Posts tagged ‘Republicans’

How Did We Get Here?

By here I mean a President who is ethically and morally challenged, ignorant of history or our fundamental values, and we try to normalize him.  He has so many conflicts of interest it boggles the mind.  He just fired the person who was investigating him and seems to want to put Republican yes-men in his place. Loyalty to United States means loyalty to Donald Trump.  The very basis of democracy, a trust in our institutions and processes are being undermined at a hectic pace and the people who could do something, “proud” Republicans, do nothing.  We put a known racist and liar in charge of the Department of Justice*, and ethically challenged and climate change denier in charge of the EPA, a non scientist and who once said we should abolish the Department of Energy in charge of it, and a public educating hating and totally ignorant person in charge of public education. How did we get here?

Well first of all, there are no more “proud” Republicans except some pundits whose mind is clouded by the past that doesn’t exist anymore. Now I have spent lots of time in this blog explaining how middle America and Red States got dumbed down by a lazy press in bed with those they cover, being falsely fair and balanced claiming both sides do it, and a 50 year plan by conservative ideologues to take over the country.   But what I am talking about here is what happen to the Republican Party that no longer exists as a moderate conservative approach to government.

If you really want to understand this, look at it from 30,000 feet. Republicans won in 2000 by stealing an election and that set the tone for our next 17 years.  The tone set was winning is everything, whatever it takes.  The problem with that win in 2000 was when Republican ideas were actually implemented, we blew up the deficit with tax cuts, and eventually blew up the economy by removing regulations on banks.  All that is masked by the Afghanistan/Iraq war, but there it was.  Republican ideas simply did not work in a world economy. So in 2008, the country tried Barack Obama (Yes We Can!).  In the famous inauguration night meeting, Mitch McConnell and his Republican boys decided that they would do whatever it took to make Barack fail (No You Can’t!).  That was the end of the Republican Party as we knew it and the finally end to two-party governance.

That agreement was the stake in the heart of democracy because it went after the implicit contract we all live under, that we will abide by the vote, that ideas compete, and when you win election you get to try your ideas. If they could not be in charge they would ensure that no one else could run government. Republicans even turned their back on their own ideas if they were offered up by President Obama.  It got to be quite a joke.  And while spinning all the hate toward President Obama, they created the Tea Party, a right-wing, racist, nationalistic party that hardened the ideology.  The Tea Party, although a minority of Republicans, held the key to getting elected and the party swung further right and ideological.

Here is the fact that most people who call themselves Republicans (not politicians) have yet to grasp evidence by the fact that they are still Republicans:  The Republican Party is no more the party of small government, low taxes, and few regulations, with the caveat that rational logic told them that sometimes one size does not fit all and they had to compromise.    They are the party of the status quo, the rich, and continuing growing economic inequality.

Those people who were principled are gone forever, and what is left is a sniveling group of politicians led by Mitch McConnell that is terrified of their base, trapped by ideological beliefs that are fundamentally flawed, and gave up principled thinking many years ago.  Their only goal is to stay in office and to take total control of government and ensure that when things go south, democracy no longer functions so they are sent home.

That is where here is.  The Republican Party holds both houses of Congress and the Presidency, sort of.  They can now finally implement their agenda**. But there is a fly in ointment.  Donald Trump.  It is clear there was Russian interference in our elections although just this week Cheeto-head raised doubts about believing that. It is also becoming clear that there was some sort of collusion with his campaign and maybe his administration.  He has left the normal ethics of conflicts of interest out in the cold.  He has done morally reprehensible actions, and now he is trying to kill the investigation into his administration.  And Republicans, those “proud” Americans who wear their lapel pins so proudly and wave the Constitution every chance they get, they do nothing.  And now you know why.

We have faced threats throughout our history from the British, to the Civil War, to Communism, the Cold War, and now terrorism, but who would have thought that the real threat to our country was going to be from within, from the “proud” Republican Party that is now just a bunch of fanatical ideologues who are tearing down our Constitution in the name of conservative ideas.  Yes Virginia, Republicans are evil. So are people who vote for them when the truth is for everyone to see if only they will look.

*Sessions want to clamp down on Mary Jane and get tough on drug offenders again.  Turn back the clock, forget what we have learned and do more stupid stuff.

