With 3 Days to Go, a Liberal Manifesto: Positive Messaging We Can Win With

It’s kind of fun watching the current incarnation of the Republican Party implode, although we’d be having more fun if it had happened a long time ago. 

The first thing we should plan to do if we win Tuesday is to take back the liberal name and wear it with pride. But more importantly, we have to change how we talk to people, starting with telling voters what we stand for. 

A few years ago, I came up with what I called a “Progressive Manifesto.” Of course, there were lot of complaints about the word “manifesto,” because so many “progressives” care more about what something is called than what it actually says, and the word “manifesto” seems to have been appropriated by serial killers and conspiracy nuts. 

Well, in addition to “liberal,” we also need to take back the term, “manifesto.”

Most voters have neither the time nor the inclination to be a news or political junkie. They want to be motivated to vote FOR someone or something. They don’t want to be called stupid, or “low information” (would you?) and they get their news from other people, not “the media.” They would like to know that the valuable time they will spend standing in line between jobs on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November will elect someone who will help make things better. They don’t care about details, they care about competence.

Voters are not motivated by anger and fear; they are repulsed by it. They want to feel hopeful and they want to make things better. And if we want a progressive society, we’ll need a progressive government to get there. That means winning elections. To win elections, we need to be positive, not negative. We need to stop trying to get people pissed off and get people hopeful. That means a new tack with our rhetoric.

This liberal manifesto can appeal to anyone. Our goals as liberals should always be easy to understand and follow. We want a majority of voters to follow our lead, which means we can’t speak of “moderates” and “centrists” as if such people are evil. When we use terms like these to express what it means to be a liberal, we can turn opinions of us around. 

A Liberal Manifesto – Positive Goals for a Better America

  • Everyone living in this country should be entitled to basic food and shelter, meaning a heated, comfortable space that is as safe as possible, and enough nutritious food to keep them and their family healthy.
  • Everyone living in this country should be entitled to have access to clean or safe drinking water, free of chemicals and contaminants.
  • Everyone living in this country should be entitled to the cleanest possible air to breathe.
  • Every attempt should be made to make all communities safe and secure, not just from crime, but from the negative effects of past activities and pollution.
  • Everyone living in this country should be entitled to basic protection from and recovery assistance for natural disasters.
  • Everyone living in this country should have a right to healthcare that meets their needs. No one living in this country should ever have to die or lose everything they have worked for because they happen to get sick or injured.
  • Everyone living in this country should have a reasonable expectation that all products sold in the marketplace meet minimal reasonable safety requirements.
  • To compete in the global marketplace, everyone living in this country should have the opportunity to do something great. Therefore, everyone should be entitled to a free, quality education that meets whatever they need to become a contributing member of society.
  • No one should ever have to incur high debt in order to get the education needed to become a productive, taxpaying citizen. Therefore, the cost of obtaining an education should be as close to free as possible.
  • American businesses make their fortunes from a highly educated populace. Therefore they should be willing to pay for it. Educators should be paid a fair wage, and they should never have to pay out-of-pocket for materials necessary to teach their students properly.
  • Every working person in the country should make at least enough money for their family to live well.
  • Corporations are fictional persons created for the purpose of protecting individual assets, and their rights should not receive greater than a real person.
  • Everyone living in this country should have equal opportunity, regardless of any subjective criteria, including skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or even disability.
  • People should be encouraged to work, by providing them with the means to work, such as accessible public transportation systems and free or affordable quality child care.
  • Every working person in this country should have the right and the support to unionize and collectively bargain with their employer in every state in the union. “Right to work” laws should actually feature the right to work.
  • Every worker has a right to expect a workplace that complies with all laws and rules regarding safety, and which puts worker safety above profit.
  • Every worker should expect to work a fair number of hours, be entitled to adequate medical and family leave to meet their needs, and a reasonable amount of paid time off every year.
  • Every worker should feel free to report issues about his employer or his company’s clients to authorities without fear of termination or harassment.
  • Everyone living in this country should have complete control over their own bodies; no one should ever be allowed to interfere with any medical decision between a doctor and patient.
  • Marriage is a social contract between two previously unrelated consenting adults, and should not be defined by anyone but the two people involved.
  • Everyone who is not a convicted felon should be entitled to exercise all of their basic civil rights. Period. No exceptions.
  • Though capitalism is currently our chosen economic system, the goal of any economic system should be to benefit everyone, not just the richest capitalists.
  • We should encourage truly free markets, which means markets in which anyone with a product or service, or an idea for improving a product or service, can enter the market freely, without interference, including interference from other market participants.
  • Because access to broadcast spectrum and cable bandwidth is naturally limited and owned by the people, license holders should once again be regulated to provide for “the public good.”
  • Taxes should be progressive, based on ability to pay. A 20% tax on $2 million per year does not have the same effect on quality of life as 20% on $50,000 per year.
  • Every commercial enterprise should be evaluated based on its effect on quality of life, not its ability to make a profit.
  • No corporation that makes a profit should ever get away with not paying taxes.
  • We need build out a high-functioning, reliable energy grid that uses renewable energy sources to the extent possible, regardless of whether or not it’s profitable. .
  • We should encourage energy conservation wherever possible.
  • We should transition away from burning things for energy, especially fossil fuels.
  • We should make every effort to maximize energy production using any combination of solar, wind, geothermal and tidal power because they will save us in the long run.
  • We should build fully functional, clean and reliable public transportation systems in every urban area in the country, as well as between urban areas, through an affordable, reliable high-speed rail system.
  • Everyone should have free or cheap high-speed Internet access, regardless of profit potential.
  • Everyone should have free or cheap access to a telephone line.
  • Not everything is a “free market.” We should nationalize those industries which have become necessary elements to maintaining our quality of life, but which have ceased to act as a “free market.”
  • Everything we manufacture and/or consume should be made from sustainable and/or renewable materials whenever possible.
  • All commerce should be conducted with an eye on maximum environmental benefit.
  • All companies whose business conduct results in environmental damage should be responsible for all costs associated with the cleanup.
  • Consumers should receive at least as much protection from businesses as businesses receive from consumers.
  • Since government is mandated by the Constitution to regulate commerce to make it fair for all players within that system, regardless of size, we should hold them to that mandate, including strict ethical requirements that put the public interest at a level equal to or above their stockholders’ interests.
  • All government spending should be evaluated for its benefit to society as a whole, not to the profits of a few.
  • Our approach to illegal drugs, should maximize access to treatment and minimize the negative effects on individuals and families.
  • Legal drugs should have to show many years of study before approval, and all advertising should be geared to doctors, not the public.
  • All politicians should understand that it is OUR government, not theirs, and that they have to act honorably in the conduct of their office.
  • Campaign finance laws should allow every individual to express support for his or her favorite candidate or issue, but no individual or group has more rights than any other individual or group, regardless of the size of their bank account.  No one’s support should be marginalized by any other entity.
  • All lobbyists should be held to the highest possible ethical standards.
  • Everyone in this country is entitled to a presumption of innocence and a public trial, including those no one likes.
  • The government always has to prove the guilt of anyone in its custody; no individual should ever have to prove innocence.
  • The United States should never, ever start a war.
  • The United States should never abuse or mistreat anyone in its care, including prisoners of war.
  • The United States should promote peace and democracy everywhere, but it shouldn’t dictate terms to any other country.

If we could adopt these universally, we would have just about every reasonable American on our side most of the time, which means we could dominate politically. And that has to be our goal.

If I have missed any, feel free to make recommendations in the comments.

Four Days to Go: The GOP “Small Government” Joke

In the last 20-25 years, I don’t think a day has passed without seeing or hearing a Republican brag about how “small government”It’s really irritating. it would be less so if they actually were “small government.”I mean, I don’t believe a “small government” can provide services for 320 million people, but that’s just a disagreement. What is sickening about the Republican claims of “small government” is, they’re hypocrites. Everything they do makes government larger and (this is the ironic part) far more intrusive. That’s the part that bothers me. They claim to be the “small government” party, but their agenda always favors more government power. 

I don’t expect everyone to agree with this, but a government should be big enough to watch over the economy and the marketplace and keep the nation as safe and secure as possible. (key words: “as possible”). A government should perform basic services that benefit all of us and it should be large enough to do the things we as a democracy want it to do. On the other hand, a government should leave individuals alone to do what they wish, up to the point where they start to hurt people or infringe on their rights.

Unfortunately, the Republican definition of “small government” seems to be the opposite of that. We now have a Republican “president” who fancies himself as “the Boss of America” and they provide absolutely zero oversight. The Republican “president” is ripping off the Treasury daily and with impunity. They cry and piss and moan about being “strict constitutionalists,” but they have ignored Trump’s violations of the Emoluments Clause and they have allowed him to be as corrupt as possible. Their zeal for “small government” allows us to build a weapons apparatus larger than all other developed countries combined. On the one hand, they want the government to be small enough to leave the marketplace alone, so crooks can rip us off at will, but they want that “small government” to have the power to force women to stay pregnant against their will. Apparently, it has never occurred to them that, by handing the power to force women to stay pregnant now, they are also giving that same small government the power to force them to abort, should circumstances change. 

The Republican Party’s “small government” obsession fails to pass a smell test. They want lower taxes for the rich and fewer regulations on the rich and large corporations, which means the government can’t serve the people. They want the government to stop helping the poor move up the societal ladder and become productive, which means, they are in favor os wasting our tax money. If that’s what they mean by “small government,” no thank you. 

On the other hand, they have no problem making the government large enough to enforce draconian drug laws. They want to decide which art should and should not exist. Not only do they want to force a woman to stay pregnant against her will, but they also want to force her to undergo a vaginal probe in the process. They want to force everyone in the country to adhere to their personal religious beliefs, even though they themselves have no recognizable belief system. They want the government large enough to enforce their narrow version of marriage. They want the government to force everyone to conform to whichever “lifestyle” they deem acceptable. And they imagine enforcing all of this with the “small government” they envision. Uh huh.

Basically, the Republican version of “small government” refuses to create jobs for people. They waste time trying to repeal a bill that reformed healthcare and health insurance more than 70 times, and these “small government” Republicans have taken money away from the American people and their state governments on a regular basis, even as they keep running larger and larger deficits. These “small government” Republicans have repeatedly  attempted to redefine rape and sexual assault, in their zeal to give away a woman’s power over her own reproductive system to the “small government.” The redefinition of rape was attempted to rationalize forcing women who were victims of rape to keep their fetus. Is that a “small government,” or is that an overwhelmingly intrusive government. I don’t care how you feel about the abortion issue, if the government is forcing women to stay pregnant, it is not “small.” 

And let’s get real. Republicans insist their “small government” should be watching everyone, to make sure we’re not all terrorists, while Democrats focus on the people who have been identified as terrorists. It’s the Republican “small government” who want to be able to torture people again. 

“Small government” Republicans call LGBT rights, “special rights” because they want their “small government” to decide whose relationship is acceptable.  The “small government” Republicans think they are better able to decide who should and shouldn’t get a marriage license than the individuals who want to marry. They don’t advocate for removing government from the marriage business altogether, which would at least be consistent. Instead, they want the “small government” to decide who is and isn’t worthy of a marriage license. They have no problem with their “small government” abrogating people’s rights based on their own arbitrary standards.

The “drug war” was lost a long time ago, but you’d never know it if you examine how “small government” Republicans act. They have decided the best approach is to give police more and more power. Interdiction was proven unworkable back in the 1920s, during alcohol prohibition, and yet, the only solution “small government” Republicans seem able to come up with is more government power over individuals and to implement more ways to ruin the lives of average people. 

From the “small government” Republican point of view, shrinking the size of government means cutting the poor and middle class off at the knees. It only applies to spending money, except for the military, which they keep inflating beyond all reason. They don’t care if government intrudes into the lives of average Americans, as long as they leave the rich alone. Their vision of “small government” means your employer has the right to do anything they want, and you have only the right to quit. They believe all the brown and black people should have to prove they’re citizens and eligible to vote, even though the Constitution says the burden of proof that you’re not eligible is on the government, regardless of size.  

Republicans really couldn’t care less about “small government.” In fact, since the neocon era began in 1981, the only presidents to have shrunk the size of government and reduced the number of useless government regulations have been Clinton and Obama. And the only two presidents in that time to reduce deficits were Clinton and Obama. And you don’t get to start two wars off the books, spend trillions on them, and demonstrate an intention to keep them going forever, as Bush did and Republicans in Congress agreed to, and then claim you’re in favor of smaller government. And need I even mention the monstrosity that is the Department of Homeland Security, which is largely a Republican creation?

Republicans aren’t in favor of smaller government, and the concept of “Small Government Republican” is an incredible joke. Treat it that way and vote them the hell out of office. The government should be big enough to do its job and small enough to let us go about our daily lives. Republicans don’t care about anyone who isn’t rich and they look down on everyone else. That’s not the government we need. 

Five Days to Go: Let’s Deal With the Corruption

In just five days, we get to start the process of moderating the most corrupt regime in US history. We used to have standards. Okay, they weren’t always great standards, but they were standards nonetheless. While our presidents sometimes did some stupid and unreal shit, they never once did so with impunity. Hell; Bill Clinton stood trial in the Senate for a consensual blowie. Now, we have a “president” who is easily the most corrupt in history and his entire political party is actually complicit. I don’t just mean they’re looking the other way, which would be disgusting enough, but they are actually helping him. 

