Don’t Piss On My Leg And Tell Me It’s Raining

“Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” It is a lovely and efficient idiom. To me it expresses, in ten words, what every intelligent and thoughtful American should want to say to Donald Trump.

It must be obvious at this point that this man Trump has no regard for truth. He lies as easily and naturally as he takes breath. That is not unique in the field of politics. What is remarkable, and possibly unique, is the audacity with which he will lie about things that can be proven, with no very hard effort, to be false. In another essay I spoke of his pathological insistence that he won the biggest electoral vote count since Ronald Reagan. As I noted then, a fifth grader with a smart phone could have pronounced Trump a liar within 3/5ths of a second. Why lie about something when you know you will be caught? The only reason to do so is because, in today’s bizarre America, it seems to work. It works with a remarkable coalition of our fellow citizens: the extremely gullible, racist xenophobes, and the unprincipled opportunists of the Republican party.

The gullible and the xenophobes require no further explanation. In a sense they are, at least, consistent. The really troubling folks are the Republicans who are smart enough to understand what a charlatan Donald Trump is but refuse to denounce him. They are whatever the opposite of patriotic is. They tolerate him and prop him up with tacit approval because they want things. What do they want? They want what Republicans always want and they are willing to put their country at risk to get it.

Here Come the Tax Cuts

Nobody likes paying taxes. Nobody gets a little anticipatory thrill about the approach of April 15. But, if we are honest and rational, we know that paying our taxes is a patriotic act. It is not the kind of patriotism exhibited by serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan, surely. But it is much more of a sacrifice to our country than is sticking a “Support our Troops” bumper sticker on the back of your pickup. Why? Because it is, quite literally, supporting our troops.

Since 1974 it has been an article of faith in the Republican Party that cutting taxes on the rich not only stimulates economic growth but also generates more revenue for the government. Famously, the economist Art Laffer drew a graph on a napkin in a Washington, D.C. restaurant which established this idea and made disciples out of the Ford administration officials in attendance, notably Dick Cheney. The Laffer curve, as it became known, caught on quickly in Republican circles primarily because it was simple. Economist Hal Varian observed, “It has been said that the popularity of the Laffer curve is due to the fact that you can explain it to a congressman in six minutes and he can talk about it for six months.”

The graph purports to show tax revenues to the government as a function of tax rates. Shaped like a woman’s breast the curve shows revenue increasing as tax rates increase and then declining again as rates enter what Laffer called “The prohibitive range.” The idea is simple; the more you tax, the more money you take in. But at some point taxation will become onerous and one of two things will occur to decrease revenue – either people will stop working and corporations will shut down or taxpayers will find increasingly clever ways to cheat on their taxes. Therefore, Laffer determined, cutting tax rates below the prohibitive range will generate more revenue. Cheney was convinced. Reagan made a religion out of the Laffer curve. It suited Republican ambitions since they had always wanted lower taxes for the rich anyway. They actually put the infamous napkin in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.

The Laffer Curve – The Napkin which caused much of the U.S. National Debt

In principle Laffer was right. There probably is some tax rate at which a point of diminishing returns is reached. What the Laffer curve probably isn’t, is a nice, symmetrical C-Cup. It’s possible that it really resembles a wave crest on the ocean, or, as some economists have speculated, a certain part of the male anatomy.

While Laffer’s disciples saw his curve as a revelation the truth is that as a guide to establishing optimum tax rates it is useless. If you look at Laffer’s napkin you will see a common coordinate graph with an x axis and a y axis. What you don’t see are units. The only numbers that appear on the graph, in fact, are the tax rates 0% and 100%. While the graph on the napkin appears to peak at around 50% taxation the sketch was not based on empirical data. The difficulty in applying the Laffer curve to real world economics is simply this: 1. Nobody knows where the prohibitive range begins and 2. Nobody knows where we are on the curve.

The truth is that Republicans don’t really care about deficits or the national debt anyway, unless Democrats are in power. When they take the reigns they want two things, increased military spending and tax cuts, preferably “huge” tax cuts. All their tea-party deficit rhetoric dissolves into thin air when they get into power.

Since Republicans don’t really care about maximizing tax revenues to keep the deficit down the Laffer curve is to them a cynical rhetorical tool. They want lower taxes on the rich. Therefore, when they enlist the Laffer curve to serve their political cause they simply assume, no matter the current rate, that we are in the prohibitive range and tax cuts are needed.

Thus in 1979, when Reagan used the Laffer curve as a club to bludgeon those “tax and spend” Democrats, the top marginal rate in the United States was 70%. That seems high, but it was nothing like the top rate during the booming economy of the Eisenhower years – 91%.

During the middle of Bill Clinton’s time in office, in 1996, the top marginal rate was 39.6%, a little more than half the rates of the 1970’s when Laffer drew his curve. Still, George W. Bush, and a certain Vice-President of his whom we have met before in our narrative, convinced the country that, once again, miraculously, those “Tax and spend Liberals” had us back in the “prohibitive” range. They cut the top marginal rate to 35% and would have liked more. For the second time in modern history the Republicans proved, though they didn’t mean to, that cutting tax rates doesn’t increase revenues. The deficit skyrocketed under Reagan when he cut taxes, and did it again under Bush when he cut taxes while simultaneously spending trillions on a war in Iraq.

Now Trump and Mnuchin and McConnell and Ryan want to try it again. Although each, over the last 8 years, has given earnest and ominous speeches about the danger of deficits and the cruel burden they lay on “our children,” the crack cocaine of tax cuts simply overwhelms their fiscal “conservatism.” Just because Laffer’s brilliant scheme didn’t work at 70% taxation, or at 39% taxation, or at 35% taxation, … or ever, doesn’t mean it won’t work this time. It’s such a pretty chart and so easy to explain.

The Wikipedia article on income inequality in the United States offers a pretty good overview of the absurdity and cynicism of Republican ideas.

The top 1% of households received approximately 20% of the pre-tax income in 2013, versus approximately 10% from 1950 to 1980.

