Hear My Father 7/10/19

Father’s lessons – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Sometimes the personal overrides the burning political—just before it doubles back to connect. For me, I reflect on this day of my late father, who would be 94 today had he lived. He was a mentor, a teacher, a counselor, and a friend. He taught me values that I continue to strive to uphold: integrity, honesty, fairness to all, courage, unbiased respect for all, care for the environment, care for and engagement in the community, grace, and generosity. In fact, in those rare moments I reach beyond my normal slothful greedy self, I can see him.

He was a member of that “greatest generation,” barely making it to high school graduation in the early 1940s before rushing to enlist in the Navy and shipped to the Philippines “for the duration.” So many never returned, so I am a lucky one—to even exist. He said almost nothing about his war experiences, but his lifetime peace activism spoke volumes.

Thomas John Hastings became a psychologist and both practiced and taught. His pro bono work was all at the VA in Minneapolis and he did a lot of it. Like all the peace vets I’ve ever known, his attitude was hate war, despise the chickenhawk politicians who drag us into most of them, and love the veterans.

Of course today’s polarized conceptually monochromatic political factions cannot abide nuanced thinking like that, so my Dad would be even more out of touch. He was friend to Israeli Jew and Palestinian, and not in a just surficial sense, but in deeper contexts he tried to help me understand, rooted in the long European persecution of Jews that culminated in the sincere attempt by Nazis to hunt and kill every last Jewish man, woman, and child; and anchored as well in understanding Palestinian history on that land and persecution in 1948 as hundreds of their villages were destroyed to make way for Israel.

It was tough to get my father interested in any political candidate and he never joined a political party. He taught me to be wary of talk and to check out action as speaking loudest. That does tend to give pause to any potential excitement about any candidate for office, though he seemed to vote maybe half third party and half Democratic Party for most of his life. Never Republican. Ever. He had respect for virtually all people but despised the pro-corporate, anti-environment, and often unjust actions taken by most elected Republicans. I pretty much agreed with him and was grateful for his tutelage.

He read voraciously, at least one paper a day, some magazines every week and month, and perhaps one book a week, on average. I appreciate his triangulation of evidence—he’d factcheck when curious or surprised, a trait I try to emulate.

My father never once held any ambitions to be wealthy, and gave away a lot. I saw him do that and I hope I learned.

One wonders what some fathers teach their sons. “Here’s how you screw the next guy.” “Beating someone is the best satisfaction you can get.” “Lying to get ahead is the way of the world.” “Dirty tricks are normal. Do them better than anyone else.” “Women are on this earth for men’s pleasure. Use ‘em.” “Get ahead and stay ahead. Never stop accumulating.”

The difference is painful and is on buck-naked display at the highest levels right now. I can hear my father as I listen to the daily news: “Cripes! Who raised him?

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court.

Interdependence 7/4/19

Happy Interdependence Day   – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Over the years, the traditions and cultural feelings associated with holidays change; Mothers’ Day began as a peace holiday and morphed into a gauzy Hallmarked thank you to Mothers in general, Veterans’ Day began as Armistice Day commemorating the cessation of bloodshed and the beginning of peace and prosperity but transmogrified into pure gratitude for armed forces, and Columbus Day is slowly converting to Indigenous Peoples Day of acknowledgement that we in America all live on land once occupied by the Original nations who were victims of genocide and massive theft.

So! Holiday change is the only thing permanent, to be a bit Buddhist about it. We might open ourselves to new possibilities.

Trump wants to hijack the 4th of July for his campaign and is willing to steal $2.5 million out of the National Park Service funds to run today’s DC event, where he will speak despite decades of presidents showing respect for the public event by graciously choosing not to orate in that event. Trump’s 4th is all about Dependence on his version of the strongman rule, flanked by military posturing with tanks and fighter jet flyovers–did Putin help him plan this?

Instead of Independence Day, can we consider moving our thinking toward Interdependence Day, a day in which we acknowledge that all deserve a place of safety, that all deserve refuge from war, that all deserve health care, and that all deserve an education, and that we are absolutely dependent on the health of our environment, our food, our air, and our water every day?

Celebrating the interdependence that creates our beautiful diversity and our magnificent strength makes so much more sense than the xenophobic militaristic bombast that we now see. As Trump moves against migrants, homeless, women, and even the families of military members who seek citizenship through active duty in combat zones, we can decide to transform our day to our most hallowed values of respect and care, honoring the contributions of all.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

Emendations 6/26/19

Rethinking reparations  – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Aaron Campbell was young, black, unarmed, and suffered from mental illness, exacerbated by his brother’s death that day from kidney failure. He was distraught, of no danger to anyone, but police were called, and they shot him dead.

With his hands up. Unarmed.

Even off-duty black cops report being pulled over at alarmingly high rates. How much worse must it be for young black drivers who are not police officers?

The significant issues with racial profiling include, but are not limited to:

  • black drivers and even black pedestrians being searched much more frequently for dubious probable cause.
  • With higher rates of police interest, it naturally leads to higher rates of discovery (e.g., drugs), higher rates of arrest, charges, convictions and incarceration.
  • lower ultimate rates of employment due to increased rates of criminal record.
  • more poverty.
  • more poverty-driven crime.
  • even more profiling as a direct result of higher rates of crime.

Thus behold the perfect positive feedback loop with negative consequence. Profiling leads to more arrests of the profiled group that leads to all the other social and personal consequences and then to the resultant additional profiling.

Now comes a social movement gaining traction straight into the US presidential primary–at least amongst Democratic candidates. Marianne Williamson was first to declare she would make it a central campaign issue, then Cory Booker, with Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris supporting a Senate inquiry into it.

Amongst the black intellectual peerage, Ta-Nehisi Coates and others are cogent about the justice, moral, and ethical rationales for making reparations. In many ways, Coates is the spark for this modern revisit and rethink. His 2014 essay from The Atlantic, “The case for reparations,” is a magisterial work, a litany of egregious treatment of African Americans from colonial-era slavery through 20th century legal theft–really robbery, since the discriminatory laws were ultimately backed by the armed agents of the state if it came to that. He broadened and deepened our understanding of this question and we see it finally seriously emerging now.

