Breakfast in Americastan

burned eggs and toastServing up Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for President this November is like your waiter asking if you’d prefer cold, runny eggs for breakfast, or yesterday’s burnt toast. The only other thing on the menu is not voting for a president, and that is even less appetizing.

But Mr. Trump’s interruptive, bombastic, New York, New York-style might be just what The People need in Washington, DC right now. The number one job of our next POTUS must be to end the gridlock in Washington, and to finally hold all elected officials to a higher standard. Like their sworn duty to work for the people who elected them instead of the lobbyists who made them millionaires. Maybe that’s not “old-money” billionaire Trump, who put his own money where his big mouth is to win his party’s nomination. But it is certainly not “new-money” millionaire Clinton who speaks privately out of one side of her mouth and publicly out of the other side. So, if it’s between cold, runny eggs and yesterday’s burnt toast anyway, here are two ducks Donald could get in a row to earn my vote.

First, my main concern is stopping the Republican party from further weakening women’s rights. Mr. Trump has waxed and waned on this issue, so he could decide to put a stop to it. His wife and daughter might help. They are both powerful women in their own right, and they have his ear.

Some Republican legislators are trying to enact demeaning, overbearing and purposefully humiliating laws on young women. Laws that are based on pseudo-science and someone else’s religious convictions. It is hard for me to distinguish the difference between a Turban and a Yamaka, a Habit and a Hijab, when I see baseless laws trampling the First Amendment. The Supreme Court – if not Mr. Trump – must stop the Republican Party’s religious right from trying to run the country from the pulpit. Otherwise, I fear it will soon be breakfast in Americastan.

Abortion is a hard decision for any would-be parent, a decision they will live with for the rest of their lives. I doubt if it is ever made lightly. But it is a decision that should be debated by family, not legislators, behind closed doors, not in open court. And the medical community must be free to dismiss all legislative-induced, pseudo-science.

If Trump says he’ll leave all personal decisions to the person, I’m voting for him. If not, Hillary has already said she is pro-life. I’d rather four more years of gridlock than see women lose their right to self-determination.

Second, as long as Trump is cutting his own Republican cloth, this summer would also be a good time to announce he will repeal the federal criminal laws on marijuana.

It is way past time to remove marijuana from its Schedule 1 status, let the medical field conduct proper research on it, and let adults smoke it recreationally. The marijuana laws have done more harm to people than the product ever could. A lot of countries are finally realizing this, but there are over 100,000 Americans, most of them young, who are serving pot-only related sentences, and thousands of more lives have been diminished because of pot-related felonies. President Obama is trying to rectify as much as he can. He commuted another 58 such sentences earlier this month including 18 who were serving life. He’s now commuted 306 sentences while in office, more than the previous six presidents combined.

On April 20th, the Prime Minister of Canada introduced a law to decriminalize pot by next year. Two days later, the President of Mexico proposed new laws to decriminalize possession of under an ounce. It’s high time America did, too.

All comments welcomed.

 

Playing Trump on the House-Of-Cards

Opinion is solely the author’s

 

I had a funny thought. If Donald Trump and Gary Hart met up with Neil Diamond and Sam Spade to play cards, Trump would insist on playing Clubs. Would he lead with his golf club, night club, yacht club, or his billy club?

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Donald Trump has certainly stirred up the nation. Love him or hate him, you have to give him that, and then you have to wonder why. His apparent lack of understanding is actually well understood by many who don’t Get It (what the feds are doing). A lot of people think our government is rigged and now only works for those who grease the wheels. They see the great divide getting wider with Congress leading the charge.

They may be right. For the first time in history, most Senators and Congressmen are millionaires. That says a lot about what this sitting batch of politicians have been up to since getting elected. The problem is, there really isn’t a better candidate than Donald Trump. It’s sad that in a nation as smart as ours, we wind up with him leading the Four Stooges into this summer’s conventions.

Ted Cruz isn’t going to fix what’s broke. Neither is Hillary Clinton. Other issues aside, there isn’t a shadow of difference between them when it comes to the top one percent’s overarching influence. John Kasich is probably the most electable republican in November, but the meek no longer survives in the Party of Lincoln.

Bernie Sanders is like the funny grandfather who loves to tell you all the things your parents did wrong. That’s why, I think, he has the nation’s youth on his side. He also has, by far, more individual contributors than Hillary Clinton. No matter how much money each person gives, they still only get one vote in return. Hillary’s PAC supporters remind me of Captain Gulliver being tied down by 100 Lilliputians. I think Bernie is a better candidate than Hillary, but the problem with any democratic President is that we gain nothing but four more years of gridlock.

The only thing on the republican-held Senate and House agendas will be stopping the clock for yet another four years. In the past decade, Congress has passed numerous laws that benefit few but affect millions as if the consumer doesn’t matter. Our laws are now written, not by congressmen, but by lobbyists for congressmen. Trump is the only one who wants to change that. The others just want to be contestants on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. And that, regardless of anything else Trump declares, decrees, boasts, belittles or bungles, is what’s going to get him elected.

I just don’t want to hire a nerd to fix my plumbing. We tried that in Michigan.

At the federal level, there is not enough support for the impoverished city of Flint; everyone is too busy campaigning. On the state level, there is not enough urgency or empathy, and way too much politics – still! This is a House-Of-Cards that has already fallen.

Governor Snyder’s business acumen in governmental issues does not infuse a lot of confidence to elect a billionaire businessman to the White House. Not in Michigan, anyway, where we see everyone just dragging their feet and pointing fingers, and nothing getting done.

Flint is a killer example of cronyism. Literally, in the case of Legionnaire Disease, and long-term in the case of thousands of children under the age of six, who drank government-issued lead poison. It was totally preventable if those appointed to manage the city had followed established safety guidelines. Then, when their snafu surfaced, it was covered up for almost a year while Lansing, the EPA, the MDEQ and Flint’s Emergency Manager(s) played the blame game. While people were dying!

Is this what we are to expect on a national level if The Businessman is running the country?

Flint wasn’t the first mole to get whacked, and it won’t be the last. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of American cities large and small that are operating water supply systems with 50, 70, 100-year-old lead-leaching pipes. If the next President wants to build a jobs program that will reach across the nation, as well as across the aisle, then upgrading the nation’s potable water system would be a healthy place to start. Roads and bridges are important, too, and the rails and docks are in even greater need of modernization. Then there is the aging and overburdened electrical grid that all of us depend on almost as much as oxygen.

There’s lots to do. We just need to elect people who want to aspire to things besides becoming millionaires. Or hiring apprentices. It’s a pity we don’t have a None of the Above option on the bottom of each ballot.

Playing Trump in November will certainly bring down the House-Of-Cards that is today’s Capital Hill. And, who knows? Without all of the special interest lobbyists setting congressional agendas, a political career might become noble again.

But I still need to hear more substance from Trump before I can vote for him. Washington is a lot closer to Lansing than it appears on the map.

 

Read On!

-Phil