Posts tagged ‘immigration’

Democratic Strategic Vision – Lack Thereof and the Big Tent

I would write this morning about the Village Idiot in Chief and his trashing of the office of the Presidency, his disregard and lack of respect for the rule of law, his nationalistic racism, his trashing of the media and the free press, calling again for the imprisonment of a political rival (lock her up), his blatant obstruction of justice, his destruction of State, EPA, FDA, Education, and his continuous lying from the podium. His last communication director ought to be a wakeup call for how he is making the United States a mockery. But to tell you the truth, most of the above is being well covered by the media.

Those horrible leaks are what are keeping us informed voters. Of course the Republican Party is still in denial. I heard one respected Republican tell us he could not imagine Trump firing Sessions now. I can. Oh and the same one argued that this bunch is not his Republican Party. Sadly it is everyone else's and if you call yourself a Republican and vote that way, you enabled what we are living through. But I digress.

This morning Fareed Zachary on CNN Global GPS show opined that the Democrats were making the same mistake they made many years ago by not listening to pro-life voices and not being a big enough tent:

In 1992, the Democratic Party faced a challenge on the issue of abortion. Pennsylvania’s governor, Robert Casey, a Democrat dedicated to the working class, asked to speak at the national convention in New York City. He wanted to propose a pro-life plank for the party platform, mostly as a way of affirming his Catholic beliefs.

He fully understood that the motion would be voted down, but the Democratic Party refused to permit him even to air his views, so great was his heresy. “That sent a strong signal to working-class Catholic and evangelical voters that if they did not fall into line on this one issue they were no longer welcome in the party,” writes Mark Lilla in “The Once and Future Liberal,” his brief but brilliant book that comes out later this month.

I wonder if today the Democrats are making the same mistake on immigration. To be clear, I think the bill that the Republicans rolled out this week is bad public policy and mean-spirited symbolism. But that’s beside the point. Lilla acknowledges that he is a pro-choice absolutist on abortion, but he argues that a national party must build a big tent that accommodates people who dissent from the main party line on a few issues.

I would make two observations here. First the two issues are nowhere near the same, abortion and immigration. Secondly, exactly what is the Democratic position on immigration other than being against Trump, his wall, and the latest abomination Fareed cites above? Let's take them one at a time.

In the pro-life question, note that in the language of the two sides is the real truth of what is really going on. Pro-life is not pro-life. They are anti-abortion. If they were pro-life and just wanted to argue for you to keep an unwanted child however begot, they already have that right. But that is not what they want. They want to use government to outlaw abortions and force government into private discussions with your doctor, your husband, your control of your own body. They want to take away the right to choose.

Pro-choice is pro choice. They are not as the Pro-life side depicts them, pro-abortion. They are not even suggesting that abortion is a good thing. They simply don't want government to decide for you, and force you to have an abortion. In fact all they want is that you can have that choice and that you can control your own body (within already well defined limits).

So what Fareed thinks is a great mistake, not allowing the gentleman to propose a pro-life plank and thus sending "working-class Catholic and evangelical voters" on their way, was really a decision about the very basic beliefs of Democrats, that people should have free choice to decide for themselves that most basic and personal decision. Would you allow a communist to argue for a communistic platform for a bigger tent? This is not some policy that may or may not work, this is about a basic value of who we are as Democrats.

Using government to force people to make decisions because others have religious convictions is not only against the Constitution, but everything Democrats stand for. And Fareed thinks we should open our arms to them? If we do, I don't know who we are anymore, and I strongly believe that people are voting against us just for that reason. Instead of pandering to those who believe things that are antithetical to basic Democratic beliefs, maybe we should focus on getting those who did not vote last time back out to the polls.

Now on immigration, I have no idea what the Democratic position is. That is the major problem with Democrats right now whether it is healthcare, tax reform, or in this case immigration, what is the party platform? So I am waiting to understand what our Immigration absolutism is.  What is the basis from which Democrats could negotiate with Republicans? I have no idea and what we are left with is either "Republican ideas suck", or a piecemeal approach by individuals within the party (herding cats). That is why Republicans win with the weak-minded. They are firm in what they want whether it is good policy or not.

