The First Step to Solving Our Gun Problem…

Once more, a crazy person shot up yet another school, this time in Oregon. I know, I’m supposed to call people like this “mentally ill,” but we have to get real here. First of all, he was apparently a right wingnut, and if we call him “mentally ill,” then we have to call pretty much all Republicans “mentally ill” these days, and something tells me they’d take offense. Just a guess.

Besides, as much as many liberals would love to get all touchy feely and blame the mental illness, mental illness is not the goddamn problem; it’s just not. How do I know this? I know this because I know and deal with mentally ill people at times, and most of them are incredibly sweet and confused and a few are suicidal, but none are homicidal. Isn’t it kind of insulting to claim that mental illness makes people into mass murderers? I mean, sure, it may be a component, but it can’t be the impetus for it.

No, once again, the issue is the fucking GUNS.

Yeah, I know, right wingers; the GUN didn’t pull the trigger and shoot those people. Still, it’s the guns. Just as I know mental illness doesn’t make someone plow through a crowd of people with a car, I know that, without a car, they couldn’t plow through anyone. And I know, if they had a knife, they might stab someone, but they can’t kill dozens from a distance with a knife, or a fork for that matter.

The problem is the guns, and our complete and utter lack of effort to keep them away from people who shouldn’t have one. After the Oregon shooter killed all those people, police came to find out he had THIRTEEN guns of various types, and that he purchased all of them LEGALLY. Why doesn’t that point to a problem for more people? It’s like the little asshole who shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado a few years back; he had dozens of guns, a number of high-capacity clips and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his little apartment, all of which he bought LEGALLY on the Internet. Once again, that doesn’t seem to register with enough people; why should anyone be able to LEGALLY purchase an arsenal of weapons and that much ammunition, without any red flags being raised whatsoever? Continue reading

Reframing for the Win

angels5One major theme to this blog involves the question, “what do we want the United States of America to be?” It’s an important question, because it seeks to define who we are as a nation, and while many “political junkies,” “news addicts,” PUBs and professional lefties love to imagine that stances on individual issues matter because they long to try to impress us with their immense knowledge of all things trivial, the fact of the matter is, very few individual issues matter to most people.

Yeah, I know; it’s devastating, isn’t it? All those memes you’ve been working so hard to create really concern things that matter to you, and you can’t get your head around the fact that most people don’t care. How is that possible? Well, the number one reason is, you spend so much time looking for the news you like, you never actually speak to people. Continue reading

What Ahmed Tells Us About GOP Ideology

AhmedBy now, everyone has heard of this 14-year-old boy, Ahmed Mohamed. In case you’ve been living under a rock or you were on vacation on a desert isle in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this is the horrible, terrible young man who built a digital clock to try to impress his engineering teacher, and ended up being handcuffed and arrested because just about every “adult” in his life failed him, except his parents, who have raised what seems to be a wonderful son with a bright future.

I have seen Ahmed in several interviews, and he just seems like a nice kid. In fact, he reminds me of one of my son’s friends when he was little, a wonderful little boy from Somalia named Usman. I liked almost all of my son’s friends — like his dad, he has a knack for choosing well — but Usman was a little different than most. He was extremely polite and deferential, and he had a curiosity and spark that you don’t see from many American-born kids these days.

Anyway, getting back to Ahmed, his arrest demonstrates that we are in many ways a broken country, especially when it comes to law enforcement (I mean, five cops for a skinny kid? That’s almost as bad as nine cops to stop a jaywalker. People keep telling me we need more police on the beat, but do we, really?), but more than that, we have a mile-wide mean streak, and we have allowed the mean people to take power over too many lives.

