Archive for July 2016

Short Reality Check

How can you vote for anyone who denies science and Global Warming?  How can you vote for anyone in a Party that is too cheap to properly fund a fight against the Zika damage that will end the potenial of thousands of children?  How can you vote for a Party that ignores our crumbling infrastructure.  How can you vote for anyone who doesn’t believe there should be a minimum wage (bring back slavery!)? How can you vote for anyone who proposes more tax cuts for the wealthy with no way to pay for it (except to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security)? How can you vote for anyone who admires the efficiency of brutal dictators? Finally how can you vote for someone who is going to make America great again with no plans other than to allow widespread discrimination against womenMuslims, Mexicans, immigrants in general, and anyone who disagrees with them?

That is it in a nutshell.  It is a simple choice.  Benghazi, emails, crooked Hillary, it is all smoke and mirrors to distract you from the above. Oh, and in answer to Mr. Khizr Khan’s question about has Donald Trump read the Constitution, not to worry, his lawyers have, maybe.  Nor Mr. Khan, does he know the history of our Constitution and the noble arguments that helped frame it.  He doesn’t read much, but he knows in his gut what the right thing to do is and he is leading a mob that is in the same boat.  I have no idea what people are thinking these days.

Are The Major News Networks Losing Viewership, Justifiably So?

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Miss Kitty this morning helping me with this post before it is off to the vineyard before it gets too hot.


They should, they have lost mine. Insipid is the word.  Watching both conventions was much better served on CSPAN where you actually saw the convention and the speakers instead of talking heads talking over the convention.  And I guess I wouldn’t mind the talking heads if they had anything to really say, but they didn’t.  There is a real conversation out there about policies and our way forward and that got left out.  It was style over substance in almost every case.  Yes, Barack Obama is a powerful speaker and his style is to be admired, Hillary less so and she does like to raise her voice when she does not need to, but, uh, what did they say?  What was the meat of their speech?  What were they proposing and what do we know about how it would work?  Was the reality they were describing true?

Why did it take Hillary to point out that the Donald in his convention proposed no policies?  You can’t say that about Hillary as she laid out what she was going to do.  And if you were listening closely she stayed away from her fights with Bernie, only promising to make the minimum wage a living wage, not $15/hour.  She promised to end trade agreements that hurt working people, not vote against the TPP. And it goes on.  I actually think these are smart policies because just taking the living wage, $15/hour in San Francisco or New York may not be enough, and $15/hour in anywhere in Mississippi is over the top.  I have already weighed in on the TPP.

I mostly watch MSNBC or CNN when MSNBC is backsliding (talking head spinning facts), but their coverage of both conventions was miserable.  Maybe it is their idea to be more “fair and balanced” but the he said/she said is growing instead of insightful examination of what someone said.  Just my opinion, but Brian Williams brings nothing to the party except to stifle real insight, while Rachel Maddow seemed like a mute kitten instead of the liberal digging she usually does.  The one bright spot was Chuck Todd who seemed to immediately grasp what was going on.

But my point is not to trash MSNBC, they are all milk toast these days, captured by access.  Let’s have some Donald or Hillary surrogate to spin what is happening and not take him or her apart challenging them with reality.  Oh, I get it.  They are afraid of losing access to high party officials if they get challenged too much. Watch them all run to Fox news.  So we are all dumbed down.  Of course there were a few exceptions like when the Bernie supporter was challenged on “trusting Bernie” but not trusting him on getting behind Hillary.  But they were few and far between.  You know they are failing when you watch an interview and you have a hundred questions you would have asked and they did not.

Yes they are out there reporting what people are saying, but most people are full of shit.  And to be polite there is no pushback.  Some people are just spouting nonsense as the Bernie supporter who tells us they will vote Libertarian and fails to be challenged on the fact that it will damage everything they are fighting for.  There has to be some underlying gate keeping of reality and facts and the news media has relegated that to he said/she said, with one exception, Fox News.  The problem with Fox is they actually do have a political agenda so between carefully sifting out facts that don’t support their beliefs to outright lying, they have become a propaganda machine for the Right Wing.  But facts, data, and science are not partisan, but in this day and age they seem so as they badly hurt Republicans.  I guess that is the problem.  Can’t offend or you lose access.

