Thursday, February 16, 2017

Welcome to Necrotizing Fascism

A recent article confirms what we have already known all long:  too much inequality is bad for the economy, and extreme inequality (like we currently have in the USA as well as globally) can eventually lead to economic collapse.  This occurs because of the "science of flow".  To wit, just like a living organism needs good circulation, so too does an economic system.  And when circulation gets cut off, that results in necrosis--the death of tissue that eventually overwhelms the whole system.  Inequality, and the hoarding at the top that causes it, indeed cuts off the circulation of money, and it is very telling that nearly every major economic crash or depression has been preceded by relatively extreme economic inequality.

We should also note that, as history has shown, such resulting economic crises tend to breed authoritarian political systems, most notably fascism, when such crises are not resolved within short order.  And austerity policies only worsen recessions and depressions, making fascism even more likely.  Look no further than Nazi Germany in the 1930s, the Golden Dawn party in Greece in the 2010s, and of course the Tea Party followed by Trump in the USA as well.  And the resulting fascism only makes inequality even worse in the long run, despite any initial short-term benefits that may occur.  And the vicious cycle continues.
Thus, when such necrosis breeds fascism, and that in turn breeds further inequality and necrosis, we have coined a new term for it.  We call it, "Necrotizing Fascism", named after the flesh-eating disease "necrotizing fasciitis".   And that is basically what we have now under the Trump regime.  Believe me.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Trump's Immigration Policy is Cruel, Callous, and Counterproductive

One issue on which the TSAP has changed considerably over the years for the better, especially more recently, has been immigration policy, which we have recently updated in our party platform.  And not coincidentally, that very issue is emerging as one of the most controversial issues concerning the new Trump regime, who is currently displaying a very angry, paranoid, hard-line, nativist, racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic character.  Such toxic and regressive attitudes toward immigrants and immigration clearly do far more harm than good overall.  Because like it or not, America has always been a nation of immigrants, and we always will be, believe me.

National security is an important issue, no doubt about that.  But Trump's method of dealing with such concerns, most notably the draconian Muslim Ban that was recently struck down by the courts, is far too crude and extreme, and ultimately makes us less safe on balance.  Most Muslims are good people, only a tiny fraction are jihadists, and we have more to worry about from reich-wing extremists in this country than we do from jihadists nowadays. In fact, you are statistically more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist of any kind.  And slamming the door on refugees (who are fleeing unimaginable horrors due in part to American foreign policy blunders, and were already being vigorously vetted under Obama) is downright cruel and un-American. Besides, such draconian and xenophobic policies only alienate more people in the Muslim world, and are thus a yuuuge propaganda victory for ISIL and their fellow-travelers.

"Building the wall" along our border with Mexico would also not be a particularly wise idea on balance.  Especially Trump's idea of demanding that Mexico pay for it or reimburse us for it (or slapping a tariff on goods from Mexico to pay for it), all $15-25 billion dollars of it.  That is practically the definition of chutzpah!  And it would be wasteful.  We already have a fairly large fence in place along most of the land border, and the rest of the border's terrain is really not very suitable for building a wall there.  And it would still have to be patrolled, wall or no wall, so investing more in patrols and technology would make more sense if border security were really the goal.  In practice, it is starting to sound less like the Great Wall of China (which ultimately failed to keep out Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes, by the way), and more and more like the infamous Berlin Wall (which effectively kept half of Europe prisoner for decades).  Now, if only Gorbachev would tell him, "Mr. Trump, tear down this wall!"  (The irony.)

What about all those mass deportations that Trump has promised, and have apparently already begun to some extent?  Well, those who support such an idea apparently haven't exactly thought that one through.  First of all, it would be a logistical nightmare in practice to round them all up.  Secondly, deporting all or most of the currently undocumented immigrants in this country, or causing them to "self-deport", would basically blow a YUUUUGE hole in the economy, particularly in agriculture where they are a YUUUUGE part of the workforce, and the resulting labor shortage would cause food prices to go up.  BIGLY.  When Alabama tried such a crackdown a few years back, that was exactly what happened, so imagine that happening nationwide.  (As for the old chestnut, "dey turk ur jerbs", most of those "jerbs" are ones that very few native-born Americans are willing to do at current wages and conditions.) And last but not least, doing so would be downright cruel and callous indeed, and would break up countless families with children.

And about all that crime that immigrants supposedly bring to this country with them?  Well, the best studies find that more immigration actually tends to reduce crime overall.  And sanctuary cities also tend to have lower crime rates (and better economies as well) compared with similarly-matched non-sanctuary cities. Another myth bites the dust.

What we really need to do is pass comprehensive immigration reform like Obama and Congressional Democrats had tried a few years ago, but Republicans had severely obstructed.  The system is clearly broken as it is, and so many problems can literally be solved with the stroke of a pen.  We need to make it easier to enter legally, and also easier to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, as the current process is ridiculous.  We need amnesty and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are currently here, we need to pass the DREAM Act yesterday, and we need to speed up the ridiculously long backlog of people waiting years to get in legally.  After that, of course, we should still reduce the quotas so going forward we let in no more immigrants than the previous year's emigration rate (around 200,000 per year) in order to fight overpopulation.  Note that this last bit is still part of our party platform, and has been since 2009, though we should note that the very high immigration rates (both legal and illegal) that prevailed under Bush have actually plummeted under Obama for a variety of reasons.  And finally, we need to focus on the "push" factors in the sending countries, not just the "pull" factors. 

Anything less would be uncivilized.  Believe me.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Drug Policy Discussions Have Moved

Since the ingnominious 2016 election has concluded, the True Spirit of America Party has essentially moved all new drug (and alcohol) policy related posts and discussions to our other blog, Twenty-One Debunked. Except of course for those drug policy issues directly related to the Trump administration, which will likely be significant.  Please keep following that other blog as well.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Vote of No Confidence for Trump

Well, it's official.  It's been only two weeks now and Trump has already done more damage than most presidents have done in eight years.  And his second week turned out to be even worse than the first.