There was only one reason this kid was singled out; his brown-ness.  Well, that, and his name. One cop, upon seeing the kid for the first time, even said, “I knew it was him.” It’s pure bigotry. That’s what the leadership in certain pockets of Texas and other parts of Red America specialize in. The same town, Irving, Texas, like other mean towns across the South, actually spent their valuable time and taxpayer money to pass a bill banning “Sharia law” from the town. You know, because brown people. Continue reading

Cutting the Crap on the GOP Clown Show – CNN Edition

Clown car 2016 5It’s really time to get back to the roots of this blog, because the crap in today’s discourse is so thick, it’s hard to imagine cutting it with a chain saw. It’s not just coming from the “candidates,” either; the media itself is complicit in perpetuating complete crap every chance they get. CNN and all television news organizations save one are beholden to the dollar first and the truth second, which is the antithesis of what makes a good news organization. The one exception is Al Jazeera America, which stupidly paid too much to buy a channel that was stuck in standard definition and had carriage agreements that kept it in nosebleed territory on your cable dial. They thought they could attract eyes by actually reporting the news. Unfortunately, they were wrong; in order to gain viewership, people have to happen upon you by accident and be shocked that someone is actually reporting news somewhere on cable.

Anyway, more about that in another column. CNN is so starved for ratings that they decided to stretch this clown show to five hours; three hours for the main event and two hours for the kiddie circus. My guess is, they probably got a substantial audience (meaning about half the Fox audience of 24 million) for the first hour of the big clown’s show, but it steadily fell off for the rest of the time, as people got tired of hearing the same bullshit they’ve been hearing from the Republican Party for 40 years; ever since Saint Ronald of Reagan came within a hair’s breadth of beating President Ford for the Republican nomination in 1976, which Ford lost by a hair, primarily because progressives refused to get fully behind Jimmy Carter because, you know, he talked about Jesus in the best way  and tried not  to lie to  us.

Seriously, it’s the same shit. I mean, did anyone say anything we haven’t been hearing for 40 years last night? Continue reading

Get a Grip!

get a grip 2Today is September 10, 2015. It is the day before a day that we’re supposed to hold in great reverence because it’s the day the Bush Administration let us down and nearly 3,000 Americans perished due to their unwillingness to take the terrorist threat seriously. And frankly, with all of the remembrances and ceremonies and things that will undoubtedly happen tomorrow, all of which actually fit the concept of “get a grip,” that’s not what I want to talk about right now.

No, I want to talk about the breathlessness with which some people talk about and deal with the 2016 election. Quite often, these are the same people who complain mightily over “the media’s” desire for a horse race, but really…

Again, it’s September 10, 2015. Election Day 2016 is on November 8, 2016, which means we have 427 days to go. On average, the vast majority of voters will start paying attention in the last 4-6 weeks, because they have a life, and they need to take care of their job, take care of their kids and things like that; they are literally not paying attention to anything that’s happening right now because they have a life. They may care about who’s president, but they won’t spend the next 427 days worrying about who the next one will be. Imagine that. Imagine being sane enough told hold off on worrying about who will win until it actually matters. While you are stressing out over every single ridiculous poll and driving yourself crazy with the idea that the next president has to be (insert name here) or the entire republic will go straight down the drain, they’re going to work every day and looking for the money to pay their bills and hoping their kids’ education is good enough so they don’t struggle so much. In other words, while you’re stressing out over shit that really doesn’t matter, they’re experiencing the stress that most human beings in an industrialized nation experience, and theirs matters. It’s supposed to be why we’re here, progressives. Continue reading

The End of Cynicism

I am so tired of listening to otherwise intelligent people go batshit right now because a few stray right wingers have decided to substitute their judgment for that of the courts. Within the last few days, I’ve heard several people declare our democracy over and done with and our political system a failure because some people have decided to circumvent the processes we have in place to honor the basic premises of the Constitution. There is even a hashtag/meme running through Twitter in which people say #Igiveup because there are a scant few people who choose to run with their own version of the Constitution and ignore reality.

