Republican Party

How Can Republicans Sleep At Night?

How Can Republicans Sleep at Night?

            Robert A. Levine

The Republican Party in seeking power is at the threshold of overturning America’s democracy. After regularly losing the popular vote in most presidential elections in the last two decades, they want to insure that they will win all elections indefinitely by suppressing the votes of the Democratic portion of the electorate. They are aiming to win not only the presidency but control of the House, the Senate and most state legislatures and governorships by changing the rules for voting on a state level.

In states where there are Republican controlled legislatures and Republican governors, they are making it more difficult for minorities to vote because they generally support Democrats. The GOP controlled states are cutting down on voting days and voting hours for in-person voting and eliminating mail-in ballots. They will undoubtedly also increase gerrymandering when the results of the census are confirmed. Sunday voting after church is also being cut since this is the way many Black voters go to the polls. Special IDs are also being demanded in some states which are often hard to get, especially for working people.

On a Federal level, the law HR1 that guarantees voting rights and overrides state laws that suppress voting, is getting no support from Republicans in the Senate, having already passed the House. The Senate cannot pass HR1 unless they have sixty votes or more, or the filibuster is eliminated, neither of which have Republican approval. The GOP is content to allow the states they control to maximally suppress voting by people leaning Democratic, particularly minorities, even though it means that America is no longer a democracy with each person having one vote.

The electorate that favors Republican is both old and white, and at some time in the future will be a permanent minority. The state voting laws being passed by the GOP will be utilized in elections immediately. But it also ensures that old white people will still be able to dominate the country and elect their candidates even when they are a minority. Republican action are a sheer power grab but elicit a poor prognosis for democracy.

www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                                         Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


Progressive Democrats and Moderate Sensibilities

Progressive Democrats and Moderate Sensibilities                                                                                                                                                                                                             Robert A. Levine

I consider myself a moderate or centrist who in the past voted for candidates from both parties but now vote almost exclusively Democratic. The change in my voting pattern was spurred by the Republican coronation of Trump, their fealty to the ex-president and their unwillingness to confront him about any of his obvious lies and corruption. Their support for his claims that the presidential election of 2020 was stolen is an act of cowardice that has infected nearly the entire GOP whose members know (if they are halfway intelligent) that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election.

However, I am also bothered by the behavior of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party which makes it more difficult to vote for moderate Democrats. I am particularly upset by progressive unwillingness to compromise in order to get important legislation passed. While Manchin and Sinima, so-called moderates, are holding up passage of Biden’s Build Back Better bill by claiming it is too expensive, progressives in the House refuse to accept this as a fact of life and will not pass the physical infrastructure bill already passed on a bipartisan basis in the Senate.

Candidates running in 2022 have to show that the Democrats have been able to enact some laws that benefit the nation as a whole, which the physical infrastructure bill does. If the Democrats don’t pass the physical infrastructure bill and some form of the social infrastructure bill (BBB), they can kiss 2022 and control of the House and Senate goodbye. It is up to the progressives to back down and make sure that these bills get passed.

And what the Republicans call ‘cancel culture’ does have a basis in fact, pushed by progressives. Our history is our history and pictures and statues of important figures should not be taken down from their places in government offices and public squares because of racist behavior and slave owning which was culturally endorsed at the time they lived. Slavery was an abhorrent conduct that was socially acceptable prior to the Civil War, particularly in the Southern states. To try and eliminate our historical memory of what existed is foolish and will not be successful.

Thomas Jefferson’s statue will be removed from New York’s City Hall soon because of progressive complaints. Do the progressives realize that slavery was also common among African tribes long before it occurred in the United States? On that basis perhaps all statues of African-Americans should be removed from public places because of their previous practices. Many Northern Africans, Muslims or not, also accepted clitoral removal from young girls so they would not find pleasure in sex and be faithful to their husbands. Perhaps that’s another reason to eliminate all statues and paintings of African-American men.