**They had their first chance on healthcare and the answer is, there is no conservative, market place fix for Obamacare.  So they either consider a single payer or deny millions healthcare.  They still haven’t faced that reality yet and there is no Republican plan.

Up is Down!

The Republicans have passed healthcare “reform” in the House and you are free from Obamacare! You know the onerous rules like covering pre-existing condition or anything else a state thinks you might not need.  Oh, and no more penalties for not having insurance (so who exactly is going to pay for it?).  And we will no longer have those horrible rules that prevent insurance companies from capping your out-of-pocket expenses! And you get lots of choice now except for Planned Parenthood.  I wonder why that was left out?  And your rates are just going to drop like flies.  Or much more likely the opposite.  But according to Congressional Republicans, up is down.

My favorite lie they were throwing out today was that Obamacare is collapsing.  No it is not, but it does have big problems in states where Republicans did everything in their power to sabotage it.  They made the markets so unpredictable that many plans were bailing out.  Not so in states like California, Washington, and Ohio because they embraced it.  Right now the sabotage continues because plans can’t figure out what the market is going to be like in the future as the Republicans continue to try to sabotage it, and they price more and more risk into who will sign up.  If, as the new Republican Plan will do, reduce sign ups, more and more risk will have to be priced into the plans.

Then there is their argument that they will get government out of controlling your health care decision, you know, like covering depression, or maternity care, or drug addiction, or contraception.  Of course they will tell you you can’t go to Planned Parenthood and while your healthcare provider will be free to charge you what they want for minimal care, you will have no choice since you can’t afford any of it anymore.  As many healthcare professionals and most healthcare groups have pointed out, this is going to cost everyone plenty?

So why did they do it?  Why did they rush headlong into approving a plan that most of them did not read or have scored to find out what it would cost (the great hypocrisy).  Why were they celebrating on the White House lawn when as Lawrence O’Donnell put it, they had gotten through the first inning and had scored a run in a long ball game?  Well some Republicans actually believe their own bullshit, the free market will provide cheaper plans.  The easy argument to that is show me anywhere in the world that works.  Then there is the group that just doesn’t care.  If you are sick, it is your fault and you should bear the cost, not the rest of us cost-sharing.  But the most important reason was that by cutting back on Obamacare, they free up money for their big tax cut coming up. Really.  If they could throw 20 million or so off health insurance and raise everyone’s rate, it sets up their “tax reform bill” to be able to use reconciliation and not be subject to the filibuster.  It was about the money.

So the Senate has a giant stink bomb thrown in their laps.  Senate Republicans want that tax cut for the wealthy too (which repeal of Obamacare already does) so they will try to craft something.  Hopefully no Democrats will go along.  Once again, there is no Republican fix if we decide that we like having health care for everyone.  The simple solution is to put a government Medicare type system on each exchange to let it compete.  You think the conservatives would love that one, more competition to prove the government can’t really compete with the market place.  Except it already does and wins handily when it comes to Medicare.  In fact they are terrified of that outcome.

When you get right down to it, Obamacare already changed the conversation and proved their worst nightmare, that government has a role to play in healthcare.  Democrats biggest mistake in the past was not to show how Obamacare helped not just the poor and sick, but how it improved employer based plans.  They are not making that mistake again.  People like reliable health care and that is what Obamacare brought them.  The cat is out of the bag.  So the boys and girls that want to take us back to the 19th century have already lost this one, they just don’t know it yet.  Bring on the town hall meetings.  People actually like Obamacare and want it fixed.  The only way to do that is to move more to the left.  Na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye.

Note:  This is not to say that free market solutions would not work in healthcare, but we are talking about providers, not insurers.  Based on a system where the government set up (like in Obamacare) minimum requirements to ensure reliable coverage, competing healthcare providers could find cheaper ways of providing care.  After all we have the most expensive system in the world.  But keep in mind that Republicans never walk their talk.  Remember how they protected big Pharma and we now have the most expensive drugs in the world?  But none of this answers how we cover everyone with healthcare without a single payer system where we all bear some of the burden.  And that as we have seen is just not acceptable to conservatives.

