Only Two Snippets Of Snark …

Just a couple of short snippets tonight …


Laws and rules are in place for a reason.  Granted, some of them are ridiculous or outdated and most of us only laugh about those.  But, for the most part, we obey the laws and expect others to do the same.  This era of populism, this reign of Trumpism, however, seems to have given some the idea that it is okay to disobey the laws that are inconvenient for them.

Yesterday, the governor of my state, Mike DeWine, put into place a mandate that everyone must wear a mask covering mouth and nose when in a public venue.  Numerous other governors, in lieu of a federal mandate, have imposed similar ones.  So, everyone in those states is either wearing a mask or staying home, right?  Wrong.  Not only are about a third of the people simply refusing to wear a mask, but local authorities are, in many cases, refusing to enforce the ruling.

In my own county, the virus has spiked significantly in the past two weeks as a result of businesses opening back up and people being exposed more and more.  Yet, the county sheriff, one Richard Jones, has said …

“I am not going to enforce any mask-wearing. That is not my responsibility, that is not my job. People should be able to make that choice themselves.”

Sheriff-Jones

County Sheriff or Cowboy Bob???

Why hasn’t he been fired?  Enforcing the law is, after all, his job.  This scenario has played out all around the country.  Businesses are far more likely to enforce the rules of mask-wearing than local law enforcement.  But worse yet, people who choose not to wear a mask are getting violent over it … there is simply no excuse for this!  I cannot wear a mask, so I stay home!  Period.  I no longer even go into the grocery to buy my weekly groceries, but order online and pay $5 to have them picked, bagged, and I can drive by and pick them up.

This nation has many problems to solve, but until we act responsibly and with respect for others, we aren’t going to even be able to begin to solve them.  I am disgusted with those who care not one whit about the lives of their own families, let alone the rest of the world.  You want to risk your life, fine … go parachute jumping, or join the army and ask for duty in Afghanistan.  But nobody has the right to willfully and maliciously put others at risk for their own pleasure.


Typically, I would have no problem with the president of the nation weighing in on when schools should re-open.  But these are not typical times and we have no real president, just a fake who has only his own self-interest in mind.  And Trump is not merely ‘weighing in’, but is attempting to bully, browbeat, and dominate the conversation, as he does with most everything.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had issued strict guidelines that should be observed in re-opening schools this fall.  We should all listen, for the lives of our children are the single most important thing in the world to us.  But keep in mind that our children’s lives do not matter to Donald Trump.

Trump wants schools to re-open in full asap.  Why?  Because, he wants businesses to re-open and be booming long before election day on November 3rd, so he can point to a thriving economy.  Businesses need employees in order to be fully functional.  Employees have young children who cannot be left alone while mummy and daddy go to work.  Hence, the schools must reopen, in the mind (such as it is) of Donald Trump.  Just one more example of this nation’s narrative to put profit over people. And so …

trump-cdc

Why the heck are one hundred and twenty-seven thousand people wasting their time ‘liking’ this post???  Do people really have nothing better to do with their time than like and re-tweet such ignorant, malicious tweets?

Now, there was a time when the president could bluster and bully all he wanted, but the CDC had integrity and would stand by what was right.  That was then, this is now.  There was a time we had a president who was intelligent and caring.  There was a time we had a functional Congress.  There was a time when we had an independent Judicial branch.  None of that applies today.

A few hours after the tweet, a press briefing was held during which Mike Pence said the CDC will issue new guidance on re-opening schools next week.  Meanwhile, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said that his earlier recommendations shouldn’t be used as an excuse for not returning children to classrooms.  What a cop out.  I would have resigned (in a very public manner) before I would have capitulated on such a critical issue.

There is nothing more valuable to this nation than our children … not industry, not entertainment, and for damn sure not Donald Trump’s re-election!  Our children are our hope for the future … they are our tomorrow.  I would like to think that states and school districts will make their decisions on whether or not to re-open based on the situation in their area, but … Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from any state or district that doesn’t re-open, saying …

“We hope that most schools are going to be open. They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed.  No way.  We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open.”

