Thin-skinned babies want to punish flag burners

Freedom of Speech is meaningless if it only protects speech we all like.

Trump, soon to be known as “the Tweeting President,” has declared that people should be jailed for burning the American flagflagburning.jpg

People who claim to be patriots (but who don’t quite grasp the concept) are cheering him on, pointing out that burning the flag is an insult to America and the veterans who have fought for what the flag stands for.

Well, duh. Of course burning a flag is insulting. So is standing on a corner with a sign saying “God Hates Fags.” They know it’s insulting when they do it. That’s why they do it.

But America has thicker skin than Trump, who spends more time thinking about how much he can’t stand Saturday Night Live than he does going to necessary intelligence briefings.* America knows that we can take the insults, because we’re better than that.

And we know that if we start banning speech we don’t like, then it may be our speech they come after next. The Founding Fathers knew that when they wrote the 1st Amendment. The Supreme Court knows that, as they have ruled many times. You have to protect speech we hate. Speech we all agree with doesn’t need protecting.

So if you really believe in freedom, if you really are a patriot, then mean it. Stand for what the Constitution guarantees. Don’t make exceptions.

Don’t be a thin-skinned baby who can’t take an insult — you know, like the immature child that a minority of us chose to lead us.

*I am not making that up

What we don’t understand about Trump supporters

Of course not all Trump supporters are nazis or racists.

However, they all apparently don’t have a problem with supporting a candidate who is supported by nazis and racists.

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cartoon by David Horsey

It’s that indifference that is what the rest of us can’t understand — a sort of selfishness that says “Meh, I’m not Muslim or black or gay or anything, so why should I care?”

“You should support the President-elect!” scream Trump’s followers — you know, the same ones who from day one did everything they could to discount and insult Obama’s presidency. But blindly following a President simply because he is President is the opposite of patriotism.

This is not about disagreeing with his political positions. This is not about debating tax policy or foreign policy. This is about how he and his cabinet treats other human beings.

Look, no one is arguing for an insurrection or treason against Trump. We are the loyal opposition.

And boy, are we in opposition.

How the Electoral College skews our perceptions

“This was a clear sign from the people against the policies of the Obama administration!” scream the pundits, as they point out Trump’s win as evidence and pat themselves on the back for such a wise assessment while hoping no one remembers what they had predicted a week earlier.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s lead in the popular vote nears 2 million. Had a few of those million been in a couple of states (or if we never had an Electoral College), she would be the next President right now, and you can bet each of those pundits would instead be saying “This was a clear sign from the people in favor of the policies of the Obama administration!”

By concentrating only on who won, we ignore the big picture. Trump won not because a majority of Americans wanted him in there — in fact, a clear majority did not. He won by a Constitutional loophole we call the Electoral College.

He has no mandate. While there was clearly a movement on his behalf, it was a movement rejected by most of us.

And for those of you out there who are whining and complaining about Trump but who either voted for a third party or didn’t vote at all, I just have one message for you:

shut-up

I want Trump to fail

I know it sounds unpatriotic to want your President to fail, but based on what he has promised to do, yes, I hope he fails.

I hope he fails to appoint Supreme Court justices who overturn Roe v. Wade.

I hope he fails to dismantle the Consumer Protection Agency.derp-trump

I hope he fails to repeal Obamacare, which will inevitably lead to rates going up even higher and many people losing their insurance.

I hope he fails to get rid of the treaties we have with other countries to fight climate change.

I hope he fails to eliminate medicare and medicaid.

I hope he fails to have gay marriage overturned.

I hope he fails to deregulate the banks, which always leads to an economic collapse and millions of people being screwed out of their life savings.

I hope he fails to have Muslims register and to keep them from immigrating.

I hope he fails to continue to privatize our jails.

I hope he fails to build a wall between us and Mexico, and I hope he fails in his attempts to deport millions of Americans.

I hope he fails in the same way I hope Darth Vader fails, the same way I hope Voldemort fails, the same way I hope all bad guys fail.

I hope he fails in his attempt to destroy the things that have made America great.