For immigration policy, unlike the abortion issue which is driven by religious belief*, it needs to be driven by science and data. What works best for our country. This is not some he said/she said argument. We have the facts. Republicans are running on emotion. They think we need less because they are blaming everything on immigrants. It is not based on fact, but anecdotes. There is no question that there are strong feelings about this, but the policy has to based not on fear, but on what works.

Economists are telling us that broad immigration really helps our economy. Do we need to be more selective? Maybe, but it needs to be thought out. Some would argue that allowing in more educated and trained immigrants actually allows corporations to drive down wages. Keeping out the lower economic classes and uneducated immigrants could hurt other sectors of our economy like agriculture and cuts off a path to the American dream for those who want to come here and work hard. The Republican's stand on amnesty is cruel and inhuman, based on racism and fear. We should negotiate that? Should we have a big tent for bigots?

My point is simply that Democrats can be a big tent on immigration within limits. Clearly we can argue within the party about how to control immigration to protect jobs, while at the same time providing for a growing economy. That is way different that an argument about using the government to take away a basic human right, the right to chose and I wonder why Fareed used this example.

He is really arguing the FDR liberalism of fairness for everyone against the special interest politics that we see (a black agenda, a white middle class agenda, a well-educated innovator agenda) from Democrats today (identity liberalism). And he is right here and suggests that we as Democrats see the fear that those who went right on immigration feel and welcome them into the tent. And here is where I have a really big problem. What does that mean? That we play Republican fear tactics or does it mean we recognize the problem but use data and science to craft effective policy?

Fareed tells us:

Democrats should find a middle path on immigration. They can battle President Trump’s drastic solutions but still speak in the language of national unity and identity. The country’s motto, after all, is “out of many, one” — not the other way around.

I don't think so. Middle ground can only be found where there is a real and rational difference of opinion. Policy should be based on facts, history, science, and data. If the facts, history, science, and data tell us the other side wants to do something bad for the country based upon ideology and fear, why should we as Democrats find a middle ground to have a bigger tent? We should fight for what we know is right, again not based on ideology, but by that fact and data thing. We should only make compromises when the facts are not clear and we are really arguing ideology instead of efficacy.  Otherwise just who the hell are we?

*Actually our policy on abortion is based upon science, when is life considered viable, does the fetus feel pain, etc. The fact that that has been contested does not mean their are differing opinions based on fact. It means that one side will make up science to agree with their ideological beliefs, but the overwhelming data still supports the laws we have. If and when that changes, we would be happy to discuss.

Pre-State of the Union Thoughts

I listened to Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary for George Bush, explain what Trump needs to do in his State of Union Address tonight, show people that he is in charge and give them confidence in his leadership.  It is kind of like the last three years never happened and we don’t already know he is a lunatic.  I keep wondering how people still just say this is an adjustment period and things will stabilize.  What will stabilize, sadly, is that we will lower our expectations to accept this lunacy as normalcy.  It is fairly obvious at this point that we have an erratic and ignorant man at the helm and the craziness will get worse.  If we get anything else, it will just be good acting.

The other thing that one might wonder about these statements of normalcy is just how far the Right is willing to go in their denial of the danger of Trump to get their conservative way*.  Just take the budget thing.  He wants a big boost in military funding at the expense of agencies such as the EPA and other discretionary funding agencies which don’t have large enough budgets to really fund that increase.  Now one might ask, large military budget for what?  It would be reasonable to ask what is the threat in the future and how can we best be prepared for that threat, but I just heard $58 billion in increased spending.  He has no clue how the economy or budgets work and the Republicans are going to find themselves either at war with Trump and his spending (Wall, roundup, Military, tax cuts) and their supposedly fear of large deficits.

I heard a discussion this morning and the statement by the talking head reporter was that Cheeto-Head’s plan does not address entitlements.  Think about that a minute. She was implying they need to be cut.  Why raise taxes?  See where the argument is already in stone? To pay for a wild military expenditure we have to cut entitlements, because that is where the real money is.  Why not forget about tax cuts (that is different from tax reform) and raise taxes to pay for our entitlements?

