Friday, August 17, 2018

PARTY UNITY

I'm scared, honestly. I have been comforting myself with the thought that "America is better than this," but now I'm no so sure. I woke in the middle of the night last night and couldn't get back to sleep for all the racing thoughts about the danger that we're in.

The proximate cause was not only Trump's revocation of former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, but also his threat against a number of other prominent names in our intelligence and national security community. It's beginning to feel like a palace coup--but one directed by a man who would be king against his own palace guard. It's insanity--and insanity is in imminent danger of becoming the norm. More worrisome still is the cowed silence of almost all Republican voices in the face of this insanity, and the tacit complicity of the Republican leadership.

I have been purposefully, self-protectively skeptical about the "blue wave" that many predict for this November--including those of us who were equally confident of Hillary Clinton's election and the decisive defeat of Donald Trump. But there are many slips between cup and and the lip of election victory this year, and in 2020. There's the history of gerrymandering; long-orchestrated Republican superiority in local and state governments; continuing, too often successful efforts at voter suppression in Democratic-leaning communities and states; and, by no means least, outright election-tampering and cyberwarfare conducted against us with impunity by a foreign power.

Let's not kid ourselves: to defeat these odds is an uphill battle, friends. No laurels, until we've earned the right to wear them. No magic. No blue wave, until it actually thunders to the shore. Just constant vigilance and unfailing cooperation--even when that might involve the sacrifice of our own sacred cows. Now is not the time for petty egos or self-defeating ideological differences. We can take at least this one lesson from Republicans: it's party unity that guarantees success at the polls.

It is at our ultimate cost that we elevate diversity to a dominant guiding principle. Unity, above diversity, that's the ticket.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

TRUMP'S PARADE

Has the US Congress already authorized expenditures for Trump's PLANNED military parade? I hope not.

It should cause more than mere public outrage if this mockery of a "president" is allowed to fritter away the estimated $92 million--NINETY-TWO MILLION DOLLARS!-- on this travesty of self-glorification.

Congress must put a stop to this nonsense

So where does our congressional "representative" Rohrabacher stand? Will we hear his voice in justly furious opposition? Will he work to ensure it never happens?

I doubt it.




Wednesday, August 15, 2018

HELL HATH NO FURY...

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes

... if I may be excused for restoring to what, these days, may be interpreted as a misogynist stereotype. (It was actually coined in the late 17th/early 18th century by my fellow-countryman, the satirical playwright William Congreve).

Well, anyway, it seems that Tr*mp is finally confronted by a person as narcissistic, as ruthless, as implacable, as insatiable of media attention and personal adoration, and as lacking in decency and human compassion as himself.

Will the redoubtable Omarosa bring him down to size, where others--including all those craven Republicans in Congress--have notably shirked this urgently necessary task?

The great irony, of course, is that she is his own creation, made after his own image. Perhaps this monster will succeed in exposing the arrogant presumption of our Dr. Frankenstein. Perhaps the mob of angry, terrified villagers will turn tail, and show up with their pitchforks, shrieking at the White House gates.

We'll see.

Meantime, we last defenders of sanity and truth must show up at the polls and vote for Harley Rouda in November. Am I right? Will you bring your friends?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

WORKING FOR US???? (PART III)

Re: the glossy Rohrabacher flyer, in which he touts his great work for CA 48... Item: the paragraph on "Illegal Immigration and Supporting ICE."

The scapegoating of immigrants has become a disgraceful national pastime amongst the supporters of the "president" Donald J Trump. It is no surprise to read Rohrabacher's full-throated endorsement of his dear leader's policies in this matter. He even "supports the President's [absurd] efforts to build a wall" (the parenthetical qualifier is mine).

America used to be a place where immigrants were welcomed. I am one myself. The "president's" wife is one. Immigrants, indeed, are what "made America great." Now that we're all here, of course--the particularly the white ones (like myself and Melania)--it's okay to build a wall to protect ourselves from all the others--particularly the brown ones from the south.

America does not have a great record when it comes to recognizing and accepting those who come to its shores in the hope of finding refuge from persecution. The rejection of so many Jews at the time of World War II and the Nazi persecution stands out as an odious blot on our historical record. Today, with asylum-seekers fleeing political persecution and violence arriving at our borders, our country's leaders chose to break up families and snatch small children from their mothers rather than allow them entry into this "land of the free."

Dana Rohrabacher is NOT "working for me"!

For a representative who will support a more humane and an ethical America, it's time to oust the man who kowtows to the current despicable occupant of our White House and elect a Democrat. A vote for Harley Rouda is a vote for decency and respect for human rights.