No one knows why, although many of us can imagine payments and blackmail by the whole lot of them. Lindsey Graham used to be one of Trump’s few critics in the Senate, but he’s so far up Donny’s ass these days, he can smell the Big Mac Orange Lardass is about to eat.  The soon-to-be-retired Jeff Flake, from my current state, Arizona, sometimes gives lip service to an opposition to Trump, but when it comes down to it, he does absolutely nothing, just like everyone else in the Republican Party.

The entire Republican Party is corrupt these days, and in five days, we’ll have an opportunity to get rid of a lot of them. This will return the “checks and balances” to the federal government, but it will mean a lot more than that. The current Congress doesn’t do its job in any way, shape or form. They have a pathetic record for passing laws over the past eight years, in the first place, but they also do nothing about the orange toddler in the White House. Nearly two years in, Trump still has no idea what his job is, he has no concept that he is not the “Boss of America,” or that he works for us, and not the other way around. And while it may seem controversial whether the country can be run like a business, the fact of the matter is, such a thing cannot work, and Trump is proving it, with no oversight whatsoever. If a government could be run like a business, it would have to be a publicly traded company with shareholders, not a privately-held sole proprietorship, like the Trump Organization. 

Right now, midway between two presidential elections, we are stuck with a malignant narcissist running a third of the federal government, and the other two-thirds, whose job it is to make sure the Executive Branch does its job, it letting him do whatever he wants. This week, Donny got it into his tiny little pea brain that he could just write up an order and eliminate birthright citizenship, and not a single Republican Congresscritter has bothered to tell him to stick it up his tiny little ass. He is openly promising to violate the Constitution he swore an oath to protect and defend and the only body with direct oversight of the executive branch is just letting it happen. Oh sure, a few Republicans have said in the press that he can’t do this, but not a single one has taken a formal or informal stand against it. 

It’s been this way since the beginning. Trump has been in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution since the minute he took the oath of office and there has been no pushback from any Republican officials. And since they run the government, that’s kind of important. He has been blatantly plundering the Treasury since he started, taking vacations nearly every weekend at his own properties, owned by a company he has never put into a blind trust. That means payment for every room, every meal and every round of golf is not only being paid for by taxpayers, but that money is going into the coffers of the company he was required by law to divest when he took office. He also leases a property owned by the federal government just blocks from the White House, and foreign dignitaries routinely choose to stay there, just because they wish to curry favor with Trump. 

It’s almost impossible to call the current Trump regime an “administration,” since they don’t administer anything. In the 650 days since the beginning of this “shit show,” it is clear Trump is not up to the job and it is also clear he knows it. He puts out “executive orders” because he doesn’t know what they are. He thinks he is creating a memo that everyone who works for him must follow without fail. He refers to everything as a “deal” and he treats every “negotiation” as if he’s the “Boss.” 

Trump fancies himself a master deal maker, but it’s clear he sucks at it. That should be no surprise, given that his entire business career has been marked by massive debt and numerous bailouts, often arranged by officials in foreign countries. For example, he pulled out of the TPP, which was an attempt to force China to deal more honestly. As soon as he pulled out, guess who joined the TPP? China. He pretended to “rip up” NAFTA and bragged on himself about “negotiating” a replacement, when, in fact, the “replacement” contains largely identical language to the TPP. He agreed to a deal with North Korea that essentially said they would someday get rid of their nuclear program in return for some Trump investment and he placed South Korea in a somewhat more precarious position. He seems to love strongarm dictators with a passion, starting with Russian President Putin, and it’s clear he would like to be one, but thankfully, he’s too stupid to get away with it. 

Not only is Trump doing personal business from the White House, but a significant number of staff, including his kids, are actually doing private Trump Organization business from the White House, on the taxpayers’ dime. Not only that, but Trump and his family seem to hold Trump Organization secrets much closer to the vest than national security secrets. Not only is Trump completely disinterested in his intelligence briefings, but he seems to like to share, kind of like the kid who tells all the other kids in the playground, “I know something you don’t know…” just so he can tell them all. Trump thinks of himself as a “big man” and he is always showing off how important he is, which is a potentially very dangerous trait for a “president.”

And through it all, the Republican Party has simply sat back and watched or, worse, helped him with this corruption. In five days, we can begin the process of getting rid of this boil on the ass of the United States and begin the process of restoring the checks and balances the Founders always intended when they wrote the Constitution. Don’t be fooled; this will take a while, but the process starts in five days. Get out there and vote to moderate the Donny Effect on November 6. 

Six Days to Go: There is Nothing Wrong With Democrats

Over the last few days, at least several times per day, I am told by a self-described “progressive” that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Democratic Party. I realize that some of them are probably Russian bots, but I have known some of these people for years. Apparently, the Democratic “strategy” is lacking and that is why they keep on losing to the disgusting  Republican Party. I am told repeatedly that Democrats don’t “fight.” I’m told that Democrats are just as beholden to “Wall Street” as Republicans. I am told they don’t shout loudly enough and that they don’t take on the GOP mano-a-mano quite often enough. I keep hearing that the reason Democrats lose is because they don’t don’t do the the right wing does.

There are TWO PROBLEMS with these assessments, starting with the fact that all of the above are complete bullshit. I mean, not a single one of those is true; not even close to true. However, there is another, even more troubling, problem with this. Most of these admonitions about “what Democrats need to do” come from NON-Democrats. They usually come from white liberals who have been sitting around for decades waiting for shit to happen. They call themselves “activists,” but most I sense sitting around on Twitter all day, demanding that everyone else do their bidding. Worst of all, they spend far more time whining about the Democratic Party than actually doing something to stop the Republican Party’s excesses.

Recently, Bernie Sanders offered up an op-ed in the New York Times, entitled, “How Democrats Can Stop Losing Elections,” as if he would know how to do that. He has never identified as a Democrat, has never really campaigned as a Democrat and he had at least as much to do with Hillary Clinton’s loss than anything the Democrats, or even Russia, did. Here’s how the article started:

In 2016, the Democratic Party lost the presidency to possibly the least popular candidate in American history. In recent years, Democrats have also lost the Senate and House to right-wing Republicans whose extremist agenda is far removed from where most Americans are politically. Republicans now control almost two-thirds of governor’s offices and have gained about 1,000 seats in state legislatures in the past nine years. In 24 states, Democrats have almost no political influence at all. (Source)

First of all, Hillary only lost because Republicans, with the possible help of Russia, cheated. Democrats gained seats in the House and Senate and even made net gains in state legislatures. They weren’t enough to take a majority, but how is that Democrats’ fault. When you had far right AND FAR LEFT screaming about how crooked and horrible Hillary was and is and how the entire Democratic Party is corrupt, you can’t expect high voter turnout. And that’s what happened. Again. Three of the last five elections were stolen by Republicans, at least in part because unicorn progressives helped the GOP get voters to stay home? 

Whether you call them Bernie Stans, Bernie Bros, Berners, or the more simplistic and accurate “unicorn progressives,” they have been sabotaging Democrats for decades. And who the hell listens to people like this, anyway? Bernie had his ass kicked in 2016, as did Nader, twice. The professional left and the unicorn progressive movement of whiny white liberals has been whining for 50 years, and what have they ever won?  They sabotaged Democrats enough to hand presidential elections to Nixon, Reagan, Bushes 41 and 43 and, of course, Donald Trump. So, why would anyone listen to them when they tell Democrats how to win? 

Democrats engineered the largest electoral victory in 40 years just ten short years ago, with the election of the first black man in history and the largest Democratic wave election in a generation. In other words, just a decade ago, Democrats convinced the electorate they could do everything needed to fix the economy and repair some of the other damage Republicans had done. Barack Obama led the way, with a message of hope and positive change and the nation bought it. THAT is how you win elections. Everything Barack Obama and the Democrats did in 2008 (and 2006) was what they always do. Ironically, they already do everything the unicorn left asks them to do; it’s the unicorn types and Bernie Stans who prevent them from winning. They  passed health insurance reform and they would like to improve on it, but the professional left writes about the ACA as if it’s the opposite of MedicareForAll, their pet idea that has virtually no chance of happening.

Democrats have led the charge to replace fossil fuels with alternative energy, but the professional left acts as if they’re in the pockets of fossil fuel companies, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Democrats restored about 80 percent of the regulatory controls on the financial sector the GOP took away previously. They made Wall Street and the banks pay for the next bailout. However, when you read the professional left, you would think Democrats “sold out” and didn’t re-regulate anything. They still refer to them with the ridiculous tag, “corporatists” and they spent both 2010 and 2014 lying about conservative Democrats and leading a purge, as if we could afford such a purge. if you want to know why Democrats have been in the minority for eight years, well, there you go. 

Democrats actively tried to create 13 million jobs through infrastructure improvements, but the GOP blocked everything. However, thanks to the unicorn left, a lot of people think Democrats dropped the ball. Democrats finally shamed Republicans into passing a highways bill that created almost 3 million new jobs. It wasn’t the unicorn left, or “progressive independents,” it was the goddamn Democrats.

The professional left consists largely of people who suck at politics, but who are convinced of their own brilliance. They have deluded themselves into believing they know what motivates “most voters,” while they have no clue. Bernie Stans, take note: the American public is NOT motivated by fear. They never have been and they never will be. Acting like Chicken Little and telling the electorate the sky is falling hasn’t won the progressive movement shit since 1966. If someone tells you they can fix your Ferrari, but they haven’t even looked under the hood in 52 years, are you going to trust them? No. So how are we supposed to trust people to show us how to win, when they haven’t in a half century? 

There is something significant about 2008; something everyone can learn from. It was the first time unicorn progressives worked WITH Democrats instead of against them since 1972, when they tricked Democrats into nominating the very nice but politically inept George McGovern (see above). Bill Clinton won in spite of the left, not because of them and the far left torpedoed Kerry, Gore, Dukakis and Carter. Again, with the far left working WITH Democrats, They came within a hair’s breadth of having a supermajority in the Senate and they won a large majority in the House. They also won most state houses that year.

There was just one problem. The professional left and the unicorn left built up this image of President Obama as a god, of sorts. They like to talk a great game of “holding Democrats (or Obama’s) feet to the fire,” but they clearly don’t know what that means. The only way we can hold any Democrat’s feet to the fire is to put them in a position where they have 75 percent of congressional seats and the presidency and most of the state legislatures. Holding a politician’s feet to the fire assumes you have some leverage, which isn’t currently the case. Even if we win the House starting in January, we may have a small-ish majority. If we win the Senate, we may only have 52 votes. That’s not enough of a majority to hold anyone’s feet to the fire. And holding someone’s feet to the fire is not the same as burning them at the stake. This is why we keep getting in trouble. We think we can make the government do what we want, based on sheer will, and that’s never been the case. 

Democrats have always fought for a government that works for all, and not just the one percent. The strongest support for Democrats comes from the following:

  • Labor unions (working people)
  • Black people, especially black women;
  • Latinos, with the exception of Cuban-Americans, who are still upset of the Bay of Pigs debacle nearly 60 years ago;
  • Women of all races, creeds and walks of life;
  • LGBTQ people, who just now are starting to see equal rights, thanks to Democrats;
  • Immigrants, especially first and second-generation.

If Bernie Sanders and his white liberal “Stans” think the Democratic Party should cater to them, they are not very bright. And quite possibly a little bit racist. Bernie Sanders’ strongest supporters are almost all white, overwhelmingly male and they are acting from a position of white privilege, which is (ironically) proven every time they deny it. They experience white privileged on steroids. They act as if they are oppressed in some way, claiming the Democratic Party has somehow screwed them over. So, here’s the question; if all of the above groups vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party every single election, and we KNOW they have been oppressed traditionally, what the FUCK are the white liberal Bernie Stans whining about? Who do they imagine they represent when they’re talking about “grass roots”?

The people above are the Democratic base now. The only people who have “given up on democracy” are, ironically, white liberal “independents.” They spend every day of their life trashing Democrats and they constantly whine about the “two-party system,” which arose out of DEMOCRACY. What the fuck do these people think? That a few elites decided we would just have two parties? No! The two dominant parties became that was through votes.

Grow up, professional lefties. Democrats are NOT the problem, you are. Before you get to lecture us on what Democrats have to do to win, you might have to put together a winning streak of your own. The House Progressive Caucus started with 72 members in 1992. It now has 68, which would indicate that your lectures about how powerful white liberal progressives are, tend to lack a bit of substance. If you demand Democrats to do “certain things” before you’ll support them or vote for them, you’re not even progressive, so stop pretending.

One Week to Go: Calling Out Republican Lies

With a midterm election in which the Republican lie machine is working at full speed, it’s time to correct the record on some of the most blatant lies they are telling in a desperate move to prevent a possible blood bath. The desperation level is pretty much unprecedented, indicating the likelihood that they’re aware of how precarious their position is.

Good. Let’s make it happen…

In the meantime, let’s clear up a few of the most obvious lies they are telling nationwide, in most districts, without even customizing the lie for the candidate.