One argument they make is that a single payer system incentives more procedures (cash flow), but if you look at systems like Kaiser which is a fixed price system, it can be effectively managed.  It is all in how you do it.

The Party of “No”, BS

The new narrative is that with the magnitude of the loss for Democrats in November, the new young radicals are taking power and pushing the Party to repeat the Republican Party tactic of just being the Party of “NO”. It worked for the Republicans so why not for the Democrats the logic goes.  It is total bullshit and shows how our political pundits are not the sharpest tools in the shed, or maybe it is just too hard to actually look at and understand policies/people being proposed.

When President Obama took office we seem to forget that his signature legislation was a Republican idea hatched out of the Heritage Foundation and implement successfully by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.  But the Republicans were in the real just say no mode even though it was their idea, so they all voted against it.  And so it went.  It used to be a great joke that if Obama took a Republican beloved plan and put it forward, they were all of sudden totally against it.  Does anybody remember the Grand Bargain.  Oh, you can argue about the details of who asked what when, but whatever the terms, it was still a massive attack of Social Security and Medicare and the Republicans balked.  They just couldn’t allow themselves to be seen as letting President Obama have the last word, even if that last word was still giving away the farm*.

Now look at what President Cheeto-Head and his minions are putting forward.  The talking heads saw that Democrats were arguing about just saying no when that was not the argument at all. The argument was very simply that most of these people were not qualified and just because that was the best you were going to get was not enough of a reason to legitimize these picks.  They were going to do bad things so why be part of normalizing and legitimizing.  It is called standing for something in contrast to just saying no.

What about the Supreme Court nomination.  Again the narrative is about just saying no after the Republicans refusing to even give Merrick Garland a hearing.  The reality is first, again about legitimizing a political tactic that takes away the power of the President to nominate a candidate in his last year of office. It legitimizes the Senate’s shirking of the advise and consent role. There must be a price to be paid or that will become the norm. And the Democrats will give this nomination a hearing (they don’t really have a choice), but they will probably filibuster him.  The nominee has some extremely conservative ideas that should be exposed to the light of day.  John Roberts promised us he would not have an activist court and we got the most activist court we have seen in our history.  Oh, and Merrick Garland was really a conservative mainstream judge.  If Cheeto-Head wanted to unite the country, he would have nominate him.

So while the Republicans really did just say no regardless of principle, the Democrats are going to just say no because of principle.  That is a hell of a difference and the fact that our pundits don’t get that and point it out is why so many people are confused about the parties and still try to sell the both sides do it.  It is this kind of simple-minded journalism and analysis that set the intellectual (or non-intellectual) table for a Donald Trump.  It is not politics, it is about policy.  If you just say no, it is about politics and Republicans got away with that because of extremely poor journalism that failed to out them.  Now it is about policies.  Maybe we might actually look at them this time.

*”The Grand Bargain was an attempted political compromise between the Democratic and Republican Parties in the United States during the 2011 budget debates, in which the Democrats would have agreed to historic cuts in the federal government and the social safety net, in exchange for an increase in federal taxation.” (Wikapedia)  It fell apart when Boehner thought he had a deal and then President Obama found out the Senate Democrats had gotten more in their negotiations for federal taxation than he did, so he went back to Boehner and asked for the new number and Boehner balked.

So it Begins

The only political thing I will say here today is to ask the question who is surprised the Republicans did away with the one body that independently looked at ethical and illegal behavior of their fellow members?  From now on it is going to be one stupid move after another as though history has taught us nothing.  One of my goals in this blog is to try to take issues being badly reported by the press and apply logic and data to them (as they weren’t).  But we are about to be overrun with stupidity and the only thing that really rises above all the rest is that we pretend this is just normal politics and report these things as though it is business as usual.

So I will move on to something I have been thinking about as I binged watched some TV over the holidays as the few series I really like to suspend my disbelief were off the air.  The two that got me thinking were Westworld (HBO) and Humans (AMC).  Both were about us producing androids (Hosts in Westworld and Synths in Humans) to either entertain us or do our work.  Now at least in function, we are not far away from this.  And both shows depicted what might happen as these creations became sentient.  While HBO focused on the entertaiment these androids could provide us, Humans also explored how as they took over the functions of caring humans, how does that impact us.  And most importantly, both shows addressed how sentient androids could become a threat to us as they replaced us.

