Archive for the ‘Trampling on Conventional Wisdom’ Category.

The Tribalism B.S.

I listened to another pundit yesterday on TV use the tribalism excuse to explain why we are so divided. I just don’t buy it. There can not be two sets of facts. Sure some people are more conservative by nature than others, but when we know the facts, shouldn’t that only modulate how quickly we institute change? Instead, the two sets of facts stops all change in its tracks. I got to thinking about this when I read an article about how a survey showed that while the majority of Americans think our response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has been too small and slow, when you break it down by party, you get three quarters of Republicans who think things are just right, and just the opposite in the Democratic Party.

Why would party affiliation have anything to do with the fact that 78% of Puerto Ricans still do not have power and 28% are still without water one month after the Hurricane? I would bet if you were one of the 78% you would not think Trump and Company were doing such a swell job. If those are the the facts, and they are, how is that acceptable to most Republicans? I think I know the answer to that actually voiced by the FF himself. They are to blame for their own plight because of the sorry state of their electrical grid and their debt. They are lazy. So what we have going here is not tribalism, but a total lack of empathy, blaming the victim, and ignoring reality. What else could it be?

But facts should clear the air, and yet they don’t. Take the latest dust up in the FF’s White House where General Kelly came out and smeared Congresswoman Federica Wilson claiming he had been at an event where she grandstanded taking all credit for funding of a new FBI building being dedicated. He called her an empty barrel. Roll the tape. Did not happen. And now the White House Press Obfuscator (Sarah Huckabee Sanders) says how dare we question the integrity of a four star general. Roll the tape again. Either she did or she did not, and the video of her remarks shows the General was full of shit. Yet, the White House is still denying it. I think we know who is the empty barrel in this episode.

So why can’t they just apologize and get the facts straight? Because the whole existence of the Republican Party today is based upon an alternate reality that does not exist. From tax cuts solve all problems with the economy, to immigrants hurt our economy, all the way to health care is best provided by unregulated markets. It is all provenly false. But that is their dogma so they can’t let it go or see the grayness of the world where these ideas need to be expanded to reality. But since this acceptance of reality would upset their whole ideological apple cart, denial is their modus operandi.

But what is new here is the leader of the nation is now liar in chief. The White House has become the center of the real fake news. That is the end of democracy as we know it if you understand that democracy depends upon a debate of facts to arrive at the proper course of action. We no longer have that. So tribes my ass. One party is delusional and denies facts and the other actually has a grip on them. It would be nice if we quit trying to equate both sides as equal in this, two tribes not listening. There is only one set of real facts. Why oh why would you listen to lies and alternate reality when the future of your country is at stake? The media might want to think about that.

Have a nice Saturday. I am headed for the Van Morrison concert in Oakland as a nice treat from my daughter. If nothing else, we still have our families in all this madness.

Noise, Total Noise, Smoke and Mirrors

What we are getting right now is noise, smoke and mirrors. Why did he do it? Who cares, because the next one will be a different why? We pretend we will get some kind of closure when we know why, I guess because we think if we know why we can protect ourselves. But the next nut job will have a different why. Take the last big shootings, Sandy Hook, the Virginia Tech Shooting, and the Pulse Club in Florida.

What is the common denominator, their type of craziness, or the assault weapons they used. Oh, and you will feel so much better because look, look, even the NRA is moving to “talk” about banning bump stocks. Note that sales are soaring just in case they do. Unless we do an Australia, we haven’t even moved the needle, yet we are so excited that the NRA and Republicans will let us talk about bumps. I am just giddy. It would appear that the more guns we have, the more we need to protect ourselves from others who have guns. Maybe if I was carrying a rocket launcher I could have taken out that nut job shooting from the 32nd floor.  I wonder when we will ever have a real debate.

I listened to one Republican dissembler tell us that we need to debate and study this issue of bump stocks. Responsible people don’t over react (like tax or healthcare reform).  How long have we been looking at this? More noise, smoke, and mirrors. Remember guns don’t kill people, people do, but guns makes it so much more efficient and effective. So why is it again that we keep handing them more and more dangerous and lethal ways to go postal?  See nukes are not the problem, people are.  See the irrational logic line here?

Almost everywhere I look it is smoke and mirrors, noise instead of real change. Tax reform is a joke. Real tax reform is hard. Everyone has a vested interest and we don’t start from the same place. What has to be paid for before we going giving away treasury? No agreement there so this is nothing but a tax slash for the wealthy which is the only economic policy position Republicans know.