It should come as no surprise now that his approval rating is at a record low and his disapproval rating is at a record high already compared with previous incoming presidents.  It took a mere eight days to reach over 50% disapproval, something that normally takes at least 500 days if it ever even reaches that high at all.  Let that sink in for a moment.  And the protests are just getting warmed up!

So Donald, take a hint already.  We the People hereby give you a vote of "no confidence".  BIGLY.  Believe me.  When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.  Put simply, YOU'RE FIRED! 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"President" Trump: More Damage in One Week than Most Presidents Do in Eight Years

Well, it's official.  The Donald has managed to do more damage in his first week in the White House, than most presidents have done in eight years.  And that is truly "unpresidented" indeed!

Let's see.  In his first week on the job, he 1) threw a hissy fit over the size of his crowd, 2) implicitly threatened martial law in Chicago, 3) passed a record number of 17 executive orders in one week, 4) put a gag order on EPA and USDA scientists, 5) manufactured chaos in rolling back Obamacare by executive fiat, 6) ordered the commencement of his signature plan to build a border wall on Mexico, 7) angered Mexico by demanding they pay for the wall or else get zinged with a 20% tariff on Mexican imports, 8) angered China (for the gazillionth time), 9) angered North Korea (albeit before the inauguration), 10) cozied up to Putin (yet again), 11) ordered stepped-up deportations and the blocking of federal grants to sanctuary cities, 12) instituted a federal hiring freeze, which also includes a large number of Veterans, 13) re-instituted the "global gag rule" on abortion, 14) froze all new federal regulations, 15) sped up approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and 16) arbitrarily blocked all refugees, immigrants, and visitors from seven countries, most notably Iraq and Syria, while curiously leaving out the counties he does business in, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.  (This latter executive order as written, is basically a de-facto Muslim ban from the specified countries, though a federal court did put a temporary injunction on this ban for those who were already in transit or detained at the time thanks to massive protests at JFK International Airport and elsewhere).  Note that there were other executive orders, proclamations, and outbursts as well, this is just a list of the most damaging ones thus far.

Also, Trump's relentless verbal attacks on the media and journalists who disagree with him may not be just bluster after all, especially considering how two journalists covering the inauguration protests were arrested and even face felony riot charges, carrying up to 10 years in prison.  Yes, you read that right.  Remember, the very first people that authoritarian and totalitarian regimes always go after is the journalists. And couple that with his recent purge (sorry, "resignation") of the State Department and his blithely ignoring the recent court ruling, we have the makings for exactly that kind of regime right now.

Oh, and he still flat out refuses to divest from his numerous conflicts of interest, including his foreign ones that run afoul of the Emolunents Clause, and now says he won't even release his tax returns as he once promised he would.  This is #NotNormal!

Looks like Der Trumpenfuehrer is really batting 1000 by unhinged fascist standards.  And his approval rating is quickly approaching Nickelback territory at warp speed.  Or should we say, 3 Doors Down territory?  Those who still support him and his agenda, how does it feel to be on the wrong side of history?  Because honestly, we wouldn't know anything about that.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Women's March Was A YUUGE Success!

The Women's March on Washington, along with it's sister marches all over the globe, was more successful than anyone could have imagined.  It broke all records as the largest protest march in all of history, with at least half a million in DC alone and nearly 3 million nationwide.  Some estimates are even higher than that.  And it took place on all seven continents around the world, including Antarctica of all places.  Yes, really. And it was a highly diverse crowd of mostly Women (and male allies).

The peaceful protest march, which took place the day after the innauseation--er, inauguration--of Donald Trump, also boasts another great statistic:  ZERO ARRESTS.  Of course, the vast majority of participants were Women.  Contrast that to the over 200 arrests the previous day, nearly all of whom were men.   Even though the protests during the inauguration were mostly peaceful, that really says something.  And I am not surprised, as Women are far less likely to commit acts of violence, vandalism, or rioting than men, especially political violence.

Of course, going forward, much more needs to be done as well.  A day or two of protesting, while good, is clearly far from enough. Women, along with their male allies, need to continue to resist Der Trumpenfuehrer and his racist, misogynistic, xenophopbic, homophobic, plutocratic, right-wing authoritarian agenda.  Sustained protests and direct action by Women did work to remove the corrupt Silvio Berlusconi from power in Italy, after all.  This particular march may have ended, but now is NOT the time to abandon our efforts!  Failure is simply not an option anymore considering what is at stake these days.


Monday, January 2, 2017

How To Humanely Euthanize Capitalism For Good (Updated Post-2016 Edition)

With all of the latest articles about how climate change is likely worse than we thought, and how our fragile biosphere that we all depend on is in increasingly grave danger, it is becoming increasingly clear how unsustainable our current system really is.  We are bumping up against the limits to growth, and only a fool or an economist (same difference) could believe that infinite growth on a finite world is possible.  And make no mistake, capitalism cannot exist without growth, so capitalism must die--or the whole planet dies including us.  So which choice will we make?  The TSAP has already outlined several means of solving the world's vast and interconnected problems in our party platform as well as in our annual State of the Planet Address.  Most notably, we need to phase out the use of fossil fuels as quickly as possible before we irreversibly burn up planet, and we need to end our addiction to growth for the sake of growth, the ideology of the cancer cell which eventually kills its host.  But the prospects are looking increasingly bleak that our recommendations will actually be put into practice given the current leadership in Washington who continue to blithely fiddle while the Earth burns.  In fact, with climate-denier Donald Trump becoming POTUS, and thus the Trump-Putin-Exxon Axis of Evil effectively ruling the world, it is even worse than we thought. So what can be done instead?

