Better Safe than Sorry

Better Safe than Sorry

Ted Folkert

April 19, 2018

While you have that cellphone up to your ear, put it down for a while so you can consider some critical information about the possibility of each conversation on that device shortening your life. Not shortening your life due to receiving bad news, or wasted energy, or wasted time, or physical responses you may receive for insulting whomever you may be talking with.

No, shortening your life due to possible cancer-causing radiation from the cell phone antenna, which is widely believed to be a threat by many scientists, some of whom that told the wireless industry executives in the 1990s that such radiation may cause brain tumors.

After charges that a lethal brain tumor had been caused by cell phone use, a study was conducted by epidemiologist George Carlo, selected by Thomas Wheeler, leader of the cellular industry. According to Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie of The Nation magazine, Carlo notified the industry leaders that “the risk of rare neuro-epithelial tumors on the outside of the brain was more than double in cell phone users – and an apparent correlation between brain tumors occurring on the right side of the head and the use of the phone on the right side of the head and the ability of the radiation from a phone’s antenna to cause functional genetic damage was definitely positive.”

Of course, Wheeler publicly denounced Carlo’s findings in the press immediately and denied that there could be any such correlation. He proceeded to refute such accusations aggressively with public denouncements disparaging the credibility of George Carlo.

Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie relate this denial of Carlo’s findings to similar denials in two of the most notorious cases of corporate deception on record: the dangers of smoking and climate change. Tobacco executives were told that smoking was deadly and fossil fuel executives were told that burning oil, gas, and coal would cause a catastrophic temperature rise. Then, during a Congressional hearing, as most of us will recall, all the tobacco executives stood with right hands raised, indicating sworn testimony, that smoking does not cause cancer – and one can imagine that not a one of them believed that to which they were swearing. They all took one for the team – save the career and the profits at all costs – integrity be damned, human health and human lives be damned.

In all three of the above cases the leaders of the respective industries went to great lengths to deny and disprove the allegations, opting to protect their lucrative industries for their own benefit and that of their stockholders at the expense of the general welfare and safety of the populous.

Although the research continues, cell phones have not been proven to emit radiation which causes tumors or cancer. Much of the research points that way but none has been confirmed precisely. Now that “5g” technology is becoming available the likelihood may be even greater.

Regardless of the lack of definitive proof, it seems wise to keep the phone away from your head – use the speaker phone, Bluetooth, or text message capabilities – better to be safe than sorry.

Abuse of Power on Steroids

Abuse of Power on Steroids

Ted Folkert

April 16, 2018

The future health of the American economy and the welfare of the proletariat – the working-class – the hoi polloi – of our society is under attack by our narcissistic president, who is totally absorbed in his own fame and fortune and is now using his undeserved presidential power to milk the U. S. Treasury and to disembowel the financial foundation of the economy for the benefit of himself and others rich and powerful who have no need or use for more wealth.

His every interest and every action are innate with ties to his personal benefit, a benefit that he perceives can only be accomplished by demolishing and rendering useless the U.S. government.

Our founders and governmental leaders since our founding have spent almost 250 years creating one of, perhaps, the strongest of economic systems ever established. The system has been altered, modified, amended, regulated, deregulated, honed, and tempered throughout this 250 years, but has become stronger and more functional for most of us over time.

Ronald Reagan tried to gut it during his abysmal eight years in office and started the ball rolling toward aristocracy and oligarchy, which, if we want to offer any excuse for his ignorance, was probably due to his brain washing as the radio spokesman for General Electric during the years prior to his presidency.

Now, after we the American people, realizing our lack of attention to our well-being, started electing leaders with more egalitarian views and more educated economic backgrounds and understandings, the economy, although not where it needs to be regarding egalitarianism, better serves most of us and has provided economic growth and improved living conditions for several decades now.

And along comes Trump, the guy who gives narcissism a whole new meaning, the guy who doesn’t read, listen, or care about the general welfare of the people who aren’t named Trump, the guy who is only interested in his personal aggrandizement and gratification, who is taking a wrecking ball to the foundations of our government so that it will better serve himself.

As if his lack of education, understanding, concern, or interest in the American governmental system and economy isn’t bad enough, here is who he selected to head up the departments which are fundamental to professional management and productive administration of their missions:

For Secretary of Education he gives us a lady, a billionaire, a promoter of private education who considered public schools as “dead end.”

For Secretary of State he gives us a guy who had negotiated billions of dollars deals with Russia.