Climate change is happening, and we have just had three of the most disastrous storms we have seen in hundreds of years, predicted by global warming, and who is the lead of the EPA (a climate change denier), and now the Dotard in Charge (DIC) is appointing a coal lobbyist as the second in command at EPA. His boys and girls (Cabinet/White House staff) are using their private emails (lock her up) and flying around the country on private jets at your and my expense, and he is draining the swamp? Oh did I mention he is meeting with the generals on North Korea (“Calm before the storm”), and wants to change the Iran agreement? Meanwhile the Republicans are stonewalling the Russia investigation. It’s noise, smoke, and mirrors while the country slides backwards into chaos.

Now that I have thoroughly depressed you unless you are a LD (Little Dotard, Trump base), let me try to show you how we got on this path of ignorance. Right after the shooting in Las Vegas I heard an interview with a woman who was spouting the conventional wisdom about bringing the country back together. “We just need to start listening to each other. We need to lower the rhetoric and listen and try to understand the other side. Then maybe we can find common solutions.” Sounds great doesn’t it? It is horse shit. Pabulum for those who have not been paying attention. It’s pabulum because we don’t operate on the same set of facts anymore.

Were you not paying attention during the Obama years?  Much to my chagrin, because I don’t think Republicans have workable solutions, President Obama tried to compromise with them.  How many Republican votes did he get on healthcare (0).  It got to be a standing joke that even if Barack proposed a Republican plan (which he did on numerous occasions), they were against it.  There goal was to destroy the his presidency (remember Mitch McConnell’s one term President comment?).

In order to take the positions Republicans have taken and support their policies, one had to create an alternate universe, and they did.  Climate change doesn’t exist, tax cuts pay for themselves, immigrants are the root of all our economic problems, all trade agreements are bad, the EPA just hurts business with regulations, regulations in general are bad, government is bad, guns are a natural right, and they were extremely effect at then explaining away failure to act as both sides do it.  Now they are in charge, and they still can’t do anything.

But the point here is that they created a public that does not agree on a set of facts.  Does it not floor you that much of America gets their news on Facebook trending junk?  We can’t have effective solutions if we cannot come together on root cause and effect.  Republicans believe that more guns makes us safer.  How has that worked out?  Republicans believe that climate change is worst a hoax, at best not man-caused, so we do nothing as the conditions for disastrous climate changes increase.  How can all regulations be bad when many of them came from very bad situations where protections are in order? Obamacare is a disaster, but their answer for a fix is trust us, the market place will solve all issues?  The facts do not support any of their beliefs.

So back the woman who wants me to listen.  But the other side has already ended listening because I must be confused about my facts.  Why should I listen to someone who wants to take away gay, lesbian, or transgender rights?  Why would I want to listen to someone who wants to destroy Obamacare with no viable solution?  Why would I want to listen to someone wants to destroy the EPA and deny climate change?  Until we can establish again the difference between political differences and facts, there is no debate.

Let me leave you with this.  There will be no hand holding and coming together.  We have to re-establish facts before we have political debates about what to do about them.  Climate exists and is man caused.  Tax cuts in this economy do not simulate growth.  All government is not bad.  Immigrants help, not hurt our economy.  More guns are killing more people.  We live in a global economy and we need trade agreements.  If we could just start from those established facts (google them!).  Then maybe the listening could start.  But Republicans have made clear they have an alternate set of facts and no further discussion is necessary.

The only fix is that if we survive this four years, we need to hose out the White House and Congress after we throw all of the Republicans and “moderate Democrats” out, and get about the business of governing again.  We deal with facts, data, and science, develop policies based upon them, and if they need fixing, we do not have an ideological agenda or wanting to believe something that prevents us from doing just that.  It is just amazing to me that the real ideologues are not progressives who can change, but Republicans who cannot, and yet somehow we all just need to hold hands.  Bull shit.

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.

 

 

De Flood, De Flood (De plane, De plane)

You remember that show, Fantasy Island, where Tatoo announces the arrival of the plane and rings the bell. Then there is de flood, de flood. I have many questions about this one. Foremost is that the flood was forecast and few seemed to get out. Maybe they couldn’t. Maybe it was not practical. One thing I do not see is indepth aftermath planning. You are going to have tens of thousands that cannot go home, or can go home, but can’t live there. What are Texas and the Feds planning? If we had a competent President, he would have convened a task force to plan this and another for lessons learned. Oh I know! What was I thinking.

This is a president who has proposed to cut FEMA’s and other disaster response agencies budget in his plan to afford tax cuts for the wealthy:

The proposed cuts would include programs run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose new administrator was praised by Trump in a tweet last weekend for “doing a great job”; the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which helps rebuild homes, parks, hospitals and community centers; the National Weather Service, which forecasts extreme storms; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whose research and community engagement help coastal residents prepare for disaster.