But here is one of the side plots in both that really made me think.  Humans like to use androids to live out their fantasy whether sexual, violent or both.  In Westworld, there were the rapes and prostitutes, along with the mass killings.  In Humans, there was the sex workers as well as the “adult function” on domestic workers, not to mention your pay to beat them up venues.  One husband justified his infidelity with the home domestic android as just using a sex toy.  Wife wasn’t buying it and neither was I.  So we are so prurient that we need machine toys to work out our sexual fantasies, sexual frustrations, and violence?  It is okay because it is with a machine, not a real person?  I wonder.

Let me describe a scene in Humans where one of the sentient androids is working as a sex worker to hide the fact that she is sentient.  A man comes in and wants to have her play like a little girl basically being raped.  She kills him and I was okay with that.  But here is what went through my mind.  Is it okay to fantasize about something like that if you don’t act on it?  Is it okay to play video games that allow us to work out our desired for violence, mass murder, and killing (with sex thrown in) as long as it is “just a game”?  Is it okay to act this stuff out, with as one human character in Humans described, with a machine sex toy?   What does it say about us, and what does it say about our psyche?  It is after all a progression and a logical one.  If we have murderous or sexual urges and we play them out in a “safe” environment, does it not reinforce the behavior?  What does it say about us that our “fun” is domination over others, even if they are pretend people?

Of course this is the point and there is a clear line for most of us when we finally cross the line to sentient beings, but still…?  There is a wrongness here sentient or not, and I think these shows are making a point about the human failing of needing domination.  One has to ask in our real world, what is the next step to ever more realistic video games and virtual reality?  In Westworld you were left with the feeling it was them against us and they were superior.  In Humans you get the same feeling except for the idea that maybe someday the androids are an improved us, with transfered consciousness.  Either way, this science fiction is closer than we think, and it is asking important questions about who we are and where we are going.  Yeah fiction.

We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us!

The press is starting to look at how we got here with the Donald and fake news with this from the NYT:

The right’s labeling of (main stream media as) “fake news” evokes one of the most successful efforts by conservatives to reorient how Americans think about news media objectivity: the move by Fox News to brand its conservative-slanted coverage as “fair and balanced.” Traditionally, mainstream media outlets had thought of their own approach in those terms, viewing their coverage as strictly down the middle. Republicans often found that laughable. As with Fox’s ubiquitous promotion of its slogan, conservatives’ appropriation of the “fake news” label is an effort to further erode the mainstream media’s claim to be a reliable and accurate source. 

As they further try to figure out what has happened, we get this (NYT):

The territory that was at stake was the realm of the true, and how all sides would define it in the hyperpartisan debate to come under a new president…

What the mainstream media did wrong is by now well established. It generally failed to appreciate the power of the anger that ultimately decided the presidency. And that was in large part because it was overly hooked on polling that indicated a Hillary Clinton glide path, overly reliant on longtime sources who believed the rules of politics were immutable and too disconnected from too many workaday Americans. It repeatedly underestimated Donald Trump, not to mention Bernie Sanders. And there could have been a lot more reporting on both candidates’ policy plans, or lack thereof.

What it did right has been less appreciated than it deserves. Faced with a precedent-shattering candidate who made false assertions at a rate none had seen before — one considerably higher than that of his opponent — reporters became more assertive in directly calling out falsehoods.

Oh happy horse shit.  Maybe very late in the game, but not nearly enough on the last part and on the first part, the problem wasn’t sensing what was going on with the rubes, but telling us in a more firm and definitive way about the real issues and not focusing on non-issues like emails.  They were led around like little children while the Trumpees defined the conversation.

If you really want to know what went on, it started years ago when the press quit being the mediator of facts and truth.  Republicans would say outrageous things and we got he said/she said reporting as though that had anything to do with getting at the real truth. You see that today in the Trumpees where their method of communicating is to interrupt and talk over.  Whoever hogs the stage long enough wins.  And the television media let them do it.  And when the Republicans understood that infotainment that drove ratings is what the news focused on, they took over the stage with our major TV news networks being enablers in the discussions of junk that got ratings.  Fake news was number 1 in that the Donald would say something outrageous and incorrect and that lead the news instead of the headline, Trump Lies Again.

