Critical Thinking v Indoctrination

Much has been written, editorialized, studied, blogged, tweeted etc. about education in this country. On both sides of the political and ideological aisle there are complaints. However the complaints vary. The left bemoans how underfunded public schools are and how conservatives are taking tax dollars meant for public schools and diverting them to private schools, which they claim have better outcomes. The right complains we spend too much on public schools, we’re throwing money at them with little return on the investment. You can see how these complaints go hand in hand with each other to represent different problems.

I have my Masters in Educational Leadership and I take a keen interest in the politics of education. As a former Young Republican, I once bought into the argument that private schools were better and parents should have “choice” in to where to send them. However as I matured, observed, reasoned, studied, compared and contrasted the situation I came to see that I was wrong. The focus in this blog posting boils down to development of Critical Thinking which is favored by the left to that of Indoctrination which I will show is clearly what’s favored by the Right although they claim it’s a product of “Liberal Thinking”.

in·doc·tri·na·tion: NOUN The process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically:

“I would never subject children to religious indoctrination” · archaic teaching; instruction: “methods that were approved for indoctrination in divinity”

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment. The subject is complex, and there are several different definitions which generally include the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis or evaluation of factual evidence.

You will hear pundits from the Right complain that Liberal Universities and public schools are centers of indoctrination steering children away from the moral teachings of the Church. That is a very interesting argument to make in light of the fact that Church and Parochial Schools are designed to indoctrinate students into the religious teachings and beliefs of the Churches that run them.

Public schools as part of their overall curriculum once promoted Critical Thinking as part of the subject matter. Critical thinking requires the student to look beyond the historic dates and events, the simple formulas used to determine mathematical equations or chemical compounds. Critical thinking requires not taking facts at face value. Critical Thinking requires reasoning relationships between events, how and why did they occur. What more can be gleamed from what is known, where is it heading and why? Critical thinking requires looking at multiple variables and see how those variables may or may not impact what is considered to work.

Indoctrination is what the Right has been trying to introduce into Public Education, and they have been very successful. By sending tax dollars to private schools (that unlike public schools can deny any student they don’t want) and hold students to a strict curriculum of indoctrination, they defund public schools who in turn struggle to hire qualified teachers who can take the time to help students learn to think for themselves. Further, conservatives have been taking over School Boards to implement curriculum to their liking and eliminates any concept of Critical Thinking.

Conservatives prefer Indoctrination because it simply tells students what they say the facts are. They’re told to memorize them but don’t question them. It goes to Religious indoctrination where they want you to know your Bible or Torah or Quran but not question what they say or religious leaders’ interpretation of what they say. If there are inconsistencies in verses, if something seems far-fetched don’t bother questioning it. Take it as a matter of faith. To question “doctrine” is heresy. This is the opposite of Critical Thinking. (If you didn’t catch it, doctrine is the root word for indoctrination and that word has almost an entirely religious connotation.)

In 2012 conservative school boards in both Texas and Arizona began programs rejecting critical thinking being used in public schools. In Arizona the issue was that they didn’t want expanded thinking regarding Latino history and Latino issues in Arizona Public Schools. The opponents to critical thinking were clear they didn’t want White History blurred with other perspectives. In Texas they didn’t want history books discussing slavery from the perspective of the slaves. They didn’t want students expanding their minds to consider what slavery was really about, how it came to exist, the problems it created and the problems that continue to this day from its history.

Conservatives want students to only learn what they need to learn to pass standardize testing and nothing that interferes with White religious doctrine. You will hear conservatives complain about Liberal schools “indoctrinating students to not believe in Christian values and morals”. The true indoctrination in the Public Schools has been in implementing as part of curriculum religious based education that can’t be proven, like intelligent design, Bible events are real history, etc. It’s in the Bible so trust us, it happened and it’s true, use you faith.

Studies have shown that conservatives prefer order, a hierarchy, a clear set of beliefs based on religious doctrine. Sorry folks, that is indoctrination and that holds people accountable to leadership and dissuades anyone from questioning validity of what they’re being told and contemplating other causes for why things are the way they are. Liberals want people to learn the facts, but to keep learning and if possible come up with their own answers based on observations and studies. Using liberal thought as a basis of education makes it inherently difficult to hold people to a single view or belief because everything is always in flux. However, this is the only way we learn, grow and advance as a society.

When I was 18 years old beginning my college career I was a Young Republican at ASU. I attended the meetings which were of course very orderly and designed to indoctrinate us into the truth of conservative thought and ideology. Problem for me was my studies in Sociology and Social History placed a high emphasis on Critical Thinking. My college education taught me not to take anything at face value while my membership in the Young Republicans essentially told me “hey trust us, we’re right. You’ll understand later”.

I registered as a Republican in the Red State of Arizona when I turned 18. I had the honor of meeting Barry Goldwater in person when he came to a Young Republican meeting and I’ll admit there was some hero worship with him being a native Arizonan like myself and running for President. All those years later as I matured, observed, studied, reasoned and used my Critical Thinking Skills I no longer take conservative views at face value because today’s views from the Right simply don’t make sense on analysis, they don’t add up. Despite that, I’m still a registered Republican, I just don’t vote for Republicans who take positions I find contrary to what is needed to govern all the people fairly and consistently. That has of course meant I haven’t voted for a Republican in a General Election since 2004.

The Right say the Left are the ones using indoctrination. However, telling students to question facts, dwell more, question authority, don’t take things at face value is the opposite of indoctrination. The right projects the concept of indoctrination on the left despite the indisputable fact that it’s how they maintain control. They oppose critical thinking in public schools and colleges/universities because like me, you start to use your mind, the indoctrination you underwent in years past begin to fade away.

The Right fears true education because the well educated person who effectively uses Critical Thinking is less likely to fall for what the Right Wing says. Thus they’re working more and more to implement strict rightwing indoctrination in Public Schools and make College/University out of reach for most Americans. Over the past 30 years they’ve been very successful which is why the Republicans have the power and influence they have today. Fewer Americans think for themselves anymore, they take what Republicans say on faith.

