Link Roundup, 1/31/2015

From Quartz: Go home, coyote. You’re stoned.

From Texas Tribune: Governor Abbott still determined to lynch Planned Parenthood.

From The Atlantic: The Politics of Crazy is finally catching up to the Democrats.

From the Daily Dot: Reminder that some people have real problems. Bangladeshi blogger explains why he had to flee the country.

YCombinator is soliciting research on a Basic Income.

From the The Onion: Clinton Ominously Tells Iowan Supporters To Mark Front Doors With Campaign Logo Before Sundown

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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162 comments on “Link Roundup, 1/31/2015
  1. Griffin says:

    Wow I did not expect Cruz to win Iowa by that much. In fact I thought he would barely win until that last debate, whe I figured it might go to Trump because of those news videos showing his contradictions, but it didn’t seem to hurt him at all.

    • Griffin says:

      “when I figured Iowa might go to Trump because of those news videos showing Cruz’s contradictions, but it didn’t seem to hurt him at all.”

      • 1mime says:

        Trump didn’t have a ground operation in Iowa in any comparison to that Cruz established. Cruz’ operation was broad and well run. As much as I detest the man, he worked for his win and Trump didn’t. End of story. Rubio’s close third place was more interesting to me, tactically speaking and for what it bodes for the GOP establishment’s role in shaping the presidential nominee selection.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I have not forgotten my bet that Carson would win Iowa. I owe you a book report on “Reclaiming Conversation” by Sherry Turkle.

      • 1mime says:

        I’ll look forward to it and I’m sure it will be enjoyed by all here.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: As far as the establishment vote goes, Iowa gave over 60% of its vote to candidates like Cruz, Trump and Carson. Rubio did better than expected, admittedly, but let’s keep in perspective just how far-right he’s shifted on immigration. Would he be doing as well as he did if he had stuck to his guns on that? Hard to say, but I doubt it.

        You didn’t say this, obviously, but last night was not a victory for the GOP establishment. It bodes some proverbial storm clouds coming over the horizon.

      • 1mime says:

        Ryan, I may have to bet ya. It’s going to be hard to stop Rubio, and I have no doubt at all that he will do whatever he has to to get nominated. This is why he is so unacceptable to me.

    • rulezero says:

      “By that much” doesn’t really make a difference. Cruz got a whopping one extra delegate over Trump. Trump’s going to steamroll him in NH and NV, easily. I have a feeling he’ll probably carry SC and the Southern states as well.

      Bernie and HRC are in a statistical tie. Nobody really “won” tonight.

      But, I think we can all agree on who lost: Jeb. Based upon Jeb’s vote total, he spents about 2800 dollars on each vote and didn’t even beat Paul or Carson.

    • flypusher says:

      All the different takes on the outcomes are amusing!

      http://theweek.com/articles/602654/only-iowa-caucus-analysis-youll-ever-need

      There are other varying takes at The Week too. Perhaps the closest thing to a consensus is that Rubio had a good night.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Yup, Lifer certainly called it, even right down to the percentage margin of victory.

      As for the Democrats, it’s over. Clinton’s victory last night was keeping Sanders from being able to tout victory, and it looks like she’s done that; by the smallest margin imaginable, granted, but she did it. Now Sanders will likely take NH, but after that he faces far less friendly terrain in states like Nevada and South Carolina. He likely won’t quit the race, but it’s over.

      Poor, poor Jeb! though… that had to be one tough night to sit through.

    • Crogged says:

      The “Iowa Republican Caucus” is every white person over fifty who goes to church more than once a week in the state of Iowa. Nearly SEVENTY PERCENT of the caucus attendees described themselves as ‘evangelical’ according to a CNN poll I saw.

      And look how powerful they are. Cruz was born and raised in this shtuff in the suburbs of Houston, Tx.

    • Crogged says:

      Check this out–https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/VRStatsArchive/2016/CoJan16.pdf

      The largest political party in Iowa is “No Party Active”.

  2. fiftyohm says:

    On the “wealth inequality” issue:

    I am, by no means, the first to point this out, but a proper assessment of the situation must include the present value of SS, Medicare, pensions, and a the host of safety net entitlements largely available to all. Some also include a proportionate share if public infrastructure.

    Even without the latter, such calculations challenge substantially the commonly held conclusions of the situation.

    • 1mime says:

      And, these benefits are vulnerable, Fifty. Not that any public benefit shouldn’t be subject to re-evaluation, but there is a real concerted push by the Freedom Caucus, Paul Ryan, and others, to reduce these entitlements. Naturally, this is concerning, especially to those of us who count on these benefits; however, an $18T national debt must be addressed. How these entitlements are “changed” will likely be more a matter of who has the power to do so rather than any bi-partisan cooperation. Ryan is committed to address the holy trinity of entitlements this year. It will be interesting.

      • fiftyohm says:

        They are not nearly so vulnerable as just about any other asset you can name. Whilst not an issue now, (by any means), even cash is subject to inflation. Any rational metric of wealth inequality must include them – unless a conclusion other than reality is desired.

      • 1mime says:

        You’ll get no disagreement from me in that regard.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Mime – Interesting word there – Entitlement. Generally meaning programs that you are entitled to by participating and paying into said programs. Such as SS and Medicare. The funny thing is that some/many think the term means giveaway programs to those people. So they listen intently to the politician and mistakenly applaud loudly when he attacks the programs that they are entitled.

      • fiftyohm says:

        The word generally comes form the fact that the programs pay out far, far more than what is put in.

      • 1mime says:

        You are exactly correct. Unless one’s life is very short, you will typically receive more in social security benefits than you contribute. That’s fact.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        The debt itself sounds like a massive number, but its meaningless without talking about relative to GDP, I.e. ability to pay.

        For example, if I owe you $1 million that sounds like a lot. And it is if I make $50k year. If I make $10 million/yr all of a sudden its not so scary.

        I don’t have the numbers in front of me right now, but I do believe Americas debt to GDP ratio is in the high normal range . Better then most modern first world nations.

        Not that it’s not important, but its really not the death knell some would say. Not yet at least.

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – The numbers are not hard to find, and you’re correct in general. Whether or not our debt is significant by other measures is another thing we could talk about. I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s too high. It’s just the fact that everyone else, ( with a few exceptions), is worse. Looked at our currency lately? If you look down on the planet, where are you gonna park your money? That has far less to do with our financial brilliance than you may think at first brush.

        (And BTW, and on that topic, for those other than you who may not be familiar), the new majority party in Canada actually *ran* on a deficit spending platform!). The current position of the Loonie is patently ridiculous.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Good to hear from you again, Fifty. But my point is, at the retail level, entitlements mean something different from what they are in reality. The question is, is it a purposeful deception by conservatives?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Unarmed – Good to hear form you, too. Alas, I’m not at all sure what you mean by “at the retail level, nor what conservatives you are talking about. Money is money, and we all have a common understanding of it. Present value is just that. Help me out here.

      • moslerfan says:

        Hate to sound like a broken record, but…The debt itself sounds like a massive number, but it’s meaningless. Period. It’s often used, though, by people who wish to label this or that program as unaffordable. This works because people generally do not understand that public debt and private debt have completely different meaning and consequences.

        The US has had a national debt for 180 years, and for 180 years we’ve been warned it would burden our children and grandchildren. Our grandparents generation ran up unequalled (percentagewise) public debt during WWII. Our parents ran up more public debt and were warned relentlessly that it would burden our generation. Has it? How?

        Our children and grandchildren will produce some number of cars and houses and toasters and cheeseburgers, and a bunch of stuff we haven’t thought of yet. All of that stuff will be distributed among people who are alive at the time, and none of it will be sent back into the past to repay our debt. What we must do for our children and grandchildren is give them the education and infrastructure (both physical and social) that they will need to create their own wealth and prosperity. Our deficits will not constrain them, any more than previous generations’ debts have constrained us.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mosler – The only reason that debt came up was in response to our friend RobA. The situation with a thin currency like the $CDN is admittedly much different than the Greenback. To assert they are one in the same is just flat wrong.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Fifty – Just watching Rubio’s acceptance speech for winning third place.

        I’ve always considered there to be two levels of speech in American politics. At the wholesale level Conservative politicians talk of reining in entitlements. Which means SS and Medicare. But at the corner bar, the retail level, the guy at the end of the bar hears “we have to end the welfare programs which those people feel entitled”. If you then ask about curtailing SS and Medicare, you get “wait I paid into that, I’m entitled”. With no irony.

        There are other examples of this, some are called dog whistles.

      • moslerfan says:

        Fifty, there are some differences between the USD and the CAD, which mostly relate to the nature of the respective economies. But in both countries, the federal government issues its own currency, in whatever amounts they wish. (Yes, there may be consequences for inflation.) That has certain consequences: either government can pay any debt, obligation, or entitlement whatsoever, as long as the debt is payable in its own currency. Neither country is ever financially constrained with regard to its own currency. “Public debt” for both countries is just a number. People get confused about this because it used to be different under a gold standard, or because they inappropriately extrapolate from their own personal experience.

      • fiftyohm says:

        unarmed – Spot in. Could not agree more.

        Mosler – of course. Canada’s currency though, is far more susceptible to international valuations based on factors that affect the USD not so much. With such a vast percentage of goods imported to the country, a pitifully devalued currency hits the common family in Canada very, very hard. It was that to which I was speaking. I think neither RobA nor I need much convincing of that fact. And yet, the electorate essentially voted for more debt. *I can only shake my head…*

      • johngalt says:

        Comparing the currency of a resource-oriented economy smaller than California with that of the only (currently) conceivable reserve currency is a bit of s stretch, but I think you already arrived at this bit of obviousness.

        Ryan might think he is going to tackle entitlements. If he does so, he will seal the election for the Democrats. It is not for nothing that social security is called the third rail of American politics. The GOP cannot under any circumstances alienate the senior vote. The only way to seriously reform the oldie programs is as part of a much more comprehensive tax, spending, and entitlement package that spreads the pain.

        The scorn amongst some conservatives about these programs is curious. The recipients have paid into these programs for decades and of course they get more out of it than they put in. I certainly hope I will get more out of my 401k than I put in as well. A better criticism might be that the expected benefits are in excess of the expected rate of return. This is an actuarial problem – if you want to argue against programs established to remedy very real problems, do so on philosophical grounds, not math.

      • moslerfan says:

        Fifty, I’m not at all familiar with the specifics of Canada’s situation, but a rule of thumb of modern monetary theory is that if unemployment is a greater worry than inflation, the deficit should be increased. Either an increase in government spending to directly hire the unemployed, or a tax cut leaving more money in private hands where it will be spent on hiring the unemployed, or some combination of the two. On the other hand, if inflation is a bigger problem than unemployment, theory says the deficit should be reduced.

      • 1mime says:

        That refrain has been quoted many times by liberal economists; however, conservatives don’t seem to agree. It’s part of the reason Pres. Obama was unable to get a larger stimulus passed even though he concurs with your premise that you fix a recession by spending not through austerity.

      • Crogged says:

        A debt is someone’s credit, a debt acquires an asset. If the people in the US aren’t worth spending money on, then we will get what we deserve. I don’t give two sh*t’s about the toppermost of the poppermost, as Ringo put it. But why the hell don’t we realize what ‘a rising tide raises all boats’ really freaking means when it comes to an economy which isn’t driven by the moon, but by our laws.

