I’m pro-life: in favor of Medicare for all, a healthy environment, and gun control

I’m pro-life for adults and for later-term fetuses, but I’m pro-choice for early-term fetuses.  However, it seems that many conservative Americans are pro-life only for fetuses but not so much for children and adults.

Real pro-life includes everyone, not just fetuses. So, I’m in favor of government-guaranteed medical care for everyone.  And I’m in favor of stringent environmental regulations.

Here are some links about how harmful auto and truck traffic are to human health.

Many daycare centers and schools are dangerously close to busy roads.
http://www.invw.org/series/exhausted-at-school/

Living near highways bad for lungs
http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/air-pollution/highways.html

Living close to a major roadway could increase dementia, study says
http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/04/health/dementia-risk-living-near-major-road/index.html

Roads are harmful to pregnant women
http://envhealthcenters.usc.edu/infographics/infographic-living-near-busy-roads-or-traffic-pollution/references-living-near-busy-roads-or-traffic-pollution

Road pollution associated with increased breast cancer
https://nypost.com/2017/04/06/the-roads-you-live-near-affect-the-health-of-your-boobs/

Road pollution bad for heart health
https://news.heart.org/living-near-busy-roads-may-bad-heart-patients-health/

Then there are the indisputable negative effects of carbon pollution on the climate change.

How to win hearts and minds

Winning hearts and minds would be a LOT easier if the Left controlled more media. The Right has Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting, Breitbart, AM talk radio, etc. Nationally there are a few lefty media outlets. We need local ones that we control. The numerous lefty and Democratic interests should band together and organize a news and opinion website and/or radio station that is owned by no single group but is managed by a nonprofit aligned with liberal/progressive values.

There are plenty of wealthy progressives in Washington State. Funding such a non-profit should be feasible.

Crowd-funded journalism is needed, because newspapers are closing and down-sizing.

Trump’s broken campaign promises

From Robert Reich:

Almost one year in, it’s time for another update for Trump voters on his election promises:

1. He told you he’d cut your taxes, and that the super-rich like him would pay more. You bought it. But his new tax law does the opposite. by 2027, according the nonpartisan analyses, the richest 1 percent will have got 83 percent of the tax cut and the richest 0.1 percent, 60 percent of it. As Trump told his wealthy friends at Mar-a-Lago last week, “You all just got a lot richer.”

2. He promised to close “special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors but unfair to American workers,” especially the notorious “carried interest” loophole for private-equity, hedge fund, and real estate partners. You bought it. But the loophole is still there. The new tax law keeps it.

3. He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “beautiful.” You bought it. But he didn’t repeal and he didn’t replace. (Just as well: His plan would have knocked at least 23 million off health insurance, including many of you.) Instead, he’s doing what he can to cut it back and replace it with nothing. The new tax law will result in 13 million people losing health coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

4. He told you he’d invest $1 trillion in our nation’ crumbling infrastructure. You bought it. But after his giant tax cut for corporations and millionaires, there’s no money left for infrastructure.

5. He said he’d clean the Washington swamp. You bought it. But he’s brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses, and he’s filled departments and agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they recently worked for.

6. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. But he has created the most dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, and has already fired and replaced so many assistants (one of them hired and fired in a little more than a week) that people there barely know who’s in charge of what.

7. He told you he’d “bring down drug prices” by making deals with drug companies. You bought it. But now the White House says that promise is “inoperative.”

8. He promised “a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.” You bought it. But foreign lobbyists are still raising money for American elections.

9. He told you “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” You bought it. But he and House Speaker Paul Ryan are already planning such cuts in order to deal with the ballooning deficit created, in part, by the new tax law for corporations and the rich.

10. He promised “six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.” You bought it. But the giant tax cut for corporations and the rich doesn’t leave any money for this.

11. He said that on Day One he’d label China a “currency manipulator.” You bought it. But then he met with China’s president Xi Jinping and declared “China is not a currency manipulator.” Ever since then, Trump has been cozying up to Xi.

12. He said he wouldn’t bomb Syria. You bought it. But then he bombed Syria.

13. He said he’d build a “wall” across the southern border. You believed him. But there’s no money for that, either. Chief of staff John Kelly says it is “unlikely that we will build a wall, a physical barrier, from sea to shining sea.”

14. He promised that the many women who accused him of sexual misconduct “will be sued after the election is over.” You bought it. He hasn’t sued them.

