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Email Address:

4secularprogress@gmail.com

 

Do you like what you’ve found on this Secular Progressive Outreach website? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Just pop me an email at the address listed above or click on the "Let's Chat" button at the lower right-hand corner of this page.

 

If you’ve got a suggestion as to a book or article you’ve found enlightening, convincing, or easy to understand, let me know. We may include it later on the “Books & Articles” page.

 

If you’ve found information about a charity or advocacy group and decided to make a contribution to them, I’d like to hear about it. Or not, if you prefer your donations to be anonymous. That’s OK too.

 

If you’ve contributed to a political candidate’s campaign and want to encourage other visitors to this site to do the same, let everybody know.

 

If you’ve discovered a film or documentary that was especially meaningful to you and want to share its title and source with likeminded viewers, give us the information and perhaps we can add it to our “Films & Documentaries” webpage.

 

For all these motives – and others, no doubt – please send us your comments.

I do request, however, that you express yourself in a courteous and respectful manner. I will delete vulgarities, and encourage you – as the English teacher I once was – to refine your vocabulary, being aware that usually no one’s mind is changed by shouting at them, ridiculing them, or attempting to shame them. When trying to be persuasive, please use logic and reason as your arguments. Missives from trolls will not be republished.

 

My wish is that we all help to keep this a friendly gathering place, conducive to a healthy exchange of ideas.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gary M. Linscott

Our Visitors' Forum

RE: Charitable Giving

Hi, Gary, 

 

I love what you are doing. On a personal level, I give every month to a variety of organizations and appreciate your suggestions. Keep up the good work. 

 

Claire Pratt

 

***

 

February 26, 2021

 

Gary,

 

If I donate money in the near future, the one I might support is UNICEF.

 

Deuel Woodward

 

***

January 27, 2021

RE: Cy Chadley's Blog of January 26, 2021

Cy, you offer a thoughtful and much needed shopping list for Biden and the Democratic Party going forward. It is extensive and addresses issues of great significance. My response here echoes my previous reply to Marjorie Cohn, a published attorney, Democrat and concerned advocate for preserving American democracy.

 

I believe your insightful comments missed perhaps the two most pressing issues for this nation, at least in my opinion – universal voter registration and putting a chokehold on FOX News and its ilk.

 

For most of the past century, the Democrats have held a numeric superiority within the population. The Republicans clearly see this as the greatest threat to their entrenched power. Consequently, they have instituted a series of cunning countermeasures to keep a universal vote at bay. The despicable games involved in voter suppression, gerrymandering, ballot disqualification, etc., must end.

These are the underhanded tactics of a third-world dictatorship. With great regret, they have sadly thrived for decades right here in America.

 

If the majority of eligible Americans were automatically registered in each state and their ballots were easily and conveniently cast by mail, the Democrats would without question overwhelm the Republicans -- and probably assume the majority position in most federal bodies and even most state jurisdictions.

 

To me, this is the greatest, most obvious, and most enduring leverage the Democrats have available. A universal vote should be the #1 most tenacious, single-minded and resounding drumbeat of the Democratic Party as we move forward. This single issue might even be able to internally consolidate the party and reduce the petty ideological bickering that currently fractionates the Democrats. It is abundantly obvious that a universal vote is the biggest club the Democrats have at their disposal.

 

Second, as Robert Reich so succinctly stated, “We may have defeated Trump, but we have not defeated Trumpism.” Perhaps it is time this nation turned off the mic on FOX News – and on One America News, News Max, Facebook, Breitbart, and their many rapidly growing clones. Perhaps the Democrats might finally recognize that FOX and its twisted brethren have been the single most erosive and divisive influence on America for over four decades. Perhaps it is time we choked off the source of this destructive, venomous, ideologically and financially driven bilge water before it creates further splintering of this nation. Perhaps it is time that Democrats realize the ideas alive in our collective minds have been at the epicenter of our national (and global) disunity.

 

I am NOT calling for a stranglehold on the 1st Amendment. However, there are many financial pressures and political tactics available to a committed Democratic administration that could create a matrix of disincentives against the lies, disinformation, intentional omissions, and twisted reports that constantly spew forth from these corporate-backed media outlets. If the recognition and political will exists to eradicate the focal point of our social cancer, perhaps the Biden administration could help excise this malignant growth before it metastasizes further.

