May 21, 2022

  • The First Sixteen Months

    My friends, it’s been a long time, but I am finally ready to assess what we have seen from President Biden and the Democratic Congress in the aftermath of the Trump Era.


    We’re going to go through all the major issues and assess how the president and his party have handled them. Word of warning to the reader: this will be as blunt an assessment as you might expect from a Progressive Independent. So, if you are “triggered” by criticism from the political left you might want to stop reading now. Moreover, if you are a rightwinger reading this for kicks, I am not going to be kind to the Republicans either. Let’s go.




    First and foremost, it is important to note that pandemics are supposed to be apolitical, but the Republicans and Former President Trump changed that. Unfortunately, throughout 2020, the Republicans and Trump NEVER had a clear message about the pandemic. Instead, they would occasionally mention the serious nature of combating the virus while simultaneously lending credence to ridiculous conspiracy theories.


    This lack of a unified approach – across party lines – created a partisan division over the crisis. Rather than work with Democrats to end the madness, Republicans sought to sew civil division over it. Trump and his corrupt authoritarian party convinced a sizeable chunk of the population that there was no need to aggressively combat the virus. They portrayed Democrats as wanting to destroy the economy and replace capitalism with socialism. The rightwing base ate this up, and it undeniably extended the life of the crisis.


    Enter President Joe Biden and a Democratic Congress sixteen months ago. What has been done about the virus since? Barely anything. Some points for at least a handful of meaningful measures, first. President Biden authorized a limited supply of free at-home COVID tests for all Americans. He granted access to free masks. Additionally, he signed a bill which gave $1,400 to qualifying Americans.


    Beyond that? We have seen students sent back to school with a mixture of safety standards, effectively guaranteeing mass exposure to the virus. Public venues have reverted to practically nonexistent restrictions. Another shutdown has been practically ruled out entirely by this president. Lastly, workers have been under attack as corporate America launches a campaign saying that “nobody wants to work” while they insist on paying low wages and utilizing deceptive “hiring” practices.


    The number of total deaths from COVID-19 just surpassed one million. In just over two years, that’s roughly 500,000 deaths each year on average since the outbreak began (which far surpasses deaths from the flu, by the way). President Biden and the Democrats yielded as they always do in the face of Republican criticism. Not wanting to be portrayed as too extreme by a party that is happily and openly extremist, the Democrats in charge have permitted the virus to remain a major factor and have backed down.


    Despite all the progress, we are willingly losing a winnable war.




    No major issue is more relevant in these times than the healthcare issue. Despite being massively popular, the idea of true universal coverage (which can only be guaranteed through a public-funded single payer program, via Medicare), the Democrats have done NOTHING on this issue. This is despite the fact that we are quite literally enduring a major healthcare crisis by way of the coronavirus. Countless citizens fail to get regular health checkups or receive the medication that they need due to the private and “everybody for themselves” chaotic nature of our healthcare system here in America.


    Biden won the White House in part on a message of “fixing” the Affordable Care Act. However, his do-nothing Democratic Congress has sat on their hands. It should come as no surprise that many of these Democrats are in the same back pockets of wealthy health insurance and pharmaceutical oligarchs as the Republicans. If it wasn’t going to happen now then it was never going to happen (except maybe in California).




    Talk is cheap, and the Democrats on the national stage have been nothing but talk on the issue of guns ever since the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expired under Bush in 2004. Democrats had the chance to deal with this issue from 2009 until 2010, when they literally had a supermajority in both Houses of Congress. Even when Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s vacated seat in late-2009, they still had a monstrous majority in the House and 59 Senate Seats. Yet, nothing.


    This was despite the massacres in the intervening years such as in 2007 at Virginia Tech. They wasted their chance to act on guns irrespective of them being up in arms about the Assault Weapons Ban expiring under Republican control. In 2010, the people resoundingly elected a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. The chance to act had passed.


    Then, Sandy Hook happened. In December 2012, barely over a month after President Obama won reelection, over two dozen were murdered in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school. Democrats demanded action and President Obama – to his credit – tried to take action unilaterally via executive orders. The problem, though, is that permanent, concrete action must come through Congress, and they did nothing…again. Dead children mattered not to them. Only the money from the gun lobby mattered.


    Just over five years later, under President Trump and a Republican Congress, Parkland, Florida experienced a gruesome school massacre. We already knew that the Republicans and Trump wouldn’t do anything (because money and power matter more to them than dead students), but what have the Democrats done since retaking power in 2021? Not a damn thing.


    Yes, the Democratic Majorities are razor-thin, but that isn’t an excuse for seemingly forgetting the growing numbers of more needless deaths. If you aren’t willing to lose your job to do what’s right by the people then what’s the point?


    LGBT Rights:


    Say what you want about President Obama, but he and the Congressional Democrats actually delivered a set of promises to the LGBT community. The biggest promise kept was on repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, which had previously kept the ban on anyone from the community from serving in the military. In 2010, Democrats repealed that policy. Then, in 2015, Democrats (and I) celebrated the legalization of same sex marriage via the Supreme Court decision that summer.


    What has happened since? Trump and the Republicans launched a series of attacks on the LGBT community. The primary target was on transgender service members and on transgender people using public restrooms. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has done little to respond to this culture war since they have been in power.


    Democrats - naturally – just as with Guns and the next issue, are afraid of being dragged into another divisive “wedge issue”. The Republicans tend to dominate these debates, because they rely on fear and ignorance. As for Democrats, they always get trapped in a cycle of explaining why they are right, leading to glossed-over eyes and turned off “moderates”.

    The key is to NEVER let the Republicans control the narrative. Instead of letting the fascists in the GOP paint the Democrats as “attacking American values”, Democrats should be pointing out the corruption of the Republicans and insisting that the American people explore why the “Party of Lincoln” is always trying to divide us. Sadly, Democrats have always sucked at messaging – and there is no reason to believe that they will improve now - while the Republicans win on simplistic “bumper sticker” hate slogans.




    The mother of all “wedge issues” is abortion. A woman’s right to choose is sacrosanct in ensuring bodily autonomy as a universal guarantee for all. Without this right it is not possible for women to be treated as equals to men in a society which demands that we each establish our own worth with respect to our ability to generate wealth.


    Campaigning in 2019 and then in 2020, then-Candidate Biden pledged alongside the other candidates to fight for codification of Roe v. Wade, to guarantee that the right to choose an abortion would never be repealed by a ruling of the Supreme Court which has only grown more conservative since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Then, Biden won the presidential election (and yes, he did win) alongside the Democrats winning Congress. What have they done about it since? Guess.


    If you guessed “nothing” then you win a big, golden, wire hanger. Gross? Maybe, but so is the reality of a world where George H.W. Bush’s appointee Clarence Thomas, George W. Bush’s Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as Donald Trump’s Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett now constitute the dominant end (opposite Clinton appointee Stephen Breyer and Obama’s Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan) of a 6-3 super majority of conservatives running the most powerful unelected body in the history of humankind. Earlier this month, in a leaked draft opinion of the Court, five of the six conservative Justices (with only Roberts dissenting) seem to have signed on to upend stare decisis (that is the principle of legal precedent) and overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. Now more than ever it is obvious that elections have consequences and if Congress and President Biden continue to fail to act on this matter it will be incredibly consequential.


    The War on Drugs:


    If there is any issue where both parties have been to blame for inaction or the wrong action, the so-called “War on Drugs” is at the top of that list. Since President Richard Nixon launched it as part of his attempt to crack down on crime, the “conflict” has predominantly been a windfall for the military and police budgets while also doing practically nothing to impact the number of people who actually use and traffic illegal substances. Tragically, one large side effect (intentional or not, and we will get to that momentarily) is that the prison population has exploded in that time with minorities making up the bulk.


    This isn’t to say that minorities are predisposed to committing crime or that they are more likely to use drugs. In fact, there is evidence that poverty and environment have far more to do with whether someone commits a crime than race ever has. The truth of the matter is that courts tend to convict minority suspects more than white suspects, and it has more to do with our cultural biases than with people of color being more criminal (but this really needs to be saved for the next topic).


    With the “War on Drugs”, the Drug Cartels are arguably winning the war, because it is more about demand than about the supply chain. As long as the demand (which can NOT be stemmed through brutal use of force) exists the supply (which is very easy to move under the radar, given its abundance) will always be able to find wanting hands. Couple this with the fact that our medical system has allowed pharmaceuticals to produce addictive substances, which are then allowed to be spoon fed to the population, you find a groundswell for a spiking opioid epidemic as those same people are eventually denied further supply for their addiction.


    What happens to the addicts of pain killers? They find meth and other similar drugs which helps kill the pain and then continues and eventually exacerbates their condition. Imprisoning the addict is only a temporary solution and it actually can make matters worse as the addict is then forced to share prison space with suppliers who connect them to worse habits. The best option is for free and unlimited access to rehab as well as a pathway to building a future which sets the addict to successfully battle their affliction.


    Rather than take this head on, NO ONE in government from either party has acted like they give a shit. The addiction epidemics continue to flourish in the wake of rising poverty, lack of healthcare, and homelessness. I am willing to bet that nothing will be done at all about this before the next 16 months.




    Let’s talk about the deepest wound which has plagued this country from its very birth. I am referring to the issue which the Founding Fathers bestowed upon us to appease slave-owners and slave-traders in order to successfully launch a Revolution and then to maintain the Union whilst drafting the Constitution. The issue of race has been with us from the beginning, it caused a Civil War, led to the slaughter and even extinction of countless Native American Tribes, contributed to the exploitation of Chinese labor in building the railroad, gave us Jim Crow and so-called “Black Codes”, produced the KKK, and resulted in a century-long campaign to get BASIC rights guaranteed (which is still NOT over, by the way).


    …Oh…you thought I was done? The race question also gave us immigration quotas, lynchings, torched churches with dead children inside, innocent protests hosed down by police on national television (which the whole world actually saw), the “War on Drugs”, the “War on Crime”, assassinated civil rights leaders, and the Nixon-orchestrated political backlash against any progress.


    NOPE…not yet done. It also gave us more legal injustices than a single blog post could enumerate. Rodney King’s abuse by white cops ON CAMERA was ignored in the 1990’s! The portrayal of African American and Hispanic American men and women as lazy and “welfare queens” came from this unaddressed cancer in our society. Images of young black men as the standard bearer for “thugs” while young white men who commit ACTUAL crimes are merely portrayed as “troubled youths” are VERY recent.


    The race issue also contributes…today…to poor communities of color getting ignored. From their education needs to environmental concerns, policymakers STILL write them off as someone else’s problem. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that the deaths AFTER Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005 were worsened by this issue.


    Then we have the most overt consequence of our collective refusal to address this issue: police brutality and the countless murdered black men and women at the hands of those in positions of authority. It’s bad enough that police kill anyone at such large numbers, but when you examine the demographics of the people they kill or otherwise abuse it becomes painfully obvious who the primary victims are. We still struggle to see even a single officer held accountable for crimes they commit ON CAMERA, and when you join that problem with the population which sees the least amount of balance in justice you have a recipe for disaster.


    There is simply no excuse for the inaction by either party on this, especially considering how willing both sides were to hand the keys to the authoritarian elements.



    Further inflaming those authoritarian elements is the lack of unity amongst the parties on immigration. The Republican Party predominantly advocates for more border patrol and a border wall. This stems from the internet and talk radio-spread paranoia of an “invasion” by darker skinned peoples migrating across the border and “taking our jobs” and “voting illegally”. Trump’s rant in the summer of 2015 was a nod to this racist, xenophobic fear, and his promise of a border wall fired up the rightwing base like nothing the U.S. has seen in decades.


    Only twice within the last 20 years has a significant immigration reform bill been proposed: in 2007 and then again in 2014. The latter of the two was more progressive, but the former actually had a shot at passing as it was VERY bipartisan. Unfortunately, back in 2007, xenophobia was still prevalent in the Democratic Party’s base, so it was shot down in a bipartisan way. When the Democrats tried again in 2014, the ship of a bipartisan solution had sailed as the Republicans almost completely remained united against giving President Obama any kind of symbolic victory.


    Now, after the insanity of Trump’s overt xenophobia, including a ban on Muslims from entering the country, continuing and expanding on the separation of families inherited from the Obama years (which involved putting these families in cages), and the promises of a wall, Democrats have done very little to propose – much less pass – a new reform bill. Countless families remain separated, deportations continue, and the xenophobia only festers. It may well be too late now, because the campaign for the 2022 Midterms is in full swing.




    Throughout our history, America has long flirted with fascism. From the Indian Removal Act under Andrew Jackson and his spoils system of rewarding friends and allies with power to the Civil War policies of unilaterally suspending habeas corpus and otherwise dictatorial behavior under Lincoln, from Theodore Roosevelt’s employment of the “bully pulpit” and attacking of the media to Hoover dispatching the military to attack and silence a protest by World War One veterans, from FDR’s threatening the Supreme Court to Nixon’s fear tactics using the FBI to attack dissenters, from Bush’s intentional lies to generate support for a war to Trump’s use of all the worst characteristics of his predecessors to protect his ego and agenda, we have seen fascism rising in America over a very long time.


    Donald Trump wasn’t the first fascist to hold the White House, he was merely the latest and most overt holder of this expanded political power which has only grown over the course of our history. If Trump had been a more astute fascist politician, we would have never had an election in 2018, much less 2020. The failure of Congress to rein in ANY of the abuses which have been presided over by our military’s “Commander in Chief” has produced a dictatorship waiting for someone to capitalize. Tragically, the Democrats have been guilty of expanding presidential power or at least permitting it, unabated. They are not interested in pulling us back from the brink of authoritarianism for fear that they would willfully cede such power from their own hands.

    Power corrupts, and all that. President Biden has showed no signs of relinquishing the powers that he inherited from his predecessors, and never campaigned on doing so to begin with.




    The threat of fascism can never be dealt with unless we also deal with our failing education system. These failures are from top to bottom, too. We fail our toddlers, we fail our elementary students, we fail middle and high schoolers, and we ultimately fail our adult learners. Why do we fail them? This is because the goal of our education system isn’t to facilitate social mobility and a well-educated populace, but rather to train the students to be productive cogs in the capitalist war machine. That’s right, the goal is to make people nothing more than pawns in a grand political and economic game for the benefit of the few.


    For this reason, deep poverty and even homelessness are tolerated. Our policymakers turn a blind eye to the still-remaining inequities in the workforce from gender bias and racial bias to the exploitation of child, senior, and handicap labor. Civic participation is not taught at length because those in power don’t want you to know your own power. They want you to be a docile sheep following the orders of your herder. When the time comes to march in battle or to produce goods, they want you to do it without asking any questions.


    This is the biggest reason why student loan debt is permitted alongside all the hurdles that one must overcome to escape poverty, because if it was too easy to escape poverty there wouldn’t be enough peasants to whom they could peddle the fear of starvation or even manipulate into becoming a casualty in the wealthy’s wars. For this reason, we don’t get too in depth on teaching about the power of the people in the workforce, because an educated workforce is harder to exploit. We don’t teach kids, we condition them, and we capitalize on that conditioning at every turn.


    The capitalization of the “education” of Americans comes in numerous forms. Our standardized testing is the most obvious. It’s two-fold. On the one hand, a handful of book printers make our textbooks and then produce the tests that we force upon our kids (which have no educational value). The worst aspect of this testing is the second part of it. The testing is then used to assess the economic value of each child. Instead of helping children improve their learning, we test them to streamline moving them from poverty to prosperity. Once you are on a prosperous path, the likelihood of you and your children remaining prosperous increases.


    Ultimately, this is why Democrats – whether or not Biden has been at the helm - are not doing anything to reform the educational system (and it will be a miracle if they ever do expand education to pre-K). Too many of them are bought and paid for by the same corporate interests who profit from it.


    Student Loans:


    As noted before, student loans exist to maintain the barrier between the poor and the wealthy. You want to keep a large base of workers to exploit for low wages in order to protect the profit margins for the few. President Biden rode into the White House in part on the promise to cancel up to $10,000 of every student’s debt. This was in stark contrast to the vision of Senator Bernie Sanders who saw the problem for what it is when he proposed an absolute cancellation of student debt and the adoption of tuition-free public colleges and universities. The laughable part about Biden’s plan is that canceling $10,000 in student debt would mean nothing as the interest and penalties for late-payment would wipe out the supposed savings in no time for most indebted graduates.

    Moreover, ALL student loans have been frozen throughout the pandemic. OVER TWO YEARS have gone by without mandatory repayments and the economy hasn’t collapsed. The banks are doing just fine. All of the fearmongering about what wholesale student loan debt cancellation would do has been proven wrong by this delay alone. At this point, one has to wonder why the Biden Administration and their allies in Congress are holding water for the student debt collectors. Well, I already answered that in the previous section. It’s not about education; it’s about ensuring the preservation of our system of exploitation.



    Assistance Programs:


    The pandemic placed millions more people on assistance in an emergency expansion of those programs. From food stamps to Medicaid, from unemployment to you name it, millions of people suddenly found themselves in a state of crisis when their jobs were forcefully shut down to curb the spread of the virus. What this taught us is that we continue to need these programs as a safety net to prevent deep poverty, mass homelessness, and mass starvation. Unfortunately, the Republicans and the Conservative Democrats are still hell-bent on attacking assistance programs as a key source of the government’s growing debt.


    Truth is, the debt is exploding because of tax cuts for the wealthy and our insatiable love of war. The poor are a convenient punching bag for those in power to redirect public anger about taxation and the cost of living (two subjects to be addressed down the line), so that’s why they are ALWAYS brought up when the topic of national debt, taxation, budget deficits, and waste are addressed. Worst of all, the poor have few visible allies who are taken seriously by our corporate media. So, public opinion is always being molded to join the fray in attacking the poor and all assistance programs.


    With the Democrats, they have only joined the Republicans in weakening these programs over the last thirty years. Bowing to the attacks by Republicans claiming that Democrats are “big government liberals”, Democrats scurry to dodge that label and point to their cuts in “welfare” as a key example of how they are “fiscally responsible”. President Biden never campaigned on changing that narrative, so don’t expect any effort from him here to ever reverse course on our war against the poor.




    Something else Democrats have long advocated for but have never tried to deliver on is universal childcare. Childcare is essential for working families, because the cost of paying for a babysitter is prohibitive. In fact, childcare is so expensive that many families are better off not working. This has to change if we are serious about building our economy and lifting people out of poverty, but there is little reason to have faith that it will for the same reasons as listed above about the barriers between the poor and the rich. Making it too easy for everyone to survive and thrive means empowering the working class and handing them the tools they need to escape exploitation.


    President Biden offered a vision to address this while campaigning, but has done little to nothing in pushing for it to be passed through Congress as president.


    Family Leave:


    In the 1990s, Democrats succeeded in passing the Family and Medical Leave Act, which guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to every worker who has worked at their job for a specific period of time. The problem, obviously, is that it is unpaid, which makes it an unappealing privilege to utilize. Your job may be protected, but how on Earth are you going to pay your bills if you go 3 months without working? The key here is to guarantee, by law, that this leave will be paid so that working families can actually take needed time off with family, or for health purposes, without worrying about becoming homeless.


    Democrats have advocated for this for decades, but they have never actually tried to deliver on it. Even President Biden seemed to indicate that he was supportive, but Congress has yet to send him something to sign. When President Obama had supermajorities in both Houses of Congress, nothing was done to advance this proposal either, so it stands to reason that the current makeup of the Democratic Party can’t be trusted to ever actually deliver on this promise. Tragically, millions of people are left to hope that they never have an emergency or that they have a generous employer who offers paid leave.


    The Right to Organize:


    Another issue where Democrats talk a big game and deliver little is on the issue of the right to organize in the workplace. Not since FDR has a president of either party actually been strong on this issue. Back in 2009, there was a solid effort to deliver on a promise to guarantee the right of organizing a union via what was called the Employee Free Choice Act, and President Obama ran partially on signing this bill into law. The problem, though, was that when he got into office the bill was never given a serious hearing despite the overwhelming majorities in Congress that Democrats enjoyed at the time.


    In the years since that failure to deliver on a vital promise, the Supreme Court has gradually dismantled the protections for workers. One such major dismantling came in the form of the Court’s ruling that workers had the right to work at a Union job without having to join or contribute to it. Congress has been silent on this by way of taking action to protect unions, and the threat is far from over.