Trump and the hidden racism inside us

by Guest Blogger Hoyce McGurgle

I keep hearing claims that the bigotry and xenophobia were only the motivating factors for a small amount of Trump’s voters. I don’t buy it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure most of them weren’t in the KKK and white supremacy groups (but I’m equally sure that people in those groups absolutely voted for Trump in huge numbers) but I don’t buy that race wasn’t a factor.

Here’s the thing about racism: it’s not always overt. Not even in ourselves. You don’t have to be wearing a white sheet or yelling “white power” or even be dropping the n-bomb to be a racist.

I grew up in rural PA. I grew up around people who would be highly offended if you called them racist. “I judge people based on their actions, not their skin color,” they’d say. I’d hear the same people later lament how an area was ruined because “those people” moved in, or lament getting lost in a black neighborhood as being “in the darker side of town.” Guess what: they’re racist.

I wish I could say I was immune but I wasn’t. When I was younger and figuring out the world, I harbored racist thoughts and ideas. Not like “hang black folks” or anything quite so overt, but I’d find myself more on edge if a black guy was walking down the street, when I was a kid working at a gas station I found myself watching the black kids who came in to ensure they wouldn’t steal anything. At the time I told myself it was because they were kids. “It’s not because they’re black,” I told myself. “I worked with a black guy, he’s a good guy and I like him.” That wasn’t true though, it was because those kids were black.

I’ve grown up since then, I’ve faced the misconceptions and lies that perpetuate that garbage and worked to identify and change my thinking. I was fortunate to be exposed to different thoughts and ideas by going to school which had a little bit more diversity than my home town (it was a local school after all) and then move to a city with a lot more diversity. Even still, it was work. I had to face that those thoughts and feelings were there and I had to examine them. I have to examine why I think and feel the things I do (on race an other topics). And it’s not over — bettering yourself never ends, it’s constant journey.

My point is: White folks who voted for Trump and his vile rhetoric — it was probably a lot more racially motivated than you realize. You really need to ask yourself some hard questions. It’s never too late to start being better.

Now, with all that said, not everyone who voted for Trump was a racist (self-realized or otherwise.) Not as many as claim it, but they’re out there. Some genuinely felt he was the candidate that would turn their economic misfortune around. There’s really no basis to believe he’s the guy who can or will do it, but that was their overriding motivation. And I get it, I really do. I only moved out of PA in 2006 because I was utterly unable to find a job, good or otherwise, and I found one here. I have seen the effects the housing market crash still has on my hometown whenever I go back. It’s bad out there. People are struggling to make ends meet. I’m one of them, even though Boston is doing better economically than PA.

But here’s the thing (and I know I’m about to invoke Godwin’s Law here but please stick with me, I’m almost done).

Germans voted for Hitler in 1932 primarily because of his promises to revive the economy (by vague and unspecified means), to restore German greatness, and overturn the Treaty of Versailles. His stance had been anti-Semitic since the moment he entered public life and he blamed them (along with Bolsheviks and liberals) for the nation’s ills.

I’m sure lots of the supporters of the Nazi party in the 30’s would say that they sought only to do better economically because they (and the rest of the world) were struggling, but not because of Hitler’s vile views on Jewish people. Sure, some hated the Jews, but not all of them. Some of them may have been lying to themselves, but I’m sure some were genuinely repulsed by his anti-semitism.

Unfortunately, I can’t give that defense any more credence than I do to those who claim in 2016 that they voted for Trump only because of their economic hardships and not his vile rhetoric.

Why you opted to elect an openly bigoted and misogynistic man who advocated attacking the rights of other human beings (as well as actually attacking women) is utterly irrelevant. You did it. You decided that your self interest was more important than the basic human rights of people who look, love or worship differently than you.

To my friends and family (and anyone else really) I say this: you are responsible for what he does next. If you care for the people he and his team have vowed to take rights away from you must hold him accountable and speak out when he does it. You must defend them and you must ensure that legalized discrimination and hate does not worm its way into our nation more than it already is.

