Monday, July 27, 2020

Cuing Up the Next Civil War

Remember early on in this Administration, the common thought was that Trump regularly committed outrages just to divert attention from the prior outrages, so there would be so much out there, no one knew where to turn first?

I feel like it’s kind of like that now, only larger. It’s not just little things like he’s violating the emoluments clause, or asking the Russians for opposition research, but now he’s allowing tens of thousands of innocent Americans to be killed, stoking nationwide protests that haven’t been seen since the 60s, and forming a private army with the express purpose to violate the 1st Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.

If ever there was evidence that what political leaders say matters, it’s his denial of the seriousness of the coronavirus and denunciation of wearing masks. Once he put that out there, “his people” have been using it as a rallying cry to “defend their rights” and spread the infections farther and faster.

I’ve seen the meme that says that if Hillary were president, we’d all be eating in restaurants and going to ballgames by now. I don’t think so. Hillary would have been like Round Two of the Obama Administration wherein whatever she said was opposed and denounced by the Right, and wearing masks would have been one more example. Trump and the others of the radical right, along with talk radio and Fox “News” would be in lockstep, decrying any kind of mask mandate as federal overreach and tyranny. (Just like they are now.) But it would be even worse because it came from her. Can’t you just smell the misogyny?

The initial impressions were so strong that now, even after Trump reversed course on masks, his followers still tow the original company line. It seems like they’re ready to ride that horse right up until the moment they catch the ‘Rona themselves, and then release an “Oops, my bad” statement.

Or maybe they don’t trust what he’s saying now because they know he’s only reacting to the polls, which overwhelmingly disapprove of his handling of the outbreak. And they’d have to admit they were wrong, which you know will never happen.

It’s finally coming to pass that the anti-education and anti-intellectualism that Republicans traffic in is now killing people.

They deny the science, which has been established for decades (regarding how to mitigate a virus), they deny the media reports as “hype,” deny the body count because they were told (by Fox, talk radio and some schmo on Facebook) that the counts are inflated, they promote idiot conspiracy theories that either China or our own renowned infectious disease expert created the virus to unleash on America, just to damage Donald Trump.

I think Joe Biden should contact Dr. Fauci and tell him to speak his mind at all times and that no matter what sanctions this Administration imposes in retribution, he’ll get his job back on Day One of the Biden Administration. Of course, to do that, Joe’s got to be confident he’ll be able to overcome Republican voter suppression actions already in place, plus other general fuckery expected to be unleashed in the next three months. Good polling only goes so far.

Trump is already screwing with the mail, to create doubt as to the security of mailed ballots. The GOP is creating a team of 50,000 people to become “poll watchers,” allegedly to “fight fraud,” (which no one can prove exists), but in reality to harass and intimidate voters, especially those who look foreign. How much do you want to bet that these “poll watchers” look and dress an awful lot like those “police” in Portland?

I think his and Barr’s creation of a private army for the Bible Stunt felt pretty good to the president. With this hand-picked army, there’s no messy chain of command issues or petty Constitutional problems to worry about. He has a privateer army made up of sociopaths and miscreants from ICE and Border Patrol, with a smattering of prison guards, who are used to not seeing other humans as “people” and love nothing more than to gas these “animals” and crack some heads.

I think the problem with this personal army is going to get much worse before it gets better. He’s plainly stated that he plans on using it exclusively in cities run by Democrats. Funny how he never sent anyone to those State Houses where heavily armed white men shouted as lawmakers and local police officers because they wanted to go Hair Cuttery and the gym again.

But in Portland, his un-labeled army gasses mothers, charges and beats medics who are treating people, and have performed countless acts of savagery toward people who are exercising their Constitutional rights.

Right-wing media always shows the people attacking fences, throwing rocks or yelling at Donnie’s Militia. They completely ignore the hundreds of recorded atrocities like this. I once posted a link roster, on Facebook, of over 700 videoed instances that showed jacked-up police or these Portland thugs attacking unarmed civilians. All my conservative friends would do is argue about side issues. Not one would even mention the evidence I put under their noses. And I regularly see them grumble about the Portland “lawbreakers.” If they don’t see it, they’re not responsible for defending it.

