My Politics


This is my personal belief structure.    I believe in...


Note that each of these tenets flows logically from its predecessor.  If anyone in power were to deny any single tenet, he would nullify all tenets below it. The resulting structure might be a dictatorship or oligarchic capitalism or anarchy, but it certainly would not be a democratic republic.

In the matter of local politics, my focus is on making my city and my state as viable as possible for as many people as possible. Optimizing two independent variables like viability and population requires innovative and out-of-the-box thinking, and that's how I judge local and state politicians.

Regarding our national government, it's all about policy and personality. When it comes to my vote, policy comes first. This is how I prioritize my voting criteria in judging a presidential, senatorial or congressional candidate.  First things first:
  1. We must develop strategies to guaranty the viability of the natural environment for a hundred future human generations
    • Greenhouse gases are the main cause of global warming; regulate all sources.
    • Sources of renewable energy (solar, wind, tidal) must power all uses.
    • Extraction industries must be reduced to oblivion; we must recycle all materials.
    • Transportation is a huge consumer of resources. I vote for public.
    • The culture of consumption must be mitigated toward rational use through legislation.
  2. We are all in this together... all members of humanity are of equal worth.
    • Civil rights must be protected by federal law.
    • All accidents of birth (race, gender, disability, mental acuity) are just that, accidents.
    • Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans' welfare must be protected.
    • Every one of us deserves affordable health care. We have to figure this out.
    • All financial barriers to quality education must be eliminated.
    • Poverty is a sin committed by those who can solve it but refuse to.
    • Common sense gun legislation. The more the better. (Did I mention I hate guns?)
  3. Our democracy is under severe threat. It must be preserved.
    • Corruption is rife in all three branches of federal government. Laws must be enforced, tightened. Corrupt officials, even those in highest office, must be imprisoned.
    • We've been attacked by a hostile foreign power. We must retaliate through sanctions.
    • Our military must be prepared for warfare in the 21st century: cyber warfare.
    • The right of every citizen to vote must be held sacred. Eliminate all voter ID laws, all gerrymandering, all voter suppression of any kind.
    • Social media must be regulated strongly, which means that law makers and law enforcers must be able to address technological issues.
  4. Our national and global economies are immensely complex and must be managed wisely.
    • Our political allies are our strongest economic allies.
    • Our economy is our clout; we should use it to sanction all totalitarian regimes.
    • The Russian mafia must be crushed through strong enforcement of the toughest sanctions.
    • Macroeconomics is complex. Tariffs are a mistake. End of subject.

If a candidate passes my policy test, then I judge him/her by my standards for any public servant:
  1. Strong, honest, wholesome relationships with family; ethical relationships with all others
  2. Track record running a government entity (running a business is totally unrelated)
  3. Solid education, especially in Constitutional law and precedent.
  4. History of not being influenced by moneyed interests.
  5. Good listener. Strategic thinker. Eloquent speaker. Champion of the underprivileged.

I believe that in a democracy, the people should lead and that anyone elected should follow the lead of the people. But for that to work every voter must be informed so as not to be prey to con artists, puppets, traitors or sycophants. As a federal and state taxpayer I view every elected official as my employee.

Would I employ a liar, a cheat, a misogynist, an embezzler, a gun nut, a dullard, a drunk, a racist, a chauvinist, a xenophobe, a zealot, an unrepentant felon or an unindicted co-conspirator? Hell no. But I can find examples of each of those in our current federal government. As a protector of this democracy, each of us must be vigilant, take every vote seriously, and convince others to do the same.

For me personally, ethically, I believe that in whatever way I possess more, or am more secure, I have an obligation to improve the welfare of those who have less or who are vulnerable. We're all in this together. As Abraham Lincoln put it, “I hold that while man exists it is his duty to improve not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating mankind.”

And as George W. Bush said, "A person shows his or her character in kindness and charity, and what is true in our lives is also true in the life of our Nation. You can fairly judge the character of society by how it treats the weak, the vulnerable, the most easily forgotten. Our own country, at its best, strives to be compassionate, and this isn't easy. Compassion is not merely a vague feeling of empathy; it is a demanding virtue. It involves action and effort and deep conviction, a conviction as old as Scripture and present at the founding of our country. We believe that everyone has a place and a purpose in this world, that every life matters, that no insignificant person was ever born."

Regarding the world that you are inheriting from my generation—in all its many dimensions—I have always believed in the old Boy Scout rule of the campsite: I work to leave a place in better shape than I found it.   That rule necessitates that I respect societies and ecologies in addition to places and objects of use to me.

I respectfully display the American flag every morning and retire it at dusk, not because I'm a member of any political party or am using it to make a statement about anything. I honor our flag as a symbol of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights, and through them the highest ideals of the Founders: an indivisible nation "with liberty and justice for all". If my philosophy needs a label, I'd say it's 'progressive' (small p)—I've seen some progress in my lifetime but we've still got a long ways to go, and I'm working on it.

