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Showing posts with label Democrats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Democrats. Show all posts

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Election…Repudiation and a Call for Vigilance - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

11.07.2020

 

The Election…Repudiation and a Call for Vigilance

 

 

It took a few days to resolve, though like so many things that have occurred during Donald Trump’s regime, it did not have to be that way.

 

The republican controlled state legislature in Pennsylvania refused to allow mail in and absentee votes to be counted prior to November 3rd. The Secretary of State and local election officials had requested it, republicans said no. If they had said yes we would have had the full result from Pennsylvania on November 3rd, just as the orange menace said he wanted, we would have known then that the little tyrant had lost.

 

While it grieves me to know that the number of people who have fallen under Trump’s malign influence actually grew over the last four years, it was more satisfying to find that the number of people willing to vote against him had grown more, we have repudiated him, and the entire world is celebrating.

 

This is not a time to relax my friends, stay vigilant!

 

Especially in place like Arizona and Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, it is time for you and everyone to practice mindfulness and to ensure that the electors sent to represent you in the final tally are the people you chose to do so, and we cannot let the courts overturn the will of the people.

 

There is a lot of work of to do.

 

Democrats won on the strength of the African American vote, the women’s vote, and the Latino vote. Democrats have won on the strength of the urban vote and the suburban vote in our great population centers.

 

The Democratic Party is not the party of elites, as republican demagogues like to mischaracterize us, Democrats represent the majority of the American people, with the greatest degree of cultural and ethnic diversity. Democrats represent the middle class, the working class, the creative class, and the conscientious class.

 

In the weeks and months ahead we have to hold together. There are important races to win for the United States Senate in Georgia.

 

Keep the faith, and keep the pressure up, let’s move forward together.





Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Left is Not Extreme - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.22.2020

The Left is Not Extreme

If you listen to the right-wing politicians and pundits spout their invectives against the policies of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and their supporters who number in the tens of millions you would come away thinking that the progressive wing of the Democratic party are raving lunatics.

Even some of those people who are contending for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president from time to time slip into this irrational fervor.

Universal Healthcare, otherwise known as single-payer or Medicare for all, this is not a radical idea.

Free college or trade school tuition, this is not a radical idea.

Forgiving people their student debt this is not a radical idea.

We have to be careful not to get swept up into heated arguments with those who oppose these policies, because these are not radical positions, and we are not extremists for wanting to see them enacted. Democrats in particular need to hold the line against other democrats who are made nervous by these policy proscriptions, we have to normalize them, and this should not be too difficult because they are normal policies.

Universal Healthcare: There are eighteen countries that offer true universal health coverage: Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

These so-called “first world” countries are all our allies and our biggest trading partners, if they can do it so can we. They have figured out the problem. They all have different systems tailored to the individual needs of their societies. They are leading the way, and it is long past time we figured this out for ourselves.

What is extreme is to promote the belief that universal healthcare is not doable by the United States, that is the extreme position. The we can’t do it position is the position that flies in the face of so-called “American exceptionalism.”

We need to confront the naysayers with the truth, and just tell them to relax. We believe in America, we can do this.

Free universal college tuition is less common than universal healthcare but there are seven industrialized countries that offer this to their citizens: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and France, Ireland and Australia. If America is going to continue to promote itself as first among equals in the so-called free world, it is time that we move past the nay-sayers, and hold fast to the position that America can do, because America can do anything.

These countries have different ways of funding these programs, but here is how Australia does it.
If you are accepted to a college or university, and you complete your degree program, and you subsequently become employed in a job where you earn more than 50k per year, then you are subject to a tax that funds the entire program.

If you do not complete your degree, or do not become gainfully employed, or if your circumstances change and you lose your earning power due to some unforeseen circumstance than this tax does not apply to you.

If you go to college, and your degree pays off, if you are earning well then you pay in.

This is simple, it is not radical, this should be easy to normalize.

Some people balk at the idea of forgiving the current load of student debt, they get really incensed by it, as if this proposal involves some kind of crime.

The current load of student debt is 1.5 trillion dollars.

The 2017 Trump tax-cuts cost the country 1.9 trillion dollars.