For the Environmental Protection Agency, he gives us a climate-change denier.

For the Department of Energy, he gives us a guy who campaigned to abolish the department.

For Housing and Urban Development, he gives us a neurosurgeon who considers poverty a “state of mind.”

All the above choices, mostly billionaires, lean heavily against taxes, health care, the environment, public education, and civil rights. Birds of a feather flock together, as my mother would have said.

It seems safe to say that any historian, governmental authority, or economist with exemplary credentials would consider the above cabinet a potential governmental wrecking crew.

Tom Steyer, a noted California billionaire, has been funding a campaign for impeachment of Trump and has gained thousands of signatures in support of his campaign. His efforts, although they may only be a fruitless exercise. are commendable in that he has the courage and passion to attempt to change destructive leadership, not only with his money but with his considerable effort. It is hard to not join in his effort even though it may not culminate in impeachment, as it would certainly send a much-needed message to his excellency, Trump.

It seems that an effort more achievable and more meaningful could well be an all-hands-on-deck effort to change the majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives by our votes in the November elections this year. Democratic control in both houses would render Trump much weaker in legislative endeavors and perhaps enable legislation to reverse some of the damage he has done which can be passed without presidential signature by appropriate levels of congressional approval. Such a position would make his final two years at the helm of this ship-lost-at-sea to stay afloat with limited damage until we can return our government to adult supervision in 2020.

Think about it!

The Inept Finger on the Trigger

The Inept Finger on the Trigger

Ted Folkert

April 11, 2018

“Déjà vu, all over again,” as someone once said, is a danger that we should now fear, not only as a nation, but particularly as parents or grandparents of draft-age kids.

Inferences have been made by historians and other political commentators of military actions having been initiated as a tactic of distraction from public displeasure against leaders with the power to declare such actions and personal reasons for such diversionary tactics.

Such inferences were discussed after the 911 disaster when George W. Bush, after initiating military action against Afghanistan, suddenly diverted the military against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, purportedly because Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Some of us assumed that such action was in retaliation and vengeance for the attempt to assassinate his father, George H.W. Bush, when he was president.  And some of us thought such action was a tactic of distraction to divert attention away from GWB’s incompetence in office, which was becoming more apparent daily and was dominating the news cycle at the time.

Now we have a president which gives the term incompetence a whole new meaning, who has made a laughing stock of the office, who has been abusive to political appointees time after time by hiring them and firing them, with little regard for their careers and no identifiable reasoning other than the demand of sycophantic delivery of his message, which is: “I am great, brilliant, know all things, and nothing else matters except the embellishment of my image.”

Unfortunately, he has his finger on the trigger which could generate massive turmoil worldwide, losses of trillions of dollars, losses of millions of lives, unlimited damage to our environment, and massive waste of the Earth’s precious resources – and perhaps merely to divert attention away form his miserable incompetence, dishonesty, and disregard for anyone other than himself.

Congress should step up and do the right thing. They should enact legislation, even if it requires a constitutional amendment, to eliminate presidential power to initiate any type of military action without congressional approval. The thought of one person having the authority to do so is without common sense, not only to eliminate personal reasons from the equation, but to require discussion and debate of such measures at length and the ultimate consensual decision which considers all ramifications involved, instead of merely the momentary whims of one elected official.

This should be a nonpartisan action. Who, in their right mind, could disagree. Those who have seen warfare would surely support such a measure. (Where is Dwight Eisenhower when we need him)

Having one person in a position to create warfare and endanger the lives and welfare of everyone in the nation is very scary. It seems unnecessary, unwarranted, and inane. It is times like this when the urgency of such action becomes imperative and demands non-partisanship, mutual beneficence, and common sense – for the COMMON GOOD.

Gun Violence or Civil Rights, our choice!

Gun Violence or Civil Rights, our choice!

Ted Folkert
April 3, 2018

The National Rifle Association, including their vocal members, and other gun advocates, always have the same explanation for gun violence other than the easy access and ready availability of guns, especially so-called assault weapons, those which can kill dozens of people quicker than you can say assault weapon.

Their answer for deaths instilled by anger isn’t access to a gun, it is anger.

Their answer for deaths instilled by a troubled mind isn’t access to a gun, it is a troubled mind.

Their answer for deaths instilled by a deranged mind isn’t access to a gun, it is a deranged mind.

Their answer for deaths instilled by viciousness isn’t access to a gun, it is viciousness.

Their answer for deaths instilled by maliciousness isn’t access to a gun, it is maliciousness.

