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Senate Trial of Donald J. Trump Could Embarrass the U.S. Supreme Court

Implications for the Role of Chief Justice John Roberts

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money. America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

Alexis de Tocqueville, French Diplomat              

Introduction

The U. S. House of Representatives created two articles of impeachment based on 645 pages of solid evidence. Now because of this these articles were passed on December 18, 2019 against Donald J. Trump. A trial is planned to take place in January 2020 before the United States Senate as part of their Constitutional duties and requirement.

Moscow Mitch and Leningrad Lindsay have publicly declared that they are not unbiased and have already made up their mind to acquit the President of wrongdoing by declaring that impeachment is a political process, not a legal process.

It is true that impeachment is primarily a political process. But does that necessarily mean politics reigns supreme over any and all legal issues or concerns? I think not! Legal issues go way beyond the relative importance and whimsical or waggish nature of politics.

The public expects a real trial, not a kangaroo court or quasi- judicial farce. If a jury foreman or other juror in a real trial was to stand up and publicly announce his/her intention to acquit a defendant in advance, before even opening statements, the presiding judge would censor and remove that juror(s).

Politics after all is based, at its root or primary level, on value judgments. But underlying values or ideology is not the same thing as evaluating solid data, or evidence that might support, or not support, allegations made against a President.

Aside from the above statement the United States Constitution calls for the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to preside over an impeachment trial. Why would the Founding Fathers think it important to have a Chief Justice present and oversee an impeachment trial, if they only considered impeachment to be solely a political process? In fact, why call in the Judicial Branch at all if it’s only a political process?

They did so because the Founding Fathers knew that a fledgling democracy could be contaminated and compromised by individuals in any of the branches of government. They knew it wasn’t a perfect system; but they believed that the best way to protect the government from a corrupt branch involve all three branches of government at the same time as a check on each other. This philosophical stance was the basic underlying idea behind wanting three branches of government in the first place. Impeachment was only one of their concerns. The overall operation of a democracy was at the forefront of their fears and concerns. Alexis de Tocqueville is important here to what I’m explaining, but is beyond the scope of this Blog.

The Republicans in the forthcoming trial of Donald J. Trump want to run roughshod over the proceedings and the nation. They want to negate and totally minimize evidence presentations (new or old evidence) and do everything in their power to prevent witnesses from testifying. The role of the Chief Justice in such a process would be reduced and would totally emasculate John Roberts, or at best, have the Chief Justice serve only in a manner that can only be described as “window-dressing.” This would be an embarrassment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But all of this runs counter to what the Founding Fathers really wanted—fair and impartial jurors and the presentation of real evidence. All of this puts the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in an embarrassing and untenable position. He’s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t conduct the trial in a serious and legally well-reasoned manner.

Relevant Article

Recently, I found an article from TIME that describes the embarrassment issue and difficulty for John Roberts to serve in such an impeachment trial controlled by the Senate.

 

Why Impeachment Could Be a Nightmare for Chief Justice John Roberts

By Tessa Berenson, October 31, 2019

 

“The impeachment inquiry has so far unfolded largely as a fight between Congress and the White House, with federal courts weighing in occasionally. But if the House moves to impeach President Donald Trump, thus triggering a trial in the Senate, then the chief justice of the United States will be drawn in to oversee the proceedings. That would put John Roberts, a man known for his temperance and modest view of judicial power, in an uncomfortable place: at the direct center of a bitter political battle.

     It’s not a job the reserved judge will likely relish. For Roberts, who famously said Supreme Court justices should merely “call balls and strikes,” overseeing an impeachment trial would force him to engage very publicly in helping determine the fate of the president who has called him an “absolute disaster.” It will also put the Supreme Court’s fragile reputation of being above politics on the line—an issue that’s dear to Roberts and that could have ramifications for the high court for years to come as it fights to preserve public confidence in its work.

     “I can think of no task I think the Chief wants less than to have that thrust upon him,” Megan Brown, partner at Wiley Rein, said at a Federalist Society panel on Oct. 2.

There’s no way for Roberts to get out of it; his role in any impeachment trial is mandated by the Constitution. Article I Section 3 reads, in part: “When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.” The framers named the chief justice to preside over an impeachment trial to highlight the gravity of the process, and the move had a practical component. The Vice President is the leader of the Senate, but in the case of an impeachment trial, he has an extraordinary conflict of interest: he would take over the presidency if the Senate trial results in a conviction. The appointment of the chief justice to oversee the trial eliminates that problem.

The last chief justice to oversee an impeachment trial encountered a stylistic clash between the Supreme Court and the Capitol across the street. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, for whom Roberts once clerked, oversaw the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999. “I underwent the sort of culture shock that naturally occurs when one moves from the very structured environment of the Supreme Court to what I shall call, for want of a better phrase, the more freeform environment of the Senate,” he told senators at the time, according to CNN.

That contrast may be particularly pronounced in the case of Roberts, who has been outspoken about his belief that the judiciary should not wade into political matters. During his opening statement in his confirmation hearing in 2005, Roberts extolled the virtues of “humility” and “modesty” in judges. “Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them,” he said. “The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.”

But in an impeachment trial, Roberts would be required to weigh in on questions about evidence and administrative procedures in a process that is both highly broadcast and inherently political. “Roberts has told us that he doesn’t want the court involved in politics and that the court should stay away from divisive 5-4 decisions,” says Josh Blackman, associate law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. But in an impeachment trial, he added, Roberts wouldn’t be able to make decisions alongside eight other justices: “It’s just him.”

While there are risks for the chief in assuming the central role in an impeachment fight, those who know him say there are opportunities, as well. “This will provide a setting in which the chief justice will be able to show the importance of neutrality and impartiality in our judicial system,” says one of Roberts’ former clerks. “Especially in a context in which there might be a lot of turbulence and a lot of politics involved, I suspect that he will present a picture of a judge in the middle of it all, trying to keep the process fair.”

If a House vote does indeed trigger a move to the Senate, Roberts will be presiding over the legislative branch’s trial during a fraught time for both Congress and the Supreme Court. In 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed the rules on Supreme Court confirmations, requiring only a simple majority, rather than the traditional 60 votes, to confirm a justice. The move has had enormous political ramifications. In 2018, Justice Brett Kavanagh was confirmed with just 50 votes, along near party-lines, after he was accused of sexual assault. (Kavanagh denies the allegations.) Perhaps partly as a result of McConnell’s rule change and Kavanagh’s subsequent confirmation, Americans are now viewing the nation’s highest court through an increasingly partisan lens.

In August 2019, there was a 26 percentage point difference between how Republicans and Democrats viewed the court, among the widest it has been over the past two decades, according to Pew Research Center.

     Roberts has also tangled publicly with Trump. After Trump attacked what he called “an Obama judge” who ruled against his administration’s asylum policy in 2018, Roberts issued a rare statement. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” he said. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

     Roberts also faces more mundane logistical challenges. If lawmakers follow the procedures from the last impeachment trial, it would run six days a week—during a time that the Supreme Court’s work may be continuing apace. The Supreme Court has plenty of its own work to do. This term, it agreed to hear its first major abortion case since Kavanagh took the bench, and it will hear arguments about Trump’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, among other high-profile cases. In Roberts’ absence, Justice Clarence Thomas, the most senior associate justice, would fill in for him in the top role at the Supreme Court. “You can imagine it could make Chief Justice Roberts’ life a little busy, if he’s got two full time jobs,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director at Judicial Crisis Network, said at the Oct. 2 Federalist Society event.

     Roberts has acknowledged the current pressures facing the court. “We don’t go about our work in a political manner,” Roberts said in New York City in September. “The point is when you live in a politically polarized environment, people tend to see everything in those terms,” Roberts continued. “That is not how we at the court function and the results of our cases do not suggest otherwise.”

     The challenge for Roberts will be to maintain that reputation amidst what promises to be a partisan melee. “We have a very political process that’s about to blow up in his face,” says Blackman, “whether he wants it or not.”

Final Comments

The point of this Blog is to bring attention to the fact that the fine reputation of the United States Supreme Court is at stake in a trial such as that of Donald J. Trump. This is a serious matter for the nation to consider. It may be that the potential squabbling between a democratic House of Representatives and a Republican Senate people will find entertaining. Entertainment may be a side effect, but the proper administration of justice is the real issue at hand. It would be wise for each citizen watching the trial unfold to understand the importance and seriousness of an impeachment trial.