Certainly Congress will change its tune after this, right? Sandy only happens to those East coast elites right. How short their memory is. I would bet if California ever gets the big one (earthquake) we would see Ted Cruz screaming pork and fat again. Even Chris Christie called this one (for Sandy) detestable lies and reprehensible. If you are wondering, this is typical Republican conservative bull shit. If it is funding for someone else, it is waste, pork, and graft. He will sing a different tune for Texas.

But it gets better. The Village Idiot in Chief and his Republican cohorts have petitioned and successfully removed an Obama era rule to do more cautious flood plan planning:

Just 10 days before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the White House rescinded one of the most progressive flood-risk management tools on the books, an Obama-era executive order that added caution when building structures in flood-prone areas.

 

This issue was handled deftly by the Obama administration. In January 2015, Obama issued Executive Order 13690, which established the new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). In brief, this standard called for a more cautious approach to construction at the boundaries of flood hazard zones. The approach was flexible and didn’t even require an admission of climate change as being the cause—just more caution.

 

Within days, eight Republican senators sent a letter opposing the new standard as an impediment to land development and economic growth. Among the signatories was John Cornyn of Texas. Within three months of sending that letter, large areas of Cornyn’s district were underwater, including damage to new buildings that may not have been there had the FFRMS been in place earlier. Then severe flooding happened again in 2016 on the Brazos River. And now Harvey is wreaking havoc.

Oh, don’t you just love these people? But it is cheaper with less “gov’ment regulations”! And dumber than a rock. I get this reaction all the time as people who hate government because it interferes with their life style and taxes their hard earned money. Yet when shit happens, and it will, they squeal the loudest. Small government is really nice when we were a rural nation with a small population, oh, and before global warming an global market places, but now we really need it to be effective and Republicans and conservatives continue to try to gut it.

Let’s face it, Republicans are not long term planners. They look for short term cheap. See our investments in infrastructure (Democrats also have played this game, but any infrastructure bill in the last 9 years had to get past the filibuster and Mitch McConnell). When everything is fine and dandy, works out well, but when shit happens and it always will, it leaves us exposed. Sure there are dumb rules, but that does not mean that regulations are bad, just not smart. It would be easy to put together panels of stakeholders (small and large business, scientists, and workers) to review and adjust, but it is so much easier just to rant. Government is bad! Regulations are bad! Well those two might have saved some lives in the past and certainly are saving some today.

So let’s look at Houston. Did they use global warming warnings and data to project future floods and regulate growth and plan for water runoff? Ha! Right now a chemical plant is blowing up because of the unforeseen flooding and loss of power. Will Texas put into effect regulations for the future that take these new trends into effect. Oh, that would be the government messing in business. North Carolina and Florida, two states who will be greatly impacted by rising oceans have banned the use of global warming data in planning. Yes Virginia, not only are they evil but stupider than a rock. Even our military plans for global warming, but out Village Idiot in Chief and his brethren continue to deny it, even though it is smacking them in the face.

Maybe they will learn something and change their ways? Ha! Why would you leave people in charge who are this ignorant? I wouldn’t and neither should you. So let’s watch what happens when they actually have to spend money and do the responsible thing. I will give you a hint. What was the Village Idiot in Chief out selling yesterday? Unrealistic tax cuts for the wealthly. At least I live on high ground.

Free Speech Versus Hate Speech

Well a sign of our times is the Neo-Nazi/White Nationalist face off in Charlottesville Virginia in a protest to removing a Robert E. Lee Statue. Oh, did I mention the Ku Klux Klan? Wait, there was a militia marching with their weapons. They are all clashing with counter protestors. Welcome to Trump’s America. Also note that as of this morning, Breitbart is not reporting it, I guess because their continuous legitimizing of hate has now broken out. It is the Alt-Right under one banner. And it is the people who elected Donald Trump. And why is a hate monger like Steve Bannon in the White House?

We are going to see a further rise of violence and white nationalism, because that is how Donald Trump won the election, by goading and legitimizing those hates. So in one part of our country we are turning on each other and finding ways to hate each other. That is the America middle America brought us because we did not understand their pain. They wanted change. How’s that change working?

And make no mistake, the Alt-Right is not exercising their free speech rights, they are engaging in hate speech. There are limits. I am appalled that our greatest strength, our diversity and tolerance, is now under attack and that is clearly legitimized by one person, Donald Trump. The man is not just a disgrace to America, but to the human race. And now we see the fruits of stupid people casting stupid votes.