      • 1mime says:

        Ah, Crogged, but our economy that is driven by laws which are written by men (and women) who are political animals. Therein lies the challenge for us ordinary folk.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mosler – Ewww key… Japan’s unemployment is at a 20 year low. Their debt/GDP is 230%. The yen is (and has been for a long while) in the tank. Somebody’s not listening to your “current monetary theory”, are they?

      • Crogged says:

        So where are the freaked out creditors? OMG 230 percent of GDP-Japan is GREECE!

      • moslerfan says:

        Fifty, Japan’s inflation rate is close to zero and the unemployment is very low. Rule of thumb says their deficit is about where it needs to be. Their output is kind of stagnant but that’s because their population is aging. I’m not sure what your point is re Japan. There are some problems that can’t be solved by economic policy, like not having enough young people.

      • johngalt says:

        Japan’s large debt is also mostly held by its patient and loyal citizens, so is more stable than, say, Greece. But it is a cautionary note about what years of deflation or stable prices can do.

      • 1mime says:

        And an indicator for a graying America, if anybody is watching.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Demographics play a *huge* role in economics, that’s for certain. We need look no further than China or Europe, or Japan to see this. But “Rule of thumb says their deficit is about where it needs to be”? Maybe in that Maynard Krebbs/Jack Klugman school of economics, but Abe seems to think differently.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Sorry for mixing up the names. Either way, I’ll take my Selma Hayek over your Maynard Krebbs any day.

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG – As is most, (though just barely), of our own.

      • fiftyohm says:

        mime – It does give me pause to think that many here have absolutely no idea just who Maynard G. Krebbs was. *sigh*

      • 1mime says:

        But we all know who that cutsie “Salma Hayek” is…..

        Generational dissonance, Fifty.

      • 1mime says:

        Heck, Fifty, one of my favorite tv series ever is “All in the Family”. What a perfectly cast show! Great script – I wonder how many here saw one of the original shows, much less recall the names of the leads?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fifty – good points. The overwhelming driver behind the loonie is oil prices though, and Canada is not in any position to affect the price of it much. In other words, the loonie is much more at the mercy of factors out of Canada’s control then any policy Canada could or could not do.

        With respect to the debt debte, as Mosler says, if a government can issue its own currency (which most do) they can’t ever REALLY default. Repay the debt is inflated, less valuable dollars? Sure, bit that’s another issue.

        Also, I think it’s imoortant to look at the creditors too. The majority of the debt ($8 trillion or so) is owed to itself. More debt is owed to the federal gov’t ($6 trillion) then all other countries combined ($5 trillion). Not to say the debt isn’t “real” but a large percentage is more of an accounting debt then “real” in the sense most of us think of debt.

        http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/10/12/chart-who-does-the-u-s-govt-owe-17-trillion-to/

        To use an example from personal finance, lets say I’m a doctor and ive incorporated my practice. I (personally) can borrow money from the corporation. From an accounting perspective, there is no difference between owing $100,000 to my corporation, or $100,000 to a bank for a mortgage. In both cases I’m $100,000 in debt.

        But in real life, practical terms, there’s a huge difference. Yes, I still owe the corporation and have to pay it back. But I’m also not going to foreclose on myself and out myself into bankruptcy.

      • 1mime says:

        And, what about all those “I.O.U.”s the gov’t owes Social Security? Don’t you think it’s a bit disingenuous to (1) change the original dedicated funding structure mid-stream to one that must compete with other General Fund obligations? (a change by a Dem Pres, btw), and (2) then use the rising costs and “insufficient funds” as an excuse to cut the benefit? Life expectancy issues aside (and I think that is a legitimate argument for some changes), how does anyone think a Guaranteed Basic Income will be looked upon with more confidence than social security?

        Maybe grandma was right – just stick it under the mattress where it’s “safe”….always have a little piece of land where you can grow your own food….and a clean, close water supply. (Too bad that even a well on one’s own property can be compromised by irresponsible parties upstream as Brand X found out in SkyWater). Yikes! Beam me up, Shorty! I’ll take my chances on Mars!

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – Yes, Canada is primarily an extractive economy, and the current oil slump is the driving factor in the loonie’s low value. My point was that Trudeau’s spending policies, (if fully implemented, and I doubt they will actually be), are going to add another factor in the equation.

        To your example: The corporation which borrowed the money was effectively given credit based upon the doctor’s earning potential. In fact, he likely had to guarantee the debt in some manner. So, the result is pretty much the same. A doctor will be able to borrow more than a bankrupt merchant, say, and it’s all based on the individual, and not the corporation. In the case of sovereign debt, citizens are effectively the bank. – and as you correctly point out, in the US and many other countries, that “National Bank” tends to hold the majority of the debt. On the other hand though, financing is required from other sources as well, and the creditworthiness of the country is, as it would be to you or me, (and this is obviously a gross simplification), depends on all debts outstanding. And the interest rate is also determined by this. For example, in Japan, where the majority of debt is held by the Japanese themselves, their debt service is more than 1/2 of *all* tax receipts. Yes, they pay that to themselves, but it still has to come from taxes, and the payers of those taxes and opportunity costs are not necessarily the ones holding the debt.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I’m not familiar with how Japan operates its economy so I have a question for ya. If the Japanese citizens hold approximately half of the island’s debt, who holds the authority to make the loans? How does that work there? Do the people have more direct say (vis a vis say a bond election) in what debt is levied? Or, is it like the U.S., indirect through the election process?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – A much larger percentage of Japanese debt is held by the Japanese than is our own. And the process of issuance of approximately the same.

  3. 1mime says:

    See what happens when you take the time to explain your opinions and beliefs Doug? See how many good comments ensued? We all learned something and no one is hurt for doing so. Gratzi!

  4. Doug says:

    I’ll just drop this here without comment. From the Bernie article:

    “I mean, how’s that capitalism working out in the United States? It’s fine for the top one-tenth of one percent, but the other 90 percent of us aren’t doing so well.”

    • 1mime says:

      Oh, no, Doug. Not fair. Be specific.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I think the point is that the idea of income inequality in and and of itself breeds discontent.

        We could be doing quite well, but once we compare ourselves to the richest of the rich, our situation doesn’t look so good by comparison, and suddenly we are not doing so well.

      • 1mime says:

        I disagree, Tutta. The problems inherent in today’s wealth divide are less petty than envy. They involve food, shelter, education, health care, retirement. People are tired of hearing and reading about how the top tier is doing so well while they are struggling. It’s not that most people are envious of wealth but they are afraid of poverty and all it means.

        Doug needs to spend a little time to explain his views. That’s what we all try to do, correct? Invest yourself in your beliefs.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        ENVY is a dirty word and probably not totally accurate, so let’s call it “poverty by comparison.”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, from reading your posts, I get the impression that you are much better off than I am, but I really can’t complain about my own situation, because I still live comfortably. I am not going to lose any sleep over the fact that you are better off.

        Now, if I were living in utter poverty, that would be different. That’s why I have posted in the past that we should focus on the problem of POVERTY, not on income inequality.

      • 1mime says:

        Last time I checked, poverty is a very real part of income inequality. I understand your point but for those who live paycheck to paycheck where one health incident or one lost work day could jeopardize security, it is very real. I know you understand this as you are a good person. Further, I know it matters to you and that you care. I’m not convinced enough people share your sense of empathy or responsibility for the difficulties many, many people live through every day.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        To say that income inequality is not a problem is not the same as saying that poverty is not a problem. Poverty is a definitely a problem, and it must be addressed.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I think I know what the point is. THE GUY’S MATH IS INCORRECT. After accounting for the “top one-tenth of one percent,” the rest of us are the 99.99 percent, not the 90 percent.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, I think the correct answer is 99.90 percent, not 99.99 percent.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Sorry, but I tend to get lost in the details.

      • johngalt says:

        Income inequality does breed discontent, but that’s not its biggest problem economically. Concentrating wealth in the hands of a few reduces the size of the market. Apple wants to sell iPhones. No matter how wealthy, a person is not going to get a new phone more than once every few months. Apple’s profits and share price are dependent on a sufficient mass of people having the disposable income to upgrade every year or two. It pours some of these profits back into R&D for the next big thing (which employs some well-paid engineers). If 90% of us can’t afford to do that, Apple makes less money and innovates less well. This is seen throughout the economy: Protor and Gamble want us to buy Tide rather than store brands. Ford wants us to junk the 8 year old car for a spiffy new ride. Unless you’re selling yachts and Ferraris, money is not made from the top 0.1%; it’s made from the rest of us. If we don’t have any, our economy goes in the tank.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        John Galt, what if we DO have the money to upgrade on a regular basis but simply choose not to? Do we “owe” it to Apple and to the economy to upgrade?

        Is it expected that a certain percentage of people with money will upgrade enough to make up for those of us who choose not to upgrade? Does probability come into play here?

      • johngalt says:

        No, Tutt, of course not. You are free to spend your disposable income however you wish. You may like the latest gadgets from Apple, or rare books, or fine wine, or you may just have enough for the basics, but you know that Tide works better than Kirkland’s detergent and so will spend the extra money on it. That money circulates and becomes multiplied via increased economic activity. The excess income of the wealthiest (above their considerable spending) is saved and invested (with the expectation of a return driven by the economic success of the entity in which it was invested). This is also necessary, but generally is less economically beneficial than spending. Plus, we have no shortage of money to save, given the historically low interest rates.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        John Galt, so you are saying that income inequality is ultimately bad for the wealthiest in our society, then.

      • johngalt says:

        It may not seem that way to them, but yes, it’s bad for the wealthy too. Inequality will lead to lower economic growth and lower returns on investment. Plus you have the chance of ending up like Marie Antoinette.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s a “demand” story. For many people who are fortunate enough to have “extra” income, they may be choosing to stuff it under the mattress for hard times rather than spend on something they can live without. People are becoming very cautious and with good reason. Poor people lack “extra” income – they are lucky to have enough to meet their rent, etc. They spend every cent they have just to survive. Could they save something? Sure – but when they have the first unexpected car repair or doctor bill, they are in a real bind.

        I have lamented numerous times that business has not learned that if they don’t pay people decent wages appropriate to their jobs and needs, these people will not be able to afford to buy their products! I am still using my I-phone 4 and my car is 8 years old, but we have no debt and that is more important to me. Like Tutta and Doug, money is not that important, but it is necessary.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        See, Mime, from reading your post below, I would say you DESERVE to be better off than I. You may be White but you began working at age 12. I’m Hispanic but I was always very sheltered, and I did not have my first job until I was in my early 20s. My mom didn’t want me to work so that I wouldn’t neglect my studies, and I did not argue with her.

      • 1mime says:

        No, I don’t deserve anything more than you. I was one of six kids and realized at a young age that I was employable. I built a pretty good little babysitting business throughout my teens and moved on from there. I like to work. I’m competitive. I like making my own money. I like not worrying about money, although none of us (except the wealthy) can ever truly feel they are completely secure. Life has too many surprises for us (-:

      • moslerfan says:

        JG, you’ve cracked the code here; lower income folks spend a greater part of their wealth than high income folks (a point el-Erian made to Charlie Rose). That wouldn’t be a bad thing if they invested their savings in productive enterprises, but they invest in high end real estate and Old Masters paintings, and inflate stock prices – none of which create new wealth. They do this in large part because without customers in sight, there’s no incentive to invest in additional production. They also lend the excess out at interest, and due to the compounding nature of interest this becomes a vicious circle where increased debt servicing inhibits consumption. Of course this vicious circle is unsustainable so it leads to bubbles and crashes.

