NOT ANOTHER DIME – MARILYN ARMSTRONG WITH BEN TAYLOR

I am a Democrat. A liberal, but Democrat is close enough.

I currently get about 20 emails a day asking me to contribute to someone’s campaign or just to the party coffers for some good cause or other. I support many of these causes, but I’ll never give a penny to any political party. Why? Am I a fervent advocate of campaign corruption reform? Do I harbor an idealistic — and irrational — belief that change will come to the system? Yes and no, but that’s not why I won’t give any money to anything political.

72-Lost-Dutchman-newer-GAR-Superstition-011316_186

Not my donkey, but a nice donkey

In 2012, I donated three dollars to Obama.

As a thank you, I got spammed. Every Democrat running for office no matter where they lived, sent me endless emails every week. It kept getting worse. A new cause, a few hundred more emails. Every email predicted the immediate end of the world should I fail to dip into my wallet right now! It reached an insane crescendo. One day, I spent an entire day, morning to evening, unsubscribing to what seemed to be every politician and cause looking for money. The incoming mail dropped to an almost bearable level.

It seemed that each time I signed a petition or went online to read a political post, I was automatically — without notification or permission — subscribed to the site and its multiple mailing lists. I was a piece of data being mined.

That’s wrong. It’s spam. It’s offensive.

Uncle sam political cartoon 1899

The Democratic Party — all political parties, their candidates and causes (I found myself on the Conservative Republican mailing list because I read an article and they signed me up, too) — are on my “not one red cent” list. Because a $3 dollar donation got me spammed. By the way, if you are naïve enough to provide your phone number to any political group, expect never-ending intrusive phone calls on your home or cell phone asking for donations.

If they want my opinion, they can pay for it.

The political funding system needs reformation. Equally in need of reform is the way all political groups feel free to use your personal information for their own purposes. They will subscribe you to their mailing  and calling lists because you tried to read their literature. Which, in theory, is what they want you to do. Participating in politics — trying to be a good citizen — will get you bombarded with propaganda until you declare a plague on all their houses.

By: politicalavenue-com

It’s not okay. Really, it’s not. It’s intrusive and sneaky. It is a massive abuse of my right to privacy. I did not agree to let everyone in the world use my personal data for their own agenda. Visiting a web site does not imply permission to invade my privacy. I do not know how other people handle this sort of thing, but it means that I will never donate a penny to anyone running for office — or support of any of their causes. Ever.

A friend of mine wrote the following letter and sent me a copy. He thought I might make want to use it. Sure enough. Nice to know it isn’t just me!


Author: BEN TAYLOR 

We elect you — our representatives — to… uh… represent us. You are paid healthy salaries. You enjoy the best health care in the country and even draw a salary after retirement, even though you’ve been voted out of office. What a great job you’ve got! But that’s not enough. You continuously ask us for more money — from those of us who have little more to give than an opinion.

So, what do you think about maybe doing the job you were elected to do? Without us having to cough up additional contributions — for which there seem to be endless requests?

What gives corporations the right to make big donations and project opinions that may not be shared by its employees? Employees who, for fear loss of job, are hesitant to express an opposite opinion to the handful of upper management?

Wouldn’t that donation money be better spent by passing it on to the employee salaries, not to mention the huge bonuses given to executives who really don’t need it since their already enormous salaries ought to cover any living expenses they would incur?

So, the rich guys need tax breaks? I don’t think so! 

We as average citizens don’t ask you to contribute to our lives by donating money to our household budget funds or maybe helping us pay off our mortgages or car loans. All we ask is that we are allowed to take care of ourselves with dignity. That you prevent the rich, who can already pay for anything they possibly could use or want out-of-pocket from taking away the little we depend on to scrape out an existence.

Just think of what kind of country we’ll have if we are all poor. Is this what is meant by “making America great again?” Impoverishing
everyone who isn’t already rich? Ignoring science while destroying the planet for the advantage of the few who might profit? Employing social media to carry on petty quibbling, racial, religious and other ethnic injustices while great, and potentially greater, disasters occur all around us?

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!!!
​ ​
NO! NOT ANOTHER DIME!


They — both parties, all parties, all the pols — have done it to themselves.  Before pointing fingers at “the system,” they need to admit that they are the system. They are the abusers.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I know there is no way I’m giving anything to anybody. Ever. Not even when I wish I could. Because I know if I give a couple of bucks to one person, every single politician will have their hand out and bomb me with letters of upcoming catastrophes. This has got to stop somewhere.

How about now?

STICKY, STICKY, STUCK

Since Trump took office in November, the news has been entirely about him. His tweets. His bad legislation. His even worse legislation. His bad choices for heads of various departments. Now, of course, we have the whole Russian adventure unrolling.

