The Death of Privacy in America

A draft of a Supreme Court Ruling on abortion, that was printed in the New York Times, has the political world up in arms. The draft asserts that, Roe v Wade, the case that affirmed the right of a woman to decide for herself what happens if she gets pregnant, is knocked down based on the writings of an English Lawyer from the 1600s who believed witches should be put to death. The claim is that Roe was initially decided incorrectly, and that there is no support in the Constitution for the right of privacy.  Additionally, Roe should be knocked down because abortion is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.  Hate to say it but the reasoning is so inept any freshman law student could easily rebut it! The right to privacy is well established under law and many rights we take for granted are not specifically named.  Sad to watch the Justices twist themselves into knots in order to  to take away this right!

The leaked draft ruling written by Judge Alito, ending a Woman’s right to decide what happens when she gets pregnant, will also create a threat to individual privacy.   If a woman has no right to privacy in her most intimate of decisions, then nobody in America does! The right to decide, now, rests with the woman as a right to privacy established by the court 50 years ago. It is settled precedent!

The last 3 Judges appointed to the Supreme Court by President Trump, Justice Barret, Justice Kavanaugh, and Justice Gorsuch, all testified to Congress that the right to an abortion was settled precedent under law, when questioned during their confirmation hearings. This means that they lied in their hearings. Three of the Judges sitting on the Highest Court in the land, thought it was ok to commit perjury in their hearings.  That it was ok to commit a felony during their hearing.  Let me say that again, 3 Supreme Court Judges sitting on the highest court in the land thought it was ok to commit perjury in their hearings! This means they lied to the American People. That is a problem. That is a huge problem!

If a woman has no right to privacy in her most intimate decisions, then you don’t either. This assault on individual freedom will not stop here. Any right couched in the right to privacy, like Gay Marriage, or even interracial marriage are under threat.  It allows the Government to intrude on any private decision you might choose to make that the Government does not like! This decision will take away the right to privacy in our individual lives because it will kill the legal right to individual privacy in our private decisions.

Should Roe v Wade fall it will result in the Court taking away a right. Something that has never happened.  We have always worked to expand rights not take them away.  It is a sad day in America the land of the Free, when half of our Legislators are working to take away rights instead of working to expand them!

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Saving the American Dream

  • Restoring Financial hope and the American Dream

We currently have the largest wealth gap since right before the crash of 1929. This inequity in wealth is a weight on our economy and unless dealt with will cause much economic harm for our country and for our individual citizens. It already is stifling growth in individuals and local governments.

The original idea, back in 1968, was that the spending of the poor and middle class would drive the economy. They even called for a Universal Basic Income in 1968 and the Republican President Nixon, supported the idea. From the war till 1980, a man working 40 hours a week could support a family of 4 with a decent house, car and vacation, a nice life, the ‘American Dream. What happened to the buying power of the poor and middle class that was supposed to be the engine that would drive the economy so all would benefit?

Reagan was elected in 1980 and began a dance with the uber wealthy the Republican Party is still doing. Donate enough to elect your candidate, He then passes legislation to cut your taxes, you donate enough to get him elected and he passes legislation that cuts his donor’s taxes and repeat. This, along with the idea of ‘supply side’ economics, or as it has been called, ‘voo-doo economics’, has killed the buying power of the poor and middle class so terribly that now, a family of 4 struggles to survive.

Since 1980, to have that ‘American Dream’ people gradually have had to increase income. Mom got a job, and now it’s not uncommon for both parents to be working and one might have a second job, and they are struggling to get by. On top of that, cutting taxes on the uber wealthy ends up with lost Federal Revenue being replaced with local taxes. That is where the money went that those individual citizens need to survive.

You have 2 Drivers Licensing Clerk positions. One is paid for by local taxes and the other is paid for by money sent to the States for citizen services by the Federal Gov. Well because of the revenue lost to tax cuts the Federal Government does not have as much money to send to states and cities. If you want to keep both clerks you will now have to raise local taxes to do so. What can be done to fix this staggering wealth gap hurting our economy and people? Simply put, a Universal Basic Income and switching to ‘trickle up economics’ instead of ‘trickle down”.