Enter this seemingly crazy idea.  While it may seem like a sop to the fossil fool industry at first glance, it will actually be giving them the rope for them to hang themselves with.  And not only will it kill Big Oil and Dirty Coal, but it will also humanely euthanize capitalism in general via the one thing that capitalism simply cannot survive--ABUNDANCE.  That's right, capitalism needs scarcity to function, and it has done a marvelous job of creating artificial scarcity for the past 500 years or so.  But uncontrolled abundance, whether of resources, energy, or capital, is basically a fatal overdose for the system of capitalism.  And thanks to the current exponential growth of renewable energy and related technologies, such abundance is very possible in the near future.  And it will be decentralized, so the system can't readily control or stop it once it gets going.  All of this dovetails rather nicely with Buckminster Fuller's vision of a pragmatic utopian future.

If we go that route, it actually would be possible to simultaneously implement the carbon tax-and-dividend idea in Steve Stoft's Carbonomics, provided that 100% of the revenue is refunded to We the People, and that the tax rate starts out low so as not to front-load it too quickly.  The timing is very important.  But any other type of carbon tax scheme would be out of the question, as would most other future restrictions on fossil fuels (especially oil) until the cost solar and wind energy drops below that of such fossil fuels.  Not like the Trump-Putin-Exxon Axis of Evil would allow that anyway.

Another idea that the TSAP had once laughed at can also be given a chance as well:  the Capital Homestead Act.  While it may seem like a pro-capitalist sop to Big Business on the surface, it will actually kill capitalism in the long run as well due to an overabundance of capital and the fact that the workers and owners would essentially become one and the same.  Combine it with the Universal Exchange Tax and a Universal Basic Income Guarantee, and the overall impact will be maximized and accelerated. 

Of course, capitalism is not the only problem.  The 7000 year old War on Women, often known by its euphemistic name "patriarchy", is every bit as much a cause of our world's problems, and the two are basically joined at the hip.  While patriarchy can exist without capitalism, capitalism cannot exist without patriarchy.  And both evil systems are killing this planet and need to end, yesterday.  Let's face it, it ain't gonna be us fellas who will save the world, that's for sure. Fortunately, women have been making huge strides (while men are becoming increasingly redundant), and if current trends continue it seems likely that women will become the new leaders of the free world in the not-too-distant future, as Buckminster Fuller himself once predicted. In fact, that is one of the few things that the futurists are virtually unanimous about.

At least we hope that will be the case.  But timing is everything, and we have a very narrow window of opportunity.  So what are we waiting for?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Nation In Distress

Barring a miracle of miracles, on January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will become the new POTUS.  And that is truly horrifying indeed, as he is a clear and present danger to the United States and the world.  Thus, we are turning the flag on our blog upside-down and will leave it in that orientation until Der Trumpenfuehrer is no longer in power.  Doing so is a symbol of a nation in distress, which the USA certainly is under the Trump-Putin-Exxon Axis of Evil.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Electoral College Is Completely Useless (Part Deux)

Psst....wanna know a secret about the Electoral College?

As I noted in the previous post, one of the reasons the Founders, especially Alexander Hamilton, designed the Electoral College was as a supposed fail-safe to prevent a dangerous and unqualified demagogue (especially one with foreign entanglements) from becoming President of the United States. (The 2016 election most ironically proved otherwise) Hamilton basically laid out the Federalist case for the Electoral College thusly, albeit combined with the sort of sneering elitism that even the most rabid Trump supporters would ironically claim to dislike today.

But there was also a much darker reason behind the creation of the Electoral College.  To put it bluntly, it was explicitly designed to protect--wait for it--SLAVERY.  In fact, that was the only way to get the Anti-Federalists in the southern slave states to sign on to the Constitution at all.  That is why less-populous states get a disproportionately large amount of electoral votes (since slave states often had as many slaves as free citizens and each slave only counted as 3/5 of a person in the census and was not allowed to vote).  And to this day, the Electoral College remains a bastion of white (sorry, "rural") privilege for the same reason.

Thus, the Electoral College is obsolete and currently serves no useful purpose anymore.  In fact, the winner-take-all aspect, over and above the small state bias, was the primary reason Trump won the election despite getting nearly 3 million fewer votes than Hillary, so it actually does more harm than good to this country.  Allocating electoral votes proportionally in each state instead of winner-take-all would go a long way to fixing it, and indeed Hillary would have won the electoral vote by changing just this aspect of the system.  It would also make it harder to effectively cheat as well.  But it would not solve all problems, and would in fact create a new problem--third-party candidates throwing the election into the House of Representatives when no one gets 270 majority--unless candidates with a de minimis amount of the popular vote (say, 5%) are then denied any electoral votes and/or only the top two or three candidates actually counting.  Therefore, all things considered, the very best and simplest solution is to abolish the Electoral College altogether, and elect the president by straight national popular vote going forward.

Of course, abolishing it entirely would require a constitutional amendment, and would thus be quite a long shot indeed, but there is a way to make it irrelevant by 2020.  The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is the way to do it, making it so that that only the winner of the national popular vote would win 270 electoral votes and become President, while still technically keeping the Electoral College in place.  Sign and share!

The Electoral College Is Completely Useless

On December 19, 2016, that 18th century relic known as the Electoral College effectively rubber-stamped Donald Trump as the 45th POTUS, proving that it is utterly useless in what Alexander Hamilton designed it for, i.e. preventing dangerous demagogues (especially with foreign entanglements) from ascending to the highest office in the land.  Only six Electors defected (four from Hillary, two from the Donald), which was nowhere near the 38 required to flip the election or 37 required to throw it to the House of Representatives.  Thus, no overall change.

