The Progressive Circular Firing Squad

Don't shoot yourself in the foot

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot

Once again, we see the far left’s tendency to try to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  This election year, we have a unique opportunity. On the Republican side, we have the weakest presidential candidate in the history of the Republican Party – someone who makes 1964-edition Barry Goldwater look like Abraham Lincoln – and here we have almost the entire professional left calling for the head of no less than Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the head of the Democratic National Committee. As if that is a factor that voters will consider in November. “I’d like to vote for Hillary, but that damn Debbie Wasserman Schultz is still head of the DNC, so I’d better vote Trump.” Who thinks shit like that?

Yes, that’s right. In the middle of an election year in which we should be making sure Democrats beat Republicans at every level, lefty political junkies apparently believe that the key to the whole election is to replace the woman at the head of the committee that holds the party’s purse strings.

You do realize that’s pretty much all the DNC does, right? The DNC coordinates processes and raises and distributes money. It provides each campaign with donor lists and other information, and they schedule debates and joint appearances. That’s about it. The campaign’s handle everything else. If you imagine that DWS picks a candidate and gives that candidate a bunch of advantages in the primary,  you should know she can’t do that. And yet, the Bernie Stans blame her for everything and they have made her a target,  just like they targeted Blue Dogs in 2010 and 2014. And didn’t that work out well for us?

We elect the best president we’ve had in most of our lifetimes in 2008 and their targeting of Blue Dogs  saddled him with a slovenly Republican Congress that seems unable to do anything but name post office buildings and court houses. Great job.

imageEven if you think Wasserman Schultz hasn’t done the greatest job, the time to replace her as DNC chair is next January, not in the middle of an election year.  Demanding her replacement now just makes it look like the Democratic Party is in disarray, which makes people once again believe there is no difference between the two major parties, which makes people want to stay home in November. And if they stay home in droves again, the Republicans have a chance to salvage their own party. In a year when they should actually be dead. Like I said, Trump can’t possibly win in November, but we can lose, and this would be a key.

Let’s get real here.

Bernie Sanders didn’t lose the nomination because anyone cheated. His campaign was terrible. He has been giving the same stump speech and giving the same answers to questions for over a year now.  I mean, the guy is asked what he would do about North Korea and he answers by demanding “income inequality.” His surrogates and campaign people, particularly Jeff Weaver, are abrasive and obnoxious dicks, as are many of his strongest supporters. I can’t tell you how many people who used to like Bernie now can’t stand him because of the way his campaign acts. I know the Bernie Stans think he’s “just like Obama,” but he’s largely been the opposite of Obama. Obama embraced everyone; it was an inclusive campaign. “We are the ones we are looking for” was the hallmark of the Obama campaign, while the Sanders campaign is largely narcissistic, more like “We are the ones YOU have been looking for and we are going to save you from yourselves.” Obama never implied that anyone was stupid for not supporting him, but the Sanders campaign implies that every day. Sanders’ strongest supporters are bullies and they think they’re smarter than everyone else and they imagine that being progressive is much like being part of an exclusive club. The only problem is, in a democracy, you need the most votes, “exclusive clubs” don’t do very well.

imageThere are also complaints about the debate schedule. There weren’t enough debates? For whom? The DNC scheduled six of them at first and there were nine altogether, not including the town halls. And by the end of the last debate, anyone who had watched even just the news coverage of each debate could recite what each candidate would say in answer to every question by rote. In 2008, there were more than 20 debates and even those of us who love politics were sick of them and the DNC wanted to avoid that over-exposure again. The purpose of debates is to show the public what each candidate thinks about certain issues and there is the law of diminishing returns to consider. Clinton outperformed Sanders in nearly every one and he didn’t really gain ground on her after any one of them.

And as for debate scheduling, which is another common complaint, well, all I can say is, if you can’t understand the wisdom of scheduling these debates on weekends on major broadcast networks, then you don’t get the Democratic Party at all. The Democratic Party is a party for working people, the poor and minorities. Putting them on broadcast networks is the best opportunity for the people who need to see them to see them. And on the weekend, at the end of a day off, actually makes them more likely to watch, not less. Yes, I know; prime time on Fridays and Saturdays on broadcast TV has become a wasteland, but that is only because they are only looking at viewers who are 18-49, white and with higher incomes. Think about it.