The United States Supreme Court is a distinguished body of judges whose reputations for analyzing legal data with integrity are well known. It is not unprecedented for a judge in a normal everyday trial to vacate the verdict of a jury in the interests of justice if conditions warrant such an action.

In any event Chief Justice John Roberts needs to take command of the Trial. He needs to be in the driver’s seat, not Moscow Mitch.

We all have biases (including myself) based on the value judgments we all make. Value judgments are an almost inescapable aspect of life when one grows up in any culture. Breaking out of culture over time is most often done by progressives who have a vision of the future. Breaking out of culture norms goes by another name—social change.

Besides a future vision cultural dissatisfaction may play a role for progressives as well as conservatives. Historically conservatives almost always fight against change in all its forms. But it is a temporary fight because eventually yesterday soon becomes today and today soon becomes tomorrow. Said another way, change is inevitable.

It is ironic to notice that 90 years ago conservatives fought tooth and nail to prevent that crazy idea and belief that the country needed to protect the citizenry against calamities like the Great Depression of the 1930s. That crazy idea eventually became the Social Security Act of 1935. Conservatives lost that war with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 2020, just try to rescind the Social Security Act of 1935. Socially conservative individuals would have a fit now if anyone tried to touch this long standing social program. Once it was a fear of social change; now Social Security has become the normative nature of “all things” today.

The truth is conservatives have, and always will be, on the short end of the stick where social change is concerned. They react; they are not proactive in their thinking. They are always behind the curve of social change.

It must be noted that social change by itself is neither good nor bad. It is simply change reinforced by changing values. How values change over time is complicated and deserves its own Blog to explain its complexity. Because human behavior is influenced by changing values and its complexity just consider for yourself one topical area for your mind to question or mull over. That question is—how has technology itself and social media impacted social behavior and changing social values? That ought to keep you thinking for a month as to how to answer it!

It will be entertaining to observe the trial of Donald J. Trump. The “Jim Jones, David Koresh, or Charles Manson” cult nature of the current Republican Party has caused a Constitutional crisis. The “Brown shirt” mentality of strict obedience to just one man by the Republican Party (like the Brown shirts and Adolf Hitler) gives the widespread impression that the goose-stepping Republican Party is very odd and very strange indeed, bordering on criminogenic behavior.

Is it possible the Donald J. Trump trial will be devoid of political histrionics? I’m generally an optimistic person by nature. But I think the televised trial is too great an opportunity for the Republican Party to miss creating (to be polite) much mischief as the cameras begin to roll.

The Republicans want to “Rubber Stamp” his innocence before the trial even begins. Party Republicans aren’t the only ones who want to rush to judgment in the trial. Trump supporters nationwide can also be branded as the contingency of voters that “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil” where Donald Trump is concerned (All Trump supporters share this characteristic).

It is true that all Trump supporters are not alike. In this author’s opinion they tend to form two distinct groups: (1) those who are ideological in nature who identify with Trump personally. These people may be very similar to Trump in terms of personality traits like The Authoritarian Personality or have become “True Believers” who will follow him anywhere, even to the dark side, and (2) a more pragmatic group of Trump supporters who want something from Trump in return for their vote. These people tend to want Trump to improve the economy and jobs, the bread and butter issues.

Because of these self-interests, pragmatic Trump supporters are willing to overlook Trump inadequacies such as his overall lack of a moral compass, ambivalence towards deviant groups in society, his incessant tweets or vulgarity, his proclivity for lying, nepotism, unsavory friends (like Jeffery Epstein or Paul Manafort), and his philandering ways. Ironically, the Economy is great today because of Obama policies that were put into place to deal with the Financial Crisis of 2008 and 2009. Interest rates have been dropping ever since. The economy’s success today has nothing to do with Donald Trump whose trade policy wars are hurting America’s farmer’s all over the country.

If Donald J. Trump survives the Impeachment Trial in January 2020, I predict his political value as a leader of the Republican Party will continue to decline anyway. Not being thrown out of Office will hardly be viewed as a victory by his supporters. If the Democrats resurrect the Mueller Report with all the evidence already established (and any new impeachment charges) they will pass additional charges for impeachment right up to Election Day, 2020. Donald J. Trump faces criminal charges once he leaves the presidency. If he is not re-elected in November 2020, he will be indicted in New York the very next day.

There is a reason Donald J. Trump doesn’t want his tax returns released to the public. He declared bankruptcy 3 times and after that, no banks in the United States were willing to give him a loan. Do you know who did come around and finally fund Donald J. Trump? Can you guess? It was the Russian Oligarchs with Vladimir Putin’s support. Like the late conservative American radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say at the end of each broadcast news report, “And now you know— the rest of the story.”

 

 

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Citizen’s Guide to Evaluating Donald J. Trump’s Fitness for Office of the Presidency

Introduction

     As everyone knows by now the House of Representatives are about to charge the President of the United States with several articles of impeachment. Monday, December 9th is going to be a significant step forward as the House Intelligence Committee presents the actual evidence for impeachment to the House Judiciary Committee.

I’m only speculating but the charges put forth most likely will be Bribery, Abuse of Power, Obstruction of Congress, Obstruction of Justice, and possibly Witness Intimidation (just like a Mafia Boss). The overriding question is this: Is Donald J. Trump fit for the Office of the Presidency? The next question to follow should be if convicted, should he be removed from Office?

As citizens we are not involved with this process. We are principally just bystanders via our TV sets. I think we should nonetheless form an opinion based on many factors alongside the formal impeachable process and evaluation. What do I mean by this? There are at least two categories of concern we should be thinking about as we try to form an opinion. One category are other offenses and the other category is a more broader widespread criteria of evaluation, that is, any evidence of high moral character and any evidence of good citizenship.

I personally think that the other offenses that should be applied to Donald J. Trump, among the public’s evaluation, are treason, incompetence in foreign policy such as failure to stand by the Kurds in Syria.

In addition, all the evidence obtained from the Mueller investigation on Obstruction of Justice needs to be included. Also, all Trump’s violations of the Emolument Clause (so to prevent him from personally enriching himself in the future at the expense of unwitting taxpayers) needs to be included as well as evidence showing his penchant for human rights violations (putting kids in cages), and his general wanton disregard of all our laws including the United States Constitution.

Aside from this, House and Senate Republicans have shown very little respect for Trump supporters by telling them how to think, and not think, for themselves. Trump supporters are an easy mark for Republican propaganda since Trump supporters fit very nicely into the mold of gullibility and The True Believer/Identity Fusion paradigm.

More Comprehensive Evaluation Criteria

If you believe that no one is above the law, would you also believe that everyone for public office needs to be evaluated with the same criteria as the average citizen? And like a job interview, do you believe everyone in society needs to be treated equally and fairly in the process of evaluating someone for a job? And that includes presidents as well as the average citizen. I certainly do. Giving deference to anyone just because of their social status is sending society the wrong message. It is antithetical to our inherent values of fairness and democracy.

The President needs to be evaluated just as John Doe does in a job interview. You want someone to be able to do the job, and have a record of competence, experience and an absence of morally corrupt behavior such as a criminal conduct for fraud, or stealing from employers among other offenses; you want someone who is a good citizen and of high moral character. That’s what the public expects as part of normal everyday job hiring. The employer in this analogy is the voting public. The job seeker in this analogy is Donald J. Trump.

I make use of this analogy not to minimize or lighten the tone of the impeachment inquiry, but simply to help readers of this blog understand how the impeachment inquiry and a job interview are very similar in nature. It’s all about fitness for a job.

Think of impeachment as a way to evaluate the fitness and moral character of Donald J. Trump. Think of Donald J. Trump’s tenure as President as his probationary period of evaluation. With that concept in mind—read on!

If the public fails to keep an eye on the performance of any president, or job applicant, they are not being good Stewarts of proper citizenship. Just because you have the right to vote does not make you a good citizen. And, the impeachment process is a very important part of any evaluation of a President as laid down in the United States Constitution by the Founding Fathers. This is particularly true since probable cause is so intuitively obvious with this particular impeachment. The case, as Jerry Nadler says, is rock solid. There is a plethora of evidence developed during the impeachment inquiry, testimony given, and documentary data.

