The Evolution of Liberalism 2

Ultimately as liberals and progressives I think we get stuck in our definition of words. There are some people who define liberalism as a static rather than dynamic concept. But I would put out there that liberalism as a concept is dynamic and does nothing more than reflect the milieu of any given era in civilization.

Let’s take the oft talked about Greatest Liberal of all time FDR. FDR was a great liberal, but he interred Japanese Americans, which isn’t liberal at all. Social Security was a liberal policy, but just for white men when it began. Just saying.

Let’s look at R.M. Nixon for a minute, an arch conservative with fascist tendencies, who committed a political crime, that dude created the EPA and his signed into law NEPA thanks to  Scoop Jackson, another flawed liberal in Washington State politics, he supported Vietnam but was a great environmentalist. They usher in an era of deep research into ecological restoration. Nixon reflected his era,because of the pressures around him. That era  demanded some action on the environment, which was considered a liberal cause.

Let’s look at t Jimmy Carter for a minute, you define him as a liberal, but under his administration the airlines were deregulated, this is not what we would consider today to be a liberal policy position. Indeed he was reflecting his era, his time. And many of the Carter policies were liberal.

We all know that under Clinton, Welfare was effectively gutted, and that was an indication of what was to come, the deregulation of financial services. People love Clinton now, b/c the economy was so great back in the 90’s and everyone wants to go back to that, but at the time, Clinton’s policies were just reflecting the era, sometime his policies could be considered quite liberal, The Federal Acquisition and Streamlining Act of 1994, a very liberal policy that expanded the numbers of minority businesses competing for Federal Government contracts. It was a very important micro-economic policy.

Barack Obama is no different from those Presidents, he reflects this era. This returns us to my original statement, but what I am describing is our dynamic  concept of liberalism which has changed over time.  His agenda is mostly liberal. But not everything his administration proposes or accomplishes is liberal. I think that is because as people we too are more complex than that, we are not one dimensional and we are not static beings. We evolve and change as do our expectations of civilization. This is just another step up in our continuing growth as humans. As we continue to evolve as people, our government will evolve with us.

Crossposted at DAGBlog

Helping the Working Poor — A Practical Defense of PPACA 3

The Health Care Bill, more often than not, raises the ire of both conservatives and progressives. They’ve teamed up to spread as much misinformation about the bill as possible. Why? I am not sure, because this bill goes a long way to get more people access to health care.

I think it all began with a guy named Howard Dean and some comments he made In December of 2009.  Dean was very angry that the public option was eliminated from the Senate bill. The target of Dean’s rant was Joe Lieberman, ( I)CT, he was pretty pissed at Lieberman and he seemed to feel no bill would be better than this bill now. He was angry at the process. And his anger is not unfounded. This Senate has become a branch of our government that is immovable, ideologically entrenched, almost completely unable to pass any worthwhile legislation. Dr. Dean was pretty pissed about that, as we all should be. However, instead of directing his anger at the improbable 60 vote requirement to pass any legislation of substance, he decided it would be time to just let Republicans win by killing the bill. That didn’t happen of course, but that was an extreme reaction, one Republicans were relying upon, this is where they were able to begin to sow the seeds of discontent among voters, they have filled the air with misinformation, with the help of people who are otherwise quite progressive. All that discontent, and the Executive Branches unbelievable inability to fight back against the propaganda has left people with a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to their thoughts about PPACA.

A number of people jumped on Dr. Dean’s bandwagon, Keith Olbermann went on the air to loudly proclaim why the Senate Bill should not be passed. Two days after Dean’s rant against the bill, a number of left leaning organizations and people banded together to help kill the bill:

Dave Linderhoff of The Public Record
Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake
Markos Moulitsas; Daily Kos Founder
Darcy Bruner; a past candidate for Congress

Lying about ACA has become something of a cottage industry. But don’t believe the hype, the reforms already implemented have brought down insurance costs, added more people to insurance rolls, new benefits for senior citizens, implemented necessary regulations regarding pre-existing conditions and an 80% requirement that premiums be spend on the consumers health care costs, with 20 mandated for administrative costs.

People who will benefit most from the bill:

  1. Those without any insurance.
  2. Those who have paid for expensive individual policies on their own.
  3. Employees of small businesses that have trouble affording the cost of joining a group plan.
  4. Low income Medicare participants who are left paying for whatever is not covered by Medicare for their medical bills and prescriptions.