The bottom 50% earned 20% of the nation’s pre-tax income in 1979; this fell steadily to 14% by 2007 and 13% by 2014. Income for the middle 40% group, a proxy for the middle class, fell from 45% in 1979 to 41% in both 2007 and 2014.

To put this change into perspective, if the US had the same income distribution it had in 1979, each family in the bottom 80% of the income distribution would have $11,000 more per year in income on average, or $916 per month.

According to Republicans the super rich, like our current President, whose incomes have surged while the lower and middle classes have stagnated, deserve a break, yet again.

So how do you sell tax cuts for the rich to a society in which the top 1% of Americans control 40 percent of the nations wealth? How do you justify to them a world in which the richest 85 people on the planet (30 of whom are American Billionaires) have more wealth than the poorest 3.8 Billion people. How do you convince a working class voter that the CEO of his company who earns 347 times his salary is suffering from overtaxation? You piss on his leg and tell him it’s raining!

You lie and you obfuscate and you misrepresent. And if there is data that contradicts your assertions, you erase them from the official record. According to a Sept. 28, 2017 Wall Street Journal article:

“The Treasury Department has taken down [from it’s website] a 2012 economic analysis that contradicts Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s argument that workers would benefit the most from a corporate income tax cut. The 2012 paper from the Office of Tax Analysis found that workers pay 18% of the corporate tax while owners of capital pay 82%. That is a breakdown in line with many economists’ views.”

So, when the billionaire who has been pissing on your leg for the last two years says it looks like rain, don’t believe him. And don’t believe his minions either. Gary Cohn, Trump’s economic advisor said, recently, “The wealthy are not getting a tax cut under our plan.” That is pure piss and you don’t have to be an economist to understand that.

The Trump tax cuts, “the biggest in history,” according to Trump, have 6 main components. 1. Cutting the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%. 2. Cutting top marginal rates. 3. Eliminating the estate tax. 4. Repeal of the alternative minimum tax. 5. A new tax loophole for “pass-through” income. 6. An exemption for corporate foreign profits.

You can debate the merits of any one of these proposals if you want, but the idea that they together do not represent a massive tax cut for the wealthy is simply and clearly a lie.

Trump’s other foundational lie about his tax cut plan is that it will not, like Reagan’s tax cuts and Bush’s tax cuts, blow the deficit sky high. According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “We think this tax plan will cut down the deficits by a trillion dollars.” This is the Laffer curve again and it is pure piss. Even if you are the type of conservative who kneels down five times a day to pray to the napkin you must realize that there is no way Laffer’s “prohibitive range” starts at 35%. Cutting taxes now will not increase federal revenues and will, most assuredly, explode the deficit.

Finally, in a recent speech Trump said this about his tax cut scheme, “I’m doing the right thing, and it’s not good for me. Believe me.” also, “I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit, In fact, very, very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.”

A Sep. 28, 2017 New York Times article, based on Trump’s estimated net worth and 2005 tax return (the only one available), determined that he would, indeed benefit, and in a massive way. The analysis calculated that Trump would personally save $31 million from the elimination of the alternative minimum tax, $16 million from cuts in business taxes, and $.5 million from the reduction of the highest rate. His delightful children would gain even more, saving an estimated $1.1 billion when the estate tax is repealed.

Any man who says “believe me” as much as Trump does is not to be believed. This tax cut is designed by billionaires to benefit billionaires and it will, once again, massively expand the deficit. It is a transfer of wealth to the wealthy at a time when income inequality is already at levels not seen since the late 1920’s, and that didn’t end up so good.

As I have said before, Republicans control all of Washington now and they are the only ones who can stop this comic book villain. You may like what Trump can do for your narrow self-interest now but, as he has demonstrated time and time again to his friends and foes alike, he will piss on your leg if he gets the chance. Believe me, Believe me.

By: Dustin Joy

 

Getting Frosty in Hell: I back a Trump Decision…sort of

You might want to sit down for this. I’ll just come right out and say it. I have decided to endorse a decision Donald Trump made. I can hardly believe it myself. I can assure you it is not because I agree with Trump’s odious world view or wish to associate myself with some of the hateful xenophobes who voted for him. Indeed, when I consider Trump I am most nearly in agreement with the assessment of the author Philip Roth who has said:

“Trump is ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art. He is incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance. He is destitute of all decency. He wields a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.”

I object to many things Donald Trump has said and done. I need not belabor my disgust with regard to his treatment of women, his demonization of immigrants, or his enabling of racists. His transparent effort to destroy critical government agencies which promote education, protect our environment, and insure worker safety are just plain despicable.

But what really sticks in my craw is this; Trump appeals to people’s ignorance. He denigrates experience. He undermines science. He has suggested, over and over again, in subjects as varied and complex as climate, medicine, foreign policy, and trade, that his judgement trumps the experts.

Think I’m exaggerating? I’ll let Trump speak for himself:

 

“I think nobody knows more about taxes than I do, maybe in the history of the world.”

“I know more about renewables than any human being on Earth.”

“Nobody knows politicians better than Donald Trump.”

“Nobody knows more about debt. I’m like the king.”

“Nobody knows banking better than I do”

“I understand money better than anybody. I understand it far better than Hillary.”

“I think nobody knows the system better than I do.”

“I know more about contributions than anybody.”

“Nobody knows more about trade than me.”

“Nobody in the history of this country has ever known so much about infrastructure as Donald Trump.”

“There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.”

“I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.”

“I know more about offense and defense than they will ever understand, believe me.”

“There is nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me.”

“I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone, which is why I’m the one who can truly fix them,”

“If Cory Booker is the future of the Democratic Party, they have no future! I know more about Cory than he knows about himself.”

 

The last absurdity is the cherry on top, of course, but altogether these quotes accurately represent a dangerous man. I have always been uneasy around people who are absolutely sure of themselves and their own judgement. They are dangerous whether they be religious zealots who are certain that God hates the same people they do (what a coincidence) or the “free market” apostles who want to outlaw the fire department because it is “Socialism!”