    President Biden ran as a key ally of unions, more or less promising to stand up for them. What has he and Congress done since being given power? I’m afraid to say that it is another big, fat, nothing.


    A Living Wage:


    When Senator Bernie Sanders ran for president in the 2016 campaign, he was mocked relentlessly – including by the eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton – for adopting the organized labor demand to “Fight for $15 [an hour]”. Then, when he came very close to upsetting the former Secretary of State for the nomination, the Democratic Party gradually adjusted to supporting – on paper – a living wage of $15 an hour. Even candidate former-Vice President Biden adopted the proposal in his own bid for the White House in 2020.


    Now, despite the rhetoric, Democrats have allowed a handful of Conservative Democrats to get away with blocking this important proposal. Senator Sinema from Arizona, specifically, infamously mimicked John McCain when she dramatically marched to the Senate floor to give a “thumbs down” as her vote against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Since 2016, the Democrats have adopted an expression online for voters to “Vote Blue No Matter Who”, but this betrayal of the working class by Sinema absolutely should demonstrate why that mindset is a problem.


    Why hasn’t the president used his position to apply public pressure on this?




    In the midst of the pandemic, Democrats did achieve one temporarily good thing: expanding the Child Tax Credit and allowing parents to get an advance on it throughout the year. The problem, though, is that this was a one-time change and it expired after 2021. Now, the people have seen their help disappear while the rich continue to enjoy every benefit they have received from the many tax cuts over successive Republican administrations and Congresses. In other words, the people have not seen the benefit of electing Democrats in terms of their taxes, and that’s the fault of Congressional Democrats and President Biden.


    The Cost of Living:


    While our wages have remained stagnant, union rights have been attacked, and while our tax laws continue to benefit the wealthy, the worst part about this is that the cost of living has only gotten more expensive. Despite the fact that the federal minimum wage has remained the same since 2009 – stuck at $7.50 an hour -, that wage has significantly lost its purchasing power. Inflation by way of price gouging and global shortages has made buying the essentials very painful. Personal debts are growing exponentially, and so are the housing prices.


    To their credit, there are members of Congress who have tried to address the price gouging, but the conservatives in Congress continue to stand in their way. Even so, why isn’t President Biden on the campaign trail advocating for action? Why isn’t he harassing the Federal Reserve, demanding that they not raise interest rates? Where is the accountability and the will to fight for the working class?


    Climate Change:


    Tragically, the greatest betrayal via inaction has come in the form of our pitiful non-response to the existential crisis that is climate change. The scientists have been warning us for decades that this destruction of our own making was going to catch up with us, and here we are. Now, we are starting to witness much of what has been feared, as our greed has wreaked havoc on the only planetary home that we have.


    Back in 1997, President Clinton managed to sign us to the Kyoto Protocol, which called for the world to address climate change. Then, George W. Bush immediately withdrew us from that agreement upon entering WashingtonD.C. in 2001. President Obama then agreed to the rather conservative Paris Accords, only for President Trump to wreck that plan as soon as he could.


    It can’t be adequately conveyed how much we humans – mostly us Americans – have botched our many chances to prevent climate change. Now, we have passed the point of no return. There is now no reversing what’s coming, because we were too willingly stupid – thanks to our greed – to thwart the consequences of our own actions. Unfortunately, President Biden never campaigned as a strong environmentalist. He was better than Trump, but that was ALWAYS a very low bar.


    The near-total lack of action by the Democratic Congress or by President Biden to deal with Climate Change is a direct thumb to the eye of each young generation which will have to live through the madness to come. For shame.


    Tonight’s Conclusion


    If the next presidential election were held today, I have no doubt in my mind that President Biden would be soundly defeated. The midterm elections this year are not looking any better. On each and every issue, Biden and the Democrats are failing to deliver, and it is a fault of their own making by allowing themselves to sell their so-called souls to the proverbial devil (a.k.a., the wealthy).


    I may no longer be a Democrat, but I can see the dangers in letting the Democrats just willfully hand power back to the Republicans without at least trying to win. The Democratic Party is a neoliberal organization corrupted by monied interests, but the Republican Party is a dangerous fascist political organization hell-bent on power and the subjugation of the working class on behalf of the few.


    It’s long past time for Democrats to wake up. They are wasting this vital moment in our history to save America, to save democracy, and to save humanity.




    #NotMeUs #OurRevolution #DemExit


    Purchase my manifesto, “The Pillars of Unitism”.


    Until next time…



November 16, 2021

  • The Awakening


    November 2nd, 2021 was nothing if not a sign of an awakening. What has been awakened, you may ask? Fear and resentment. The “Better Angels of our Nature” - as President Lincoln described our best collective instincts and characteristics – have taken a backseat to a cultural backlash led by our worst inclinations as a people. A year ago, half of the voting population rejoiced at the defeat of Donald Trump in his reelection bid. However, the defeat of Trump in 2020 was merely a hurdle in the continued rise of fascism in America.


    The American people turned out to vote in 2020 in large part to try and thwart this societal cancer’s emergence, but all they did was treat the symptoms. Fascism still has a groundswell of support in the United States because the root causes of the collective bitterness which produces authoritarian tolerance have in no way, shape, or form been addressed. Congress is broken, seemingly incapable of working to seek more adequate remedies for what ails us, and as a result our illness merely festers and spreads.


    Earlier this year, President Biden ruled out a wholesale student loan debt forgiveness, bowing to pressure from the monied interests. His claim was that he wasn’t sure that he had the authority to cancel student loan debt past a couple billion dollars worth, if that. Why not just cancel all student loan debt and dare the courts to stop it while working with Congress to codify such? Sure, Biden never once promised to do this for everyone, but he campaigned on canceling $10 billion worth, right? Who did this relative inaction help in the end if not the wealthy few?


    The president campaigned on a living wage, but has largely let the Democratically-controlled Congress off the hook in passing it, alongside other measures, such as improvements to the Affordable Care Act, Climate Action, Paid Family Leave, or even a permanent extension to the temporary changes made early this year in expanding the Child Tax Credit. Why isn’t Biden utilizing the bully-pulpit to demand action alongside the rest of us?


    What about expanded protections for labor unions? Why do the Democrats continue to let down their most loyal constituents? Where is the proverbial beef?


    Or is it as many of us on the left suspected all along? Is Biden simply just keeping his promises to the few like when he promised attendees at a banquet that “nothing will fundamentally change”? Is this just “more of the same”, or rather “business as usual”?


    Why do the Democrats think that they have lost the support of so many working class voters? Are they content with ignoring the economic needs of the people? Or, do they suppose that ALL or MOST of these people abandoning them are racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic? Is it as easy as painting all non-Democratic voters with a broad brush of idiocy and bigotry?


    No, it’s not that easy. However, there are absolutely some signs of hatred and tension along those lines. Cultural backlashes to progress happen all the time. In fact, there is ALWAYS a backlash. Why is that?


    People are not born to hate each other. It is natural to fear what we don’t understand, but that fear is nurtured to become hate. The greatest weapon against hate is education and love, but the Democrats apparently have no sincere interest in either. Instead, they prefer to lash out at anyone who dares to disagree with them without trying to think from the perspective of someone else.


    Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that Democrats are the only ones who demonize their opponents or mock people for disagreeing. Leftists do it too and so do rightwingers and Republicans overall. The key difference in the importance of each group’s use of negativity in response to opposition is that selfishness is more appealing when you mock people for caring.


    Republicans mock people who disagree with them, but they succeed in growing their ranks because it is easier not to care about others than it is to care. It is cheaper to say “fuck it” and to ignore the problem. It is less taxing on one’s energy. Selfishness requires very little energy. Selflessness is not easy at all, because caring requires work, requires activism, and requires time and money. This is the key reason that people backlash against cultural progression towards a more compassionate society.


    Then again, cultural improvement also creates backlashes because it is always accompanied by a call for introspection. People don’t like to be told that the way they think or act is wrong. Telling someone that present conditions are racist is offensive to the tender sensibilities of the individual who willfully tolerated such horrid conditions for so long. Forcing us to look inward to address the de facto bigotry of a system and even culture that we helped mold and sustain is as abhorrent a demand to that person as is asking a teenager to admit their mistakes. It is our human nature in our fight or flight responses to danger in action.


    For the better part of the last 13 years (at least), we have been routinely confronted with our collective shortcomings as a society. The racist birther movement as a reaction to President Obama’s election was an early sign of the moment in which we live now. The discussions we’ve had since – from birtherism and the shooting of Trayvon Martin to Black Lives Matter and the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse – have only scratched the surface of the many scars which remain from our nation’s birth and the Civil War. Unfortunately, the sins of our forefathers are being visited upon us now because numerous subsequent generations in the intervening centuries have kicked that damn toxic can down the road.


    Yet, here we are, in the midst of a deeply divisive battle over our collective conscience, and the Democrats – a party ironically born during a populist and racist reaction to the status quo in the 1820s – is visibly lost in trying to navigate these currents of history pulling us towards whatever is over the edge.


    Unfortunately for the Democrats and for the rest of us, the edge of the waterfall appears to show a very steep decline. 2010 was a warning, 2016 was another warning, and 2021 may be our final warning. The abyss awaits.


    Are you ready?


    Tonight’s Conclusion


    I will absolutely have numerous people disagreeing with me in my assessment here, but the writing is on the wall and with history as a guide there is serious danger looming in the near future. 2022 may well spell an electoral apocalypse for the Democrats who have done very little since winning power in 2008 and then returning to power in 2020 to mitigate the pain from the failures of our economic, political, and educational systems. This is undoubtedly contributing to the resurgence of the fascists amongst us.


    The fascist message of hate and divisiveness is far more seductive in luring the minds of the scared and angry masses towards rightwing parties when compared to the disorganized message of the Democrats.


    Brace yourselves not only for Republicans to wipe out A LOT of Democrats via an historic set of landslide victories across the country next year, but also for an increasingly probable return of Donald Trump to the presidency in 2024, if the Democrats don’t get their act together.




    #NotMeUs #OurRevolution #DemExit


    Purchase my manifesto, “The Pillars of Unitism”.


    Until next time…



April 6, 2021

  • The Progressive Lens Non-Quarterly Round-up: November 2020-March 2021

    Trump Era Days 1,382 – 1,462 and Post-Trump Era Days 1-69


    What was reported?

    • Economically, the United States has been on a tumultuous, volatile roller coaster: In October 2020, 638,000 jobs were created and unemployment dropped to 6.9%. November 2020, 245,000 jobs were created as unemployment dropped to 6.7%. December 2020, 140,000 jobs were lost and unemployment remained at 6.7%. January 2021, 49,000 jobs were created, unemployment fell to 6.3%, and labor participation slipped to 61.4%. February 2021, 379,000 jobs were added and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.2%, though the economy is still down 9.5 million jobs from February 2020, with 61.4% remaining for labor participation.
    • One historian in late 2020 warned that America is showing signs of experiencing its own version of the infamous Reichstag Fire that triggered the end of democracy and rise of fascism in Nazi Germany.
    • The Supreme Court ruled the emoluments clause lawsuits against Trump moot since he is no longer the president, thusly throwing the lawsuits out.
    • President Trump told Vice President Pence “I don’t want to be your friend, I want you to be the Vice President” in response to Pence telling him that he had no authority to reject the election certification. Two days before the siege of the Capitol building, Trump – who refused to concede the election (even going so far as to declare victory as votes were being counted hours after the last polls closed and then going on to order preparations for the 2022 budget and deny then-incoming President Biden any vital national security briefings) and has toyed with the idea of running in 2024  - shouted to supporters in a pre-runoff election rally in Georgia that he would “fight like hell” to prevent Biden from assuming the presidency. There is reason to believe that Trump meant what he said as he asked advisers in January about using the military to keep power as well as appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Biden all while he pondered the advice of Michael Flynn (as well as a Tea Party leader in Ohio) and delved deep into conspiracy theories propagated by his lawyer and adviser, Sydney Powell. Even then-Vice President Pence contributed to the frenzy which led to the siege by openly questioning the election results and even encouraging the Senators who wanted to challenge the Congressional certification of Biden’s election.
    • Trump actually fired his Homeland Security head of cyber security when the person who held that role at the time stated that the election was “secure”. He then went out of his way to appoint a partisan loyalist (his Senior Director of Intelligence for the National Security Council) as the NSA’s general counsel; a position which leads a part of the NSA to safeguard against partisan domestic spying. While the Secretary of State was asserting that there would be a transition to a “second Trump Administration”, the Administration threatened all of its staff against seeking other jobs. Trump also went on to fire his Secretary of Defense just ten weeks before inauguration.
    • A poll found that almost 50% of Republicans supported the near-coup of the Capitol which brought a halt to the election certification. Numerous Republican state legislators and incoming legislators from over half a dozen states (including Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia, to name a few) participated in the demonstrations which produced the coup attempt. Another poll by the American Enterprise Institute found that 4 in 10 Republicans agreed that “violence may be necessary”. Days after the election, a Republican Police Chief of a small town in Arkansas called for violence due to Trump losing. A report found that the FBI and the New York Police Department tried to warn the Capitol Police about the threat, to no avail. The threat include social media posts which included a banner which said “Occupy the Capitol” and a call to “Storm the Capitol” on popular QAnon boards. It was reported by Republican Nebraska U.S. Senator Ben Sasse that Trump was gleeful about the siege, going so far as to question others about their lack of excitement. Moreover, President Trump refused to adhere to pleas from members of Congress to intervene by asking the rioters to stop – Trump later said that these rioters posed “zero threat” to the Capitol, that they were “hugging and kissing police”, and lamented that leftist activists received “no punishment” while the rightwing rioters were being “persecuted” -, including direct demands for such action made my Congressman and Republican Minority Leader McCarthy. Trump suggest to McCarthy that the rioters cared more about the election than the House Leader himself.
    • All of that could have been prevented if it weren’t for Trump and the Republicans doing everything they could think of to prevent Biden from taking office, including refusing to accept Biden’s victory.
    • In the aftermath of the coup attempt, the House Democrats tried to encourage Republicans and then-Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump as soon as possible, but House Republicans blocked the attempt at unanimous consent for doing so. This prompted Democrats to officially submit an impeachment article against Trump for “incitement of sedition”.
    • A report (based on interviews from people who were in close proximity to President Trump around the time of the 2020 election) unveiled that Trump’s team tried to make Fox News change their projection of Arizona for Biden and that the President complained about not being able to just declare victory. Likewise, Trump’s administration more and more resembled a dictatorship as he insisted upon loyalty tests for the Executive Branch, purged the Defense Department including the Secretary of Defense and a number of top officials therein, and compelled the Attorney General to launch a probe into the election alongside a probe against Biden’s son Hunter.
    • The Republican assault on democracy continued as Republicans in the Pennsylvania State Senate refused to seat a Democratic lawmaker who narrowly won reelection. In doing so, they also removed the Democratic Lieutenant Governor from presiding over proceedings. Meanwhile, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, offered a reward of up to a million dollars for tips about election fraud, with a guaranteed $25,000 to a tip which leads to an arrest. Georgia Republicans passed a sweeping elections law which would statistically make it harder for people of color to vote, leading to a black state legislator being arrested for “felony obstruction” when she (State Rep. Park Cannon) pounded on the Governor’s door begging him not to sign the legislation into law.
    • Trump’s attempts to bully the Georgia Secretary of State (via a very long phone call) – after there had been death threats aimed at that same official as well as his counterpart in Arizona earlier in the recount process - into changing the election results of the state in his favor led to a criminal investigation. This is on the heels of his failed effort to convince the Supreme Court – with the help of a lawyer famous for referencing a racist conspiracy theory questioning Kamala Harris’s eligibility to run for Vice President – asking the High Court to throw out millions of votes cast for Biden and Harris all because they were counted after Election Day. The Georgia Secretary of State had also been subjected to overturn the state’s vote count by Senator Lindsey Graham, among others. The two Georgian Republican Senator – David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler - who lost in the January runoff elections even called for their Secretary of State to resign over the controversy.
    • On his way out, President Trump issued a host of controversial pardons, letting war criminals off the hook, rewarding loyalists swept up in the Mueller investigation, and saving former members of Congress.
    • In October 2019, the Trump Administration nixed a settlement deal in a lawsuit wherein the Justice Department would have agreed to pay for the mental healthcare of families separated by the immigration tactics of the time.
    • A science adviser of Trump’s seriously argued in a letter to the Health and Human Services Undersecretary on behalf of “herd immunity”, saying that people of all ages, including “infants” should be intentionally exposed to the virus.
    • As the people of Texas experienced major blackouts in the midst of a devastating arctic blast, the outdated, deregulated, un-weatherized isolated electrical grid of Texas came under scrutiny, leading former Energy Secretary and former Governor of Texas Rick Perry to claim that the people of Texas would willingly wait out the crisis in the dark if it meant keeping federal help at bay. Worse yet, this was supportively shared via the weblog of House Minority Leader McCarthy.
    • Following the decisions to suspend Trump’s social media accounts in the aftermath of the siege of the Capitol, Trump reportedly plans to launch his own social media platform.
    • Trump’s former CDC Director told CNN’s Dr. Gupta that his opinion is that the coronavirus started in a Chinese lab. He stated this without offering any evidence whatsoever. Republican Congresswoman Majorie Taylor Greene called the Biden plan to require a vaccine for passage the “mark of the beast”.
    • Despite attempts by Republicans in Congress to stop it, Congress passed the $1.9 Trillion stimulus package which sent $1400 to most Americans.
    • Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell threatened to unleash a “scorched earth” response if Democrats abolish the filibuster.
    • After yet another deadly shooting – the 7th shooting in 2021, taking place in Colorado -, Ohio State Republicans in the General Assembly proposed a measure which would allow anyone over the age of 21 to carry a deadly weapon without a license at all.



    Tonight’s Conclusion

    The final months of Donald Trump’s reign as our president was more tumultuous than what we have ever seen outside of the Civil War. From Trump denying that he lost the presidency through to the Capitol building being stormed by his crazed fans after he riled them up, this nation was on the brink of a full-fledged collapse into a rightwing authoritarian dictatorship. Thankfully, this crisis was averted as the American people resoundingly rejected fascism and Congress affirmed that decision.

    Now, the Republican Party is back to their old tricks, as they continue to divide us. The Democrats have improved slightly in confronting this, but the damage done by the extreme rightwing has left scars which may fester through to the next series of elections.

    We are far from safe from the danger of democracy’s death. We were pulled back from the proverbial ledge, but the tidal forces of history and the gradual decline of American society are pushing and pulling us back to that same ledge.

    What happens next is vitally important. Let’s hope that we survive.


    #NotMeUs #OurRevolution #TheResistance #ImpeachTrump #ClimateCrisis


    Purchase my manifesto, “The Pillars of Unitism”.



    Until next time…



November 3, 2020

  • Election 2020 Live Update Coverage!

    The Election is finally upon us, and I am prepared to finally offer my predictions alongside my justifications for why.


    First, however, let me note something about this Xanga page. I created it in 2005, when I was 20 years old. I did so with the initial goal of running for president once I became eligible to run, which is this year. I was a Democrat and a deeply devoted Christian at the time, so I seriously thought I had a real chance of meeting my goal by this point in my life. That’s reason that I created “DemocratForChrist2020”. Interestingly, I am now no longer a Christian (I’m Agnostic), nor am I a Democrat (I’m an Independent). Yet, my ambitions remain strong even now. Either way, that is my attempt at marking this occasion with a person touch. Now, let’s get on with the predictions!



    Let’s start with predictions about Congress. I have seen enough polling patterns as well as shifts in momentum from reporting as well as mentions in social media (across numerous platforms) to predict that Democrats will likely end up with a House and Senate majority after tonight’s election. Specifically, I believe that the Democrats will likely walk away with between 244 and 248 seats in the House of Representatives. Likewise, they will likely walk away with a 53-47 Senate Majority (51 Democrats and 2 Independents caucusing with them). Why?


    The trend is highly favorable for Democrats to win in both Chambers, primarily due to the high unpopularity of President Trump as well as how Republicans in Congress have handled the pandemic response. They certainly won’t sweep them (unless there is a much larger wave election in store, which would suggest an Electoral College landslide for Biden of 400 electoral votes or more). Finally, this domination by Democrats in Congress will transfer to State Legislative and Statewide races as well, where Democrats will very likely win control in a handful of states.