Eliminating depictions of historical figures from prominent places because of their conduct will not change our country’s history. We should concentrate on eliminating current racism and abhorrent behavior rather than canceling what was wrong with our past. And progressives should think about what their actions mean for the future of the Democratic Party whose control of government is now hanging by a thread.                                   www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                              

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Party Over Country

Party Over Country                                                                                                                                                                                                     Robert A. Levine

Why does it seem impossible for politicians to understand that doing what is best for the country is more important than doing what is best for one’s political party? Truly patriotic Americans must know that sometimes one has to sacrifice one’s personal ambitions and aiding one’s political party if the necessary actions will injure America and its democratic system. While members of both political parties don’t seem to accept the notion of country over party in all instances, the Republican Party is overwhelmingly self-interested and unwilling to do what is best for the nation, using various excuses and placing the blame on the Democrats. Their use of misinformation and false information is fired off in a constant barrage to assuage their leader Donald Trump and to confuse and/or capture the American public.

Republican leaders are not ignorant and know that Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election by a wide margin. Yet virtually all Republicans insist that the election was stolen by Joe Biden and the Democrats, and that Donald Trump should really be president. At all the Trump rallies he emphasizes that the election was stolen and that Biden’s position is rightfully his. He uses these lies to fund raise and scam money from uninformed supporters who believe what Trump tells them. His rallying cry of “Stop the Steal” is repeated endlessly by his base and seen in bumper stickers, flags, advertisements and so forth. The fact that Republican leaders support Trump’s false claims provide them with some credibility although they are blatant falsehoods.

Trump’s personality of malignant narcissism may make him detached from reality to the point where he may believe his own lies about the election. But the remaining leadership of the Republican Party know these are lies and that Biden is the rightful president. Yet the vast majority of Republicans are willing to back Trump and his lies. They are afraid of incurring his wrath and being primaried by his supporters. Aside from Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, Republicans and their leaders are totally lacking in courage.

They must also know what their stances are doing to American democracy. A large percentage of American citizens have no faith in our electoral system and democracy itself, believing that elections can be stolen. There is also no faith in our political institutions doing the right thing for the nation, including Congress, the Courts and the presidency. This is all because Republicans are reinforcing what they feel is best for their party instead of what is best for the country. How can Americans turn this around? How can we restore faith in our government institutions and in democracy itself when it seems that the Republicans just do not care and keep propagating Trump’s lies?

A third party of moderate Republicans willing to stand by the truth together with centrist Democrats may be able to restore faith in democracy to the electorate. However, given the tribalism and the strong attachment of the far right and far left to their concepts of the truth, forming a centrist third party with any chance of winning is remote. Perhaps when the youth of America flood the voting booths, an opportunity for change will arise.                                                      www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                                                                                         Buy The Uninformed Voteron on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


Advertising and Fake News

Advertising and Fake News                                                                                                                         Robert A. Levine

From the moment our parents allow us to sit in front of a television screen or listen to a radio, we are inundated almost continuously with advertisements trying to sell us various products. And during campaigns for elective offices, campaign managers and their staffs try and sell us on the virtues of the candidates they support or the vices of their opponents. The information we receive about both products and people may be valid, partially true, or false and it is usually difficult to differentiate. To capture our attention and obtain our votes for a candidate or a product, exaggerations or bald-faced lies may be utilized. And these may be repeated over and over again.

Use so and so for beautiful skin. Use so and so to improve your memory. Use so and so to improve your sex life. Use so and so for lustrous hair.

As difficult as it is for adults to discern what is true and what is false or exaggerated on TV, it is impossible for a child. Thus, children as they grow up start believing what they see on television or hear on the radio. Information that adults may question is accepted as true by youngsters because they saw or heard it repeatedly. This also happens with the news or with speeches given by politicians. Because of their lifetime exposure to advertising, many people in our nation cannot tell what information is real and what is fake. Politicians take advantage of this inability by propagating fake news which many Americans believe. This allows them to propose policies that mainly benefit the affluent people who fund them, though their ordinary constituents also think it helps them.

The biggest proponents of fake news have been Donald Trump and the Republican Party, pushing the theme that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump. Republican politicians know this is a lie but continue to repeat this fiction, convincing their base that it is true and retaining the support of Trump. In a major disservice to the nation, many Republicans also have declared that the Covid vaccine is dangerous and that people should not be vaccinated. And large numbers of ignorant Americans have not received the protection of the Covid vaccination because they have believed those who claim it is dangerous, leaving themselves and their families unprotected against the virus. Americans have also been told that global warming is not real and nothing has to be done about it.