Impeachment (in my opinion) is not just about Treason, Bribery or High Crimes and Misdemeanors. It’s a political process rather than a legal one, although legal and constitutional issues this time are inextricably interwoven with the looming impeachment of Donald, J. Trump. And if you’re going to impeach a president, shouldn’t the criteria of evaluation be as comprehensive as possible? I argue that the answer is “yes” to all of the above questions. Congress may disagree with my assessment of what is needed but then, that is their prerogative. I just think Trump’s behavior before his election, as well as the various patterns of his behavior overall (like 10,000 lies or more) should be relevant to the question of his fitness for Office of the Presidency.

I believe a President should be evaluated based on the total package, that is, what he/she has done in terms of both past and present behavior. Impeachment by itself only looks at what a president has done during his tenure in office. In a job interview one’s past is just as important as present behavior. His/her fitness for the Office of the Presidency, the highest office in the land, requires nothing less than a thorough examination of the facts—not alternative facts, fake facts or no facts at all—but real facts. As Sergeant Joe Friday said many times on the 1950s TV show Dragnet, “Just give me the facts mam.”

As a political process, elements of good moral character and principles of good citizenship should apply. Why? It’s because our values as a nation are at stake now as well as the moral turpitude of a struggling nation to remove the abject chaos in the White House, and put our democracy back in order.

If one fails to properly evaluate a President’s behavior, past and present, one is unworthy of calling themselves an American in a democratic society. To be brutally honest many core Trump supporters act and think as if they had recently been kicked in the head by a horse. Perhaps instead of wearing a baseball shaped cap that says “Make America Great Again” maybe they should instead wear a black and white T-shirt that says, “Look out, recently I’ve been kicked in the head by a horse.” That horse, of course, is Donald J. Trump.

As soon as the evidence is presented by the Intelligence Committee the impeachment trial should  soon follow. If Moscow Mitch is unwilling to settle on a fair compromise with Chuck Schumer over the rules to be followed during the impeachment trial, there  is no guarantee that a trial will be conducted in the U.S. Senate at all.

If the Republicans try to structure the trial to only their advantage of stonewalling for an acquittal of Donald J. Trump, the repercussions of such actions will send the country into a tailspin causing the electorate to wonder if America is still a democracy.  Under this scenario the Republican Party will soon cease to exist.

We want all our presidents to be both fit for Office and good citizens. And the underlying elements of fitness should involve more than what someone does wrong or is illegal. Equally important factors of fitness should be the extent a president shows good citizenship and high moral character. Between good citizenship and high moral character I think high moral character is the more important criterion.

What is high moral character?

High moral character is composed of five critical traits: honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, and courage. Anything less than this is to load up the presidency with mediocre near-do-wells, or worse yet someone who will do actual harm to the country and its people, and simultaneously dishonor the Office of the Presidency.

Behavior before being elected

Has Donald J. Trump acted with high moral character prior to his being sworn into office on January 20, 2017. There are at least 12 areas (and many others exist) of prior behavior the public can use to evaluate whether Donald J. Trump was a man of high moral character prior to his becoming President.

     These areas include:

His case with the Federal Government on racial discrimination in the 1970s

His lifetime of misogynistic behavior with women and unwanted touching

His cheating on his wife Melania all during their marriage and when she was pregnant

His alleged rape and beating of a 13 year old prostitute supported by his friend Jeffery Epstein

His predatory behavior with a woman on a plane

His alleged rape of a woman in the backroom of a New York store

His close (buddy-buddy) relationship with Jeffery Epstein, a registered sex offender

His discrimination against the Central Park Five

His hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and others

His fraudulent creation of Trump University

His fraudulent behavior and cheating as a businessman

His misrepresenting who actually wrote, “Art of the Deal.” It was not Donald J. Trump

Behavior since being elected

If I were to list in detail all the things Donald J. Trump has done wrong as President of the United States, I would fill up a Blog or report of at least 4,000 pages (almost 10 times the size of the Mueller report). I’ll whittle it down to just four words: Gross incompetence and Treason.

Final Comments

Based on the total picture and behavior of Donald J. Trump, he deserves to be removed from Office of the Presidency. Standards of morality evidently must have been very low in 2016, at least for a portion of the population.

The data showed that there were 250,056,000 people who were eligible to vote in 2016. But only 61.4 percent of eligible voters actually voted in 2016. Of the total eligible only (24.7%) actually voted for Donald J. Trump. These voters basically supported a person of low moral character and with little evidence that he showed any good citizenship. But their voting for him at all is not that puzzling.

Let us not forget the underlying sociological reason that they supported Trump in the first place. A predominantly  white population favored Donald J. Trump in 2016. It was based on racism, plain and simple. Both his racist views and his personal degenerate hall of fame status were known by the voting public prior to the election. Yet, 61, 943,670 (out of a possible 250,056,000 eligible voters)  voted for him anyway knowing who and what he was. There is no mystery here. White Fright/White Flight is the subliminal, and at times, not so subliminal, cause of why people voted for him.

The other factors involved were interference by the Russians and the legally insidious cheating through gerrymandering. Before or after he leaves office, the Congress needs to remove his conspirators as well. They include Moscow Mitch, Mick Mulvaney, and Mike Pompeo. Others of great concern are Leningrad Lindsay, the three amigos (Gordon Sondland, Kurt Volker, and Rick Perry), and the bagman Rudy Giuliani. Want to convict these people? Follow the money!

It’s time now that all these actors of deceit get their legal and moral comeuppance. It’s time for the disposal companies around the country to pick up the garbage. First stop—Washington, D.C.

Let’s cut to the chase—Donald J. Trump needs to be removed from office followed by standing trial for felonies he had committed in New York as well as  for when he was in Office. His conspirators need to be brought to justice as well. No country club prison for this Cagle of misfits. They need to do hard time at Leavenworth Prison for treasonous un-American activity and conduct. They have disgraced this country as well as themselves. And, they have no one else to blame but themselves!

If I was calling the shots, I’d put the entire Trump Administration in our one remaining Supermax prison. It is reserved for those that are a serious threat to both national and global security. This is the United States federal system, ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado.

Republicans always whine about the need for a “law and order” society. That is, a “get tough stance on crime.” I don’t know about order. But, I do know they are about to get a good dose of the law. Turn on your televisions tomorrow morning. Get your cup of hot coffee and sit in that comfortable sofa or chair of yours. Now, let the entertainment begin!!!

 

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Transformational Ideas in the Era of Social Change and the Upcoming Presidential Election

Seeing Society through the Crystal-Ball of Ideas

 

Introduction

I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed these days during this political season. This is because there are so many candidates running for the Office of the President of the United States. At last count there were potentially 24 democratic candidates (some declared and some not), five or more independents, and potentially several Republicans ready to challenge Donald Trump in 2020.

So how does one decide who to vote for in the next election when there are so many candidates? What criteria does one use to make sound judgments? It is a daunting task, especially if one wants to do diligence and cares about our democracy. So, what do you do?

Many factors may guide you (e.g., party affiliation, values, facts on issues, beliefs, prejudice, social pressure, past history of voting or lack thereof, what your significant other(s) may think, etc.). However, voting is, for the most part, a solitary decision. So once you’re in that polling booth or filling out a form at home, the question still remains—what do you do?

In order to answer this question one needs to take a long term and wide view at politicians and their promises in addition to culture, society and the individual. Each individual operates in his/her own realm of individuality and consciousness. That realm is mostly in the present, the here and now, where immediate needs play our center stage of concern. We all have needs every moment of every day. But voting should be an activity that transcends the present. One needs to look beyond his/her immediate environment, and think about the future needs of others, not just oneself.

Sociology I-A

While our immediate daily needs are important to meet, the act of Voting is more than this, or should be. Voting is a statement of desired direction, a kind of non-descript message to a culture and society bigger than ourselves. We are all trying to say with our vote, “You better wake up and pay attention.” Well, you say wake up and pay attention, but what you really mean is—You want change, however ill-defined and nebulous at that moment it might be.

If you’re conservative you’re probably thinking to yourself—change for what? The conservative mindset is very troubled these days. Conservatives prefer no change to society most of the time, despite a long history of change they have also benefitted from. Nevertheless, they are all fearful of a changing world and landscape they do not understand or control anymore. They dwell psychologically in a constant state of perpetual uncertainty and many have secretly underlying doubts and misapprehensions about their own beliefs.