My partner, who is African American, rejects the notion of reparations that start with sending out money before fixing the core problems that still drive such high rates of pain and suffering in the black community.

“Start with universal health care,” she says. “That looks like equal benefits for all and that is exactly what we don’t have right now. Fix that first.”

She is the daughter of a health care professional who made her own emendation to that disparate delivery system in her Ohio town by bringing a small but significant mobile clinic to provide at least a fraction of the basic health care so unfairly missing from the black community there.

My partner is a health care professional herself and hopes to bring such services to more who need it. She practices and thinks about health care and declares that racism is a threat to public health–indeed, there is a movement to push the Centers for Disease Control to make the same declaration, a movement she helps lead.

So reparations are a complex set of inquiries, not just an up-or-down 40 acres and a mule question.

From my standpoint in my field of Conflict Transformation, it’s the multivariate nature of such a problem that may provide a complex but effective way forward with more, not less, opportunity. Each facet of the problem–from serious debt directly owed for slavery itself, to the awful long trail of residual consequences of the racism inherent in that slavery history, right down to the skewed social indices in healthwealthincarcerationeducation, and employment–presents opportunities for creative and authentic problem-solving.

My sons are African American. They are unarmed. I want them to live out their natural lives and it’s disproportionately unlikely they will. Ask yourself, my fellow white people, how that might make you feel about starting a truly helpful, human national conversation about fixing as much of this as we can, as is actually reparable? What if a social construct were a direct threat to your children? Would you not want it fixed? Can you support fixing racism by whatever nonviolent means we can employ?

Aaron Campbell and thousands of others are never coming back–no repair is possible. But it is just possible that he, Kendra James, Oscar Grant, James Jahar Perez, and those thousands of summarily executed young unarmed African Americans did not die in vain–if we manage to radically reduce racism going forward and make reparations thus more than simple legal settlement that ignores ongoing harm.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

Trust & Possibilities 6/26/19

Nonviolence and trust    by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

This week I joined others from my town in a State Department initiative called City Pair; in this case, “pairing” Portland, Oregon with both Montreal and Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. It was illuminating.

We met with government officials and law enforcement–city, provincial, and national. We met with a research team looking at factors contributing to hate and political violence.

The Portland team represented elected officials, police, the city equity lead, nonprofit leadership, and alternative methods of security (me).

So my role should have been to tell the Canadians that my way is best, no violence, no threatened violence, no arms, only nonviolent means of keeping the public safe.

That is my dream, of course. And that is what we work on in our Portland Peace Team. We are a member of a network of peace teams across the US and Canada.

However, we are based not just on nonviolence, but on trust. We thread some fine needles in that regard.

Do we claim we have all the answers? It’s the opposite; we claim no one has them all.

Do we claim we can keep everyone safe if they just follow our lead? Gosh, no. That would define ignorance and arrogance.

Of course, arming agents of the state or private security offers no guarantee either. Indeed, doing so offers some additional risks, as we see in the figures of who gets shot by police, including disproportionate numbers of unarmed people of color, resulting in loss of tens of thousands of years of human lives.

So we are circumspect in making our assertions, which may not “sell” our nonviolent methods in a presentation or discussion, but it is instructive that those who request our services frequently reach out repeatedly. We must be providing some comfort to their leadership.

What we do is based on trust.

Groups trust that we are (for the purposes of the event) nonpartisan, nonviolent, and unaffiliated with police or any governmental agency at any level.

Media members trust that we will be all that and that we will remain calm and focused on the well being of everyone. This is crucial because media will convey to the public the nature–nonviolent or not–of the participants in the event. This will directly contribute to recruiting more to the next event or alienating more and diminishing the numbers and effectiveness of the movement.

Police trust us to be all those things. We are never their agents, but we will liaise with them, on our own behalf and, if asked by the group requesting our presence, on their behalf as well.

Do all the parties trust us from the get-go? Of course not; just as we teach our children, trust must be earned and protected carefully and with integrity–it can take a long time to develop and a short time to destroy.

We often do peace team deëscalation trainings for an hour or so before a demonstration at which we’ve agreed to be. The people who come to be trained are those who are part of the group that invited us. So my first question is, “Who considers themselves to be activists?”

All hands shoot up. “Not today,” I say. “Today you support your coalition in a different way, by being neutral and deëscalating conflict that seems headed out of control. That is the conflict that can harm the image and thus the recruiting power of your campaign.”

Building trust is what our public discourse and decision-making is about. While Trump lies an average of 12 documented times each day and wrecks trust, millions of us average folks are working to rebuild it at every level.

I return from beautiful Quebec with many new friends. Some may not agree with my methods, but we found trust amongst us, the foundation of possibilities.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

True Cost of Energy 5/29/19

Fake news about energy, clean and dirty – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

I used to listen to Freakonomics, an interesting podcast, until it called nuclear energy clean and nonpolluting. I haven’t listened to any since. I really don’t appreciate fake news and junk science.

Radiation kills, okay? It causes cancers, birth defects, and if one gets enough of it, radiation kills promptly, as it did in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl and Fukushima. What is the difference if the radiation comes from a bomb or a power plant? It still kills, sometimes in days, sometimes by planting latent cancers that consume a person a few years later.

But what are the alternatives? Back to the Steam Age?

Actually, we never left. That is how nuclear power creates electricity, by making steam—as if we can’t make steam in other, less polluting ways. As if we can’t turn turbines—the entire idea behind generating electricity from hydro power, wind, or nukes—in many ways.

Using a massive nuclear reaction to make steam, noted someone years ago, is like using a chainsaw to cut butter. Let’s match the least destructive means to the desired ends.

We are paying the price every day for our nukes. Just this past week in southern Ohio the Scioto Valley Local School District announced it was closing Zahn’s Corner Middle School, because neptunium was in air samples from the school and that causes bone cancer. Right next door is an abandoned uranium enrichment plant that the Department of Energy ran for both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons, and is paying to have cleaned up.