But the biggest problem is that the TV news media has developed their own bubble.  It is called a narrative. It is a logical construct, or story line if you will, that allows us to organize ideas and events into an understandable flow of events.  But once it is established, reality has a hard time shaking it loose.  News pundits have become “celebrities” and they travel in their own circles and the narratives reinforce themselves in the echo chamber of that bubble.  Then when they “talk to the people” they are getting the reinforcing feedback of a narrative that they have created and propagated.

Let’s name a few:  The equivalency of both sides do it.  According to Politico the Donald is wrong 76% of the time and Hillary only 26%.  At the conventions, the Donald mostly lied while Hillary did not.  So both sides lie?  Remember the one about things would just get done in Washington if Barack had a few more drinks with guys from the other side?  How about the one where people can have honest differences of opinion and you have to respect both sides when the facts overwhelming favor only one side?  Global Warming and the press’s disgraceful treatment of it as a difference of opinion for years comes to mind.  If you really think about it, Bernie Sanders’ whole presidential run was based on attacking those conventional wisdoms that no longer are wise.

The big one right now is about the caricature of Hillary Clinton.  The whole Democratic convention was about trying to change that narrative.  Propaganda or facts?  That is what the press is supposed to do, clarify.  But they aren’t.  They are focused on form over substance, conflict over real news.  Why a white pants suit?  Did the convention give her a bounce?  Was she shrill?  Was there backstage fighting?  Were there too many balloons.  Who gives a fuck?

Did she offer an America that was achievable?  If she could pass what she proposed, would it help?  Is it even relevant that given politics today, most won’t pass?  Are they the right policies based upon data and research?  Wouldn’t that inform us who we need to vote for next time? Are the small percentage of Bernie supporters who are diddle heads relevant at all in this election?  Was there way too much coverage of them considering their small numbers?  If you asked the same questions at the Donald convention, they would have appeared partisan because there were no policies except a wall which is not buildable.  That’s a fact they are afraid to say because they then appear partisan.  Well the facts are partisan when one party is firmly settled in fantasy land.  But facts tell us who is shoveling shit and living in that fantasy land.

The American News Media has failed us miserably and they appear to have learned nothing.  They have dumbed us down and rushed around to find conflict which sells as entertainment increasing viewer share instead of providing  us with the information to think critically.  They have developed narratives that misinforms us about what is really going on.  Real news would report what is happening and be a gate-keeper on facts, data, and science so the Donald Trumps of the world would never be running for President.  Ask yourself why we would need Politicofact.com if they were doing their jobs?  When the dust settles after this election, maybe we ought to step back and ask ourselves if in a robust democracy is our news media providing us with the facts to make good decisions or just a bullhorn for he said/she said?  And maybe we ought to do something about that.

I will leave you with this, another false narrative.  The profit motive is the best motivator of innovation and progress.  It could be, but all we have to do is look at our news media, think of what its proper function is in a democracy, to have real questions about that narrative.  Then there is healthcare…  Have a good weekend.  Oh, and for those trying to improve your golf game, the Women’s PGA is on.  Women golfers in general are much more technically refined than men and watching their game can improve yours.  I think it is once again that dancing backward in high heel thing.

It’s Friday and I Have David Brooks to Kick Around!

It is the day after and now the games really begin.  Personally I think Donald Trump is so flawed that he will slowly melt down except of course in the eyes of the blind.  And speaking of the blind, David has provided us this fine morning with blindingly great insight, while stumbling over the obvious.  David wrote this morning about what happened at the Democratic convention and he totally got it:

Donald Trump has found an ingenious way to save the Democratic Party. Basically, he’s abandoned the great patriotic themes that used to fire up the G.O.P. and he’s allowed the Democrats to seize that ground. If you visited the two conventions this year you would have come away thinking that the Democrats are the more patriotic of the two parties — and the more culturally conservative.

