Friday, February 22, 2019

Eighty-Six Links That May Change the Way You Think About World War II

Pre-WWII Treatment of Jews by the U.S., U.S.S.R., and other Countries

S.S. St. Louis the Ship of Jewish Refugees Nobody Wanted”:


"The U.S. Government Turned Away Thousands of Jewish Refugees, Fearing That They Were Nazi Spies":

F.D.R. Hesitated to Get the U.S. Involved in WWII

Franklin D. Roosevelt “I Hate War” Speech August 14th, 1936”:

“The Almanac Singers – Ballad of October 16th”: (Pete Seeger singing)

F.D.R. Surrounded Himself with Anti-Semites

"Was FDR's Mother Anti-Semitic - and Does it Matter?":

"Did FDR Betray the Jews?":

"FDR Wanted Jews 'Spread Thin' and Kept Out of U.S., Documents Reveal":

"Behind the Headlines[:] The Nefarious Role of Henry Stimson":

"Henry Stimson Approves Passover Furloughs":

Review of "The Conquerors":

"Truman diary reveals scorn 'for cruel Jews'":

"Truman diary reveals anti-Semitism and offer to step down":

"We Can Learn a Lot from Truman the Bigot":

"Harry and Bess: Never in My House":

"No Jews at Potsdam":

German-American "Pride" in 1930s America

"Nazis in New York City: 80 Years Ago Pro-Hitler Americans Staged a Rally at Madison Square Garden":

"Nazi Speech at Madison Square Garden Rally" (February 20th, 1939):

"German-American Bund"

"American Nazis in the 1930s - The German-American Bund":

"The Day the German-American Bund Marched in Grafton":

"How Milwaukee's German-Americans Faced Down Fascism Eighty Years Ago":

American Collaboration with Nazis

Auschwitz: Americans and Germans Built It, the Red Army Liberated It

Why didn't America bomb the railroad tracks into Auschwitz?”:

Soviets liberate Auschwitz”:

Soviet forces liberate Auschwitz”:

U.S. and British Betrayal of Soviets

Churchill delivers Iron Curtain speech”:

'You Are the Un-Americans, and You Ought to be Ashamed of Yourselves': Paul Robeson Appears Before HUAC”:

European Acts of Nazi Appeasement

Europe Signed Pacts with Nazi Germany – But Only the USSR Is Still Accused of 'Colluding' With Hitler”:

7 non-aggression pacts and treaties signed by European countries with Nazi Germany”:

Nazi-Soviet Pact: GCSE/AS level history”:
(watch the part in the middle about European nations' pacts with Germany)

Wallis Simpson's affair with Nazi minister Joachim von Ribbentrop:

Russia Was the Main Protagonist of, and Lost the Most People in, World War II

'Soviet Union could have won WWII alone'":

How the Soviet Union helped save the world from Hitler during World War II”:

Don't forget how the Soviet Union saved the world from Hitler”:

“How Many People Did Stalin Kill?”:
(read for background)

How many Russians were killed during World War II?”:

“How did so many Russian civilians (10 million) perished in the WW2? Were they just in the way or were they targeted?”:
(read the comments)

Why Russians Still Love Stalin

Positive views of Stalin among Russians reach 16-year high, poll shows”:

“Why So Many Russians Still Love Stalin”:

“Why so many Russians like Stalin again”:

Red Army veteran about Stalin / Rokossovsky/Khrushchev/historical facts and myths/etc.”:

“The Big Question: Why is Stalin still popular in Russia, despite the brutality of his regime?”:

Why was Stalin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize when he did so many bad things?”:

“Anthem of the U.S.S.R./Soviet Union by Paul Robeson”:

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Was Not What it Seemed

The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact: The 1939 Agreement Between Hitler and Stalin”:
(read for background)

“Russia's War” documentary:
     “The Night Before Midnight” (Part 2 of 10):
     “The Goths Ride East” (Part 3 of 10):

“Woody Guthrie: I Was in the Revolution”:

U.S. During the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact”:

“5: GCSE History – the Nazi Soviet Pact”:

World War II – Carving up Poland (part 1)”:

“1939 Soviet-Nazi Pact: Putin defends Molotov-Ribbentrop pact which divided East Europe”:

Steven Kotkin and FinnishBolshevik on Stalin

Steven Kotkin: “Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941”:
(watch from 28:07 to 39:03)

Steven Kotkin: “Joseph Stalin: Waiting for Hitler (Part 2)”:

FinnishBolshevik: “Zizek & Kotkin on Stalin”:

FinnishBolshevik: “Thoughts on Stalin”:

FinnishBolshevik: “Was Nazism Socialist? (Response to TIK)”:

Joe Kopsick on Nazis vs. Soviets, Communism and Socialism, Gulags, etc.

Joe Kopsick: “Debunking the Top Six Claims that the Nazis Were Socialists”:

Joe Kopsick: “Reflection on the Use of Forced Labor Camps by Anarchists and Communists”:

Joe Kopsick: “Ben Shapiro's 'Socialism is Theft' Ignores WWII, NATO, Corporate Privilege”:

Joe Kopsick: “What Liberals and Conservatives Both Get Wrong About Socialism and Communism”:

Joe Kopsick: “'Stalin Killed More Than Hitler' Borders on Holocaust Denial”

Joe Kopsick: “The Gulags Were Less Harsh Than American Prisons Are”:

Joe Kopsick: "Stalin Killed Fewer People Than Hitler Did, and How Stalin Tricked Hitler with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact":

Other Links on Stalin

Hitler vs. Stalin: Who killed more?”:

"Einstein, H.G. Wells, and Other Leading Figures Who You Didn't Know Were Pro-Stalin":