Pre-existing conditions and health insurance in general

All over the country, Republican candidates are suddenly claiming they supported the ACA, especially the part of the law that provides protection for people with “pre-existing conditions.” Before the ACA, insurance companies routinely either denied coverage for pre-existing conditions or jacked premiums up so high, no one could afford them. Obamacare stopped that practice and millions of people who had been denied coverage previously were not allowed to be excluded or overcharge.

Democrats passed the ACA in 2010 with the help of exactly ZERO Republican votes. Since 2010, the Republican Party has tried to repeal the ACA and a scant few have voted against repeal a couple times. The last one, you’ll remember, since it was opposed by none other than John McCain, who suddenly had a fit of conscience and gave a dramatic thumbs-down. Then, late last year, thinking they just needed to think less broad to “win” and take away health insurance from millions, the GOP House passed a bill that would have allowed insurance companies to not cover people with pre-existing conditions. It was only this year – at a time when they could feel power slipping away and they were desperate to appeal to voters – that the House took up a bill that would expressly protect people with pre-existing conditions.

Also, in the two years since Trump took office, Republicans in Congress, figuring out they can’t outright repeal Obamacare, have been chipping away at the funding and canceling provisions in a way that makes health insurance less affordable to the people who finally found insurance they can afford with the ACA. Another thing to consider is, the GOP leadership has already signaled they plan to cut the Medicare budget, which will have an effect on all health insurance premiums.

When you look at the facts, on balance, Republicans are dead-set against Obamacare and plan to kill it. Every single Republican candidate who claims they will protect people with pre-existing conditions, or healthcare in general, for that matter, is lying to us.

Border Security

I have written a lot about this recently, but the only problem we actually have with border security is the direct result of Trump policies and the complete abdication of oversight responsibility on the part of Republicans in Congress.

We do not have a border security problem. We have a few isolated problems with drug cartels trying to get their goods over the border, but the vast majority of people coming across the southern border are simply trying to escape horrible conditions in their own country and hoping for a better life. However, this image of thousands of migrants streaming across the border illegally simply is not true. Even Trump himself has said so. On April 21, 2017, just three months into his term, he noted that border crossings were at their lowest point in 17 years, which was one of the few statements he’s ever made, according to Politifact. (Source: https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/apr/25/donald-trump/illegal-immigration-lowest-17-years-trump-said/ )

Again, this was three months into his reign; he hadn’t been around long enough to implement anything. The fact is, 2000 was the peak in border crossings, and they have been declining since, reaching extremely low levels since the Great Recession. In fact, border apprehensions were down from an average month of 133,000 in 2000 to 12,193 in March 2017, just before Trump bragged about the numbers.

Therefore, when a Republican candidate tells you border crime is a huge problem and they plan to be “tough” and demand a wall be built, they are lying. The border problem is overstated and the human rights abuses committed by Donny, such as the jailing of children, is a bigger problem than “brown people” streaming over the southern border, which actually hasn’t been happening for more than a decade. The wall is pointless, which is why Republicans are lying to us.

The Deficit is Caused by Entitlement Spending

This one is a piece of cake.

Social Security and Medicare both have trust funds. In other words, the money that you and all workers pay into that trust fund is essentially safe and is paying for all benefits. Neither Trust Fund has ever run out of money, although they came close once. In 1986, with St. Reagan as president, the Democratic Congress shored up the trust fund, after their Republican predecessors had begun raiding them to make the deficits they were running look smaller.

In reality, neither Social Security nor Medicare have ever contributed a single red cent to the deficit. That said, because Republicans borrow from the funds, a lot of people are holding paper backing what the nation owes to the two trust funds, but the federal government will have to pay off that debt at some point, when we stop Republicans from running up huge deficits through massive and unneeded tax cuts.

And that is the key to all of this. Since 1981, when St. Ronald of Reagan was elected, about 90% of the debt that has been added has come courtesy of the Republican Party. Our debt in 1981 was $900 billion. By the time Clinton was elected, the debt was more than $6 trillion. It was still $6 trillion when Bush 43 took over and ballooned to almost two-and-a-half times that by the time Obama was elected.

The current level of deficits and debt, which are setting records for peacetime, are mostly caused by sinking revenues, meaning the tax cuts for the very rich that Republcans are obsessed with perpetrating every time they have power. Republicans lie about this incessantly; the problem with the deficits is not spending, it is revenues that are the problem. And can we please put an end to the Republican lie, that supply-side economics, also known as “trickle down” simply does not work? At no time has a Republican tax cut ever led to an increase in revenues. Why would it?

Both Parties are the Same on Hate Speech, Inciting Violence

The latest Republican lie is that “both sides” do it. According to GOP candidates, everyone is uncivil and everyone needs to tone down the rhetoric, for fear that it will incite some nutcase. Except that it’s really not “both sides” at all. It’s all coming from the right. Republicans have been encouraging hate speech for years, too; it’s not a new thing since Trump became politician, after a long career as a con artist.

Back in the 1960s, after the GOP got its ass kicked in 1964, the party embarked on its “Southern Strategy,” in which they recruited all the racists and reprobates who occupied the branch of the Democratic Party who proudly called themselves “Dixiecrats” into their fold, and they have continued to do so for more than a half century. In fact, those people, who include white nationalists and Neo-Nazis, make up a significant portion of the Republican “base.” Trump has highlighted these idiots in his quest to turn the presidency into his own personal fiefdom, but they have been there all along. While white nationalists and Neo-Nazis generally don’t register as Republicans, they faithfully vote Republican, when they vote at all.

Most atrocities that have been perpetrated in the last few years are perpetrated by someone who usually votes Republican. The little asshole who shot up the church; the asshole who shot up Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School; the Nazi who ran down and killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville; the moron who shot up Sandy Hook and the people who have been calling it a “false flag” ever since – all vote Republican and some even wear MAGA hats. They have one shooter – the psycho who shot up an Congressional baseball practice – and every time something happens – and face it, it seems like it’s happening daily now – they bring up Steve Scalise. That is a lie, too, since Bernie Sanders denounced the shooter as soon as he heard about it and, for all his faults, Bernie has never called for violence against anyone.

Republicans are lying to you. Don’t buy any of it. They are against just about everything the average American is for.

8 Days to Go: Republicans Champion Lottery Capitalism, Which We Can’t Afford

In this absolutely critical election year for our democracy, it is very important that voters understand that one of the key reasons they absolutely must vote Democratic is because the Republican Party is very bad for the economy. Their treatment of the economy is only positive for the very rich. While it’s fashionable to claim the GOP “favors the 1%,” the fact of the matter is, the current Republican Party really only cares about the richest 50,000 people, all told, and certainly not a full 3 million, as the use of the term, “the 1%” implies.

The number one problem with Republicans and the economy is, they don’t care about anything that benefits everyone. A truly healthy economy is one in which everyone is on equal footing, relatively speaking, and in which everyone has an equal opportunity to generate the wealth needed to live freely and comfortably, as well as an equal opportunity to create commerce on a level playing field. Unfortunately, the economy Republicans have created with during their reign of error can best be described as “lottery capitalism.”

Under the Republican version of a “strong economy,” everyone pays to be part of the system, with the reward only going to those who already have money.  Contrary to their rhetoric, under Republican “lottery capitalism,” hard work is not rewarded; in fact, GOP government try as hard as possible to make sure those who work hard are penalized for it. Those who are in charge get the most reward and work as little as possible. It’s why Lord Donny brags on the stock market so much. Investment in the stock market is not hard work; in fact, these days, the stock market is another example of lottery capitalism, where those who have money get to make more money and when they decide to take their profits and put them into their mattress, everyone else pays for it. 

Republicans are all about easy money, but only for those who already have more than enough to live well. They worship billionaires and look down upon working people. They like to use the phrase, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, but the reality of their policies has little to do with teaching anyone to fish. In fact, they’re not keen on giving poor people anything. That’s why they tore apart the apparatus that gives cash assistance to people who are unable to work for a time, to the point that more than three-quarters of those living in poverty get zero cash assistance. In other words, the political party that calls us a “Christian Nation” doesn’t seem to regard Jesus Christ’s teachings on helping the poor are particularly important.  If you’re poor, the GOP says it’s because you’re lazy, or stupid or both. 

The problem with lottery capitalism is exactly what you see above. Success is based purely on luck. It’s the same thing that’s wrong with playing the lottery to win.  I get why some people bought 2-3 tickets for the Mega Millions, with a jackpot of $1.6 billion. That makes sense. But at a local store the day of the big drawing, one woman at the head of the line bought at least $200 worth of tickets, and that may not have been her first trip. What people have to remember is, n order for someone to win the huge $1.6 billion jackpot, at least $3.2 billion worth of losing tickets have to be purchased to finance that jackpot. many people compare it to other forms of gambling, but long odds on a horse race is 10-to-one, whereas the odds of winning the lottery are upwards of 200 million-to-one.

It should be obvious to everyone that the elements that make up a successful lottery simply don’t work when applied to a nation’s economic system. Put simply, while our economic system used to generate a constant flow of wealth that benefited everyone, Republicans have managed to rig the system in a way that only allows the already rich to make out well, while screwing those not fortunate enough to be born with lots of money.  These days, a terribly small number of people control most of the wealth in this country, which means a far smaller amount of wealth actually flows through the system these days. For most Americans, wealth has been stagnant since the 1970s, with small increases in wealth and income having been more than offset by an inflation rate that we have come to accept as “normal” or even “low,” despite the fact that it’s actually quite debilitating for many. If your boss offers you a three percent raise, but inflation is 2.5 percent, which is about where we are this year, there goes most of that raise. 

Since the dawn of the Republican era, everything about our economy has changed, but most of it has not been for the better. Except for a relatively short time during the Clinton years, the only “good times” we have seen have been courtesy of bubbles, and not based on real American wealth. Thanks to modern-day Republicans, increasing numbers of Americans are one pink slip away from total disaster at any given time. Virtually all employment is now at-will, which means, absent a contract, an employer can fire you for any reason, or no reason at all. The right to form a union has virtually been taken away by Republicans in many places, especially in “right to work” states. Whether you realize it or not, the old “American Dream” of working hard and becoming self-sufficient, or even very rich, has largely become a thing of the past, and today’s GOP is perfectly okay with that. Hell; that’s at the heart of lottery capitalism.

Based on the Republican-promoted lottery capitalist mentality, the American people have been trained to believe that responsibility is a one-way street. Consumers have to be responsible when we borrow money or use a credit card, but the lender has no responsibility in the transaction under lottery capitalism. This is why our system seems to collapse on a fairly regular basis. We’ve been trained by the GOP to rejoice during economic bubbles and to accept both the blame and the cost of everyone else’s screw-ups. After the last massive collapse in 2008, Republicans tried to blame Democrats and Obama, but really, it was all their idea. They are so enamored with the stock and commodities markets, they tried to create a new one, free of government oversight, and also free of logic. They created the mortgage aftermarket and they encouraged the selling of houses to people who could barely afford them because all they really care about is numbers. Home prices were going through the roof, and millions of families were paying nothing but interest on their mortgage, and facing a balloon payment or a tripling of the mortgage nut every month, but hey; the home ownership rate skyrocketed, so isn’t that all that mattered? The Republican Party’s experiment with creating easy wealth for the already wealthy cost the economy more than $19 trillion over the course of less than two years. And the sad thing is, they want to do it again. 

Regular people like us are told we “accepted the risk” when the economy collapses and under the lottery capitalist model, the so-called “captains of industry” get off scot-free. Think about it; with Republicans in charge in 2008, the bailouts offered by the government were essentially no strings attached.” It wasn’t until Obama and the Democrats took over that those who received bailout money were forced to return the money. And the attempt to right the ship to a degree, in the form of Dodd-Frank, which forced large financial institution to finance their own bailout next time and which required regular stress tests to prevent the next economic meltdown, is strongly opposed by Republicans, who really want to gut it. In lottery capitalism, the only people who win are people who don’t need the money. Isn’t that a great basis for an economy in a democratic system? 

Consider; suppose one of us buys a $2000 laptop, and our “at-will” employer lays us off a couple months later. If you choose to pay for your COBRA ahead of paying your credit card bill, that bank gets to charge you so much in interest, fees and penalties that your computer ends up costing you $4000. But when the bank did truly stupid shit that cost us half our 401(k), we are expected to assume the risk, and we don’t get to charge them for anything. That’s just how Republicans like the economy; good for the very lucky and the very rich, and you can pretty much kiss their blarney stones.

Republicans love it when a few people get really rich while screwing many others. Place your money into a bank right now, and a passbook account will pay you a whopping 0.3 percent, if you’re lucky and you agree to not touch your money for a few months. Let them keep your money for two years, and that baby might soar to a whopping 1.2 percent.  Meanwhile, for the privilege of allowing them to use our money rent-free, they’ll turn around and charge you 6 percent on a car loan, and upwards of 15 percent if you want a credit card. Oh, and they will charge you fees. Accidentally overdraft your account, it will cost you between $30-40 per item, and they will do their best to debit your account from largest to smallest item, and call that a “courtesy,” even tough they collect a lot more money that way. Use an ATM, and you’ll pay the ATM owner $1-$3, and you’ll pay your bank a buck or two as well. And don’t be late with a payment on that credit card. If you’re a day late, they’ll charge $25, and if you’re late twice within the course of a year, they’ll also double the interest rate, because you’re now considered a “high risk.” Yet, when they lose your money, they pay nothing extra, and taxpayers will bail them out.