The other thing I hear is that it is complicated. Cheeto-Head said that yesterday when talking about health-care.  NO IT IS NOT!  If you can add and subtract, none of this is difficult.  If reasonable costing healthcare that actually covers pre-existing conditions, keeps your kids in till 26, and covers things such as preventive care, and has a reasonable out-of-pocket limits, EVERYONE HAS TO PLAY!  It spreads the risk and costs.  The way to improve it is to go to a single payer plan. David Frum, a conservative, made the point last night on the Last Word  that if our health care cost what Canada’s does (and they cover everyone with a program similar to Medicare for everyone), there would be plenty of money in the existing budget to pay for military increases.  Duh!

I guess I get somewhat frustrated writing this blog because none of this is complicated.  None of it.  It got complicated when a certain Party did not like the answers and then tried to reinvent reality to fit their ideology.  So here it is without the ideology and we could easily fix all our problems if we could just get Republicans out of the way, like we did in California:

  • Healthcare – This is a no brainer.  Obamacare has always been flawed because it provided a complicated solution to maintain the existing health insurance industry.  It would not be collapsing if Republicans had not tried to block any repair and tried to sabotage it at every step.  But the real fix is not another market based failure, it is single payer care, like the rest the world does and pays half for better outcomes.  The answer has been beating us in the head for 50 years, but it does not meet Republican ideology of market place good, government bad no matter what.
  • Jobs – This also is a no brainer.  Give people money and they will buy things. JObs will then be created.  Continue growing economic inequality, and jobs languish.  Best way to give them money?  INFRASTRUCTURE!  Fix what we have, plan and reinforce for global warming impacts (yeah again Republicans denying reality), and build alternative transportation like high-speed rail where it make sense.  Cheeto-Head says he is going to spend on infrastructure, but it will be tax incentives and private investment, meanwhile his buddies in the Congress will hold back funds.
  • Debt – IS NOT A PROBLEM! Sure if it gets way out of hand (and Republicans scream that it is every day). It does become a problem when it gets too big, but what is too big?  All companies incur debt to grow and the measure of debt becoming a problem is interest rates climbing, or government spending interfering with private sector borrowing.  Neither has occurred.  We never need to pay the debt off, just keep it within a reasonable range.  Forget the numbers because they are meaningless.  What makes a difference is debt as a percentage of our income (GDP).  I have a home mortgage that is about 3 times my income (GDP).  Mortgage companies look at debt service as a percentage of you income.  We should do the same.  Sometimes (now) we need to take on more debt than we need at other times.  But to have some wild ideology that says all debt is bad is a recipe for disaster.  (See The Economy)
  • Immigration – THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM!  All of the scare stories you hear are false.  Sure you can find some undocumented person who committed a crime, but much less than the general population.  They add to our economy, and quite frankly they are essential to it.  But a certain Pary made them the enemy, created terrorists at the border (never been any) and on and on.  Immigration reform is simple.  Legalize those here for a certain period, give those who don’t meet this a path forward without leaving the country, and then simplify the work visa program so that workers can easily travel back and forth.  Then and only then do you crack down on hiring illegals.  How hard is that.  Oh wait! We can’t reward rule breakers.  Tell that to Steve Jobs.  I hate Republicans.
  • Refugees – THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM!  If we want more terrorism, don’t assimulate the refugees.  Make more people hopeless.  When was the last time a refugee was a terrorist?  Sure we can look at our vetting program, but it has not failed and terrorists come in on tourist visas.  My head hurts.

When you finally figure it out, all these problems are not problems and the answers are right in front of us.  But it’s complicated because Republicans can’t let go of their failed ideology and need scapegoats to blame all our problems on.  Sadly the people we need to blame are Republicans.  Can’t wait for Cheeto-Head to show us once again what a goon he is.  Maybe he will get through the State of the Union by just reading the words his team put in front of him.

Oh, and for those of you who still think he is smart, listen to him talk.  He has no vocabulary and makes no sense.  He got rich, not by being smart, but skilled, in this case skilled in fooling and screwing people.  Looks like he is bringing those skills to the job the Rubes elected him to.  Enjoy.

