March 29, 2016

My Case For Donald Trump

You're probably wondering why I'm now jumping on the Trump bandwagon.  Those who know me as a die-hard Sanders supporter might be a little confused, so let me explain.

Yesterday I was watching an episode of The Ring of Fire featuring Farron Cousins and he made a really good point that I can't disagree with...  If the Republican party successfully squeezes Donald out of the nomination, it might not be a good thing for the Democratic party, and here's why - let's play out the scenario...

At the Republican Convention in Cleveland the RNC manages to tweak the rules and somehow take the nomination away from Donald Trump, who they universally despise and fear.  Then what?  Forget about the fact that their next in line is Ted Cruz.  Seriously - is he a better alternative?  But that's not my point.

If Donald steamrolls into Cleveland with the largest number of delegates and DOESN'T come out with the nomination, he will probably run as an Independent, which he has all along threatened to do if the Republican party doesn't treat him right.  And frankly, I wouldn't blame him.  However, what happens if Donald runs as an Independent?  Sure, the Democrat automatically wins since the Republican vote is split, but the Democrat is going to win anyhow.  The problem is that in this scenario, there will be a larger turnout of Conservative voters, and that will have a "yuuuuuge" impact down-ballot.

It's not good enough to just keep the White House in Democratic hands.  Democrats also have to make inroads into both the House and Senate.  No one is seriously postulating that Democrats could take back the heavily-gerrymandered House of Representatives, but I think it's entirely possible that Democrats can take back the Senate.  There are many more currently-Republican seats up for re-election this year, and some of them even in states which Obama won in 2012.  Couple that with the Scalia Supreme Court fiasco, and there is even some glimmer of hope of gaining a Super majority in the Senate if the Progressive turnout (with all its excitement) is high and the Conservative turnout is low.

For those reasons, I believe our best scenario in the General Election is Trump vs. Sanders.  Donald is a candidate whose favorables are very low and his un-favorables are very high.  The bulk of the Conservative community cannot get behind him because they see through his racist, misogynist, narcissistic excuse for a candidacy.  Will he coalesce the Republican party behind him?  Will he garner the Independents?  Of course not.  He has his White Supremacist base, and those isolationists who are ignorant enough to believe anything he says (as if Mexico will fund a border wall).  But with him at the top of the Republican ticket, I have to believe specifically-Republican turnout will be very low.

Conversely, with Sanders at the top of the ticket, with all of the excitement he has generated over the course of his campaign, with the Progressive community on the uprise, I firmly believe that Democratic turnout will be very high.  I do not believe that of Hillary Clinton.  In fact, with Clinton as the nominee, I think Progressive turnout will be extraordinarily low (unless she does something really smart like putting Bernie or Elizabeth Warren on her ticket as VP).  Her favorability ratings actually coincide with Donald's, albeit not as extreme.

In conclusion, I'm rooting for Trump for the Republican nomination, but Sanders for the Democratic nomination.  And maybe, just maybe, our country will start moving in the right direction, away from the plutocracy we have now.

March 18, 2016

Why Do I Despise Republicans?

If you're a friend of mine on Facebook, or read any of my blog entries over the years, you already know that I utterly and completely despise Republicans.  I'm constantly 'sharing' or re-posting articles and video clips which highlight their corruption, hypocrisy, and deceit.  But every once-in-a-while it's helpful to summarize and consolidate all these reasons (and frankly, I enjoy compiling these kinds of lists).

Now, all of the Conservatives are going to say that these happen on both sides and try to purport a false equivalence.  It's true that there is some corruption, hypocrisy and deceit on the Democratic side, but it's not even close.  Almost every politician takes large donations from big business lobbyists and are in some way beholden to their corporate overlords.  But there are distinct differences in positions between the donkeys and elephants.