Well, I believe in experts. I believe in eggheads and poindexters and squares. I believe in people who read books and do research and carry out experiments. I place my trust in people who dedicate their lives to the acquisition of knowledge and mastery of skills.

When I need a surgeon to cut open my brain and remove the tumor I want a serious intellect on the job, not some good old boy who spends his evenings parked in front of a television with a brewsky in his hand. When my plane leaves the ground and soars seven miles into the air I want an expert at the controls. I want a pilot who understands Bernoulli’s Principle, not the guy who stayed at the Holiday Inn Express last night. And when my government has to make a decision about the efficacy of vaccinating kids for polio I want a PhD scientist on the case who has dedicated her life to studying infectious disease and not some Hollywood actress or reality TV star.

I believe global warming is real. Why do I believe this? Is it because I have carried out extensive experiments incorporating ice core analysis, satellite observations, expeditions to the south pole, and excruciatingly detailed number crunching? No. I have not done these things. But, you know what, there are people who have. They are called scientists. They work at top universities and government agencies. They have decided it. The evidence is in. All major scientific bodies in the United States whose work pertains to climate science have concluded that global warming exists and that human activities are a cause. These include NASA, NOAA, the National Academy of Science, the American meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

These are experts. These are scientists and policy wonks who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of truth no matter where it leads. If you really believe that Donald Trump knows more than they do about our climate you need to crinkle some tinfoil onto your antenna, buddy, because you are getting some serious static. (Sorry, for those of you born after 1990 an antenna is a small array of aluminum rods wired to a television or radio in order to … okay, for those of you born after 1995 a radio is a …..oh, to hell with it.)

The organizations who deny this evidence, for the most part, are business entities who stand to lose money if action is taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. That is called a conflict of interest and, under President Trump, these folks are the foxes who guard the henhouse. The new Secretary of Energy is Texas governor Rick Perry, an oil industry backer from an oil-rich state. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt from Oklahoma is, you guessed it, an oil industry backer from an oil-rich state. Trump’s Secretary of State is Rex Tillerson who was CEO of ExxonMobil for ten years. It is easy to discern a pattern here.

As Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was fond of saying, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” It would be one thing if Trump’s conflict of interest burdened cabinet came out and gave speeches saying global warming was a hoax. Everyone can express such uninformed opinions in a free society. What is absolutely unacceptable is what they have done, instead. They have put an end to climate research by gutting research budgets. This is not seeking truth. This is a child sticking his fingers in his ears to avoid hearing the truth. That’s tolerable for an individual. That is horrible for a democracy.

So, given all that, what Trump decision am I willing to ratify and support? Here it is. Drum role please:

I think the U.S. Senate should confirm the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. I think the Democrats in the Senate should vote to approve him despite the Republicans disingenuous refusal to give Merrick Garland a hearing and a vote.

I have three reasons for this. First, I think the Democrats should live up to their Constitutional responsibilities in a way that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans would not. It is a bummer to lose in politics. It stinks to have your bitter political rival win a round and get to steer things the way he wants. It would be satisfying to plant our feet on the ground, cross our arms, and, without regard to principle, simply oppose every action Trump takes, just like the Republicans have done for the last eight years.

Mitch McConnell said “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President.” You will notice he did not say “to serve the American people or to uphold the Constitution.” As the absolute type specimen of the self-serving, opportunistic politician McConnell abandoned even Republican ideas whenever they were adopted by the President. The Obamacare insurance mandate famously condemned now by Republicans as some kind of Communist plot was, actually, (whisper) a Republican idea. As I said in my last Trump essay Republicans used to be the party of shouldering your responsibility and eating your vegetables; not so much anymore.

The second reason I can and do support the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch is the same one which prevents me from supporting Pruitt, Perry, DeVos, and, indeed Trump himself. Gorsuch is an expert. He is an egghead. He is a thoughtful, intelligent, and serious man who I just don’t agree with very much. He is not a political hack now, even if he might have flirted with that category in his youth.

I have read extensively about Judge Gorsuch, have studied some of his rulings, and watched much of his confirmation hearing. As a Liberal I am, of course, concerned about Gorsuch’s family history. His mother, Ronald Reagan’s EPA Director, was indeed an ideologue and a political hack devoted to destroying the agency she was tasked to lead. I could never have supported her confirmation.

I am also troubled by Gorsuch’s record in George W. Bush’s Justice Department. His role in justifying the use of torture and encouraging Bush’s questionable “signing statements” gives me pause. Gorsuch has replied that he was just doing his job. That, of course, is the well rehearsed line of the scoundrel, but it is also, to some degree, defensible. To succeed in Washington, at least to the level where you might be on someone’s short list to be a Supreme Court Justice, you must have established some political relationships and have found some backers. It appears that Gorsuch did this by working a mid-level job on Bush’s team.

Also, I say naively, people can change. People can mature. People can rise to the challenge of new professional responsibilities. I believe judge Gorsuch may have done so. For ten years he has been a Federal Judge and, by all accounts, he has been a fair one. Is he a conservative? I’m pretty sure he is. Does he advocate strict constructionism? Probably. Do I wish we could have Merrick Garland, instead? Sure I do. But, that brings me to the last of my three reasons.

We have very little choice. Due to the (Let’s be generous here and call it poor judgement) of a few thousand people in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania we have President Trump. Due to the poor judgement of a few thousand people in Missouri, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania we have a Republican U.S. Senate. Replacing Scalia with Gorsuch, in my opinion is a small move in the right direction (possibly a very small one). There is not a great deal we can do to stop it since the Republicans hold all the cards.

A bigger catastrophe, from a Liberal point of view, would be the retirement of Justice Ginsburg under these circumstances. Political capital and the good will of the American people are real things, like it or not. If we fight Gorsuch to the bloody end and lose anyway we may not have anything left to fight Trump should worse come to worst.