*This is from The Stone:

There is a lesson here about the lurking dangers of Donald Trump’s rhetoric and that of his minions. Citizens in a technologically advanced liberal democracy must rely on its scientific community to deliver disinterested information upon which to base their decisions about the policies they would have their elected representatives enact. Citizens are also highly dependent on a probing press to help them judge the performance of their elected representatives. Trump, first as a national candidate and now from the pulpit of the presidency, has not ceased to deny and denigrate the findings of scientific bodies concerning the rate and causes of climate change. In addition, he regularly calumnies individual members of the press and vilifies entire news organizations. They are dismissed as purveyors of “fake news” — a label Descartes’s skeptic might have been delighted to apply to the allegedly untrustworthy deliverances of our sense organs.

This behavior is not merely offensive and outrageous. The real problem is that it is dangerous: It poses an existential threat to our democracy. These attacks poison the wells of reasoned public discourse, a prerequisite for a functioning democracy. The problem is not merely that we are being fed a falsehood here, a lie there, though that would be problem enough. The issue is rather that by destroying the citizenry’s confidence in the institutions of science and the press, we risk being deprived of the tools needed to assess what to believe and want. If we cannot trust what vetted scientists or professional journalists tell us, then we will have been rendered rationally impotent. It is damaging to be fed falsehoods or to be outright lied to, but it is utterly debilitating to be deprived of the resources by which to sort fact from fiction.

Connect the Fucking Dots!

Two reports.  First, the White House prevented CNN, Politico, and the New York Times from attending the White House News brief.  This is how totalitarian governments operate.  The rest should have walked out.  Apparently they still don’t get it yet.  You are attending a propaganda session and truth is not going to happen.  Quit covering any of this live.  I don’t watch that briefing or anything President Cheeto-Head is on because it is just a long list of lies and propaganda. Ignore the State of the Union.

Second, MSNBC did a report today about California farmers in the Central Valley ( produces 1/4 of all produce in this country) who voted for Trump and were now concerned about his immigration policy destroying their labor.  How fucking stupid can you be?  The nice thing is that their votes did not count as the popular vote in California was overwhelmingly for Hillary, but they elect conservative Congressmen who helped block immigration reform all those years ago that they are now crying out for.  No I do not want to understand their problems or listen to them.  They don’t understand their own problems or how they hurt themselves.

We have entered the Twilight Zone where it just amazes me that these people who want fewer regulations and lower taxes cannot connect the fucking dots.  Enjoy your choice.

Connecting the Dots

Remember when our southern border was being overrun by unaccompanied minors from Central America?  The majority came from Honduras and there is a very interesting piece in the NYT by Sonia Nazario this morning about how the number from that country has been halved, not by building a giant fence, but by taking on the root cause of the migration in Honduras, violence.

This summer I returned to Rivera Hernández to find a remarkable reduction in violence, much of it thanks to programs funded by the United States that have helped community leaders tackle crime. By treating violence as if it were a communicable disease and changing the environment in which it propagates, the United States has not only helped to make these places safer, but has also reduced the strain on our own country.

…Smart investments in Honduras are succeeding. This offers a striking rebuke to the rising isolationists in American politics. A Pew Research Center poll in April found that most Americans think the United States should “deal with its own problems” while others deal with theirs “as best they can,” a sentiment that’s at the core of Donald J. Trump’s “America First” slogan and “build a wall” campaign. Many seem to have lost their faith in American power.

And then I had this amazing epiphany.  That is exactly our own problem in America as we become a fragmented and troubled society.  Economic inequality is separating power from reality.  The rich deal with our problems by building gated communities both in reality and figuratively to deal with the problem instead of actively engaging in understanding and dealing with root problems.  Trump wants to build a fence on the border, and conservatives want to build a fence around their wealth and isolation.  Diversity scares them and they build walls called voter suppression,  religious freedom (discrimination), anti-intellectualism, and support economic policies that increases that separation. Maybe we could learn something from this.

Connecting the Dots, No Really

There were two informative articles that tell you a lot about America today and how selfish we have become.  And in that selfishness, vote against our own best interests.  The two articles I would like to connect the dots on are one in McClatchy talking about Hispanics who would like to vote Republican except for Donald Trump, and the other, how the wealthy have insulated themselves from taxes so that economic inequality continues to grow.  While the tax burden falls on the middle class.  Here are some of the gems from interviewing Hispanics about their voting Republican:

Talk to Latinos throughout the Las Vegas area and their views are strikingly similar. Top concerns are better schools, more ability to grow their own businesses and leaders who share their strong religious and moral beliefs.

