Archive for the ‘The Press’ Category.

Railing

There are so many things to rail against in this nightmare of Republican control and an idiot as our President. Agencies that have long tried to protect the consumer, the worker, the sick, the poor, the environment, and education are now headed by people who want to tear them down. The State Department is being gutted and our place in the world and our ability to affect world politics is diminishing rapidly under Tillerson. I would laugh, but it is too sad, to think about all the people who hated government, oblivious to what government actually does for them, or claimed both sides are just as bad, and then watch the destruction of America by Republicans. It was and is their stupidity and ignorance that got us here. It was and is the arrogance of some Democrats who do not understand the status quo is not working.

So once again, because there is so much destruction going on around us, I would just like to comment on a few things. The first should be the national shame of our response to Puerto Rico. We should be involved in massive rebuilding right now and yet many people are still without water and electricity. And no one seems to care. Watching what happened there, I would have to say capitalism failed. It was a time to mobilize, get in there, feed the people and start a massive rebuilding campaign. We did none of those as supplies arrived and then sat in warehouses. 60 Minutes had a segment last night on a chef who went down there and fed millions of people. He became very frustrated with the whole FEMA system where no one seemed to be in charge and rules instead of need drove the train.

He finally did get FEMA money and he pointed out that there were good people down there trying to help, but their hands were tied by government rules. And on the last go round, FEMA denied him money to continue his operation. I got to thinking about that. The government wants to prevent waste and rampant profit making by awarding to a low bidder. Remember the debacle the Puerto Rican government got into after they awarded a power restoration contract that was a giveaway to a Trump crony. Then I think about how the Cubans were able to move massive amounts of people to safety during the hurricane and quickly came to the aid of their citizens while we floundered in the Caribbean.

What comes to mind is that maybe the profit motive is not the best motive or efficacious way to deliver aid and help. Maybe in the time of crisis, capitalism fails and fails miserably. Maybe we should be turning to NGO’s already vetted and award them grants if we cannot mobilize our own resources. And one might ask, why could there not have been a massive military presence there to help? We rebuilt schools in Iraq, but can’t do that in Puerto Rico? Will we learn anything from this. Not under President Dumb Fat Fuck and the Republicans who are bent on a tax cut to destroy America, but make the wealthy great.

Next, I would like to comment on the rush to put all imbecilic men in the same category. Certainly what Al Franken did was childish, crude, and offensive, but certainly not in the same league as Roy Moore and Donald Trump, who are both accused of rape or attempted rape. I certainly understand many women’s sense of anger and frustration at all the loutish men they have been subjected to with no real recourse. But “kill all the lawyers” is not the answer and in fact is playing right into the hands of the Republicans. See! Both sides do it, and nothing changes.

Sadly women (and here I am going to get in big trouble) who have maybe suffered some of this loutish behavior feel the need now to expose it, but they may be doing their cause more harm than good. That we have a sexual abuser in the White House and about to elect a pedophile is not the same as someone who stupidly and inappropriately grabbed your ass. None of it should be tolerated any more (or then), but we may, by equating both behaviors, be in fact weakening the cause to end it all. Just as an aside, and of course I have never been in a position of real power over anyone, but had I grabbed anyone who I was dating or working with’s ass, they would have clocked me a good one.

There is an excellent discussion of men and facing up to our testosterone urges. Sadly we all have these urges but the difference is some of us cross the line and some of us don’t. Maybe we ought to be discussing the nature of men’s sexual urges so we can get out in the open that we all have them and what is and is not acceptable. It might help some to understand their feelings and deal with them more appropriately instead of acting them out.

Lastly, I would like to point out some logic or non-logic. If you want to learn how to confuse and lie by using bad logic just watch Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a White House briefing. Her major tactic is the equivalency argument I used above, the other side did it so why pick on us. Doesn’t matter what the other side did, but whether the behavior is atrocious and who now occupies the White House. Sad the press lets this slip by them. We have all heard the admitted defense, which if you don’t admit something, you can’t be held responsible for it, even though 14 women have come out to claim otherwise.

Then there is the excuse for Roy Moore that he would be better than a “Democrat”. The agenda is more important than morality. We are not the only ones. I think of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar who looked the other way during the massacre of thousands in the Rohingya crackdown in the hope that the she can make a difference in the end instead of a stand now that might staert a full military take over again. It is that old failure of logic that the ends justify the means. But when the means turns our to define who we are, we may lose everything. See Republicans for further examples.

Just Think’in

Moore’s campaign has taken to repeating Alabama’s motto, written in Latin on the state coat of arms in 1923 and translated to “We dare defend our rights,” while Moore backers have repeatedly argued that their state has the right to decide its own fate in the Dec. 12 special election.

“Alabamians will be the ultimate jury in this election, not the media or those from afar,” said state party chairwoman Terry Lathan.

Yep, a free and fiercely independent people will elect a Bible thumper who wants to destroy the Constitution by establish a theocracy, while being a pervert that sends a strong message to women, enjoy yourself on your second class pedestal. Shame on that evil media that tries to point out your stupidity and ignorance.

Nearly a year into the Trump presidency, countries around the world are scrambling to adapt as the White House has struggled to fill key government positions, scaled back the State Department and upended old alliances. Now some nations are finding that even if they are frustrated by President Trump’s Washington, they can still prosper from robust relations with the California Republic and a constellation of like-minded U.S. cities, some of which are bigger than European countries.

We don’t need no stink’in federal government. As President DFF tries to pull us back into the dark ages with his Republican enablers, those of who can, do. Let places like Alabama, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania sink back into the muck. They made their choice and have screwed this country.

“This administration’s mandate on judicial selections is crystal clear: Choose judges in the mold of Justice Scalia, Justice [Clarence] Thomas and now Justice Gorsuch,” McGahn said.

This is a story about the Federalist Society (truly conservative dumb) providing a list of right wing nut jobs to President DFF to ensure when the people throw them out of office, they still will control our courts. And you want to know why people are losing faith in our institutions? Look at Republicans.

Trickle down economics is back with a vengeance in the new Tax Gut bill being pushed by Republicans. One of my favorite economist who I used to read religiously back in the day wrote this about it:

The liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith in 1982 likened the trickle-down idea to horse manure: “If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.”