Our Republican-driven lottery capitalist economy, and our all-but-blind obedience to such concepts as “credit scores” has made us debt junkies. It will take decades to recover and get us back to the version of capitalism that made us the envy of the world. But we can start the process in eight days, when we start voting out the Republican Party at every level. Let’s start doing this. Just remember; this election is just the beginning. Lottery capitalism is part of the Republicans’ DNA, while it’s not part of the Democratic philosophy at all, so let’s do this.

9 Days to Go: The Only Immigration Problem: the GOP

Lord Donny is trying really hard to turn immigration into a huge issue for the midterms in nine days, but he’s failing miserably. Fortunately, his Republican Party has been following Donny’s lead, and it’s having a negative effect on the GOP’s chances of holding on to power. One reason for that is, the Republican Party and Donald Trump are the primary reason we have an immigration problem in the first place. 

You may think this has been going on for a long time, but you would be wrong to think such a thing. Yes, we have too many undocumented immigrants here and we need to learn who and where they are, but the problem is more logistical than anything. In fact, one of the key problems with the immigration debate is this idea that it’s a singular problem with a singular solution, which is absurd. 

Some claim there are as many as 11.2 million undocumented immigrants live in this country right now. While some in the GOP insist the number could be higher than that, most experts acknowledge that the number has actually been dropping in the last decade or so. (Source). According to those intelligent estimates, just more than half of those undocumented immigrants are from points south in our hemisphere, probably about 53-54%. That means, nearly half of all undocumented immigrants are NOT brown and/or from points south. And yet, the Republicans’ sole focus has always been on the “brown people” from Mexico and Central America. They essentially ignoring the more than 40% of undocumented immigrants who are from Canada, Europe and Asia.  

And make no mistake; Lord Donald of Trump doesn’t have an original thought in that orange and yellow head of his. Every political position he has comes from his monitoring of what the callers into right-wing talk radio shitfests. Not the hosts, but the callers. And what those idiots talk about it based on the Republican image, of hundreds of thousands of “brown people” sneaking over the border en masse. How many times have you heard the term “invasion” used by the right wing over the years? They imagine that’s what’s happening because that’s the impression the GOP has been giving them for more than 30 years. 

Needless to say, since the message is coming from the current Republican Party, that impression is complete crap. Most of the undocumented immigrants here came here legally and overstayed. They represent a far larger percentage of the undocumented population than those who snuck over the border illegally. (Source) What that means is, a border wall, which Trump and his deplorable horde want to make the centerpiece of their immigration strategy, such as it is, would be ineffective in most cases. Since most “illegals” come here at border crossings or through airports, even if the wall worked perfectly, which is impossible, it might prevent 10 percent of immigrants from coming here illegally. 

The main reason immigrants come here is for a job and a better life. That is true of those who are here illegally. The best way to prevent illegal immigration is to cut off the source, which involves cracking down on employers. However, Republicans won’t even consider such a thing, and Trump is too invested in scaring people from coming here to even think about taking a rational approach to immigration.  

Of course, increasing the minimum wage to something livable would also alleviate much of the problem of undocumented immigrants.  By making jobs more appealing to Americans, who tend to be more productive, anyway, employers would not have to look elsewhere for labor. 

There are other problems, primarily caused by the Republican approach to immigration, which involves taking a sledgehammer to a problem that should be solved with a scalpel. While we have always heard from the right about how they would have no problem with immigrants if they just came here legally, the fact is, our immigration system is incredibly complicated and convoluted. Coming here legally is not a matter of coming here on a visa, deciding you’d like to stay and then heading to an ICE office to fill out a few forms. Not gonna happen. In fact, the way the laws are written, coming here legally is damned near impossible.

Consider the arbitrary quotas in place, and reality that the immigration system does play favorites. The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), which was passed at the height of our isolationism during the Cold War in 1952, limits the total number of legal entrants into this country, not including tourist visas, to 675,000. That’s not per country, that’s for all immigrants from the entire world. Most of those available visas (about 480,000) are apportioned to family members of US citizens. That means very few are left for anyone else to get. In fact, a maximum of 140,000 work visas are granted every year, and only 10-15,000 of those are for skilled and unskilled laborers. Our quota system is so pathetic, there is a limit of 10,000 visas a year for those immigrants who come here with $500,000-$1 million to start a business that hires at least 10 US workers. Now, why would we want to discourage economic development to that extent? (Source)

In a nation with a population of 320 million people, those numbers are ridiculous, and explain why there are so many undocumented immigrants?This explains why presidents from Nixon to Obama have had to use their executive power to deal with reality. These folks come here to work and they are a necessary cog in our economic development, but the law makes it possible for them to operate within our legal system. These quotas do not reflect reality and they do not serve anyone.

Many Trumpers (including Trump) seem to harbor fantasies in which the government simply rounds up all 11.2 million “illegals” and send them back to Mexico, since that is where they believe they all came from. As usual, they’re not operating in the real world. Even before Trump came along, the courts were already clogged and Donny’s insane “zero tolerance” nonsense has made that problem worse. And for all of his talk about hiring “thousaands of new judges,” the reality is, that will never happen. 

Logistically, even if you could round up all 11.2 million undocumented immigrants, we would have to set up 1000 courtrooms and find 1000 judges to man them and it still wouldn’t be enough. If they could handle 50 cases per day each they could conceivably be knocked out in a couple years. but that would also require shutting down most of the rest of the judiciary to do so. And how much would the transportation budget be for this. Again, more than 40 percent of those here illegally are not from Mexico and points south , which means merely shuttling them from El Paso into Juarez wouldn’t be sufficient or legal.  

The GOP bitched mightily when Obama acted unilaterally on immigration, but Trump’s been doing the same. They also complained that he didn’t “work with Congress on a bipartisan bill,” but Trump has refused to work with anyone on anything.  They call everything “amnesty” and condemn it, but every time someone has come up with a proposal, Trump or the GOP House has rejected it out of hand. Republicans don’t address any of the problems with our arbitrary immigration protocols, they don’t take into account any of the legal flaws in our immigration system, and they operate under the delusion that we can somehow deport all 11.2 million people. 

Our immigration system is messed up, but the Republican Party has been exacerbating everything for years. They will never actually address the problems we have in anything resembling a humane and civil approach. They steal children and lock brown people in jails indefinitely for no good reason. They are so invested in Trump’s “deterrent” attempts, they simply can’t approach immigration from a rational basis, in keeping with our tradition of welcoming the “tired and poor” with open arms. 

Yet another reason to begin the process of getting the current GOP out of all levels of government. Imagine ICE treated your ancestors this way when they immigrated here… 

10 Days to Go: Democracy is About US, Not YOU

I just had an exchange with a white liberal friend this morning, who revealed to me for the first time that she did not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Instead, believing she lived in a “safe state,” she “voted her conscience” and chose a candidate to “write in.” And then, when I pointed out she effectively voted for Trump, which is absolutely true, she told me *I* was the problem with politics these days. What can I say; unicorn white liberals tend to be irrational when confronted with their narcissism. 

We do not have the luxury of that level of narcissism in our politics. And to be blunt, we really haven’t had that luxury for a really long time. Electoral politics doesn’t exist to make you feel good. It’s there to establish a government that will listen to us and do the right thing for all of the American People. Frankly, I don’t give a shit if you personally “liked” Hillary Clinton in 2016; she was who the democratic process chose as the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer, and the ONLY choices available who could actually land in the Oval Office and run the executive branch were Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And “your conscience” should have forced you to make sure the only one of the two who actually was not insane won election. And if you voted for anyone but Hillary Clinton, you effectively voted to install Donald Trump as president. 

There are questions as to its authenticity, but Albert Einstein is often credited with defining insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s very true, so why are so many of the loudest voices in the progressive movement intent on proving they’re insane? One quote that is from Einstein is also appropriate here; “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.” The professional left and unicorn progressives should heed that. For crissakes, white liberals; 94% of black women voted for Hillary Clinton; they must know something, right? 

Unicorn progressives don’t seem to notice that our movement has been stuck in neutral for a generation or longer, and I, for one, am tired of being on the outside looking in, politically speaking. It’s gone on too long, and the reasons for it are flat stupid. The unicorn faction and the professional left both seem hell-bent on self-destruction and I’m tired of them taking the rest of us down with them.  They are a distinct minority among progressives and many, if not most, are not even Democrats. When you confront them, they reveal they are “progressive independents.” They seem to operate from the perspective that the Democratic Party offers nothing for them, but they also think they’re the heart and soul of the Party, so what the hell do they know? 

That’s not what bothers me, though. What bothers me is their penchant for lying and narcissism. They complain, for example, that the Democrats have moved to the right since the 1960s and 1970s. This is not true, of course, but even if it was, what better way to move it to the left than to JOIN IT? 

Democrats didn’t really move right. At the same time the white liberal unicorn left abandoned the Democratic Party, so did Southern Democrats, and they made up about 20 percent of the Democratic Party at the time. Virtually every right-wing Democrat became a Republican, or at least voted that way, at the same time liberal Republicans (yes, unlike unicorns, liberal Republicans actually existed) left the GOP and became Democrats. Put simply, the concept that the Democratic Party has moved to the right is only true if time stopped in 1970, which seems to be the case for the professional left and the unicorn progressives. All that crap about Bernie Sanders being an “FDR Democrat” is pure bullshit, since even FDR wasn’t an “FDR Democrat,” based on the Bernie Stans’ definition.

The narcissism of the unicorn left is breathtaking, but more troubling is the fantasy. For example, they always talk about a “viable Third Party.” Well, if they want one, they’ve had almost a half-century to create one; why haven’t they? It’s because one of the key personality traits of this strain of white liberals is, for all their talk of “activism,” they really don’t believe in it. They are always waiting for “someone else” to do the hard work. They just like to bitch about things. Oh, they did try to copy Europe and imagined a United States version of a “Green Party,” but they made two fundamental mistakes. First of all, because they’re narcissists and lack patience, they decided to go for instant gratification and establish this new Green Party starting at the top. They started with President and ran a non-politician as their standard-bearer. Ironically, from the perspective of their constant take on 2016, they just installed Nader as their nominee, with no primaries or delegates or anything.  Ahem. 

The second mistake they made was an even bigger one. You see, the narcissist its ultimately childish, and believes in a binary world, in which everyone who isn’t with you is against you. You may recognize this trait in the current Orange Toddler sitting in the Oval Office. The pro lefties and unicorn progressives believe, since they were supporting Nader and the Green Party, they had to treat the Democratic Party as the enemy, so they attacked Gore mercilessly. This was a major reason Gore lost to the worst presidential candidate to that point in time, and it demonstrated that the white liberals who make up the “progressive independent” movement are irretrievably stupid when it comes to politics. if Nader and his horde had joined WITH Gore and the Democrats instead of attacking them, they could have served a dual purpose. First, they would have spared us two terms of George W. Bush, AND they would have gotten the five percent they were shooting for, to get permanent ballot status. 

They keep repeating this, too, and have been for a long time. This same white liberal faction deserves a large share of blame for electing Trump, because they spent two solid years lying about her and attacking her mercilessly. Then, they set up demonstrations at HILLARY’s Democratic Convention and continued to lie about her during the general election campaign. 

This has to stop. White liberals are NOT the “Democratic base.” You only think you are because of your rank narcissism. The view of politics demonstrated by the professional left and unicorn lefties is, pardon the expression, fucked up, because it is not based on reality. A recent study shows that you and the right wing combined make up less than 15 percent of the electorate; you have no call to demand a goddamn thing from anyone. All unicorn progressives do is disrupt the left and make it easier for the GOP to keep power.  You don’t “send a message,” you advocate for nothing anyone cares about and all you seem to do is dictate to others what you think should happen. 

Well, it needs to stop. Voting isn’t about you. Your vote isn’t a way for you to get your way. Your vote is a tool to participate in the democracy and to work with everyone else to get as good a government as possible. If you want to know what’s wrong with the system, look in the mirror. Black women are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, not white liberals. Therefore, unicorn progressives and professional leftists should really learn to sit the hell down and listen for a change, and start voting with the majority. It’s about time you all grew the fuck up. 

11 Days to Go: The Right to Vote Should Be Sacred to All

Given that every citizen living in this country has the inherent right to vote in every election, it has always puzzled me why everyone has to register in order to do so. It makes no sense. Yes, some people are ineligible to vote, but the vast majority of people living in any state are eligible. For many years, we managed to allow virtually everyone to vote and voter fraud was almost non-existent.

Why wouldn’t it be? Voter fraud doesn’t happen because it’s a stupid crime; kind of like going into the bingo hall and pointing a gun at the caller and demanding all the bingo cards. It’s a truly stupid crime; how many would risk a fine, jail time and a criminal record to get an extra vote, after all? What does one get from voting an extra time or two, anyway? Since there are hundreds of thousands of potential voters in any district, unless someone could set up a “voting ring” to have thousands of voters vote a dozen or so times each. Then, there are the logistics; the cost of gas to get each voter from precinct to precinct, the ability to predict who won’t show up to vote and assume their identity. Then there’s the deal that precincts are very local and most voters are from no more than a mile away, which means there is a good chance the poll workers will recognize the name you’re using and know the fraudulent voter is, well, fraudulent.

