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                                                 An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

                                                                                                                                        Dr. Tiffany B. Twain

                                                                                                                          Revised Version, December 30, 2016

Dear President Obama,

Thank you greatly for your commendable service to the American people!  You have preformed remarkably well under the most challenging circumstances, especially in light of the economic mess in which George W. Bush left the country and then all the roadblocks Republican politicians erected in their concerted efforts to make you fail for their own outrageously selfish political gain.

I am very concerned that the Trump administration and Republican-dominated Congress threaten our democracy.  I have articulated these concerns at length with an evaluation of the unbelievably long list of ways that Republicans threaten our democracy in my online essay Demagoguery and the Dangers of the Demise of Democracy, and in my Open Letter to Vice President Joe Biden.

I feel strongly that an independent judiciary is the last bulwark against the threats posed by despotic domination, so I appeal to you in the strongest possible terms to make a recess appointment during the “inter-session” recess between outgoing and incoming Congresses to appoint your eminently qualified nominee Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.  Please read this Open Letter into the Congressional Record in support of this far-sighted and eminently fair-minded action.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared soon after Antonin Scalia died that the American people should be allowed to decide whom the next Supreme Court Justice should be.  Let’s all agree with this, and let's be scrupulously honest for a change.  Republicans have only pretended to listen to the voices of the people for many years now, because they have been so busily prepossessed with doing the bidding of their rich masters.  Making matters much worse, this is only one in a long, long list of double-crossing dirty tricks that Republicans have treacherously used to gain power.  Not least of these tricks are the bad trade deals that have shipped so many millions of jobs overseas.  The 1994 NAFTA trade deal that Mr. Trump so vilified, for instance, was supported by 75% of Republicans in Congress, while 60% of Democrats opposed it due to its inadequate worker protections.

Abraham Lincoln once stated, early in his life, that his greatest ambition was to be truly esteemed of his fellow men, and to be deserving of that high regard by rendering himself worthy of their esteem.  I call on Republicans to demonstrate a shred of worthiness of esteem by supporting this action.

If the voices of the people are to be respected, then the fact that Hillary Clinton got in excess of 2,850,000 more votes than Donald Trump would hold sway.  Also, Mr. Trump and other Republican politicians concealed many facts and intentions from the people, and the emotions of the people were crassly manipulated during the heat of the campaign.  A vote right now would almost certainly find that a significant majority of Americans would want a modicum of “checks and balances” against the potential for malfeasance and repression by the incoming administration.  I would wager that if ten million people were given a non-partisan evaluation of Merrick Garland’s qualifications and the ominous developments in Trump's choices to rule at the nexus of power, and if they read the two documents referred to above, more than 90% of people would support this recess appointment.

Your legacy, President Obama, will suffer greatly at the hands of these power abusers, and the only way to now protect it is to ensure that the Supreme Court remains undominated by ideological conservatives for a while until Republicans have their chance to appoint a hard-line right-wing judge to the Supreme Court.  The coming years will be eventful, and the people will see clearly how great the value is in having retained this last check against despotic abuses of power.

Much fanfare and fury has been made about the Supreme Court replacement for Antonin Scalia on account of hot button issues and partisan politics like abortion rights and voting rights, but make no mistake about it, the most important issue to conservatives is about judicial stances that favor corporations over the vast majority of the American people.  What Republicans want is an ideological judge, not an impartial one.  They want someone in the mold of Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas or Scalia himself, for they can't stand the thought of having a more progressive Court.  After all, they have exceedingly wealthy patrons who have big alternative expectations in return for their political contributions.

Provocatively, Sandra Day O'Connor expressed a crucially important understanding after retiring from her position on the Supreme Court, emphasizing that our courts must remain independent from politics, stating: "… some political attacks on the independence of the courts pose a direct threat to the constitutional freedoms of Americans."  She has also pointed out that judicial independence is under serious attack at the state level as well as the national level, and she astutely added, "it takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

We have taken a big step toward unlimited power in the hands of potentially ruthless abusers of power and betrayers of the public trust, and now we need to have the Supreme Court positioned to ethically oppose the most outrageous actions that will be taken in coming months.