But note the fly in his ointment?  It is all Donald’s fault.  Oh and he misreads culturally conservative.  Democrats have always had “family” values and the creed of hard work to get ahead, it is just Republicans who misconstrued that so they could use religion and hate to discriminate and paint Democrats as lazy spenders.  But I get distracted.  David did a better job than most journalists at describing what was really going on at the Democratic Convention and how they redefined all the things Republicans have touted, love of country, patriotism, family values, work ethic, in a progressive way to move the country forward.

But David just can’t yet see that the conservatives created the Donald and fails to see that pure conservatism, even the mild kind, is the problem.  He claims:

For decades the Republican Party has embraced America’s open, future-oriented nationalism. But when you nominate a Silvio Berlusconi you give up a piece of that. When you nominate a blood-and-soil nationalist you’re no longer speaking in the voice of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and every Republican nominee from Reagan to McCain to Romney.*

But the major complaint today really is economic inequality and one has to ask if it is all the Donald’s fault, where are the “true” Republican ideas to deal with this?  More tax cuts for the wealthy?  More less regulation?  And even smaller and ineffective government?  That is the path we are on and at least the Democrats have lots of ideas to change that course.  He is still holding on to the baggage of flow down in a world where flow down doesn’t happen.  The Donald is a creation of the Republican Party built on lies and misdirection for years to hold on to the status quo.  The Donald is the Republican Party and that is all that is left.  David thinks Democrats stole from the Republicans.  What they did was redefine all those values for the 21st century which as much as David is blind to it, progressivism is the future.

Here is where he really goes off the rails:

The Sanders people have 90 percent of the Democratic Party’s passion and 95 percent of the ideas. Most Sanders people are kind- and open-hearted, but there is a core that is corrupted by moral preening, an uncompromising absolutism and a paranoid unwillingness to play by the rules of civic life.

But the extremist fringe that threatens to take over the Democratic Party seems less menacing than the lunatic fringe that has already taken over the Republican one.

Most of that is correct except his implication that “the extremist fringe that threatens to take over the Democratic Party” is not threatening to take over the Democratic Party.  If he is talking about Bernie supporters in general as the extremist fringe**, they did not take it over, they moved it into the 21st century and Hillary got it.  Redefining what it means to be an American and American exceptionalism in our diversity, our “we the people”, and progressive ideas for making both government and the economy work for us again is not extremism, it just isn’t the current conservative ideology that has so failed America.

David ends by telling us conventions don’t matter and fear will rule.  Well David, it is what YOUR PARTY is hoping for.  Of course it won’t because two months from now the bankruptcy of the Donald and the Republican Party will be for all to see, except of course the white mob and the Hillary haters, and Republicans will be pounded at the polls.  Democrats finally got off their butts with a strong push from Bernie and finally redefine who they are and what they stand for instead of letting Republicans do that.  Now it is a whole new ball game.  David, change parties.  It would be a weight off your soul.

*Okay, I can buy Lincoln and Teddy, but Reagan, McCain, and Romney were all craven to the individualism and greed is good that has so pushed America off its path.  Reagan with his government is the problem, McCain with his selection of a VP, Sarah Palin, to pander to the uninformed and ignorant, and Romney and his 47% comment.  In the end, were not great Americans.

**David did describe well what I call the diddle heads, “a core that is corrupted by moral preening, an uncompromising absolutism and a paranoid unwillingness to play by the rules of civic life.” Oh, and that would be what is now the Republican Party.  Note they ruled at the Republican Convention and were drowned out at the Democratic one.