 

These first two priorities seem absolutely obvious and achievable, at least to me. The Democrats should pick up these golden balls and simply run with them with all the way to the goal post. Once these transformations are in place, the Democrats will have established a viable foundation of power from which to advance -- and without the nattering nabobs of negativity nipping at their heels. THEN, we could constructively tackle issues like our gross tax inequities, the long ignored minimum wage, our tragic national healthcare system, the unjust influence of corporate lobbying, campaign finance reform, our national infrastructure, the prison-industrial complex, our militaristic diplomatic posture, global climate change, and on, and on, and on.

 

Cy, as I’ve been preaching for some time, the Democrats need to establish and fully utilize their own political power base. They must move forward with a clearly articulated master plan – in some ways mirroring what the Republicans have done under the guidance of the Powell Manifesto. Without such a substantial foundation, quite candidly, the Dems will be resigned to fighting a constant stream of peripheral uphill battles… when conceivably, we could reestablish the Democratic party as a beacon of light shining from the mountain top.

 

Regards,

 

Norm Andross

***

January 20, 2021

RE: The Biden-Harris Inauguration

Today was a great day for this country. What a difference from January 6th! 

Trump was the last hurrah of White supremacy. I hope that today truly symbolized the turning of another chapter in our history and the beginning of the end for White supremacy.

Biden and Harris emphasize inclusion. They are about representing all Americans, not just one segment of the population. I feel that all marginalized groups, including people of color, will have a seat at the table, whereas Trump tried to prevent us from getting near the table.

I think Joe Biden is the right man at the right hour. He’s about service and selflessness, not personal power, profits, and adoration.

 

Biden is not the greatest orator, but he’s the most important messenger with the most important message of our lifetime.

 

He needs to strike while the iron is hot! Now that the Dems control the Senate, he needs to pass as much progressive legislation as he can in the next two years.

 

I think Biden will do a good job. Unlike Trump, he will hire competent, ethical people in his cabinet. He’ll do his best to unify Americans, not lead them in an insurrection. And he won’t Tweet or say a bunch of stupid and racist garbage.

 

HAPPY NEW ERA!!!

 

Wilfredo Perez

***

January 17, 2021

Hi Gary,

 

Well we came through hell, didn't we? Now we have to hold the Dem Party's feet to the fire so to speak, because they tend to be middle of the road! That will not get them re-elected in 2024!

 

Compromise not, and take our nation in the direction of the enlightened nations of the world!

I want no unity with any Republican. Dems own the three branches of government; they must now act to make life easier for ALL, and to help the Red States to be better off fiscally, also.

 

I like Biden/Harris. But I am hoping that Biden is not so old fashioned as he has been in the past. If he is, WE must push him toward Progressives and Bernie.  I can hardly wait for Jan 20 to be over so that our nation is safe and the insurrection is done for!

MM

***

November 26, 2020

 

RE: Documentaries listed on Secular Progressive Outreach

 

Gary,

 

I forgot to say thank you for this!

I've been participating and hosting events through a meetup called Bohemian's Back for some time ... and I realize a lot of these [documentaries] would have been great to watch and then discuss. I'll definitely keep this in mind for future events and the like!

 

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

 

Emily E. Effner

 

***

 

November 30, 2020

 

Emily,

 

So good to hear from you and to learn that you continue to sponsor group discussions! 

 

One of the reasons I have for maintaining my website is to provide material that secularists and political progressives can access precisely for this purpose: to serve as the basis for informed discussions. These documentaries can be used by groups such as yours, or by circles of friends with similar interests, or for that matter, by clusters of family members in search of intellectual stimulation during the pandemic.

 

Gary

 

***

November 22, 2020

 

Dear Norm:

 

Thank you for your observations. You are right to draw attention to the ever increasing inequality in this nation. I am hopeful that President Biden, in his first hundred days, will carry out his election campaign promises to increase federal income tax rates for persons earning more than $400,000 per year, and to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. This will just be a start.

 

It concerns me that 74 million people voted for Trumpism at the election, particularly as this apparently included millions of blue collar workers, the very people who have traditionally supported the Democrat Party and would be expected to want a more egalitarian society. While we will not know until January 5 whether they can control the Senate, Democrats must be looking to how to bring these workers back to their party before the mid-term elections in 2022. 

 

Cy Chadley

 

***

 

November 18, 2020

 

Good morning, Cy,

 

You offer some very insightful comments here. Your remarks about Biden’s plans going forward are indeed correct. However, I would argue that the general perception by the American populace is that of calm and patient “Uncle Joe.” It is my opinion that Biden has brilliantly played both his campaign and his position as President Elect with his fairly low-key posture. After 4 years of literally insane chaos created by our Tangerine Idi Amin, most folks in this country are now looking for stability. The overall attraction of Biden is his persona rather than his policies. That’s why Biden won… besides being the Anti-Trump candidate.