If you are part of the DWS firing squad, stop. All that will do is help the GOP, and we can’t afford to do that. We have the best chance ever to just get rid of them once and for all, and we can’t let PUBs and the professional left blow it for us. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not a problem. Citizens United is the problem. I know you all lionize Howard Dean as the perfect DNC chair, but he didn’t have to deal with the post-CU landscape. She does.

The Facts About Gun Violence

The NRA has been sending the following ad far and wide to get the gunloons excited about guns and overall gun looniness. It actually conceptualizes the average American good ole boy standing up to ISIS and blowing them all away with their freely purchased guns. It’s pure fantasy, and with the inimitable Charlie Daniels sneering for the camera, who can resist it, right?

This vision for America is nothing but pure fantasy. And terrorists aren’t a problem for us at the moment. While gunloons are fantasizing about using their guns to blow away brown invaders intent on killing our way of life, real American gun owners are producing a lot of pure carnage on our own people. Sometimes, you just have  to look at the raw numbers to understand the severity of a problem.

Clyde No matter what Charlie Daniels says, we have a serious gun problem here, and the way to solve it is to make guns just a little harder for bad people to get, and to make responsible gun owners responsible for their guns. But first, we have to look at the problem. Sometimes, you just have  to look at the raw numbers to understand the severity of a problem.

In the United States:

Between 2005 and 2015, a total of 71 Americans were killed in terrorist attaclks. On the other hand, during the same period, 301,797 Americans were killed as a result of gun violence. (Source) If you look at the period from 1999-2014, 497,632 have been killed by guns. That’s behind motor vehicle deaths, which killed 628,016 people, but then, over the last few years, tens of millions of cars have been recalled for safety problems, and all cars have to be fitted with safety cages, seatbelts and airbags. (Source) Also, according to recent figures from the CDC, gun deaths are catching up. Motor vehicle deaths have been dropping as we make cars safer, while gun deaths stay steady becauase we do nothing. (Source)

Last year alone, 100 metro areas saw a mass shooting, defined as four or more people being shot, regardless of fatalities. Since 2013, Austin, Texas is the only major city (400,000 population and up) to not experience a mass shooting incident. (Source)

kid gunSince Sandy Hook, a child under 12 has been shot and killed every other day, on average. Most of those who have been killed at the hand of another have been killed by a family member, not a stranger. (Source)

While NRA gunloons will assure us all that “responsible gun owners” are not a problem, somehow, in 2015, toddlers got hold of guns and shot 50 people (as of October). (Source)

The national  firearm death rate nationwide was 10.3 per 100,000 in 2014.

The states with the highest firearm death rate (2014, per 100,000):

Alaska – 19.2

Louisiana – 19.0

Mississippi – 18.3

Alabama – 16.9

Arkansas – 16.6

Wyoming – 16.2

Montana –16.1

New Mexico– 16.0

Oklahoma – 15.7

South Carolina – 15.5

Obviously, these numbers demonstrate that the states with the most guns and lax gun laws have the biggest problem. (Source)

see hear speakCompared to other countries, we have many more deaths than every one of the countries with strict gun control. In fact, it’s not even close. Using figures from 2010, our firearm death rate of 10.2 (per 100,000 population) and our firearm homicide rate of 3.6 dwarf those of other nations. The second-highest firearm homicide rate is a tie between Finland and Canada, at 0.5, which means we’re 7 times higher. When it comes to overall firearm death rate, ours is more than 50 times higher than the UK and 10 times higher than Australia, who saw one mass shooting 20 years ago, took action and solved their problem. (Source)

Compare our rate of firearm ownership with select other countries:

United States – 88.8 guns per 100 people

Yemen – 54.8 (second-highest in the world)

Switzerland – 45.7

Sweden – 31.6

France – 31.2

Canada – 30.8

Austria – 30.4

Germany – 30.3

Czech Republic – 16.3

Australia – 15.0

Spain – 10.4

Ukraine – 6.6

Poland – 1.3       (Source)

The numbers speak for themselves, although one more interesting statistic should be noted; only about half of all families have a gun in the home, which means many families have two or more. Even more frightening is that 6 million American homes have 10 or more firearms. (Source). And because of our lax gun laws, we’re just supposed to trust them.

If so many people were dying from any other consumer product, we’d demand answers. In fact, when it comes to motor vehicles, we require manufacturers to include many safety features and we require drivers to keep small children in car seats and that all parents be buckled up. And it works; traffic deaths have been dropping, even though the population has been increasing. However, when it comes to guns, we treat them as a sacred cow. The first step to fixing a problem is to acknowledge it. Here is the acknowledgment that we have a problem. It’s time to fix it.

