A very wise person once pointed out to me an old saying.  It is that if one student misses something, blame the student, but if many students get it wrong, blame the teacher.  Sixty million people voted for Donald Trump, despite the fact that he is an uninformed, self-absorbed lecher.  Many of those who voted for him were working men and women who had, until that election, been the backbone of the Democratic party.  Applying the old saying, the blame for this falls in large part on the Democratic party for not understanding that they were failing the very people whom they claimed to represent.

Those good people are asking a very basic and fully justified question:  what about us?  They are not greedy, and they are most certainly not self-absorbed.  They work hard to provide for their families.  They are, as a group, the main source of income for the government.  They have welcomed people from around the globe into their communities.  They believe in and are dedicated to the American ideal of the inalienable rights of all human beings.  They are also, however, in need of support, and they are convinced that their own party has failed to give them that support.  So they sought change, and Trump offered it to them.

Those good people asked for two main things:  1) jobs with a living wage, and 2) adequate and affordable health care coverage.  I have previously stated that, since Trump’s words could not be believed, the only way to judge his administration would be by his deeds.  However, another wise person observed that words can be deeds also, particularly if they are proposals.

Tuesday night, March 1, 2017, Trump will give a speech to Congress.  In that speech, he will set forth his proposals for health care and improved jobs.  These words may finally tell us what he will do for the working people of America.  We should all listen closely, because the first hints of what he is going to do for, or rather to, the working families of America will be made clear.

With respect to health care, beware the word “access.”  As I have previously written, Trump promised the working families of America that he would have a health care program installed that would provide coverage for all Americans, and that coverage would be cheaper than Obamacare, and that coverage would provide more benefits than Obamacare.  So far the only program actually produced by the Republicans would provide coverage for fewer people, would provide fewer benefits, and would cost more.  To cover up for this astounding failure, the Republican legislators in power in Congress have taken to using the word “access”, as in the statement, “We will provide access to health care for all Americans.”  This will be fairly easy to do.  After all, we all have access to purchasing Rolls Royces and million dollar homes.  The sales people are just waiting for us.  We have access, but we don’t have the money and never will.

With respect to jobs, beware claims that anything Trump has done or will do will fulfill his repeated promise to provide jobs with living wages.  First of all, he inherited a jobless rate of less than five percent, so it is hard to imagine that he will improve that.  Second, he has promised jobs that will never come back.  The manufacturing jobs of twenty years ago are now being done by robots.  The jobs provided in coal country have been disappearing for years, both because of mechanization and because the world has found better sources of energy.

Finally, beware the claim that we have to strip the budget of things like environmental protection and grants for needed research in order to pay for more military spending.  Beware particularly any claim that we should be very afraid of attacks from without.  That is the talk of a dictator, and it would accord with other dictatorial stances like condemning the free press as the “enemy of the people.”

Those good people claimed that they were being ignored, and they were.  They demanded change, and they got it.  Now the question is whether the change Trump has in mind will help the working people of America.  Tomorrow night, we will find out.


Donald Trump has begun action to deport most if not all of the people presently living in the United States without proper documentation.  On its face, his action here has a prima facie justification.  These millions are, by definition, in violation of the United States’ policies regarding legal entrance into our country.  One need not, however, look much beyond that surface reasoning to see the issue as far more complex.

The slightest reflection raises several questions, the very first of which is:  How did it happen that this country allowed eleven million people to enter the country without documentation, and how did it allow these eleven millions to take up residence and support themselves, in many cases for decades, and to raise children — feed them, clothe them, educate them, all with little or no reliance on public contributions?

The answer is as obvious as it is embarrassing.  We allowed them in.  No, more than that.  We invited, no, lured them in.  We wanted low prices for goods, and low prices require cheap labor.  So we enticed these millions to come to work our fields and our factories for little wage and no benefits.  We worked them and even housed them in the most miserable of conditions.  We took tax money from them knowing that they could never expect any return.  We routinely denied them the protections of safety ordinance, worker’s compensation, health insurance, any and all benefits rightfully belonging to the average worker.  There is, for instance, a plant in an obscure town in northern Wisconsin in which the majority of workers are undocumented.  It does not even approach rationality to think that these unfortunates just happened to wander their way from the Mexican border all on their own to this one small northern town and all employ themselves at this one factory.

