Archive for Congress

Whither Dems Podcast

rightsign2The Trump win Tuesday is the right time to stop these weekly podcasts after 9½ years. Watch this URL for occasional commentary, maybe a little video…later.

Today was my usual half-Vulcan Spock self.

We shall survive as a nation, as we did during and after the George W. Bush time. He ruined the economy even more than the typical Republican. We haven’t climbed all the way out of his debt pit. We’ll never get back the many thousands of lives lost to war and jobs destroyed. I fear more of that from Trump.

I snort as Speaker Ryan and GOP sorts claim mandate. The lost the popular vote, held the House only due to gerrymandering in previous years, and hold a paper-thin Senate majority. Mandate, my bad head!

We don’t yet know what malicious laws Congress will try to enact. We do know that the wave of emotion that brought us President Trump is as irrational and ignorant as he. We need look no farther than comparing the cries of do-nothing Congress and throw the rascal out to right-wing voters keeping nearly all the do-nothings and rascals from the GOP in office. Huge duh.

We’ll surely have at least two years of pettiness and malice. As the economy slides and unemployment climbs, even the loudest Trumpettes will feel shame. Let us look historically to see in the last century that again and again Dems have rescued the nation after the GOP has goofed it up.

It’s going to be a rough, disheartening, anti-American two to four years.

icon for podpress  Whither Dems [18:22m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Incivility, gender, race and hate

I threw on my cloak of optimism, supposing that Hillary will become POTUS and that this will be a springboard for a nation more at ease with a woman at top.

I spent many years in Virginia and still identify with the best of us there. Thomas Jefferson in Notes on the State of Virginia (XVIII: Manners), “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just…”

As this motley, churlish election cycle completes in less than a week, let’s discourse on big themes, such as:

  • Following the no-colored-Presidents-for-me tone, how deeply are we experiencing, the no-dames-for-President tone?
  • Are 40% to 50% of us truly OK with a puerile, impulsive ignoramus as out leader?
  • Are the judgmental Europeans right about us as bigots and socially retrograde?
  • Can this election catapult us to a new America of tolerance and egalitarianism?

We’ve had 8 years plus the campaign of “Oh, no, it’s not that Obama is Black. It’s that he’s foreign; Muslim, a pinko. :Assuming POTUS Clinton the Greater, do we then get, “Oh, no, it’s not that Hillary’s a women. It’s that she’s a crook, a criminal, a pinko.”?

I can’t believe 6% or more of the electorate is undecided, or so they claim. Then I”m an incredulous sort. Playing cards so close to your vest makes them tattoos. Bad form.

Let’s kick around the final days of a much too long, far too nasty season.

icon for podpress  Incivility may end [17:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Whither the Tiny-Tent Party?

The next several election cycles will be fascinating. Hillary looks like a cinch to win on Nov. 8. Then what?

I see the GOP cracking open their infamous, unused autopsy from the last POTUS loss. Their only shot at regaining the White House and making the big-tent fantasy real will be there. On the Dem side, Congressional Republicans are already promising to obstruct Clinton at every turn and even try mightily to impeach her for imagined and disproven sins. So Democrats as a party and as pols will have to:

  • Copy the 2010/11 GOP strategy of controlling state legislatures and thus redistricting and thus House makeup
  • Rally the public who are sick to death of obstructionism to first goad their Reps into cooperation and second to defeat those up for election in the next two cycles

Dems have hard tasks, but at least theirs won’t require mental, emotional,cultural shifts as with the GOP.

Let’s play the game along with Republicans. They lost the POTUS yet again in 2012 and followed that with the promies and (dare we say) hope of the Growth & Opportunity Project (G.O.P.). That jocularly named autopsy detailed the failures, forecast the demographic trends, and mandated what they needed to do to fill up a big tent of women, African Americans, Latinos, and, well, Democrats.

The lameness of pary head Reince Priebus and ticket head Donald Trimp seem the antithesis of the autopsy findings. Assuming the obvious Hillary Clinton victory in two weeks, do Republicans:

  • Accept that they can only get the voted of poorly educated white men?
  • Cling to being “the party of Lincoln” even though the modern bastardization couldn’t be farther from his ideals?
  • Try to live with a splintered and split personality of far right extremists, bigots and other anachronisms?
  • Do another deep dive and this time really try to follow the analysis findings?