The second round of proposed Trump tax-cuts are projected to cost the country another 1.4 trillion.

The difference between the tax-cuts proposed by the Republican party and the proposal to eliminate student debt is this.

The tax cuts benefit the wealthiest Americans, allowing them to keep more of their money, without requiring them to put it back into the economy, the stimulative effect to the economy is negligible.

The 1.5 trillion dollars in student debt, is held by Americans who are solidly in the middle class, from the working poor to the upper-middle range. Almost forty-five million Americans are carrying student debt. The average monthly student loan payment (which includes principle and interest) is $393 dollar.

Americans spend 17.5 billion dollars per month servicing their student loan debt. If those revenues were freed up to be used by middle class Americans, it would go directly into the economy. It would be the biggest single economic stimulus for our economy that you could possibly imagine.

This is not radical; it is sound economic policy.

The left is not extreme, we just make sense.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Keep it Positive - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.15.2020

Keep it Positive

This has been a dismaying week in politics for me as a Democrat.

As the political contest has gotten real, and because support for the field of candidates is split three to five ways, things are getting ugly.

It can’t go on like this or there is no chance we will achieve anything resembling unity in the months ahead.

There is a good chance that at least a third of democrat voters are going to feel like the nominee of the party does not represent them, if they refuse to support that person, for whatever reason, because he or she is a democratic-socialist, or because he or she raises money from super-pacs, because he or she might be worth a billion dollars or more, because she is a woman or he is gay, because they are too young or too old, or Jewish or whatever, then we will have ceded the field, and engineered our own defeat.

For all of us out hear in the audience, now is the time to listen, and if you are going to speak up, so it to demand that the candidates, all of them, remain positive.

Admonish your friends if you hear or see them running down the candidates they do not prefer. There is no place for this. It is not the time to be pandering to those people who love to put forward the notion that democrats and republicans are all the same, we are not.

That kind of false equivalency is poison, and the more often it is repeated, the more people believe it, and the more likely it is that the orange menace will be reelected.

Do not play into it.

Keep it positive.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Progressives Fall Apart - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.27.2019

Progressives Fall Apart

I was reading some posts on my Facebook page and a friend of mine was slagging on Joe Biden.

First predicting that Biden would wrap up the nomination for Democrats (which is a reasonable assumption) and then tearing into the proposition because Biden does not live up to his ideological standards.

Secondly he predicted Biden would lose to Trump, and he was laughing about it, as if that were a laughing matter, and then there was a great deal of self-grandiosity where he was begging people not to Blame him, or Bernie or Susan Saradon when Biden looses, because it would be the democrats fault for picking a corporate centrist, a Joe Biden, a moderate shill.

Someone else on his page proffered the hash-tag NewJimCrowJoe, blaming Joe Biden for the passage of the Omnibus Crime bill of 1994, establishing a “new” era of Jim Crow laws, or so he says.

Set aside for a moment any arguments concerning that, there are faults with such an argument but there are merits to. The Jim Crow era, from the period of reconstruction after the Civil War, to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, was an era of de facto Apartheid and permanent second class citizenship for African Americans.

What came from the Crime Bill of 1994, was different, there were unjust and draconian measures, but it was not the same.

More importantly, these blow-hard, so-called progressives want to hold Biden accountable for authoring the bill, Maybe they would be content to hold Bill Clinton responsible for signing it, but never mind the fact that Bernie Sanders, Jim Clyburn, Maxine Waters, Alcee Hastings, Kweisi Mfume and dozens of other notable civil rights activists voted for it.

I pointed that out on his page, and shortly thereafter my comments disappeared.

We are just getting started in this nominating contests and the progressives are falling apart.

They are replete with tribalistic sympathies that will not allow them to accept anyone they do not identify with, they are blindly following the standard and pushing it on other with a level of authoritarianism that belies their intelligence and threatens to undermine their stated goals.

American Progressives will get nothing of what they want for our country and the world if T-Rump is re-elected. They will not get any of it, everything will get worse.

We have to stick together.

Encourage your people to campaign like this: state your values, share your vision, promote your candidate, make your case for them, not against anyone else. Let’s see who captures the hearts and minds of the people, and let’s get behind them.