The Fourth Night – She Nailed It

Now we all know Hillary is not a great orator like Barack or if you heard it, the powerful speech by the Reverend William Barber.  But she did not try to be what she is not.  But here is what she did do that is way bigger than just great prose which  most of the Talking Heads are missing.  She came out powerfully progressive and that was super important.

If you understand how powerful young voters can be and how important they are to this election and the future, this was immense.  The other thing she did was that Hillary is not just a list of policies anymore, she established a theme for what she wants to accomplish.  That theme is the one carried through the convention, “we do this together, we the people are only great when we work together.”

This week Democrats redefined what it means to be a patriot, what defines us as Americans, and how we make America greater.  They did a masterful job.  While all the talking heads yammer on about it was an okay speech, look for conflict, and ask will this togetherness in the Democratic Party last, they miss what just happened. America turned a corner with something I have been talking about forever, vision.  It will be a landslide because of what we saw this week.  Real Republicans have been usurped and they know it.  The Democrats took over love of country,  basic values, and patriotism, and put a progressive face on it.  They redefined America for our future and brought everyone on board.

Republicans did this to themselves with a failed economic policy, bolstered up by a failed social policy, that in the end created Donald Trump.  They failed to evolve and take what is good about America and shed the baggage.  Instead they decide everything in America is bad so they could hang on to their baggage.  And now their baggage is dangerous.  I think Republicans, the real ones, not the white mob, and even independents will slink in and out of the polling places not admitting to anyone that they voted for Hillary.  But she laid out a future even they can believe in.

Some other thoughts.  I mentioned Reverend William Barber and you would be wise to listen to his speech, maybe sermon. Me, the guy who thinks religion is a waste of time, saw a beautiful display of everything good about religion and how those beliefs could be used both for tolerance, even of non-believers like me, and for doing good in the world.  It was an inclusive speech that made religion safe for the world and it was delivered masterfully.  Oh if it could just be so for all religion.  But tonight it set the bar high for how religion can be a force for good.

Finally, probably the two most affecting things for me was a visual, and a Muslim mom and dad paying tribute to their fallen son.  On the visual, if you really watched the crowd you started to notice how many mothers and dads had brought their daughters.  It reminds us of what a real historic change this is and what a wonderful day it is that a woman is finally able to rise to the top, on nothing but her ability, and as Barack told us, backwards and in high heel shoes.

The other, the American Muslim mom and dad of fallen Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, brought tears to my eyes as they described their Muslim son who died bravely for his country in Iraq.  And when the father pulled his pocket copy of the Constitution out of his pocket and asked if Donald Trump had ever read it, it spoke volumes about what a Donald Trump would do to this country and how wrong it is.  I will leave you with his words:

“Let me ask you, have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” he said, pulling a copy of the document from his pocket. “Look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.’ Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending this country.” 

“You have sacrificed nothing. We cannot solve our problems by building walls. We are stronger together. We will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our president.”

The One Big Lie

I took one exception with President Obama’s speech last night and that was when he implied that we can still work with the other side when they eschew science and data.  Part of the anger coming from the left is that while the Right became intransigent and impossible to deal with, they gained politically.  It worked.  They won back both Houses of Congress and a record number of state governments and governorships, confusing America on where the problem was.And while the Democratic theme is love and togetherness, the reality is they hate us. And trying to accommodate them when they won’t compromise has been the Democrat’s Achilles Heel.  It gives amunition to those who want to blame both sides and does not clearly identify where the problem is.

Hillary has a big problem to overcome because many Republicans may not like Trump, but they hate her.  Rational?  Not really, but when was hate ever rational?  She represents the essence of anti-Red and has for years.  Electing her for them is tantamount  to electing the anti-Christ.  The fact that they have just about everything wrong, and demonstratably wrong, does not phase them or impact their thinking.  The fact that Donald Trump really doesn’t represent their best interests and may be very dangerous for the country is in their little minds far better than electing Hillary.  It would be the end of their world if she were elected and succeded.  And that is where the big lie comes in.