It’s Just Not That Simple

imageYou know, one of the main problems with speaking about politics in platitudes is that no one else but you necessarily knows what you’re talking about. Likewise, if you’re a big fan of sound bites to the point that everything you say about any issue is designed to fit into a sentence or less, you need to realize that you’re not really communicating anything to anyone. And if you’re not communicating anything, it’s going to be hard to get anyone on your side, politically speaking. The over-simplification also leads to a lot of political losses.

Here’s an example from my frustrating years trying to advocate to get the Affordable Care Act passed. The original title was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, by the way, and it was changed because, well, a lot of the “Patient Protection” part was lost to the bill because some people were obsessed with a “public option.” What is a “public option,” you ask? Well, that was the problem; no one who was screaming about it incoherently could agree on what a “public option” actually was. As it was in the original bill (yes, that’s right, the original bill had a perfectly good “public option,” ironically), there was a public insurance component that was primarily designed to reduce risk to insurance companies. See, by absorbing some of the risk, insurance companies can relax a little and provide better coverage. However, “public option” became a rallying cry, despite the fact that most of the people shouting it the loudest had no idea what they were talking about. Some thought it meant “Medicare for all,” which is not what it means. Some thought it should mean a “Medicare buy-in,” which is a big “nope,” too. Others imagined a system whereby the poor could just be given health insurance at no cost, without realizing the effect on the rest of the system.

Put simply, the constant screaming about a “public option” is exactly what killed the public option. And while certain people (PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) and the professional left, of course) were screaming about the “public option,” Republicans were passing amendments that basically killed much of the Patient Protection part of the bill. Now, six years after passing this historic piece of legislation, we can’t improve it because these same people didn’t get their unicorn and handed Congress and most of the states over to the Republican Party. We over-simplified an issue and ended up screwing millions of people in the process.

Our side does that a lot. There are a lot of other simplified issues like that floating around in this election year that are just as ignorant, quite frankly. I want to discuss a few of these and suggest better ways to pose these issues that will make more sense to more people and perhaps actually make progress on them.

Ban Fracking, Ban Keystone XL, Stop drilling in the ocean, Ban Coal, fossil fuels, yada yada, etc.

Let me start by saying, I’m a huge fan of all of these, on an idealistic basis. We do need to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. We need to get to the point that we’re no longer burning anything for energy. Like everyone else, I long for the day when the air and water are clean and people have jobs that don’t kill them. But it’s not that simple.

Proud LiberalFirst of all, we are weaning ourselves away from fossil fuels. It’s happening. Perhaps, if you stopped shouting so loud, you would know this. Despite a wall of opposition from Republicans in Congress, who were put there by PUBs and the professional left, incredible strides have been made to switch power plants over to renewables. Solar, wind and geothermal power are expanding rapidly. The vast majority of new power generation is from renewables. On the car front, CAFE standards are way up over the last few years and those who would like a large vehicle, like an SUV or a pickup truck, have a wide variety of choices in the 30 miles per gallon range, which was unheard of as little as ten years ago.

But here’s the thing; I know many of you won’t understand this, but a lot of the progress we’ve made in recent years is due to the increase in drilling and the glut that we’re experiencing right now. People still remember $4-5 gasoline and oil heating, so they’re not crazy about going back to that. And the lower gas prices are allowing more people on the lower end of the economic scale to be able to work and put food on the table. This is one reason no one listens to our side. We look at all the drilling and fracking and we see nothing but destruction, but for poor people, it means being able to fill their gas tanks for less than $20, instead of $50 or more, and that’s important. And not drilling or coal mining means the loss of a lot of jobs and economic activity, mostly in poor areas of the country, where people have a lot to lose. It’s really easy for liberals in big cities with large transit systems to call for a ban on drilling because they don’t have to think about struggling to get to work every week, so they can make their meager wages and pay the rent.

This brings us to…

$15 an hour minimum wage. 