Hillary won the popular vote by nearly 3 million, but still lost the electoral vote due to the winner-take-all aspect of the way electoral votes are allocated to the states.  As a result, barring a miracle of miracles involving Congress and/or the courts, we will end up exactly the type of president that the Founders warned about.  Thus, going forward we at the TSAP have this to say to the Electoral College:  YOU'RE FIRED!  (As your buddy would say)

Here is the letter I wrote to the Electors that were pledged to Trump, in an attempt to sway them:

Dear Electors,

My name is [Redacted] from [Redacted], NY.

I am gravely concerned about the clear and present danger that Donald Trump poses to the United States of America as well as globally. He has shown reckless disregard for even the most rudimentary responsibilities that come with the awesome power of the office of the presidency. He has behaved in a blatantly racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, narcissistic, and dictatorial manner. He has ignored intelligence briefings, recklessly pokes every proverbial angry bear he can find globally with his tweets, nominated the worst possible candidates to his cabinet, avoids the media, reneged (or plans on reneging) on most of his campaign promises, and has apparently received help via hacking, propaganda, and election sabotage from his buddy Vladimir Putin, an authoritarian dictator who is clearly no friend of the United States as of late. FBI director James Comey also played his own role in sabotage his opponent with a phony scandal while simultaneously ignoring Russian hacking. In spite of such sabotage and skulduggery, Hillary Clinton still managed to win the national popular vote nonetheless by nearly three million votes--just not where those votes really mattered due to the winner-takes-all aspect of the Electoral College system. And while the (curiously aborted) recount efforts have not proven anything, they have not actually disproven anything either, and several "irregularites" benefiting Trump in crucial swing states have been found to one degree or another. In other words, a dangerous demagogue who is woefully unqualified and unfit for command--the kind that the Founders warned about and in fact created the Electoral College in order to prevent--ironically has managed to ascend to the presidency thus far.

In light of the above facts, please do the right thing and vote for Hillary. Doing so would be good for America and good for democracy overall. And if you somehow can't bring yourself to do that, at least vote for someone other than Trump. Our nation and world literally depend on it. Whether you vote for Trump or not, your decision is certain to anger roughly half of the population either way, so you might as well do it for good and vote your conscience.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.

(Ajax the Great)

Clearly, if that couldn't sway them, nothing would.  They clearly had their minds made up.    But truly hindsight is 2020--pun intended, of course.  That is the year we must RE-DEFEAT TRUMP.  Bigly.  If he is still even in office at that point, that is.  At the rate he is going, if he is not disqualified before taking office, he is very likely to get himself impeached, resign in disgrace, or even die in office due to either poking the wrong angry bear one too many times (which he apparently luuurrrves to do) or simply having a massive heart attack from his fiery temper, stress, junk food diet, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle.  Believe me.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Why Trump Must Be Disqualified Before Taking Office

On December 9, 2016, it has been revealed that Russia has been meddling in the presidential election in an attempt to help Donald Trump win.  At first it was thought that Russia was just trying to undermine confidence in our electoral system, but it now appears that they were attacking Hillary in order to help Trump.  That includes both illegal hacking as well as the creation and dissemination of "fake news", aka propaganda.  So why would they do that?  Well, Trump seems to have some explaining to do.  From his alleged business interests in Russia to his praise of Putin to his cabinet picks with connections to Russia to his foreign-policy platform that basically reads like the ultimate Putin wish-list, the Russian regime seems to really want Trump for POTUS--dare I say, as Putin's puppet in the White House?

And Republican Senator Mitch McConnell as well as FBI Director James Comey (remember him?) both allegedly knew about it and helped cover it up.  That's right--a foreign power (if not a foreign enemy) blatantly interfered with an American presidential election, and these two supposedly swept it under the rug in order to help Trump win.  Seriously.  It's beginning to look a lot like TREASON, everywhere Trump goes...

Therefore, at a minimum, Trump needs to be disqualified from the presidency before he takes office in January, and Hillary needs to be declared the winner by default.  Yesterday.  And there is apparently at least some precedent for doing just that, as federal courts have ruled for a 1994 local election in Philadelphia.

Imagine if it were reversed, that is, if instead Hillary had won by the skin of her teeth via the arcane math of the Electoral College system while losing the popular vote.  And then it were revealed that Russia or some other foreign power had meddled in the election to help her in like fashion.  Truly the Republicans would be up in arms about that, as they should be.  Yet except for John McCain and Lindsey Graham, they have been strangely silent for some reason.  Gee, I wonder why?

And Trump's reaction to this news?  He basically just attacked the messenger (i.e. discrediting the CIA in this case) without actually refuting the allegations.  Yep, that's real normal behavior for an incoming President.  Electors and Congresscritters, take note.

UPDATE:  On December 19, the Electoral College overall did end up rubber-stamping Trump's "victory".  Only six electors defected--four from Hillary, and two from Trump, thus no effect on the outcome.  But there is still a chance to disqualify him via the courts and/or Congress, though that window is closing fast.  After inauguration on January 20, 2017, the only legal option left would be impeachment, particularly via the Emoluments Clause.  He does have a ludicrous amount of conflicts of interest, including numerous foreign entanglements of which he refuses to divest.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Real Election-Rigging Scandal You Probably Don't Know About

Though there is already plenty of evidence of "irregularities" and "errors", nearly all of which favoring Trump, in key swing states, and even some evidence of possible machine tampering in Wisconsin, the truth is that tampering and hacking are really NOT the biggest problems in terms of potential election rigging.  As author and pundit Greg Palast notes, much, much larger are the problems of voter suppression, discarded votes, and related systemic issues that worked in Trump's favor.  Such problems tend to be far more prevalent in Republican-controlled states, and (not coincidentally) tend to disproportionately disenfranchise people of color and other voters who are statistically likely to vote Democrat.  And most of it is effectively legal.