And, as one would expect with it being a stupid crime and all, there are virtually no cases of voter fraud on record. In fact, in a comprehensive study of all elections from 2000-2014, researchers found 31 credible cases of voter fraud out of more than one BILLION votes. (Source: http://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/analysis/The%20Truth%20About%20Voter%20Fraud.pdf )

Like I said, it’s a stupid law that makes no sense to pursue. A century and a half ago, voting multiple times may have been a good idea, but in a nation of 320 million and with some states having as many as 20-30 million population, there is little to nothing to gain from it these days. So, why is there still such a thing as voter registration anymore?

I mean, some states prohibit convicted felons to have voting privileges until they clear some hurdles, but they should be easy to track, especially at the district and precinct level. You just put lists of people who are ineligible to vote in with the voter rolls and the problem is solved.

This is 2018. Our computers, tablets and phones all know who we are and tech companies also know us, what we look like, where we live and who our friends are. Likewise, companies of all sizes and types seem able to track who we are, where we go and what we do. In this day and age, there is no reason we have to register voters. There is no reason in the world why we should also have to show ID. If you want to, fine; but why should you have to? What is the purpose of Voter ID laws? Again, there is no voter fraud because it’s a ridiculous crime.

There is only one reason in the world why Voter ID laws exist, and that is to create a barrier to voting. It was 1978 before I had a driver’s license with a picture on it, so people managed to vote for about 200 years without any sort of picture ID, since they didn’t exist, and the system managed to work just fine. There is simply no reason to force citizens who show up to the polls to vote to have to show identification, except to deny the vote to those who can’t produce one. There is no other reason.

A number of states have started to implement vote-by-mail systems, to make voting easier for people, while also producing a paper trail. And now, the state of Oregon is the first state to actually make sense and try to make it as easy as possible to vote. In that state, when someone obtains or renews a driver’s license or ID card, they will automatically be registered to vote. In fact, it’s so automatic, they will actually have to fill out a form to opt OUT of voting. If they don’t opt out, everyone in Oregon will automatically receive a mail-in ballot approximately three weeks before any election. That means any election; not just the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, but every primary, every special election, and every proposition election.

Congratulations to Oregon. And all other states should follow this lead. The vote is a right, not a privilege, and it’s time we all started treating it like that. In every state, it should be against the law to purge a voter from the rolls for any reason other than their own personal request. All states should also consider stopping convicted felons from voting, once they have completed their sentence.

It’s time for a federal law that takes the Voting Rights Act a step further. Everyone should have the right to vote in all elections, without restriction, and no state or local authority should be able to abridge that right without due process. Our most sacred right is the right to participate in the democracy and it’s time we stopped allowing politicians to infringe on that right. Period.

For 12 Days, the Only Actual Progressives Will Support Democrats Fully

A lesson should have been learned this past year and a half or so, as Democrats have been piling up all kinds of special elections victories in that time. There was a time when Democrats always won, and the result was a country that was becoming an economic and civil rights standard bearer for the entire world. These special election victories have been amazing to watch and they demonstrated what I have been saying on this blog for many years. Republicans simply cannot win as many races as they have without the help of progressives and liberals. Hardcore Republicans only make up about 25 percent of the electorate, which means they are severely outnumbered.

Unfortunately, it took “electing” an asshole like Donald Trump to the presidency to learn this lesson, even though they should have learned it when we elected Barack Obama as President.  While many unicorn progressives and Bernie Stans think THEY are actually making all these special election victories happen, they are mistaken. And they are mistaken for a very simple reason. Until you make a majority of the population “progressive” and you make “progressive values” a mainstream concept, any pipe dream of a progressive-dominated government will continue to be unavailable. 

Unicorn progressives claim they worked their asses off for Bernie in 2016, but that seems doubtful. It’s more likely they sat in front of a computer and Tweeted and wrote on Facebook and their blogs about how horrible Hillary Clinton was. They also lied about how popular Bernie was/is, even though he doesn’t even have great name recognition. Also, doing what they did to Hillary actually cost Bernie a lot of votes and went a long way to keeping Donald Trump in the election long enough to steal it. In other words, Bernie Stans really did nothing to help their hero. However, they DID help set the progressive movement back a decade or so…. again.

Anyone who thought the best way to campaign for Bernie Sanders was to beat the hell out of Hillary Clinton is politically stupid and emotionally stunted. That level of immaturity is expected of right wingers; I would like to think left wingers have more brains than that. Maybe I’m naive; who the hell knows? All I know is, white liberal “political junkies” keep making the same mistakes over and over again and never learn from them. In 1980, they supported Ted Kennedy against Jimmy Carter and never wavered, even after Carter beat his ass for the nomination. Their lack of support gave us Ronald Reagan and the first Republican Senate since the 1950s and only the second since 1932. Then, in 1988, they refused to get behind Michael Dukakis for some stupid reason, and we got an extra four Reagan years. In 2000 and 2004, their stupidity gave us a double dose of Bush because they thought they had to trash Gore and Kerry in order to support Nader. Then, in 2016, they actually trashed Hillary Clinton enough to elect the only politician in history who is worse than Bush. And that doesn’t include the numerous mid-terms they undermined.

Hillary Clinton lost for one reason; turnout. And much of the reason for low turnout came from these “independent progressives,” who joined with the right wing to convince voters that Hillary would make a horrible president and that there was really no difference between Trump and Clinton, or even between Democrats and Republicans. Two lies these idiots keep telling, even though “untrue” is an understatement.

There are two viable political parties in this country and if you believe they are in any way the same, you are a fucking idiot. And you have to be blind. I mean, what the fuck are you looking at, if you see any similarities between Democrats and Republicans right now? Seriously; let’s go through some key issues and see how the two parties stand on them. Let’s see if you can spot the similarities… okay?

  • Universal Health Care – (And no, the issue is not “single payer.” The issue is making sure everyone who needs to see a doctor gets treatment without having to put up the house.) Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act with pretty much ZERO Republican votes. Since then, Republicans have held more than 60 votes to repeal it and, in seven years, they have no idea how to replace it. They held several momentous votes to repeal it this year alone, and the vast majority of Republicans voted to kill it, while not one single Democrat did that
  • Climate Change – A Republican is trying to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accords, which a Democrat helped negotiate. That Republican and a majority of his Republican mates think climate change is a hoax. Meanwhile, at least 20 cities run by Democrats have pledged to live by the Paris Accords, even if the United States pulls out.
  • Support for the poor – Democrats built the welfare system, which kept millions of people alive during some very difficult times. Democrats acknowledge that the capitalist system needs a ready supply of labor to function properly, which means a safety net is necessary in our system. Republicans have virtually eliminated the safety net for most people. Since Republicans have held an inordinate amount of power, the poor have been screwed. Right now, more than three-quarters of those living below the poverty line get ZERO cash assistance. Democrats want to restore that, Republicans demonize the poor as “lazy.”
  • Deficits and debt – Republicans love to talk about doing something about the deficit and the debt, but since Reagan and the GOP exploded it in the 1980s, only Democrats have actually done something about it. Prior to 1981, with Democrats in charge, the debt dropped from 120 percent of GDP after World War II to about 32 percent of GDP under Jimmy Carter. Since then, the deficit has exploded under Republicans and shrunk under Democrats. Even now, with a huge deficit, all Republicans can talk about is heavy tax breaks for corporations, whose income tax rates have already dropped by two-thirds under Republicans. Democrats have raised taxes on the rich a couple of times and they shored up Social Security when they retook Congress in the 1980s.
  • Taxes and Spending – Republicans like to talk about tax cuts and they talk about taxation as if the government was confiscating your wealth. Democrats realize that building a great society costs money. Republicans cut taxes, but they only cut spending on the poor. Have you ever noticed that Republicans never talk about cutting payroll taxes? They only cut income taxes because those are the only taxes the rich pay. The rich don’t pay Social Security taxes for money over the first $127,200 (this year, and that cap only increased that much thanks to Democrats), and most of their income is “unearned,” so they don’t have to pay any other taxes on it. Democrats balance the budget and Republicans explode the deficit. Again, no comparison.
  • Guns – Do I really have to explain this one? Yes, a few Democrats support the NRA to a small degree, but the Democratic Party as a whole is not afraid to take them on. On the other hand, there is not a single Republican with the balls to take on the NRA and not do their bidding. The Democratic Party passed the assault weapons ban, which worked, and the GOP allowed it to expire. Democrats proposed a universal background check bill, and Republicans killed it. Democrats have proposed a bump stocks ban, and the GOP has effectively killed it.
  • Campaign finance – Democrats want to kill Citizens United. Republicans want it expanded and institutionalized because they see it as the only way to equalize finances between the two parties. If unicorn progressives would bother to look at the facts, and stop relying on professional lefties, they would find that Democrats’ biggest supporters are labor unions, trial lawyers, academics and retired people, while Republicans are supported by corrupt industries like fossil fuels and the banking industry. Everyone wants something for their donations, of course, but what unions and trial lawyers want is far more palatable than what the coal and tobacco industries want.
  • Corruption – Are there a few corrupt Democrats? Of course. But the last couple of Republican Administrations, especially the ciurrent one, have featured many crony appointments, as well as appointments of hundreds of people who are simply not qualified for their positions. We currently have an occupant of the White House who is actually making money from the presidency and who has appointed family members and officers in his private corporation to positions where they can increase that company’s profits. Good luck finding a Democrat who has ever done that.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. The bottom line in all of this is, if you want progressive things to happen, Republicans will always work against you. To be an actual progressive, by now, you must feel a moral imperative to vote for and support every candidate who belongs to the Democratic Party. There is no such thing as a “GOP Lite” candidate. “Conservative” Democrats who run in red states and districts are still miles ahead of their Republican opponents. And we know this because they could win more easily if they switched parties, and yet, they stick with the Democratic Party. You may have decided you hate Joe Manchin and you might have been told by the professional left that he’s “practically a Republican,” but if you believe that, you’re not smart, you’re gullible. Manchin is running in 2018 and in very red West Virginia, he could easily win by denouncing Democrats and running as a Republican. Yet he doesn’t. And why would he? Manchin votes with Democrats about 90 percent of the time, despite the reputation the pro left has slathered on him. Yes, he sometimes sides with the GOP rhetorically because he has to win in West Virginia. But make no mistake. If you want progressives to have any power, you have to fully support Democrats of all stripes. Maxine Waters could never win in West Virginia and she gets that. That is why she will never say anything bad about Joe Manchin or any other Democrat in a red district or state.

What every actual progressive should have learned from last Tuesday is that turnout is key. In Virginia, New Jersey and several other states, Democrats won in a wave because a lot of people who don’t usually turn out decided to make an anti-Trump and anti-GOP statement. They supported all Democrats; they didn’t cherry-pick based on their rating on the “progressive purity” meter. All of us have to learn these lessons going forward:

  • Democrats are the only choice for progressives right now, and we have to support all of them, regardless of our personal feelings.
  • Before we make statements regarding a candidate or an issue, evaluate the effect it may have on the Democrats as a whole.
  • This is a two-party system, kind of. In reality, there is only one party that isn’t completely broken. And frankly, if you wanted to create a third choice, then you had almost 50 years to do so. Now, it’s too late. The democracy hangs by a thread.
  • Supporting ALL Democrats is a moral imperative right now because we can’t afford any more Republican “leadership.”
  • Another moral imperative is to remove the Republican Party from offices at every level and force them to reform. The only way they will reform is if they lose.

Got it? I know many Bernie Stans and “progressive independents” think they’re politically savvier than most others, but really, if you don’t understand that what you have been doing has been moving the country backward, you have to be politically blind. For at least the next few election cycles, you absolutely must support Democrats over everyone else. That means putting away your fantasies about having an inordinate amount of influence over the electorate and getting full-on progressives elected to a majority everywhere. That can happen, but it will take a hall of a lot more work than you people seem willing to put in. Nothing good happens in government through sheer force of will, and the last time a “third party” was a major factor in an election was in 1860. And that party was the Republican Party.

Want a progressive country? Elect Democrats and relegate current Republicans to the ash heap of history. I mean, they nominated Donald Fucking Trump and they continue to support him. This week, in light of the fact that Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore apparently had a thing for high school girls when he was in his 30s and bedded a few who were way underage, Republicans have largely dismissed that as “no big deal.” In other words, whereas Democrats pummeled Anthony Weiner and drummed him out of office for sexting with a few young girls, Republicnas are (once again) protecting a pedophile. It’s also not the first time. If you’ll recall, one pedophile Republican named Dennis Hastert covered up pedophile Mark Foley’s sexual proclivities with House pages about a decade ago.

Politically speaking, Republicans have attempted to dismantle everything we created to make America great over our 50 years of electoral domination and they have proven they can’t govern. What else do they have to do to create a moral imperative to support and vote for Democrats? I don’t give a shit if the Democrat is Maxine Waters or Joe Manchin, we need the numbers. If Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp are not elected, Mitch McConnell will be in charge of the Senate and Republicans will control all the committees. There is nothing progressive about that. 