The Big Lie is that if Hillary wins, she is better equipped to strike deals and move the country forward.  The lie is not in the fact that she is better equipped to do that, because she is, but they hate her and they so need to have her fail.  Now it is true that if she wins by big enough of a margin, Republicans could rethink their obstructionism they applied in the Obama years, but I seriously doubt it. It will be a war.  Remember even if the Democrats win the Presidency and the Senate, the House is gerrymandered and probably will not change hands, at least in the near term.  The Senate will still have the filibuster unless Democrats show the cohones to change it.  Those are all the tools they need to obstruct what the people elected in 2016.

So given that scenario, what should the Democratic strategy be.  Right now they are selling peace and love, but if the arena is what I think it will be, that will be eaten by the lions if it is not tough love.  I think Hillary needs to sell both sides of the coin.  That would be that she will work with Republicans to find sience and data based solutions to our problems, but if they fall back on their obstructionism, she will take it to the people.

What will be critical in 2018 is that if Americans understand the battle they are in and correctly identify the problem, they will come to the polls because as President Obama told us last night, it is we the people and no one person who can change the climate we are in.  So I think Democrats need to come out swinging.  Offer compromises, see if they will work with us, but when they won’t, draw a line. They need to bring forward aggressive legislation to fulfill their promises and then take the battle directly to the Republicans identifying where the problem is.  And I actually think Hillary is well equipped to do just that.

As President Obama expressed last night, it is a process.  But it is a process where we recognize that the other side has an advantage, they don’t care if the country suffers while they obfuscate.  Remember their promise to make President Obama a one term President and make sure he fails?  Our weakness has been we do care about our country and make nice when we should be naming names and drawing lines.  That doesn’t mean being unreasonable.  Quite the contrary.  Make reasonable compromises if they can be had, but when they are not, take it to them.  Democrats in the House, maybe emboldened by Bernie, did just that with their sit-in.  The times they are a changing and we had better be ready for the fight.

Day 3 of the Democratic Convention

Another day of inspiring speeches and this time a theme of exposing Donald Trump while trying to redefine Hillary from her caricature.  I guess my basic feeling of comparing the two conventions, is the Republican convention was from the old folks home, most of whom are bitter and old, and this other convention, the Democratic, where we see youth, optimism, and talent.  It is hard to imagine how Republicans don’t see this.  Of course there are diddle heads in both parties, but the vast majority are Republicans.

One thing I need to mention before we get to President Obama’s speech, and that is the hacking of the DNC computers.  Now not only security experts in the private sector, but our own intelligence agencies are pointing the finger at the Russians.  I guess that makes the Republicans who still deny that look pretty stupid, but then again they are deep in looking that way with their denial of global warming and the failure of flow down.  I wonder when and if they will ever figure out they have most things wrong and their solutions (bumper stickers) are non-existent.

Okay, President Obama’s speech was masterful and he covered a great deal in his speech that is important especially for Americans who are afraid of change.  There were so many parts of this speech that touched many many important issues from correcting the record on where the economy is today from what the Republicans left us with eight years ago, to nailing the Donald as a real threat to democracy, and embracing Hillary.  But for me, his attempt to define for Americans what an American is was ground breaking.  It is about our values of hard work, fairness, and acceptance, not the color of your skin, sexual preference, or your religion.  It was a bridge for older Americans to see we are losing nothing and gaining a great deal.  It was a new way to identify American exceptionalism without the Republican status quo or thinking it is only white America.  The man himself exudes exceptionalism.

And the best part was the “we the people part”.  Barack, Hillary, Bernie, or Trump can’t really change America, only we the people can.  That is an important insight for Democrats who have elected their leader and then disappeared into the night when the real elections in off years really decides who is in charge.  Democracy is a work in progress and he identified our responsibility if we really want change.  As he finished his speech I just wondered how we could be so lucky to have him and Michelle through these turbulent times.  He has performed great service for this his country.