Whether it’s believing a three time married adulterer President who is on tape boasting he can as a celebrity grab pussy whenever he wants and has walked in on naked teenagers changing for a pageant is a devout moral Christian, or a man who admits as a 30 year old hung out at the Mall trying to hook up with 14, 15 and 16 year old girls and was then banned from that mall is also a devout moral Christian, or believing that a third major stab at huge corporate and 1% tax cuts will finally trickledown despite the fact the last two time led to recession. You will trust the lies the GOP tells you because over the past 30 years, you’ve been indoctrinated.

Christians and the Republican Party

Full disclosure, the best way to describe me is Agnostic. That is not to say I deny the existence of God or Jesus Christ I just can’t prove they exist or existed. In reality nobody can. The most devout followers of that and other deity based faiths can only prove existence by citing faith. However I cannot deny that the Bible exists and Jesus is a character (possibly real) in the Bible and there are teachings attributed to him. To be Christian is to be “a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings”. The key phrase in this definition is “and his teachings” which exist for all to read and interpret. To say you’re a Christian and not cite the followings of Christ is to be dishonest about yourself.

I’ve made a study of the Christian faith in most of its manifestations as well as other faiths. I find them fascinating not necessarily in the historical or Deity perspective but the actual teachings. All faiths discuss how the faithful should interact among others in and out of their faiths but I find the teachings of Christ to be particularly inspiring whether he existed or not. What is sad is that the strongest, loudest voices of those claiming to be Christ’s representatives on Earth walk the walk. They talk some of the talk but they also add in some things that are not there and also in opposition to Christ’s teaching take in huge sums of cash and bestow upon themselves power over others which is not within the teaching of Christ that I’ve ever been able to find.

No organized Christian religion from Catholicism through Latter Day Saints and beyond can say their doctrines fully embraces all the teachings of Christ cited in the Bible. For example all Christian faiths call for public prayers but in the Bible Jesus says in Matthews 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Perhaps the worst group of people who say they ascribe to being Christians are the Evangelicals. Though there are multiple denominations of this belief system most take on as matter of doctrine things Christ never spoke of or things Christ did speak against. They add in their own believes based on spurious beliefs brought up over the centuries from people claiming this is what Christ meant and some actually make up verses attributed to Christ. Many Evangelical leaders make a whole lot of money preaching their Word of Christ and when confronted they essentially fall back on Calvinism and the Prosperity Theology.

Calvinism and Prosperity Theology essentially states that anyone who’s wealthy is wealthy due to the blessings of God. That’s an interesting position to take especially in context to what Jesus states in Luke 16: 19-31 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'” Briefly stated, just because you’re wealthy doesn’t mean you’re Godly.

In fact there are no passages in the Bible that specifically states that being a Christian will make you wealth and free from debt. As for what Jesus states about wealth in the Bible in Luke 16:13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Preachers like Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen and the like who maintain mega-churches and have media access really hit people up for money and a lot of the money ends up paying them for their mansions and lavish lifestyles. They clearly prefer money to God if Jesus is to be believed.

Barry Goldwater had to deal with Jerry Falwell and his attempts to influence politics via the Republican Party. Goldwater hated Falwell and warned the party of the problems people like Falwell would bring them. The original Mr. Conservative said “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.” As for what Jesus said in the Bible regarding getting involved in governmental/political matters we all know Matthew 22:20-21 regarding taxation and government rule. “And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” The Bible clearly states governments are to be obeyed whether they’re Christian or not. Evangelicals would have you believe that we were founded as a Christian nation. They cite that God is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence four times. They neglect to mention that God isn’t mentioned anywhere in our Constitution. Further, the Treaty of Tripoli, which was ratified by a unanimous Senate made up of our founders clearly stated we were not founded in any way as a Christian nation.

Even before Goldwater, Jefferson and Madison made their positions about mixing religion with government as dangerous to both government and religion. They wanted the wall of separation to protect both.

Today evangelicals who claim to follow the teachings of Christ support and control the Republican Party and demand they legislate evangelical teachings. Here’s the problem, most of the tenets of what they call the Christian Faith aren’t supported by Jesus anywhere in the Bible. They oppose any liberal views citing Jesus oblivious to the fact that Jesus is quoted speaking liberal beliefs that exist today. The Beatitudes can be seen as the foundation of liberal views. Further, Jesus supported welfare, opposed the death penalty, supported taxation, preached peace over warfare, caring for others, love thy neighbors, he opposed bigotry, racism and expressed love for those outside his faith, which happened to be Judaism. Evangelicals angrily demand government outlaw homosexuality, eliminate welfare, build up armies for war, cut taxes, discriminate against outsiders and others. These are all things Jesus would be appalled to hear.

Finally, an interesting facet of those who claim to be Christian today involves “end of days” theology. They are big believers we are in the final days as predicted in the Bible and the rapture is coming and an antichrist will rule supported by false prophets. A few things about this. The only book in the Bible that talks about this is Revelations. That book was written by the Apostle Paul who never met Jesus Christ. Further, scholars believe most of what he was referring to involve the Emperor Nero whose numeric name was actually 666. The term “rapture” doesn’t appear anywhere in Revelations. Many have interpreted and expanded what the final days would be like. To take this belief at face value, Christians must beware of false prophets and the anti-Christ and who best represents false prophets than those who use the Christian faith to get rich in violation of the teachings of Christ and who best represents the Anti-Christ than a leader who claims to be “Christ like” but has nothing Christian in his history to back it up and in fact has done many unchristian things like adultery, stealing, lying, living up to the seven deadly sins. I of course am referring to Donald Trump, the current idol of the evangelical movement in our country. I don’t believe in end days theology as advertised. However if I did, I would say it’s the Evangelical Movement and Donald Trump who are ushering in the tribulation and with no rapture coming, those who help them in power will stay here suffering with the rest of us.

If you want to call yourself a Christian, then read the New Testament and carefully study what Christ taught and realize that Donald Trump, Judge Roy Moore, Pat Robertson, Paul Osteen, Franklin Graham Jr aren’t following all the teachings of Christ so are not Christians in the strictest sense. They more mirror that other group I talked about.

 

Who to Blame and Fear More? Trump or his supporters?