    With respect to the presidency, I have been very cautious to make any predictions after what we saw four years ago. Like in 2016, Trump has managed to excite his base in the final weeks of the campaign. He has experienced a surge in the polls, wherein he has managed to close the gap with Biden in a number of areas. Even so, the polling averages – which have significantly improved since 2016, and the results of the primaries show that -, Trump’s deep unpopularity/recklessness, and historical trends are favoring Biden pretty heavily.


    He is also trouncing Trump in national polling averages compared to Hillary Clinton four years ago, and it doesn’t hurt that Biden is NOT Hillary; complete with all of her political baggage (both fair and unfair) as accumulated from three decades of being in the public limelight. Biden is largely remembered fondly by many Democrats and winnable swing voters as being Obama’s relatively uncontroversial and sometimes ostensibly lovable Vice President. This all works in Biden’s favor, regardless of what the Democratic Party did on his behalf during the primaries and irrespective of his own policy shortcomings throughout his career.


    This election is going to serve as a referendum on Trump, because Biden is exciting nobody outside of deeply loyal Democrats. Since 1900, only five sitting presidents have lost an election: Howard Taft in 1912, Herbert Hoover in 1932, Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980, and George H.W. Bush in 1992. Before that, very few sitting presidents lost their elections. As the Third President in American history to be impeached, presiding over a disastrous and economically damaging handling of a pandemic – which produced jobs losses superseding the Great Depression’s peak -, who has assaulted the Constitution at every chance he gets, and whose rhetoric is his worst enemy, Trump is likely to lose this election, with Biden winning around 320-350 Electoral Votes, at least (and there is a slight possibility of a final count exceeding 400 Electoral Votes). Bear in mind as the election unfolds, that these predictions were offered at 5:03pm, about 2 and half hours before the first major poll closings.


    Live Updates (per NBC calls) to come below (stay tuned):


    7:00pm: Indiana called for Trump. I expected that, actually. Trump up by 11. (Trump 11, Biden 0)


    7:18pm: Vermont called for Biden. Also expected.  Trump up by 8. (Trump 11, Biden 3)


    7:57pm: Kentucky called for Trump. As expected, but called late. Trump up by 16. (Trump 19, Biden 3)


    8:00pm: Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey called for Biden, Oklahoma called for Trump. (Biden 44, Trump 26)


    8:12pm: Tennessee called for Trump, a bit delayed, but expected. (Biden 44, Trump 37)


    8:20pm: West Virginia called for Trump, Connecticut called for Biden, both a bit delayed. (Biden 51, Trump 42)


    8:50pm: Arkansas called for Trump, a bit delayed, but expected. (Biden 51, Trump 48)


    9:00pm: New York called for Biden, as expected. (Biden 80, Trump 48)


    9:09pm: South Dakota called for Trump, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 80, Trump 51)


    9:18pm: Colorado called for Biden. (Biden 89, Trump 51)


    9:20pm: North Dakota called for Trump, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 89, Trump 54)


    9:27pm: Alabama called for Trump, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 89, Trump 63)


    9:32pm: South Carolina called for Trump, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 89, Trump 72)


    10:15pm: New Mexico called for Biden. (Biden 94, Trump 72)


    10:24pm: Kansas and Louisiana called for Trump. (Biden 94, Trump 86 )


    10:26pm: New Hampshire called for Biden. (Biden 98, Trump 86)


    10:32pm: Utah called for Trump, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 98, Trump 92)


    10:39pm: Missouri called for Trump. (Biden 98, Trump 102)


    10:44pm: Illinois called for Biden. (Biden 118, Trump 102)


    10:50pm: Nebraska called for Trump. (Biden 118, Trump 107)


    10:57pm: Wyoming and Mississippi called for Trump, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 118, Trump 114)


    11:00pm: California, Washington, Oregon called for Biden. (Biden 192, Trump 114)


    11:58pm: Ohio called for Trump. (Biden 192, Trump 132)


    12:03am: Idaho called for Trump, expected, but delayed. (Biden 192, Trump 136)


    12:04am: Virginia called for Biden. (Biden 205, Trump 136)


    12:39am: Florida called for Trump (Biden 205, Trump 165)


    12:45am: I am no longer predicting a victory for Biden, nor am I predicting a Democratic Majority in the Senate.


    12:52am: Iowa called for Trump. (Biden 205, Trump 171)


    1:08am: Texas called for Trump. (Biden 205, Trump 209)


    1:10am: Montana called for Trump, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 205, Trump 212)


    1:12am: Rhode Island called for Biden, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 209, Trump 212)


    1:29pm: Nebraska District 2 called for Biden, a pick-up from Trump. Also, seemingly another call for Trump, perhaps Nebraska District 1. (Biden 210, Trump 213)


    1:35am: Minnesota called for Biden. (Biden 220, Trump 213)


    2:34am: President Trump prematurely declares victory, calls the election a "fraud", asserts that "they are trying to disenfranchise [Trump voters]", and that he will go to the Supreme Court to stop any votes from being further counted.


    3:45am: It has been two hours since the last state was called and I have reached my limit as to how long I can stay awake. I have to get my kids up in the morning for their schoolwork. If there are any calls while I sleep, I will include them and the updates Electoral Vote count in further updates. Good night and hopefully we get out of this in one piece.


    11:03am (11/4/2020): I woke up about half an hour ago and looked at the current results. The only race that was called in my sleep was Hawaii for Biden. (Biden 224, Trump 213). Also, the House currently stands at a projection of Democrats 227 and Republicans 208 (which could change as the counts continue). The Senate stands at Democrats 46 and Republicans 47.


    11:18am (11/4/2020): As of THIS MOMENT, Biden is leading in Arizona (slightly). Nevada (barely), Wisconsin (barely), Michigan (barely), and in Maine (by quite a bit). If these trends continue it will give Biden exactly the 46 Electoral College votes he needs to win the presidency.


    12:02pm (11/4/2020): Maine called for Biden, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 227, Trump 213)


    11:30pm (11/4/2020): I was at work when some VERY important developments in the race occurred. Trump gained an electoral vote, as he was awarded Maine's 2nd Congressional District, but the biggest twist was Wisconsin and Michigan being called for Biden, marking his second and third flips from the 2016 Trump column. (Biden 253, Trump 214)


    12:00am (11/5/2020): It is worth noting that different networks have different numbers. FOX News and the AP called Arizona for Biden, but NBC and CNN haven't. So, FOX News and the AP have Biden at 264 v. Trump's 214, but NBC and CNN have him at 253. To err on the side of caution, I will continue to stick with the projections of the news sources being more cautious.


    10:36pm (11/7/2020): Just before noon today Pennsylvania was called for Former Vice President, making him the 46th President of the United States. A couple hours later Nevada was called for him as well (Biden 279, Trump 214). This made Biden the first President-elect since 1988 to have been a former Vice President, the first president-elect since 1960 to win without winning Ohio, the second Catholic (after Kennedy) elected to the presidency, the first president-elect to have unseated a sitting president since 1992. and the first president-elect from the state of Delaware. Additionally, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris became the first woman to be elected to or otherwise serve in that office, the first African American to ever be elected to or otherwise serve in that office, and the first Asian American descendant ever elected to or otherwise serve in that office.


    11:35am (11/11/2020): Within the past hour, Alaska was called for Trump, as expected, but delayed. (Biden 279, Trump 217)


    7:13pm (11/13/2020): Over the course of today Arizona and Georgia have been called for Biden while North Carolina has been called for Trump. Additionally, Biden leads Trump by more than five million votes. (Biden 306, Trump 232) The Senate is presently at 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats with two runoff Senate Elections in Georgia to be held in January which will decide the balance of power in the Senate. The House of Representatives presently sits at a projection of 224 Democrats and 211 Republicans with 13 races yet to be decided.


    11:25pm (1/29/2021): I haven't updated this post in over two months because there are still a handful of seats in the House to be filled, this includes a vacancy left by the lack of a certified result in New York's 22nd District (the race is separated by a handful of votes), a Republican elected to a seat died before taking office, and one member of Congress resigned. Even without these seats filled, the Democrats have a 221 to 211 majority. On January 5th, the runoff elections in Georgia handed the Democrats the two seats they needed to clinch the majority with a 50-50 split and Vice President Harris breaking the tie. Democrats gained in down-ballot seats across the country, but Republicans strategically won enough seats which led to a flipping of two legislative chambers for a total 0f 61 to the 37 controlled by Democrats. Republicans gained unified government control in New Hampshire and Montana after winning the governors' races in those states. Only one Governor's seat flipped and it was when Republicans won in Montana, making the political balance for governors being 27 Republicans and 23 Democrats. In total, Democrats now control 3,312 seats to the 4,007 seats under Republican control; with 64 independent or third party officials. It was 3,150 Democrats and 4,102 Republicans before the election.


    Tonight’s (“Whenever We Know The Outcome”) Conclusion


    The time that I am finally updating this with a conclusion is Saturday, November 7th, 2020 at 10:47pm. It took 4 days AFTER the election to finally find out who our next president will be. This historically close election most certainly brought back memories of the 2000 Election Debacle when the Supreme Court handed the presidency to George W. Bush in December 2000. President Trump still has not conceded and reportedly refuses to do so, but none of that will matter on Inauguration Day, because Joseph R. Biden will be sworn in at noon that day to become our next president.


    Biden is far from perfect. I will never forget what the Democratic Party and Media Establishment did to stop the revolution inspired and led by Senator Bernie Sanders. I am prepared to set my sights and criticisms on the incoming administration. However, I will do so with my eyes forever fixed on the behavior of Trump's fascist political party. I will never forget that they were willing to destroy the Republic all to preserve their claim to power.


    As more updates pertinent to this election emerge up through Inauguration Day I will share my thoughts about such above.


    "This is a time to heal in America." - Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, President-Elect, during his victory speech 11/7/2020


    #NotMeUs #OurRevolution #TheResistance #ImpeachTrump #ClimateCrisis


    Purchase my manifesto, “The Pillars of Unitism”.



    Until next time…




November 1, 2020

  • The Progressive Lens Non-Quarterly Round-up: July-October 2020

    Trump Era Days 1,259 - 1,381


    What was reported?

    • Jobs Numbers reported in July (4.8 million jobs revived in June and 11.1% unemployment), August (1,763,000 jobs “created” in July as unemployment fell to 10.2%), September (1,370,000 jobs added in August as unemployment fell to 8.4%), and October (661,000 jobs restored in September while unemployment fell to 7.9%). The second quarter of 2020 saw the worst ever 2nd Quarter in American history with a drop of 32.9% due to the pandemic. Then, the economy grew at a record-breaking 33.1% in the third quarter, though a third of the economy which was damaged by the pandemic remained harmed despite this. Amidst the pandemic, WalMart announced that they would experiment the concept of self-checkout only shopping at one of their popular stores in Arkansas.
    • A study revealed that police brutality and apparent racism are byproducts of systemically engrained beliefs, and this corrupt culture is not helped by the fact that many judges even seem to be able to commit crimes with impunity.
    • A group of scientists returned to Germany after being intentionally stuck in the Arctic for a year and warned that the Arctic Ocean is “dying”.
    • President Trump – who expressed his belief that white people are killed by police more often than people of color - issued an executive order banning all federal agencies – as well as federal contractors - from hosting or participating in “racial sensitivity” or “diversity” training; calling it “divisive” and “anti-American propaganda”. Instead, the President called for and later implemented a program aimed at American students to be indoctrinated via a “patriotic” education agenda which “teaches American exceptionalism” and which downplays the role of racism in our history.
    • While the country was mired in chaos between the virus and the riots Trump was delivering a number of significant policy objectives ranging from tougher immigration rules to winding back environmental and financial regulations.
    • Before a public backlash led him to rescind it, President Trump had issued an executive order which ended the “Stars and Stripes” publication which serves American military personnel.
    • The Extremist Right Win government of Poland announced that they would exit the European treaty prohibiting violence against women.
    • A record number of Americans reportedly decided to renounce their citizenship in the first half of 2020.
    • White supremacists were repeatedly caught on camera trying to incite the riots of 2020.
    • Trump initially signed off on a rule that instructed all foreign students to leave the country if their schools became completely virtual but he was later compelled to rescind such.
    • ICE used torture to force Cameroonian asylum seekers to sign their own deportation papers in the weeks close to the election with anticipation that Trump might lose.
    • Republican U.S, Senator Tom Cotton called slavery a “necessary evil” while expressing his disdain for an educational project meant to highlight the evils of racism and how it connects with our history.
    • President Trump threatened to veto a bill which would raise the pay of troops all because it was set to change military base names from those honoring Confederate soldiers.
    • Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos – who comes from the private online charter school, K-12 – reportedly used the pandemic emergency funds appropriated to her department to fund a promotion of nationalizing private educational voucher programs.
    • While signing an executive order which defers payroll taxes funding Social Security and Medicare, Trump promised that he would permanently cut the payroll taxes if he is reelected.
    • The United States Postal Service Headquarters sent out emails to Post Office managers demanding that they not reconnect any disconnected mail sorting machines. This was sent almost immediately after the corrupt Postmaster said publicly that he didn’t want it to seem like the Postal Service was trying to slow down mail for the election. Additionally, the Postmaster General oversaw a so-called “Massacre” wherein top executives were purged alongside over two dozen officials.
    • Trump’s aides contacted the Governor of South Dakota to find out about the process of adding presidents to Mount Rushmore.
    • A Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Report – notably approved by the Republican Majority – found that Trump had lied to Mueller about discussing the hacked emails with Stone and that the claim of Ukraine election interference originated with Russian Intelligence Agencies.
    • President Trump encouraged voters to cast a vote twice. First by mail and then in person if their first vote has not yet been registered. Note: this is illegal.
    • Answering the President’s call for his supporters to “watch” the vote take place, the extremist, armed rightwing “Oath Keepers” pledged to have a presence at the polls on Election Day “to protect voters”, saying that they don’t trust the police to protect people.
    • Trump told his supporters that they will not “stand for” losing the election, and that they will only have a “peaceful transition” of power if there isn’t any “cheating” (by the standards Trump has established based on his baseless claims of attempted fraud). His campaign is also reportedly contemplating means by which to circumvent the election, including one such plan which involves having Republican-dominated state governments choose their electors regardless of the popular vote in each state. Trump also told a crowd that he may even “sign an executive order” which effectively prohibits Biden from becoming president.
    • Trump nominee to replace Ginsburg on the Court – Amy Barrett – refused to say whether Trump could delay the election unilaterally as president; which he has signaled in the past his intent to do. He also later speculated to his supporters that ballots could be added suspiciously during delays in vote counts.
    • Trump publicly pressured Attorney General William Barr to launch a probe into Former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter inspired by an unconfirmed report by the New York Post which claimed that Hunter used his connections to arrange a meeting between Ukrainians and Biden. Especially important is that fact that Trump pointed to the nearing election as a reason for the pressure to act.
    • Ohio Republicans launched a fight over the number of ballot drop off boxes permitted per county. After Democratic-rich Cuyahoga County announced that they would allow up to six libraries to serve as Ballot Drop-Off points, the Republican Secretary of State LaRose fired back, saying that only one box was permitted per county in the interest of fairness. One Republican State Representative – named Nino Vitale – insisted that Ohioans stop getting tested for the virus.
    • Republicans in Pennsylvania created a legislative committee geared towards investigating suspected fraud in the coming election. Some fear that it could open the door to the Legislative Republicans there deciding that the popular vote doesn’t matter in the state and awarding the state’s electoral votes to Trump anyway.
    • It was revealed by a BBC report that the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network had uncovered a massive money laundering scheme involving trillions of dollars from criminal networks and a number of major banks were implicated.
    • Trump’s Education Secretary – Betsy DeVos – informed state leaders that the Trump Administration will be forcing students to risk exposure to the virus in order to take the standardized tests.
    • After Trump got off the phone with Jewish lawmakers he is reported to have expressed anti-Semitic thoughts out loud, including a comment wherein he said that “Jews are only in it for themselves” and that they supposedly are more loyal to their religion than their own country.
    • High ranking military officials are seriously contemplating what to do if Trump tries to abuse the use of the military in between Election Day and Inauguration Day.
    • The Trump Administration withdrew America from participating in planning for global distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and said that it will assess all future participation with the WHO on a “case by case basis” provided that “America’s interests” are put first. Instead of playing a role in the WHO – from which Trump started to withdraw us -, Trump’s Administration has decided to take an “America First” approach. Also, the detailed data about the Coronavirus kept for public viewing online as provided by the CDC disappeared when Trump moved management of the virus to the Health and Human Services Department from the CDC.
    • Trump started attacking leading health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci once the doctor started disagreeing with him publicly.
    • Trump’s press secretary intentionally lied about the American coronavirus mortality rate, claiming ours was the lowest in the world.
    • Despite a law passed earlier in the year which guarantees that every test for COVID-19 is free, health insurance companies have been exploiting every loophole they can find in order to force patients to pay for it.
    • President Trump has charged his campaign over $2 Million for rent, food, and other services through his businesses. He has also charged the Republican Party for services.
    • Protesters arrested in Portland were given an ultimatum; stop protesting or stay in jail.
    • George W. Bush’s former White House legal counsel – John Yoo, who wrote the memo justifying the use of torture – has noted that he has advised the Trump Administration on how Supreme Court rulings in the past (particularly the one allowing Obama to ignore Immigration Law via DACA) could be exploited by Trump to grant him vast powers to circumvent the will of Congress on a wide variety of issues.
    • Documents came out from the Justice Department which showed that Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Deputy Rod Rosenstein felt that a child’s age shouldn’t preclude immigrant detentions and that they had expressed a sentiment which held that if someone crossing the border seeking asylum or a better life cared about a child’s health then they shouldn’t bring their children here “illegally”.
    • Trump rejected a disaster declaration request for the history making California forest fires in September.
    • Following the sudden death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as well as Republican Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell promising to allow a vote on her replacement before the election, Trump named far-right nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett – who condemned Obama in 2016 for naming Garland to replace Scalia in a presidential election year and who was once a “handmaid” in a religious organization called “People of Praise” which opposes abortions and sees men as the “ordained” leaders of the family - to fill the seat, proclaiming that Barrett will uphold the “Second Amendment”, among other Conservative principles. This is especially important when considering that Trump has suggested that he believes the election will end up being decided by the Supreme Court and that this was his reason for wanting to push through Bader’s replacement. It is also relevant to note that the President is currently asking the Supreme Court to permit him to block people from following or interacting with him on social media.
    • The Supreme Court ruled that the Electoral College must honor the will of the states.
    • Judge Barrett – Trump’s nominee – once ruled as a Judge on the 7th Court of Appeals that the “n word” being used in the workplace doesn’t suffice as proof of a hostile work environment. She also refused to tell the Senate whether or not she believes that EVERY PRESIDENT should commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
    • Justices Thomas and Alito signaled their willingness to overturn the 2015 decision to legalize same sex marriage when they jointly issued a statement condemning that ruling as being oppressive to religious expression.
    • The Trump Administration – through the Secretary of Labor, late-Justice Scalia’s son – has proposed a set of rule changes to deregulate private equity firms (which are otherwise known as “vulture capital” firms) as well as massive private retirement insurance in addition to creating restrictions on retirement investments with a relatively progressive agenda.
    • The Trump Campaign intentionally misled the public with images of pro-democracy protests from Ukraine in 2014 and trying to pass those images off as proof of anti-police violence from this year.
    • Bitter about the activism of Generation Z and Millennials on TikTok, Trump threatened to ban the app.
    • Senate Republicans – at the request of President Trump – tried to insert almost two billion dollars of funding for a new FBI building into the second stimulus proposal.
    • Trump’s Administration tried to end the Census count early, blaming the pandemic and posing the risk of a severely inaccurate count. The Supreme Court authorized this early conclusion on October 15th. As a result, large population centers like Franklin County, Ohio had partial counts completed.
    • After 17 year old shooter Kyle Rittenhouse murdered two people and injured another with his gun a memo was distributed amongst officials in the Department of Homeland Security directing them to make supportive comments about Kyle, suggesting that he was defending small businesses.
    • Police in Pearland, Texas had reportedly authorized federal agents to kill people attending George Floyd’s funeral in the event that unrest broke out.
    • The Defense Department took money appropriated for combating the virus through the CARES Act and used that money to pay for new military equipment not related to the pandemic. Trump also prevented the Postal Service from implementing a plan to distributed five face masks per American household back in April. Some in the Post Office have begun to openly worry about mail delivery being intentionally slowed down. Trump himself seemed to hint that the entire assault on the post office was an effort to stifle the ability of the postal service to process millions of absentee ballots, even suggesting that he somehow has the power to use an executive order to block the ballots. Compounding the crisis, Trump’s rhetoric about the ballots contributed to polls showing the most of his supporters would not trust the election if it was decided by mail-in ballots.
    • President Trump – who started ignoring Dr. Fauci and expresses that he thinks we have more cases because we test more and that we should do half the testing we do now and who ordered hospitals to ignore the CDC - blocked the CDC from testifying before Congress about reopening schools – probably fearing that they would contradict his own position on making schools reopen -, claiming that the CDC needed to focus solely on dealing with the virus. The White House later went on to claim that they defeated the virus.
    • Trump has reportedly surrounded himself for quite some time with major criminals; including people involved with the mafia, Putin’s government, human trafficking, and some money laundering. More often than not, these arrangements have proven to be very lucrative for Trump, even if his partners didn’t wind up so lucky.
    • The Trump Administration signaled their support for designating teachers as “critical infrastructure workers”, which means that they should keep going to work even if they are exposed to the virus.
    • The Trump Administration imposed major budget cuts on the Postal Service to make it more inefficient and the result has led to complaints of citizens going days without receiving mail, dead animals stuck in the logjam, and rotting food in the centers for mail distribution.
    • In 2018, when the Homeland Security Secretary dragged her feet on separating kids, fascist team member Stephen Miller led a Cabinet vote which overwhelmingly approved the decision to separate kids from their families despite a 2017 pilot program of separation in El Paso which produced evidence of problems caused by the policy. The goal was to scare immigrants away and Miller claimed that the future of the country was at stake.
    • Trump appointed a former Campaign official – Michael Caputo – to be the Health and Human Services Spokesman, and he has gone out of his way to try and suppress the spread of coronavirus information from the CDC by adding caveats and forcing compromises on the reports all to preserve Trump’s optimistic messaging.
    • The Department of Homeland Security – through an effort spearheaded by Ken Cuccinelli – has been pressured by Trump officials to downplay the threat posed by white supremacists.
    • Trump curiously signed an executive order banning offshore oil drilling – reversing his previous position – just over 50 days before the election.
    • ICE paid a contractor to detain migrant women, and that contractor used its position to force countless women to have hysterectomies.
    • Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill passed by the Republican Legislature which grants legal immunity for institutions reopening. The goal is to shield them from lawsuits spawned by exposure to the virus.
    • Despite the severity of the pandemic and the crisis it has caused for democracy, the Republican-controlled Controlling Board rejected Secretary of State LaRose’s attempt at offering prepaid postage for absentee ballots. They did this after removing a Republican State Senator named Jay Hottinger from the Board who was vocally signaling support for the Secretary of State’s proposal.
    • The President – during an interview with Fox – appeared to approve of the use of “extrajudicial” killing of citizens as “retribution” for perceived criminal acts. This support is very similar to the actions of authoritarian regimes suppressing the right to dissent.
    • Trump’s use of a secret force of unidentified federal agents “proactively” arresting protesters and speeding off in unmarked vehicles was called “Operation Diligent Valor”. This use of federal agents to crush protests sent numerous political experts into panic mode. These agents even fired upon journalists despite a U.S. District Judge ordering all authorities to leave the press alone. Trump even threatened to send a lot more of these secretive federal agents to other Democratic-run major cities. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf proclaimed that he didn’t need an invitation from State or Local leaders to dispatch the agents to address the protesters he demonizes as “anarchists”.
    • After trying to get the Justice Department to serve as Trump’s personal legal defense in a defamation lawsuit against an assault victim. Attorney General Barr attacked federal prosecutors for coming after Trump and claimed that the economic lockdowns in response to the pandemic are comparable to slavery.
    • President Trump suggested – ONCE AGAIN – that he is entitled to a third term as well as a second. One of his justifications for such is that he was “spied on”. He also refused - again, after having initially avoiding to commit to accepting a loss back in the summer – to promise that there will be a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. He said, instead, that we should “get rid of the ballots” and that “there won’t be a transfer” only a “continuation”. He also kept insisting that he will only lose if there is a “rigged” election and that it may take “months” or “years” to know the election results. Trump’s lifelong fixer-lawyer Michael Cohen wrote in a memoir that Trump “will never leave peacefully”.
    • President Trump has been exploiting a loophole in the appointment process to avoid fighting with the Senate in order to fill the Pentagon by purging people who he finds disloyal and replacing them with people who are loyal to him by means of standards set by the Vacancies Act which allows for vacancies to be filled by people serving in other departments, people employed by a department for 90 days or more as well as paid at a certain level, and the “first assistant”.
    • After Trump commuted his sentence, Roger Stone, who has had Donald Trump’s ear as a deeply loyal supporter since the 1980s openly advocated that Trump “declare martial law” and “seize power” if Biden wins the election.
    • The Defense Department briefly pondered using the “Active Denial System” or “Heat Ray” as a method of crowd control at the height of the riots over the summer as it was reportedly used in Iraq.
    • With Trump threatening to “review” federal funding aimed at helping local governments affected by the riots, Attorney General Barr designated Portland, Seattle, and New York City as “anarchist jurisdictions”.
    • Trump avoided the opportunity to condemn white supremacists at the first 2020 Presidential Debate and instead said that something had to be done about ANTIFA as well as signaling to the white supremacist group called the “proud boys”, telling them to “stand by”.
    • President Trump was recorded by Bob Woodward back in March saying that he was aware that the virus was serious and that he enjoyed downplaying the severity thereof.
    • Health Insurance companies doubled their profits in a recent quarter-fiscal year in light of the pandemic.
    • Texas health officials removed thousands of cases of COVID from their confirmed database because of the method used to test those cases. This is despite the fact that the method in question is seen as legitimate by the CDC.
    • When President Trump was interviewed about the cases of COVID in the United States and how our country has the seventh highest mortality rate on Earth, Trump became combative, congratulated himself on his “Wall” for such supposedly keeping the spread down and he ultimately said of the death toll: “it is what it is”.
    • Just as Congress and the President’s team were nearing a deal on a second stimulus package, President Trump issued a directive via Twitter which proclaimed that all negotiations would be halted until after the election.
    • Even though President Trump was recovering from COVID-19 and Vice President Pence was exposed to such, Pence initially opposed the idea of a plexi-glass divider between himself and Senator Harris at the Vice Presidential debate.
    • The fascist President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro – tested positive for the coronavirus after having downplayed it.
    • Trump prematurely left Walter Reed after being admitted for coronavirus – as well as being treated with a steroid called dexamethasone - and then he took to Twitter to urge people to not fear the virus.
    • Trump promoted a Nazi-era theory called “Horserace theory” which is the foundation of eugenics.
    • Trump’s Interior Secretary signed off on a directive which paved the way for leasing out parts of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration.
    • A new book by Trump’s former Deputy Campaign Manager – Rick Gates – tells about how Trump wanted his daughter Ivanka to be his running-mate in 2016.
    • Senate Republicans were in a rush trying to get back on vacation after a few weeks in September following a brief return from another lengthy vacation without even trying to help the American people during the pandemic.
    • Thousands of Trump’s loyal followers were left to freeze in the rain in Nebraska after one of his campaign events.
    • In tearing apart the meritocracy, Trump signed an executive order which reclassifies a significant number of federal workers into a new category called “Schedule F” which would permit appointed agency heads to hire and fire workers at will.
    • Trump’s Son-in-Law and leading advisor Jared Kushner stated – out loud - that Trump’s polices would effectively help people of color who “want to help themselves”.
    • The Conservative Supreme Court – which only got more conservative after the partisan confirmation of Barrett - blocked citizens from participating in a pandemic-safe approach to voting called “curbside voting”.
    • A whistleblower from the Department of Homeland Security – a former top intelligence official at that department name Brian Murphy – noted that he was instructed by the Trump Administration to suppress information regarding Russian interference because it “makes the president look bad”. It also came out that the former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen felt that she had to create a “shadow” department because the President was not taking the threat seriously.
    • Days before the election, a Justice Department official told the media that a criminal probe launched in 2019 into Hunter Biden’s activities was still active.
    • President Trump again suggested that Biden and Obama committed treason in response to chants from his supporters to “lock them up!”