Most conservatives are white. Most sociologists suspect that the underlying concern of not wanting things to change is the irrational fear of “White Fright-White Flight.” While there are interesting sociological questions ahead to be answered, like will America become more harmonious, less violent and less group oriented, once there is real equality when only minorities (including a white minority) will make up America? That discussion is for a latter Blog. While such a question is titillating to the academic community, there is still an irrational fear on the part of conservatives that the sky is falling all around them. And that intense fear translates into blaming all others for their own short-comings in life.

The driving force in culture (defined as our learned behavior patterns) and society is for change, or a desire for no change. It is predicated on values and value judgments. Change does not create value judgment per se, only people do. Some may argue that value judgments are a product of early childhood experiences in growing up in small social unit or group like the family. And it is true that by age 25 most of our personal beliefs and values are firmly lodged in “social concrete.” But as people become adults, larger social forces begin to enter their lives and influence them. I’m being polite. Let’s call it what it is—Social Control.

What is Change Anyway?

Observing change is simply a perception of difference in our physical and mental environment. It is a catchword used to describe movement in time. Either something occurs or it doesn’t. That is the nexus of change that connects the past to the present and the present to the future.

But when we talk about social change, and its importance, we’re really talking about value judgments and ideology directed by something very specific. Society doesn’t always change because one holds value judgments; society changes because of something very specific. Change for change sake is unto itself—meaningless.

What are those specifics? They are ideas folks. Ideas move society. Ideas move individuals. Ideas, and their formulation, are the real basis for social change in society. Value judgments and ideology may still play a role in evaluating what is a “good” idea from a “bad” idea. But ideas turned into actions are what ultimately will lead to social change.

     So, if good ideas are the real pathway to social change, why then aren’t there more of them? I don’t know. My theory is that it takes real effort to come up with good ideas. Most people would prefer to be lazy and rest, not on their laurels per se, but rather depend on their value judgments alone.

     However, sometimes politicians are capable of creating and coming up with good ideas. Ahead you’ll hear about one candidate for the highest office who has the best most transformational ideas at this point in time, and has done his/her homework.

     The best political presentations, by the way, are well crafted when they collectively incorporate transformational ideas, values, and facts and describe issues with the precision of a jeweler’s eye. That kind of political presentation gives a more complete and total picture from which to make choices or judgments.

Read on.

It is ideas that propel what we call change. But ideas are not all alike in nature. Some ideas are rather ordinary, while other ideas can be transformational.

Transformational Ideas

When I talk about ideas in the context above, I’m not referring to everyday or ordinary ideas that lead to human decisions of little relevance, such as making decisions as to what car to buy or what neighborhood to buy a home in.

Transformational ideas by comparison to ordinary ones, can and do affect the lives of large numbers of people, or even an entire nation. They have a much bigger impact on society; they generate real currency value in any society.

Transformational ideas are what you need to look for in a candidate for public office, especially the Office of President of the United States.

Warning: If a candidate talks about issues, that is fine. But if their stock answer is—we need to change—but solutions are absent in the presentation, you might take that as a sign that the candidate for office really has not thought about the issue(s) very deeply.

We all know talk is cheap, but actionable ideas require planning and insight. Said again, transformational ideas have great value when they are highly specific, not obtuse statements lacking specificity or time frames. Otherwise, you as a voter are passing off “bullshit” for insight. Don’t be misled by the politics of obfuscation in political speeches whenever, wherever, and by whom it comes from. Listen carefully to what is being said. I know this requires effort on your part, but who you vote for really matters.

Another way politicians obfuscate their presentation is they constantly dwell on “values rather than facts.” Value statements are fine because values reinforce what they believe you care about. Politicians on the left and the right do this all the time. They know voters are influenced more by their values than by facts alone. Just be careful not to get caught up in the emotion candidates like to drum up.

People can get quite emotional about their values. We’ve seen this idea of values and emotions when they merge into a lethal combination that leads to hatred expressed, and violence carried out, at political rallies. You may agree or disagree with their statements, but you are the one who ultimately must decide who to vote for.

I’m not so naïve as to think that the masses of voters in our country will be astute enough to decipher “bullshit” from well-thought-out analytical assessments of political candidates. If this were not the case, then the country might not have elected a mentally and socially challenged degenerate president in 2016.

A lot of time remains before November 2020. Nevertheless, many democratic candidates have announced their candidacies. I’ve made it my personal duty to listen intently to first campaign speeches because they tend to set the tone for what is important to each candidate. Who I will actually vote for in 2020 will have to wait until I have a clear idea of the transformational ideas, if any, from all the candidates regardless of party.

Nevertheless, right now my analysis has led me back to whom I supported during the 2016 campaign season. I’ll keep this a secret for now and let you guess. This candidate, in my opinion, already has a plethora of transformational ideas. These ideas I like.

I want to make two things perfectly clear at the onset. I like, with one exception, all the democratic candidates this year running for the Office of the President of the United States. I say Kudos to Corry Booker, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. They are all worthy candidates and decent human beings. There are other democratic candidates running for president and may be just as worthy. We as citizens just need to get to know them a little better.

The second point I want to make is this: It is a myth that conservatives don’t care for social change. They do and especially when it benefits them personally. Does anyone really think conservatives in Congress today would sponsor a bill to overturn the 1935 Social Security Act? I think not! They pay into the social security system just like everyone else. Social security was a profound social change to this country (transformational) and it is now 84 years old.

Now that conservatives have daughters playing organized sports in grammar school, high school and college, do you really think they want to go backwards in time when all the money went to just male sports teams? I think not.

Virtually every good thing that has ever been passed into law since our nation’s inception has also benefitted conservatives as much as the rest of society. They basically enjoy things now they themselves may have originally opposed. That makes them the most disingenuous hypocritical mental slackers ever to inhabit our great nation. Someday, I’ll tell you what I really think of them!

As I have now redundantly said, conservatives embrace change in their own lives when it benefits them. But their eternal characteristic is just the fact that they have the nasty propensity to deny, unwittingly or otherwise, others their rights to the good life. Just like everyone else Conservatives are the type of people who always book a flight on a plane whose destination is the future. Problem is—once onboard that flight, they just don’t seem to want anyone else sitting next to them.

A Candidate with Transformational ideas

This shouldn’t be a difficult test for you to identify the candidate I am supporting at the moment. This particular candidate announced his/her candidacy within the last two months. In his/her opening speech issues, facts, reinforcing values and transformational ideas were all presented. This candidate is the complete package for integrity, likeability, insight and comprehensive vision and understanding.

The clock is ticking now. Let’s see how long it takes you to figure who I am talking about. The following is a listing of the transformational ideas, issue statements and value statements made by this candidate.

“When we are in the White House, we will attack the problem of urban gentrification and build the affordable housing our nation desperately needs.”

“We are not going to cut Social Security benefits. We are going to expand them.”

“Yes. We will pass a Medicare for all single-payer program.”

“We intend to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy and, in the process, create millions of good paying jobs.”

“Today we say to the American people that we will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure: our roads, our bridges, our rail system and subways, our water systems and wastewater plants and our airports-and when we do that we create up to 13 million good paying jobs.”

“Today we say to the parents in this country that you and your kids deserve quality, affordable childcare. The children are our future; they deserve the best possible head start in life with a high quality, universal pre-K program.”

“Good jobs require a good education. That is why we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free, and substantially lower the outrageous student debt that currently exists.”

“Today, we say to our senior citizens, that we understand you cannot live in dignity when you are trying to survive on $13,000 or $14,000 a year in Social Security Benefits. My Republican colleagues want to cut Social Security Benefits but we have some bad news for them. We’re not going to cut Social Security benefits. We are going to expand them.

“We are going to provide legal status to the 1.8 million young people eligible for the DACA program, and develop a humane border policy for those who seek asylum. No more snatching babies from the arms of their mothers.”

“We will move aggressively to end the epidemic of gun violence in this country and pass the common sense gun safety legislation that the overwhelming majority of Americans want.”

Final Observations

Bernie Sanders launched his initial speech in Brooklyn New York on March 2, 2019 (if you haven’t figured out whom I was referring to by now).

Bernie Sanders has lots of other ideas that are transformational. But I wanted to convey to you most of the really good ideas. The interesting thing about a lot of politicians on both sides of the aisle is that few ever tell us how they are going to pay for their intended legislation. Bernie however, does tell us how he is going to pay for his transformational ideas. He’ll tax the very rich and the super-rich or the top 1% of Americans who own 50% of the wealth in this country.