The people in Kansas recently got a lesson in this, now maybe the whole country will too.I guess I ought to throw this one in from Will Rogers about President Hoover back in the 1930’s to show you how bad ideas just never seem to die as long as those with money control the government:

“The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy,” Rogers wrote in his syndicated column in 1932. In fact, Rogers argued, money tends to trickle up — from the hands of the poor into the hands of the rich.

Then there are the calls for the death penalty for Al Franken. “Set an example!” Here is Ruth Marcus with some sanity:

Let us stipulate: Franken behaved like a big, not-so-fat idiot. His behavior was appalling. Under the guise of rehearsing for a skit, he allegedly kissed fellow USO performer Leeann Tweeden against her will, sticking his tongue in her mouth. He posed for a decidedly not funny photograph in which he appears to grope Tweeden’s breasts while she is asleep. Not okay. But also not Roy Moore, Democratic version — or even Bill Clinton, 2017 edition. On the spectrum from predatory to boorish, Moore and Clinton are on one end, Franken closer to the other.

Some things we can learn from, some are perversions. Apparently in our search for simple minded solutions we seem to lose our ability to separate the two out. Finally, I will leave you with this:

According to the Trump Twitter Archive, between Jan. 10 and the end of October, Trump tweeted about “fake news” 141 times. One stands out. On Feb. 17, the president tweeted this: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy. It is the enemy of the American People!”…Listen to William H. McRaven, a Navy SEAL for 37 years, the man in charge of the missions that captured Saddam Hussein and killed Osama bin Laden. McRaven graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in journalism. He’s now the chancellor of the University of Texas system. And after the president’s tweet, he told students: “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”

Now the piece goes on to say the Press is biased and editorializes on the front page, whether true or not, is wrong. I just happen to think when the Press reports the news and it seems biased against President DFF and the Republicans, it is because the truth itself has a liberal bias. Get over it.

Does Democracy Work Anymore?

That’s really at the heart of American malaise about our political system. Let’s face it, on many issues Americans actually do agree and yet Congress (Republicans) ignore those wishes to please a small base that controls their election futures. Here is how the WaPo put it this morning:

Seven in 10 Americans say the nation’s political divisions are at least as big as during the Vietnam War, according to a new poll, which also finds nearly 6 in 10 saying Donald Trump’s presidency is making the U.S. political system more dysfunctional.

The Washington Post-University of Maryland poll — conducted nine months into Trump’s tumultuous presidency — reveals a starkly pessimistic view of U.S. politics, widespread distrust of the nation’s political leaders and their ability to compromise, and an erosion of pride in the way democracy works in America.

Remember that even in the presidential election minority ruled. I have argued before that when you look at gerrymandered districts and the power of Senators in small rural states, the majority is in fact not represented at all. We are a nation badly tilted to representing a minority of conservatives in rural areas. And worse, it would seem that those who are elected serve themselves. Said another way, Republicans are evil.

Hey wait a minute, why single out Republicans? Democrats pander for money too. True, and in that they are both morally and ethical challenged, but there is no equivalency here. Who wants to take away your healthcare? Who wants to gut government so that we can afford tax cuts for the wealthy. Who denies ever worsening climate change? And in that gutting of government we are talking about taking from the disadvantaged. If that is not evil, nothing is. Republicans have justified this with a philosophy of tough love, that giving people handouts simply make them weak and lazy. That might be true if we had a level playing field and those who did not do well truly did not work hard. But facts and data belie that.

The real evilness is on display today in a dumbed down electorate that has been fed propaganda and has a hard time with what is fact and what is opinion. In order to continue their conservative ideas which don’t work, it was necessary to warp reality. They adopted the tactics of the tobacco companies defending cigarettes against the fact that they cause cancer. Lie, repeat the lie, buy off scientists and other experts, and pretend there is doubt in the science. Add in the press echoing these lies without fact checking them and here we are. And that is what they do today about global warming, tax cuts create jobs, immigrants are the problem, or Obamacare is failing (well it will be as the sabotage it). How can democracy work if the electorate is tricked with the real fake news. Oh and note Republicans have joined in with President DFF (Dum Fat F*ck) in trying to now discredit real news and facts.

But the real evilness here is their attempt to discredit Mueller and his investigations, and starting new bogus investigations of Hillary and the Obama Administration to try to distract us. Now the dishonesty here is breathtaking. Here we are with a foreign power for sure manipulating our election with fake news and most likely colluding with the Trump campaign. They don’t care because they have sold their soul to their agenda. Think what would have happened if it was a Democratic Administration with these same allegations. You don’t think we would be up to our eyeballs in investigations and fact finding? Oh, and don’t get distracted with the lie about all campaigns do opposition research. Of course they do, but they don’t collude with a foreign government to get it and as I believe will come out, then collude to release false information targeted to specific voters. This sadly will be lost on most voters where nuance is not their forte. That is the Republicans hope, and that is truly evil.

Just as an aside we know pretty well what happened in that meeting with the DFF’s son, Jared, and Manafort. We know now for a fact that the Russians were there at the behest of the Russian government to get the Magnitsky Act repealed. This law barred the travel and use of our banking system by listed Russians for their complicity in the murder of a lawyer in Russia and other human rights agendas. Putin is frantic to get this repealed because as probably the richest man in the world, his money is in the banking system around the world and he is terrified other countries will follow suit, which may I add, Canada, not one of our “puppets”, just did. What is in question is what did the DFF’s boys agree to and do.  So unless you are a total DFF doofus, there is a real problem here and now Republicans are trying to cravenly hide it.

So what’s the answer.  I used to think it was getting money out of politics and maybe it is.  If our politicians weren’t begging for money about 50% of their time (30 hours/week), maybe they would be less susceptible to lobbyists and big donors.  But what happens if we actually would do that?  Then the big money would just go independent to try to shape public perception to control our government that way.  Try to keep in mind that most news is for profit, and Congress people, terrified of a misinformed public, would vote for them and not country, as they do now.  So we have to think this through.  Since the Supremes gave Corporation the status of individuals with free speech rights, backed by billions making their megaphone truly mega, we have a real problem in how they can control the message.

The only answer is for open government and an informed electorate.  I am not optimistic after seeing the last election and how stupid, and stupid is the kind word here, the electorate really is.  Those that control our agenda are parochial and ignorant and I do not know how you transplant critical thinking.  It is clear to me that arguing with the facts is useless. Maybe our hope is the big crash.  Republican conservative’s ideas simply will not work except for the very rich and many blue states are simply going their own way.  So we travel back to our beginning when we had a confederation of states and need a new constitution.  It took them more than 200 years, but the ignorant and stupid have now undermined that constitution.