The uranium was enriched at taxpayer expense. The site, closed now for some 17 years, is being remediated at taxpayer expense. Still, when those who argue for nuclear power claim that nukes are scarcely subsidized and that solar and wind are the ones getting the really massive subsidies, they are wrong at every level. They never include all these massive costs, mostly taken from government (taxpayer) budgets, from exploring for uranium to mining it to transporting it to enriching it to fabricating the rods—and then to endless very costly attempts to manage the waste. Private industry basically plugs in for the profit-taking section of the nuclear chain.

This is not even considering the dealbreaker that private utilities needed fixed before they would take the risk of trying nuclear power way back in the day. They refused to get into nukes unless the government capped liability in case of accident. After all, how much has Chernobyl cost? Fukushima? What if corporations had to pay actual insurance rates or had to cover damages above and beyond what insurance would cover? The corporations aren’t stupid; they made that demand and Congress dutifully passed the Price Anderson Act, limiting how much the utilities would be on hook for in case of a meltdown.

The ratepayer and the taxpayer are the fiscal victims in these cases—the government gouges the taxpayer to cover huge expenses so nuclear power is affordable for the utilities. The government forces the utilities to charge the ratepayers for a special fund that is supposed to help with radioactive waste disposal. Good luck collecting enough for thousands of years of caretaking that radioactive effluent.

Indeed, if the true invisible hand of the market were allowed to operate (i.e., remove all subsidies to all forms of electrical generation) nukes, coal, and natural gas would be more expensive than solar and wind.

Imagine the true costs of nukes, coal, and natural gas if the human health and environmental costs over time were required to be a part of the rates. Put the ecologists and insurance bean counters in the same room for a while and we would know the extrapolative estimates that would make some jaws drop.

Certainly the number crunchers from the International Monetary Fund and researchers from UC-Davis found some stunning numbers that revealed the aggregate subsidies for fossil fuel corporations: “Estimated subsidies are $4.9 trillion worldwide in 2013 and $5.3 trillion in 2015.” Whopping subsidies per year for the big polluters and in the US the clean power subsidies over decades barely reach less than $35 billion, a tiny fraction of dirty power government gifts—truly “lemon socialism,” that is, take from the poor and middle class and give to the elite owners. Nuclear, coal, and natural gas power corporations are true welfare queens.

Thus, the true voodoo economics of nuclear power are, for the most part, simply not understood by many “researchers,” such as those who produce Freakonomics, so imagine how well politicians understand, let alone regular folks with busy lives trying to pay for it all.

During the Obama years clean v dirty energy subsidies were mostly reversed. That’s all done now, of course. Back to planet-wrecking business as usual.

No to coal. No to nukes. Yes to low-head hydro constructed to not harm fish migration. Yes to solar. Yes to wind. Yes to conservation.

I write this as I am in my late late sixties, closing next year on 70. This is not for me. I teach hundreds of young people every year at my university. I look at them and think of the fake news false dichotomy fed to them by so-called experts—do you want coal and global warming or do you want ‘clean’ nuclear power? How about neither?

I read of the kids in the Zahn’s Corner Middle School, exposed to bone cancer-causing neptunium—three young students in this tiny school of just 360 students have died from cancer in the past few years and others have been diagnosed. The nuclear facilities, from uranium mining tailings to enrichment feed plants to actual nuclear power generating stations to waste management sites, all emit ionizing radiation, usually for a long time before they are made known to the public—if ever. It is the Midas Touch in reverse. Everything nuclear power touches becomes life-threatening for long periods, some more than a quarter million years.

No one has to mine for the sun or wind or rivers. No wind machine and no solar panel will need to be buried deeply in the earth, encased in vitrified material and guarded for thousands of years. None of these alternatives does anything but protect the climate and protect the quality of our air, our water, and our children’s health.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

Complicit Suckers? 5/22/19

Iran wags impeachment dog  – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Trump is blustering at Iran and to the world that we might just need to crush that pipsqueak terror country.

Um…it took nine years to invade, occupy, and finally limp out of Iraq, 288,000 Iraqi and American deaths later. Iraq is a third the population of Iran. War there would be many times more destructive, just when we need the militaries of the world to wake up to climate chaos and stop consuming vast quantities of fossil fuel.

Let’s also recall that the invasion of Iraq was only sold to the American people by the creation of Fake News, by the incessant repetition of two categorical lies: 1) Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, 2) Saddam might give one or more of his nuclear weapons to Osama bin Laden.

Why is Trump doing this now? Is this drumbeat also based on lies?

Well, to misquote Mae West, “Is that a subpoena in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”

Trump’s coterie, his closest, his family, and his henchpeople are either in prison, heading there once they are through cooperating with prosecutors or Special Counsel, or about to get a Congressional force-of-law subpoena to come testify and/or hand over germane documents. The stench of corruption is revealing that Trump’s promised plan to “drain the swamp” worked only because he brought in a cesspool with which to replace it.

More from Trump’s inner circle have traded their charcoal Brooks Brothers power suits for orange jump suits as more evidence comes to light. More than 200 separate criminal chargeshave already been filed just in the Mueller investigation against several entities and at least 34 individuals associated with Trump’s campaign or his administration and we expect more from other courts.

The protracted and determined effort to get Trump’s tax returns is also proceeding with force of law and virtually all his financial dealings—personal, family “charity,” campaign, inaugural committee, business entities—are being revealed as corrupt, illegal, cheating, and often literally bankrupt. His horde of lawyers are suing everyone they can think of—Deutsche Bank, Capitol One, Mazars, House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings—in a flustered attempt to contain each damning revelation.

We are reminded now on a daily basis of Trump’s declaration that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. He’s stonewalling every Congressional subpoena and refusing to allow anyone to answer any of those subpoenas to come testify and answer questions by any Congressional committees. What’s next for this wannabe monarch? Declare Divine Right? Summary executions? Jus primae noctis?

Even Richard Nixon in his worst criminal noncooperative period didn’t go as far as Trump is now, desperate to prevent any truth at all from reaching the American people.

We deserve to know what Trump and his people did to steal the 2016 election; we deserve to know what the Russians have on Trump and his people that allowed them to exert so much leverage on Trump then and now; we deserve to know just how many election and financial and national security laws Trump violated then and now.