In addition to exposure to TV advertising of questionable validity, many of those who accept fake news never investigate information that may be questionable, but just accept it because it sounds credible and is from a media source that they trust. And besides, their friends and neighbors accept the information as true. However, a large proportion of Americans are misinformed or uninformed about news or politics and cannot be trusted to validate what is true or not. Whether advertising or supposed news, American citizens have to be more suspicious about what they see and hear and investigate whether or not it is true.                                                  www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                             Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


Advertising and Fake News

Advertising and Fake News                                                                                                                         Robert A. Levine

From the moment our parents allow us to sit in front of a television screen or listen to a radio, we are inundated almost continuously with advertisements trying to sell us various products. And during campaigns for elective offices, campaign managers and their staffs try and sell us on the virtues of the candidates they support or the vices of their opponents. The information we receive about both products and people may be valid, partially true, or false and it is usually difficult to differentiate. To capture our attention and obtain our votes for a candidate or a product, exaggerations or bald-faced lies may be utilized. And these may be repeated over and over again.

Use so and so for beautiful skin. Use so and so to improve your memory. Use so and so to improve your sex life. Use so and so for lustrous hair.

As difficult as it is for adults to discern what is true and what is false or exaggerated on TV, it is impossible for a child. Thus, children as they grow up start believing what they see on television or hear on the radio. Information that adults may question is accepted as true by youngsters because they saw or heard it repeatedly. This also happens with the news or with speeches given by politicians. Because of their lifetime exposure to advertising, many people in our nation cannot tell what information is real and what is fake. Politicians take advantage of this inability by propagating fake news which many Americans believe. This allows them to propose policies that mainly benefit the affluent people who fund them, though their ordinary constituents also think it helps them.

The biggest proponents of fake news have been Donald Trump and the Republican Party, pushing the theme that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump. Republican politicians know this is a lie but continue to repeat this fiction, convincing their base that it is true and retaining the support of Trump. In a major disservice to the nation, many Republicans also have declared that the Covid vaccine is dangerous and that people should not be vaccinated. And large numbers of ignorant Americans have not received the protection of the Covid vaccination because they have believed those who claim it is dangerous, leaving themselves and their families unprotected against the virus. Americans have also been told that global warming is not real and nothing has to be done about it.

In addition to exposure to TV advertising of questionable validity, many of those who accept fake news never investigate information that may be questionable, but just accept it because it sounds credible and is from a media source that they trust. And besides, their friends and neighbors accept the information as true. However, a large proportion of Americans are misinformed or uninformed about news or politics and cannot be trusted to validate what is true or not. Whether advertising or supposed news, American citizens have to be more suspicious about what they see and hear and investigate whether or not it is true.                                                  www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                             Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


Facts Don't Matter

Facts Don’t Matter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Robert A.  Levine

Facts still don’t matter. Perception does. Half a year after Donald Trump unwillingly stepped down from the Presidency, his lies and falsehoods are still accepted as facts by the vast majority of his acolytes. The most damaging of his lies for America’s democracy is his insistence that he won the presidential election and that it was stolen from him by Joe Biden. Because of this lie, a large proportion of Republican voters (between one third and two thirds depending on the poll) believe that Biden is an illegal president and that Trump actually won the election..

Some of Trump’s base believe that somehow Trump will be restored to the presidency in August, though it is unclear how this will happen. There is some talk of a civil war against the current government or other violent means for Trump to be reinstated. All of these ideas to destroy our democracy flow from Trump’s big lie that the election was stolen from him and that he should really be the president. All of his challenges in the courts and in different states have been rejected or shown to be false, but this does not stop Trump from denying the facts.

Hitler’s propaganda machine was based on the concept that if you repeatedly tell a lie, after a time it is accepted as a fact by a large proportion of the population, particularly those who are uninformed or uneducated. These are people who do not get their news from multiple sources to decide what is accurate and what is not. In general, they read very little, particularly about politics. They would rather stick to a media source that echoes their own beliefs even if they are untrue since they don’t know the difference. Often, they follow a tribal path in assessing what is real and what is not, taking their cues from friends, family and neighbors. In other words, they do not think for themselves.