Mueller is now making his moves and my guess is we are in for a turbulent time.  President DFF is immoral, ignorant, and unethical.  As the facts come out, we will see if the nation will survive.  It is funny to think that the worst in political system, the Republicans, have the fate of our nation in their hands.

The Democrat’s Never Stop Repeating the Same Mistake Over and Over

There is an insightful article in the NYT about how Senator Jeff Flake’s withdrawal from the Senate race next year has thrown both parties into disarray. Let this set the tone:

Establishment Democrats have high hopes for Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist who recently dined in the Blue Room of the White House with President Trump, teaches a bipartisan spin class in the House gym and has broken ranks with her own party on key votes. She was one of only seven House Democrats, for example, who voted to create a select committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

But those impulses toward bipartisanship have soured Arizona progressives against the candidacy of an openly bisexual woman who would seem to fit the liberal mold.

“There are issues, murmurs within grass-roots groups and the progressive community, the environmental community and others, including immigration advocates,” said Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona and a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who is withholding his endorsement of her.

Yesterday in a casual discussion with a conservative friend I heard that old foolish refrain that all we need is both sides to work together and both parties are controlled by the extremes. Now nothing could be further from the truth, and this is the false equivalency that has produced our stalemated and stagnant government*, where we fail to assign the blame and government in general suffers. When was the last time the Democrats worked with Republicans (this crazed mob) and it has worked well for them?  Remember the tax cuts under Bush and the ballooning deficti?

In fact, we just the lost the last election (sans the Russians and Comey) because the Democrats have become too much like the Republicans. Who knows what they stand for any more, and the above story is another, let’s cater to bad ideas because it might appeal to moderates who have those bad ideas. That would be the “let’s just all hold hands and work together” fools.

What we have here is, and I know I am beating this to death, a failing economy and a dumbed down electorate, courtesy of the Republicans. What you say! How can the economy be failing when the stock market is at record highs? So who is benefiting? As our current economic system’s structure favors the 1%, the rest of us are not gaining and the numbers show that most people do not believe their kids will be better off than they are. Moderate establishment Democrats are part of this problem and what we see from the above, is more of the same, again not recognizing that conservative economic and social dogma is the problem, but let’s work with them, right? We can get elected and then stand for nothing and change nothing substantial.

Also on the second part of my assertion, that Republicans have dumbed down our electorate, have you seen our president? The “deplorable base”, that is about 38% of the population either does not care that he lies and misstates the facts or they believe them. These are the global warming deniers, believe blaming immigrants or building a wall solves all problems, and believe Trump actually has business acumen is stead of an old fashioned con artist. The real test here is when the truth is exposed, as it is everyday, they don’t care. But they control the Republican Party, hence why Flake is getting out. Conservative as he is, he can’t stomach their ignorance and antisocial behavior.

Now we got Trump because the Republicans went on a dumbing down campaign of noise over the last 30 years that the media magnified as they loved to cover noise instead of substance. Equivalency awarded to science deniers. Equivalency awarded to a shouting contest without interjecting data and facts. Treating facts as opinions. That is how we got here, and like the big tobacco companies denying the cancer link to cigarettes, the Republicans took their cues from them. And conservative who rue the day Trump came on the scene, created the path for him to follow. There are no moderate or principled Republicans that do not have full responsibility for the DFF.

Now we have a Congress controlled and elected by that 38% that the media and the Republicans created. So Democrats should elect someone who will work with them (read capitulate)? There is a basic truth here that no one is talking about yet, except of course for Bernie and Progressives, that the system is broken. That conservatives have had us on the wrong path, even the moderate ones, and establishment Democrats are just culpable. I have argued before what is wrong and what needs to be done. There is a great study from The Roosevelt Institute that lays out the changes we have to make to return our nation to one of rational debate, based upon facts and science, not ideological dogma. It tells us how to change the rules of our economic system to more equitably share the profits and make us all better off, not just the 1%.

Progressive are starting to make those arguments. Electing people who go to work in Congress to work with failure will simply bring us failure. It is time for real change based upon a common set of facts and a vision. That is the way forward and I fear the Democrats are becoming superfluous if they continue this pandering to bad ideas and polls instead of making the arguments to change the system. It is ideas that will drive change, not compromise to failed ideas. The young get it, and those in failed economies (manufacturing) get it. Maybe it is time for a little soul searching by establishment Democrats.

*I could go back over how many times the Democrats came to the table and tried to compromise with the Republicans, but instead of boring you to death, let’s just look at recent history.  Most Americans want Obamacare fix, not destroyed.  How did the Republicans proceed?  With a plan no one could see or amend, and while claiming Democrats would not work them, they lined up to work with them, but the plan was never to compromise or fix Obamacare because dogma requires them to return to the old failed market place system.  Tax “reform” is following the same game plan.  Hide the plan, have no way to pay for it and hope a couple of Democrats will like tax cuts for the wealthy if it somehow helps them.  Real tax reform is hard and will take years.  That is not what we are seeing here.  The Republican ideology is small government, unregulated markets, and tax cuts alway stimulate the economy when the evidence is overwhelming this is a disaster except in a few anedotal cases. There is no equilancy here and asserting it is destroying the country because we fail to see the problem.

General Kelly and Seeing the Real Problem

After the FF (Fat F*ck, aka President Trump) turned the killed servicemen into a political issue, and then totally botched  the call after the Press had asked if he had made any calls (where he lied about other presidents), Generally Kelly came out and made an impassioned plea to depoliticize the whole issue, explaining what happened.  Now this should have both been pointed at his boss and ended the issue, but then he turned around and made a partisan political attack on the Congresswoman in the car where call was made (at the request of the grieving parents).  Trump of course lied about all this instead of saying, I botched and I am truly sorry, to which Kelly did not deny the conversation, but attack the Congresswoman for making a “private” call public.