Instead, it’s Wag the Dog time; scream bloody hell about Iran, let loose the dogs of war under kennel master John Bolton and dictator whisperer Mike Pompeo and leap around madly, hoping to distract us all, even if it takes another war of choice based on lies in the Middle East, even if it credibly threatens millions of human lives, even if it consumes literally billions of gallons of absolutely unnecessary fossil fuel by naval battle groups already on their way and thousands of provocative military jet flights taunting and then possibly attacking Iran.

Will we fall for this garbage move? Will Trump attempt to do what so many autocrats have done when they feel imperiled by popular disapproval and launch a war, initiated by a false flag operation or concocted false intelligence reports? Will we be suckers complicit in mass murder?

The 2016 election was stolen by thieves, foreign and domestic. Will we the American people insist on justice and defense of democracy or will we sit back and take more of this abuse?

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court.

Another Word 5/1/19

Barr Is Just Another Word for Obstruction – from LAProgressive

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We on the Portland Peace Team were invited out the other day to provide some nonviolent public safety for the local demonstration of perhaps 250 people calling for the unredacted release of the Mueller Report to Congress and to the American people. There were dozens such demonstrations across the US, some larger, some smaller.

Of course there were a couple pro-Trump counter-demonstrators, one of whom was a fairly gnarly bruiser who began yelling, interfering with everyone else’s right to hold a peaceful demonstration and actually listen to the scheduled speakers.

It is obvious that the Trumpeters simply lack basic reasoning skills when they yell that Trump is completely and totally exonerated.

This is when the Peace Team will approach the disruptor and offer to listen but a few feet away to avoid the competing speaking. No dice. The fellow ranted on and on about how the demonstrators were sore losers and couldn’t accept the fact that Trump had been cleared. I offered no argument—that is not our role on the Peace Team. We try to de-escalate and arguments often escalate. Our role became to calm people from the peaceful demonstration who were getting understandably annoyed with the loudmouth. We did so successfully, avoiding violence for the day.

Still, it was stunning to watch this fellow look at the signage, all of which simply called for the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. No one was making any big claims other than the perfectly legitimate insistence that the report should be available, not the tiny interpretation summary put out by the Attorney General, a man handpicked, apparently, by Trump to cover up the actual report. Cover-up? Well, if it waddles like a cover-up, if it quacks like a cover-up, then without the release of the report it surely is logical to call it a cover-up.

William Barr wrote an unsolicited legal memo criticizing the Mueller investigation long before it concluded. This was in effect his application for Attorney General of the United States and Trump duly nominated him and the Republican-controlled Senate duly installed him. He is doing now precisely what the grotesquely corrupt Trump regime intended, a serious red line for anyone interested in preserving the democracy Trump has been unable to destroy so far in his many machinations.

What did Mueller find? We do not know. Congress does not know. Certainly the pro-Trump Senators and Congress members who are blustering about the Democrats’ calls for transparency being mere partisan politics do not know. Trump doesn’t know, despite his braying claims to the contrary.

It is obvious that the Trumpeters simply lack basic reasoning skills when they yell that Trump is completely and totally exonerated (Trump tweets made this false claim as soon as Barr put out his dissembling four-pager that actually did not exonerate Trump. At all.) Let’s see the report. Let Congress have it completely unredacted and let them have all the evidence Mueller gathered.

Russia gave the 2016 election to Trump. Thanks Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Thanks Russian intelligence hackers and trolls. Thanks, credulous Trump supporters. Was there collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign? There were certainly a number of meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russians (more than 100 actually, most of them before the 2016 election), both in and out of government—though the nongovernmental Russians were oligarchs with close ties to Vladimir Putin, so one seems to quite naturally shade into the other. The circumstantial evidence seems overwhelming.

 

But we have a Barr to our ability to learn for ourselves and we will see if the American people are interested enough in democracy to remove that Barr, that obstruction.

Tom Hastings

 

Tom H. Hastings
PeaceVoice

Braying Claims 4/10/19

Barr is just another word for obstruction   by Tom H. Hastings

We on the Portland Peace Team were invited out the other day to provide some nonviolent public safety for the local demonstration of perhaps 250 people calling for the unredacted release of the Mueller Report to Congress and to the American people. There were dozens such demonstrations across the US, some larger, some smaller.

Of course there were a couple pro-Trump counter-demonstrators, one of whom was a fairly gnarly bruiser who began yelling, interfering with everyone else’s right to hold a peaceful demonstration and actually listen to the scheduled speakers.

This is when the Peace Team will approach the disruptor and offer to listen but a few feet away to avoid the competing speaking. No dice. The fellow ranted on and on about how the demonstrators were sore losers and couldn’t accept the fact that Trump had been cleared. I offered no argument—that is not our role on the Peace Team. We try to de-escalate and arguments often escalate. Our role became to calm people from the peaceful demonstration who were getting understandably annoyed with the loudmouth. We did so successfully, avoiding violence for the day.

Still, it was stunning to watch this fellow look at the signage, all of which simply called for the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. No one was making any big claims other than the perfectly legitimate insistence that the report should be available, not the tiny interpretation summary put out by the Attorney General, a man handpicked, apparently, by Trump to cover up the actual report. Cover-up? Well, if it waddles like a cover-up, if it quacks like a cover-up, then without the release of the report it surely is logical to call it a cover-up.

William Barr wrote an unsolicited legal memo criticizing the Mueller investigation long before it concluded. This was in effect his application for Attorney General of the United States and Trump duly nominated him and the Republican-controlled Senate duly installed him. He is doing now precisely what the grotesquely corrupt Trump regime intended, a serious red line for anyone interested in preserving the democracy Trump has been unable to destroy so far in his many machinations.

What did Mueller find? We do not know. Congress does not know. Certainly the pro-Trump Senators and Congress members who are blustering about the Democrats’ calls for transparency being mere partisan politics do not know. Trump doesn’t know, despite his braying claims to the contrary.

It is obvious that the Trumpeters simply lack basic reasoning skills when they yell that Trump is completely and totally exonerated (Trump tweets made this false claim as soon as Barr put out his dissembling four-pager that actually did not exonerate Trump. At all.) Let’s see the report. Let Congress have it completely unredacted and let them have all the evidence Mueller gathered.