Jesus Marquez, who runs an air conditioning business, grew up in a Democratic household but turned Republican after watching details of President Bill Clinton’s relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky unfold. “They devalued the office when he lied,” Marquez said as he sipped some very dark coffee recently in the very dark Florida Café Cuban Bar & Grill, a popular downtown Latino gathering spot. He saw Republicans as the party of higher standards.

Peter Guzman, a real estate developer, has long been sympathetic to Republicans, but he can’t stomach Trump’s comments.  “It’s going to be a challenge for me to embrace a candidate who has completely talked to my culture in an undignified way,” he said.

Ariel Gomez, a handyman, urged listening closely to what Trump is saying. He was not condemning all Mexicans, Gomez said.

Krissian Marquez, an entrepreneur, sees herself as one of those good people. Born in Mexico, she grew up in California. She understands the lure of Democrats. “When people first come here,” she said, “they say, ‘I’m going to do this for you,’ so obviously that’s how people vote and a lot of them just stick to that.”

Marquez warmed to Republicans as her daughters began school. She appreciated how George W. Bush, as governor of Texas and as president, understood the Latino community’s desire for better schools. One of her daughters went to the neighborhood school and it was “not the best,” said Marquez. Another daughter had the freedom to choose, went to a magnet school and did much better, she said. “I fight for what I believe in, and Republicans are more about school choice,” Marquez explained.

Antiles voted for Obama twice. His wife is of Mexican ancestry; he’s Cuban. Though Obama did halt deportations of the children of immigrants here illegally who met certain criteria, he never really delivered on his promise to overhaul the immigration system.  Antiles wants to vote Republican, and he likes Rubio. But Trump? “I don’t like this guy,” he said.

Now follow the logic here as there are a couple of logical threads.  First is denial.  The Republicans treat Hispanic well except for Donald Trump.  Was it Donald Trump that refused to vote on immigration reform and who has a base that wants to throw them all out and judge them by their color, but “He saw Republican’s as a party of higher standards.”  Really?

The next thread is that many of these folks have made it into the middle class and they want to pull the ladder up.  They want a more friendly business environment, lower taxes and less regulation on their own businesses, and not wasteful spending on those who have less. They want school choice failing to recognize that their Republican friends and their low tax rates are what are devasting schools.  I want is best for mine screw everyone else.  There is just a total lack of logical connect the dots here and it is mind bogling.

Now let’s connect the dots.  From the NYT on an article how the wealthy were shielding their money from taxation: 

With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century and public debate rising over whether the government should respond to it through higher taxes on the wealthy, the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means.

The impact on their own fortunes has been stark. Two decades ago, when Bill Clinton was elected president, the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012, when President Obama was re-elected, that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually, when payroll taxes are included for both groups.

So who is it that wants to cut taxes on the “job creators”?  Who is it that thinks lower taxes on the wealthy results in flow down to the rest of us.  And how do they pay for them?  Slashing the very investments we need to be a strong competitor in the future.  And if it hasn’t dawned on these Hispanics who are moving up, as more and more wealth gets concentrated in a very few, our whole economy suffers because the rest of us have less to spend.  Yet these are the people they want to vote for?  So the Republicans throw a few bones out to these folks in lower taxes, and less government regulation, oh, and more school choice (for those that can afford it) and they fall in line marching to their own demise.  Yes, there is a limit to selfishness and self interest.  But they vote Republican or don’t vot at all and then are surprised at the results.

Cranks and Loons

Bernie Sanders is my man.  I know Hillary will win out, but Bernie is the one who truly puts forth policy positions that make perfect sense.  The NYT this morning had a great op-ed about Bernie’s approach to immigration and how in any other time, would have seemed like common sense, but with Republicans running around shouting lies and screaming be afraid, it appears radical.  The article finished with this:

In this bizarre campaign season, Republican candidates are playing reality-TV versions of themselves, filling the air with lies and irrational promises, while the Democrats — Mr. Sanders especially — are depicted by TV comics as cranks and loons. Mr. Sanders’s immigration plan is a powerful counterpoint to that stereotype. It is reality-based, moderate, practical and hopeful.