Also, this week, the Democratic party “announced” its new logos for … I don’t know. Whatever they are using logos for, I suppose. This is such a pathetic attempt at a logo, it makes me want to bang my head against a wall. It’s not new, pointed, interesting, or exciting. It has no drama, no energy. It appeals to no one and says nothing. It will not capture anyone’s imagination. No one will rally to whatever it stands for which, in my opinion, is nothing.

This dreary logo reminds me how stagnant we have become. The U.S. is stagnating. Republicans are tearing down anything that was accomplished in the past 8 years … while Democrats have nothing to say except how much they hate Trump. Which is exactly what the Republicans did while Obama was in office. It left them unable to govern when their turn came and this will leave Democrats equally lost — for the exact same reasons. Hating someone is not an agenda. It’s not policy. It’s not an idea and it’s not exactly a rallying cry.

America needs to move on.

We are fixated — paralyzed  — by “The Events Of Russia.” We are at a national standstill as we try to sort out the sludge. We are in a legislative hole in the ground. Trump may be great at grabbing the attention of news organizations, but while he plays games with our heads on Twitter, we have no working government.

He is an awful president. No idea how legislation should be written or what would be good legislation. He does not appear to be serving the American people. I’m not sure who, exactly, he is serving. I know it isn’t me.

While we are stuck trying to fix what happened in 2016, we are sunk in The Trump Trench. While we dither, we are the laughingstock of the world, the biggest fools on Earth. America is pathetic. The idea that this is how we will be for the upcoming 3-1/2 years is appalling.

Until we do whatever we need to do to get ourselves going forward again, until we lose this bad president, our country has no future. We will not be part of the ongoing events of the world — merely the butt of international jokes. The longer this continues, the weaker we get.

We have had other dreadful presidents, but none of them were president in this high-technology, fast-paced era. We are in the center of the world’s stage — and what do they see? A bunch of idiots led by a moron. You don’t think that gives them ideas we’d rather they not have?

We don’t have years to waste digging out of this quagmire. Whatever is going to get done? Get it done. Soon!

IMAGINE, IF YOU WILL …

It’s only a paper moon …

Imagine, if you will, living in your native land. It’s a country where one terrible president can somehow undo the work of all forty-four presidents who preceded him! Where suddenly, you and your nation are not the “good guys.” The world has a darker hue … and it’s only 124 days (or something close to that).

Is this some kind of record?Imagine seeing years of vigilance in combating racism and discrimination vanish like smoke before your eyes.

Decades of fighting to reach any accord to deal with the frightening effects of climate change, then seeing them tossed overboard for no  reason. Imagine a president who not only encourages a foreign power to hack our elections, but is subsequently subject to blackmail by the same Russian. In public. On television.

And all of this in fewer than five months since election! Hard to imagine? So now, just imagine how we feel about it!

KNOTS, PRETZELS, AND THE PRESS – BY TOM CURLEY

It’s been fun since the election watching the right-wing press, mostly lead by Fox News, bend themselves into evermore twisty and convoluted pretzels as they try to explain the latest gaffe/scandal/complete act of idiocy coming out of the White House.

The Dunderhead-In-Chief keeps admitting he does things, like, I don’t know. Like, give up code word “intel” to the Russians. In the Oval Office. Admitting that he fired an FBI Director because he was being investigated by the FBI over his connections to Russia … to the same Russians!  You know, stuff like that.

Hey guys, the CIA just told me some really cool stuff. Wanna hear it?

His defenses all boil down to: “He can do that if he wants to, so there” and “It’s Obama’s fault!”

This is nothing new. If we’ve learned anything in the last six months it’s that no matter how crazy we think things will be, they’ll be even crazier. We also know that the SCROTUS M.O. is to distract today’s scandal with a worse scandal tomorrow.

So, the question becomes, where does he have left to go? What scandal could be worse than today’s? Wait, I got it. He actually shoots somebody on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to prove he wouldn’t lose any of his supporters.

SEAN HANNITY: Breaking news. President Trump just shot a man on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Secret service agents immediately pounced on the man and wrestled him to the ground.

SEAN HANNITY: Here to discuss this breaking story we have Senior White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Kellyanne, let’s start with you.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well first off I think it’s very unfair the way the fake news media have been saying the President shot a man on Fifth Avenue.

BERNIE SANDERS: But he did! He shot a guy! On Fifth Avenue! On live TV!

What the hell?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: That’s one way of looking at it. I didn’t see the President shoot a man on Fifth Avenue. I saw the President save a man on Fifth Avenue.

BERNIE SANDERS: Save him?? From what?!

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Radical Islāmic Terrorism.

BERNIE SANDERS: WHAT???!!

KELLYANNE CONWAY: And besides, the President was elected in the largest landslide in the history of the world. So, he has the right to shoot anybody he wants.

BERNIE SANDERS: NO HE DOESN’T!!!