So the presence of eleven million undocumented workers is, in large part, of our own doing.  We brought them here, and we profited from them, and we took advantage of them.  And now, when those in power find it to their advantage, they propose to chase them all out of the country.  In doing so, they completely ignore their own complicity in allowing these millions of men, women and children to think that they had, by their tireless (and poorly compensated) contributions to our economy, been given a de facto right of place in our community.

So there it is.  There are eleven million undocumented aliens in this country because we brought them here.  Because we did, we at the very least owe them the opportunity to have a reasonable path to staying here.  A reasonable path.  Not sending them out and letting them wait years to return.  That smells far too much of the rank injustice of the internment of Japanese Americans.  These good people took their meager earnings and turned them into homes.  They raised families who know no other country than this. They contributed in myriad ways to their communities. Tearing them away from all that requires a reason far more significant than political advantage.

Justice is the calculated resolution of a multiplicity of valid claims.  When we we became a party to bringing these millions into the country, we granted them an equitable claim to remaining.  Ignoring that claim is simply an injustice.  Yes, there are countering claims and issues.  But to simply throw them out is more than injustice.  It is thuggery.



Donald Trump has promised you that he will see that you have better insurance than that provided by the present version of Obamacare.  In particular, he promised that, under his presidency, a medical insurance program will be installed that will cover everybody, and that it will cover more services, and that it will cost less.

I love this.  Don’t you?  Isn’t this what you want for America?  Inexpensive insurance, covering everyone, and covering most or all of the treatment we need.  What is not to love about this?  I am all in with Donald Trump about installing this insurance in America.

I am also all in with Donald Trump about the fact that Obamacare has failed to achieve this magnificent goal.  It does not cover everybody.  It does not cover everything.  It is not inexpensive.  And the sooner it is repaired, the sooner we have what Donald Trump has promised all of you, the better.  I’ll go farther.  If Donald Trump installs this wonderful insurance program, and if he is still around in 2020, I will vote for him.  You read me right.  I will actually vote for Donald Trump if, during his presidency, our government installs a medical insurance plan that does what Trump has promised.

I will go even farther.  I will tell you how to do it.  That’s right.  Right here in this space, I will, right now, tell you what Trump and the Republican legislature can do to fulfill this magnificent promise.  Obamacare has failed, and here is how you fix it.

Health insurance, like any other insurance, is a vehicle to spread a risk.  If you think about it, this is what we do with the defense of America.  The defense of America is needed by all of us, so all of us pay for it, with our taxes.  The same is true for our roads, and in large part for our schools.  And the same, clearly, is true for health care.  We all need it.  As with roads and schools, we don’t all need it to the same degree, and some of us don’t need it at all, at least for large stretches of our lives.

So Obamacare failed because it wasn’t taken far enough.  The solution, then, is obvious, and the benefits are just as obvious, and they are plentiful.  What the Republican legislature must do to fulfill Trump’s remarkable promise is take Obamacare all the way.  It must provide coverage for all Americans.  It may do that by installing a single provider for all, as, for instance, by extending some version of Medicare for everyone.  It may also do it by allowing private insurers to  administer this much-needed insurance in appropriately divided sections of the country.

Why must the legislature do this?  Well first because Trump has promised insurance for all.  But secondly, there is what everyone will agree is an economy of scale, in many ways.  For one, if we were all covered by the same policy, if we were all joined in a nationwide union of the insured, we could negotiate serious reductions in the cost of such things as medical equipment and in pharmaceuticals.  For another, and this is huge, we could slash the cost of other kinds of insurance — auto insurance and homeowners insurance and worker’s compensation insurance and others.  Why?  Because we could eliminate coverage for medical expense from all these kinds of claims.  Since everyone has insurance for medical expense, we could remove medical expense from liability claims and worker’s compensation claims.  And, we could eliminate all those subrogation departments that spend their time and money going after other insurance companies.  It is, in the parlance of business, the economy of scale.