I recently posted a Twitter Poll asking the question “Biggest threat to civil society and rule of law in the United States, Donald Trump or those who still support him?” It was only up for a day and only had 84 votes but the results came back as I expected; 46% for Trump and 54% for his supporters. The most common response I had to the poll was “where’s the both button?”
Poll
Though close, I agree with giving the edge of who is to fear and blame more to Trump’s supporters rather than Donald himself. Here’s why I think this is the case.
Trump’s support in the country hovers just above 30%. That number is key because that was his support in the GOP primaries. Since he competed with numerous other Republican candidates, the remaining 70% couldn’t center on one candidate and Trump’s support was solid so he won. As for the general election, although he was able to pick up some additional support from Independents and even some Democrats of the “Never Hillary” crowd, his core support was still only just above 30%. Since that core support turned up in four battleground states, a total of only 70,000 votes from those who showed up to vote swung those states to Trump and gave him the electoral college win, because voter turnout was just above 50% nationwide.
Now in Europe, there are other groups of hard core right wing white nationalists working to win votes in parliamentarian government. Of the European population, that group is a fairly consistent 30% too. As with the GOP primaries, the remaining 70% have multiple parties to vote for, the ones who get that solid and consistent 30% have been winning. In fact just yesterday Austria has elected a conservative White Nationalist with just over 30% of the voting population. You go back to the 1930’s in Germany, the Nazis, who were the White Nationalists of the time, actually at best only won only 30% of the seats in the Reichstag.
Regardless of the time or place in the world, historically and socially there always seems to be around 30% of the population that supports essentially an extreme right wing dictator to rule. I will add that there are studies that show that conservatives tend to want to be led and told what to do by authority figures. You can Google that research. Their selections are rarely in their best interests and often end up harming them. Combine the solid 30% voting bloc to low voter turnout and assistance from say other nations and rightwing media confusing the issues and propelling “fake news” to an intellectually lazy population, you end up with a Donald Trump as President.
Donald Trump is as Rex Tillerson says, “a fucking moron.” He’s unfit to sit in the Oval Office and he is dangerous to our Republic, Rule of Law, Civil Society and National Unity. However that’s only because he’s inept and unable to learn about the office he holds, the Congress he works with and the nation he’s supposed to govern. If Donald Trump hadn’t ran for office, that same 30% who voted for him would’ve voted for someone even worse for the mere fact they’re more intelligent. It could have been a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul. 30% of eligible voters will literally support people and things not in their best interests and they will always vote in unison while the rest of the country either doesn’t vote at all or are easily distracted with making “protest votes” for people who haven’t a chance.
The 30% who supports Donald Trump also in large numbers support Vladimir Putin. They support White Nationalism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism, etc. They believe in untenable views that the government shouldn’t tax them, but must continue to provide them with roads, infrastructure, and government assistance like Social Security and Medicare. They oppose regulations that protect our air, water and food supplies because regulations are government interference. Their entire belief system amounts to cognitive dissonance and they are committed to that belief because that’s what their guts tell them, even though it never works out in their best interests. These people always have and always will exist and they are the danger we face.
The only solution is for the remaining 70% to keep themselves educated to what’s in the nation and their best interests. They must get politically motivated to cancel out the influence of the 30%. The remaining 70% must also get smart and realize they may not get the choice they want and may have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Protest votes are quite literally throwing your votes away. Those who say otherwise have a hard time finding evidence where a protest candidate actually won and election and made things better. Think about how protest votes for Ralph Nader in Florida got us George W. Bush and protest votes for Jill Stein and others may have swung Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to Trump.
We are a complex and large society. As such we require a complex and large government of professionals and intellectuals to operate that government or it will fail. That is what’s happening now in this country. We have an inept President and a Tea Party GOP running Congress. Congressional leaders ran on breaking government and don’t know how to run it for the best interests of all the people. It’s beyond them. However they’re there because 30% of the nation voted for them and the majority of the rest either stayed home or threw their votes away.
Trump’s supporters would support any moron intelligent or otherwise taking the stage to lead them. They are gullible, intellectually lazy, generally angry but most of all, dangerous when their candidate is in power. Only way to cancel their influence is to vote better people in, whether they meet your complete litmus test or not. Idealism is nice to have, but pragmatism is what keeps the nation running and keeps society safe.

Believing in Alternative Facts Will Get You Killed

Even Donald Trump supporters know he lies, he lies constantly and he lies about things he really doesn’t have to lie about. During the campaign Politifact checked and found that Trump lied 76% of the time. Throughout his current regime he’s been caught lying continuously about Muslims, being wire-tapped by Obama, his inauguration crowd size, his popularity, climate change, China, Russia, Obamacare, the list continues. Early in his reign when Chuck Todd confronted Kelly Anne Conway over Trump’s lies, she introduced into the political lexicon the term “Alternative Facts”. Todd correctly told her that alternative facts are “untruths” otherwise known as lies. She continued to sidestep the issue. Since then, the number and power of her “Alternative Facts” have grown, taking on a new reality outside of reality and creating havoc for the nation and world in which we live.

It has been revealed that Russian intelligence has orchestrated and pushed Fake News over social media in this country to rally Trump support both during the campaign and even today. Of course Donald Trump projects the term “Fake News” onto legitimate and established mainstream media when they print the truth about him. However the real “Fake News” that mostly comes from Russia or local conspiracy minded nuts like Alex Jones and basement dwelling dweebs on Breitbart often gets picked up by mainstream media and then retold to the rest of the world, giving it a higher degree of unintentional credibility. Pizzagate is a good example of this. Nothing existed to support the crazy allegations in the story, but the story was carried on mainstream media as kind of aside. Then a nut job drove down to DC and shot up the pizza shop based on the fake news, “Alternative Fact” story. Sad yet, many still believe this story to be true.

With Trump and Conway pushing the concept of Alternative Facts as a basis to make decisions that impact the lives of others, we have a real problem. Important decisions must be made based on reality not politically motivated “Alternative Facts”. However, the Trump Regime, Congress, State Governments and now some foreign governments are making decisions based on Alternative Facts not reality and they feel fine doing so while the world is left scratching their collective heads asking why?

Consider the claim that child vaccines cause autism. This has been proven to be an “Alternative Fact”. In 1998 a paper, that was later to be determined as fraudulent was published in the British Paper “The Lancet”. It claimed research demonstrated a direct link between vaccines and autism. The author of the study, Andrew Wakefield was found to have multiple conflicts of interests, manipulated evidence and data and violated numerous ethical codes. To date no link has been found and the story that is at the center of the belief was declared to be “utterly false”. However today people still believe it to be true. They deny the history of how the claim came to be and consider the theory, which has no basis in reality true. This has resulted parents not having their children vaccinated, which has resulted in childhood diseases once under control to start to break out again in higher numbers. Children are suffering and some are dying as a result.