So, based on my analysis, can we oppose Pruitt and Perry and DeVos and still support Gorsuch’s confirmation? I think we can. They are ideologues who claim to know more than the experts. We may not agree with Gorsuch about everything, but he is a serious expert on the law who takes the law seriously. That may be all we can hope for and all we need. Many of the “Conservative” Justices appointed to the court by Republicans, if they are serious men and women who respect the law, have a funny way of finding the middle ground when liberated by their lifetime appointments. I am thinking of Justice Blackmun, Justice Souter, Justice O’Connor, and Justice Kennedy. I have no way to be sure, but I think Gorsuch might have that potential.

 

by: Dustin Joy

Mister, We Could Use a (Republican) Like Herbert Hoover Again

Ours is a practical people, to whom ideals furnish the theory of political action….On the other side, they are equally disgusted with seeking for power by destructive criticism, demagoguery, specious promises and sham.

Some may ask where all this may lead beyond mere material progress…. It leads to the opportunity for greater and greater service, not alone from man in our own land, but from our country to the whole world. It leads to an America, healthy in body, healthy in spirit, unfettered, youthful, eager — with a vision searching beyond the farthest horizons, with an open mind, sympathetic and generous.

It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own.

This is not a showman’s job. I will not step out of character.

– Herbert Hoover

 

 

 


Mister, We Could Use a (Republican) Like Herbert Hoover Again

There was a time, dear children, when the Republican Party of the United States was the stodgy old party of responsibility and prudence and eating your vegetables. People like Dwight Eisenhower and Robert Taft and George Romney and Nelson Rockefeller and Gerald Ford and, yes, even Richard Nixon for all his faults, cared about a thing called good governance. They took public service seriously. They believed in things like balanced budgets and sensible spending and good citizenship and doing the right thing. These anachronisms are what used to be called “principles” and Republicans used to have them.

Republicans have even been known to stand on principle to their own detriment. American history is replete with such examples. I am thinking of Ford’s pardon of Nixon which he had to know would cost him the 1976 election but which he honorably believed to be the right thing. Taft was a man so dedicated to our constitution and the rule of law that he dared to criticize the Nuremberg trials and Japanese internment. This bravery won him the praise of Senator John F. Kennedy and a chapter in his Pulitzer-Prize-winning book Profiles in Courage but probably cost him the Republican nomination for President in 1944, 1948, and 1952. Finally, there is Barry Goldwater. Whatever you thought about Goldwater’s ideas, cuckoo-bananas or genius, no one ever accused Barry Goldwater of selling out his principles for political expediency. He proudly rode them all the way to the ground like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove.

Republicans have sometimes been willing to pull dirty tricks and tell lies to win (I know, right?). Telling lies is a time-tested way to achieve political goals and Republicans, of course, wrote their chapter in that book. Richard Nixon came by the moniker Tricky Dick honestly. What most Republicans didn’t do was to betray their own followers and their own own political philosophy in the pursuit of power. That innovation, or at least the mastery of it, belonged to that patron saint of conservatives, Mr. Ronald Reagan. Reagan, the “great communicator” preached the gospel of smaller government and fiscal responsibility to Goldwater’s beleaguered descendants. He promised the religious right, with a wink and a nod, to end abortion. He bludgeoned Jimmy Carter and the Democrats for “spending like drunken sailors.” And then he got elected. And he increased the size of government, did diddly-squat about abortion, and spent money like a drunken sailor.

What Reagan realized, but Carter had not, was that the American people don’t like bad news. They don’t like to be lectured. They don’t like discipline. They don’t like to eat their vegetables. So Reagan dropped all that “principle” stuff and distilled a new philosophy which went down smooth; let’s have our cake and eat it, too.

The Gipper figured it out. People like a strong military. They like to strut around with their chests puffed out humming the Star-Spangled Banner in the back of their throats. Reagan gave it to them. People don’t like paying taxes. Reagan smiled that goofy grin of his and said, “I don’t like paying taxes either. Let’s cut them.” The people thought Carter was too preachy and made everything sound “sooooooo complicated.” Reagan served up simple, sappy, aphorisms by the bushel. Reagan told the American people how good they were, and how noble, and how smart. He told them how good old common sense was better than all that book learnin’ and that, well gosh, the American people were just God’s own special people.

Americans ate it up. When that fuddy-duddy, spoil-sport Mondale told them they would have to pay higher taxes to finance Reagan’s blossoming deficits they put their fingers in their ears, stuck out their tongues and “raspberried” him back to Minnesota.

We Americans don’t like broccoli and, by-God, no pointy-headed intellectual is gonna make us eat it.

The lesson of Carter’s flameout and Mondale’s trouncing was not lost on Reagan’s progeny. There would be no more “malaise” speeches. There would be no more appeal to our intellect nor our self-discipline, nor our better angels. Even the Democrats learned the lesson. When George H.W. Bush’s remnant belief in good governance led him to compromise with the Democrats and raise taxes, a move which allowed, for the first time in decades, an actual surplus in the U.S. budget, the smarmy huckster from Arkansas slew him with his own noble gesture. Clinton gave the American people his best “Reagan” smile, told them he could “feel their pain” and that all their problems had been “laid on them,” and sunk the knife into George’s back. It was the last time anyone, of either party, dared to “reach across the aisle.”

Now, winning is all that matters. Working together, doing the right thing for the country, exercising restraint, practicing good governance, being philosophically consistent, putting country ahead of party; these are all relics from a bygone era.

Winning is everything and compromise is impossible (you can’t compromise with the Devil after all.) Ultimately anything can be sacrificed to the cause: honesty, fairness, faith in your fellow man, your own principles. Even flat-out hypocrisy, the kind that can be proven by video recordings, and, in the past would have sunk a politician, hardly moves the needle now. It’s the Lord’s work, after all. Mitch McConnell will stand in front of a television camera and excoriate Democrats for saying precisely, even word for word, what McConnell himself has been recorded saying a year ago. There are Democrats who would do the same thing to him. Here we are.

