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?

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.

It’s Not About the Kavanaugh and the GOP, It’s About Democracy and Standards

There is absolutely no way Brett Kavanaugh should be on the Supreme Court. In fact, if this was the Republican Party of even the George W. Bush era, he wouldn’t be. He neither competent or qualified. 

I can hear the right wing Trumpers screaming now. They’re screaming at their computer screens and saying, “Every president has the right to nominate anyone to the Supreme Court!” And in a way, they’re right. However, the U.S. Senate has a solemn duty to reject someone like Kavanaugh; that’s the reason they have the power to “advise and consent,” and not the power to “rubber stamp” whomever the “president” wants. Their ability to approve whomever passes muster is equal to their ability to reject the unfit candidates put up there by the “president.”

At any other time in the history of this country, Kavanaugh would have been tossed aside a long time ago. Rejected Supreme Court nominees like Harriet Mires and Robert Bork had a lot of political disqualifiers, but neither one was accused to sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and neither one yelled at the Senate and took political shots at Democrats. Kavanaugh did both.

This isn’t just about Kavanaugh’s likely ruling on Roe v. Wade. I mean, it is about that, and I don’t want to minimize that, but it’s more than that. It’s about the beginning of a return to standards we used to hold dear in this country, before we let the whackos have their own major political party.

There is only one reason the Trumpian faithful want Kavanaugh to be seated, and that is, they want to “win.” It’s all they care about. They want to “win” and “own the libs.” That’s what all of this is about. It has nothing to do with banning abortion or making sure Trump’s agenda is carried out, it’s about “owning the libtards.”

Screw that, people. We have to begin the return to actual American standards. If Republicans unanimously approve Brett Kavanaugh and seat him on the Supreme Court, it has to be the last goddamn thing that party ever does. Only TWP Republicans have to vote “no” tomorrow, and if 0-1 vote against Kavanaugh, that has to be the nail that seals their proverbial coffin. I’m still hopeful, because that’s my nature, but dammit, if I’m wrong and all 51 Republican Senators vote for that asshole, there is only one valid commitment the progressive movement can make, and that is to get every non-Republican out there to vote against the GOP once and for all.

In 32 days, there is an election, and we all have to be united in only one thing; our determination to get rid of the current incarnation of the Republican Party for good. Our grandparents made that commitment in 1932, when the GOP caused the Great Depression and were ousted from government for not fixing things, and actually making it worse. Now, the current Republican Party is ten times worse; they are working against the American people, they support a veritable dimwit as “president,” even though he’s by far the most corrupt politician in the history of American politics, and they do nothing about his excesses. The entire party is corrupt, they draw their support from racists, bigots and misogynists, they look the other way when the “president” suggests Nazis are good people and when he throws brown kids in cages after stealing them away from their parents, just because they’re brown and not from here.

Our grandparents banished the GOP from government for 20 years, which was a long time back then, and when they let them back in during the 1950s, the Republican Party stopped our economic progress for four years, and they were banished again for another quarter-century.

This time, they’ve had an inordinate amount of power since 1980, which is almost 40 years. They pushed us to the brink of another depression, and were only saved by Democrats, who bailed out the economy for them. Now, ten years after sinking the economy again, they want to implement the same types of deregulatory “reforms” and they want to dismantle the safeguards Democrats put in place to prevent another meltdown, even as they dismantle the rest of the New Deal reforms.

Whether Kavanaugh’s is seated on the Supreme Court or not, we have to make it clear that we need a return to a basic set of standards for those who represent us in the government. The Republican Party has forgotten who’s in charge. It’s “we, the people.” We need to take it all back.

One last thing. Even if we can create a “Blue Tsunami” this year – and we can, for sure – this is only the beginning of the process. It will take two more elections to take back a supermajority in the Senate and to clean out as many state houses as we possibly can. No more whining about “Blue Dogs” and no more attempts to perfect the Democratic Party and make it pure. Our ONLY order of business for the next decade at least is to get rid of the major political party that sides with Russia and China over our own people. It’s time the Republican Party is gone from the picture until they can prove they care about the United States of America.