        The “supply-side” theory, that production is the key to prosperity, has a fundamental flaw. The laws of accounting demand a balance between supply and demand, or if you prefer between production and consumption. We all are indoctrinated to believe production is virtuous and consumption is at least slightly sinful, but that’s an “all children are above average” mistake.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I admire the way you’ve lived your life. My mom worked very hard and sacrificed a lot so that I could succeed. It helped that I was an only child. I realized much later that we were low income but I thought we were well off, because my mom was a refined and classy lady, and I always had what I wanted, since my wants were always simple. As long as I had my books, music, and personal privacy, I was content, and that is still the case to this day.

        I did my best to give back to my mom. Once I was established in my career I was able to help her financially, and I eventually took care of her in her own home when she was elderly and ill.

      • 1mime says:

        I know you would do it all again for your mother, Tutta. Moms are special and it sounds like you and your mother had a special relationship and at a time when she needed you most. That is priceless. I didn’t live close to my mom at the end of her life but I tried to see her as often as I could. Those are good memories.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Wealth inequality is not just about money. Wealth buys hugely disproportionate amounts of political power.

        As wealth becomes more and more concentrated near the top, the very foundation of democracy is threatened. This whole system we have only works if most people (Ammon Bundy aside) buy into it and believe it works.

        Sure we all complain about corrupt politicians. But most Americans deep down DO believe in democracy and that America is more or less democratic.

        If that changes, everything could change.

      • moslerfan says:

        Amen Rob Ambrose. Concentration of wealth will eventually choke off growth in the economy and undermine democracy itself. As Justice Louis Brandeis said back in the Gilded Age, “You can have a great concentration of wealth or you can have democracy. You can’t have both.” I believe we’re seeing the effects of inequality on both the economy and politics already.

    • Doug says:

      “I think the point is that the idea of income inequality in and and of itself breeds discontent.”

      The point could be that Bernie supporters can’t do math. 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Doug, you beat me to it. I was typing as fast as I could once the realization hit me. I made the mistake of taking the time to provide the correct answer, instead of just pointing out that his math was incorrect. 😦

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Hey, Doug, here’s a Leap Year question for you: How many months have 28 days?

      • 1mime says:

        Nah, not good enough, Doug. You’re a smart guy. Enlighten me with more than 10 words. Come on, you can do it!!

      • Doug says:

        mime, read the quote carefully. It’ll come to you. 🙂

        But the subtext is (in my mind) that people who would support Bernie spend an inordinate amount of energy worrying about the top X percent. To say that capitalism only works for a tiny fraction is just silly; more so when you can’t do fractions.

      • Doug says:

        tutt, all of them?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Correct, Doug.

      • 1mime says:

        I can add and subtract Doug, but it was your reasoning that I wanted to understand. You’ve at least improved on your cryptic initial comment. Possibly it is you who doesn’t understand the issues inherent in the income divide. Of course capitalism is broadly beneficial, but the old trickle down aspect of it pretty well sucks for many people.

      • johngalt says:

        Or it could be that his point was that the top 0.1% is doing great and the bottom 90% is not doing that well, leaving 9.9% that is doing OK.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        The fact that the guy lumped everyone else into the 90% or 99.90% or whatever, is inaccurate and rather insulting to the percentage of people who live in dire poverty, implying that we are all in the same boat, and we are not.

      • Doug says:

        OK, mime, here are more than ten words:

        “Possibly it is you who doesn’t understand the issues inherent in the income divide. Of course capitalism is broadly beneficial…”

        But see, people like the guy I quoted seriously don’t believe that. They believe that the entire system is rigged against them but oddly enough want more of the very thing that rigs it.

        “…but the old trickle down aspect of it pretty well sucks for many people.”

        Here’s where I differ than many on that topic:
        1. The main problem with “trickle down” is that many people are simply waiting for something to trickle down. It doesn’t work like that.

        2. I don’t give a rat’s patoot how much money someone else earns, and I don’t want wealthy people to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than I do. Don’t covet and all that. In the absence of coercion, people become wealthy by being good at providing something that other people are willing to pay for. Bully for them.

        3. **I believe that most people who complain about the rich could do much better for themselves if they spent less time worrying about others and invested the time bettering themselves. I do not believe in victim-hood. Life’s tough, suck it up, get to work. If you’re not happy with what you have, work harder or work smarter. Find a mentor. Do something. We live in the richest country in human history, with tremendous opportunity unheard of anywhere on earth even a century ago. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you’re doing something wrong. Reflect on what that may be and make the necessary changes.

        **Obviously there are some people who cannot care for themselves and it is the duty of the rest of us to help them. That number, in my opinion, is much smaller than in the opinion of Bernie supporters or most commenters on this blog. I do not believe that the government should take from some and give to others just because they’re poor, with no concern for *why* they’re poor or obligation on the poor person’s part to do everything in his/her power to become not poor.

        Now, all that being said, I do recognize that there are some people who get rich, or rich people who get richer, via government intervention and that this is unfair and harmful to the rest of us. I may rail about welfare, but I know it exists on both ends of the spectrum (and here I am in the middle). The answer to that problem is not to tax the rich more or to give more free stuff to everyone else. The answer is a smaller government that can’t grant these favors in the first place.

        Not that I expect you to agree 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Bravo, Doug! Well articulated and honestly stated! That’s what I was looking for. We agree on more than you think and disagree on some points. I’ll try to give you a proper response since you’re engaging.

        Like you, I’ve worked hard. Probably less hard than many and more hard than others. I like to work and began work when I was twelve. I babysat and learned about responsibility for others and how to make money and save it. I worked odd jobs throughout high school and college. I worked after I married. Even when the work experience was unpleasant, there are learning opportunities. I also started life as a middle class white kid. That helped. It also helped that I had a quality public education and family support to enable me to attend college – the first in my family to complete a college degree, but not the last of my siblings to do so. So, I know about work and I respect it for what it can do for a person.

        You acknowledge that there are those who abuse the system at both ends of the spectrum. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t agree that “less government” will solve that problem. I do agree that there are people who genuinely need and deserve our help as fellow citizens and taxpayers. Where we disagree is that the poor can always work harder and improve their situation. That statement implies a lack of awareness and sensitivity that I don’t believe you you really mean. If that were possible to share stories about people – adults and children – who I know who have tried and are trying incredibly hard to improve their situation but can’t, I think you would re-visit that sweeping statement. Life can be very complicated.

        History records many different tax levels over time. If you accept that there is a huge income divide, (which almost every economist believes) surely you do not assume that this divide is solely the result of those who live paycheck to paycheck because they lack the desire to make changes. More money isn’t necessarily the answer, but it may be one of the answers if it is properly focused. Conservatives’ view taxes as anathema yet they want all the benefits of Democracy. I watch our state government posture about a balanced budget when they’re achieving it by cutting needed programs and services, by holding funds that are dedicated taxes from the entities who are supposed to receive them, who waste funds on irresponsible spending for things important to them at the expense of meeting basic needs that benefit society at large. People in this election cycle are indicating that they are hurting, angry and tired of being told that “all you have to do is work harder”. That is inane.

        To sum it all up: I don’t object to paying more taxes if the money is equitably distributed to programs and services that help people who need help. I have no problem asking the wealthy to pay more especially when I know that many wealthy people pay far less in taxes than people who earn considerably less. Increased worker productivity has enabled management to enjoy profits without sharing with their workers. Benefits – including wages – have remained flat or declined. That’s not right, Doug, and it is feeding the clear impression that honest work is not rewarded or appreciated.

        Bottom line – we agree on many things but disagree on others. I appreciate you taking time to explain your views. At least I understand what motivated your post and can respond more appropriately….even if we disagree, which we don’t always.

      • johngalt says:

        I will point to a reply I made above about the economic problems of income inequality, but here simply observe that there has never been an effective government so small that it cannot generate favors for the rich and powerful who support it.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Doug you believe that capitalism has been generally beneficial to the country (and this wacky liberal strongly agrees with you).

        You also seem to believe that progressive taxation is bad (and this wacky liberal strongly disagrees with you).

        We’ve had some version of progressive taxation on higher income since about the mid-1800s. The country seems to have done remarkably well under this onerous situation (just as it has with a generally capitalistic mindset).

        There is no politically or economically viable flat tax rate out there. If you want to get rid of the top marginal tax rates, that means the taxes of rich folks is going to go down. If those taxes go down, the taxes of poor people are going to go up.

        I generally don’t believe you really believe, “you know, what will really help this country is for poor people to have less money”.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Doug:

        >] “1. The main problem with “trickle down” is that many people are simply waiting for something to trickle down. It doesn’t work like that.”

        No, Doug, the problem with supply-side economics is that it is an objective failure. As a means of providing economic opportunity for all people, it doesn’t work at all. Period.

        >] “2. I don’t give a rat’s patoot how much money someone else earns, and I don’t want wealthy people to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than I do. Don’t covet and all that. In the absence of coercion, people become wealthy by being good at providing something that other people are willing to pay for. Bully for them.”

        Not “wanting” wealthy people to pay a higher percentage sounds very noble in retrospect, but reality doesn’t always grant you that opportunity. Take the years immediately following WWII as an example, when we had to tax wealthier Americans at a FAR higher percentage rate in order to pay down our war debts. Presidents of both parties kept this policy in place for decades because we needed to do it, and it was only during JFK’s presidency that we finally began to ease that burden, though it should be said that even then the rate was, iirc, somewhere slightly above 60%, which is almost double what we have today.

        Not to say that this would be your response, but some might be tempted to retort that we’re obviously not in the aftermath of anything close to what we went through then and so the argument I’m trying to make it moot, but that’s not the point I’m making. The broader and more relevant argument is that we have to capitalize on the means available to us, bearing in mind the relevant responsibility and potential rewards that such a means can offer.

        To put it simply, if the rich can afford to pay a higher income tax rate and not suffer any undue burden on their quality of life, then they should. To say otherwise, as you would seem to infer, is like arguing that a high school athlete and an Olympian should be treated the same because they’re both playing the same sport. No one would believe that. They’re different in their circumstances and so what’s expected of them is obviously different as well. It’s the same thing here.

        >] “3. **I believe that most people who complain about the rich could do much better for themselves if they spent less time worrying about others and invested the time bettering themselves. I do not believe in victim-hood. Life’s tough, suck it up, get to work. If you’re not happy with what you have, work harder or work smarter. Find a mentor. Do something. We live in the richest country in human history, with tremendous opportunity unheard of anywhere on earth even a century ago. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you’re doing something wrong. Reflect on what that may be and make the necessary changes.”

        Indeed, ultimately the responsibility for one’s outcome in this world falls on none other than one’s own shoulders. If one isn’t willing to stand up and fight for one’s self, then you can’t expect anyone else to fight for you either. It’s harsh, but that’s just the way things are.

        Even within this harsh and often unforgiving reality though, a certain threshold of opportunity should be available to all people. It isn’t right that some should start off fighting much, much harder than others just to make ends meat and put food on the table; and too often that’s unfortunately the way it is, particularly for poor minority groups that suffer from decades of discrimination that have left them struggling to play catch-up.

        That’s why we need things like a universal health insurance plan and a basic minimum income to help even things out and give everyone in America, no matter who they are, a minimum floor of security so they’re free to pursue all of the unprecedented opportunities.