Russia gave the 2016 election to Trump. Thanks Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Thanks Russian intelligence hackers and trolls. Thanks, credulous Trump supporters. Was there collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign? There were certainly a number of meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russians (more than 100 actually, most of them before the 2016 election), both in and out of government—though the nongovernmental Russians were oligarchs with close ties to Vladimir Putin, so one seems to quite naturally shade into the other. The circumstantial evidence seems overwhelming.

But we have a Barr to our ability to learn for ourselves and we will see if the American people are interested enough in democracy to remove that Barr, that obstruction.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

O.N.E 2/27/19

O.N.E. – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Our National Embarrassment.

Our National Emergency.

There he is, residing for a minute in the White House, a minute that is the longest lucid American nightmare since Watergate.

The day is not complete until Trump has lied to the American people and the world, until he’s insulted any and all critics even when those critiques are deliberative and strictly evidence-based, and even when they are people nearly universally respected, even revered. Ruth Bader Ginsberg? Justin Trudeau? Really? Toss in some misogynist identity slurs, several braggart malignant narcissistic self-congratulating ridiculous claims—even managing to combine them with insulting Samuel L. Jackson—and a few gaslighting redundancies and there isn’t much left on the Trump list of Abusive Things to Do Today. Brilliant.

A waddling, braying, tweeting embarrassment to any and all critical thinking, fact-reliant Americans.

My colleague and I do workshops, sometimes for visiting foreign professionals. Almost no matter their country or countries of origin, I lead with a sincere apology for the Dear Leader who lost the popular vote but still managed to get installed in the most powerful office on Earth.

Here comes a roomful of Kenyan National Police. I apologize for obvious reasons. Most Americans have likely forgotten Trump’s repugnant comment about African “sh—hole” countries. I assure you that Kenyans and other Africans absolutely have not. They appreciate a genuine apology from an American white man. It gets us off on the right foot.

Now comes journalists from some dozen countries, mostly European but a few from the Middle East and one from Asia. None of us have ever met each other. I open with an apology for slights, for insults, for mortifying misstatements and unwarranted UN laughingstock braggadocio emanating from the old white guy who just seems verbally incontinent and whose thumbs seem to have zero impulse control, managing to praise dictators and vilify popular democratic leaders as a matter of course—not to mention his incessant juvenilia about all manner of journalists, from the Wall Street Journal to Katie Couric, for goshsakes.

This week we see a grifter lawyer, Michael Cohen, turn state’s evidence against his former boss—and even though Cohen, as Trump’s lawyer, was a serial liar, he is presenting Congress with actual forensic evidence that Trump committed felonies, not just in the past, but while in office. Shades of Spiro Agnew.

My father was a psychologist, not I, but clearly, Trump’s claims of fake news are what psychologists call projection. I attest to my own profound confusion at his clumsy hate speech and utter cultural incompetence and frankly, negotiating fails despite his blowhard boasts and his fake autobiography—his next memoir: How to Be a Rotten Role Model for American Youth and the Great Big Butt of International Jokes. My wincing and shaking head let them know that I’m fully as confounded as I am certain they are.

This is what it means to be an American dealing with a fake president spouting cringeworthy claims even as we try to create decent relationships with bewildered people from other lands.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court.

Cure the Disease 2/6/19

Understand the disease to cure it  – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Two days ago, on February 4, 2019, the bodies of a handsome apparently successful husband and beautiful successful wife—Denise and Kenneth Bartone–were found in New Jersey, a possible murder-suicide. These tragedies are on the increase. Unlike the New Jersey case—a husband likely stabbed his wife and then leapt off a bridge—most of the murder-suicides are gun-related, with another high correlate to opioid addiction, but in the case of the apparent increase in elderly homicide-suicide, it is, according to one analyst, most often a controlling husband shoots his ill wife and then turns the gun on himself.

We might agree that another factor is simple mental health, often eroded into illness by a combination of factors, including various social structural conditions so far beyond our control that a person can snap.

I think this can be the case for all types of murder-suicides, from an old man with a gun seeing no hope for him and his suffering wife, to the megalomaniac who killed more than 900 in Jonestown to somehow take them with him as he faced his own cancer and chose suicide-mass murder instead, to an impoverished Syrian who chooses to take ISIS up on their offer to make a big payout to a family when a member becomes a “self-sacrificing” bomber, a “martyr.” The terrorists operating today do so in a special global environment.

Disclaimer: While I earned a doctorate (in education, specializing in conflict transformation), I’m not a medical doctor. I operate with words and heal with compassionate communication on my best days. I may not “bury my mistakes,” but when I make them I am haunted by them.

With all those caveats, I need to ask you to dig as deeply as you can to peer into the psychological, emotional miasma that envelops the phenomenon of suicide attacks. They are always the acts of indescribably desperate people, even when they are done in war, most honorably directed against combatants, and they are never done by people who believe the world is just or fair. They are always framed on their side as works of altruism, self-sacrifice for the greater good.

Understanding the practice and philosophy of suicide attacks is the baby first step toward mitigating and eventually eliminating these atrocious episodes.

How could a young Japanese pilot decide to load his small plane with a dual synergistic payload of fuel and explosives and launch toward an American warship? Right down the smokestack—an early smart weapon.

Well, it wasn’t in his biological or mental imperative–he didn’t do it before October 1944 and not after July 1945. That’s because in mid-fall, in 1944, the Japanese war machine was losing, was exhausted, was out of fuel, was out of expensive fighter planes, was out of highly trained pilots, was out of sophisticated ordnance, and was in the Hail Mary phase of utter last hope desperation. Indeed, since the US had cracked all Japanese codes and knew that, by December 1944 it could have obtained a conditional surrender, it was only the obdurate fanaticism of a handful of irrational warlords who resorted to the kamikaze attacks.

When US President Truman learned from his intelligence that Japan was informing its diplomats worldwide that “the Japs” were ready to negotiate terms of surrender, he ignored it. Why? Because the Manhattan Project scientists were telling him this new bomb would work, this atomic bomb. So he held out, claiming to his confidantes that the American people deserved an unconditional surrender.