Sadly it is not just the TV comics, but TV pundits.  Remember the narrative that Bernie is just the Democrats answer to the Republicans going far right?  He is not, of course.  His policies address real problems that are out there for all of us to see and yet we are blinded by the fact that it is not part of our conventional wisdom. The impacts of economic inequality are just beginning to dawn on us.

Big banks have to be broken up, regulation will never work because we had regulation and they were co-opted.  Health care will only be really and truly effective when we get for profit companies out of medical insurance (single payer system).  This one really makes me laugh because the rest of the world has figured this out and we proceed with the most costly health system in the world with suboptimal results.

We need stronger social security not a weaker system.  When you think about a really vibrant competitive free market, if most of us had a minimal retirement system guaranteed by the government and our healthcare paid for by our taxes, taking the burden of both of these off business, we would be much more likely to take risks and move where the opportunities arise.  Did I just dream this up?  Nope, Scandinavian countries are proving this point.  Google it. And of course we can afford it.

So Bernie is just telling it like it is, and most of us are shocked, shocked, shocked I tell you, that out system needs some major adjustments.  And of course, those most against these changes profit from the status quo, but that is fewer and fewer of us which is exactly what Bernie is pointing out.

The real loons out there are the Republican Party and Democrats who don’t see the necessity of these changes.  No, Bernie is talking truth to power, and they don’t like it.  But I do and he is my man.

Is the Pope Political and Did (Will) He Choose Sides?

The media are twisting themselves into pretzels trying to present the Pope as the man of all people and not picking sides.  It is not working.  Just listen to his message.  He cares about the common man.  Republicans think the common man did not work hard enough.  He cares about the climate and doing something about climate change.  Republicans think climate change does not exist.  He cares about the gross economic inequality that is springing up everywhere.  Republicans basic philosophy of economics, trickle down, is the basis of economic inequality.

The Pope thinks we are too materialistic.  Republicans think we need more stuff (so do some Democrats).  He thinks we should be much more liberal with refugees. Republicans want to build walls and round-up brown people. And of course he is against abortion and on that one, he and Republicans agree, but the Pope would not use government to force that on those who don’t agree with him.  He (or at least the church) is against gay marriage.  On that one all Republicans (candidates) agree.

So is the Pope a Democrat? No, not really, but he is much closer to them than Republicans.  He has empathy for his fellow man, something foreign to most Republicans as a requirement to hold the beliefs they do.  And in that empathy, some of the things they have in common may go by the way side too.  And maybe someday both will recognize women are equal members of our society.

Really? Vote Republican?

Okay, your old, white, ignorant, or evangelical.  I get that.  I get that you have not figured out that gays are people just like you. I get that things like global warming are scary. I get that people who act differently (we call that diversity) are threatening.  I get that there are even some of you that think the United States government is about implementing your idea of religion on earth.  For that bunch, there is no hope.  But that is a small percentage of voters.  What about the rest of you?

Really, I am asking what is it the Republicans are offering you in the way of policy?  The Donald is giving you, ‘I am smart, I will fix it’.  And because he is wealthy and a purported successful business man, well, the gullible think that shows he can.  Try to remember he started out wealthy and there are lots of train wrecks in his “path to success” as well as bodies strewn along the way.  So it does beg the question how are you going to fix it?  For that matter what about the other Republican candidates?  What are they telling us they will do?

The upcoming debate tonight is truly a distraction from that question.  The press is hoping they will attack each other for entertainment value.  I wish someone would just ask what they are offering that is not retread policy from before.  So let’s get at it and see what they are telling us:

Immigration will be first up because the Donald has said we will build a wall (neither practical or feasible) and deport all illegals (neither practical or feasible).  The first question you might want to ask is why is immigration a problem?  It is not of course in the sense that illegals pose any kind of a threat.  The real problem is the shadow working environment, and that we actually need more workers for jobs Americans are unwilling to do.  Having said that what do they offer? Well they basically want to do what Donald wants, maybe let some stay, but no path to citizenship.  It doesn’t solve the problem and tries to maintain immigrants as the boggy man.  They had a plan the Senate approved and the crazies in the House killed it.  And that is where they are standing now, pandering to the crazies.

