fees".  $490 for trying (and failing) to make a yellow light.  Outrageous.

I didn't see this story on the Corporate TV News, but it was a lead story on Democracy Now.  The Corporate Media seem to avoid any stories that have even a hint of the growing poverty in the USA.

In some local jurisdictions, you can be fined hundreds of dollars for having anything dangling from your interior, rear view mirror...including a simple, small chain.

Civil (not Criminal) Asset Forfeiture (CAF) applies even if you're not convicted of whatever "crime" or code violation is involved.  Your assets can be seized in addition to fines imposed, or simply because they "look suspicious".  When you apply to get your property back, it has already been auctioned off...& you get no cash compensation.  This has been going on in the Land of the Free for about 25-30 years.  It started because counties & cities lost huge tax revenue when manufacturing moved South of the border or overseas---Corporatist Globalization.  So, excessive fines & fees AND CAF have been used to raise local revenue.  SCOTUS finally ruled against it.

Apparently, even NeoCon Justices do something ethical once in awhile.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, February 15, 2019

The REAL National Emergencies in the USA


There are many; below are several of them.

1.  Expanding our Nuke arsenal when we should be reducing it.  Along with that, withdrawing from international nuke treaties.  Finally, some of the Powers-That-Be believing nukes can be used without any serious long-term consequences.  All the above is simply unmitigated ignorance, and it borders on insanity.

2.  Our Gov't doing little to nothing in terms of combatting Climate Change, or as one researcher refers to it, Climate Disruption.  In fact, the current Administration's actions will make the Climate problem worse.  I'm no expert in this area, but do have a Master's Degree in the fifth study tradition in Geography, Environmental Studies, or human impact on the environment.  In those studies, it became clear to me that---no matter to what extent greenhouse gas emissions do contribute to the Climate problem (and they do)---it makes no sense whatsoever to fail to reduce those emissions.  Despite Corporatist Propaganda to the contrary, greenhouse gas emissions contribute to Climate Disruption to one degree or another.

3.  The Financialization of our economy.  At one time, the Financial Sector made up about 3% of the economy; now it's about 33%.  At the expense of the rest of us, that primarily benefits the Upper Crust.  Small Business and wage earners both suffer.  NeoFeudalism is approaching rapidly.

4.  The continual expansion of the National Surveillance State.  That's in concert with the virtual destruction of the Fourth Amendment.

5.  The adoption of the Machiavellian concept of Perpetual War, which is being used to manipulate everyday people and further enrich the Super-Rich.

6.  The Trump Presidency.  His Administration is:
a.  violating both Statutes and the Constitution;
b.  harming the economy;
c.  instituting NeoFascism into our Gov't;
d.  promoting Crony Capitalism and the Oligarchy;
e.  normalizing deceit, falsehoods, and propaganda;
f.  alienating Allies;
g.  promoting Authoritarianism;
h.  accelerating NeoFeudalism;
i.  making our country the laughingstock of the world;
j.  encouraging lawlessness; and,
k.  endangering all civilized countries and their peoples.
Trump's supporters had good reasons to be fed-up and angry prior to his election; however, I'm astounded that they still believe he's good for the country and the common people.  It's plain that he's not, and never mind what a danger he is to the entire world.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well
p.s.  Again, a reminder:  I'm not a Democrat or a Republican; and I've been keenly observing American politics ever since 1956.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Most Democrats Support NeoCons, re Venezuela


The clip is less than 3 minutes.
Pure hypocrisy & self-righteousness on the part of most Dems.  They bray about Russian interference in our politics, but Regime Change in Venezuela is okay.  Then, too, there was Libya.  As long as perceived Bad Guys are the target, it's okay to interfere in the politics of other lands.  NeoCons such as Bolton, Abrams, Pence, & Pompeo must be really pleased!  Go Corporate Dems---get access to that oil.  That will really help Climate Change...and hasten our transition to clean energy.  ☺

Venezuela is no threat to us, but they do have the world's largest reserves of oil.  Hmmm.

No, I'm not in favor of Maduro (or any dictator), but neither do I favor butting into the politics of a sovereign country that is no threat to us.  Look what happened in Honduras recently.  The country is in chaos, & run by thugs that we (especially Hillary) supported.  Never mind our shabby history going way back in South & Central America...supporting Death Squad regimes.