Conservatives sanctimoniously preach sermons of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency to the masses, along with a whole righteous constellation of Strict Father strictures, but under the cover of this catechism of indoctrinating mass persuasion, they abuse the power of their domineering position to facilitate extremely irresponsible policies at both the state and national level.  These private and public policies are socially irresponsible and fiscally irresponsible and environmentally irresponsible.

This may seem like a preposterous allegation, but it is true.  Understand the dimensions of this deceitful scheme and the hypocritical despotism that undergirds it.  First and foremost, "conservatives" have been the primary driving force behind the enabling of the worst financial scam in world history, which has allowed rich people to gain an estimated $30 trillion in wealth while the U.S. national debt has been run up from less than $1 trillion to almost $20 trillion since 1981.  While engaged in this exceedingly fiscally irresponsible indulgence, the wealth that the richest 1% of Americans have managed to concentrate in their own greedy hands has been artificially inflated by a fraudulent scheme of allowing corporate tools of wealth-creation to externalize many costs associated with producing products onto society.  Once again, the principal unprincipled proponents of facilitating this scam have been Republicans who sell this financial folly under a cloak of anti-regulatory righteousness.

Republicans are promising to chip away with renewed resolve at the New Deal social safety net, correctly pointing out that we cannot afford the costs while giving rich people a new round of huge tax breaks.  Now that we have driven the national debt to intolerably risky highs, we can only afford one set of national plans:  bigger tax breaks for the wealthiest 1%, or preserving benefits for the 99%. 

Our economic and political system has been accurately described by Noam Chomsky as "socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor."  The delightfully named Chomsky is an insightful American linguist, philosopher, historian, social critic and political activist whose ideas are examined in the thought-provoking documentary film Requiem for the American Dream: Noam Chomsky and the Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.

Chomsky explains how concentrated wealth creates concentrated power, which legislates further concentration of wealth, which then concentrates more power in a vicious cycle.  This cycle is about to get much more vicious with the hubris-filled and empathy-deficient Trump in power.  Chomsky lists ten ways in which wealth and power are concentrated, and elaborates on them.  These “principles” have been used by wealthy conservatives in the United States with focused and intense intent for more than 40 years.  These ten unprincipled strategies include:

1. Undermine Democracy to prevent the will of the people from being expressed and fair representation of the people from being enacted.

2. Shape Ideology to primarily benefit the wealthy.

3. Redesign the Economy.  This involves "promoting job insecurity" for working people to benefit crony capitalists.

4. Shift the Burden of taxes and externalized costs from corporate entities to the people.

5. Attack Solidarity by using demagoguery to undermine the normal emotion of caring about others.

6. Run the Regulators so that the interest groups being regulated are the ones that control the regulators.

7. Engineer Elections by creating the idea of corporate personhood and equating money with free speech, and eliminating all limits on election spending with Supreme Court rulings like the Citizens United ruling and the McCutcheon ruling.

8. Keep the Rabble in Line by attacking collective bargaining rights of workers and organized labor, and by intimidating anyone who objects to any of these strategies.

9. Manufacture Consent through persuasive promotion both of consumerism and of politicians who advocate these schemes.

10. Marginalize the Population by finding clever new ways to suppress the voices of the people and keep the best interests of the people subordinated to the narrow interests of plutocrats and the ruling elite in our oligarchy.

Noam Chomsky says that, unless these trends are reversed, things are going to get very ugly.  This seems to be a choice between reducing inequality or reducing democracy.  “The burst of activism and democracy in the United States in the 1960s scared the protectors of wealth and privilege, and Chomsky admits that he did not anticipate the strength of the backlash through which we have been suffering since.”