Monday, August 13, 2018

WORKING FOR US??? (PART II)

To return to the flyer sent out last week by our "representative," Dana Rohrabacher, who claims without much justification to be "working for us..." 

Regarding his efforts on the issue of health care, he writes: "In 2017, efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, fell flat. Congressman Rohrabacher believes that goal is still worth pursuing." 

Really? After more than 60 votes--how many is it now?--in out House of Representatives, all of which went down, properly, in flames, our congressman still "believes that goal [...] is worth pursuing"?

How many of his constituents, I wonder, would agree with him? How many of us a grateful simply to have--finally!--an attempt at an affordable national health insurance act? How many of us want to see it improved, and NOT wantonly destroyed for no better reason than that it was passed by Democrats (though based on a Republican model)? How many of us are angry that Republicans like Rohrabacher continue to waste the public's time and money on their ridiculous attempts to undo legislation that has been so clearly needed in America for so many years?

Hands up, those who think this man should be replaced by someone who will support the drive for universal health care... 

I thought so! So let's all get out there and vote for Harley Rouda. And bring along "our sisters and our cousins and our aunts"! Okay?

Friday, August 10, 2018

WORKING FOR US???

I don't know about you, but I had word from our presumptive "representative" in Congress, Dana Rohrabacher: one glossy flyer in the US mail and a digital version in yesterday's email.

He claims to be working for us. I beg to differ.

I have a  number of reactions, and I'll be posting more. But first I note with interest that what's missing from the digital version is a whole section titled "Constituent Services," in which the good congressman touts everything he does to serve his constituents. One thing he doesn't do is respond to their communications--or probably even read them.

I know this personally because, starting with the day after the Trump inauguration, I began to write an individual letter to him every day. I wrote for months--a total of over 250 letters in all, hand-signed and mailed hard-copy to his office. Not one of them was copied and pasted from other sources, they were all thoughtfully (even respectfully!) written. Yet I received not one single response. Well, I correct myself, in the early days I did receive three or four boilerplate position papers via email. But you'd think as a matter of courtesy alone he might have written at least a postcard!

In short, I do not feel "served" by Rohrabacher. If he cannot listen, let alone respond to a dissenting voice he is not serving his constituency, he is merely serving those voices that approve his right wing positions.

It's time to elect a man (yes! that's our choice! I'd love to elect a woman!) with a mind that can listen, think, and respond.

Please join me in doing everything possible to ensure the election of Democrat Harley Rouda.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

NO BLUE WAVE!!!

We Democrats made a huge mistake last time around. We simply never believed that the abominable Trump could be elected over Hillary Clinton--who so obviously had the experience, the temperament, the competence to serve.

We took it for granted she would defeat him as soundly as he deserved.

Don't let's forget what happened.

We can't afford to listen to talk of a "blue wave" this November! That's for the media to toy with, not for us voters.

I choose not to believe for one moment in talk of a blue wave.

It's up to us to ensure that every single Democrat understands the urgent necessity to vote. And to talk, as we can, to those of our Republican friends and neighbors who share our dismay at what Trump is doing to this country, along with the (yes! despicable!) Republican Party he has managed to co-opt and bend to his will.

We are not allowed for one minute to forget our children and our grandchildren, who will bear the costs of this disaster. If only for their sake, we can afford to TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED this time around.

NO BLUE WAVE! We cannot afford to be distracted from the edge inspired by our vigilance and anger.

Let's be sure to take our vigilance and anger to the ballot box and vote for Harley Rouda!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

WILDFIRE!

So the "president" who two years AGO kindly informed us here in California that "there is no drought" now tells us (via tweet, how else?) that our devastating fires are being made worse by "bad environmental law which aren't allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean." Perhaps the "president" has not heard of "rivers"? He adds this wisdom: "Must tree clear to stop fire spreading!"

Yes! We need to cut down those useless forests anyway, to sell the lumber!

This man's ignorance and arrogance are bad enough. Worse, almost, is the fact that our own "representative" in California's 48th District enables and supports him in his deaf ear to what science is screaming in its effort to convince us. As the huge and terrifying article that occupies the entire New York Times Sunday Magazine makes clear, it's past time to act.

All the more urgent reason to replace our current incumbent with a Democrat, who understands the science and thinks clearly on this issue.






Tuesday, August 7, 2018

PROGRESS

Glad to see the Michelle Goldberg op-ed piece in yesterday's New York Times. Is it the change in Orange County demographics, or are affluent Orange County residents finally coming to their senses? Perhaps a bit of both. In any event, it bodes well for Harley Rouda--and eventually, the Democratic Party. Not to mention America and the rest of the world!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

GHOST GUNS

If aren't entitled to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater, you should not be entitled to create and carry a "ghost" weapon--one made entirely in plastic on a 3-D printer, undetectable to the usual screening devices at airports and elsewhere. It appears the technology is such, now, that this is entirely possible, and is about to be released to any and all online. Trump and his Republicans are proving entirely too slow in acting to counter this potential menace. Trump trumpets loudly about protecting the American people from the threat of murderous immigrants. He should be more concerned about this more real and imminent danger.