It’s not about Kavanaugh, it’s about our country and our democracy. Take it all back and then learn how to keep it.

With Kavanaugh, the GOP May Be Killing Itself Off. Make Sure We Help

The first question everyone should have regarding Brett Kavanaugh is, why is the entire Republican Party risking their viability as a major party on this lying asshole. Of course, Kavanaugh is a judicial clone of Lord Donny; rich, entitled and a psychopath who thinks everyone should believe everything he says because he’s “Brett Fucking Kavanaugh, bitch.”

In other words, there seems to be no real reason the Republican Party would put all their eggs in the Kavanaugh basket. Let’s real here; the Federalist Society could easily find dozens of qualified judges with ideologically reprehensible records who have not been credibly charged with attempted rape and who aren’t blackout alcoholics. Hell; as disgusted as we were with Gorsuch and the circumstances surrounding his nomination, he went to the same prep school as Kavanaugh and no accusations of sexual assault or even lying were made. Kavanaugh, on the other hand, has done nothing but lie and, as part of the process of getting the job of Supreme Court Justice, he has personally insulted most of the people charged with making the decision. Imagine you’re in a job interview and you call the HR person conducting the interview an idiot and tell them they are conspiring to keep you out of the job because of some paranoid conspiracy you came up with in your own little mind. What is the likelihood you’ll get that job, do you think?

Now, imagine that your former employer is putting all of their support behind you getting this new job. They support everything you say to the HR person at your new company, and they back up your conspiracy theory wholeheartedly. What do you think will happen to that company’s reputation?

Yet, this is the situation the Republican Party finds itself in. Why? As noted, they have the option of finding any number of ideologically committed and qualified men who have never been accused of a potential crime. The GOP has had far too much power for far too long and they now represent the worst elements of our society and it’s past time for them to go the way of the dodo bird. But this almost seems as if they are trying to do themselves in this time.

Think about it. Over the past 40 years, since they have had an outsized level of power, they have cemented their status as a whites-only party. They have gone out of their way to alienate every minority group in existence. It started after the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act, when they adopted the “Southern Strategy,” where they focused their recruitment efforts on states who objected to Black people getting equal rights. There went the Black people, who had once been a significant demographic in the “Party of Lincoln,” as one can understand. In the 1980s, when they won back the presidency and the Senate for the first time in 30 years or more, they worked hard to alienate Hispanics and Latinos, by perpetuating stereotypes and demonizing those who come here from south of the border.

That was roughly the same period in which they also started to alienate gay folks, by equating them with pedophiles and other predators and speaking about them as if they were indulging in some sort of perversion. Consider the AIDS crisis, which St. Reagan and the rest of the Republican Party ignored until tens of thousands had already died and then referred to the epidemic as the “gay plague,” because gays just happened to be the first victims in the United States. Worldwide, the devastating disease primarily spread among heterosexual populations, but Republicans “blamed the gays” for spreading it, thus excising the considerable gay demographic in the party.

Now, they seem hell-bent on making women run away from the GOP, as well. That’s essentially what the insistence on Kavanaugh is destined to do. Not only do they want Kavanaugh to legally ruin women’s lives by overturning Roe vs. Wade, but by insisting on elevating a misogynist predator to the Supreme Court, after they elevated one to “president” less than two years ago, but they seem destined to write off women voters for a generation.

In fact, there has only been one segment of the electorate the current incarnation of the Republican Party hasn’t alienated, and that is angry white men. And while they have most of the financial power in the country currently, their numbers are shrinking as a proportion of the electorate and they are outnumbered by white women, anyway.

The current Republican Party seems to know their days are numbered, and they are trying to do themselves in. Perhaps they finally realize how disgusting their ideology is and they are giving themselves a pretext for disintegrating the party and starting over. Whatever it is, they certainly need our help, so let’s make them go away and reconstitute. That means more people than ever showing up to vote for at least the next five or more election cycles and making it so they have no choice but to change.