I would like to expand on that, stupid, ignorant votes. The conventional wisdom is that when Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan (roughly just 80,000 votes) went Trump, because he was the only one who spoke to their pain. Horse shit. The word is pander to their pain and they stupidly fell for it. It was ignorance at work. Sure, even I thought Hillary did not bring real understanding of the increasing economic inequality, and was part of a Democratic elite too tied to the status quo and Wall Street. But Donald Trump was a racist liar. That is not an opinion, he displayed it in every campaign rally he spoke at.

So Hillary did not pander to them, and in fact did not even think they were worth listening too, but the Donald did. And what he promised them was a total fantasy, that he would bring back manufacturing and coal. But how? They never asked that. He is a business man and will run government smartly. Really? That is another stupid and uniformed belief that government is anything like business, nor should it be. It is not to maximize profits, it is to protect us and invest in our futures. So without any plans for the future, describing a reality that does not exist, exhibiting misogynistic, racist, white nationalist tendencies, they voted for him. They are fucking idiots. Now we have the rise of white nationalism, and hate everywhere. We may talk ourselves into several wars, and trust me, the economy is going to crash.

So do you think the Democratic Party should pander to their stupidity and racism? I don’t think so. Don’t move to the middle if that is what moving to middle means. Certainly they have problems and they should be addressed in a more holistic manner in policies to deal with economic inequality. Hillary would have been so much better for them, even with all her faults. But they were mad as hell and stupid as a block of wood. And now we live with what they delivered to us. I tell you who is mad as hell…

So I am doing my part. This is what stupidity and ignorance bring us. We should not pander to it, but educate it, shun it when it won’t be educated, and be a Party and a people who stands for diversity and equal rights, including fixing our economic system so it works for all of us. Hillary did not get that the system is fatally flawed, but she might have eventually, and certainly steered a course that would not give rise to hate, and further violence. We would not be having a legitimized alt-right today.

We are in such dangerous times, both from the bluster abroad and the rise of armed alt-right here at home. This is squarely on Donald Trump. What we need to do as a People and as a Party is to reject both and show a level of intolerance to the hates and fears that sparks all this violence. Republicans continue to pander and enable what we are seeing. Democrats need to firmly reject all of it. Oh sure, we will get statements of horror from Republicans, but Donald Trump is who they enabled. And now the fate of the nation lies in the hands of Republicans in Congress who could do something about him. So far, we have seen what they are made of.

UPDATE: President Trump on Saturday issued a vague condemnation of violence in Charlottesville in a televised statement from New Jersey.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides,” Trump said.

On both sides? Maybe someone ought to show him video of his own speeches. Or maybe someone ought to explain to him what the alt-Right is all about, hate, fear, and violence, not to mention intolerance. The Kettle calling the Pot black. What would President Obama have said, or for that matter, President Bush? Oh have we have fallen.

Bernie Responded: https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/896486900416077825

Oh and here is real leadership and pointing the finger at white supremacy and neo-nazis:

 

A Real Conversation on Race

I am sure you have heard about Bill Maher making a poor joke and using the N-word.  Many have complained that the brouhaha is about political correctness and Democrats are too politically correct.  If blacks can use it, so can we right?  Well to Bill’s credit he focused his next show on it, and while he may not have gotten it, Ice Cube probably made the clearest and direct distinction between political correctness and real understanding of racial sensitivity.  It was the only real conversation I have yet heard on TV on this subject.

I tried to explain this with this to my son as one white guy to another:

I hope you watched Bill Maher last night as there was a real discussion about race and why Bill can’t be one of the boys or comedic license does not cut it.  It is not about being politically correct, it is about experience that informs the meaning of that word.  The closest analogy I can come up with which crosses all racial lines is war experience.  While my experience is different from an Iraq or Afghan veteran, we do have something in common that is not shared and cannot be co-opted by those who have not been there.  You may think you know, but you don’t really.  With the N-word it is the same thing, reserved to those who are black as an experience none of us in a white world can fully appreciate.

But here is the real wisdom from Ice Cube which I think was a real moment in the racial dialogue, not a pretend one:

“I accept your apology. But I still think we need to get to the root of the psyche, because I think there’s a lot of guys out there who cross the line because they a little too familiar—or they think they too familiar—or its guys that, you know, might have a black girlfriend or two who made them some Kool-Aid every now and then, and they think they can cross the line. And they can’t.

It’s a word that has been used against us; it’s like a knife, man. And you can use it as a weapon, or you can use it as a tool. It’s been used as a weapon against us by white people, and we’re not gonna let that happen again by nobody, because it’s not cool. Now, I know you heard [it], it’s in the lexicon and everybody’s talkin’, but that’s our word now. That’s our word now. And you can’t have it back. I know they’re tryin’ to get it back.