As Bernie said on March 2, 2019:

“no, we will no longer stand idly by and allow 3 people in this country to own more wealth than the bottom half of America while, at the same time, over 20 percent of our children live in poverty, veterans sleep out on the streets and seniors cannot afford their prescription drugs. We will no longer accept 46 percent of al new income going to the top 1 %, while millions of Americans are forced to work 2 or 3 jobs just to survive and over half of our people live paycheck to paycheck frightened to death about what happens to them financially if their car breaks down or their child becomes sick. Today, we fight for a political revolution.”

Other candidates on the democratic side have ideas as well. Even a few Republicans have a few good ideas. But unfortunately, Republicans in a political environment doesn’t lend itself to getting things done. Just like the Freedom Caucus among the larger body of Republicans in Congress they get nothing done and have certainly earned the reputation as the party of “NO.”

Trust me! When Bernie’s transformational ideas eventually come to fruition, Republicans will be first in line (hat in hand) with glassy eyes, like an exuberant panting little puppy (and not so cute), begging for their fair share of society’s benefits.

One other issue does deserve some discussion, but will have to wait for a future Blog. Fear mongering is the stock and trade of the Republican Party these days. Now they want you to tremble in your shoes because Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist. Somehow that label foretells doom and gloom. This is, of course, total nonsense. Democratic Socialism is a good thing not a bad thing.

In a future Blog I will explore this false narrative promoted by the Republican Party in more detail. I will discuss Socialism and Democratic Socialism and how they differ. I will also explore both the strengths and weaknesses of Capitalism and suggest to you how merging two different underlying philosophies and economic systems just might produce the best of all worlds. There are no perfect economic systems in the world. Who knows perhaps merging just might be a Transformational Idea people in society can get behind and really embrace?

 

Just like Paul Harvey would end his famous newscasts (1952-2008) I say to you—“Now you know the rest of the story and Good Day!”

 

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Weak and Feckless:

The True Believer in American Society 

Their impact on Democratic Institutions

“It is above all in the present democratic age that the true friends of liberty and human grandeur must remain constantly vigilant and ready to prevent the social power from lightly sacrificing the particular rights of a few individuals to the general execution of its designs. In such times there is no citizen so obscure that it is not very dangerous to allow him to be oppressed, and there are no individual rights so unimportant that they can be sacrificed to arbitrariness with impunity.”

― Alexis de Tocqueville (Author, Democracy in America)

    

Introduction

One of the most important sociological facts in the study of society is the existence of “The True Believer.” Who is the true believer? According to the late Eric Hoffer, “He’s a guilt-ridden hitchhiker who thumbs a ride on every cause from Christianity to Communism. He’s a fanatic needing a Stalin (or a Christ) to worship or die for. He’s the mortal enemy of things-as-they-are, and he insists on sacrificing himself for a dream impossible to attain. He is today everywhere on the march.”

Although Eric Hoffer’s seminal sociological work was published in 1951, his book made a crucial impact on sociology and our understanding of fanaticism and deviant behavior. And that understanding applies historically to the most ancient of times as it does in the present day.

Fanaticism as the most ideological deviant of human behaviors continues to plague all of us in democratic societies worldwide. And what do we see today as we look out at the world?

We see ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the malevolent murderous dictators in Saudi Arabia. In addition to this, we have long witnessed entire countries run by dictators who violate human rights every day. This includes such dictators as Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Xi Jinping serving as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un who is a dictator of one of the ugliest regimes of all time.

     Unfortunately, America, a democratic country with democratic institutions, is not immune to fanaticism. And this fanaticism has come from both the left and the right.        

A Short History Lesson

Throughout history in our country the True Believer has existed. In the modern era two prime examples come to mind in the political arena where the True Believer is concerned:  The Era of Eugene Victor Debs and the era of Donald Trump, the former a Socialist and the later a White Nationalist. Let’s begin by exploring these two people.

The Father of American Socialism

One of the most influential people during the early years of the 20th Century was Eugene Victor Debs.  He was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1855 to a family of French Alsatian immigrants. Making his way in the railroad industry, Debs formed the American Railway Union in 1892.

Two years later he found himself leading one of the largest strikes in American history — the great Pullman strike. When its workers refused to accept a pay cut, The Pullman Car Company fired 5000 employees.

To show support, Debs called for the members of the American Railway Union to refrain from operating any trains that used Pullman cars. When the strike was declared illegal by a court injunction, chaos erupted.

President Cleveland ordered federal troops to quell the strikers and Debs was arrested. Soon order was restored and the strike failed. Eugene Debs was also one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies), and five times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States. Through his presidential candidacies, as well as his work with labor movements, Debs eventually became one of the best-known socialists living in the United States.

Debs was not originally a socialist, but his experience with the Pullman Strike and his subsequent six-month jail term led him to believe that drastic action was necessary. Debs chose to confine his activity to the political arena. In 1900 he ran for President of the United States as a socialist and garnered some 87,000 votes.

The following year, leading sympathizers joined with him to form the Socialist Party. At its height, the party numbered over 100,000 active members.

In the election of 1912 he received over 900,000 votes. After being arrested for antiwar activities during World War I, he ran for President from his jail cell and polled 919,000 votes. Debs died in 1926 having never won an election, but over one thousand Socialist Party members were elected to state and city governments.

Eugene Victor Debs left an indelible mark among candidates for President of the United States. Eugene Debs ran as a Socialist candidate for President of the United States five times, including 1900 (earning 0.6% of the popular vote), 1904 (3.0%), 1908 (2.8%), 1912 (6.0%), and 1920 (3.4%), the last time from a prison cell. He was also a candidate for United States Congress from his native state of Indiana in 1916.

Why Were Socialists beliefs popular?

Despite the success of the American Federation of Labor, American radicalism was not dead. The number of those who felt the American capitalist system was fundamentally flawed was in fact growing fast.

American socialists based their beliefs on the writings of Karl Marx, the German philosopher. Many asked why so many working Americans should have so little while a few owners grew incredibly wealthy. No wealth could exist without the sweat and blood of its workforce. They suggested that the government should own all industries and divide the profits among those who actually created the products. While the current management class would stand to lose, many more people would gain. These radicals grew in number as industries spread. But their enemies were legion.

While most Americans today would feel sympathy for Eugene Debs and his cause for fairness between management and labor in an era of crass capitalism gone amuck, it is still a fact that there were fanatics among many of his supporters.

There is an uncanny resemblance I can see between Eugene Deb’s fanatical supporters and Donald Trump’s core base of Republicans where violence several times has made its way to attacking reporters. In addition, his white racist lunatic supporters have even attacked Trump’s own African American supporters who show up at Donald Trump rallies. Oops! I digress for a moment. Back to Eugene Debs and the saga of the Wobblies.

The Wobblies

Even more radical than the Socialists were the members of the Industrial Workers of the World. This union believed that compromise with owners was no solution. Founded in 1905 and led by William “Big Bill” Haywood, the “Wobblies,” as they were called, encouraged their members to fight for justice directly against their employers.

Although small in number, they led hundreds of strikes across America, calling for the overthrow of the capitalist system. The I.W.W. won few battles, but their efforts sent a strong message across America that workers were being mistreated.

When the United States entered World War I, the “Wobblies” launched an active antiwar movement. Many were arrested or beaten. One unlucky member in Oregon was tied to the front end of an automobile with his knees touching the ground and driven until his flesh was torn to the bone.

Membership declined after the war, but for two decades the I.W.W. was the anchor of radical American activism. This minority of Wobblers were indeed “true believers” in their cause.

This leads to my example of fanaticism from the right in politics. What makes this relevant is that this new era of political fanaticism is occurring in the here and now.

The Trump Administration and the High Priest of Hate

Donald Trump was elected to the presidency of the United States in 2016. Based on a philosophy of white nationalism, similar in tone to the promoters of Aryan beliefs fostered during the reign of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Brown Shirts (Sturmabteilung a.k.a., Storm Troopers), Donald Trump is be-loved by the Aryans of today as reflected in the violent confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 as well as at his political rallies.

After the 2016 presidential election, it became crystal clear that the American voter had made an egregious mistake in judgment when picking a person to be the Commander in Chief and President of the United States. Immediately, women and independent voters who had got him elected pulled away their support when their error in judgment came home to roost.

Now following the 2016 election, research has shown that Trump voters were lacking education, lacking intelligent insight, devoid of basic humanitarian values, overly naïve in their beliefs, and simply lacked adroitness to the maximum degree. In my opinion all of these things may have been present in the Trump voter in 2016.