Note that Republicans are always the ones who push for suppressive and overly stringent voter ID laws, which are basically a solution in search of a problem given that in-person voter fraud is much too rare to have meaningfully affected any election thus far.  They even repeat the same tired, old debunked canards about illegal immigrants and dead people voting in order to justify both voter ID laws as well as other suppressive measures like Crosscheck, a computer which is used to purge "questionable" voters from the election rolls.  And purged voters who find their names mysteriously missing on the rolls are either turned away or, if they request it, given "provisional" ballots that all too often end up in the trash and are thus "placebo" ballots.  Also, many states permanently revoke the right to vote from convicted felons even after they have paid their debt to society--and due to institutional racism, this disproportionately affects people of color.  Add to this the fact that poor people and people of color statistically tend to get the worst voting machines (i.e. more likely to malfunction) at their polling places, voter intimidation, and stuff like that, and you have a recipe for massive disenfranchisement of likely Democratic voters.  And make no mistake, none of this is any sort of accident, this is all by design.

And since the Supreme Court essentially gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, things have only gotten that much worse since. That was done despite common knowledge that racial gerrymandering and voter suppression of people of color would most likely increase as a result of such safeguards becoming unenforceable in practice.

So yes, the 2016 election was rigged, even if there was no tampering.  Just like every election before it, to one degree or another.  And it was rigged in favor of the party of the privileged, which is none other than the GOP.   After all, as Greg Palast famously said, America is "the best democracy money can buy".

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Don't Fear The Recount

Listen, Donald, you ultimately brought it on yourself.  All of this talk about the election being "rigged" when you thought you were gonna lose, and had lost all three debates, claiming that you may not accept the results of the election.  Then when you surprisingly won by the skin of your teeth due to the mathematical quirks inherent in the Rube Goldberg machine known as the Electoral College, you gloated about your victory.  Even one of your own pollsters said that you literally won by FIVE FREAKING COUNTIES.  Then when you saw that Hillary had won the popular vote by well over 2 million votes, you had to resort to a debunked conspiracy theory to accuse the Democrats of voter fraud by non-citizens in a desperate and disingenuous attempt to explain away the fact that you actually lost to a woman in terms of the popular vote.  BIGLY.  And now you are not only disparaging the recent recount efforts, but you are actually trying to block it by literally making a federal case out of it a la Bush v. Gore.  Honestly, if you are so confident that you have won fair and square (while simultaneously being concerned about alleged skulduggery on the part of the Democrats), you should have absolutely nothing to fear from a recount, and in fact you should welcome it so as to ensure the integrity of our electoral system.  The fact that you are trying to block it will just undermine what little legitimacy you have left. 

We all know that if the situation were reversed, and you had won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College, you would not have conceded the election the next day like Hillary did, and in fact you would have been whining and demanding a recount immediately.  So don't give me that.  As you like to say, "Sad."

Congratulations, Donald, you have proven that it is actually possible to be both a sore winner AND a sore loser at the same time.  Seriously.  Keep digging your own grave, as you are doing a truly marvelous job of that.  Believe me.

Oh, and by the way, while there is no credible evidence of Democratic voter fraud in this election, there is indeed plenty of evidence of "irregularites" and "errors" in key swing states.  And practically all of these discrepancies are in one direction--yours.  Things that (should) make you go, hmmmm.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

We Stand With Standing Rock

There has been a huge media blackout about this, and Bernie Sanders is the only prominent politician (along with Jill Stein and Winonna LaDuke) who is talking about it.  The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota has been peacefully but fiercely protesting a proposed oil pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline, that would run very close to their reservation and dangerously close to their water supply, nevermind though their sacred burial ground as well.  All to carry fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois.  And the increasingly militarized police have been violently suppressing their protests.  The irony of Thanksgiving (or is it Thankstaking or Thankskilling?) notwithstanding.

The TSAP supports Standing Rock and opposes the construction of this dangerous and treaty-violating (and therefore illegal) pipeline in or anywhere near their reservation, water supply, and/or sacred lands.  We call upon President Obama to pass an executive order to halt immediately and indefinitely any further construction on the pipeline, at least until the controversial section can be re-routed to a safe distance far away from the area in question.  And while we're at it, we need to put a moratorium on fracking and promote renewable energy sources.  Our lives, and indeed the entire biosphere, literally depend on it.

Native Americans / First Nations have, along with other Indigenous peoples worldwide, been royally screwed over and brutally genocided by white folks for centuries.  It needs to end yesterday.  Full stop.  The song "Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil comes to mind.  Same problem, different continent.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Trump Won. So What Do We Do Now?

Much to our chagrin, Donald J. Trump won the 2016 election, and will become President on January 20, 2017.  I and so many others thought that Hillary Clinton would have won for sure.  And she did, in fact, win the popular vote.  But unfortunately, Trump won the Electoral College, crossing the finish line of 270 with likely over 300 electoral votes.  As he himself said, the game is "rigged" alright, just not in the way he said.

So how did he manage to pull off such an unlikely victory?  Well the key "swing" states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin were all part of the Rust Belt, and he managed to tap into the frustrations of disaffected white working-class men--nationwide, but especially in those states.  That was literally all it took.  Combining the legitimate grievances of the working class (who have been practically eaten alive by our oligarchy, plutocracy, kleptocracy, and kyriarchy for decades now) with thinly-veiled racism, misogyny, and xenophobia turned out to be a winning formula.  And as we are seeing now, he is already backpedaling on many of the lies he has told to his base.  All of this will eventually backfire on those who voted for him.

A Trump presidency is clear and present danger to America, no doubt about that.  But ultimately We the People will prevail, and this should be the ultimate wake-up call.  Now is NOT the time to abandon our efforts!

The Electoral College is an antiquated 18th century relic that really has no place in the 21st century.  Even the Donald himself went on the record in 2012 and said it was "a disaster for democracy".  Until it benefited him this time around, of course.  For once, we agree with him.  And while abolishing it completely would require a Constitutional amendment, and would thus be quite a long shot, there is a way to make it irrelevant by 2020.  The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is the way to do it.  Sign and share!