It's sobering to think that if the original Rambo movie, "First Blood," were released today, 40% of the audience would be rooting for the cops.

That’s your modern Republican… they love America so much they completely reject the 1st Amendment, unless it’s their own people. (The 2nd is sacrosanct, of course. When their opponents show up with guns, their answer is “more guns.”)

 Republicans: “Gas them. They deserve it.”  (Source: Daily Mail)

Republicans: [Crickets]  (Source: Getty Images)

I keep reading that local Portlanders say the protests were basically dying off before the Trump Army showed up. Maybe to continue that trend would take the wind out of their sales. What if someone threw a riot but no one showed up? Civilized protesters will never win against a heavily-armed and unrestrained military force. Nor will uncivilized protesters. Like we learned from the WOPR computer in “War Games”, the only way to win is not to play the game.

Sure, Trump may keep a force on the ground to prevent recurrences, but at least that’s a bunch of troops who aren’t gassing people elsewhere.

Ultimately, the best tactic is to vote every one of these bastards out. And then once we have a Democratic Senate, pass a law that prevents a president’s personal army from going to war against his own people.

Then again, I take that back. We better wait until we know a Biden Army won’t be necessary. I can definitely foresee a time where these jackedbooted Trumpies refuse to follow their leader back to the fringe. They’re going to want to fight it out, now that they have a taste for it. We may need an army of our own.

And thus does the country split itself apart.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Pets Are so Helpful in the Time of COVID

Director’s DVD Commentary: This is an “Easter Egg” post; just a little something apart from my usual posting cycle, but I’m throwing out there for anyone who may stumble upon it.

As you may have seen, I’ve written before about our (Sweetpea’s) yellow lab. They say it’s a comfort to have pets in the Time of COVID, but I’m not so sure. They certainly inject a note of unpredictability into our lives. Like this morning.

First, I need to tell you a few things. As is typical for a lab, this dog is a 90-lb eating machine on paws. He’s completely motivated by food and food alone. It doesn’t even matter what it is. He will scarf down a bowl of sawdust with as much gusto as a bowl of filet mignon.

These are the things he cares about, in order:
1)      Food.
2)      Tie between Ballgames and Mommy, (who no doubt holds this position due to being the prime supplier of the food and ballgames.)
3)      Everything else.

I know food is number one because one time when I got home before Sweetpea, (back in the days when I still went to the office), I fed the dog and as he was eating, she came home. He never budged. His tail started wagging, so he knew she was home, but he never went to give her his customary licking and wagging welcome until the bowl was empty.

“It wud be rood to leev dinnner tabel.”

But “Miss B” is a whole ‘nother category unto herself. Miss B is a friend of Sweetpea’s, from around the corner, and the dog completely adores her. He goes bananas any time she shows up at the door and barks until she plays ball with him. Sometimes she goes with them on their morning walks.

That’s what happened this morning when Sweetpea came busting back in the house to tell me what happened to the dog.

They were out walking and she noticed our neighbor’s car window was rolled down and she wanted to knock on the door and tell them so their car seats wouldn’t get soaked. So she asked Miss B to hold the dog’s leash. The neighbors didn’t answer but when she came back to Miss B, she said she was showing the dog that she didn’t have any treats in her pocket, just pennies. (She usually carries treats for the various dogs along their route.) When she held them out in her hand to show him, the dog came to investigate and snarfed them up.

So Sweetpea got on the phone to her vet’s, who told her to bring the dog to the pet emergency room, and off they went. She delivered the dog but then had to wait in the car.

It wasn't until she got the dog into the ER that she realized she was wearing one of my old tee-shirts... This one:

(Ordinarily, Sweetpea needs no further direction on how to swear like a sailor.)

Because she got him in right away, the first thing they did was make the dog throw up. When he did, they saw that there were no pennies contained therein. Next step was to do an X-ray. Again, no pennies were found. They said a swallowed penny always shows up on X-ray, ergo he must not have actually eaten the pennies. So that’s good news. Also, that’ll be $391.

As soon as she got home, Sweetpea went out to where it all happened and came back with the three pennies, which she found right there in the grass.