Their answer to deaths instilled by revenge against society isn’t access to a gun, it is revenge.

In other words, guns have nothing to do with any of these episodes of spontaneous or planned violence and massacre, it is always carried out due to the malady, not the convenience of immediate action to release of pent up or spontaneous maladies by murdering people, usually completely innocent people.

Let’s be honest, intelligent, and civil minded – that worn out cliché of “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a pure cop out and protection of personal pleasure or personal profit, nothing else. Those who make these statements don’t even believe it. It is merely self-interest protected at the expense of community interest, the interest of our families, friends and everyone else except the gun advocates.

Let’s be honest, intelligent, and civil minded – we cannot cure all of the cases of anger, troubled minds, deranged minds, viciousness, maliciousness, or revenge.

Let’s be honest, intelligent, and civil minded – the only way to deter this kind of violence and loss of life is to keep the guns out of the hands of potential perpetrators – and ban assault weapons of all types for all times.

Then maybe our children would be safe in school once again! Imagine that!

No Place to Sleep

javas

No Place to Sleep

Ted Folkert

February 8, 2018

NIMBY strikes again. (You know, “not in my back yard”). Those with no place to sleep are going to have to relocate again as they have done again and again and again, and as whey will do forever, again and again and again. In California, as is the case in many parts of the country, affordable rent is a term from the past. This formula only works for those fortunate enough to earn a substantial income. The “good old days” when affordable rent was comfortable at about 20% of one’s income are gone forever. In California that formula doesn’t work for the renters or the property owners. If the property owners seek renters to fit that formula they may have extended vacancies. If renters seek properties which fit that formula they end up sleeping outdoors.

Many of those who are retired on Social Security, who have worked all their lives, cannot afford to pay the rent in this area and eat at the same time. And many of them lack the wherewithal to seek other housing areas which are more affordable.

Of course, sleeping outdoors requires being quite mobile. NIMBY prevails everywhere those who sleep outdoors choose to place their blankets. So, the police show up and the outdoor sleepers keep on the move.

There has existed a large encampment of outdoor sleepers along a river trail in the Anaheim, Costa Mesa area for some time. A place to which many have matriculated after being evicted from numerous places of encampment again and again and again. Now the NIMBYs have arisen again. Law enforcement is cracking down. A federal judge has provided some delay in the process, however, the NIMBYs always prevail. After all, who owns the elected officials in this country? It obviously isn’t the outdoor sleepers.

So, law enforcement moves in to follow the orders of their superiors to force these people to move on, as they have done again and again and again. Law enforcers issue citations, which is most cases is a waste of paper and ink. People with no place to sleep have no method of transportation to show up in court. If the do show up and receive a fine, they can’t pay it. Then they are a fugitive from justice. If they get a jail sentence they serve it and then return to the street again where they have been through this same process again and again and again.

So, has any ground been gained? Of course not. Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times talks about this all the time and has been a hands-on advocate for the homeless of this area. Unfortunately, the situation only continues to get worse as property owners respond to housing demand and continue to raise rents.

Once one becomes a victim of this way of survival the path to a homestead way of life becomes increasingly more remote. When one has no address or phone number, when one has no place to keep clean and presentable, and when one has no personal or employment references, employment is virtually impossible. That is where hopelessness prevails along with helplessness and despair – the big three.

We read about all the wonderful plans to build affordable housing for those with no place to sleep. We hear of big funding to help solve the problem. But nothing happens. They talk about solving this problem with their five-year and ten-year plans. What about today or tomorrow. Why not break ground and build some housing today or tomorrow and continue to do so for five years and then for ten years.

I imagine we could arouse hundreds of volunteers who would contribute time and money to help to provide for those who are helpless. There are those who either don’t understand the problem or don’t care about resolving it but there are also those who would lend a helping hand once our fearless leaders get done campaigning for reelection and decide to resolve this enormous issue.

All talk and no action. That seems to be the process in dealing with the problem. The money spent enforcing and adjudicating those violating law prohibiting such lifestyle, the money spent on cleaning up homeless encampments, the money spent on damages and repairs from those seeking warmth and shelter – all of the money spent on the negative side of this issue – would probably make some good headway toward resolving this crucial problem and providing some hope for the hopeless. Those who are experiencing this way of life due to PTSD from military duty, or from drug or alcohol addiction, or mental illness deserve professional help and a comfortable path to recover from their dilemma. And those who are simply in the downward spiral of joblessness or adversity deserve assistance in climbing out of the homeless entrapment and achieving a way of life with opportunity and livable housing.