Never mind that in nearly every state in the nation, the number of new cases has surged.  Never mind that re-opening bars, restaurants, beaches and hair salons was a stupid thing to do, but this … opening schools while the virus is raging … is beyond stupid.  I don’t have school-age children, but if I did, and if I were forced to send my child back to school, I would either homeschool or move.  I hope every other parent feels as strongly about this as I do.


Okay, friends, I now return you to your regularly scheduled lives.  Smile.  😖

Universal Basic Income-Let’s Have a Conversation-Part two

Last week, I shared Jeff’s post about UBI (Universal Basic Income). That post was Part I, and this week he has written Part II, which certainly provides us with some food for thought! Thanks Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

It was nice to see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admit in an interview yesterday that it might be time to start looking into a minimum basic salary for the American people. Her weighing in at this time tells us we might be ready for a real debate.

I began a discussion last week into what Universal Basic Income (UBI) is and what it could look like in the United States. Again, while there are many variations of such a plan, for the sake of our discussion here, I’d like to stick with the Andrew Yang version, which purports to give every American citizen a $1,000 per month stipend beginning at age 18, regardless of income.

Would such a plan work in America? It depends. UBI would represent a fundamental reshaping of how we deal with income inequality and the social welfare state. It would be a radical shift, and the…

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Roosting Chickens Won’t Drag Them Away

I’m not sure, no matter how much people attempt to explain it, that I will ever understand the phenomenon of trumpism. It has led me to believe that the human species is actually comprised of more than one sub-species, for trumpists live in a world that I cannot comprehend. Our friend Jerry over at On the Fence Voters, who has friends among the trumpists, writes a bit about his friends, and concludes with a warning of what we must do. Jerry is a better person than I, for I can no longer count the trumpists as friends. Thank you, Jerry, for sharing!

On The Fence Voters

Hal, Mitch, and Greg (all pseudonyms for real people I know) were, are, and probably always will be true-red Donald Trump fans. If any of them saw The Orange Assassin holding a gun and casting furtive glances around Fifth Avenue (not that any of them are likely to ever visit America’s biggest, bluest city), they’d very likely offer to go buy him more ammunition. They’re all—normally—good men. But, like so many Trumpists, they check their reason and compassion at the door when they enter Trumpsylvania. Their hero’s cape can be crusted in chicken manure, but they still see it as pristine.

So when the man who boasts of his “total authority” fails virtually every exam and pop quiz in his first real crisis as president, they find others to blame. Messiahs don’t make mistakes. Not even when the homecoming chickens are roosting—and pooping—on his adoring disciples’ shoulders.

Hal, Mitch, and…

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A Voice of Reason …

I receive a daily newsletter from David Leonhardt, an opinion columnist for the New York Times.  Given that on the average day I receive some 200+ emails, not counting those that are automatically diverted to my spam folder, I often delete newsletters without reading them.  Two of my favourites, though, are Nicholas Kristof and David Leonhardt, so I usually try to at least skim theirs.  Today’s stood out for the title alone, and I read it.  I want to share this today, for I think it is a worthy read, and I fully agree with Mr. Leonhardt.

In recent days, protests have been widespread in a number of states.  These protests are being encouraged by a variety of conservative coalitions, and egged on by none other than Donald Trump himself.  People aren’t thinking, aren’t using that grey matter inside their heads.  This is a complex situation, uncharted territory, and I think we need to err on the side of caution.  So, too, does Mr. Leonhardt …

 

NYTimes.com/David-Leonhardt

david-leonhardt
By David Leonhardt

Opinion Columnist

Seven Reasons We Can’t Yet Reopen America

1. Every day for the past two weeks, another 25,000 or so Americans have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. It’s great news that number is no longer growing, but it’s barely started to fall.

2. Countries that have succeeded in containing the virus made much more progress in reducing the number of new cases before reopening. “China did not allow Wuhan, Nanjing or other cities to reopen until intensive surveillance found zero new cases for 14 straight days, the virus’s incubation period,” as The Times’s Donald McNeil writes.

3. The vast majority of the American population — perhaps about 90 percent — has not yet been exposed to the virus. So there is tremendous potential for outbreaks worse than any we have experienced so far.