On the other hand, Republican politicians at all levels know what is true and what is not but are afraid to say what is true. Instead, they are repeating and supporting the big lie because they are frightened of Trump’s power and worried that he will not back them when they run in their GOP primaries. Their cowardice and unwillingness to stand up to Trump aside from a few brave souls has completely distorted our democracy and made it harder for Joe Biden to get anything done. Actually, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader of the Senate and Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Minority Leader of the House have stated that they will fight Biden’s agenda and don’t want him to be successful. Republicans do not care that Biden’s legislative successes will help America and they care more about their party than they do about the country. These are people who know what the facts are but deny them constantly to win Trump’s approval. For America to function well as a democracy, the two parties have to agree on the facts publically. They can react to them in different ways, but the facts are still the facts.                                                 www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon and Barnes and Noble


White Privilege

White Privilege

            Robert A. Levine 

The belief in white supremacy provides justification for the nation’s racial conflicts and is the basis for white racial privilege. Currently, the major racial problems for America are the inequality between Blacks and whites and the continued obstruction of Black rights and attempts at advancement. But difficulties also exist between whites and Asians and whites and indigenous peoples, their origin eminating as well from the presumption of white supremacy and entitlement. Though America’s democracy supposedly is based on the concept expressed in the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal, it appears that an influential part of the nation’s white population does not accept that thesis and acts in ways to subvert it. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

In schools across the country, children must have heard these words at least dozens if not hundreds of times, and discussed the meaning with their teachers and fellow students. But there is still a large portion of white citizens who refuse to acknowledge the words of the Declaration and insist on believing in white superiority and privilege. The fact that Blacks were initially enslaved by whites has also contributed to the legacy of white supremacy and privilege, with an unwillingness among many white men and women to grant Blacks equal status and social standing.

After slavery was abolished in the United States and Blacks were freed, white attitudes towards them did not change significantly, particularly in the South with Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan. With the passage of Federal Civil Rights statutes in the 1960s, there was movement towards equality under the law, but attitudes were mostly unaltered. But in the half century since, Blacks have been more assertive about their rights and many whites have shared their concerns. In the last decade, police brutality towards Blacks resulting in unnecessary deaths reinforced the presence of systemic racism in American society. Many whites reassessed their beliefs about Blacks, though racial privilege by whites remains, either overtly or covertly. The question now is whether we are truly on the road to change.

Isabel Wilkerson’s riveting book, Caste, expounds the concept that America has a caste system not unlike India’s, except that there are two major castes instead of many. Blacks are on the bottom and whites on top. People are born into their castes and certain behavior is expected by caste members no matter their level of education or accomplishments. Caste is a social construct like race and not is based on scientific evidence. In fact, scientific analysis finds no defining characteristics or genetic variations as markers of race or caste. The only difference between Blacks and whites is a matter of pigmented skin. However, the idea of race was a deliberate creation to justify the enslavement of Blacks and their subsequent treatment by the white population when they were freed.

Since the founding of the United States, racial privilege has not merely been manifest by whites in regard to Blacks. All racial groups have been perceived as inferior to northern European whites. The indigenous inhabitants of the United States were initially subjugated by European colonists and Hispanics were also denigrated in comparison to whites (though some were mainly Caucasian). Chinese laborers brought to work on the western railroads were looked down upon by whites with many believing in the threat of the “Yellow Peril.” Japanese farmers and gardeners were also seen as beneath whites and potentially dangerous, being interned during World War II. In addition, Eastern and Southern Europeans and Jews were all felt to be racially inferior compared to Northern Europeans and white Anglo-Saxons, and less intelligent. At various times, immigration laws were passed to prevent these groups from entering the United States with concern about miscegenation. But it was the Blacks who suffered the most from white privilege.

Until the concept of white supremacy is much less prevalent, racism and white privilege will remain divisive problems for America. Changing people’s mindset that has been imbued for generations will be a daunting task when these people refuse to accept that change is necessary if we are to have a true democracy.