Why We Lose

Unlike many other white liberals, like the unicorn progressive types, I am prone to ask the question, why do we fail so often?

I mean, it doesn’t make sense, does it? We know somewhat instinctively, that most voters are, or should be on our side, politically. We want everyone to have a great life. We want them to have clear air to breathe and clean water to drink. We want people to get healthcare when they get sick or injured and we don’t want to force them into bankruptcy court if some guy who walks by on the street coughs on them and makes them sick. What we know instinctively we are for is exactly what the average American wants to see happen. Like us, most Americans want children to have a better education. They want the workplace to be more egalitarian. They want the markets to be open and free and they want everyone to have the opportunity to do something great for themselves and their families. We all want every family that works to be paid fairly, at a wage that allows them to live without stressing over such things as how they’ll pay for food or a place to live.

And yet, we lose most of the time. How could anyone be against us? Unfortunately, the answer is too simple. There are two viable political parties in this country and the loudest and most visible component of the progressive movement – led by white liberals – is always facing off against the wrong one. The Democratic Party is the only entity capable of bringing progressive values to government. Yet, those who claim to speak for us spend all their time trashing Democrats and insinuating that both major parties are the same.

The same? If you look at every major progressive achievement in the last 130 years or so, and they have all been put forth and turned into reality by Democrats. Though the professional left likes to whine that the Democratic Party is “no longer the party of the people,” the actual record shows just the opposite. Look over the generalized Democratic platform for 2018 (Source) and compare it to the usual Republican “God, Guns, Gays and Abortion” platform they’ve perpetuated for years and it’s clear why we lose elections. Between the two parties, only the Democrats subscribe to most of the above, and yet, they have only controlled the government for two two-year periods since 1980. How is that possible? Why isn’t the progressive message catching on? 

It’s because there is no progressive message. We actually believe that mentioned above, but we really don’t talk about it. The liberal blogs; most of the time, they are engaged in expressing their disgust over the Outrage of the Day™; right now, all we’re hearing is Kavanaugh and women’s rights, when that isn’t what most voters are concerned about at all. Most voters are against Kavanaugh, but it’s because he’s a childish dick. The professional left and unicorn progressives in general don’t care about that, however; they only care about abortion rights. Those are important, of course, but more important is our loss of standards and the possibility that Kavanaugh could prevent any sort of Trump accountability for bringing our democracy to the brink of oblivion. 

Unicorn progressives, who are virtually all white liberals with means require everyone to show outrage over the Outrage of the Day™, or they are not a Real Progressive™. If any liberal or progressive demonstrates indifference at the Outrage of the Day™ or suggests that the blogs perpetuating said Outrage of the Day™, they are branded Centrists™ and banished from progressive-land forever.  As if the 5-10% of the population who qualify as a Real Progressive™constitute enough votes to push progressive programs forward. We focus on a version of issues that have no basis in reality and dismiss everything else.

In what way is the far left not just like the far right again? 

We also have to have more to sell than not being right wing. What kind of message do we really send when someone on the right says something profoundly stupid, and we react to it and focus on that message? I’m not saying you don’t mention it, but unless you mention it within the context of the Republicans’ overarching ideology, mentioning it only amplifies it. And unless we spend a sufficient amount of time propagating a progressive alternative message, we’re wasting our time even mentioning it. When someone says something stupid, “no, it’s not” is not a cogent message that people can hang their hopes on.

It’s important and necessary to remember the concept, nature abhors a vacuum. When there is an informational vacuum, especially one created by Republicans for their own nefarious purposes, we should be the ones to fill it, not the GOP Media Machine. In order to do that, however, we have to understand something very basic…

Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Sara Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and any of 1,000 other people I could name (and bore you to tears) are not the problem. They are symptoms of a much larger ideological construct that has to change if we are ever to make political progress and create a progressive country.  When are we going to get this, my fellow liberals? How many of these people do we have to get rid of before you realize that getting rid of a series of individual right wingers doesn’t actually fix anything? Remember Newt Gingrich, Jerry Falwell, Dick Armey, Trent Lott, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Tom Delay and countless others like them? How about Dennis Hastert, who raped young boys and had his Republican colleagues cover it up for years. When we only get rid of bad apples and replace them with more bad apples, especially when the new bad apples are worse than the old ones, we have gained exactly dick. Know how did got the Tea Party? Because white liberals attacked Blue Dogs for not being “progressive enough” and purged them. Teabaggers filled the vacancies. Was that somehow progressive? Over two elections, 2010 and 2014, we purged about 45 Democrats from Congress, solely because a few far left white liberals targeted them for not being “progressive enough.” There was no consideration of the makeup of their districts and states, and the purge essentially replaced Democrats who voted with their own party 70+ percent of the time with teabaggers, whose entire ideology is about “owning libs” and voting against Democrats. I’m sorry, but how is that progressive? 

We have to change what’s acceptable for everyone to say and do, and we do that by changing hearts and minds. Ironically, we’re doing exactly that with the concept of gay rights and marriage equality. The rules of debate have changed on that subject because we are making people see that they already know gay people, and that the law is unfair to people they know and love. It’s no longer acceptable to be anti-gay, precisely because we changed the parameters of the debate. It’s also now happening with the #metoo movement. 

We need to change the debate on energy to “where’s the downside to switching to solar and wind power and electric cars?” instead of constantly screaming about massive budget cuts on social programs every goddamn day, why don’t we tolerate the Blue Dogs of this world and work to change the debate to something we can win, like, “Why should people be working 60-80 hours a week and making too little to pay the bills?” or “Why are any working people on welfare?” Instead of constantly getting into it with morons who want to kill Obamacare, transform the debate to “Why should anyone lose everything they’ve worked for all their lives because someone at the supermarket sneezed on them and got them sick?”

Again, the overall question that should infuse everything we discuss (and I mean discuss, not scream about) is,

What do we want our country to be?

Stop obsessing over individual politicians, events and issues, and spend more time trying to change the mindset of the American people. And the only way to do that is to present an alternative that is more acceptable and to let that fill the vacuum. The problem isn’t Donald Trump; the problem is what Donald Trump and the GOP Congress that’s enabling him stand for. The problem isn’t right-wingers, it’s the right wing’s basic philosophy, which is morally and ethically bankrupt. They have far too much influence on the electorate. They get to make policy and laws, and we cede ground to them by focusing too much on whatever gets other liberals outraged enough to click on an article. What we need to oppose isn’t them, but what they represent. It does absolutely no good at all to obsess over Caribou Barbie (Sarah Palin) and her Facebook page, unless we are also promoting our own agenda and message and going after why what she says is bad news.

Changing hearts and minds is very doable. Beginning with the 1932 elections and going for nearly a half-century, we did exactly that, by working with Democrats and not against them. During that period of time, we changed this country for the better. Then, suddenly, beginning with the 1972 election, progressives seemed to forget everything we once knew and we started focusing on individual people and issues, and the country has suffered as a result. And since 1980, when we allowed Ronald Reagan to be elected, look at what’s happened to us. We have descended into the Hellmouth and it will be a long climb out. But our future depends on us making it. 

Here’s a Clue for White Liberal “Political Junkies”

What is it about so-called “political junkies” that makes them watch “the news” and “follow politics” constantly, and yet get nothing out of it? How is it possible to be a “political activist” for upwards of 40-50 years and not even notice that the two major parties have changed drastically and are practically polar opposites from where they were back in the 1960s?

Seriously, folks…

If you think you can sit in front of your computer at this point in time and rail about “Blue Dogs” and “DINOs” as if this was 1968, you need to give up your drug of choice (politics) and look around for perspective. If you think “Medicare For All” is an absolute political winner, your head is so far in the political bubble, you have lost contact with the real world. And if you think the only solution to students graduating from college with too much debt is tuition-free college, you really need to get out more.