Who is without access to health insurance? Some of those people are the working poor. It has been a long struggle to get federal legislation dealing with this problem, the estimates are there are some 45 million people without access to basic heath care.  In the past, some states attempted to solve this problem on their own by setting up their own state run “group” for people who didn’t qualify for Medicaid. When the boom of the 1990’s ran its course, those programs began to be cut severely because of the expense of running the programs and because states don’t have as much revenue since the economic downturn and they are having to make tough choices.  Many states of course never attempted such things. Washington State has such a program, but its funding has been cut in the past few years so although people may qualify by their income, there are no slots open to take them as customers, in fact the plan has had to disenroll people because of a lack of funding, in total 17,000 members were disenrolled.

However the results of PPACA have been positive.

  • More young adults have coverage
  • Requires beginning this year, insurers must spend 80% – 85% of premiums in actually delivering care
  • Premiums decreasing even for state employees.
  • Our health insurance plans now have to justify their premium rate increases to the State and pass an approval process before they can raise prices.
  • Because of the ACA, young adults can now stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.
  • New York has something called “community rating,” which means that health insurers can’t charge you higher rates simply because of your age, gender, or health history.
  • Because of the ACA, we no longer have to pay co-pays for many preventative care services.
  • Because of the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions now have choices for coverage, one example the NY Bridge Plan.
  • Because of the ACA, seniors who hit the Medicare “donut hole” are now getting help with their prescription drug costs.
  • States like New York have a law in place called “guaranteed issue,” which means that insurers have to offer health insurance to everyone, even if they have a pre-existing condition (even though they have waiting periods for coverage related to that condition.  But thanks to the ACA – those waiting periods will soon be a thing of the past!). 
  • More changes to Pre-existing condition plans by states, here is a preview, premiums have decreased.
  • Premium and Cost sharing subsidies to individuals: the mechanism provides refundable and advanceable premium credits to eligible individuals and families who fall between 133% and 400% of FPL (Federal Poverty Level) to purchase insurance through state created health exchanges.
  • Provide Costsharing subsidies to eligible individuals and families. Cost-sharing credits reduce the cost sharing amounts and annual cost-sharing limits and have the effect of increasing the actuarial value of basic benefit plan to the following percentages of the full value of the plan:
    • 100 – 150% FPL  94%
    • 150 – 200% FPL  87%
    • 200 – 250% FPL  73%
    • 250 – 400% FPL  70%

Health Exchanges: a few examples

  • Vermont : passed legislation to build a single payer plan for the state of Vermont and in October  of this year, (2011) that plan got one step closer to implementation.

These new federal policies are working. I think this is good. There seems to be a small, but loud coalition of people on both sides of the ideological aisle who would have you believe PPACA is a complete failure, but the evidence says otherwise. Let’s stop letting them get away with their propaganda war against delivering health care to those who would not otherwise have access. Let’s fight back with the facts at hand, because the facts indicate the legislation is working.

Crossposted at DAGBlog

Watching Maine 3

While most people spent election night watching the outcome of SB5 Ohio, I watched the election happenings in Maine. 1980 was a big year for me personally. It was the first time I’d lived in the United States since I was a small child.  I went to boarding school for my senior year of high school; my parents really thought I should know what it is like to be in America, to go to school in America and to learn to be an American. Boarding school… well that is a whole other story, but yes I ended up in Maine in boarding school and it was my first taste of living in the US for many years, I’d always been an expatriate, I was about to be something else.

I turned 18 in near the end of September in 1980. I’d wanted to exercise my vote since my dad handed me All the Presidents Men, in September of 1974, when we were flying back to the PI from the US at the end of our summer vacation. Reading that book on the plane trip over, back then it took much longer, with a layover in Guam. One time, and it could have been this particular trip our layover was on Wake Island because a large typhoon developed in the flight path and the pilots weren’t going to be in the air, so I remember I read the book in one flight, we had to layover on Wake Island for 8 hours in the tiny little airport and I finished the book before we landed in Manila.

I was taking the required class, American Government, which was not a required class in my school,  but I was quite interested to take it, I’d taken World Governments as our required class. I was interested in learning about how the American form of government differed from where I had come, where I’d lived through Martial Law, a military dictatorship, curfews, suspended elections, and other things that seemed the opposite of everything I’d ever read about the United States, where the will of the people was decided through mostly fair elections.

I was kind of over the top thrilled, going from a place where I could never discuss politics to the US where I could even participate in an election, openly talk about candidates, argue about beliefs and ideologies, Anderson was all the rage among many of the politically active students on campus that fall, and have no fear of any kind of retribution. It was pretty freeing.  I’d learned in our government class that if you were going to be 18, even the day of the election, in Maine you could register to vote the day of your birthday and vote in the election that year.  Sept. 23, 1980, a friend in school took me down to the city offices and I registered to vote.  I am so glad that Mainers voted to reinstate that law.