Russian collusion and interference, un-democratic gerrymandering, voter suppression and the unnecessary (and undemocratic) Electoral College system conspired to give the presidency to Donald Trump. Scandal after scandal has plagued his presidency both before and after his becoming president.

He has committed both impeachable offenses (including treason) as well as engaged in criminal behavior. Donald is an infantile mental case and has delusions of grandeur about his self-worth. He is a wanna-be mafia don. I can understand Donald Trump’s infatuation with the concept of “fake news.” After all, since January 20, 2017 the United States of America has had a fake president.

At no previous time in the history of the United States has a president or his administration brought such dishonor and disrespect. As a result the United States has lost status as a protector of human rights in the eyes of the world.

Given the bomb threats that have been made against liberal democratic politicians including the attempted murder of two prior American presidents, the FBI need to investigate these incredibly serious criminal acts leaving no stone unturned.

And, the racist connections to Donald Trump continue to shed a light and give direction to such an investigation. The motivation of the bomber(s) is very clear. Just how deep racism runs rampant through Donald Trump and his supporters is reflected in an article written back in 2016.

In May, 2016 Robert L. Tsai wrote an article for Slate Magazine, titled: “What Aryans See in Donald Trump—He is the Aryan warrior, come to save whiteness itself.

By Robert L. Tsai

May 26, 2016•3:49 PM

“In recent years, white supremacists have tended to avoid taking part in national politics in the belief that both parties have been conquered by nonwhites who pursue their own racial interests over others. This year represents a sea change. Rarely have so many open racists flocked to a presidential candidate’s banner as they have done for Donald Trump. They have shown up at rallies to do gleeful battle with Black Lives Matter protesters and jumped at the opportunity to serve as Trump delegates to the Republican National Convention.

The reasons for white nationalists’ renewed hope in mainstream politics are more complicated than the caricature of jackbooted youths saluting one of their own. Trump has disavowed the endorsement of overt racists such as David Duke, but somehow white nationalists have “never been more optimistic.” Despite Trump’s profession, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” his brand of race-fueled populism promises to reforge broken psychological ties among large swaths of demoralized white voters, whether or not they self-identify as white nationalists or belong to extremist organizations. Trump seeks to recreate a coalition that includes dislocated rural workers and dissatisfied denizens of urban democracy, the relatively prosperous and the hardly working, weary defenders of the Old South and armed isolationists in the Pacific Northwest. Through a mix of policy and symbolism, Trump unites them all with a sneering form of nationalism that, more than ever, helps rekindle the racial consciousness of mainstream white voters.

A key to Trump’s appeal is that his agenda to “Make America Great Again” revolves around an iron-fisted leadership style for which many disaffected white voters have been searching. The fractured elements of white nationalist America, meanwhile, perceive Trump to be the embodiment of the Aryan warrior, a mythic figure who will liberate white people from their current state of malaise, infighting, and almost certain extinction. White nationalists trace their lineage through Northern Europe (some claim to descend from the Lost Tribes of Israel) and find their role models in the various soldiers and statesmen who supposedly defended the purity of the white civilization. Today, any person of Western European stock can theoretically become an Aryan warrior by swearing to preserve the white race, but some white supremacist groups believe a single figure will be called from among the people to fulfill a more unifying role. Trump, who is of German and Scottish ancestry, fits the ethnic profile of this savior to a T. But it’s Trump’s political self-presentation that is truly arousing.

Unhappy white Americans are not monolithic; Trump’s appeal goes beyond his potential Aryan saviorhood. In a Republican Party that has tilted decidedly rightward, he outflanked Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz—figures who are more faithful conservatives than Trump—by shrewdly appealing to a complex belief system shared by many disgruntled white voters.

But for the most extreme of these resentment-oriented citizens, Trump’s appeal is manifold. These citizens believe that the founding generation established the United States as a republic for the pursuit of liberty and happiness as white people alone define those ideals. Members of this alt-community despise pluralism, bristling at any emphasis of race, sex, or gender differences.

Many distrust liberal education, which is blamed for fostering white guilt and destroying a sense of racial identity among whites. A number of them fear the global economy. Sensing their influence greatly diminished, such individuals have opted out of electoral politics. They have felt abandoned by the old Democratic Party after it became the party of black civil rights and betrayed by the modern Republican Party, which has cynically used dog-whistle politics to gain their votes without, in their view, doing enough to safeguard their interests. Some of the discontented have become radicalized, joining patriot groups, separatist strongholds, or white supremacist organizations.

Anxiety about biological and cultural extinction is pervasive among these disaffected whites. Before his downfall and death, Richard Girnt Butler gathered self-identified Aryans to his compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho. On social media today, racially conscious whites assemble around the hashtag #WhiteGenocide or lodge their grievances at Stormfront.org. (Trump once actually retweeted a user named “White Genocide.”) The late David Lane, an influential Aryan thinker and member of a violent organization called the Order, helped popularize the view that the white race was “now a small minority in the world,” beset by forced integration, intermarriage, and “inter-species compassion.” According to this worldview, only those who aspire to the ideal of the Aryan warrior can restore the civic republicanism of America’s forefathers and save the white race. Enter Trump.

The cultural image of the Aryan warrior combines romantic masculinity, chest-beating race pride, and a relish for legal violence. Lane’s writings put the Aryan warrior in explicitly political terms. His tract 88 Precepts prophesies the coming of the “strongman,” who will emerge in the late stages of a dying democracy. That figure will display a keen ability to see that “political, economic, and religious systems may be destroyed and resurrected” in ways to prevent the eternal destruction of the white race. Some will call the strongman “a dictator,” but Lane insists that a ruthless leadership style “is the only way to restore order out of the chaos caused by a democracy.”

Trump’s style of governance seems to fulfill this prophesy: His entire self-presentation is a rebuke to liberalism and gradual legal change. Instead, he promises political revolution through charismatic leadership. Trump’s vulgar, unvarnished manner of speaking and his penchant for favoring extreme measures—the very characteristics deemed un-presidential and dangerous by his critics—are seen as not only refreshing but also as essential for the rebirth of the Aryan nation-state.

When Trump calls Hispanic immigrants “criminals, drug dealers, rapists,” and vows to “take our country back” from those “taking our jobs” and “taking our money,” white nationalists hear Trump telling the same uncomfortable truths about the sorry state of white society they have voiced for decades. Every time he eggs followers on to forcefully confront detractors or swears to “take out the families” of terrorists, he projects a muscular approach to protecting the white republic.

His calling card is a plan to build a massive wall between the United States and Mexico to stem illegal immigration and somehow force Mexico to pay for it. Policy analysts have scoffed at this proposal, but its real power lies not in policy but in metaphor, one that taps into a hardened, survivalist mindset. It is an image that resonates with a community that already believes it is losing the war against nonwhite civilizations. When Trump ritually invokes the wall or recommends the creation of a national deportation force, he signals to this constituency that he agrees the future of the white race is at stake.

To Aryans, a resurgence of public masculinity is central to sovereignty. They believe that the power to command others, and then to spark a revolution, emanates from one’s power to control the traditional family. This is why Trump’s crude comments about female appearances and the proper role of women excite rather than repulse these core supporters. It is also why, in trading on fears of white male helplessness, his claims that “Mexico sends its people” to rape and pillage and that China is “raping our country” through unfair trade practices appeal so powerfully to the racist mind. For Trump, as for the white nationalist community, sovereignty and maleness are forever interlinked.

Additionally, the scorn heaped upon Trump simply confirms for these racially motivated white voters that they have discovered the right leader, one who might defeat the forces of liberalism and multiculturalism that have corrupted American law. Lane urged white people to select a strongman “wisely.” “Choose one who has sacrificed all in the face of tyranny; choose one who has endured and persevered,” he writes. “This is the only reliable evidence of his worthiness and motives.” On this front, Trump has more than proved his mettle by drawing the arrows of his enemies in the Republican primary and emerging more powerful for it, while the battlefield is littered with opponents who underestimated him.

How far can he go? Trump has actively courted fringe parts of the electorate by assenting to their racially inflected diagnosis of what ails America and has thrown his support behind whites-first prescriptions. From this point on, Trump’s ceiling as a vehicle for white nationalism will depend on the willingness of mainstream voters to take responsibility for his promise to restore white self-governance and his systematic scapegoating of nonwhites.