Sadly, a growing number of Americans are becoming intellectually lazy. Worst yet our President and his administration appear to fall under that same category. Whether knowingly lying or having faith in “Alternative facts” our current administration ignore inconvenient truths in reality to make decisions for our nation as a whole. These decisions impact gun control (or lack thereof), healthcare, environment, food safety and even diplomacy. To act on, make decision on a falsehood is only to invite problems upon yourself and others.

If reality isn’t to your liking too bad. You can’t change reality by telling “Alternative Facts”. You must accept reality for what it truly is and then make decisions on how best to deal with the reality that is there. Mainstream media needs to take a stronger stance on reporting reality and calling out bullshit from alternative news sources like Breitbart, The Daily Caller, InfoWars, Sputnik, etc. When confronted they can’t defend their alternative facts without going deeper into the well of paranoia and doublespeak. These groups create and perpetuate “alternative facts” to push an ideological agenda that runs counter to reality. To allow them to go on unchallenged leads to our leadership making decisions that harm us all.

Media and ordinary Americans must educate themselves and call these liars out, especially those in the White House that Alternative Facts aren’t reality and making decisions based upon them is harmful to human life.

Our Nation Depends on Immigration to Survive

The failing Trump administration, in a transparent effort to reinvigorate his base of White Nationalist Supremacists, recently expressed support for a plan to significantly slash legal immigration. Perhaps simply going after undocumented immigration was getting boring for them, so Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia presented a bill that won’t likely ever be heard in committee to slash legal immigration and replace with an odious point system to get a Visa and green card. Called the RAISE Act (Reform American Immigration for a Strong Economy), it’s based on disproven talking points that immigration drives down wages for American workers. No validated peer supported study supports that premise. They complain too many unskilled immigrants come into this nation providing nothing of value for us. Of course Donald Trump is currently hiring these unskilled immigrants to work at his Golf Courses and resorts.

When announced, it was met with scorn and ridicule by most of the Senate and people of the nation. Only the most avid racists supported the very concept of this bill. It was dismissed on its lack of merit and necessity. However, in the media debate from the talking heads, one undeniable fact was left virtually untouched. We need to increase immigration to survive as a nation because we’re getting too old.

The current median age in the United States (half above and half below) is 36.6 years for men and 39.3 for women. Two major factors are responsible for this. For one, the baby boomers are now retiring and two, our birth rate is falling. Currently the birth rate for the United States is 12.5 births per 1,000 population. We rank 159th in the world. Our birth rate is falling and our median age is increasing.

Now it’s true we are living longer, but the older we get the less productive we become and the more we need assistance from others to survive. So if not native born Americans, who can we rely upon to till the fields, erect the buildings, pave the roads, work the assembly lines, care for the young, the old, the infirm, etc.? It’s simple, immigrants.

You can try to force American Women to become incubators to increase the native population, but good luck with that. The fact remains majority of Americans don’t want children to raise as much as we did in the past. Perhaps it’s because of the expense involved, the questionable environment, society, and politics these children would be born into? It doesn’t matter, we’re producing fewer and fewer children per 1000 population every year and it’s not likely to change. We need to accept that allowing more immigration in the nation rebuilds our workforce, keeps up productive on a world stage and provides for those of us too old to take care of ourselves.

No Tom Cotton, David Perdue, Donald Trump we need more immigration of people willing to come here to do the work and live the American Dream alive, otherwise America dies in old age, unproductive and lacking.

TRUMPCARE IS ABOUT REVENGE: And the American People will suffer for it

Make no mistake about it, the Republican Party’s efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obamacare is at its core all about revenge against President Obama and the Democratic Party. Though they and others will cite the tax burden on the rich, issues of “socialized medicine”, entitlements, forcing people to buy what they don’t need, etc., everything boils down to revenge against the President and Democrats in Congress for successfully passing something a Republican first tried to do over a hundred years ago, provide healthcare for the American People.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Wing of the GOP in 1912 made the first serious proposal for Universal Healthcare. They were opposed by many to include the American Medical Association citing that it was “socialized medicine” (AMA’s views have changed in the century that followed). Harry Truman attempted it during his presidency but couldn’t get anything started with the “do nothing Republican Congress.” Richard Nixon even had a proposal for a version of expanding healthcare on top of what Medicare and Medicaid provided that’s considered more liberal than ACA. Bill Clinton attempted it early in his presidency through his wife Hillary. Republicans at that time countered with a plan proposed by Bob Dole and the Heritage Foundation that was later adopted in the State of Massachusetts under Republican Governor Mitt Romney. That plan was the basis of the plan presented and passed in Congress and signed into law by Barack Obama.

So why do I say this is revenge? During the first two years of the Clinton Administration he passed a tax increase on wealthy Americans and Corporations that helped erased the deficits created by Reagan and Bush and actually started to pay down the national debt. Well not a single Republican voted for that tax increase because then House minority leader, later to become Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich started a process where Republicans couldn’t support anything major presented by Democrats. Gingrich initiated all out partisan warfare in Congress that has devolved into what we have today. Gingrich held his caucus together in the House to in lockstep block anything from Clinton or Democrats in the House. Many of those Congressmen at the time moved to the Senate and began the same process. Essentially it didn’t matter what the bill was about, if it came from Democrats or help that party, it had to be stopped even if it benefitted the American people.

Despite the above, Obama succeeded where everyone failed. He got past the Gingrich partisan war and was able to get ACA passed. Even before the bill was passed, on Obama’s inauguration day; Gingrich, Boehner, McConnell and others met and decided they would block any legislation from the Obama administration regardless what it was to make him a one term president. They failed, ACA passed and Obama won his second term.