Unfortunately, in America more people don’t vote than do vote. The proof of course is in the numbers. The question has to be asked, why don’t more people vote? Is it because it is getting harder and harder to exercise that right? Currently legislative actions that will disenfranchise millions of voters are being proposed by multiple state legislatures. It is pretty obvious that legislatures are seeking to disenfranchise those voters with least protections, which are poor people everywhere, who by and large vote for Democrats.

I think you should look at the numbers, here is a link to the original spreadsheet I obtained at the US Census Bureau.  This attachment includes the workbook I built out of the data from the department and I made a simple graphs of the downward trend in voting among all groups, socio-economic or otherwise, but in particular a steep downward trend among the poor and undereducated.

Graph 1:

This is a very interesting graph.  The Northeast steeply dropped in eligible voters exercising their right to vote, which is kind of interesting to me, and it makes me wonder exactly what happened, did people just give up and decided it isn’t a worthwhile activity any longer?  No conclusions can be drawn from this data, all this data does is mark the downward trend in voting, what we do see it eligible voters in the Midwest are consistently voting in higher numbers than other regions.

Graph 2: Voters by Educational Status:

This graph doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, there is a very steep drop in those people voting who have no high school diploma. In earlier years that group voted with a much greater frequency, lower than the rest but certainly better than the under 10% today, in comparison to the 40% in 1968.

Graph 3: Voters by Labor Status

As a nation we really need to begin to understand why people aren’t voting with the frequency they once did.

Restrictive Voter Registration Laws

Current Restrictive Voter Registration Laws

Brennan Center for Justice, millions of voters could be disenfranchised.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/11/03/house-democrats-warn-states-on-changes-to-voting-laws/

http://mediamatters.org/research/201111020005

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/post/house-dems-urge-secretaries-of-state-to-protect-voting-rights/2011/11/03/gIQAPzsWjM_blog.html

If voting weren’t so important, why are so many Republicans tying to make sure fewer and fewer people will have the right to vote.

Thanks to MagicLoveHorse for the excellent graphic.

Crossposted @ DAGBlog

GOP Debate IX – The Lament of Ron Paul 2

One thing we know for sure, Ron Paul hates the government, according to him it can’t do anything right, which is why he has spent so many years in government… err I think. He’s been in congress since 1976! And he says government doesn’t work, well maybe that is because he participated in making sure government is dysfunctional and by defunding everything he can, he will continue to assure its dysfunction. How many guys in congress are just like him, and how does he get away with saying this stuff.

So Ron definitely doesn’t want anyone to pay any taxes at all, and of course all government spending is eventually a tax, and all the Republicans in the audience clap, clap, clap. He is okay with state taxes I guess, because he truly believes that each state can have better solutions on their own and that there is no case that can be made for a federal centralized government. Ron Paul doesn’t want to go back to 1850 as many people have suggested, Ron Paul wants to return to pre-1791! He wants to return to the time when America was governed by the Articles of Confederation. He is a pretty interesting fellow, and a little bit silly, but okay let’s listen to him some more.

He is going to cut one trillion dollars in one year by cutting all the taxes I think, he isn’t really clear about this, but I know one thing for sure, he is cutting everything.

Health Care, we have too much! People are living longer and healthier, but we have too much health care. And there should be no government medicine, nothing, and doctors should be paid directly and torte reform! ObamaCare! He made the false claim that insurance premiums have gone up since ACA, but that simply isn’t the case.

He doesn’t want to fund the government but he does want to bring all the troops home to put on the border. I  wonder how he will fund this? Should be interesting. Will he just give back the bases we hold all over the world or will he sell the land on the free market before withdrawing all those troops from all over the world and bringing them home. Will they will all be moving to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California?

He wants to cut all foreign aid, and even though he doesn’t believe in government programs he makes the absurd claim that money could be going to America’s poor. Can Ron Paul answer that question, would he really use the refund from no-foreign aid to feed and cloth and house poor people? Really? What government programs would he use to deliver? Unanswerable and no Paul follower can answer that question either.

Oh Ron Paul, you are so awesome, because my favorite part of the evening was when he did pwn them all when he told them straight to their faces that St. Ronald Reagan negotiated with terrorists! Oh no he didn’t, the look on their faces the rest of the debaters were stunned, silent, scared, you could see it, how would they refute him. It was spectacular.

