Donald Trump and the Republicans


I haven’t said much about Donald Trump winning the 2016 election because I don’t know what to say. During his primary rallies, I did discuss what a Trump Presidency might be like. I was really hoping people would not go “there”, but when I saw lawn after lawn and truck bumper after truck bumper with Trump/Pence signs and no signs for Hillary Clinton I began to realize that Hillary fans were laying low.

I wrote many articles in favor of Hillary, but unfortunately no one reads my blog. I did not get a lawn sign, though, until the last month before the election. I felt intimidated by Donald Trump’s casual approach to violence and the way he loved to incite his followers to express their passion for him. I felt very alone with most of my family deciding that Trump would be fine and most of my friends feeling that Bernie got gypped.

I really do not have the slightest idea what Donald Trump will be like as a President. He may be the President of America, but he is not my President. I think he is ruled by adulation. If he feels his audience slipping away he will do what he must to win it back. He does behave predictably in that his reactions to all things are personal and emotional, but he is not ideological. He makes a policy statement one day and reverses it the next.

When I read the Elena Ferrante quartet of books about Naples, Italy I was strongly affected by her descriptions of how Fascism remained a factor throughout Italy long after World War II. I guess I thought, beat Mussolini, beat Fascism. But that was not true. There were many tough guys still around who got their way through intimidation, bullying, and baseball bats. That’s how I recognized Donald Trump immediately as soon as he spoke at his first public rally. That’s when I began to worry about his ability to sell himself and his willingness to use any means necessary to get his way.


I had studied what the Republicans were up to for the past 6 years. They were the enemy I knew. I didn’t like what they were up to. They were planning to pare back the Constitution to 1787, get rid of 200+ years of law and tradition (except the parts that matched their ideology). They have broad plans to benefit the rich and make the poor get off their duffs, but they offer no specifics.

I did not want the Republicans to get control of all three branches of government. They were too radical, they had too many nuts running around shooting off their mouths. They stopped our government until they could win a national election. They cheated and used unfair and perhaps unconstitutional practices to try to make it likely that they would win.

I can’t imagine that Donald Trump was part of their plan, but he did win them the coveted office of the President and he won them the right to appoint at least one Conservative to the Supreme Court. And I wouldn’t be surprised if pressure was brought to get some Liberals to leave the court. But they may have more than they bargained for in Donald Trump. He has to win and if Congress tries to corner him into doing anything he doesn’t want to do or makes him feel that he is not winning, he will find a way to exert his rather frightening authority to get his way. Is he the kind of bully who incites violence but also fears it? Maybe. Another thing we don’t know.

My friends and family are smug and thrilled and they believe that the right person won which is difficult for me to live with. My best course of action is to wait and see what happens. The cast of characters is already making me very nervous, but Donald Trump will not take over completely until after the holidays. Will the Republicans find the strength to resist him if he gets too extreme? Will the people rise up in the depths of winter and cry out against things that our democracy should consider unjust? I think the Donald will probably have his way with us. Our best bet is to become what a Facebook group member suggested – Dumbledore’s Army. Find a hidden Room of Requirement and train up new Democrats. Hash out great policies and reforms and get ourselves a deep bench. Then, if there is any American democracy left when everyone is done with what Donald and the Republicans have in store for them, perhaps we can try some of the real reforms our government needs.


Erasing the Sixties



The “military-industrial complex” is finally poised to wipe out the Sixties. Almost half of America stayed “straight” while the rest of the world grooved to a new beat in the sixties. Change was in the air.

We wanted peace, not war. Our guys were in Vietnam, fighting a war that was not our business although it was sold as a war against the spread of Communism. Since an all-out war on Russia was too risky we fought them in Vietnam, a tiny nation. It was an awful war, as all wars are, but even more difficult because of the terrain and the temperatures and a style of guerilla, hit-and-run warfare we were not prepared for. We responded with Agent Orange and napalm and learned that chemical warfare should be considered unacceptable forever after.

America, for once, found a voice of dissent. We wanted out of this war. But we were divided. Some Americans were hawks even in the Sixties who felt that America, when provoked must respond with military force. There were probably even cynics who believed that war always helped boost the American economy. For some people everything is about money. Many Americans supported the war because they are Americans, they are patriotic, and they had sons, daughters, husbands, fathers in Vietnam fighting this bizarre and deadly war.

We were experiencing a fairly new hostility to the very institutions at the foundations of the American economy. It was just hitting home that our democracy was not quite as democratic as we would like nor were our opportunities quite as equal as we would like. Some Americans began to suspect that the powerful people were stacking the deck in their favor and that our money was going to people who were already powerful and rich. The rich and powerful wanted a national government that was in the control of those who believed that we needed a strong military (possibly putting us in line to be permanently at war), and those who felt that if our laws favored industry the American economy would also be the strongest economy in the world. These folks believed that a strong military-industrial complex would keep America dominant on the world stage.