4. The testing program in the United States remains terribly flawed. About a month ago, the Trump administration promised 27 million tests would be available by the end of March. Late April is now approaching, and yet only about 4 million tests have been conducted. The current pace of testing needs to triple before the country can safely reopen, Harvard researchers estimate.

5. We also haven’t fixed our shortages of protective equipment for health care workers. As a recent paper from the conservative-leaning Mercatus Center puts it: “Demand has rapidly outstripped supply as the urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as surgical masks, respirators, gloves, and gowns, as well as for ventilators, continues to grow apace with the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

6. Most places in the United States don’t yet have a plan for aggressive contact tracing — the process of tracking people who may have been exposed to the virus. “Only a few states are recruiting and training the army of public health workers who will be needed to track, trace and isolate anyone exposed to the coronavirus,” Politico’s Joanne Kenen wrote. This kind of tracing has been vital to reducing the virus’s spread in South Korea and elsewhere.

7. The same goes for quarantining: We don’t yet have anything approaching a full plan. A recent Times Op-Ed, by the public health experts Harvey Fineberg, Jim Yong Kim and Jordan Shlain, explains.

The bottom line: If the country reopened now, we would probably end up in lockdown again soon, while also needlessly increasing the death toll from the virus.

Discord & Dissension-Part XIII-The Administrative State

In this week’s episode of mine and Jeff’s project, Jeff reminds us all just why it is so important that we vote Trump and his band of crooked cronies out in November. If the people of this country weren’t convinced that Donald Trump & Co are out to destroy our government before, then they surely must be after the bungling ineptitude of the past two months! Thanks Jeff … great post!!!

On The Fence Voters

As my friend Jill and I have been pointing out over the last several months of our project, the issues that confront us in this year’s election are enormous and growing by the minute. While many Americans may not have realized how crucial good government is to our well-being before, they certainly do now. We see, in real-time, what an incompetent and unresponsive government can do to a society. Lives continue to be lost at an alarming rate, while the leader of the free world dithers and blames everyone but himself.

Unfortunately, though, our current president and the Republican Party paved the way for this. When a political party believes that government should only exist for security purposes, and not much else, what you see is what you get.

This mantra is nothing new. The attack on the government by the Republican Party began many years ago, highlighted by none…

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A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste …

Woe the poor high school senior living in the U.S. who, looking forward to graduation in May or June, already accepted to the college of her choice, is now told that the schools are closed for the rest of the year and her plans will have to be scrapped.  She will likely have to repeat her entire senior year next year, or perhaps even the year after, since the U.S. seems intent on scrapping life in general for the rest of this calendar year.

First, let me assure you that I’m not necessarily arguing against the closing of the schools.  We must protect our young people as best we can.  What I’m arguing is that there appears to be absolutely zero amount of planning for the education of our youth … it seems that nobody is considering alternate means for these young people to complete the school year that they have already spent 6 months of their lives on.  Where is the common sense???  Must we keep throwing out the baby with the bathwater?  Does nobody in our government think any more?  Just because we have a fool in the White House shouldn’t preclude other elected officials from using their brains for something other than holding their skulls in place.

Once again, state governors have shown their immense capacity for willful ignorance by closing schools through the end of the school year, despite the fact that it is only March, and with callous disregard for both students and parents.

“The governor told California parents the SAT and other standardized testing would be canceled and the state would help with supplies to homeschool.”

Say WHAT???  The entire SAT is cancelled?  Whose brilliant idea was that?  So, even students who technically completed their course work at mid-term will not be able to take the SAT in order to enter college in the fall?  What would you do if you were a student in that situation?  I think many will say, “Screw this, I’ll just go work for the sanitation department,” else “I’ll just kill myself now.” I don’t suppose it occurred to the dolts in the Department of Education that the SAT could, with appropriate safeguards, be administered online???

And “the state would help with supplies to homeschool”?  So what?  Most parents whose children are beyond about 5th or 6th grade are not going to be able to homeschool their children in many subjects.  Only those with advanced degrees plus the time and patience will be able to do so … likely about 10% of the population.