Well, bull shit.  First she was asked to be there and it was put on speakerphone.  Was the President alone when the call (No)?  Secondly he offended them with his lack of empathy, which is just another instance of why he should not be president.  But then Kelly made a partisan attack on the Congresswoman, racial in undertones, showing he is not the steady hand that some were hoping for.  Kelly even made references to “other” gold star families who have spoken out and he had no right to tell them they cannot use their First Amendment rights. Then there was what was sacred discussion that let you know this man is so far removed from reality that he too is dangerous. I think Lawrence O’Donnell took his attack apart better than anyone because he had the guts to.

I want you to note one other thing.  What General Kelly heard and told the FF to say is not the same thing he said.  It is a classic example of how little understand the FF has of the human condition.

Meanwhile the Republicans passed a budget bill on all Republican votes that most of them do not know what is in it.  It was to get a win.  So far the reasonable experts tell us a couple of things.  It busts the budget and like Kansas, may create a fiscal disaster. Tax cuts don’t necessarily equal growth.  Meanwhile Wall Street is doing great and the FF is taking credit when what is really driving the economy right now is low interest rates, set up in the Obama Administration.  If as most of us think, giant deficit spending that the budget bill and the follow on tax cut will create become a reality, the interest rate will go up, and kiss the economy goodbye.

The other part of this is that less than 52% of Americans own stocks, and the majority of the FF’s supporters do not.  How Wall Street does has little with working Americans, and let’s just review, Bank of America just downgraded Chipotle stocks because they think they pay their employees too much.  Bring back slavery!  That is the mentality we are dealing with.

Meanwhile, ex-Presidents Bush and Obam took on the FF finally.  Of course there is some real hypocrisy here, but at least major figures are starting to stand up.  I am off to Oakland for a Van Morrison concert and will try to ignore the madness that is our government these days.  Happy Friday.

The Fat F*ck

Sorry, but that is now how I see this despicable man we call the President. As the days go on, you start to wonder why the nation does not throw him out. He stands before us and tells one lie after another, and his behavior obscene, totally unbecoming a president of this country. I have to wonder how anyone at this point thinks he has either business acumen or is a crafty politician. He is a blathering lying fool. The latest was as he stood in the White House Garden pretending he and Mitch don’t despise one another and blatantly lied about President Obama and other presidents meeting with the parents of fallen service men. It was such a blatant and distasteful lie that went beyond the bounds of the new normal of his lying. There is such a sickness here that permeates everything he does. And what he does is out of meanness, spite, and ignorance.

Look at the lies he spouts about Obamacare. He is wrecking it with no thought to what comes next for the people who will suffer. He tells the whopper that most Republicans tell us that we will have more choice and our premiums will go down and he opens the door to junk plans and cuts subsidies to policies for the really poor. Oh and look at that group in the picture with him. Pander white f*cks who have got theirs. And any reasonable analysis tells us this is all a big lie. Sure you will be fine if you are healthy. But when shit happens, and it will, you are back to the pre-Obamacare days where the number one cause of bankruptcy was health issues and medical bills.

Then there is the nonsense he spouts on the Iran nuclear deal. And what he is doing here is mixing apples and oranges. Sure Iran does bad things, but the one they are not doing is building nukes. That is what the agreement was about. And no, there are no violations and it is working. So he just walks away or is going to “negotiate a better deal”? Um, what about the other countries that actually make this thing work? What we are seeing is that the trust of the United States to keep its word is non-existent. That ought to work out well with North Korea.

Here we have a man who is shocked, shocked, shocked at Harvey Weinstein and yet he admitted to sexually assaulting women, but that was just “locker room”. Here we have a man who flaunts using his position of power to enrich himself. Here is a man who stands before the nation and tells us lies about the electrical power plants in Puerto Rico, and threatens to abandon them, our fellow Americans. And here is a man who rates everything he does by the reviews he gets. He spends days on the NFL and says nothing until pressed about the servicemen killed in Africa.

I don’t know how much more evidence you need that he is not fit to be anywhere near the oval office. He is a smug, arrogant, buffoon in the best of lights, and a mean nasty little man who is working out his feelings of inadequacy on the nation by lashing out, destroying everything in his wake in the worst of lights. The really sad thing is that many of us and press lets him off as we get used to his lies. But I find him an embarrassment to the whole notion of what it is to be an American. So let me say this loud and clear, “THAT FAT FUCK IS NOT MY PRESIDENT. I think John McCain, knowing his days are numbered probably said it best when he took on the Trump/Bannon faction of his party when he got his Liberty Award yesterday, but his aim should have been wider at the lack of spine both he and his party have shown over the years to bring us to this abomination. Let’s not forget the ignorance of Sarah Palin. So I will leave you with this, and it is truly a sad thought. I have never been so ashamed and embarrassed to be an American. That is the times we are living in.

Level of Frustration and Other Topics

Today is one of those days I truly hate being old. I look at the devastation in Sonoma and Santa Rosa, and I want to get out there and help. I look at the devastation in Puerto Rico and I want to hop on an airplane and help them rebuild. And the truth is, I wouldn’t be much help. I would just get in the way. That wasn’t always the case, but I simply can’t do it anymore. It is this stark reality of my limitations. It is that reality that I am not what I used to be nor am I going to be again when I could take on almost anything.

I think what makes this doubly frustration is there is so much that could be done and we have a government led by a moron. His best attributes are his ability to tear things down, lie, pander with ignorance and racists, and connive. I know in California, we have good government and good people who will rise to the occasion. So does America, but under the leadership of Republicans and the village idiot, we see a wrecking ball, not leadership to build from the ashes. There is no vision there except some super capitalist utopian hell envisioned by Ayn Rand. I read this this morning about one Santa Rosa woman who lost her home and wanted to get in my car, but again, I would just get in the way:

She’s answering the logistical questions one-by-one: Where will they live? When will the children return to school? She has no answer for the most difficult questions about her upended life: Will things ever be the same?

“Our house had a certain smell to it,” she said. “It was our house. When you come home it has that smell. How can I replicate that smell for my kids, or is it gone forever?”

“This is ranking up there with when my brother died. It’s right up there — one of the worst things that’s ever happened in my life. But I’ve got to suck it up and power through — for my kids and for my husband and for myself. I can’t have a pity party, party of one. Because if I fall apart, we’re all going to fall apart.”

I like to think that we Americans are optimistic and enterprising, that we can fix these things. We are actually, and we can, except we now have a Republican led government that can do nothing, and wonders along with their leader, how they can blame the victims for this tragedy. Remember in Puerto Rico it was their fault because they were in debt (again aided and abetted by Washington and profit sucking financial institutions).