In the seven years since ACA became law, it has improved the lives for over 40 million Americans. Medicaid has been expanded, the rate of premium increases has slowed, with subsidies many can now afford Healthcare that provides for them when the need arises, no more lifetime caps, no more exclusions for pre-existing conditions, Insurance Companies are actually raking in more money and since Healthcare is one-sixth of our economy, it actually has created more jobs and helped expand our economy. A plan that was originally Republican, though still full of problems, has helped America, it’s moved us forward. The law is actually more conservative than liberal because it keeps insurance in the private market and excludes a public option. This bill has done more to help Republicans in solidly Red States than anywhere else and they’re starting to appreciate it. But this bill was Obama’s, passed by the Democrats and must be repealed no matter the cost to Americans to include Republicans.

Were this an exercise to follow through with Trump’s campaign promise to make healthcare more available to more Americans for less money, the GOP could easily work with Democrats to legislate fixes to the ACA. However, this is about revenge against Obama and the Democrats for passing a Republican idea and getting credit for it.

This revenge comes from GOP leadership. I really don’t think Trump totally grasps the situation here (can’t with his tiny hands). Trump isn’t into analyzing political or social concepts. He’s all about bumper-stickers, hats, talking-points and applause lines, not substance. He has no idea what ACA is truly about, or even what it does. Further, Trump has no idea what the current Republican bill that carries his name does. Trump is only play-acting as President to get applause lines and feed into his narcissism. Sad when you think about it.

So out of revenge the Republicans still try to pull one over on the American people and kill a bill that has saved the lives of many of their constituents. Further, they can’t replace ACA with anything that doesn’t look like it already because ACA is Republican, but passed by Democrats. Most Republican lawmakers have gone on record supporting most of the individual protections provided by ACA (again because they work and are at their core Republican). So it must die regardless the cost to the American people and the GOP for that matter.

If this was a matter of presenting healthcare legislation that helped their base, the American people and the GOP prospects for 2018 they would fix ACA not repeal it. So as I said above, this is Revenge plain and simple and the American People will suffer for it.

 

AN APPEAL TO THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA aka THE FREE PRESS

The free press has been part of the American people since before we were a nation. In colonial days we had rebels (who were to become patriots following our successful revolution) printing pamphlets supporting rebel views and acts against the Monarchy and Parliament that ruled our people. “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine is perhaps the most famous pamphlets to come out, educating and persuading the colonists why we needed to rebel.

The founders realized that through a free press (4th estate) the people in this new government of, by and for the people, could be better educated and persuaded to act in the national interest. So much so that the first amendment of our Constitution protects free speech and the free press.

Now that is not to say that there weren’t problems with the government and the free press. Even in those early days, there were extremes in the press that irritated our elected government. Political opponents would go to the press to get stories, innuendos, embarrassing facts, and even dare I say “Fake News” printed to go after each other. Thomas Jefferson was adept at this in his battle against John Adams.

As President, John Adams response was to sign the Alien and Sedition Act legislated by the Congress who were controlled by the Federalists. Under the Sedition part of the act, it was illegal for anyone to express “any false, scandalous and malicious writing” against Congress or the president. Interestingly enough, it excluded the Vice President who at the time was Thomas Jefferson. People were arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison for “sedition”. This sparked debate across the entire country regarding what Free Speech and Free Press were. Adams and the Federalists lost after his first term.

When Jefferson became president and his Democratic Republicans (today’s Democratic Party) took over congress, the Alien and Sedition Acts were repealed and Jefferson confirmed in his inaugural address a new definition of free speech and press as the right of Americans “to think freely and to speak and write what they think.”

In the 200 plus years the relationship between the Free Press, Government and those running for office has always been fluid and mostly frosty.

After all it was a free Press that due to investigative journalism and revealing the facts to the nation, which brought down the Nixon administration.

It’s been a free press from the conservative side of the equation that has (via Fox News among others) that has hampered and misinformed the population about Democrats. Note that Dems never called for restricting Fox News and their allies from saying what they want, they merely defend themselves with the facts.

Since Fox came into existence and following Reagan’s repeal of the Fairness Doctrine (which required both sides to get equal time to present their views to the public), the free press has become more and more corporate. That is not to say that there still aren’t “liberal” journalists out there, however they are leashed by their corporate masters who are more concern with viewership, advertising and profits than telling the truth to the nation. Sadly it appears too many Americans prefer lies and innuendos from liars and provocateurs than basic, boring truth.

So our free press has become more corporate and due to their corporate control, and thus tend to go easy on conservatives, or those who “claim to be conservative” like Donald J. Trump.

Now Trump has made it a point to go after the media as a selling point to his base. He tells them they’re all (except for Fox) “Fake News”. Now that is interesting because the very concept of “fake news” came from Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign inundating social media with blatantly false news stories about Clinton and Democrats. In doing so, they got mainstream media to pick up on the stories and spreading the lies. This has been researched and confirmed and did have an impact on voter turnout. So now Trump tries to tell his supporters that the real news is fake news.

During his campaign, the media went easy on Donald Trump. The information was already out there regarding serious problems with his honesty, competency, professionalism, lack of real success. However the media only focused on his rallies with little commentary about the accuracy of his comments. When mainstream focused on Clinton it was only in context with Fake News and emails and not on her policy agenda or experience. Further, they didn’t even cover Clinton to the extent they covered Trump.

Trump received in excess of two billion dollars in free coverage. He received more coverage that didn’t educate the people on who he really was, the coverage was merely for entertainment value, ratings. With the help of Russian Bots, Fake News and a complicit/lazy mainstream media, Donald Trump fooled an ignorant nation and won the Electoral College.

Since being elected, instead of thanking the mainstream media for helping him in his win, Trump continues to attack them. It plays well with his base, but not the truth or majority of the nation. Media is only now starting to do the job they should’ve done during the primaries and election and are researching and reporting on Trump, his associates and his campaign. However, they still baby Donald Trump in their coverage.

They still tend to report out how successful and intelligent he is using the flimsiest of justifications, he won the election.

As with everything in Trump’s life, he’s been bailed out by others and this includes his presidency. It’s an easily verifiable fact that Donald Trump has failed in nearly every endeavor he’s been involved in, only to be bailed out later by others.

When Trump says or tweets something that makes no sense, media still tends to translate what they think he meant rather than simply say “that was stupid and made no sense”.

When Trump is interviewed and prefaces a comment with something like “most people believe” or “most people are saying” or “I think you’d agree” the media lets it go instead of responding “I don’t agree” or “There’s no polling to suggest that most people believe or are saying.”