The other half of America railed against the “establishment” and wrote about change, talked about change, and demonstrated for change. This half of America even tried to live in the changed America they hoped was emerging. The straighter half of America grew long sideburns, wore bell bottoms and went off the work every day. They did not even understand what the “change” chants were all about. They felt that the counterculture was unreal, nonsensical, and possibly treasonous.

These were the days when pressure from people both black and white led to the Civil Rights Act signed in 1965. Passing a law never cures a society’s ills like magic. You can make people act in certain ways, but you cannot make them feel certain things. But this law represented the kind of humanitarian changes that resulted from the idealistic and, some believed, airy-fairy view that was currency in the counterculture. Learning to accept the diverse nature of America’s people was very much a part of “hippie” philosophy. In cities we saw more racial mixing than occurred in earlier decades. Concern about poorer Americans became an issue that should not only be addressed by churches, but also by the American government.

And we had the pill, the birth control pill which gave women the freedom to control their own futures. They could enjoy physical intimacy without having to accept that this would almost inevitably produce an offspring, either planned or unplanned. Women were already a fixture in the workplace, but now you could choose to pursue a serious career, like a man could. Women talked and talked in consciousness raising groups all over America. It gave women a heady sense that they were not just appendages of men. They were half of the human race and they were not feeling at all submissive. Why were they given brains that worked so well if they were not intended to share in their culture and contribute to their culture?

There were always establishment forces who hated these movements that began in the Sixties. Richard Nixon embodied that snide, entrenched opposition to all things “new age”. The side wars between John Lennon and Richard Nixon are perfect representations of how ridiculous and petty his resistance and his fear often seemed. Although John Lennon lived the “revolution” he had too many personal problems to be a real threat. He was essentially an artist, someone who could inspire a counterculture war, but not lead it.

The “establishment” hated the counterculture. Many of the laws, policies, and programs that Republicans hate most have roots in the Sixties. The Great Society may not have arisen fully formed in the Sixties but you can see counterculture concerns all over it. The Great Society gave rise to “big government”. Even environmentalism tended to split along the lines established in the Sixties.

The same decade also gave America a culture split between the Hawks and the Doves. Imperialism, colonialism, American interference in foreign government, regime change were all “old” philosophies of arrogant nations according to the members of the counterculture. These strategies for control of others were now considered wrong and unsuited to the ideals of a democratic nation. But not by everyone. The Republicans did not soften their foreign policy stances. They felt that if America did not remain number one in every arena then America would no longer exist as a nation. We would give up dreams of empire and become just another less-than-spectacular nation among many.

Conservatives have always been wary of social programs. No social program could be passed without ways to make it onerous built in. People who needed help must always be punished for their failure to compete and survive. We do not even know how social programs would have fared if they were offered without blame and without layers and layers of bureaucracy. Can you have both accountability and simplicity or is that something that will always be a paradox?

Many of the people who fell for the things that were broadcast incessantly on Talk Radio and Fox News are the same people who never joined the counterculture. They considered it a passing fancy. They had families to support and they had to work hard to do that but they also had a carrot in front of them. It was the carrot of prosperity, of a legacy for their families, of their own little dynasty that lived and worked nearby, of a retirement of leisure and time to pursue all of the pleasures they had deferred, the carrot of safety and peace. Then the dream began to collapse, one factory at a time, one child leaving home at a time, one pension at a time, one housing bubble at a time.

Is the counterculture to blame for their loss? Is this those damn hippies again? No matter. They look to the very same establishment that shafted them to lift them back up. And we all get President Trump. These “straight shooters” think they have elected a new Ronald Reagan. I believe that a President Trump will more closely resemble a Richard Nixon.

Will the Sixties really die, or will the movement just go underground training new young people in the use of the “force” so we can clean up the mean mess when the fever finally burns out? We might have to bide our time for a bit and see what shakes out but we will stay in touch.

Environmental Diary: The Obama Years by N. L. Brisson

While this may not be an auspicious day for a book that talks about earth’s environmental issues, as of today my book is available on Environmental Diary: The Obama Years by N. L. Brisson.



Hillary Email: The Motherlode



Well there is celebration in Trump-land today but, to me, it all seems just a bit too convenient. All along Republicans have promised to assault Hillary with her rumored crimes all the way to the 2016 election and they have made their promises come true in spectacular fashion. Perhaps they have hit the email motherlode. Perhaps they will finally be able to prove, once and for all, that Hillary is the monster they say she is, and a traitor to boot. Perhaps Hillary will end up in jail.

But I have a lot of questions about the way this all has happened. Here we have a “eureka moment” based on evidence that, to my mind, is tainted and a chain of evidence that is, possibly, problematic. I certainly do not want to get into any trouble with the FBI. I have no insider information. I am just sitting here speaking from my vantage point in the cheap seats offering up a different take on this possibly game-changing Friday night email news dump.

First of all, the fact that a letter was delivered to Congress and the news of this hit on a Friday guaranteed that the media would have their proverbial field day speculating about this for an entire weekend. It also guaranteed that the story would continue to dominate the news cycle because the media stars coming back from their weekend activities would have to weigh in. That timing gave the story major legs, and Trey Gowdy got to be on Joe Scarborough once again where his stunning list of Hillary’s stumbles (he means crimes) even made Mika gush about how damning things look.