Common sense is seriously lacking in the United States today.  Now, if the states thought shuttering the schools for the next 6 months was such a brilliant move, then they could have had teachers teach their classes online, from the comfort of their own homes, in their jammies if they wished.  Students without access to a computer, modem or WiFi, could have been provided one at no cost by the Department of Education.  Without the distractions, perhaps they would have learned even better, but noooooo … it would have required thought processes that no government official today seems capable of.

The quality of education in the United States had hit an all-time low, even before this.  We no longer teach young people that wonderful art of thinking, but rather teach them technical skills.  We teach little about history, literature, and how governments function, but rather how to program in C++, or how to build furniture.  And now … we teach … nothing.  For at least the foreseeable future, we teach nothing.  Way. To. Go.

To reiterate, just so nobody misunderstands my point as happened in a post last week:  I am not arguing against the schools being closed if that is what the medical community believe is the best way to save lives.  The medical community, not public officials who are sans common sense in the midst of this pandemic.  My point, however, is you don’t just shutter the schools for the next six months without a backup plan to ensure these young people are able to complete this school year.  I, who am not even an educator, can think of a number of ways this could be done, but nobody … not a single person … in our federal or state governments has even bothered to try.  I want our Department of Education employees to get off their arses and earn the money We the People are paying them!  Yo … Betsy DeVos … are you listening?  It’s your turn to earn your keep!

What You May Have Missed

If you go looking in the usual places for news that has nothing to do with a) coronavirus, or b) the stock markets, or c) 2020 presidential race, you will be out of luck.  That is all the news that exists in the usual places such as The Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, Politico, ABC News, Time, The Guardian, BBC, AP, and others.  Mind you, all those stories are newsworthy and I am definitely NOT downplaying the importance of any, especially the coronavirus.  But once you’ve read the same ol’ same ol’ about 60 times, you begin to wonder if the rest of the world is locked in a closet somewhere.  However, Filosofa does not give up easily.  Filosofa is sick and damned tired of reading the exact same information about coronavirus, the financial melt-down and the Bernie & Joe Show.  So, I stuck a carrot in my pocket for the wabbits, grabbed my shovel and went digging …


Is Betsy complicit?

Betsy DeVos was made Secretary of Education in 2017 as a reward for the large campaign contributions she and her hubby made to Trump’s 2016 election campaign.  As I said in 2017, DeVos was, like so many of Trump’s cabinet picks, the least suited for the job.  She had little respect for public schools, instead supporting the charter schools that can accommodate very few students in need.  But she had money, she had a rich husband, and that mattered more than qualifications or competency.

Well, now it turns out that Betsy’s brother, Eric Prince, is somewhat of a nasty character.  Like his siter, Prince is a Trump supporter with close ties to the Trump gang.  According to a New York Times article last weekend, beginning in 2017, Prince started recruiting former spies to infiltrate Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations and other groups considered hostile to the Trump ‘agenda’.

One of the former spies, an ex-MI6 officer named Richard Seddon, helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers’ unions in the nation.  They secretly taped the union’s local leaders and attempted to gather information that could be made public to damage the organization.  This and other covert operations were conducted under the auspices of Project Veritas, a conservative group that has gained attention using hidden cameras and microphones for sting operations on news organizations, Democratic politicians and liberal advocacy groups.

According to the Times report, though both Mr. Prince and Project Veritas have close ties to the Trump family, it is “unclear” whether any of the Trump clan are complicit in the operations they have been conducting.  My bet?  Take a wild guess.  But … a question of equal concern is whether Miss Betsy is involved.  Again, my bet?  Hell yes.

An independent watchdog group has asked the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform to investigate whether Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had any involvement in her brother’s efforts to spy on the Michigan teacher’s union.  DeVos has long had a hostile relationship with teacher’s unions.  According to the letter the group wrote to Congress …

“It stretches the imagination to the breaking point to believe her brother never at least mentioned his intel operation to her. At the end of the day, who would benefit more from this ill-gotten information than the Education Secretary at war with the union?”

Prince is under investigation by the Justice Department over whether he lied to a congressional committee examining Russian interference in the 2016 election, and for possible violations of American export laws. Last year, the House Intelligence Committee made a criminal referral to the Justice Department about Mr. Prince, saying he lied about the circumstances of his meeting with a Russian banker in the Seychelles in January 2017.  Care to make any bets about whether Prince will ever be convicted?