Yes, the minimum wage has to go up. It should be high enough to make 40 hours worthwhile for a working person with a small family. And there are many places in this country where $15 an hour is a no-brainer. Large, expensive cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, obviously should have a $15 minimum wage, if not higher than that. However, for the entire country? It depends. Most $15 per hour proposals don’t reach that level until 2022, which is a somewhat gradual rise and can probably be absorbed in most places, although not everywhere. Bernie’s proposal raises it to $15 by 2020, which is pushing it a little bit and could cause problems in a lot of areas, especially in small cities and rural areas. Hillary Clinton’s proposal raises the federal minimum wage to $12, while encouraging some cities to adopt a $15 or higher minimum wage. This proposal makes sense, so much so that New York has already passed a similar model, raising the minimum to $15 in New York City, while it’s $12-12.50 upstate.

The fact of the matter is, rural states like Arkansas and Mississippi could probably handle an increase to $10-12 per hour, but higher than that would be a recipe for disaster. For one thing, these states are poor and rely more heavily on low wages than other states, for better or worse, and not only would such an increase put a lot of small businesses out of business and cost jobs, if it didn’t, it could result in massive inflation in those states. And while the people who propose a $15 minimum like to claim that it wouldn’t be a massive increase because “only about 3% of workers make the minimum wage,” that’s just so much sophistry (a kind word for “bullshit”), given that about 40% of the population actually makes less than $15 per hour. To claim that giving a huge raise to 40% of workers would have no effect is kind of silly.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t raise the minimum wage, of course. To match the minimum wage in 1968, adjusted for inflation, the wage would have to be $10.90 in 2016, so a $12 minimum that adjusts for inflation and economic incentives to increase the minimum to $15 in big cities actually makes a lot of sense.

Like I said, these issues are not that simple.

Free College, Public Financing of Political Campaigns and Single Payer

You know what? I am very liberal, but I have always believed that you trust government up to a point and then take a large grain of salt and watch them like a hawk. Our government has been run by Republican obstructionists for 36 years now. In that time, they have cut pretty much everything they could get their hands on, so that they could cut taxes for the rich and funnel as much of our tax money to contractors as possible. What do you think the Iraq War was about, anyway? It was a way to shove as much money into the pockets of Bush and Cheney cronies as possible. If you disagree, to you I say, Halliburton. Republicans have done nothing better than figure out ways to get taxpayer money into the hands of the richest Americans.

This should be obvious to PUBs and the professional left, which is why it puzzles me as to why so many think it’s a great idea to put the government in charge of the purse strings on so many issues.

 And please spare me the stories about how California used to let everyone attend college for free. Yeah, I get that. But you do remember why they stopped doing that, right? It’s because Republicans like Ronald Reagan got in there and stripped funding. Oh, yeah! That’s what happened. NOW do you get what I’m saying? If you establish free tuition at public universities, you have to be able to fund them forever. Otherwise, whenever there’s a budget crunch, guess what Republicans will cut? They won’t raise taxes on billionaires; they’ll cut university funding, the same as they do now for public schools. I mean, pubic schools are free, but look at how shitty some of them are. Do you want universities to suffer the same fate? I hope not. image

A good university education these days is expensive as hell, especially when you have to provide facilities for 40,000 students and you’re competing with private universities with huge endowments. If you want to talk about something like the way we fund Social Security, in which we set up a trust fund and collect more than we need every year, that might work, but let’s be real; Republicans still like to screw with Social Security, too. They’ve been trying to privatize it for years and they continuously “borrowed” from that trust fund when they had the White House. Do you really imagine they’ll hesitate to pillage a college fund and take it to bankruptcy? It’s not like college students are like little old ladies who would be forced to eat dog food if not for their payments, so they would likely get away with it.

The same goes with public financing of political campaigns. That’s one of those things that sounds really great, until you actually think about it. What better way to establish total control of the government than by putting the chickens in charge of the henhouse. Gosh, I can’t imagine the GOP cutting funding to Blue states, or vice versa, can you? Besides, it’s a democratic system and I don’t want my tax money to fund Donald Trump or David Duke or Ted Cruz.

imageSame with single-payer. I am not against single-payer. In fact, if it can be pulled off, I’m all for it. But there seems to be a reason why most universal health care systems in the world are NOT single-payer. Compare France and Germany’s healthcare systems with Britian’s NHS, which is a single-payer system. Since adopting their various systems, only Britian’s has been seriously screwed with by politicians. Go look up NHS under Maggie Thatcher and the Conservatives for a hint. Any of you single-payer fanatics want to imagine a system under which the current Republican Party could cut tons of money to finance yet another tax cut for the rich? Imagine if the Republicans who have voted about 70 times to repeal Obamacare could vote to cut funding instead.