Dean Baker’s take on tax cuts

Like my parents used to tell me – “don’t believe everything you hear.”

Dean Baker provides some profound insight regarding  erroneous information about tax cuts.

Excerpts from Dean Baker’s article: “The Corporate Tax Cut Bonanza” – January 22, 2018

” . . . . .  what is perhaps most disturbing about the Republican tax plan is that it seems to steer the United States in the opposite direction of proven paths to growth. Looking back in the past, whether across states or across countries, low tax rates have never been the spur to growth. The spur to growth has been a well-trained and well-educated workforce, coupled with the infrastructure needed to support growth.

Today, the booming areas are not low-tax states like Arkansas and Mississippi, but relatively high-tax states like New York, Massachusetts and California.

For example, the long boom that followed World War II was associated with a huge increase in college enrollment and high school graduation rates, not tax cuts. We built the national highway system, which was the basis for the suburbanization of this period and was associated with the explosion of the automobile sector and a wide variety of related industries. In addition, publicly-funded research had massive spinoffs in everything from aerospace to the internet.

If we look across states today, the booming areas are not low-tax states like Arkansas and Mississippi. Rather, we see the greatest prosperity in relatively high-tax states like New York, Massachusetts and California. Businesses are attracted by the highly skilled workers in these states. And, while some of these workers are educated in these states, workers come from around the country and around the world because these are considered desirable places for highly educated people to both work and live.

The same is true comparing countries across the globe; in fact, the countries in which workers are most prosperous all have much larger government sectors than the United States. In Germany, whose workers enjoy high pay and long vacations, government spending accounts for 43.8 percent of GDP compared to just 37.6 percent in the United States, according to the OECD.

Instead of focusing on tax cuts, it would be good if the Republicans can look to the economic success stories of the present and recent past.

In France, where workers have enjoyed substantial wage gains over the last four decades and rank near the top in productivity per hour, the government accounts for 56.6 percent of the economy. There is a similar story for the prosperous Scandinavian countries: In Norway, President Trump’s apparent preferred country of origin for new immigrants, government spending accounts for 48.8 percent of the economy.

Instead of focusing on tax cuts, it would be good if the Republicans can look to the economic success stories of the present and recent past. Spending more to promote clean technologies can help keep U.S. companies among the world leaders in the area. Additional support for installing solar or wind energy and buying electric cars would also help. And, new funding to make college tuition free and reduce the student loan debt of recent grads would also help to expand the supply of skilled labor, as would more support for community colleges and other forms of training.

This route might not be the current orthodoxy among Republicans, but, unlike tax cuts, it is a proven path to broadly shared prosperity, and not just short-term profits.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ted Folkert – January 15, 2018

There will be many articles and remembrances for Dr. King today – as there should be. He was a tireless and stalwart crusader for redress for the plight of the powerless minorities who were impoverished and imprisoned in a life lacking equal rights, equal education, and equal employment opportunities and equal law enforcement.

He was denied an equal right to live his life and broadcast his opinion while opposing the plight of minorities in a country expressing the virtues of freedom from the wrath of dictators, monarchs, and other tyrants, but denying civil rights to people who looked like him, simply because they looked like him.

The worst outcome of his murder was, of course, the loss to his loved ones.

The second worst outcome must be our loss of his continued drive for equal rights, with his eloquent voice, his determined drive, and his persistent, non-violent movement for equality.

The third worst outcome must be the unsolved crime. James Earl Ray was convicted of his murder, but we still didn’t get the real culprits, those who hired him. Someone knew who they were but chose to conceal the truth for the benefit of continuing the racial intolerance of the South.

To get true healing from this loss, not for his family, there can be no solace there, but for our country and his cause, we still need to identify the culprit or culprits who planned and caused this horrendous assassination to happen. Justice still has not been served.

Dr. King knew he was a target but persisted fearlessly. He was thoroughly inspired to implement change in the lives of people who looked like him. He stated in his last public speaking, the night before he was assassinated, “I may not be there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”

Dr. King would be speaking loud and clear about racial justice now that we have elected a bigot to lead our country and who attempts to backtrack the progress of racial equality that we have enacted since Dr. King’s death. He would be speaking loud and clear about the racist voter suppression. He would speak loud and clear about the marching of white nationalists and about our president calling them “some very fine people.”