Let’s not fall apart.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Shortsighted - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.13.2019

Shortsighted


Every week I see more evidence of just how shortsighted my people on the left side of the political spectrum are. So-called progressives, ply their phony activism and threaten to walk away from the political process if they do not get what they want from the Democratic Party, the DNC, the DCC, seeing the specter of boogie man in every corner.

They are possessed by the conviction of their ideals and they are content in their righteousness, never mind the political process, if they don’t get what they want they are threatening to stay home.

Friends of mine have been posting little political cartoons all week long to their social media accounts making these statements load and clear, drawing the battle lines, forget about winning the election next year, they want their serotonin boost now and so they poison the well with their diatribe.

Image may contain: textHere is one a friend of my sent out there, and he thinks he is being clever. He is getting ready to justify his inaction, a year of commiserating over the fact that all of his good ideas, are being ignored.

Let me be clear; I share his values. He has good ideas. I want most of the same things. I want a green energy revolution. I want universal health care. I want universal education from pre-school to graduate school. I want student loan forgiveness. I want reparations, I want to honor all of our treaties with the First Nations, and to pay for every violation of them. I want Trump to be impeached, prosecuted and thrown in prison, I want all of that.

To get those things, to achieve that level of social justice, we have to be able o control the legislative process. We have to hold the House, win the Senate, win the White House, win more state houses and gubernatorial seats nationwide.

We have to win in blue districts and blue states, in purple ones and red ones.  

We have to win, and we won’t win unless we hold it together.

I am against anyone who is sewing divisiveness in the democratic field. If you actually care about your progressive agenda work with the Democratic Party to get democrats elected, because you sure as hell aren’t going to get the Republicans to go along with you.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Face Book Politics

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.29.2017

Last year I argued with a lot of my friends on Face Book. We argued a great deal during the primaries. We argued about Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, old BS, and HRC.
I was, and am a Hillary supporter, the nation lost out on a good leader when we failed to elect her.
I love to argue, I have an instinct for it, maybe an addiction. I find certain things in politics very hard to resist. I think it is a character flaw.
Ultimately, I had to result in a program of self-censorship. In an argument I can be aggressive uncompromising, this largely stems from my conviction that I am right (I am not giving that up). It also comes from my desire to cut back all the noise, to go for the close when I am in that argumentative mode.
As I have said, I have a character flaw, I love to argue. I like to win. I believe I am right, and I can sometimes be impatient.
These are all good reasons not to argue with people that I genuinely like, on Face Book.
Sometimes I cannot resist.
I waded into an argument yesterday. A friend of mine posted a link to an article by Harvard Professor, Dr. Cornell West.
Dr. West has been arguing for progressive thinkers and voters to abandon the Democratic Party. The basis for this is his interest in social justice. He believes that the Democratic party cannot cure itself of its racism, homophobia, militarism, or its alignment with big, banks, big agra, big oil, all of which perpetuate grave injustices on the people, but more importantly on those who are the most marginalized already.
While Dr. West sees the problem for it is, the Democratic Party, like the majority of Americans, is deeply tied to economic forces, those fears, those corrupting social issues, those matters of identity politics. He is right about that, but he is wrong, and absolutely wrong about the prescription.
My response to this post was simply to say that Cornell West is an idiot. That was not very nice, but it is true. When he, or anyone speaks about dividing the political power of the Democratic party, of abandoning it, they is being idiotic.
I quickly edited my response to remove the incendiary language. My edited comment read, Cornell West doesn’t know what he is talking about.” This is true. Cornell West, who has legitimate roots as an activist, who is a brilliant writer, public speaker, public intellectual, he is also someone who stopped living in the real world some decades ago. Because he is disconnected from the world, he finds himself, like Noam Chomsky trying to solve problems from his office in the ivory tower at Harvard square.
His answer to the real problems of social injustice have become, “take an ideologically pure position and make a lot of noise.” When the real solution has to be, “change public policy.”
The social injustices that beset the poor and the marginalized, are matters of law, and public policy. We cannot bring justice without changing law and policy. To make those kinds of changes, we need to win elections. We need to elect people to public office, at every level of government who will do the right thing. Put the bills on the floor, bring them up for a vote, and pass them into law.
I understand if people want to take umbrage with democratic lawmakers, and policy shapers, for being sellouts, and not being good at their jobs. Those individuals are a fraction of the party, the party is tens of millions of people, slightly larger than half of the electorate, spread throughout the nation.
When Dr, West argues that we should abandon the Democratic Party, he is saying, abandon those people. Stop working with them. The very people he purports to want to help.
Politics is a game of compromise, and compromise never satisfies anyone. Politics should be informed by idealism, but cannot be held hostage to it. Advancing public policy requires political legislative victories, and that requires victories at the ballot box. We on the left need to stay together, work together, collaborate and compromise if we are to have any hope getting control of the ship again.
Dr, West, Noam Chomsky, people like my friend who I argued with yesterday, they look right past this point. They want to draw power away from the place where it is most heavily concentrated, rather than add to it. They want to divide and diffuse it, because they believe that being right, is more important than doing right.