So - here's why I despise Republicans.  Or should I say - this is what Republicans stand for...
  • "Trickle-down"/Supply-side economics.  (i.e. Lowering taxes on the wealthy under the auspices of "creating jobs" with the illusion/con that it's a benefit to the Middle Class.  It isn't.)
  • Reducing services to the poor and middle class.  Since we've reduced the revenues into the Treasury from lowering taxes, that's resulted in massive deficits.  So, the only option is to cut government spending to reduce those deficits.  Republicans have relentlessly demonized "Government Spending" as a result.  And where do we cut government spending?  Do we pull back on the tens of millions of dollars of subsidies to large, highly-profitable corporations?  Noooooo.... we have to cut Food Stamps and social programs (a small fraction of the Federal budget).
  • Corporate welfare.  Why ARE we still giving tens of millions of dollars to large, highly-profitable corporations?  Any wonder who keeps voting for (or against repeal of) this?
  • Raising the Social Security retirement age to "Save" it.  This is one of the Republican's favorite talking points... Social Security is going to go broke in 30 or 40 years, so we have to trim the benefits in order to make sure it's still around for our younger generations by the time they need it.  Bullshit.  All we need to do to "save" or "reform" Social Security is to raise the premium cap.
  • Deregulation.  This is another of the Republicans' favorite talking points... They think government regulations are hampering business' ability to make profit, and God-forbid anything get in the way of business' ability to make a profit!  And they sell it under the auspices (i.e. con job) of "creating jobs".  This could not be any further from the truth - business' profits are way up, particularly over the last 7 years since the Recession of 2008.  AND, regulations (a.k.a. "Compliance") is a huge industry which has CREATED many, many jobs.  Oh, and about those pesky regulations?  They're just there to protect us FROM greedy, profit-hungry business.
  • Denying and ignoring climate change to kowtow to the Fossil Fuel industry.  The science on Climate Change is definitive and the impact from it is literally catastrophic.  The resolution is clear and undeniable - we (as a planet) need to transition away from Fossil Fuels and towards clean, renewable energy sources.  But, what to do if you're a politician who's heavily funded by the Fossil Fuel industry?
  • Stoking conflict in other countries to appease the Military-Industrial-Complex.  Defense Contractors need to generate profits, and the best way for that to happen is to sell more guns, bombs, planes, and all of the goods and services related to war.  Ever wonder why some politicians are so "Hawkish" on Foreign Policy?  Ever wonder why we were lied into war in Iraq?  Could there be a corollary that Halliburton made out like a bandit with no-bid contracts, $750 toilet seats, and $100 laundry loads?
  • Restricting voter access in order to combat "voter fraud".  So much for the right to vote - Republicans have made a Cottage Industry out of suppressing voting access with requirements for photo ID's, reduction/elimination of early voting, restrictions on provisional voting, purging of voting rolls, placement of voting machines which intentionally perpetuate long lines in traditionally Democratic districts, and a plethora of tactics.  Republicans don't want an informed electorate and they know they benefit from low voter turnout.
  • Gerrymandering districts to retain a majority in the House of Representatives.  It's both sad and pathetic that Constituents don't pick their Representatives, Representatives pick their Constituents. 
  • Denying women the right to choose what they do with their own bodies.  Republicans are so religiously over-zealous about abortion that they'll do anything they can to subvert the Constitutional right to privacy (and abortion), ironically while railing on "Big Government".
  • Denying gay people the right to marry whom they choose.  Yes, nothing expresses our patriotism and Americanism better than denying a minority their civil rights.  In fact, Republicans go so far to practice this discrimination, they even package it as "Fighting for Religious Liberty".  Yes, "Religious Liberty" means an ultra-religious, Christian, homophobic baker shouldn't be forced to bake a cake for a gay wedding.
  • Completely unrestricted control of firearms.  No sense in regulating guns - let everyone have them... Children, mentally unstable, ex-cons, etc.  The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  So, of course, the answer to all of the gun violence problems in our country is.... more guns!
  • Privatization of Government Services.  Suuure.. Let's turn Medicare into a voucher system and Social Security into Private Investment accounts (i.e. let Wall St. collect more fees for bad advice, and have your Social Security nest egg be at the risk of the Stock Market).
  • Obstructing the Democratic President at every opportunity.  He's not just a Democrat - he's black!  Have to oppose everything he purports, even if it's our own ideas regurgitated, and even though it means complete gridlock in Washington and engaging in hostage politics such as shutting down the government. 
  • Believing that illegal immigrants are the problem in our country.  The scheming/conniving Republicans continue to hold this shiny object over the heads of the ignorant Republicans - that all of our country's problems relate back to those illegals.  We just have to build a wall all along our Southern border (and make Mexico pay for it).
  • Minimum wage - don't raise it, or eliminate it entirely.  If business' had to pay their workers higher wages, that would cut into their profits.  And God-forbid anything cut into business' profits.  So, Republicans would like to eliminate the minimum wage altogether and pay their workers the lowest wages possible.
  • Anti-union.  If workers have collective bargaining power, business' would have to pay their workers higher wages (see "Minimum wage").
  • "Flat Tax" rate.  This is another favorite Republican talking point.  They sell it under the auspices (i.e. con job) of "fairness" by saying if we ALL paid the same tax rate, it would be fair for everyone.  In reality, and nearly all economists agree, a "flat tax" rate would mean the wealthy pay significantly less taxes, and the poor and Middle Class pay significantly more taxes.  Bottom line - a flat tax scheme means an even steeper shift of wealth towards the wealthy.