Thanks to Harley Rouda for his rational and informed public statement on this issue in an NBC opinion piece: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/3d-printed-guns-are-coming-america-unless-congress-acts-nra-ncna896321


Friday, August 3, 2018

RESPECTFULLY, TO REPUBLICAN VOTERS

I say "Republican voters" because to say "Republicans," these days, to is start out with division and antagonism. I talk a lot to people who think and vote like me, and it's past time we started talking to each other.

I want to talk to Republican voters in my district (CA 48) and of my generation. I'm 82, but I'm thinking anywhere between 65 and 85--and on up from there!

I'm guessing that we have a lot in common. I'm guessing that, like myself, you have pretty much always voted as your parents did--in your case "conservative," in mine "liberal"--well, back in the old country, "socialist."

I'm guessing that you are decent, good-hearted, hard-working people who share my values: in family, in the equality of opportunity for all, in the freedom to follow one's own beliefs and pursue one's goals and mission in life, in mutual respect and tolerance, in compassion for one's fellow human (and other!) beings.

I'm guessing that, living in Orange County, California, you are (like myself) somewhere between comfortably affluent and relatively wealthy.

I'm guessing that you were seduced, in the early 70s, by the California tax revolt, feeling unfairly burdened with taxes and wishing for a smaller, more efficient government. We parted ways a bit then, because I believe in the necessity of government to provide for a social structure that can assure our mutual security and the pursuit of our common interests. It is "big" because we are big, as a country, and our needs are infinitely complex.

I'm guessing that you were further seduced by the affable, affluent Ronald Reagan, who promised us that shining city on the hill--but without the burden of taxes or mutual responsibility.

And I'm guessing, perhaps wrongly, that you are as uncomfortable as I am with how things have deteriorated to where we stand in political America today. I'm guessing, perhaps wrongly, that you are uncomfortable with a president who talks and acts too often like a spoiled child, who must get his way at any cost. Who talks and acts too often like a mob boss. Who talks and acts like a boor in the community of world leaders. Who misrepresents our country and distorts its values.

And I'm guessing, again perhaps wrongly, that you are as uncomfortable as I am with a legislature (currently dominated and controlled by Republicans) that turns a blind eye to malfeasance, that tolerates what appears increasingly to be corruption, that refuses to take action against those who wish us ill, that seems to reject all ethical, social and economic responsibility; a legislature that thrives only on antagonism and vilification and fails significantly to take care of the business of this country.

In view of which I am presuming to ask you to take a different view, to change your mind in the face of a radically altered political landscape, to listen to the growing chorus of conservative intellectuals who are insisting that, to serve the interests of country rather than of party, it is time to cast your vote for a Democrat.

If not your inherited political inclination, if not the ingrained habit of voting for a particular party, if not the kind of loyalty that is in every other circumstance entirely admirable, then reason alone dictates an (even reluctant!) vote for Harley Rouda.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

HAPPY TO SEE...

... that our candidate received an enthusiastic endorsement from none other than Barack Obama. He included Harley Rouda among "leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent."

After the mean-spirited reign of Republicans for too long now, we sure need a big heart--as well as rational and well-considered policies.

Thanks for the welcome lift this morning, Mr. President! (And I don't mean the current occupant of our White House!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

QUESTIONS FOR REPUBLICAN VOTERS

If I could ever have a sensible conversation with a Republican voter, I would ask five questions:

Are you okay with a President who ignores the now proven Russian hacking of our election, which is tantamount to a hostile attack on our country; and who fails to take significant action to prevent the same from happening again?

Are you okay with a party that chooses to overlook all evidence of malfeasance, incompetence and moral and financial corruption on the part of its leader?

Are you okay with repeated attacks on the country's first effort at a much-needed national health care system, without plans for its replacement, let alone improvement?

Are you okay with the diminishing power and image of America throughout the world? With the intentional alienation of our traditional friends and the embrace of murderous tyrants?

Are you okay with the further enrichment of the wealthy, at the cost of programs to assist those less fortunate than ourselves?

If the answer to each of those questions is Yes, then I guess that, sadly, we have nothing to talk about.

If No, then we must talk. And I would encourage you to think about changing your voting habits, and to cast a vote for the Democrat, Harley Rouda.