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Partisanship vs. Centrism

Partisanship vs Centrism

                        Robert A. Levine

Gallop polls in the first quarter of 2021 showed that more Americans were Democrats than Republicans, but the largest bloc of voters identified as independents or centrists. 30 percent of people in the survey called themselves Democrats, 25 percent Republicans, 19 percent were independents who leaned Democratic and 15 percent were independents who leaned Republican. Thus, independents overall were 34 percent vs 30 percent Democratic and 25 percent Republican.

According to various polls during the last decade, pluralities to small majorities of Americans identify themselves as centrists, moderates, or independents. The variability in statistics are probably related to how the surveys were conducted and questions asked, what year  data was collected, and whether bias was present in the polling organizations. Notwithstanding, moderates and centrists were usually the largest bloc. This means extremists in both political parties, generally the most vocal, do not represent most of the citizenry, though avid partisanship among politicians makes government dysfunctional.

In October 2013, an NBC News/Esquire poll had 51 percent of Americans labeling themselves as centrists, 44 percent of whom did not believe their views were represented by either party. A poll by The Third Way published in May 2014, had 37 percent moderate, 42 percent conservative and 21 percent liberal. 42 percent of millennials identified as moderates in this survey. These were the youngest group, seeming to indicate America will be growing more moderate in the future. Similarly, non-white and Hispanic participants described themselves as moderate by a plurality of 44 percent.

A poll by the Pew Center in April 2015 revealed 39 percent of Americans considered themselves independents, 32 percent Democrats, and 23 percent Republicans. The data came from interviews with more than 25,000 citizens. In more than seventy-five years of Pew polling, this was the highest percentage of independents ever reported. Those with post-graduate or college degrees leaned Democratic as did racial minorities and those religiously unaffiliated. Millennials also favored Democrats 51 to 35 percent. Mormons and white evangelical Protestants were overwhelmingly Republican. White Southerners and white men without college degrees tended to be Republican, and there was a GOP bias of four percentage points among citizens over sixty.

Though centrists may represent the largest political group in America, animosity and partisanship between parties is the strongest it has been in decades according to a Pew Study in 2016 and Washington Post poll in 2017. Party members associate negative qualities with members of the opposing party, a rising tide of mutual antipathy making it challenging for the two parties to govern together. Negative feelings between party members have increased over the years, more so since 2000, the process labeled ‘affective partisan polarization’ or negative polarization by political scientists. Antipathy towards the opposition party is a major motivating factor for partisans, and it is difficult for democracy to function as each side demonizes the other and compromise is a struggle.

Though various surveys show a plurality or majority of Americans are not extremists or partisans, the partisans are more politically active than their moderate brethren. Their agendas are the ones debated in the halls of government, determining the laws that are or are not enacted. A CBS poll in 2011 had 85 percent of Americans favoring compromise by politicians to get things done, including 75 percent of Republicans. However, their message was apparently not transmitted to politicians in Washington and state capitals. Another factor driving partisanship is that the wealthy top one percent is politically zealous and contributes large sums to officeholders and candidates with views similar to theirs.

Partisanship is also more evident now because the percentage of Americans labeling themselves ‘consistently conservative’ or ‘consistently liberal’ has doubled in the last twenty years from 10 to 21 percent. In addition, Democrats and Republicans are more likely to socialize with people having similar political positions. There are also media voices that amplify differences between the parties and benefit from the ‘climate of bitterness.’ Polarization in both Houses of Congress is at its highest level in nearly a hundred and fifty years.

In many democracies, ‘identity’ is the critical determinant of how individuals cast their ballots. People vote for politicians because they share the same religion, race, or ethnicity. These factors may be more important than whether candidates are honest or competent or have the same positions on issues, though often voters are in the dark about these aspects because they have not investigated them. Identity politics reinforces partisanship, particularly in nations riven by tribal, religious, or ethnic hatreds and fears.