Not only that, but there are TWO viable major parties out there right now, and one of them reflexively blocks everything they see as even remotely “liberal.” One political party nominated, elected and continues to support a fat orange narcissist for president, and they do nothing to hold him accountable for anything. The idea that we have the absolute luxury of cleaning our own house while the other party runs the government into the ground is just seriously twisted. Once Democrats have permanent majorities in Congress and most state legislatures and governor’s mansions, then we can start picking off the worst players. You know, like 2-3 of the worst Senators (once Democrats have at least 75 seats) and maybe a dozen or so of the worst congressional representatives (once Democrats have at least 350 seats), but not everyone who doesn’t share your pure vision of an America where the rich pay for everything and the poor pay for nothing.

Come on, people. Politics is a process. There are no shortcuts and wishes do not equal votes. You can want “free college” and “free healthcare” all you want, but unless you elect a majority who are at least willing to listen to us about things we care about, all you’re doing is talking. You’re not an “activist,” you’re a blowhard.

And please stop with the “unity” bullshit. I mean this sincerely, primarily because of the way the unicorn progressives see the term “unity.” Democrats are fully and strongly united on the only issue that actually matters at this point in time, and that is getting rid of the current incarnation of the GOP. If you expect total unanimity on every issue, that will never happen, but it doesn’t have to. Republicans are in lockstep on everything; if you think that’s a good thing, you’re kinda dumb. If you think that would work for those of us on the left, again, you’ve been in the bubble too long. The far right controls about 20-24% of the electorate; we have the potential to control the other three quarters, but only if we don’t dismiss people who aren’t “exactly like us.”

There seems to be a sense among the unicorn types that “Democrat” and “progressive” are synonyms. That has never been the case. The vast majority of progressives are Democrats, but it has never been true that the majority of Democrats are progressive. There are moderate Democrats and there are conservative Democrats. There used to be right wing Democrats, but they all left the Democratic Party almost a half century ago and became Republicans. I’m sure there may be a few strays still registered Democratic because they’re too lazy to head to the registrar to change it, but they always vote Republican because that’s what a lockstep party does.

The strength of the Democratic Party is its diversity and I don’t just mean ethnic diversity. I’m also talking about diversity of thought and political diversity. And as a lifelong liberal, I embrace that. Let’s be real here; in politics, the only way we can get to where we need to go is by winning elections, and the only way to win elections is by voting with a majority. While a lot of “political junkies” don’t seem to grasp this, there are not enough liberals out there to win anything without help. And if we’re talking about white liberals, the number is even more grim. Most liberals in this country are people of color. The number of white liberals probably represents 5-8% of the electorate, which means, we’re not winning anything at all without help.

And now you know why it’s so distressing to see so many white liberals act as if they should be in charge of the Democratic Party. We are not in charge of the Democratic Party. White liberals used to own the Democratic Party, but they largely abandoned the Party about 50 years ago, when they had their first hissy fit and helped elect Nixon and declare themselves “progressive independents.”

It’s even more distressing to see otherwise well-meaning white liberals try to take over the party as if they have a birthright to it. “Your Revolution” is not the Democratic Party’s base. The Party’s base consists of Blacks. Latinos, LGBTQ people, and immigrants, and the heart and soul of the current Democratic Party is Black women. Therefore, when a group of white liberals forms a group (many of whom aren’t even registered Democrats) and makes demands of the Democratic Party and declares themselves the “base,” the level of insult to the actual base of the party is incalculable. “The Democratic Party” doesn’t take minorities and women for granted, the white liberal pseudo-base does.

When white liberal “political junkies” try to take over a party whose heart and soul is represented by Black women and Latinas, I am personally embarrassed. Get a clue, unicorn progressives. Please.

Vote Blue to Make this a “Can-Do Nation” Again

This is one of the most famous video clips in liberal history. And it’s popular for one reason. It’s true. 

The thing is, while everything Will McAvoy says in this video is true, it still makes everyone uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made them uncomfortable enough to actually start a movement, even though we can point the finger of blame at one single, solitary political movement and one single political party. The GOP. 