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, he can order drone strikes. He can send troops into war. He can launch missiles. In every case, he’s killing somebody. So why can’t he just take out a gun and shoot a man?

SEAN HANNITY: Hmmm. That makes sense. Executive privilege.

BERNIE SANDERS: NO IT DOESN’T!! Well, actually, it makes a little sense … No! What am I saying??! This is still crazy! He shot a guy to prove that none of his supporters would leave him!

KELLYANNE CONWAY: That’s ridiculous. He was saving a man from Radical Islam. Every White House aide agrees with me.

SEAN HANNITY: This just in: President Trump told Lester Holt of NBC News that he shot the man to prove none of his supporters would leave him.

BERNIE SANDERS: SEE???

SEAN HANNITY: This also just in. A recent CBS/NY Times Poll says that President Trump has not lost any of his supporters. 85 percent said, “The guy had it coming.” The other 15 percent said “The guy probably had it coming.”

And so it would go. Full confession. This idea is not new. Google “George Bush ate a baby” and “George Bush Saves a baby”.

Everything old is new again. Just dumber.

IF HE DOESN’T KILL US, HE’LL MAKE US STRONGER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

If he doesn’t kill American democracy, Trump could actually make our country stronger. Not because of any of his actions, but because of the sweeping and strong REaction he has created in a large segment of the population. He may end up strengthening the Progressive Movement in the U.S as well as redefining and empowering the Democratic Party.

The Tea Party and Donald Trump were both catapulted into power by a small but very active and vocal right-wing minority. Though Democrats have technically been the majority party for a long time, the left never had the grass-roots organization or the passion that the far right Republicans did.

Trump’s election may have awoken the sleeping, liberal giant. Progressives haven’t been this mobilized and energized since the anti-Vietnam War Movement. And this time, a wider cross-section of the country is involved in the ‘Resistance.’ Large numbers of people who have never been politically active, suddenly feel an urgent need to speak out and act out.

ABC News

Grass roots progressives are organizing themselves on a scale never seen before, with little direction from the top. They are marching and going to Town Hall Meetings with Congressmen in record numbers. They are overwhelming Congressional offices with letters, emails and phone calls.

They have donated millions of dollars to Progressive organizations, like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU; organizations that have taken on the Trump administration legally as well as politically. This has already helped derail some major Trump policies, from the travel ban to the repeal of Obamacare.

Democrats have not been known for voting en mass in mid-term elections. They get complacent. Now liberals are flooding the voting booths for special elections all over the country. So far, their activism is being translated into votes, the true test of political power. If this momentum can be sustained into the 2018 elections, there’s a chance that the Democrats could regain control of at least one of the Houses of Congress. That would be a game changer. If Democrats continue to vote in higher numbers than they have historically, it could mean that they could also retake the White House in 2020. That is the ultimate goal.

Another positive side effect of our national Trump trauma PTSD, is that the Democratic Party itself is also undergoing a major change for the better. The outraged populous, led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, is demanding a more economically populist platform going forward. The activists want the Democrats to emphasize positions that will win back the struggling and angry segment of the country. The people who are hurting economically and who feel left behind by a government by and for the top 1%.

Polls show that Democrats are perceived to be out of touch with the needs of the people. In reality, their policy positions in the 2016 campaign were well designed to actually meet those needs. But somehow Hillary Clinton did not get the message across, even though she adopted most of Bernie’s left of center positions. Sanders was seen as voice for the common man and she was not.

It’s important that Bernie’s ‘image’ somehow gets transferred to the Democratic Party as a whole. His ‘voice’ has to become the ‘voice’ of the party. That seems to be the direction the Democrats are moving. Younger people and more women are preparing to run for office as Democrats. They are also getting more involved in state and local politics. This will help reshape the Democratic Party into a more openly liberal and hopefully more popular party, at all levels of government.

Maybe we should thank Trump for helping the formerly silent Democratic majority find their political legs. He may be responsible for a new and better Progressive movement that is clarifying its goals and consolidating its political clout. Hopefully this means that Trump has sown the seeds of his own destruction.

DOOM, DESTRUCTION AND THE DNC – BY TOM CURLEY

I don’t know about anybody else but I usually spend about five minutes every day deleting the junk email from my account.

I’ve had an AOL account from literally when they first started. I briefly worked for them and got the account for free. Yes you had to pay for an email account back in those dark early days.

 I have other email accounts, but I like this one. I’ve had it for over 20 years. I know that if you have an AOL email account millennials think it’s funny and it means you’re old. Fuck you, you little bastards. I was using email before you were even gleam in your father’s eye.  And get off my lawn!

Most of my junk mail is from political organizations like the DNC, Move.on, People for the American way, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Michelle Obama’s cousin, etc. I’m sure the Republicans do the same thing. Blessedly, I don’t get those emails.