Here is the video of Ron Paul’s hits last night.

Crossposted at DAGBlog

GOP Debate IX: Herman Cain 2

Herb Cain has a 9-9-9 plan and he became target numero uno at the GOP debate, Cowboy Style. You knew the group would be all in on going after Herb’s 9-9-9 plan. Cain’s plan has been all the rage as of late with the punditry crowd and the blogging world.  These are the people, (yes like me) who keep Herb in the spotlight.  Although his 15 minutes may be up quickly or maybe not.

The debate begins with a weird commercial about the legendary western United States. It was cool, but it was pretty, well, um, weird.  From there we sing the national anthem and then move right to introductions, where the debaters seemed to be running to their podiums as though they were the quarterbacks of our favorite football teams,  I half expected them to raise both their arms in the sky and scream “Team” “Woo”. And so began debate IX – Cowboy edition.

Herb did get some time in the first 33 minutes of the debate, not a good deal of time, but he did get some time. At the 33 minute mark we get our first sponsored by ad… sponsored by Coal.

Let me draw your attention to my video, before we go into the 9-9-9 apples and oranges montage, we have to talk about Lawrence O’Donnell, the other evening he did a short montage to what Herb Cain knows about his 9-9-9 plan, it was so brilliant I did happen to record it, so I have spliced it together with the highlights of Herb Cain’s debate performance last night. It plays very well with his act, which I now believe is and act to sell his new book, and nothing more. I applaud him for using these debates to enrich himself even more, it is a Republicans dream scenario to become even wealthier doing little or no work something we all know as the “Limbaugh Economic Model or self Aggrandizement=$$$$$$$”, it works too, so I don’t blame him for doing it if it is his goal. So here we are, we are on to Apples and Oranges this becomes Cain’s response to the criticism of his plan.. apples and oranges, apples and oranges. He is an applies and oranges kind of guy. As Lawrence pointed out so well, Herman Cain aka Herb Cain has no idea how his tax plan will work and it isn’t as if he cares if it works. He only cares for the attention he grabs while he gets his 15 minute in the spotlight.

Even though he doesn’t know really how his own program works, he wants to throw out the current tax code and start with his plan, 9-9-9. His plan will liberate American workers and businesses and he definitely wants people to do the math on their own, even though he doesn’t offer any metrics to do so, because he doesn’t know, he just won’t say he doesn’t know.

He loves mixing apples and oranges, no wait, he doesn’t like mixing apples and oranges. According to Cain there are 5 invisible taxes on all products, he doesn’t say what they are, and his tax will replace those invisible taxes. It is a sales tax, but not a VAT tax.

But then Herb turns to Health Care and it sounds like he supports the President’s plan, even though he says he doesn’t. So here is the video of what good old Herman says about Health Care for American’s and as Herb points out some of those things included in ACA were propose by Republicans, yes but they cannot say they support ACA they just support what is in ACA up to and including having to purchase your own insurance.

Next up, Ron Paul’s Greatest Hits

Crossposted at DAGBlog

ADVICE TO OWS-EVERYWHERE! AGENDA: CONSTITUTIONIAL CONVENTION 2

There comes a time in the life of a nation when it is time to make choices, how are we going to institute effective change and reform our badly broken government. We now have a Legislative Branch filled with spoiled schoolyard children, who would prefer to see the country slip past the point of no-return, where they would prefer their citizens to be destitute and desperate in order to gain more and more power.

We certainly cannot rely on our legislative branch to put aside their ideological differences in order to do something for the country. They refuse; we’ve seen them, over and over and over again. We could never get them to reform the gerrymandering of congressional districts; we will never get them to put money into the country, hell that money that they throw around in Iraq and Afghanistan and they give away to oil companies, is our money, why can’t we use it to stimulate our economy here, at home. And why do those bozos constantly get away with enriching billionaires and corporations even more, as if they don’t have enough, which has been to the detriment of the entire nation! What the hell, it is outrageous! They don’t even care, they flaunt it, they laugh in our faces and say cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations but and they say on the floor of the US Senate, the poor simply don’t pay enough. What????? What civilized nation has representatives like this? Oh, I don’t think they do. In a civilized nation those people would be laughed out of public office, not here though, they win another term in congress.

Well protestors nationwide, we have an opportunity to effect change ourselves, it is time we used the very document these folks go on and on about every day, we must make our state legislature call for a Constitutional Convention and we will amend our constitution without them, we have an opportunity, you’ve started something, let’s direct it toward fundamental change in our government.