Now, how are we going to pay for this phenomenal program?  There are two possible ways.  First, we could each be required to pay a premium.  That premium could either be the same for everyone, or it could be gauged to an individual’s adjusted gross income.  I prefer the latter because it would be more fair, i.e., it would spread the cost of this admirable program in accordance with a person’s ability to pay.  Or, we could just add the cost to our taxes.  That would mean raising taxes.  Republicans don’t raise taxes.  So they will probably do the premium thing.

However it is paid for, I look forward to the Republican legislature fulfilling Donald Trump’s promise to provide this desperately needed, incredibly beneficial, and astoundingly money-saving program.  What they do here will show all those who voted against Trump and the Republicans, as well as those who voted for them, just what their word is worth.

Just you wait and see.





The enduring genius of America’s founding fathers rests on two accomplishments. First, they set forth as the American ideal the very source of all human meaning:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident:  that all human beings are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;…”   The American ideal recognizes the intrinsic value of all humans, and so it has attracted people from around the world.

Second, the founding fathers set up an ingenious system for executing the pursuit of that ideal.  They recognized that there would be conflicting opinions about how best to pursue the American ideal, and they also knew that there would be those who would use the system to serve their own interests rather than the interests of all humans.  So they installed a complex system of checks and balances:  a legislative branch to check the executive branch, and a judicial branch to check them both.  A house of representatives to check the senate.  The Constitution is filled with provisions that act as checks and balances, all to prevent one private force or interest from obstructing or perverting the government’s service to the American ideal.  It is this system of checks and balances that stands between democracy and tyranny.

In recent years, certain moneyed interests have, in their effort to serve their own financial and ideological interests, taking to attacking this precious system of checks and balances.  They have funded politicians to gerrymander state and federal voting districts so as to prevent those opposing their views and interests from gaining a voice. They have financed a phony concern for voting fraud to justify limiting the votes of those who oppose them.   In doing this and other things,  they are attacking the very essence of what it is to be America.  They are attempting to break down the single best system ever devised for the protection of the greatest expression of the human ideal ever set forth. They want no less than tyranny.

Now we have elected a president who is not just under the influence of these moneyed powers.  He is one of them.  Worse, he has no interest except himself, and he uses his substantial assets only for himself, and he has neither understanding nor care for the American way of governing.  Nothing illustrates this more than his attack on the judicial branch.  Until he appeared, it was inconceivable that anyone running for president would publicly claim that a judge born and raised in Indiana was disqualified from adjudicating hia case because “He’s a Mexican.”  That was obviously a clear demonstration of his blatant racism, but he did much worse than that.  Here, and in his attack on a federal judge and on the ninth circuit court of appeals, he announced his complete disdain for the American way of government.  He is not trying to lead the United States government.  He is trying to replace it.  He would, it seems, recommend, as his chief advisor did to the press, that we the people just shut our mouths and listen.

Since his words are thoroughly untrustworthy, we can only judge him and his subordinates by their actions.  What few actions they have carried out so far only underline this intent to take down the American way of government.  They have fought the most fundamental rights — freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  They have promised to launch a campaign against the right to vote.  They have conspired with other governments for their own purpose.  They have plotted the elimination of basic benefits for average citizens while quietly designing massive tax benefits for themselves and their ilk.  And they have done all of this and more in the first three weeks of this presidency.

By their deeds we are very quickly coming to know them.    Let us hope that those who voted for them are too.




“XXX.–In the government of this Commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: The judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.”

With these words, set into the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the State of Massachusetts in 1780, John Adams captured one of the pillars of the American form of government.  In revolting against England, Americans did not merely reject King George III.  They rejected the entire system of government by a single person or group.  This principle of a government of laws and not men is the natural consequence of the founding American ideal that all human beings are born equal and endowed with inalienable rights.     It is a critical point, but one that is easily missed.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident:  that all human beings are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”  That statement announces a community based, not on individual license, but on a fundamental responsibility of every human being for every other human being.  We are each responsible for honoring the rights of each of our fellow humans, and that responsibility is what gives us our meaning, and it is even the source of our freedom.  We are free because all those people for whom I am responsible are responsible for me.