If both sides jettison their beliefs and philosophy for the expedient of winning what difference does it make? Why am I picking on Republicans? Why, in fact, do I beseech the Republicans to sober up and recover their proud tradition of principle above party. I do it now because we need them now more than ever. We need the Republicans to live up to the example of Taft and Eisenhower and Ford and Goldwater. They are the only ones who can help us now. They are the only ones who can slow down this unstable raging narcissist who has become our President.

We have now dispatched the Wicked Witch of the West and her wicked, wicked email server to oblivion. Will you, at long last, strengthen your backbones and stop this phony Republican before he dismantles all that is good and noble about our country? Republicans, I tell you again, this man does not believe what you do. He not only disregards your ideals and principles he positively mocks them.

He mocks, also, the serious and thoughtful men who used to represent you. Aren’t you embarrassed to watch your formerly proud leaders like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney grovel before this gameshow host? Aren’t you appalled to hear a five-time draft deferred man with miraculously self-healing bone spurs brutally criticize actual Viet-Nam war heroes John McCain and John Kerry?

I now address you “God-fearing” Christians. I have read a great deal of the New Testament and I don’t think Jesus was advocating what your Republican President is now doing. Don’t take my word for it. Read the Sermon on the Mount, read all of Matthew, and judge for yourselves.

 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

I trust this verse will not be misattributed to President Donald Trump. How about this:

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

Do Syrian refugees count?

Even if the darkness of the Old Testament is your cup of tea do you really think that this twice divorced serial adulterer who sexually harasses women is a model for your family? I think there are some passages of Leviticus which would insure this man some smiting, or worse. If he were not the President would you invite him into your house? Would you leave your daughter alone in a room with him? But you voted for him to represent America to the world? If you’ll pardon my French, What the hell is wrong with you?

What about our collective, agreed-upon American principles? Are we no longer to be a “nation of immigrants” as President Kennedy called us? Do we no longer tear-up at the words of Emma Lazarus’ poem?

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Is that a Golden Door or a gray, cement wall with concertina wire strung along the top?

Finally, Republicans, which of these do you believe in your heart?

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
-Thomas Jefferson

Or this:

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!
-Donald Trump

Obviously many of you are embarrassed. Most of my Republican friends will not even mention Trump unless someone else brings it up and then they mumble and stumble and dredge up an old line about Benghazi. But there was something about President Obama’s swagger or, ….I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt….something…. that set your teeth on edge. You listened to Hillary’s shrill, preachy voice and were reminded of those Brussels sprouts that Saint Reagan told you you would not have to eat anymore. And, doggone it, you wanted to win. It feels so good to win. We know you wanted Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush instead. But that ain’t what happened.

What you have representing your treasured GOP brand now is a self-absorbed spoiled little rich kid with no one ever to tell him no. You must tell him NO! This man-child is President of the United States and he is more concerned about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s television ratings than his National Security briefing.

He is still, from a podium in the White House, trying to “spin us” on just how many electoral votes he won the election by. He is creepily, bizarrely, self-deluding about this subject which nobody asked him about. He repeats it over and over, from meetings with the Israeli Prime-Minister to ceremonies about Black History Month. In a press conference this week Trump again boasted “We got 306….I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.”

Now, it is one thing to lie about an ambiguous data point buried a thousand pages deep in a government report or a piece of information only you know the answer to. But, my God man, any eight year old can ask Siri who won the electoral college vote in the last 7 Presidential elections and know the answer with 100% accuracy in about 3/5ths of a second. In about two minutes (I’ll admit to being slower than an eight year old) I discovered that Trump won 304 electoral votes, not 306. (The idea that any man who won a Presidential election doesn’t know how many electoral votes he got is truly bizarre in itself.) In five of the seven elections preceding Trump’s the winner won more than 304 votes. For the record (George H.W. Bush – 426, Clinton (1992) – 370, Clinton (1996) – 379, George W. Bush (2000) – 271, George W. Bush (2004) – 286, Obama (2008) – 365, and Obama (2012) – 332.)

And Trump’s answer, when confronted with the demonstrable falseness of his claim; “Actually, I’ve seen that information around.” Apparently he didn’t see it around the internet, or in the encyclopedia, or the Congressional Record, or hear about it from one of the hundreds of Senators and Representatives present at the counting of the electoral votes by Vice-President Joe Biden which was, by the way, broadcast on CSPAN and still available for viewing on You Tube.

This is a pathology, one might say, borderline mental illness. This kind of egomania coupled with insecurity would be undesirable in any profession. Possessed by the man who controls the U.S. nuclear arsenal they are downright dangerous.

So, Republicans I implore you once again. Stiffen your upper lip. Steel yourself to defend your principles. Your country needs you now. Party politics can wait. You must stop this man or, at least, slow him down. This is your moment. Channel your own internal Herbert Hoover. Though it is sometimes hard to believe and I am loathe to admit it: There is precedent for Republicans to do the right thing.

by: Dustin Joy

Trump – A Retraction

I wish to print a retraction. It turns out I’m just not as good a person as I thought I was. I thought I had kindness and reasonableness and tolerance for all mankind in my heart. I wrote an essay about that, about being a good sport, about being a good loser, about giving Donald Trump a chance.

Cripes, I thought I was done with this infernal election. I wanted to be. I thought I had resolved it in my own mind, or at least reconciled myself to it. But … I’m sorry; I just can’t do it. I can’t, and I won’t give Donald J. Trump another chance. What changed between the election and now? Me, I guess. Certainly Donald Trump did not change.

He is the same erratic, thin-skinned narcissist we saw during the campaign. His absurd “meeting” with news anchors and media executives, summoning them to Trump Tower to dress them down and gloat over his victory, was the act of a petulant child, not a serious adult man. His bizarre first press conference revealed the same sort of self-absorbed immaturity. I fully expected to see him wearing a beanie with a propeller on top and with a slingshot hanging out of his back pocket. His bile-filled Twitter feed is also playground stuff. (Did not!, Did too, Did not!) What the hell is a President of the United States settling scores on Twitter for, anyway? Even Nixon wasn’t that pathological.