The second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions. This route has never been taken, and there is discussion in political science circles about just how such a convention would be convened, and what kind of changes it would bring about.

Suggestions for Amendments:

1. Amendment 28: The Public funding of elections,  30 days to campaign, advertising can only be through the public funding, no outside groups can run advertisements for or against candidates, you see what I am getting at,  no outside money, nothing, zero zip. Oh so yeah, add somewhere in this Amendment this is explicitly to repeal the citizen united ruling as well. So they can’t find some way around the amendment.

2. Term Limits for Legislators: 3 terms for H.o.R. 2 terms for Senators. They don’t need any more time than that.

3. Can we throw in the outlawing of the filibuster too? Cause these folks have simply abused the privilege to use this parliamentary tactic of obstruction.

4. We need to consider term limits for members of the Supreme Court. 20 years. No more. No one is grandfathered out.

Crossposted at DAGBlog

Fear and Loathing of Public Policy: Shrinking Access Post Secondary Education = Permanent Underclass 7

What are we going to do since the cost of education is skyrocketing? Students these days graduate with enormous debt or they don’t get the opportunity to attend post secondary training.

Long ago when I started college it was an inexpensive 1200.00 a year that included books. I didn’t really have debt when I graduated from college. That isn’t the case for students today, and with the cost of tuition rising as much as 20% in one year at some state colleges, soon enough the middle and lower classes will be unable to afford post-secondary education. And the thing is, we’d become a thriving first world nation in part because we expanded access to education to almost everyone.

Let’s look at some numbers:

So my numbers are personal numbers, and at the time, it was not difficult to afford a college education, I could even hold down a part-time job, go to school and not really worry tons about tuition, it just wasn’t that expensive.  Let’s look at the rising cost of post secondary education with information obtained from the US Census bureau.  The data I am going to share with you is also an example of the tiny policy things Democrats do in Office juxtaposed with how Republicans treat government function. First and foremost, the data I found spans the years 1991 – 2001, the 2001 data wasn’t published until 2006. This information is published in table form, as excel worksheets, but without an explanation of that data, that could be distributed to the general public. As usual, Republicans take the function of government for granted, but as you will see during the Clinton era, government produced much demographic information from years of data collection and comprehensive analysis. I digress, but if you follow my links you will see evidence of my statement.

It isn’t unknown to anyone that tuition at public universities, colleges and technical schools has been on the rise since the anti-pay for anything crowd solidified their choke hold on government functions. In the 1970’s prior to Prop 13, post-secondary education was free in California and in doing that they created one of the best post secondary systems in the country at that time from Riverside CC to UC Berkeley.

I digress, since 1990 college tuition has had steep increases according to the census studies.

1990-91

1993-94

1996-97

2000-2001 the data used is from Table 5b

In 1991, the total average tuition cost for a student was $2653.00 per year. At the same time students receiving financial assistance were receiving on average $2919.00. The cost of education has obviously risen, however, it is still affordable for students and there is still ample financial aid to cover the cost of education. These numbers will be used as a baseline for comparison.

In the 1993 -94 years, on average students were paying $3905.00 per year. In just two years the cost of education had risen 47%. At the same time students were receiving on average $4,486.00 in financial aid, which was up 43% from just the two years prior. A 47% increase is pretty big, and one has to wonder how many students at this time are beginning to be priced out of education. Well times began to boom even more, and people forgot about funding post-secondary education, and all over the country Tax-cutting fever began to hit every county in America. The result of course was less state funding for post-secondary education, and more burdens on students and their families. Well they were voting for that stuff, so I guess they couldn’t see plainly what could be the unintended consequences of the republican meme of “we don’t need to pay no stinkin’ taxes”.

Well the results from the 1996-97 study are even more stunning; by 1996-97 the average cost of post-secondary education had risen to a stunning $8,667.00 on average per year. In less than 10 years tuition had risen 292%, and in 3 year tuition had risen 122%, these numbers are stunning. And you begin to see a pattern developing, one that will eventually price lower and middle class kids from ever obtaining a college education, it will simply be too expensive.   Well that aside, the average financial aid package was worth about 6,022.00, and as you can see it failed to cover the entire educational needs of the student, and I believe this began a rise in private lenders who would take advantage of unsuspecting college students, in order to meet the rising cost of their education.

The 2001-2002 years are even more shocking. On average students tuition is $10,560.00 per year on post secondary education. This represents an increase of 398% from 90-91, of 170% from 93-94, and 21.8% from 96-97, which the financial aid package on average rose to $6,291.00 per year.