13 to Go: The Importance of Common Sense in Democracy

One thing too many “political junkies” don’t seem to have in their repertoire is perspective. They think because they have all the time in the world to obsess over politics and read, watch and listen to everything that tickles their “political” sensibilities, every voter has the same luxury. They immerse themselves in the opinions of people who think as they do, and they show scorn to those people who don’t “know” things they claim to “know.” (Note the quotes; most political junkies don’t know as much as they think they do.) They cannot even begin to understand that the vast majority of voters – especially those they claim to care about most, like the poor and minorities – have neither the time nor the inclination to follow the news and the politics as closely as the “political junkie. They can’t even conceive of the notion that most average voters may ask about the candidates running perhaps a week or two before the primary they’re expected to vote in, and they may engage with a general election a few weeks before. All the rest of the time, while the political junkie is engrossed in opinions of “journalists” who don’t know much more than they do,  but who know exactly how to attract attention, the non-junkie voters are working and paying bills and living life.

This is important. We have one job to do this election, and that is to put the adult Democratic Party in charge and stop handing elections to the Republicans. That only requires common sense. 

Most voters also don’t care about your favorite catch-phrases, political junkies. They hear phrases like “income inequality,” “Wall Street” and the “Koch Brothers,” and they yawn. However, the reason they even care about most “issues” the way you do is a good one; they are LIVING most of it. In other words, while the “political junkies” are immersing themselves in the “news” and absorbing so many opinions that match their own, a large number of voters are actually living this shit and they know more than you. Another thing; they’re smarter than most “political junkies.”  Yet, most “political junkies” are dazzled by their own brilliance, to the point that it’s embarrassing. Whereas the (mostly white) “junkies” believe government is the solution to everything under the sun, they also act like the government can never get anything right, unless it’s filled by people exactly like them.

And they can’t accept that such a thing will never happen.

That shouldn’t be surprising; “political junkies” don’t know shit about many things. The problem is, they tend to be very loud and very strident, and they make the rest of us white liberals look bad. They use phrases like “low information voter,” even though they seem to be projecting. Most voters understand the importance of climate change, but they expect the government to do something about it and they have no desire to run around like Chicken Little, shouting, “The sky is falling.” In what way does that make them “low information”? Because they don’t panic constantly and think the best way to fight climate change is to panic and scare the shit out of people? If you think about it, the com approach is rational; running around like Chicken Little does absolutely nothing about climate change.

The average voter’s view of the electoral process is pedestrian; they don’t go onto Google and research every candidate’s view on the issues; they listen through the grapevine and they get their impressions of the candidates from what they hear. And no, that does not mean “the media.” It means they listen to people they come in contact with and they listen to the enthusiasm about candidates and parties. And like most rational people, they won’t listen to anyone shouting to or at them.

Again, most people are inclined to vote for Democrats, and the reason is obvious. Democrats are serious and Republicans are running a clown show. That said, although Democrats are the only party that isn’t batshit crazy, and isn’t trying to tear apart the social fabric of the country, who do you expect them to vote for when they think Republicans are nuts, but the rhetoric from is constantly reiterating that Democrats and Republicans are largely the same, or that Democrats are just as corrupt and incompetent?

It would be one thing if such rhetoric was true, but it’s not even close. In fact, such rhetoric reached Trump level bullshit. At this point in history, there are absolutely no similarities between the two major parties right now.

And when I say none, I mean none. You can whine and cry about Blue Dogs all you want (by the way, that’s another meaningless identifier thrown out there by “political junkies;” most voters just hear “Democrat”), but the fact of the matter is, at its peak, the Blue Dog Caucus never worked in unison to prevent any Democratic legislation from getting to the floor of the House, which is what the “Freedom Caucus” is doing right now. In fact, with the Blue Dog caucus at its peak, in 2009-2010, House Democrats were able to pass 375 bills that were defeated by a Republican minority in the Senate. They also passed the Affordable Care Act. Ironically (?), their staunchest opposition was white liberal “political junkies.”

During Barack Obama’s first two years as president, these white liberal “political junkies” inexplicably trashed Democrats and Obama for two solid years. And FYI, of the 40 current members of the Freedom Caucus, 35 got there by defeating Blue Dogs. In 2010 and 2014, every single defeated member of the Blue Dog caucus was replaced by a teabagger.  So, whenever I hear or read “Progressives” brag about defeating Blue Dogs, I wonder how progressive they really are. Every member of the Blue Dog Caucus voted with Democrats 80% of the time, save one, and he voted with them two-thirds of the time. Voting in teabaggers is not an improvement, it really isn’t. Hell, just TODAY, I listened to a “political junkie” trash Joe Manchin, in a year when Democrats absolutely must take the House and the Senate, where the margin for error is very narrow, since only eight Republican seats are available. Their complaint about Manchin? “He votes with Republicans 33% of the time.”

How stupid is that? The answer is VERY. Here is a guy whose seat we really need to keep, if Democrats are to take back the Senate, and he’s in one of the reddest states in the country. He’s up for reelection, and his best chance to win would be to be a Trump lover; yet, he OPPOSES Republicans two-thirds of the time and he hasn’t changed parties, which would have guaranteed reelection.

The truth of the matter is, “political junkies,” Manchin shows more principles than any of you. If he loses, that makes it more difficult to take the Senate back for Democrats. That means a hell of a lot more than making some sort of idiotic point about 33% of votes with the GOP. A majority means progressives will head every Senate Committee and we can force Lord Donny to veto shitloads of bills and/or reveal that he’s not really a Republican, which will doom him in the long run. And besides, if Manchin is replaced, the teabagger who will replace him will likely vote with the GOP 100% of the time. Of course, the GOP won’t be the majority, so fewer GOP bills will even come to the floor. Nothing about working against Joe Manchin is in any way “progressive.”

The current incarnation of the GOP is the craziest and most dangerous political organization in the history of this nation. They keep engineering the near-destruction of our economy, they block any and all attempts to create jobs and bring the economy all the way back. Worse, it’s practically “rinse and repeat” every time they get a majority.     They want to kill everything that costs money and they don’t think deficits are a big deal. They are destructive. Their “defense” posture seems to be to bomb anyone who looks at us funny or who says bad things about us. They want us to have the biggest baddest weapons available, and when I say “us,” I don’t just mean the military. They do nothing about guns out of fealty to the NRA, even though even most gun owners know gun laws have to be stricter.

The current incarnation of the Republican Party is crazy, and they need to be stopped. But we can’t stop them if we don’t increase voter turnout in every election. Hear that, “political junkies”? Republicans win because of you because you and your “superior political skills” keep making Democrats seem just as stupid and pointless as Republicans. Democrats lose because these “political junkies” keep pushing a false equivalence between the two parties. Going against Democrats now is nothing short of madness. Common sense says we should be putting the best politicians available into office everywhere. The key word is “available,” and there is no Republican right now who is the “best available.” Stop equivocating and use the sense you’re supposed to have. Right now, it’s all hands on deck; even the worst “political junkies” have to be pro-Democrat for a while. I know it sucks for many of you, but it’s the only way to save this country.

There is a side benefit; the only way the GOP will become less batshit is if they keep losing. If they lose for a while, the rational Republicans who are left will wrest control of the party from the crazy “base” and a lot of conservative Democrats will go back to their natural party. That will move Democrats left, which is what white liberal “political junkies” claim they want. The question is, do they have the principle to actually see it happen?

Two Weeks to Go: The GOP Can’t Govern – Here’s Proof!

During the last two weeks, I am going to make a case every single day why you have to vote against the GOP and replace it. Some days, like today, I’ll repost a compelling argument from a while back, but most of these articles will be original and they will make the case why you have to vote this year and you have to vote Democratic only. No third parties, no independents, just Democrats. 

In this article, I use raw data to prove that the Republican Party is absolutely incompetent. Blue states are simply nicer places to live than red states, regardless of weather advantages. The governments of red states have been dominated by Republicans and right-wingers for so long, they serve as Petri dishes to show just how bad Republicans are at governing. 

———————————

I wrote the last update of this article late last year, but I checked all the data and it’s still accurate.  Read it and weep, red states…

As I have pointed out repeatedly, the difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties has never been more stark. The Democratic ideology is about helping as many people as possible, whereas the Republican ideology is all about low taxes and not spending money on anything, except tax cuts. One of the few times Republicans tried to do something for the American people, we got Medicare Part D, a prescription drug program for seniors that was barely better than the previous system. They not only left seniors in the lurch with a “donut hole,” but they prohibited negotiations and price controls on drugs, which is great for Big Pharma, but no one else. Not only did they largely screw seniors, but taxpayers, in general were forced to pay whatever the drug company decided they wanted. The Democrats had to fix Part D with the Affordable Care Act.

And look at how many Democratic Party programs Republicans have killed over the past few decades. Ever hear of CETA? That was a highly successful job training program to place poor people in jobs, and it was one of the first programs Reagan destroyed so that he could give rich people a huge tax cut. In other words, to the GOP, the poor working their way out of poverty became less important than millionaires seeing their tax rates cut in half. Back in the late 1970s, Democrats passed standards that would have reduced fossil fuel usage by five percent per year and Reagan killed those, too. When Democrats were in charge, unions and large companies thrived. When former union president Saint Reagan signaled it was okay to kill a union by killing the air traffic controllers union, PATCO and he paved the way to expansion of “right to work” it all but marked the end of unions in the US.

Republicans are wholly incompetent at running the government; a fact that should be obvious by now. What should also be obvious is, during the period from 1933-1980, with Democrats in charge most of the time, we became the most prosperous nation in the world. Since Republicans have taken over, we’re quickly becoming an also-ran.  That’s not a coincidence; their ideology is vacuous and morally bankrupt. Their intent is to prove that government doesn’t work; you cannot say the same about even the worst Democrat.

Republicans don’t care about deficits, which is why they always leave us with huge debt. Republicans created the conditions that led to both the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Bush Mortgage Meltdown and Recession of 2008. Republicans usually crash the economy and run up the debt, while Democrats fix the economy and return the budget at least closer to equilibrium. That doesn’t mean the debt will ever be zero; that’s unrealistic. But with Democrats in charge, the debt went from 120% of GDP to 33% of GDP during the post-war era. It wasn’t until Reagan was elected that the debt became ridiculous. Republican ideology shows that they have no problem leaving the cost of it all to our children and grandchildren.

There are plenty of data supporting this. Look at this chart (Source):

us-national-debt-gdp-graph

The green stripe shows what the debt would look like had Reagan and Bush 41 actually balanced the budget, as they promised, and Democratic Presidents Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama did exactly what they did. Of course, without the Bush 43 tax cuts and the massive war spending he directed, followed by the massive recession, the total debt might be less than 10% of GDP by now. As you can see, about 80-90% of the current debt can be laid at the feet of the Republican ideology. They call themselves the “Party of fiscal responsibility,” but the Republican ideology doesn’t allow for responsibility. Since the end of World War II, there have been 10 recessions, and only one came under a Democratic president. However, it was Democratic Presidents and Democratic Congresses who pulled us out of all 10.

The problem with Republican governance is even starker when you look at the records in individual states. Regardless of the weather, it is just easier to live in blue states than red states. It’s difficult to find a single quality-of-life issue that isn’t better in blue states than in red states.

For example, the top goal of any state should be to attract the best people, meaning the sharpest people, capable of making your state better. Yet, here is a list of the ten smartest states, based on level of education and several other factors: 1. Massachusetts; 2. Vermont; 3. Virginia; 4. New Hampshire; 5. Connecticut; 6. New Jersey; 7. Minnesota; 8. Maryland 9. Nebraska; 10. California

Nebraska is the only solidly red state in that group. And yet, when you look at the bottom ten, well…

49.(tie) Mississippi and Louisiana; 48. Nevada; 47. Oklahoma; 45.(tie) Alabama and Arkansas; 44. New Mexico; 43. Indiana; 42. West Virginia; 41. South Carolina. (Source)

The next question is, if red states are such nice places to live, which is what Republicans claim, why  do they not attract the best and the brightest? In part, it’s because, while these states feature low taxes, it’s also because the Republicans running these places have messed up everything, including the  economy. Face it; even when they have the greatest climate and the lowest taxes, Republican-led states are not great places to live.

Republicans and Economy: Like Oil and Water

Supply-side economics, also known as “trickle-down,” doesn’t work. We know this because Republicans have tried it many times over the past 40 years and the expectation that lower taxes will cause businesspeople to invest more in the economy just doesn’t work. That’s probably because make sense. In the history of the world, lower taxes does not lead to more investment because the two things aren’t related. Most red states feature low or no income tax rates and they brag of “balanced budgets” and restrained spending, but while Republicans often claim, or at least insinuate, that their state economies are in far better shape than those in blue states, they lie. Again, they lie.

