At my age, I’m still paying my student loans

College wasn’t that big of a deal. I went to a state college where the tuition was around $750 a semester (that’s about $3000 today). I was able to work part-time and pay it back.

Law school, however, was quite expensive. I needed loans for that.

After law school, I worked as a public defender in Boston for a while and then my wife and I moved to NYC to start a business running a LARP game, but while we were able to pay our bills, we were living in poverty. I got deferments during those years, where the loan was on hold but the interest grew.

Once I moved to Pennsylvania and started practicing law again, I returned to paying my loans.

I paid back what I borrowed years ago. I’m now only paying interest, and the interest I have paid is much more than the original loan. And I’m 64 years old, for chrissake. Soon I can use my social security income to pay back the loans.

And it’s not like this money is going to the government so they can have more money to loan other students. Nope, it’s going to banks that already recouped their investment.

The vast majority of people who will benefit from Biden’s plan are like me — the loan has already been paid. Now it’s just banks earning profit.

Trump can go bankrupt seven times and get out of paying his bills but students are stuck, because the banks were able to bribe Congress (which ironically included this Senator named Joe Biden) to exempt students from bankruptcy on their loans.

We should be investing in education because that leads to higher incomes and that improves the economy. Pay your loans back, yes. But these loans should be interest-free.

I also can’t help but notice all the people complaining about this were silent when the PPP loans being forgiven for huge businesses and corporations. Apparently they only complain when the government helps poor people.

cartoon by Clay Jones

Banana Republicans

Nick Anderson

Thoughts and apologies

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about in my life (see this post), I finally got covid after years of avoiding it, getting vaccinated and boostered. So I haven’t updated this blog in quite a while. Please forgive me, especially since there is so much to discuss these days.

So here’s some random thoughts I’ve posted recently on Facebook and Twitter.

The FBI director was appointed by Trump, and the search warrant was approved by a judge appointed by Trump and was based on a law signed by Trump.

Yep, it’s all a vast left-wing conspiracy.

All I know is that when I have perfectly innocent documents that do not incriminate me in the slightest, I rip them up and try to flush them down the toilet.

“Support the police! Unless they’re trying to stop us from hanging the Vice President or carrying out search warrants against us.” — Republicans

“If I’m leaving a job and I steal office supplies that don’t belong to me, I can get arrested, right?”

“Of course.”

“What if I steal nuclear documents that could jeopardize national security?”

“Oh, that’s perfectly fine, no problem!”

(Republican logic)

….

I am absolutely convinced that no evidence will be enough to change the minds of the cultists. As Trump once said, he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and his people would still love him.

One of human history’s main problems is that the people who tend to be the leaders in politics and business are usually sociopathic — they don’t care who they hurt as they gain power for themselves, and that’s how they can climb so fast, over the backs of those they abuse on their way up.

And those are the worst people to put in charge of things.

The Republican response

Republicans want to destroy democracy and how Democrats can keep it

by Guest Blogger David Gerrold

On January 6th, in Donald Trump’s fevered imagination, he intended to lead an armed mob into the halls of Congress and declare himself the winner of the 2020 election. That armed mob would not have hesitated to use their guns on anyone they perceived as an enemy.

Fortunately, it didn’t happen that way, but there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that there was significant planning for that coup attempt.

Had Trump made it to the Capitol, I suspect his reign would have been very short. The members of our military have taken an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Thwarting the certification of an election is sedition.

Would the military have fallen in line behind Trump? I don’t think so. Well … I hope not.

Meanwhile … Donald Trump is now suggesting that he will run again in 2024. That’s not a hint, that’s a threat.

A shadow government has already been formed, ready to take possession of the national machinery on January 20th. Around the country, various state legislatures controlled by Republicans are taking steps to guarantee that their states will choose Republican electors in 2024 so that regardless of the popular vote in those states, they can return Donald Trump to our White House.

This nation is at a cusp.

If the Republicans regain control of the House and Senate, it stops all attempts to preserve the mechanics of our democracy.

If, however, enough Americans are alarmed by the actions of the Supreme Court, it is possible that there could be enough of a blue turnout in November to protect the Democratic majority in both houses.

We will know in November if we still have a democracy.