David Swanson in Let's Try Democracy points out an omission in this Chomsky list:

11. Dump Massive Funding into Militarism.  Why should this be included? Well, militarism is the biggest public program in the United States.  It's over half of federal discretionary spending.  If you're going to claim that lobbyists are concentrating wealth through their influence on the government, why not notice the single budget item that eats up over half the budget?  It does indeed concentrate wealth and also power.  It's a vast pot of unaccountable funding for cronies.  And it generates public interest in fighting foreign enemies rather than enemies hanging out on Wall Street.  It does militarize the police for free, however, just in case Wall Street generates any disgruntled customers.”

I add another Trumpian demagogic tactic to this list of ways that power abusers increase the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few:

12. Sow division and confusion.  By disregarding science, denying facts about the negative impacts of their preferred policies, and promoting lies, fake news and twittered oversimplifications, they deceive the people into believing preposterous things and supporting their scam.

The American people must stand up and say “I'm sick of this doggerel” -- we've got to get mad as hell and tell our damned leaders we're not going to take it anymore!  Requiem for the American Dream concludes with a call to build mass movements for change.  “The United States still has a very free society, Chomsky advises.  A lot can be done, he tells us, if people will only choose to do it.”  NOW is the time!  Let’s REALLY try democracy, with its attendant fairer representation of the true best interests of the 99% of the people.

The Emperor Party has no clothes, and stands naked before us in all its embarrassing indignity and lack of moral integrity.  Let the light of illumination contained in this Open Letter diminish its illegitimately gained authority!

A Big Picture Perspective

The American people have just narrowly handed almost unchecked power to greedily eager power abusers who promise to make the rich richer and everyone else poorer.  At this juncture in history, with inequality already at levels not seen since the Gilded Age and just before the Depression of the 1930s, this extremely anti-egalitarian plan will stimulate anger and social unrest and revolutionary discord -- and almost certainly, violent repression in reaction.

Look what's happening here, as it becomes increasingly clear.  A political party with the most socially retrograde and reactionary national platform in memory has just lied and cheated and deceived its way into dominating power after eight years of extremely coldly-calculated obstruction of common good goals and plans, and "conservatives" have taken power away from a political party that offered the most progressive national platform ever formulated in U.S. history.  This is a real sad thing for the prospects of all Americans, and indeed it spells deep trouble for all of humankind and all life on Earth.

The implications for the future of this greedy power grab, achieved through a truly underhanded litany of demagogic and disreputable means, are ominously anti-social and anti-environmental.  Freedom-loving people have just chosen to give power to shysters and con men who effectively promise to destroy America by radically enriching the rich and impoverishing the poor and undermining the social safety net and imposing more harshly discriminatory policies against women and children and working people and African Americans and Latinos and gay people and others in minority groups.

This is a triumph of cynical calculation over fair-mindedness, and it will prove to be a tragically Pyrrhic victory even for Republicans, for they are going to be forcing an agenda onto the American people that is so contrary to honorable values of fairly-shared prosperity and respectably-defended personal liberties and inclusive national planning as to invite revolutionary conflict.  Manipulative demagogues have gained power, and they are firing up their propaganda machine to really begin forcing their agenda on the people, and the coming strife is going to be ugly and destructive.

Mr. Trump's chief strategist has predicted that the Republican Party is going to do such a bang up good job that Republicans will rule for 50 years.  It would be downright dumb to bet on this outcome.  This prediction has been made by Steve Bannon, the alt-right propagandist and fiction peddler and conspiracy theory propagator.  Curiously, this hyperbole is reminiscent of Jack London's expectation that his beautiful 26-room "Wolf House" mansion with its nine stone fireplaces would stand for a thousand years, and of Adolf Hitler's vaunted boast that his Third Reich would last a thousand years.  As it turned out, the Wolf House burned down just before Jack and his second wife Charmian were to move in, and Hitler's Third Reich fell less than 13 years after he gained power in January 1933 and then overthrew democracy in Germany overnight after a suspicious fire in the German Reichstag building one month later, at the end of February 1933.  How long will Trump cling to power?  And would he give up power if he is impeached -- or if our democracy survives long enough for him to be voted out of office?