That is a shame.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Apologetics - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

06.11.2016

Apologetics

I argued with my friends.

We did not solve the world’s problem.

We divided from one another along partisan lines; playing a child’s game of follow the leader.
Some people that I know took extreme positions, as if the fate of the world depended on the choices we made, the fate of the country, the soul of the nation, our spiritual well-being, our moral probity.

The political contest came to an end. I had chosen the winning side. I stood with a majority of democrats nationwide, but here in Minnesota, among my friends I often felt alone; marginalized.

That does not really matter.

Some people I know are still carrying on the fight. They do not, maybe will not except the outcome.
Some people that I know, disgusted with the entire political affair; they are making calls, some have been making calls to stop participating in the process. Why vote? They ask. It will not change anything. They say. It does not matter, it will not change anything, both parties are the same, the system is rigged, the banks control everything, etc…

They are right, and they are wrong.

There are differences between the parties; between conservatives and progressives. And yet, however great those differences might be, it is true that the effect on public policy is minimal.
Our government moves slow, when it moves at all, but that may not be a bad thing. When government moves fast, the common people get crushed.  When justice is swift, it is more often wrong.

In the end, on the democratic/progressive side of the political divide, the things that separated Hillary Clinton from Bernie Sanders were not as great as the candidates themselves made them out to be. There has been a coming together, and the loser will support the winner for the sake of party unity. He will be rewarded, and it does not make him a sell-out, though it confirms the fact that he is a politician.

The majority of the partisans will fall in line; some will did it enthusiastically, some will do it begrudgingly, some will not do it at all. They will stand by their conviction that the candidate they opposed was evil, malicious, corrupt, even though the candidate they supported, is now calling her friend, and a respected colleague.

Some people took the calls for revolution literally; believing that it would be better to collapse the whole system, to enter into anarchy rather than perpetuate the systemic injustices they have identified and are against, but they have never lived through the horrors of war, they cannot see what happens when civil order collapses, as it has collapsed in other parts of the world, and apply it to our situation here. It is simplistic to believe that if you were to usher out the corrupt officials, that you would usher out corruption. Because it is not our system of government that is corrupt, it is the human heart.

The president, the congress, the courts; they wield great power, but they do not have the power to make changes rapidly, social change, of the type we are looking for is generational. That is why, for progressives, it is vital that one democratic administration follow another; in order to build on the work in a stable manner. It is neither glamorous, nor exciting, but it is the only way to stay on the path, and to broaden it.

As individuals we have even less power, we have a vote, and the ability to write essays, or make speeches, to influence our friends, but the scope of that power is limited, to salon discussions, and coffee house forums. We have the power to make one another feel less lonely; alternately; we have the power to alienate.

The trajectory of social progress in our society is like a boulder rolling down the side of a mountain. I can vote and make speeches, in the hope of altering the trajectory of that boulder, but my power is little more than air. I can blow in the direction of the boulder. My breath is real, it enters into the equation, at the same time it is nothing.

I am at peace with that, as we all should be.


Only the fanatic believes that his or her vote, or life, or death will alter the course of history. This is something that we should each be mindful of, because we all have something of the fanatic inside.