They really have become an asylum or other institution of dysfunctional quasi-adults.

For the Democrats, if they can’t geet control of at least the Senate (thus installing judges and preventing the Tea Party pledge of impeachment and other vengeance against Clinton, then what? Ideally, they could get control of most legislatures in the 32 states that let their local lawmakers do the Census Year redistricting. Republicans were brilliant and ruthless in gerrymandering. What is the Dem strategy?

icon for podpress  Tiny-Tent Party [24:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Donnie Points and Whimpers

For consistency, note that I called out GOP would-be POTUS Donald trump as a mommy’s boy in June. He’s still at it.

Granted, Sen. Elizabeth Warren politically popularized “the sysetm is rigged” several years ago. Then realizing her weakness with progressive sorts in her campaign against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton wore the RIGGED button figuratively at speeches.

Now the delicious irony is amoral Dem turned pseudo-Republican Trump overuses the term to tedium. The election is rigged. mass media and pols, even GOP officials, conspire against him in a fixed election.

Another bit of humor is that Sanders a tiny bit, and both the Clintons and Warren and her hubby Bruce have done very well financially. They don’t rob from ordinary folk, but they can’t claim to be even anywhere in the middle-class.

The key difference here is that Trump’s claims:

  • Are strictly about himself and not the commonweal
  • His are without evidence and patently false

Let’s discuss whether he has any case at all.I love that Okie Warren’s word repeatably comes from the fake donkey’s mouth.

Let’s also touch on how the pathetic 35% to 45% who’d torch democracy for anti-woman, anti-lefty emotional voting will deal with the now-destined defeat. Some threaten rebellion, even assassination. The rotting husk of the Republican party chooses lizard-brain reactions right now. Can they come to democracy and the commonweal?

icon for podpress  Rigged [18:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Hillary, Know When to Shut Up

With relief, most of us look to Hillary Clinton’s victory next month, and fending off Donald Trump’s approach to the White House. What about the next go?

Already, people are talk king about running for the Prez. Republicans like Paul Ryan sene her campaign weaknesses. Democrats are certain to have the we-can-do-better free-lances arming.

One huge factor of the 2020 race would be what we have seen more in the debates than her stump speeches. She lets her intellectual pretense and lawyer training block her pitches. She makes a policy point or answers a pointed or nasty challenge, only to run on and on.

She can be Dem Party head also for the 2018 and 2020 House races as well as state elections.

I’ll talk about the greatest ad salesman I knew and what his lessons were. That Trump guy boasts of his sales and negotiating prowess. His business record is not so supportive of those claims and his flaccid swats during campaigning contradict it. Hillary can outdo him and future contenders, not by changing her messages, rather her delivery.

icon for podpress  No Saleswoman: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Divert Political Anger With All-Dem DC

Independents and self-described Conservatives are pissed. Number one is Congress does nothing. That’s hard to argue with but easy to fix.

Let’s consider for a moment the odious Donald Trump’s “What do you have to lose?” That’s jive from the con artist. Yet that question haunts.

If all the angry voters, or even most of them, get real on November 8th, the fix is before them. Elect a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic Senate. Then watch and wonder. The obstructionism we all despise will vanish. The do-nothing Congress will become a do-it-all legislature.

Four or eight years of a healthier, richer, more righteous America await.

Each and all of us tend to love our memes and clichés, even the most irrational and unsupported ones. Beware those who orate and proclaim of their statements, “It’s only common sense.” Nearly always that means, “I got nothing here. Just don’t question or challenge me.”

I grew up hearing what I still do about U.S. civics. A recurring theme is that you need to divide government to keep it in check. At its worst, as i the past eight years, we have seen check become checkmate. The do-nothing Congress, both GOP-led houses, dragged our economic recovery, stymied expanded health care and on and on.

The “common sense” types pretend that Dems are monolithic and wildly leftists, instead of the wishy-washy moderates nearly all are. The likes of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are two lighthouses in an unmoving sea of blah.

Electing a Dec-controlled Senate and ideally matching it was a Dem House could mean only what they right wingers and angry voters of all stripe have screamed for — a Congress that accomplishes the necessary, passes legislation and moves America forward.

Liberal/Conservative SCOTUS leanings and votes here.