The proof was in the election itself when the press was on Hillary’s emails like white on rice, except there was nothing there and there never was anything there, and yet the Republicans pulled them back time and again.  Crooked Hillary did not get corrected or denounced, focusing on the mails legitimizing it. Probably one of the critical issues that swung the election. Benghazi is another one. The facts are out there and there is nothing there, yet they would allow Republicans to go on and on on this things instead of shutting the lies down.

Republicans came on television and lied and lied and lied about everything from the murder rate in the country to the “crisis” at the border, oh, and let’s not forget the unemployment rate, and the Press was mostly passive instead of actively setting the record straight and stopping the string of lies.  And they still do this as I heard a he said/she said screaming contest this morning.  To be a passive referee is not getting to the truth, it is allowing misinformation and lies to be equated with the truth.

The reason we are in the place we are in today with an orange headed village idiot as president is because the press let Republicans bully them.  They did not stand up for the truth as though every argument has two equally legitimate sides. Most do not.  It was their attempt to be “fair and balanced” and what they did was tip the scale toward the unbalanced and untruthful.  They forgot about issues and left the real discussion of efficacy to political spinners instead of real policy experts.  And we are where we are and they still do not get it.  Now granted the print press did better, but the rubes don’t read anything that is not sanctioned by the radical right.

The only solution is for the press to take on the Right on truth.  To turn off their mikes if they continue to disrupt a conversation and focus on facts and data. The talking heads need to do their homework.  Global warming exists and the only real discussion is about the most effective way to deal with it (carbon tax). There is no border issue and we have to find a way to legalize those here already and being a benefit to America.  Oh wait! Would that be taking sides or would that be common sense?  Up to now it has been considered taking sides and we now have idiots driving the car.  We are now at war with people who want to control what is reality. The media hasn’t even begun to look at the damage they have done to this country by tolerated idiots instead of ferreting out lies and misinformation.

The Electoral College and Other Insights

I wrote way back when an indictment of the electoral college.  But Hamilton and friends had a point.  What if the rubes in the country were swayed by passion and lies and voted in someone totally unfit to be President?  The orginal plan for the electoral college was that it would independently make a decision based upon the better judgement of its members.  Well look what just happened.  The rubes swayed by passion and lies voted in someone totally unfit to be President.  So what did the electoral college do?  Nothing, and like passive partisan dogs, maybe have created the greatest threat this country has ever seen.  Yep, time to do away with the electoral college.  It turns out it just reinforces the radicalization of few instead of representing the will of the many.  But it sadly is never going to happen because those that benefit from it are always the ones in power.

This morning the NYT took up the issue of how Republicans have thrown off all political norms and ethics in their attempt to thwart the will of the people as reflected by comparing Barrack Obama’s transfer of power with that of the North Carolina governor and his legislature who if they could not win the election, they strip the incoming Democratic governor of his powers.  Then they made the obvious comparison of a fight where a Democrat brings a knife and a Republican brings a gun.  While Democrats don’t want to undermine our democracy as Republicans are doing, we need to understand the fight we were in.  I believe I made that point in my blog Silent Scream when I quoted a fictional character from Madam Secretary who told a young idealist, “If you want to be good, you got to be prepared to do bad. Okay? To be canny and watchful and mean, so when the bad guys come, you know exactly where to stick the knife, because it is a fight to the death, and that is the only language they understand.”

It is nice to know the mainstream media is slowly catching up.

Destroying Democracy

I have made this claim before and I will assert it here again:  The current Republican Party does not like or honor democracy.  They have become an ideological cult that rejects the very premise of our Constitution, majority rule.  If it is not their way, it is heresy and they will block it.  Exhibit A is the election of Barack Obama and the Republicans plan to make him fail.  In their conservative religious fog, this was not bad for the country, because only what they wanted was good for the country.  And to implement the plan, their plan was to thwart democracy using the filibuster.  With a Democratic House and Senate, but not a super majority in the Senate, Republicans inflicted their tyranny of the minority on the country.