When Trump out and out lies in front of reporters things like “Obamacare is a failure” they don’t immediately respond with “Show us the evidence” or better yet, “that’s a lie and we have the data to show it’s a lie.”

Mainstream Media, Donald J. Trump has no respect for the truth, reality and certainly not you. Trump uses people and institutions to his advantage and never thanks them, only causes them more harm and grief. You don’t owe him any more respect than he shows you.

He rarely ever has press conferences but he still meets with reporters or makes statements in front of reporters.

Call him out on his lies, call him out on his bizarre statements, and call him out on his stupidity as he makes his statements.

Trump’s support is at 36% and falling. Your support is higher but not by much. Give the nation a reason to support a free press even more, call this man out in front of his face and get his reaction live on air. By the way, it will be good for ratings.  

THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT: THE FINAL FIELD TEST?

In 1787 following the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was asked “Well doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?” To which he famously responded “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Representative democratic self-rule had never been tried before on such a large scale when our founders invented this new form of government, this new Republic. All previous governments were ruled by strong monarchs, dictators and/or elites because of the view at the time that the general population, “the mob” were too unsophisticated, limited in education, experience, foresight, intellect to rule themselves. The idea of the general population choosing their representatives and holding them accountable via the ballot box in both State and Federal elections was unheard of. It became the “American Experiment” or as Lincoln so eloquently said in the Gettysburg address “Government of the people, by the people and for the people…” He coined that phrase during one of our greatest Field Test to see if this experimental government could survive, the Civil War.

Human beings are not all humane angels, saints and intellectuals. There will always be a segment of any population who for whatever reason thrive on bigotry, racism, intolerance, fear, hatred, greed, self-centeredness, etc. over all else. This was the concern our founders had in allowing representative government by the People. What if these less refined people selected their government? Could a nation survive such instability, anger and violence? Surely only the wealthy elite, people from Royal lineage can govern such a population by the Grace of God. To allow lesser people to have a say in governing is to allow “mob rule.”

There’s always the argument regarding whether the Civil War was an issue of Slavery or an issue of State’s Rights. In my opinion it was both. The Southern States wanted to maintain their rights, (from the people who installed their leadership) that the views of Racism and Bigotry held true over the views of humanity and equality of all people. Thus Slavery was natural and just. The “State Right” to hold human beings in slavery was the core of what led to the Civil War. Mob rule polluted the more egalitarian aspects of government and threatened the experiment of self-rule by the people. Monarchies around the world at this time were already outlawing slavery, only the Southern States wanted to maintain it.

Well the United States with great effort, pain and loss actually passed this Field Test. Not only did the Union Hold, it became greater. Our constitution was amended to outlaw slavery and guarantee rights to all Americans regardless of race. However, the people who thrive on negative views of life and civilization were not silenced. That is contrary to the concept of our National Experiment and an impossible task. These people have and will always exist and will be heard (first amendment). The theory of our Republic is the numbers of the more positive views and natures of the people will ensure that although these negative voices are heard, their views could never be institutionalized in government to cause harm to others. Further, if representatives were to ever gain power in government, installed and supported by either those who thrive on negative views and/or corruption they could be removed if found to be corrupt and dangerous themselves. Our constitution, before even talking about the office of the Chief Executive explains how the Congress will remove via impeachment members of government for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. States around the country have statutes for recalling State representatives and Governors by the people if they’re found to be lacking in positive or popular leadership.

For over 200 years our “Experiment” in self-rule, our Republic underwent numerous field tests of which we all passed. As mentioned above we had the Civil War, we also had two World Wars, we had Chief Executives who were less than ideal who were controlled and held to account by Congress and/or the Supreme Court. We even had Congresses who were lacking to the American Idea held to account by Chief Executives and/or the Supreme Court. The field tests were not always “aced” but we completed and passed them. In terms of the Chief Executive, the Nixon test showed how despite winning a popular re-election and having almost “cult-like” support among a segment of the population, as his crimes became more apparent, his own party aided in convincing him to resign from office. Congress did her job as the founders intended. As Gerald Ford noted, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule”.

Not all people were happy with the outcome. Some felt Nixon should’ve been allowed to serve out his term, some wanted him in prison, but most were glad this was over and the nation could move forward. It was a Constitutional crisis but the Constitution did ultimately win.

The Great Depression is another example of how our system worked. Over time pro-business and pro-greed representatives took over Congress and the White House. Deregulation of businesses and the banks ensued, safeguards removed and then the Market crashed resulting in a worldwide depression. The people organized and changed the country via the ballot box to install a government that fixed the harm the previous government had created. The “better angels of our nature” took control and our nation survived and thrived. We will never be rid of the “worse demons of our nature” taking charge or influence, but until recently, we’ve been able to correct the harm they’ve imposed.

Today we face a field test I don’t believe the Founders could have ever consider. They knew there would always be a segment of the population with negative views who would have influence on governing, but how could they have ever imagine a foreign adversary being able to influence our elections by hacking private communications and using bots via the internet to influence our electorate to believe fake news accounts. A perfect storm of dangers imperils our Constitution and our American Experiment today:

1)      A political party more interested in their Party and power has gained control of Congress (Something the founders warned against)

2)      The free press was more interested in ratings and getting advertisers to buy time than to report balanced and important news. The press provided Donald Trump free coverage in the amount of up to $3 billion without going into details about his shady past, his inexperience, his cohorts, and blatant unfitness to rule. By treating Trump as a ratings cow, they helped Russian bots influence the electorate into believing Trump was legitimate and able to rule.

3)      Congress per their corporate donors’ demands are legislating to give them more tax cuts and improve their bottom lines via deregulations of banks, corporations and environmental controls. These acts have a direct negative impact on the people they represent in terms of social safety net, environmental protections and their tax burden. Knowing they need a President willing to sign off on their regulations they’re allowing Donald Trump who is clearly compromised to remain in office despite growing evidence of collusion, corruption and incompetence.

4)      The electoral process with help from the Republicans is being changed to institutionalize voter suppression under false pretenses in order to thwart the voice of the majority of the people.

5)      The Federal Court system to include the Supreme Court has been infiltrated with more and more Justices more concern with a business/corporate agenda than human rights and as such has become more politicized (Something our founders warned us against).

