Republic? Democracy? Both?

I’ve run into this question frequently. It is used, almost exclusively, to trip up an argument, because from the antagonist’s point of view, nothing you say will be right. It is a cheap way of breaking momentum and knocking you off your game.

The other night at my Play, The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden, after the talk back, a very nice older woman-old enough to have gone to Prom with James Garfield, and dripped wealth- drew me aside to remind me that America is “Not a democracy, but a representative republic.” I have pondered both the question and answer carefully for some time, and have a clear and succinct, and accurate answer to all those smart-asses attempting to stifle cogent arguments by tripping their counterpart on meaningless details.

I said in a kindly manner that it was both, because our representative republic is only renewed through the democracy of people voting, and that policy should, and often is a mixture of the three branches of the republic and the pressure of citizens through activism, engagement and protest.

So, in fact, it is both, if we do it correctly.


Next week I will cohost a Debate on Citizen’s United…

Next week I will cohost a Debate on Citizen’s United…
That debate taping, with cohost Kit Cabello, which will be taped for viewing on a local Chicago channel, and offered online, takes place at The Leadway Bar at 5pm at 5233 North Damen Ave in Chicago. All are welcome to attend. We will also be taking questions from the audience. 
Food for thought ahead of the debate. Two billionaires, for the first time in history will compete for the office of governor of Illinois. Seven of Trump’s cabinet members are worth over a billion. Others, like former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson are worth hundreds of millions. Men like Steve Mnuchin looted the government and defrauded millions of Middle Class homeowners during the financial crisis to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. All of Trump’s fortune is based on hype and strategic debt, and capitalizing off numerous taxpayer funded bankruptcies.
The number of Rightwing billionaires peddling influence and writing legislation exponentially dwarfs anything George Soros might be doing on the Left. Can anyone rightly claim money in politics has any real benefit for the health of our once, and perhaps future Republic? Or is it that the Koch Brothers just love America so much?

War with? here are the stakes…

War with? here are the stakes…

A war with Iran creates a significant crisis in the Persian Gulf. Not only would it put thousands of our service personnel at risk but it helps Russia’s economy. The massive spike in oil would destroy our economy but would be a windfall for Russia’s economy which is 85% dependent on oil and the price of oil. More evidence that Trump is more Russian than American

A hot war in the short term consolidates Trump’s power at home. Russia swoops in as peace broker with greater influence over an oil rich neighbor on its border with access and control of the Persian Gulf. Oil settles to $100/barrel and the Russian economy stabilizes…thus consolidating Putin’s power at home. As for the Scuds…losing American support local undermines Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s strongest partner without firing a shot, Russia consolidates the Mideast.

I would be in favor of a law that doubles the retirement of Congress people including Cadillac family insurance but then ban them and their from ever dealing in anyway with the government, through work, financial dealings, lobbying, influence or anything else. Serve a single term, retire to a bait shop in Vermont. That means trolls and revolving door lobbyists are out of the process and we theoretically attract people who actually are interested in public service.

Thoughts on resistance in the final hours of the Republic…

Thoughts on resistance in the final hours of the Republic…

On an October night on the frontline around Sarajevo I was arrested and interrogated by Bosnian Army Intelligence. I volunteered my journal, which had contacts for Bosnian Serbs across the line, such as the daughter of Radovan Karadzic and others. They asked how I could be friends with every side of the conflict, and that when one side intended and practiced genocide and war crimes on the other side I could so casually claim friendships with the former. I thought of the thousands of makeshift graves in the city, Ana and her family starving and freezing and being targeted by snipers, of Dragan Markovic wounded in the foot and fearing the loss of a leg from lack of medication, the children in the hospital I had visited and all of their exhausted and heartbroken parents, the couple killed across the street from where I stayed because they had rigged a makeshift gas line wrong and were blown into the street, little Sulejman Haljevac Memo, my buddy who told how everyday classmates simply disappeared, some dead and some refugeed. Standing on a fence is a luxury, and in a conflict such luxuries simply cannot stand. it isolates the individual at a time when isolation is most dangerous, and dampens the resistance to injustice and oppression at precisely the moment when concerted fronts and locked arms cannot tolerate weakness. 

As much disdain and distaste I had/have for Hillary, please do not…

As much disdain and distaste I had/have for Hillary, please do not…
…attempt to sell me the bullshit she would have been just like Trump.
1. While far too cozy with bankers, in my opinion, she would not have nominated outright criminals like Steve Mnuchin.
2. She would not have eliminated funding to Planned parenthood.
3. She would not have demonized refugees, Muslims and Mexican economic refugees.’
4. She would not have eliminated the ACA, effectively cutting off healthcare for tens of millions.
She would not have attacked our children by nominating Betsy DeVos.
5. She would not have put a blatant racist (I liked the KKK before I found out they smoked pot) in the AG position, someone who will empower law enforcement to double down on brutality and institutional racism.
6. She would not have put climate deniers in at the energy department or reactivated coal-fire plants.
7. While criminally silent of DAPL, she would not have opened the flood gates to the fossil fuel industry and divested from Green tech.
8. she would not have openly and strategically devalued all dissent press, or the Press in general in favor of provably false and propagandistic sources, like talk radio and Breitbart.
9. She would not have remained silent on an aggressively resurgent white supremacist movement.
10. she would not have proclaimed a war on “too much regulation” such as EPA clean air and water standards, fair pay, minimum wage, union rights, family leave, overtime pay and other worker centered regulations at odds with corporate profiteers.
11. She would not have set sights on eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts nor the National Endowment for the Humanities.
So please decide what and who you want to be. Straddling the fence with one foot in Alex Jones conspiracy and disinformation fiction with the other pretending to be solidly in the Progressive camp doesn’t work.

As the tempo of emotion and words increases between China and Trump I think it is important for Progressives and reasonably-minded people not to act as though the US should be afraid of China, i.e., that they will calling in debts, attack our satellites, but instead be clear on the immorality of conflict and remind everyone that Trump’s tirade likely has something to do with a scheme to avoid paying China the $650 million in debt he owes, and that all of this potentially becomes a crime against both the American and Chinese people-Their governments aside