Holding this up to the harsh light of history, we can reasonably conclude that every single American life lost in the Pacific from December 1944 until nine months later, when the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic attacks led to unconditional surrender, was lost in order to serve Truman’s folly of the unconditional surrender. Folly? Yes, because when General McArthur accepted the surrender on the USS Missouri, he allowed the Japanese to keep their figurehead emperor, a condition that only kept the Japanese feeling less that utterly humiliated and a condition that could have been enough to initiate a ceasefire nine months previous.

Do I seem to be taking this personally? Maybe, since my father was in the US Navy in the Philippines at that time. His survival was my good luck, no thanks to Truman, and the deaths of other American servicepeople killed in that period I will lay at his feet of Truman’s memory.

So it was this period of back-against-the-wall existential threat that produced the kamikaze and the related shinpu, the little submarines with analogous capacities and intentions. They were loaded up with explosives and enough fuel for that one-way trip to extinguish an American warship, as many combat troops as possible, and, by the way, the lone Japanese submariner.

Some 3,800 of these suicide troops were used up to death, and left more than 7,000 American troops dead. Even so, only 19 percent of the attacks were successful, probably primarily because they were a part of actual battle, not the later sort of suicide attacks on civilians.

Of course, like the new wave of post 9-11-01 Muslim suicide bombers, a fake culture of honor and reward needed to be created in order to convince the gullible and the desperat to undertake these odious and hopeless attacks. The poetic glorification of the young Japanese pilots seems to have given them the psychological shielding so necessary to such a perverted, unnatural act as intentionally crashing into an object 100 percent certain to kill you. I mean, the very term kamikaze means “divine wind,” revealing such sacralization.

Of course we see that with the Islamic virgins beckoning from paradise. Pure hooey for the willfully, blissfully, fatally ignorant and a justification to next of kin. In the name of religion, they commit blasphemy.

Are we so very sure nothing will trigger us to do these sorts of low, evil acts? War seems to bring it out, leading hopeless charges, parachuting in behind the lines, and generally acting in profoundly unnatural ways. In Vietnam, children strapped with explosive belts would wander up to groups of American GIs detonate, little sappers.

The Vietnamese did not do such things before we got there and haven’t done such things since. Could it be that when the mightiest army invades and occupies, the littlest ones, the most vulnerable, become literally cannon fodder? While the Japanese emphatically started World War II in the Pacific, they were ultimately up against the mightiest military in human history and reduced themselves to valorizing suicide attacks.

Some days, it feels like a portion of the Muslim world believes that is right where they are. Can we fix this? Can we in fact withdraw from their lands and lives and hope for the peace of the generations from them? Murder-suicide should prompt us to examine the conditions, here and abroad, that tend to drive up the rates of such travesties and engage in public discourse about solutions that can help.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

Everything Putin Wants 1/23/19

TrumPutin: Who’s tired of winning now? – by Tom H. Hasting

Tom Hastings

One of the most brutal dictators on Earth, Vladimir Putin, is a happy despot these days. His boy Trump has been performing even better than commanded. Yes, we know from past pondering that Putin was getting some of the joy he ordered up, but consider how his smirk is now an uncontrollable grin as he reflects on our Trump-inflicted nation, his enemy:

  • Longest shutdown of the US government in history. Putin’s wish is Trump’s command.
  • Trump, it turns out, made several shady backdoor attempts to get the US out of NATO, Trump’s Ultimate Wishlist Premier Item.
  • Trump’s tariff trade wars are enhancing the negative economic impacts of the government shutdown that contributes to a generalized and worsening US global economic position, thus strengthening Russia’s position.
  • While the media are focused on the big items, Trump’s minions are weakening environmental laws, lowering educational standards, wrecking agricultural markets, harming national health care, and attacking our time-honored free press. In short, the best of what the Founders tried to write into our Constitution is now being actively degraded at virtually every turn, another big win for any foreign power trying to become a regional or even global hegemon, Putin’s dream, certainly.
  • Iran’s stock is now rising as it appears to be the reasonable partner to the EU and all the other signatories to the Iran nuclear deal that Trump pulled out of, and of course the other despot client of Putin’s in the Middle East—Basher al-Assad—is sitting pretty with Trump’s stumble-wobble in Syria. Putin wins again, completely due to Trump. The list goes on.

A growing number of analysts are noting that Putin is going to get tired of winning (remember Trump’s moronic campaign claim that “you”—that is, his base supporters at his 2016 rallies—will win so much you’ll get “tired of winning”?).

Does Trump really answer to Putin competently or is he just so incompetent that he just happens to be achieving everything that a hostile foreign power could want? Does it really make a difference? How much more of Trump’s “winning” can Americans take? Washington Post analyst James Hohmann sums up the view on Russian hacking and attacking the American electorate in 2016:

We don’t know exactly how much Moscow spent supporting influence operations to impact the U.K. and U.S. elections in 2016, but it seems hard to overstate how good the Kremlin’s return has been on what Western intelligence agencies believe was a relatively modest investment.

So, we must ask ourselves and each other—and our federal elected officials and the judicial branch—what are we going to do about it? When? Do we come to a red line soon? What should it be?

One such line for me is the Mueller report. If it’s not released to the public, I’m ready to offer some nonviolent resistance. I hope to learn what others regard as a red line, beyond which Putin’s boy in the White House cannot go without evoking a nonviolent people power uprising. It may turn out to be the ultimate answer to such a massive failure by government.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court.

Adjustment 1/9/19

Adjust  – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

“They’ll make adjustments. They always do.”

So said Donald Trump when a reporter asked him about the millions of people directly affected by his shutdown.

Yes, millions. Nearly 400,000 federal workers are not being paid and an equal number of workers who were fulfilling government contracts are also not being paid. Most of those 800,000 have dependents. So millions of Americans are going without a paycheck. Trump says they’ll adjust.

Wait–his shutdown? Yup. “I’m proud to shut down the government…I’m not gonna blame you for it” (Trump, on camera, to Senator Chuck Schumer in December).  As with so many things (Mexico will pay for the wall, I’m ordering the troops home from Syria now, I will push for term limits on Congress, I’ll make sure taxpayers can fully deduct health care insurance payments on their taxes, as soon as the audit is finished I will release my tax return, and many more buck-naked lies), Trump makes a promise and denies it. The Promisebreaker.