A couple years ago, an analysis in the New York Times showed the hardest places in the country to live. They compiled the data by county, and they used six data points, including education, household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity. The blue sections are the easiest places to live, while the orange (their choice of color came long before Donald Trump ran for president, so it’s pure serendipity) are the hardest. Here is a screenshot of the map:

Hard Places Map

It’s easy to see where the biggest pockets of orange are, and when you look at data on a state by state basis, the reality becomes clear; red states are not well-run and it’s easy to see why the people living in them have a difficult time. In fact, in case you think data from 2014 is “old,” this past week, CNBC published a new list, with the 10 hardest states to live in. they were as follows:

10. Kentucky; 9. (Tie) New Mexico and Tennessee; 7. Mississippi; 6. Indiana; 5. Missouri; 4. Arkansas; 3. Oklahoma; 2. Louisiana and 1. Alabama. (Source

Let’s take a look at this more closely, starting with an easy concept; median household income:

Based on a three-year average, from 2013-2015, the ten states with the lowest median household income were: 50. Mississippi, $36,188; 49. West Virginia, $42,082; 48. Arkansas, $42,813; 47. Kentucky, $43,629; 46. New Mexico, $44,243; 45. Alabama, $44,995; 44. Tennessee, $45,072; 43. Louisiana, $45,206 42. South Carolina, $45,222 and 41. Oklahoma, $47,101. (Source)

Compare those figures with those of the ten states with the highest median household income from 2013-2015: 1.Maryland, $73,472; 2. New Hampshire $69,518; 3. Alaska, $72,187; 4. Connecticut, $71,213; 5. Minnesota, $67,168; 6. Hawaii, $67,060 7. New Jersey, $66,182; 8. Colorado, $65,570 9. Virginia, $64,926; 10. Massachusetts, $64,903.  (Source) The only red state on that list is Alaska, and they shouldn’t count, since their economy is largely dependent on payments from oil companies, which increased during the oil boom.

Incomes are just part of the picture, so let’s look at poverty rates. Keep in mind, poverty rates nationwide have been dropping since the end of the Great Recession, and yet, look at the ten states where household poverty rates are highest as of 2015, which is the last year available: 1. Mississippi, 22.0%; 2. New Mexico, 20.4%; 3. Louisiana, 19.6%; 4. Arkansas, 19.1%; 5. Kentucky and Alabama (tie), 18.5%; 7. West Virginia, 17.9%; 8. Arizona 17.4%; 9. Georgia, 17.0%; 10. Tennessee, 16.7%. (Source)

Compare that with the states boasting the lowest poverty rates as of 2015: 50. New Hampshire, 8.2%; 49. Maryland, 9.7%; 48. Vermont and Minnesota (tie), 10.2% . 46. Alaska, 10.3%; 45. Connecticut, 10.5%; 44. Hawaii; 10.6%; 43. New Jersey, 10.8%; 42. North Dakota , 11.0%; and 41. Wyoming, 11.1%; (Source)

Most striking is that, except Utah, the red states appearing in that list were in the midst of a massive oil and gas boom at the time. And yet, apparently many blue states are doing better than the largest oil boom state, Texas, which has the 17th highest poverty rate, at 16.9%. And yet, they are always bragging to the rest of us how much they’re booming. By the way, California’s poverty rate was lower than Texas, even in 2014. Now, it’s probably much lower.

To go along with the above statistics, we could look at states with the highest rate of SNAP (Food Stamps) recipients, as of October 9, 2015: 1. New Mexico, 22.3%; 2. Mississippi, 21.2%; 3. Oregon, 20.1%; 4. West Virginia, 19.9%; 5. Florida, 19.4%; 6. Louisiana, 19.1%; 7. Tennessee, 19%; 8. Alabama, 18.5%; 9. Georgia, 18.4%; 10. South Carolina, 17.2%. (Source)

Put simply, while Republicans try to pass themselves off as “fiscally responsible,” and always lecture us on “welfare” have a bigger problem than anyone they’re lecturing. And their people are poorer and  hungrier as a result. It’s the ideology that’s the problem. Most of these states have always been poor, even when they were led by Dixiecrats. And that is because Dixiecrats have been fully absorbed into the Republican base. And because The GOP peddles the idiocy of “trickle down,” these states continue to wallow at the bottom.

Speaking of poor, you should know that…

Red States are the Real “Welfare Queens.”

As bad as things are in red states, they’d be far worse off without the massive subsidies provided by taxpayers in the blue states. Yes, that’s right; for all the Republican whining about welfare, they’re actually the real “welfare queens,” a term ironically coined by none other than Saint Ronald Reagan.  Whenever a Republican whines about how horrible it is to support California during tough times, show them these numbers, laugh in their faces and tell them to shut up.

Here are the red states who receive the most federal money back for every dollar they paid in taxes in 2013: South Carolina, $5.38 (NOT a typo); North Dakota, $3.83; Alabama, $2.46; Mississippi, $2.34; New Mexico, $2.19; Kentucky, $2.18; Florida, $2.02; West Virginia, $1.91; Indiana, $1.81; Wisconsin, $1.79. (Source)

For the record, here are the states that get the least amount of federal money for every dollar they pay in taxes: Delaware $0.31; Nebraska, $0.41; Illinois, $0.45; New Jersey, $0.48; Ohio, $0.51; Kansas, $0.54; Minnesota, $0.54; Wyoming, $0.55; New York, $0.58; Colorado, $0.64 (Source)

There’s an even better measure out there now. Here is a list of states ranked by their government’s dependence on the federal government, based on a number of criteria, including their dependence on federal subsidies, combined with their dependence on federal contracts and the military. This is telling: 1. Mississippi; 2. Louisiana; 3. Tennessee; 4. South Dakota; 5. Missouri; 6. Montana; 7. Georgia; 8. New Mexico; 9. Alabama; 10. Maine. (Source)

One could, of course, make the case that money isn’t everything. If a state was a safe, secure place to live and raise a family, who would really care if they made a bit less, right? Unfortunately for the people living in those red states however, when Republicans complain about how bad things are, they’re projecting.

Red States Are Not Safer

You see, there’s a reason Republicans like to focus on Chicago and Detroit when they talk about violent crime; they want to take the focus off their states. In 2014, the ten states with the highest murder rates were; 1. Louisiana, 10.3 (per 100,000); 2. Mississippi, 8.6; 3. Missouri, 6.6; 4. South Carolina, 6.4; 5. Maryland, 6.1; 6. Nevada, 6.0; 7. (tie) Delaware and Florida, 5.8; 9. (tie) Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, 5.7. (Source)

Notice something missing in that group? Illinois and Michigan? How about New York and New Jersey, which Republicans dismiss as murderous hellscapes because of their strict gun laws.

Meanwhile, the ten states with the lowest murder rates for 2014 were: 50. New Hampshire, 0.9 (per 100,000); 47. (tie) Vermont, Maine and Minnesota, 1.6; 46. Hawaii, 1.8; 45 Iowa, 1.9; 42. (tie) Oregon, Massachusetts and Idaho, 2.0; 41. (tie) Utah and South Dakota, 2.3. (Source)

If you expand that beyond murder to all violent crime, it doesn’t get better for red states. The states with the highest rate of violent crime for 2014 are; 1. Alaska, 635.8 (per 100,000); 2. Nevada, 635.6; 3. Tennessee, 608.4; 4. New Mexico, 597.4; 5. Florida, 540.5; 6. Louisiana, 514.7; 7. South Carolina, 497.7; 8. Delaware, 489.1; 9. Arkansas, 480.1; 10. Maryland, 446.1 (Source)

Though Republican ideology requires a laser-like focus on Chicago, Detroit and New York, while blue states have pockets of violence, violence seems to be everywhere in red states. If it’s a huge red state with almost no people, you may have a chance. If not, you’re screwed.

The “War on Women” is apparently quite literal in red states. The 10 states with the highest rate of women murdered by men (2012) are; 1. Alaska, 2.57 (per 100,000 women); 2. South Carolina, 2.06; 3.  Oklahoma, 2.03; 4. Louisiana, 1.92; 5. Mississippi, 1.89; 6. Nevada, 1.83; 7. Missouri, 1.73; 8. Arizona, 1.70; 9. Georgia, 1.66; 10. Tennessee, 1.60. (Source)

Of course, Republican ideology suggests that the solution to violent crime is more guns, but the data suggests the opposite.

The ten states with the highest rate of firearms ownership are: 1. Wyoming 59.7%; 2. Alaska 57.8%; 3. Montana 57.7%; 4. South Dakota 56.6%; 5. West Virginia 55.4%; 6(T) Mississippi, Idaho and Arkansas 55.3%; 9. Alabama 51.7%; 10. North Dakota 50.7%. (Source)

Now, according to GOP ideology, that should mean a lot fewer firearm deaths. Unfortunately, that assumption is wrong. There is a whole lot of overlap with states having the highest firearm death rate (2013): 1. Alaska, 19.8 (per 100,000); 2. Louisiana, 19.3; 3. Mississippi, 17.8; 4. Alabama, 17.6; 5. Arkansas, 16.8; 6. Montana and Wyoming, 16.7; 8. Oklahoma, 16.5;.9. New Mexico, 15.5; 10. Tennessee, 15.4. (Source)

Worse, of the 31 states that were above the national average firearm death rate was 10.4 per 100,000, 26 are reliably red. Of the 19 states that were below that average, only two are red.

To reinforce that point, here are the ten states with the lowest rates of gun ownership: 50. Hawaii 6.7%; 49. New Jersey 12.3%; 48. Massachusetts 12.6%; 47. Rhode Island 12.8%; 46. Connecticut 16.7%; 45. New York 18%; 44. Illinois 20.2%; 42(T). California and Maryland 21.3%; 41. Florida 24.5% (Source)

Compare that list of states with the list of ten states with the lowest firearm death rates: 50. Hawaii, 2.6 (per 100,000); 49. Massachusetts, 3.1; 48. New York, 4.2; 47. Connecticut, 4.4; 46. Rhode Island, 5.3; 45. New Jersey, 5.7; 44. New Hampshire, 6.4; 43. Minnesota, 7.6; 42. California, 7.7; 41. Iowa, 8.0 (Source) They all have stricter gun laws, which means the NRA line is obviously a lie. There is no rational basis for a belief that more access to guns equals less gun crime and fewer gun deaths and the numbers prove that.

Red State “Family Values” Are a Myth

For all their talk about “sanctity of marriage,” in practice, well…  not so much.  Now, there is nothing wrong with being divorced, but for people who claim so much self-righteousness, the record is pretty pathetic. Look at the the ten states with the highest divorce rates: 1. Maine;  2. Nevada; 3. Oklahoma; 4. Arkansas; 5. West Virginia; 6. Florida; 7. Kentucky; 8. Oregon; 9. Montana; 10. (tie)Tennessee and Indiana (Source) Except for Oregon and Nevada, they are all red. It’s also probably not fair to include Nevada on the list, since that state is a destination for both quickie weddings and divorces.  All others with high divorce rates are led by self-righteous Republicans who consistently whine about same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, the states with the fewest divorces, save two, have no qualms about same-sex marriages.  They are: 1. New York; 2. New Jersey; 3. Utah; 4. North Dakota; 5. Hawaii; 6. Massachusetts; 7.(tie) Illinois, Pennsylvania and California 10. Maryland. (Source)

While Republicans complain mightily about the “loose morals” of liberals, and prefer “abstinence-only” programs, they might want to re-think. Whatever they’re doing isn’t working. The 10 states with the highest rate of teen pregnancy are: 1. New Mexico; 2. Nevada; 3. Arizona; 4. Texas; 5. Mississippi; 6. Delaware; 7. Arkansas; 8. Georgia; 9.(Tie) South Carolina and Tennessee (Source)

And while they seem obsessed with sex, the CDC recently released a report on three major Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in resurgence in recent years. The big three are chlymidia, gonorrhea and syphillis, and here are the states with the highest rates of STDs: 1. Louisiana; 2. Mississippi; 3. Georgia; 4. Alabama; 5. South Carolina; 6. Arkansas; 7. Illinois; 8. Texas; 9. New York; 10. North Carolina. (Source). This would seem to indicate that red states’ rejection of the ACA and their defunding of Planned Parenthood is a really bad idea.

Red States Also Fail at Education

Our kids are our future. However, in Republican-led states, their education is seriously lacking. The average graduation rate nationwide as of 2014-2015 is 83%. There are 17 states that are below that (perhaps 18, since Alabama was unable to produce acceptable figures) and of those 17 states, only five are blue. (Source)

It’s no wonder so many drop out. Look at how little red states spend on education per pupil. The bottom ten states when it comes to per pupil spending on education as of Fiscal Year 2014 are:  50. Utah, $6,500; 49. Idaho, $6,621; 48. Arizona, $7,528 ; 47. Oklahoma, $7,820; 46. Mississippi, $8,263 ; 45. Nevada, $8,414; 44. North Carolina, $8,512; 43. Texas, $8,594; 42. Tennessee, $8,630 ; 41. Florida, $8,755  (Source)

Meanwhile, the states with the highest spending per pupil (FY 2014) are: 1. New York, $20,610; 2. Alaska, $18,416; 3. New Jersey, $17,907; 4. Connecticut, $17,745; 5. Vermont, $16,988; 6. Wyoming, $15,797; 7. Massachusetts, $15,087; 8. Rhode Island, $14,767; 9. New Hampshire, $14,335; 10. Maryland; $14,003 (Source)

The Problem is Taxes: The Rich Don’t Pay

One reason Republicans don’t spend money to make making people’s lives better is because they don’t have it. They don’t collect the revenue needed to do so. Instead, as we saw earlier, they depend on subsidies from blue states to even pay for the little they do. But while they don’t collect enough in taxes from those who can afford it, they do screw the poor and middle classes with taxes, which is commonly called “regressive taxation.”