Second, pardon me for being skeptical, how serendipitous! The dream scenario is delivered unto the Republicans at the last possible moment. But doesn’t it seem just a bit too convenient? And isn’t Donald Trump just a bit too happy. Finally he gets the media off his possibly criminal sexual exploits and onto the easier to litigate exploits of Anthony Weiner. He gets to crow that he was right all along about Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton. Whenever Donald Trump is crowing I am miserable.

Third, here we have a laptop of a man who is in the clutches of the courts, who looks like he has been caught in a serious crime, whose wife is leaving him, and who is, therefore, under great duress. This is a man who would make a deal. This is a man who could be talked into anything that might help him stay out of jail. Things could be planted in his laptop, perhaps Wikileaks documents (so they could be leaked from a more acceptable source) or even faked documents (although now that there are 650K of these emails phony documents are not so likely). Huma says that she did not have any access to that laptop but she may have had an email account there, even one opened by her husband. We know that anything can be downloaded into a computer through a thumb drive. I think there are ways that those documents could have been placed on that computer after Weiner was arrested.

I have no evidence, just the gut feeling that something is very fishy about this whole new email motherlode twist. All we can do is speculate while we face the increased possibility that we could end up with Donald Trump as the President of the United States of America. Then I am guessing, we will truly see what bad judgment brings when it is practiced on a grand scale.

My New Book is Now Available on Amazon

My new book is more a pamphlet than a book. It is quite short, almost in the style of those Federalist Papers that have had such great publicity lately in the Broadway show Hamilton. It is a bit pricey also because I wanted to have it printed in color. My book shows how the Republicans have been quietly attempting to rewrite huge sections of the US Constitution by stripping away the body of laws, amendments and traditions that have been added to it over the past two centuries plus.

You can find my book by following this link:

Title: The US Republican Constitution

Subtitle: A Nonfiction Constitutional Thriller




Running Out of Time


We do not have time to legislate morality and it is not even appropriate to do so in America. We have issues of life and death to consider like how to reverse climate change on our planet, how to get off our planet if it becomes impossible to survive here. We need to decide what we will do if the air becomes un-breathe-able, if the water becomes undrinkable.


We don’t need to go back over things that have already been decided. We don’t need to rethink birth control, or a woman’s right to make decisions about her life and body including being able to have an abortion if she so chooses. Deciding exactly when life begins is irrelevant in these circumstances where the population of earth is well over 7 billion.


We need to plan for how we will feed the world’s people. We need to enlist everyone’s help make some tough decisions about our survival as a species.


We don’t have time to revisit whether or not the US will become a religious nation. It was already decided by our forefathers. We keep our government and our religion separate because our nation believes in freedom of religion and there are not different ways to parse this.


We do not have time for a new civil war over nonsense like whether our government will be large or small, whether it will be all white, all male or all diversified as to gender and race. Diversity is here and we don’t have time to reverse it. That cannot be a priority.


We don’t have time to worry about people’s sexual orientation. It doesn’t really matter.


We don’t have time for sectarian violence and all the ideological/religious chaos around the world. It is time to pretend that aliens have attacked us and we must unite to repel them. Of course, so far there are not any aliens, but nevertheless the planet is under attack and being destroyed. The reports about what we are doing to the earth are never good these days.


We don’t have time for climate deniers and Creationists. If they have their way we will lose the freedom we need to adopt laws that will help us meet the need of humans without destroying the home planet we are unable to leave.


We do not have time to fight about whether we should buck up the poor or let them die off if they can’t take care of their own needs. Perhaps someone from those humans at the bottom of the economy may offer valuable ideas that will help us all. We cannot afford the instability that will ensue if we no longer support our poorest citizens. We need to concentrate on human survival on earth. We need to expand our space program drastically so that, if we can’t save the planet, we can send some or all humans to a new planet to insure survival of the species.


We do not have time to attack our schools and make war on education. We can’t un-eat that apple from Eden, reverse that original sin. Ignorance will not bring back our innocence. It can’t be considered acceptable that keeping people uneducated will create a more malleable underclass. Who, except modern Republicans, thinks like that?


Maybe I’ve gone off the deep end and things are not nearly as dire as they seem to me, but it can’t hurt to try to create a better future through conservation, better organization, cooperation and thinking way outside the box. Perhaps there is so much distraction, escapism, and division all around the world because somewhere, at our core, we recognize that we are living in an age that represents a turning point, a pivot. We will either pivot back to a more primitive, less populated, and simpler life (if this is even possible given the state of our natural resources) or that pivot will deposit us in the future. Right now that primitive thing looks more likely.


I think a representative world body with some clout that spent its time brainstorming and collecting ideas, conducting research, and coordinating a space program and even an implementation of that much maligned Agenda 21 are starting to look like a pretty good way to start.


This could be our World War III, a cause larger than any one of us that brings us all together.