I think we should really consider the idea of a phased in Universal Basic Income as talked about in 1968. Then, the idea was, as I said, supported by President Nixon, and would restore the buying power lost to those big tax cuts for the wealthy over the last 40 years. At the time, John Kenneth Galbraith, the leading economist in the nation, and 1200 economists signed a letter calling for a Universal Basic Income. We could do it if we wanted to. It would also end abject poverty in America for good and we could end those 126 or so poverty programs we pay for now.

I just think that after 40 years of trickle-down economics maybe we could try tickle up and see how that works. Like Will Rodgers said, “Give the money to a poor man and the rich man will have it in 24 hours, but at least the poor man will have gotten some use out of it.” It’s time those of us on the lower end of the economic pyramid start “Getting some use of it!”

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Military Still Demonizing Cannabis Users

The Military is trying to comply with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act and keep the Soldiers away from cannabis. Sadly, and with terrible consequences for many of the Soldiers, they are doing again what they did decades ago.

When I got to Germany in 1970, everybody was smoking hash and going to the concerts with the Germans our age and they encouraged us to engage with them. If you were caught by the first Sgt in the barracks smokin’, he’d be like, ” I see you guys are gonna help paint the barracks this Saturday.” And we’d be like, “Ok.”

In 1970 the new Controlled Substances Act placed cannabis as Schedule 1, Dangerous and having no medical value. This placement was temporary, till the Shafer Commission released its 1972 report, ‘Drugs in America’, which said marijuana should be decriminalized and that drugs were a medical and not a criminal one.

Nixon felt betrayed because he wanted to use the war on drugs as a tool to harass his political enemies. He ignored the commission and declared the War on Drugs anyway.

Now in Germany, in 1972, the cops suddenly busted everybody at all the bases there. I swear, 10 days later I was in the barracks looking for some smoke and found the guys in one guy’s room snorting heroin. They created their own problem with their prohibition. Many good men had their careers and lives ruined by Nixon’s scam!

Ending the Federal Prohibition of Cannabis is long overdue. Sadly many more lives and careers will be ruined before it finally ends!

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A Danger to America And Her Allies!

The Republican party on the State and Federal level are in the process of destroying our Democracy.  They are passing laws to restrict voting, to take the responsibility for declaring the results away from local officials and passing a bill that would allow the legislature to void the announced results and name whoever they want! 

This is a direct assault on our democracy.  If Republicans are successful in overturning a valid election it is the end of democracy in America and our grand desire for a multicultural democracy is dead!

You will vote but crooked politicians are working to be able to nullify your vote and change the results of the election in their favor and they are attempting this in States where Republicans are in control of the State legislatures.   This action is simply a power grab.  Republicans recognize that the country is moving away from racism and toward multiculturalism and have climbed on to the anti-democratic forces that have taken over the Party.

How in the hell did they go from patriotism and love of country to trying to destroy the very thing they claim to worship?  Supporting white supremacists and other groups on the fringe of reality has brought the Party to a low that they may never be able to recover from.  The party supported a rebellion and attacked the Capitol to change the results of a valid election!  Can’t get much lower than that!  Every one of the Republicans who supported the rebellion should be censored and thrown out of Congress and if appropriate, should be charged.

We cannot allow this kind of disinformation and disloyalty to continue. The facts must be examined and justice must be swift and just but it has to happen to save our Democracy.  If we do not we will have lost everything we have strived for these almost 300 years and democracy will be lost to the world.  This would be a tragedy whose consequences will follow us as long as America exists!

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A Cancer We Must Defeat!

Excrement!

Feces and urine smeared in the Halls of Congress!

Does this not anger you?  Then this should anger you even more, for the Republican members of this and the last Congress supported the actions of Jan 6, 2021.

Used to be the Party that was out of power was known as the Loyal Opposition.  Legislators willing to negotiate for the good of the Nation.  Like. –” Well Bill I guess we could easily get your bridge passed if we work together.”

No longer is this true.