6)      Our education system has been compromised over the past several decades in that civics and critical thinking are no longer part of the national curriculum resulting in generations of Americans not understanding our system of government, the need for their involvement and the ability to think out solutions instead of just learning how to pass a test.

7)      Less educated and more ideologically inclined people in rural areas of the country are able to have a higher influence in the Electoral College system. Land mass thwarts population. Despite what Trump says, the Electoral College favors Red States because they are more sparsely populated with more ideologically minded people while liberals and moderates congregate in more densely populated cities. This along with gerrymandered districts gives one party more control over government than the other.

8)      Along with voter suppression, voter apathy has become mainstay and as a result, record low percentages of registered voters even bother to vote. The views that “my vote doesn’t matter” “the system is corrupt” “both sides do it” have taken control and too many Americans have simply given up.

So, due to an increasingly under-educated public (founders warned us about this), the party system (the founders warned us about this), big money influence (the founders warned us about this), a stifled and/or compromised free press (the founders warned us about this) and covert foreign influence of the electoral system (founders didn’t envision this) we currently have the most unqualified and incompetent President in the White House. Even though the Constitution provides an immediate remedy to this problem, the ruling Republican Party appears unwilling to take the steps necessary to correct the situation and do the bidding of the People they’re “constitutionally” required to represent.

At this time, should Congress fail to do its Constitutional duty to remove Donald Trump from office and instead follow the bidding of a small segment of the wealthiest Americans with the help of a small percentile of Americans who support racism, bigotry, intolerance, sexism, xenophobia and nationalism and ignore the over 70% who have the opposite views then the experiment is over. Our Constitution and the idea that governance of, by and for the people will have failed.

Since our Constitution was ratified this nation has suffered through corrupt members of the House, Senate and Executive Branch, we’ve suffered through bad Supreme Court Decisions, we’ve suffered through the worst elements of our population taking too much control or influence in our democracy. But in the end, the people have always took charge to fix it. This time however, because the worst elements of our government have had the time (hiding behind the complacency and stupidity of the people), have changed the system to make it harder for the people to step up and correct the situation. There is even a movement led by Billionaires influencing State Representatives to (under the Constitution) hold a new Constitutional Convention to rewrite the Constitution in their favor. They nearly have all the States they need to accomplish this.

So here we are. Can the majority of the country once again rise up, influence our elected government to look to us and the “better angels of their nature” to bring us back to a functioning government of by and for the people or do we give up and permit a government to take complete control led by a party more interested in power and personal wealth than the people they represent and a President who is clearly not up to the challenge of leading a diverse and large population of people?

If this can be fixed and the experiment allowed to continue, it’s up to you to get yourself and others involved. It’s only your lives and freedoms that are at stake here.

NRA – IT’S ALL ABOUT SALES

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about one of my favorite topics and villains, the National Rifle Association. As you all know, this group is extremely outspoken in their “view” that only gun ownership keeps this nation safe, only gun ownership keeps the tyranny of government at bay, only gun ownership makes you a man, etc.  Of course when they make the ads portraying the attacks on the 2nd Amendment, how guns in schools would’ve of protected the children at Columbine and Sandy Hook, how an “armed society is a safe society” they cite no validated facts to support their positions. When confronted with real peer reviewed studies about the dangers of gun ownership, they move straight to their paid “researchers and historians and their bought off conspirators attacking the 2nd Amendment. We’ve all seen this.

Last week the NRA released a new ad which in my opinion clearly illustrates what I’ve always believed to be true about the NRA and their paid trolls, it’s not about public safety, it’s not about home safety, it’s not about constitutional rights, it’s not about holding tyranny at bay, it’s about sales. Here’s the ad of which I speak:

This ad actually contradicts many of the talking points the NRA has used in recent years to inspire gun owners to buy more guns. Note I said “inspire gun owners to buy more guns” not people to buy guns. Studies (something the NRA hates) clearly show that despite growing number of gun sales, the percentile of the nation who own guns in this country is essentially unchanged. In fact, it’s been shown in some studies to have been dropping. So in effect, only those who only buy guns are buying more guns. Why? Well NRA advertising was focused on one talking point: “President Obama wants to take your guns away!” coupled with the old tired lines about government tyranny and attacks on the 2nd Amendment. So avid gun users went out and bought even more guns. However, few people who never had a gun before decided to go out to get a gun for the first time. This didn’t matter to the NRA as long as they sell more guns. It’s like car dealerships contacting you a couple of years after a sale telling you how you can upgrade to another care with just a few buck more than what you’re already paying for the one you just  bought.

President Obama was the best thing that ever happened to the Gun Industry and their NRA Lobbyists. Despite President Obama expressing his outrage at senseless gun violence across the country, he did little to nothing to curb gun ownership or sales. He commissioned studies, issued meaningless and unenforceable executive orders and had conversations with an unreceptive Congress about acting, but nothing was done. In fact, he allowed firearms to be permitted in National Parks. In reality, President Obama expanded gun rights in this country.

But the NRA told people through their advertising the opposite was true and gun sales skyrocketed during the Obama administration. Gun manufacturers reported in the final year of the Obama Administration where they feared was Clinton would become president and impose the bans they said Obama would impose, gun sales reached 52,600 a day (27.5 million gun sales in 2016). They went further by predicting 2017 would continue to break all records (under a Clinton administration). Unfortunately for them and the NRA, Donald Trump was “declared” the winner.

Yes, the candidate who once favored a total ban on assault rifles and longer waiting periods for gun purchases changed his views when he hired the NRA to back his candidacy:

Well, the NRA candidate won yet gun sales in the Trump administration have continued to fall. Gun advocates now say it’s because everyone who needed to buy a gun did so under Obama. However, why then the new NRA ad? If everyone they feel has a gun already, why scare them into buying more guns?

Under an “NRA Friendly” administration and Congress, the NRA can no longer focus their sales ad on the government wanting to take your guns away, or government tyranny. No, now they have to focus on another enemy, the American People.

Per the NRA it’s the American People exercising their right of free speech, their outrage of bigotry, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia and bad cops who are the real danger in this country and only if you who support bigotry, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia and bad cops were to buy more guns and keep them in your “clenched fist” our nation is in danger.