I guess my biggest frustration is there is so much that we could do. There is so much to fix and I want to leap out of my chair and get at it. But like our now Republican enfeebled country, my knees won’t allow any leaping, So I sit here and write. My time on this planet is now limited. But couldn’t we just start fixing a few things so when I do leave I know we are moving in the right direction? I have to figure out how to turn this ship around if only one mind at a time. Like the woman above, and I will rephrase: This is ranking up there with one of the worst times in my life. But I’ve got to suck it up and power through — for my kids and for my wife and for myself. I can’t have a pity party, party of one. Because if I fall apart, we’re all going to fall apart.  We so need a leader to lead us out of the wilderness we have gotten lost in.

Okay, perspective. I can only control what I can control and I am actually a very very lucky man even with the prostate cancer. The world (bubble) which I live in is very blessed. So let’s turn to baseball. Last night the LA Dodgers beat those uppity Cubs and there was a controversial call at home plate. Since some of the disastrous injuries in baseball occur with the catcher trying to block the plate with a runner trying to score (See Buster Posey), it was ruled that unless you have the ball, you cannot black the plate. In this game, as the catcher was catching the ball, he stuck his leg out behind him to block the plate (good way to get your leg broken) and tagged the runner out. On replay it was overturned ruling the catcher was blocking the plate before he had the ball. The old farts in baseball were all aghast. Stupid rule! That is the athleticism of the game! It was great play!

On the contrary, I think they made absolutely the right call. To do anything else would have once again announced open season on catchers trying to catch the ball or make a tag. It would have turned baseball into football at home plate. The thing I love about baseball is that it is driven competition without the violence and hate. This would change that. What I get from all this is how hard change is for people who are used to a certain way of doing things. And that is in a microcosm the problem this country faces as change is accelerating and the Republicans feed fear promising to drag us back to a time that never existed.

One last thought from Nicholas Kristof who took some criticism for his trip to North Korea, which I actually thought was quite informing and alarming as we move toward war and the DIC has no clue what game he is playing. Nicholas defended his actions with this and in this world where news is now a profit center so on-site reporting is at a minimum, we ought to think about:

Being on the ground in a country lets you see things and absorb their power: the speaker on the walls of homes to feed propaganda; the pins that every adult wears with portraits of members of the Kim family; the daily power outages, but also signs that the economy is growing despite international sanctions; the Confucian emphasis on dignity that makes officials particularly resent Trump’s personal attacks on Kim; the hardening of attitudes since my last visit, in 2005; and the bizarre confidence that North Korea can not only survive a nuclear war with the U.S. but also emerge as victor…

I left North Korea fearing that we are far too complacent about the risk of a cataclysmic war that could kill millions. And that’s why reporting from within North Korea is crucial: There simply is no substitute for being in a place. It’s a lesson we should have learned from the run-up to the Iraq war, when the reporting was too often from the Washington echo chamber rather than the field. When the stakes are millions of lives and official communications channels are nonexistent, then journalism can sometimes serve as a bridge — and as a warning.

And let’s never forget how they failed us with the DIC, right here in our own country. Not my President.

Taking a Step Back and Reflecting

This is a long one, but lays out I think, all the connecting of dots for our way forward.  In Florida the mob is out with the pitchforks and torches over the death of elderly residents at a care facility in Hollywood Florida. There was an immediate call for criminal proceedings. Why? Certainly it was a tragedy as these folks basically died of complications from heat stroke. But other than that we don’t know what happened. Wouldn’t we want a thorough investigation before you erect your gallows? I am not here to argue who did what or did not do what, I am just using this example to show how we tend to want to blame first, and find out facts later, maybe leaving many innocent victims in our wake.

It is with this in mind that I watch Hillary being interviewed and pushing her new book. I have been clear that I just want her to go away, in a sense blaming her for Donald Trump. But as a great article in the Atlantic by James Fallows makes the case, she does have something to teach us. You don’t have to agree with her to learn something here and on many things she is direct and right. As James put it:

If you’ve read this book, with Clinton’s repeated reminders that blame for this historic disaster begins with her, you’re more likely to start yelling at the TV—or the newspaper or the website—when you see pundits, mainly male, saying that it’s time for Hillary Clinton to “step back” or “stop whining” or “get off the stage” or “stop making excuses.” She’s telling an interesting and important tale—and one with uncomfortable implications for the press among other institutions.

So as one of my friends reminds me, she still commands the respect of millions and maybe we ought to allow her her podium. I listened to the Rachel Maddow  interview on MSNBC and on many policy issues she has great insights, and unlike the idiot we have in office, actually knows their history and the players. There is no argument here that she would have been much for better the country than the train wreck we are on right now.

Her point about the press fixating on SQUIRREL! (emails) and Trump’s understanding of this to get 24/7 coverage of his lies is critical to her loss and has not been fully reconciled by the press as they continue their nonstop coverage of the Village Idiot in Charge when he or his surrogates say nonsense. The White House Press briefing has become an arrogant fuck you America and we still get it live every day, giving them a megaphone to spout lies.

But in that interview with Rachel and in her book (which I have not read yet, but will, so I am judging here from excerpts), I can find no real reckoning with the massive loss of Democrats in state and federal government positions over the Obama years. Rachel did not ask the hard one here about why Democrats could not get the vote out. And that I think is my critical criticism of Hillary and Democrats in general and why I have argued in the past that I wish she would just go away. They have not come to grips with this except as a bunch of tactical errors, not why they do not excite the electorate.

I withdraw my just go away critique and I think we can learn from her, as long as she is never a candidate again. Her advice on policy and knowledge of the players may be invaluable, but on the big issue of strategic vision, she is sorely lacking. Right or wrong there is just too much baggage and a lack of trust. It can’t be won back.  There is too much history and a history of calculating on isses and following the herd (gay marriage for one).

So why did Democrats basically get relegated into also rans? Now before I answer this question, I want to bring up one other question that has driven me nuts: Why do most Americans reside in Fantasyland? Why is it that facts became relative? They aren’t you know. If the last election were run on issues and facts, Hillary would have won in a landslide. Democrats in general would fare much better in the polls. Facts, data, and science are mostly on their side. Donald and the Republicans have repeated lies and misrepresented the facts and Donald’s White Mob (his base) is as Hillary said, deplorable. Yet he got elected and so did the Republicans. How is that?