That’s right; if you truly want to make this country great again, everyone who cares about this country will make sure the current version of the Republican Party never wins another election. Face it; the current version of the Republican Party has turned this country into a “can’t-do” nation. 

And no, Bernie Stans; that does not mean we should be embracing your fantasies in which everyone in the country gets what they want for free. That’s a different discussion. Period. 

Let’s go back in time for a minute. Imagine it’s the America of 1952 or 1962 and the Soviet Union has sent people into polling locations to flip switches and rig voting machines. Imagine Russian operatives had gone into city after city to steal the rolls of paper where people recorded their votes and took them out to open spaces to burn them. There is no way the government, which was run by Democrats at the time, would let that slide. They would be imposing sanctions and they would be threatening the Soviets in every way possible because that’s the only thing Russians listen to. 

Now, in 2017-2018, however, we have a president in the Oval Office who is obviously doing the bidding of the Russian President and who is avoiding saying anything negative about Russia following incidents in which they messed with our democracy to a greater degree than burning our votes. And they continue to try to hack the democracy to this day, and the political party in charge of most of the government, the Republican Party, seems to be fearful of saying anything about it. 

Constider climate change for a minute. We all know that, if the Russians and many other countries declared climate change to be real in 1952 and 1962, and they were investing heavily in solar panels and wind turbines to fight it, the Democrats and most Republicans would have jumped on the alternative fuels bandwagon and kicked major ass to make sure we ceded no ground. Yet here we are, in 2018, and climate change is proven, yet, we have a major political party – the one in charge, no less – who has killed a comprehensive agreement on fighting climate change and ceding the entire market to the rest of the world, even as they are led by Lord Donny, who whines and cries about getting back manufacturing jobs in industries that are outdated and damn near dead. What sense does it make to reject the alternative energy industry, which is the future and embrace the 18th Century technology of the internal combustion engine? Yet, that’s what the Republican Party is doing, while stating that we just “CAN’T” move forward with technology in that area. You know, we can all have a watch that tracks our health and can do an ECG on the spot, but we can’t possibly generate most of our power using the sun, the wind, geothermal energy and/or the tides. 

Look at what we did when it came to the space race back in the day. We did what was necessary to meet a goal that was largely no more than a point of pride. We got a whole lot out of the space program, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to do it first and brag to everyone else how great we were. And there is nothing wrong with that. But I don’t believe it’s a stretch at all to say that, had the current version of the GOP been around back then,   we’d never have gone to the moon. Look at what has happened to the space program with Republicans in charge. We went to the moon a few more times, and then we stopped. These days, space has largely been privatized and while once in a while, a Republican will talk about grandly heading to Mars, nothing is actually done about it. Most of the high points of the last 40 years of space exploration have come from ideas and technology that originated in the 1960s and 1970s. Hell; under the Republicans, we have come to depend on the Russians to send our astronauts to the International Space Station. 

Why the hell did we let Republicans do this to us? Why can’t we seem to do anything worthwhile about any of our most pressing problems? We used to address problems we saw and search for solutions, but now, we seem to see problems and try to avoid addressing them. Prior to 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president and we started going down the unfortunate path we are on, we were well on our way to weaning ourselves from our fossil fuel addiction. By the time he took office, we had been through two oil supply crises, both the fact that oil was no longer a market-based commodity, but a tightly controlled product that was dirty and which had the potential to ruin our economy. The federal government had instituted a number of conservation methods and they were investing heavily in alternative energy production, including solar, wind, geothermal, and other resources. As of 1981, it was projected that we would reduce oil production by between 3-5% every year for decades. which would have put us in excellent shape heading into new century. It would also have prevented the price volatility we experience now, in which the price of gas is either too much or too little. 

Most modern-day Republicans are pure cynics, which means they understand the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Here in Arizona, they are fighting tooth and nail over a proposition on our ballot in November, which would mandate that utilities use more solar and wind power. Now, I know most of you have never lived here, but I have and I can tell you, the one resource we have in plentiful supply is sun. There’s also a lot of wind year round, but there are maybe 25-30 days every year where we don’t see the sun. Most of us steep our tea in big glass jars by sitting them outside in the sunshine. And yet. with most sunshine than most other places in the country, this state’s most prolific utility gets SIX PERCENT of its power from the sun. 