And I’m not talkin’ about you, Bill. But I’m talkin’ about guys who cross the line every day because they got some black homies, they got some friends, they think it’s cool. And it’s not cool because when I hear my homies say it, it don’t feel like venom. When I hear a white person say it, it feels like that knife stabbin’ me, even if they don’t mean it.

So, I like your show—and it’s a great show—I just don’t know sometimes, is it a political show, or is it a show about jokes? This, to me, is a political show. And I think you just have to not step on some of the political messages that you sayin’ with a joke, because some things just ain’t funny, you know what I mean? This is real right here that we’re going through. And I’m not tryin’ to get on your case, Bill. I’m tellin’ you: I like your show and I like you. But I think this is a teachable moment, not just to you but to the people who are watching right now.”

Yes we did just have an amazing teaching moment, but in a Trump world this probably is hitting on deaf ears.  We need to change that.

Another One of Those Flashing Lights We Are Ignoring

From the Atlantic Daily email:

The French Election: Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and her independent centrist counterpart Emmanuel Macron advanced to the second round of the French presidential election yesterday. As neither Macron nor Le Pen is from a major party, the vote looks like a clear rejection of the political establishment; it also marks the decline of the French Socialist Party, whose candidate trailed far behind the winners. As the country prepares for the next round, Macron is expected to win by far—yet in expanding her populist party’s influence, Le Pen has already succeeded.

Let’s see, the establishment was rejected in Britain in the Brexit vote, the establishment (both Republicans and Democrats) was rejected in selecting that nitwit Cheeto-Head in the United States, and now the French have rejected their political establishment in both their runoff candidates.  There is something going on here and it is not what you think. It is economic malaise across the board.  The sad thing is that Brexit and Cheeto-Head were elected to attack the wrong targets, change and immigrants.  That is what Marine Le Pen is also running on, but the French may be way smarter than we are.  We will see in a couple of weeks.

Here is what I think, no, know what is going on.  Our economic system does not work for most of us anymore.  It has nothing to do with immigrants, or rapid change, sending jobs overseas.  Okay, they do cause problems, but easily fixable, and yet not much will change.  As long as the wealthy keep sucking up all the air in the room, nothing is going to get better.  That is what establishment politics has missed.

There is a reason for that. I will borrow here from Upton Sinclair via Paul Krugman, “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” They are all part of the system that profits from wealth accumulation.  So they can’t imagine that our economic system throughout the world today is the problem.  They just want to tweak the system, which is why establishment politicians are being roundly rejected.  Nothing changes.

Anybody remember French economist Thomas Piketty?  Back in 2014 he was all the rage when he pointed out that our economics of wealth accumulation is maybe a natural outcome of capitalism and it usually leads to the decline and fall of empires.  He was attacked from all sides.  See Upton Sinclair’s wisdom above.  But Piketty’s data holds and we continue to concentrate wealth.  The chasm between the super rich and the working class is obscene.  There is no coincidence that the two most pressing threats to our survivability, global warming (because it is changing the climate and upsetting economies everywhere) and increasing economic inequality are both disparaged by Republicans.  They got theirs.

Yesterday, or was it Sunday, anyway I blog about what the Democratic Party needed to resolve, what are they really about.  Well the warning lights are on and flashing.  People are turning away from political establishments for new solutions to their problems because nothing ever changed.  The stage was set for the hucksters, Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, and Marine Le Pine, selling their fear, hate, and isolationism.  But they are not looking at the real issue, reinventing our capitalist system to more fairly distribute the bounty.  And that has to be the core of the Democratic platform.

That will be a tough message because the moderates do not want to hear it.  That is the Howard Dean crowd, and actually most of the establishment Democratic Party.  Hillary was the classic example. Even President Obama was an establishment Democrat when it came to economics.  None of them really wanted to take on a runaway economic system.  Bernie did and then he got slammed by Black Lives Matter about not considering their interests.  His first reaction was the same as mine, that economic inequality and making the system fairer includes blacks, women, gays, you name it.  But he was a savvy enough politician to try to bring them in.  But it is interest group pandering that gets us nowhere and generally doesn’t really change anything.

The theme that will create a new Democratic party is to recognize that economic inequality is the mother of all the other inequalities.  To start to share the wealth of our economy with all those that participate creates spending.  To do this means taking on the whole establishment.  But if you are seeing all the flashing lights, the establishment is being resoundly rejected.  We don’t need a more tweaked and refined establishment with better tactics and talking points.  They need to recognize that there is a new message altogether and start reforming capitalism.  If they don’t, it will not be pretty.  Brexit and Cheeto-Head were just the beginning.