The Republican Party, since Nixon has dropped all pretensions of being a legitimate party that can efficiently and to the good of the citizens run the Federal Government.  One has only to look at the disastrous ending of every Republican Administration since Nixon! 

Now seeing a future as an perennial minority Party they are willing to go so far as to incite an insurrection to overturn a legitimate election to maintain power.

Those Republican Legislators who incited and supported this rebellion have all broken their oath to protect and defend the Constitution and should be dealt with accordingly!

Somehow, just as I am trying to rid my body of cancer we must also rid our country of this malady! A disease so evil it has many on the right rooting for the cancer!

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So Now What?

So Now What?It appears that Joe Biden has won the Presidency.  A 5 million vote lead in the popular and a win in the Electoral College is a pretty strong victory.  When one compares his election to other presidential wins it is right up there with Truman in 1948, Kennedy in 1960 and even Reagan in 1980.  Biden may not call a mandate but for sure, and compared to others, he has emerged from the election with enough support to call one.

So what will be the result a Biden Democratic victory?  Biden has been busy preparing for this moment by creating plans for handling the problems we face.  Number one on the list is the pandemic.  Next the economy although they kind of go hand in hand.  He also has proposals for infrastructure spending, raising the minimum wage and reforming healthcare.  He will need to repair our relationships with our allies and repair much of the damage to our institutions exposed by the lawless attitude of the previous Administration.  We also will need immigration and law enforcement reform.

Those on the other side can rest assured that a Biden Administration is not going to turn the country communist or make it any more socialist than it already is.  Yes that’s right.  Our system is actually a combination of capitalist and socialist policies and programs designed to allow for the growth of the economy while keeping a check on the harms unfettered capitalism can produce such as pollution, labor abuses, market manipulation and such.

Biden has also proposed a raise in Social Security benefits of 1300 a month to help our seniors.  He proposes moving us towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.  This is a slow but necessary transition which will create jobs and revitalize our industries and economy.

I hope we can get to a Universal Basic Income.  That, in conjunction with health insurance for all our citizens would end abject poverty in America and give our citizens a kind of financial freedom and have us better prepared financially for the next crisis that might impact our economy.  I hope it is not, but I fear this idea is a bridge too far, but I can only hope.

Of course all of this depends on Democrats winning control of the Senate by winning the two Georgia seats on the line in the January run off.  If not Republicans will control the Senate.  Mitch McConnell as majority leader will not allow a Democratic President to accomplish anything.  Come the next Presidential election Republicans will tell the voters to vote for them because the Democrats didn’t get anything done!  This is exactly what they did with the last 6 years of Obama’s Presidency. That’s how we got Trump!

Certainly a Biden Presidency is exactly the thing we need to revitalize the country. These last four years with the worst side of our nature exposed have shown we can be better than that.  Biden’s win shows that we can come together and when we do the sky is the limit. We should extend to President Elect Biden all the support and assistance we can muster to make his presidency a success.  His success will be the America’s success!     

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Spending Your Way To Prosperity

A conservative leaning friend of mine, while railing about Government spending gave voice to the saying, ‘You can’t spend your way to prosperity!’ That got me to thinking and it brought up this question, How is that true if our prosperity and growth from the end of the WWII to 1980’s was driven by Government spending and personal economic growth thru supply and demand? There were a few recessions during this time but they were managed in the standard way with increased Government spending. The goal being to get the economy moving again till jobs come back and the spending of the people becomes the driving engine of the economy. Get money into the hands of those who must spend it, the middle class and poor, and that spending will create growth.

In the 1980s Republicans altered this equation. Oh, they still want the Government to put out money, just not to those who must spend it, the middle class and poor, but to those who will invest it, the already wealthy and Corporations. Those investments will create jobs and the wealth from those investments will trickle down to the rest of us at the bottom of the financial pyramid. Kinda makes you feel like a fire hydrant outside a Veterinarian’s office except they get more trickle.

How has that worked out? Trickle down somehow became trickle up. 1980 to 2020 saw Republicans pass several of these ‘tax cuts’. Each a 1.2 trillion dollar shift of money from the middle class and poor to the coffers of the wealthy and the profit margins of huge corporations and businesses. What happened to the middle class and poor? They ended up paying for the Government and experienced a flat line of wages that when adjusted for inflation have not risen during the entire period. This change in economic policy brought us several recessions and the Great Recession of 2007.