Links About the Pacific Theater of WWII

North Korea: Crossing the Line”:

"Japanese Submarine Sunk at Pearl Harbor is Found":
(notice that the first casualty of U.S. involvement in World War II was a Japanese submarine sailor, and that the submarine attack preceded the kamikaze attack)

Additional Links

"Let's Not Leave the Soviet Union Out of Our D-Day History":

"Russia: D-Day not a 'game-changer'; WWII's outcome determined by Red Army victories":

 “The issue of Stalin's legacy and the Soviet Union is an interesting study in how we know what we know”:

“Was Joseph Stalin a Bad Person?”:

“The Holodomor Hoax: Joseph Stalin's Crime That Never Took Place”:

“Let's Be Honest – Stalin Was Less of a Criminal Than Churchill, Truman, and LBJ”:

“Useful Links About Communism”:

Originally published on February 22nd, 2019, under the title
"60 Links That May Change the Way You Think About World War II"

Original set of 60 links collected between August 2018 and February 22nd, 2019
Additional links added on February 26th, March 7th, May 1st, and June 7th, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019

Why Trump Shouldn't Declare a National Emergency at the Border

     I believe that President Trump should not declare a national emergency over the lack of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
     America has been in multiple continuous and simultaneous states of national emergency for decades, and does not need any more of them.
     Furthermore there is no military or military-level threat coming over the U.S.-Mexico border, which is not backed by the United States. The idea that there is a military-level threat, is based on the idea that many immigrants being military-age males, itself makes them a threat.
     A few people throwing rocks, who theoretically could serve in an army, does not mean they intend to subvert the laws of the United States (outside of the petty infraction of entering the United States without permission, which is not even a felony until the third time you do it).

     The drug cartels are the only military threat, and if America wants to stop the violence associated with the inevitable drug trade, it should stop people on Wall Street from colluding with the C.I.A. to import illicit drugs from overseas.
     Additionally, the A.T.F.E. should confiscate only those drugs that kill people on contact such as fentanyl, allow other drugs to be traded freely and without requiring legality, permission, or taxation.
     The "cartel" is both a cadre of violent drug dealers, as well as an economic cartel. The illegality of mild drugs creates the cartel, because criminalizing the drug restricts its supply, and thus raises demand (all other things remaining equal), and raising the price of the drug. The desperation that results from high prices is what causes the violence.
     That's why ending the illegality of drugs will end the cartels, and cause drug dealers to compete with each other fairly, without violence or unethical behavior, since customers would not tolerate such behavior, without a violent government dispensing goodies to coax them into it.
     The United States is creating the only military-level threat to itself, in the form of drug cartels that turn against us. America asked for, and provoked, its own problems, in this regard.

     I would like to see blanket amnesty for all immigrants not yet proven to have committed physical harm against others. We should deport only violent criminals, and require authorities to obtain a warrant before even taking a person's name.
     People shouldn't have to be tagged, and assumed contagious, and deloused, like an animal, before being allowed to enter this country. Nor should they be forced onto welfare by nationalists who want to mock them for taking welfare (while working undocumented immigrants who obtain fraudulent Social Security cards are actually paying into Social Security money which, if they don't become citizens, they will never receive).

     Undocumented immigrants are subsidizing US. It makes no difference if there are costs associated with caring for them; if we have social programs for citizens only, then we have National Socialism (which was, of course, not real socialism, and nor is the neo-liberal capitalist system we have in America when Democrats are in control).
     Why, instead, don't we try the model practiced in Norway, in which foreigners ARE eligible for some forms of government assistance? Norway does that, and their economy doesn't fail. If it works there, it could work here.
     Why, moreover, don't we consider residents' dividends, instead of just citizens' dividends, so that we can make sure foreign-born people are never excluded from being eligible for any forms of government assistance, so that they never end up second-class citizens?

     We would not want to expose foreign-born people to unreasonable risk of being deprived of citizenship on account of not having enough property. Especially not if the government were to restrict them from owning certain types of property, and/or were to require them to register their property, so that it can take it away before they leave the country.
     Don't want illegal immigrants in your country? Legalize them. And quit tagging citizens and immigrants alike, like animals; with your proposed national I.D. with R.F.I.D. chips in them; enslavement to the Social Security System, and constant and needless monitoring, regulation, and taxation of non-violent activities (often outsourced to for-profit companies, in particular, monitoring of Amazon customers by that company, which has a C.I.A. contract).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Thoughts on the News of Early February 2019

     The following was written as a set of responses to a select set of questions, concerning the American political news of early February 2019.
     The questions were written by Ron Mantegna, for discussion a current events round-table political discussion, held at Highwood Public Library on the morning of February 13th, 2019, moderated by Alan Minoff. The discussion group meets at 10:30 A.M. on the second Wednesday of every month, lasts until noon, and is normally moderated by Suzanne Cahnmann.
     Topics discussed include partisan congressional politics, democratic socialism, environmental policy, recent racial and sexual harassment controversies in Virginia, the statute of limitations on reporting sexual assaults, the State of the Union and the response thereto, racial demographics in America, U.S. military policy, recent events in Venezuela, Elizabeth Warren's claim to Native American heritage, a potential second summit between the U.S. and North Korea, the condition of the economy, transgender troops, and abortion policy.

     Q: Are far-left Democrats making it easier for Trump to get re-elected?

     A: No, because the system is not working, and people know it. Also, because economically and culturally, Trump is a step backwards, and his policies aren't doing enough to let technological progress (and the price relief it offers) to proceed at a normal pace. Taking a farther-left stance is the only way Democrats can compete against Trump in the Midwest and the Rust Belt.