What The Democratic Party Should Become

There has been some confusion on who is the Democratic Party and what they Stand For.  In the “Unity Tour” road trip that DNC chairmen Tom Perez and Bernie Sanders were on, the DNC got booed and Bernie clearly identified himself as an Independent.  Joy Reed of MSNBC had an interesting segment on Saturday about what and who the Democratic Party should be.  In the Georgia race that Jon Ossoff, the Democrat may just have a shot, Bernie was asked if Ossoff was a Progressive and he kind of took a pass which he took back later.  But that really encapsulates the issue, who should be the face of the Democratic Party and just because they can win, will they support Progressive policies? Joe Manchin comes to mind on that one. Why we call him a Democrat is beyond me.

So if we are having a Unity Tour, what are we unifying around.  Note that Keith Ellison and Bernie were in Omaha Nebraska supporting a Mayoral candidate who has been wishy-washy on pro-choice.  Say what?  Right now all we can tell is that Bernie has a large following and Perez is using that to get face time.  But we are still left with what and who are Democrats.  Where is the rallying them that defines our vision? In the discussion that followed on Joy’s show she had four panelists, Howard Dean, establishment Democrat and former DNC Chairman, L. Joy Williams, President of the Brooklyn NAACP,  Krystal Ball, Senior Fellow at the New Leaders Council (and ex-MSNBC pundit), and  Marcus Farrell, former director of African outreach in the Bernie Sanders Campaign.

Bernie has said something I agree with:  “Our job is to radically transform the Democratic Party. …It can’t be just symbolic, it has got to be real. …It has got to be that those ideas are allowed to become the dominant theme of the Democratic Party, and that’s the chice that Democrats are going to have to make.”  I agree with him because right now the Democrats are defined across the board from conservative to progressive and nobody knows that means or what that foretells for a plan for the future. Joy asked what I think was a revealing question when she asked if Bernie is holding the Democratic Party hostage, keeping his supporters independent until the Democratic Party buys into his ideas?

My thought is yeah!  What we have been has failed miserably.  You can talk all day about tactics and strategy, but at the end of the day, what is the message?  I still don’t know, but I do know what Bernie stands for.  Krystal made the point that Bernie focused is on economic issues and how that rang across party lines. Krystal argued that we can be a party that is more diverse on cultural issues, and will have to be if we want a 50-state strategy (doesn’t mean we jettison diversity and rights), but progressive economics is where we draw the line.  Both representatives of black communities argued that we need more outreach to black communities if we expect them to vote.  Hmm.  Exactly what does outreach mean?  Howard wanted to keep people in the Party who are economically moderate.  I think this is the failure of the Democratic Party to think this way.  We are so big tent, we stand for nothing.

So what would I recommend?  It is always about the money.  Bernie has a vision for the future that I think rings across all partisan lines.  We need a healthy safety net much as Europe has to free Americans to be more innovative and productive.  Our vision should be a nation where the free market still offerors the competitive edge to many solutions, but for those left behind by large rapid shifts in technology and markets, they are protected.  I believe Howard Dean represents the economic moderates who  have truly hurt the party.  Krystal represented her point of view well when she pointed out that the Democratic Party had become controlled by Wall Street and Bernie represented that clean break.  After all, where is the stock market today and where are the well paying jobs?  Economic inequality is the issue and Progressivism is the only ideology that takes it on.

Okay, on the black thing, I am still angry that they did not get out and vote. In my mind, if you don’t vote, you simply don’t matter.  That is the one way you can change the world and to fail to do that makes you irrelevant.  Black Lives Matters further angered me by demanding what Bernie was going to do for them during the election (the economic justice he was campaigning on wasn’t enough) and I was thinking the real issue is you getting out the vote.  See Ferguson, Mo.  There was a clear difference.

Trying to understand where they were coming from, I found this article by a black man, Jack Brewer, who voted for Trump.  While he makes excellent points about why he and the black community were less than enthused about Hillary, and was tired of the status quo in black communities, Trump had absolutely no policies, was a lying, ignorant human being and you threw the nations fate into his hands, a proven racist.  Here is his logic as he explains it:

Of course, the internet recorded Donald Trump’s history of racial discrimination and his divisive tone toward women. But, what transcended that was Trump’s anti-establishment stance. That has finally taken the wool from over the eyes of many African-Americans — including myself — in relation to the Clinton family, media and the establishment.

It’s been hard to face the facts on how our underserved black lives have gotten worse, not better under our beloved President Obama. The undeniable truth about the Clintons has been disappointing to many because they’ve prided themselves on improving the lives of African-Americans for decades, even as their incarceration policies crippled our communities at its core.