Good thing we’re both still gainfully employed or that would have been be quite a pill to swallow. But it’s especially ass-chapping that not only should Miss B have NOT held out the pennies like they were treats, to a known eating machine, she assumed the dog had swallowed the pennies. He probably licked them out of her hand, or spit them out after getting a taste. He does the same thing with olives, the only food substance he refrains from eating.

So, everyone’s OK but we’re out $391 for the dog to yak at the vet’s office. They probably added $100 for the "fuck" shirt.

Can Congress pass a relief bill for that? They should at least make it tax-deductible.

The moral of the story: Let the neighbors worry about their own car. .

“Wen dinnner, Mommy?”

Director's DVD Commentary: The side-issue regarding my baby's "wardrobe malfunction" was added the day after publication. I meant to include it in the first place, but I forgot about it while I was writing. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

If They Only Had a Brain

I went fishing on Facebook again this weekend and ran into a number of examples of some people living in a world entirely removed from reality. How nice it must be for them to create a world where they’re the heroes battling a bunch of dastardly villains who would like to ruin their way of life.

Granted, we Democrats probably think that too, but luckily we have verifiable facts on our side. And science.

I guess the thing that gets me so riled up is the gross delusions they have about “us,” the “enemy.” Obviously, it’s easier to whip up resentment over cartoon-level evil rather than reasoned activities that run counter to one’s own preferred narrative.

For example, in this meme from a conservative friend, there’s nothing written that’s true.

“China spread the disease.” Well, in China, yes. And then some Chinese came here before Trump closed the borders. But he only closed the borders for Chinese… many Americans came home from China carrying the ‘Rona all over the country because a virus doesn’t distinguish between nationalities when it infects someone.

And then once it was here, the federal government didn’t do a single thing to prepare for or stop the transmission of the virus, other than pretend everything was OK.

There’s also a good likelihood that the writer is implying that the virus was engineered in Chinese labs, a claim that American scientists have debunked, with prejudice. They can tell an engineered virus from a naturally occurring one, and the opinion among scientists is unchallenged (other than by idiots who desperately need someone to take the blame.)

“Democrats spread the lies.” What lies? If they’re talking about initial conclusions about the virus that didn’t pan out, hey, that’s science. It adapts to new data. At the onset of an outbreak, data is in short supply. Science self-corrects as time goes on. It’s a feature of the system. Calling an initial scientific prediction a lie is a willful overreach.

“Media spread the panic.” They’re confusing “panic” with attempts to educate people on virus transmission and mitigation practices. It would have been journalistic malpractice to ignore this story or to whitewash it to the satisfaction of the Trump Administration.

"They crashed the economy." Who is "they?" What crashed the economy was the refusal to fully plan for and address the pandemic in anything but superficial terms. When we first locked down, nothing was done with that time. Other countries instituted aggressive testing and tracing. We did not. Now they're basically over it and we're banned from their countries. The economy is never going to heal until the threat of the virus is gone. That was true in March and it's true now.

“All to destroy our president.” Yes, to date, 141,455 Americans have died to “destroy” your president. They and millions of people around the world are all pretending to get sick or die because of political gamesmanship. This is stupid beyond words.

“Remember in November.” We most certainly will. And when the history of this administration is written, it will be done so in the blood of the dead who wouldn’t have had to die if it weren’t for the indifference of Donald Trump and the enablers who prop him up. All he had to do was what the leaders of every other civilized country did: take responsibility and act in the best interest of their citizens.

Here’s another one that’s practically the poster-child for “strawman arguments.” Ray Bolger would be impressed.

Let’s look closer, shall we?

Killing babies vs Letting babies live. Complete misnomer. Any time two particular cells intersect they call it a baby. It’s not. They’re just using loaded language and imagery to distort the liberal position that the pregnant person is the only one who should decide whether a baby gets carried to term, not politicians, religious fanatics, or any other busy-bodied do-gooders.

Defunding Police vs Supporting Police. I guarantee they think defunding the police means not having the police, which nobody is proposing. Democrats will be happy to support police that doesn’t beat the shit out of unarmed, restrained civilians. Or shoot first and plant evidence later. If the police stop doing that, we have no more problems with protests.