Finally, we all held out hope, from his demeanor and statements on election night, that some of his vulgar, racist, cruelty had been blown out of proportion, sort of a cartoon superimposed upon him by the media and his political enemies. To quote myself, “No One could be that bad.” But, while he modulated his rhetoric for about a day and professed to want to be “President for everyone” in real life he plodded along his deplorable path.

He dropped the notion of putting his political opponent in prison (for now) but reserved the right to do it later if he felt like it (because that’s how America’s system of justice works, I guess). As if to double down on his own bigoted tendencies he selected for his Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (and no, I didn’t make that name up to make him sound like an unreconstituted, confederate-flag-waving, southern racist). That is really his name and he really was denied a seat on the U.S. Court of appeals because of racist statements.

For secretary of education Trump has nominated a one-issue political zealot who was head of the Michigan Republican party for many years and who is, with her husband, the biggest Amway salesman in the world (And no, I’m not being metaphorical. Look it up.) She is a billionaire who never attended a public school, never put her own children in a public school, has no education degree nor experience working as a teacher or administrator, believes that teachers are overpaid, and has worked with great tenacity (and millions of dollars) to undermine the very agency she is now tasked to lead. Sadly that will become a theme as we examine Trump’s prospective cabinet; as will the billionaire thing.

This minority President’s pick for EPA chief has fought the EPA in court for most of his political life as Attorney General of Oklahoma and has advocated the agency be eliminated.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a former presidential candidate, said this about Trump during the campaign:

“[He] offers a barking carnival act that can best be described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued. Let no one be mistaken, Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded.”

It was not reported what Perry used as a condiment for his meal of roast crow when he accepted Trump’s appointment to be Secretary of Energy, a Department which Perry, naturally, has vowed to dismantle. Oops!

Perhaps his least offensive appointment, to me, you might be surprised to hear, is Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Tillerson, with a net worth of $150 million and Exxon stock worth about $250 million is filthy rich, of course, but not as filthy as Trump’s bevy of billionaires who are here to “drain the swamp” and represent the “Wisconsin working man.” Tillerson has no education in foreign language or international affairs or diplomatic experience but he actually has negotiated a bit with foreign leaders to benefit his multi-national corporation. Our Wisconsin working man may be troubled to note, however, that Tillerson is not at all in alignment with Trump’s protectionist rhetoric. He has said “I believe we must choose the course of greater international engagement.” and “One of the most promising developments on this front is the ongoing effort for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Tillerson has also admitted that humans have effected the climate through greenhouse gas emissions and has advocated a carbon tax. In a 2013 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal Tillerson also defended the Common Core curriculum, a favorite bugaboo of the far right.

What the Republican establishment may find, to their continuing chagrin, is that Trump’s win was not theirs and that while most of his cabinet picks could feature in a Mike Pence wet dream Trump will do what he wants when he wants and they will not have the stomach nor the spine to oppose him. This is dangerous to everybody.

I might see my way past all of these things. I might tolerate childish behavior from our commander in chief and extremist political ideologies from his minions. I might even try to learn to sleep at night with the sabre-rattling rhetoric of a foreign policy novice who “knows more than the generals” about destroying ISIS but seems to focus most of his firepower and time on attacking impoverished Mexican immigrants and the cast of a Broadway musical. There is one thing I cannot forget and forgive with regard to this horrible man. The problem is that I have daughters and I love them.

After I publish my blog posts and essays I go back and read them over again. I review them, sometimes compulsively, to ferret out spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and faulty logic. I try to update the old ones with fresh data and revised perspective when it is called for. I did this for my Trump essay several times. I found a few mistakes with regard to spelling thanks to a faithful friend and loyal reader. I updated the number by which Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the popular vote (about 2.9 million, now). And I found a logical inconsistency which stopped me in my tracks and made me reconsider the “ahhh, give him a chance” idea.

Here are the two lines from my essay which I can no longer reconcile. They contradict each other in my mind. One of them is obviously incorrect.

  1. “My daughter cried when she heard about Donald Trump’s victory in the election.”

2. “We want you to succeed. Even many of us Liberals will give you a chance, if you give us a chance.”

I am simply never going to “give a chance” to a man so hateful that he made my daughter cry. I am never going to forget his horrible words and actions toward women. I am never going to forgive him for empowering the loathsome men around the world who think treating women poorly is sport. He has enabled every neanderthal misogynist and date-rapist in the country by his unpardonable example. He has made my daughters’ lives harder.

I would love to turn off the TV and pretend that Donald Trump doesn’t exist. For myself, a middle-aged white guy, I might make out okay under his absurd regime. But I cannot indulge my desire to close my eyes to this travesty. I have a wife and two daughters and a son. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my kids grow up in a world where Donald Trump’s brand of misogyny is considered normal. I’ll be damned if he’s going to demonize immigrants and refugees in the name of my country without my objection. I’ll be damned if he’s going to turn back all the progress we’ve made on the environment and gay rights and inclusiveness. At least he’s not gonna get it for free.

In my blog post after the election, I counseled patience. I was dead wrong. This man does not deserve our patience. He does not deserve our respect. He has not earned “a chance.” He has won our scorn and our disrespect and our condemnation. That is what he will get.

by: Dustin Joy

Washington vs. Trump – A Plea

Note: The following quotes by President George Washington and Mr. Donald Trump come from different verifiable sources. They derive from speeches, official correspondence, and personal letters in the case of President Washington and speeches, recorded television appearances, and Twitter feeds in the case of Mr. Trump.