May his movement continue forward in spite of the bigotry we still endure in our society as we celebrate the life of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. May he rest in the peace he deserves and may he continue to see progress in racial equality resulting from his fearless leadership.

Our Trigger-Happy Child President

Our Trigger-Happy Child President

 Ted Folkert – January 8, 2018

It seems that our child president and the child leader of North Korea may be cut out of the same cloth. Now they are comparing the sizes of their nuclear buttons, like kids on the playground declaring “my daddy can whip your daddy.”

David Rothkopf addressed the situation (January 3rd – Los Angeles Times) in a more meaningful and perceptive manner than many of us consider as Trump triggers our ire daily with his abusive twitter rants.

 Quotes from:Trump keeps making bad American foreign policy worse”  – By David Rothkopf –  senior fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns    Hopkins University and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Although Trump is in a class by himself when it comes to incompetence, greed, mendacity, absence of values and unfitness for office, America’s “abdication” of its world leadership role has been a long time coming. We have gone from overreach to inertia to incompetence, and damaged our standing at every step along the way.”

“In part, this is because Americans seem to think we can elect presidents — five out of the last six — with very little foreign policy experience. We act as though U.S. world leadership is a God-given right rather than something that must be earned again and again. Most Americans mistakenly think the rest of the world matters little to them. Unlike the Greatest Generation, who through World War II and the Cold War came to see informed foreign policy leadership and the international system as essential to peace and our way of life, the baby boomers who took over a quarter-century ago have been complacent, distracted and then ineffectual.”

“Trump is without a doubt the worst foreign policy president in American history. But our international problems are not, contrary to what some might think, all about him. They are about us. The only hope for fixing things requires a national awakening; only then can we expect one in the White House.”

Which is a message to us baby boomers and our offspring to get more involved in who we elect to entrust with our peace and prosperity. After all, the guy we entrusted it to was elected due to our complacency in correcting campaign finance, the electoral process and the lack of public control of the press in this country, which perhaps resulted in the dilemma of choosing between two candidates that we found unsatisfactory for the challenge. Now we face a tenuous situation on a daily basis with no voice in the outcome. (My words, not David Rothkopf’s)

 

An Infinitesimal Existence – Cosmology for the Unscientific Mind

An Infinitesimal Existence – Cosmology for the Unscientific Mind

Ted Folkert – December 29, 2017

We often use the term mind-boggling as a casual comment to emphasize something complicated, hard to understand or that seems incomprehensible.

Fasten your seat belts. Here is a mind-boggle for those of us with an unscientific mind.

If there isn’t one, there should be a book entitled “Don’t Know Much About Cosmology.” Think about this information which is discussed by David Filkin and Stephen Hawking in “Stephen Hawking’s Universe:”

Summarizing: The rock we all inhabit, Planet Earth, evolved more than fifteen billion years ago from something smaller than a dot in the universe, which exploded in an event called the Big Bang, which created billions of stars and evolved through gravitation into billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars, one of which is our home, Planet Earth.

That’s right, Earth is one of billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy, which is one of billions of galaxies in the universe.

How is that for mind-boggling? Like my grandfather might have said, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

In other words, if there was a map on your computer screen containing all the stars in the universe, which would be a number with at least eighteen zeroes behind it, a quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, maybe a centillion, with 300 zeroes. The map would be a solid sheet of black after all the stars were noted on the map. So, Planet Earth wouldn’t even be identifiable, it would be lost in a huge mass of billions and billions and billions of dots.

How big would the map have to be to identify our planet? How big to identify our state, our city, our home, each of us seven billion people on this planet. As Bernie Sanders might say, it would have to be HUGE.

How small does that make you feel? Tiny? Infinitesimal? It’s a real ego deflator if there ever was one.

Most of the cosmologists agree to all these facts – facts proven to a considerable degree of confidence in the scientific community through studies by radio-telescope technology and quantum mathematics, generally considered to be irrefutable. Furthermore, they believe that only about ten percent of the universe has been discovered, leaving ninety percent yet to be identified. And they believe that the universe is continuing to expand although at a slower rate which could mean that, at some point, the universe could reverse directions and begin to contract back into that original small dot from whence it came. A frightening thought to say the least.

I didn’t make this up. The information came from Ptolemy, Pythagoras, Erastosthenes, Einstein, Mendelson, Curie, Rutherford,, and many others who spent their lives looking through telescopes and doing mathematical equations.