Gun Control vs Gun Rights. They don’t specify hear but the common sentiment is that the Democrats want to disarm people, which is incorrect. Democrats would like to eliminate military hardware and high capacity clips, which (still) have no business in civilian hands.

Riots and Violence vs Law and Order. They love to focus on the riots, but somehow, it always seems to turn out that the people getting arrested are the right-wing white supremacists. And it’s easy to clamor for “law and order” from one’s overstuffed couch in a white-bread community. If these people were ever treated like people of color are every single day, they’d be out there protesting too.

Open Borders vs Border Control. Illegal Immigration vs Legal Immigration. More lies. Democrats want a sane immigration policy, wherein people can actually immigrate. Republicans have shown us they’re version of border control, which means “only the white people may enter.” I mean, where are the complaints about our open border with Canada? There are none because Canada is not sending us brown people. (Or anyone, nowadays. Now, it’s Mexico and Canada (and Europe) who have sealed their borders from us!) Way to go, Donnie!

Higher Taxes vs Tax Breaks. I can’t believe the audacity to even include this as if it applies to the average citizen. Democrats want to raise taxes on the richest of the rich and cut taxes for the other 98%. The last 50 years have proven that trickle-down tax cuts don’t work for those who are supposed to benefit from the trickling. But if you put money in the hands of the lower and middle-class, we will spend it. That sends the money back into the economy and benefits the rich, poor, and everyone in between. Demand for goods and services is the only thing that gets a business to hire more people. Handing the money straight to the top benefits no one but the top.

Weak Military vs Strong Military. No Democrat is for a “weak military,” but that doesn’t mean we have to continue to overspend the way we do. We outspend the next 12 countries combined in military spending. We can do better and not lose a bit of necessary firepower.

Over-Regulation vs Small Business. Regulations are the only things that keep businesses from abusing those that work for them and the world that surrounds them. Republicans can go on pretending that Trump is cutting regulations that strangle small businesses. But what he’s actually done, and every Republican will continue this, is ease regulations on what companies can dump into streams and belch into the air. Because to restrict such pollutions costs money. Maybe one day, Republicans will figure out how to breathe money, but until then, they are killing this planet with manmade waste.

Let Anyone Vote vs Voter ID. Another lie. A true statement would be “let any citizen vote vs keeping likely Democrats from voting by requiring IDs that come from places they’re closing in urban areas, in scarce voting precincts with even scarcer voting machines.” It’s not just about the ID, it’s a full-scale, coordinated attack on voting rights, all to combat a threat that doesn’t exist.

Welfare State vs Working Class. Don’t look now but the working class and the welfare state are basically one and the same, and will stay that way until a living wage is seriously addressed.

Poverty vs Prosperity. What kind of phony-baloney crap is this? No one’s “for” poverty. Everyone wants prosperity. We just have different ways of getting to it. And the Democrats’ way scares the hell out of the 1% who run this country, so they manufacture bullshit like this to rally people dumb enough to fall for it.

Big Government vs Small Government. More Control vs Less Control. I’d call it “Effective Government vs Gutting Government and selling it off for scraps.” Democrats believe there’s a role for government to play in providing safety and guidance for all citizens. Republicans look at it as a barrier to their screwing everyone for their own benefit. Hence, the smaller the government, the more businesses can loot the treasury and trample everyone else in a race for greater profits. You see the state of COVID-19 in this country? It’s the inevitable result of a “small government” philosophy. They’d rather the country swirl down the tubes than admit that it takes federal leadership to combat the pandemic, because it goes against their dogma.

Against Term Limits vs Favor Term Limits. Completely made up. No politician of any flavor is for term limits, not until they’re out of office (or trying to get in). Show me anywhere in any Republican platform that asks for term limits.

Socialism vs Capitalism. The older I get, the more Socialism appeals to me. All I see from Capitalism is everyone screwing everyone else just to make a buck. Or a million bucks. But even so, there’s a small faction of Democrats pushing for Socialist actions but not the mainstream. The thing is, we already have “Socialism” all over the place, from Social Security on down. It’s not the boogie-man, but it IS something the 1% are deathly afraid of so they work hard to make you afraid of it too.