Most of the other speeches were exposing Donald Trump as the threat to democracy and peace that he is. I know some think this is tarnishing his character and part of the mud slinging people say they so hate and then react to.  But exposing facts as opposed to innuendo is not throwing mud.  Saying Hillary caused the deaths in Benghazi is a lie exposed by all the hearings.  That is mud.  Saying the Donald scammed people looking for an education or did not pay his subcontractors are facts in the record.  Saying Hillary’s email system threatened the security of the United States is not a fact.  No one could find anything that actually did that, only that some classified items were in her emails.  I would guess they are in most of the people throwing mud if we could examine them because so much is classified.

But I will close with a diddle head Bernie supporter who is going to vote 3rd Party even after Day 3 and the impassioned speech of her President.  A third party vote for a Bernie supporter is a vote for Donald Trump because it is not a vote for Hillary.  One of those two are going to win and whether you like it or not, you make a choice to not participate in who leads this nation with that foolish vote.  It is one thing if you are a Libertarian or a Green and were always going to vote that way. It is another to do it as a protest because you are choosing and the choice you are making could be disastrous.  Note also that it is exactly what President Obama was talking about, thinking voting for your candidate is the end of it.  Vote and then fight for change, don’t throw it away and make the next fight almost impossible to wage.

So many diddle heads, so little time.

Diddle Heads Everywhere

Now I am not implying equivalency because the Republican Party has become 99% diddle heads.  How else can you explain Donald Trump or their craven approval of his racism, xenophobia, nativism, and outright ignorance.  But the Democrats have a few themselves as evidenced in the Convention.

It started with the Bernie nut jobs (about 5% of Bernie supporters) that decided they could not support Hillary.  They only trust Bernie, but when Bernie told them to trust Hillary, well they don’t trust Bernie.  Go figure.  Oh, and they will throw their vote away on a third party candidate which is really a vote for the Donald because it is one less for Hillary.  Then you have part of the California delegation walking out because they did not get their way with Bernie.  He lost, there are rules.  Is that the way democracy works, if you don’t get your way you try to hijack the process?  Only if you are a Republican.

But tonight the diddle heads started chanting “you lie” as Leon Panetta was making the case that Donald Trump is a very dangerous person and his statements on Russia and the emails today undermine America, the rule of law, our intelligence community, and our security.  It was embarrassing for them, for Democrats, and for Americans.  Not everyone agrees with you and you don’t rule the Democratic convention.  Oh, and things are way more complicated than you will ever understand.  So the diddle heads did today what they always do, stand for some over simplified principle, and hurt their cause, and themselves.

Thank goodness it is only a few and not a whole convention hall like they had in Cleveland.  But it is interesting that there are always a few that never get it.  If they were following the theme of the convention maybe they could have helped themselves.  Oh well.

Day 2 and Another Home Run

If you are into stagecraft 101, you should be watching the Democratic Convention because they are hitting all their marks.  Last night was the nomination process and they made it fun.  Even better the Bernie diehards were muted.  Maybe because of the way almost each state acknowledged that Bernie had changed the conversation and moved the party forward.  They were nominating Hillary, but were pay their respects to a man that woke them up from their slumber.  And Bernie reciprocated by speaking at the end of the vote count for unanimous acclamation.  Some will complain why he wanted the vote counted and recorded and the answer is simple, no back sliding.  But when he had to be magnanimous for the good of the country, Bernie was a patriot.

Just as a side note, there is a huge difference between 2008 when Hillary just stopped the count and graciously and magnanimously called for unanimous acclamation.  In that case, Obama was the upstart and the new way won.  This time the establishment won but that establishment has been forever changed and that movement had to be recognized and sustained.

