Friday, August 10, 2018

Some thoughts...It's been awhile, I know

It's been awhile, and I've got some thoughts I want to jot down:

I cannot square with how people are calling Trump's election a vote against the establishment, when so many Republican incumbents were re-elected. That is a false notion. Clinton and Democrats lost because they didn't speak to middle class economics. People are freaking out about losing their jobs. That hasn't changed. If you worry about being able to support yourself and your family every day all day and no matter what you do, it still feels like you are losing that, you are going to be looking for someone to blame. The old jobs aren't going to come back in the way that they were here 20-30 years ago. They are gone. This is not because Obama or liberals wished them away. Corporations made these decisions. You can't blame them from a business standpoint: Why pay someone who will work 5 days a week for 8 hours a day at $15 an hour when you can spend money building a factory on the other side of the world and pay many someones who will work 7 days a week for 12-16 hours a day at $3 an hour? As a publicly held company, you are beholden to your shareholders to make the most money while spending the least. Another wrinkle is you as a shareholder in your 401(k) or if you are lucky enough to still have a pension DEMAND this kind of behavior from businesses, because then you make a better return on your investment dollars. The irony here is that these kinds of corporate behaviors are championed by establishment Republicans. Yet as a whole the party still holds a ton of sway. 

Enough with the Clintons. Enough with the Bushes.

I believe in Bernie. I believe in Warren. They actually have solutions that speak to all Americans. 

I hoped Clinton would win, because she was not Trump, or Stein, or Johnson. But she was not a good candidate. It was not because she is a woman. It is because she is a Clinton.She has too much history and baggage, fair or unfair as that is. There's a lot of misogyny out there, but that's not why she lost. She lost because people in key areas wanted change, and Clinton was more of the same. 

John Stewart spoke with David Axelrod after the debate, and he NAILED it at the 17:18 mark. This is the reason why I won't vote Republican. We have a political party in this country whose public platform is "Government doesn't work." They get into office, and either DO NOTHING or SMASH the institutions and rules and gum up everything, then they turn around and say "See, Government doesn't work." Half this country agrees with this approach. I hope people vote for them because they think that "I agree that government doesn't work, so I'm going to vote for you to fix it." But Republicans NEVER fix it. This is why compromise is such an anathema to them. Compromise means solving problems, and the only problem they want to solve is staying in office. Democrats are at least TRYING to solve problems. It's like a marriage where one person wants it to work, and trys and trys and makes mistakes doing so, while the other one does nothing except yell and tell the other person that they suck, then this person turns around and says that they don't believe in the institution of marriage and that it's a sham. Come on!

This article sums up a lot of good stuff, and also contradicts some of what I just said above. 
Canaries in the Coal Mine: Some people have watched their fellow Americans on the coasts ride a tech, finance and real estate rocketship, while their mortgages are underwater, their jobs have gone overseas or been automated, and the awareness of their critical value to the country has been systematically diminished. Consider a coal miner from Wyoming or West Virginia. For generations, his family has been powering America; literally providing the fuel that drove ecomomic revolutions. And now, not only is his business shrinking, he’s being told by all the environmentalists, billionaires, and Hollywood types that his industry has been poisoning the world. That his sacrifices, hard work, and health risks (and those of his father and his father) are all part of some historic wrongdoing. You’re worried about climate change? He’s worried about dinner. Does that mean alternative energy is bad. No, it’s the future. But you don’t have to be a complete dick about it.
From the Trickle Downers site:

Tax Cuts for the rich. Deregulation for the powerful. Wage suppression for everyone else. These are the tenets of trickle-down economics, the conservatives’ age-old strategy for advantaging the interests of the rich and powerful over those of the middle class and poor. The articles in Trickle-Downers are devoted, first, to exposing and refuting these lies, but equally, to reminding Americans that these claims aren’t made because they are true. Rather, they are made because they are the most effective way elites have found to bully, confuse and intimidate middle- and working-class voters. Trickle-down claims are not real economics. They are negotiating strategies. Here at the Prospect, we hope to help you win that negotiation. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What the Trump

I've been thinking that Trump is the result of Republican politics for awhile now, and this article sums it up nicely. To wit:
But note well: Donald Trump is not a black swan, an unforeseen event erupting upon an unsuspecting Republican Party. He is the end result of conscious and deliberate choices by the GOP, going back decades, to demonize its opponents, to polarize and obstruct, to pursue policies that enfeeble the political weal and to yoke the bigot and the ignorant to their wagon and to drive them by dangling carrots that they only ever intended to feed to the rich. Trump’s road to the candidacy was laid down and paved by the Southern Strategy, by Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, by Fox News and the Tea Party, and by the smirking cynicism of three generations of GOP operatives, who have been fracking the white middle and working classes for years, crushing their fortunes with their social and economic policies, never imagining it would cause an earthquake. […]
But they don’t control Trump, which they are currently learning to their great misery. And the reason the GOP doesn’t control Trump is that they no longer control their base. The GOP trained their base election cycle after election cycle to be disdainful of government and to mistrust authority, which ultimately is an odd thing for a political party whose very rationale for existence is rooted in the concept of governmental authority to do. The GOP created a monster, but the monster isn’t Trump. The monster is the GOP’s base. Trump is the guy who stole their monster from them, for his own purposes.
Republicans see compromise as failure. Until that changes, I won't ever vote Republican.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fire the HHS Secretary

Health and Human Services secretary Sebelius should be fired. She is in charge of the agency rolling out Obamacare and that's been a bomb so far. And her performance on the Daily Show last night was a talking-points riddled mess of ineptitude. General McChrystal was fired for less. Now don't get me wrong, I support Obamacare despite it's many wrinkles and warts. But three years of prep, and "This website is currently down" is the best the Feds can do?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Does the GOP get it?