cynicismThese people can’t be so historically ignorant to believe that such a thing is unprecedented, can they? Do they not realize that the arc of history always bends toward justice, and it’s bending that way right now, even though one major political party has been taken over by an ideology that can only be described as morally and ethically bereft of humanity? Do they even realize that the backlash to the Obergefell Supreme Court decision, which actually represents a major sea change to a major component of our society, is probably the mildest we have ever seen for such a monumental decision? I mean, if they are so hysterical over a few cranks trying to claim the law doesn’t apply to them, they need to review the history after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. There are no governors standing at the courthouse door and refusing same-sex couples entry to get a license. No National Guard troops have had to be called to quell riots; hell, the polls even show majority support for same-sex marriage. In what way are we looking at the “death knell for democracy?”

I really hate cynicism. Continue reading

“Freedom of Religion” as Bizarre Right Wing Fantasy

without JesusWhat’s happening lately when it comes to “religious freedom” is nothing short of bizarre. Since when does ANYONE have to right to just flout the law and claim some sort of religious belief to get themselves out of trouble? Where the hell does that come from? Does this absolutism mean we couldn’t judge David Berkowitz guilty these days? After all, we can’t prove God didn’t speak to him through his dog, so maybe God really did tell him to kill those people, right?

Well, right?

Kim Davis, the county clerk down in Kentucky who has unilaterally decided that she is more capable of deciding who does and does not qualify for a civil, secular marriage license than the court system, is the latest cause celebre for the idiots on the right, who cite her as some sort of “religious martyr” because, as you know, if you cite God as a rationale for anything, no one can question that since you have “religious freedom.” Continue reading

The “Political Junkie” Blues

Should we feel sorry for the typical “Political Junkie”?

It’s really getting pathetic, you know?

We all want to blame someone, like the all-important, “The Media,” but the fact of the matter is, what’s driving the bullshit is… well… us…

What bullshit, you ask? I’ll get to that.

I Vomited stickerYes, “political junkies,” we are the ones driving the nonsense that has become our electoral system. If you want to know why silly season lasts longer and gets sillier every election year, the answer is simple; we demand it. “We,” of course, refers to “political junkies;” people who seem absolutely addicted to the idea that what happens 18 months before an actual election actually matters, despite the fact that the evidence is overwhelming that what happens 18 months before an election matters exactly not at all. You get excited over every new poll to the point that you wake up in the morning and head straight for Real Clear Politics to see what the latest numbers are and you alternately rejoice and fret over the numbers, as if today was November 7, 2016, and tomorrow, the world will either live and thrive again, or die in a fiery ball of flame.

Trump faceGet a grip, folks. The key to being a success in life is keeping everything in perspective. With that in mind, here are a few things to chew on right now, full 14 months before the 2016 election.

  • Donald Trump has exactly one snowball’s worth of a chance in hell of winning the Republican nomination, and less than that of becoming president.
  • Bernie Sanders, while running an admirable campaign, is and always will be an underdog for the Democratic nomination.
  • The polls you read now are completely worthless. Put it this way; political parties and campaigns pay tens of thousands of dollars per month on actual polling that actually means something, and the polls you see cost you nothing. “You get what you pay for” has never been more apt.
  • No one but other “political junkies” are framing the debate right now. Most Americans are not paying attention right now, because the first votes won’t be cast for roughly five months. Most important states won’t cast votes for much longer than that. Some have almost a year to wait.

Got that? Continue reading

The Iran Deal Matters

This one will be somewhat wonky, but it needs to get out there…

Obama Iran DealPolitics is the art of compromise. We know this is true because it’s the key reason Republicans can’t govern worth a crap, as well as a key reason Democrats have gotten such great things done. If you look at the greatest things this country has been able to do, the Democratic Party’s stamp is all over them. Meanwhile, because the GOP has largely been taken over by an ideology that sees any sort of compromise as weakness. It seems to be more of a product of extremism than ideology, though, because many on the far left seem to believe the same sort of nonsense. Consider how many times they’ve admonished President Obama to “fight,” even though he’s been fighting hard for seven years.