Regime Change worked out so well in Iraq, eh?  Never mind Afghanistan.  You'd think we would learn, but the Corporatist Propaganda rolls on.  Good grief.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Wholeness of Humanity


Below is the response to my last piece ("It's the Other Side's Fault") from my brother, Timothy D. Haley.  Over the years, Tim and I have disagreed on a number of concepts; but on this one, we are in full agreement.  After his response, I've included a quote from Carl Jung, and my own closing comments.
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In my understanding and experience, ALL thoughts/feelings of duality/separateness/otherness, are struggles (battles?) within ourselves, denying the ONENESS of creation.  It’s long been known that those qualities in others that we HATE, are all the repressed thoughts, feelings and concepts about OURSELVES we don’t want to face.    All the stuff we thought “they” were guilty of is equally in ourselves.   "What goes around, comes around.”   “The more we point the finger of blame to others, the more that finger comes back to point at us.”   To the degree we lift ourselves individually and collectively out of unconscious motivations to conscious awareness, is the degree to which we heal and move toward wholeness.   It is our expanding individual WHOLENESS that allows us to grasp the ONENESS of humanity, a place where COMPASSION AND SELF-COMPASSION grow and thrive. 
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From Carl Jung...it may be a tiny bit paraphrased (I don't have the exact quote in front of me)---
"The Self is a circle, the center of which is nowhere, and the circumference of which is everywhere.".

I interpret that as:  the oneness of humanity.  We in the Western World, in particular, often seem to be utterly opposed to that concept.  Instead, we tend to embrace the ideas of opposing factions, strife, self-righteousness, and imposing our will on others...because, as the Bob Dylan song mourned, we have "God on our side".  Or, something else equally important (in our minds) is on our side.  All "sides" think that.  Hello.  

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

It's the Other Side's Fault


Below is my response (edited a bit) to an email from a friend.  His email was a commentary on my piece here titled, "Republicans & Democrats - Time to Cowboy-Up".  The name "Hartmann" below refers to Thom Hartmann, the pundit and author.
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You & Hartmann seem to have the premise that all Republicans are sociopaths, but maybe only a few Democrats are that.  Really?  You actually believe that everyone in an entire group is sociopathic?  Please.  Forgive me, but that's prejudice.  In fact, it sounds very similar (not the same) to Nazis claiming that all Jews are deceitful, conniving, & filthy.  Or, some Republicans claiming that all Democrats are totalitarian communists.  All of the above is ridiculous.

You don't have to sell me on the egregious actions of Repub Administrations; I agree.  That doesn't prove your premise that all Repubs are sociopaths.  Neither does the study you mentioned some time ago about Right Wing folks having some sort of flaw in their brains.  Here's another study that tends to suggest this whole thing is not as one-sided as you believe---
Perhaps you watched it the 1st time I sent it, but maybe your bias against Repubs prevented you from getting the point.  I don't know.  Jon Haidt studies the moral foundations of politics; he's a well respected psychologist.  His study results are quite revealing.  http://people.stern.nyu.edu/jhaidt/

Those of you who continue to pit one side against the other are making things more entrenched...worse, in my opinion.  You and I apparently will never agree on this topic, so of what use is it to talk about it?

To put all people of a particular persuasion into one psychological/social basket is a huge mistake in my opinion.  It causes big problems.  Too many unwarranted assumptions, too much jumping to conclusions, too much prejudice.  I've known some mighty fine people in my life; some were Repubs, some were Dems, some were Libertarians, and some were Socialists.  I've never found each separate political group to be homogeneous in their beliefs or actions.

 We humans seem to have an innate drive to divide up into groups/factions/teams and oppose one another.  Too often that opposition winds up in violence... mainly thanks to propaganda.  And each group firmly believes that it alone is "in the right"...for whatever reason.  The "other" side is always "wrong".  All that is probably why we'll wind up like every other species that had some degree of dominance on Earth---extinct.

None of the above is too much of a concern to me because, in my belief/faith system, this existence of ours is The Grand Illusion.  As the old song goes, "... Life is but a dream.".  And that's a good thing.  ☺
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Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Howard Schultz SHOULD Run for President in 2020


I just now finished watching the interview of Schultz by Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes.  I hope he runs for Pres in the next go-round.  Normally, I wouldn't be for a billionaire doing that, but this guy impressed me.  After doing some reading about his life, and given the current & past political circumstances in this great Land, I believe the time is right for Howard Schultz.  Here's why.