        If your only response to that is to say that people living paycheck to paycheck aren’t working hard enough, then frankly you don’t know shit about what it’s like to grow up and live in poverty and you should shut your mouth. 🙂

        >] “The answer to that problem is not to tax the rich more or to give more free stuff to everyone else. The answer is a smaller government that can’t grant these favors in the first place.”

        So-called “smaller government” doesn’t do anything to mitigate its influence and power, Doug. That’s quite a tired ol’ talking point that doesn’t do anything to address the real issues facing the American people and it needs to die out already.

        The answer, contrary to what you believe, is a more streamlined, accountable government that cuts down on the bureaucracy; not for its own sake, but so that it serves the interests of the people. That’s why we need things like a federal minimum income not just because it’s a good idea in the broad sense, but because it’s so simple and easy to execute that any problems that might arise can be more or less identified within a very short period of time and resolved much faster. That will give people confidence in the program and in the government that runs it. It’s a win-win for everyone.

      • johngalt says:

        “Take the years immediately following WWII as an example, when we had to tax wealthier Americans at a FAR higher percentage rate in order to pay down our war debts.”

        It might seem that way, Ryan, but the punitive marginal tax rates after WWII had little to do with paying down our debt. The amount of money raised through individual income taxes has been remarkably constant, regardless of the marginal tax rates. Between 1946-1960, it was 7.1-7.8% of GDP except for three years (lower in each). It has basically been between 7-8% ever since (with a few deviations up and down). In 1988, after Reagan’s tax cuts it was, you guessed it, 7.8%. It tanked during the 2008-10 recession, but is now back up in this general range.

        These data might seem counterintuitive, but the higher the marginal tax rate, the more incentive Daddy Warbucks has to shield income from Uncle Sam. This should give pause to those who advocate a steep rise in the tax rates. It is notable is that corporate tax receipts are about a third what they were in the 1950s.

        The way we got out of our WWII debt was basically inflation. The real interest rates (interest rate minus inflation) was negative for a good chunk of the post-war years. I expect we will do the same thing this time too.

      • 1mime says:

        In your analysis of tax rates over time, you noted that from 2008-10, tax rates tanked. Financial events like the Great Recession surely interfere with averages. The fact that the two wars of the GWB administration were unfunded and coupled with pay cuts that reduced federal revenue, surely tested government’s ability to maintain government services and satisfy debt obligations. Yet, this conversation, as necessary as it is, is nowhere to be found in a civil, shared responsible forum. Though the Obama administration has more than halved the budget deficit, our nation’s national debt is over $18 trillion dollars. That has to be addressed as Lifer noted, because you can’t have it all. That’s reality.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @johngalt: That sounds a bit too much like smoke and mirrors to me, though I admit that I was speaking too simplistically when I said that taxing the rich was meant to pay down our war debts, as if it was a means in and of itself, so let me clarify.

        What I should have said was that during those the years immediately following WWII, our taxation system here in the United States was far more progressive and broadly shared, which encouraged continuous economic growth, which led to more jobs being created and rising incomes. This in turn led, essentially, to greater wealth for the country as a whole and gave us the resources we needed to help pay down our debts. It’s not as though we just taxed the rich and used their money to pay down our debts. That’s a fallacy.

        For a more recent example, take a look at the comparative tax rates in the 1990s and those in the 2000s. The relevant graph is a little more than halfway down: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2011/09/22/10250/fact-versus-fiction-in-latest-supply-side-debate/

    • n1cholas says:

      99.99% of Americans aren’t capitalists.

      Of course, a lot of Americans think that they are capitalists, and that FreeMarket™ (hallowed be thy name) can cure all ills, if we just get out of the way and let the InvisibleHand™, and its disciples, the jobCreators™ do their good work. I mean, a neutral observer can understand that capitalism should actually have a capital C, since it is, afterall a religion. Hell, Capitalism is even premised on infinite growth, even though we’re stuck here on a finite rock with finite resources.

      In reality, almost everyone is a laborer. Even the mildly successful small business owner is a laborer first, and capitalist in his or her own mind.

      Sure, the company you work for may have established a 401k or some other investment vehicle for you, but note well that pensions are substantially better than the 401k they set up for you. Your individual capitalist stake in the system is virtually nil, and you better believe that when the markets crash and your 401k loses half of its value overnight, the true capitalists will be A-OK.

      In fact, real capitalists love market downturns, because then they can use the excess cash they have to purchase real property, equipment, and licenses: the real source of wealth. With those three, the real capitalist can continue extracting rents from you, the laborer.

      Real capitalists gift themselves stocks and outright pensions and cash payouts. You know it, I know it, and they know it. But, hey! You have a 401k, you’re a capitalist too (so, please, pretty please, don’t go fidgeting with the system that makes them extremely wealthy and powerful, but makes the average laborer EVEN MORE dependent on their employer’s financial well being). You’re a capitalist, because you live here, so, you just are.

      Freedom!

      Most people will continue believing that they’re a capitalist, simply because they’re walking around in a capitalist economy.

      It’s akin to a dog thinking it’s a human while it’s out and about on it’s leash, getting walked by its master. I mean, the dog is walking amongst the humans, but everyone is quite aware of their places, and what happens when master decides the dog has stepped out of line.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      I had a thought about the viability of sustained employment of Americans in the future. I read an article about a Texan oil man (currently unemployed) who remarked that when going to the grocery store a gallon of spring water costs more than a gallon of gas. As we all know oil is being produced and stockpiled at a shocking rate and the price of a barrel of crude oil has plummeted. The result is states like Texas, Louisiana and Alaska are being hit hard. Let’s say a technological development (or two) like Tesla’s home battery units when coupled with cheaper more efficient solor cells further reduces the need for fossil fuels. What would a disruption like that do to the American West. Would it approach a desolation similar to Detroit whose historic car industry, had been largely decimated. Iraq is already approaching an economic crisis due to plummeting sales of oil. These technological based disruptions are probably going to escalate, which leads me to ask… How can conservatives expect a small government/ limited social services solition be the ultimate cure in a future where most humans are a redundant feature in completing formerly well paying jobs. Recently a militant from that wildlife refuge on Oregon was shot and killed in a confrontation with law enforcement… He had 11 kids and 19 grandchildren. Of course he wants more access to federal land, he’s got a large family to provide for! But does this spectacle represent a window into the future… An America dominate d toxic stew of the unemployed, under-educated and well armed.

  5. johngalt says:

    The Democratic party has a problem, but it’s not Bernie Sanders. Yes, he might come close in Iowa, perhaps he’ll even win, and he’ll probably win his neighboring state of New Hampshire. But these are small and extremely unrepresentative states. Clinton is polling 30% higher than Sanders in South Carolina and 40% higher in Florida. Winning New Hampshire will not come close to overcoming these numbers in states that matter.

    The problem they have is depth. It’s Hillary and nobody. Sanders is an honest and sincere guy, but he’s a protest vote and is 74. O’Malley and Webb are polling at zero. Who else is out there? Let’s say HRC loses this year – who is a plausible nominee in 2020? That a 41 year old whose resume includes Secretary of HUD and mayor of San Antonio is being considered as VP material says a lot about the Democratic bullpen. Perhaps you can argue that HRC has sucked all the oxygen out of the room, but I’m not seeing any governors or senators on the Democratic side making a name for themselves.

    • goplifer says:

      Same problem in both parties really. You’re watching what happens after the GOP passes through that threshold. I mean, after McCain, who do you have?

      Answer: a bunch of random yahoos.

      That said, the Democrats do have some promising figures in the wings. Michael Nutter in Philadelphia. Jay Inslee in Washington. Terry McAuliffe is going through a kind of personal renaissance in Virginia. Mark Dayton has been kind of star in Minnesota, though Minnesota politicians seldom perform well nationally.

      They are out there.

    • 1mime says:

      You are correct, JG. The “bullpin” is skimpy. Very interesting are CA Lt.Gov Gavin Newsom, and Patrick Murphy and several females (Kirsten Gillenbrand most prominently), but not nearly enough. Howard Dean was correct when he focused his energy on trying to get the Democratic Party to invest the time and resources to build a broad structure within the Dem Party across the nation. Unfortunately, the party leadership didn’t listen and we are paying the price now.

    • johngalt says:

      Perhaps in practice, Chris, but were this a “normal” election, the GOP went in with some pretty heavy hitters in the form of big state governors like Christie, Kasich, and Bush with the gravitas to be president. They’ve all proven flawed in some way (but no more so than Clinton) but have been swept aside in the collective insanity of Trump.

      • 1mime says:

        The Weekly Sift offers an excellent commentary on the difficulties for Democrats in choosing their Presidential candidate. I believe the author extends the line of reasoning in important areas. See if you agree.

        http://weeklysift.com/2016/02/01/undecided-with-8-days-to-go/

        A quote that I found salient: ” As David Atkins wrote in Washington Monthly: “Politics isn’t just the art of the possible today. It’s also about shaping the realm of the possible tomorrow. When the opposition is willing to compromise, pushing the envelope might come at the expense of real gains in the moment. But when the opposition is intransigent, advocating for the impossible might just be the most productive thing a president can do to lay the groundwork for gains in the future.”

      • johngalt says:

        Years ago, in college, I wrote an essay about the intellectual competition between Voltaire and Pascal. Pascal was a pessimist about human nature and, though brilliant, was an apologist for religion as a means to soothe the savage beast (though brilliant, his Wager is a shockingly dumb attempt to logically justify belief). Voltaire wanted nothing to do with any of this and wrote volumes contradicting Pascal. Both of them took positions that would be considered extreme. My point in that essay was that both of them seemed to be making arguments well to the extreme of what they believed in an attempt to drag the discussion (and popular opinion) to their side of the spectrum. If my position is 0 and his is 100, then the average is 50. If I exaggerate my position so that it is now -20, then the average is now 40 and I’ve drug people closer to my initial position.

        I thought this was a dumb strategy when I was 19 and still think it is dumb, but if I thought that a politician was advocating positions more extreme than he (or she) actually believes as a negotiating ploy, then I could accept this. I do not think that either Cruz (or the entire tea party) or Sanders are doing this. I think they really believe what they propose and that is why neither of them are fit to be the president, because neither would get anything accomplished.

    • 1mime says:

      In a piece I read over the weekend, it pointed out that in ’92, Bill Clinton lost the first ten primaries before starting to win. That’s instructive.

  6. Rob Ambrose says:

    Imagine a hypothetical scenario where presidential elections were decided so that only the candidates policies were broadcast, and done so anonymously, so that the voting public didn’t know the identity (or gender or age or anything) of the candidates.

    And pretend in this world no ones ever heard of HRC or Bernie Sanders or Dobald Trump.

    The public would elect Bernie Sanders. If you go policy by policy on all the major battleground issues, in the aggregate, Sanders would win. He has the most popular policies when compared to poll after poll.

    The only thing that makes him “unelectable” is that it’s Bernie Sanders attached to those policies, and even then its not on anything of substance (“hes a socialist! *gasp*”, “hes not even a Democrat” etc.)

    So why is it so crazy then? That the guy with the most popular policies would actually win?

  7. flypusher says:

    The story of the terrorism against bloggers in Bangladesh is People’s Exhibit A as to why mixing church and state is a horrible, horrible idea, whether the mix be an official theocracy, and a more unofficial situation where the government isn’t aggressively going after those who murder in the name of religion. Also this does not apply just to Islam. It applies to any and all religions.

