Archive for Congress

Brash New World in New Year

Even though Duh-Duh-Donald is not yet POTUS, he does not know that. He creates foreign policy via phone, in person and by Twitter. He is both too ignorant to understand the basics of transition and too dumb to grasp the cause-and-effect of his words.

This might be the point for “God save America.”

As he has not yet taken office, I have been hunkered down. I just cannot stand it. In one way it is not fair to take Trump to task for what he and Congress have not yet done. In another, let us look at what he has.

Dumbing Way Down

Throughout the long election season and after, he made it too plain that he has no interest in knowledge, facts or history. He has not even sipped at the Pierian Spring. Instead, he claims without any evidence that he is smarter than all others and knows more.

That kind and level of magical thinking leads only to failure. It also frustrates those with a lot of learning, the deep drinkers.

What his Presidency portends and what he has been delivering is a dumbing of his office and America as represented by his administration. Our international partners and foes alike have been figuratively shaking their heads that such a stupid and ignorant person would head our government.

George W. Bush was bad enough. I thought he would be the dumbest President in my lifetime. True enough that he was willfully ignorant, apparently out of intellectual laziness. Unfortunately, the new, devolved edition appears not unwilling, rather unable, to learn and understand. No matter how often he says deeply stupid things like, “I’m rich. That proves I’m smart,” that will not make it true.

Saying something many times at increasing volume does not make you smart. It makes you repetitive and loud. Neither trait is a virtue.

Kicking Against the Goads

Alas, poor Donny-poo’s impulsive, puerile and emotional tweeting exacerbates his flaws. He lacks executive function and strikes out childishly. Let us stop to pity those who admire his unfiltered Twitter thumbing.

He insults many, domestic and foreign. He ensures enemies for himself and the nation. He seems incapable of admitting the many times he has been wrong, and of apologizing. Anyone raised well, anyone you could trust socially, and anyone mature would not communicate these ways.

Instead, he falls into the trust-your-gut and go-with-your-instincts mind. Rather replace mind with emotions.

He has already irritated and offended various powerful foreign leaders, save Russia’s Vladimir Putin. His playing the courtier in Moscow is its own issue and problem. Otherwise, we shall feel and face effects of his clumsiness with the others.

What the World Sees

Perhaps we should not cry doom and destruction yet. After all, world leaders made it very plain that W. Bush was a clod and ass. They thought ill of us for electing him and despised us after his two prolonged and bloody wars.

We rejoined the smart-nation club with the Obama administration.

Now we are back at the international dinner’s kiddy table. We have an immature, emotional, dumb President. We are to be pitied.

I suspect that our international peers, partners and foes:

  1. Will revel in schadenfreude at the mess we have gotten ourselves into with a stupid, emotional leader
  2. Will learn  to discount Trump’s puerile tweets, much as they do with Kim Jong-un’s bluster. “He doesn’t mean it or know what he’s saying (read, “America doesn’t…”)”
  3. Will accept that our nation has been degraded by promoting an incompetent POTUS, thus devaluing America

Other democratic nations have elected incompetent and nasty heads of state, and again, we did it recently with Bush 43. We likely shall never fully recover from the disgrace of Trump. Yet unless everyone in Congress and around him fails in their duty, we likely shall survive four years of his bungling. Then as usual, Dems and other adults will set to work righting the ship of state.

 

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Fat Finger of Blame, Dems

None of us has enough fingers to point for Hillary’s loss. The blame goes everywhere from her to DNC officials to gerrymandering to the FBI to disaffected white women to skewed media coverage and on and on and on.

Honest to God, I’m sick of each and every pundit and other BS artist who has the definitive “insight.”

Few point to the most apparent factor — sexism. There’s a palpable joke that this go-round American voters who went for for the African-American MAN in ’08 and ’12 did not vote for the (any color) WOMAN. Let me play Capt’n Obvious here.

What’s a Democrat to do? What are all the combined Democrats to do?

Not Like the Other

Since FDR’s time, we can see that Dems and Republicans treat these campaigns and voters differently. President-elect Donald J. Trump may not be a Republican in any real sense, yet his behavior suits the GOP. He’s an anti-democracy, anti-American, zero-sum-game scoundrel.

Opposed to this win-at-all-costs attitude, Dems do what they did in Obama’s terms, or Carter’s for that matter. Liberal/progressive types do not tend to play a zero-sum game and more important, they can be much more introspective as a group.

For the latter point, start thinking of the Republican autopsy after the 2012 election. The GOP’s G.O.P. (growth and opportunity project) detailed:

  1. Why the electorate reelected Obama
  2. What the GOP would have to do going forward to sync with changing national demographics

The party did none of the essential steps. They lucked out big time, this one last time.

While it is and will continue to be less essential, as it has been for nearly a century, white women elect the President. They are, for the moment, the largest voting bloc, and they tend to turn out. Praise or blame white women for what we get. Sure, this time, their hubbies, sons, and beaux polled more for Trump than the women, but a much smaller percentage of them cast ballots.