Personally, I wouldn't bet on the probability that Republicans are going to do such a bang-up good job that people will commemorate the fine day that they cheated Hillary Clinton out of the presidency and deprived Democrats of a majority in the Senate -- and destroyed the chance for the most progressive national platform ever set forth by a political party in the land of the free to be instituted.  No, it's not likely this will turn out well, and it much more likely will be a far-reaching disaster.  The odds are that this episode will live in infamy, and that the only way Republicans will be able to cling to power will be with harshly repressive force or the distractions of a Wag the Dog war.

Imagine being in London in February of 1848, when the Communist Manifesto was published with its provocative opening line, "A specter is haunting Europe ...".  That famous treatise, written by Karl Marx with the assistance of a group of German-born revolutionary socialists, was a philosophic declaration that championed the rights of working people to unite against the exploitation of wage laborers by ruthless capitalists and the ruling class.

With every great blessing comes a curse.  Dr. Leonard Shlain provocatively explored one formative instance of this phenomenon in his thought-provoking The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image about the advent of alphabets and the proliferation of literacy in ancient civilizations and the correlated revolutionary changes that these developments had on the human brain and worldviews and civilizations. 

Conversely, with every great curse, there is often some kernel of blessing.  Tens of million of Americans and billions of people worldwide regard the rashly unreasoned triumph of Donald Trump as the beginning of a terrifying curse, and there are a many valid reasons for this far-reaching concern.  It is exceedingly sad and pathetic that progressive-minded people will now be forced to take defensive stands against ruthlessly retrograde Republican policies, instead of being positioned to create a fairer, safer and more sustainable world.  But there is also an inkling of a blessing already manifesting itself in communities throughout the United States, a blessing of heightened awareness of the deep-seated wrongs in American society today.

Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor who served as supervisor of voting rights cases in the Justice Department of your administration, Mr. President, has noted: “Nearly every president has probably done something that a court has later held unconstitutional or contrary to law.  But I can’t think of one who had such an across-the-board combination of ignorance, indifference and defiance” as Donald Trump.  This is why more than 40 constitutional law professors have signed an open letter to Trump urging him to reconsider his views on several legal issues, including flag-burning and freedom of the press. 

When Trump supporters realize that the notorious con man has lied to them about caring about them more than his own fortune and the advantages of rich people, they are going to be furious.   When they see that Trump is championing policies that undermine opportunity and give rich people extraordinary perks at their expense, the pitchforks will come out.  He and his generals will be ready for this fury with a repressive police state to intimidate those who object.  It is almost inevitable that instead of becoming a real champion of the people, Trump will defensively and vindictively treat them in a cold-blooded way that will be shocking in the extent that it will be "harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive.”

Those four adjectives were actually uttered by a federal judge who was referring to coldblooded techniques used by Steve Mnuchin, Trump's nominee for treasury secretary, who is a former Goldman Sachs executive who got rich at the expense of working Americans by running a bank called a "foreclosure machine" that kicked people out of their houses.

In any case, the writing is on the wall.  Trump has blatantly lied to his supporters about what he is going to do to them, and he is insidiously undermining the foundations of the common good.  After having deceived his supporters, he is now double-crossing them even worse than Republicans have done for the last 36 years with their insidious trickle down Big Lies.

Abraham Lincoln once stated, early in his life, that his greatest ambition was to be truly esteemed of his fellow men, and to be deserving of that high regard by rendering himself worthy of their esteem.  That is a noble and worthy sentiment of a good leader.  I feel strongly that history will regard you, Mr. President, rather highly in this regard, and that in stark contrast, it appears that the greatest ambition of most of our political representatives is of a much meaner and more myopic motivation, and an immoderate obsession with unlimited power.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

                                                                                                                                     --- The Bible, Mark 8:36

We cannot wait for huge tax breaks for the rich to trickle down to the restive masses like crumbs of manna from the plates of mindlessly feasting and mentally obese giants in some Homerian odyssey of wandering heroes trying to find their way home.  We should recognize that it is human nature for people to accept being used to a certain extent, but to hate being disregarded, disrespected or discarded.  A new and more severe betrayal of We the People during the tenure of the next presidency will likely prove to be the last straw with people whose best interests have been ignored for too long.