    Tonight’s Conclusion

    I decided to abandon the Quarterly Roundup just this one time so as to bring you as much of the up-to-date insanity of the Fascist Regime in power under Trump as I could on the eve of the 2020 Presidential Election. I will be posting a live update here on Xanga (something I haven’t done since the 2012 Presidential Election), preceded by my prediction of the outcome based on the conditions of the race at the time. Stay tuned.



    #NotMeUs #OurRevolution #TheResistance #ImpeachTrump #ClimateCrisis


    Purchase my manifesto, “The Pillars of Unitism”.



    Until next time…



July 6, 2020

  • The Progressive Lens Quarterly Roundup: April-June 2020

    Trump Era Days 1,168 - 1,258


    What was reported?

    • 701,000 people lost their jobs in March – the first monthly average loss in jobs since September 2010 - and unemployment rose to 4.4%. 20.5 Million people lost their jobs in April – and over 30 Million filed for unemployment from the start of the pandemic through to the end of April - due to the pandemic response, leading to an unemployment rate of 14.7%, the highest rate since the Great Depression and seeing a decade of job gains wiped out in one month. In May, with states gradually allowing the economy to reopen, 2.5 million jobs were re-added to the economy and the unemployment rate dropped to 13.3%.
    • With states like Ohio deciding to reopen – featuring, at least in Ohio, cases where more radical members of the Republican Party actually threatened to revolt by revoking the emergency powers used for the shutdowns - just two month into the pandemic, the pressure was on to crackdown on crisis spending. In Ohio, the state told employers to report workers who refuse to return to work despite the dangers of exposure to the virus.
    • Trump threatened to shut down all immigration in the wake of the virus to prevent immigrants from taking American jobs.
    • Trump announced that he would withhold funding from the World Health Organization, calling them bias toward China and accusing them of not being honest about the coronavirus.
    • In a test of the free exchange of information, Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg indicated that Facebook could restrict posts about police brutality and coverage of the demonstrations if there was prolonged social unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
    • After Trump was subjected to a fact-check notification by Twitter for all his followers to see, Trump lashed out at Twitter and signed an executive order meant to punish social media sites which dare to hold him accountable for his dishonesty.
    • Twitter was forced to censor President Trump after he tweeted that “when the looting starts the shooting starts”.
    • At the height of the civil unrest in the aftermath of Floyd’s murder, President Trump raised the military’s alert status to “near-wartime levels” and federalized the D.C. National Guard.
    • In the stimulus bill that was passed in March, millionaires benefited from 82% of the tax law changes which came with it, and less than 3% of those changes benefited people who make less than $100,000 a year.
    • Amnesty International warned that the American authorities were failing to respect and protect the right to peacefully protest, as guaranteed by international law. Even a sitting member of Congress was subjected to subversive measures.
    • Trump came out opposed to the idea that the Federal Government should consider helping states and local governments struggling as a result of the pandemic.
    • In the midst of the pandemic, Trump argued that schools should reopen “soon”.
    • Trump verbalized his adamant opposition to bailing out the Post Office if the rate for postage weren’t “hiked” and he even threatened to veto the stimulus passed in March if that bill had included a bailout for the Post Office.
    • The National Bureau of Economic Research convened and determined that the U.S. Economy officially entered a recession (driven by the pandemic) after the economy peaked in February 2020. The peak ended the history-making 128-month expansion.
    • As eviction court proceedings were planned to be resumed in Columbus, Ohio, holding mass eviction proceedings in a Convention Center to facilitate social distancing was contemplated.
    • The White House blocked Dr. Fauci – the leading medical expert in the nation helping with the pandemic response – from testifying before the House of Representatives again (after his previous testimony before the House had been conspicuously cut short after he had said things would get worse). Yet, he was slated with ease to testify before the politically-friendlier Senate.
    • The Trump Administration earmarked $600 Million via the Pentagon’s budget for a defense contractor’s machine that was supposedly going to permit the same n-95 Masks to be used up to 20 times. The problem is that the original cost was supposed to be $60 Million and the reality from numerous analyses have found that the masks can only be reused up to 4 times at max!
    • Trump fought back against calls for increasing access to ventilators, suggesting that it would be a better use of public dollars to invest in a scientifically-unproven and quite risky cocktail of drugs which had been rumored to possibly combat the virus.
    • President Trump mocked a reporter for wearing a mask, claiming that the reporter’s mask made it hard to hear him and that the reporter was being “politically correct”.
    • The Trump Administration issued an order which had set to end the emergency
    • Trump threatened to withhold federal funding for Michigan and Nevada in response to those states expanding their vote-by-mail which came in the wake of the pandemic.
    • National Guard deployment for the coronavirus pandemic response on June 24th, one day shy of when a significant number of National Guard troops would qualify for retirement and educational benefits.
    • Given the fact that the Trump Administration had done such a terrible job of preparing for the pandemic – reportedly wasting nearly two months of time which could have been exploited to enlarge mask stockpiles, for instance -, it was doubly insulting that the military under Trump instructed soldiers to fashion their own masks in light of the mask shortage.
    • After the Democratic Governor begrudgingly came to his senses and tried to postpone the Wisconsin Primary in April amidst the rising danger of the pandemic, the Republicans in the State Supreme Court and the Legislature successfully blocked his efforts, forcing the primary to go forward as planned. This was forced because Republicans had hoped to secure some gains in the State Judiciary.
    • Trump used the pandemic as an excuse to empower federal regulatory agencies to broadly cut regulations across the board and to “leave it that way”.
    • Jared Kushner had left open the possibility that the Administration could seek to delay the presidential election.
    • Seeing the numbers of Americans dying from the virus and thinking about its impact in an election year, President Trump insisted that the Centers for Disease Control change how it calculated the number of people killed by the virus, in order to produce a more politically-acceptable number.
    • President Trump vetoed a bill that would have protected students from having to owe loans for attending a college which closed due to fraud.
    • Senator Rand Paul blocked from unanimous consideration a bill passed by the House of Representatives which would have FINALLY made lynching a federal crime. Paul’s reason for blocking unanimous passage of the bill is that the language would supposedly make “bruising” punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison.
    • Fox News was caught intentionally using doctored-images and then lying about their intent for such regarding their coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle, including the establishment of the so-called “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” which was being temporarily occupied until a list of demands were met.
    • The Trump Administration argued that the Supreme Court should allow religious adoption agencies which receive tax-dollars to refuse service to gay couples and other couples based on religious objections.
    • The Trump Administration officially issued a rule change which stripped the LGBT community of protections in healthcare coverage, saying that the Affordable Care Act’s “sex” protections do not protect sexual identity or orientation, but only “male” and “female” from discrimination.
    • Despite efforts by the Trump Administration to defend the power of employers to fire people for their sexual affiliation or identity, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision – with Trump-appointee Justice Gorsuch writing the majority opinion – that employers can not terminate anyone based on such grounds.
    • The Arctic reportedly reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit as Siberia experienced forest fires.
    • There was a bit of a political and legal mess when the President tried to remove a federal prosecutor by not officially doing so. The prosecutor at issue, Manhattan leading federal prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, has been at the helm of a series of investigations into Trump-connected interests. Initially, Attorney General William Barr tried to suggest that the prosecutor was “stepping down” voluntarily, but when the prosecutor openly denied such, Trump wound up directly firing him.
    • The House Democrats made history by passing a resolution approving statehood for Washington D.C., which would grant the U.S. Capitol full representation in Congress.



    Tonight’s Conclusion


    2020 is changing the landscape of the world as we know it. I believed that the first quarter of this year was the most tumultuous I had seen up to that point and the second quarter actually out-did the first. From President Trump stripping funding from the World Health Organization and recommending that people inject disinfectant into their systems to the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic and the instability of our economy’s fundamentals. Then, we have to remember the historic mass movement jump-started by the murder of a man by members of law enforcement and the seismic changes and tests of the rule of law which has followed since.

    We are now at the cusp of a revolutionary transformation of not just American society, but the global community as well. We can either take a leap towards a more just and democratic reality or plunge deep into the authoritarian abyss. This is the moment that humanity decides its fate.


    2020 is quickly becoming the most important year in the human history.


    #NotMeUs #OurRevolution #TheResistance #ImpeachTrump #ClimateCrisis


    Purchase my manifesto, “The Pillars of Unitism”.



    Until next time…



May 28, 2020

  • Independent Progressivism

    The American people have long been served a bill of goods on the myth of influencing America’s political system. For generations, we have been told that we must operate within the Two-Party System in order to achieve change. This is what the oligarchy wants us to believe; that we really only have “two choices”. In producing this myth, they feed us corporate propaganda about a vote outside the Two-Party System being a “wasted vote” or a “vote for the [worst evil]”. “Vote for the lesser evil” is the underlying mantra sold to the people by the wealthy pundit class and their support base throughout the leadership of both major parties. Would you rather have the Democrats or the Republicans win? That’s the only choice that they ever want you to have.


    Breaking free of the chains of oligarchy requires that we think beyond the narrow prism that the few have established for us. Democracy can not thrive with an artificially-limited set of “viable” options. Rather, the limitation of options is how oppression is sustained and/or made inevitable. The moment we individually and then collectively realize that we can choose a better way is the moment that democracy really takes root and our possibilities become unleashed. Why is it that we continue to permit the elites of society to dictate to us the terms of our awakening?


    Our great myth in American politics is that the American electorate has a choice for the future of this country from the options propagated to us by our Corporate-Owned Media. We are told breathlessly that we MUST select between Party Option A and Party Option B lest we lend our support to the side we most oppose by default (more on that in a moment). The Two Party System is – in fact – a farce. While there are some good and well-meaning people who try to achieve change for the people within this design the fact of the matter is that the game is intentionally rigged against those actors. The heavy hand of oligarchs working in the shadows leaves no room for actual progress as they use their pocket books to insist upon an agenda which benefits them alone.


    This agenda is reinforced by the countless foot soldiers parroting what is best for the party at every level. It starts with the upper echelon of soldiers, from the lobbyists interacting with legislators (including drafting prewritten legislation which more often than not becomes law) to the Corporate-paid professional pundits talking about politics on television and in countless printed op-eds. The former submits the agenda behind closed doors while the latter helps create the narratives necessary for promoting the passage of said agenda. “Manufactured consent” is a term which did not just come out of nowhere. It is all about creating the illusion of progress combined with the illusion of popular support for a vision which leaves out what’s actually beneficial for the people.


    Then you have those at the party leadership level accepting their marching orders without question. The National, State, and Local chairs lead their respective organizations to help drive home the message that nothing too radical can change about the system. While certain chairpersons may be well-meaning, they are quickly overwhelmed with the immense pressure to fall in line. If you rebel from the objective you may well find your organization left in the dark by the larger group. Simply having the power to approve or reject ideas for the meeting agendas of each party level can make being the chair quite powerful indeed and the same can be said about the connections with allied organizations, such as labor.


    Maintaining control and stifling progress are ensured by establishing the agenda meant to lift the few and smother the many, in creating the narrative that no change can be “radical” change with the help of the professional pundit class, and in appointing foot soldiers in party leadership to ensure that a “radical” vision is not even entertained to start with. The oligarchy undoubtedly has an incredible army at their disposal. They absolutely want us to believe that there is no way out of their version of society. To them, it is imperative that we conclude all hope is lost beyond the “two choices” they have provided for us. The myth of a “wasted vote” is an intellectual intimidation tactic and the message that we must “vote for the lesser evil” is their most effective weapon against any real progress ever being made.


    When the pundits and the party leaders insist that we vote based on their “lesser evil” myth they are hoping that you will never wake up, that you will never ask “why vote evil at all?” Their goal is to stifle progress and cripple democracy. The ultimate objective of this system built of, for, and by the Elites is to serve their masters: the fortunate few. They lull us to sleep politically by telling half of the story of the women’s suffrage movement, the abolition movement, the civil rights movement, and the environmental movement…among so many others. They hardly tell you anything about the labor movement. Why? Because they, the few, the people who finance the pundits and the comfortable politicians, don’t want you to know the real power that we have when we come together separate from the artificial lines of division that their two party system has created for us.