 

Yes, Wall Street is in a remarkably strong position. Yet, it must be said that this growth has, in numerous ways, been at the expense of Main Street. Despite all the smoke-screening and massaging of employment, productivity and inflation reports, the average American is doing worse after 4 years of Trump. Over 50% of all stocks are held by the top 1%. Corporations and the uber-wealthy have disproportionally and dramatically benefited from such investment growth.

 

In addition, wages have remained stagnant for the past 40 years (when adjusted for inflation). Obviously, the frequently reported prosperity of the American economy is rather lopsided, in part based upon a gross and chronic inequity between the haves and have-nots. From my perspective, the illusion of a strong American economy is supported by an ever-thinning tightrope of factors. A virtual mountain of data supports this conclusion (read Thomas Piketty, Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, et. al.).

 

It is a well-established axiom in Washington that you campaign in poetry and you govern in prose. Obama and Trump are the best recent examples of this principle… just where is that border wall that Mexico paid for? Obama’s campaign was an absolute insurgency. He was perceived by this nation and much of the world as the President who would return America to its pre-9/11 (pre-Bush/Cheney) greatness. As I mentioned previously, Obama’s two terms in office can be accurately described as a profile in timidity.

 

Time will certainly tell regarding Biden’s presidential leadership (or lack thereof). His track record thus far speaks more of moderation and compromise than it does of vision, passion, and transformational change. I concur with your emphasis on the necessity of going slowly regarding any much needed political, economic, and social change. Undoubtedly, Biden will encounter extreme resistance politically and also from deeply imbedded corporate interests. However, a grand plan must be put forward to guide these incremental steps toward a well-articulated future outcome (shades of the Powell Manifesto).

 

At this point in time, the Democratic Party seems completely unable to produce such a playbook. Presently, the limousine liberals and corporate Democrats have too much at stake to kill their goose who laid the golden egg. If Biden can muster the political will and ideological support to plant the flag of genuine change – through the use of Executive Orders or by other effective means – this may create a populist tipping point that party officials and the electorate must respond to with support. From my perspective, this may be our best-case scenario.

 

Regards,

 

Norm

***

November 18, 2020

Dear MM and Progressive Friends

 

I do not like being a kill-joy but I do not see us as having won. Yes, Joe Biden won the popular vote by a huge margin but the Democrats lost seats in the House and it is still by no means certain that they will gain the two Georgia seats in the Senate.

 

Democrats need to recognize that they did not win; Trump lost. He lost because of his narcissism and ignorance. I suspect that if Trump had accepted the early advice of CDC experts that the "China virus" was going to be a pandemic and had led the nation by following their guidelines, not only would there have been fewer cases and fewer deaths, the economy would not have suffered so much and he could have been a hero.

 

It is appalling that 70 million people voted for Trump. Democrats failed to draw sufficiently from the median-left or the median-right. They have less than two years to prepare for the 2022 mid-term elections, and then for the 2024 general election. They must assess why they failed to flip Texas and Florida.

 

Joe Biden is not going to be able to unite the nation. The hard right is lost. The key is to understand the electorate and to be able to pull the median to the left.

 

I do hope President Biden has the courage to have Trump arrested and charged for his felonies and corruption.

 

Cy Chadley

 

***

 

November 17, 2020


Good morning, Cy,

 

Like you, I am happy that we’ll have a Democratic administration for the next four years. I suspect that we may be in now for having had to endure Republicans for the preceding 12 years.

 

There is SO much noise from these people, it is unbelievable. Just see what happened in DC, SD and Poway this past weekend.

 

Biden is a good and decent person and won’t rock the boat. We will still not get anything done in Congress, though, especially with Mitch there in any capacity. The stock market bears this out. They were worried that the Dems would cost them money, with new taxes, etc. But, with Mitch and Biden, all is good with the world. 

 

As you probably know, I have volunteered a lot of my time the last 3 ½ years to Ammar Campa-Najjar’s bid for Congress here in the 50th. I continue to be saddened by the Dems inability to reach or convert more of the electorate.

 

I’ve just read the updated version of Don’t Think of an Elephant. So, I am really thinking of supporting liberal think tanks and universities, etc. We need to put our money (as the Republicans have) into those kinds of institutions, to train and educate people on messaging liberal and progressive ideas.