Liberalism vs Conservatism. Why is this even here? This is implied with the heading “Democrat” vs Republican.”  Looks like list padding to me, as does the rest of this list.

Communism vs Constitution. Democrats aren’t for Communism, sorry Archie Bunker. And if Republicans are so interested in the Constitution, why are they itching to violate Portlanders’ constitutionally- granted rights to assemble? Or applying poll taxes like in Florida? Or overlook their president who has been in violation of the Emoluments Clause of The Constitution since the day he took office.

Suppression vs Free Speech. Again, who’s suppressing people’s free speech in BLM marches? What Republicans don’t like is having to take responsibility for when their free speech leads them to say something stupid. Maybe they should look up what “suppression” means. I’m pretty sure some of it would look like unidentified military forces scooping people up off the street and taking them away to parts unknown in unmarked vehicles.

Defiance vs Patriotism. Only to Republicans would these traits be in conflict. What greater patriotism was there than the defiance of our forefathers against King George? They don’t understand that real patriotism goes deeper than a flag, or lapel pin, or standing for a song.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Limitation of Statues Part 2

Last week Baltimore joined the fraternity of cities that saw an angry mob take down a statue.

This was a Columbus statue erected along the Inner Harbor, near the entrance to the Little Italy district. If I hadn’t been working from home, I’d have seen it missing immediately. I walk right by it on my way from subway to office and back. I never gave it much thought before. But some other people did, didn’t they?

Protesters threw a rope around the statue on Saturday night (7/4), pulled it down, and rolled it into the Inner Harbor. City officials sent a crew in to retrieve it a few days later. After a couple days in that water, it probably looked less like a statue and more like an ordinary pillar.

Several years ago the city removed several confederate statues and renamed what had been “Robert E. Lee Park.” I thought that was the prudent thing to do under the circumstances. They just got some contractors out there one night and by the next morning, the statues were just gone. I wrote about it here.

Ol’ Columbus skated by that time but more and more people are learning about the true nature of his activities in the “New World.” And combined with the facts that he wasn’t the first one to notice a giant land mass to the west, and never even set foot on the mainland, you wonder why all the reverence?

Regardless, the Italian-American community was not happy with their guy getting rolled. I can see how it used to be a point of pride, but with what we know today? Isn’t there another noteworthy Italian we can commemorate? How about Amerigo Vespucci? Or Enrico Fermi? Or Guglielmo Marconi? Marco Polo? Hell, build a statue of Enrico Polazzo! He saved the Queen, for Chrissakes!
Enrico Polazzo, circa 1988.

I think some of these statues should come down, but not via mob hysteria. I think the local governments should be given first shot at decommissioning these things. You can always bring the mob in later if they drag their feet or put up a lot of bullshit arguments. (Example: "But we’ll lose history!"  ERRRRRRRRP, sorry, that lame-ass argument gets rolled into the Harbor too.)

I think the real sticky point is what to take down. I mean, most of our Founding Fathers were slave owners. So where does one stop? Do we celebrate none of the people who created this country? I always caution about judging historical figures by today’s criteria. People want to try to apply “woke” culture to the 1700s? Might as well apply it to Genghis Khan, Henry the 8th, and Spartacus. It’s pointless.

For me, I draw the line at the Civil War.

At our country’s outset, slave ownership was a common thing, wasn’t it? Anyone in power had slaves. I hate to say it, but it was the times. Right or wrong, it’s just how it was. Might made right.

But then our ethos evolved over time and people realized that keeping human beings as property was a travesty and just wrong. More and more people agreed and it got so contentious that we fought a war over it. And there’s the line.

On one side, those who wish to treat all humans as equals. (At least in theory.) On the other side, a group who disagreed so hard they withdrew from their new country and went to war over it. And they lost.

Years later, descendants of those same people built statues of the failed and fallen military leaders, just to let the Black folks know who was still “really” in charge. And this is what people are upset about removing? They shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

And yet we have memes showing up like this one I answered over the weekend:

So I have no problem with monuments to Washington, Franklin and Jefferson remaining in place. They were flawed men who did some great things and birthed a country out of sheer will. After all, if it wasn’t for Jefferson insisting that “we get some cool rules pronto,” we’d just be bogus too.