But don’t go shoot yourself in fear of the planet disappearing. This contraction would happen billions of years from now, so we won’t have to be concerned. After all, we may end up destroying humankind much sooner if we keep going the way we are. Maybe the fact that our existence began with an explosion causes us to be so attracted to explosions that we will make our planet uninhabitable anyway. We seem to be moving in that direction at a rapid pace.

Think about it!

 

 

Democrats Are the New Republicans

Democrats Are the New Republicans

Frank Bruni  – DEC. 19, 2017

Family values. How long have we been subjected to that subjective phrase, championed by Republicans who equated it with heterosexuality, fecundity and Christian piety — and who appointed themselves the custodians of those?

Well, they lost any remaining claim to that mantle by embracing Donald Trump and then Roy Moore. Neither won the support of all Republicans, but both won the backing or complicity of enough of them to confirm just how hollow and hypocritical the party’s attachment to conservative morality always was. Quote the Bible. Denounce abortion. Congratulations: You’re upholding family values! No questions asked about the number of your marriages, the extent of your infidelities or the scope of your sexual predation.

Fiscal responsibility. How loudly have Republicans harangued us about that? It’s a worthy harangue — or at least it would be if there were an iota of integrity and consistency behind it.

But Republicans are poised to enact a sweeping overhaul of the tax code that will add nearly $1.5 trillion to federal deficits over the next decade. In all the news coverage of their need to finesse the math so that they don’t exceed that amount, the fact that they’re plunging the country so much deeper into the red in the first place almost gets lost.

This, mind you, is the same political party that fetishized balanced budgets and browbeat Democrats about being the foolishly, fatally profligate ones. Republicans’ actions routinely contradicted their words, and their tax reform is a contradiction on steroids. Where’s the fiscal responsibility in legislation with such budgetary hocus-pocus as the expiration of individual rate cuts that the bill’s authors fully expect other lawmakers to preserve down the road?

What pretty lies Republicans tell, most of all about themselves. And what a gorgeous opportunity they have given Democrats to steal that bogus rhetoric right out from under them.

Try this on for size: Democrats are the party of family values because they promote the creation of more families. They did precisely that with their advocacy of marriage equality, which didn’t tug the country away from convention but toward it, by encouraging gay and lesbian Americans to live in the sorts of arrangements that conservatives in fact extol.

Democrats also want to give families the flexibility and security that help keep them afloat and maybe intact. That’s what making the work force more hospitable to women and increasing the number of Americans with health insurance do. And Republicans lag behind Democrats on both fronts.

Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility because they don’t pretend that they can afford grand government commitments — whether distant wars or domestic programs — without collecting the revenue for them.

Democrats are the party of patriotism, because they’re doing something infinitely more urgent and substantive than berating football players who kneel during the national anthem. They’re recognizing that a hostile foreign power tried to change the course of an American presidential election. They’re pressing for a full accounting of that. They’re looking for fixes, so that we can know with confidence that we control our own destiny going forward. The president, meanwhile, plays down the threat, and Republicans prop him up.

Democrats are the party of national security. They don’t taunt and get into Twitter wars with the rulers of countries that just might send nuclear warheads our way. They don’t alienate longtime allies by flashing contradictory signals about their commitment to NATO. The leader of the Republican Party does all of that and more, denying the G.O.P. any pretense to stewardship of a stable world order.

Democrats are the law-and-order party. While many Republicans and their media mouthpiece, Fox News, labor to delegitimize the F.B.I. and thus inoculate Trump, Democrats put faith in prosecutors, agents and the system.

Democrats are the party of decency and modesty. None of their highest leaders uses the public arena to bully private citizens in the way that the Republican president does. None advances his or her financial interests as brazenly or brags as extravagantly.

Democrats are the party of tradition, if it’s interpreted — and it should be — to mean a news media that operates without fear of government interference, an internet to which access isn’t tiered, judicial appointees who have a modicum of fluency in trial law.

Under Trump’s thumb and spell, the Republican Party is watching the pillars of its brand crumble. Democrats should grab hold of and appropriate them. And they’re starting to, fitfully and imperfectly. Jettisoning Al Franken as the Republican National Committee reteamed with Moore was part of that effort.

Who among us doesn’t care about family values, defined justly and embraced honestly? Who doesn’t see the good in patriotism, tradition and decency? They’re neither hokey words nor musty concepts, and that’s why Republicans have been using (and misusing) them. But in the age of Trump, they constitute a language that Democrats can more credibly speak.

 

We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both. Louis Brandeis