 

Appealing to human natures’ fears, and teaching hatred and suspicion has served the Republicans very well. (Yes, I know that the Dems have done this as well.)

 

I want to see more liberals and progressives in local and state offices. That’s how we can build a coalition and then be able to engage and mobilize folks more broadly and longer.

 

Take care,

 

Regina

***

 

November 7, 2020

Dear Progressive Friends,

 

We won!  We all won!  We ALL won! 

 

Who lost in this election? The 1% of millionaires and billionaires, the power of the Supreme Court to overturn the election, and the corporations that supported Trump!

 

How did we do it? By mobilizing the greatest number of American voters ever to come out to vote! Joe Biden got more votes than any other President in presidential history. When we vote, we win!

 

We must train our kids to vote in every election! Voting must be taught in grade school through college. Everybody should know how to vote. In my canvassing for the last four years I found so many – younger and older – who hadn't a clue what voting is about or how to do it! So sad! 

 

Who won? All the people in the U.S. -- even those who didn’t vote for Joe Biden.

 

And our social security fund is secure. Trump had signed an executive order in August 2020 to stop the payroll tax deductions of current workers. If he could have followed through on that, our Social Security would have been gone in three years. Seniors, children, the disabled, are all saved from utter poverty! 

 

Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman who ran for President in the U.S in the 1970's, would be rejoicing today! Her dream is fulfilled now in the person of Vice President Kamala Harris, a no-nonsense, tennis-shoe-wearing, go-get-‘em kind of gal!

 

Trump can be arrested on January 21, 2021 when he becomes a common citizen once again! That would be a good idea; it would send a message to young people everywhere that we are a nation of laws, and that they apply to everyone!

 

Trump is golfing today. No congratulations from him to President-Elect Joe Biden. This is a first in our nation. This is a very hard day for a mentally ill man. If he hadn’t been so malevolent we might feel sorry for him, but he hurt too many people! At the top of that list are the thousands of kids in cages, plus the 240,000+ Americans he did nothing to save from Covid-19! 

 

Trump was the first "malignant psychopath" in our nation in the Oval Office! I believe no candidate should be allowed to run for office in the future without a psychological test from a panel of psychiatrists/psychologists. This must never happen in our nation again. Not while we possess weapons of mass destruction. 

 

Melania will be gone. Not sorry to see her go! No more red Christmas trees at the White House. Trump’s nepotistic, spoiled, entitled kids will be gone. Ivanka will no longer be bringing her products into the country duty free.

 

This also ended Putin's interference in our elections!

 

Thankfully, 29 states have already passed laws requiring the Electoral College Electors to vote according to the will of the majority of voters, which ostensibly reduces the power of the Electoral College! 

 

Jill Biden plans to continue teaching. That's a “first” for a First Lady! But will the Secret Service allow it because of security concerns?  

 

I wonder if Jill's work with military families helped Biden’s cause!? Trump didn’t help himself by calling the military "losers and suckers!"

 

Everybody wins when we always vote Democratic straight down the line.

 

If Democrats had voted earlier, Joe would have won on November 3rd! Traditionally, Republicans vote early and Democrats vote late.

 

If the two GA Senate seats go to Democrats, there will be an even Dem/Rep Senate! If there is a tie in the Senate at any time, the Vice President Kamala Harris, will be the deciding vote! How ironic that would be! Mitch O’Connell got re-elected in the gerrymandered great state of Kentucky, but he would have no power to obstruct! 

 

Great day in the neighborhood for all Americans! Mr. Rogers would be so proud of us! 

 

MM

 

*** 

 

October 7, 2020

 

Secular Progressive Friends,

 

I’ve recently received a number of interesting emails from a former colleague. These days she prefers to sign in as MM. I will go as far as to reveal that MM (Mysterious Matron?) is a she. Currently she is doing all she can to support Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. I find her activity and dedication heartening. Please take the time to browse through her missives that I’m posting here (above). I think you’ll find them encouraging too.

 

Gary M. Linscott

 

***

September 30, 2020

 

Re: The First Presidential Debate

 

Trump used interruptions to throw off Biden’s response. The Vice President was not ruffled; however, it was hard to hear his statements. I felt that watching the debate was a waste of time because it was so difficult to get clear remarks without Trump’s constant interruptions.

 

I probably will not listen to any more debates as a result. That [may be] Trump’s objective because he feels that Biden is a superior debater. He wants to sabotage the debates since he doesn’t control the format and his record is abominable.