     Q: How big a worry should the word “socialism” be for Democrats?

     A: Socialism itself should not be a worry at all; the only people who feel threatened by calls for democratic-socialist policy in the Democratic party are people like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren, whom have openly and repeatedly described themselves as capitalists, while posturing farther to the left, and all the while, contributing to the legitimization of a system that is designed to work against the poor.
     Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has reluctantly described herself as a socialist, but like Kristen Gillibrand and Gary Johnson, she understands that more worker cooperatives provide a viable non-profit alternative to public and corporate institutions. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Gillibrand want that to come about through tax incentives, while Johnson would encourage businesses to cooperativize voluntarily. Economist Richard Wolff has also recommended that more firms become worker cooperatives.
     There is nothing that is necessarily “socialist” about “aligning profits with people”; nor with encouraging more firms to become worker cooperatives. Workers should have realistic chances to inherit, buy out, and franchise the companies they work for; and government creation of Private-Public Partnerships that give CEOs much higher salaries than the earnings of their workers, only contributes to the income disparity.

     Q: AOC's Green New Deal intends to provide economic security “for those unable or unwilling to work”. Your thoughts?

     A: We don't have to worry about that; people should not be required to work. Plenty of people know how to get by without doing taxable work, technology and automation will drastically reduce the number of hours people need to work in order to make ends meet over the next decade, and technological developments can relieve thousands of people from having to work. The problem of automation putting people out of work, is easily remedied, through any or all of the following measures: 1) provision of a universal basic income guarantee; 2) jobs training; and/or 3) widespread ownership of means of production. Through mass production and automated distribution, it will become much easier to provide people with what they need, without the vast majority of them ever lifting a finger to perform any type of labor they find distasteful or pointless.
     Socialism arose to deal with the problems associated with abundance, not scarcity. If not enough people are working, then that's because enough goods have been produced, that it is possible for many people to avoid work. Not only will many jobs die out over the next decade, those jobs will deserve to die out, because they can be automated, and thus relieve workers of their burdens. This will free-up time for workers to improve themselves, acquire skills, engage in leisure activities, invent something or start a business, save more, or do whatever else they would rather be doing if they did not have to work to earn a living.

     Q: Can Dems win by going far left?

     A: Yes. There are over 60 electoral votes in the Midwest that are up for grabs, since they went for Trump in the general election after Hillary lost them to Bernie in the Democratic primaries. One major reason for Hillary's loss was that she declines to visit those states as much as she needed to, and that is the area where a lot of the job loss is happening. Democrats will lose if they try to desperately hold on to states like Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina.

     Q: Should there be “statutes of limitations” on racist acts and comments by politicians? Citizens?

     A: No. Anything and everything a politician has done should be considered fair game; racial insensitivity, sexual harassment, anything. Until national and state governments adopt meaningful limitations on the number of terms politicians can serve in office, a high level of scrutiny will be necessary to provide the level of transparency the public needs to make informed decisions about the candidates.
     Ordinary citizens should not be subject to the same level of scrutiny as politicians are (not that that standard is very high right now; it should, of course, be much higher). But citizens should not be protected from being fired based on their past behavior either, because in the private sector, employers – and, to some extent, customers - have the right to make such decisions (which should, for the most part, be unaffected by political considerations).

     Q: Are Democrats hypocrites on the Ralph Northam issue, given that they have made “anti-racism” a primary motivator?

     A: No, because Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, and other Democratic Virginia politicians, have called for Northam to resign. If anything, they should be criticized for failing to call for the resignation of Attorney General Mark Herring for doing the same thing, and for failing to call for the resignation of Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax over sexual assault allegations. Democrats are certainly being inconsistent though, and unreasonably picky about which people they choose to call out over such inappropriate actions.

     Q: How does the Virginia situation compare with other high-profile figures who made sexist or racist actions or comments without consequences?

     A: The differences between the Ralph Northam incident and the Brett Kavanaugh incident are that: 1) there is physical evidence of Gov. Northam's insensitive behavior, and none in the Kavanaugh “case” (or, non-case, rather, since no formal charges were filed), and 2) Northam's “offense” didn't have any direct victims, as in the case of Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey-Ford.
     Before continuing, I should note that in the early 1980s in Maryland, when and where the incident between Kavanaugh and Blasey-Ford allegedly occurred, there was not a statute of limitations on reporting sexual abuse. This means that, even though it's true that the lack of a statute of limitations didn't stop Blasey-Ford from reporting the alleged attack, that does not prove in any manner that the statute of limitations made it easier for her to report the attack. And that's for one simple reason: she never formally reported the attack.
     Statutes of limitations on reporting sexual assault should be lengthened (as New York is trying to do), or repealed (as Illinois recently did). That's because people who are sexually or physically abused sometimes suffer from repressed memories; their minds hide from them the very fact that they have been abused.
That is why many rape victims don't come forward, because every time they spoke about it, they were silenced and intimidated, and because they can't cope with admitting that someone abused them.
     A rape victim may even be suffering from a form of split personality, fractured identity, or schizophrenia, because the person's mind has convinced them that the trauma literally happened to someone else, or to another version of themselves. A sexual abuse victim with this problem can sometimes be heard saying things like “I felt like it wasn't even me who that happened to”, or “I wasn't myself at the time”, or “I'm a different person now from who I was then”.
     And if they can admit that they were abused, they can't always accurately remember the details of their victimization, because the event was so traumatic, that instead of blotting out the traumatic memory, they remember only the traumatic memory, while what happened before and afterwards gets blotted out (because those parts of the experience weren't traumatic, and therefore were less memorable than the traumatic event).
     And while a rape victim is struggling to cope with being a victim, others may be telling them that they have a victim complex that is only imagined. Some people will even say that the victim should have said something sooner, but also that they should shut up about it because they were probably asking for it, and “must have done something to incite or provoke or arouse the rapist”.
     Others will intimidate a rape victim into silence based on the fact that the abuser has a career and a reputation to maintain, and a family to support. This is nothing more than the “banality of evil”, as explained by Hannah Arendt, who testified at the Nuremberg Trials. Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann stated at those trials, “I have been faithful to my country, and have obeyed the rules of war.” Essentially, his argument was that he was “just doing his job”, as I.C.E. officials in the U.S. are wont to say after shooting someone to death. But having a career and a family, and needing to obey the rules, does not make it OK to rape people, nor to intimidate them into silence, nor to put on blackface to deliberately mock people. If everybody with a family to feed did that, the world would be too horrible a place to live in.
     A person who has been abused or molested – especially a child or a legal minor – cannot be relied upon to either be capable of consenting to sexual activity, nor to promptly make a police report about his abuser, nor to give consistent and reliable testimony about everything surrounding the pertinent attack, nor to take the appropriate formal steps to do so without the assistance of legal counsel. Memory loss, intimidation, and the stigmatization of the “victim complexes” supposedly possessed by people who acknowledge that they have been victimized, all contribute to the “conspiracy of silence” which makes it difficult to charge and convict sexual abusers, and which delays the reporting of sex crimes.
     That is why statutes of limitations on reporting all physical and sexual crimes should be lengthened or abolished. The purpose of the American government is not to make it more difficult to sue others, it is to leave the courts open to all significant controversies, with equal protection for all, and equal justice under the law, and, thus, equal access to the courts, and equal right to initiate a lawsuit or file charges regardless of geographical location or jurisdiction.