Obamacare is their collective hatred and I cannot figure out based on what since the facts are it insured an additional 8.8 million, lowered healthcare costs, and made sure you are not subject to junk plans (the healthy loved them until they got sick).  Sure it has problems and if it were me, I would junk it and offer Medicare to everyone.  But that is heresy to the free market crowd who can’t seem to learn from the rest of the world.  But here is the really critical thing about their hatred.  They have no viable alternative.  It’s not there.  They have no ideas.

Global Warming may not be mentioned at the debate, but it is one of the most critical issues we face.  Republicans have a real problem here because the solution involves big government so the only response they have is to either ignore it completely, it does not exist, or say it exists but we can do nothing.  Either stance is irrational.  The science is now undeniable, and to say we can do nothing about rising sea levels, drought, and extreme storms is to say civil engineering does not exist.

On social issues, they are scary.  First a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman?  Well not all of them, but most.  Some don’t care, but they can’t afford not to condemn it because they have to play to their white evangelical base.  Meanwhile the nation has moved way beyond them.  Abortion, they are all against it and would outlaw it if they could.  The policies range from taking away a women’s right to choose all the way to denying contraception.  Once again, why would an intelligent woman vote for the these misogynist.  Oh, and speaking of woman hating, no equal pay for equal work and no minimum wage.

Religion in government is truly scary, where they are all standing on the religious freedom train which is nothing more than disguised government sanctioned discrimination and allowing government to establish a religion, evangelism as the religion of our nation.  The other scary part of this is their faith-based thinking that bleeds into government policy.  Why do we want to deny the lessons of the Enlightenment and begin again religious wars in government?  Yeah, please vote for these candidates who wear their religion on their sleeves.

Foreign Affairs is a mixed bag but they all hate the Iran Nuclear deal.  Their alternatives are based upon fantasy, which includes upping the sanctions which everyone knows won’t happen because our other partners are done and moving on.  So they want to rush to war is the only other explanation.  I can only assume they are all locked into the evil empire analogy and any way to try to solve this peaceably is moot.  In Syria and Iraq we have the spectrum from nothing to invade now.  The reality is nobody has a good answer and most would probably do what Obama is doing when it comes to committing troops (except Lindsey Graham).  Most are against the Cuba initiatives and really want to return us to the cold war (Putin).  Some of their thoughts on China border on lunacy.  It is a world economy and we are now all connected, get over it.

On Economics, they are truly scary.  It is trickle down economics and be afraid of the debt.  This is where we have been and it has done real damage to our economy.  So we will do more of the same, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy and waiting for the trickle down that does not work. Oh, and let’s unregulated the banks again. Since they are all pledged (except Donald) to no new taxes, we can’t afford to invest in our future (along with panic-stricken about increasing debt).  So how are they going to create jobs and deal with economic inequality?  Cut taxes, reduce the size of government, and repeal regulations.  How has that worked so far?  The market place that crashed our economy in 2008, will save us, right?  Oh wait, big government saved them.

I am sure there are more critical issues (paying for college anyone?), but in each case they have no ideas.  That is why the Donald is leading right now.  No ideas gives them hope he really can change things since the rest of them are waving the same old flags that have gotten them nowhere.  Note that a couple of the Donald’s ideas, taxing the wealthy and taking money out of politics is playing well with his supporters which do not play well with all rest’s supporters.  Meanwhile Democrats from Bernie who really sees the systemic problems in our economy that ensure growing economic inequality, to Hillary who wants at least some of this stuff are offering real change.

So why again are you voting Republican? Have you liked the last 40 years and want to do the same things all over again.  Will the result be different?  Will the other side now compromise?  Oh get real.

 

 

 

Immigration

My local paper (Sacramento Bee) indicated that Chinese and Indian immigrants now out number Hispanics immigrants  coming into this country, legal or undocumented.  I don’t remember any of those people on our Southern border so why again do we need a wall?  Oh, and even more basic, what again is the problem?  Most are over staying work or tourist visas for China and India, and those coming in from Mexico fill jobs most of you won’t do.  So what again is the problem?  Europe is having problems convincing people to have babies (also Japan) because they are losing populations.  We, on the other hand, still have a growing population due to immigration.  Why again is this a problem?  Be careful what you wish for.

Have You Noticed that All the Republican Issues are Strawmen and Their Solutions are From Fantasy Land?