 

Jim Lawrence

 

***

 

September 30, 2020

 

Re: The First Presidential Debate

 

The Trump-Biden presidential debate in Cleveland was an insane spectacle.

 

In future debates they should turn off the mic of interrupters, or maybe silence the mic of the one who does not have the floor throughout the entire debate. Watching this debate [was] frustrating, maddening, and really not worth our time.

 

No need for another debate. It’ll just be another fiasco. It’s a moot point to debate someone with no intellect. How can you debate a liar?

 

Wilfredo Perez

 

***

 

September 30, 2020

 

Re: Flipping the Senate Blue

 

Gary, this is great. It inspired me to provide support for senators. Keep up the great work.

 

Eliot Tow

 

***

 

September 30, 2020

 

Gary,

 

I went to Kaiser today and talked politics. Talked to the lady at the reception desk. Talked to the nurse. Talked to the doctor. (All we talked about was politics.) Talked to a stranger on the way to my car.

 

It may be easier for me because I am a woman and I think we are all connected. This is what I have been doing for 60 years, and I’ve accelerated the last 4 years. No one is a stranger.

 

Waiters and waitresses are easy [to talk to]. I got to talk to all the staff at IHOP. It took me two visits.

 

Tell people, Gary, [we] must take to the streets. No time to be shy! This is a DIRE TIME.

 

Explain to voters about not voting at the polls this time; to not take their ballot to the polls, but to take them to the Registrar of Voters directly. Many haven’t a clue what the ROV is or where it’s located. Explain that it is the entity that counts our votes. People don’t know this.

 

Make up flyers and put them on cars!

 

MM

 

***

September 28, 2020

 

Debates are mostly about going through the motions. Most people have already decided their vote.

 

California voters, vote at home this year. Take your ballot to the Registrar of Voters, bypassing the Post Office this year.

 

I tell my letter carriers how the GOP has been trying to get rid of the Post Office since Reagan. The overlying reason is to destroy their huge Postal Union.

 

MM

 

***

October 15, 2020

 

Fellow Democrats,

 

The Supreme Court Justice nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who the Republicans want in power, has been tracked by the Federalist Society since the beginning of her career. She is scarier than we knew. She is against abortion choice which often saves the life of the woman, and also opposes the Affordable Care Act. Little known is that she is in favor of re-criminalizing homosexuality. This woman is dangerous to a democracy.

 

MM

 

***

 

September 24, 2020

 

Secular Progressive colleagues,

 

It is evident that a Trump nominee, probably Amy Coney Barrett, is going to be appointed to the Supreme Court. It is a waste of time and energy fighting this nomination. Instead, Democrats should use it as ammunition to get citizens out to vote, not just with the aim of voting Joe Biden to the presidency but gaining seats in the Senate to reverse the Republican majority.

 

Citizens should be advised that this appointment will make it more likely that the Supreme Court will overturn Obamacare and Roe v. Wade. These issues should be brought to the fore and added to the disastrous management of the pandemic upon which to fight the election, thereby pushing aside economic issues, where Trump is apparently still highly thought of.

 

Humanists should note that M/s Barrett is an ardent Catholic. If appointed, the composition of the Supreme Court will be six Catholics, one quasi Catholic, and two Jews (fortunately secular). This is utterly out of proportion with the demographics of the nation and needs to be addressed if the Democrats gain a majority in the Senate and increase the number of Supreme Court jurists.

 

Cy Chadley

***

RE: Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Hi Gary,

 

Well, here's my take:

1) This is awful. Period.

2) No surprise that GOP Senators are not men and women who honor their word not fill a vacancy in an election year. These people have no principles other [than] their partisan self-interest.

3) I don't believe it will change Presidential election dynamics. The "cake is baked" on that score.

4) It MAY affect Senate races, as Susan Collins postures to try to look moderate to save her seat.

5) Worst possible effect of RBG's death: gives the right-wingers on the Court more power to pick Trump as President if the election lands in the SCOTUS.

6) Roe v Wade: my least concern. For all practical purposes, abortion has already been banned in many red states through regulation. Overturning Roe will NOT outlaw abortion; it will simply return it to the states. California and other 'blue' states will keep it legal. Legal abortion has not really been available in 'red' states for some time. 

7) One more thing: I'm annoyed that Ginsberg did not resign 2009-2011 when Obama had a Democratic Senate. My understanding is her cancer history goes back to 1999. History will decide if she put vanity ahead of being a team player. Just my opinion.

Aaron De Groot

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