    If the people are truly ready for a change, then they must open their eyes to the reality that we have very few allies in politics. We must also be aware that even those who have consistently spoken out for us are mere human beings who are imperfect and have their own weaknesses which the established forces can manipulate to ensure the continuation of the wealthy’s status quo. The challenge to breaking free of the chains of oligarchy is that we must disentangle ourselves from the plethora of lies long erected to inhibit our collective growth. We must recognize that true change will not occur with media coverage or a fair process. True change must occur from a revolt of the people, demonstrated through persistent and aggressive (nonviolent) advocacy compelled by an alliance of grassroots revolutionaries. A revolution was never meant to spring from within the oligarchy’s puppet organizations and propaganda networks. Rather, the revolution was always meant to emerge in spite of the obstacles placed before us.


    The oligarchs keep us in line by convincing us that our resistance to their rule is a futile effort. They present false choices and create this narrative of “lesser evils” to present the impression that we will never escape their clutches. Oppression is made possible and is sustained with this lie. When we buy into their deception about the limitations of democracy we help to drive a stake through the heart of our collective power. Our greatest challenge is overcoming the obstacles that they have erected within our minds. In order to progress together we must first conquer the fears of failure that they have instilled in us


    Why is it that we allow this to proceed? We know through our lessons in history that the people, together, have more power than the few can contain. World history is riddled with countless examples of popular uprisings (both peaceful and not) deposing the tyrannical power structure meant to exploit the many for the benefit of the few. There are even more examples of popular movements forcing even incremental changes for a collective benefit. Yet, we find ourselves almost lost when presented with the need to rise up together once again in this crucial moment testing the strength of our collective power as well as the well being of the planet overall. Why do we let the Elites convince us that we can’t win when humanity has so often come together to prove them wrong?


    The elites have long held the reins of society. Aristotle himself was a major proponent for such; calling for “Philosopher Kings” to rule in a system which he called “Aristocracy”.  America’s Founding Fathers were students of Aristotle’s school of thought, and they took to heart the valid concerns he had in his time about an illiterate and otherwise ill-informed democracy which would have been plagued by chaos. The lack of education was barely improved (on purpose, by the way) between the Classical Era in which Aristotle lived and the Enlightenment Era from which the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison emerged. Their era was plagued with a worldview which saw empires ravage the planet (including the one against which they were rebelling) and the rise of dictators like Napoleon through a populist revolt.


    Napoleon’s rise via democracy which was bolstered by him tapping into populist outrage was especially influential in the thinking of the so-called “Framers” of the American Experiment. They were alarmed by the destructive potential of letting the many upend the established order when the system seems to fail them. This was one of the key factors in their decisions to create the Senate, the Electoral College, and in seriously restricting the powers of the American Presidency. They wanted to create a political system which listened to the people - through the House of Representatives - but which allowed the political elite to keep the populist sentiments tamed; through the Senate and the Electoral College, both of which were directly elected by the Elites of each State at the time.


    While the emergence of political parties as we know them today came after the Constitution was drafted, the parties themselves soon became another tool to steer the conversation of the people. The Elites of American society (as well as society abroad) use the simplistic labels created by parties to divide the conscience of the people and to divert our class consciousness. When we think of our neighbors as being an adversary due to their claimed political label as opposed to being a fellow victim of exploitation it is a lot easier for those doing the exploiting to avoid class unity amongst the oppressed. This is crucial, because the prospective unity of the working class would undoubtedly sew the seeds of the Elite being held to account.


    Truth is, the availability of information and the ability to fully educate every adult has vastly improved since the late-1700s. The internet alone presents a grand opportunity to teach every man, woman, and child to read and then become far more informed than any other generation in the history of the world. Also, the internet creates an opening for enhanced communication between the people from all walks of life and from around the globe, and it absolutely has the potential to make organizing easier and democracy stronger than our species has ever experienced before. Alas, we find ourselves crippled by the propaganda showered upon us by the relentless onslaught of the wealthy handful that depends on our continuing to doubt the power that we collectively share as we sheepishly choose between the choices they have prepackaged for us.


    They want us to forget how the Civil Rights Movement succeeded. They want us to forget how the Women’s Suffrage Movement succeeded. They want us to forget how the Abolitionist Movement succeeded. They especially want us to forget how the Labor Movement succeeded. They want us to forget these things because each of those movements and many more prevailed through the use of mass popular resistance; a key component for democracy. In summary, they want us to forget that democracy works and that we don’t need them. They need us.


    As has been so often the case in the past two decades, we are at yet another crucial turning point in history. Now, more than ever, we must recognize the class war which has been raging since long before any of us alive today were born. This class war has always benefited the Elite few, and that handful of advantaged humans has been doing everything possible to weaken the power of those they exploit. Democracy is the greatest weapon for the exploited to break their chains and democracy can not prevail if it is artificially bound by unnecessary labels meant to divide and conquer us. If we believe in progress then we must believe in democracy, and democracy must be utilized independent of political parties.

April 20, 2020

  • “#DemExit”: A Chronicling of a Political Transformation

    A change of heart is not something that I easily endure, but sometimes it is necessary. I always face an internal struggle with these transformations. None has ever quite matched the significance of when I begrudgingly converted from being an outspoken Christian who led his immediate family in the faith to being an agnostic. When I reached that shift in October 2011 it completely devastated certain members of my family, I still hear criticism about it, and I believe I will never hear the end of it. Over the past month I have experienced a similar transition. This time, it is political in nature.


    Before I go into detail about that transition, let me lay the foundation with some background information. I was raised by my single mother. She was a Democrat until her dying day in 2012. She was also someone who didn’t blindly vote for anyone, though. She used to proudly note that she had voted for Ross Perot. The best part about her was that she NEVER told me or my siblings how we should vote or think. The only thing she insisted upon was that we participate. To her, voting was essential as a citizen in a free country.


    My maternal grandfather (her father, for the sake of simplicity) has always been the patriarch of our family. He is a centrist Democrat to his core and his deep devotion to the cause of organized labor helped instill in me an appreciation for unions. Even so, while he has lived his entire life as a Democrat, my grandfather has never held back on criticizing the party or the leaders thereof. My mother and her father taught me very important lessons throughout my life about the value of fighting for what you believe in.


    Remaining silent and obedient is not in my blood. I can’t simply just shut up and tolerate wrongdoing or be quiet when something upsets me. I saw my mother struggle throughout her life and she always had to fight for herself. The same has gradually become my experience (though, nowhere near the degree to which my mother struggled).


    It should be well known to all those close to me by now that my early life experiences involved near-endless chaos. From being homeless a handful of times – including living for a few weeks in a tent on a campground when I was 8 years old – to my parents separating a year later. We moved around once a year for several years in a row and I nearly failed in school several times as a result.


    My life experiences in early childhood and now as an adult – including battling management at Goodwill when they punished me for taking time off work when my son was born, dealing with being an uninsured asthmatic for about two years, and then when I spent two years struggling to provide for my family bouncing between being unemployed and working as a temp – have instructed me and have made me someone with deeply-rooted core principles which guide my activism and my choices as a voter.


    It is also worth noting that I am a passionate student of history and follower of current events. Learning about how we got to where we are and why things are the way they are has helped provide further guidance in my decisions. I’m profoundly open-minded and I take great pride in the fact that I am never blinded by allegiance to one group or another. If I see something which needs to be addressed I will address it, no matter how unpopular my opinion on the issues may be.


    As a member of the Democratic Party since I was 18 (though, I’ve called myself a Democrat since I was 10) I have never sat silently and just voted for the Democrat like some programmed robot. There was a time when I used to defend the Party more willingly, but as I learned more about how things work and about current events I became more and more willing to criticize the Democrats and insist on them being better. This was something I did simultaneously with fighting hard within the party to make it more progressive.


    At the age of 18, the first presidential candidate I ever supported was Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Interestingly, when I first got involved directly in politics (instead of just watching from the sidelines as a minor who couldn’t vote) I had considered myself to be a Conservative Democrat. I was deeply religious at the time (I attended a Pentecostal church several times a week from 2002 through 2004). I was strongly conservative on social issues but open minded on economic issues and foreign policy. Kucinich was the first candidate to fire something up in my “soul”.


    Kucinich spoke passionately about the poor and the working class overall. He spoke passionately about ending our endless wars. He spoke passionately about Medicare for All (the first presidential candidate I had ever heard mention it). He spoke passionately about confronting the dangers of George W. Bush’s policies and the precedents they were setting for the powers of the presidency. I was excited about Kucinich and proudly voted for him in the 2004 Presidential Primary.


    When Kucinich dropped out I shifted my support to former Senator John Edwards, who also spoke eloquently about the desperate condition of average Americans. His “Two Americas” speeches inspired me and directly resonated with me. John Kerry choosing Edwards as his running-mate made it easier for me to support Kerry in the end. I wholeheartedly volunteered in that ill-fated campaign. Doing my first phonebanking, Guest Column and Letters to the Editor, as well as canvassing. It was an exciting time, but my heart was broken for the first time in my life of observing politics when Bush was declared the winner of that race.


    After the 2004 campaign, I took a few months off from politics to deal with the natural post-election depression. Then, I focused more on activism as well as online blogging about my viewpoints. This was a time of major change for me as I was becoming more progressive over time. I was questioning everything, from religion to how the world works. This was an awakening of something within me, and I wasn’t going to let myself slip back into blindly following anything or anyone (this was the timeframe when I left my former church out of protest, choosing instead to practice my former faith independently).


    I also increasingly became more critical of the Democratic Party during this period of time. As I read more and more about Bush’s abuses of power (primarily as it pertained to the facts that were coming out about war crimes, unconstitutional exploitation of signing statements, and the use of torture) I became increasingly frustrated with the Democratic Party’s unwillingness to confront those abuses and say what needed to be said: Bush’s actions were impeachable. In May of 2005, I met John Kerry in person as he came to Utica, Ohio to do an event on the farm of Gene Branstool. Kerry talked before I briefly met him about how he supported the weak proposal to “censure” Bush (which is basically the congressional equivalent of wagging your finger at someone). Historical note: Democrats were actually in a strong position politically at this point as they had blocked Bush’s attempts to privatize Medicare and Social Security and they had managed to block a number of his hyper conservative judicial nominations, but I digress.


    By the end of 2005, I was involved in a handful of activist causes. One of those causes was alongside a Gold Star mother who had lost her son in Bush’s illegal war in Iraq. To back track a little, the first time I ever remember being mad at Democrats was when I was 17, when Democrats voted for that illegal war. I knew then how wrong that vote was, and I never believed for a second that Bush would pursue anything but a war. Back to late-2005, the Gold Star mother and I had driven together to then-Congressman Ney’s congressional office in Zanesville to seek an audience with the Congressman. He wasn’t there, but we were in the paper for our peaceful demonstration and efforts to bring attention to the wrongness of the war.


    My opposition to the Iraq War and suspicions about Bush’s abuses of power only grew stronger. By the end of 2006 I was publicly advocating for the end of the war and Bush’s removal from office. I circulated petitions at the time and began pestering Newark City Council (which I did again in late-2007) to adopt a resolution calling for Congressional action to at least begin hearings on possible impeachment.


    It was obvious to me that my advocacy was annoying to the so-called “old guard” of the local Democratic Party. Most of them were uncomfortable with the petition for Bush’s impeachment despite all of his obvious abuses. Eventually, I had a chance to meet and discuss issues with the guy who would become our member of the House of Representatives: Zack Space. By the spring of 2007, Space came back to Licking County – then as a member of Congress – to address the annual dinner hosted by the local Party’s Club. While the Democrats had won a majority in both houses of Congress in 2006 on a message of rooting out the “culture of corruption” and even by attacking the Bush’s Administration’s illegal war in Iraq, the leadership of the Party suddenly pumped the brakes on doing hardly anything about either issue.


    The best that they were willing to do was passing an admittedly strong ethics reform bill which prohibited certain connections between lobbyists and members of Congress. That was well and good, but it left unaddressed the giant elephant (no pun intended) in the room: Bush’s abuses and illegal war. Pelosi, before she officially assumed her history-making position as the first woman to be Speaker of the House, immediately told voters that “impeachment is off the table” as it pertained to Bush. This was outrageous to me, and I have never forgiven her for it (this also ended my contributions to the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC).


    When I had a chance to speak with then-Congressman Space in person about these concerns, he excused his opposition to impeachment by saying it would be “too divisive”. No, he couldn’t justify inaction by claiming that Bush committed no impeachable offenses. Rather, his only concern – just like Speaker Pelosi’s – was how impeaching Bush would “divide the country”. In other words, they were afraid that doing the right thing would harm them politically, Constitution be damned. Truth be told, I refused to vote for Space’s reelection in 2008 as a result of this (I had previously skipped Sherrod Brown’s race for the Senate in protest of his vote in the House for the unconstitutional Military Commissions Act of 2006).


    Later that year, then-Congressman Kucinich used his privileged resolution (a right of all members of Congress) to force the House of Representatives to vote on his comprehensive Articles of Impeachment against Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the Bush Regime responsible for a slew of crimes against the rule of law. The cowardly Democratic Congress quickly killed the resolution with a “vote to commit”, which means that they sent the resolution to a committee that would never hear the resolution. As one might imagine, this enraged me. I was truly ashamed to be a Democrat in that moment.


    Kucinich was then running for President again, just as he did four years earlier and I was again supporting him. This time I was working a decent job which enabled me to donate to his campaign (the first campaign for president to which I ever financially contributed). By the end of 2007 with the first presidential nomination contests starting in January of 2008, I wrote a letter to the editor which proclaimed that I was dead set on supporting Kucinich and was – at least at that time – not prepared to support anyone else in the 2008 presidential election. Additionally, I cited Kucinich’s political bravery in standing up for what was right no matter the popularity of his stance as a reason for supporting him so passionately.


    What happened next was truthfully earth-shattering for me. The Tuesday after my letter to the editor had been published I attended – as I had practically all year in 2007 – the monthly Licking County Democratic Club meeting. At that meeting, the Party Chair at the time singled me out – not using my name, but his remarks were made with me sitting right in front of where he was standing – and cited my letter to the editor, declaring that (and I am paraphrasing) “Kucinich isn’t going to be the nominee, we’re not going in that direction”. NO ONE in the room (and there were about 30-50 people in the room) protested the Party Chair’s comments. I felt very strongly that the Party should remain neutral in a primary until a nominee was chosen, but apparently I was alone in that. This left me so angry that I left after the meeting ended and didn’t return to the party or club as a regular participant for about 6 years.


    In 2008, I never got the chance to vote for Kucinich as he dropped out before the Ohio primary after his poor showing in early states. My second choice was Former Senator John Edwards again, but he was forced to drop out because of a scandal involving a mistress. So, I was left with my third and final pick, then-Senator Obama. His message inspired me in a number of ways and I was convinced that he was running for the right reasons. Plus, I could not stand Hillary Clinton because her ties to Wall Street and her votes for the Patriot Act and the Iraq War made her a tough one for me to support.


    I voted for Obama in the primary and lobbied other friends and family to follow suit. While Obama lost Ohio, his momentum eventually caught on and I was excited to vote in November. That was, until then-Senator Obama voted for the so-called “Protect America Act” in the Summer of 2008, which granted retroactive immunity from lawsuits and criminal liability to the telecommunications companies which had helped Bush illegally spy on Americans. This was a betrayal of the Constitution which deeply disturbed me. After this vote I withdrew my support from Obama and began pondering support for Ralph Nader instead.


    It wasn’t until John McCain picked the dangerously incompetent and demagogic Governor Sarah Palin as his running-mate that I decided to give Obama one last look. While I was absolutely appalled at Obama first dismissing the need to impeach Bush and then his vote to let Bush and his corporate cronies get away with attacking our liberties, I feared that Palin being a heartbeat away from the presidency would do serious harm to the country. For that reason, I let Obama appeal to me again. That November, I voted for Obama and cried with tears of joy watching history be made.


    Even so, there was another series of betrayals underway which pushed me away from the party. Then-Governor Ted Strickland of my home state of Ohio was a Democrat, and he used his influence in the state to pressure the unions and related organizations pushing for AT LEAST seven days of paid family and sick leave in the state to remove their statewide measure from the November ballot. I had been looking forward to supporting the measure, but was deeply angered by the decision to pull it back, as pressured by a Governor for whom I had voted just two years prior.


    The next year, after Obama assumed the presidency, I was left fuming when he decided that it was best to “look forward, not backwards” when asked about whether Bush’s crimes should be investigated. Like former Congressman Space, Obama was starting to show a lack of political backbone. He then filled his Administration with a number of neoliberal allies of big banks in the midst of an economic crisis which had been started and exacerbated by the greed of those same major banks. It was as if the team had been assembled by Hillary herself. He then refused to seek prosecution for the crimes committed by the heads of those banks. Lastly, after seeking a weak economic recovery package to start with (which did little to help the working class in the long term), Obama broke a campaign promise he had made in 2008 by refusing to support the proposal for the “Employee Free Choice Act” which would have made it easier for workers to unionize with stronger protections.


    I was learning very quickly that Obama and the Democrats were more attuned to the concerns of their wealthy donors than the working class citizens whose votes they claimed to be part of their “base”. Further proof of this came in Obama’s quick pivot from his pitiful economic approach to his corporate-backed healthcare initiative. No, the insurance industry didn’t want healthcare reform AT ALL, but they were determined to water down any reforms as much as possible by dispatching their lobbyists to D.C. to help craft the bill being pieced together by the Democrats in Congress. Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats and President Obama were more than willing to let the insurance industry’s lobbyists influence the bill, even removing the compromise provision which would have provided for a “public option”. Republicans didn’t remove that provision, Senate Democrats did and Obama practically did nothing to put pressure on Congress to stop such.


    When it was all said and done, Obama signed his “Affordable Care Act” (which I opposed, mostly because it was written by lobbyists and it mandated that everyone buy insurance they may not be able to afford), and then he let the moment die. He could have quickly pivoted to comprehensive immigration reform that summer – using a decent bump he had received in opinion polls at the time for having passed healthcare reform - and kept a promise to the Hispanic community, but the cowardly Democrats were petrified that it would cost them the election.


    When the 2010 midterms routed Democrats out of control over the House and decimated Democrats’ standing in legislatures across the country it saddened me, but it was not surprising. The betrayal of progressives and the working class had depressed turnout. Democrats didn’t even bother using their strong majorities in Congress to raise the minimum wage despite the fact that they held power in Congress and the Presidency. They didn’t even do so at the end of 2010 in the lameduck session of Congress when they repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – a homophobic law that Democrats themselves had passed under Clinton -, nor did they bother to repeal the harm done to the Postal Service by the Republican Lameduck session in late-2006 when the Republican Congress and George W. Bush mandated that the Postal Service pre-fund their pensions in a scheme to weaken the solvency of the agency and expedite the effort to privatize it.


    In 2011 it only got worse. Obama attempted to pivot more to the center to try and duplicate Clinton’s “triangulation” strategy. Clinton had done so successfully in the aftermath of the 1994 midterms which had swept Republicans into control of Congress. He had outmaneuvered then-Speaker Gingrich by appearing willing to work with them in ways that helped Clinton politically at the expense of the working poor and minorities. Obama’s similar efforts in this regard came with his willingness to be open to cuts to the social safety net.


    Obama asked a bipartisan team of former U.S. Senators (Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson) to come together and find out how to control the budget deficit. Their conservative-leaning solutions largely relied on cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. When the “Tea Party” Republican Congressmembers threatened to shutdown the government and default on the national debt, President Obama REPEATEDLY offered a number of cuts to these three social safety net programs as a tradeoff for keeping the government running and stopping a default. Thankfully, the Republicans backed off each time, but this alarming willingness to sacrifice the safety net rubbed me and many other progressives the wrong way.


    By the end of 2011, two other major developments happened in my evolution in politics. I joined the Occupy movement and I watched on as Senator Bernie Sanders (who I had liked ever since I first heard of him as a member of the House back in 2006) became the ONLY strong voice in the Senate fighting the efforts to cut these vital programs. I even heard rumors of Senator Sanders floating the idea that someone should primary Obama to pull him back to the progressives, and I STRONGLY agreed with him. Obama was becoming too damn willing to concede to the Republicans. He was not leading, he was reacting.