Likewise, there seems to be a belief on the part of many people that the best way to negotiate an agreement is from a position of “strength.” That’s true, of course, but most of these people have almost no idea what the concept of “strength” encompasses. For example, it takes absolutely no actual strength or fortitude to not negotiate with someone, and it often takes tremendous strength to place someone you can’t stand on an even plane with you and to negotiate in good faith. Continue reading

Why Black People Don’t Like White Liberals

I’m hoping to make this short and sweet…


This is what #BLM is about.

Once again, I’m going to stand up for Bernie Sanders. He’s a good man and he might make a good president, IF we can get him 70 Democratic seats in the Senate and 300-320 in the House. With the current makeup of Congress, he’s not doing anything he says he wants to do; he needs a whole bunch of Democrats to get any of his wish list to happen.

Note: I said he needs DEMOCRATS.

Let me say that even louder:


Got that, Bernie supporters? No matter how much you love the guy, he’s not getting anything done without a strong Democratic majority. A HUGE Democratic majority. I mean, how is he going to eliminate “income inequality” on his own, without legislation? And we know Republicans won’t do anything to make him look good.

Do you understand what that means? It MEANS, geniuses, that every attack you make on Democrats or Democratic constituencies makes it less likely that Democrats will be elected en masse, which means, even if you get your dream and Sanders is elected, he’ll be able to do exactly jack. Got that?

Now, Bernie screwed up this weekend. #BlackLivesMatter protesters showed up at a Sanders rally and interrupted. Ironically, Sanders got a lot of press for his reaction, which was to walk away and give up and that is the last thing he needs right now. I mean, they didn’t throw him off the stage or assault him; they simply showed up and staged a protest; something that white liberals do whenever they get a bug up their asses. I know, because I’ve been to many. Continue reading

We Have a Lot to Fix… Donate for a Return of Liberal Common Sense

Sad UnicornYou can really tell who the professional left are these days. The problem is, the PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) and pro lefties are poisoning the debate. They trash Democrats constantly and push the meme that both parties are the same, and it creeps into the electorate and makes people stay home, which in turn gives us a government full of GOP reprobates.

Look, I get it; you would love to be able to vote for an independent, and there are times when you don’t want to HAVE to vote for a Democrat. I agree with you! But the more progressives trash Democrats, the more likely it is that the Klown Kar will keep doing better than they should. They make up about 24% of the electorate, folks; they shouldn’t be winning anything. We don’t want to vote for Democrats all the time, but for a while, we have no choice, and it was pro lefties and PUBs who put us in that position

That’s why the new and improved PCTC Podcast will be back and better than ever within the next two weeks.

I also want to get more writers on board here and to create a few other blogs and podcasts that we can network, and perhaps change the debate.

Go here to help us create a new, unicorn-free liberal network.

Continue reading

Progressive ADD

Liberal ADD. It’s a problem…

DC and Protest Sept 15 2007 049One reason I’ve been quiet the last few days is, I’m trying to develop some articles about promoting a liberal message and getting it out there in time for the election (Which, by the way, is still FIFTEEN MONTHS OFF, so relax a little!) and, in doing so, I was reminded of the biggest problem liberals and progressives face these days; our collective Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. I say this not as a clinician, because I’m not that, of course, but as an observer of our political ineptitude over many years. It’s funny; we take such great pride in all of the accomplishments we’ve made over the years, but we seem to forget that every one of the accomplishments over the past 40 years or so has been the hard way.

Yes, we’ve made strides, but it’s been like pulling teeth; it’s required us to rely on the Supreme Court (Making Anthony Kennedy, quite literally, the most powerful human in the country) or some lower court to keep the country from sinking into the abyss.