Now let’s stop and take stock here of the Senate which is NOT a representative body.  Every state gets two Senators with equal power.  So Red States like Wyoming and North Dakota have the same power as the two Senators from California or New York.   Considering the population of Wyoming, if you live in California, the population ratio is 1:66. Your vote in California counts 1/66 as much as a vote in Wyoming (lowest populated state). So Republicans in the Senate during the early Obama years were a minority who represented even a smaller minority of our population. 22 states that have 44 votes in the Senate compared to California’s 2 votes representing the same number of people. Said another way,  41 Senators can block any possible progress. In effect about 11% of the population that elects these Senators is controlling our ability to move forward. And of course these Senators come from Red states. If you wonder why it takes forever for change to take place in our Congress, wonder no more. This makes the filibuster antithetical to any hope of passing anything the Republicans did not preapprove.  See Our Undemocratic Senate.

David Frum a conservative writer wrote this in 2010 about the Party’s politics:

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994…

Okay, in 2011  Former Republican Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren explains the strategy to Washington Post reporter Nancy LeTourneau:

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

And let’s not forget the grand bargain when the Republicans walked away from Obama’s great capitulation on entitlements.  Or the take down of John Boehner because they Tea Party felt he compromised too much. So both sides do it is a fantasy of the media, when the reality is Republicans have been sabotaging government and taking it hostage to defeat democracy. Remember the government shut down over the debt limit and everybody forgets that Congress itself approve the spending they now do not want to extend the debt limit for, in effect defaulting government.  Now let’s fast forward to today.

Republicans blame the slow growth in the economy on Obama, but they now control both Houses and they still won’t compromise.  Remember the demise of the immigration compromise when the House would not even consider it.  We have had eight years of dysfunctional government as a strategic choice by the Republicans.  Now their idol, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia dies and does Obama put up some liberal left wing justice?  Nope, he finds one that if government functioned normally, would have been a shoe in since leading Republicans had lauded him.  But he goes nowhere, not even a hearing. Now we have John McCain and now Ted Cruz vowing to reject anyone Hillary Clinton nominates.  Government only works when they get their way, not quite the implicit contract of the Constitution. It also says in this world we have to get rid of the filibuster so the majority can actually rule.

But the final exhibit is this election itself.  Basically if the Republican candidate loses, it was rigged.  His failure to accept the results (don’t get sidelined here as close elections always have recounts.  See Gore versus Bush) basically says if I can’t have my way we need to have a revolution.  Majority rule means nothing.  Now true, many Republicans have criticized this stance, but they and their scorched earth politics brought us this man, and none of them rejected his lock up Hillary language although that violates the basic tenants of our Constitution requiring due process.  Their endorsement of him basically tells you the abject truth about all of them:  They only care about winning and the system, or the Constitution, or the will of the people, may just be impediments to their ideology.

Way back in 2010, Obama saw this religious zeal to oppose everything he did, even at the expense of governing.  In a speech to the GOP at an Issues conference he noted this:

So all I’m saying is, we’ve got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality. I’m not suggesting that we’re going to agree on everything, whether it’s on health care or energy or what have you, but if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don’t have a lot of room to negotiate with me.

 I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You’ve given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you’ve been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.

He saw it then and it has only metastasized.  My point is very simple.  If you want functional government, the Republican Party has shown it will not be playing.  If you think voting Republican in down ballot races will balance Hillary in Office, you are voting for more dysfunctional government.  As they have shown time and again, they don’t believe in compromise.  You are making a gross false assumption about Republicans we have in office today.  They hate democracy and when Hillary wins they will do everything in their power to obstruct the will of the people.

I want to leave you with this from Linda Greenhouse (Linda is a writer for the NYT that follows the Supreme Court) who also wrote about what she sees as the Republican threat to our democracy and the rule of law:

I’ll end with where I began, with the graceful departure of President George H. W. Bush. Before he left the White House on inauguration morning, President Bush went to the Oval Office and left on the desk a handwritten note for his successor. This in part is what it said:


Dear Bill,

When I walked into this office just now, I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.

I wish you great happiness here …

You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.

Your success is now our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.

Good luck.