Well there is a great book that goes a long way to explaining it called, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500 Year History, by Kurt Anderson. Basically he gives us this great condensation:

The short answer is because we’re Americans, because being American means we can believe any damn thing we want, that our beliefs are equal or superior to anyone else’s, experts be damned.

He tells of Stephen Colbert riffing as the conservative character he created on his invented word, truthiness, and summing up that philosophy is this monologue:

Now I’m sure some of the “word police,” the “wordinistas” over at Webster’s, are gonna say, “Hey, that’s not a word!” Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They’re elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn’t true. Or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books—they’re all fact, no heart…. Face it, folks, we are a divided nation… divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart…. Because that’s where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen—the gut.

He tells us of all the mystical fanciful things we like to believe (religion, witches, Obama is a Muslim, Angels, Devils, Heaven, black helicopters, etc.) and makes this assertion about us:

By my reckoning, the more or less solidly reality-based are a minority, maybe a third of us but almost certainly fewer than half. Only a third of us, for instance, believe with some certainty that CO2 emissions from cars and factories are the main cause of Earth’s warming.

I called this faith-based thinking and I have argued in a similar vein that our religious training and beliefs gives rise to this duality of thinking, rational and faith-based, that starts crossing lines and gives us what we want to believe instead of what is.

I am in that third, solidly reality-based group.  Certainly I have my prejudices and things I want to believe, but in the end, facts, science, and data inform me.  If tax cuts for the wealthy really worked I would jump on it.  If unregulated markets are really the best solution for all things, I would be all for them.  If for profit healthcare really did give us the best system, I would fight for it. If global warming really was a hoax, I would be against legislation to recognize it.

If transsexuals really were a problem in the military, I would be for banning them.  If the Muslim ban were anything but counterproductive, I would be all for it. I could go on and on. If the poor are poor because they are lazy, well it is just deserts. But we have tons of data, facts, and science that tell us otherwise and I have written extensively about all of them in this blog with links to reliable sources, facts, and data.  None of it matters to what people want to believe.

So why is this import to the question of why the Democrats have fallen out of power?  Were the Republicans just better liars?  Let me introduce another idea, that of optimal and suboptimal solutions.  I think Thomas Friedman came up with this concept a few years ago:

But while our culture of imagination is still vibrant, the other critical factor that still differentiates countries today — and is not a commodity — is good governance, which can harness creativity. And that we may be losing. I am talking about the ability of a society’s leaders to think long-term, address their problems with the optimal legislation and attract capable people into government. What I increasingly fear today is that America is only able to produce “suboptimal” responses to its biggest problems — education, debt, financial regulation, health care, energy and environment.

The concept is fairly simple.  Take healthcare.  What we know from the rest of the world is that universal healthcare (everyone has it, not necessarily single payer) is the model that drives down costs and delivers better care.  It has been implemented in many forms from doctors and hospitals that are government owned, to single payer like Medicare.  There are even forms of it as private insurance (Switzerland) although highly regulated (no profit taking for basic well-defined benefits policies).  So what did we do here?  We went for a suboptimal Obamacare because we could get it. Now it is under continuous attack. There is a lesson here.

Back in what I like to call the semi-rational days when Republicans had not gone totally off the rails, Democrats and Republicans would compromise on suboptimal solutions, which is the very essence of compromise.  If you watch what happened and you are honest, the country went right with Bill Clinton, more like a moderate Republican than a Democrat, and conservative economic ideas took over the nation.  De-regulation and Wall Street ruled. As Democrats tried to accommodate the country’s drift right with more economically conservative positions, the real threat to our Democracy grew, economic inequality***.

During the Bush years we had disastrous tax cuts with no jobs and giant deficits, and finally through deregulation helped by Bill Clinton, the market crashed and burned.  Guess what?  Self interest did not drive wise decisions. Then when Obama came along and improved the markets, there was no flow down to Main Street, thus the birth of the Tea Party.  They were tired of suboptimal solutions that did not work for them.  The trouble with their optimal solutions, balanced budgets, slashing government spending, gutting government regulation, and blaming everything on immigrants is that it was based on what they wanted to believe, not reality, and we are back to Fantasyland.

Eight years of Obama and nothing really changed for those middle class working stiffs.  They saw the rich guys get richer and they languished, and worse, their children’s prospects languished. What arose from all this was the election in 2016 where the mood in the country was anything but the establishment that had proven ineffective to dealing with our problems.  Both sides were seen (accurately) as part of the problem. Democrats did, and you still hear it today, want to be hands across the aisle.  Working together is the goal instead of optimal solutions based upon data, facts, and science. It polled well although the reality was people never vote that way. It is a recipe for failure. You can (and I have) blamed the failure on Republican control of the media, gerrymandering, the filibuster, but in the end, Democrats failed to present a strategic vision of their way forward.

Other than on social issues, Democrats failed to really stand for anything and their economic policy (and Hillary’s) was Republican Lite. So you had a choice between Republican Lite, socially progressive, and real Republicans who stood for a grand strategy, although one built of a Fantasy world.  Voters picked the guys who stood for something, albeit all the wrong somethings.

Standing for something means standing for optimal solutions, based upon facts, science, and data.  Things that work, not fit neatly into an ideology about what should work, or politically easy.  But in that standing for those optimal solutions, there has to be a grand strategy, a strategy of how what we are proposing fits into a whole that will make all our lives better.  Hillary, at least I have yet to hear it, has not ever done this in a believable way.  For the young voter’s perspective, while she has some good policies and certainly would be better than Trump, is still part of promoting the economic establishment that is at the heart of all our problems, racial***, social, and economic.

The grand failure of the Democratic Party is that they lost what they stood for and it became working within the existing system assuming that the existing system was not fundamentally flawed. Being against what Republicans were for, but not real there, there. In trying to accommodate right trending popular politics, they lost who they were.  The book Listen Liberal should be required reading for everyone.  It’s painful, but the truth is Democrats became like Republicans, really blaming the victim, using education as the tool to innovation and a better tomorrow.  We don’t like to believe it, but we became elitists too. This last election was a giant flashing sign that the electorate was pretty much done with establishment politics because it wasn’t working for them no matter who was in power.