This is not a new thing. In 1981, the first thing Saint Reagan did was to roll back almost all of the energy initiatives Democrats had passed previously, and which were working. They sent us backwards on conservation and renewables and we ended up with a government that was encouraging us to drive gas guzzlers and treat gas consumption as if it is our god-given right. Republicans essentially crashed the oil economy, causing record low gas prices, and insinuated there was so much oil, we’d never pay over $1 per gallon again. They actually sought to perpetuate the precarious situation we were in and then lied their asses off to protect oil company profits. Our situation with regard to energy continues to be precarious, primarily because we can’t do anything about it.

Add to that the specter of climate change and the dangers that brings to our coastlines, our farms and a great number of other industries, not to mention human life in general. Recently, China became the largest producer of solar power in the world, and the response by the Republican leader in the White House was to add tariffs to steel and aluminum, thus forcing China to reciprocate by adding tariffs to nearly everything we buy from them. At the same time, Lord Donny is trying to promote coal, and lying to the people in coal-producing states, telling them coal jobs are returning, which is the opposite of true.There was a time when the mere mention of China as the king of solar power would have moved this country to act to snatch many trillions in profits away from them and invest like hell in solar power.

Of course, that was back when Democrats ran things. Under Republicans, that just won’t happen. They shrug their shoulders and tell us there is nothing that can be done. They swear to us that climate change is a hoax and use that as a pretext for doing nothing about the overuse of fossil fuels.

Since 1981, the GOP has transformed this nation, and not in a good way. we’ve been told by Republicans that we can’t do anything about any of the problems we face. We can’t afford to wean ourselves from oil because doing so is too expensive and impractical. We can’t afford to do much of anything except to waste hundreds of billions of dollars to build out a war machine we will never use. Think about all of the things we’ve been told we can’t do by Republicans, that other countries are doing as a matter of course. Every other industrialized nation in the world has a universal health insurance system, and we finally have the beginnings of one, but the Republican Party would rather kill that than improve it and make it more efficient. Consider that piece of shit bill they tried to push on us last month. Their primary goal is to erase anything good Democrats have done; they don’t even seem to care about doing great things for America and outperforming the Democrats.

With Republicans in charge, we have become a “cant-do” nation.

The vast majority of industrialized nations have built or are building robust transportation infrastructures, including better highways, but also including other modern public transportation projects, including high tech energy efficient rail projects. Yet, despite the fact that we have more wealth than any of those nations, Republican will always kill such projects here, while claiming we can’t afford such “extravagance.” While nations with far less wealth are happily investing public money to build out and then support a manufacturing base that is preparing them for a future that features more technology and fewer fossil fuels, our Republican Party tells us we can’t do such things. They tell us we’re broke, when we’re anything but. Our national household wealth recently topped $100 trillion for the first time, and we were, by far, the first nation to do this. We still the richest country in the world, by far, but it’s in spite of Republicans telling us we “can’t do” anything.

Why would anyone believe anything the GOP said, anyway, especially regarding economy? Their economic ideology caused the Great Depression. Their attempts to undo everything in the New Deal is why our economy crashed in 2008. They believe wholeheartedly in deregulation, no matter how many times it has led to disaster in the past. They loved the $29 trillion in fake money their unregulated mortgage market produced so much, they really want to do it again. 

We can wean ourselves off fossil fuels and eliminate our dependence on countries we cannot safely depend on and we have to stop allowing Republicans to tell us we can’t. And we can make sure everyone in this country has access to food shelter and healthcare. We can afford to build out our infrastructure, including a working electrical grid and a national public transportation infrastructure that is the greatest on Earth. 

However, we can’t do it with Republicans in charge. Let’s get them the hell out of government, so we can do stuff again. As a nation, we have proven that we can do anything, but with Republicans in charge, we have become a “can’t do” nation. That has to stop.