When I finally got into the ballot booth and checked away at local, state and national Democrats on my ballot, I chose a different route for president. I voted for the hundreds of thousands and black non-violent criminals incarcerated as a result of the mandatory minimums. I voted for a more transparent system of deploying aid to underserved countries. I voted for the dream of seeing black millennial and general unemployment rates reach the levels of other races in America. I voted for the hope that entitlements will put accountability measures in place in order to keep low income black parents involved in their kids education as well as help spur job creation over well fare in some cases. I voted for a hope of making black America great again too. I voted for an end of 30 years of establishment rule in America.

I voted for President Donald Trump, with hopes that God frees his mind of the bias and division long enough to do great things for blacks and all the citizens of our great nation.

I guess I see his point about Democrats and the status quo, but Trump? He voted against the status quo and what he got was the dumber crueler version of the status quo. If blacks want to see change, they need to quit asking what Presidential candidates will do for them, but become a voting force in local elections.  Their real salvation is in their hands.  We can fight against voter suppression and outright racism, but to change the real environment where they live, they have to vote.

So where does that leave us?  I think Krystal has it about right, but I will need to read her book to tell.  The key element is to understand that our belief in wall street as the bellweather of the economy and the source of economic wisdom is over.  Balanced budgets and debt have to be evaluated in terms of the economic circumstances not as absolute good or absolute bads.  That for capitalism to thrive for all of us, we need a much better safety net (guaranteed education, health care, retirement system).  Sorry Howard, we can’t afford not to do these things.  Economic “moderates” are the problem.  Bernie got that.

As far as the cultural issues, I think we can’t give an inch on the rights of blacks, gays or whoever.  Certainly we have to have a plan to move the ball forward for blacks because Jack Brewer made some excellent points.  Abortion to me is not about birth control, but individual freedom to make a choice about your own body.   While I understand that maybe we have to be more flexible in Red states, how do you be flexible about whether we enslave women or not?  How do you be flexible about global warming in coal states?  How do you be more flexible about gays, and transsexuals?  Aren’t they people with the same basic rights as the rest of us?  Religion has no place in government and there is no compromise there.  Religious freedom does not mean the right discriminate.

So flexible maybe, but clear lines of where that flexibility ends. That I think is the only way to define the Party or Bernie is right to stay Independent.  I will join him if they don’t learn the lessons of the last election.  It’s about the economy stupid.  We get economic inequality right, we get science and reinstate rational governing, and all the rest will fall in place.

Look! He is Moderating!

That is the lead all week as Cheeto-Head flip-flopped on multiple issues.  Actually they weren’t flip-flopping as acceding to reality in foreign affairs.  But one has to ask why the obvious truths did not dawn on him sooner and is he just so ignorant that his view of reality is shaped by the ones nearest him.  And on North Korea, while he now understands a little more of the China-Korean relationship, does his twitter pugnacious brain simply further goad the situation into a show down?  And with two nut jobs, one ours, who can’t stand losing, and theirs, one who needs confrontation to survive, this could get very ugly.

Meanwhile what is happening in domestic land to show us how he is now presidential?  Well, it is not pretty:

  • President Trump signed legislation Thursday allowing states to withhold federal family planning dollars from clinics that provide abortion services, a move that could deprive Planned Parenthood and several other family groups of tens of millions in funding.”  (WaPo). Now note that federal money cannot be used for abortions and Planned Parenthood has been audited millions of times and have never used federal money for abortions, but well, screw women.  Planned Parenthood is like any other medical provider and bills the government for covered services and I don’t see how this is constitutional, but what do I know.  Also, while we seem to accept that federal money cannot be used for abortions (Hatch Amendment), why not?  Is it not a legal and in many cases a justified medical procedure? Again, what do I know?
  • With the stroke of a pen this week, Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s new education secretary, thrust the future of the government’s system for managing federal student loans into confusion.” (NYT).  President Obama had signed an order to combine the confused administration of student loans into one simplified system.  But that would hurt all those vendors who are trying to make a killing off kids going to college.  Progress is only for Progressives must be the motto.  As an aside, while I was having a basal cell carcinoma removed from my leg, I was discussing single payer with my dermatologist and she said she had mixed emotions because the government always makes things too complicated.  It is not the government, but politicians. Note that with advanced stage prostate cancer I no longer fear talking politics with those welding knives.
  • President Trump’s top environment official called for an “exit” from the historic Paris [climate] agreement Thursday, the first time such a high-ranking administration official has so explicitly disavowed the agreement endorsed by nearly 200 countries to fight climate change.” (WaPo). That is what we elected, science ignorance and they are carrying it out.
  • The Trump administration will not voluntarily disclose logs of visitors to the White House complex, it announced Friday, breaking with the practice started under former President Obama.”  (The Hill)  I wonder what they are afraid of?  Kind of like the tax thing.
  • In an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week, Mr. Trump threatened to withhold the subsidy payments [in Obamacare] as a way to induce the Democrats to bargain with him.” (NYT) Really.  He has a majority in both houses and he needs Democrats to wreck healthcare?  I know this has been beat to death, but the bad parts pay for the good parts.  There is no Republican fix and Democrats would be insane to help dismantle it.
  • “Donald Trump’s travel to his private club in Florida has cost over an estimated $20 million in his first 80 days as president, putting the president on pace in his first year of office to surpass former President Barack Obama’s spending on travel for his entire eight years.”  (CNN) Where is Michelle Bachmann when you need her.  Here is the tip of the iceberg on Republican hypocrisy as none of them see a problem and imagine what they would say (and did) if this was Obama.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions went to the border in Arizona on Tuesday and declared it a hellscape, a “ground zero” of death and violence where Americans must “take our stand” against a tide of evil flooding up from Mexico.” [NYT]. The beginning of the border Gestapo and prosecutions of families just trying to stay together and make a living.  No mention of a rational change in our immigration laws that would allow a free flow of workers we badly need, or treating the cause of all that drug traffic, demand.  Just another mindless day at the beach (on the Rio Grande River).
  • One of the first things this administration did was to rescind a government proposal to ban a pesticide used on much of the fresh food we eat — a chemical compound, chlorpyrifos, found to be harmful to the brain and nervous system of children. This move didn’t get a lot of attention. But when you’re throwing out a half-dozen major lies and missteps a day, it’s tough to compete for airtime.” (Timothy Egan NYT).  Yeah, we don’t need no stink’in regulations if they get in the way of profits.  Who cares who dies if it increases profits?  Unless of course it is your child.  “With his proposal to gut the E.P.A., Trump would make it much more difficult for the Great Lakes to be great again. His budget would eliminate restoration projects in the iconic waterways of America, from Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound. Plus, he would decrease grants to monitor unsafe tap water, creating future Flints.  He also wants to cut research into harmful chemicals — some linked to breast cancer and birth defects — found in things most Americans keep in their cupboards. The tobacco companies must sense a comeback in the offing… ‘We’re doing an amazing job on regulations,’ Trump said this week. ‘We’ve freed it up. We’ve freed up this country so much.’” Nope, we don’t need no stink’in regulations. Free at last, free at last.

So if you are not paying attention, and most of our pundits are not, swept up into group think, he is becoming presidential.  If you are paying attention, he is destroying the America we all love.  Stay tuned.  Maybe he will get us in a war with North Korea and millions will die.  Maybe that will wake up the clueless.

I am a Stupid Idiot

I know that because John McCain said so.  Reporters were questioning Senator McCain about the invoking of the nuclear option (end the filibuster) for approving Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme court:

McCain dismissed the notion Tuesday that changing the Senate rules to prevent a filibuster on Supreme would put the chamber in a better position, saying anyone who thinks it would be beneficial is a “stupid idiot.”

“I would like to meet that idiot, I’d like to meet the numskull that would say that,” he told reporters. “That after 200 years, at least 100 years of this tradition, where the Senate has functioned pretty well, they think it would be a good idea to blow it up.”

McCain said changing the rules would be a “body blow to the institution,” adding he thinks it puts them on a slippery slope. “Whoever said that is a stupid idiot who hasn’t been here and seen what I’ve been through and how we’ve been able to avoid that on several occasions — they’re stupid and have deceived their voters because they’re so stupid,” he continued.

Well now I am labeled, and I look forward to meeting Senator McCain. While I think his politics stink, I respect his service in my war. If you read my blog yesterday you know I thought the Democrats should have got rid of it, or at least modified it so that it did require a talking filibuster, a long time ago  You remember Mr. Smith goes to Washington

But that is not where we are at, and Senator McCain and his brethern forgot how we got here, with the Republicans and then a divided country turning the filibuster into a weapon of obstruction of all government.  But let’s stop and think a minute.  He and his buddy Lindsey Graham are probably going to vote for removing it, so who again is the stupid idiot?  And that my friends is to show the insanity and how out of touch McCain and his brethern are.

He calls it a “body blow to the institution” and then tells us the Republicans have to confirm Judge Gorsuch.  Anybody beside me see the failure of logic here.  The rule was set up so the Senate could do just what they are doing if they find a bill or candidate just not acceptable or mainstream.  So the Democrats use it and Republicans can’t live with the rule.  Make no mistake who is takening this down. It is Republicans who claim a love for the institution, but have failed it so miserably that overcoming the filibuster is now the bar for progress, conservative or liberal.  

So I am a stupid idiot.  I wonder when I can get on Senator McCains calendar since he so wants to meet me.  Should I just introduce myself as that idiot>