About twice a year or so, I pore through old pieces I wrote over the years, and last night I came upon one about a protest march I went on about eight years ago, to protest our involvement in Iraq. One of the key people there was Cindy Sheehan. We all gathered in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, which actually epitomized our problem; of the parks on either side of the White House, Lafayette Park was the smallest, which meant that, either organizers didn’t expect a crowd, or they expected that the smaller park would make the crowd look bigger. Either way, that event pinpointed for me the problem with the left, and why we simply don’t appeal to most voters, despite the fact that, if you were to bother to listen to them, they pretty much agree with us on everything. Collectively, we may have to have the worst case of ADD in history. Continue reading

Why We Have to Keep God Out of Government

The Founding Fathers were geniuses.

They knew enough to put religion into the Constitution at the very beginning of this republic and told the government to keep its hands off. They were absolutely prophetic; it’s as if they knew the current version of the Republican Party would come along and try to force everyone into accepting a certain version of “god” in the public square, so they banned the practice outright.

JeffersonYou do realize Republicans aren’t really religious, right? I mean, they invoke God every chance they get and pretend to piety, but it’s just a device they use to assert their view and attempt to shut down the opposition. We all know, when someone brings up God in an argument, you can’t counter them, because they’re entitled to their beliefs. You’ve heard that argument; you heard it when the state of Oregon shut down the bigoted owners of a bakery for refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple who were holding a commitment ceremony. I still hear plaintive cries from “Christians,” claiming that the bakery’s owners’ rights were violated in the process. You know, because it’s a common “religious practice” to discriminate against gay people in your public business. Isn’t it?

The separation of church and state are embedded in the Constitution, which is our founding document, but we seem to have largely forgotten about it in recent years. Our money is emblazoned with “In God We Trust” and Republicans added “under God” to our Pledge of Allegiance, neither of which should ever have been allowed to happen, but those are relics of the Cold War, in which we were trying to make sure the atheistic Soviet Union knew that we had “god” on our side, goddammit, as we were gonna win. Continue reading

The Only Way to Fight With Right Wingers… Don’t.

No BSEvery once in a while, I get the itch to just dive into a right-wing hornet’s nest and poke them mercilessly. It’s admittedly little more than an ego boost after a tough week; these people are not only ignorant, they’re proud of their ignorance and disdainful of anyone who actually has knowledge of something. But what you should know about them is, they are here to distract you. They are here for one purpose; to make sure they become the message, and a real progressive message, such as there is, will be lost in a cacophony of shouting and negativity.

Yes, I get it; sometimes it’s fun and you just want to let loose and scream at a moron. That’s fine, but you can’t afford to dwell on it; we have to let go and focus on our agenda.

There are two major reasons for the swarm of right wingers we see. One is easy to spot; the entire Republican Party has been taken over by a psychotic fringe, and they can only win elections by depressing turnout, so they say stupid shit because they know regular people will be disgusted by it and they’ll be less likely to show up at the polls. They also know that people from our side will fall all over themselves to point out how stupid they are, and even more regular people will be dissuaded from voting. Continue reading

The Insanity of the GOP Approach to Deficits and Debt

The average American has a lot of debt these days, including a mortgage, a car loan, a few credit cards, perhaps some hospital bills; who knows? Debt has been a part of life for decades.

Evil GOPImagine you’re working and making $50,000 a year, and you’re suddenly hit with a debt of about $50,000. Too many of those who lived under the old health insurance system know exactly what I mean. You have two choices; you can eitherfile for bankruptcy or you can pay the debt. Because of the stigma bankruptcy carries to this day, most people will opt to pay the debt, but how would you do it, assuming you’re rational?

Of course, in the short term, you’ll cut back on food a little, and maybe lower the thermostat, buy fewer clothes; maybe cut off the cable and watch a lot of Netflix, but at that rate, you can imagine how long it would take you to pay off $50,000. Even if you could manage to save $500 a month, which would be extremely difficult for most people, with an interest rate of five percent, it would probably take 15-20 years to pay that off. More realistically, you’d probably save $200 a month, and the debt would hang on for far longer.  So, what do you do? Continue reading

The One Thing That Will Stop Bernie Sanders… His Supporters.