    As for the PP thing, Abbott and all the righties in the TX government have their minds made up, and no mere facts are going to deter them. I can only hope that the SCOTUS starts smacking all their bullshit down, starting with case they’re hearing this session.

    • 1mime says:

      Lifer’s old nemisis, Hotze and Woodfill are in it up to their eyeballs. They are currently putting pressure on D.A. Devon Anderson for her refusal to disregard the Grand Jury findings on the PP investigation. These seriously demented, mean men have done a lot of harm in their political activities. Of course, the guv and lt guv and our indicted D.A. will continue to push their ultra conservative agenda as long as it works for them…..

      • flypusher says:

        IIRC, Anderson is on the pro-life side. So I don’t think it likely she’d be trying to nudge/hint/infer/suggest the grand jury towards indicting the people who made the video. At best she’s completely neutral, at worse she’d be putting her thumb on the scales towards indicting Planned Parenthood. That they indicted the video makers makes me suspect they were doing some pretty blatant lawbreaking. But let’s take it to court and see what all the evidence says.

        If anyone is really that offended over fetal tissue being used in research, they’re within their rights to use our system of government to change the law. But they are deluding themselves if they think that will prevent even one abortion.

      • 1mime says:

        I am quite aware of DA Anderson’s personal pro-life views. The fact that she respected the decision of the Grand Jury to indict the two who tried to entrap PP speaks exceedingly well of her. My reference was aimed at the two Republicans who represent the worst of the party in the Houston area. They do their party injustice by their actions, which I’m certain Lifer understood. Fetal tissue research is important. Having a husband with Parkinson’s Disease predisposes me in its favor if I weren’t already so inclined.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Some people have speculated that one reason the grand jury indicted the PP conspirators is because the grand jury system is no longer “pick a pal” in Texas.

      Now grand jury members are recruited from the broad population, not just some people the judge knows. I think the change happened in the last legislative session.

      If correct, it will be interesting to see how grand jury actions play out in the future. To me, it seems like a radical — and welcome — change.

      • 1mime says:

        Excellent point, BoBo. I hadn’t connected those dots. Let us hope for “more of the same” justice that was rendered here, and let us also pray that those who favor “pick a pal” will never again be able to use this tool.

      • 1mime says:

        BTW, not all judicial jurisdictions are honoring this new more representative jury selection process. I do worry that if “too much justice” !!!!!! happens, the judges and the politicians will revert back to the old pick a pal process.

  8. Rob Ambrose says:

    Overheard at Cruz campaign HQ:

    “Ted, look, here’s the thing. Internal polling is showing you’re not likable on a personal level at all. In anyway. Anywho, me and the boys thought if you send a creepy letter to everyone in Iowa telling them (and their neighbours) how shitty of a job they’re doing with their civic duties, and also telling them which neighbours are ALSO unpatriotic degenerates, that should really help with your likability”

    Ted: “this is gold boys…..gold!”

    http://gawker.com/ted-cruzs-ludicrous-voter-shaming-mailer-strategy-is-a-1756235951

    • tuttabellamia says:

      For the unsophisticated or elderly voter, a mailing like this might be downright scary, if it leads you to believe you’ve broken the law.

  9. tuttabellamia says:

    The call for researchers and participants for the Basic Income Project is interesting. Here’s our chance to form that think tank on MassDem’s or Mime’s porch, or maybe a Desert Symposium in New Mexico with OV (aka Obj), or a Symposium by the Bay in Galveston, kind of like Erroll Garner’s Concert by the Sea.

    One thing that would need to be addressed in any study of this type is the circumstances under which people would enter the Basic Income Program. Those of us who’ve lived most of our lives without the Basic Income would see the Basic Income as a windfall, kind of like winning the lottery, since it would be an unexpected, pleasant surprise, and how we would use our basic income would most likely be a variation or extension of how we already live our lives. We would have more time and money to continue doing things we are already doing, or have always dreamt of doing. And the risks of the basic income would be the same risks and personal weaknesses we already have to deal with — frittering time, overspending, lending money to deadbeats, etc.

    Things would be different for people born and raised with the concept of the Basic Income, and they would take it for granted, but they might actually make better use of it than those of us who see it as a winning lotto ticket, as fun money.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      In my case, the idea of the basic income and the question of what I would do with a basic income is sobering, because I realize that I ALREADY have the means (money and time) to do most of the things I want to do, and if I haven’t done them, it’s because of my own personal lack of discipline, by not always spending wisely, but most especially with regards to TIME. I have frittered away time on the most inconsequential things.

      • 1mime says:

        You are a smart lady to have figured this out while you’re still young, Tutta. Money can be replaced; time – never. Use it wisely.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, whenever Lifer posts a Link Roundup, I enjoy observing who replies to which link, and noting which is the link that speaks to each of us, which link calls out to each of us for a response. See how I fritter my time away? 🙂

    • 1mime says:

      For some people, the Basic Income will be “new” money. One needs to remember that in order to establish a universal Basic Income, other benefits will have to be pared. There’s only so much $$ to spread around – or, at least, that’s my recollection of Lifer’s previous explanations. There is the additional challenge of getting political support from the right. Remember, this is the group which already thinks there are too many “takers”…..not to mention their concerns about entitlement debt. Going back for a minute to the el-Erian discussion with Rose, he said that student loan debt is a huge financial problem that no one is addressing.

  10. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    If Democrats are foolish and weak enough to let the Sanders’ craze infect the national party as a whole, particularly after what’s happened to the Republicans, then I certainly won’t be shedding any tears for them, but I’m still waiting to see how, exactly, said infection actually occurs.

    Who carries the proverbial torch after Sanders’ national hopes, IMO, inevitably fizzle out? Interestingly, Sanders’ greatest strength and his greatest weakness is that his base of support is predominately among lily-white, blue-collar voters. As we all know by now, without sufficient support among minority groups, it is absolutely impossible for any Democratic candidate to clinch the nomination.

    And, interestingly enough, it’s actually Republicans who have created a sort of buffer for Democrats in the Blue Wall. I argued a while ago that Republicans could, albeit tenuously, keep their crazy in check so long as they kept winning. It was only when they lost that things started bubbling over and gave the radical right the opening they need to assert control. If the same applies for the Democratic Party, then they should be alright as long as they keep a hold on the presidency and begin to reassert control of Congress.

    In the mean time, these next four to eight years might well be the critical ones. We’ll have to see whether or not Democrats can smooth things over if they’ll go the way of the GOP. At least it won’t be boring.

    • 1mime says:

      You know, Ryan, I am ready for a little time with “boring”. Our country needs to settle down and pull together for a while. There are serious issues that need to be addressed. However, I doubt any of us here could agree on “who” the “best” boring candidate would be, so you are probably correct – we’re in for more frustration and lots of hyperbole.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @n1cholas: Congratulations, you’ve succeeded in a wall of text that is essentially a whole lot of sound and noise signifying raised expectations that will inevitably come crashing down around you and everyone else who buys into Sanders’ so-called “revolution”.

        I’ve already said we need to invest in infrastructure. Of course we do, and when I say “intelligently,” I mean exactly that. We need it done in a way that makes use of smart budgeting practices, gives preference to those areas that have been most devastated by the decline in our investments, works in a cooperative way with state and local governments and gives us the best bang for our buck.

        >] “Fourth, and most importantly. Sanders is not crazy, and he doesn’t inspire crazy. What Sanders does inspire is lots and lots of Americans who in essence feel like they’ve been left out of the political conversation. Mostly because they damn well have been.”

        First of all, stop using the word “crazy” as a martyr to promote Sanders. You don’t like it? Fine, we’ll use some other word: “fringe,” “old,” “disillusioned,” “antiquated,” naive,” “old-fashioned,” etc, etc, etc. Take your pick, they all point back to the same thing.

        You say Sanders inspires people? You’re right, he does, and that’s exactly the problem. He inspires people with expectations that he has absolutely ZERO chance of fulfilling. Let’s assume that he were elected POTUS. You think he’s going to get in there and cajole Congress into passing a trillion dollar infrastructure bill, single-payer healthcare and everything else he advocates for? No, he will not, and anyone looking with clear eyes at reality knows that.

        President Obama came into office fresh off a historic election with overwhelming Democratic majorities in Congress and even with all that, he was barely able to pass a conservative-leaning ACA, and even THAT was only because he had the backing of the health insurance industry behind him. Sanders would not have anything close to that, and he’s advocating for something MUCH more difficult to pass. Chances of that happening are precisely nil.

        Disappointment. Failure. Liar. Those are the words that will resonate in the back of every Sanders’ supporter who elected him and expected the so-called “revolution,” only to be disappointed.

        >] “HRC is a center-right, socially liberal Democrat. I trust that she wouldn’t break shit anywhere near as bad as any of the Republican lunatics. And I’ll vote for her if she’s the nominee. But, Sanders is not a war hawk. That inspires people who don’t want to continue with this Empire thing that is slowly but surely destroying any semblance of a Pax Americana.”

        Sanders’ entire foreign policy pitch is that he voted against the Iraq War. That’s it. You want to elect a man to confront the dangerous world that we’re living in right now with THAT as his resume? Best of luck with that, pal.

        >] “Sanders is for investing in actual Americans and not just the assholes who’ve been the beneficiaries of US taxpayer socialism for the past 60 years – The MIC. Sanders wants Americans to be able to get a good education, and have health care, without having to take out loans to make themselves indentured servants for the people who already have all of the money anyway.”

        HRC is for universal coverage, having people get a good education and making the most of their lives too, so unless you just have an axe to grind against the so-called “oligarchs,” I dunno what the difference you’re trying to make here is.

        >] “Sanders may or may not win the nomination. I personally think he won’t. But if he does, he stands to not just win the nomination, but win the Presidency while also bringing enough people who’ve otherwise given up, with him. This is how a Sanders candidacy can potentially turn enough seats downticket so that rather than Sanders being another McGovern, instead he can be a transformative leader who helps elect the legislators he needs to get his policies implemented. It would also break the back of the GOP if an actual god damn Socialist(!) got elected, especially if he got elected over a “True Conservative”.”

        n1cholas, it’s genuinely tough for me to say this given that you seem so idealistic about all this, but you just don’t get it. Seeing the support Sanders draws from his crowds and what not might lead you to believe a broad swath of the American public would flock to his side with the right exposure and messaging, but that is NOT what would happen. Let me tell you how this would actually play out:

        1.) The very second that it appeared that Sanders had the Democratic nomination locked up, Republicans would be all OVER him like milk on a paper plate in a snowstorm. The sheer barrage of ads and negative messaging that would permeate the air waves would be nauseating. You might call this obvious and easy to see coming, and you’re right about that, but the problem lies in that, as Lifer has said, Sanders is the least vetted candidate on either side in this election. Republicans would take advantage of that to define him early and the the so-called leads he’s had in polls thus far would narrow and possibly even diminish entirely.

        Remember how President Obama sought to define Romney as an elitist in the 2012 election? It would be exactly like that, only worse.

        2.) You think Sanders and Donald Trump are really all THAT different? Both are working to capitalize on the anger and frustration festering in the American people and both are viewed as outsider candidates that will take the fight to the so-called “establishment.” If Sanders is the nominee, there will be more Democrats voting for Trump than you think and even if he wins, it won’t be by anywhere near enough to give him the Congress he would need and that will be that.