As for the anti-Trump protests in the days following the election, they seem to be working in that they are sending the Donald into Twitter rages and are likely raising his blood pressure dramatically.   The TSAP supports any such non-violent protests, and most (with few exceptions) have been peaceful to date.  But please don't burn the American Flag.  As we have repeatedly noted before in our perennial "Take Back the Flag" campaign, burning the American Flag is stupid, counterproductive, and disrespectful to all who have fought and died for our country.  If you must burn something, burn the Confederate Flag (or as we like to call it, the COUNTERFEIT Flag) and/or Trump signs and paraphernalia.  But not the Stars and Stripes.  LIVE FREE OR DIE!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

An Open Letter to Women in Politics (Re-post)

(This is a re-post, in honor of the fact that Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination for President in the 2016 election.  The TSAP originally was "feeling the Bern" but now (grudgingly) supports Hillary instead of Donald Chump.  And we believe that she will most likely win, Goddess willing.)

To any Women who are running for office, in office, or considering running for office in the near future:

You have probably noticed that the world is on fire, and has been for quite some time now.   We stand on the verge of World War III as we speak, and our overburdened planet is in grave danger.  We continue to flirt with the prospect of mass extinction (including humans, by the way) in the not-too-distant future, as we continue to cook the planet with reckless abandon.  We know what is causing all of these problems, and we already have the technology and wherewithal to solve them if we really wanted to, yet our current Big Wetiko "leaders" refuse to solve such problems because they are sycophantic lackeys to the parasitic elites, if not the very same elites themselves.  And these plutocrats are hopelesly addicted to "business as usual".

So how did we get here in the first place, exactly?  The answer lies in ancient history, about 7000 years ago or so, when men apparently got the bright idea to take over the (known) world piece by piece, by deposing you from power.  That's right, it was originally Women who were in charge for most of humanity's existence, and us fellas apparently thought we could do a better job as leaders than you ladies did.  Well, history shows us that we were wrong--dead wrong in fact.  Indeed, the best advice that us men can give to Women is "don't be like us", because we f**ked the world up royally. We paved paradise and put up a parking lot, we created a desert and called it "peace".  We have devoured and suffocated our own empire, and now we are all paying a heavy price for it.  That's right--WE did it.  And we're sorry about that--though we can clearly stuff our "sorrys" in a sack! 

And now it is time for you to reclaim your rightful position as the new leaders of the free world once again, starting with the USA and eventually spreading from there.  In fact, it is LONG overdue for you to do so.  We cannot apologize enough for handing you such a monumental clusterf**k of a world for you to fix, of course, but we fellas have plenty of faith that you will be able to do so. We know that Women, not men, are the real natural-born leaders, and you can clearly handle power a lot better without it going to your heads than us.  We know that your preferred paradigm of society, what Riane Eisler calls the "partnership" model, is far better than the "dominator" model that we have been practicing for the past 7000 years.  As the saying goes, never send a boy to do a man's job--send a Woman instead.  Truer words were never spoken, and we need you now more than ever before.

It's now 2016, and there are plenty of elections in which you can win this year.  The highest and tallest "glass ceiling" in the world--President of the United States--is just waiting to be smashed, as are plenty of other important political offices as well.  We wish all of you the very best of luck.  Now, go forth and make old Buckminster Fuller proud!  Vive la femme!


Ajax the Great, Party Leader of the TSAP

Technical Difficulties Resolved

It has come to our attention that this website recently had a problem where it kept crashing and redirecting every few seconds after loading.  Fortunately, the technical difficulties that caused this problem have now been resolved.  You may notice that the "widgets" at the bottom of the page that had been there since 2009 are now gone.  That is because they were apparently causing the problem, unfortunately, so they were removed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Enough is Enough Already!

The worst mass shooting in American history has occurred just a few days ago on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.  It seems that mass shootings have become a daily occurrence in recent years--in the USA at least.  But the rest of the industrialized world doesn't really seem to have this kind of problem.  Why is that?  Well, there's always....


America is the land of 300 million guns, and combined with a culture that is crazier and more violent than most other "developed" countries, and much more extreme inequality, it is a very lethal combination indeed.  Of course, the biggest elephant in the room is the fact that at least 96% of mass shooters are MEN.  Thanks to the patriarchy and the sort of "toxic masculinity" that it creates, combined with the above factors, too many men end up resorting to violence.  Like the Iron Maiden song says, "a briefcase, a lunch, and a man on the edge".  With a gun. I mean, what could possibly go wrong, right?

There should be no doubt at this point that something needs to be done   However, we do not believe that banning all guns for everyone, or adopting British or European-style gun laws, is the solution, as the genie is already out of the bottle, and there is also that whole Constitution thingy as well.  Thus, the TSAP recommends that the following measures be taken:

  1. Bring back an improved 1994 assault-weapons ban yesterday, this time with more teeth.  Include all magazines with more than ten rounds in the ban as well.
  2. Remove the 20-year ban on gun violence research, yesterday. 
  3. End the gun-show loophole and implement universal background checks, yesterday.
  4. Put a significant excise tax on all bullets/ammo, like Chris Rock recommended. (Seriously)
  5. Treat ammo sales the same as gun sales.
  6. Pass a "one gun a month" law at the federal level.
  7. Require reporting of lost or stolen guns.
  8. Regulate firearms like other consumer products in terms of health and safety standards--currently such standards are nonexistent.
  9. Improve enforcement of existing gun laws, which tend not to be enforced very well these days, and improve state reporting of prohibited persons to NICS.  Also, prohibit anyone on the terrorism watch list from buying any guns, period. (Believe it or not, the Orlando shooter was on the terror watch list and was still able to get a gun)
  10. And last but not least, improve our woefully-inadequate mental healthcare system.
Of course, to truly solve our gun violence problem would require a fundamental overhaul and transformation of our society, which the TSAP clearly supports.  We need to go from being what Riane Eisler calls a "dominator" society to more of a "partnership" society, as the latter kind is far less violent overall.  But in the meantime, the aforementioned recommendations would go a long way towards taking the dangerous edge off of the problem.