But a bunch of Confederate generals and soldiers? We know what they did. There’s no reason to commemorate the exploits of villains. You want to know about the history? Read a book.

What irritates me the most is realizing how much of a whitewashed education I got. I learned all the traditional shit, Columbus “discovers” America in 1492, in the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Colonists have Thanksgiving with the natives then we fight the British, we have the Civil War and then they kill Lincoln.

Do they not think we can still love a country that’s flawed? We don’t have to be perfect to feel pride in our history and people. Teach what happened and then teach what we learned from it and what we did to do better. Discuss how we can continue to improve.

Scrubbing out our Nation’s missteps does a disservice to the young ones we’re trying to educate. It’s one thing to repeat history because we forgot it, but it’s worse when we never really learned it in the first place. And that’s how we end up with rednecks yelling at Native Americans and telling them to go home.

So statues up? Statues down? I don’t get too worked up about it either way. If taking down a statue that glorifies an oppressor makes someone’s life a little easier, what the hell? Maybe I should go campaign to tear down the statue of Ray Lewis by the Ravens’ stadium. That would make ME feel loads better!

But I think we had it pretty easy here in Baltimore, just getting rid of a few statues. What the hell are they going to do in Central Ohio?

Monday, July 6, 2020

What I Love About the Democratic Party

I saw this on Facebook last week and I had to make a quick decision.

Do I furiously peck out an answer right there and then on this friend’s timeline? Nah. I hate composing long, involved posts on a cell phone. So, blog post it is! This way, I can excerpt it onto my own timeline later.

In looking at this meme, you could take it two ways. If a Democrat has posted it, it could be a plea to be less negative and come out for what we believe in rather than throwing mud at Bunkerboy. But this was posted on a conservative friend’s timeline, who posts one poorly informed Republican meme after another. So I took it as a challenge, which I gladly accepted.

Republicans think our only uniting cause is hating Trump because that’s what they’re told. If they only get their news from Fox “News” or other conservative sources, of course that’s what they think we think. Fox is never going to present a coherent or compelling version of the Democratic point of view. To them, Democrats are just the black hats who hate America, there to make victims out of Trump and God-fearing “real” Americans.

So, since they asked, here’s why I love the Democratic Party:

·        The Democrats care about and fight for the middle and lower classes, not the rich. Dems try to get tax cuts for us and raise taxes on the richest Americans. Dems are still trying to get COVID relief to us non-rich. Republicans are trying to do the opposite. They set aside $500 million for “small” businesses, which big businesses gobbled up, and another $500 mil to be doled out to Big Business in private, with no transparency and no strings attached. Their leadership has indicated that direct financial help to all Americans is a non-starter. When the rich donors tell the Republicans to jump, they ask two things: 1) How high? 2) Onto whose necks?

Catering to the rich is the Republican Prime Directive. All the Democrats have to do is not do that. This point alone is enough to marry me to the Democrats forever.

·        Democrats believe in and support science, and rely on scientists and experts in creating policy on climate change, pandemic response, pollution limits, reproductive rights, and other crucial areas. They are not bound by religious dogma when it comes to creating public policy.

·        While the majority of Democrats say they’re religious, there is room for non-believers and atheists within the Party. That is not true of Republicans, who let the religious concerns of a small percentage of Americans govern their approach to social issues.

·        Democrats, as a party, treat women as people, not property. Their stance on abortion and women’s roles in family and government are starkly different than Republicans’. Look no further than the current makeup of Congress, which holds 105 female Democratic Senators and Representatives vs. 23 Republicans. 
      The Republican party fights hard not only against abortion but birth control, which is the number one way to prevent pregnancy. By promoting these two opposing things, one can only conclude that they are more interested in State control of the female body than exhibiting any magnanimous reverence for "life." So they promote abstinence instead; while it IS effective birth control, it's still another lien on a woman's body.

·        Democrats intend to make America a leader on the world stage, which is a cosmic change from the circus we currently have. We’ve turned on our allies and dance to our enemy’s tunes. Democrats will change that.

·        Despite the constant presidential talking point, Democrats don’t rig elections. They are in favor of seeing to it that every American can vote if they want to, which just so happens to line up nicely with what America is all about.