Pyramid of the Captialist System
A 1911 cartoon: the Pyramid of the Capitalist System. [Note: the order hasn't changed much at all in over 100 years.] On top is the Ruling Class ("We Rule You")—these are the Owners, the power elite. Next the Political Class ("We Fool You")—politicians, religious leaders, media. Next the Enforcement Class ("We Shoot At You")—the military, the justice system. Then the Business Class ("We Eat For You")—executives, bankers, brokers, etc. Finally, supporting them all is the Working Class ("We Work For All; We Feed All.") That's you unless you choose to climb the pyramid.   [Click on the image to see a larger version.]
A caution: Beware the demagogue or the fool who has all the answers (or gets them from FOX 'News' or Twitter); the world is never that simple.  Learn and practice critical thinking.  Throughout my lifetime reactionary, "conservative" factions in our national politics, along with their patrons and sycophants, have been working hard to weaken our democracy for their benefit.  In so doing they threaten serious, serious harm to you, me and future generations.  Their weapon is the people's ignorance.  Fight them; fight ignorance.

Every one of us common folk has the civic responsibility to stay well informed (see below the ☯) and to think critically in order to protect our democracy (a word derived from the Greek demos "common people" and kratos "strength, rule, government, governing body").

Another caution: We live in a captialist economy, otherwise termed an "Ownership Society", and sadly you weren't born into very much ownership. Sorry about that.

No matter where you go or what you do, your fortune will hang on the whim of the Owners of capital. Now, because you're white and most Owners in our country are white, you do enjoy some privilege (even though in being white you lack sufficiently active melanocytes). And if you happen to be male, well there's that too. But if you're going to be an Owner yourself, you have to be smarter and quicker than the Establishment Owners (and considering their inbreeding, that's not always hard to do).

It helps also to be well-trained at something useful to Owners. In the course of your lifetimes the concept of "work" will change drastically.  John Oliver gives us some clues as to the nature of the contributions future entrepreneurial efforts will demand of almost all workers.  In this video essay Oliver makes the point that to avoid the job-killing perils of automation, future contributors to the economy will be those who excel at non-routine tasks involving

There you have it: if you continuously develop these skills there will always be a demand for your services on any path you choose.

In truth, that's what this website is all about.  Whatever wisdom you find here is all you'll have of me—all I've learned and all I know—once I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Sites with regular updates of the insanity that has become our country's politics.


Podcasts I listen to fairly regularly (they're easy to listen to in bunches)


People I pay attention to – I live on a hill; I have a tendency to lean sometimes.

People who lean to the right

People in the balanced middle

People who lean to the left

Economists

Polling gurus

Political comedians

Political cartoonists

BallotPedia is an excellent source for all things political. Indivisible contains the master guide for resisting the Trump agenda. GovTrack is a resource for tracking legislation in the US Congress. At Vote Smart every candidate and elected official from President to local government can be easily and instantly accessed through the Voter's Self-Defense System. The 65, named for the 65 million Americans who rejected Trump on Election Day, provides scripts to be used when calling representatives on current issues.

Sources of unbiased, factual information to verify or disprove a stated "truth"...

You'd be wise to question critically any political party with which you affiliate. Whether or not you agree with a party's stated policies and platform, get to know each individual candidate's position on issues critical to the welfare of you, your family, your nation and the world before you consider voting. And always, always follow the money, it's the mother's milk of politics:


There are five 'major' political parties in the United States to choose from:


Oregon's US Senators are:

Jeff Merkley (D): Portland: (503) 326-3386; Other locations

Ron Wyden (D): Portland: (503) 326-7525; Other locations


Oregon's District 3 (from Portland to Mt. Hood, and from the Columbia to Colton) is represented by Earl Blumenauer (D):

Portland: (503) 231-2300

Washington, DC: (202) 225-4811


In District 1 (including most of Yamhill, Washington, Columbia and Clatsop counties) it's Suzanne Bonamici (D):

Beaverton: (503) 469-6010

Washington, DC: (202) 225-0855


In District 5 (rural northwest Oregon from the Cascades to the Coast) it's Kurt Schrader (D):

Salem: (503) 588-9100

Oregon City: (503) 557-1324

Washington, DC: (202) 225-5711


If you live anywhere else in the US, go here to find your US Representative by ZIP.

To find your Oregon state senator and representative go here and put in your street address.

If you live in the state of Washington, go here to find your state representatives.


One thing I'll be doing a lot of with regularity over the next four years (I can feel it) is calling Mr. Blumenauer's, Mr. Merkley's and Mr. Wyden's offices whenever I'm pissed about something new, which may well be occurring hourly. I have them all on speed dial.

The US Census Bureau has a really cool site with a remarkable volume of data about our population and geography. One particularly interesting page gives you access to statistics by Congressional District focused on demographics, housing, education, business, socio-economic factors, occupation, etc.