Keep your eyes on this ball, my friends.


A day late and a dollar short, but still …

On Tuesday, in a 2-1 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Judith Rogers wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Thomas Griffith that the House of Representatives may see redacted passages in the public version of the Mueller report that was issued, heavily redacted, in April of last year.  Said Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi …

“This ruling is an unequivocal rejection of the President’s insistence that he is above the law and his blanket refusal to cooperate with Congressional requests for information. It is also another rebuke of Attorney General Barr’s brazen efforts to prevent evidence of Presidential wrongdoing from being uncovered, which the Courts continue to challenge. … Yet again, the Courts have resoundingly reaffirmed Congress’s authority to expose the truth for the American people.”

In her opinion, Judge Rogers wrote …

“The courts cannot tell the House how to conduct its impeachment investigation or what lines of inquiry to pursue, or how to prosecute its case before the Senate. The constitutional text confirms that a Senate impeachment trial is a judicial proceeding. The term ‘judicial proceeding’ has long and repeatedly been interpreted broadly.”

This follows on the heels of last week’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton that  excoriated Attorney General Bill Barr for distorting the findings of the Mueller Report before its redacted release to the public, saying …

“The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report. The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump [emphasis added] despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.”

Too bad these rulings weren’t handed down back when the House was still conducting its impeachment hearings and before the U.S. Senate thumbed their noses at We the People and at the U.S. Constitution.  But, better late than never.  And, there is no law that says there cannot be yet another impeachment, if it is deemed right and proper.  Leave that door open, folks …


Okay, folks … that’s the news that didn’t make the headlines this week.  Let us now return to the center of gravity …

A Comic Break From The Darkness

Whew … it’s been quite an onslaught of news these past few days, very little of it anything to cheer about.  I think it’s time for a comic break, don’t you?

Betsy DeVos is well-deserving of being the center of a joke, and Andy Borowitz doesn’t dissapoint:

Betsy DeVos Says She Was Planning to Close All Schools Anyway

By Andy Borowitz

borowitz-andy

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—As an increasing number of schools and universities closed down because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, revealed on Monday that she had been planning for years to close every school in the country anyway.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, DeVos said, “When I took over as Education Secretary, I came with a simple mission: to shut down all of the nation’s schools. It turns out that I was just ahead of my time.”

Noting that schools are where students learn math, science, and history, DeVos said, “I have long believed that schools are where all the bad things happen.”

Deciding to “wipe out the scourge of education once and for all,” DeVos said that, within days of taking office, she drew up an ambitious plan called No School Left Open.

In a reassuring message to the nation’s parents and students, DeVos said, “Amid the current crisis, many of you are wondering how we will close every American school overnight. Let me just say that this is the job Betsy DeVos was born to do.”

And who better than Stephen Colbert to inject a bit of levity into an otherwise humourless situation?

Remember, folks … no matter how dark things seem … we need to find balance.  Let yourself find something to laugh about today in order to keep your sanity, okay?

jollyLove ‘n hugs from Filosofa … and Jolly!

The Bernie Movement

Yesterday, I posted an article by Robert Reich, giving us a different viewpoint of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, and positing that Bernie could very well be the one best-suited to beat Donald Trump. Interestingly, as sometimes happens, Jeff and I were thinking along the same lines and about the same time I posted my Reich piece, Jeff posted this one. Same conclusion, a bit different approach. Great minds think alike! Thanks, Jeff, for this really great post!

On The Fence Voters

I’m not going to try and get into his mind because I don’t think there’s a whole lot of space there. I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.”

“You saw those images last night. We’re going backward here. This is a frightening, grotesque, and disturbing development in American politics.”

Were the above quotes from the Tuesday night Democratic freakout debate attacking Bernie Sanders? Well, they certainly could have been. But actually, the first one was from none other than lead Donald Trump sycophant Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) during the 2016 campaign. The second quote, also from the 2016 campaign, was from fellow Trump boot-licker Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). My, how time flies.