        3.) Trump is much too media savvy to be underestimated. He’ll take full advantage of that in defining Sanders early and he won’t have the campaign infrastructure that HRC would have in order to fight back effectively. That will cost him dearly.

        4.) Sanders does not and will not have sufficient support among minority groups even if he does win the nomination. African-Americans in particular do not believe that he speaks to their interests and they will not come out to vote for him like they would for Barack Obama or HRC. Say what you will about Clinton, but she and her husband have deep ties to these communities that stem back decades. Sanders has no such thing and that will be another potential nail in his coffin.

        >] “Sanders is the real deal. HRC is simply a competent but flawed technocrat.”

        Bernie Sanders is a good man and I believe he speaks from the heart, but he is naive and you are drinking the kool-aid if you think he’s the “real deal.” He will disappoint you.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Whoops, hit the wrong “reply”. Sorry ’bout that. 🙂

    • Griffin says:

      However the Sanders supporters are probably correct that he would probably beat Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. If he was going against Marco Rubio that would be a problem, but he’s probably not.

      I’m really tired of this false equivalnce. Bernie Sanders is a liberal, at most a center-left social democrat. He is not nearly as far to the left as the Republicans are to the right. Now, if you wanted to argue that his popularity was a sign of weakining social institutions that could give rise to an actual crazy person in 2020 that might be interesting, but right now this just seems like the same Establishment concensus politics that doesn’t have a great track record of being right.

      Unlike Trump Sanders has actually been in politics and understands the basics of legislation. Unlike Cruz he has decent enough relations with the Democratic party that he can fall back on their institutions and advisors. Unlike both many (though not all) of his actual policies have support from a majority of Americans.

      In short we can call the Democrats crazy if Kanye West runs in 2020 and wins the nomination. But implying that Sanders has no shot or is even as close to being as crazy as the Republican front runners is crazier that Sanders has ever been. It’s what Asimov would call “wronger than wrong”. Sanders and Clinton would largely govern similaraly anyways thanks to a Republican House, so I’m personally indifferent to which one wins so long as its a Democrat, but Sanders’ “radicalism” is wildly blown out of proportion.

      • n1cholas says:

        The fact that the Republican party is absolutely batshit insane means that The BothSidesDoIt™ “centrists” have to point to someone like Bernie Sanders, as if he’s somehow insane, in order to deflect the sheer amount of insanity in the Republican party going back close to 40 years.

        If you were to stick the average Democratic politician into any other Western political party, they’d fit in nicely with the center-right moderate party. If you were to stick Sanders into any other Western political party, he’d fit in nicely with the left-of-center party.

        But the insanity of the modern GOP, which is a reactionary party and not a conservative party, has basically bastardized how people see anyone who isn’t slightly center-right, so that somehow, Sanders, whose positions are basically policy in the rest of the civilized world, is some sort of “politics of crazy” torchbearer.

        The cognitive dissonance of even sane, moderate conservatives like GOPLifer cannot be underestimated. For virtually his entire life the Republican party has been railing against observable reality, so that even though Sanders’ positions are policy in the rest of the world where you’d feel comfortable living for more than a 2 week period, somehow or another, Sanders is JustAsBad™ as outright fascists like Trump/Cruz, or in denial about observable reality like, uh, the entire rest of the Republican field.

        It’s hilarious, and tragic, that the cognitive dissonance causes confusion amongst the sane conservatives, but hey, that’s what Goldwater-Nixon-Reagan sowed, and just take a look around: it’s time to reap.

      • 1mime says:

        Unless I’ve “read” Lifer wrong, he is totally into the Sanders is crazy theory, and, given how reasonable Lifer has demonstrated himself to be, that’s telling. Few people look at U.S. politics as compared with global politics, n1cholas. I don’t know if that is because they don’t want to admit that another way “can” work, or, if they simply have bought so completely into American exceptionalism that there is no other acceptable political process that compares to ours.

      • n1cholas says:

        Well…right.

        GOPLifer is reasonable…for a modern US self-described Republican.

        At the same time, Sanders is a run-of-the-mill liberal…everywhere else on the entire planet that you would consider Western/Civilized.

        That’s telling, no?

        Sanders is a Democratic Socialist. He’s crazy, if you consider all of Western and Central Europe crazy.

        Throw Sanders in Germany, and he’s just a typical Social Democratic Party member, quietly working on legislation that will help all Germans, rather than the ones who already have all the money and power.

        That’s how “crazy” Sanders is.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t disagree.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Mayhaps I should’ve explained it better, but at least when I talk about the Sanders’ “craze,” I don’t mean it in that Sen. Sanders is to the left what many Republicans are to the right. In that, you’re absolutely correct.

        What I DID mean about him is two-fold, in that his policy subscriptions speak to problems of the past that won’t serve the best interests of the future and that his is a mindset built on overreaching optimism that will inevitably lead to disappointment, both of which could prove absolutely devastating for the Democratic Party if the party as a whole were to embrace them. Needless to say, I don’t believe they will.

        Policy-wise, Sanders isn’t so different from his view of government in the same way that Republicans are about tax cuts. If we believe Sen. Sanders’ rhetoric, we’re expected to believe that investing a trillion dollars in infrastructure will creates millions of jobs that will effectively pay for itself. Republicans believe that tax cuts pay for themselves through boosted economic growth, which at this point is a total crock and anyone with eyes to see knows is a lie.

        BTW, interesting tidbit is that in spite of Reagan’s position in Republican mythology as the one who birthed that idea, he actually raised taxes quite a bit during his presidency. It was only when H. W Bush made that obscenely stupid campaign promise of never raising taxes that Republicans began to treat it as a cardinal sin.

        Anyways, the point is is that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Sen. Sanders, for all his good intentions, is campaigning effectively on smoke and mirrors. That can and would be dangerous if a broader segment of the Democratic Party starts following that lead.

      • 1mime says:

        Am I understanding you correctly that you do not agree that jobs would be created through an infrastructure initiative?

        Here’s the difference for me. I’ll take someone like Sanders over someone like Cruz any day of the week. At his core, Sanders is honest. He is not an egomaniac. He does not believe that he is the savior. He would be able to be reasoned with. He understands government. He would become more tempered if he were to become President, not more imperial.

        I will vote for Sanders if he beats Hillary for the nomination. At the very least, he stands for the majority of beliefs that I hold true: equality being paramount.

      • Griffin says:

        @Ryan Um… did he say they would pay for themselves? He’s for reinvesting a trillion in our infrastructure, I shouldn’t have to explain why that would help the economy. It’s an investment and government spending on infrastructure clearly does boost real GDP both in the short and long term. Even if he never raised any taxes to pay for it would still be worth it to borrow the money to pay for it.

        Trickle-down economics has been REPEATADLY debunked, and whenever a report comes out saying that it doesn’t work Republicans don’t provide a countrepoint and just cry that’ it’s liberal lies. Sanders supports a one time investment in infrastructure that by any objective measure would boost the economy and have long term benefits, the other just steadily cuts off revenue for the government without any sort of benefit (except for increased financial speculation). This is what we’re talking about with false comparisons, the two are not even close to being on the same level.

        “his is a mindset built on overreaching optimism that will inevitably lead to disappointment”

        So he promises too much and his followers are too idealistic. Sure, but how is that any different from VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER POLITICAL CAMPAIGN IN US HISTORY?! Not seeing how that’s any different from even centrist campaigners like Obama.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Griffin: No one, including myself, is saying that we shouldn’t reinvest in our infrastructure. It’s very desperately needed, obviously. However, Sanders takes it too far in that the 13 million jobs (I think that’s what it was, iirc) he says it would create would be like the equivalent of an adrenaline shot into the American economy. That’s not the way we need to be going.

        We’ve talked about this before. Our economy is changing and infrastructure jobs are slowly but surely going to be phased out as they’re replaced by more and more sophisticated machines. You cannot build the future by relying on the past, and Sen. Sanders doesn’t seem to be willing to confront this, not in this respect at least.

        And no, his position on clean energy doesn’t suffice as a rebuttal to this.

        Can you tell me, honestly, that if we did invest all that money and created all those infrastructure jobs, that they would be around for all those people for years to come? Eventually, supply is going to outstrip demand. Just look at what’s happening to oil for a prime example of that, and when it does happen, a whole bunch of those guys are going to get a pink slip and say that they just aren’t needed right now. And that’s just in the short-term.

        With all that in mind, are you going to be the one to stand there and tell me that we got the biggest bang for our buck when that happens? I seriously doubt it. So yes, let’s invest in our infrastructure, but let’s do it intelligently and pave the way for those workers to do something else down the line, not treat it as an end in and of itself.

      • 1mime says:

        Of course, Ryan! Intelligent budgeting and planning is absolutely the way we should run government. I had not seen the 13M jobs number you reference from Sanders on infrastructure jobs, and it does seem high; however, this repair (and expansion) is a necessary function of government. Not only are there legitimate current needs (infrastructure) but simultaneously, a large population of workers would be put to work. The fact that America is allowing this huge swath of workers to be lost without making a commitment to re-train is tragic. People can’t just be “thrown away” like we seem to be doing with our inner cities.

        Think about the possibilities and desirability of creating a rail network throughout America as is commonplace in Europe….about the benefits to the environment and safety with fewer cars. Talk to any public sector engineer about our aging infrastructure for water, sewerage, oil, gas, buried telecommunications cables, satellites, etc. and you will get an earful about what has been deferred and what is desperately needed.

      • moslerfan says:

        Ryan, what you refer to as failed policies from the past I see as successful strategies learned from the economic wreckage of the Gilded Age that were done away with because they were cramping the style of the financial wizards on Wall Street.

        On infrastructure, I’ve seen estimates that the Interstate Highway System has an ROI in excess of 25% annually. Also, Flint.

        On single payer health care, there are upwards of 55 million Americans today under a single payer system. It’s called Medicare, and it seems to be popular. Also, it has an administrative overhead of 2% vs private insurance overhead about 17%. And even worse, the largest health care provider in the US is a socialist-style government owned and run system which has outcomes similar to or better than private systems at a lower cost. It’s called the VA, and despite what you read it’s also pretty popular with its clients.

      • n1cholas says:

        @Ryan 6:47pm

        First, the infrastructure jobs don’t need to all come online at the same time. The point of improving/adding infrastructure is to improve and add infrastructure. That the US is also employing 13M people to do it, giving them money to reinvest back into the economy, while also adding work experience to their resume (to use with these future, “sophisticated machines” that clearly don’t exist yet) is just a couple of added bonuses.

        Who cares if some of the jobs begin and end before others? Infrastructure in this country is hilariously out of date, and it gets people working. Working people spend money on things they need. Other people get money because they provide goods and services that those people who got infrastructure jobs were able to purchase.

        Second, infrastructure improvement/additions increase private business where the “real jobs” are, if you prefer that term. Wanna drive a truck to and fro? Need roads. And of course, no private business built those roads, not without a government contract at least. Want to start up your own tech company? Universal high-speed internet sure would help. Want to live somewhere cheaply and get somewhere far away? High speed rail sure would help.

        Infrastructure investment is the least stupid way any country can improve its short term and long term financial and structural health. If you build it correctly the first time, and maintain it, you’ve just created jobs(!), and got money flowing through the economy.

        An economy that doesn’t have money flowing through it is a dead economy. Period. End of story, regardless of whether you believe in the tax cut myth or the rising tide lifts all yachts myth.