15. He said he “would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off,” and he called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief.” You bought it. But he has spent nearly 25 percent of his days at one of his golf properties for some portion of the day, according to Golf News Network, at a cost to taxpayers of over $77 million. That’s already more taxpayer money on vacations than Obama cost in the first 3 years of his presidency. Not to mention all the money taxpayers are spending protecting his family, including his two sons who travel all over the world on Trump business.

16. He said he’d force companies to keep jobs in America, and that there would be “consequences” for companies that shipped jobs abroad. You believed him. But despite their promises, Carrier, Ford, GM, and the rest have continued to ship jobs to Mexico and China. Carrier (a division of United Technologies) has moved ahead with plans to send 1,000 jobs at its Indiana plant to Mexico. Notwithstanding, the federal government has rewarded United Technologies with 15 new contracts since Trump’s inauguration. Last year, Microsoft opened a new factory in Wilsonville, Oregon, that was supposed to herald a new era in domestic tech manufacturing. But in July, the company announced it was closing the plant. More than 100 workers and contractors will lose their jobs when production shifts to China. GE is sending jobs to Canada. IBM is sending them to Costa Rica, Egypt, Argentina, and Brazil. There have been no “consequences” for sending all these jobs overseas.

17. He promised to revive the struggling coal industry and “bring back thousands” of lost mining jobs. You bought it. But coal jobs continue to disappear. Since Trump’s victory, at least 6 plants that relied on coal have closed or announced they will close. Another 40 are projected to close during the president’s four-year term. Utilities continue to switch to natural gas instead of coal.

18. He promised to protect steel workers. But according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, which tracks shipments, steel imports were 19.4 percent higher in the first 10 months of 2017 than in the same period last year. That import surge has hurt American steel workers, already struggling against a glut of cheap Chinese steel. For example, ArcelorMittal just announced it will soon lay off 150 of its 207 steel workers at its plant in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

19. He said he’d make America safer. You believed him. But according to Mass Shooting Tracker, there have been 377 mass shootings so far this year, including 58 people killed and hundreds injured at a concert in Las Vegas, and 26 churchgoers killed and 20 injured at a church in Texas. Trump refuses to consider any gun controls.

20. He said he’d release his taxes. “I’m under a routine audit and it’ll be released, and as soon as the audit is finished it will be released.” He hasn’t released his taxes.

Facebook is a business. People try to use it for sharing with friends and for political organizing.

I spend a lot of time on facebook, and I notice many of my friends spend time there too.

Mostly I use facebook to share political content: either content that I’ve found interesting or content that I myself created (articles, animations, witticisms, or images).

I also use facebook for fun: cat photos, silly memes, etc.

When one posts something on facebook, one never knows how many people will view the post. Facebook prompts you to pay money to promote the content.

In this podcast, Sam Harris mentions that he sometimes pays facebook money to promote his posts — in cases where he really wants his followers to know about the content.

It’s obvious that facebook is a business whose purpose is to earn money. Nor can we expect them to be entirely philanthropic.

But given the widespread reliance on facebook for education and sharing of information, it behooves us to be aware of the platform’s limitations and to work towards open source alternatives that will better server our needs.

One way to work around facebook’s limitations is to proactively visit the pages of people and groups that we are interested in. Another way is to mention people by name in our posts if we want those people to notice our content. (That feature could be abused and has been abused by some of my friends.)

alternativeTo lists some open source alternatives to facebook.

The issues involved with creating a social network are not at all straightforward, as the issue of fake news demonstrates. People want to use facebook as a soapbox to promote their own ideas. Some of the content is nutty or misinformed. The technical difficulties and the cost are significant too.

But I strongly feel that we need a wikipedia-like open source alternative to facebook that makes the algorithms and choices visible and customizable.

Donald Trump dreams of a (racially) white Christmas

I'm dreaming of a "white" Christmas
with every fascist I appoint. 
Where we fill the prisons 
and people listen to skinheads 
marching in the streets. 
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
with every stupid tweet I write. 
May there be no Latinos or Muslims
in my sight. 
And may my policies help
the wealthy and the white.

Donald Trump dreams of a “White” Christmas

I'm dreaming of a "white" Christmas 
With every Fascist I appoint
Where we fill the prisons 
And people listen to skinheads marching in the streets. 
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas with every stupid tweet I write. 
May my policies help the wealthy and the white
And may there be no Latinos or Muslims in my sight.