    If it weren’t for the fact that I was in college at the time, bouncing between temporary jobs and unemployment, and trying to salvage my marriage, all while raising two young kids and watching my mother die, I would have done more as an activist to protest this shift towards more neoliberalism. Instead, the only time I had for activism at the time was reserved for my Occupy group that I helped found, and my involvement in that even was disrupted greatly when my mother actually passed away in May 2012.


    I watched on as Obama lucked out and survived a challenge from Mitt Romney in the 2012 General Election. I voted for Obama that year, but Romney lacked the ability to tap into the base of his party as he represented the status quo politics which had led to the rise of the so-called revolutionary “Tea Party” movement which had been co-opted by wealthy financiers like David and Charles Koch. Obama was still losing support amongst the base, though, and that’s why his reelection was not guaranteed. Like I said, he was lucky to have had an opponent who inspired no one.


    In 2013, we saw Obama gradually fizzling out as a political powerhouse (a generous term, honestly). While his support amongst Democratic voters remained high, voters who sat on the edges felt disaffected by his numerous failures during the first term. I was certainly amongst them. Yes, I supported Obama, but I also started criticizing him and the party more during this period, especially as it pertained to his military policies, which I saw as increasingly resembling what I abhorred about Bush’s.


    Obama’s few strengths – in my view – during his second term came in the form of his advocacy for criminal justice reform and gun reform (which he started to address following the Sandy Hook massacre). This was the area wherein I passionately spoke up in support of President Obama. I also appreciated his efforts to finally address immigration reform (though, I remembered throughout how he had dropped the ball in 2010). When he signed DACA I was supportive, but I was also worried that his newfound love of creating reform solely with executive orders was setting a new dangerous precedent.


    This period of time (from 2011 through 2014) saw Obama becoming more overtly supportive of unconstitutional military action. From the unauthorized interventions in Syria and Libya to the drone strike which killed an American citizen named Anwar al-Awlaki alongside three other Americans (including Anwar’s teenage son). I had promised during my previous effort to seek out Bush’s impeachment that I would push for the same if a Democrat demonstrated impeachable acts and I followed through in mid-2014. This campaign was not well received at all by the party for obvious reasons, and I knew that going in, but I am a man of my word and justice is nonpartisan.


    While I was pushing for action to restrain the powers of the presidency and preserve the rule of law, I was also getting back involved in the local party and club. I had rejoined both the party and club in part because I was finally finished with my college degree and I was planning to run for office. By mid-2014 I was advocating for progressive changes within the club, beginning my push for a pro-working class initiative called the “Summer of Labor” and succeeding in one effort to help the then-Club President secure a change in the Club’s annual fundraiser as we renamed it the “FDR Dinner” from the “Jefferson-Jackson Dinner”. By the end of the year, I was wrapping up my campaign to push for Obama to be held accountable and I was readying for my City Council bid.


    When I was building my Council campaign I ran into some light opposition within the party at first from elected members. They were hesitant to support me at first because of how outspoken I was. Honestly, I expected such and didn’t hold such against them. After all, they would soon learn that I was not going to hold back on addressing an issue if and when I felt like it needed to be addressed, even if I was taking a position at odds with the position of the party establishment.


    In 2015, there was a sudden emergence of a hot button divisive issue in City Council in Newark, Ohio. An organized group of citizens came to Council and demanded the repeal of so-called “Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)”, which prohibits or significantly limits the ownership of supposedly “vicious” dogs who are deemed vicious for no reason other than their breed. I listened to the pleas of these citizens with an open mind and came away feeling that it was best to repeal the restrictions. It felt like a no-brainer to me. Even so, I soon discovered that my position was at odds with all but one Democrat on Council.


    The fight over “BSL” grew more and more intense as the year unfolded. Those advocating for a repeal were largely poor working class citizens who were tired of getting fined and being threatened by the persistent animal control officer. I decided that I needed to speak out on their behalf. As part of this, I composed a Guest Column which was published in our local paper wherein I proclaimed my support for the repeal and insisted that it was the right thing to do. After it was published I immediately received a facebook message from the local Democratic Party Chair who asked me to give them a call. When I did so I was subjected to a lecture about how it was not wise to “associate with those people” (the Chairperson insisted that the activists “aren’t good people”, though I knew otherwise) and how I needed to avoid taking a stand on controversial matters wherein my position could “hurt the other candidates”.  Naturally, I rejected the effort to pressure me to censor my campaign.


    When I lost that November – which I expected, to be honest, since I had the least amount of support of any campaign financially, and I had no one offering to help campaign for me – I was pleasantly surprised to be offered the opportunity to run to be the Licking County Democratic Club’s Second Vice President. With no opposition, I was elected for the 2016 calendar year. Immediately, though, my passionate advocacy for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign became a bit of a nuisance.


    I found myself regularly fighting with Party Establishment figures online over the nomination process. The foundation for this fight had been set earlier in 2015, though. As a candidate for Council in May 2015, I was invited by a good friend of mine to have a free seat at the Club’s FDR Dinner that year. The keynote speaker was the then-newly elected State Party Chair of Ohio, David Pepper. In Pepper’s speech, he excitedly proclaimed that Hillary Clinton was going to be the next president of the United States, and this was despite the fact that Hillary already had two challengers for the nomination at this point: Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.


    Fast forward back to the early stages of 2016 and I am debating the OFFICIAL Facebook Page accounts of Democratic Party Organizations, the worst one of which was the page for the Ohio Democratic Party’s County Chairs Association. This was a page meant to represent the 88 County Chairpersons, the very definition of Party Establishment. Just before 2016 started, this page became very aggressive in attacking the candidacy and campaign of Bernie Sanders despite the ongoing primary contest. It was very reminiscent to me of the former Licking County Chair singling me and other Kucinich supporters out as being out-of-touch back in 2007.


    What made these attacks worse was something which continues through to this day is that the Party Establishment and even certain candidates were attacking Bernie by asserting he wasn’t welcome in the primary because he is “not a Democrat”. While technically true, they always conveniently left out how he has caucused with Democrats ever since he first entered Congress in 1991 and that he was only running as a Democrat because he feared that running as an Independent would harm the Democratic Nominee and help the Republican. If anything, he was doing the party a favor by not mounting what would have been a very significant third party or Independent challenge. Yet, Bernie and his supporters were and still are portrayed as foreign invaders of the party who are constantly told by party faithful that they must both find/create their own party AND (if this makes any sense) ultimately support the Democratic nominee lest they be forever deemed a supporter of the Republicans by default.


    In other words, the message was loud and clear from the Party Establishment: shut up and vote for us. That was effectively the same thing I had been hearing more and more over time throughout each of my personal experiences as listed above and going forward. When the primary was over and I became an advocate for a strong progressive Vice Presidential nominee as well as hinted that I was undecided in the 2016 November Election, I was scolded repeatedly for thinking for myself. I needed to “grow up” they said, because I was being a “brat” some said. All sorts of insults were hurled at Progressives like myself simply for insisting that our vote be earned for once, instead of just expected.


    After the Convention, I buckled and decided to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, without any real enthusiasm. I still didn’t trust her, but I felt compelled by the overtures to the slightly more progressive party platform for which Bernie and his surrogates had so passionately fought. However, it was in the final two months of the campaign when the wheels completely fell off of it. While the world came to be hyper focused on the Access Hollywood scandal of Trump’s, I was increasingly aware of Hillary’s refusal to campaign on why people should vote for her. Instead, she insisted on campaigning almost solely on the message of “I’m not Trump”.


    I encountered numerous fellow citizens all around who were swing voters, Democrats even, who were not inspired to support Clinton as a result of this increase in negativity. They knew Trump was a terrible human being, but they weren’t seeing any reason why Hillary was any better than the numerous other politicians who’ve let them down. While I was at this time convinced that Trump was too incompetent to benefit from his fake-populism, I was convinced that Hillary was doing the American people a disservice by not campaigning on the issues. She was playing into the character attacks and making it all about personality despite her lack thereof.


    I saw this and was alarmed at how the people were being deprived of the issues-oriented campaign that we so desperately needed. So, I composed and submitted a letter to the editor which was published prior to the election. My letter ridiculed the Clinton campaign despite feeling that the former Secretary of State was likely to win; at the time, because of the aforementioned scandal and Trump’s obvious incompetence. I condemned the lack of focus on issues and the honing in on the personality question. It was a disappointment, as I was illustrating, for Hillary to deny the people a chance to compare and contrast policies. I wanted to go on record for saying that we deserved better, because we did.


    The interesting thing, though, is that I had predicted that Trump was on a path to win the presidency much earlier in the campaign. I saw the signs of the great era of populism in which we are living, a phenomenon which emerges when the economic and political systems of a society begin to collapse and fail to serve the needs of the people. It is the thing out of which revolutions emerge. I was blind-sighted by the Access Hollywood scandal as well as my mistake in watching Mainstream Media coverage at the time, wherein they made a bigger deal out of the scandal than the American people were making. For that reason, as well as Trump’s refusal to shut up or stop tweeting every last insane thought which comes to mind, I had become convinced that Trump would botch his moment in history. I should have stuck with my initial inclinations, because they proved correct in the end.


    Following the disastrous election of 2016, I spent the next few weeks assessing the results and revisiting what I had felt in the weeks and months leading up to it. After doing so, I had another letter to the editor published wherein I acknowledged how I was wrong to predict that Hillary would win and that I and most political experts missed the mark because we overlooked the significance of the fact that Trump gave people a reason to vote for them while Hillary failed to do so. Needless to say, people in the party were not happy that I said these things about the nominee who failed to defeat Trump.


    That December, I was vying for the Presidency of the Licking County Democratic Club (LCDC) for the 2017 Term. I had been Second Vice President of the Club for all of 2016, but the sudden resignation of our Club’s President in October of that year let the First Vice President (the former President from the year before) ascend to serve as the President to finish out the year while I was promoted to being the Vice President (we effectively had no Second Vice President). There was even one month in the midst of this wherein I had to preside over the Club’s meeting because I was the only one out of all three of us who showed up. That experience and my determination to see to it that the party and club became more progressive compelled me to pursue the presidency. I had hope that we could right the ship and avoid repeating the nightmare of 2016 going forward.


    However, at the Party Meeting in November 2016 (which took place at the end of that month), I was approached by the Interim President of the Club, as they asked me what office I was interested in pursuing for the Club’s election in December. When I mentioned the Presidency they took note of such (this person is a friend of mine and they were just jotting down notes of who was interested in what offices, because this person was not interested in pursuing another term in any office of the club). The revelation that I was going to run for Club president sent off alarms throughout the local party, though, and that’s when things got interesting.


    Prior to the Club election I caught wind of a rumor that the Party was organizing to prevent me from winning the presidency of the Club. When I arrived at the Club meeting in December 2016 to prepare for the Club elections I was taken aback as to the near-solid opposition to my candidacy. Only one friend of mine in attendance would second my nomination and that friend and I were the only two votes for me out of about two to three dozen people involved. The person who didn’t want to run for Club officer again was encouraged to run for the office to thwart my efforts, and after the meeting that person invited me to stay after everyone left to explain what had gone down.


    I agreed to stay and hear them out. So, with copies of my two most recent letters to the editor presented, the “President-Elect” of the Club explained that my harsh criticism of Clinton and record of being outspoken had left a number of influential members of the Party threatening to leave if I became the Club president. I was advised to be kinder to the party and basically police my critique so as not to harm it. It was also brought to my attention that I and the progressives I represented were seen as a possible “Tea Party of the Left” which the leadership wanted to avoid hijacking the party. I made it clear that I didn’t want to have a hostile takeover of the party, but rather that I merely wanted the base to be heard for a change. We ended the conversation and I decided to try and go about changing the party from a different route: by starting a local organized progressive movement.


    In January 2017 the Licking County Progressives was officially born as an attempt at grassroots organizing. I had actually created a Facebook page by the same name in the Spring of 2016 (to make it clear that Licking County, Ohio isn’t entirely conservative). Establishing the Licking County Progressives (LCP, for short) was an essential step in my mind to help pressure the Democratic Party to adopt more progressive policies. This organization specifically was born by remodeling the Occupy group I had helped establish in 2011, which we called the “99% of Newark and East Central Ohio” (99% of NECO, for short).


    Part of what compelled me to create this new group was my controversial failure to become LCDC President in December, the connections built with other local progressives through the Bernie campaign, and the successes in organizing that we saw in the 99% of NECO. The greatest success that we had as an organization with the 99% group was in managing to make history in Newark, Ohio as the first ever campaign to successfully get an initiative on the local ballot (our “Move to Amend” initiative modeled after other like actions across the country). Our initiative failed by under 10 percentage points, but we were truly excited by the organizing in which we succeeded to get it considered in the first place.


    The aftermath of my LCDC bid for the presidency in conjunction with the fallout from Trump’s win convinced me that the Progressives needed a stronger and more visible presence. I was hearing a lot from other progressives in the area about leaving the Democratic Party altogether and starting a new party. While part of me had long desired a genuine Third Party alternative I had concluded through my knowledge of history, political science, and the current state of our broken political system that no third party would succeed in building a viable coalition required to confront the Democratic and Republican Parties. The game was and still is essentially rigged against anyone and everyone who doesn’t pursue office within the two major parties.


    So, the LCP was established primarily to lobby for progressive policies and progressive candidates. In the first few months everything was very exciting as our numbers of participants in gatherings was growing ever so slightly with each get together. However, our momentum was killed when we hit a snag in our debate of what we should do next. A number of members wanted us to establish a clear platform made available for all to see and others wanted us to immediately get out there and demonstrate for action. People don’t like talking about change, they like to see change, and they want it IMMEDIATELY. That frustration with developing a consensus for how best to move a group of Progressives forward led to about half of our participants bowing out by the end of the Spring in 2017.


    There was also another challenge I had. We had members who wanted nothing to do with the Democratic Party, but who wanted to support a progressive movement. I offered to still be involved in the Party as a representative of the LCP. By this point another friend of mine made us some great buttons and it was a new badge of honor for Progressives to sport. I wore this button to serve as a spokesman of the LCP while participating in the Party. For a time, this seemed to work out ok.


    While I was still bitter about what happened in 2016 from start to finish, I was determined to help defeat the rise of fascism as led by Trump. I made sure to bring the importance of this up each time I had a chance to engage fellow Progressives and Democrats. As I had concluded based on the knowledge I have, the current trend towards authoritarianism was a consequence of our system collapsing upon itself and the remedy was progressive policies to lift up the working class and reinvigorate democracy.


    2017 also saw some other activities on my end. I had recently joined a nonprofit educational organization called the “Freedom School of Licking County” (FSLC) and had soon been elected as Chairman thereof. I was also in the midst of running a campaign for School Board, and I was resuming my push for a “Summer of Labor” through the LCDC and the LCP. This time around, the “Summer of Labor” was building some more interest and the Party Chair let me use the party Headquarters to help organize such (the Chair even let us use the Headquarters for some LCP meetings in the beginning, to their credit). The problem was that I couldn’t get enough support to make my ideas materialize (one member actually told me that my Summer of Labor idea was effectively dead in the water). No one would help me establish the connections with labor organizations to even begin getting the ball rolling.


    As the summer started to come to a close my attention almost entirely shifted towards my School Board campaign. This was where my next area of frustration came from. With hardly any financial support (I had a few friends within the party who gave me what they could, but I know there were others who could have helped make a difference, but they likely wanted me to beg for it), I went out and canvassed for office. My ONLY help that I am aware of in canvassing for my campaign came from a handful of awesome progressive friends (old and new). Two of whom worked their butts off helping me: my friend Jen Kanagy (who was running for a City Council ward seat and had hardly any help herself outside of our small group) and my friend John Peters (who was a teacher preparing to run for Congress the next year).


    John and Jen have no idea how much I love and appreciate them for their help and support. There was a small contingent of friends who helped us – another friend who I will refer to as “Ashley” for the sake of recognizing her and her family’s help while also protecting her identity, and an honorable mention goes to my longtime friend Garry, whose wealth of knowledge about politics absolutely helps -, but the majority of volunteers in the party who could’ve helped never bothered even offering to help. After the election came and went, I was demoralized a little, but I was also inspired by how close my friend Jen and I got to winning without more help from the party (out of the contested races in our city, she and I had the closest margins).


    This was when I decided I would try to run for LCDC Chair one more time. This time my friend Jen and I planned an aggressive (not mean, but proactive and more engaging) campaign waged online to promote my candidacy. Throughout 2017 she and I (alongside some others) promoted changes to the LCDC Constitution to make it easier for people to join the club and help it grow. This was a major part of my platform, as was the “Summer of Labor”, and doing more to help all candidates. We were truly going all out in this effort.


    As we were organizing our plan of action for the Club election, I again started hearing credible rumors of the Party Chair rallying support for the other person running for Club President (someone who had only been a member for about a year and a half, maybe less compared to my lengthy experience with the Club going back off and on to 2004). I took the advice of an ally and good longtime friend within the Party and grabbed the list of phone numbers for Club members so as to make calls and ask for the support of the membership. That same friend who was informing me about the backdoor efforts to elect the other person sent me a screenshot of a text message wherein my opponent was gloating that my solid phonebanking effort was actually increasing their turnout as well.


    When the time came for us to vote I had a better vote tally than I did a year before, but my support was overwhelmed by my opponent’s. Even people who I had long admired and cared for voted against my candidacy. Perhaps they saw the other candidate as the better choice, I concede that from the viewpoint of someone less willing to ruffle feathers, but it still hurt quite a bit to not be trusted with the reins of a Club that I only wanted to see grow and improve.


    As had been the case after I lost in December 2016, the winner pledged to work with me. I promised that I wasn’t going away, and I kept that promise. I kept attending meetings, but I never renewed my membership. I was done with the Club. This experience was the last straw for me, but it was the culmination of events from the past three years beforehand which led to the decision to leave it all behind. One of the efforts to change the Club and Party involved me and a few of our progressive allies within the Club (including Jen) to try and Amend the Club’s Constitution to make it easier to join and vote. This – as noted earlier – later became part of my platform in running for Club President, but the opposition we faced in this effort became quite toxic. It was very revealing in its own right.


    Needless to say, my heart was hardening by the time 2018 got started. I was regularly struggling within myself to justify remaining as a Democrat. My primary reason for remaining was the lack of viability for any Third Party to mount a serious campaign for office. No Third Party – let alone any progressive alternative - had the infrastructure needed to build organizational strength at every level. This became the singular anchor keeping me in the party. Still, I kept coming back to the Party Meetings (stopped attending Club meetings altogether), in part because I had shifted gears to helping my friend John Peters run for Congress as he had asked me to serve as his Communications Director.


    John had reached out to me for advice on his campaign a few months earlier. He was new to politics – having been a great intervention specialist in public schools for years – and he wanted desperately to make a difference. Earlier in January of 2017 John had spoke up very passionately about being a teacher and about the need for people to be heard. He insisted that the people who typically attend political meetings do more to reach out to people like him; someone who doesn’t live and breathe politics. John is a wonderful husband and father of two little girls. Their future and the future of his students over the years is what were making him so passionate.


    When we sat and talked about his campaign I was still on the fence about which campaign I would support for the Democratic Primary for Congress. John was getting involved, a longtime friend of mine was getting in, and one other awesome guy was running as well. John’s determination to reach out and seek advice from me meant a lot. Then, - as noted before – he canvassed HARD for me and my friend Jen in our local election races within a few months. He started attending some of my LCP meetings, and he ultimately voted for my bid for Club President. Seeing his devotion to the cause and the fact that he was willing to help me when I needed support in making this system work for the better, accepting his offer to become part of the campaign was an easy yes.


    I don’t regret supporting John Peters or working with him in his campaign. I know John the person as being such a loving person, but he is also bluntly honest about what he believes. He spoke directly from the heart when he was campaigning and if there was someone he didn’t trust, he said it. The fact that he spoke out bluntly – and with a very unconventional attempt at humor – about his distrust of one of the other candidates in the primary (there were 7 of them, in total) made him a pariah very quickly within the party.