The practical and insightful billionaire entrepreneur Nick Hanauer provides thinking people with powerful reasons to support fairer national policies.  I encourage everyone to read his sensational article The Pitchforks Are Coming … For Us Plutocrats.  In it, he makes clear that the proverbial pitchforks will inevitably come out for the plutocrats and the ruling elites if they don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy and instead impose new rashly regressive tax-cut plans that make income and wealth inequality much more extreme than they are already.  Nick Hanauer made this sensational observation: 

“… I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds:  It won’t last.  If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us.  No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality.  In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out.  You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state.  Or an uprising.  There are no counterexamples.  None.  It’s not if, it’s when."

A grand illusion hides behind the apparent bitter divisiveness in our politics today.  There is a deeper bipartisan consensus in which Big Money donors have bought our democracy and staunchly oppose any real changes to the planks that underpin this fraud.  This is why glaringly needed reforms have not been enacted.  Charles Ferguson writes about this Inside Job situation with incisive understanding and persuasive insight in Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America.  He points out that we have a political duopoly system in the U.S. that is dominatingly controlled by moneyed interests, so the government almost always acts in matters of tax and spending policy to primarily benefit the wealthy few.  They do this in part through the influence of a cunning manipulation of public opinion by people in “conservative” think tanks and the media so that public opinion can be used to support and even defend these corrupt aspects of the status quo.  The Twittering Trumpster is very likely to make this state of affairs much worse by rigging the system even more unfairly than it already is.  The fix we need is NOT the fix that he plans on putting into effect.

Revolutionary unrest would result from Trump’s plans to double down on trickle-down tax policy, and this social turmoil would almost certainly be violently suppressed by Trump because of his thin-skinned narcissistic character and his exaggerated authoritarian tendencies and his reactive and vindictive personality. Understand this clearly.  The Big Lie trickle-down theory has created disastrous social and environmental outcomes due to the wrongheaded national priorities it forces on our country, and the resulting severe inadequacy of funding that this deceitful ideology allows for greater good goals.  It is high time that we stop assessing foolishly low tax rates on people's highest levels of income, and make our national tax system honestly fairer and more progressive by making it more steeply graduated.  Bigger investments in social well-being are called for -- and they should be paid for, NOT just added to an already exorbitantly high and risky level of our $20 trillion national debt.

For 36 years, it has been our highest national priority to facilitate this consequential scam regressive taxation benefitting the rich and austerity for the masses.  The policies that facilitate this scheme must now rightly lose their top priority in our national politics, and be rejected.  "We've been had", my fellow Americans!  Not only have we been taken for a ride in the past 36 years by charlatan preachers of the trickle down Big Lie, but now we've been tricked by demagogues seizing power who are madly intent on ratcheting up inequalities and economic injustices by acting to concentrate wealth even more radically in the hands of the few.  This will dangerously turn up the heat under the pressure cooker of widespread social discontent.  As jealous people in power prepare to harshly defend the extreme unfairness of this state of affairs, it is clear that they will quash dissent and further militarize authority against all who stand in their way.  Tens of millions of Americans are mad, and we should be rising up in solidarity and declaring that “we're not going to take it anymore”.  But instead, we are marching like hapless lemmings or mindless zombies to the indoctrinating propaganda of trumpeting media minarets of mass emotional persuasion, obediently following sly manufacturers of consent who seek support for the legitimizing of their misbegotten authority so that they can despotically abuse power.  

Our Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves, and the ghost of their defining values looms up and issues a stern warning:  Make this a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, or else invite revolutionary unrest.

An apparition of the Goddess of Supreme Irony hovers in the heavens above us, for SURPRISE! -- at the end of the day, national policies that are fairer for the 99% prove to be much better for the 1% themselves in the bigger picture.  The cost of social insurance policies that will make our societies fairer and healthier, as wise Solon foresaw more than 2,500 years ago, is well worth the common good compromises required.