American politics has become more tribal in the last quarter century, dominated by partisans in both parties. With their own values, each tribe has its own facts regarding history, economics, and science. Beliefs about climate change and global warming is an example. Members of each tribe tend to think similarly and have similar interpretations of events and views about political figures, as well as comparable personality traits. Interestingly, CT scans of brains in each group show similar structural changes. Conservatives tend to have larger amygdalas, part of the limbic system involved in processing emotions, such as fear, anger, disgust and pleasure. Liberals tend to have a larger anterior cingulate cortex, an area of the brain that deals with uncertainty, handling conflicting information, impulse control, morality and ethics. In both tribes beliefs can be changed, but it is difficult when brains may process information differently.

‘Tribalism’ has been critical in the growth of partisanship. In the past, citizens’ identities were through families, communities, churches, employment, unions, clubs, lodges, and so forth. People were part of something greater than themselves. But these bonds have been sundered by modern society. Divorce and single parent families are common. Small towns and rural communities are in decline, with young people moving away. The lack of connection and of belonging to something has impacted Americans negatively. Alcohol and drugs have been an escape for some and others have chosen to be active members of political parties, adopting the characteristics of their ‘tribes.’ Social media may also augment the stances partisans take. This makes it harder to compromise or see the humanity and understand the positions of opponents.

Americans need to learn to treat political opponents with respect and dignity which may be difficult when opponents support bold-faced political lies. Particularly harmful is the lie that the presidential election of 2020 was stolen and actually won by Donald Trump, when there is no evidence to support this claim. If American democracy is to thrive, the flame of partisanship must be lowered to allow both Republicans and Democrats to work for the good of the country rather than constantly battling each other. And we need more independents to speak up.

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The Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

The Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer                                                                                                                          

Robert A. Levine

Has the GOP reached a point yet where they accept that climate change is real and that America and all nations must do something about it before we are all baked in place. Temperatures above 100 degrees have become the norm intermittently in much of the nation, especially the Southwest, California and parts of the Midwest. In fact, in some of these areas, the daily temperature is over 110 degrees on a regular basis. Even high in the Rocky Mountains in Denver, the temperature has been above 100 degrees.

To make matters worse, many of the above regions are facing severe droughts, with minimal rainfall to replenish the usual sources. Lakes, reservoirs, ground water and places dependent on the Colorado River are all lacking water, to the point where some areas are considering rationing water supplies. Snowfall last winter was also sparse, so snowmelt is not replacing the water lost, as normally happens during the spring. In addition to making it tough for residents of these areas, it is making it impossible for farmers to grow crops and feed livestock. Some meteorologists believe that these dry spells are not a one year occurrence but have been part of a decades’ long drought that shows no sign of abating.

Because of the arid conditions and the heat, wildfires have been spreading at an alarming rate in a number of states. Residences, forests, businesses and farms have all been under threat with a great deal of destruction last year. We are still awaiting the start of the wildfire season this year.

Yes, climate change is real. Parts of Africa and the Middle East have also been hit by drought. In fact, the lack of water has been responsible for migration as much as war and conflict. Many African farmers cannot grow grain or raise livestock and severe famine is present in some regions because of the lack of rainfall. Parts of Southern Asia are also suffering from draught and accompanying famine.

Dealing with climate change is imperative for the world as we know it to survive. If the average temperature on earth continues to rise, we can expect more droughts, more famines, more migration and more wars. Fertility rates are also going down in the Western world, China, Japan and Korea. Many nations including the United States are not producing enough children to replace those who die. Whether or not this is related in some way to the weather is uncertain, but sperm are not as active when exposed to heat and this could possibly contribute to infertility.

Like the Covid 19 pandemic, climate change is an emergency and must be addressed by the world’s population before it is too late. In addition to taking immediate measures to reduce global warming, like reducing fossil fuel use, governments should be spending money on desalination plants to make sure that adequate drinking water supplies are available for everyone. If the process becomes cheap enough, perhaps the water produced from the oceans can also be used for watering crops and other necessary processes. But building these plants should be started at once, perhaps powered by sunlight or wind. Are any state of federal governments thinking about desalination?

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Where is the GOP Going?

Where is the GOP Going?