    While I was John’s Communications Director I always tried to prevent myself from holding him back too much. It was his campaign, after all, and when he got an idea for something he wanted to do to stand out, there was really no stopping it. Did I agree with everything he said or did? No, but I also knew how serious he was about the issues which needed to be addressed and which he saw so few of the other candidates being willing to tackle. The establishment-favored candidate (and ultimate nominee) was someone John deeply distrusted. John and I wanted more debates, and all we ended up getting was one debate and a handful of candidate forums. This was frustrating to us. The establishment favorite at one point in an interaction with John just after a forum had indicated that he would miss the only scheduled debate because he had a fundraiser to attend. John was rightly angered by that and made sure to jab at this person for the remainder of the race purely because that moment of arrogance (and some others from their interaction) left him believing that this guy (who jumped in the race only after the incumbent Republican resigned) was nothing more than a party hack willing to serve the few and not the many.


    The more John spoke out the more seemingly-coordinated backlash he received from major figures in the party, and this was before he decided to wrap up the final couple of weeks before the primary with a series of childish-fun videos (his videos were absurd, but that was the point, as he was trying to be funny) teasing about the guy who looked likely to win. Eventually, there were party figures trying to cost John his job by attacking him as a teacher and threatening to turn him in to the School District. That was something I will never forget or forgive. I get that you don’t find things to be funny and that you don’t agree with his policy proposals or tactics, but attacking someone’s ability to make a living in order to silence them is an unacceptable low in politics.


    John lost and was humble about it. Yeah, he had wanted to win, but when he realized how the cards were stacked against candidates like him he had stopped taking the campaign seriously. John, after all, was not a career politician. Being civil with people he distrusted was not something which came natural to him. He wanted to see a system and policies which would protect his family and their loved ones beyond, and he had depressingly concluded that such wasn’t in the cards yet.


    Still, despite the feelings which usually accompany an election loss, John took a few weeks to recuperate and enjoy his family. Then, he reached out to me. John wanted to help me figure out a path forward. I told him I was running for Council again and he - AGAIN – pledged his support, including financial support. He and his wife contributed more financially to my 2019 campaign than any other individual supporters. The man was true to his word, and he loved my kids too and always made them feel welcome when they were around (even going as far to help teach my son how to ride a bike, which meant a lot to me). When I lost in the 2019 primary, the last thing I heard from John was him offering words of encouragement. I love the guy. Again, I will NEVER regret helping him.


    Also in 2018, I had a chance to hear every candidate for Governor in the Democratic Primary speak in person. The local party opened their office to all of them, except one (I’ll return to this in a moment). Each of the candidates which visited the headquarters in Licking County had a chance to speak about their vision and take some questions from the attendees. This is what was missing with the candidate they left out (again, I will return to this momentarily). The leading and establishment-favored candidate – Richard Cordray – had the biggest appearance.


    Cordray’s appearance happened to take place around the time of the Parkland school shooting. Cordray had stepped down from being the holdover Obama appointment as Chair of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to run, and when he addressed questions he answered in noticeably vague terms. His response to questions about the gun violence issue piqued my interest for how weak they were and I was irritated with his centrist proposals on healthcare and wages. I later found out about his connections with the gun lobby and how he was supported by them when he had last run for statewide office as Attorney General.


    I wasn’t okay with that. I was also not okay with the dismissive attitude that he and the party seemingly took towards my preferred candidate, Dennis Kucinich. When I would speak out demanding that Cordray be better – come at least closer to where Kucinich stood – I was faced a very similar wave of attacks as I had when I supported Bernie two years earlier. Additionally, the party never even seemed to try and invite Kucinich to Licking County to speak and field questions. I only had a chance to hear from Kucinich in person (and shake his hand) when John Peters had me tag along with him to a candidate event in Columbus (an event noticeably skipped by Cordray).


    I fought regularly – just as I had in 2016 – with certain establishment figures on social media about this obvious effort to muffle the progressives. Following the aforementioned Ohio Democratic County Chairs Association facebook page – again, an OFFICIAL page representing the County-Level leadership of the party – provided for the most frustration as the page regularly attacked Kucinich just as they did Bernie beforehand.


    I also had joined a number of so-called “Resistance” groups wherein Democrats (and some members unaffiliated with the party) came together to brainstorm how to protect our democracy from the rise of fascism. These pages largely became corrupted with rhetoric that was obviously anti-progressive. If you saw a need for a change in how the system works for the few you were demonized, called a Russian bot/troll, and banned. I mostly just stayed in these groups to see what they were saying as it was quite clear to me that my independent thinking was not welcome, just like it seemingly wasn’t welcome in the party.


    During the primaries of 2018 and in the aftermath of the General Election, these groups consistently attacked insurgent progressive candidates and incoming officeholders like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and others from the so-called “Squad”. These people were attacked for daring to suggest that we have a “change of the guard” and that the Party was out of touch with working people. Likewise, when I spoke up suggesting that Pelosi shouldn’t be Speaker of the House again I was subjected to that same treatment, even called sexist at times. More and more the tribe mentality of the party was becoming overwhelming.


    By the end of 2018, I was feeling very demoralized as a member of the party. Still, I wanted to prepare for a run for Council and I desperately wanted my friend Jen to run again (we both wanted John to, but he declined). I turned in my signatures for the race by mid-January 2019. Then, with three days to spare before the signature deadline, Jen sent me a text telling me she was going to run. I helped her get on the ballot within those three days. Our teamwork was fantastic, and I absolutely adore Jen for a number of reasons; 1) she is a great and reliable friend, 2) she means what she says as an advocate for the downtrodden (she and another friend started an organization called “Newark Homeless Outreach” to serve some of the needs of our growing homeless population), and 3) I saw a bit of my beloved mother in her.


    Jen and I fought to try and secure a series of debates for our contested Council primary. We were only afforded one debate and a couple forums. It seemed like our campaign was going fine until my Grandmother passed away and my car broke down on me. The last month of the campaign was rough for me for this reason, but I managed to give one last handful of sales pitches for the primary, both of which I insisted on using to promote Jen as a candidate who should’ve absolutely been elected, even if it meant not electing me. That’s how much I trust in her and I felt it was necessary given that she was also something of an outspoken pariah in the party. I didn’t want Jen to suffer the same fate that John did the year before.


    Compiling matters and making them worse was the fact that Jen’s life took a sudden turn for the worst in the summer. As she tried to figure out how to weather the storm of a life crisis the year seemingly passed us all by. By the time the Election came around Jen had not been able to do much campaigning because of the sudden changes in her situation. She suffered for it in November, but there was honestly only one Democrat on our ballot in Newark who won, and it was a candidate whose name has been well known in the area for decades.


    2019 was also the year when the announcements for presidential candidates were rolled out. Naturally, I supported Bernie again with ease, and naturally I saw some of the more vocal establishment Democrats either downplaying or demonizing him and his supporters again. (Establishment Democrats: these are not the Democratic voters, but INFLUENTIAL Democrats fighting on behalf of maintaining the status quo in leadership positions and other visible positions such as corporate-financed partisan pundits) I saw the increase in anti-Bernie rhetoric in all the familiar places and I spoke up when I could.


    I will have more to say in detail about this pertaining to the 2016 and 2020 campaigns, but the bias in media coverage was far more overt this time around. From the outset Democratic Establishment types were beating the drum of “Bernie’s time has passed” and “Change isn’t needed”. Propping up cherry-picked tweets from angry Bernie supporters as being representative of the entire movement became commonplace (just as in 2016) for the media’s narrative that Bernie was “just like Trump”. Being treated like you are an enemy of democracy when you are part of a movement to strengthen democracy is extremely disheartening.


    Let’s not forget the role played by the Billionaire Michael Bloomberg in this race. Serving as the Great Rich Hope of this race as the Establishment Media and Democrats scrambled to find a savior to save the party from the resurgent Bernie and the movement, Bloomberg had signaled in 2016 and again in 2020 that he would run if it looked like Bernie would stand a chance. With Biden’s campaign seemingly in free fall and the hoard of secondary establishment candidates fighting for third place behind Bernie, Bloomberg offered his services to save the campaign from the Revolution. Despite his racist, sexist, anti-teacher, and anti-labor background as a Republican Oligarch Mayor of New York City who happily endorsed Bush in 2004 and praised the Iraq War, the Democratic Establishment welcomed him with open arms, accepting his large donations to the party, and changing the rules of debate participation so that Bloomberg could steal the spotlight. While he proved to be his own worst enemy when forced to face the music for his record, this willingness to sellout any supposed principles was a truly revealing moment for a corrupt political party.


    Across the board, from the debates and rhetoric of other candidates to the vocal loyalists as they presented their views online, the one attack line they consistently made against Bernie (like in 2016, again) was that he “isn’t a Democrat” and that his supporters should find their own party (again, they say all of this while insisting that we “vote Blue!”). This got more hostile as Bernie actually started to build momentum and mainstream media coverage became so unbearably unwatchable, especially after prominent figures made comparisons to Bernie and the movement to the Nazis (which wiped out much of Bernie’s family) and to the coronavirus.


    The debates were also framed (with the apparent approval of the Democratic Party, given that they were partners in each debate) with questions meant to attack Bernie’s vision. Most questions gave the candidates a chance to tear his message apart as opposed to comparing and contrasting everyone’s views on a plain and broad set of direct policy questions (example, instead of asking “what is your plan for x” the questions were more often than not something along the lines of “do you agree with Bernie on x”). No two debates were more transparent as an attempt to undermine Bernie’s momentum than the Iowa and South Carolina debates on the eve of those respective contests.


    Back in 2016, Bernie supporters rightfully condemned the media for the favoritism they displayed towards Secretary Clinton. Part of that obvious bias was unveiled as part of the infamous Wikileaks dumps when it was revealed that Democratic Establishment member and superdelegate Donna Brazile leaked CNN debate questions to Hillary Clinton in advance of one of the debates. To these same supporters, the 2020 season was becoming 2016 on steroids.


    In the debate before Iowa, CNN made it a point to exaggerate the importance of a claim made by Senator Elizabeth Warren that Bernie supposedly told her that a “woman can’t win” the presidency. Despite Bernie quickly denying that he ever said such, the moderators treated the claim as the undeniable truth when they proceeded with questioning. In their framing, Bernie was a misogynist and a liar and Warren was the victim (now, compare their treatment of this dubious claim by someone with a record of exaggerations with their treatment of former Senate Staffer Tara Reade’s allegations against Biden).


    At the South Carolina debate, the hosts – the network and the party – charged attendees thousands of dollars a piece for entry, practically guaranteeing that only the wealthy and well-connected would be able to attend. With Bernie as the frontrunner upon entering the debate, the format was blatantly open season on Bernie, with a format which permitted a handful of candidates to attack Bernie before he would be given a few seconds to respond in general. Moreover, the media pundit class manufactured drama about the endorsement of South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, who holds a high-level leadership position in Congress and is thereby the very definition of an Establishment Democrat.


    It was a true insult to the intelligence of anyone who pays attention to politics for there to be any suggestion that Clyburn’s endorsement would go to anyone but Former Vice President Joe Biden. Bernie was NEVER seriously in consideration by Clyburn – who insisted that all remaining debates be cancelled and that the race come to a halt after Biden swept through Super Tuesday -, but the media and party surrogates in media certainly wanted everyone to believe that Clyburn’s endorsement was the most important of the primaries.


    When Bernie won the popular vote in Iowa and the Iowa Caucus fell apart from a slew of controversies surrounding the reporting of results, the media let Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg get away with declaring victory despite NO ONE knowing the official results of the state. They jokingly poked fun at him, but they more reported that it was a loss for Bernie more than a blunder for Pete.


    When Bernie won New Hampshire the media made a bigger deal out of the finishes for the candidates in 2nd through 5th place than they did with Bernie winning the state. They actually treated Bernie’s win as a loss because he failed to crush the crowded field like he crushed Hillary there four years earlier.


    Seeing Bernie’s momentum from two consecutive popular vote victories, the media and Democratic Establishment started attacking Bernie relentlessly, with more fervor than ever before. Their favorite topics to discuss in between New Hampshire and Nevada were how some rabid Bernie supporters attacked a union in Nevada for not endorsing Bernie (something Bernie REPEATEDLY disavowed) and an old interview where Bernie did just as other Democratic politicians have in acknowledging the good things accomplished in Cuba. The Establishment’s narrative here was that Bernie was - again – just like Trump and that he seemed to favor dictators quite a bit (which is nowhere near true).


    All of this was very reminiscent of the coordinated media attacks on Bernie at the height of his primary challenge in 2016 against Hillary. The most prominent and undeniable example of this coordinated effort came in the form of over a dozen anti-Bernie articles posted on social media by the Washington Post in as many hours on the eve of an all-important primary. As mentioned before, when the corporate-owned media wasn’t ignoring Bernie they were attacking him, so long as he represented a viable threat to the status quo of American politics.


    After Biden won South Carolina – a state he was ALWAYS favored to win, primarily because of the fact that he was President Obama’s Vice President -, the media and the political establishment predictably swarmed to demand that all other candidates not name Bernie or Biden drop out and endorse Biden immediately in order to stop Bernie’s momentum from earlier states. About a month or two earlier it had been reported that former President Obama had told wealthy donors that he would be forced to intervene if it looked like Bernie was on track to win. Well, in this moment wherein the media and the political establishment was doing everything they could to frame Biden’s victory in South Carolina as a “resurrection” of his campaign and as a moment for the party to unite around him it turns out that Obama may well have done just as he promised, by “nudging” Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar to drop out and join Beto O’Rourke in an unprecedented “unity” endorsement on the eve of Super Tuesday.


    The media predictably gave this massive endorsement wall-to-wall coverage and used it to sell their narrative that Biden was back in the proverbial game – after his terrible performances in previous primaries, dismal rally and event attendance, and after his questionable debate performances throughout the campaign – and that it was time to bring it home for “Joe”. Bernie managed to win 4 of the states which voted on Super Tuesday, with California being the biggest prize while Joe ran the table on the rest, including a close victory in Texas. Within the next day, Michael Bloomberg dropped out and endorsed Biden – his fears of a Bernie nomination having been averted (the SOLE reason he ran to begin with) – and Tulsi Gabbard held on just a little longer before dropping out and endorsing Biden as well, leaving Warren silent as to who she supported following her campaign suspension (her silence only ended after Bernie suspended his campaign) and Bernie standing alone facing the fire of the entire elite power structure.


    For me, the decisive moment when I realized that I could not be a Democrat anymore came with the refusal of former Vice President Biden and the Democratic National Committee’s leadership all refusing to call for a delay in the March 17th Primaries despite the swift spread of the deadly coronavirus. They didn’t even bother calling for a delay and a shift to all mail-in ballots until AFTER the Primary elections which were still held on that day in Florida, Illinois, and Arizona. In fact, when the Governor of Ohio – Mike DeWine – took executive action to delay Ohio’s primary from March 17th until early June so as to guarantee a safer vote, the Ohio Democratic Party actually appeared to oppose the safety-based move and even took it to court, citing that the Legislature must take action (which was true, but that’s not the point).


    Making matters worse, when Bernie hinted after the unique March 15th debate between him and Biden that it was questionable for primaries with in-person voting to be held in the midst of the outbreak – hinting that the vote should be delayed -, he was attacked by a high-profile Biden surrogate on CNN – Symone Sanders - when she mocked the Senator’s concerns and blatantly lied to viewers, claiming that the CDC had supposedly said it was safe to vote. Biden would later go on to suggest in a tweet that voters who weren’t showing any symptoms should go out to vote.


    This opened my eyes more than anything leading up to it. Why? Because it proved to me that the Democratic Party Establishment would rather risk the lives of countless citizens (a number of poll workers in Florida and elsewhere had later been diagnosed with the virus) than risk losing their manufactured momentum for Joe Biden. Biden handily won the series of the illegitimate primaries (illegitimate by virtue of the fact that the primaries taking place posed a risk to all involved and thereby should not have taken place). His delegate lead expanded to an “insurmountable” number, which ultimately forced Bernie to suspend his campaign and endorse Joe.


    As if the situation could not get any worse, Biden actually never called for any primary to be delayed, not even AFTER the Democratic Party itself made an official plea for providing for all mail-in voting. He and the rest of Party Leadership instead passively allowed risky in-person voting to continue so as to build his illegitimate lead in the delegate race (note: despite the obvious interference from Establishment forces to compel the unprecedented pre-Super Tuesday endorsements for Biden, I don’t consider the Biden victories on Super Tuesday to have been illegitimate at all, because the risk of death from the virus was not yet apparent).


    To Bernie’s credit, he tried to stay in the race. He fought hard (albeit with some mistakes) to win this nomination, and the good changes he made to his campaign from 2016 actually had him on a path to winning the nomination. However, he was overwhelmed by the oligarch-supported power structure which refused to let legitimate hope pierce through the veil of our collective despair. His decisions to bow out and endorse Biden were fulfillment of pledges that he made at the outset of this campaign. As a man of his word, Bernie endorsed Biden because he knew Biden was going to be the nominee, and his goal then shifted to trying to push the party in a more progressive direction just as we did in 2016.


    The problem here is with those in powerful positions in the party, including Biden. When Bernie and the campaign successfully influenced a progressive shift in the 2016 Democratic Party Platform it was significant. I was even a little encouraged – as mentioned earlier - when Hillary referenced it in her nomination speech. It gave me a reason to vote for her, which is what I was looking for. The problem with Hillary was that she didn’t actually campaign on any of it. She had expected to coast into victory on an anti-Trump message alone, and that proved extremely inadequate.


    Now, in 2020, the party is on track to nominate someone who has explicitly said that he would VETO a Medicare-for-All bill. For all of her faults, Hillary never once said such a thing. Biden outright promised to stand in the way of progressive legislation all the while claiming to have a “progressive” agenda. This same guy who voted in favor of Bush’s wars and the Bank Bailout in the Senate without regard for the cost now declares that he would oppose Medicare for All because of the costs. Makes no sense, right?


    Well, it makes perfect sense when you consider the fact that Biden is supported by dozens of Billionaires and that a Billionaire named Michael Bloomberg entered the race when it looked like Biden would lose only to exit it when the path for Bernie was seriously diminished. It makes sense when you look at the fact that Health Insurance stocks soared the day after Biden’s “miracle” victories on Super Tuesday. It makes sense when you remember that the Obama-Biden Campaign in 2008 had significant backing from Goldman Sachs and that the Administration would later pack their ranks with representatives from that same bank. Ultimately, it all makes sense when you consider that Obama told private wealthy donors he would intervene to stop Bernie and that Biden had told another group of private wealthy donors that NOTHING WOULD FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE if he became president.


    I was a child when I decided for myself that I wanted to be a Democrat. Yes, I grew up in the home of a single mother of four who was a lifelong Democrat. Yes, I have another lifelong Democrat as a maternal grandfather who served as the de facto patriarch of my family in lieu of my father. However, they only made it easier for me to research for myself. I had joined the party officially as an 18 year old who wanted to support the supposed party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. No, I did not support the racist/xenophobic policies of FDR’s internment of Japanese Americans (I later would learn more about such and come to regret that it was part of FDR’s legacy), but what I supported were the sweeping domestic policies aimed at lifting up working class Americans and strengthening social democracy (via stronger labor protections, including the right to organize the workplace).


    Unfortunately, the party was no longer – if it had ever been – the example which I had admired through the prism of its history in the New Deal of FDR and the expansion of progressive policies attempted under LBJ’s Great Society. Rather, the honest representation of the Democratic Party came through examining the political cowardice of Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she forbade a Democratic House from even considering impeaching George W. Bush for war crimes and by considering the signature of President Bill Clinton to a bill called Gramm-Leach-Bliley, which effectively deregulated the banks by repealing the FDR-era Glass-Steagall Law which had separated commercial and investment banking to protect the economy.


    Over the course of my young adult life I was open minded enough to recognize that the Democratic Party were seemingly as willing to sell out their so-called principles for the sake of victory as many claimed the Republicans were. While the Republicans were overtly twisted and corrupt for the sake of pleasing their corporate masters the Democrats hid their corruption under the veil of “fighting for the working class” and protesting the obvious corruption of the Republicans when it was convenient to do so.


    If a fight is politically tough, the Democrats more often than not fold very quickly and cede the battle to the opposition. They even help the rightwing succeed before the fight even begins; see Obama’s pandering to the right in the 2009 stimulus, the healthcare debate, and even Obama’s offer to cut the safety net in the debt ceiling debate. When the Party’s corporate donors freak out about something the party proves more than obedient, the needs of the supposed working class “base” be damned.