2016 almost surely is the last time demographics allow this.That should work strongly in Dems’ favor. There are more and more people of color annually, a trend that only accelerates. White folk just can’t stop dying either, so the more conservative, even reactionary voters are a dwindling party.

Moreover, there’s no way in hell Trump’s dumb doctrinaire band of bozos will be able to deliver on his pledges to return jobs (largely to now dead industries), to renegotiate defense and economic treaties, to build the fantasy 2,000-mile wall and on and on. Sure, he can start by blaming each failure on inherited conditions or China or terrorists or this or that. As the impotent lack of solutions pile in huge heaps, voters will not be please. They’ll finally see they were conned. Then it’s time for more elections.

Now What?

Yet expect the Dems to visit the oracles (and pollsters and academics), have myriad focus groups, and create their own postmortem. Unlike the Republican Pooh-Bahs though, they are far more likely to act on the consensus findings.

That’s a bit silly in a way. Putting on my sparkly pundit robe and cap, I see a narrow loss, with Hillary snagging up to 2 million more votes, the House losing a few seats to Dems, and the Senate damned close. They could continue to do more of the same and expect to win the next POTUS vote, or two or three.

On the other hand, the GOP skunked them in 2010 and 2012 with their REDMAP project that grabbed state-level control in the 32 states that do their own redistricting. Hence, the Republicans were smarter than Democrats here. They got to gerrymander, and gamed the hell of the system following the last Census. Dems have much to atone for here.

I predict here when the Dems get control on Congress again, both houses, they still won’t be the asses GOP legislators have been at state and Congressional levels. They won’t obstruct the President. I am sure Republican voters as well as pols will view this as a sign of weakness. Dems are not in the mold of Conan the Barbarian.

 

 

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Dems, what is best in life?

Apropos dialog from the 1982 flick Conan the Barbarian:

Mongol General: Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.

Consider the Democratic Party’s plight and tasks and think back to the 2012 Republican autopsy, a.k.a. the 100-page Growth and Opportunity Project report. Conan’s methods and goals fit with neither the Dem modus operandi nor with the GOP’s G.O.P. report. Don’t expect heads and machers of either party to change soon. There in lies the huge opportunity for lefties.

First be very aware that under the Trump campaign, both he and the party ignored the report. That called for being inclusive and considerate of the likes of Latinos and women. Ha!

Instead and likely to their long-term detriment, the GOP rode a national bronco bucking for change. They lost a little in the Senate and the House, but kept control of both as well as winning the White House. A sharp irony in that is that Trump/change supporters hated the establishment insiders but largely kept them in office. The do-nothing wastrels in Congress are headed back. Huh?

So, a non-Republican, non-conservative Donald Trump becomes POTUS. The GOP has a huge disincentive to really change for future elections, demographic trends, and a nation increasingly out of sync with both old-style Republicans and the current pseudo-populism of Trump.

Now the Dems take their turn at rending their garments and watering their Merlot with losers’ tears. They too are choosing new party functionaries and will certainly produce a report and plan.

Same. Same. Right? No, when it’s the Dems’ turn, expect:

  • Explicit acknowledgement of failure to counter the 2010-11 GOP REDMAP strategy to control the governorships and legislatures in the 32 states that directly control redistricting following the decennial Census. The GOP gerrymandered the crap out of America.
  • Belated plans to turn the tables for the 2020 Census.
  • A much less Conan attitude toward gerrymandering. Specifically the Dems’ nature would have them return a fairly proportioned set of electoral maps in those 32 states instead of a crush-you-enemy one as the GOP did.
  • A coordinated Party response to the resulting report, rather than the GOP’s circular-file one.
  • Cleaning house at the Democratic National Committee to broom out the incompetent insiders who scuttled Bernie Sanders and otherwise played dirty pool throughout the campaign.

High-speed catch-up

To use the phrase of the year, Republicans rigged the House in their gerrymandering effort. Dems will have to trifurcate. They need to do all necessary to replicate the GOP state-level successes. They simultaneously need snag a dozen or more House seats in the 2018 mid-terms. Meanwhile, a separate group has to ID several top-notch 2020 POTUS possibles.

Unfortunately for Dems, their counterparts were ahead of them in realizing the potential of the internet and social media. The lefties caught up and learned how to link those technologies with voter data to leapfrog. Fortunately for Dems, they tend to be smarter. I would look for rapid advances to outdo REDMAP in the next foru years. They may not totally dominate state governors, and they may only get a narrow majority in the House, but then again, they are not crush-your-enemy sorts.

They’ll have to focus and develop big and small strategies and tactics. I suspect they’ll be up for it.

Their other advantage that should emerge in the first year of the Age of Trump will almost surely be the combined patterns of history and crackpot plans of the administration. We know going back to at least Harding that Republican administrations tank the ecoomy or at least deliver weakened tangibles — job growth, GDP growth, debt levels and more.

The millions who deluded themselves that if only Trump and the GOP had control the economy would soar, are certain to turn on him and his state-level pols.

 

 

 

 

trails

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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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