After the recession the Republicans did everything in their power to inhibit the recovery. They continue to push the notion that to recover we must still give money to the wealthy to invest and those investments will create jobs. The problem with that is investors are not going to invest until our economic situation improves and one of the first things they did after regaining power in 2016 was to pass another trillion plus tax cut for the wealthy but that money also will not be invested. There is not enough demand for Joe Smith’s widgets because people do not have enough extra money to buy Joe’s widgets. Not enough demand for Joe to build another factory and hire more people to make more widgets! All that money is sitting in some corporation’s bank account waiting for things to get better and people can buy what the corporations make.

It’s time to stop this foolishness, time to return to solid economic policy. We should end the austerity imposed by Republicans in a futile attempt to make the failed economic policy derisively known as ‘trickle down’ work, and return to what we know works! Increase the spending of the Federal Government. We should pass a Universal Basic Income and raise spending levels for unemployment, welfare, food stamps and other programs designed to get people productive. Increase the minimum wage. A man who works 40 hours a week should not need food stamps to make ends meet. As the spending power of the middle class improves the increased tax revenue pays off the increased Government spending. The increased spending of the poor also creates demand. That demand is then satisfied by investors, some taking advantage of Government programs, which create businesses, build factories and hire people to meet the new demand. Once the economy is humming along the extra tax revenue is used to pay off the debt created in getting the economy running. 

We all get rich, not just a few! Our lives improve and the spending of the people and Government in improving lives and paying our bills keeps the economy rolling right along! That’s how you spend your way to prosperity!

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Oh, Pardon me!

President Trump, as President, has the power to pardon people who have been convicted of breaking Federal Law. He has misused this power to help people who got in trouble while working on his election.  He has signaled to his cronies in trouble that if they protect him a pardon could be in the offing!  As bad as this misuse of power is the President is not the only leader with pardoning power.

State Governors also have executive pardoning power with the ability to pardon those who have broken State laws.  Many are using this power not only to pardon but also to apologize.  With the end of cannabis prohibition in more than half of the states, many Governors and State Legislatures have begun to pardon and expunge the records of those convicted under the unjust laws supporting cannabis prohibition.  We know now that the original law prohibiting the use of cannabis was an unjust and racist law that was declared unconstitutional in 1969, with much thanks to Dr. Timothy Leary.  The number of people who have had their lives damaged between 1937 and 1969 by this unjust law is hard to estimate. 

The law replacing it, the 1970 Controlled Substances Act which scheduled drugs by harm, placed cannabis in Schedule 1, dangerous and having no medical value along with heroin. This alone seemed strange as heroin is essentially the same as morphine which is classified as Schedule 2.  Cannabis’s scheduling was supposed to be temporary, awaiting the results of the Nixon appointed Shafer Commission’s report, ‘Drugs in America’. They reported that cannabis should be decriminalized and that drugs were a medical problem and not a criminal one.  President Nixon, we now know, decided to ignore the recommendation of the commission and declared the War on Drugs so he could use the War to harass his political enemies. John Erlichmann, Nixon aide in an interview in 1993 admitted that the prohibition of cannabis and heroin was nothing more than a political ploy.  He said,” The Nixon Campaign and the Nixon Whitehouse had 2 enemies, Blacks and Anti-war Protesters.  We couldn’t make it against the law to be Black or against the war but if we could associate the Blacks with heroin and the Anti-war Protesters with marijuana and criminalized them heavily we could break up their meetings, arrest their leaders and vilify them night after night on the evening news.  Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we were!”  One wonders how many of our citizens had their lives ruined behind this political scam.  The records show from 1969 to 1995 an average of 400,000 arrests per year for an estimated total of 10,400,000 arrests for this period.  From 1996 to the present we see an uptick to 750,000 arrests per year for an estimated total of 18,000,000 arrests.  Millions of lives upended by this scam!