Back in the day, when I was a young single Dad–just me and my two sons–I missed a paycheck once. It was a catastrophe. A crew of us were working construction and the contractor bailed on all of us. Three of us were family men and two were single guys. All of us were panicked and scrambling. Yeah, we all “made adjustments.” It was hellish.

Now Trump has created a fake crisis on the border–even though there are fewer migrants with problems coming in than ever. The National Security Council and the State Department both issued reports that list improvements that might be made in border security and neither recommends a wall.

The crisis is the shutdown itself and the millions of Americans thrown to the wolves by Trump–even though the new Congress has already passed a bill that would reopen the government and sent it to the Senate–which Trump says he’ll never sign. To compound Trump’s crisis, the government workers and contractors will likely soon not be able to keep any semblance of safety net in place because they are themselves furloughed–when will Social Security checks stop? Food stamps for 39 million Americans who depend on them even more acutely now?

I’m sure Trump is fantasizing that if he shuts it all down, the judicial system will not be able to continue to investigate the mounting evidence that his campaign conspired with Putin’s Russian operatives to steal the 2016 election. It was just revealed that his campaign manager, convicted felon Paul Manafort, admitted to sharing Trump campaign data with the Russians. We’ll see if Trump gets indicted by all this or if his dream of shutting down the third branch of government buys him some time.

Or maybe Pelosi and the new House head of the Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler–and even Ken Starr— are right that it may be possible, if evidence is strong enough, a sitting president can be indicted. Maybe Trump should get fitted for a big orange jumpsuit.

I’m sure he’ll adjust.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

Petrified Lies 1/9/19

Crisis  – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Donald Trump is a lousy teleprompter reader. His fake crisis speech from the Oval Office was clearly the product of his handlers telling him in no uncertain terms, “Read it. Do not say anything else. Just read what we’ve written for you to say. Period. Not. Another. Syllable. Or you die on the vine.”

Dave Barry used to make fun of Al Gore for being so wooden in his speeches as Clinton’s VP. Barry was funny; he referred to beavers chewing on Gore’s leg while Clinton apologized to the nation for something–military mishaps in Serbia, sleeping with random women–and Gore would stand there dutifully, imitating an aspen tree, the favorite of beavers everywhere.

If Gore was wooden, Trump was petrified and putrified. He had zero idea what he was saying, mouthing words, faking expressions, emphasizing incorrect syllables, and looking pinched and pained that he was being controlled. I can see him ripping off the leash instantly afterwards.

“We control you or you cease to be president.” That must have been the message from Stephen Miller, his eloquently lying Officer of Disinformation, a staffer minimally nine times smarter than Trump but equally amoral.

Trump told us, astonishingly, that the Wall would be paid for three times, never by the American people.

Once, as he promised relentlessly and re-re-repeatedly in his campaign promises, by Mexico.

Two, incredibly in his speech, by “itself.” Um…ok.

Three–what will we do with all this extra money?–“indirectly,” by his new NAFTA 2.0 deal. Yeah. That mechanism was explained clearly by No One, Ever. That is classic gaslighting. Fake news. Lying. That. Will. Never. Happen.

You will pay for it, assuming you are an American taxpayer. None of his lies were anything but. Not Mexico. Not “itself.” Not “indirectly.” Bullpucky.

Pelosi was OK. She stated truthfully that Congress passed a bipartisan bill to reopen the government.

But Schumer was more succinct: “We don’t govern by temper tantrum.”

The new Congress has adaptively and rightly separated the Trump Great Wall debate from the ongoing functioning of the US government. It is up to the Senate to pass it and Trump to sign it.

Step up, Republican Senators. Especially Cory Gardner (CO), Susan Collins (ME), Joni Ernst (IA), Shelly Moore Capito (WV), Thom Tillis (NC), and Lindsay Graham (SC). You believe you are safe? You can screw the American people with your business as usual? We shall see. You are all up for office again in 2020 and you have supported the stupidest Trump-for-ignorance, Trump versus the American people, Trump-corrupt measures, legislation, and nominations. You believe we’ll forget and vote you back in.

I wonder. What are the American people made of? Time will tell.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

Conflict of Rats 12/19/18

Ruling with rats – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Maria Butina, rat. She is Russian, she was caught as a foreign agent who never registered. She pled guilty to spying for Russia and conspiracy to hijack the NRA, and presumably is spilling the beans in order to reduce the consequences of her nefarious activities helping funnel NRA $millions plus loud endorsement to Trump.

Michael Cohen was a rat whose cooperation might have at least reduced his penalties, which included a $million or so in fines plus three years in prison. He was Donald J. Trump’s lawyer and fixer for years, and confessed to many criminal activities, all done in the service of, and at the direction of, Trump.

Even the National Enquirer–paid by Trump to kill a story about his “alleged” extramarital affair with Playboy playmate Karen McDougal–has turned state’s evidence, via its parent corporation, in order to gain immunity from prosecution for violations of federal election laws. A century ago saw the term yellow journalism, for the fake news promulgated by Hearst and others in screaming false headlines, so we might call Fox News the new millennium yellow journalism premier example, but now we conflate that with gaining immunity in exchange for incriminating revelations to prosecutors and the National Enquirer–a most obvious example of yellow journalism with its headlines about aliens infesting our planet–and they have now created a new category, Yellow Rat Journalism. Congrats!

Mike Flynn, Big Rat. He is no doubt going to see a reduction in his exposure to effectively nothing, even though he was clearly acting repeatedly in a blatantly treasonous betrayal of American democracy as a Russian agent. He lied to the FBI, to the public, to Pence, to Congress, and probably his wife and his priest. After 33 years in the military or other US government employ, he seems to have gotten in touch with his Inner Profit-Taking Traitor. But he subsequently met and presumably divulged a great deal to the Mueller Special Counsel team–AKA The Rat Trap–in 19 sessions, more than 60 hours of spilling the sacks of beans he had been hoarding. And while we’re on the number 33, that is how many rats the Mueller team has flipped, plus three corporations involved in violations of election, bribery, and illegal hush money activities. Infestation Alert!