The ones I do get are incredibly annoying. They are always at def-con five. Or is it Def-con one? Whichever is worse, these are them. The world is always coming to an end.

Here are real subject lines from just three.


KISS ALL HOPE GOODBYE!

WE FELL SHORT!

THAT’S IT! IT’S OVER! TIME TO PACK UP AND GO!


The body of the emails will tell you that the Republicans have won. It’s over. We are all doomed. Everything we hold dear is gone.

DEAD!! NO HOPE!!

But when you get to the bottom of the email it says:


“However, it you could just chip in 3 dollars,
we could fix all this and the world would be fine again.”

Excuse me?? THREE DOLLARS??

You just had me freaking out about the end of all that I love and hold dear — and you could fix it for THREE FRIGGING DOLLARS!!!?

For God’s sake, take up an office pool! Dig up lost change  in the break room couch.

Tell me there’s not a few bucks in there.

All I’m saying is, tone it down guys.

God I wish spam filters actually worked.

THE FUTURE CUSP – POLITICS AHOY

To say that we are on the cusp of “old” politics while beginning the “new,” is an understatement. Our world has changed. Fast and hard and it’s barreling down that mountain with every intent of flattening us.

There has been this “issue” in American politics for a long time … twenty, maybe 30 or more years. Maybe since we started being a country at all.

Our citizens have a fundamental, irreversible belief that an “outsider” can fix whatever is wrong because “they aren’t part of the establishment.” If you think, for a moment, about how the United States became a government, it makes more sense. We weren’t “released” from our status as a colony to become part of England’s worldwide network. We fought them and threw them out. We won. They left. Even when they tried to come back (and damned near succeeded), even after we had to abandon Washington DC, we never returned to English over-lordship. We don’t have the Queen stamped on our money. We don’t bow — even reluctantly — to him or her Majesty in London.

We were free and not because they let us go. From that time since, we have viewed other nations as potential oppressors. When we decide we need to be “fixed,” we don’t look for someone who has spent a lifetime studying the system and making it work. Rather, we look for someone who comes from somewhere else. Who knows nothing. The less the better.

This policy doesn’t work. It never did. Let’s not even go back far in our short history. Look at James Earl “Jimmy” Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924). He is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. He was and is an exceptionally intelligent, thoughtful man with a heart of gold. Who was practically run out of office. He didn’t fix the government. No one gave him half a chance. He was the governor of a southern state and he didn’t have the background to make it work. Not a single run as a senator or even congressman in DC. Since leaving office, he has worked ceaselessly on our behalf. He was — absolutely — a really good guy.

If you aren’t part of the establishment, you’ll won’t easily get legislation through congress. Maybe not at all. Many presidents who were governors before election have had trouble getting help from congress. They weren’t half as stupid and bizarre as Trump-O-Matic.

There is a way business gets done in every parliament and congress around the world. It’s the way it has always been done.

Like this.

You give me something, I give you something. We call in our own personal markers — on both sides of the aisle — and voilà, the business gets done. The give-and-take of congress is the essence of democracy — yours, ours, or theirs. The most effective presidents (like Lyndon Johnson) were those who had a lot of markers to call.

Markers are not money. In fact, markers are rarely money but more “I owe you for this one.” Next round? Your guy comes through. Usually. You can’t just strong-arm everyone to “do your will.” It isn’t like that. This process is not evil. It’s simply how its done. How it was done back in Rome and Egypt. There is nothing new under our sun.


The critical thing that made this work well — when it works — is because people running a government care about us. The people.

Greedy? Maybe, but they certainly aren’t in it for the money. They are in government to try to do something worthwhile. Many (probably most) were wealthy to begin with, so the money was neither here nor there.

Power hungry? Probably, though maybe for good reason. Who else would bother to run for president or prime minister? You have to have a powerful drive to get to the top and a potent belief that you can do something worthwhile once you get there. Few of us have the will to even start the process. I sure don’t, nor does anyone I know. There are plenty of other ways to get rich.

So it isn’t really so hard to figure out why people would elect someone like Trump-O-Matic.  What’s a lot harder to figure out is why anyone trusted this moron to have some good ideas and to care whether or not he helped anyone but himself and his rich pals.

Trump-O-Matic was never in it to help anyone. I’m not convinced he understands that we — all of us — are his people. He doesn’t know what the first amendment is supposed to do, what an intelligence briefing is about … and I doubt he can read more than a few sentences at a time. He is too stupid to understand basic stuff like the constitution and how it works and should never have been president of anything. He’s a bigot, a con man … and worst of all … he’s a fool.

Don’t forget — the only reason Trump-O-Matic isn’t doing even more harm is his party is in fragments. They don’t like him. They dislike him almost as much as I do, though I think my reasons are better. It’s the single thing in this long nightmare for which I am grateful.