I also saw where Susan Sarandon went home unhappy.  What did she expect?  There is not any way you can twist the numbers that Bernie won.  Reassign the super delegates by popular vote, open primaries, all the analyses can’t overcome the numbers.  Yes the DNC was rigged, but they were so inept they hurt Hillary more than Bernie.  No Bernie did not get fair media coverage, but then neither did Hillary.  So do we have a take over of the media by government?  Yes, the Democratic establishment was against Bernie, but Bernie was not a Democrat till recently and that would not have changed.  So in the end, Hillary won so get over it.  Bernie made his mark and will continue to, but now we have to get on with the business of trying to save the country from a tyrant and a bully who disdains the Constitution, and a party bent on destroying the country so they can stay in power.

The rest of the campaign was designed to do one thing:  Try to make Hillary a real person instead of the caricature of her that is so ingrained in the public eye.  Let’s face it, Hillary is not a great speaker and she does not connect well to crowds like Bill does.  It has been that problem that has been used to create the “crooked Hillary” image that is a fantasy.  I would refer you to a journalist I trust, Ezra Klein, to attest to the real Hillary.  The point here was that they did a masterful job of presenting the Hillary we don’t see and would not have known had they not done this.  Even I found out things about her that not even the most hateful Republican could not work up an ulterior motive for.

But the most exciting thing last night was that we nominated a woman for President from a major party.  On this one most men and maybe some young women have no idea how powerful this is.  Michelle Obama, in what will probably go down as one of the great speeches of the convention or any convention, made that point about the hopes and dreams for her daughters. I don’t think most men understand the anger in many women, especially those my age, about how they have been treated in their lives and the nomination is the beginning of putting a stake in the heart of that evil.  Me, an old white guy who had two daughters, I could not be happier.  Yeah, I was a Bernie guy and still am, but stop and smell the roses. This is earth shaking.

Bill made me nervous, but I thought he did a very good job of showing the human side of Hillary.  He, as he is great at doing, simplified the difference between Hillary and the Donald and unmasked the fantasy of Donald.  But for me the most affecting moment was when he described the scene of he as President of the United States, and Hillary as First Lady, were dropping Chelsea off at college.  As he describe Hillary trying to put more draw and shelving paper down, and he staring out the window trying to hold back the tears, who has not been there.  It was a truly humanizing moment.

So I have to say, they nailed it.  How it will play in America I have no idea, but once again we saw the difference between night and day when comparing the Republican of white people, hate, and fear, to the diversity, hope, and love of the Democratic convention.  But probably the most important insight was not how dissenters (Bernie’s folks) were muted, but how they were embraced.  It was the key to the difference between the two parties, one moving ahead to our future, one building barricades to it.

TPP and Why It is Not So Simple

If you watched the Democratic Convention you say the Bernie fans hold put their TPP signs.  Hillary was for it and is now, a qualified against it.  Bernie is against it and it has become the poster child for shipping jobs overseas and economic inequality.  But it not quite that simple and here is why:  The TPP isn’t just a trade agreement, it is also foreign policy.  

Let’s look at the trade side first.  Clearly we want to increase trade.  The tradeoff has always been we will loose some jobs, but we get cheaper products, and our access to their markets increases our income and jobs here.  Except it hasn’t worked that way.  For sure we get cheaper products, but the gains have gone to wealthy and the jobs created don’t pay as well.  On the other hand, agreements can increase our business opportunities, protect the environment, protect workers, protect intellectual rights, and open markets.  

So on the trade side you have to evaluate whether the losses offset the gains.  The problem has always been that for corporate America it is a big win, but for woking people it has been a net loss.  Intellectual property protection can stifle innovation and new businesses.  Big Pharma can force the high prices in America to be paid elsewhere and protect their high prices from foreign competition.  So you have to do a complex trade off analysis.  My yardstick here is what is the net impact on economic inequality. It must decrease economic inequality.

Then there is the other part of this agreement which is a foreign policy.  The TPP establishes a strong road block on China taking away both our markets, and reducing our influence on our partners in the future.  In essence it solidifies connects with the many economies of our Asian partners and balances China’s influence and incursions.  Is it worth the downside? That’s why it is not so simple.  Some of the agreements are long sought after agreements that greatly benefit us.  Some parts increase economic inequality and makes corporations king.  Rejecting it could open the door for China to have more influence with our allies in the region.