        Third, you end with the notion that we need to invest in our infrastructure intelligently. Well, what, exactly, does that entail? Because it’s going to cost money, regardless.

        Is Sanders proposing that we go back to paved dirt trails and a Pony Express? That we all stop using motor vehicles and start riding bicycles? That we all give up heating and air conditioning and use fans constructed from cow manure? Because infrastructure is a big god damn job, and only government is able to do it. Period. All day, every day.

        Fourth, and most importantly. Sanders is not crazy, and he doesn’t inspire crazy. What Sanders does inspire is lots and lots of Americans who in essence feel like they’ve been left out of the political conversation. Mostly because they damn well have been.

        HRC is a center-right, socially liberal Democrat. I trust that she wouldn’t break shit anywhere near as bad as any of the Republican lunatics. And I’ll vote for her if she’s the nominee. But, Sanders is not a war hawk. That inspires people who don’t want to continue with this Empire thing that is slowly but surely destroying any semblance of a Pax Americana. Sanders is for investing in actual Americans and not just the assholes who’ve been the beneficiaries of US taxpayer socialism for the past 60 years – The MIC. Sanders wants Americans to be able to get a good education, and have health care, without having to take out loans to make themselves indentured servants for the people who already have all of the money anyway.

        The thing is, the world is moving past the whole traditions and conservatism that Americans seem to believe makes us super duper special and favored by God himself. Sanders represents the American notion that we, too, can scoot on past the period of Empire where we stop believing in ourselves and instead hope that we can just stop the bleeding long enough for…something…to come along and fix things.

        Sanders may or may not win the nomination. I personally think he won’t. But if he does, he stands to not just win the nomination, but win the Presidency while also bringing enough people who’ve otherwise given up, with him. This is how a Sanders candidacy can potentially turn enough seats downticket so that rather than Sanders being another McGovern, instead he can be a transformative leader who helps elect the legislators he needs to get his policies implemented. It would also break the back of the GOP if an actual god damn Socialist(!) got elected, especially if he got elected over a “True Conservative”.

        Sanders isn’t some radical communist proposing some “redistributionist” tax scheme and the appropriation of private property and the means of production. Instead, he wants to regulate the businesses that have, over the past 100 years, taken control of the US government and ran it for itself.

        I’ll vote for HRC, because I’m not a lunatic. But if Sanders is the nominee, you can hem and haw about how Rubio(lol) is going to run the table on Sanders, but considering that no one, literally, gives a shit about Rubio, I find that preposterous on its face.

        Sanders is the real deal. HRC is simply a competent but flawed technocrat.

      • 1mime says:

        Bravo, n1cholas.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Ryan, good infrastructure always pays for itself, often many times over. Hiw many times has the national interstate system paid foe itself? My guess is several.

        The fact that it won’t be made back in 4 years isn’t a strike against it.

        But that’s beside the point, Sanders isn’t saying its going to pay for itself. Its going to create a tin of jobs, sure, but its not a jobs initiative. Its an investment back into the country which the country will need for the next generation to thrive.

        It will cost money now, of course. A lot of it. And it will lead to higher taxes. But every other investment costs something upfront too.

        We’re I voting today, I’d vote for Sanders over Hillary. I always liked him but probably leaned towards the stability of Clinton. But I’ve listened to his policies, and I find myself agreeing with literally every single one, and I’ just get a gut that he perceives the same threats to society as I do, in a way that I don’t percieve Hillary does.

        Hes not perfect, but he’s got hit upon something, and there’s a lot of people in my social circle that are feeling it too. That kind of youthful enthusiasm got Obama elected (and most would agree that turned out pretty well I think). It might very well get Sanders too.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Rob Ambrose: Mhmm, you keep talking like that and come back when all that “youthful enthusiasm” you speak of meets the cold, unforgiving wall of reality and crushes you without so much as a shred of mercy. Let me know how it feels to be so completely and utterly disappointed.

        I’m all for dreaming big dreams and even changing the world, but here’s the thing. You need power to do that. Just the way it is. Sanders’ argument for this is he intends to bring about a “political revolution” in this country that brings millions of people out to vote, overturning our conventional system and ushering in a new era of prosperity for all Americans.

        Let me fill you in on something. There has been precisely one point in our American history where truly transformative change occurred in a very short period of time. It took five years of bloody civil war and 500,000 lives in order to bring it about.

        I would bet you my very life itself that if you buy into Sanders’ so-called “political revolution,” you will come away disappointed, and I’m dead serious about that. It’s a crock, and you risk handing a truly dangerous Republican the presidency in the process. Think about that for a minute.

      • 1mime says:

        On the point of transformative change – the Civil War – for all the pain that war inflicted, the change it sought was not commensurate. Racism lives. What a shame that an extremely well qualified candidate like Hillary Clinton fails to inspire. Still, she will get my vote as she does possess the experience and intelligence to get the big decisions right (email server aside) and she will be competent. But, if she loses the nomination, I will vote for the Democratic nominee who will be Bernie.

        Try to focus on a scenario where you end up with a Trump or a Cruz (or even a Rubio who swings with whoever and whatever he needs to appease) as the GOP nominee. Then, what will you do? Whoever America elects, it is highly likely that he or she will bring majority control of the Senate and the House. We can see what that’s like right now. Bernie is no FDR but he is a good person whose platform is predicated on what is important to the American people…. even those who claim to be the “people’s ” champion a la Trump, or the “savior” like Cruz, or the “traditionalist” (whatever the hell that means anymore) like Rubio. I believe in the values of the Democratic Party and I also believe that the Republican Party needs to lose this election decisively in order for it to make the paradigm shift it needs to become the party is must. Otherwise, why would they change at all?

        America has survived worse leadership than a good man like Bernie would offer or that a very flawed Republican President would. America is still recovering from the harm that was done in the name of conservative governance. Let us hope that the outcome, whatever it is, is one that a great nation can survive because we are bigger and better than any one person.

      • Griffin says:

        @Ryan You just keep dismissing everyone by saying they’re idealistic, and maybe they are, but a certain degree of idealism and optimism is neccessary for a strong campaign. There’s a reason Clinton lost to the far, far more (at the time) idealistic Barack Obama in 2008, and part of it was that he motivated the base to go out and vote. And then he won the White House. Yes some people are disappointed he didn’t get more done but he was still clearly able to obtain and hold onto the White House. If you go full George McGovern idealism it could hurt you but even Sanders isn’t George McGovern 2.0.

        “Sanders’ entire foreign policy pitch is that he voted against the Iraq War. That’s it. You want to elect a man to confront the dangerous world that we’re living in right now with THAT as his resume? Best of luck with that, pal.”

        Firstly even if that were true I don’t see the argument here. Yes I would rather vote for someone that voted against the Iraq war than for it because it was a disaster. That said Sanders’ general stance has been in favor of a continuation of Obama’s cautious foreign policy and desire for international (or at least NATO) concensus, whereas Clinton is far more of a hawk. She even wants to topple Assad which would probably be a disaster.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Griffin:

        >] “@Ryan You just keep dismissing everyone by saying they’re idealistic, and maybe they are, but a certain degree of idealism and optimism is neccessary for a strong campaign. There’s a reason Clinton lost to the far, far more (at the time) idealistic Barack Obama in 2008, and part of it was that he motivated the base to go out and vote. And then he won the White House. Yes some people are disappointed he didn’t get more done but he was still clearly able to obtain and hold onto the White House. If you go full George McGovern idealism it could hurt you but even Sanders isn’t George McGovern 2.0.”

        I don’t dismiss idealism out of hand. I’m an idealist myself. I simply believe that you have to have the power and the plan to make it happen. If you don’t have that, then idealism is all you have and you’re going to end up disappointed and possibly even fall into outright despair.

        That said, I’m a supporter of President Obama. My very first presidential vote was for him back in 2008 and I voted for him again in 2012. Let’s be fair here though. His lack of experience and sheer idealism about working with Republicans cost both him and the Democratic Party – and America at large, mind you – severely and we’re still living with the consequences of that today. You can argue that Sen. Sanders has been in Washington for much longer and wouldn’t be prone to those mistakes, but I would argue right back that I still get the sense of raised expectations from him that will lead to inevitable disappointment and sends us even further down the proverbial rabbit hole.

        >] “Firstly even if that were true I don’t see the argument here. Yes I would rather vote for someone that voted against the Iraq war than for it because it was a disaster. That said Sanders’ general stance has been in favor of a continuation of Obama’s cautious foreign policy and desire for international (or at least NATO) concensus, whereas Clinton is far more of a hawk. She even wants to topple Assad which would probably be a disaster.”

        With all respect, what’s there not to see? Sanders has no real foreign policy experience to speak of and Clinton does. I’m not saying she would be perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but on this front, I would rather go with someone with real, first-hand knowledge of the world rather than sending in someone fresh. We live in very dangerous times and we don’t need a newbie on the world stage learning as he goes.

      • Glandu says:

        Seen from France, he’s a medium socialist. The kind of guy you can elect, try to changes things, and is blocked by the EU commission, and ends up as a centrist. He tried, he failed(all comparison with F. Hollande is not unwanted). Not a pure social-liberal like Tony Blair or Emmanuel Macron, not a real leftist as JL melanchon or Martine Aubry.

        Of course, USA being not as leftist as us, he’s seen as a dangerous boshevik in your country. He is not.

        Now, is he a good choice? No clue. But he seems sane, at least. Seen from far. And this, in a context where primaries push people to be more extreme than they really think. Trump (and Cruz, to a lesser extent) pushed that logic to the extreme : primaries are won at the extreme, let’s be more extreme than other candidates think we can be.

        Our own conservative party(“Les Republicains”, Sarkozy, Juppé) cannot go that way, because their right os occupied but the now powerful nationalist party(“Front National”, Le Pen, Philoppot). Sarkozy will certainly make a rightist campaign, much more than Juppé, but that strategy is not bound to work. On the other side, Hollande will probably manage to avoid a primary. If not, things may be as crazy as at your own right. Because his centrist politics is loathed by a good part of the french left. It will be even worse if left’s primaries are “open” to the green and the former communists(a not that unlikely event). And, of course, there won’t be any primaries amongst the nationalists – they have the cult of the leader. The lady boss will be the candidate. Democracy is not in their culture.

        And yes, it’s funny to see how a different local culture bends your opinion. I don’t say I more right than you, just that my point of view is an European standard. And that standard seems wildly different from your american standard.

      • 1mime says:

        Vive la difference!

    • 1mime says:

      One more thought about Sanders “unrealistic optimism”. Let’s think about this more deeply. What is the message we’ve been hearing from the Republican Party – doom, gloom, the sky is falling, carpet bomb the stew out of Syria, there is only one god, all refugees are dangerous, some classes of people are more important than others, women aren’t smart enough to make their own decisions, health care for the masses isn’t possible…and so forth. Where’s the hope?

      I think people are tired of this crap. They are tired of so few benefiting from this great economy in America. They know there is an income divide and they are tired of worrying about whether they’ll be able to send their kids to college and have savings left for retirement. They are tired of worrying about health care they can afford or even “get”. People want someone who speaks to the needs of the everyday person for a change.

      This is the appeal of a Donald Trump – however misplaced that confidence may be; and the appeal of a Bernie Sanders – who is genuine. I am going to support the Democratic nominee for President because I believe this party represents values and priorities that are closest to my own. And, I will feel good about doing so. I wonder how good most Republicans will feel when they cast their vote? I do not have confidence that the Republican Party of today is capable of attending to the fundamental needs of our nation. I frankly don’t think they care. I’ll take my chances with the Democrats.