Back then, if you remember, Trump was the reality TV show host attempting to win the Republican nomination for president of the United States. It was a crowded field…

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Discord & Dissension — Part VIII — On The Issues

Let’s talk a little bit about voters and issues.  While we could categorize voters in numerous different ways, there are basically two kinds of voters:  those who vote based on issues, and those who vote based on personality.

It was often said that the biggest reason John F. Kennedy won the 1960 election was his charisma.  I was nine years old at the time, and I certainly found him charming … I loved listening to him speak (my family didn’t have television yet in 1960, so I rarely saw him)!  And that’s fine for a nine-year-old child, but by the time one reaches voting age, one really ought to be considering what the candidate stands for rather than what he or she looks like, or how they speak.  I also heard it said in 2016 that part of Trump’s success was a result of his charisma, but I have a hard time with that, for he isn’t nice to look at, and his speech is filled with vitriol, so … where’s the charisma?

At any rate, there’s little to be said about those who would vote based on the candidate’s personality, so let’s instead start talking about issues.  Jeff and I have debated whether it is too soon to start to delve into the issues and the candidates’ views/platforms/ideologies, but after some thought, we’ve decided that with the primaries already in full swing, and Super Tuesday right around the corner, the time seems to be ripe.  Next Tuesday, March 3rd, fourteen states and one U.S. territory will hold nominating contests to award a total of 1,357 delegates, or 34% of all delegates nationwide.  If you are eligible to vote in the primary or caucus for your state, you will soon need to make a choice between the remaining candidates.  So … what issues are most important to you?

The majority of voters are most concerned with the issues that most directly impact them and their everyday lives, such as healthcare, or if they have children, education.  The economy and jobs naturally impact everyone.  In 2016, Donald Trump was able to form a large enough base by creating a fear on an issue that, until then, was largely a non-issue to most people:  immigration.  He made it personal … he told people that immigrants were mostly all bad people – terrorists, murderers and rapists.  And even the good ones, he said, were taking your jobs!  He created a fear, then proposed a solution:  a wall and a travel ban.  It was largely hyperbole, but people bought it.

All of which points up the fact that sometimes people listen to one view or another without fully understanding the issues or their candidates’ stance on them.  The more information you have, the better able you will be to make informed, wise decisions.

For today, I just want to give a bit of information about each of the major issues, and then in two weeks, I will begin to address each of the candidates’ views on the issues, so you can see which nearly match your own viewpoint.  At the end of this post, there is a poll that I hope you’ll take a minute to check which issues matter most to you, as a voter.


The Issues:

Abortion

The abortion issue is among the most polarizing in the nation.  Pro-life vs Pro-Choice.  The question of whether certain groups have the right to force their will on women, or whether women have autonomy over their own bodies.

Civil Rights

This covers a myriad of sub-issues involving equality for all in the areas of housing, education and employment for minorities, religious groups, the LGBTQ community, and women.  It is another highly polarizing issue, as certain groups attempt to claim that the rights of the LGBTQ community are in direct contrast with their own rights.

Economy

The economy is about more than just jobs and the stock market.  It is also about things like wage levels and inflation.  Trump claims bragging rights for the stable economy, but in reality he inherited a growing economy and, as we’ve seen over the past week, it is not built on a very solid foundation.  The federal minimum wage has not been raised in more than ten years, while the cost of living has risen each year.

Education

The quality of education in the U.S. has been declining in recent years, as schools are increasingly focused on preparing students for a career more than teaching them to think for themselves, to use their imaginations, to create.  College has become cost-prohibitive and students leave after four years with a mountain of debt that will take them decades to repay.

Election Reform and Security

A number of Supreme Court decisions over the past years have corrupted our elections.  McCutcheon v FEC, Citizens United v FEC, and a number of others involving campaign finance have opened the door to large corporations and lobbying groups literally buying a candidate.  There is also the issue of election security.  It is a proven fact that the Russians interfered in our 2016 election, and our own intelligence community has given us warning that the same is happening again this year.  The House of Representatives has passed bills to restore the security of our elections, but the Senate has thus far refused to bring them to the floor.