The real problem is we need to look at it, debate it, and adjust it as necessary.  But we don’t have that opportunity after Congress gave the President Fast Track Approval, basically an up or down vote.  So in many ways, that approach kind of turned a complex review into an up or down vote.  If you don’t like to roll dice and see if you get screwed, you can only vote no.

They Just Don’t Get It

The news media is driving me crazy.  They need conflict so they are focusing on the Bernie nuts (less than 15% of Bernie supporters who will vote for Trump or a third-party) instead of the real message of the convention.  I heard one Hillary fan (blinded by the light) complain about Bernie not coming over sooner.  The media seems to have the same opinion in that once Bernie lost the delegate count, why not capitulate?  Bernie explained it to them last night, but they weren’t listening.  You don’t capitulate an idea.  In Bernie’s words, this is not about Trump, or Hillary, or Bernie, it is about an idea.  Our modern day media doesn’t know how to report ideas, only personalities so this must be all about Bernie and Hillary, not about moving the party toward Progressive solutions to our challenges.

Here is what they are missing and they ought to note that some old hand politicians do get the message.  Bernie has changed the Democratic Party, and he may well have just saved it.  He woke up the young in America with a message that was quite clear: old style Democratic politics have failed us.  They want commitment to progressive policies they can believe in and will be fought for.  Half a loaf Democratic thinking has resulted in a country rapidly moving rightward.  And he moved both Hillary and the Democratic Party when they saw the writing on the wall and what he was bringing to the campaign.

The attitude of the Hillary fan and much of the media is, well you lost and Hillary won, so now get on the Hillary train and all that came before doesn’t matter.  Of course it does.  Without Bernie pushing the party to the left, the establishment Democratic Party that was quite comfortable with the status quo and tone death to what was happening in the country, would have alienated half the young people in the country and low turnout could still lose them the election.  And that change is just beginning and that is what Bernie and his supporters understand.  Right now they are having (again only about 15%) trouble trusting Hillary’s new attitude because it is a new attitude for her.  They see her transition on many policies as triangulating, not evolving.

But I do trust her.  She is a savvy women, she does want what is best for this country, and she understands how the Republicans are destroying this country.  She has been in the bubble of the establishment, but Bernie pushed her out and she is beginning to figured it out.  More importantly and what they are all missing is that this is a journey and not just one election.  Bernie, Elizabeth, and many Democrats are going to be pushing the party each step of the way.  In many ways, Hillary actually could be the best person to have in the White House, with Bernie and Elizabeth in the Senate pushing legislation.

Here is what the Hillary folks (some get it by the way) and some establishment Democrats (See Debbie Wassermann Shultz) are missing. They are terrified of Trump. So am I. But their focus is on uniting the party around Hillary to defeat Trump at all costs and the sooner the better. It’s a short-term goal, albeit a good one. But if Hillary does not move leftward (she already has thanks to Bernie) and start pushing the Progressive agenda making the Democratic Party a real party of change and demonstrating where the real problem is, we could have more Trumps in our future. The idea is to elect Hillary with an agenda and a following that not only elects her president, shatters the glass ceiling,  but starts to change the country in ways that make the Donald Trumps of the world an asterisk in history.

So, if you are paying attention this is not about a personality, but policies and a journey.  You don’t stop halfway up a mountain because there is a slide in your way.  You find another path.  We are on that other path, and in many ways it could be the better one.  Hillary Clinton will be the first woman in the White House, maybe change the world as we know it, and we do know one thing for sure, she is the one person who can do it if she choses to.

Oh and tonight Bernie supporters (of which I am one), if you boo John Lewis when he nominates Hillary, I am coming after you.  This man did more for this country than you can even dream about and he and his judgement deserve your respect.