By casting himself as a virtuous guardian of white people’s welfare and claiming a “mandate” to be provocative, Trump has gotten further than any similar politician in recent years. Win or lose, as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, he is already more successful than Pat Buchanan or David Duke, which makes him the most prominent Aryan warrior of the modern age.”

The Commonality of Unifying Agents among Differing Fanatical Groups

According to Eric Hoffer true believers for any cause have certain things in common. They include: Hatred, Imitation, Persuasion and Coercion, Leadership, Action, Suspicion, and The Effects of Unification. Given the limitations of this Blog I will only discuss the unifying factor of hatred.

 Hatred

According to Eric Hoffer, “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents…Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.” He also reported that, “The theoreticians of the Kremlin hardly waited for the guns of Second World War to cool before they picked the democratic West, and particularly America, as the chosen enemy.”

For Donald Trump the devil is liberals, democrats, the free press and anyone else who criticizes him. By his stoking the fires of hatred, it has led to the discovery of several bombs reported on Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 whereby democrats, liberals and the free press were targeted for murder and assassination.

Donald Trump, as an advocate of violence at his rallies, no matter how surreptitiously displayed, bears great similarity to Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin. These latter historical figures of World War II along with Eugene Debs and the Wobblies share an important characteristic with the fatuous oaf in the White House—They were all ‘True Believers.’”

Final Comments

The evidence shows that fanaticism and the “true believer” has been around for thousands of years. As long as mankind exists and, in the absence of a world-wide nuclear catastrophe, people of extreme views and mindsets will likely continue to exist in the future.

Groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the American mafia, including different ethnic versions of it, were filled with members who might have manifested the characteristics of a “True Believer.” And, there may have been some who had additional motives like avarice and greed.

The real test of the degree of being a “True Believer” is whether or not (as Eric Hoffer pointed out) one is willing to sacrifice oneself for a dream impossible to attain. We know that some people cave-in to pressure while others do not. This applies to anyone in any group. Measuring this attribute of people in fanatical groups of “True Believers” is probably impossible to do.

I could have chosen to write about other groups as evidence of the “True Believer,” but I chose instead to write about Eugene Debs of the 20th Century and Donald Trump in the 21st Century. I think I have shown that “True Believers” runs the full political landscape or gamut from left to right, However, I want to zero-in now on Donald Trump.

I do this because the effects, and soon-to-be after effects, are happening now in this day and age. Critical to all of this is motivation of people, particularly those who supported and those who continue to support Donald Trump. And it pertains to comments made by author, Robert L Tsai.  I may too have some insight to contribute in this regard.

      In 1900 there was no television, cell phones or the Internet. In today’s world we get pummeled every day with a barrage of “breaking news” on a nearly 24 hour basis. In a few prior blogs I pointed out the sociological concept of “White Fright—White Flight.” This concept has generated intense psychological fear among a sizeable portion of white voters.

The underlying reason many whites are terrified is not economic; rather, it is an irrational fear of losing one’s social status in society. This is sad, but true. The insecurity of losing one’s status seems to reinforce the idea that constitutional principles of freedom and justice for all people under the United States Constitution, must somehow take a back seat to one’s loss of social status.

No one knows what American will be like in 30 years when there is no majority, only minorities of different population sizes. As a social scientist there is one question that begs to be answered. As a result of population changes favoring no one and favoring everyone at the time, will there be less stress and strife among groups in society as a result of this?

Intuitively, I think the United States Constitution will still be the law of the land. Hopefully people will strive for the good life as individuals no longer burdened by some arbitrarily defined social group label or status. If we see everyone as individuals, not members of some group, I think this would be a very good thing. However, I don’t know definitively if this will be the case. I can only speculate and say I am a very optimistic person and hope for the best all the time.

On the negative side today, I make this pronouncement:

If these attempted assassinations are connected to Trump himself or his voters and core supporters, drastic steps may need to be taken when the House and the Senate are changed by the mid-term elections.

It may very well be that such individuals responsible will need to be incarcerated for life if they are proven guilty of attempted murder and assassination.  Given the more civilized nature of the Democratic Party, I doubt children of the Trump supporter will be locked in cages, permanently separated from their parents or forcibly sent to Mexico or Guatemala.

If Donald Trump is behind the plot to assassinate two prior American presidents he will spend the rest of his life behind bars. In spirit his cell mate just might be Eugene Victor Debs or “Big Bill Haywood.” A more likely scenario is that Donald Trump will die in prison then spend eternity being guided by Virgil through Dante’s 9 circles of hell for Trump’s deadly sins of Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery.

Coming back to today’s reality Donald Trump is simply a racist, weak, feckless, and immoral human being. He is also the worst politician in American History.

 

 

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Cheer Up!

There Are Good Remedies to the Kavanaugh Problem

Introduction

As we head towards conclusion of the Kavanaugh hearings, both Republicans and Democrats are in a titanic battle that is completely political in nature. Whether Kavanaugh is confirmed or not, there are good remedies most citizens are unaware of that will probably satisfy sixty-five percent of the American voting population. What are these remedies? Well, some are short-term fixes and some are longer-term.

General Overview

The state of Maryland where Kavanaugh went to school has no Statute of Limitations on certain sexual crimes committed:

“No time limit for prosecution of any felony sexual offenses (Smallwood v. State, 51 Md.App. at 468, 443 A.2d at 1006, (in this State a prosecution for a felony “may be instituted anytime during the life of the offender.”))

There is no “bye your leave or stay out of jail card” just because time has elapsed.

If Kavanaugh is appointed, his confirmation can be rescinded because, whether a U. S. Supreme Court justice or not, no one in a democracy is above the law. Republicans more than Democrats are in a “Catch-Twenty-Two” situation where they are damned if they confirm him, and damned if they don’t. Why? Because a blue wave is coming baby and it’s more powerful than a 100 foot wave tsunami and Hurricane Florence combined.

As it looks today Democrats are, in the mid-term elections, going to retake the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and several governorships in previously red states. When the Democrats come into office in January there are several legislative actions they can take despite what the Republicans do in September. However, in the months ahead remaining Republicans will get a new lame-duck president (Mike Pense) once Donald Trump is impeached by the new Democratic majority in Congress.

It won’t be till 2020 that major judicial reforms regarding the U.S. Supreme Court should come about.

Why? Because the U.S. Constitution only allows presidents to bring forth nominations for the United States Supreme Court. Also, presidents cannot appoint nominees directly because the U.S. Constitution requires the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.

An amendment to the U. S. Constitution would be needed to let Congress bring forth nominees but currently legislators cannot do that. The Congress could set in motion a Constitutional Amendment but that would be a lengthy process that could take years to complete. Therefore, some of my recommendations ahead relate to short-term fixes and others that are more long-term.

Short-Term Proposed Remedies

One of the first acts of the new congress, following the mid-term elections (meaning January 2019) should be to have the FBI conduct a thorough investigation of any and all allegations made against Kavanaugh. If it is found that Kavanaugh committed crime(s) he should be immediately prosecuted and removed from any judgeship.

One of the most important acts of the new Congress will be to impeach President Donald Trump. The safety, sanity and authenticity of a real democracy in the United States is currently in peril. Once removed from office Trump, who is a traitor to his country, needs to experience total asset forfeiture of all his holdings, and he should be given a new wardrobe—A large orange jumpsuit.

Long-Term Proposed Remedies

When Roosevelt was reelected in 1936 he had to deal with a Supreme Court that wouldn’t pass his New Deal legislation. He did this by getting passed the 1937 Judicial Procedures Reform Bill. What this bill did was to require all justices on the court to retire at age 70.

The U.S. Constitution says nothing about how many justices can compose the court. The number of justices we have now is simply based on prior arbitrary decisions of the U.S. government. In other words, the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t necessarily have to be composed of just 9 justices.

Roosevelt’s “packing the court plan” worked and a host of New Deal legislation was subsequently approved by the highest court. One could argue that Roosevelt’s political interference to subvert the highest court in the land isn’t any different than current Republican attempts to pack the court with ultra-conservative tainted judges. They’ve done everything they can to subvert an honest process by having no real investigation done by the FBI, hiding Kavanaugh documents during his time with the Bush administration, and only half-heartedly, if at all, showing respect toward witnesses and victims of sexual battery, lewd licentious behavior, and attempted rape.