As you observe the stark differences in how the two administrations presented the data they gathered from Universities around the county, be reminded, this is the difference in how Republicans and Democrats view government. Demographic information is important; we use it to justify funding programs around the country. We make better decisions when analysts present the data in an understandable way, with a narrative attached as opposed to just throwing a bunch of spread sheets. It is an example of how little Republicans care about government in general; they don’t see it as useful to the nation.

It is now real news in every state in the nation that tuition costs are rising yet again, in my own state tuition costs have risen 20% this year, that is huge, and in many cases it is becoming unaffordable for many students to obtain post-secondary education. As a society we are supposed to be more conscious of funding education from k-16, because it is education that will help us prepare for our next steps economically. If we do not find a way to help students get educated without being buried in debt when they graduate, our society will be worse off for it, and we will create a permanent underclass, which will grow. As a nation, we have to ask ourselves if this is the direction we really want to take.

CrossPosted at DAGBlog

Democrat Like Me 1

For years the idea haunted me, if a Republican became a Democrat in the deep North what adjustments would she have to make?

And that is how it began, that fateful day in 1984 was the day I decided to infiltrate the Democratic party and turn them all into Liberal Republicans! I knew I could do it if I could just find a way to fit in first, to blend in, so I went to the doctor’s office for some help.

“Hey Doc”, I said to him after he forced me on that scale again, why do they always want to know how much I weigh? “Hey T”, he replied, we were old friends since the heady days of Watergate. “Doc, I want to attempt to infiltrate the Democratic Party and turn them into a corporatist Republican lite party. I think I can do it, if I try very, very hard. How can I do this?”

He laughed and then smirked at me, he said, “Well first of all you need to quit shopping at Brooks Brothers, cause that totally doesn’t fit for a Democrat, I think you need to shop at vintage stores from now on, and find some bell bottom jeans with embroidery on them, preferably flowers and sunshine and stuff, it will make you seem whimsical and egalitarian.”

I was kind of happy that I had to shop for my newest endeavor, although I wasn’t totally into this Vintage Store BS but if I had to buy some crappy hippy clothes then I would, it is easier to punch them if you look like them.

So I thought I should find out about the party I was infiltrating so I decided I would study hard at the virtual knee of one James “Corporal Cueball” Carville. I saw him one night on CNN, and thought he would be the perfect teacher for me.   So I studied Carville, and knew I was about to become a superstar in the Democratic Party, superstardom leads to apparatchikdom too and that was my ultimate goal, become an apparatchik, it would make me feel like I had more control over all things Democratic and I could lead them myself to Republicanism, which ultimately was my goal, to make sure Democrats were just Republicans without the backbone.

My first effort was to make them, the Democrats, think that I took my new party seriously, when really I was just a shill for my corporate, tribal overlords. This fact was discovered by the arch nemesis to all corporate shills like myself, one Glenn Greenwald. He is a superstar this Greenwald guy, he has absolutely no connection to corporate overlords. His CATO membership is just a ruse, and his white papers for them, just a job, but he isn’t affected at all by these things, as he isn’t a sell out in anyway shape or form, and he never ever lets the corporate will beat him down, he fights it all the time.  He has no professional connection to corporate overlords and he is merely out for America the Beautiful. Greenwald is awesome in his ability ferret out those of us who have sold out America to the highest bidder. Working with the Koch is like waving an American flag, working with the Democrats is like working for Satan.

So my plan has worked, the health care bill we have currently, was my plan from the beginning, to sell out America by forcing them to have access to health insurance.  It will evolve into nothing that can benefit anyone really. States will not take the matter into their own hands to search for the best answer for their citizens either.  Certainly places like Minnesota (status of the Act), California, ( LWV, support of California OneCare), Illinois, Pennsylvania, Montana, (more Montana analysis) Massachusetts and Vermont have not taken the new law and tried to make it beneficial for their own citizens. They have succumbed to the dead-end health reform, the one that only supports insurance companies and is terrible for the people!

My mission is complete and soon I am sure I will be promoted head apparatchik, instead of just being referred to as the Greatest Living Democrat.

Hey Democrats consider yourselves Pwned.