Like I said…

Nothing is that simple.

I’ll be doing a lot of these between now and the election. The progressive message has to be better and a hell of. A lot clearer. If we expect people to adopt it and vote for our side.

Republican Right Boobs of the Week – Perverted “Family Values” Edition

by @SueinRockville and Milt

The week in GOP silliness is both enlightening and highly perverted. What is it about the obsession with anything sexual demonstrated by modern-day Republicans?

As always, when you talk about Right Boobs, Donald Trump is at the top of the class. Of course, the highlight of Trump’s week was his sit-down with Megyn Kelly, during which they made up like two former spouses. She called him a “bully,” to his face, but really; does that word have any meaning anymore? I mean, yes, he was rude and crude to and about her, but for God’s sake, does that have any relation to a gay kid getting harassed or beaten up, or even an abused wife whose husband hits her? The Atlantic kind of hits the nail on the head. And other than that, she went really easy on him; so much so, it was surreal. It was as if Roger Ailes had told her to do so. (Source) But he wouldn’t do that, would he?

Meanwhile, the state hasn’t even voted yet, but Trump is having a hard time with his delegates in that state. You’ll recall that one of his delegates was outed recently as a white supremacist, which the Trump people blew off as some kind of “clerical error.” Well, now, another of his delegates and a major fundraiser (that’s right, Trump voters; he is NOT “self-financing his campaign!), former state Senator Tony Strickland, was just cited this week for violating California campaign finance laws in 2010, for one of his own campaigns. In an agreement with the Fair Political Practices Commission this past week, Strickland admitted to funneling campaign money through local Republican committees as a method for hiding the sources. (Source) So, basically, a money launderer and campaign finance cheater is working for Trump. Compare that to the scandal-free Obama Administration. Not off to a great start.

Continue reading

Obama Has Made Us Proud

I have to admit, I’m puzzled.

imageI was in a discussion (okay, argument) last weekend with someone who leans pretty far to the right. I’m not talking about “white supremacist” right, but he used to listen to Rush Limbaugh, although not in the last few years, he watches a lot of Fox News, although he has been known to also watch local news where he lives in Dallas and he does check out the New York Times and Washington Post fairly regularly. In other words, he’s not brain-dead. Anyway, I made the unpardonable sin of saying that President Obama has clearly been one of the best presidents of my lifetime. He went ballistic, and started to rattle off a bunch of Republican-style talking points, which I calmly listened to before simply telling him that none of them are true.

Seriously, on what plane of existence could anyone rationally say this president has been a disaster? And yet, you hear it from a lot of people. A few weeks ago, someone I know was so incensed that Michelle Obama was going to appear on an episode of NCIS that they said they would never watch again. And these people are huge fans of the show. Every time he appears on an entertainment show, there is a spate of complaints on social media and errant comments from people I know about what a “disgrace” (and yes, I have heard that exact word used) he is to the presidency.

I know a lot of people dismiss this as Obama Derangement Syndrome, but what the hell is that? Look, I don’t care what you think of President Obama on a specific policy level. I mean, he’s not perfect; a few of his policies have made me cringe. But come on, folks; this guy comes as close to perfect as anyone can expect, So, why do some people act as if he’s the devil? And I don’t buy that it’s because he’s black because they did the same thing to Bill Clinton, although Clinton had a lot more flaws than Obama. We’ll get into that more in a moment.

imageMy infamous list of accomplishments is just a list of the tangible things that anyone can point to and say, truthfully, that the United States is better off. To me, there is a lot more than just tangible accomplishments that we can point to that makes him the best president we’ve had in a long time. He’s certainly the first president who seems to have the vision and the charisma of JFK, and if he’d had FDR’s Democratic supermajority in Congress, he might have had a better legislative record than either he or LBJ. (See, that’s how much better Democrats are than Republicans. I can tell you their initials and you know exactly to whom I am referring. Can’t do that with a Republican. But I digress…)

This column is about the less tangible stuff, though. I mean, it’s obvious we’re better off as a country with Obama as president, but he’s done a lot more than limit our involvement in war and bring the economy back to a stable footing.