And for those who blame the Orlando shooting on Muslims in general, while it is true that the shooter was motivated in part by radical Islam, we should remember most Muslims are not radicals and don't commit mass shootings or other acts of terrorism, and most mass shooters in the USA have been decidedly non-Muslim, typically either Christian or no known religious affiliation.  And while radical Islamic terrorism is indeed a major global problem, one should note the difference between Islam and other patriarchal religions is really more one of degree rather than kind.  It's really the patriarchal element that's the problem.

In this particular shooting, a deadly combination of toxic masculinity, homophobia, extreme religious zealotry, and readily-available assault weapons led to the deaths of over 50 innocent people.  If that's not the all-time KING of wake-up calls, I honestly don't know what is.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Bernie's Tax Plan Is Good, But The TSAP Can Do Much Better

Bernie Sanders' tax proposals have recently been published and analyzed by the Tax Policy Center.  You can read about it here.  It happens to be a rather biased analysis that has some glaring omissions downplaying the value of public investment, and a more accurate one can be found here.  While the TSAP continues to wholeheartedly endorse Bernie, we feel we can come up with a tax plan that is even better still.   So here is the latest version of our own:

Universal Exchange Tax (UET)

Implement a tiny Universal Exchange Tax of between 0.05% (50 cents per $1000) and 0.1% (1 dollar per $1000) on all automated financial transactions of any kind.  With a tax base estimated to be in excess of $4 quadrillion, this tax should raise between $2 trillion (half the federal budget) and $4 trillion (the entire federal budget).

Not only would it eliminate the deficit, it would create a surplus large enough to eliminate or dramatically cut all other forms of taxation at both the federal and state levels.

NOTE: We do NOT take credit for coming up with this idea; it was found posted on an anonymous website.  Also, economist Dr. Edgar Feige apparently thought of a similar idea back in 2005.

Individual Income Tax

Overhaul and simplify the federal tax code by repealing the regular income tax while retaining and tweaking the AMT to reflect the following:

Absolutely no income tax on those making less than $20,000 per year, period.

Ideally, no income tax on those making less than $50,000 per year.

With preferably the following marginal income tax brackets for individuals:

Below $20,000 -- no income tax
$20,000 to $50,000 -- 5%
$50,000 to $90,000 -- 10%
$90,000 to $150,000 -- 20%
$150,000 to $250,000 -- 30%
$250,000 to $1,000,000 -- 40%
$1,000,000 to $10,000,000 -- 50%
Over $10,000,000 -- 70%

With no loopholes and no deductions other than state/local taxes and a limited amount of charitable donations.

All forms of income would be taxed equally at the normal rates, including dividends and capital gains.  For capital gains, the basis will be indexed to inflation (which is currently not the case).  The exclusion for capital gains below $250,000 from home sales will remain as is.

NOTE:  If the Universal Exchange Tax (UET) is implemented and set at a high enough rate, we could theoretically reduce the income tax to only 10% on each dollar above $100,000 and 50% on each dollar above $1 million.  We propose a UET rate between 0.05% (50 cents per $1000) and 0.1% (1 dollar per $1000) on all transactions, which would most likely be high enough to do so. 

Corporate Income Tax

Overhaul the tax code to eliminate all loopholes and favoritism of any kind.  Then implement the following tax brackets for corporations:

Below $100,000 -- no income tax
$100,000 to $1,000,000 -- 10%
$1,000,000 to $10,000,000 -- 20%
$10,000,000 to $100,000,000 -- 35%
Over $100,000,000 -- 50%

Unlike the current law, only undistributed profits would be taxed.  Amounts distributed as dividends would not be taxed at the corporate level, but would be taxed at the normal rate for the individual shareholders.

Tax US corporate foreign income as it is earned, rather than when the income is repatriated.

Payroll/FICA Taxes

Remove entirely the wage cap for Social Security portion of FICA tax, or raise it to a very high value (i.e. $10 million) for as long as we still have a FICA tax.

Reduce FICA tax rates to the lowest possible level needed for long-term solvency, or better yet eliminate FICA entirely (if an alternative funding source such as the UET is implemented).  If no alternative source is present, then raise the FICA tax by an additional 0.2%.

Create a tiny, fixed "Occupational Privilege Tax (OPT)" of about $50 per year at the federal level, similar to what many states and localities do.  Use it for general revenue.

Luxury Tax

Similar to a sales tax, 2% on all new items priced at $1000 or more, and only on the amount over $1000.  For vehicles of any kind, the exemption amount would be $30,000.  For new homes, the exemption amount would be $1 million.  Items purchased overseas would be considered "new" and taxable upon entering the country if purchased within the past year or two.

Estate Tax

Resurrect the estate tax ("death tax"), this time as a progressive one.  The exemption amount would be $3.5 million, then 45% up to $50 million, 55% up to $500 million, 65% up to $1 billion, and 75% for $1 billion and above.

Excise, Vice, and Other Taxes

Bring back the Superfund taxes that expired in 1995, and expand it to cover ALL harmful and toxic chemicals.

Increase and equalize the federal alcohol excise taxes to $22 per proof-gallon for all alcoholic beverages, equal to the liquor tax in 1991 adjusted for inflation.  Microbrewers (those who produce less than 6 million barrels) would continue to pay the current rate of $0.58 per gallon ($18 per barrel) on the first 2 million barrels.

Equalize the federal tax for all tobacco products by weight to $1.55 per ounce, and tax the tobacco itself at the producer level.  Set a national price floor for cigarettes of at least $5.00/pack to encourage low-tax states like Virginia to hike their own tobacco taxes. 