Crossposted at DAGblog

In Defense of Melissa Harris Perry 3

It all began with a Michael Moore visit to the View. It was nothing short of appalling. So we will call it Exhibit 1:

For the longest time I just didn’t know what to say about that clip, I’d certainly read all of the criticism of Moore after this episode. I’ve been formulating what I want to say since then, and reading as much as possible about onslaught of commentary that followed his outburst of what can only be called blatant racism. And in a sense I think Professor Harris Perry (ProfHP), was really responding to this, after being exposed to much of the diva outbursts that attempt to denigrate the Presidency of Barack Obama, in the so-called progressive blogsophere. I am going to introduce this clip as the penultimate example of racism in the so-called progressive community, and I am using Moore’s gaff first because it is a blatant example of employing a stereotype to describe ones disappointment in the President. Does Moore really believe this?    Moore definitely caused an avalanche virtual debate.  I did read much of it. However as a white person, I still believe I have much to learn about racism and how it manifests in the most blatant and subtle ways. Ultimately in order to bridge our racial divide white people have to listen. But in a deeper sense first and foremost ProfHP does have some real hard evidence of racism in the so-called progressive community and that begins with Michael Moore’s statement on The View. That does constitute evidence, it really does.   Why would you stoop to a stereotype to register your already well-known disappointment in the President? So we have one significant piece of evidence or outright racism, because unlike what Joan Walsh writes, evidence that is not in the form of a poll can also be relevant and serve as examples of racism at work, because most progressives don’t believe they are racist! They would never admit to it to a pollster, and that means we have to have other means of gathering data, come on, this isn’t that hard.

Exhibit 2: So after ProfHP’s original piece appeared in The Nation, Joan Walsh weighed in, with an okay blog, but it didn’t tell the entire story, and her blog required proof of racism via poll data.  Poll responses about subtle racism cannot be supported without actual working evidence, which is often the things people say and write. Joan Walsh used the conservative talking point, there is no evidence to conclude such things, when in fact there is evidence, first and foremost Michael Moore.

Exhibit 3: The leader of the group New Progressive Alliance, Anthony Noel, told an African-American blogger to get over being black and to start debating like a human. What? OMG, I don’t know how to respond to that kind of racism and I can’t believe this is actually happening and this does constitute evidence, cold hard factual evidence of racism among the so-called progressive blogosphere.

Exhibit 4: David Sirota’s response to ProfHP: Boy that guy is one mad upper middle class employed talk show radio host isn’t he, I had never read him prior to this, so I delved into his stream of consciousness, and that is what it was a stream of consciousness wrapped in white-hot anger. So let’s get to Sirota’s criticism, to which he claims not one person has taken on his so-called facts to challenge him, people have just called him a racist. Well Dave if the shoe fits buddy, I guess you will have to wear it. Sirota wrote this:

By seeing this record and then explaining away declining liberal support for President Obama as a product of bigotry, Harris-Perry exhibits the ultimate form of both denialism and elitism.

But does she really exhibit the “ultimate” form of both denialism (which is not a word for the record) and elitism, (hello pot, meet kettle). Because there is ample evidence of her thesis. Sirota doesn’t want to acknowledge it, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t evidence. First of course this elitism crap is being carried too far, Sirota by definition is a liberal elitist, he should quit pulling the faux populism card.  But what does account for the declining support of so-called progressives? Hell according to politifact.com the President has accomplished many of his campaign promises, in fact he has accomplished 147 of his campaign promises. Why are his accomplishments never acknowledged or if they are they are written off as tiny and not worthwhile and doesn’t make him progressive etc and so on. The list of his accomplishments are here: Politifact.com.  Was Clinton a surrender monkey when his health care bill failed and he never talked about universal health care again? Health Care was huge, and because of it more people are covered.

Let’s go over more examples of racism in the Progressive community and these do constitute proof, the proof folks like Walsh, Sirota and Lyons are demanding.

Exhibit 5: 2011 article by Robert Kuttner: Black and Bleak

The problem is less Obama’s failure to target black unemployment per se than his weakness on the jobs issue generally. Race comes into the equation because of an almost pathological aversion to conflict on Obama’s part, which has been widely attributed to his wish to bridge racial and ideological gaps.

What? It is as though Kuttner doesn’t realize that the President through policy implementation has successfully “strengthened  Small Business Administration programs that provide capital to minority-owned businesses, support outreach programs that help minority business owners apply for loans, and work to encourage the growth and capacity of minority firms.”  So actually the President is working to help minority communities by supporting the growth of business, which can only serve to help any given community by providing more jobs. So that makes Kuttner’s analysis not just wrong, but weird. Is it direct racism? Maybe not, but it is subtle, if Kuttner had done his homework he would see the President is implementing the same kind of policies the Clinton Admin for minority owned business. These were programs that were immediately ended when Bush took office.  No doubt African-Americans have suffered a great deal during this terrible recession, greatly. However, this is a statistic that never changes, it doesn’t matter who is in office or what his color might be. African-Americans have always suffered more during economic downturns and as a people we should attempt to address and make corrections. It is all our responsibility, and we should start by getting Republicans out of congress.   So  when I read this particular line made me feel uncomfortable; is it subtle racism? It makes me think Kuttner believes the President is just looking for approval of white, protestant men, otherwise, why is up with the sloppy statement based on some sort of ESP?