While some of my readers may wish to verify these quotes and are encouraged to do so I assume that most of you, knowing what you know about these men, will find it unnecessary. I think you will find that each quote attributed here to President Washington is plausibly his and each quote attributed to Mr. Trump is, unfortunately, plausibly his. The point of this comparison is to draw a contrast between the kind of public man President Washington was and the kind of public man Donald Trump is. I think the contrast is dramatic and instructive.

A fair criticism here is that it is inherently unfair to represent a man’s life through the use of a small number of hand-picked quotes. Quotes, of course, are easily manipulated and can be cleverly edited to illicit the desired response in the reader. While I have tried not to “manipulate the data” with regard to these quotes it is certainly possible that, having a low opinion of Mr. Trump, I might have unfairly selected quotes which reveal him at his worst and President Washington at his best. I will leave to you, the reader, the task of judging my objectivity.
I will say, in defense, that I presume no reader will believe that President Washington ever uttered the phrase “The boob job is terrible. They look like two lightbulbs coming out of her body.” Nor will they, I think, believe that Mr. Trump ever said “To speak evil of any one, unless there is unequivocal proofs of their deserving it, is an injury for which there is no adequate reparation.”

 



 

Washington and Trump on Science

“There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”
George Washington

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

“You may get AIDS by kissing.”

“Remember, new environment friendly lightbulbs can cause cancer. Be careful– the idiots who came up with this stuff don’t care.”

“Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!”
Donald Trump

__________________________________________________

Washington and Trump on profanity

“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”
George Washington

“No, I’m not into anal.”

“And you can tell them to go fuck themselves,”
Portsmouth New Hampshire Rally

“Listen, you motherfuckers, we’re going to tax you 25 percent!”

“With the proper woman you don’t need Viagra”

“You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] writes as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”
Donald Trump

____________________________________________________

Washington and Trump on Bigotry

“For happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens.”
George Washington

“When these people [Asians] walk in the room, they don’t say, ‘Oh, hello! How’s the weather? It’s so beautiful outside. They say, ‘We want deal!’”

“You haven’t been called, go back to Univision.”
— dismissing Latino reporter Jorge Ramos at an Iowa rally in August 2015

“I have a great relationship with the blacks.”

“Happy Cinco de Mayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”

“Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”
Donald Trump

_________________________________________________

Washington and Trump on Women

“All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”
George Washington

“Women: You have to treat them like shit.”

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her … wherever.”

“Nobody cares about the talent [in beauty pageants]. There’s only one talent you care about, and that’s the look talent. You don’t give a shit if a girl can play a violin like the greatest violinist in the world. You want to know what does she look like.”

“She’s really cute, I have to tell you, she’s really bouncy, really cute, She’s about 5-foot-1. Do you like girls that are 5-foot-1? They come up to you know where.” — Trump on Eva Longoria

“The boob job is terrible. They look like two lightbulbs coming out of her body.” — on actress Carmen Electra

“A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.”

“It is a dangerous world out there — it’s scary, like Vietnam … It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.” — on sleeping with women who could have STDs

“She does have a very nice figure. I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
Donald Trump

______________________________________________

Washington and Trump on Civility

“To speak evil of any one, unless there is unequivocal proofs of their deserving it, is an injury for which there is no adequate reparation.”
George Washington

“Just tried watching Modern Family — written by a moron, really boring. Writer has the mind of a very dumb and backward child.”

“One of the worst and most boring political pundits on television is Charles Krauthammer. A totally overrated clown who speaks without knowing facts”

“If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’”

“Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”

“Do you mind if I sit back a little? Because your breath is very bad—it really is.” — To Larry King, on air, 1989

“[Angelina Jolie]’s been with so many guys she makes me look like a baby, OK … I just don’t even find her attractive.”
Donald Trump

___________________________________________________

Washington and Trump on Immigrants

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges.”
George Washington

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best …they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

“Well, someone’s doing the raping, Don! I mean, somebody’s doing it. Who’s doing the raping? Who’s doing the raping?” — responding to questions about his comments regarding Latino immigrants and rape

“An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud”

“I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” 

“There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down.” (This has been thoroughly debunked)
Donald Trump

_________________________________________________

Washington and Trump on Compassion

“Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.”
George Washington

“I think if this country gets any kinder or gentler, it’s literally going to cease to exist.”

“Now, the poor guy — you’ve got to see this guy, ‘Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!'” –Donald Trump, mocking handicapped New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski.

“The point is, you can never be too greedy.”

“My entire life, I’ve watched politicians bragging about how poor they are, how they came from nothing, how poor their parents and grandparents were … if they can stay so poor for so many generations, maybe this isn’t the kind of person we want to be electing to higher office. How smart can they be? They’re morons.”
Donald Trump

___________________________________________

 

Washington and Trump on Humility

“It is with pleasure I receive reproof, when reproof is due, because no person can be readier to accuse me, than I am to acknowledge an error, when I am guilty of one; nor more desirous of atoning for a crime, when I am sensible of having committed it.”

“I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.”
George Washington

“I will be so good at the military your head will spin”

“I will be the greatest jobs president God ever created”

“I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.”

“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”

“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”

“I don’t think I’ve made mistakes. Every time somebody said I made a mistake, they do the polls and my numbers go up, so I guess I haven’t made any mistakes.”

“Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure.”

“I went to an Ivy League school. I’m very highly educated. I know words, I have the best words…”

“I’m the worst thing that’s ever happened to ISIS.”

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”

“I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me…”

“I have a total net worth [of] well-over $10 billion…. I’m not doing that to brag, because you know what? I don’t have to brag. I don’t have to”

“I’ve had a beautiful, I’ve had a flawless campaign. You’ll be writing books about this campaign.”

“I beat China all the time. All the time.”
Donald Trump

_______________________________________________

 

Washington and Trump on Political Cooperation

“Differences in political opinions are as unavoidable as, to a certain point, they may perhaps be necessary; but it is exceedingly to be regretted that subjects cannot be discussed with temper on the one hand, or decisions submitted to without having the motives, which led to them, improperly implicated on the other; and this regret borders on chagrin when we find that men of abilities, zealous patriots, having the same general objects in view, and the same upright intentions to prosecute them, will not exercise more charity in deciding on the opinions and actions of one another.”
George Washington, letter to Alexander Hamilton, Aug. 26, 1792

“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” (about Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina)

“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America.”