     Q: What are your thoughts about the State of the Union?

     A: I thought Trump's address was boring, and virtually devoid of positive proposals, or any good ideas about what the government should do, or even any hope for a better future. It's difficult to argue that we can't do better as a nation than a Trump presidency. But as the current president, Trump cannot help but make the argument that we can't do any better, even if he tries not to. Trump's address failed, and he is plainly incorrect that “the state of the union is strong”.
     Trump patronized a young girl with cancer who collected funds for her treatment, which she only had to do because she was taken off of a public health care plan (a fact which Trump neglected to mention). Trump took credit for the U.S. for winning World War II that rightfully belongs to the Soviet Union (whose forces killed 80% of the fascists in Europe during that war).
     Trump has practically taken personal credit for lowering unemployment, which he admitted just four years ago was at 41.2%. It's not that the unemployment rate fell from 41% to the current rate; it's that Trump started using the U3 unemployment rate instead of the U6. U6 includes more people, like the seasonally employed, the underemployed, people without residences who work occasionally, and more; so the drop in unemployment is largely attributable to plain and simple fudging of the numbers. One cannot accuse Trump of misleading us about unemployment numbers, without acknowledging that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is at least part-right in her analysis of how bad unemployment is.
     Trump also patronized minorities by neglecting to consider the possibility that the low Hispanic and black unemployment rates that the country is currently experiencing, might be, in part, due to people being pressured into seeking employment. Being coerced into working for a business, especially one that has recently been bailed out by the government, is not a purely voluntary decision. Our society pressures people into working a regulated job and paying taxes, even those individuals can be productive and self-sustaining on their own, based on the idea that they are tax cheats.
     Not everyone who avoids work is lazy; some people avoid particularly difficult and taxing labor because it's safer and more healthful to avoid it. People who know how to avoid work should be left alone, and left free to reap the rewards, rather than being pressured into selling their labor to someone for profit.

     Q: How effective was the Democratic response by Stacey Abrams?

     A: It wasn't effective, but it was more effective and substantive than Trump's speech. It wasn't necessarily wise to have someone deliver the State of the Union response who is both currently out of office and has never served in a national elected office, but Abrams delivering the response can be rationalized by her popularity, the necessity of winning Georgia as perceived by Democrats, and the need to mobilize Democratic voters at the state and local levels.
     Although Abrams was correct to call for increasing voters' access to polls, she neglected to mention that we need to restore the right to vote to people who have been incarcerated but have served their time. To fail to mention the voting rights of the incarcerated is to neglect the significant diminution of black voter turnout in the South which is attributed to convicted felons still lacking the right to vote. On the other hand, I would guess that Abrams decided to omit those people out of concern that it could make African-Americans seem like violent criminals, so I understand why she would be reticent to mention them.
     Still, Abrams's failure to mention the voting rights of ex-offenders – as well as the fact that, in her speech, she appealed to Reagan and Obama to promote “reasonable border security” over open borders – suggests to me that the Democratic Party is still run by a neo-liberal oligarchy. That oligarchy is every bit opposed to real socialism, as it is to a system which would feature a combination of free markets, free trade, open borders, and a free flow of people into the country (unless and until they're suspected of a real crime).
     Given Abrams's support of gun control, Trump's willingness to confiscate guns, and Trump's supporters' ability to win immigration arguments with Democrats by citing Obama's record number of deportations, suggest to me that Abrams and the Democrats will offer a very weak and inconsistent argument against the Trump Administration. Citing Obama as an inspiration on immigration policy, is sure to prompt the Republicans to do the very same thing, and rightfully claim that the Democrats didn't criticize Obama while he was breaking deportation records.
     These facts lead me to believe that the Democrats will offer no substantial alternative to the Republicans in 2020, as far as Libertarians, staunchly progressive Democrats, Greens, and Socialists are concerned.