    One key example of the betrayal and dishonesty of the Democratic Party comes with the fight over the minimum wage standard. It is a convenient attack line for Democrats to single out Congressional Republicans for not raising the minimum wage since the last approved raise was passed in 2007. They issue this attack despite the fact that – as noted above - Democrats controlled Congress and the Presidency from 2009 until 2011. Granted, there were a lot of fights in that two year period – including the decline of the economy -, but they could have TRIED to help the working class with more than just a weak stimulus bill which only helped prevent a depression, but little more. Remember that the minimum wage standard itself was created in the midst of uncertain economic times, so the excuse that our economy was hurting is illegitimate, especially when you consider the billions that Obama, Biden, and Clinton all voted to freely give the banks at the end of their Senate careers as the economy plunged.


    Considering everything, I’m still saddened to give up on the Democratic Party. I desperately wanted to see it become the party I had long hoped it was: a strong ally of democracy, justice, and the working class. The tragic reality is that the Democratic Party’s only real concern is with pleasing the oligarchs in a slightly less vicious way than the Republicans. The Republican Party is a fascist political organization, but the Democratic Party is deceptively named as well. Instead of “Democrats”, they should be called the “Aristocrats”, because their interests more align with the elite and well-studied few than they will ever align with the many.


    In 1996, there was a mock election held for my sixth grade class. This was on the eve of the election that year involving President Clinton, Senator Bob Dole, and Billionaire Ross Perot. I voted for Clinton (who won the plurality of our vote as well as the country’s), but my best friend voted for Perot. When I asked him why, his response was simply that Perot “is an independent” and that he believed it was best to be independent. That was the take on the political world from a set of 12 year olds. It took 17 years from the time I turned 18 to realize that this party was not my home. I may love a number of people still associated therewith, but I can no longer lie to myself that I belong there. Now, I begin my journey as an independent, because it really is – as my best friend suggested 24 years ago, and as my mother once even boastfully voted – the best way to approach politics.


    Tonight’s Conclusion


    Over the course of my young adult life I had several “seeds” planted for this transition. Back in 2015, I met Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. She was amazing as a speaker to hear in person. She was invited to speak at the Licking County Democratic Party’s annual picnic (which replaces the June Party Meeting). She was there to fire up local candidates (I was among them, running for City Council the first time). I had an awesome chance to speak with her and she was very honest, and very personable.


    She and I talked about my council race, about Black Lives Matter, and about Ed Schultz; who had just been fired from MSNBC for his tireless advocacy on behalf of Bernie (he was the only one who wouldn’t ignore Bernie). Nina had come to know Mr. Schultz as he passionately used his MSNBC show to cover the rightwing assault on unions in 2011, including in Ohio when Governor Kasich’s attempt to kill public unions that year (which were ultimately defeated through the labor-supported referendum to repeal “SB5”). I enjoyed this encounter deeply, and it was by far my favorite of all encounters with a high-profile public figure.


    When Nina Turner had visited Licking County she was an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton. Within a few months, she switched gears and boastfully supported Bernie. This change of heart caught the party establishment – particularly in Ohio – off guard and enraged them. After this turn of events, the Licking County Party’s Chair once proclaimed that Nina was not going to be getting an invite back (this was in response to another member expressing displeasure with Turner and expressing hope that she wouldn’t speak at the next Picnic). This taught me that opposing the status quo of the party had consequences, and could mean the end of your political career (I observed the same demonization of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard after she resigned from her leadership post in the Party to support Bernie).


    In Late-2007 or Early-2008, I envisioned that the best way forward for American democracy would be a disbanding of both major parties. Actually, of ALL political parties. I knew then just as I know now that the success of a third party is highly improbable due to the rules which are written to benefit the two major parties as well as the popular perception that we only have “two choices”. From my assessment at the time – which was partially developed from frustration with my increasing awareness of corruption on both sides of the aisle – the system would be better served with no parties because there is more that unites us on policy than divides us and our system was never designed to be partisan anyway.


    It took a long time for me to reconcile my knowledge of the corruptive power of partisan politics with the need to shift to a nonpartisan voting approach. As an Independent, I am now freed from the annoyances of worrying about internal party struggles. Now, I can wholeheartedly advocate for the changes I strongly believe we need without concern for the naysayers within antiquated political organizations designed to keep us from progressing so as to please the interests of the few.


    The revolution was NEVER going to happen within a political party. It was always destined to occur in spite of the artificial divisions propped up thereby. My best friend – who often told me as we were growing up how much he looked up to me – recognized this before I did. My mother saw the value of being Independent minded throughout her life, and my grandfather never relented in criticizing what is wrong with society. Now, it is time for me to show that I have learned from all of this.




    #NotMeUs #OurRevolution #TheResistance #ImpeachTrump #DemExit


    Purchase my manifesto, “The Pillars of Unitism”.


    Until next time…



April 1, 2020

  • The Progressive Lens Quarterly Round-up: January-March 2020

    Trump Era Days 1,077-1,167


    What was reported?

    • In December, it was reported that 145,000 jobs were created, unemployment was at 3.5%, and wage growth stood at 2.9%. January job creation was at 225,000, unemployment ticked up to 3.6%, and hourly earnings were up by 3.1% over the past year. Even before the virus outbreak, there were warning signs that the economy was in trouble as manufacturing activity fell to its lowest level in a decade at the end of 2019. In February, 273,000 jobs were created and unemployment dropped to 3.5%., while earnings grew by 3%.
    • In the midst of the pandemic, Trump snuck in the cuts to Obama-era fuel efficiency standards to appease the automobile industry.
    • Hospitals began threatening termination and making examples out of staff members who publicly expressed concerns about their working conditions in battling the coronavirus. These hospitals claimed that barring public speaking was to protect “patients”.
    • The Trump Administration demanded that states stop reporting daily unemployment figures amidst the crisis, and states like Ohio obeyed. He later warned that if state governments feel inclined to criticize the federal response to the virus then they will not be getting help.
    • Senate Republicans blocked an emergency bill which would have guaranteed paid sick leaves to workers as a means to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, this bill was later changed and passed with certain perks for industry (perks which corporations have been hoping to see become law for a while).
    • In Mid-March, the Stock Market collapsed in reaction to the coronavirus crisis, wiping out all gains made during the tenure of President Trump.
    • Trump finally declared a national emergency for the coronavirus after his administration had downplayed it and after he had earlier mocked such as a “hoax”.
    • The fears over the coronavirus and the growing instability of the economy contributed to the worst single-day drop in stock market history.
    • After initially blocking states from using Medicaid (in his obedience to the narrowminded anti-government philosophy) to enhance their response to the virus, Trump finally caved to the pressure to permit such.
    • The Trump Administration banned a top health expert from speaking publicly about the coronavirus after the Doctor – who directs the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases – spoke out to warn citizens about the difficulty in containing the virus.
    • As the Coronavirus was beginning to take hold in the United States, Trump’s Administration actually proposed cutting the CDC budget by 9% in the next fiscal year.
    • Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney urged people to ignore the media reports about the coronavirus. He noted that the panic would spook the markets and suggested that this issues was only getting major coverage because some hope it will be what ultimately brings Trump down.
    • After Trump was acquitted by the Senate by the Republicans – which was made easier when the Republicans successfully blocked hearing from any more witnesses (following Senator Rand Paul successfully throwing a tantrum about hearing from new witnesses, as he suggested Republicans would be betraying the Party and as he hinted at calling numerous irrelevant witnesses) -, he condemned the one Senate Republican – Mitt Romney – who voted for his conviction.
    • Trump reportedly desires changing the “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” to allow corporations to bribe foreign entities like governments.
    • The Trump Administration presided over the successful negotiation of a deal with the Taliban to bring an end to America’s occupation of Afghanistan over a 14 month period of time, contingent upon Taliban upholding their end of the agreement, including helping to stave off terrorism as well as releasing prisoners.
    • Trump suggested that the United States adopt its own propaganda (state-run media) network to compete with the message sent to the world by private-owned media.
    • Trump presided over the development of the first new nuclear weapon since the end of the Cold War with a so-called “low yield” warhead which will permit the use of nukes without mass destruction. Many see this as an adequate deterrent to modern development of “tactical nukes” worldwide.
    • When Trump was contradicting the National Weather Service’s forecast on Hurricane Dorian, including having the NOAA spokesperson speak on his behalf in spite of the NWS, NOAA itself as an organization was agitated and going as far as sending apologies out for the statements by the spokesperson that they did not approve of.
    • The Trump Administration reversed the Obama Administration’s ban on the use of landmines, despite the elevated threat to civilians and American Servicemen and Women.
    • After Virginia’s Governor had banned the presence of guns near the Capitol in Richmond preceding a pro-gun rally which was set to oppose action on guns and which was going to feature the widely-condemned participation of white supremacist groups, Trump spoke out against the temporary ban, saying it was an assault on the Constitution.
    • Trump issued a threat of crippling tariffs on British-made automobiles – alongside accompanying threats to other nations – if they didn’t agree with the Administration that Iran violated the Iran Nuclear Deal.
    • Trump secured the passage of his new NAFTA deal (USMCA), thanks to the help of Democrats in Congress.
    • Trump openly talked about selling the services of American soldiers to other countries.
    • The 2017 Tax Cut helped America’s Big Banks a great deal, with most of the benefit going to shareholders and as they terminated thousands of employees.
    • The Trump USDA set the stage to reverse the healthy school meals program spearheaded by Michelle Obama, allowing for more unhealthy meals.
    • The Trump EPA made it easier to pollute America’s waterways by rescinding protective regulations on pouring pesticides, fertilizers, etc. into our waters.
    • The Supreme Court gave the Trump Administration the OK to restrict immigration on the basis of economic status.
    • Trump commuted the federal sentence of disgraced former Democratic Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich; who was imprisoned after he tried to sell Former President Obama’s Senate Seat.
    • It was concluded by a nonpartisan congressional watchdog that Trump violated federal law by threatening to withhold aid from Ukraine lest they help him investigate Biden.
    • The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity warned that we have a decade to cut pollution in half and save one third of from exploitation if we hope to save life on Earth.
    • Despite Congressional Approval and a series of recent earthquakes, the Trump Administration refused to send all of the emergency funds appropriated for Puerto Rico to help save lives and rebuild. The Administration claimed it was because Puerto Rico’s government had only spent around 1% of the funds they already received and that they were too corrupt.
    • Trump’s Administration proposed steep cuts to disability benefits, looking to increase the frequency with which the government checks on the “disabled” to make sure they still qualify for assistance.
    • Evidence came out that Trump was seeking to force out the Ambassador to Ukraine for disloyalty, with audio featuring him demanding that someone “take her out”.
    • Trump, again, proposed ending the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program, which forgives the loans of full-time nonprofit and public workers.
    • The Trump Administration violated the 1947 UN Headquarter Agreement when they blocked an Iranian diplomat from entering the country to address the United Nations. Also, the government detained a number of Iranian-Americans returning home from Canada. When the Iraqi Government angrily denounced the drone strike and voted to oust U.S. Troops from the country, Trump retorted that we weren’t leaving until the Iraqis “repaid” us the cost of the base in Iraq.
    • The drone strike which killed the Iranian General led a number of leading officials in the Pentagon to resign and led the Iranian Government to officially end its commitments to the Nuclear Deal.
    • After the back and forth exchange of airstrikes between Iranian and American forces – which even led to Trump trying to use the crisis to justify demanding that Congress quickly end the impeachment trial against him -, which Iran topped off with an attack on a base in Iraq, Iran concluded the escalating tensions by saying they were done retaliating and sought no further escalation. The Administration’s original justification for the drone strike which caused the escalation – that the Iranian’s leading military figure General Qassem Soleimani was planning an imminent attack against the U.S. – was walked back to point out that the General was deserving of death for prior actions; including a lie told by Vice President Pence, who tried to claim that Soleimani had something to do with 9/11.
    • 2020 was kicked off in part by the horrific fires in Australia which slaughtered half a billion animals at its peak.
    • Despite an international agreement between the U.S. and Canada to reduce the level of phosphorous in the Great Lakes (which produces the algae bloom from farm runoffs), the United States – and Ohio, specifically – was likely to miss the goal significantly. Moreover, the Ohio Department of Agriculture signaled that they would be issuing more farming permits which would not include any provisions requiring a reduction in pollution.
    • Last year, the EPA and local authorities in Philadelphia failed or refused to keep informed about environmental and health threats the residents – many of whom are poor and most of whom are minorities – in a section of the city surrounding what was the largest oil refinery along the East Coast. The benzene (a cancer-causing gas) levels detected by the EPA and other agencies far exceeded the levels recommended by regulations. The refinery exploded last May and now countless citizens are exposed to the risk of cancer, and instead of telling the locals about the danger, the authorities kept quiet and allowed the company to bury the issue as they prepared to sell their interests.
    • Pharmaceutical companies significantly raised the prices of hundreds of drugs at the start of the year.



    Tonight’s Conclusion


    Almost everything else going on in the world since the beginning of this year has been overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak. The onslaught against our democracy and all of our institutions by the oligarchy and their fascist allies in government has been ramped up. With the failure of Congress to remove a dangerous president, the precedence set by his unabated abuses far expands the powers of the presidency beyond anything that our Framer’s had intended. Now, with a pandemic which requires the response of a strong central government, the threat of fascism overwhelming liberty is even higher.


    The next quarter of 2020 will be very crucial in helping us determine how we can push back against this momentum toward authoritarianism. In this next quarter, the Democratic Party will wrap up its nomination process for the party’s convention in July. Choosing the best possible candidate to challenge Trump is imperative and the current trajectory is not boding well for the effort to unseat the most dangerous president in our history. So much hangs in the balance and is dependent on the outcome of this year, a year which is already becoming more tumultuous than 2016 with a pandemic, an economic crisis, the threat of world war 3, a failed impeachment, and the ever-looming threat of climate change.


    We must get this right.


    #NotMeUs #OurRevolution #TheResistance #ImpeachTrump #ClimateCrisis


    Purchase my manifesto, “The Pillars of Unitism”.



    Until next time…



March 31, 2020

  • The Coronavirus May Grease the Skids for Fascism

    As published in "The Bern Report" (March 30th, 2020), here is what I wrote:


    The coronavirus has changed everything, and one wishes that this was an overstatement. From forcing sports leagues to cancel or suspend their seasons of play to shutting down large sections of the economy, the impact of this pandemic has been monumental and earth-shattering. Not since the Spanish Flu of 1918 has a virus posed the possibility of transforming human society in such a radical way, and modern society doesn’t quite know how to cope with it. What’s worse is that the extreme cultural conditions precipitated by this “invisible enemy” has another potential side effect which can’t be diagnosed by a doctor: the potential to help reelect Trump and give American society its final push into the abyss of fascism.


    How so, you might ask? Wouldn’t Trump’s terrible mishandling of this crisis be used against him as a shining example of why he is clearly unfit for the office? Didn’t he mock this serious threat as a “hoax” earlier this year, claiming it was an attempt to harm his chances of winning in November? Could the American people honestly be so gullible to ignore his utter incompetence as a leader in such trying times?


    While it is painful to say this, Trump is on track to actually win reelection despite these obvious shortcomings, precisely because the American people are in such an exhausted and desperate mindset that they will praise any sign of leadership from this president. Why? Because they want the horror to end. They want the comfort of knowing that someone is fighting for them. They want to know and believe that everything will be alright. If Trump succeeds in presiding over the defeat of a deadly pandemic and manages to simultaneously oversee the phoenix-like resurrection of an economy brought to the brink of destruction by said pandemic, he will be well positioned to be rewarded with a resounding reelection.


    Polling numbers released recently for the president have shown that his support on handling the crisis has exceeded half the population polled. This momentum has actually given him some of his best approval numbers to date. His polling against Joe Biden (the media and political establishment’s crowned “presumptive winner” in the Democratic Party’s nomination process) has also significantly improved thanks to the appearance of being a strong leader coupled with the relative absence of his apparent opponent for November. It may seem unthinkable, but this pandemic might actually boost Trump’s chances of securing a second term.


    Not only is it giving him a boost, but the pandemic is also kicking open a door to authoritarianism in general. From the postponed primaries (which were the right thing to do in the emergency-based short term, but would be frightening in the long-term if this precedent is abused) to the Trump Administration’s push for Constitutional rights of Habeas Corpus to be suspended for the duration of this crisis, we are seeing more than a single example of how tyranny is beginning to dip its toes into the waters of our dying democracy. Trump has even gone as far as to demand that states not report unemployment figures on a daily basis and even threatened to not extend federal assistance to the state governments which appear to criticize how the Administration has responded to the crisis.


    Meanwhile, the Trump Administration has overseen a vicious series of ICE raids on the undocumented, exploiting the fact that everyone is likely to be spending a lot more time at home. This has been coupled with Trump’s team openly suggesting that we amass a troop presence along our border with Canada. While the only way to effectively shut down the virus in lieu of a vaccine is to enforce a nationwide quarantine, this option – which would require the National Guard of every state to be employed – paves the way for nightmarish abuse at a time when we teeter on the edge of fascism finally taking root in this country and destroying liberty for good. While it was the right decision to activate the Defense Production Act and nationalize certain companies to produce ventilators, the encroachment upon the free market in this way can be abused if a leader with dictator-like tendencies learns to love the power they enjoy in the moment.


    Trump is not the cause of our problems, but a symptom of a system which has failed. Fascism is the natural result of a crumbling political and economic infrastructure devoid of an option to take the route of true unity for collective progress. If Trump rides into November appearing as the champion who conquered COVID-19 and restored the glory of our economy against a candidate who wants to take us back to the way life was before Trump’s rise then history teaches us that Trump is likely to win…and it may not even be close. None of Trump’s lies – from his empty promises of getting people back to work (EVEN DURING THIS CRISIS) to his earlier claims that this was all a hoax – will harm him if he is met with an unexciting challenger who can barely carry on an important discussion and who disappeared for an inexplicable period of time when this crisis really started captivating the nation.


    If Trump wins again, then it really will be very difficult for democracy to survive the next four years. He will see an electoral victory of any sort this November as a permission slip to press forward aggressively with an anti-working class, anti-democracy agenda. The Safety Net will be in serious danger and the Supreme Court will swing so far to the Corporatist Right-Wing that it will drive the final nail in the coffin of the Republic built by our Founding Fathers.


    Our darkest days truly lie ahead if we see Trump win this November. People have to see this. Climate Change will get worse. Wars will become far more likely. Education will continue to erode. The numerous health crises will only be exacerbated alongside the rising cost of for-profit care. Atrocities against a slew of minority populations will only get worse and further exploited in the politics of division. Finally, the gap between the wealthy and the poor will only grow wider with soaring homelessness continuing and poverty itself reaching new heights.


    The Fascist Revolution co-opted this Era of Populism due to the corruption of the Democratic Party by the Oligarchs, and now the final push into authoritarianism will come as a result of that same political organization which refuses to sacrifice its lucrative connection with the wealthy few in favor of exciting the rebellious working class. There is still time to stop this nightmare from coming to fruition, but the clock is ticking and all the cards are in the hands of the President using the bully pulpit to portray himself as the leader we need to weather the pandemic that his blatant incompetence and corruption permitted to get out of control.


    The only hope democracy has to thwart this nightmare from entering its next phase is to give rise to a true populist-infused democratic revolution to counteract the false prophet of a false revolution. Only a genuine champion of the people’s outrage can effectively dismantle the cloak of lies which shields an aspiring autocrat like Trump from accountability. Only someone with a public reputation for true and relatively untarnished integrity can expose the incompetence and corruption of the failed leadership which made this pandemic and our numerous other crises worse than they ever should have been.


    Our biggest problem? We find ourselves on a path to put the fascist up against a weak opponent with the backing of corporate America (the same corporate interests enjoying tremendous benefits under Trump, mind you) and whose only real argument for election is that they aren’t as bad as the wannabe dictator. The Democratic Revolution needs to wake up and organize like never before to prevent the nomination of the candidate who hesitates to fight for working people and democracy and instead choose the candidate we know and trust will not flinch when taking the fight to Trump and his enablers in the oligarchy as well as the lapdogs thereof amongst the political and media establishment.


    Time is nearly running out. We mustn’t let the symptom of our societal illness create the political pandemic which wipes democracy out for generations to come. Let’s stop the spread now by rising to the occasion in these uncertain times marked by fear over the outcome of an invisible enemy’s assault. We can do this, but we must come together now.