Studies have found that people who make more than $75,000 in income per year are no happier than those who make that amount.  So here we are, structuring our entire national political purpose to give low tax rates to rich people, and it turns out that they are no happier for it, AND that we’re creating growing risks to the well-being of everyone by allowing our political system to be rigged so idiotically to benefit these unappreciative entitled few.  Our “conservative” leaders are acting rashly to sacrifice social justice, fair-minded democratic governance, sustainable existence, and the natural environment just to perpetuate this über-scam of giving wealthy people low tax rates.

Let’s wake up!  Developments since the election reveal more clearly how Trump intends to govern, and the signs are frightening.  Instead of “acting presidential”, Trump is acting like a ruthless despot.  He is merging Tea Party establishment politicians with ultra-right extremists, and he is amplifying his propaganda messaging to further exploit people’s fears and gullibility and sheepishly dutiful acquiescence to anti-egalitarian and authoritarian leadership.

It is bizarre that the downtrodden in the USA have been fooled into thinking that Trump cares more about them than about wealthy people.  He is, after all, the epitome of elitism with all his wealth and arrogance and business involvements in gambling casinos and luxury hotels and elite golf courses in the U.S. and many countries abroad.  The Trump brand is designed to exemplify luxury and exclusivity, not inclusivity, and the Trump family has trampled countless people and communities in the course of its development mania, and Mr. Trump has done extensive harm to natural ecosystems that have been in his way.  He has also excessively exploited our legal system to advance his greedy self-interests and done highly irregular self-dealing with his charitable foundation.  And his tax plans and anti-regulatory ideologies are focused on giving a big boost to financial elites at the expense of everyone else. 

We have a growing need for smart, socially intelligent, emotionally honest and farsighted leaders to deal effectively and fairly with the big challenges faced by humankind -- how to make the worldwide retreat from globalization and international cooperation safer, how to deal with scarcities of natural resources and land and fresh water, how to take steps to mitigate the effects of global warming and disruptions of weather patterns and rising sea levels, what to do about terrorism and blind faith and rising intolerance and increasing numbers of refugees, how to respond to dangerous salvos of trade protectionism, and how to reverse the rise of right-wing authoritarian strong men who promise to make people safe again through militarism, scapegoating, xenophobic isolationism and a poisonous cocktail of unchecked authority, corporatism, “deregulation”, trickle down tax policies, violent suppression of dissent, and a phalanx of anti-democratic measures that violate expansive concepts of Right Mindfulness, Right Understanding and Right Action.

Another reason we need a Supreme Court not dominated by ideological conservatives is to protect the American people from “regulatory capture.”  Regulatory agencies often fail to act in the public interest because of the phenomenon.  Regulatory capture refers to the process by which powerful vested interest groups and their lobbyists succeed in getting what they want for themselves at the expense of the greater public interest.  When such regulatory capture occurs, dominant businesses and industries use their insider political power and financial resources to “capture” favors from regulatory agencies, instead of allowing the agencies to fulfill their true purposes.  Regulatory capture operates in ways similar to the Tragedy of the Commons phenomenon in which individuals or groups with high-stakes interests in regulatory decisions or policy outcomes focus their energies and resources to gain outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, who each have only a small and less focused individual stake in the outcome, are much less influential.  When intently focused entities devote their energies to particular policies by successfully capturing agencies whose purpose is to regulate them, it almost always undermines the greater good.  One glaring instance of this was the failure of regulatory agencies like the Federal Reserve and the SEC to anticipate and prevent the financial meltdown of 2008-2009.

Today, as your tenure approaches its end, President Obama, crony capitalist corruption is coming to roost in the next administration, and corporations no longer need to achieve regulatory capture because they have succeeded in a hostile takeover of the leadership of the agencies themselves, and they appear to be intent on purging these institutions of anyone who courageously stands up for the missions the agencies were established to fulfill.  This means that giant corporations will encounter fewer obstacles in their drive to get the government to allow them to maximize private profits by externalizing costs onto people and damaging the environmental commons.