     Q: How important a role does race play today in our politics (on both sides)? Is one party helped more than the other by “playing race cards”

     A: Race plays a very important role in politics, as well as in the institutional hierarchy which minimum wage laws intended to impose (and succeeded in imposing) upon the labor force, and in the relations between racial gangs in the prison system and in organized crime.
     Neither party is helped by playing race cards, because while Republicans look like racists for focusing on race, Democrats focusing too much on race tends to distract from economic issues and divert attention to “identity politics”.
     Democrats are able to get away with this by feigning sympathy for people of color and patronizing them, while Republicans are able to get away with it by replacing discussions about race with discussions about citizenship status and religion (and discriminating people based on those factors instead of race).

     Q: Statistics show that ethnic minorities will be a majority in the U.S. by 2024, and beginning in 2019, more non-white children will be born each year. Your thoughts?

     A: The only reason that whites becoming a minority in the U.S. presents a political problem, is because the Democrats and Republicans who claim to value the Bill of Rights and civil liberties, are busy maintaining the current system of majority voting.
     Protecting the rights of majorities in an unlimited manner is not an American value. The rights of individuals should always be protected, without regard to whether they are in the majority or the minority (whether we're talking racially, politically, in terms of religion, or whatever else).

     Q: Will there be another shutdown? Is there a “national crisis on our southern border”? Is Trump doing a service by making immigration an issue that we, and Congress, can no longer ignore?

     A: There will
not be another shutdown, because yesterday (February 12th, 2019), Democrats agreed to $1.4 billion in funding for a steel barrier along that border. I predicted several weeks ago that the Democrats would decline to impeach Trump, and even agree to pay for his wall, and I was right. The Democrats have shown themselves to be spineless, and their eventual capitulation was predictable from the moment last month when they agreed to fund the Border Patrol.
     Trump is not doing a service to the American people by making immigration into an unavoidable issue. He is doing nothing more than scapegoating immigrants and foreign countries for most American problems; from drugs, to infectious disease, to religious conflict, to economic and trade policies, to unemployment.
     Trump is deliberately playing-up the threat supposedly posed by immigrants coming from Central America, in order to create an illusion that they present a military-level threat to the United States. Without proving that such a threat exists, it will be difficult for Trump to justify declaring a national emergency, citing such a military-grade threat as a basis for such a declaration). Additionally, without such a declaration, it will be difficult for Trump to justify deploying U.S. troops on U.S. territory, without it being declared an unconstitutional move and an inappropriate use of U.S. soldiers during peacetime.
     The threat posed by Central American drug gangs is also being overplayed. The C.I.A. is the largest drug cartel in the world, and the U.S. sells weapons and drugs to regimes all over Latin America. People are coming here from Honduras, in part, because Obama's C.I.A. orchestrated a coup of that country in 2009, when it colluded with forces conspiring to oust Manuel Zelaya from power.
     If America doesn't want sovereign countries to be undermined and destabilized by rebel groups, as it claims, then America should stop funding and arming the rebel groups in those countries, and then wondering why people are trying to escape their home countries where those rebels are fighting their elected governments. If America doesn't want immigrants coming here, then America should stop bombing foreign countries, sabotaging their economies, and declaring their elections invalid.
     The Trump Administration is deliberately making the immigration crisis worse; by preventing people from coming into the United States and then declaring asylum, by funneling migrants into dangerous points of entry, and by suing volunteers who leave food and water out to help migrants survive their trek across the desert.
     Just like how the government allows heroin supplies to be cut with deadly fentanyl in order to make it more dangerous – and just like how the government allowed bootlegged liquor supplies to have toxic wood alcohol added to them – Trump is “proving” that illegal immigration is dangerous, by deliberately making it more dangerous. That's manufacturing evidence, and it's deceptive.
     Trump may be correct that he's making it easier to come in legally, but he's also trying to turn the victimless crime of crossing a border into an act that a person should not be allowed to undertake and still survive. Unfortunately, the Democrats offer no alternative.

     Q: What are the chances for substantive bipartisanship? Will low approval ratings give Trump incentive to work with Pelosi for high-profile deals, like infrastructure? Does Pelosi want to work with him?

     A: If it's not only a rumor that the Democrats just signed on to a $1.4 billion deal to give Trump his wall, then Trump will begin working with Democrats more, regardless of his approval ratings.
     I now suspect that Pelosi and Schumer have wanted to work with Trump to fund Border Patrol and build the wall since the beginning, especially considering that, a month or two ago, Trump cited Schumer's previous consideration of support for the wall as a reason why Schumer should capitulate.
I hope that Democrats refuse to fund the wall, and find some way to cancel the deal to allocate $1.4 billion to that cause (if such a deal has already been made).
     Infrastructure, and potentially also veterans' issues, are some of the most likely topics on which bipartisan compromise could be made, but disagreement on immigration might continue to be an obstacle to such compromise. However, I hope that disagreement on immigration grows, and I do not consider infrastructure projects to be a rightful authority of the federal government, so I would not be bothered if federal infrastructure reform were delayed due to partisan conflict or a government shutdown. Infrastructure would best be handled in the states and localities which are primarily affected by such projects.

     Q: “Great nations do not fight endless wars”. Are we OK with pulling out of the Middle East? Out of South Korea?