If and when cannabis and/or any other currently illegal drugs are legalized, tax them as well.  For example, cannabis could be taxed at a flat rate of $10-$50 per ounce, or perhaps set proportionally to potency (e.g. $5 per ounce, multiplied by percentage of THC).

Raise the gas tax by 1 cent/gal each week until it is $0.50/gal higher than it is today.  "A Penny for Progress."

Enact the following "menu" of new taxes:

  • coffee beans or grounds ($0.10/lb) 
  • pure caffeine ($1.00/lb)
  • refined sugars ($0.10/lb)
  • salt ($0.10/lb)
  • hydrogenated fats ($1.00/lb)
Enact a tax on bullets and other ammunition at a rate of at least $0.10 per round for long guns and at least $0.25 per handgun round.

Enact a financial crisis responsibility fee (leverage tax) of 0.15% of covered liabilities of so-called "too big to fail" banks with more than $50 billion in assets.

Enact a Wall Street Gaming Tax of 0.5% specifically on derivatives and any other exotic financial products designed primarily for the purpose of speculation or gambling.

Carbon Tax and Dividend

Additionally, implement a "carbon tax and dividend" on all fossil fuels similar to what Steve Stoft proposes in Carbonomics. Start it at $10/ton in the first year, and double it every year until it reaches $160/ton, then increase it further by 5% each year or the rate of inflation, whichever is greater.  Refund 100% of the proceeds directly to We the People.

Do these things and we can easily pay for all of what Bernie proposes and then some.  Especially if we also nationalize the Feral Reserve and make our currency interest-free and inflation-free, as well as zero-out the national debt via money creation as discussed in a previous post.  And our proposal would be even simpler and more progressive than his proposals currently are.

And yes, progressive taxation is indeed the fairest method and best for the economy as a whole. History has shown that "trickle-down" voodoo economics does NOT work, period.   Cutting taxes at the top tends to create short-term "sugar highs" in the economy, followed by painful crashes. All while worsening inequality, and too much inequality ultimately kills growth in the long run.  As Robert Reich famously said, the economy exists to make our lives better. We don't exist to make the economy better.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Ultimate Stimulus Package

Wanna know a secret, everyone?  An open secret, yet probably the best-kept one of all?  The total amount of global debt, all $233 trillion (!) of it, is 100% man-made. That's right--the very concept of debt is man-made, because money itself is man-made.  That includes both private debt as well as the public debt that the austerity hawks won't stop fretting about.  Every single penny of it.  Money is really nothing more than a simple accounting entry in a computer these days anyway.  So make the entry and be done with it already.

Wait, hold on--did he just say what I think he said?  You got that damn right, and I didn't stutter either.  The single best stimulus package that could possibly be done given the current state of the global economy is--you guessed it--a DEBT JUBILEE of sorts.  You know, kinda like the ancient Israelites did every 50 years, where all debts were cancelled and forgiven across the board, period.  The only difference today is the scale and the technology involved, and the fact that we use pure fiat currency instead of specie makes it even easier still.  So why aren't we doing it?  I mean if the world owes $233 trillion, who on Earth do we owe it all to?  You guessed it--the BANKSTERS.  And the biggest contributor to the gargantuan size of the debt (and the number one cause of inflation as well) is compound interest, also known as USURY.  So there are plenty of powerful vested interests who would oppose such a thing, and it's time to take the power back.

We could start by paying off the national debt in one fell swoop via money creation, as is recommended by Richard E. Noble.  The Noble Solution, if you will.  And contrary to popular opinion, doing so would NOT cause hyperinflation if done properly because while creating money is inflationary, paying off large debts (i.e. "debt-deflation") is inherently anti-inflationary, so the two effects would cancel each other out.  And the newly created money would be done interest-free as well.  And also give everyone $1000 or $2000 as well.  Remember, back in 2011 Bernie Sanders audited the Feral Reserve and found that they gave a whopping $16 trillion secret bailout to the banks in 2009-2010 (and later rose to $29 trillion in total).   And with that money, they could have paid off the entire national debt (below $12 trillion then) and still had trillions left over to give to We the People by depositing money in our bank accounts.  And the government would have been able to do a much bolder fiscal stimulus package since there would be no worries about the debt.  Yes, really.  And the "recession" (i.e. depression) would have ended a LOT sooner as a result.

As for private debt, an Act of Congress could conceivably be passed that nullifies all such debt as well, including (but not limited to) student loan debt, mortgage debt, credit card debt, and medical debt. Creditors wouldn't like it, of course, but debtors greatly outnumber creditors, so the net effect would be beneficial overall for society.  And repeat every 50 years or so.

Additionally, while we are at it, we should also nationalize the privately-owned FERAL Reserve and make it a truly public FEDERAL Reserve that creates its own money interest-free, as Ellen Brown recommends.  We should also put a 10% cap on ALL interest rates period, including private loans and credit cards, and eventually phase-out the very concept of interest altogether.

Also, the TSAP would recommend a Universal Basic Income Guarantee for all, an idea whose time has come and that is in fact LONG overdue.  That would solve so many problems indeed.

Now THAT would be a real stimulus package!  Not only would it act like a giant B-12 shot for the economy by causing increased economic growth in the short to medium term, but in the long run it would also help us end our addiction to growth for the sake of growth, the ideology of the cancer cell which eventually kills its host.

Remember, as Buckminster Fuller famously noted in the 1970s, there are enough resources on Earth for everyone in the world to live like a millionaire, but such resources are currently being hoarded and wasted by the oligarchs to prop up their massive Ponzi scheme.  It's time to end the current obsolete paradigm of scarcity (most of it artificial) in favor of a new paradigm of abundance for all, that we may all enjoy mutual benefit and protection.  Yesterday.

(In the meantime, though, there is always Rolling Jubilee.)