Republicans are bending over backward to make it harder to vote, especially in areas where they fear they won’t do so well. They harp on “voter fraud,” a problem that has affected a minuscule number of votes, then take draconian actions to “correct the problem” by clearing voter rolls without confirming the accuracy, eliminating precincts and voting machines in Democratic areas, requiring specific IDs that Democrats are less likely to have, and then closing the MVA branches in those same neighborhoods.

None of that has anything to do with voter fraud. It is 100% voter suppression and is 100% un-American. Democrats don’t do that. Democrats fight to win votes with plans and ideas. If Republicans thought they could sway voters with concrete plans for what they intend to do, they wouldn’t spend all this effort to game the system. The best they manage is to misrepresent what Democrats want and then attack that.

·        Democrats appoint experienced judges. Have you seen the recent Trump nominees? I’ve got more trial experience than a lot of them. All one has to do to be a Republican judicial appointee is rule against abortion providers, and for business interests.

·        Democrats use the Justice Dept. to right wrongdoings, not to sic on their political enemies.

·        Democrats want to demilitarize the police. Not every jurisdiction needs enough firepower to repel North Korea. Democrats realize that not every situation requires a police response and we can’t arrest our way out of all of society’s problems.

·        The Democratic Party is the party of equality of race and sexuality. Democrats know that while all lives matter, the Black ones are under siege from both government and private institutions. Democrats carry the spirit of Lincoln, regardless of party labels. Republicans gave up the right to celebrate Lincoln when they abandoned the Democratic Party in the 1960s after of the passage of the civil rights and voting rights laws and made Republicans the party of racism.

Democrats got inter-racial marriage and same-sex marriage legalized while Republicans fought hard against both. There is no logical argument against either, only fear and religious nonsense.

·        Democrats are also for a sane immigration policy, that doesn’t include separating families and throwing kids into cages. Republicans campaign by saying Democrats want “open borders,” which is quite untrue. What they do want is an immigration policy that allows people to actually immigrate. What the terms and limits will be are subject to discussion.

·        Democrats want reasonable gun laws. No, despite the half-cocked talking points, no one wants to disarm America. But there is still no need for semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity clips. This is military hardware that’s better left to the military, not to a bunch of rednecks who want their Costco to reopen. Democrats passed an assault-weapon ban years ago and all it did was significantly lower the rate of deaths from gunfire. The country did not collapse into anarchy. Democrats would like to pass another one.

And perhaps someone could enlighten me with the reason Republicans shot down prohibiting gun sales to people on the federal Terrorist Watch List. Because for the life of me, I can’t think of a valid reason why Republicans would want terrorists to buy guns in America. I know the NRA balks at any restriction on gun sales but perhaps this is a tad over-zealous?

Maybe a really shrewd Democrat will propose a requirement that every African-American male buy a semi-automatic rifle. Nothing will get the Republicans on board with an assault-weapon ban faster than that.

·        Democrats want a national healthcare plan, whether it’s a revitalized ACA or a single-payer system like every other first-world country. It CAN be done but it will have to triumph over the will of those with an interest in the established “for-profit,” system. Those folks will not give up their billions easily and will work overtime to convince you that anything else is socialism, communism, or any other “ism” that scares you.

Unfortunately, what they can’t do is show how the current system is better, not with people going bankrupt left and right from medical bills, or having to choose between food and prescriptions, or fighting their insurance company to be given the best treatments as opposed to merely the cheapest.

·        Democrats believe in education. They believe in science, experts, and those with applicable experience. Democrats put those people in charge of departments that coincide with their expertise, rather than businessmen sent to neuter the agencies they run so that they don’t hamper profits of the businesses they came from.

Republicans continually deride educated people as eggheads in some ivory tower, somehow set apart from the “real world.” Which is horseshit.

It’s not a coincidence that the reddest states are the ones with the poorest performing educational systems. That’s by design. Republicans don’t want thinkers, they want pliable people who look in the Bible for answers about how the world works, instead of a science book.

Republicans’ antipathy towards education is self-preservation because the more people know, and the better they’re able to think and dissect an argument, the better they are at avoiding the manipulation of deceptive advertising or misguided memes.