     A: I favor pulling troops out of South Korea, Japan, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Germany, and all other countries farther than 100 miles from U.S. shores. I favor dismantling some 800 overseas military bases, and removing U.S. troops from some 150 countries.
     U.S. troops have not been fighting I.S.I.S. as much as our government claims they have; our troops have mainly been working with I.S.I.S. to try to destabilize Bashar al-Assad's regime. Reagan said you shouldn't underestimate the irrationality of Middle East politics; but that's not because “they've been fighting each other for centuries”, they haven't. The same quotation from Reagan also suggested that the real irrationality lies in American foreign policy, which assumes it can fund and arm the right rebel group, to oust the right regime in the right country, and somehow achieve world peace.
     I support pulling troops out of Syria, but doing so will only prove self-defeating if we replace U.S. soldiers with private contractors or mercenaries. Regardless of concerns that a lack of U.S. presence in Syria will lead to a power vacuum, we never should have gone into Syria in the first place, we don't know what we're doing there, and every time we decide what we're doing there we're proven to be lying about it. It's time to come home.
     However, we should be cautious not to congratulate the president for removing troops from Syria and South Korea, only to re-deploy them on the U.S.-Mexico border, or to Venezuela for a coup to help install Juan Guaidó as president of that country. To move troops around the world in this manner, is like a child refusing to eat the food on his plate, and instead, moving it around with his fork, so as to give the illusion that he is doing as he's told. We must not allow the president to deceive us like that, if that is his intention.

     Q: Is Senator Elizabeth Warren's candidacy dead because of her false claims of Native American heritage?

     A: No. Her campaign is not dead, and she shouldn't have apologized, because she does have Native American heritage. Her genetics test revealed that she has a Native American ancestor somewhere between six and ten generations back.
     Indigenous tribes have the authority to determine whom to admit and whom not to admit, and they have the right to exclude Warren if they so desire. Warren is not lying; the data that the genetics test revealed were widely misinterpreted by various news sources.
     Right-wingers' focus on Elizabeth Warren's race – aside from it being a major distraction from more important things, like what Warren's policies are – is proving them to be every bit as focused on race and identity politics as the liberals and leftists whom they detest for doing the same thing (except that the liberals and leftists do it in order to defend marginalized people of color, not to dehumanize them).
     This “Pocahontas” controversy is also, conveniently, serving as a distraction from the fact that right-wingers apparently do not remember the history of institutionalized racism in the United States. After the Civil War, many southern states passed “grandfather clauses”, imposing voting restrictions upon African-Americans, but exempting those whose grandfathers had the right to vote before the U.S. Civil War (or other designated dates). This effectively excluded nearly all blacks from voting, the majority of whose grandfathers had been slaves before the Civil War. Effectively, these laws kept people from becoming free voting men, based on their ancestry; essentially, based on “the sins of their fathers”, not on anything bad they had personally done during their lifetimes.
     Additionally, before the Civil War, state laws regarded free people of color or mixed race as legally white, if they had less than one-quarter or one-eighth African ancestry. The following century saw the “one drop rule”, which whites claimed in order to justify subjugating anyone and everyone who wasn't 100% European. It should be plain to see, from these facts, that the experience of many people of color in America, is that no matter how many generations one's family has been interbreeding with whites, some whites will never stop treating mixed-race people as if they were not white at all, and therefore (in their mind) not human, or at least as undeserving of equal rights and equal treatment.
     Growing up poor in Oklahoma in a family she knew had Native American heritage, effectively makes Elizabeth Warren mixed-race. Her critics have apparently forgotten that not everyone in America is 100% white, or 100% Native American, et cetera, but that some people have heritage from multiple ethnic groups. It would be presumptuous to tell Elizabeth Warren that she did not have similar experiences to other people of mixed European and Native American heritage growing up. Therefore, it would be difficult to assert that she is “not Native American”, or only a fraction Native American, because being “a fraction Native American” does not erase any past treatment she may have received which could have been influenced by the assumption that she was Native American.
     I wish Senator Warren would walk-back her apology, and reiterate the fact that her genetics test revealed a Native American ancestor between six and ten generations back. Once the Republicans finish demanding to see her papers, and analyzing her blood (like perfectly normal people with honest intentions often do), I hope they can learn to criticize her on issues of substance, instead of complain that she doesn't look as “Indian” as the stereotype they imagined in their heads.

     Q: Democrats are proposing a “Green New Deal”. Why is the environment so low on the radar screen of most Americans, while so many scientists believe that the Earth is in crisis?

     A: One factor is the fact that most Americans whose opinions matter in the eyes of the governing body - because of their money and their high voter turnout - is retired people. And frankly, they don't have a lot of time left on this planet, so they have less incentive than young people do, to make sure that humans and other life forms can co-exist on this planet without destroying it.
The planet is approaching a point of no return, regarding carbon emissions, around the year 2030. Despite the statements of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that does not mean that we have to get to zero carbon emissions worldwide within 11 years; it means that after 2030, carbon dioxide should not be emitted without equal and commensurate offsets (such as planting trees, or engaging in other actions that lower our carbon footprint).
     Right-wingers' insistence that the public policy on global climate change be ignorance, is making it difficult to set the facts straight about this subject. It is also making it difficult for Americans to get behind adopting international climate agreements voluntarily. That's because right-wingers are willing to criticize Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030 purely on the basis that they risk undermining American national sovereignty because they come from the United Nations. And they are correct to point that out, but they criticize the implications on sovereignty without considering that many U.N. programs and international climate agreements are voluntary.
     The same effects of Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030 – some of which are desirable - could be replicated without encroaching on national sovereignty. That can be achieved by codifying the same policies into law on a local or state level. That way, we could have local, popular laws all over the country, to make sure that human development does not threaten endangered animals, and to ensure that new wealth and large buildings are both spread out geographically, in order to (at the very least) prevent income disparity from getting any worse.
     Yet right-wingers' refusal to admit that climate change does not solely involve warming, and their fear that the only way to implement good environmental policy is through socialism, is just perpetuating the problem, and turning their pessimism about improving environmental quality into a self-fulfilling prophecy; one which allows them to pollute and waste as much as they please, without any responsibility to compensate others who did not agree to suffer the consequences of other people's pollution, but whom nonetheless have to cope with them.
     Republicans' scientific ignorance is stalling progress and compromise on the environmental issue. Hopefully it will not take them until 2025 to admit that there is a problem, when they realize that the North Atlantic Ocean has been dangerously overfished.