Energy/Environment/Climate Change

This may arguably be the single most important issue nationwide today, though many seem oblivious.  Trump has rolled back so many environmental regulations that this nation remains the single largest emitter of CO2 per capita in the world!  The U.S. is also the only nation on the globe that is not part of the Paris Climate Accords and that is not doing virtually anything, as a nation, to protect the environment, endangered species, etc.

Foreign Policy

While ‘globalization’ has been demonized by some, it is a fact of life.  In today’s world, we must interact with other nations in many areas, not the least of which are trade and shared security.  How we treat our allies and how we react to others is critical to keeping not only our nation, but the world safe.  Understanding of world affairs is imperative at the highest levels of government.

Free Trade

Free trade agreements allow goods to cross borders without tariffs or special taxes, and are a key element in keeping the cost of consumer goods low.  It should be a win-win for all parties involved, but in recent years, the U.S. has made it a competitive game, which hurts everyone in the long run.

Government reform

Unhappy with the way the government is being run?  This largely ties into campaign finance reform, for much of the problem with our government today is that rather than representing all the people, they often seem to represent only the wealthy, leaving the other 99.9% of us out in the cold.  In addition, the leaders of both the House and Senate seem to have entirely too much power, coercing our elected officials to do things their way, rather than to follow their conscience.

Gun Control

This is one of the biggest issues in the U.S.  The vast majority of people, including gun owners, are for sensible gun legislation, such as expanded background checks, waiting periods, and even an assault weapons ban.  But, due to the power and influence the NRA has over our politicians, nothing is being done, and more and more people die from guns every single day in this country.

Health Care

I can’t even begin to summarize this one.  ACA, the Affordable Care Act that was initiated during the Obama administration, ensured that everyone would have access to basic healthcare, regardless of income level or pre-existing conditions.  Much of that has been gutted and there are now some 20 million people in this country with no health care insurance.  Meanwhile, the Pharma industry, doctors, labs, and others are charging exorbitant fees.  A nation that cannot or chooses not to take care of its people … all its people … has a government that is deficient.

Immigration

Immigration reform is one of those things like the weather … everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything.  In the last three years we have seen all the wrong things done:  children separated from their parents and put in cages; billions of dollars wasted building a ridiculous wall that can be sawed through and falls down on a windy day; highly discriminatory travel bans.  Young people who were brought to this country as babies by their immigrant parents are in danger of being deported, even though many are contributing to the economic and social well-being of our nation.

Infrastructure

Roads and highways, water systems, electric grids, bridges, public transportation all fall under the heading of infrastructure.  All need upgrading and continual maintenance, but we have fallen far behind.  Remember Flint, Michigan and their water crisis?  Well, guess what?  It is still not resolved, there is still lead in the drinking water, and the latest is that rather than replace the system, the EPA is proposing rule changes that would change the way testing is done for lead and copper in water supplies.

Tax Reform

The tax structure at present puts more of the burden on the working class than on the wealthy.  Wealthy individuals and corporations pay a far lower percentage in taxes than the average worker, some companies paying not one single dime, and some even getting refunds.  Meanwhile, the national debt is out of control and the government has plans to further cut the very programs that the people of this nation rely on.

Technology

A number of things fall under this broad umbrella, some of which affect us all, such as online privacy, broadband, social media, wireless communication, and more.  Perhaps the most important to most of us is internet security, that took a big hit when net neutrality was repealed in 2018.

Welfare & Poverty

This is one that many people don’t think about … until they themselves are in need.  The official poverty rate in the U.S. is 12.3%.  Think about that one for a minute … one in every eight people in this nation live in poverty, and it is estimated that there are more than a half-million homeless people in the nation.  Yet, Trump proposes cutting the very programs that help these people!


Well, there you have the issues and a brief summation of each.  There are more, but I’ve already exceeded the length Jeff and I agreed on, and taken up too much of your time.  In coming weeks, I will be writing expanding on these issues and giving you the views of the most viable candidates.  So that we can focus on the issues that are most important to you, we ask that you take just a minute to check off the three issues that are most important to you in the short poll below.

Note:  Even though the poll will show only the last answer you ticked, it is recording all three.  I apologize, for I know it is confusing, but I cannot seem to find a way to leave all choices marked.  


Table of Contents (links to past posts in this series)