And of course they use misleading video shots and infer misleading statements of our nation today to increase their gun sales. Under the NRA sales team, we’ve moved from a nation in fear of her government to a nation in fear of the majority of her people. Facts, reality and logic do not matter when it comes to increasing sales. After all, Murica!!!!

Facts remain:

2nd Amendment had nothing to do with holding government tyranny at bay and by the way, Philando Castile was a lawful gun owner exercising his 2nd Amendment right to own a gun when he was killed by an obviously scared cop who couldn’t equate a Black man owning a gun as being normal and overreacted.

Gun ownership in the home increases the likelihood of being killed in the home by a gun five times.

More guns on the streets always results in a proportional increase of gun violence on those same streets.

Majority of the nation fully supports bans on military style assault rifles, high capacity magazines, longer waiting times to purchase a gun, stricter enforcement of private gun sales, and restrictions on the mentally ill, domestic violence offenders, and/or those with a violent criminal record from being allowed to own a gun.

However, those facts are bad for gun sales so don’t expect the NRA to give them any credence, or you.

Voting Rights, Crosscheck and Kris Kobach

Were you aware that in the US Constitution, there really isn’t anything granting each US Citizen a right to vote? The only thing the Constitution provides for under the 15th and 19th Amendments is protecting people from being denied the right to vote specifically because of race or sex. If voting laws are broad enough to impact an entire population then they stand. Voting is left totally to individual states and individual districts. So say a law requires “everyone” to provide ID to vote, it’s constitutional despite the fact some people have easier access to ID than others based on income, which may be based on race or age. Federal Civil Rights’ law granted protections, but those protections were tenuous at best and recently they were overturned by the Supreme Court since as I just mentioned, the US Constitution doesn’t provide a right to vote per se.

Worse yet, if an election is shown to have been compromised via say a cyber-attack or willful removal of people from the voter rolls without legitimate cause, there’s nothing in law or procedure that permits a new election or “re-vote.” So in reality if someone or some organization is successful in throwing an election that election result remains until the next scheduled election. A sad reality for a nation that publicly prides itself as being a free democracy.

It is no secret that the only the Republicans oppose easy access to and the unrestricted right to vote for all citizens of this country. Conservatives Republicans are on record recognizing the fact that the more people who vote, the less likely their party and their agenda is likely to win. See below:

So over the years, Conservative Republicans push for anything they can do to suppress the vote. Voter ID’s, limited polling hours, restricted days for early voting, etc. Voting restrictions are carefully crafted so that on paper, they appear to impact an entire population. However, upon examination of the specifics, looking into the weeds, they disapportionately impact those more likely to vote left of center, which happens to be the majority view of our nation. Republicans know full well that as long as they can successfully keep people from the polls, either by making it too difficult for them to vote, or subversively finding ways to remove them from the voting rolls, they win and there’s no way a new election can be called to correct the voting results.

Recently Donald Trump appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to co-chair with Mike Pence a commission to uncover “voting fraud” in this nation. Voting fraud is always the excuse Republicans use to justify their voting suppression efforts despite the fact study after study after study proves it is nearly nonexistent. Studies show at best, the type of voter fraud Republicans claim is 0.0005%. However, Trump who still claims he had record numbers of people at his inauguration, claims that all if not more of the 3 million more votes Hillary Clinton received over him were all fraudulent. So publicly he created this commission. However, is that the real reason?

Kris Kobach was the author of Arizona’s discriminatory SB1070 law that gave Arizona law enforcement Nazi Germany like authority to demand paperwork from Brown People to prove they were here legally. However, Kobach also heads up a blatant national voter suppression organization known as “Crosscheck”. In theory, crosscheck analyzes voter registration data across voting district and state lines to investigate if people are registered in multiple places and if so, remove their names from the voting rolls. Crosscheck removed well over 1 million voters from the rolls in 2016. 450,000 were removed from Mississippi, 270,000 in Arizona, 590,000 in North Carolina. It is interesting to note that most of these people were of color and/or Latino. Further, these numbers far exceed the number of votes Trump won by in those states. Coincidence?

Trump likes to point out how dead people are still on voter rolls. Well a couple of things there. Each voting jurisdiction has their own rules on removing people from the rolls. Dead people find it difficult to remove their names and family members rarely see it as a priority. Further, having a dead person on a voting roll is one thing, that person actually voting is quite another. No evidence of widespread dead people actually voting has come to light most likely because it didn’t happen. As for people being registered in multiple places, well that has been documented. People like Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, and Ann Coulter have been found to be registered in multiple places but the number is far below the 0.0005% “voter fraud” percentile discussed earlier. It happens but not in the numbers that would impact an election and not likely for any devious purpose other than laziness, forgetfulness or poor record keeping.

Kobach has asked the Secretaries of State of all 50 states to provide him the names, dates of birth, last 4 digits of social security numbers, party affiliation and voting records of their voter registration rolls. Why? Is it in an attempt to expand his own “Crosscheck” scheme to then compel each state to remove “suspect” people from the rolls? Probably.

November 2018 is just over a year away and from their past behavior we know the Republicans want to suppress the vote as best they can to hold on to Congress despite overwhelming national discontent with their governance. Kobach using flimsy at best justification is using the office provided him by Trump to facilitate the removal of millions of lawfully registered voters from the rolls. These people may not realize their names were removed until voting day (like in 2016) and there will be nothing they could do about it. Once the election is complete, there’s no new election to be held regardless of how many people come forward to show they were unjustifiably or even illegally removed from the rolls.  And of course there’s 2020.

The evidence is clear, there is no voter fraud of the kind reported by Trump and Kobach in this country, at least nowhere near the numbers required to have any impact of election results (0.0005%). However, voter suppression to throw an election is at the numbers required to throw an election and voter fraud is the excuse Trump, Kobach and the GOP will use to justify their efforts to orchestrate election fraud.

We must be proactive because once Election Day concludes, there’s no going back, there’s no mechanism in place to hold a new election because millions were denied their lawful right to vote as citizens of the United States. Election law is the mandate of the States and local jurisdictions. Demand from your Secretary of State transparency in maintaining the voter registration rolls. Demand and safeguards be in place to ensure names aren’t frivolously removed from the rolls based on dubious at best claims, check to see if you’re still registered on a monthly basis so you’re not surprised on Election Day and most importantly, VOTE!

Here’s where to go to check your registration status:

http://www.canivote.org/