Race comes into the equation because of an almost pathological aversion to conflict on Obama’s part, which has been widely attributed to his wish to bridge racial and ideological gaps.

Exhibit 6: FDL sometimes is a hotbed for subtle and outright racism. Case in point: This is a blog post about labor unions, but then there is this the last line in the blog:

The basic problem is that the Rich ate all the pie. What do you intend to do about it? Snuggle up to their Democratic Party incarnation some more in the hope of getting some crumbs? There used to be a term for that, on the plantations. House N****r.

No one is going to tell me this isn’t evidence of racism amongst so-called progressives. Was it necessary to  head directly to plantation talk? Was it? How can anyone write that there is no evidence of some divisive racial language used by some people on the left?

Exhibit 7: Now let’s get to Gene Lyons, who perhaps responded like a bully and then pulled his own race card.  Lyons in retaliation asserted that ProfHP was a fool, and that was bad enough, but then came the most troubling paragraph:

Furthermore, unless you’re black, you can’t possibly understand. Yada, yada, yada. This unfortunate obsession increasingly resembles a photo negative of KKK racial thought. It’s useful for intimidating tenure committees staffed by Ph.D.s trained to find racist symbols in the passing clouds. Otherwise, Harris-Perry’s becoming a left-wing Michele Bachmann, an attractive woman seeking fame and fortune by saying silly things on cable TV.

If I didn’t know better, I would have figured this was written by one Rush Limbaugh, not just denigrating the Professors expertise but making a claim that she used her blackness to intimidate tenure committees, OMG, and yet there is no racism in the so-called white progressive community.  This type of commentary makes me nearly speechless. I said nearly.  When the President was elected I was naive enough to believe that so-called progressives would never ever stoop to racially insensitive speech. I.Was.Wrong.

Cross Posted at  DAGblog

We Live in a Society, Not an Economy 2

This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this:  most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time.  Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. 

–Douglas Adams

 

We have a problem, and calling Houston won’t help.

Everywhere today we hear all manner of talk about what we must do for the sake of the economy.

With fingers left over to make change, I can count how many times I hear what we must do for the sake of our society.

Now, in the bloggular equivalent of a TV series “clip show”, let’s look at something I wrote a while ago…

We live in a society.  An economy is just a component of that society, and those who confuse the two shortchange not only this society, they also shortchange themselves.

Our fundamental mistake is that we confuse the part with the whole.

Not even close.

How can we justify starving children?  How can we rationalize someone, even Ron Paul’s 2008 campaign adviser, dying of a lack of health care?  How can we excuse, even briefly, the notion that in a country that is so wealthy, we must maltreat and marginalize some people so that the most well-off can have even more?

In that same essay, I put it thus:

Or we can set about reclaiming the concept of a public good, redefining ourselves in terms of a society rather than simply an economy, and relegating all religious discussion to its rightful place in the private sphere. 

Something to work for, don’t you think? 

What if that goal was even such a simple notion as that there is no good reason for anyone to have to go to bed hungry, or to not have a bed to go hungry to, or even a roof overhead?  That there is no good reason for a child to grow to adulthood unschooled?  That everyone having basic health care is a huge social positive in many more ways than there are room to list here? 

Note here, and note well, readers, that I am not for one moment claiming that everyone has the same innate abilities and that there is some moral failing at the root of the shortfalls in the lives of the less fortunate.  I do claim that wisdom and true self-interest (as opposed to the Ayn Rand counterfeit so many “Libertarians” claim) brings with it the realization that we all benefit when no one among us is hungry, or uneducated, or ill, or unhoused.

Anything else is immoral.

So, what are we to do about this?

I’ll explore these questions at my usual slow-writing pace.  For now, it’s time to leave you with one more quote from that earlier piece:

There are two main possible directions for the future.  One is to continue along the increasing corporatization of America, until we begin to resemble something akin to an electronicized feudal state, where ownership of most of the economy is concentrated in the hands of a very few, with the great numbers of people having almost no say or stake in anything.  This is the Libertarians’ ideal, of course, though many of their adherents are foolish enough to believe that they’ll be on the ownership side of the fence.

That won’t happen, of course.  Cannon fodder remains outside.  Always has, always will.