For example, the man is cool. Forget just having a beer with the guy, I would actually feel perfectly comfortable doing so. Years ago, when Bush was president, I was scheduled to be on a team who was going to work in the West Wing for a few weeks. (And yes, I passed the security check.) Anyway, a few people asked me what I would call Bush, and seemed disappointed when I said, “Mr. President.” But I respect the office, no matter who’s in it. However, whereas it would be an affectation to call Bush that, I feel that Obama himself has earned that respect, not just because he’s the President.

President Obama is just unflappable. Anyone can say anything to him and he doesn’t get upset, he doesn’t take anything personally and he let’s everyone have their say. He is what I have always tried to be as a grown up. I’m closer to that ideal these days than I have ever been, but he is awesome. He takes everything in and just lets it roll off him. I can’t speak for how he is inside the White House during a workday, but there have been no stories about him going off on the people working in the West Wing, so it just seems to be who he is.

imageHe is a moral man. Not only is he a phenomenal family man, with a beautiful wife and two beautiful daughters who seem to have no pretense about them, but think about it; we’re almos eight years in and there hasn’t been even a whiff of scandal about this man. I mean, nothing. There are no stories about Michelle Obama blowing off and going to live in the Mayflower Hotel, to chain-smoke from the balcony. There are no stories about women in the White House being disrespected and there is not even a scent of rumors about whistles and catcalls from anyone in the White House. (And full disclosure; I am in a position to hear about a few; there has been nothing.)

He is principled and sticks to those, even when he doesn’t have to. I mean, there is a lot of talk from the professional left and pundits in general about his alleged tendency to “give in” to the Republicans, but there is no actual evidence of such a thing. I mean none. He has gotten the best of the GOP in every negotiation, except one. The sequester was one of those times when the President did make me cringe, but what he offered was so outrageous, no one figured the Republicans would buy it. When they did, it should have meant the end of their reign, but the professional left excels at the circular firing squad; there is no doubt about that.

Overall, though, think about it. Point to Bill Clinton’s interactions with the GOP and, as successful as he was in many ways, he also gave them a hell of a lot of huge victories. Welfare “reform”? The Communications Act of 1996? Gramm-Leach-Bliley? NAFTA? There are many instances when the GOP forced Clinton into doing things he didn’t want to do and shouldn’t have done. Please, name some instances of that with President Obama. He had to extend the Bush tax cuts for a while, but he eventually got most of the tax increases he wanted. Yes, there has been a lot that he hasn’t been able to get done because the Republicans have formed a solid wall of opposition and, contrary to what many say, a president can’t do much of anything without legislative support.

President Obama shows incredible judgment. Repeatedly, he has taken the high road, even when people from our side started screaming at him. He has proven himself trustworthy, even when PUBs  and the professional left has chosen not to trust him. Remember when the pro left was screaming at him to “just ignore” Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and he told us to trust him? Even as our side screamed at him, he calmly but forcefully took charge and actually got rid of the law. If he had done it the way the professional left wanted him to, the law would still be on the books, ready for the next Republican president to enforce at will. The same with gay marriage. Professional lefties wanted him to confront the Republicans on that issue and “fight” for it, but he didn’t. Instead, he worked quietly and legally behind the scenes and set the stage for the Supreme Court to make it legal nationwide.

This has happened repeatedly during this Administration. People demand that he “fight,” meaning they want him to scream and yell about an issue, and he’s chosen to do the opposite and discuss the issue calmly and guess what? He gets results. Compare his record of results to the screamers and you can see which strategy works better. Repeatedly, he’s set examples by doing the right thing for government employees and contractors, and repeatedly, we have managed to undermine his strategy.

President Barack Obama is a dignified, confident and humble man. He doesn’t constantly lie to us, and we have let him down far more than he has let us down. He cares about the people in this country and he’s confident in his status as a simple man who just happens to have a lot of power. His presence in charge of the ship of state makes us better as a people. I, for one, am proud that he has been in charge of this country for eight years. He has made our country better by his mere presence. He’s never thrown up on a world leader. He has never embarrassed us as a country. He has never been inappropriate with anyone. He has never shown dishonor to his wife, or his family or his country. And for those who think he has, perhaps you might want to take a step back and give him a closer look. I’m proud to call Barack Obama my president.

 

Voting Blue is the Only Progressive Choice. For Now.

Dem thumbs upI know many progressives who are absolutely committed to electing 5-6 hardcore progressives in every election, and that’s a good thing. I have no problem with that at all becaise we need as many progressives as possible in government.  Progressives are like the nation’s conscience, so having more of them is always better. But what you have to understand is that getting a few elected every year is only a small part of the process.