Oops!  What conservatives have wanted all along is to allow wealthy donors and giant corporations to use the bastard excessive influence of their influence to emasculate regulations altogether.  This will help them to monopolize the economy and grab a much bigger slice of the economic pie for themselves.  It will also allow them to more easily evade their truest responsibilities to employees and communities and We the People and humanity as a whole.  As Trump chooses Cabinet officials who are ideologically committed to subverting the protective purposes of the missions of regulatory agencies, it is becoming increasingly probable that the American people are going to get really screwed by this treachery.

On another note, it is pathologically sad that one consequential impact of Trump’s treachery in using emotion-hijacking demagoguery and deceit to grab power is to have shattered women’s hopes for a new era of strong women in positions of public leadership and the new possibilities that a woman president would have meant for economic and political empowerment of women in the United States and around the world.

The creation and maintenance of a strong safety net is the best way to prevent social turmoil.  A good safety net contains broadly beneficial social programs that support expanded opportunities and good public education and universal healthcare and such things.  Big picture understandings reveal that good governance involves investing in the people and fostering trust that their best interests are fairly represented, and taking courageous steps to prevent a few powerful people from dominating decision-making for their own narrow ends.

The great Mark Twain once declared, “Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”  Substitute tweeted deceptions, lies and propaganda for petrified opinion, and it appears clear that the chains of oppression will not have a chance in hell of making America great again.

The American people are going to be hearing that Donald Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress have been given a mandate.  But the mandate they have been given is to improve the lives of forgotten people, not to wage harsh new offensives against working people and the social safety net and protections of the environment.  In their bait-and-switch schemes, they are about to give huge benefits to rich people and begin chipping away in earnest at Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, women’s rights, and clear air and clean water, and they are planning to allow an acceleration of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere that will have devastating ramifications on people in future generations who will have to deal with the unimaginably costly consequences.  They will do this for two principal unprincipled reasons:  to maximize private profits by socializing costs, and to gain personal benefits -- money and power -- from the pleased donor class that receives the lion’s share of these artificially boosted profits.

The American people did not vote for these things.  In the big picture, Republicans have gained power by deftly pretending to care about what is best for our nation and its people while pandering mainly to wealthy people to gain power, and then they have abused their ill-gotten power to rig our economic and political systems ever more radically in favor of wealthy people at the expense of all others.  Any leader who really wants to do "what is best for our nation" would now pivot to demonstrating more concern for the 99% than the 1%.

Again the words of the great Founding Father Alexander Hamilton reverberate with important vision:  "Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments."

Freedom is the magnetic true north of the American people.  Cherishing personal liberties, We the People are alarmed at the ascension to domineering power of hard-line autocratic leaders in many nations worldwide in reaction to fanned flames of immigrants from abroad. 

In conclusion, the American people deserve to be reassured that Donald Trump will rule in the interests of all the people, and a judiciary not dominated by ideological conservatives is exactly what we need to feel this confidence.  Please appoint Merrick Garland on January 3rd!

 Thanks!

     Dr. Tiffany B. Twain

      December 28, 2016

Tiffany Twain is the philosophic soul mate of Mark Twain and imagines herself to be “the illegitimate great-granddaughter of this highly esteemed and irreverent writer, lecturer, humorist and philosopher.”  She has published the first ten of Twelve Books of the Earth Manifesto, a save-the-world treatise that contains wide-ranging and far-sighted observations dealing with all the biggest issues facing humanity here in the second decade of the 21st century.  Check it out!

Frankly, Dr. Tiffany B. Twain is a nom de plume, just like Mark Twain was a sly pen name that was used by Samuel Langhorne Clemens.  How this whole project came about is a long and evolving story, and one that is better left a mystery than being disclosed in the full scope of more prosaic actual circumstances.  See the autobiographical assertions made in Happy Harbingers in Good Ideas for a Better Future for some interesting images.

“Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the important thing is the IDEAS THEMSELVES, and not the author.  Yet it is necessary to say that she is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of influence, public or private, other than the influence of reason and principle.”

                                                                                                                                -- Thomas Paine (gender revised)

I treasure my anonymity, but if you would like to contact me, please do so at SaveTruffulaTrees@hotmail.com