It's been a few months, but nothing has changed. The GOP seems to want to doom itself. They lose another presidential election, lose seats in the Senate, and hold onto the House because of gerrymandering and redistricting. Yet the most vocal in the party still think they have sway. They don't.

Here's why I won't vote for the current GOP:
  1. This is the biggest bunch of sore losers I have ever seen. They LOST, yet they whine about  how they don't get much respect. Four years of hate spewing disrespect for the President and they just keep going at it like it's the right thing to do. No thanks.
  2. Trying to use the debt limit as a negotiation tactic is wrong. It's  wrong to vote for a budget (or continuing resolution or whatever they do to get money out the door in this current era of deadlock) that spends more than the government takes in, then refuse to pay for the bill by taking out debt. CONGRESS spends money, not the President. Yet the current leadership says the debt limit increase should be like an allowance. Why is it OK for anyone in government pass off this kind of ignorant behavior as acceptable? They KNOW how the system works. Pandering to a perceived idiot constituency is disrespectful to every citizen and way too cynical for someone in national office.
  3. Thinking that a government shutdown would show the President who is in charge is just dumb. Didn't work in 1995, didn't work in 2011 and it won't work now. 

No thanks, GOP. You have lost 5 of the last 6 presidential elections, and you will lose again. Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, the Tea Party, and old people is not the way forward.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Death of a party and other notes

Like many other parties before it, the current version of the GOP is dying. The countries demographics are changing, and the party of grumpy old white men is not going to survive in my lifetime. It will take awhile, maybe a few years, but this current party can't survive. It might take down the Democratic party with it, but that wouldn't be so bad, would it? The Republican party as it now stands offers me nothing in terms of interest or my vote.

Mitt Romney is really doing a great job of embodying the current GOP. I don't know what the man actually thinks. I have always thought that if Romney ran as Governor Romney from Massachusetts, then Obama would have real problems. But Romney gave that up (or was forced to) by the GOP extremists and now sounds small and confused. His comments on the Libya attack on the American Ambassador, his pick of Paul Ryan, his disastrous comments made to the fundraiser luncheon in Boca Raton, his continuous flip flops all demonstrate a person who will conform to what he needs to do to gain support. That might work well in business, but not politics. People know that turning Medicare into a voucher program, but ONLY for those under 55 is not fair. People can smell they hypocrisy. This is the party that cut payroll taxes, then turns around and screams about how few people pay payroll taxes!!

In 2004, gay marriage was used to get people to come out and vote and probably helped elect George W. to another term. W. ran against an elitist, out of touch Democrat from Massachusetts named John Kerry. 8 years later, the GOP trots out Romney, an elitist, out of touch Republican from Massachusetts. And gay marriage is now supported by a majority of Americans.

As Paul Waldman observes:

As I've maintained for some time, for all intents and purposes there is no "real" Mitt Romney. His political beliefs are the equivalent of Schrodinger's cat. They exist in every state at once until you open the box to observe them. If the one opening the box is a Tea Partier, they instantly lock into place as a set of Tea Party beliefs; if it's a bunch of GOP plutocrats staring down, that's whose beliefs he'll mirror. Romney has spent the last five years in an intensive period of study, with his subject the contemporary American conservative mind in all its permutations. He's well aware that the misleading talking point about 47 percent of Americans not paying taxes gets repeated all the time on the right, in private and public. What he was telling the people in that room is what he tells any group of people he speaks to. His message was, in Christine O'Donnell's immortal words, "I'm you."

Of course, when Mitt Romney loses, the GOP will not learn that it's religious zealotry to broken ideology of supply side economics and hate is the problem here. No, it will blame Mitt and try again. How many times will it take for this failure to shake these folks awake? Is America going to be held hostage by this old guard until these folks die of old age and whose ideas are finally swept into the dustbin?

"Sarah Palin would be a great foreign policy advisor [to Mitt Romney]. To her, all policy is foreign." - Steven Colbert

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pity the elites!

It was their upbringing..or whatever according to David Brooks today. Don't punish our elites, but pat them on the head and tell them this mess isn't their fault. If you want to give elites today a different 'ethos', you PUNISH the current crop of idiots and throw them out. That establishes the baseline for the next crop of elites to work against.

I also think that Mr. Brooks is suffering from his inability to admit that he is one of those elites. It is really easy for people who are well off tho waggle their fingers at those who are less fortunate. Hard work doesn't just get you to the top. Luck is a big factor. But to admit that luck and place have helped out is somehow fallen out of favor with a lot of elites, as if that invalidates their efforts. Whatever happened to humility? 

If you’re doing reasonably well, and your life is stable, then it’s likely you’re saving and spending as much as you “like” to. That’s very different than spending as much as you “got” to. Try to remember that the next time you’re lecturing someone you don’t know on how you’re doing a better job than they are.

The quote and link above reminds me of when Mrs. Romney was taking offense to comments that being a stay at home mom is a full-time job and isn't something to use as a put down. So what about all those single and poor mothers who 'should go and find jobs to support their children?'

UPDATE: July 16: Andrew Sullivan nails it on elites and responsibility. He calls out conservatives, but I think that Democrats are doing their best to play catch up here in a lot of ways as well. The money bit:
The reason America's elite finds itself under so much criticism is not that they are elites. It is that they have become self-serving, accountability-free elites.
Whenever someone says 'well, the markets will judge the actions of x' or something along those lines, this is abdication of responsibility. If you do something, you are responsible to see it through. You do not get to claim credit for success if you will not own up to the possibility of failure. Politicians can claim that the electorate will pass judgement on their actions, but if the politician does everything they can to obscure, hide, and exaggerate their actions, then what is being judged is not the reality, but the perception.