For the progressives in Congress to be effective at all, they have to be part of a majority. Of course, we all know life would be better if progressives became the majority, but that will take a lot of time and a lot of work, and we don’t have the time right now, especially after the progressive-led debacles in 2010 and 2014, in which the petulant and completely pointless targeting of “Blue Dogs” cost Democrats the Congress. Seriously, folks, isn’t 36 years of neocons enough? At what point do PUBs and professional lefties figure out that progressives in Congress have no power without being attached to a majority? Continue reading

Stop Your Whining!

Bernie and Hillary1I have said before, I like Bernie Sanders. I like him and what he stands for, and this is not about him at all. This is about some of his loudest supporters, who have been insufferable for a year, but more so since it became clear he wasn’t going to win.

I am not a big fan of petulance and I really hate whining. So, imagine my dilemma as so many of my fellow progressives, people who claim to love Bernie Sanders and everything he stands for, have spent the entire weekend whining and crying and blaming the Democratic National Committee and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for their candidate’s complete fustercluck at the state convention in Nevada. Continue reading

Why Trump Can’t Win

I won’t be one of those pundits who will state emphatically that there is no way that Donald Trump will ever become president. However, I can say confidently that he won’t win the general election. The only way Trump can become president is if PUBs (once again, Progressive Unicorn Brigade) and the professional left once again demonstrate their uncanny ability to pull defeat from the jaws of victory.

Republicans don’t win elections, we lose them. Bush didn’t win in either 2000 or 2004 and Democrats should have won in a rout in 2010 and 2014. Hell; as far as I’m concerned, the GOP was in the toilet in the post-war era and that’s where they should have stayed. Democrats should have a supermajority in Congress by now and control at least 35 state Houses. As you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’ve been saying for years that PUBs have a unique ability to cheat themselves out of any advantage we may have to get anything progressive done. That would be okay if they were the only people affected, but we all know it isn’t. This has to change. Continue reading

The GOP Goal is to Piss Liberals Off. Why They Do It.

The current incarnation of the Republican Party does not run for office to serve their constituents. Look at the menu at the top of the page. Click on “The Republican Record,” and you can see that they don’t serve their constituents. Their record of governance is abysmal. They do not run for office because they think they can run government better than Democrats – they know they can’t. They run for office because their benefactors make more money when there is chaos, and the current GOP specializes in chaos. Their benefactors do better when Democrats are not running government because Democrats despise chaos. Republican benefactors love power and they don’t give a rat’s ass about the people; in fact, they see running government as ruling over the people. They love the power so much, they will do almost anything to get and keep it.

And now you know one reason their main goal is to piss off liberals.

As I have discussed before, Republicans can only win if a large number of people stay home on election day. That’s why Democratic candidates talk about issues and Republicans never do. Seriously, when is the last time a Republican ever brought up an issue and offered a solution? They only talk about how bad Democrats are.

imageAnd, as time goes on, the entire electoral process gets harder for them. Republicans don’t win elections, progressives lose elections for Democrats. Consider; it used to be that, once a Congresscritter was elected, they could be counted upon to be serious about their job for the first year, then ease into campaign mode in the second, at which time they would start smacking around Democrats. Now, though, there is no respite. The GOP’s base is shrinking and they need to make sure everyone is always fully on board. That’s why the RNC is so freaked out about Drumpf. He pushes all the right buttons to get the “base” on board, but he makes the party look bad. He also doesn’t just piss off liberals, he pisses off pretty much everyone but the Tea Party.  It’s important that Republican candidates only piss off liberals. It’s also very important, for several key reasons:

  1. It makes a lot of progressives yell back at them. This is like red meat to the Republican “base.” The cretins who occupy their voting base like nothing better than watching someone – anyone – piss off a liberal, which means pretty much anyone who isn’t a far-right clown.  
  2. The resulting chaos, as the progressives and right wingers fight with each other feeds into the GOP ideology that says government simply doesn’t work. That makes them so happy, Republican politicians have no choice but to turn that into a self-fulfilling prophecy. 
  3. The constant negativity and chaos also cause moderate voters – who make up the majority of voters – to lose faith in “the system.” What else would anyone expect? When two sides are screaming irrationally, voters really don’t hear anyone in particular.