And if you don’t — if you don’t care about those people just because they’re different than you — then, I’m sorry to have to tell you, but you’re a bigot.

 

Hoyce is a Boston-based transplant from the Pocono Mountains. Although he has a degree in History with an emphasis in Political Science, most of his writing tends to be for fantasy gaming or occasional posts on Facebook. He recently started a blog about gaming and posts updates on a strict schedule of “sometimes.” You can read his far less serious thoughts there at https://hoycesgaming.wordpress.com/.”

The Top 10 Reasons Hillary Lost

Clinton’s loss took everyone by surprise. Even Fox News had predicted her win. And did you see Trump’s expression on election night? Even he seemed astonished.

Everyone has a theory why this happened but the real answer is complicated. Anyone who insists there is just one reason is wrong.hillary2

Protest Voters. Many of my liberal friends seem to be only blaming those who voted for 3rd party candidates. There are always 3rd party candidates, and we’ll probably never get rid of them because there is a small percentage of voters who somehow think “This year for sure!” or otherwise delude themselves into believing these votes make a difference. They never do. And this was the year — when you had two candidates whose negatives were higher than their positives — where a 3rd party could have risen and won. None of them came close. If it didn’t happen this year, it never will.

Did this have an impact on the final vote?  Sure, but you always expect there will be a few percentage points going to some minor fringe candidate. Blaming the people who are always there and when you knew they were going to be there solves nothing.

They hate the Clintons. The Democrats just really underestimated how much people really don’t like the Clintons. Her negatives were huge. Most of it was unjustified and based on lies and right-wing propaganda, but justified or not, it was there. Nominating an unpopular candidate and then losing the election? Where is the surprise there?

And there were many Democrats who (like me) did not really like Clinton that much either but voted for her over Cheetoface. But there was no enthusiasm there. The enthusiasm gap really hurt us.

We Want Outsiders. Everyone is sick and tired of politics as usual. We’ve had enough Bushes and Clintons running things. On the GOP side, all the insiders lost their primary runs.

One reason Bernie Sanders had a lot of support is because, even though he had been in politics most of his life, he was the one railing against the insiders and Wall Street and “business as usual” — meanwhile, Hillary was giving speeches to Goldman Sachs. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not the image you wanted this year.

We Democrats didn’t pay attention to this anger. The people on both sides are angry and we ignored them and picked the insider.

This is not to say Bernie would have won. There would have been terrible attacks on him, but I don’t see how it would have been any worse than the ones leveled against Hillary. Had Hillary not run, we would have been in a better position, as there are some very qualified candidates out there who probably could have destroyed Trump.

Now, on the Republican side, the irony is that Trump is not an outsider. The man is a millionaire who knows nothing about what the average man goes through and has never in his life shown the slightest interest in them. But hey, he’s a great con man, and this will go down as one of the greatest cons of all time.

Racists and Bigots. You can’t deny that this was their year — finally, a candidate who stood for hatred! When the KKK and the American Nazi Party endorse someone, that’s a pretty good sign. Their people usually don’t get involved but they saw their orange savior on the hill, and were going to come out and vote for him no matter what.

We’ve already started to see what this means; hate crimes have gone up as these people have become bolder. And it’s just going to get worse — but that’s a topic for another post.

This, in many ways, is what always happens historically. Progress is made and there are those who will constantly fight against it and conserve their precious way of life (that’s why they are “conservatives”). This backlash against progress explains the Civil War, the backlash against the Restoration efforts afterward, the fight against civil rights, the fights over immigrants that is constant in our history, and so on. In the end, progress always wins but there are many battles along the way.

That Woman Thing. Here in Pennsylvania, Democrats swept the state offices that were on the ballot — Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer. The two that we lost? Senator and President — the only ones with female candidates. And we lost those by slim margins.

It’s not hard to imagine that there may be 2% of the population that is still so neanderthal that they won’t vote for a woman no matter how qualified.