One of many economists’ papers showing how much better the U.S. economy does with a Democratic POTUS. Reasons are debatable; results are not.

icon for podpress  All-Dem DC: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Mass Murder Tipping Points

About a third the way in, a caller interrupted my gun portion of the rant. He was a a registered firearms dealer, and coincidentally Black. He opposes any additional gun laws or regulations. He was of the it’s-not-the-specific-gun side. We each got out our views. I’m glad he called.

Otherwise, I asked whether the Dallas deaths of five police officers by sniper would be a tipping point. Sandy Hook, to many of our surprise, was not. Will Dallas be? Will the many deaths of young Black men this year and last be?

I hold that we need both legal and cultural shifts. Obviously to me the cultural part is much harder. Take policing. Cops are no better than other professionals at prosecuting or judging their peers’ actions. No matter how plain the audio, video and witness testimony, cops almost invariably skate away from what the rest of the world sees as murder.

Likewise, with guns, they should be tools not toys. No what politicians now term common-sense restrictions should be a problem, but they are. Will the assassination of five officers in Dallas be a tipping point for legislation?

 

icon for podpress  Tipping Points [31:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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It’s a Bloody World After All,

With this weekend’s Orlando horrors, let’s transcend fantasy. While that city is the nation’s dream kingdom, we have to get real.

I had to rant and am beyond impatient. Gun-rights crazies are quick to call for arming everyone with the most powerful weapons. Lefties beg Congress, please, oh pretty please, give us minimal background check laws. All is jive.

What doesn’t work are calls fantasies that because foreign armies haven’t landed here, we are safe. What doesn’t work is pretending that “the other” and “outsiders” are the threats (in reality only 9-11 and a tiny subset of mass murders here were by non-native citizens). What doesn’t work are having guards everywhere and surrendering the liberties that define our nation.

I went into a splash of the mass murders here from 1622, many by government agents and mobs. We are delusional in thinking we are unique and protected. It is our neighbor who is likely to attack us.

I propose some legislation but more mind shifts and social action. We see that gun buy-backs don’t work, that more guards don’t work, that surrendering liberties that define us won’t work. That nativism and isolationism don’t work.

Sure, we need to do the 1934 anti-Tommy gun laws for “assault rifle” weapons and such. We also need to loudly let members of Congress know that the wee donations from gun makers can no longer carry weight — calling out Senators and Reps who accept these bribes. Let’s not tremble from the slippery-slope argument and start immediately to remove semi-automatic rifles from this nation.

I’m not ready to give up my liberties to a Big Brother nor can I accept letting fellow citizens arm to kill me at whim.

icon for podpress  A Blood World After All: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Demon vs. Raptor…on to November

Let’s interrupt the political theater for a brief moment of reality. My guy, Bernie Sanders, has almost surely lost the Dem nomination for President. On the other side, there’s an even chance Donald Trump will come into the GOP convention with a majority of Delegates.

Clinton vs. Trump in November. The war hawk vs. the hate monger.

I talked about the mundanities, such as number of delegated needed and already bagged for the nominations. I spoke of the likelihood that each will arrive at the July convention with a majority and the nomination.

I also stuck my neck out with a prediction that Trump will have his 35% or so of the electorate that responds to emotion and bluster. Yet we see that every for years. There is always at least that much or even up to 48% who will vote for any bozo who honks his clown nose to the proper tune.

This was just a rant. At least my Boston precinct voted for Bernie yesterday.

icon for podpress  Demon vs. Raptor [26:16m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Kill the Filibuster Podcast

We can hardly wait for the new Congress, specifically the more liberal and sensible Senate with several new Progressive Dems. In particular, MA’s Elizabeth Warren, WI’s Tammy Baldwin (both Dem) and ME’s Angus King (an independent who’ll caucus Dem) don’t want a stagnant body dragged along by the House. Warren and King have already said they are gunning to reform the filibuster.

Listen in as we bring in a little background and get excited about the possibilities for moving both bills and appointments along.

We figure GOP Senators are chastened by the last election. We also figure that if they actually have to stand and talk, not just threaten to do so, they will be shamed at their reasoning and motivation. This would be, in Martha Stewart speak, a good thing.

icon for podpress  Kill or Maim the Filibuster [30:16m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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