Governors in the states that have legalized have begun to undo some of this damage.  The Colorado Governor as has the Michigan governor recently have pardoned and expunged the records of their citizens damaged by this law.  These pardons and expungements are a drop in the bucket of repairing the actual damage done.  Sadly, on the Federal level and in some States it is still being used to unjustly destroy the lives of our citizens. 

When the Federal prohibition of cannabis finally ends the President should not only pardon those currently in prison or on record as having been arrested but, He or She should, as should all State Governors, also issue a blanket pardon to reverse every cannabis conviction from 1937 to the present. It may only be a token gesture but it should be done. Additionally it might be a good idea to attach an apology to the blanket pardon.  Eighty years of lies and false propaganda destroying millions of American lives certainly deserves an apology and it’s long overdue!  

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“We Need to Get Rid of the Ballots.”

President Trump has been reported saying he would not promise a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election.  He added that, “We need to get rid of the ballots, then there won’t need to be a transfer of power.”

Think about that.  He wants to declare your vote invalid to enable him to stay in power.  Sounds like he is planning to steal the election.  Well, guess what folks. He is!  He is working it two ways.  Declare the whole election fraudulent and sue to push it to the court hoping his newly appointed justice will rule in his favor and hand him the election.  The other is a bit sneakier.  State Legislatures can declare the ballots in their state invalid for some reason and then instruct the Electors of the Electoral College whom to vote for. The idea is that enough states will do this and throw the election to Trump.

Republican operatives are right now in discussion with legislators of States with Republican controlled Legislatures planning ways to declare the votes of their citizens invalid so the legislators can instruct their Electors to presumably vote for Trump.  This will invalidate all votes no matter who they are for and steal the election.

If they pull this off it will be the end of our Great experiment in democracy. We then will really have a dictator and not just a wannabe! You can bet these guys will do whatever it takes to remain in power.  He has said as much on many occasions and if it takes the destruction and demise of democracy and freedom in America then so be it.

The best defense we have against this assault on our freedom is to bury Trump in a tsunami of votes for Biden that will make any attempted coup so obvious that even half assed patriots will get out of their ‘lazyboys’ and actually do what is necessary to resist this attack on our country and way of life.

The tipping point is coming.  We must be prepared to do what it will take to save the greatest light of Democracy and Freedom the world has ever known!

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Society’s Grease

I do not understand the rancor and hostility between even decades old friends over differing political views.  Suffice it to say, I will never understand supporting people whose policies would negatively affect me and mine but people do.

I imagine they cannot understand why I think we should equitably, not equally, share in the wealth of the wealthiest nation on earth.  Healthcare for everybody and a monetary policy that gives every citizen a dividend check as their share of the nation’s wealth.

Alaskans get a yearly dividend check from the State as payment for their share of the gas and oil being taken out of the state.  I think we should do this nationally.   Oops! Sorry, there I go!

Anyway, knowing we disagree, we do not discuss it.

There is a way to handle politics if it comes up.  Acknowledge but make no opinion statements about it. Should there be an election where you and your friend are supporting different candidates, and your friend’s man wins, here’s what you do. Look your friend in the eye and say, “Good for you your guy won!”  Then drop the subject.  We need in this time of political conflict to keep the conflict in the public sphere and out of the private.  I wouldn’t like it if your guy won but I can celebrate your happiness over it.

They say manners are the grease society uses to keep the machinery of society running smoothly.  Without it we descend into division and violence.

The science fiction writer Robert Heinlein in his novel, ‘Time Enough For Love’ has the character Lazarus Long comment on manners. “Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear.  Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together.  Often the very young, the untraveled, the naïve, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as, ‘empty’, ‘meaningless’, or ‘dishonest’, and scorn to use them.  No matter how ‘pure’ their motives are they throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best.”

I would add that in these divisive times we all need to use extra grease more often than not!

So bite your tongue, listen without judgement and let it go!  Repeat in your mind, I love you man even though you are wrong, and let it go!  With any luck your friendship will be stronger and will last long after the politicians and policies are gone.  We can choose to be together even though we disagree.  As I like to say, Choose Wisely!

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