It has been this way for a long time. Contrary to professional left legend, John Kerry did not lose because he was “Swift Boated,” he lost because the professional left actually fed the right wing spin machine. The LEFT was uninterested in making him president, so they never made a positive argument in favor of Kerry in 2004.

Likewise, George W Bush shouldn’t have been close enough to steal the 2000 election. But the Republicans trashed him, and the professional left piled on, constantly berating him for not being “progressive enough.” It’s not unlike what they’re doing to Hillary Clinton this year. Essentially, both sides screamed “Gore sucks” at the top of their lungs, which was great for the GOP, and bad for Democrats. If you don’t think the left had anything to do with Gore’s defeat in 2000, consider that a large portion, if not most, of Ralph Nader’s support in 2004 came from GOP donors. It sure must have worked for them.

imageMichael Dukakis did not lose because he looked ridiculous in a helmet, or even because of the Willie Horton ad. He lost because the left didn’t support him; they simply screamed back at the GOP. In 2010, BOTH SIDES were screaming “Democrats are spineless,” and “Obama’s a disappointment.”

This is how the GOP spin machine works. They will do anything they can to discourage voters from showing up. They develop a negative meme, and hope to hell prominent liberals will attack them on it.

They like to cheat for the same reason. Voter ID laws really don’t gain them much of an advantage; in most states, it might get them a slight advantage. But the more they do it, and the more we scream about it, the more people begin to think their vote won’t count. They don’t gerrymander because it will secure them a majority; they do it because it give voters an overall impression that  their votes don’t matter, so they don’t show up. They don’t suppress 10,000 votes here and there because they think those 10,000 votes will make a difference; they’re hoping 50,000 other people won’t bother to show up because of their shenanigans.

There are ways to handle these situations in a way that wins for us and it’s  really easy; counter them by maintaining an overall positive vibe. Instead of complaining about Voter ID, drive people to DMV and get them an ID card. If someone has been dropped from the voter rolls because they have the same name as a felon, train voters to check their voter status before the deadline, and have them re-register. If they’re worried about gerrymandering, then just encourage voters to come out in droves, ESPECIALLY in the mid-terms, so that we can drown them out.

Give voters reasons to vote FOR something, and The GOP would be gone by now. The Republican Party is at its lowest point in decades, which should be painfully obvious with their choice of the moronic Donald Trump as their nominee and we should be able to beat the crap out of them, fellow progressives. But we have to work differently than in the past. Being negative works for the Republicans. They’re like the blob; they feed on it; it makes them stronger. And it doesn’t matter where the negativity comes from; it all depresses the center of the electorate, which is where the deciding votes come from.

Moderates don’t want to see fighting, they don’t like chaos, and their desire is to vote for something. They want competent politicians in office. They don’t care about individual issues; they are more concerned with making sure good people are in office. For many of them, the decision isn’t who to vote for, but whether or not to vote. They often work a couple of jobs, and they’re required to drive a while or take a bus to go to the polls. To get them to want to leave work early, or take a couple hours between jobs, or to even go through the trouble of getting a mail ballot, filling it out and mailing it in, they have to be motivated in a positive way. Give them a reason to vote and they will show up. De-motivate them through negativity, anger and fear, and you will not get the result you wish.

Stop fighting with the right. It just helps them.

GOP Right Boobs of the Week: Gender Neutral Edition

Welcome to another week of GOP racism, bigotry, and overall stupidity!

This week’s column specially written by “John Barron” (Secretly, we’re really @SueinRockville with an able assist by Milt Shook, but don’t tell anyone.)
trump supportersFor most of the last year, the corporate media has been suffering from Donalditis, a fever that had them deliriously obsessed and rabidly covering Trump ‘s every move and utterance without so much as a tiny bit of analysis. Unfortunately for Trump, it seems that, since he became the presumptive GOP nominee, perhaps the media’s fever seems to have finally broken because it seems that a bit of journalism seems to have broken out.
For those still clinging to the notion that Trump did not know David Duke or the KKK and was not allied with racists,  it turns out Trump’s own butler for the last 17 years, Anthony Senecal, is currently under investigation by the Secret Service, who want to know more about his racist screeds and death threats against President Obama. At least he is easy to find, since he still lives at Trump’s estate at Mar-a-Largo as his – wait for it – historian!
So, what did Senecal say that got the Secret Service interested? It’s that damn Facebook. (More on them later.) It seems that Senecal posted the following on his page.

Continue reading