     Q: Is Trump's second summit with Kim Jong Eun a good idea? North Korea says they won't denuclearize. What's the risk that Trump will agree to pull out without getting concessions from Kim?

     A: America is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons against any other country, and it vaporized hundreds of thousands of civilians upon impact. America is the last country in the world that has any leverage or clout from which to admonish North Korea for possessing nuclear weapons.
     American belligerence and domination is the very reason why “rogue nations” like North Korea and Iran (which are nowhere near as much of a danger to America as we are told) seek nuclear weapons in the first place; to defend themselves against American aggression.
     To blame North Koreans for defending themselves would be more irrational than any ridiculous claim that was ever made about the birth of Kim Jong Il.
     Trump should pull U.S. troops out of North Korea, regardless of whether Kim agrees to denuclearize or not. I believe that Trump is ready to act like a giant baby over this issue, and I believe he is prepared to allow U.S. servicemen to die if Kim doesn't allow Trump to humiliate him, in the event that a second U.S.-D.P.R.K. summit does indeed take place.

     Q: What do you make of America not recognizing Venezuela's Maduro?

     A: I do not recognize the authority of the United States, nor Vice President Mike Pence, nor any country in Europe, to determine the leadership of the people of Venezuela; that responsibility lays in the hands of the people of Venezuela alone.
     The U.S. is currently blockading Venezuelan oil ships, effectively preventing them from unloading and selling their oil. The U.S. is blockading Venezuelan oil exports, while blaming socialism for Venezuela's decline. Well, socialism is not blockading Venezuelan ports; America is.
     Moreover, the U.K. decided to steal Venezuela's gold, on the assumption that Maduro is not a legitimate leader, and thus not qualified to ask for it back, and not trustworthy of delivering it to his people. Western media report this, as if the leadership of Great Britain were more concerned about the Venezuelan people's welfare than their own financial solvency.
     This is yet another example of the U.S. and its Western allies conspiring to delegitimize a nation's election results, invade it, and coerce whomever's left to rule that country into surrendering a significant amount of its oil supply. Trump even admits that he'd like to go back to a “to the victor go the spoils” model of war, in which the United States will brazenly admit to taking oil as payment for supposedly liberating some obscure segment of the people (and who those people are exactly, maybe we'll find out later).
     What is happening in Venezuela, would be like if the U.S. Senate got together and elected a leader from among themselves. It would be like if the Senate elected Chuck Schumer president, after two members of his party had insisted on remaining seated in office after they were revealed to have won their elections fraudulently. It would be like if Chuck Schumer essentially declared himself president, and tried to abolish the U.S. House of Representatives, against the wishes of the Supreme Court.
     That is essentially what is happening in Venezuela, except replace Chuck Schumer with Juan Guaidó, replace Senate with the Venezuelan National Assembly, and replace the House with the Constituent Assembly. An American congressman recently called for abolishing the Senate; so, if anything, it is the House that should be abolishing the Senate, not the other way around. That's because the House exists to represent the population, while the Senate intended to represent the states. And also because senators serve longer terms, and represent wealthier and more specialized interests than House members. Generally speaking, the upper house of a legislature entrenches power to a greater degree than the lower house does.
     Additionally, Juan Guaidó – the president of the upper house – attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., a university known for having a significant C.I.A. presence on campus, as well as one of the five most militarized campuses in America. Guaidó's presidency is not only illegitimate; it is an orchestrated coup by the U.S., in concert with other foreign powers who want destabilization in Venezuela. It is practically a repeat of the C.I.A.-aided coup back in 2002 (under the Bush Administration) which saw the two-day kidnapping of Hugo Chavez, before his return to power.
     I predict that Trump's baseless proclamation that Guaidó rules Venezuela, will go down as one of the greatest blunders in the history of State of the Union addresses. That is, unless the Trump C.I.A. succeeds in its mission to carry out a coup there (perhaps with the help of a draft, to compel young people to fight). I hope that Trump comes to his senses and learns to respect the right of the Venezuelan people to manage their oil and their elections by themselves.

     Q: On paper, our economy looks great. But how have tax cuts, dramatic jobs increase, tariffs, and interest rate increases worked out so far for middle-income Americans?

     A: The Trump tax cuts benefited the wealthy to a much greater degree than the middle class and poor. I attribute the increase in employment to increased poverty and thus increased desperation to work, and to the picking and choosing of official government unemployment measures as a way to distort the truth about how many people are not only working, but are satisfied with their job and can rely on it for the hours they need.
     The tariffs failed, as tariffs always do, because they have only frustrated our allies without cause. The tariffs acted as, in effect, a bailout for American steel. Next, the agricultural sector was quick to notice that a round of bailouts might have been beginning, and so, they asked for their own. This not only could have been predicted, but was predicted, in economist Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. Additionally, tariffs (as well as sales taxes) unnecessarily politicize trade, and deter foreign investors from investing here, if they in any way object morally to what America does with the money it gets from those tax revenue sources.
     It is sort of a good thing that interest rates have gone up, since that might make investments more secure, but it is still being set by a private corporation with unduly delegated authority from Congress, which disguises itself as a bureaucratic central board. If banks were free to compete to issue currency at low interest rates, then loans would be less expensive, and money would hold its value for longer. Any economic policy which does not recognize these facts, does not care about Americans' right to determine their own financial destiny.
     Ninety-nine percent of Americans do not own stocks, and 60% of the stocks are owned by 1% of investors. The Dow Jones is not an indicator of the well-being of the economy in general, nor is the G.D.P., nor is the minimum wage.
     The economy is only working for the super-rich, and the tax cuts made that problem worse than it already was.