Voter suppression. Republicans have done everything they can to keep Democrats from being able to vote. They’ve even admitted as such when they didn’t think anyone was paying attention. There were lots of stories about how the Republican-run states were closing precincts in minority neighborhoods, removing names from voting lists, and otherwise cheating to help their clown win, and they wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t effective.

Basically, Republicans will do everything they can to win an election except get the most votes.

Dirty tricks. Russia has now admitted it was helping Trump win. The FBI Director had a Trump sign on his lawn and did everything he could to discredit Hillary at a time when her chances were the greatest, and then recanted it all on a slow news day when hardly anyone noticed. Wikileaks posted fake emails. These things may not be the reason Clinton lost, but they certainly were a reason.

The Hubris of the Elite. This is a big one. I could write a book about this.

The real divide in America right now is not blue state versus red state — it’s urban versus rural. And the rural folks are being tired of being made fun of every night on the talk shows, tired of people calling them rubes for clinging to their religion, tired of being told they’re bigots. The “fly over” states are resentful of the “elite” who look down on the uneducated masses.

This is not new; it’s a basic populist message that has gained votes for generations.

I am not saying these people are right. A lot of them really are bigots, and deserve to be called that. They stand in the way of progress, wave their Confederate flags and refuse to serve gay couples. Many of them really are a “basket of deplorables.”

But they’re also not all like that. There are some good rural people who feel left out and who think no one stands up for them. They’ve seen their factories and mines close and take all the jobs in town away, and whatever economic progress is made always goes to the cities. They listen to Fox News and believe all their lies about what Obama is doing, and don’t realize that the programs he pushes helps them too. And they’re resentful and angry.

Many  could not stand Trump but (like many Democrats did with Hillary) they held their nose and voted for him anyway because it was better than the alternative. And that’s not going to change until the media and political elite stop treating them like idiots — even when they are idiots.

We Just Don’t Vote. The Republicans voted in the same basic numbers they always have, and we didn’t this time. Our numbers were down. So of course we lost. It doesn’t matter if there are more of us than them. If we don’t vote, they win.

In fact, a majority of Americans didn’t vote at all. If you insist on placing the blame on one factor, that would be it.

The government isn’t “them.” It’s us. We, the people. And as a society, we can’t bitch about what the government does if we don’t even do the most basic thing and get out and vote. It’s our fault.

That Damned Electoral College. For the fourth time in our history, the person with fewer votes won the election, and that’s twice now in the last 16 years — both times giving us absolutely terrible Presidents. (Hey, at least now George W. Bush can go down in history as the 2nd Worst President.)

Isn’t it ridiculous that the person the majority of Americans voted against gets to be President? (And, of course, Trump being Trump, he’s now claiming he has a “mandate.” What an asshole. And no, I’m not going to suddenly give him respect just because he has that office. I’ll respect the office, not the man.)

I’ve ranted about the Electoral College before, and if you’re interested, check this post and read the very extensive comments.

And finally, a disclaimer: This is a very basic overview and not the treatise that could and will be written about this terrible election.

How The Grinch Stole the Election

Every Who Down in Whoville Liked Clinton a lot…
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not!
The Grinch hated Clinton that bordered on fear
Something about emails but it’s not quite clear
I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his brain was two sizes too small.
And he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
“I must stop this stupid election from coming!”
“I know just what to do!” The Grinch laughed all around.
And he jumped in his car and drove into town.
All the Whos were all dreaming sweet dreams without care.
When he came to the first little house on the square.
“This is stop number one.” The Grinch made a bee-line
And he ran ‘cross the lawn for the “Hillary” sign
He continued all night, taking signs near and far
Then he loaded them all in the back of his car
“Pooh Pooh to the Whos!” he said with a big grin.
“They’re finding out now that Clinton can’t win!”
And he turned on the tube and rubbed at his eyes
He couldn’t believe that horrible surprise
Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Had voted for Hillary without signs at all!
“Maybe voting,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a sign.”
“Maybe choosing a candidate is more benign”
And did the Grinch change? Now don’t be a chump
The Grinch after all, was a voter for Trump.
grinch1

The truth about Trump’s rape trial

While Republicans claim that a bunch of emails that no one has ever seen are evidence of some unknown and random felony, Trump’s lawyers are getting ready to defend the man against child rape.donald-ivanka-trump-throwback-photo-ftr-1.jpg

Yeah, tell me again how “they’re both the same.”