One could ultimately argue that since justices themselves tend to tailor their decisions based on societal value judgments that are couched and hidden in sophisticated legal analysis and jargon; by effect, it creates an analytical subterfuge which belies the fact that U.S. Supreme Court justices are supposed to be defenders of facts, the law, legal precedent, and the United States Constitution.

A previous blog of mine explored the faulty analysis (by conservatives and those who promote a strict literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution) because they have failed to understand what the original founders said themselves about how to interpret their new constitution by future generations of Americans. The founders recognized the need for flexibility of legal opinions over time in accordance with the needs of a changing country and a changing citizenship.

Most sociologists today explain that differences in human societal collective actions, including legal ones, are caused by differing social values. Said another way, rightly or wrongly, values rule society and all its actions. And change in values leads to tension among the people. Let’s be honest, whether liberal, moderate, or conservative, change is always difficult and anxiety provoking.

Psychologists also contribute to our understanding of social behavior. Currently they have been able to detect highly individual and internal processes that have led to how our current President manifests psychiatric, sociopathic and dementia symptoms. There is nothing more dangerous than a sociopathic amoral president with power. Either academic perspective explains very well why the country and our democracy has been corrupted and perverted by some Russian stooge in the White House since January 20, 2017.

My recommendation in the long-term category is that before a new version of the 1937 Judicial Reform law is passed, we first need to elect a democratic president because, based on the U.S. Constitution, only presidents can nominate justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On a personal note I think an arbitrary, yet useful number of Supreme Court justices, should number 13 rather than 9. The transition, when justices retire, might be less fraught with conflict and anxiety particularly during confirmation hearings of a new nominee. Then again maybe I’m just too optimistic an individual. Maybe 21 justices is a better number to put on the U. S. Supreme Court. What would be your ideas on this issue?

Final Comments

The major reason the United States is on a perilous path to self-destruction actually goes back to 1994 when a gaggle of conservative Republicans tried to high-jack the country with its “Contract with America.” At the time President Clinton referred to their proposal as more like a “Contract on America.”

The lasting signature of the Republican Party, then as now, is to pass very little legislation that helps people; they oppose all efforts to control “the good old white boy network.” They did pass one piece of legislation granting tax benefits. But the new taxes really benefited large corporations and already wealthy individuals and essentially accomplished nothing in all other social/economic areas. “Trickle-Down Economic Theory” was disproved decades ago.

The Republican political party is the party of “no.” The Tea Party members of 2010 and the Freedom Caucus of today deserve to be booted from Congress during the next 4 years. Senators like Grassley, McConnell and Hatch are at the top of the list of people who need to be removed from political office.

I’ve said to my friends many times over the years that conservatism is nothing to be proud of, but nevertheless there is nothing wrong with having moderately conservative political views; after all, no one is perfect.

Now that there are at least three women bringing sexual allegations against Kavanaugh I’d like to recommend, that any senator who votes to confirm Kavanaugh in the days ahead, should be voted out of the Senate come their reelection day.

These days Republicans are more recalcitrant or obstreperous than ever. Now that they’ve reached a new all-time low for lack of decency and moral character, Republicans have earned a new description worthy of a plaque. Not only is conservatism nothing to be proud of it, now it is something to be truly ashamed of.

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The Worldwide Conundrum of Values

      A Poem

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

 

Our values are what often bring us together

Or separate us in any social, moral or political endeavor

The ultimate value of a value one cannot easily determine

Be their origin from society, family, or even a sermon

 

Values can be instrumental to achieve an ultimate end-state

 Like dating and love in order to find that one special soul mate 

Our values can be esthetic, personal, moral or political

Causing us at times to be the subject of some ridicule

 

It’s true one’s values can at times cause others much pain

Leaving friendship and relationships to often feel the strain 

But alas we can always try to do our best to get along

Despite deeply held values that are often right or perhaps wrong

 

There comes a time when we all need to accept

A principled value that should always be kept

This value stands out above all of the rest

From our minds and our hearts everyone should address 

                     

 We must understand that this value applies to us too

 “Always do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

                    

We must be tenacious, strong and follow the right route

To protect our values day in and day out

Knowing full well that some values we really can tout

Even when others can’t tell what you’re really about

 

With dignity and purpose we all can soon see

That helping others is the only way one ought to be

The Universal Human Rights we  all should embrace

Across all nations, divisions, ethnicity and race

 

But the world is more complex than a discussion among friends

Especially international conflicts with all of their trends

                     

One never realizes that values are only agreed upon opinion

A force of the many against the few by increasing dominion

And values are as much a product or creation of the rule-makers

As they are among the social outcasts we often call rule-breakers

                     

We keep looking for absolutes when we know there are none

Leaving us with life’s complexities and under the gun

 

 We try getting clarity making decisions based on rational facts

 Instead we look at others’ beliefs and values that really may lack 

Insight requires stamina, hard work, and ringing that school bell

 Instead of seeking insight by believing in a heaven or a hell

 

In order to soothe the savage beast and calm everyone better

We need a plan to bring values much closer together

Diplomacy may be the best weapon to make the world calm

Unfortunately some nations would rather choose a bomb

It’s not unlike many nations trying to avoid rejection

Especially when their political values foster repression

It’s an inescapable fact that people from different nations

Have differing values affecting their political inclinations

In reality our values can pose as undesirable beliefs

Influencing or masking the actions of presidents as well as caliphs

Poem Postscript

The worldwide conundrum of values will continue to plague us as we make our way through life’s many uncertainties, complexities and their existential impact. The essence of all this uncertainty of values is that the individual must assume ultimate responsibility for acts of free will without aby certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad. Values are, in the final analysis, value judgments.

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A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both—Dwight David Eisenhower

Some of the objectives I’m about to describe are my political hopes for 2018 are tongue-in-cheek. But some items I am deadly serious about. One hint: I really do want President Trump impeached early in 2018. Some of the other objectives follow from this. It’s up to you to decide whether the ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are something you’d like to see happen in 2018.
This holiday season each of us sees the future as we would personally like it to be. Here are my wishes and hopes for 2018:

Goal: A Better Country and World

Donald Trump is impeached in early 2018 for Obstruction of Justice and other crimes.

The Freedom Caucus is utterly destroyed in the November, 2018 mid-term elections
After November, 2018 Republicans will cease to exist as a viable political party in the United States.
There will be no war with North Korea.
Black Ops from the CIA will be put in charge to do diplomacy with North Korea: Like the Gambino crime family, Black Ops will make Kim Jong-Un “an offer he cannot refuse.”
The people of Russia will overthrow Vladimir Putin.
The people of Iran will overthrow its Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights will become World Law for all nations to adhere to.
The United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division will put forth the effort to investigate all police shootings in the United States.
Betsy (Elizabeth Dee DeVos), the educational Czar in the Trump Administration, will be fired.
Jim Jordan, the Republican Congressman from Ohio will be impeached along with his other Freedom Cauca’s cronies for Obstruction of Justice.
Core diehard Trump supporters will be deported from the United States for treasonous acts of disloyalty, lack of voter competence and outright un-American values that are anti-thetical to our country’s laws, the United States Constitution, and the principled institutions of our democracy.
The United States government in 2018 will no longer accept the now defunct “Trickle-Down-Economics Theory” of job creation. Instead its Guiding Principle will be [not promises of job creation] but stipulating and connecting tax breaks to actual jobs created. Otherwise, the tax cut money will be treated as a loan to be repaid to the United States government. Said another way No Business or Corporate welfare or gifts allowed. We want results not promises.

If all of these hopes and wishes were to come to fruition in 2018 it would indeed make America Great Again. Below is a little humor to entertain you as we enter 2018.

  • “So enjoy your victory, Trump voters! Because when you’re dying because you don’t have health insurance to treat the infection you got from a back alley abortion you had to get because of fetal lead poisoning, you can say to yourself, ‘At least I didn’t vote for someone with a private email server.'” –Bill Maher
  • “As you know, Trump is being accused of sexual misconduct by a slew of women. Of course, that is a case of ‘he said’ and ‘she said, she said, she said, she said, she said.'” –Jimmy Kimmel
  • “Trump denied the (groping) allegations, calling them ‘ludicrous’ at a rally today. But here’s the problem for Trump: There’s very good reason to believe he did what he’s accused of. Why? Because an irrefutable, inside source told us so: Donald Trump. Donald Trump is his own Deep Throat. He’s Creep Throat.” –Seth Meyers

Enjoy 2018 everyone!!!

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