                        Robert A. Levine 5-18-21

Since Trump took over the Republican Party in 2015, the question that needs to be asked is where is this political party headed?  What is their raison d’etre or reason for being? In the 2020 election, the Party ran without a platform or specific policy objectives. The only factor that bound members together so it could be called a party was its support of Donald Trump. That would be fine if Trump espoused a specific ideology, but he doesn’t. He is defined by populism and nationalism, but his allegiance appears to be primarily to people of wealth and perhaps how to help them get more. Though he is thought of as a populist and is adored by a large segment of the population, during his term in office he did little to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. He seemed to be mainly concerned by how to make his own life better along with those of his family and friends.

Having lost his bid for re-election, he still claims that he won and that the election was stolen from him, mostly because he does not want to be labeled as a “loser”. To obtain Trump’s support in future elections, the overwhelming majority of Republicans have backed his claim that the election was stolen though they all know this is a boldfaced lie. But few Republicans want to cross him in any way. Though he is out of office and does not have the bully pulpit any longer, he is still the leader of the GOP and all of its members must pay fealty to him or suffer the consequences. Aside from loyalty to Trump, the Republicans still have no specific policy proposals on which to run a campaign. They do oppose virtually every idea that the Democrats have brought up and tried to make into law, but opposition alone is not enough to define a political party. They need specific proposals that they are trying to make law, but thus far have not come up with anything concrete. Recently, it appears that some Republicans in the Senate may be willing to compromise with the Democrats over infrastructure plans. But this still does not a party make. They are also willing to have their members support conspiracy theories like QAnon and people like Marjorie Taylor Greene

The Republicans who oppose Trump for the most part call themselves conservatives, but they also have not come forth with a specific platform they can stand on. They are anti-Trump and anti-Democratic Party, but what are they for. What new laws would they like to see enacted? So Republicans of all stripes, pro-Trump and anti-Trump appear to be lacking goals and ideas that they can trumpet to their base and independents to help them get elected or re-elected. Are there any Republicans who know where their Party is going aside from how it relates to Trump? And outside the Party, do the Democrats or Independents know what Republicanism stands for at this point in time?

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QAnon and Other Conspiracy Theories

QAnon and Other Conspiracy Theories

                        Robert A. Levine 5/3/21

It is truly amazing how many Americans accept QAnon and other conspiracy theories as truth and spread various conspiracies over the internet, through social media and by word of mouth. While conspiracy theories did not begin with Trump’s presidency, he formulated many of them and spread others, before, during and after his term in office. Even before he lost the election in 2020, he complained that the election was rigged and that if he did not win by a huge margin, Americans should realize that the election was fixed.

Then afterwards, he has continued to claim that the presidency was stolen from him by the Democrats even though multiple recounts and the courts have reinforced the fact that he lost fair and square. Conspiracies regarding the voting machines have also been found to be false and re-checks have found that the machines worked perfectly well. Trump’s lies about the stolen presidential race have heightened his adherent’s willingness to accept various other conspiracies theories with or without Trump’s imprimatur.

QAnon is the mother of all conspiracy theories, seemingly gaining more advocates every day though its beliefs strike many people as totally bizarre. Even some people in foreign countries accept some of the ideas that QAnon is spreading. Its concepts began prior to the 2016 election when it claimed that a pizza parlor near Washington was the headquarters for a Democratic pedophile ring run by Hilary Clinton. QAnon said that Democrats were pedophiles and were kidnapping American children to satisfy their pedophile members. There was absolutely no truth to this claim but millions of Americans believe it. Apparently, there is some leader of QAnon called Q who periodically comes out with proclamations advising his acolytes what to believe and what to do. A few years ago, one of his followers shot up the pizza parlor hoping to free the children that supposedly were imprisoned there but found nothing. That’s because there was nothing and QAnon is a total hoax that numerous Americans consider real.

Many Americans believe that climate change is a hoax, that the corona virus pandemic does not exist and that vaccines are an attempt to control your body with implanted chips installed whenever you get a vaccine shot. The pandemic and the chips placed in one’s body are blamed on Bill Gates and George Soros who want to control the world. Conspiracy theories seem to be mainly accepted by Republicans

One wonders how so many Americans could be so naïve and gullible to accept the conspiracy theories often born on the internet and spread without any evidence they are valid. Would anyone like to buy a bridge I have for sale?

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