The enemy of America’s founding ideal rests precisely here.  When a government makes its decisions, not based on the laws of that government but rather by the orders of a single person or group, the source of the people’s meaning shifts from the ideals embodied in their laws and constitution to the personal needs and desires of the person or group ruling them.  “L’etat c’est moi,” said the imperious Louis XIV.  I am the state, and your rights, and therefore your meaning, are defined entirely by me.  This is the real peril of dictatorship.   The individual has no meaning by himself or herself.  Even the dictator’s meaning is gone, because it is completely subjective.  It might be something one day and something else another.  Moral value derived from one individual is the morality of self-interest, and self-interest is no morality at all.

This is the real, fundamental crisis being caused by Trump’s actions and words.  He may or may not have overstepped his bounds with the ban on seven Muslim countries.  We have a judiciary to determine that in accordance with the laws and constitutional provisions that express our journey to our ideal.  It is what he did in response to that judiciary, and what his people have done in response to criticism, that is far, far more dangerous.  He denigrates the judiciary, calls a judge bigoted or characterizes the judge as “so-called”.  His advisor tells the press to “shut up and listen.”  All this and much, much more describes an attack on the fundamental rights of the people and the checks and balances system that guards those rights.  Trump doesn’t want to befriend Putin.  He wants to be Putin.  His goal is dictatorship, and if he succeeds we will not just lose our form of government, we will lose our very meaning.

We are not a perfect nation.  Our worth and meaning lie in the fact that, with all our flaws and failures, we strive for a perfect ideal.  The actions and words of Trump and his representatives signal an attack on those ideals.  We cannot allow that attack to even begin.




A very large majority of the people who voted for Trump did so because they felt, and justifiably so, that our political system was not working for them, that the politicians in power were in fact ignoring them.  They are the hard-working people, the factory workers and the construction workers and mine workers, who have had to struggle more and more to feed, clothe, shelter and educate their families while the country worries about everyone else except them.  They are the ones who really support this country with their taxes, and they felt they were getting far too little in return.  They wanted change, and the only one who was offering that change was Trump.

Trump did promise change.  He just didn’t say what those changes would be, or, when he did, he apparently didn’t mean it.  So, since we clearly cannot believe anything he says, we are left to judge him by what he does.  I list here some of the actions that will deeply affect the rights of those hard-working Americans who looked for Trump to improve their situation.

First, Trump has appointed nominees to his cabinet, people who will be in charge of the large departments of his government.  For secretary of defense, he appointed a man who is universally acclaimed for his ability and his experience.  For secretary of state, he has appointed a man who spent his career as an executive of Exxon oil, his last job being CEO of that company.  He has business experience around the globe, but he has no government experience at all.  The jury is still out on him.

Several appointments look like they are going to hurt the working class Trump voters.  A secretary of labor who is anti-worker and who feels that the minimum wage should be lowered or eliminated.  A secretary of Environmental Protection who opposes protecting the environment.  Worst of all, a secretary of education who has little or no understanding of the job, but who has spent most of her life trying to take money out of public schools and put into religious or for-profit schools.


Next are the executive orders:

  1. A ban on entry to America by people from seven Muslim countries and a suspension on entry for refugees, but with priority given to Christians.
  2. An order allowing tax-free organizations like churches to use their facilities to endorse politicians and political issues.
  3. An order striking a law requiring investors to work in the best interests of their clients.
  4. An order to ignore the environmental impact of building oil pipelines through the states.
  5. An order banning all funding to any agency that gives aid to groups that allow or promote abortions.
  6. A hiring freeze on all governmental workers, including health workers for veteran.
  7. An order to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, with no indication as to what will replace it.

The hard question for those who supported Trump is whether these are the kinds of change they were looking for.  It seems that such orders will weaken public education, lower wages, isolate America thus making products more expensive, and make medical treatment and medical insurance harder to get and more expensive.  We don’t know this for sure.  All we can do is wait and see.  The point is that, whatever we do, it must be done in the interests of all, most of all the interests of these hard-working people who are the ones who pay the bills and the ones who will feel the impact of Trump’s actions most strongly.   They asked for change, and they deserve change.  It looks like Trump will give them change that they, and those they care for, neither asked for nor deserve.