      • n1cholas says:

        Exactly.

        Everything that isn’t, isn’t, until it is.

        Sanders has the best chance of any Republican or Democratic candidate to encourage people who would normally sit out, to opt in. Sanders, not HRC, has the best chance to change course, because he genuinely wants to change course. HRC is for nipping and tucking around the edges.

        Sanders, if the Democratic nominee, will be the most positive candidate possible. He isn’t saying that we’re all doomed. That the sky is falling. That the scary Mooselmans are coming to murder and then rape your daughters, wives, and dogs. That we’re broke and need to stop helping everyone, while also saying we need to give the richest people in the solar system more money to hand off to Wall St. criminals to inflate bubbles.

        You can say what you want about Sanders, but even the obnoxious conservatives I deal with on other sites will tell you that he’s honest, a true believer, and not a charlatan. And a lot of them will tell you that they aren’t Republicans, but “Independents” and Libertarians. Many hate Trump and Cruz, and are essentially just saying “a pox on both your houses”.

        Trump’s support is a mile wide and an inch deep. I believe Cruz loses to a dented, leaking tomato can. And Rubio… his entire job, along with everyone else, is to be the final establishment candidate standing, and nothing more.

        A brokered convention for the Republican party, with Bernie sitting back and staying on message and positive, likely wins. And when Republicans see that their establishment is really only in it for themselves, whereas Sanders genuinely gives a shit about other people who aren’t rich and giving him money…well, many will sit at home. Good. It’s about time the least informed people on the planet stop voting to hurt everyone else, as long as they get it a little worse then they themselves will get it. How f-ing ridiculous.

        What I see is that many people realize that Sanders’ message can resonate with the white working class. By not namedropping for minorities the way GOPLifer continues to bring up, Sanders stands to drastically rearrange party affiliation.

        We continue to see how the Republican party essentially has to carry 60% of the white vote in order to even have a chance. What happens when a Democratic candidate is able to snag a substantial portion of previously-Republican moderate working class voters, while basically retaining the African American and Hispanic vote, because, seriously, you really think African-Americans and Hispanics are going to out of their way to vote Republican. Get the f out of here.

        That is the cognitive dissonance I see. GOPLifer likes to talk about rebuilding the Republican party. To do this, the Republican party NEEDS to continue getting the white working class. And Sanders, way more than a Clinton, is likely to pull working class whites away from the Republican party.

        I mean, the phrase “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” works in this case to demonstrate cognitive dissonance, because GOPLifer (Catchphrase:Because leaving isn’t exactly an option) wants to rebuild the Republican party, and won’t be able to do so if the Democratic party is able to recapture even a small but substantial portion of the white working class. Period.

        And, let’s not forget, voting hasn’t even started yet, so any “nominate Sanders and Trump wins in a landslide” is absolutely irrelevant to the entire, literal, universe.

        Sanders could float and actually elevate an African American woman as his VP. He could go against Ted Cruz, whom everyone pretty much despises. And he could transform the party affiliation of both the Democratic and Republican parties for the next 60 years, such as FDR did in 1932.

        I mean, take a look at FDR and what occurred with Congress and the advancement of civil rights and the middle class when FDR essentially captured the majority of the Congress for close to 50 years. Sanders has that potential power, and people who, you know, want to rebuild the Republican party, don’t want to see that happen.

        And here’s the son of a bitch. As a liberal, I realize that we need an actual conservative party rooted in reality and interested in being a loyal opposition, to make sure any fundamental changes are carefully tailored to address the problem, and measured multiple times before the cutting happens. This talk of Sanders’ positions being rooted in the past is hilariously incorrect, because Sanders isn’t looking backwards and highlighting greatness that never was, but looking forward and describing what this country can actually do, if only we stop electing people who are OK with the status quo.

  11. 1mime says:

    Planned Parenthood. This post accurately encapsulates the paranoia and deceit foisted against PP in the state of TX by people who absolutely know better. It’s sickening to watch it play out knowing so many poor women (and men) will be hurt through closure of the services PP provides. Twelve states (all red states) have investigated PP for the same alleged offenses and have either exonerated them or dismissed the investigations totally. They will not be happy until Roe v Wade is struck down and women’s choice about their own bodies is gone. This is but one more nasty little effort by conservatives to move their base further right. What is it about “choice” that people don’t understand? You don’t want it, fine, do your own thing. But don’t impose your belief system on my right to make my decisions about my body.

    Democratic “politics of crazy”. Yeah, nobody in Democratic leadership saw the revolt coming – just like nobody in the Republican Party (except maybe you, Lifer) foresaw the debacle happening in their party. People.are.fed.up.with.unfairness. Both party revolutionists have their specific issues, but both seemed to coalesce around the wealth divide. It’s about time.
    Clinton could lose this nomination. Trump or Cruz could win the Republican nomination. Rubio might suck himself up and be the outlier candidate. At this point, I’m almost past caring. I will vote Democrat just as most conservatives will vote for whoever the GOP nominee is.

    Game on.

    Y Research: crowd-sourcing at its most elemental. No age limits, I noted, for applicants. Keep us posted, Lifer.

    • Creigh says:

      I’m still working on that “politics of crazy has hit the Dems too” thing as well. On one level, sure, the only people who don’t seem crazy are people you don’t know very well. That’s not what were talking about here. Lifer has listed elsewhere four specific delusions that the R base and many national figures hold. These are approaching flat-earth level delusions. And they’re held with a conviction that is wonderful to behold. Can one come up with a similar list on the D side?

      • goplifer says:

        Here are a few. I could go all day:

        Wealthy plutocrats are running the country

        The middle class is dying because government has undermined labor unions

        Our long-term, structural fiscal problems can be solved with higher taxes on the “wealthy,” without cutting any benefits

        I (whoever I may be) am middle class

        Millions more people would complete a higher education if it were “free.”

        A $15/hr minimum wage will have no impact on employment

        Public schools are faltering because we aren’t giving them enough money

        Americans are poorer than they’ve ever been

        We can spend our way out of economic stagnation

        We can power our economy without fossil fuels or nuclear energy

        Conservation will solve our carbon pollution problems

      • 1mime says:

        Let’s talk about your list, Lifer.

        Wealthy plutocrats are running America – If by that term, you refer to business interests, I concur. It certainly isn’t the interests of the general population of America. Citizens United has been a major factor in enabling big money to shape politics. When so few people possess the vast majority of wealth in a country and in a world, logically, they will also shape the world they inhabit. They know nothing of the world shared by the majority of people.

        The middle class is dying because government has undermined labor unions – I believe the demise of labor unions has impacted the middle class and coincidentally fed into the moneyed interest whose influence is creating the wealth divide. As a single factor, it has not. The changing order is being driven by the times.

        Our long-term, structural fiscal problems can be solved with higher taxes on the “wealthy,” without cutting any benefits – Got to agree with you on this. The “devil” will be in the details….
        But, tax reform that benefits only the wealthy and is not inclusive, is wrong.

        I (whoever I may be) am middle class – Guilty.

        Millions more people would complete a higher education if it were “free.” – Higher ed should be affordable, not free. Student loans should be revenue neutral and tuition should be more affordable. Quality alternatives should be encouraged and funded for students who have more aptitude and interest in a skill. America needs to invest more wisely in education.

        A $15/hr minimum wage will have no impact on employment – Wages do need to rise but it should be region-specific, industry specific, and it should be gradual. Women should be paid the same as their male counterpoints for doing the same jobs.

        Public schools are faltering because we aren’t giving them enough money – In some cases, this is true. Inner city schools need smaller classes, master teachers, and a relevant curricula. I could go on for days on this subject, but, unless you’ve been there, you just don’t have the experience to make that judgement.

        Americans are poorer than they’ve ever been – I have read your statistics but I will also submit that the wealth/income divide that exists in America today is real and it is not being addressed.

        We can spend our way out of economic stagnation – smart spending on necessary and desirable projects is needed. More money alone is a waste.

        We can power our economy without fossil fuels or nuclear energy – All energy sources are needed. There is too much investment in fossil fuels to abandon it, but neither should investment in alternative energy be criticized. It is entirely possible that one day we may no longer need fossil fuels, or at least as anything other than a small part of our energy mix. I won’t live long enough but when you hear engineers (UT/San Antonio) talking about installing energy collectors in road beds to generate energy from vehicular traffic, who knows what the creative genius of man will conceive? The point is, we need fossil fuels now but we also need nuclear and renewable energy. It is not a matter of which is best – all are necessary – for our environment and for progress.

        Thank you for the list, Lifer. It helps me to focus.

      • Griffin says:

        “Our long-term, structural fiscal problems can be solved with higher taxes on the “wealthy,” without cutting any benefits”

        This could actually be true if you think technological advances will make it easier to provide for the elderly at lower costs and that the continued growth of the US economy can handle debt accumulated by “benefits”. In fact we aren’t that generous with out benefits to begin with. Are you talking about employees at the local level getting too many benefits?

        Most of what you listed is partially true. It may be oversimplistic but it’s not outright wrong (except for the 15 dollar minimum wage, if we made it that nationally tommorow, and the nuclear energy). Republican delusions that global warming is a hoax and that barring Muslims from entering the country will help us fight ISIS are much more extreme in terms of being wrong. Differentiating different degrees of wrongness actually is important.

        Better example of some left-wing delusions would be:

        -We can feed the world without GMO’s, which are dangerous, and should only eat organic.
        -We shouldn’t use nuclear power or fossil fuels (like you said)

        Of course those ideas aren’t mainstream in the Democratic Party. Even Sanders, the guy you hate, has said he doesn’t consider GMO’s dangerous.

        “Millions more people would complete a higher education if it were “free.”

        Again is this actually wrong though? Millions might be too much but far more people would probably do it if they could afford to.

  12. 1mime says:

    Re: Stoned coyotes – indigenous species are having a tough time competing with civilization and lost habitats. You may enjoy an unusual little book entitled: “SkyWater”, by Melinda Popham, a story about a male coyote who must find a new habitat as a copper mine has poisoned the water supply of his current one. The trek west in search of clean water leads “Brand X” on a route that challenges and exposes him and his band of followers to more of encounters with those who are changing the coyotes natural habitat. It’s short but a lovely read for those who share an interest in wildlife and a love of nature.

    https://books.google.com/books/about/Skywater.html?id=nwOyAAAAIAAJ

    • Tuttabella says:

      If this is a story that would break my heart and make me cry, I think I will have to pass on it. I can’t even bring myself to read Jack London.

      • 1mime says:

        No, it is a wonderful story! I listen to Nancy Pearl’s book reviews on NPR. She has published an anthology (by subject) of books that she says are excellent reads but “fly under the radar”. I liked this one so well that I proposed it for one of my book groups. This group normally reads more serious tomes, the ones with awards, but I was so impressed by this little book and its potential for a great discussion, that I took a chance. They all were pleasantly surprised and the discussion ranged from environmentalism, to the kindness and sensitivity of the old couple residing near the coyote habitat (the original one), to a more current view of the clash between civilization and our wildlife. I have recommended it and given it to many people and no one has been disappointed. One warning: the story is told in the voice of Brand X, which is utterly appropriate as you will understand as the story unfolds.

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