If not … well, I know several people who are justifiably predicting that this nation is headed toward violence. The unholy alliance of evangelicals, fascists, and corporate oligarchs, has created the greatest threat to the United States since the slaveholders’ rebellion.

The USA has been targeted by a carefully calculated long game designed by fascists. Their goal to suspend the Constitution and replace the federal government with their own home-grown Reich.

I suspect that they will fail. But this nightmare will not be defeated easily. If the Jan 6th Commission cannot stop the seditious movement in this country, violence will be inevitable. There are too many veterans in this country who took their oath seriously.

There are many ways to bring down a government. The women of Iceland demonstrated that a few years ago, when 90% of them went on strike, hitting the streets, and shutting down the government.

Can we shut down a fascist coup in the United States?

I don’t know.

But there are several things we must accomplish in the next few years to stop the possibility:

1) Campaign finance reform. End Citizens’ United.

2) End the electoral college. One person, one vote. Period. Everybody who reaches the age of 18 is eligible to vote. Automatically.

3) Oversight on the Supreme Court. I’m not sure how this can best be accomplished, but there are several possibilities. Term limits for one. And having one Justice for each of the thirteen districts. Both of those would be a good start. A third option — the Senate has 90 days to approve or disapprove an appointment. Failing to give the appointee a hearing, he/she automatically gains the seat. (There is nothing in law that says the Senate must approve an appointee.)

4) End the fucking filibuster. I can understand why some Democratic senators might not want to establish this precedent. So a Senator can only filibuster as long as he/she can stand and talk.

5) No one can hold office as either Senator or Representative or President without passing the same citizenship test that all immigrants must pass before nationalization.

……

Ten-time Hugo and Nebula award nominee DAVID GERROLD is also a recipient of the Skylark Award for Excellence in Imaginative Fiction, the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Horror, and the Forrest J. Ackerman lifetime achievement award. He was the Guest of Honor at the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention. Gerrold’s prolific output includes teleplays, film scripts, stage plays, comic books, more than 50 novels and anthologies, and hundreds of articles, columns, and short stories. He has worked on a dozen different TV series, including Star Trek, Land of the Lost, Twilight Zone, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Babylon 5, and Sliders. He is the author of Star Trek’s most popular episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.” His most famous novel is The Man Who Folded Himself. His semi-autobiographical tale of his son’s adoption, The Martian Child, won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, and was the basis for the 2007 movie starring John Cusack and Amanda Peet. His latest story can be found in Three Time Travelers Walk Into… (edited by Michael A. Ventrella). His web page is www.gerrold.com

If sharks had lobbyists

Biden’s low poll numbers can be blamed on liberals

The reasons Biden’s poll numbers are down are not that people are turning away from him and supporting conservatives — it’s largely liberals who are disappointed with him who are causing the downturn.

Biden never had conservatives supporting him. And unlike Trumpies, we on the left are not in a cult. If the President does something we don’t like, we don’t pretend it never happened.

We’re upset that he isn’t doing more. You know as well as I do if the situation was reversed, the GOP would have indicted the representatives involved in January 6th, the President who caused it, and more. They would have removed the Postmaster General, expanded the Supreme Court to 13, and found a way to get all that done through executive orders and the bureaucracy.

So don’t go saying Biden’s numbers reflect a disappointment with liberal politics, because poll after poll shows that our views are the majority ones. It’s a disappointment that we’re not accomplishing them.

Note that Biden remained constantly ahead of Trump’s numbers for the same periods of their Presidency, and the current numbers are within the margin of error. Note as well that Trump, among all Presidents, never even reached a 50% approval rating his entire term.

Only in America

A message from God

“Hi, it’s me, God. I’ve created a gigantically unimaginably huge universe, so large even I have trouble comprehending it.

However, I am only concerned with one small infinitesimal part of it, and then only those creatures who evolved in the last half a million or so years of the planet’s four billion year history, and then I only made an appearance in one small area of the planet for a short period of time where I performed some miracles and then never came back again.

Because, you know, I’m God. I work in mysterious ways.

And of all the trillions and trillions of worlds in this universe, what concerns me most? Whether people on this small planet out on the edge of one minor galaxy love each other in a way I don’t approve of.”

American Shooting Gallery