Let me start off by saying I love Bernie Sanders. He’s a good man, with a good political sense in many ways, although he is in no way perfect. He’s a really good Senator for the state of Vermont, and he’d also make a great candidate for president, except for two things…

Bernie buttonThe first one he can fix. He has a low profile, and most people don’t know who he is. I know this comes as a shock to his supporters, who drool over him as if he was a supermodel at a frat party, but most people really don’t know who he is. That can be addressed, but it would mean that he start with him and his supporters introducing himself to voters, to increase his name recognition and profile, rather than giving stump speeches. No one can only give stump speeches for 8-9 months and expect to do well in primaries; it doesn’t work that way. To win in the primaries, you have to build to a crescendo, and the way you do that is by getting your name out there first and listening to people and finding out what matters most to them and honing your campaign to meet that.

See, here’s the thing people need to realize about primaries; they’re not actually elections. You’re not choosing the president; you’re choosing the Democrat best able to beat whichever Republican emerges from that Klown Kar. It doesn’t matter what your ideals are or what a candidate says on the issues, it’s about who can win. Even if Sanders was to win, he’d still have the party create the platform. Passion doesn’t sell during primary season; voters are looked to competence and confidence. Having big crowds is great for the image to an extent, but when the candidate seems shocked by every huge crowd he sees, the positive effect is blunted. Consider Howard Dean in 2004; there was lots of enthusiasm for Dean, and he was looking to be a shoo-in as an upset winner of the Democratic nomination, until he screamed. Continue reading

Trump’s Candidacy Means GOP Death Knell, But…

I don’t think many people understand just how screwed the Republican Party is with Donald Trump in the race.

Trump obnoxious 2His mouth means there is absolutely no way he can ever be elected, and there’s little chance he’ll ever get the nomination. However, the GOP leadership find themselves between a rock and a hard place right now, and it’s beautiful to watch.

This isn’t a new development, either; it’s what happens when a political party pins its entire political hopes on an ever-shrinking group of voters that is extremely loyal, but completely batshit.

If it seems as if Republicans are afraid of Trump, they are, and there are a lot of reasons for it. For one thing, every vote that he gets makes it just a little harder for the party to put up a potentially strong candidate. Even though he’s not likely to get the nomination, he could end up as a potential “king maker” at the convention, so no one wants to get on his bad side. Plus, if they piss him off, he may be able to run a credible independent campaign that could make the 2016 election look like 1964 for the GOP.

The GOP has screwed itself royally by ceding more and more control of the party to an ever crazier right wing, and what’s happening with Trump has everything to do with the Party’s dependence on the Tea Party loons. Continue reading

Capitalism is not a Religion

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – George Bernard Shaw

GOP VisionOne of the more childish and irritating concepts propagated by the current incarnation of the Republican Party is the notion that all regulations are so restrictive and confining that they inhibit freedom. This is demonstrably false, of course; most regulations actually enhance the freedom of businesses to do what they want. For example, rules against predatory commercial activity, if enforced, will keep a huge company – say, Walmart – from charging prices designed to put everyone else out of business. Keeping the prospect of doing business open to everyone is a good thing, is it not? Having a big box store displace 20 other small businesses actually strangles commerce; it doesn’t enhance it.

Like everything in life, regulations should occur  in moderation, and there have been times governments have gone overboard with regulations, but used properly, they keep people honest and create a level playing field in the markets. When that happens, capitalism can breed strong innovation and create markets for products and services to make life better. The United States became an economic superpower because we learned to use the capitalist economic system to its greatest effect, and the world economy is growing and expanding largely by following our lead.

Unfortunately, what other countries learned from us, we seem to have forgotten during the Republican neocon era. Contrary to the modern Republican attitude, capitalism is not a religion, in which “the market” serves as its godhead. Republicans believe that players in a market will always accede to the wishes of their customers because that’s how they make money. Spare me that tripe. Continue reading