“Bush didn’t have the IQ [to be president]”

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured? I like people who weren’t captured (about Senator and War Hero John McCain).”

“Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife.”

“Truly weird Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain. He was terrible at DEBATE!”

“Governor Perry failed on the border. He should be forced to take an IQ test before being allowed to enter the GOP debate.”

“[Hillary Clinton] was the worst Secretary of State in the history of the United States. The world blew up around us. We lost everything, including all relationships.” “perhaps the most dishonest person to have ever run for the presidency”

[Governor Martin O’Malley] “a clown”

“What people don’t know about [Governor John] Kasich — he was a managing partner of the horrendous Lehman Brothers when it totally destroyed the economy!”

“George Pataki did a terrible job as governor of New York. If he ran again, he would have lost in a landslide.”

“Can anyone imagine [Lincoln] Chafee as president? No way.”

“I think Lindsey Graham is a disgrace, and I think you have one of the worst representatives of any representative in the United States. I don’t think he could run for dog catcher in this state and win again. I really don’t. He’s one of the dumbest human beings I’ve ever seen.”

“I have a store that’s worth more money than he is. I understand losers. You can make a lot of money with losers” “He choked like a dog. He’s a choker.” “He walks like a penguin onto the stage. Like a penguin!” (comments on Mitt Romney)

“not doing the job.” “It’s your governor’s fault, we have to get your governor and get going. She’s got to do a better job, O.K.?” (comments on New Mexico Republican Governor Suzana Martinez.
Donald Trump

 

 



 

My Dear Conservative friends,

It has been an interesting political year on your side of the aisle. I will admit that there was a certain Schadenfreude on our side as we watched your serious conservative governors and senators being bludgeoned by the confederate-flag-waving toothless hillbilly wing of your party. We watched with amusement and amazement as the racist, sexist, anti-intellectual faction that you so cynically invited into your big tent over the last thirty years hijacked the whole party and steered it toward the cliff. We know that you didn’t want Trump any more than we did. We really thought you would find a way to stop him.

The truth is that while I frequently disagree with my philosophically conservative friends I have always respected their well-reasoned and considered opinions. I think there is room at the table for all serious, thoughtful, good faith arguments about the size of government, the scope of its activities, and the methods for determining best practice. That is what having a democratic republic is all about. I want conservatives at the table. I want them in Congress and, yes, occasionally in the White House.

There are Republicans I have admired and, indeed, Republicans for whom I have voted. I like and respect our Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and may well vote for him this year. I always respected and voted for Governor Jim Edgar when he served Illinois in the 1990’s.

Across the river in Iowa, Republican Congressman Jim Leach thoughtfully represented the people of Iowa’s second district for thirty years and won my respect as well. Further afield, I was a great admirer of Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming. He was a conservative to be sure but also a reasonable and intelligent Senator who worked with Democrats to reach a sensible “way forward.”

Even at the Presidential level, the big job, there are conservatives for whom I have voted, or would have. I have great respect for President George H.W. Bush who I still believe to be a man of conscience, seriousness, and intelligence. As a student of history I also admire President Eisenhower, President Hoover, Theodore Roosevelt, President Grant, and, of course President Lincoln, whom every serious Republican should honor and emulate.

The preceding paragraphs are a metaphorical olive branch extended to you, my conservative friends. They also represent my true feelings about partisan politics. I believe, as President George Washington did, that a blind adherence to party is at odds with and contrary to the principles of republican government. I cannot express it better than President Washington did himself in his farewell address in 1796. He said:

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

George Washington was not a perfect man. In the same address he humbly acknowledged this himself.

“Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors.”

Though not infallible, any serious student of history recognizes the sincerity and wisdom of President Washington. He was the man who might have made himself a dictator and derailed the whole noble experiment of America. Everything he did as President set a precedent and he understood that. He believed in America, he believed in the ideals of our Constitution, and he was a sober, thoughtful, serious defender of those ideals. He was a man of moderation and conciliation and sober reflection. He did his utmost to steer this nation through the dangerous shoals of its infancy. He tried to reconcile the regional differences represented by the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, he tried to maintain a sensible neutrality with regards to the perplexing and essentially endless wars between Great Britain, France, and Spain. He tried to understand and work with, in a respectful and measured way, the other branches of government and the various states.

After two terms, when he might have assumed the mantle of ruler for life, he instead stepped away and relinquished his authority so that the principle of peaceful transfer of power would become the precedent we value and admire today. We have much to thank George Washington for and to admire in his humble, principled manner. He must surely represent the model of what we look for in a President.

Reflecting on Washington’s legacy, and that of Lincoln, and Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower, and yes, even Ronald Reagan, I must ask you a question today, my conservative friends. Can you, in good conscience vote for Donald Trump? Can you set aside your principles and the principles of Washington and Lincoln and all these others who so nobly advanced the American ideal just for a politically expedient victory? Will you vote to turn the most powerful office in the world over to a reckless, profane, narcissist who represents none of your own beliefs and indeed mocks many of them. Donald Trump, in my judgement, embodies whatever the opposite of George Washington is. Will you vote for this charlatan just to put a win in the R column? No serious and thoughtful conservative can do it because by voting for Donald Trump you nullify what it means to be a conservative. Truly your vote for Donald Trump nullifies what it means to be an American.

We know that there are many principled conservatives who will stand up for right and good when they see it. This is one of those times, my friends. This is the time when you must stand for your principles even against the nominee of your own troubled party. Donald Trump is not right and he is not good and you know it. It is time to take one for Team America. It is the only way for your party to find it’s way back from the wilderness. It is the only way for you to maintain your own self-respect and the respect of others for your ideas. Please make the correct choice.

Dustin Joy