But then again, as much as I hate Trump, I love facts more. Is there anything to this rape trial?

I briefly looked into it and here’s what I found.

First off, this is a civil trial, not a criminal trial. It’s about money. It’s not being brought by a prosecutor. The anonymous victim first filed this in California, where it was dismissed for technical reasons having to do with service, and then refiled it in New York, where it is set for pre-trial conferences in December. (If Trump were a Democrat, the GOP would have already spent millions on an investigation into this by now.)

Apparently, this victim had been “searching for a lawyer” which is a bad sign — if this was an easily provable case, there would be plenty of lawyers lining up for it. A patent lawyer eventually took the case.  Mmm-kay.

The lawsuit stems from an alleged incident during parties held by Jeffrey Epstein where Trump was in attendance.  The suit is against both men.

Epstein has spent more than a year in jail on child molestation and is a registered sex offender. He’s settled other similar cases from his victims. And Trump is an admitted sexual abuser — I’ve had clients who have been found guilty of the things Trump has claimed to have done (and which have been confirmed by more than a dozen victims now). My clients are on Megan’s Law list.

Trump’s treatment of women is well known, and it’s believable that he could have done something like this. That doesn’t mean he’s guilty, but you have to admit it kind of fits into this kind of personality. It’s not like he’s a raging feminist — the man has commented sexually about underage girls before more than once and let’s not forget his creepy comments about his own daughter.  “Women,” he has said. “You have to treat them like shit.”

It’s also not the first time he’s been accused of rape, either.

So while this lawsuit looks a bit suspicious, Trump fits the profile of a man who would do this.  Doesn’t mean he’s guilty, of course. We shall see what happens.

 

 

 

 

Another non-scandal excites Trumpettes

Let’s see.

Days before the election, FBI Director (and Republican) James Comey announced that there were new emails involving Hillary Clinton.247be87d-7c13-4cd2-885a-9bebad10bd5a-jumbo16x9_ap16147060028688secofstate

He has not seen these and has no idea if there is anything in them.

The emails are not from Clinton’s server, and apparently are mostly between Clinton and her campaign staff.

Such an FBI announcement is unprecedented and prosecutors everywhere are calling it inappropriate and an obvious political move, as there is no legal reason to announce an investigation before you have even looked at the evidence.

Hillary has called for all of the emails to immediately be released so everyone can see that there is nothing incriminating or illegal in them — just like there was nothing incriminating or illegal in all the other emails that have been released.

Meanwhile, Republicans who gleefully jump on this are happily supporting a man who has a rape trial and a fraud trial scheduled within the next few months.

The nightmare won’t end on election day

Let’s face it, Hillary Clinton has one person she will need to thank for destroying Donald Trump on November 8th, and that person is Donald Trump. She isn’t winning by a big margin so much as he is losing by a big margin. I still hold that had the Democrats nominated anyone else, the election would be even more of a wipeout.monsters-trump-2-11864-1450133554-22_dblbig

The saddest thing is that after the election is over, the nightmare that we’ve experienced in this campaign will continue.

The craziest and most extreme Trump supporters, emboldened by his refusal to accept democracy coupled with the Bundy “not guilty” finding, will take arms to the streets under the delusion that treason is patriotic.

The less crazy (including Trump) will yell that the election was fixed despite the possibility that this may be the biggest popular vote blow-out since Nixon defeated McGovern. They’ll fill the right-wing blogs with enough conspiracy theories to keep them busy till the next election.

The Republicans will dig their heels in even more and, since they will probably still hold the House, start impeachment proceedings against Clinton while spending millions more on investigations that will most likely once again lead to nothing.

Dear God, it will never end.

Trump has destroyed much of the Republican party and has done great harm to democracy, and we’re not going to recover from that quickly or easily.