The Democrats tried to reinvent themselves within the establishment with their “Better Deal”.  Then they introduced some policies to support that.  It fell flat.  Better Deal connotes that the existing system just needs some fixes and everything will be hunky dory.  Donald Trump and the Obama voters that voted for him are data that says that does not work or that no one believed it.  They know the system is against them and they are right.

Bernie got that, but the Democratic establishment did not want to hear that message, and we got Trump against Hillary and this should have been a cake walk.  I thought it would be.  But I have learned from this election, and Hillary and establishment Democrats do not appear to have. Their still arguing tactics and not understanding that their grand strategy was non-existent. We are the non-Trump party did not wash when people wanted to break things.  They wanted a new way forward.

Okay smart guy, what is the way forward?  What is the strategic vision? Well remember that old document, The Declaration of Independence.  Remember this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …

Well change it to this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness, and a level playing field. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …

That is the strategic vision.  Money begets power, which begets the loss of equality.  Powers seeks to consolidate its favored position, and all the rest is history.  Economic inequality throughout the world is growing and is the root of all the rest.  This does not mean that meritocracy should not rule, but within bounds and be fair meritocracy, not one based upon position and power (read money).  And what the Republicans who represent the 1% forgot was that last part, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men …”.  They defined it as securing their rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at your expense when your life, liberty or happiness conflicts with theirs, and as wealth accumulates with the few, there are lots of conflicts.  In other words, economic inequality is the root of all inequality***.

Once this reality is recognized,  that  our system is structured to increase economic inequality under the false assumption that a high tide lifts all boats, then you recognize that the system has to be changed in fundamental ways and we have look at what works effectively, those optimal solutions that get thrown away as “not politically feasible” when in fact, they are our goals.  Bernie laid it out for us, but he is a socialist so don’t listen to him, was the response of Republicans and many Democrats.

He said the obvious, the system is not working for the average guy.  It has to be fundamentally changed so that more of us share in the wealth of our nation.  That says we have to rewrite the tax code, laws that regulate intellectual property, trade agreements, property and contract laws to name a few.  We need a fair minimum living wage.  We need major investments in our infrastructure.  We need to recognize science, and fight global warming.  We need universal healthcare and a Social Security system that insures everyone with a secure retirement*.  We need to fundamentally rethink debt and investments in our future.  But all of this cannot be just policies, but a vision or structure and a systematic approach to improving our lives and our children’s live’s for the future. It has to be couched in the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and a level playing field.  

The solutions to all of the above cannot be suboptimal solutions, but optimal ones.  Does not mean you will get there on day one, but that is the goal, that is what we stand for. And with that we become a party of well-defined principles again. We will still have a capitalist solution, but one regulated to prevent monopolies, abuses, and excessive profit taking.  It will take some of the proceeds and invest them in tomorrow.  Instead of looking for corporations and CEO’s to define tomorrow, we the people will, and rewrite the rules to benefit all of us, not the wealthy few.

That is radical change.  And we already know the solutions that work, except for those who reside firmly in Fantasyland.  But that will fail too and Fantasyland looks bleak when your beliefs don’t get you anywhere.  That may be why electing Trump was probably the only way forward to see the failures of Fantasyland. And if some of  those solutions we progressives so believe in don’t work, we can change because we are wedded to science, data, and facts, not ideology. That is the key.

So the grand vision of our next Democratic Party, if they are to survive, is simple:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness, and a level playing field  — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …**”  Hillary would buy into that in a minute, but not understand the fundamental changes in our economic system that has to take place because she is perceived as too wedded to the old power structures.  Then again maybe she would, but the time is past for Hillary and this is what the New Democrats have to bring to the table.

*One of the things that helps innovation and social mobility is a strong safety net.  Our European friends have shown us that with a strong safety net, people are more willing to take chances, create businesses, and innovate.  Too bad we can’t learn from them.

**Mustn’t forget that second part about “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  Market places and competition do not secure a level playing field.  In fact they do their best as they accumulate power to do the opposite.  Government secures that level playing field.  Yes that big bad government is our salvation if we want real freedom and equality.

*** Racism wants to reserve a special place for themselves with special solutions.  That may be somewhat true when considering systemic racism in our institutions (policing), but if you believe that money is power, then leveling the playing field should also give them power. Leveling the playing filed is really an approach to all, racism, economic, social, or class.

 

 

Missing the Whole F*cking Point

Part of our problem today is labels. We label something and there are all these connotations of meaning, many may have nothing to do with reality, but they drive our feelings about them. I have two major bones to pick with most journalists, focusing on political intrigue and maneuvering instead of the issues, and labeling as though that explains the underlying issues. We end up discussing all the wrong things and nothing gets done.  Nancy and Chuck announced a “deal” with the VIC on border security and DACA and the Republicans go crazy claiming amnesty.  Can’t have that can we?  Yet we can have amnesty for corporations who shield their income overseas because they don’t want to pay taxes.  Can you think of anyone better who should have a path to citizenship than these model citizens?  But amnesty the word sets them off instead of a real look at an effective policy.

My ire this morning is pointed at Dana Milbank who wrote a column entitled, The Democrats have Become Socialists. He is talking about Bernie and the 16 senators who have signed on to sponsor Medicare for Everyone:

When Bernie Sanders launched his bid for the Democratic nomination, he was often asked whether he, a democratic socialist, would actually become a Democrat. Now, more than a year after he ignited a movement with his unsuccessful bid, that question is moot. The Democrats have become socialists.

This became official, more or less, Wednesday afternoon, when Sanders rolled out his socialized health-care plan, Medicare for All, and he was supported by 16 of his Senate Democratic colleagues who signed on as co-sponsors, including the party’s rising stars and potential presidential candidates in 2020: Elizabeth Warren. Cory Booker. Kamala Harris. Kirsten Gillibrand.

…This embrace of an unabashedly socialist position by the Democrats delights nobody more than the original socialists, the Democratic Socialists of America. David Duhalde, the group’s deputy director, was one of the first in line for the event, carrying a Medicare-for-All sign.

…In the short term, I’ve argued, this development is a bad thing for Democrats. The nation’s focus has been on divisions among Republicans and their inability to enact any sort of agenda under President Trump. The single-payer issue highlights Democratic divisions and united Republicans.