1.  For quite some time now, the Republican and Democratic Parties have been (on balance) failures at running our government in terms of what's best for the overwhelming majority of Americans.  With one exception, I won't even bother to detail the dismal failures of both major Parties over the past many years.  Those failures are blatantly obvious, and have created the conditions resulting in the election of an almost completely incompetent, petulant, autocratic juvenile.  The one exception is this:  both Parties have failed to rein in the Plutocrats or Oligarchs and their system of Corporatocracy which extracts wealth from the economy and rarely ever pumps any of that wealth back into the economy.  I'm talking about the Crony Capitalists who rip off average folks and then invest the profits in anything (e.g., bizarre derivatives, foreign bonds, foreign currencies, overseas factories, etc.) except job-producing ventures in the USA.  In other words, Mega Business...and their DC puppets.  Especially when it comes to Mega Banks, the record of both major Parties is shabby beyond belief.

2.  Schultz is thinking of running as a Centrist Independent.  Despite what the major Parties and the Corporate Media would have us believe, 41% of this country's electorate are Independents.  Neither Repubs (25%) or Dems (31%) can top that.  Each of them tries to sell us the idea that they represent the "majority" of Americans.  The Corporate Media are even worse.  They all imply that only "Conservatives" and "Liberals" matter in today's politics.  Not true.

3.  Though Schultz is Super-Rich, he definitely appears to have a social conscience, seems to be open-minded, and in general, appears to be pretty much the opposite of the current President.  From what I've been able to glean so far, Howard Schultz is a man of depth, competence, and integrity.

4.  This country needs a fresh approach, and a genuine change.  The political Establishment is out-of-step, and Trump lives in Bizarro World.  All he's interested in is himself.

5.  People say an Independent can't win.  Consider this:  today's political scene is so off-kilter that the old truisms aren't necessarily true anymore.  Plus, I think 2020 is ripe for a major change, a fresh start, something out-of-the-box.  We Americans are fed up to the gills with the squabbling between the major Parties, the extremes at both ends of the political spectrum, and politicians who have a great spiel, but no results...or the wrong results.

6.  Some say a Schultz run would siphon off votes from the Dems and guarantee another term for you-know-who...similar to the Nader efforts back when.  See number 5 above.  More importantly, the 50% of us who no longer vote in national elections because we're fed up with Democrats AND Republicans most likely would jump back into the game.  I would.  Finally, and again, 41% of this country's electorate are Independents.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

Monday, January 21, 2019

Republicans & Democrats - Time to Cowboy-Up

Preface---
Trump is not the problem; he's merely a symptom of the problem.  More accurately, he's a symptom of a plethora of problems, most of which revolve around Corporatism and Propaganda.  Below I suggest only a couple of things that the highest levels of the Repubs and Dems can do toward making our country a better place, and our standing in the world more favorable.
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Democrats---
This is a no-brainer:  stop harping on Trump's foibles and misdeeds.  They are obvious to almost everyone.  Instead, give us a vision of your program for improvement...a comprehensive vision, rather than a one-or-two-issue vision.  You've managed to essentially kill the "Green New Deal", I've seen little to no efforts/plans on your part to get Corporate money out of politics, or break up the egregious Mega Banks, or put a stop to gerrymandering of House Districts, or stop antagonizing the world with military adventurism, or any significant plan to fix our crumbling public infrastructure, or any plan to encourage manufacturing in this great land, and on & on.  Mostly what I see are high level politicos bellying up to the public trough and private wealth.  I also see that over the years you've managed to pretty much marginalize any person in your Party who favors the "common people".  You give a lot of lip service to genuine Populism, but little else.  Most of you now seem to believe in Neoliberalism, not Liberalism.  It's time for a sea change.

Republicans---
You're just as bad as the Dems.  Over many years, and especially lately, you have squandered and ruined the reputation of a once ethical Party.  In the distant past, your Party stood for:  honor, ethics, We the People, and small business (which employed 80% of American workers).  Now you support what is basically a cabal of super-rich, monopolistic, anti-democracy NeoFascists.  You favor Mega Biz over Small Biz.  You favor Crony Capitalism over genuine Capitalism.  In the past you recognized the folly and danger of policing the world; now you jump at every chance to get into another war.  You once knew the difference between patriotism and nationalism; now you don't seem to have a clue.  In the past, one sect of your Party was Conservative; that's now gone.  Instead, NeoConservatives now dominate a pathetic excuse for what's called the Republican Party.  Even worse, most of you now kowtow to a man who has little to no ethics, morality, or even mental stability.  Shame on you.

Given all that, here's another no-brainer:  stop backing Trump.  History will not treat him well.  He's not even a Republican...and certainly not a Conservative.  In addition, divest yourselves of NeoConservatism.  Re-discover the roots of your Party.  Our country will be better off for it.
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Not only my opinion.  Be Well