Let’s be clear about these rats. None were struck with an attack of conscience that caused them to come forward. Each one, every one, was caught. All of them decided to cooperate only after the government prosecutors had the goods on them. These are not praiseworthy people. I mean, Flynn was the one initiating and leading chants of “LOCK HER UP, LOCK HER UP” at Trump campaign rallies. Uh-huh, a real hero. Lock. Him. Up.

Even Mueller–the most taciturn DC prosecutor imaginable–had to break radio silence on this matter after Flynn’s attorneys filed a brief attempting to exculpate Flynn because the FBI agents didn’t explicitly warn him it was a crime to lie to the FBI. Apparently, Flynn and his lawyers believed it was Just Fine to lie to the FBI otherwise.

And while one story seems to be about sex and another seems to be about working with Russians to steal the 2016 election for Trump, they are in the end the same. It all comes down to election theft and crushing democracy. The National Enquirer and Cohen were busy trying to cover up Trump’s cheating on his wife with porn stars so that presumably the oh-so-moral white evangelicals would not fail to vote Trump–that is, to cover it up with huge payments right before the 2016 election. Meanwhile, Flynn is meeting with Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States at the time of the transition, assuring him that Trump would end those pesky sanctions on Russia that Obama placed when Putin invaded and stole Crimea. That was the Russian bet: elect Trump and sanctions go away, as well as NATO weakens. Flynn, as Trump’s boy in the campaign and then as head of the National Security Agency, did all that, acting as an agent of a hostile foreign dictator, even as another of their Russian agents, Butina, was being directly handled by Vladimir Putin’s buddy, oligarch banker Alexander Torshin. Trump loves to accuse others of conspiracy; this is classic projection.

Ah, the rat system. It is how the po-po and the prosecutors get damning information on defendants, those threatened with prosecution, and all their criminal associates. Flipping rats.

George Papadopoulos was one of those small-time rats who performed so poorly that the FBI simply recommended that he get no break at all. Lousy rat. He was the drunk who first bragged at some bar in Australia that the Trump campaign was getting massive tech help from the Russians, who illegally hacked and stole Hillary’s emails, shunted them to Julian Assange and his Wikileaks, who then acted on his obsessive hatred of Hillary and released them to the world. Thanks, Julian! You gave us Trump, you ratty twerp. Showing great faith in his version of American kleptocracy, Papadopoulos announced he will be running for Congress in 2020. Go, Republican Rats!

Trump is just surrounded by rats, isn’t he? The Big Stinky Cheese in the White House, with the rats all gnawing at his fetid manner of power-wielding.

We are now to the point where no half-decent project manager wants what used to be one of the most coveted plum positions in DC, the Chief of Staff of any administration. Now it’s about as desirable as Vice-President of Afghanistan living a block from Taliban HQ. The rats jump ship and who wants to get on? It’s no longer safe for the sellouts, the criminals, and the looters, so who is left? Family?

I wonder if we’ll get to the “Sorry and so long, Dad” point? I mean, Donald Jr. and Ivanka have no presidential immunity and they are check-signers in the Trump organization, which is tantamount now to a RICO violation, as we see the money trail to campaign finance laws exposed for all to see. Organized crime is becoming less organized as key criminals bail, one-by-one, leaving the Trump mob more tattered by the day. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is becoming known as Felony Flats, a home to future cell blockers whose best chance at staying out from behind bars is to open up about the Capo. Don Trumpleone…Lock. Him. Up. What a rat.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

Honest and Sure 11/21/18

Look to the right for corruption – by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

When I was growing up a long time ago there was a presumption of prudential integrity for politicians. Yes, I suppose I was naïve, but as a boy from Minnesota I came to think of politics as a clean game in my formative years.

This may explain why I am nonplussed now with the acceptance of such low standards by so many, and frankly, at this time most of them with the lowest standards seem to be aligned with Trump out on the right. The voters rejected Trump for the most part in our midterms, but this is normal and he lost less than Obama did in 2010, so my question is really for the voters, not the buck naked corrupt Trump wing controlling the Republican party and the base.

Why do you accept, tolerate, and even identify with the dishonesty, the cheating, and the incivility of the leadership of your party? What is wrong with you? Can you help me understand why dirty tricks and robbing people of voting rights is fine by you?

Yes, I’d love to excuse them. Oh, they are working class and ignorant fools, how can they be expected to keep up? How can we hope that they will have decent values? They are all undereducated redneck fools.

Hogwash.

When I finally finished my single parenthood and was able to contemplate college, I knew I’d have to focus. I did. I graduated top of my class, summa cum laude, tied with no one. First. I got all A grades with a C brain plus pure obdurate working class discipline. And here is the thing I knew. My journeyman when I was an apprentice in the carpenter’s union (1544 in Minneapolis) was far smarter than I ever was. His memory outdid mine every single day.

Working people are exactly as smart, and often smarter, than scholars. I’m an academic with a doctorate, and they don’t give those things out on boxtops. It is tough. But most working people never get a shot at it. In my case, I was given a chance. Some get loans, some get scholarships, and in my case, my father took early retirement for a big bonus. He then paid for my bachelors degree. Yes, I still had to work, to pay for my cabin, my truck, gas, and my food and everything else, but I got tuition paid. Damn lucky. I never got my first college degree until I was 43 years old, but I got that sucker. Most poor kids and working class kids do not have that. Because I did, I figured out that workers and managers and owners and scholars are all equally smart, something I observed my long working career of more than half a century. I spent about 25 years doing physical labor and the last 25 doing intellectual work as an academic. I know in my bones that those who work with their hands and those who supposedly live the “life of the mind” are dead even in terms of raw intelligence.

So why vote for a sleaze? Why choose lies and corruption?

That is my challenge to laboring, hard working Americans and to anyone else who votes for these charlatans. Why allow yourselves to be tainted, to be seen as ignorant and selfish and without ethics? I know you are smart. Now be brave. You can see. You can figure out what is right and wrong. Denying votes is wrong. Cheating black people is wrong. Be fair, be honest, and sure, compete, fair and square. Stop taking the low road. It doesn’t look good on you.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoiceDirector and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

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