You get the drift. It is bad strategy because as Dana did, Republicans can label them socialist and that is the end of the discussion. But what is really going on is not an ideology binge, but a real attempt to solve one of our biggest problems, the cost and limit of healthcare. That’s the issue. What is the most effective way to deliver affordable healthcare to the whole nation. Once you remove labels and ideology from the equation you are left with some fairly simple facts, yes facts. Universal care is provided by most of the rest of the world at half the cost of ours and better outcomes. How do they do that?

Well they do not have an unregulated or poorly regulated marketplace. The approaches have one thing in common, they offer universal coverage, some (England) with government owned delivery systems, some (Canada) with a single payer where the government is the insurer, but doctors and hospitals still compete to provide service (also our Medicare), and some actually do it through the market place (Switzerland), albeit a heavily regulated market place limiting profit making.

So what Bernie and other Democrats are doing is offering an alternative to our failing system unless of course you like to pay double what other countries pay for worse care.  In fact what they are doing is getting the idea out there so we can debate it and get comfortable with it.  It is how change happens.  It won’t work this time, but it will start people thinking.  But we have the press, this time Dana Milbank, only thinking about Washington politics not the issue itself or what would be most efficacious for the people. So he labels it socialism, be afraid, and playing into Republican hands.  I don’t think so.

If you think like Dana Milbank, we should all move to the middle and hold hands.  Nothing changes and Democrats become irrelevant.  Oh wait, they already have.  I think he and other politicos badly read the people of this country and we should be looking for optimal solutions to our problems and quite labeling them or being against them based on ideology.  Instead we get suboptimal solutions and people lose faith and don’t vote, e.g., the last election.  Democrats are starting to lead again and shake up the system, ideology be damn.  Well it is about time.  Ask yourself this.  Is the point to do things that politicos think are politically smart like tinker with Obamacare and kick the can down the road, or is the point to come up with policies to fix problems?  I thought the latter, but what the fuck do I know.

Normalcy and Compromise

That's what this morning's news is about.  First we go on and on about General Kelly taking over the Chief of Staff position and establishing order and normalcy.  Ha!  Maybe the illusion of normalcy.  Their first action was to get rid of Anthony Scaramucci.  Not that anything changed, just the crude spokesman for telling it as it is, is gone.  But does that change any of the dynamics?  Time will tell, but the pundits are hoping Kelly will put a discipline in policy making.  I don't think you can put anymore lipstick on this pig which is really bad policies and chaos.

That has been really the pundits, mostly hopeful Republicans, who have tried to say things will settle down, Trump will learn, and normal policy will return.  Again, Ha!  Have we learned nothing in the last 6 months?  He is who he is and we will see how Trump destroys Kelly's reputation.  Even the most smooth and coordinated administration, with the policies of Donald Trump, will and does look like chaos.  It is chaos and bad policy based on an alternate reality.

The other talking point today is "compromise".  Maybe now the two sides will sit down and try to fix Obamacare.  We have this foolish idea that in this day and age that compromise is the best of all possible outcomes.  But what if you are compromising with policy based upon alternate facts that set up failure?  What if one side is so tied to ideology, that thinking outside the box is impossible?  Compromise is highly overrated.

Saturday, I tried to give you a blog that looks at proposed solutions to healthcare provided by Republicans and why they make no sense.  If you want to scream, "that's your opinion you liberal pig!" actually no when you get CBO (Congressional Budget Office) scores that tell you it doesn't work.  Republicans then decry the report as false from their own guy because they did not like the answer. And that is critical here.  We need to quit the ideological bullshit and just evaluate an approach and any possible compromise by whether or not it will actually be effective and efficacious.

Somehow we have gotten to think that both sides are as ideologically wedded to a certain solution and that is simply not true.  Republicans are because the market place must solve all problems and big government is bad.  If the market place would have solved all problems, we would not have needed Obamacare.  Obamacare was the Democrats trying to accommodate market place solutions and we have seen where that fell short. Paul Krugman today (Who Ate the Republicans Brains?) tried to explain how Republicans have created an alternate reality to uphold their ideology and they are now locked in a world of  dishonesty:

And that kind of behavior doesn’t come out of nowhere. The Republican health care debacle was the culmination of a process of intellectual and moral deterioration that began four decades ago, at the very dawn of modern movement conservatism — that is, during the very era anti-Trump conservatives now point to as the golden age of conservative thought.

A key moment came in the 1970s, when Irving Kristol, the godfather of neoconservatism, embraced supply-side economics — the claim, refuted by all available evidence and experience, that tax cuts pay for themselves by boosting economic growth. Writing years later, he actually boasted about valuing political expediency over intellectual integrity: “I was not certain of its economic merits but quickly saw its political possibilities.” In another essay, he cheerfully conceded to having had a “cavalier attitude toward the budget deficit,” because it was all about creating a Republican majority — so “political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government.”

The problem is that once you accept the principle that it’s O.K. to lie if it helps you win elections, it gets ever harder to limit the extent of the lying — or even to remember what it’s like to seek the truth.

Does that mean healthcare should be single payer only.  Of course not.  Medicare is not single payer only.  It is supplemented by market policies that fill the gaps.  But it does need to be universal care which is what the rest of the world's experience tells us.  The bottom line here is that we need to get to a place where not compromising is okay if the compromise is not the end in itself and will not solve the problem.

We just looked at three plans submitted by the Republicans and we all saw where they would lead, to a failure of healthcare.  So sure, go talk, see if we can get a consensus.  But don't stupidly kick the can down the road to hold hands and say we compromised when the solution is destined for failure.  We have data and metrics.  We know what will and won't work, and we have a Congressional Budget Office that will give us a real score.  Let's use it. Sure some solutions will give us unintended consequences so we need to then fix them.  Ideology is what has prevented us from fixing Obamacare. They hate it on made up facts and ideology so they can't stand to fix it.

One last thing, I and many progressive would like  Medicare for all, but we are open to anything that stands the test of reality.  Republicans, whether it is flow down works (tax cuts pay for themselves), big government is always bad (so how come Medicare works and Social Security saves many people?), or the market place left unfettered by government provides the best solutions (see the Financial Crisis 2007-2008), have had it wrong with a capital WRONG.  They are very good at identifying problems, but then their ideology gets in the way of evaluating solutions.  It is time to end that and not be afraid to not compromise with bad ideas.  Just evaluate the ideas with an open mind in the reality we live in, not the alternate one the Republicans have created.