George

That was a time when opposition parties where to debate and compromise.  Note that George is voting for Hillary.  Now with the present Republican Party they are all about obstructing and destroying their opponent. They have no idea what the loyal opposition is as they got rid of the word loyal. We’ve come a long way baby and it should be no surprise that the “freedom loving,” constitution waving Republicans are destroying what we hold so dear.

Political Gossip

I turned on the TV for about 2 minutes today before changing from news to baseball.  It was total political gossip.  Who thinks what will happen tonight, who will be stronger, how they need to engage one another, and political spinning by operatives.  This is news?  It is a disservice to the country.  Could they have discussed some critical issues and brought some facts to bear?  Oh wait, that would partisan because facts have become partisan.

Well if we are in the mood for political guessing, I will give you mine.  The Republicans are all head up because the Donald has moved up in the polls (maybe).  But he is the same flawed pathological liar he always was.  Or as the NYT called mom, “Yet he has attracted throngs of Americans who ascribe higher purpose to him than he has demonstrated in a freewheeling campaign marked by bursts of false and outrageous allegations, personal insults, xenophobic nationalism, unapologetic sexism and positions that shift according to his audience and his whims.”  Ted Cruz cravenly supports him and that should tell you all you need to know about the Republican Party.

And come November, it won’t be close.  Right now the political press has done a number on Hillary giving the Trump mess a chance.  I think they are waking up to the damage they have done, and in the last month we might see a more balanced coverage pointing out the disaster Trump would be.  I think most Americans will start to get this and in the end, although never admitting it, pull the lever for Hillary.  I think she will run away with it.

What happens in the Senate, I don’t know.  Democrats need to make the economic argument against Trump and his craven Republican Party.  If that starts to sink in, and the danger he poses to both the business community and our security become apparent, the safe choice is Hillary and that is what I think they will do.  

I will leave you with this.  The dysfunction we have seen over the last 16 years from the Bush follies to obstructed government and the slow recovery can be blamed soley on the Republicans.  They have come so far out of the mainstream that government stopped when they could not get their way.  Their more rational leaders have been chucked aside.  Sadly our media missed that message and brought us the both sides do it lie that is part of the problem we face in this election.  If this country is going down the tubes, it will be because our news media badly failed the nation in their greed for infotainment.

Demonstrating Democratic Thought

I had an idea.  Republicans in most cases have no idea what a Democrat thinks and in fact are so twisted about it that they don’t understand that Democrats are much better “free market” advocates than Republicans.  So I thought I would demonstrate that fact.  

First let’s take the “free market” as Robert Reich and others have argued, there is no free market.  The market operates on a set of rules that are not ad hoc, but established by government.  Those include property rights, laws of contracts, and it goes on and on.  As soon as you understand that, then the question is not freeing the market, but whose rules do they operate by.  Enter the EpiPens.  Even Republicans are shocked, shocked, shocked I tell you, about the price gouging going on right now on a device to deliver about $1 of medicine in an emergency.  

The Republicans have been very successful at rigging the market to favor the wealthy through patents and copyrights.  A new idea comes along and then one corporation hogs it and can gouge at will.  This has two effects.  The first is high prices which we see today, and the second is stymying innovation since other firms can’t build on that good idea.  Sure they should be able to make a good return on their idea, but when does that become a monopoly where we all pay for it with higher prices and slower evolving technology?

Now the Republicans want to keep government out of the market place because they don’t want to see Democrats come in and set prices through regulations.  Let the market place decide is their cry.  Now real Democrats, not the imagined ones, actually do want the market place to work.  The best way to do that is to allow competition to drive down prices.  In other words limit the monopoly on ideas.  The EpiPen has been around since 1970, isn’t it time to end the monopoly on that technology?  The other obvious way to keep drug prices down is to let Medicare and other big government providers of health care negotiate for prices (more competition).

And who stands in the way of both those ideas?  Republicans.  So it is never an argument about the “free market”, but whose rules control it and who they favor.  The Republicans have always favored wealth and wealth accumulation.  That is not true capitalism, but Robber Baronism.  Welcome to seeing the world with a clear vision.  Starting to see where the problem is?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is where he really goes off the rails:

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

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

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

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

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

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