I got to thinking about this as I saw the Donald go after the war on Christmas that supposedly politically correct Americans are waging against the true believers and good people of this nation.  Except there is no war on Christmas.  Google Federal holidays.  It is still Christmas Day.  It is a made up issue to make the religious right feel picked on, persecuted, and join the righteous Donald in fighting them.

Then of course there is immigration.  What exactly is the problem again?  No, they are not flowing over our borders and the net flow is negative.  Those who have come over we can easily absorb and in many cases are critical to our economy. They pay taxes for benefits they will never collect, and anchor babies are a myth.  A kid can’t sponsor a parent until they are 21 and there is a limited number with an extensive waiting  period.

When was a terrorist ever caught coming over the southern border?  They have crossed the northern one.  What does a wall accomplish given the tunneling capabilities of the bad guys, and remember the fence program we had under George and it got too expensive? All those drugs coming over are because we will buy them.  But the Donald and the rest of the boys and girl see barbarians at the gate, which is another form of be afraid which has worked so well for them.  They are stealing the jobs we won’t do. We actually had a fix, but the House would not vote on it because it would grant a path, albeit a tough one, to citizenship.

Oh, and we are going to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood.  And why is that?  Because the part they don’t like, providing abortions, which is not funded by the government upsets their evangelistic sensibilities.  So what good does defunding them do except defund all the things that they do provide for reproductive health that cannot be provided elsewhere as cheaply?  Oh, and did I mention that everything they do is legal, even the harvesting of stem cells for research, which even Republicans voted for.  But we are going to shut down the government because … ?

Let’s not forget Obamacare which was going to kill jobs and drive costs out of sight, except it didn’t.  But that doesn’t matter because Obamacare is ruining the country … Repealing Obamacare will cost the government billions, increase the deficit they say they are worried about, and there is no answer for what to replace it with other than some fantasy Republican plan that does not exist, but would be “better”.  No word on what to do with the millions who will be thrown off medical plans.  But it is evil and is killing grandma.  Are you sensing a trend here?

Then there is big bad China who according to the Donald is causing all our market problems.  Well they might be causing some of them, but it is because, well, we live in a world economy and when a big economy like China slows down, we can expect it to impact market expectations.  Probably won’t affect our economy at all.  Meanwhile, Chris Christie, tells us that it is the U.S. debt that China is holding that is driving our markets down.  The trouble is that makes no sense whatsoever and I listened to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz point out the stupidity of that argument.  But China is a big bad country, so be afraid and vote for us Republicans because … ?

Then there is the “debt problem”.  Except what problem?  What or how is the debt restraining us or hurting our economy?  Inflation is too low and interest rates are at zero.  Borrow away because there is plenty of very low interest rate money available.  The real debt problem is not the debt, but fear of the debt that has kept us from borrowing at these amazingly low interest rates and start repairing our country.  BUT NO!  Be afraid of the debt!  Soon China will own us! Except that we have been printing money and buying back our debt and Japan holds more debt than China.  What exactly is the problem with the debt again?  Well there is the confidence fairy thing.  You do get that a fairy is a fictitious thing right?

Finally there is the Middle East, which I will grant you is a problem, but the Republican solution is to get tough or redo our invasion of Iraq.  Really?  Huffing and puffing about how much tougher you will be means what exactly?  Oh, I see.  They will see we are tough and roll over.  What part of sectarian, religious wars do you not understand?  And they are all against the Iran Treaty because what we have now will be better.  Problem with that is the international sanctions go away.  Did you see Britain open up their embassy  in Iran and bring with them one of the presidents of Shell Oil?  Like the confidence fairy, believing the sanctions will hold is another fantasy.

Finally there is global warming that any sane person now recognizes and knows we need to do something about.  But they are hanging on to it doesn’t exist or, it does, but there is nothing we can do about it.  Hmm.  One would think at the least we could recognize the rising sea levels and start protecting low land cities.  Actually the Obama administration has already started that action in Alaska.  My guess is when Miami residents are up to their asses in water they might want to ask why again can’t we do anything about it?

This is the craziest time I have ever experienced.  One party is living in a total fantasy land with either strawman problems or real problems with fantasy solutions.  Our media and pundits pretend they are serious and don’t call them on their lunacy.  Can you guess which party that is?