Recently, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) took a look at the regressive nature of some states’ tax codes and ranked the states accordingly. Here’s their “top ten” counting down to the most regressive; 10. Indiana, 9. Kansas, 8. Arizona, 7. Tennessee, 6. Pennsylvania, 5. Illinois, 4. South Dakota, 3. Texas, 2. Florida, 1. Washington. (Source)

Click on that link and take a look at the states that don’t tax the rich at all. The top one percent in Florida pay less than two percent in taxes, while in Texas they pay less than three percent. Guess who makes up the difference, voters? This is the model Republicans want to impose on the entire country. You can’t be okay with that. If we’re to build a progressive nation, we have to focus on the ideology that makes people believe the country is broke, so they can give millionaires a pass while they gouge people who work for a living.

If you are looking for a reason to encourage the people you know to vote Democratic, here you are. And if you’re one of those who says both parties are the same, there is something wrong with you. Learn this. Republicans have to go.

Cutting the Crap on Immigration Nonsense

There is a reason this blog is called “Please Cut the Crap.” There is just so much bullshit floating around out there, someone has to cut through it and tell you the truth.

For example, there’s the hysteria – for the second year in a row! – surrounding the massive “caravans”of migrants who are making their way through Mexico and are supposedly heading straight for our border. The “conventional wisdom” is that they’re all going to come straight for the United States and bully their way across our southern border and live off our massive social safety net, which means we the people will go broke taking care of them.

There is almost too much bullshit in that scenario to cut through. Let’s start with the fact that the “caravan” is an annual event. It is planned ahead of time, and it’s essentially a protest of conditions in Central American countries – the conditions that force thousands to flee in our direction. Another words, it’s not a spontaneous thing at all.

It’s also not the case that they swarm over our borders. In fact, very few of them come over our border at all, and the few that do legally ask for asylum. People see to have really short memories for this sort of thing. Earlier THIS YEAR, the same thing happened, and Lord Donny made a huge deal about it for months, until most of the “caravan” dispersed. Then, he dropped it. He and others seem to forget that perhaps dozens of refugees tried to come over our border to ask for asylum.

Here is a history of the “caravans” and their motivation. As you can see, the destination for most of them is MEXICO, not the United States. Only, you won’t be afraid if they told you the truth and the GOP wants you scared to death. (Source)

Those in the last “caravan” who did come all the way to the United States did so over a legal border crossing and presented themselves for asylum. None of them tried to force their way into the country at gunpoint.

The image I am constantly presented with is that they “illegally” come here and make us “take care of them.” It’s a constant refrain by people who don’t want to seem racist, but who really don’t want more “brown people” here. Well, let me disabuse you of that, too. The people who come here for asylum face massive oppression in their homeland, and they are coming here for the same goddamn reason our grandparents and great-grandparents came here, my fellow white people; to make a better life for themselves and their families. They work their asses off and they pay taxes. They’re not like immigrant Donald Trumps, who scam people and then scam the government to get out of paying taxes. They work and they pay taxes and they produce more than they take, just like most of the rest of us.

The fact of the matter is, everyone, immigrants pay a lot more in taxes than they cost taxpayers. Here is a study showing just that. (Source) Not only that but you can save your bullshit about how much they get in “free healthcare,” too. (Source) Yes, that’s right; immigrants also pay insurance premiums, yet rarely use it, sometimes out of fear of being caught.

What did you think; that the undocumented immigrant working in your workplace had nothing taken out of their paycheck?

And what about those who think we “take care of them” once they get here? For chrissakes, people, our system doesn’t take care of anyone, let alone people who just come here from another country. Perhaps you haven’t heard, but there is no “welfare,” any longer; the Republican Party made that extinct back in 1996. Right now, states get to do whatever they want with their welfare block grant and most states don’t use it to provide subsistence for families. As a result, in most states, especially red states, have no cash assistance available for anyone. More than three-quarters of those living below the poverty line get ZERO cash assistance from the government, and they have slashed SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) so much, the average family gets about $1.60 per meal to make due. (Source)

So, if we don’t provide basic food and housing to poor people who have been citizens all their lives, how do you imagine we’re “caring for” immigrants. I know some of you imagine there’s a huge social safety net and that poor people are buying porterhouse steaks with their Food Stamps, but you don’t get out much if you think so. The GOP has been ripping the social safety net to pieces for a generation now.

Immigrants to not come here and suckle off the government teat because that teat shriveled up and died many years ago. What we are doing with our immigration policy is unimaginably cruel and heartless. We are denying people who want to come here to have a better life – the same reason my white grandparents came here from Ireland, Germany and Poland – the opportunity to do so. We are violating our sacred oath to the rest of the world; that anyone who was suffering from oppression could come here and find safety and security here. Trump has dropped the number of refugees allowed to come here from the already-pathetic 110,000 per year to 30,000 per year, even though refugees go through a daunting vetting process and even though no refugee has ver come here and hurt or killed anyone here.

And please shut up about the money. We’re BY FAR the richest country in the world. (Source) Just because we’re cheapskates when it comes to paying taxes doesn’t mean we don’t have the money to pay for immigrants to come here and be granted asylum. We have plenty of wealth. We have the wealth we need to become the nation we once were – the nation that allowed our white grandparents to come here with every few restrictions.

Yes, that’s the other line of bullshit I hear all too often. “My grandparents came here legally” is a load of crap. Our grandparents generally hopped on a large ship that docked somewhere on the east coast and they were run through a process that included registration and health screening. That’s it. Now, when someone comes here legally, the process to stay here costs thousands of dollars. Where is that money supposed to come from? Our grandparents didn’t have it, and people escaping oppression right now don’t have it.

Last thing; immigrants are not scary. Immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than citizens. (Source) Most immigrants come here legally and simply overstay their visas. The image of Mexicans “swimming over the Rip Grande” or “sneaking over the desert border fences’ is the exception, not the rule. (Source) I live less than an hour from the border and I know very few people who are scared to death of immigrants coming here because most of them just want to be left alone. The fear seems to grow the farther people get from the border, which is why the admonitions I get from people in North Dakota that their new voter laws, which disenfranchise people who live in rural areas, will “keep non-citizens” from voting is so laughable.

No one wants an open border, but we also don’t want to be cruel. Is that too much to ask?

Journalists: You Need to Do Your Job!

It’s really past time for the American press to do their goddamn job, at least when it comes to politics. The American electorate needs a press that informs us properly, so we can know the things we need to know.

What do we need to know? A lot of things, but before I start with that list, let me tell you what we do NOT need…

  • We do not need you to feed us the “news” the readers and viewers tell you we want to know about. You are the journalists. YOU are supposed to report on things that happen, not feed us full of gossip and rumors.
  • We do not need elections and politics covered the same way announcers call the play-by-play in a football or basketball game.
  • We do not need to hear a constant rehash of the past, unless it is directly relevant to today. For instance, the current rehash of the Clinton-Lewinsky matter is completely unnecessary in today’s world. And seriously; no one gives a rat’s ass about Hillary’s goddamn emails. They shouldn’t have gotten so much press two years ago; now, it’s especially insane.
  • We do not need “all sides” of every issue. We don’t need an array of opinions, we just need facts. If your idea of “fairness” includes every side of every issue, you miss two concepts here. Number one, your job is not “fairness.” Also, you increase the likelihood that your story will be more fact-free.
  • We do not need journalism that reports what someone important said, unless that journalism also includes context and seeks to correct the record, where necessary.

By listing everything the public does NOT need from journalists, it’s easy to come up with a list of things we DO need from our press. Unfortunately, we are largely not getting most of that. It’s time for that to change.

  • We need a lot more news programming and a lot less opinion. Right now, all cable news channels inundate us with almost 24 hours of opinions, which can sometimes include facts, but which are not factual in and of themselves.
  • We need editors to do their damn jobs. Again, we need more news and information and we need a lot less of editors telling us what they think we want to know. Last weekend, USA Today ran an op-ed written by the lying asshole sitting in the White House right now and, as usual, the piece was virtually devoid of facts and crammed full of lies, according to a Washington Post fact check. No news organization should publish anything that cannot pass a fact check, no matter who writes it.
  • Along the same lines, we need more journalists to correct the record on the fly. When they are interviewing a newsmaker, especially a politician, and that newsmaker says something that is provably false, it should be the journalist’s job to correct the record. If the interview is live, the corrections should be made as soon as possible after, if not in real time. If it’s taped or printed, the corrections should be included.
  • We need journalists to start using the word “lie” when appropriate. No more euphemisms, just to show us how erudite you are.
  • We need journalists who tell the story and leave themselves out of it. It doesn’t matter what you think. Just report the facts.
  • We need more investigative reporting and we need journalists to get the whole story, without worrying about the “scoop.” In this day and age, no one remembers who came up with the story first, but we do remember who got it wrong.
  • We need less lazy journalism. We need journalists who will go after the story and the details and provide actual context. Context is the key to all journalism. This is the problem with Wikileaks. Journalists dropping documents on them and guessing their meaning is not actually journalism. Showing us a document from an NSA computer is only useful if the journalist consults experts to tell us what the document means.
  • We need more news in our news. We need journalists to follow corrupt practices and not be distracted by the shiny keys politicians and their followers always throw out there for that purpose.

That means sticking to facts. What a politician has to say about something is only news if it’s based on fact. The Orange Toddler’s Twitter feed is not news. The fact that Mitch McConnell finds the deficit “troublesome” is only news if you point out that his party passed the law that caused it and if you mention that he also wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. And their intention to cut those is only news if you also mention the fact that neither of those programs has added a single penny to the deficit.

People need to know that everything they see on the news is true and verified because we all need to know everything we need to know to make an informed decision regarding voting. It’s not just about how a candidate stands on issues, either; these days, it’s about knowing which politicians and parties are putting the country ahead of their party or their ideology.

You Have One Job This Election (And the Next 4-5)

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a parade of “progressives” touting the website for “Project VoteSmart,” in all sorts of media. I’ve heard them on the radio, I’ve seen them on TV, and I have been personally contacted on Twitter and Facebook about it, as if I hadn’t already used their data extensively on my blog(s) for many years. Hell; they even paid to advertise on my old blog, “The Daily Weasel.”

The fact that these “progressives” are coming out of the woodwork to remind everyone of this fascinating “new” website is strange for several reasons. First of all, the implication is that no one knows about “VoteSmart,” which is absurd. Sure, some young millennial types may not know about it, but most liberals and others who care about voting know to go straight to VoteSmart, when a candidate’s voting record matters.

And that leads to the second reading this latest push is bizarre. In this election, in the current political climate, we’re finally at a point where it really doesn’t matter what anyone’s voting record is on any issue. We know what the Democratic Party stands for and we know that the Republican Party stands for nothing good at all. At this point in time, if you are liberal or progressive at all, you have no choice but to vote for Democrats in this election and for at least the next 4-5 elections.

In the best of times, evaluating voting records is only a minor factor in a voting decision, anyway. I mean, how do you evaluate a Democrat’s voting record when Congress has been ruled by the current version of the GOP for the last eight years, anyway? I mean, Boehner, Ryan and McConnell had as a major platform plank stopping everything Democrats and Obama wanted to do. So, what would an examination of their voting record tell you? The answer, of course, is nothing. Oh, sure, you can point and scream about how they voted according to your personal belief system, but since you will probably be against everything the GOP does, your evaluation of their “voting record” really isn’t valid, is it?

Again, unless the Democrat voting for a certain bill you don’t like actually made a difference in whether or not the bill was passed, any evaluation as part of their “voting record” is completely and utterly pointless. In other words, if 230 Republicans and four Democrats voted for a bill, your whining about the four Democrats is completely ineffective and shows you to be remarkably clueless. Yes, I said “clueless.”

This year’s election is a critical one for the future of democracy in the United States. If you think I’m exaggerating that, you haven’t been paying attention. The Republican Party has been cheating for years, and they have spent the last half century trying to encourage people to not vote. And they have largely been successful because of the professional left and the unicorn left in general. Every time you whine about “Blue Dogs,” you show yourself to be ignorant of how politics works, and you also encourage people to stay home from the polls. Every time you scream at the top of your lungs that the “system is broken,” you encourage more people to stay home and not vote. Every time you declare the system is rigged, more people stay home.

The current version of the Republican Party is a menace. They are destroying the country and they are destroying the world. It is only possible to change the direction of this country’s politics through a majority, and at some point, ALL liberals, including the white ones, have to figure out that we don’t have the numbers to get shit done without aligning with moderates who can at least listen to us and who are willing to help us get part of our agenda done. But more importantly, the GOP has put the United States into the position of being a “can’t do” nation. They are turning us from a superpower into an “also ran.”

In this election, and for at least the next 5-6 election cycles, we have ONE GOAL with our vote, and that is to oust the current version of the Republican Party out of government. Screw voting records, screw who’s “progressive enough. We need Democrats to win everything. That will force the GOP to either reconstitute into something that isn’t anti-American values or force another political party to take its place. I’m not advocating for a one-party system forever, just until there is a second political party that puts the country ahead of party.