     Q: The Supreme Court allowed Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military to go into effect while specific cases work their way through the courts. What are your thoughts on this?

     A: It sounds exactly like Trump's policy at the border: punish everyone en masse, and let people drip through the system as slowly as possible, to discourage them from enlisting (or immigrating). What more do I need to say?
     Effectiveness on the battlefield should be the only criterion for admission or expulsion.

     Q: Americans are not making enough babies to replace ourselves. What can be done?

     A: If America doesn't have enough people, then we could let millions of immigrants and refugees come here. Whether we do that or not, we can automate manufacturing and distribution, so that we can sustain larger numbers of people, while progressively needing less and less human labor (and more automated labor, including delivery of goods by drone) in order to accomplish that.
     Think of how much food and medical care we could deliver to retirees, if internet purchasing, robotic delivery drones, robot surgeons, and 3-D printed organs were more affordable and accessible. Ending subsidies of all kinds, curtailing the duration of intellectual property protections, and lowering sales taxes and tariffs and trade barriers, could help make that happen, without needing to devote any more extorted taxpayer funds to science and technology.
     Undertaking the above mentioned efforts will do wonders to allow people to live comfortably into old age, without needing to promote the birth of additional babies whom we are not yet certain we have the means to take care.

     Q: How conservative is the Supreme Court? It left lower court victories intact for Planned Parenthood in a legal battle with states over access by Medicaid patients to the group's services. The dispute did not involve abortion, but it keeps a hot-button political issue off the docket.

     A: I cannot say that I know anything about the particular Supreme Court case that is being referenced, but I do not believe that abortion should be publicly funded in any way. Churches, charities, non-profits, cooperatives, and voluntary associations, however, should never be prohibited from offering abortion services (that is, unless they receive public funds and the public doesn't want them to offer those services).
     I hope that Illinois Republicans will wake up to the fact that they are never going to have a staunchly pro-life Republican gubernatorial candidate. I am personally pro-choice, but that fact does not stop me from saying that total lack of government involvement in abortion is the only correct moral position, no matter what side you're on.
     In deference to the Tenth Amendment, states would make their own policies. But localism, subsidiarity, and county and municipal home rule, are more important values than the simple assumption that the Tenth Amendment should always render an unenumerated authority the purview of state authority. The Tenth Amendment reserves unenumerated rights for “the states or the people” (emphasis mine), not “the states, and then the people”. Thus, the authority to determine abortion policy rests with the people of each state, and they can choose to have no policy if they wish.
     I do not agree with New York State's law permitting abortion until delivery, and I also know that there are plenty of people (even progressive women) who will admit that an “abortion” of a fetus over six months gestation is never (or almost never) medically necessary. That said, I also cannot say that I know for sure whether the survival of a fetus of eight months gestation has ever threatened the life of its mother.
     At the same time, though, I wish that this issue had never become politicized, and I believe that pregnant people should have the right to get abortions, even if it is elective. As long as it is not publicly funded, and nobody is coerced into paying for it. I don't think Medicaid should exist, much less pay for abortions.
     Viable Republicans and Democrats running for prominent offices will never offer voters this moderate third option.

     Q: How will the new Congress address health care? Which party has the bigger problem if Obamacare is killed and millions lose insurance, or pre-existing conditions are not covered?

     A: The new, and divided, Congress, will address health care in the same chaotic, meaningless fashion in which they have carried on “addressing” it for the last decade.
     The question explains it all: The two parties will disagree as to whether Obamacare has even been dismantled in the first place, and this disagreement will make meaningful conversation on the topic all but impossible.
     As usual, the Democrats will refuse to explain what their Medicare for All bill will entail in enough detail, and as usual, the Republicans will completely fail to explain the merits of creating free interstate commerce in the delivery of health insurance, together with an attempt to reduce drug prices. But reducing drug prices, coupled with getting rid of trade barriers against the importation of pharmaceuticals, will achieve an even freer and more interconnected market for health items in general. That, and taxing profits from the sales of medical devices, without taxing sales themselves, and only taxing medical device companies if they receive government assistance.
     Simply put, the Republicans do not care that they have a brilliant, simple health policy that could reduce drug prices, the costs of living, and maybe even the costs of malpractice lawsuits in this country. Why? Because Rand Paul is one of the biggest advocates of such proposals, and having a free market in health would make Rand Paul look even more credible than he already is. It would elevate his stature, and increase his influence upon the president and upon his party.
     If Donald Trump keeps listening to Rand Paul, our politics might become slightly more sensible. God forbid, we would be in a few less wars around the world. And I know of few Republicans who would be willing to put up with such a thing.

     I asserted above that congressional Democrats agreed to fund Trump's wall to the tune of $1.4 billion, but that has not yet been confirmed. The source of that information can be viewed at the following link:
     Reports about this are conflicting. The following two articles allege that there will be a deal to avoid another government shutdown, and that the deal will not include funding for a wall:
     We may not know what the final deal is, until Friday, February 15th, the deadline to avoid another government shutdown. So please, do your own research, consult multiple sources, check the facts against each other, and come to your own conclusions.

Written on February 13th, 2019
Edited on February 14th, 2019
Post-Script Written and Added on February 14th, 2019

Published on February 13th, 2019